International Right to Know Day is celebrated each year on 28 September. Its key aim is to emphasise the importance and benefits of government openness and accountability in any democratic society – to provide citizens with the right to know what their government is doing on their behalf.
To mark this occasion in the Cayman Islands, and to highlight and promote the new Freedom of Information Law 2007, the Information Commissioner’s Office will host a week of FOI-themed events through 3 October.
The Cayman Islands FOI Law is just nine months old, so it is vitally important to widely educate the public and promote the rights afforded under the law, which is why the message for this year is Exercise Your Rights – Make a Request.
‘Freedom of Information Legislation is paramount to a democratic and forward thinking society which is why promoting this new law and educating the public on how they can use it is essential to its continued success’ stated Jennifer Dilbert, Information commissioner of the Cayman Islands. ‘By introducing this Law in our Islands our government, both past and present, has demonstrated that it is wholly committed to an open and transparent government that is fully accountable to its people in accordance with core principles of democracy’.
The new law affords everyone – from anywhere in the world, of any age and without giving reason – the right to access all government held records, subject to a few limited exceptions.
To make an FOI request, simply contact the relevant public authority and submit your application. If, after an internal review of your application you remain dissatisfied with the Authority’s response, you may submit an appeal to the ICO for independent consideration of your request. For application forms and further information on events, please call 747-5402 or visit www.INFOCOMM.ky
Today the Information Commissioner and her staff will host an afternoon tea from 2pm to 4pm at the information Commissioner’s Office in Elizabethan Square (above the Thai Restaurant). ICO staff will be on hand to answer questions and offer guidance on how the public can make FOI requests. There will be a rolling presentation highlighting various aspects of the ICO’s work. This event is open to the public.
Other Right to Know Week activities include the Information Commissioner’s appearance on CITN’s Daybreak, the Rooster Crosstalk Show, Radio Cayman’s Talk Today and presentations to the Sunrise Rotary and Rotary Grand Cayman Clubs.
On Friday, 2 October, the Information Commissioner and her Deputy, Gary Cordes will visit Cayman Brac to open the Sister Islands Information Commissioner’s Office and host several other events. Mr. Cordes will be providing a talk to the school’s assembly that morning; this is followed with a visit to Faith Hospital to provide more general information to the public. The Commissioner will host an open house at the Brac House on Cotton Tree Bay Road between noon and 5pm to answer any questions and to guide people on how they can exercise their right and make an FOI request. ICO staff will visit the Brac periodically during the year to further promote FOI and to assist individuals.
The week concludes with a Right to Know Fun Walk / Run / Ride-a-thon on Saturday, 3 October. This event is hosted by the FOI Unit, which in previous years hosted the Sunshine Walk. This is a free event and the first 50 participants will receive a complimentary T-shirt. Registration opens at 6.30am at the 7 Mile Public Beach and the event officially starts at 7am. Everyone is welcome to participate including kids and dogs (on leads please). Spot prizes and beverages will be provided.