PPM leader defendsFOI

| 19/05/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman headline news, Cayman Freedom of Information(CNS): The introduction of the Freedom of information Law is one of the most important checks and balances on public service in a democracy, the leader of the opposition told CNS. As the man responsible for ensuring the legislation was eventually passed in the Cayman Islands after years of supporting the principle, Kurt Tibbetts said the opposition would resist any move by the current government to reverse the law. Tibbetts noted that the law was designed to enable the people to take part in the democratic process and ensure both the official and elected arms of government were accountable and transparent.

With over one hundred countries having enacted the legislation, the opposition leader said this demonstrated the wisdom of such a law. “It is known throughout the world as giving the public access to information which acts as a deterrent to the public service taking careless action. It is also one of the lynch pins in the democratic process.”
Tibbetts pointed out that if any arm or agency of government was acting correctly it should have no fear over the handling of any FOI applications. He said the legislation was already designed to eliminate frivolous requests and the law was by no means open ended.
“This legislation was a long time coming and the country should be proud that the Cayman Islands embraced such legislation,” he said, adding that it may sometime be a pain but, in the same way that no one liked to go to the doctor, it was necessary to ensure one’s health.    
Making a commitment to defend the legislation if any moves were made in the Legislative Assembly to reverse it, Tibbetts said that he was certain that the premier’s advisers would think long and hard before doing such a thing.
“The legislation was introduced here primarily as a one of the checks and balances on public service,” the PPM leader explained. “While there are other checks in place it is the over arching check on public service.”
The law was passed in the Legislative Assembly in 2007 and came into effect in January 2009. According to recent statistics from the information commissioner, around 1000 requests for information have now been made.
On Thursday, 13 May, Premier McKeeva Bush publicly berated the owner of Cayman News Service, Nicky Watson, for making an FOI request regarding his international travels since taking office. He went on to criticise the cost of FOI, the time it took to answer requests  and the anonymous nature of the system, stating that Mickey Mouse could make a request and the government by law had to answer Mickey Mouse.
Prior to the premier’s outburst, the Information commissioner had noted that the concept of FOI was not being embraced throughout the public sector and that some departments were misinforming people and not following the law when it came to handling FOI requests. “People are being told that the records they seek are not covered by FOI, or they are simply being informed that the information does not exist,” Jennifer Dilbert noted recently and encouraged the public to contact her office if they were not satisfied with the way their request was dealt with.
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  1. IRON CLAD says:

    Suggestion for the ULTIMATE Poll (as suggested below).

    I say CNS polls the citizens of this country to initiate a movement for a referendum to REMOVE McKeeva Bush from Govt INDEFINITELY as it is OBVIOUS to most people what he is FAST becoming…

    That is… nothing less than a DICTATOR!!!

    People, people, people… We MUST do just that in a desperate attempt to salvage what’s LEFT of our bleeding nation(as small as it is).

    I’m dead serious People, dead serious!!!

    Yours TRULY,

    Iron Clad

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kurt and Mac are both dinosaurs who are out of touch and automatically take to opposite stance of the other.



  3. NorthSideSue says:

    Well spoken, Mr. Kurt.  Your North Side friends, Harv and Sue, thank you for speaking up.

  4. Anonymous says:

     Yeah, but let’s keep in mind that this "champion of freedoms and rights" is the same guy who is responsible for Cayman’s government teaming up with the XXXXX preachers to sell a stunningly weak and confusing constitution to a clueless and homophobic public. 

    Go back to sleep, Kurt. We’ll wake you when it’s election time. 

    Ps. Believe it or not, I hope you regain power. I prefer you asleep at the wheel to a wide-awake McKeewa. It’s less embarrassing if nothing else. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Accountable and transparent ?  What a crock.  Where are the financials for the various government ministries, departments and authorities which are long overdue ?

    No one has been accountable for years under the old KT regime (though I admit the current lot don’t look like changing that either).

    Accountability is not an objective of government.  The lack of it prevents the public seeing what went wrong, and what was mis-spent, and while I wish government was accountable/transparent, we all know it never will be.  Hiding the truth is in politicians’ and civil servants’ best interests.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It seems to me that the FOI and the ability of the press to use it for info has caused some people to be most upset because they cannot eat they way they were promised! What’s wrong little fries? Can’t get at the pie?!

