Today’s Editorial March 07: Help draft Freedom of Information legislation

It appears that the ball is actually rolling on the issue of freedom of information in the Cayman Islands.

Government promised there would be public input before any Freedom of Information legislation was introduced or passed.

Beginning tonight, the public has that opportunity at the John A. Cumber Primary School Hall in West Bay.

The meeting begins at 7pm and everyone is encouraged to attend.

This is a highly important issue for the Cayman Islands and all voices must be heard and every opinion taken into account for a truly good, solid bit of legislation that will ensure government transparency and openness.

Many freedom of information models were considered in drafting the proposed legislation.

But because the Cayman Islands is unique we can’t just wholesale adopt someone else’s freedom of information legislation. What is developed and approved here must be tailored for the Cayman Islands and our needs.

To that end, the public must offer its input and concerns on the subject.

If the country is to use all of its resources, including the combined wisdom of the public, reliable information must be easily accessible.

An informed public will be able to make intelligent contributions to public debate.

The availability of good, factual information can put in a dent in the marl road traffic and help ensure that rumour mill – although very colourful in many instances – has less of a chance of believability.

An ill-informed public is much more likely to fall prey to ignorant gossip and the manipulations of malicious rumour mongers.

A well-informed public is not likely to be easily swayed by people intent on stirring up irrational fears.

There are many perfectly good reasons for making governmental information accessible.

It is up to the public to insist that true progress is made and to take an active part in it.

A second FOI meeting will be held at 7pm Wednesday at Bodden Town Church of God for residents in the eastern districts of Grand Cayman.

There will be two meetings on Thursday in George Town.

Everyone who has this country’s best interest at heart is urged to attend at least one of the FOI meetings and take part in making history.

Without your input our Government can still pass Freedom of Information legislation. However, with your input our Government can pass excellent Freedom of Information legislation.