The Cayman Islands is absolutely great at putting on
For instance, the government is at pains to show that it is
“open and transparent”. We have a Freedom of Information Law, we have a number
of governor-appointed commissions and boards charged with ensuring good
governance, and – since the advent of the interim government – we have weekly
press briefings with the Cabinet ministers.
Yes indeed, we here in the Cayman Islands have all the
appearances of a fully open, democratic 21st century society.
And now, as venerable American radio broadcaster Paul Harvey
might have said, comes the rest of the story.
Thursday’s Caymanian Compass carried an article about FOI
Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert not being able to enforce compliance with the
country’s open records law because of severe budget cuts. So we have open records
laws, but not the resources to police them.
All this week, the Commissions Secretariat has been hosting
forums for civil servants in the government administration building that might
be of keen interest to the general public, particularly just before an
election. Speakers at those forums included Police Commissioner David Baines,
Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick and Governor Duncan Taylor. Only one
reporter was allowed to observe and report on the issues covered in those
lunchtime meetings; the representative of government-owned and controlled Radio
And Wednesday afternoon, we had the revelation that Dart
Realty Cayman called off further negotiations on the NRA agreement with
government, apparently with the sole purpose of “encouraging” government to
release a value-for-money evaluation done on the agreement. The local press had
been seeking that report for months with no luck.
The local government, and the UK-appointed governor, need to
stop with the window dressing and actually move toward fully open and