The PATI Act gives the public a right to access records that public authorities have. It supports the idea that public records are a national resource. Throughout the world, public access to information laws help strengthen democracies. These laws allow the public to know more about how and why public authorities do particular work or make certain decisions.
The PATI Act grants Bermudians and residents of Bermuda a legal right to access public records. Importantly, it takes away the discretion of a public officer to decide whether or not to give information to someone. Instead, the PATI Act requires that if a request is made, the public authority may only refuse to turn over the record in specific circumstances set out in the law. Otherwise, access to the record must be granted. The law strikes a balance between the public’s right to know information and the public authority’s need to keep some information confidential.
The PATI Act also makes more information from public authorities available to the public as a matter of routine. This information is either made public by the authority or the authority will give it to you when you ask for it.
Political leaders from multiple parties, community members and the civil service worked for over a decade to grow the idea of transparency in government into the reality of the PATI Act. Today, it creates an opportunity for everyone in our country to be a more informed and helpful member of our democracy.
The Schedule to the PATI Act identifies public authorities by name and by category. The Information Commissioner's Office is a repository for the public authorities' Information Statements. You can access the list of public authorities and their corresponding Information Statements here.