Port releases disputed papers

| 25/02/2012

2007_05_08_Grand_Cayman_Port_Authority-large (243x300).jpg(CNS): The documents that had been at the centre of a controversial freedom of information request, which almost turned into a court room drama, have finally been released by the Port Athority. The publicauthority informed CNS on Friday afternoon that the documents that were the subject of the information commissioner’s December hearing were all now in the public domain. In a release defending its right to take a “cautious and considered” approach to the disclosure of “commercially sensitive, confidential or legally privileged information”, the port said it was committed to transparency.

Minutes of the Port Authority board meetings between April and June relating to GLF Construction have now been posted on the port’s website, as well as the statement about the port's handling of the particular request and the subsequent public comment.

The authority had originally declined to release the documents in response to an FOI, but after a hearing Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert ruled that the documents should be released.

After 45 days the documents were still not public and because the original applicant withdrew the request the commissioner did not force the authority to publish the documents, many of which by this time had already been leaked into the public domain.

However, CNS made a new request for the document and Dilbert ordered the authority to immediately release them as per her original decision. But the minutes, which had still not been leaked, remained under wraps.

Dilbert contemplated court action but in the interests of a speedier resolution she advised that the authority could follow the usual process with the CNS request, giving them up to 30 days to release the documents from the date of the request.

The Port Authority posted the minutes on its site on Friday afternoon inside the thirty day time period and notified CNS.

It also posted a statement in which it said the port had been the subject of comment and speculation over the request, and although it believes it has no obligation to respond, it said it was committed to the principles of accountability, transparency and public participation, as enshrined in the Freedom of Information Law.

“The FOI Law itself contemplates that requests for disclosure of information shall only be made after due compliance with the principles of independence, fairness and due process," the authority stated. “In responding to requests for commercially sensitive, confidential or legally privileged information, the Authority has adopted, as it is lawfully entitled to, a cautious and considered approach to disclosure. Regrettably, some information has been leaked by persons unknown to the local media before the Authority's own review of the issues had concluded.”

After what it said was “due completion”, it had posted on its website the minutes of the board of directors' meetings and it hoped the release “would end speculation and prevent further and unnecessary diversion of Authority resources.”

The minutes reveal the dispute and tensions which emerged between the premier and the board members over his decision to cease talks with GLF Construction and move into negotiations with the China Harbour Engineering Company for the development of the cruise berthing facilities in George Town.

The minutes also show that Bush had planned on reporting the leak of the MOU between him and CHEC to the police as he believed it had come from inside the port. The documents confirm the wide speculation about the significant level of concern the members of the board had over the premier’s decision to partner with CHEC and the unanimous support that the board had for continuing the talks with GLF.

See related CNS articles:

Mac wanted port cop probe

Courtroom battle not quickest route to records

FOI refusal in court hands

See the minutes and port statement here

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Category: FOI

Comments (18)

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  1. Live Free.... says:

    I hope these minutes that was release would give those hard core UDP supporters an eye opening treatment, that their leader is a dictator style politician. For  it really puzzles me to how he still have supporters. If I was one of his supporters, which I'm happily not, would have stopped supporting him long time ago, and feel sorry that I give him my vote. His supporters have to feel disappointed with him and his UDP Cohorts, if not, they are seriously brainwashed by the rhetoric  he spewed on Tuesday night. Because on that night he never explained to them how the berthing facility was  going to be funded or even develop by CHEC, instead took his supporters for a ride in blasting the opposition, the media, and the citizens. And yet he got there support,so now that the minutes of the port meetings have been release, this should shed some light on his supporters. Plus XXXX the rate that CHEC was going to charge per passenger, denying that the $35 was mention, supporters read the minutes. XXXX. If  you all planning to go to his meetings, which I advice you all not to, just listing careful to his rhetoric and stopped clapping at everything he says, and let your mind determine if he telling you lies or the truth, for I'm sure you all read the daily news papers or the news sites, so you all should know the things he had done, whether they were good or bad for these Islands.

  2. Dred says:

    Port Authority in all due respect that is the biggest pile of CRAP (and I mean that in any and everyway) I have everr heard.

    The withholding of information was solely to cover up what was contained for other reasons.

    Your idea of how you put it "principles of independence, fairness and due process" is pathetic at best.

    Your keepingof information FROM YOUR BOSSES, of whom we are should get your fired IMMEDIATELY. When we ask YOU SHOULD JUMP.

    • JAhDRead says:

      I am the ultimate DRead so change ya name. not. just kidding.  But really you need to read carefully bredren, the Commissioner cancelled her order of release to CNS because she did not do it properly, she ruled that CNS request was covered by previous release and she ruled the POrt was in contempt which was not correct.  THe fact is she cant do that, she had to treat CNS as a new separate request on its own merits, therefore her incorrect decisions were challenged, she got advice that she could not win then she backtracked/reversed her position.  THe BOard appears to have wanted that aspect clarified before releasing and now they have,  what is wrong with wanting fairmess and due process from the Commissioner, all entities are enttled under the Law.  Bless Ia.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Board could simply have released the information since it had already been requested and the Board had apparently determined that that it did not fall within any of the exceptions. Standiong on ceremony seems a little ridiculous in the circumstances.

