First information commissioner is appointed
Gitanjali Gutiérrez has been appointed as Bermuda’s first information commissioner.
Government House made the announcement of the $180,000-a-year post that has been a work in progress for the past five years.
The position of information commissioner was designated under section 50 of the Public Access to Information Act 2010 (PATI). Ms Gutiérrez, who has previously been senior staff attorney with the Centre for Constitutional Rights in the United States and has acted in a number of significant cases involving freedom of information, will take up her duties with effect on Monday ahead of the Act coming into force on April 1.
“Ms Gita Gutiérrez has a distinguished record as a lawyer dealing with issues of public access to information in the US and, to some extent, the UK,” Governor George Fergusson said. “She has impressive experience of leading a team in complex areas of legal interpretation and public scrutiny. I am very pleased that she will be taking on this important and difficult role.”
The appointment was made after consultation with the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition.
Ms Gutiérrez, who is married to a Bermudian and has lived on the Island since 2011, is a graduate of Bucknell University and Cornell Law School, where she has also served as an adjunct professor of law. Her legal career has focused particularly on civil rights issues.
The PATI legislation allows the public to request information from publicly funded bodies. The information commissioner, who will initially be appointed for five years, is to start by assessing Bermuda’s readiness for PATI. She will also deal with appeals over requests that are turned down.
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