FOI anonymity under threat

| 02/07/2010

(CNS): A legislative committee to oversee the review of the Freedom of Information law, which will take place shortly, has now been formed. The FOI law calls for a review of its own legislation 18 months after implementation. Announcing his decision to create the whole parliament as the committee with the Speaker Mary Lawrence as chair, Premier McKeeva Bush said that during the review he hoped it would re-examine the ability of people to apply for information without disclosing their names. Bush has stated publicly on many occasions that he is unhappy that requests can be made anonymously. The premier also said that the committee needed to consider charging people for the information.

Bush questioned the FOI law’s facility for anonymous application and the fact that in most cases requests do not incur fees, in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, as he filed the motion to create the Freedom of Information Law Review Committee. The premier said that the committee, which will have a government majority, would call witnesses to question them regarding the law and the review would be directed with the assistance of the information commissioner.
As Bush presented the motion to the House, opposition member for George Town, Alden McLaughlin, pointed out that the motion creating the committee may seem innocuous at first but his comments about anonymity and the costs raised concerns.
“Given the public utterancesof the premier recently and the ominous concerns he raised in his short motion, I wish to record our concerns that this … is not an attempt to in any way diminish or make any less effective this crucial piece of legislation,” he said.
McLaughlin believed the law was having a positive effect on transparency, and while it may aggravate a sitting government, the law was an important tool in the checks and balances of democracy. He pointed out that those in office needed to develop a level of tolerance and acceptance that FOI was part of open and honest government. “It goes with the territory,” the former Cabinet minister added.
He defended the right of people to apply for information anonymously as he said it removed the fear of intimidation, and given the force with which the premier had attack people making requests recently, including Mickey Mouse, there was a very good case for anonymity to remain in the law.    
Increasing fees would have a “chilling effect”, McLaughlin suggested, adding that it would serve to neuter the law but he wondered if that was the goal. The opposition member also pointed out that with the whole house as a committee, the government’s majority would ensure that the “government’s will will be done”.
In his response the premier expressed his outrage at the PPM member, who he accused of going to any length to smear the UDP “and in particular me”. Bush justified his reasons for appointing the committee in accordance with the law. He accused McLaughlin of behaving in manner akin to communists, who he said mislead people.
Bush told the House that while the PPM administration may have enacted the FOI law, his previous government had made plans for it and introduced the Office of the Complaints Commissioner, its fore runner. He accused the former government of enacting the bill late in their administration because they did not want it.
The premier said, however, that he was not the only person that believed that FOI was costing too much. Bush said he understood FOI was not a luxury and that it could make government more efficient but he said it had to be done right.
He questioned some of what he said were frivolous and vexatious requests, and accused the opposition of “putting people up” to making the requests as the information people were asking for couldn’t be of any use to them. The premier told the Legislative Assembly that when the UDP was in opposition they could not get any information about what the government was doing and had walked into government blind, but the third elected member from George Town had the audacity to talk about transparency.
Following the debate the motion was passed.
During Wednesday’s sitting of the Legislative Assembly the 2009 annual report of the Information Commissioner was laid on the table of the House and is now available at www.infocomm.ky
In her report Jennifer Dilbert, the information commissioner, says much was done to advance the law through 2009 but questioned the commitment to the law by some public bodies. She explained that the law replaces the discretion to reveal information with a set of rules that apply when responding to a FOI request.
“In order for this system to work properly there therefore has to “buy-in” from senior government officials. In several cases this year I have found such commitment from various authorities to be lacking. There needs to be a stronger push to proactively publish records, especially when it is in the public interest to release information,” Dilbert stated in the report.
Since the report was written, however, the Office of the Information Commissioner has been given its own independent budget under the PMFL and is therefore now independent, financially speaking, from Cabinet.
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  1. Roadblogger says:

    Let’s put this in perspective.  There is NO way in H McKeeva Bush will prevail.  Not a chance.  The people of Cayman are NOT what they used to be.  They are informed, educated on important topics, concerned, and no longer afraid to voice their opinions.  He can rant all he wants and disparage the media, the FOI, and anything else that comes to mind but he also knows people, although they are angry listening to it all, pay it absolutely no attention.  If we want true power to make the country what it should be all that is required to defuse his rants and his quest for omnipotence is answering by not listening.

