PACT Gov’t lifts the lid on Cabinet work

| 22/07/2021 | 62 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Wayne Panton delivers message about Cabinet transparency

(CNS): For the first time in the Cayman Islands’ history, the government is revealing the decisions that are made in Cabinet. The closed-door weekly meetings are where critical issues impacting the whole country are discussed and decisions made about them by just a handful of politicians. As the minutes of these meetings are kept secret for a minimum of 20 years, the public has to wait until each individual action actually plays out before it learns what the government it voted for and funds is actually doing. While the back and forth and wrangling that goes on before a decision is made will not be detailed, the people will now get to see what is on the government agenda within a week of the meeting.

Premier Wayne Panton explained that the PACT Government will now regularly publish a summary of the Cabinet meetings as part of its commitment to the ‘T’ for transparency.

“Having just presented our strategic policy directions for the next few years in Parliament, we felt it was important to take this step as quickly as possible,” he said. “This solution will allows us to inform the people of the day-to-day operations of government. The more we can be accountable to the public the better we are at transparency.”

The first of these Cabinet meeting summaries listed more than a dozen decisions, including the approval for the creation of a new Equity Investment Output and supplementary funding for the Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency, as well as the appropriations needed for many other ministries that were dealt with in Finance Committee this week.

Ministers also approved the guidelines for vaccination verification at public events and the issuance of drafting instructions to amend the Prevention, Control and Suppression of COVID-19 Regulations, for the CayMAS Carnival and the Cayman Gay Pride Parade. The order and regulations were also approved for the forthcoming national census.

Governor Martyn Roper approved the move and said it was a strong indicator of the new government’s commitment to good governance.

Officials said in a press release that summaries of decisions of a sensitive nature, matters of national security, matters where publication breaches regional or international conventions, and any matters that relate to personal privacy will not be disclosed.

See the document on the government website here.

See the premier’s video message and listen to the governor’s audio message below:


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Category: Politics

Comments (62)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Simpletons are so easily pleased.

  2. Be proactive says:

    I bet we never would have seen this from the PPM. From now on, let us pay attention to EVERYTHING and protest the second a bill comes to light, not after it goes through the entire process and becomes a law.

  3. Donnie says:

    Kudos to the Premier, his PACT colleagues, the Governor and anyone else who helped make this happen. They have finally blown up the myth that anything and everything related to the Cabinet is sensitive and deserving of confidentiality. It’s a huge first step and I commend them.

    The fact that the myth survived for so long is a result of the fact that our FoI legislation is hardly world class. For starters, ours is ‘record based’ and not ‘information based’. We can exempt records based on ownership which is what we have done with everything related to the Cabinet. New Zealand’s legislation, for example, is ‘information based’. Exemptions in turn are based on the nature of the information, e.g. national security, etc. but not on who owns it.

    And while we revoked the Official Secrets Act, we contaminated our legislation with far too many powers for the Cabinet. A search of the Cayman, UK and NZ legislation for ‘cabinet’ will yield 14, 4 and 0 references, respectively. Yes, ‘cabinet’ is mention 14 times in our legislation, the shortest of the three laws, but isn’t mentioned in the NZ legislation at all.

    I mention this because if the PACT is serious about openness and transparency, they should consider a serious review and rewrite of the legislation, including of course taking down some of the ‘curtains’ that the previous administration had put up.

    So let us be grateful for this move in the right direction but not get carried away. We’ve finally caught up with the Turks & Caicos Islands; they have been doing this for years – without even having FoI legislation.

    In this Olympic season, let us aspire to be like New Zealand one day. They have long set the standard within the Commonwealth of information access. As will be noted from the link to their Proactive Release of Cabinet Material, NZ https://dpmc.govt.nz/publications/co-18-4-proactive-release-cabinet-material-updated-requirements, NZ recognises that:
    “Democracies thrive when citizens trust and participate in their government. Proactive release of information promotes good government and transparency and fosters public trust and confidence . . “.

    In turn, the direction provided by their Cabinet Office states that:
    “All Cabinet and Cabinet committee papers and minutes must be proactively released and published online within 30 business days of final decisions being taken by Cabinet, unless there is good reason not to publish all or part of the material, or to delay the release beyond 30 business days.”

    Those in favour please say ‘Aye’😊.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Anything to avoid spending time working towards an ACTUAL border re-opening plan.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Help! I cant find the link to this Cabinet report!?!

    CNS: Follow the link at the end of the article and scroll down. The link is below the video message by the premier.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Where is the ‘Code of Conduct’ that was promised? Could it be that one or more have decided that they operate outside of any restrictions on conduct?