    • BORN FREE says:

      Any open, HONEST, & transparent government would support FOI, & that is why the PPM championed it. It is only McKeeva Bush & the UDP that would have an issue with FOI, because it gives the people more power & more information (access to it) & no dictator likes the people having any power or information. Suppression is the name of their game.

      Kurt Tibbetts & the PPM have nothing to defend because FOI is right.
      I congratulate Kurt Tibbetts & the PPM for passing the FOI ‘law’ & anyone who is upset by it is showing their true colors!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Give me a break ‘My2cents’……I guess you would prefer CNS not report on this so you could rant about the Opposition doing nothing, saying nothing, being silent, etc etc…..cannot win with some people!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with post 11:55  99%  because in regards to the Education part it was Mr. Bush that stood up on stage in his campain and said I  mite notbe the most educated person but what I got is Granny wit. Well that said it all for me I guess thats why he doesnt no how to speak or handle his self in public  what a leader.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just add I would not have voted at all.

    • Voice of Reason says:

       The Cayman Islands is, I am glad to say, a democracy.

      "If you do not vote then you get the government you deserve."

      It follows on from this that if you do not vote then you should not complain either. To choose NOT to vote is a vote in favour of the status quo. 

      It is clear from many of the comments posted herein that there are quite a few people who may not have had the fortune (or time) to receive a proper education and to master literacy in the English language. Spelling and grammar is often very poor. This is a distinct disadvantage as these people may:

      A – have a fine and valid opinion and be unable to express it in the way they would like to; or

      B – simply be completely incorrect in their thinking. Either not having understood what is being said to them or, having understanding what has been said to them, then reaching an incorrect conclusion as to what it means.

      Cayman now offers its young people a good education with the prospect of even better in the future.

      Why is it then that so many of Cayman’s young people show so little interest at school (and outside physical activity) and to compound the problem there is very little encouragement from their parents for them to do any different?

      Why on earth, in any sane mind, would a parent not want their children to grow up having taken full advantage of the education and other benefits available to them? If root problems like this are not addressed then the quality of public opinion and the nature of the opinions held will not improve beyond what we are seeing here in the comments section today.

      I cynic may suggest that poorly educated parents may not wish for their children to become better educated and therefore greater empowered then they are. Maybe they feel a little threatened? 

      The bottom line is that unless our children can be better educated and developed then previous generations before then you can hope for no better government then we have now.

      A BETTER educated and BETTER informed Cayman Islands will be BETTER placed to keep any future government honest and accountable.

      FOI and education are key to this. You have the law and the schools are on their way. Why would anyone argue against this?

      Judging by the quality of the comment (often rhetoric) I so often read herein this currently clearly not the case.

  10. Notice, ever since the McKeeva got in, he has been ranting and raving against PPM on how they were responsible for our economic decline. They were silent on the cost they incurred before PPM got into power, silent on the cost Paloma incurred, and more silent on the effects of the global recession. Everything to them was PPM’s doing!

    And I will have you know that not once you ever heard Kurt rant and rave against the Premier negatively. He always remain quiet and spoke the facts. His opponents must wonder how he kept himself so reserved.

    Yes, it appeared he ignored McKeeva’s warning about the coming recession. But Kurt saw that the projects were necessary. He saw that if you started a project, it had to at least be completed. The people put him in power for that very reason. No one could say that the PPM’s ideal and vision for the country, was bad and out to harm the Caymanian people. Schools, a new administration building, better roads, and definitely a new Constitution with transparency and accountability were needed. Yes, the finances were streched to fulfill the PPM’s promises and the global recession made matters worse. 

    Yes people can judge between McKeeva and Kurt all they want, but I can tell you that Kurt is a man that believes in democracy and looking out for the people. Just compare them both and you will see. McKeeva may claim to have well business skills and education, but character and the morality issues arising from the UDP members, I can tell speaks clearly.

    And I am not PPM supporter!

    • Anonymous says:

      "McKeeva may claim to have well business skills and EDUCATION"

      I hope you are kidding about that. I agree everything else.

  11. westbayer says:


    I personally never like how Kurt and Alden managed this country’s financial affairs, but one thing I notice about Kurt, any people-base initiative goal for the common good, he is involved with it. On the other hand, McKeeva seems to be an out-of-touch business man, always concern about traveling and making money.

  12. John Champion says:

    Mr. Bush, the government by law has to answer to the people that elected it. If it does not do that, then we can no longer call ourselves a democratic nation, but a dictatorship.

