FOI requests pick back up after lockdown decline

| 29/09/2022 | 4 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): After a decline in requests during 2020 when the Cayman Islands was locked down and the borders closed, freedom of information applications increased last year from 230 to 426, according to statistics released by the Office of the Ombudsman. The report released yesterday to mark International Right to Know Day on 28 September showed that average response times have also improved markedly. The average response time in 2021 was 26 days, down from 30 days in previous years.

“This result is a testament to the work of the information managers around the entire public sector,” said Ombudsman Sharon Roulstone. “I hope that government will maintain this positive trend in the future.”

The FOI Act grants individuals the legal right to access information held by public sector entities and requires that requests receive a response within 30 calendar days. Making an FOI request does not guarantee that the records sought will be released, as they might fall under one of the law’s exemptions, but responding to FOI requests is the duty of every public authority.

More than 100 requests were refused last year and only 41% were disclosed in full. However, as government slowly improves the quality of its websites, more information is being placed directly in the public domain.

Since 2009 when the law was implemented, nearly 7,000 open records requests have been made by members of the public leading to disclosures of thousands of public records. More than a quarter of all FOI requests in 2021 were made to the RCIPS or WORC.

The ombudsman reports annually to parliament on the use of the FOI Act to ensure the process is working and is fair to both applicants and the government.  

See the full report below:

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Category: Government Administration, Politics

Comments (4)

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  1. Orrie Merren says:

    Unfortunately, certain public officials are not usually transparent and forthcoming with the general public.

    It’s a cat and muse game to get public officials to actually do their job and uphold the rule of law.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Some have given up asking, having been ignored for years. FOI is a scam designed or operating to give the illusion of good governance and the rule of law. Neither exist.


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