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News Releases


Hearing Decision 55-00916 Print E-mail

 

For more details of Hearing Decision 55-00916, Click Here.

 
Data Protection Commencement Print E-mail

 

Data Protection Commencement, Click Here.

 
Hearing Decision 54-02516 Print E-mail

 

For more details of Hearing Decision 54-02516, Click Here.

 
FOI Briefing Invitation Print E-mail

Acting Information Commissioner has issued an invitation to all of the candidates running in the upcoming election to meet with him to discuss the principles and operation of the Freedom of Information Law.

 
ICO Newsletter, December 2016, ICON Issue 21 Print E-mail

ICO Newsletter - ICON 21, December 2016

 
Own-Initiative Investigation 8 Released: Website Investigation Report Print E-mail

28 November 2016

For more information visit www.infocomm.ky/appeals.

 
Right to Know Week 2016 (September 26th – October 3rd 2016) Print E-mail


Welcome to Right to Know Week 2016

Each year on September 28, approximately 40 countries and 60 non-governmental organizations celebrate Right to Know Day. The purpose of Right to Know is to raise awareness of an individual's right to request government records, while promoting freedom of information as essential to government accountability, transparency and democracy. The Cayman Islands is a leader in FOI rights not only in the Caribbean but also the world........now that's something to celebrate!

What to look out for this week

  • Mon, Sept 26, Tune in to Rooster Talk Show 8:30am.
  • Mon, Sept 26, Public outreach event at the HSA, 9:00-11:30am.
  • Tues, Sept 27, Tune in to Radio Cayman, Talk Today Show 12:30pm.
  • Tues, Sept 27, Media FREE LUNCH & LEARN on FOI 12:00n , 3rd Floor Anderson Square, ICO Board Room.
  • Wed, Sept 28, Watch out for the ICO on Cayman27 Daybreak show.
  • Wed, Sept 28, Public outreach event at the Market at the Cricket Field 10am—1pm.
  • Thurs, Sept 29, FREE LUNCH & LEARN session on FOI, at the ICO 3rd Floor Anderson Square, ICO Board Room. This event is free to Civil Servants.
  • Fri, Sept 30, DRESS DOWN IN BLUE DAY & public outreach event at GAB main lobby, 9:00am onwards.
  • Mon, Oct 3, FREE LUNCH & LEARN session on FOI, at the Cayman Brac Beach Resort Conference Room, Cayman Brac 11am. This event is free to Information Managers/Civil Servants.

For more information call 747-5402 or visit www.infocomm.ky

ICO Event

Show your support for Right to Know Day Dress Down in Blue on Friday, September 30th 2016.

 
ICO Newsletter, June 2016, ICON Issue 20 Print E-mail

ICO Newsletter - ICON 20, June 2016

 
Decision 53 Print E-mail


ICO releases Hearing Decision 53 involving the Department of Health Regulatory Services

In August 2015 an applicant requested access to the qualifications (degrees  and diplomas) of the medical staff of the Health City Cayman Islands hospital. The records were held by the Department of Health Regulatory Services (HRS), but access was denied under section 23(1). HRS argued that the records constituted personal information which would not be reasonable to disclose.

The matter was appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). After an attempt was made to find an amicable resolution to the dispute, the matter was referred to the Acting Information Commissioner for a formal decision.

In this Hearing the Acting Information Commissioner upheld the decision of HRS to exempt the records, finding that the exemption in section 23(1) was engaged, and that it would not be reasonable to disclose the records. A balancing of the public interest factors for and against disclosure confirmed that the records are to be withheld.

No further action is required on the part of HRS.

 
Decision 46 issued, involving the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs Print E-mail

ICO releases Hearing Decision 46 involving records of the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs

On 23 May 2014 an applicant made a request under the Freedom of Information Law 2007 (FOI Law) to the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs (the Ministry) for records relating to the revision of the National Pension Law (Investment Regulations).

The Ministry initially located only a single responsive record, but upon the urging of the applicant and the ICO several more were found. A number of records were released, but no agreement could be reached on various records including a consultant’s report and diverse communications. After a series of delays, the matter was appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and the issue was ultimately decided in a formal hearing.

In this Hearing Decision, the Acting Information Commissioner Mr. Jan Liebaers found that the exemption in section 19(a)(1) does not apply to the responsive records as they were not prepared for proceedings of the Cabinet. However, section 20(1)(b) (free and frank exchange of views) applies to communications between the Ministry and consultants, as well as to feedback received from the National Pensions Board. In addition, section 20(1)(d)(effective conduct of public affairs) applies to other communications about the draft regulations. Both exemptions are subject to a public interest test, but the Acting Information Commissioner found that the public interest did not require the disclosure of the exempted records. An additional responsive record, the consultant’s report, was found not to be exempted and was ordered disclosed.

Although several records were located and disclosed, the Acting Information Commissioner found that the Ministry did not meet its obligations to make reasonable efforts to locate responsive records, and required the Ministry to conduct a new search for additional records that may be held by members of the National Pensions Board. Mr. Liebaers also criticized the way the Ministry handled the request and its communications with the Applicant and the ICO, which he considered lacking and counterproductive.

