Complaints about gov’t surge post lockdown

| 09/10/2020 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service
Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston

(CNS): The Office of the Ombudsman has reported a surge in complaints about government, including maladministration, as well as data protection complaints (which also covers the private sector) since the COVID-19 lockdown. Members of the public made 97 enquiries during July, August and September, 74 of which were placed under investigation. During this quarter the office also received three whistleblower complaints, a jump from the first six months, when only one such complaint was made.

Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston did not say why she believed there had been such a surge in people reporting concerns about their interactions with government, nor has the office revealed any patterns regarding the complaints. “Our staff members remained operational throughout the entire lockdown period,” Hermiston said in a release about the surge in complaints. “But it’s clear workloads have increased as life here has returned to some semblance of normalcy.”

According to the statistics, data protection, maladministration and public complaints against police all increased significantly during the third quarter.

The data protection unit recorded 22 breach notifications during this third quarter, which is more than it had in either of the first two quarters of 2020. However, the investigators resolved 35 cases in total during the quarter, compared to 23 in the second quarter.

There were no indications, however, about the results of these inquiries or details of any consequences. While the ombudsman publishes hearings relating to freedom of information and data protection, it generally only publishes sample summaries in its annual report of other complaints. And given the nature of its work, the records kept by the office are not subject to the Freedom of Information Law.

At the end of September, the office had 76 open cases, almost half of which were data protection concerns and a quarter were police complaints.

“Our office investigates a wide variety of matters, ranging from public complaints against government, to whistleblower complaints, to data privacy issues, to open records disputes,” Hermiston said, adding that they had released the interim statistical update to mark international Ombuds Day. “Our office’s work is not just about investigations that identify areas for improvement, it is also about resolving disputes and finding solutions that are acceptable to all parties involved,” she added.

See the statistical report for the third quarter in the CNS Library.

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Category: Government oversight, Politics

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    No surprise – that lockdown power went to a LOT of officer’s heads. Had one come into my private yard and try to enforce the traffic law. This na communist Russia bobo.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Resolution? Accountability? Crickets…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Distraction from the SR fiasco and chap (friend) working offshore from home after getting a none-competitive two-year contract followed by a consultancy contract

  4. Anonymous says:

    Were complaints handled in Canada?

  5. Anonymous says:

    world class franz!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mostly frivolous and vexatious complaints. Read the Ombudsman reports

  7. Anonymous says:

    Data protection complaints are not just against government, CNS

    CNS: You’re right, that wasn’t clear. I have amended the first para.

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