May 03, 2021
RETIRED Supreme Court Justice Keith Thompson has been appointed the nation's first Freedom of Information Commissioner, Attorney General Carl Bethel announced yesterday.
Meanwhile, Shane Miller, a retired Assistant Director of Legal Affairs (ADLA), has been named his deputy.
Justice Thompson will receive his instrument of appointment from Governor General A Cornelius Smith today and will assume his duties, along with Mr Miller, afterwards.
Mr Bethel made the announcements in a press statement released yesterday, when he said the move represents an “historic” day for the Bahamas.
The FOI office, which will be housed on the top floor of the Yandi Building, University Drive, is expected to open today.
However, the public is advised that the office will not immediately be providing service but will instead be focusing on other important issues.
“We are excited about the prospects for the FOI office and the democratic process which it represents. This FNM government campaigned on a promise of accountability and transparency, and we are committed to fulfilling that promise,” he said.
Yesterday, Senator Bethel also praised the achievements of both Justice Thompson and Mr Miller.
Mr Bethel said because of both men’s exceptional character and work experience, they were well suited to the new roles.
“The Act provides for the appointment of a person whose independence and sterling character are crucial to the working of a new legal regime. This certainly epitomises our new commissioner,” Mr Bethel said yesterday.
“Justice Thompson has had a long and distinguished life of public service. Before entering the legal profession, he served as a teacher and Dean of Students at Aquinas College. Upon being called to The Bahamas Bar he served at various law firms and as general Legal Counsel to the Sunshine Group of Companies extensively in the areas of conveyancing, mortgages, probate matters, litigation and various commercial transactions,” said Mr Bethel.
“He continued in education by serving as a law lecturer at the University of The Bahamas and the University of the West Indies Open Campus lecturing in Employment Law, Business Law and Law for HR Managers. He served as Vice President of the Industrial Tribunal before being appointed as Justice of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas.”
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