    There is nothing to fear except mild exasperation and a headache.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       Roadblogger…..I wonder if you are correct. I would like to think that the majority of the voters would be able to have a say. It seems though on the surface that  with our system one district with that districts leader influencing other voter pockets controls the outcome. Small voter base, vote influencing seems to be majority does not rule.  

  2. IRON CLAD says:

     

    THE MESSAGE

    Dear CNS posters and readers,

    With the ongoing crises in the issues and the political management of our country(the Cayman Islands), we are rapidly and positively learning that our once hopeful nation is now being put on course for ultimate demise through what is evidently political abuse by our Premier in not only his dissatisfaction and bashing of the FOI Law by the statements he has so shamelessly and blatantly made in a public speech, but by the many other attempts he has made in the past to gain control over the media and certain other areas of open and transparent Governance of our country. I do acknowledge the care and time taken by the greatest majority of our CNS readers/posters in your comments/contributions you have made thus far here on CNS and we thank you. Equally as important we thank the good and hardworking people of CNS for providing this forum for greater dissemination of information and your lashings that you have endured in your endevours to maintain. We thank you immensely.

    All good, however can I ask our posters that when you DO write your comments that you write them with more of a CUTTING edge and that you drive the message home to the MAX. For instance it is plain to see that McKeeva is on detour to becoming Cayman’s first DICTATOR, so this message in my firmest opinion, should be echoed as much as possible.

    People, can we echo this message a much as humanly and electronically possible so that the rest of Cayman’s CNS readers gets the message and for that matter we get the attention of the rest of the world?

    I have watched McKeeva from the 1st Cayman Bank saga until the now obvious threat to the FOI Law and I am fed up of watching the political abuse from this man.  FED UP!!!   Aren’t you all Cayman???

    People, we MUST take control of our civil destiny as a people and nation and to preserve what is left of our little country before we are completely brought to dictatorship and shambles!!! And to so so fearlessly. 

    Remember… our very existence and freedom not only depends on creator, Governments, Economics and ourselves, but ALSO by the cooperation and UNITY of a People coming together and to contribute to the Greatest Cause known to mankind – That is to have the EQUALITY, FREEDOM and to live as PEACEFUL as humanly possible – these things which are rightfully DUE to each and every one of us as human beings… as Caymanians.

    Hear my PLEA!!

    Totally, IRON CLAD

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well he pushed Mr. Desmond to his death now he wants to push the FOI over the wall and mash it up too.  He wants to stop the bloggers on CNS and he wants to sensor any other newspaper.  He wants to be in FULL control of speech in these Islands.  Why?  So no one will learn the truth of his corruption and his actions.  We cannot wait until the next elections to get rid of this man.  He is a Bully and a tyrant and needs to be put in exile.  I cannot believe the the people in West Bay is not yet educated, wise and knowledgable enough to stop believing this man lies.  What is his magnetic pull? Rolston and CG is no better, because they are followers of this crazy man.  They need to go too!!  We need to alert the FOI World Commission on his intentions and stop him in his tract now.

  4. whompa says:

    Please stop blaiming westbayers for this man being in power. He and the other three members from west bay could not put him there. we have to look at this correctly. the two George town and Bodden town canidates is who put him there.  we need to get rid of them. can some body tell me what purpose do the third elected member from bodden town serve.i live in bodden town and i have never seen this man since election in that district. the last time i saw him was on TV during carifta..  i also heard him on the radio voting with the goverment during finance committie meeting.  what a wast of tax payers money, bodden towners. i understand that he is the chairman of a committe and has not hold a meeting yet.    he is just a extension cord for the goverment.     i know that some of you bodden toweners MUST be pulling out your hair.people like is who is supporting what the premier do, mark you not any better, you are an educated person, but NO b##ls. come on guys that money is not all. you all are losing sight of the whole thing. what will you tell your children about this dictator that you support

  5. A Concerned Caymanian says:

    PLEASE DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN!!!!

  6. IRON CLAD says:

    Somebody please tell me…

    Where the hell is the Governor in all this?

    Isn’t this far too blatantly obvious that we have a Dictator in the making???

    People, people, people we are on our own and up for a nasty future with this man. 

    Can we organize a MARCH against any efforts by Bush to change the FOI Law ?! 

