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Constitutional Chamber Orders Santa Cruz City Hall to Hand Over Public Information to the Voice of Guanacaste

  • Newspaper had to file a second injunction against the local government because it refused to hand over an Excel file
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The Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica’s Supreme Court ordered Santa Cruz Mayor María Rosa López Gutiérrez and the coordinator of the Maritime Land Zone (ZMT) Onías Contreras Moreno to hand over to The Voice of Guanacaste an electronic database that contains information on various concessions that have been granted in the county’s ZMT so that a data analysis may be performed.

On June 6, two reporters from The Voice of Guanacaste filed an initial injunction against the officials for denying them access to the database despite the fact that it’s public information that all citizens in the country have the right to access.  

Read: Constitutional Chamber Orders Mayor of Santa Cruz to Hand Over Public Information to The Voice of Guanacaste

The chamber ruled in favor the The Voice of Guanacaste in the first case, but the city’s administration sent a printed document to the newspaper and refused to hand over the information in a digital and editable format, which is what was requested.


So, the newspaper filed a second injunction and received a favorable ruling from all the magistrates. The chamber, in their ruling (which can be consulted at the end of the text), mentioned the negative attitudes of the officials and said they skirted jurisprudence and created an “unjustified obstacle to the access to information.”

 

“The chamber finds the conduct of the administration reproachable, and any conduct that suppresses a fundamental right such as the access to public information even after a judicial order has been issued and even when, in principle, it had the information available in the form requested by the appellate,” the text says.


Relevance of the information


The information contained in the database will be used to provide input for the report titled “Disorder in Concessions Swallows Up Santa Cruz Wealth,” which was published as part of an alliance between Punto y Aparte and The Voice of Guanacaste.

 

Read: Disorder in Concessions Swallows Up Santa Cruz Wealth

 

The report details how decades of poor administration in Santa Cruz’s Maritime Land Zones has reduced wealth that city hall could have tapped and impedes investments in projects that could improve the county.


The investigation also helps display a problem that Santa Cruz residents know all too well: city hall suffers from an economic backwardness that, together with the lack of political will, make it much harder to make decisions to solve the problems of city administration.

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