Ministry rejects need to apologise over FOI

| 02/05/2018 | 24 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has made it clear that no one from there will be apologising over the alleged mishandling of a freedom of information request and has taken aim at the Ombudsman, suggesting her press release was “unwarranted”. A release from the office of Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson said the ministry was of the view that the requested information was released to the applicant and that Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston’s position was disappointingly mis-informative.

In its response to her findings, the ministry said it was of the opinion that the public records request was clear and that there was no need for a meeting with the applicant. Hermiston had found in her latest decision that the ministry should have held the interview after the applicant requested to meet with officials. She raised a number of concerns about the handling of the request and urged the ministry to apologise.

The ministry, which has not apologised and has no plans to do so, said it did not see a need to meet the applicant as she had refused to provide a reason for the meeting on multiple occasions but that if she had, they would “gladly” have arranged the meeting.

“The ministry believes that it was not being unreasonable by asking the applicant to provide a reason for a meeting,” the financial secretary stated in the release. “By knowing the purpose of the meeting, the ministry would have been in a better position to proactively address the applicant’s concerns and issues. The ministry also believes that it is common practice and courtesy for persons to provide such reasons.”

The ministry said that over the past five years it has dealt with 83 FOI requests and only this one has generated a complaint.

“It would therefore be uncharacteristic of the ministry to provide an unsatisfactory response to the 83rd request it received in the last five years,” Jefferson stated, adding that the ministry believes its responses were wholly appropriate.

The ministry said its staff is at all times “respectful, professional, patient, civil and cooperative when responding to FOI requests and interacting with the general public and colleagues”, and that it embraced the deputy governor’s goal for achieving a world-class civil service.

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Comments (24)

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  1. says:

    A government staffed by people who have no respect for good governance or for the people they serve.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Any wonder these beautiful islands have become what they have become? 3rd world mentality. I am above the law, and regardless what the law says, I care not and will not follow. Whether right or wrong, Jefferson has to follow the Ombudsman’s recommendations. If he has a problem with that, the Court is an avenue to address this matter. Thug mentality.

  3. Anonymous says:

    No one is above the law. If the failed to comply they should apologize. If they do not, we are no better, as a country, than the Third reich.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Imagine the auditor general telling a government entity to give an a apology and they are saying no that mean they are telling their mother no they are going to do what they want to do under her roof. The auditor general is sent from the UK to do a job and the people of the cayman islands is so self center, facety and out of order.

  5. Anonymous says:

    who ya gonna call! ? Ghost busters???

  6. Anonymous says:

    data protection!???

  7. Anonymous says:

    someone is right…someone wrong! who cares….we all know all governments operate the same way….

  8. Sandra says:

    After all the arrests made in Imgration I have no trust in civil service any more the all under investigation some how this days Imgration is the worse civil service in Cayman

  9. Anonymous says:

    Come on Ombudsman you can do better than this? Is this really a big deal. The applicant got the information.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes it is a big deal. Making access to information difficult is a fetter on the right of information access and is the sort of barriers put up by departments that want to make use of FOI requests difficult. If anything the Ombudsman was too generous to the CIG body. But perhaps this was a marker case.

  10. Anon. says:

    I am sure we don’t know all the facts and if we did then we would understand why the Ministry does not feel they don’t have to apologise or at least decide if they are right.

    The customer is NOT is always right but the customer is entitled to being dealt with respectfully and fairly.

    From the article my conclusion is that the information requested was provided.
    Despite being given the information requested, requestor also requested a meeting but refused to say what the meeting was for. So because they refused to meet with the woman multiple times because sgs refused to say why she wanted to meet, the Ombudsman feels like they have her the run around and wants them to apologise? Who just meets with someone and have no idea why they are meeting with that person?

    So before we jump to conclusions and making snidey remarks about the Financial Secretary or civil servants, let us realise we may not have all the facts.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Haha, and people on other articles want independence…cos that will make this shit so much better….not!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Haha I see they have moved to the double down phase.

    • Anonymous says:

      Print the truth about the matter. Go to the root of the problem, then the Ombudsman wouldn’t have to write such a drawn out request/statement.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Is Jefferson saying that because 83 other FOI requests did not generate a complaint it is not possible that this one was dealt with unsatisfactorily? His arrogance is appalling….

  14. Anonymous says:

    To be honest, with the high backlog of grievances that the Ombudsman should be dealing with, this one doesn’t appear to have been priority, nor does she appear to have got it correct. It appears the Ministry actually addressed the matter and simply sought a clarity with dealing with an elusive meeting request.

  15. Anonymous says:

    As predicted. The Ombudsman cannot do anything in the face of this sort of mentality.

  16. Anonymous says:

    told you… civil service does not do apologies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Poster at 3.57 pm you spoke too soon. I’m sure your position has now changed after you read the news

  17. Anonymous says:

    i trust the ombundsman

    • Anonymous says:

      Based on what? Her long track-record that you can recite? Or that she’s not Caymanian?

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not the original commentator, but here’s your answer: BASED on the fact that the Ombudsman is not Government.

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