    In addition we need to initiate a NO CONFIDENCE Referendum to get this man (((OUT of POWER))).

    Please, please people. Let’s do this.

    Even more, IRON CLAD

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

      Trying to control the FOI and the media has to be an "eye opener" for all voters. I just cannot believe that the good people of Cayman cannot see what is happening. Cayman is a sophisticated country that deserves competent leadership. Most political leaders have a firm set of policies, ethics, morals and beliefs that all the voters and people can see and understand. These traits are supposed to create the foundation that the elected leader leads and lives by. It "seems" that The Premiers foundation is not concrete and continues to mold and change. Controlling public information….information you paid for …..and controlling the media is simply unacceptable for Cayman. Cayman has many serious issues that need to be addressed. Look where the attention is, time to start governing and not reacting.

    • Anonymous says:

      DICTATOR! Any doubts now?

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      When you say "out of power," are you simply suggesting that he be removed from being Premier, or are you suggesting that he can be removed from the office of MLA?

      • IRON CLAD says:

        Whichever would be possible.

        Getting him out period would be better.

        I’d go the extra mile to have a ban placed on the fella.

         

      • Beachboi says:

        For crimes against the country, I’m pretty sure its treason, I would like his status as a Caymanian removed.  I have asked here before how to get this man out, as have you iron clad but no one seems to know.  I too have watched him since First Cayman Bank when the people were driving through Georgetown with car horns blazing calling for his head and then they turn 360 degrees and elect him to public office.  He is the head of the finance committee for all sakes!!  What an oxymoron that is!!!!

        As for the governor do none of you remember that he had barely made it off of the plane on his first day when McKeewa told him in no certain terms that he was in control of the country and he was not be be messed with?  I remember reading that in the paper, again in not those exact terms, but that was what me meant and I cringed with fear of what was to come.  Now it has come, and I want to get rid of him and dont know how.  Someone must know!!!!

      • anonymous says:

        Dennie,

        Again, Good point, You are a thinker indeed. We have to be specific.

        As it is, he would be an MLA still as elected, but he can be removed as Premier.

  7. Raffaele says:

    It appears Kim Dong Bush and his Clan of the Pious find this law and its instruments instrusive an a grave hinderance to the big money making deals that are in the works or greed has become their master once again. They simpy are not satisfied with what they have already quitely acquired and simply want it all. A smile and a nod from old Mr Dugay an a quite i told you so!!. Yes and where is our Benevolent steward who cares and preaches good governance when will Caymanians or will they ever learn.Platitudes for the natives. Plaudit for transparency and it won’t surive the daylight.

  8. Anonymous says:

     Freedom of information and Mac Bush do not belong in the same sentence. If I remember correctly, he called the FOI a ‘scandal sheet.’ Whenever his questionable activity is exposed, he becomes agitated and furious. This is what the country has to put up with and it is hard to comprehend that there are people who actually support him given his track record. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    What does Cayman think it is?

    A nation of 8 million people or a city of 50,000 people?

    Why does a city of 50,000 need a FOI agency at all?
    Just let them talk to each other, and save a bundle of money.

    For that matter, why does our city need 18 MLA’s, at an
    estimated cost of $300,000 each including overhead?

    And an International airline?

     

  10. Anonymous says:

    FOI = Accountability, which is why Mac wants to change the rules. Let him do this and Cayman will be just one more banana republic in the Caribbean.

    • Anonymous says:

      i cant seem to remember when the BANANA Republic status was lifted 🙂

  11. Kryptonite says:

    This country has the leadership they deserve……

  12. Rectus femoris says:

     Dear West Bay voters,

    We will give all of you new kitchen appliances if you promise not to vote for McKeeva Bush in the next election. 

    Sincerely, 

    The rest of the Cayman Islands 

    • IRON CLAD says:

       I Second that offering, but can i throw in some more perks?

      Dear West Bay voters,

      We will buy new windows, repair your roofs and any other pathetic buy-your-vote needs you have. We will also have monthly FAL(free at last) Parties serving all the liquor and food you can eat and drink. On top of all that we will be giving $500 ‘Hand-outs'(sorry we would need to get the kick-backs from a big Govt Project and to partner-up with Dart and all the other wealthy investors that McKeeva has sold out the Grand Cayman and it’s people to pay anymore than $500).