The public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 46 which can be found on the ICO website at www.infocomm.ky/appeals.

 
Decision 52 issued involving DCFS Print E-mail

ICO releases Hearing Decision 52 involving the Department of Children and Family Services

In June 2015 an applicant made a request under the Freedom of Information Law 2007 for emails relating to his case with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS did not hold the records, and called on the services of the Computer Services Department (CSD) to search for possible deleted emails. CSD would charge a fee for this service, which DCFS intended to pass on to the applicant. The issues in dispute in Hearing Decision 52 were whether DCFS was allowed to charge a fee, and if so whether the proposed fee was reasonable, and whether it should be waived.

The Acting Information Commissioner, Mr. Jan Liebaers, confirmed that the FOI Law allows that a fee may be charged for conducting a search for records. However, the fee being charged by DCFS was not reasonable and it should be recalculated taking into account the actual hourly rate of the CSD staff member tasked with the search.

Mr. Liebaers also found that he had not been presented with evidence that the applicant was of inadequate means, or that there was any other good reason to waive the fee for conducting the search for the requested records.

The public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 52 which can be found on the ICO website at www.infocomm.ky/appeals.

 
Decision 51 issued involving Cayman Airways Print E-mail

On 2 September 2014 an applicant made a request under the Freedom of Information Law 2007 for records relating to his employment with Cayman Airways.

In the initial response from Cayman Airways several records were disclosed.  However, the applicant was not satisfied and asked for an internal review, and subsequently made an appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, claiming that Cayman Airways had not made reasonable efforts to locate the responsive records. Although a number of additional records were released during the appeal, the dispute could not be resolved amicably and the matter was decided in a formal hearing.

In Hearing Decision 51-01914 the Acting Information Commissioner, Mr. Jan Liebaers, found that Cayman Airways had not conducted an adequate initial analysis or search for responsive records in relation to the request, resulting in the provision of an inadequate initial response.

However, in view of the reasonable and constructive approach taken by Cayman Airways in the course of the appeal with the ICO, and their declared intention to continue providing additional records of a similar nature to the Applicant on condition that they are clearly identified, the Acting Commissioner found that Cayman Airways has now made “reasonable efforts to locate” the records responsive to the request, as required under regulation 6(1) of the Freedom of Information (General) Regulations 2008.

Mr. Liebaers dismissed the appeal, saying: “This has been a lengthy appeal, during which the ICO played an active role in ensuring that the public authority improved upon the inadequate search that was originally conducted. This has been done, and I am satisfied with the response that has now been given.”

The public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 51 which can be found on the ICO website at www.infocomm.ky/appeals.

 
Decision 50 issued, involving CIAA Print E-mail

ICO releases Hearing Decision 50 involving records of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA)

In March 2015 an applicant requested access to records relating to an event dated 22 March 2015 involving two airplanes, which the Cayman Islands Airports Authority had investigated. The public authority withheld certain information under section 21(1)(b) (information concerning the commercial interests of any person or organization) of the Freedom of Information Law 2007.

During the appeal to the ICO additional records were discovered which were disclosed in redacted form under section 23(1) (personal information). The applicant confirmed he was not seeking the information exempted under section 23(1) but he did wish to pursue the occurrence report and an audio recording relating to the event, exempted under section 21(1)(b).

In this Hearing Decision, the Acting Information Commissioner, Mr. Jan Liebaers, found that the exemption in section 21(1)(b) did not apply to the responsive records because the disclosure of the information they contained would not prejudice the commercial interests of any person or organization, including the public authority.

Mr. Liebaers said: “For the most part the records contain information that has already been published in the Authority’s own press release, as well as in the Press.”

Consequently, the Acting Information Commissioner ordered the full disclosure of the two responsive records.

The public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 50 which can be found on the ICO website at www.infocomm.ky/appeals.

 
Decision 45 issued, involving The Governor's Office Print E-mail

The Acting Information Commissioner, Mr. Jan Liebaers, issued Decision 45 concerning two records relating to Operation Tempura, held by the Governor’s Office.

This case has a long history, going back to a request made on 8 February 2012 under the Freedom of Information Law 2007 for a complaint made to Governor Duncan Taylor against certain members of the judiciary and others, and the Governor’s response to that complaint, both dated 2011.

The Governor’s Office withheld the documents, and an appeal was made to the Information Commissioner’s Office which resulted in an order by the former Information Commissioner to disclose the records (Hearing Decision 24-00613). That decision was challenged by the Governor in court and the judicial review under Acting Justice Alan Moses resulted in the matter being remitted back for reconsideration by the Acting Information Commissioner on the basis of the exemption relating to the effective conduct of public affairs (section 20(1)(d) of the FOI Law).

In July 2014 the Acting Information Commissioner issued a reconsidered decision (Hearing Decision 41-00000) in which he again ordered the disclosure of the two records, except for a short passage in the complaint. That decision was also challenged in court by the Governor, and the judicial review underActing Justice Timothy Owen ordered the matter to be reconsidered again, on the basis of the exemption relating to law enforcement records (section 16(b) of the FOI Law).

