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Topic: Freedom of Information Law

Podcast – Know your rights: Cayman’s Freedom of Information Law

In the Cayman Islands, any individual holds the right to request information of government and public authorities. This right first came into effect in January 2009 through the Freedom of Information Law, later amended in 2018 to include data protection considerations.

Behind the scenes: Cleanest kitchen or dirtiest diner?

We go behind the scenes on the Compass investigation into food safety inspections. Host Kayla Young interviews journalist Kevin Morales about redacted inspection reports and the lack of public disclosure on safety evaluations. We discuss Freedom of Information and public safety.

Immigration department receives bulk of FOI requests

Ten years after the Freedom of Information Law came into effect in January 2009, so-called FOI requests remain a much-used tool by the public to gain access to certain government records.

EDITORIAL: At long last – an update about electronic records

This week the public finally has been made privy to some basic details about the long-promised launch of digital court records.

EDITORIAL – The FOI regime: Address the mess

We believe the government could alleviate much of its FOI backlog, costs and drain on its personnel resources if it adopted a much more transparent, government-in-the-sunshine, open-records approach.

Advice to ministers can remain secret after FOI law change

Policy advice to Cabinet ministers will no longer be considered for release to members of the public under changes to the Freedom of Information Law passed Friday.

Police emails searched over 2009 death investigation

The Cayman Islands government has agreed to inspect the email accounts of two former Royal Cayman Islands Police officers in connection with an open records request seeking information on a woman’s 2009 traffic death.

Auditors conduct three-part review of landfill overtime pay

Government auditors are now conducting a tertiary review of overtime payments made to Department of Environmental Health staff, according to information obtained by the Cayman Compass through the Freedom of Information Law.
Cayman Compass is the Cayman Islands' most trusted news website. We provide you with the latest breaking news from the Cayman Islands, as well as other parts of the Caribbean.

Ombudsman rules that CIIPA is not subject to records requests

The Office of the Ombudsman has ruled that the Cayman Islands Institute of Public Accountants (CIIPA) – the body that licenses the territory’s accountants – is not subject to public records requests under the Freedom of Information Law.

Immigration misses FOI Law time lines

A local law firm said this week that it has been unable, for the past few years, to retrieve public documents relating to how Cayman Islands Immigration Department boards and staff members process various applications for work permits, permanent residence and Caymanian status.

Government backs away from genetically modified mosquito rollout

A multimillion dollar plan for the islandwide rollout of Cayman’s genetically modified mosquito program has been significantly scaled back amid budget cuts and concerns that the technology has yet to fully prove itself.
Cayman Compass is the Cayman Islands' most trusted news website. We provide you with the latest breaking news from the Cayman Islands, as well as other parts of the Caribbean.

EDITORIAL – Freedom of Information a poor substitute for free flow of information

Government service is different from private sector employment. It is not work done for profit, product or pure self-interest. It is work undertaken on the people’s behalf, using the people’s money, to preserve society’s common interests.

Immigration demonstrates ‘blatant lack of respect’ for FOI law

A “blatant lack of respect for the laws of the Cayman Islands” was revealed in the Immigration Department’s response to an open records request for documents that took more than a year to process.

Work permits rise 22 percent in 3 years

The Cayman Islands has seen a sharp rise in work permits within the past three years, according to figures released to the Cayman Compass by the Immigration Department under the Freedom of Information Law.

EDITORIAL – Permanent residence: The Progressives’ explosive legacy

When the Progressives passed their Immigration Law in fall 2013, they handed the Cayman Islands a ticking time bomb of uncertainty and legal liability.

FOI Commissioner turns to court to obtain ‘Ritch Report’

The Cayman Islands Information Commissioner’s Office can now be added to the list of those taking legal action against government over various issues related to the granting of permanent resident status.

Half of gov’t not making records available online

Two key components of the Cayman Islands Freedom of Information Law and accompanying regulations are not being made available on the internet by about half of Cayman’s public sector entities, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

EDITORIAL – ‘Relentless’!

Although it is unlikely Premier McLaughlin intended for us to take it as a compliment, being labeled “relentless” is among the highest praise a newspaper could ever hope to receive. We’ve already got the T-shirts in production.