      Sincerely,

      The rest of the Cayman Islands

  13. Anonymous says:

    The name would have to change too.  FREEDOM of information means that those requesting it should be FREE to do so without fear of repercussions from political XXXXX like MB! 

  14. Anonymous says:

    How many signatures for a referendum?

    It would be good to allow due process to stop this.

    Let’s do this …..come on there must be at leats 50,000 people who would sign that petition!

    • Anonymous says:

      Expats don’t count so your number is significantly too high. For the Caymanians, only half are of voting age or own houses (so they don’t need appliances).

       

  15. Anonymous says:

    Shame on you Caymanians for letting this man get away with it. Why does no one speak up against him?

    You all voted for him, so for once, don’t blame other people.

    He’s been making the first steps towards suppressing free speech for a while now, but still nobody stands up to him. The freedom of information act should be a right of any democratic nation.

    For the same reason that people on CNS are comfortable to express their feelings because they can do so anonymously without the fear of reprisals, the same goes for freedom of information requests.

    We all know that once people have to start giving their details, we will quickly begin seeing more people’s work permits cancelled for no reason, or certain mix-ups with the police or other such fabricated circumstances as the dictator hits back at them for trying to obtain public information under the act.

  16. Mickey Mouse says:

    I have come from unfair criticism from the Premier over my FOI requests.  What is his agenda?  Can I see his CV?

  17. Rectus femoris says:

    Why does the identity of the questioner matter, Mr. Bush? Unless you want intimidate and seek revenge, why would you care?

    It should be about the question, not who asks it.  

    Cayman will never be ready for independence if we keep ending up with leaders like this. 

    Can you imagine McKeeva Bush with no UK looking over his shoulder? With a police force and military under his control? 

    Zimbabwe

    How do people like Elio Solomon, Rolston Anglin and Cline Glidden feel giving their unconditional loyalty to Bush? Have they no shame? How do they sleep at night? Do they have any limit to their loss of dignity or would they follow anyone so long as they can feed off the crumbs left in his wake?

    Seriously, they can’t be so clueless as to think that Bush’s backward and destructive views areappropriate for the Cayman Islands in this day and age. Can they? 

  18. Live Free.... says:

    What is Mac’s problem? Everything must sooth him, well Mac let me share something with ya, FOI is democracy and the people have the rights to speak under anonymity whence ever they feels like, you say not to call you a dictator, so why are you acting like one? I have been to many news sites and they all have comment sections and the people are allowed to post comments on the sites anonymously, and I have read many comment just like how I read on CNS, let’s take FOX News for example, people post things about the Democrats, Republicans and the President, not everything they post is nice and dandy, I’m sure the President don’t like some of the comments posted, but guess what, he must up hold the Freedom of Speech and Democracy. President Obama knows very well that he would be scrutinize and be hold accountable for his actions. My advice to you is to come out of your fantasy land, this is democracy. Another example, in the UK during the election this year, Gordon Brown got a lot of bashing from the media and the people through the blogs and news papers, he was still in power at the time, so why didn’t he attack the press and people of UK? Because of Democracy and the freedom of speech, and yes they expose a lot of things about him.So again what is your problem with the FOI, Democracy and the people having the freedom to speak? They elected you, you didn’t elected them, they can remove you, you can’t removed them.To tell the people who elected you to shut up and trying to silent the press and attacking the Freedom of Information Act, only a Dictator would do something like that, because everything must go your way and the people must speak when you want them to speak, well let me tell you something,your plan to silent the media would not succeed and people would continue to post their comments anonymously to the day you are out of power and after that, because Democracy and the Freedom of Speech must prevail like it does in other countries, Cayman is no different when it comes to up holding Democracy for the Mother the Country is UK. So leave the media alone and stop living a dream that you are a King of Cayman. I wish the bill of rights was in law now, you would surely be removed by the way you is behaving, by the way that is coming in 2013, I would resign if I was you, because things are going to get a lot tougher, for this just the beginning, Cayman has change and you as a leader must accept those changes, regardless if you like them or not, you must up hold the Laws of Freedom Of Speech, not attack it. You must up hold Democracy, not try to banish it.To me you not a true leader, a dictator is more like it. So stop your foolishness and get on with trying to resolve this recession and put the crime under control, those is more important than attacking the press and the people of Cayman.

