Secret committee planned on FOI

A six member Legislative
Assembly subcommittee is scheduled to begin meeting later this month to review
Cayman’s Freedom of Information Law.

The law review is
mandated in the FOI legislation which took effect on 5 January, 2009 and
actually calls for the legal review 18 months following the implementation of
the open records law. It is likely the review won’t be complete until next year.

According to Cayman
Islands Attorney General Sam Bulgin, a committee of the entire LA met on 15
September behind closed doors and decided on the subcommittee’s formation.

Mr. Bulgin said the
members of the committee were himself as chairman, Speaker of the House Mary
Lawrence, MLAs Ellio Solomon, Ezzard Miller and Dwayne Seymour, and Opposition
Leader Kurt Tibbetts. The group was expected to meet within the next week or
two.  

The subcommittee meetings were also expected to be held ‘in camera’ – privately.

“As chairman, I am not
aware of any plans to hold the meetings in public,” Mr. Bulgin said. “But I have
not spoken to committee members about that yet.”

The Caymanian Compass has
contacted all five other members of the FOI review subcommittee regarding their
position on the meetings being held in public. We will publish their comments if
and when the newspaper receives them.  

LA Clerk Zena Merren-Chin responded on behalf of Speaker Lawrence:”Madam Speaker is a
Member of the Sub Committee. The whole Committee will have to make the decisions
to have the meetings held in public.”

The attorney general said
that he would agree to publish both minutes of the subcommittee meetings and a
report on the group’s findings when those were complete.

Premier McKeeva Bush has
previously stated that his administration is committed to continuing with the
open records law in Cayman. However, Mr. Bush has questioned whether the ability
of people to make anonymous requests for information is proper and he has also
said the legislation does bring substantial costs with it.
 

Information Commissioner
Jennifer Dilbert, who is charged with handling all appeals of FOI requests, has
said that the anonymity aspect of the FOI Law is essential for the continued success of
the law.  

Please see more on this story in upcoming editions of the Caymanian Compass…

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3 COMMENTS

  1. If public records were made public in the first place, we would not have to insist on freedom of information. We have elected these individual to run our country’s affairs, it is not theirs to play hide and go seek with. We want to know how the country’s affairs are being conducted!. Imagine a CEO of a company saying to the share-holders(Owners); The financial records for the past three years are incomplete, and we don’t have the funds to answer the questions you are asking about the company..That CEO would be given the boot. Seems like a ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ policy seeks to be the final solution to FOI.

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  2. No. 1 This is already a conflict of interest if the committee is made up of legislators.

    No. 2 How can Ceasar regulate Ceasar?

    No. 3 How can Ceasar answer an FOI request addressing the WRONGS OF CEASAR? This is really tiresome.

    The FOI should operate as an independent authority away from the Legislature. Anything less is CORUPTION!

    People they are trying to dupe you and fool you again!

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  3. I see nothing slanderous defaming or misleading about Mr. Brent Fuller’s report that warrants Mr. Ezzard Miller’s call to prosecute him.

    If he made an honest mistake, forgive him, and move on. Mr. Miller God is a God of second chances you of all people should know that. It is in your best interest and the public interest, not to mention that it is in the interest of your recent effort to obtain signatures from the public against the Port project in East End. In my observation, Mr. Brent Fuller seems to be a very much loved figure, very charming indeed. You might have already upset the ladies!I don’t think you would fair off very well coming up against him. He is much loved in the Caymanian community, so focus on the signatures and maybe you will get the petition signed if you havn’t upset too many people already. The UDP is having a field day.This is just what they need in this dark dismal hour is for you to behave like this. You are making Mr. McKeeva Bush look like an Alter Boy. Lay off Brent and move on.

    You are taking one little innocent mistake far too serious for if you take note of the comments on the reports thus far there is only a minimum. So it is not something the average Joe is really following up on too closely or have you scared the newspaper? Nonsense, let it go.

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