Cayman government struggling to keep track of FOI requests

Although the tracking of open records requests made to the Cayman Islands government has improved in the last two years, there are still a number of high-profile authorities that are not able to keep track of those requests as required by law.

FOI requests at lowest level since law came into force

The number of requests made under the Freedom of Information Law, giving the public access to government records, is at the lowest level since the law came into effect in 2009, according to a new report from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Bureaucracy stalls request for immigration report

The bureaucratic process associated with the Cayman Islands Freedom of Information Law will stall requests for the release of an immigration consultant’s report (also known as the “David Ritch report”) for at least several more weeks, the Cayman Compass has been informed.

Review of permanent residence system withheld

A government-commissioned review of the Cayman Islands permanent residence approval system, which was completed earlier this year, has been withheld from release by the Office of the Premier.

PTAs cite lack of school resources

A “recurring issue” of a lack of paper at schools in the Cayman Islands is one of the grievances highlighted by parents at a forum with education officials.

Premier: Residency review ‘not intended’ for publication

A consultant’s review of the Cayman Islands Immigration Law completed earlier this year is “not intended” for publication, according to Premier Alden McLaughlin.

EDITORIAL – Broken record: Officials must obey FOI Law

“We now have an open government,” said Deputy Governor Franz Manderson back in September 2013, declaring that the Cayman Islands’ Freedom of Information Law was a success.

FOI delay

Tempura investigation witness says RCIPS seeking ‘bail out’

As the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service continues its criminal investigation of the Operation Tempura corruption investigation’s former senior commander, a witness in the case has alleged that the local police service has come to him seeking “a bail out.”

Cayman police to go to UK for Tempura probe

Detectives with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service are due to be dispatched to the U.K. later this year as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the former senior investigating officer of the ill-fated Operation Tempura corruption probe, the Cayman Compass has learned.

3rd request

Tempura records ordered released for 3rd time

Government records related to the ill-fated Operation Tempura police corruption investigation have been ordered released, although in partially redacted form, by the Cayman Islands Information Commissioner’s Office.

A month-by-month roundup of Cayman’s 2015 news stories

Top stories of 2015 in the Cayman Islands

World records: Cayman's open data flaws

Typically, a letter grade of "C" means "average." But when it puts your country on par with the likes of Pakistan and Russia, what it really means is "unsatisfactory."

Clifton Hunter value: $69.2 million

The Cayman Islands government lost $41.6 million on the construction of Clifton Hunter High School between the date the school opened and the time a valuation of the North Side property was completed in May 2013.

Fuel pricing data not public, commissioner rules

Although the Cayman Islands government may have access to certain fuel pricing information from local distributors, it is not currently considered to be public, Acting Information Commissioner Jan Liebaers ruled.

Whistleblower bill can nullify contracts

Any attempt to prevent workers from reporting wrongdoing against employers by inserting language into their contracts prohibiting such reports would make those contracts illegal and unenforceable, according to proposed whistleblower protection legislation made public last week.

Ministry pursuing millions in garbage fees

Cayman's government is still trying to collect trash fees from a decade ago.

Emails reveal tender plan for mega-ships

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines were in advanced negotiations with government and Port Authority officials in early 2012 over upgrades to the Royal Watler dock that would have allowed the Genesis class mega-ships to visit Grand Cayman.

Report on farmed turtle deaths kept from public

The infection that hit the turtle farm last year, killing 1,268 green sea turtles over four months, did not come to light for almost a year and a half. The information was finally revealed in a Freedom of Information Law request and subsequent appeal for Cayman Turtle Farm board meeting minutes. The board presentation on the infection was initially redacted, but later handed over along with a host of other information after an appeal.

1,268 turtles died from illness at Turtle Farm in 2014

Almost 1,300 sea turtles died at the Cayman Turtle Farm over four months in 2014.

For the record: Does government support FOI?

Cayman Islands officials’ apparently equivocal attitude toward government transparency is troubling, perhaps even telling.

Report: Government stalling on FOI requests

More than half of the Freedom of Information requests filed with the Cayman Islands government during the last budget year were not answered within the legally required 30-day time frame.

Lengthy suspensions with pay for government employees

A series of Freedom of Information requests reveal government employees accused of crimes can stay on paid suspensions for years.

Second lawmaker opposes independent offices merger

Cayman's independent opposition lawmakers want to preserve separate oversight offices for complaints and information requests.

