ICO Issues Decisions On DENR & BTA

January 5, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Information Commissioner issued two decisions regarding the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

A spokesperson said, “On 21 December 2023, Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez issued Decision 52/2023, Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“The Applicant had made a request asking for records on a fishing vessel with a longline fishing licence and the vessel’s commercial fishing activities. The Department issued an initial decision disclosing some of the responsive records. However, they withheld access to parts of the records that contained commercial information and information that would prejudice the enforcement or, compliance with or administrative of, any law. The Department also denied access to certain records because they did not exist.

Decision 52 Department of Environment and Natural Resources Bermuda January 2024

“In her Decision, the Information Commissioner upheld the Department’s decision to deny parts of the PATI request on the basis that certain requested records did not exist. She also confirmed that the Department had appropriately withheld records, or parts of records, as their disclosure would have had an adverse effect on the commercial interests of the vessel’s owner. Although the Information Commissioner accepted that there was a public interest in promoting greater understanding of the Government’s policies and practices regarding the regulation of the fishing industry and the protection of the environment, in this case, that public interest was outweighed by the public interest in protecting commercial information and ensuring that the Department could carry out its regulatory work effectively. The Commissioner did not require the Department to take further action with respect to the Decision.

Decision 53 Bermuda Tourism Authority Bermuda January 2024

“On 22 December, the Commissioner issued Decision 53/2023, Bermuda Tourism Authority. The Applicant had made a PATI request asking for records regarding the BTA Board and a former member, including board meeting minutes, correspondence, payments made to board members and other records.

“The BTA disclosed one record and denied access to others stating that some of the requested information was already in the public domain or that the records either did not exist or could not be found. During the Information Commissioner’s independent review, the BTA conducted additional searches which resulted in additional responsive records being identified and disclosed to the Applicant. The Information Commissioner was satisfied that the BTA had conducted a reasonable search for records during the course of the review and therefore was justified in denying access to certain records on the basis that they did not exist or could not be found. In addition, the BTA issued a new initial decision to the Applicant regarding the BTA’s meeting minutes, disclosing redacted versions of the records, during this review.”

The full version of Decision 52/2023 follows below [PDF here]:

The full version of Decision 53/2023 follows below [PDF here]:

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