  3. The Ball says:

    Alas!!! A very popular Premier. It really appears that none of you can get it in your greasy heads that there will only be one Premier for the Cayman Islands until God put him to rest. And just guess who that One Premier is?  I will wait for your answers and read your response. When trying to figure out the answer, just keep in mind that he is appreciated by the investors who admires his ability and his intellect to conduct business.  He is loved by 75% of his own Caymanian people and highly venerated by all Cayman Status holders. Therefore, that leaves 25% to squabble over who should be Premier. From my Crystal Ball I only see the POPULAR MAN in there and the Ball is full with all his SUPPORTERS. I do not vote here so please do not take my blog personal it is only the facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where do you get your statistics from, really, which of the "75% who love him" did not vote for him then. He sure as hell didn't get 75% of the vote, even in West Bay. Dream on.

  4. Anonymous says:

    These minutes are frightening reading.  An appointed Board was obviously being sidestepped. Then further intimidated by the Premier because He, and only He wanted to make this decision.  He was also advised by the Board that going with CHEC would be unwise and settlement with GLF would be detrimental and costly.  Did he care this person who has routinely gone before the public and stated that everyone would have to tighten their belts a little in order to turn the economy around?  He just pissed away a million dollars or more on an irrational decision HE made. Unilaterally. No one else is to blame. But hey it isn't his money but aside from that it should be patently clear this man is not equipped to do his job because of his insurmountable ego and lack of expertise.  How does a buffoon likethis get to be the Premier?

  5. Anonymous says:

    "Driver's license and log book please"

    I can't do that officer

    "And why not??"

    It contains confidential information

    "Such as??"

    Name, birthdate, and address

    "Step out of the vehicle"


  6. Anonymous says:

    Everyone should take a few minutes to read the minutes and see what our Beloved Leader was up to. We all need to say thank you to Woody Foster and Stefan Baraud and the other honourable board members who insisted on doing the right thing and refused to go along with what Mr. Bush wanted

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Stefan and Woody for standing up and doing the right thing.

  7. Anonkymous says:

    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

  8. Profound Reality! says:

    Again we have evidence suggesting Mr Bush's arrogance and what can be imagined, XXXX characteristic. This gentleman has been apart of too many scandals, without ever providng any real value to these Islands. He is the classic case of a career politician, looking out for himself while ignoring the very people he says to represent. Mr. Bush, if it is in your interest to lead Cayman into the future, as we all agree needs happening, you will need to address the citizens with the truth.

     First and foremost, why in this economy are you double dipping? Yes, its legal but is it moral, all great leaders in the past and present have lead by example.

    As the leader as you happily jump to exclaim when you can, why are you under investigation, would you not agree this is severly damaging to your reputation giving your past? Why should we trust you?

    Have you ever accepted monies "under the table" from special interest projects?

    What gives you the right to conduct negotitions and not provide transparancy? I imagine you understand this behaviour is quite questionable.

    Having been apart ofthe collapse of a bank,it's fair to say you dont have an educated sense of business, what qualifies you to make the decisions your making ,especially in this economy?

    Why is it that the Ritz Carlton still owe the people of these islands a significant amount of money, it was argued this business would provide jobs for locals, however anyone that takes a walk around will find even entry level jobs occupied by persons as foreign as eastern europe, why and how is this possible Mr. Bush? What are you doing to regulate the rush of cheap labour thats taking jobs from capable locals.Who is convincing you that Caymanians cant fill these roles?

    Why in this world of global invetsors are you only dealing with the likes of the Dart Group and CHEC,etc, have you stopped to consider why people are uncomfortable with this? How are you handling the pressure that these organizations are placing on you with respect to immigration and custom "freedoms"?

    In the past, "developing" islands have all faced crime waves as the poor become poorer and the rich, richer, what are your thoughts on this?

    Where are we with alternative and green energy solutions?

    The list could go on and on.

    Cayman, you deserve these answers and many more,dont for a moment believe your not qualified to have an opinion or question.

  9. so Anonymous says:

    Further proof that there is some integrity still left on Cayman.  Not much but at least some.  Watch what Cayman leadership trys to do to them now that they have choosen not to follow the dark side.  

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Premier should be held personally liable for all costs!

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed! Once he and all the rest of that UDP lot are kicked out of office in the next election, the new government should sue Mac to recover ALL of the money he has wasted during his term in office. He is going to need a better lawyer than McField to get him out of this one.

  11. Alan Nivia says:

    Why did they not just say "Sorry" and hand them over rather than this meally mouthed excuses and self-justification?  Oh, I forgot, this is Cayman.