Only 12 FOIs granted in full

| 18/02/2009

(CNS): In the first month after its enactment, 117 requests were made under the new Freedom of Information Law but just 12 of them have actually been granted in full so far. On 31 January, 81 requests were still outstanding, while eight had been thwarted as records don’t exist, five had been exempted, one refused, three had been withdrawn, two were granted in part, one had been deferred because the information will soon be made public, and four were found to be in the public domain already.

In an official report documenting the first month’s mixed bag of operation, the Cayman Islands FOI Unit released statistics outlining the requests and action made to 88 government departments, authorities and agencies. Of the 117 requests made between 5 and 31 January, the greatest number (17) were received by the Immigration Department, most of which regarded the applicant’s own immigration files. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service received 11 requests, and the Legal Department received 8.

Cayman Airways was the only agency to use section 9 (c) under the FOI law, which states that a government entity can refuse a request because of the diversion of too many resources to fulfil it.

Requests included: the Cabinet Office was asked for a list of all persons granted Caymanian Status by Cabinet in 2003 and supporting documentation giving the reasons for the grant; the Immigration Department received a request regarding the scoring system used to evaluate permanent residence applications; the Tourism, Environment, Investment & Commerce Ministry received a request relating to the importation documents of dolphins; the Tourism Ministry was also asked for the documentation relating to the MOU on the port development.

The report summarises the total number of FOI requests received by publicauthorities and gives examples of the types of requests of general interest which were made during the month. The publication indicates that there were no internal reviews or appeals made during this period. Each public authority also maintains a disclosure log on-line in which requests of general public interest (and the decisions made on these requests) are recorded.

“I am happy that the public is taking advantage of this new right,” said FOI Coordinator Carole Excell.

The report includes general FOI applications of interest, including requests for information on the operation of schools in the Cayman Islands, information on the new port development and immigration matters. The report details the number of requests made to each public authority, as well as the outcomes of those requests.    

For more information about FOI in the Cayman Islands  or to view the report visit the website at, or collect a user guide from the office in Elizabethan Square, George Town.


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