Knowledge by Right!
"I'm a great believer in the 'right to know'," His Excellency Governor Duncan Taylor, CBE said at a recent Government House reception, a finale for Cayman's Right to Know Week 2010 (RTK).
Advising guests that the key to Freedom of Information (FOI) success is to take the initiative in providing 'up-front' data on websites and other outlets, he added,
"I know it's not always easy for custodians to be forthcoming and the work can be both challenging and time-consuming. However, in the main, information should be made available unless there are compelling reasons why it shouldn't."
During the week the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) conducted activities designed to encourage the public to use and understand the FOI Law. These events coincided with similar international activities.
Local highlights included community outreach promotions at supermarkets and the Cayman Islands Hospital. The Health Services Authority's education efforts were supported by the Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood and Information Manager Sharaine Chin. Working with ICO staff, they shared information, give-aways and refreshments with numerous visitors.
Noting the impact of FOI, Ms. Chin said that the HSA processed 59 information requests since January 2009. She also commented on the volume of information handled by the Authority: during 2009, inclusive of Cayman Brac's Faith Hospital, the HSA had dealt with 242,145 outpatient visits and 5,619 admissions.
Additional RTK activities included the ICO's press conference to announce the findings of Operation Fred - the recent investigation into the response times of public authorities. Officials also visited Cayman Brac; hosted an afternoon Open-house Tea and presented daily information via local media.
"Just about everyone in Cayman now knows something about FOI," said Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert. "It is indeed a success and we are seeing the benefits on a daily basis."
She also thanked the FOI Unit and the many departmental Information Managers for their hard work and added that the ICO will continue with a series of monthly meetings to ensure compliance with the law.
For further information contact: Lennon Christian