  7. Anonymous says:

    BBC reports that Italy has joined the countries adopting measures to further limit the spread of Covid. Hopefully there will be a Cabinet announcement of something similar here.

    “Italy is introducing a mandatory Covid vaccination certificate from 6 August, the latest country in Europe to announce such a scheme.

    The move will allow those aged 12 and over who have received at least one jab to access a range of venues, including indoor restaurants, cinemas and gyms.”

  8. Annie says:

    I really appreciate the attempt at transparency, it is a good step in the right direction.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don’t support the Pact government….Kenneth, seriously?…but I think Panton deserves credit for this. When he became Cabinet Secretary in the early 2000s Orett Connor made a big thing about how he would digitilise the whole Cabinet Paper situation, both prior to and after the meetings. It never happened. He never did a damn thing to change what was there from the previous 40 ExCo years. As George Bush would say, “all hat and no cattle” or as I would say all mouth and no action. At least Panton has actually done something.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Matters of a sensitive nature will not be disclosed in the minutes – and they decide what is sensitive – same old same old and no real transparency

    • Anonymous says:

      Just the appearance of transparency by cherry-picking the unobjectionable items of business and publishing those as a record.

  11. Anonymous says:

    All those things were going to be gazetted anyway. Anyone who could be bothered has always been able to read them. This is nothing but a marketing stunt.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Will PACT release the Ritch Connolly Report on immigration/PR/status now?

    • Anonymous says:

      H-m-m-m Are you directing this question to anyone? We know there has been a lot of lying about the immigration game for years!

  13. Anonymous says:

    They must think that we are incredibly naive. All the deals and decisions are made outside the meetings. The meetings are just a formality that records the outcomes not how the deals were made or who if anyone got what.

  14. Anonymous says:

    For comparison purposes I found it useful to looked at the published records of town councils which govern similar populations in the US, the UK and Canada. What I found was that these government bodies have about the same level of work but the elected politicians do the work well and for a tiny fraction of the income that our politicians voted for themselves.

    an example of the minutes of a comparable meeting is here:

    https://calendar.stratford.ca/meetings/Detail/2021-07-26-1500-Regular-Council/44861521-0ecd-4083-8e3c-ad6d00f4789a

    Not really surprising seeing as our politicians just voted themselves raises to pay levels greater than the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    • Anonymous says:

      Greed is still the most powerful mover on earth. Politicians seem to have a problem with it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Based on that list, $6 an hour should suffice for each of them.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Is he in some sort of nuclear bunker?

  17. Anonymous says:

    How long was that cabinet meeting? That highly confidential point is not included, so we don’t even have any idea of how extensively those 13 decisions they took were discussed for, is at all – just that they approved them. Transparent my elbow.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are being paid about $1000 per hour of actual work so the meetings are kept short – they get paid over lunch as well

      • Anonymous says:

        Personally, I believe they should be paid a lot less than $1000 per hour. Don’t they get a lot of “Freebies” too? Why not a yearly amount with deductions for missed meetings, etc?

  18. Anonymous says:

    I took a look at the Cabinet release and it immediately became clear to me why they decided to pay themselves more than the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister of Canada and the leaders of all other Commonwealth countries – Hint it has nothing to do with merit –

    file:///C:/Users/C/AppData/Local/Temp/Cabinet%20Post%20Meeting%20Summary%2011.21%2021-07-21.pdf

  19. Come clean on Lodge involvement in Parliament says:

    Good move but while your at it can you make it so that every sitting MP and Civil Service member involved with Parliament administration be made to declare whether or not they are members of Masonic Lodges?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Wayne, I have no faith in you or your PACT government. You all are the same rubbish as the PPM. Just give me another pension withdrawal so I can pack my shit and move from this place that is stifling me.

    Signed,

    struggling Caymanian

    • Anonymous says:

      The government has a lot to answer for when it drives its own people away.
      Yet expats come here with government blessing.
      Methinks this is a plan to destroy and manipulate the voter base.
      If so, this is criminal and all emails to senior government staff should be saved for the coming forensic audit.

      • Anonymous says:

        4.42am The voter based was manipulated in 2003 and even more since with all the P/R leading to Status.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I was hoping to see something about when the promised code of conduct would be made public but that is still in the pasture with the unicorns.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Any step towards transparency is a good thing.

    Most of the 13 July report bullet points are vague but this is one that hints at the beginning of something sensible for dealing with Covid risks:

    “approved the guidelines for vaccination verification at public events”.

    Hopefully they will get around to a comprehensive approach to risk mitigation involving non-vaccinated persons as well as the rest of us before opening the borders.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I, too, work with individuals who publish lists of all the things they do so everyone knows how much they do and how busy they are. I find that it’s most often the case that they do so because nobody would otherwise believe them on the basis of actually seeing the impact of the work.
    Given that all the purportedly sensitive matters will be withheld, this seems more an exercise of self-aggrandizement than anything else, not a revolution in transparency, to be honest.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I think we have a right to see what every board is up to. NRA, CPA etc. only if it affects us as a country.

  25. Anonymous says:

    When they release in full their discussion about Cumber’s dock, we can talk about transparency.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure this reinforces everyone’s belief that they are doing a lot of work for the big pay raise.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Groundbreaking that the people we pay for with our taxes and whom are democratically elected finally tell us what decisions they have made for us.

  28. Johann Moxam says:

    Thank you Premier Panton and PACT.

    This is the definition of transparency and something we should expect from all levels in the governance structure.
    I appreciate that it is not practical to share details about safety & matters of national security for operational reasons. However, for the new PACT government to adopt this position it is unprecedented and greatly appreciated.

    My hope is that the new government will also expose and investigate all the secret deals that were negotiated and signed by its predecessor(s). All the relevant persons involved must be held accountable subject to robust investigations from the Auditor General’s Office, the Anti-Corruption Commission, RCIPS and where appropriate face charges in the Grand Court.

    The Governor’s Office (which has oversight of all matters related to Good Governance) and any other relevant group with oversight of the Cayman Islands including the FCO should have no issues in supporting the necessary course of action if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with criminal charges. There must be one standard of accountability applicable to all stakeholders as there are no sacred cows in the fight against systemic corruption and abuse of public office.

    The time has come to shed light on all the darkness and understand how or why certain decisions were made who truly benefits, what agenda & interests were served and the true costs to the governance structure, the current & future revenues and the people of the Cayman Islands.

    Best regards

    Johann Moxam

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree Mr. Moxam leave no stone unturned

    • Anonymous says:

      Johann, if you believe there is substantive cause for criminal investigation, file an official report, raise it with the AG/Ombudsman/RCIPS/etc. The investigative powers that be can review matters not presented or available to the public (and in fact they may already have done so in many instances and found it lacking substance or merit). What you are actually suggesting is akin to misuse of public office to pursue political opponents.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or Moxam is suggesting PACT seeks the truth in the spirit of real transparency.

        • Anonymous says:

          Truth and transparency are not even visible on the horizon. The fact that PACT appears to have abandoned the promised code of conduct signals that they do not want either nor do they want accountability.

      • Anonymous says:

        Face it. Our robust law enforcers and mechanisms are at best, ineffectual. Corruption is carried on openly, and no one sees anything, least of all those charged with identifying, investigating, and prosecuting it.

      • Anonymous says:

        So citizens must now do the work of overpaid mla’s that have direct access to the information and access to the authorities?

    • Jotnar says:

      Its not the definition of transparency or anywhere near it, although I grant its an improvement on complete secrecy. Its just a list of the decisions made. Although it purports to be a summary of the decisions, there is zero content on what factors were considered or reasons for taking the decision. You have no idea whether the decisions were done on the nod, or debated, or whether they were based on any evidence or the number of birds flying past the window. As an insight into whether cabinet is doing its job or acting completely irrationally – sero use.

    • Anonymous says:

      They need to release their own information first. Underhanded stuff already happening. He need to watch his own members.

  29. Anonymous says:

    To be applauded for sure and a step in the right direction, but my god the Gov’t is going full woke and I am seriously concerned when they start using terms such as “Equity Investment Output” – what meaning are they applying to the word Equity in this context – I am potentially very concerned as it is being used elsewhere in a blatent positive discriminatory fashion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go back to sleep.
      Firstly being ‘woke’, in this case ‘equitable’, is not bad.
      Secondly ‘equity investment’ is something the CIG has been doing for years. Its just a fancy accounting way of saying ‘we took money from A and put it into (output) B’.

  30. Anonymous says:

    This is horrible as now these minions will see all the special deals for the rich friends. What is the goverment coming to? Our special interest developers will leave.

  31. jebanks says:

    Great when can we see what the NRA Board are up to?

  32. Anonymous says:

    A step in the right direction.

    Now they to seriously tackle the lagging vaccination rates and return to the open skies agreement.

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