  19. Anonymous says:

    we need this guy out right now!

    can someone organise a march or demonstration?

    • Anonymous says:

      How about you do it? Why does it always have to be someone leading — is there no one on this island with a set of balls and an education!?

      • Anonymous says:

        The people I can think of "with a set of balls and an education" are all women. This is a an untapped source in Cayman!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why does the Premier have to know where the information is going?

    To then try and punish that person?

    {{{Mr Bush}}}}Oh my Mr Ebanks is trying to get info on my travel expenses, I’ll use my new powers to redraw that Cayman Islands honour that was awarded him.

    That’ll teach him from trying to keep me honest!!

  21. Doesn’t surprise me one bit

  22. Anonymous says:

    Mac laments the media asking questions.  Mac says they are casting government in a bad light. Mac has a problem with FOI. Mac says he is doing things in an open and transparent manner.  So Mac, what is the fear?  If people and the media can get the information they need, there would be no doubts, right?  There is no need to stifle the flow of information, right?

    On the other hand, if things aren’t right, the media and public armed with FOI can really get to the root of it; like when the Central Tenders process is bypassed in the awarding of contracts, or when politicians direct departments to hire supporters, even when no positions are open, or when politicians receive benefits other than their salaries to take or not take certain actions, or when politicans start accumulating wealth that is beyond their decent salaries, or when they influence boards and departments to give favour to, or not give favour to, certain entities.

    It’s an important check and balance and we aught to leave it how it is.  It does not matter who is behind a request as long as the information is public.  Simply release it!

  23. Beachboi says:

    One simple question.  What can be done to bring this guy down?  Get him out of office!  He  has done not one single thing for Cayman since his rise to power XXXXX.  He calls his constituents "rabble rousers" and now he is moving to control the press.  He will do it to!

    By the way McKeeva just a note:  Consitiuents are the people that voted you into office.  The same ones that will vote you down in the next one.  I pray that it does not take that long to get you remove him. 

    • Anonymous says:

      How ridiculous????, why should the government give out any type of information  and dont be accountable to who they give it to.  Yes I agree with the Premier.  Government should be accountable and know who they are feeding information to.  If that is not the case, why the banks are accountable to people – Get real!! , and stop this Premier rubbish.  Speak of what is good for all.  I  am not tied to either party in any way, but some times the things you all argue on is totally useless.. Speak of what make sense.

       

      What part of the world are you living into  –  Any letter that is unsigned is of no value –

      • Michelle Ebanks says:

        if we follow your (and the Premier’s) thinking then you should stop posting on CNS anonymously and state your name.

        CNS should therefore be held accountable for all its anonymous posters right?  If you truly believe what you believe then why didnt you sign your name to it?  Are you fearing backlash? 

        If so, then perhaps you understand why people seeking information choose to do so under anonymity.  Also, if the Government charges people for information legally available to the public, its not freedom then is it?

        So, we should pay for the information because its costing Government too much money – said by the man who has used public funds for exhorbitant personal perks?  Whether or not permissible by the Constitution, you would think a pruent leader would send a message of solidarity to his country by refusing to live a lavish lifestyle when the very people who put him in power are struggling to make ends meet.

        Look at the bigger picture please.  We need transparency, there are basic fundamental rights of any modern democracy.  To deny is to plunge us back into the dark ages of a communist regime.

         

      • Anonymous says:

        Num Num most of the information is for the public, why withold it if there is nothing to hide. They can not give out private info as the information comissoner has stated many times in the past

        The banks dont give out information because it is private information

         

        Big Big difference

      • Anonymous says:

        Where have you been living? these guys are vindictive or as the local slang is "Hatefull" here in Cayman, I wont mind giving my name anywhere else where they really understand what freedom of information / freedom of speech means, but here, I might end up with out a job and unable to get one for some time if I offend the powered that be by requesting information and pointing out flaws.

      • Anonymous says:

        Then why is yours unsigned?

        • Anonymous says:

          The best response that could be given!!

          If you got nothing to hide then why not sign your name?

          I’m an expat so I won’t put mine name to it!