Auditor General Report: Planning decisions 'not transparent'

Cayman's financial watchdog shines the spotlight on the appointed boards that control local development behind the scenes.

Internal audits, public information

The Compass has recently published stories on problems with airport parking, billing for trash collection, vulnerabilities in government's information security systems, and a bureaucratic morass at the Immigration Appeals Tribunal. Believe it or not — we consider this to be good news.

Education chief ordered report changes

A highly critical report of behavior management in Cayman’s schools was extensively cut at the request of the chief officer in the Ministry of Education, emails released under the Freedom of Information Law suggest.

Workforce agency doesn't track success

The National Workforce Development Fund doesn't track how many clients find jobs through the program.

MLA McLean blasts merger of gov't oversight offices

An independent lawmaker speaks out against the merger of two government oversight offices.

Premier: FOI 'unproductive use of time'

Support for open records laws in the Cayman Islands seems to be on the wane among government leaders.

Government releases audits, will continue to seek delays

Government releases a handful of internal audits, but seeks to further delay the release of those reports in the future.

Court orders round 3 of Tempura records battle

The quest for Operation Tempura records enters what's likely to be the third stage of a court battle.

Despite issues, Cayman FOI rated among best

Cayman's open records laws get high marks when compared with the rest of the world.

Open records: The Progressives' 'signal moment'

Any step taken by government that undermines the Freedom of Information Law here in the Cayman Islands would signal a retrograde step in the country's development.

Cayman FOI being 'undermined'

Cayman's open records regime is beginning to fall into disrepair, the former information commissioner says.

Modest savings expected from government merger

Government will likely not realize any savings from a proposed merger of two independent oversight offices.

Cayman on fire: Sound the alarm! … Bury the report

The scathing review of the Cayman Islands Fire Serivce should have been treated by officials as an "18-alarm" conflagration. Instead, they tried to dump it in the nearest wastebasket, hoping it might spontaneously combust. ... It didn't.

Defending FOI and the information managers

Acting Information Commissioner Jan Liebaers defends the Freedom of Information Law and Cayman's information managers.

Freedom of Information: Ready for upgrade

A review of Freedom of Information processes may be incumbent upon local FOI managers, many of whom appear to be less-than-versed in what the law requires or the limits it may place on compliance.

Government ignores internal audits

Government is largely ignoring the recommendations of its own auditors, a recently-released report reveals.

Minister: New fuel storage terminal not high priority

Government plans for a new fuel terminal in East End are not top priority, lawmakers are told.

Operation Tempura: 'Open investigation,' closed records

Round and round the Tempura documents go, where they’ll end up, nobody knows. But we can hazard a guess … probably down a drain somewhere.

Tempura settlement figure kept secret

Payouts to three former Cayman Islands cops over Operation Tempura should not be disclosed, the information commissioner says.

Tempura records case drags on

The end of Stuart Kenohan's lawsuit does not mean the end of legal disputes over the Operation Tempura case.

Judge rules to keep Tempura documents from public

In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a visiting Cayman Islands Grand Court judge on Monday agreed that hundreds of pages of records related to the ill-fated Operation Tempura police corruption investigation should be withheld from public release.

Chamber: Jobless should have to register

The Cayman Islands should force all unemployed people to register with government's job placement agency, the Chamber of Commerce says.

National Heroes Day bill: $145,000

Costs for Cayman's 2015 Heroes Day are reviewed.

Cancer registry: No cure for privacy concerns

Proposed legislation that would create a mandatory cancer registry for the Cayman Islands is unnecessary and should not advance any further.

'Element of desperation' to bar Tempura records

Martin Bridger, the former chief investigator of Operation Tempura faces the possibility of criminal charges being filed against him in the fallout from the ill-fated investigation, a court hearing revealed Tuesday.

Criminal case from Operation Tempura still active

Eight years later, the ill-fated Operation Tempura police corruption investigation is still providing plenty of surprises in court.

Work permits increase 8 percent

Cayman sees a steady rise in work permit numbers over the past year.

Independent bodies lack appointments, certainty

A number of government oversight bodies are currently dysfunctional.

Government meeting records kept out of view

Few boards with the Cayman Islands government publish meeting minutes online.

This week