Earlier this year, the Organization of American States (OAS) in collaboration with the US Embassy in Belize rolled out the “Promoting an Open Government Ecosystem in Belize” project. The project seeks to establish management practices based on openness, accountability, and easy access to public information. There were four workshops held in August geared towards promoting this ecosystem. Love news spoke with Henry Wade, the Local Coordinator for The Trust for the Americas in Belize, who said that the government has already embarked on developing e-government; however, there is more to be done.
Henry Wade – Local Coordinator for The Trust for the Americas in Belize: “It’s a brand new concept Open Government and Open Data here in Belize and this is why the project is timely because it seeks to start to build that awareness. Yes, we do have quite a bit to catch up; we are behind on the curve if you look at some of our Caribbean and Latin American counterparts but we see this as a great opportunity for journalists and members for civil society organizations to group together, to start to be that voice of advocacy, to see that change in terms of accessibility to information and data.”
Today’s training was on Data Journalism which saw the participation of the local media. Foreign journalists had an opportunity through teleconference to share how data journalism has helped them to better execute their job. Wade said that Belizean journalists have to catch up.
Henry Wade – Local Coordinator for The Trust for the Americas in Belize: “As you rightly mentioned Government through CITO is undertaking or has undertook working with their E- government strategy and so the project hopes to align with that E-Government strategy in developing and building capacity on the government side as-well as the civil society side. Open Government is a new concept here in Belize and we are sharing information, we are promoting awareness, we are calling for advocacy for the ultimate goal as I mentioned in terms of having an open government platform developed here in Belize.”
Wade explained that legislation needs to be put in place to facilitate the open government and open data in Belize.