      • Mattew Manyete says:

        Does that  include the letters on CNS>

      • Caymanian Voice says:

        You are unreal!  The core reason FOI legislation exists around the world is to give voice to every one who wishes to know more about ie better understands how their government operates.

        The ability of anyone ( the poorest to those in very high places) to ask a question with out fear of any victimization is their DEMOCRATIC right.

        Right now this Premier is challlenging the democratic rights of Caymanians. This action on his part vis a vis the media and now FOI is a serious departure from the good governance which these islands have enjoyed under all prevous governments. No matter how much we complained about other governments we are far down a slippery slope of  dictatorial control.

        Frankly it is irrelevant who the Permier is (ie his name) the person in the post at this time is damaging CAyman beyond repair I fear.

        Stop bashing members of PPM to deflect from the reality we currently have. What ever we want to say, they were honest and they talked to us every week via press briefings and we knew what their plans were. Here we are 14 months after the elections and Rolston has started back to blame Alden. Get over it Rolston, you do amazing things. You show us what you and your amazing PS can do with eductaion. 14 MONTHS  later and we still have no clue about what the new startegy is for eductaion. But we hear criticisms of the previous minister. He had his day, take yours and do some thing and stop casting slurs.

        Can anyone imagine what it must be like to be a Civil Servant now? Tums must be selling well with all the anxiety these folks are walking around with.

        We need to call a spade a spade and all needs to accept that point of view, but to simply blame PPM or in Big Mac’s case everyone for his failings is just indicative of not guts and lots of insecurity. 

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        Dear Anonymous,

        I find it interesting that you have complained about people not identifying themselves, but yet you signed your blog as “anonymous”.   I could not disagree with your views on freedom of information anymore than I currently do. 

        If left to me, we would always have Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Information…  No government is going to take those rights away from me, or make me pay twice for it!

        Kind Regards,
        Dennie Warren Jr.
        Mobile: 345-916-0716

        • Beachboi says:

          WELL SAID DENNIE!!  This person claims no party affiliation but it is obvious who is "pulling his/her strings"!  Actually I am glad that this is one of few of these opinions that I see but what scares me is how many of these people are eligible to vote like you and I.  That’s where the problem is.  How many sensible people do we have going to the polling stations after all is said here.

           

    • anonymous says:

      check the constitution and see what it says about how to go about removing an official from office. Start reading and stop asking questions.

      Alden or Kurt won’t tell you because you may use it on them!

       

       

    • Anonymous says:

      Just what is it that this man has to hide? What is he scared of? If all his transactions are above board he has nothing to hide! His dislike of FOI & his great desire to do away with it leaves the Cayman people with no other option but to believe that there are things that he does not want exposed. An innocent man has nothing to hide. Is he acting like an innocent person?
      These desperate acts are those of a dictator, yet he does not like when we call him a dictator. How would he feel if we refer to him as a ruthless dictator? Would he prefer that, because that is far more suitable. His actions leave us with no alternative but to call him what he is! "Time soon catch up with him," his day soon come!

    • No Way!!!!! says:

      He got rid of one way that he would not be exposed by getting rid of Dan Duguay (and believe me, he was behind this) now he wants to curtail the Feedom of Information.

      This man is not real!

      What is wrong with the puppets that call themselves UDP and I mean ALL members, not just elected members.

      There has to be better days ahead and that can only happen when we have a new Premier.

      This cannot be allowed to continue – No Way!!!!!!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Wow!! Someone call Honduras AND ask them to send Roberto Micheletti. He knows how to deal with this type of leader

    • Independant Beauty says:

      Micheletti will certainly put him and his puppets to rest!!!!!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hmm this is sad, it look like everything is being done to strangle this FOI, who exactly will request information if they have to leave their Names/Details with this man as the leader who is known for being vindictive? look at how he lashes out at larger bodies like the media, the Speaker of the house or even other MLAs, imagine what can happen to little ole me if i end up on his radar.

    You know if they were to tackle the real problems of this country/economy with the same ferocity and energy at which they devote to suppression freedom, shutting up people that speak out against them and blaming others, we might actually be taking steps forward up the hill instead of rolling down the hill with no breaks which seems to be our current motion

  26. Anonymous says:

    "He accused the former government of enacting the bill late in their administration because they did not want it…when the UDP was in opposition they could not get any information about what the government was doing and had walked into government blind but the third elected member from George Town had the audacity to talk about transparency".