    The people of these islands are trusting you to make decisions in their best interests. Up until now, the only interests you have served are those of yourself, your cronies and hangers on.

    I really hope that in the very near future, your eyes are opened to the distress that you are causing to this nation.

    What kind of message do you think you are presenting with this security, high walls, blacked out windows, personal chef, movie star lifestyle etc?

    The Cayman Islands were once noted for their friendliness. They were humble, unassuming people who were able to survive with or without the trappings that excess money brings.

    Now the soul of this nation has become darkened with selfishness, greed, materialism, envy and lust. Our kids are walking around like tattooed thugs and whores because there are no more role models, especially in our government.

    These are sad, sad days that we are living in. But I can assure you that the Living God has not forgotten His precious people here and He will not be mocked. Wrong will be made right and when that day comes, there will be rejoicing in the streets.

    A word to organised religion in Cayman. Just because I mentioned God, it does not mean that I approve of your deceptive control and greedy, money-focused ministries. How many more churches will you build off the back of the hard work of society’s lowest earners? You promise them blessings as you drive your expensive cars, you turn up to church in your expensive finery and you take offering upon offering to finance the next "worthy" cause that you dream up. You are preaching an empty gospel of tickled ears.

    This is madness. Please, dear people do not put another penny in their offering plates. Find someone who you know is struggling and buy them some groceries or make an anonymous gift. Don’t go to their dens of thieves anymore. Go to the beach with a few of your loved ones, stand in awe at the magnificent creation He has shared with us, say a little prayer for each other and love one another. Decide who youcan help, a person in genuine need.

    The next time, these bandits ask for money, get up and walk out.

    • Concern Native says:

      Well put. But please also remember the elderly and give to those Charities that really do nice projects for people in need. 

  13. Anonymous says:

    The first and biggest step to becomming a third world dictatorship is attacking a free press and eliminating the right of the people to know what their government is doing.  The press can be wrong and should be criticised when they are but the comments of the Premier go beyond mere criticism and threaten the most basic concepts of freedom of the press and freedom of the people to to not be subject to a government that acts in secret.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well I don’t kow about all of you but I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever McKeeva disagrees with Kurt Tibbetts will agree with, that also goes the other way around.

  15. My2cents says:

    No surprises here that the opposition supports FOI.

    Is this really a worthy news item or is CNS still smarting from the Premiers attack? As much as I love you guys, don’t let this become a vendetta.

    The FOI is critically important, but there is plenty of other news. Don’t become unbalanced in your coverage of FOI matters. FOI is merely one cog in the wheel.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh come on "My2cents", the only vendetta comes from your leader so please don’t let your biased views clog your brains.

      By the way, look at all the news reported on CNS and the FOI news is just a small, but very newsworthy, item.

      It seems your vendetta is also clogging your eyes!

      • My2cents says:

        "My" leader? He is certainly not my leader, and I agree he can be vendictive against those things he thinks stand against him.

        But it does not become the excellent work done on this site to rise to the taunts either.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Of all persons… we have Kurt defending the FOI. I know the PPM were going to take every opportunity to spin on this one. Soon you will hear them about another march in front the glass house

    • Anonymous says:

      I did not support the the call for a march for the Admin. Building sale, but, I will support a march against any elected member who attempts to restrict the freedom of the press and FOI. So if the PPM calls for a march to remove Mac I will be there with my GREEN shirt on. I did not vote UDP to have a dectator.

    • BORN FREE says:

      Anon 09:16 you nut, of course Kurt is going to defend the FOI because it was Kurt who brought it & the PPM passed it in the House. There is no "spin" involved, & certainly no reason for "spin" because the FOI is Kurt’s good work. And finally, there is no need for any march in front of the Glass House by the PPM because the FOI is already a ‘done deal’ by the PPM. The only march you will see is a march of 9 people (the UDP elected members) protesting AGAINST the FOI.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of all people, Kurt was one of the biggest advocates for enacting FOI legislation. It should come as no surprise that he would rise to defend it and the principles behind it. Care to explain why you think to the contrary?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Nice to know you will defend the FOI Kurt, "BUT" can you really stay awake long enough to even know if this matter came before the house?

    My fear is that the UDP could pull this off while you and the rest of the PPM are asleep in those very comfy chairs in the house.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sound to me like you are the one fast asleep!! Wake up meh child!!

