Since we’re on the topic of Freedom
of Information this week, we have to ask the question of our Premier: Just what
is the problem he has with Mr. Mickey Mouse? Really, to listen to Premier
McKeeva Bush speak about his vehement opposition to open records requests filed
by Mr. Mouse, one would think the fellow once had a horrible experience at Disney
World. Or perhaps he just favours Looney Tunes?
Then again, maybe Mr. Bush’s
problem is not Mr. Mickey Mouse himself, but the idea that anyone can come
along and make an open records request of his government without telling them
who they are.
But, frankly, we don’t understand
Regardless of the requester’s
identity, the decision to release or hide information – according to the FOI
Law – must be based on the request itself and the information sought; not on
who is asking for it, and not on to what use that information may be put.
Recognising this, let’s say Osama
Bin Laden wanted to make an open records request that might compromise the
security of these Islands. In that event, Bin Laden would not be able to access
such information based on the national security exemptions contained in the
law. What changes, then, if Bin Laden wanted to make that request under the guise
of Mickey Mouse? He still wouldn’t receive the information as long as the FOI
Law was enforced correctly.
FOI is truly representative of a
sea change in Caymanian society. As far as open records requests are concerned,
it doesn’t matter what your position is, or who you’re related to…the ability
is there for all to ask.
Therefore, this aspect of anonymity
is, in our view, a bedrock tenet of Cayman’s Freedom of Information Law.
We hope the legislative review
committee doesn’t take two steps backward on open government by removing it,
leaving the FOI Law only for the “important” people in society.