    The PPM certainly have their faults and we are all aware of their lack of fiscal prudence, but this is a ridiculous allegation. 

    A major plank of the 2005 PPM campaign was openness and transparency – ‘government in the sunshine’. Enacting the FOI Law was a significant fulfilment of those campaign promises. For the sake of accuracy the Law was not enacted late in their term. It was passed in October 2007 (mid-term) and it is clearly silly to suggest that at that date the PPM did not think it would ever apply to them or thought that they would not be re-elected. 

    Clearly, this was a radical piece of legislation (for Cayman that is) and there much preparation was required before it was brought into force including training and recruiting a suitable FOI Commissioner.  It was brought fully into effect at the end of December, 2008 and, particularly since the law was retroactive and information could have been sought regarding the PPM’s entire term in office, Mr. Bush could have used the almost 5 months to make FOI requests to his heart’s content. There was no need to walk into govt. blind.

    However, it appears that Mr. Bush did not in fact walk into govt. blind, as he claims, since on the campaign trail he appeared to know more about the state of govt. finances than the govt. did.   On the other hand, if it was blind, then that was its own fault.    

    • Concerned Canuck says:

      So he now expects us to believe that the former government purposely delayed the billing of this lawto avoid it??? "He accused the former government of enacting the bill late in their administration because they did not want it.."

      By this rational it would seem that they did not want to be re-elected?

      Mac is a complete moron and just spouts out without thinking (or doesn’t care about the repercussions). Ah well, as long as he keeps buying appliances and paying for the mortgages of his constituent’s he will continue to be an elected member of our "government". Awesome.

  27. Kent says:

    Once again what the Government as a whole, not as individuals or parties, needs to understand is they work for us, John Q Public.  The government is our government, it is US.  The information that the government hold belongs to us.  We pay our legislators to do their jobs, and a rather good wage at that.  Being that I am one of those who pays the salaries of the government, If I as their boss want to know what is going on, I have a right to the information.

    Lets look at a couple facts. 

    1) Information is power.

    2) He who controls the information controls the power.

    3) The Premier is attempting to control the information.

    Question:

    1) Why

    Answer:

    1) POWER!

     

    I make no secret of my stance with Mr. Bush.  I want to say although this man has no education, speaks without any attempt of showing any form of understanding of the english language.  He is by no means an idiot.  He is a very intelligent individual. The facts of where he has come from and the road he has chosen to travel to get where he is, makes him a very sly individual that knows and in many cased has made the systems to allow hisantics to either be undiscovered or when discovered be immune to correction.  The thorn in the side of a person like this is "FREEDOM INFORMATION" It is the holy water to the sins against the residence and more importantly the citizens of this wonderful country.

    I have read the above article, and taken note of Mr. Bush’s quotes.  I want to sum up by saying if information "is of no use to them" who cares, it is the fact that we the people can nhave access to the information, and it will not be controlled by those who are in a position of wanting to hide their misdoings.

    • Anonymous says:

      Particularly whilst commenting on an individual’s alleged lack of education, it might be wise to check your submission for errors. ‘English’ is always capitalized. This is hugely important to the integrity of your whole submission, you will (hopefully) appreciate. 

      • Kent says:

        Are you serious!  With everything dats goin’ on you gunna stan yeah an corekt my Punktuation!

  28. Anonymous says:

    "The premier said however, he was not the only person that believed that FOI was costing too much."

    Well aint that the pot callin the kettle?

     

    • Anonymous says:

      It is not that the FOI costs money, it is that it costs a lot of money to hide government dirt!

      "Cockroach don’t like bright sunlight."

      That which Government hideth, FOI releases.

      Sun Sun

  29. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have any issues with anonymous queries.  The information is PUBLIC information, no private information can be released. 

    Mac, why would you want names, what does that matter for you, it isn’t your information, it is PUBLIC information.  Maybe I am not the sharpest pencil in the box, but I can’t see why requesting it anonymously is such a  large deal, unless you wanted peoples names to blackball them.

    If the committee decides that you can’t request anonymously, it will hurt Cayman on the international stage, and you will, without any further questions, have given in to the dictator.

  30. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     IMHO the formation of this committee is the first move by The Premier to attempt to change or control the release of public information.