More FOI changes

Several revisions to the Cayman Islands first Freedom of Information Law have been made over the last few months during closed-door reviews by Cabinet and a specially appointed committee.

The 2005 proposal would have allowed individuals to request only government records dating back 30 years. The new plan, targeted for presentation to the legislature in March, would let any existing documents be requested.

Certain public records or documents would be partially redacted or wholly prevented from release depending on issues concerning national security, the national economy, or the privacy of financial or trade secrets.

However, Government Information Services said there would be a measurement of greater public interest weighed in all cases where records’ exemption from release is considered.

Government may create an independent commissioner’s position, which would review cases where public appeals are made after access to information is denied. The commissioner would hold the same rank as the Cayman Islands Office of the Complaints Commissioner or the Auditor General.

Under the 2005 plan, an appeals tribunal was proposed to hear disputed FOI cases.

The Cayman Islands government has said it will likely charge for requests, but no more than what it costs to recover and provide the requested records.