We’ve heard a lot – probably more than most
people in the Cayman Islands wanted to – during the last several months about
the rising cost of government and what must be done to pay for it.
To be sure, prices for health insurance and
construction materials are constantly on the rise. The public purse is hit by
many factors, just as our readers’ own household budgets are, on a daily basis.
However, there are examples of where
largesse, inaction and waste contribute to the increasing cost of government to
the residents, citizens and visitors who are told they must continue to pay for
A small but important example of this
involves a recent Freedom of Information request. This case, involving a local
resident who was seeking public information from government’s pension
regulator, took two years to complete. More than 16 months of the 24 were spent
dickering over whether the FOI Law even applied to the records that were
Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert
noted the following with regard to this case: “With a timely and correct
application of the FOI Law, these documents could have been reviewed, redacted
as necessary and disclosed much earlier, sparing the applicant, the [Information
Commissioner’s Office], the [National Pensions Office] and the Legal Department
much time and resources.”
Mrs. Dilbert’s summary of the situation is
kind, it seems to us.
Our translation of it would go something
like this: If government spent less time trying to hide information from the
public that is rightfully theirs, less money would have to be spent on lawyers.
The FOI Law and its requirements are a
small part of what the public sector spends each year running the territory. So
there are surely many more examples of this sort to be found.
If government is going to continually ask
the public for more resources to do its job, it must not continue to show us
examples where inefficiency, bureaucracy and poor service are all the public
seems to get for its money.