In the present Hearing Decision 45-00000, after considering two submissions from the Governor’s Office and conducting an investigation into the matter, Mr. Liebaers has found that the exemption in section 16(b) applies to those parts of the two documents which represent the actions and conduct of Mr.Bridger, to the extent that they are not innocuous or already in the public domain. The short passage in the complaint which was found to be exempted under section 20(1)(d) in Decision 41-00000 remains exempted from disclosure, as well.

Mr. Liebaers ordered the remainder of the two documents disclosed, and expressed his intention to confirm the status of the ongoing police investigation and possible prosecution of Mr. Bridger in six months’ time.

The public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 45 which can be found on the ICO website at www.infocomm.ky/appeals.

 
Decision 48 issued, involving HM Customs Dept Print E-mail

Acting Information Commissioner issued Decision 48 involving an FOI request for fuel cost invoices to HM Customs Department, on 2 November 2015.

On 15 January 2015 an applicant made a request to HM Customs Department under the Freedom of Information Law 2007 for fuel cost invoices from fuel/gasoline importers, between 2011 and the present. The request was later narrowed to invoices from 2014 to the date of the request.

The Customs Department withheld access to the invoices on the basis of several exemptions under the Law, including section 17(b)(i) which protects confidential information. After an internal review by the Chief Officer the matter was appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office. 

The Acting Information Commissioner Mr. Jan Liebaers said: “There is, understandably, a great deal of frustration amongst many residents of the Cayman Islands about what are perceived to be excessively high retail prices for fuel, as testified by the successful campaign started by the Applicant and reflected in its name, “Cayman Is Fed Up With High Gas Prices”. That there is a great deal of interest in this topic is adequately demonstrated by the many Press articles, and the swift actions of the Government, which in recent weeks has, seemingly in record time, significantly altered the manner in which fuel imports are regulated in the Cayman Islands. These circumstances demonstrate that there is a genuine public interest in the fairness of fuel pricing.”

However, after considering submissions from the Applicant, the Customs Department and the two third-party fuel importers, and conducting a public interest test the Acting Information Commissioner found that disclosure of the requested records would constitute an actionable breach of confidence. Therefore, the exemption in section 17(b)(i) applies to the requested records, and HM Customs is not required to disclose them.

 

 
ICO 4th Quarter Report, Apr-Jun 2015 Print E-mail

View the ICO's 4th Quarter Report, Apr-Jun 2015 here: ICO 2014-2015 Fourth Quarter Report, Apr-Jun 2015

 
ICO 3rd Quarter Report, Jan-Mar 2015 Print E-mail

View the ICO's Third Quarter Report here: ICO 2014-2015 Third Quarter Report, Jan-Mar 2015  

 
Freedom of Information Law (2015 Revision) Print E-mail

The Freedom of Information Law (2015 Revision) was gazetted on 17 July 2015. The revision consolidates the 2007 Law with the changes made by the Director of Public Prosecutions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Law, 2012, (Law 19 of 2012) which substitutes (or adds) the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Attorney General where appropriate.

The amended exemption in Section 20(1)(c) of the FOI Law now reads as follows (emphasis added):

20. (1) A record is exempt from disclosure if-
...
(c) it is legal advice given by or on behalf of the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions; or
...

In the new Revision the wording of the FOI Law has also been made consistent with the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009, for instance by changing any mention of "Governor in Cabinet" in the 2007 Law to "Cabinet" in the 2015 Revision. This change was made necessary by the appointment of a Director of Public Prosecutions under the Cayman Islands Constitution Order, 2009.

There has been no other amendment to this Law between the initial Law (2007) and this Revision (2015). The requirements of the Freedom of Information (General) Regulations 2008 remain in force.

 
Hearing Decision 47 involving the Dept of Health Regulatory Services Print E-mail

Acting Information Commissioner issued Decision 47 involving the Department of Health Regulatory Services, on 18 September 2015.

The matter was in regards to an FOI request by an Applicant for records relating to complaints made against him as a medical practitioner to the Department of Health Regulatory Services. The Department disclosed a number of related records, but withheld the actual complaints and related emails on the basis of the exemptions in section 23(1) (personal information) and 24(a) and (b) (health and safety) of the Freedom of Information Law 2007. The matter was appealed to the Information Commissioner's Office and the Acting Information Commissioner found that the records were not exempt under either of the exemptions that had been claimed, except for the contact information of the complainants, (i.e. their addresses, email addresses and phone numbers) and their dates of birth, which in the circumstances of this case are private and sensitive. The Commissioner ordered the Department to disclose the records to the Applicant only, with the contact information and dates of birth redacted by reason of section 23(1).

Note: Full press release regarding Decision 47 to be updated shortly.

 
ICO 2014-2015 Second Quarter Report Print E-mail


ICO 2014-2015 Second Quarter Report, Oct-Dec 2014

 
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