  18. Dred says:

    We are now just about 1 year post electionsand I feel it’s time to get a temperature check as to the mindset of the Cayman population.

    It might be interesting to see a poll now frame as:

    If you knew prior to the elections in May 2009 what we now know about how our current government has represented us how would you have cast your votes:

    a) I would have voted UDP still

    b) I would have voted PPM still

    c) I would have voted mix UDP and PPM still

    d) I would have voted mix UDP and Independent still

    e) I would have voted mix PPM and Independent still

    f) I would have voted straight PPM instead of UDP

    g) I would have voted straight UDP instead of PPM

    h) I would voted Independent still

    CNS: Any chance of this poll?

    CNS: I’m not sure these are the right questions and answers. Let me think about this. Anyone else have any thoughts?

    • Yes Nicky I got something to add says:

      … another category (i)  I would not vote for any of these clowns even if my life depended on it.

    • big whopper says:

      Forget about all the temperature checks…is time for triage surgery to stop the hemorrhaging of common sense, decorum, and intelligence from our elected leaders.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a rather difficult question to pose, but I believe the crux of the question is:

      "After all that has transpired in the last year, do you now regret voting UDP in the last election?"

      The problem with this, and any similar question, is that it will be skewed by those who voted PPM or Independent will participate in the poll and say that they also regret voting UDP.

    • IRON CLAD says:

      Suggestion for the ULTIMATE Poll

      I say CNS polls the citizens of this country to initiate a movement for a referendum to REMOVE McKeeva Bush from Govt INDEFINITELY as it is OBVIOUS to most people what he is FAST becoming…

      That is… nothing less than a DICTATOR!!!

      People, people, people… We MUST do just that in a desperate attempt to salvage what’s LEFT of our bleeding nation(as small as it is).

      I’m dead serious People, dead serious!!!

      Yours TRULY,

      Iron Clad


  19. Anonymous says:

    I have not been a PPM supporter in the past, but I am extremely thankful that they are now speaking out against the recent attacks on our democracy.

    As others have noted, honest politician know that they have nothing to fear from Freedom of Information. It is the corrupt who typically fear and loath it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    HAHAHAHA. He doesn’t say anything for weeks and then Mac screws up. Now’s your chance Kurt quick try to make yourself look good !

    • Anonymous says:

      Excuse me! Don’t think Kurt needs to try to ‘make himself look good’……now your favourite boy on the other hand…..he needs some serious grooming!

    • Anonymous says:

      That is because Mac and the UDP has done nothing! It is hard to debate a potato!


    will lead us in the right direction!

    Just because the man stands for a principle, folks, does not mean he can run a country! Just remember that!  Under his administration, Cayman didn’t slide but dropped in a sinkhole of debt!

    Smart folks read between the lines, and certainly WILL NOT PUT THE SAME TWO PARTIES BACK IN!

    Good article though CNS


    (P.S. Welcoming the thumbs-down from PPM, UDP, and Chucky supporters)

    • Anonymous says:

      KT’s administration had a surplus 3 years in a row.. the same time the whole world went in a deficit so did Cayman the Miller/Shaw report will tell you that the schools etc did not casue the deficit

      • Anonymous says:

        How can you say they had a surplus 3 years in a row when there are no accounts to prove that. Come on, be real.

    • Anonymous says:

      I really hope you don’t suppose that McKeeva is leading us in the right direction! I would much rather have a leader who stands for a principle than one who might just fall for anything! Give me Kurt Tibbetts any day!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree! The 15 have to go including the Tuesday radio show Independent who becomes a Parliament UPD!

    • Anon says:

      Can I suggest that you do yourself a favour and have a good read of the 2009 budget presentation by the Financial Secretary. It is on the Govt. website. Take special note of the amount allocated for loan(debt) repayments out of the entire proposed expenditure. I think that you will find that it is around 4%. This would now appear to translate to just over 30% of the expected deficit for 2010.

      Now please take what you have read and discuss with your friends this supposed "sinkhole of debt". Make sure you consider what the effect would be on the expected deficit if there was zero debt, i.e. what PPM borrowed + what was borrowed before. In case it is not clear the deficit would have only reduced by about a third.

      Look & read the presented facts rather than repeat hearsay. Debt is not the real issue. Excessive expenditure, ineffeciency & falling revenues are the real issues.