Cayman Islands is more open

More information is now available to the public about the operation and responsibilities of Cayman’s 88 separate government agencies than has ever been available in the past.

Starting on 4 January, a massive 1,400+ page publication scheme for all entities covered under the Freedom of Information Law was released to the public. The document generally details what information is available on the agency’s website and what is open to the public as a matter of course.

A copy of the report is available on www.gazettes.gov.ky or can be obtained on disk at the Legislative Assembly office for $5. Paper copies can be provided as well, but the report is quite lengthy.

Information contained ranges from details of current government tenders, to membership of various government boards, and also advises the public what information is held by each government agency is not available for public consumption.

‘The purpose of the publication scheme is to make information readily available to the public without the need for specific written requests,’ according to the Cayman Islands Information Commissioner’s Office. ‘Schemes are intended to encourage authorities to proactively publish information to develop a culture of openness and transparency.’

Seven separate categories of information are listed in each agency’s publication scheme. Those include: general information about the agency, strategic management, finance and administration, policies and procedures, decisions and recommendations, lists and registers and other miscellaneous information.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said it is reviewing the publication scheme, which includes details from 82 of the 88 Cayman Islands public agencies. It is reviewing the information to determine whether there are any government offices that haven’t complied with the FOI Law.

It’s difficult to know at this point whether any agencies haven’t complied with the publication scheme requirements.

For instance, the Portfolio of Finance and Economics – previously listed as a government agency – has now been rolled into the Ministry of Finance under the new Constitution. The ministry is listed on the publication scheme, but the former portfolio would not be.

‘This publication scheme commits the Information Commissioner’s Office to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities,’ the ICO stated in its summary of the publication schemes.

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