Information Commissioner Issues Two Decisions

May 5, 2023 | 0 Comments

The Information Commissioner issued two decisions regarding the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Works & Engineering.

A spokesperson said, “On 28 April 2023, the Information Commissioner issued two Decisions: Decision 06/2023, Department of Environment and Natural Resources [Department] and Decision 07/2023, Department of Works & Engineering [Works & Engineering].

“In Decision 06/2023, the Applicant had submitted a Public Access to Information [PATI] request to the Department seeking various records related to shipwrecks, including a copy of the Register of Wrecks; the Register of Finders; a list of all known wreck locations with coordinates, photo maps and written descriptions; a listing of all known artefacts in the National Collection including those of high intrinsic value with proof of valuation and security protocols; and finally a listing of all honorarium payments made to finders. The Department provided access to some records, and withheld others.

ICO Decision 06 2023 Summary

“The Applicant sought an independent review by the Information Commissioner of the Department’s internal review decision that withheld some records because the information was provided in confidence to the Department. The Applicant also challenged the search the Department conducted for records and the completeness of its response to the PATI request.

“Decision 06/2023 describes in detail the processes under the Historical Wrecks Act [HWA] 2001. The HWA sets standards for the protection of Bermuda’s marine heritage, as well as establishes expectations for the disclosure of some information about wrecks, artefacts and finders. Decision 06/2023 shares how public access to shipwreck information is balanced with the Department’s need for confidentiality around certain processes to encourage the voluntary provision of information about wrecks to the Custodian of Wrecks. The Information Commissioner has found that the Department conducted a reasonable search and provided a completed response to the request, and has affirmed the Department’s reliance on the exemption for information received in confidence in section 26[1][a] of the PATI Act, to deny access to the remaining records.

ICO Decision 07 2023 Summary

“In Decision 07/2023, the Applicant requested copies of a tribe road’s inspection and incident reports as well as any records of complaints or concerns about the road’s condition. Initially, its internal review decision to the Applicant, Works & Engineering refused the request in full under section 30[1][a] of the PATI Act. However, during the Information Commissioner’s independent review, Works & Engineering clarified that it relied on section 30 [1][a] for part of the request and alternately also relied on section 38[1], refusing to disclose the existence or non-existence of other requested records.

“In her Decision, the Commissioner has affirmed Work and Engineering’s internal review decision to deny part of the request under section 30[1][a], and varied the denial of the remaining part of the request under section 38[1].

“All decisions issued by the Information Commissioner under section 47[6] of the PATI Act are available at”

The full version of Decision 06/2023 follows below [PDF here]:

The full version of Decision 07/2023 follows below [PDF here]:

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