Day One for FOI
After 18 months of intense preparation, Cayman's Freedom of Information (FOI) Law came into effect this week (Monday, 5 January), and information managers across the civil service found themselves dealing with their first FOI requests.
Day one of the FOI Law saw over thirty five requests directed to various government entities: The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and Ministry of Education received the most with four each, followed by the Postal Service, Immigration and the Ministry of Tourism with three each. Other departments receiving requests included the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU), the Legislative Assembly, Cayman Airways, the Public Service Pension Board and the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs.
HE the Governor Mr Stuart Jack, CVO, made his own request in person yesterday when he submitted a completed FOI application form to the Ministry of Tourism's Information Manager Samuel Rose. The Governor requested any documents that assess the success of Cayman's marine replenishment zones.
"The point is that this law is useful to people, it allows them to find out important information that is not necessarily readily available. Also, by one person asking a question, it can alert a department to what people find important, or to specific needs that are out there," Governor Jack explained.
Carefully monitoring the first day of the law being in effect, FOI Coordinator Carole Excell called it "an exciting day for open government." She added that the unit was pleased to see that requests were made to such a diverse number of public authorities.
"We did not receive the forecasted large number of requests, but we hope that people will increasingly use this law as they realize the benefits of accessing information that matters," she added.
Ms Excell also reminded residents that the FOI Unit has published a FOI User Guide that is available free of charge to the public. Also, a complete and updated address list of all public authorities and their information managers is available on www.foi.gov.ky and www.cina.gov.ky .
Breakdown of First Day Requests (as reported to the FOI Unit as of Monday, 5 January):
- Police - 4
- Ministry of Education (Human Rights Committee) - 4
- Ministry of Tourism - 3
- Immigration -3
- Postal Services - 3
- Health Services Authority -2
- Legislative Assembly -2
- MRCU -1
- Youth Services -1
- Portfolio of Internal and External affairs -1
- Department of Environment -1
- Department of Vehicle Licensing -1
- Public Service Pension Board -1
- Portfolio of the Civil Service -1
- Governor's Office -1
- Fire Services -1
- Department of Tourism -1
- Cayman Airways -1
- Lands and Surveys -1
- Cabinet Office -1
- Cayman Islands Airports Authority -1
Source: FOI Unit
For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver