CNS promotes access to information

| 10/04/2011

(CNS): In the same spirit of reader participation with which we launched our FOI section, today Cayman News Service has started the CNS Library, which will provide ready access to valuable information and a place, in this age of transparency and open source technology, where the people of the Cayman Islands can share documentation. The library will be for public documents only – this is not designed to be a place for gossip or to expose any personal information – but the hope is that this will become a useful resource for the general public, including students and journalists, both local and international.

“One of our main goals at CNS has always been to deliver to our readers as much information as possible,” said CNS owner Nicky Watson. “Traditionally, news organizations have been gatekeepers of information – they obtain access to the documents and data and then supply their interpretation of them to their consumers. This is what our hardworking journalist Wendy Ledger does – summarise and interpret the news so that it is easier and less time consuming to digest – but we also, wherever possible, supply the original documents, so that it is available for anyone to read and draw their own conclusions.”

Generally you will find these documents attached to a relevant article in the CNS news pages, but there is also a need to have some documentation in a more accessible format, and this will be the function of the CNS Library.

Over time we will be uploading all the documents we have into our library, including some important laws, with relevant links to more information, and we will also post documents that are sent to us that we think are in the public interest. In addition, if there is a particular document that readers would like to view, the CNS staff will see if it is in our files or post a note to see if any of our readers have it in their possession.

“This is an ongoing and may be a slow process, since it is something that we will work on when we have time, and we are relying on our readers to tell us what they want, point out gaps and to help us collect documents,” Watson said. “This is a project that will evolve as we find out what works and what doesn’t and, as ever, we will be taking note of feedback. However, it is also a never-ending project and one that has enormous possibilities. We could, for example, create a space for photographs if our readers express a desire for this.”

Right now we have begun the process with the Cayman Islands Constitution, the most recent budget and the immigration, labour and freedom of information laws, which we think are some of the most useful. “The laws of the land are not effective if people do not have access to them or know where to find them,” Watson said, “and we have also linked to the relevant entity so it is easy for people to find out more. The FOI Unit, for example, has an excellent guide to making a request but we want to give the public one more pathway to find their website and use this guide.”

She added, “The process gives us and members of the public the opportunity to assess government websites to see if they are up to date, easy to use and comprehensive. One strange omission that we have found so far is that the website of the Employment Relations Department does not appear to have a link to the labour law.”

The link to the CNS Library is on the menu bar. If anyone would like to share a document or comment privately, please email

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  1. cc says:

    You can include the Hansard and Parliamentary Reports to inform the public of what is going on in the LA now that Mac is starting a Government TV thing

  2. Count Ability says:

    You’re rocking the boat CNS. But no one here wants to abandon ship. Thanks for this wonderful method to allow people to be more informed about their country, it’s laws and it’s government.

    In addition to sharing information there will be a prize for the first person to find the missing sixty-seven milllion dollars.

  3. Libertarian says:

    ***** Thank you CNS! I, like many others am sick of the comments being made on this site and other news sites that are being taken as TRUE when they are in fact opinionated and many of them false! Whenever someone makes a claim, they should always back it up by documentary and hardcore evidence! People need to understand that opinions and assumptions, will always be personal and subjective, and no two persons will see alike – hence one’s opinion cannot be taken as an absolute truth! But factual and rational common-sense assertions from “what is” and from sources that are not based on any heresay, are reliable and credible information! And I feel that is what will make CNS into a more educational and informative news site that will benefit all. *****

    • JC says:

      It is this exactly that Mac is depending on. It’s call ‘Wag the Dog’

      If you create enough of a diversion, you can get away with anything, no one will notice.

      But trust me, where there is smoke, there is fire and by the time he gets finished in 2 years it will all be too late.

      On you go Libertarian.

      • amor says:

        ummm… what the helll are you talkin about?!

        • Michel Lemay says:

          Ummm 18:33 . While you go fiddle on the new site created by CNS which is great you stand a chance to look for things that are not necessary there or interpret them in your own way, and get you more confused as it most likely be the case if specially if you don’t understand the comment above. But time is longer then rope.

  4. Anonymous says:

     This is such a blessing to have these laws and other documents readily available. I have been searching for years for electronic versions of our local laws. I hope that they are all published shortly.

    Thank you CNS !!

    • Chris Johnson says:

      You will not find laws in eletronic except a few published by departments or CIMA, which has taken the right approach. The dated logic behind this is that the Government will lose revenue from selling the hard copies, which is nonsense.This was the stance of the Financial Secretary decades ago.Cayman needs to move into the current century. Amost all competing financial centres have their laws in electronic form and we need do the same thing. A word of warning: some may try do it on their own website and put themselves at risk with a copyright fine from the CIG.Please can the AGs office get laws online. It is an embarrassment.

      CNS: The Cayman Islands does not have a Copyright Law. The English Copyright Act 1956 is extended to us but is not apparently applied – see Why is piracy legal in Cayman?

  5. Michel Lemay says:

    Thank you CNS.