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