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News Releases


Press Release: 5th Anniversary of FOI in the Cayman Islands Print E-mail

Press Release, 8 January 2013

The 5th Anniversary of FOI in the Cayman Islands, 5 January 2014

The Freedom of Information Law ("FOI Law") came into force in the Cayman Islands on 5 January 2009 by order of the Governor. Five years on and the Information Commissioner has issued over 36 Hearing Decisions, more than 140 appeals have been handled by the Information Commissioner's Office ("ICO") and over 3000 FOI requests from the public have been officially logged by Information Managers across the 92 different public authorities that make up the Cayman Islands Government.

Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert, the country's first Information Commissioner from 2009 to 2013, established the Information Commissioner's Office, and with a small dedicated team, developed and implemented policies and procedures to ensure that the FOI Law is complied with, and its objectives are met.

The FOI Law's requirements for transparency and proactive publication have gradually become accepted by public officials and public authorities. Five years after the FOI Law came into effect, FOI has become a way of life in the Public Sector and in the Cayman Islands at large, not least thanks to careful vigilance on the part of the Information Commissioner's Office and a continuing programme of training and public education. As various Hearing Decisions have brought to light, some infringements continue to occur, but for the most part public authorities – and particularly the Information Managers in each entity - are trying their best to comply with the Law, to respond to requests on time, and to be more transparent and accountable.

Upon her retirement, Mrs. Dilbert stated, "I would like to thank all those who have assisted me with the establishment of an effective Freedom of Information Regime in the Cayman Islands. I can assure them, and the public in general, that both our Legislation and our operational systems meet or exceed international standards, and in my experience are among the best worldwide." She went on to say, "The majority of Chief Officers, Heads of Departments and Statutory Boards have embraced FOI, and are ensuring that their entities are well placed to respond to requests and meet the requirements of the Law, including the proactive publishing of as much information as possible."

The ICO extends sincere thanks to the Civil Service and successive Governments for their support, in particular the Information Managers, some of whom have been in this important role for the last five years. Through their attendance at the ICO's training seminars, the Commissioner has had the opportunity of being involved with discussions with many of them, and witnessed first-hand their dedication to the sometimes difficult job of Information Manager.

Please visit the ICO website to view all Decisions released to date, in full at ww.INFOCOMM.com. Mrs. Dilbert's farewell message can also be found on the website, see Issue 18 of ICON, the ICO Newsletter.

 

Additional background:

Mrs. Dilbert retired in December 2013 at the end of a five year appointment as Information Commissioner and after more than 30 years of public service. Mr. Jan Liebaers was appointed as Acting Information Commissioner in January 2014, having served as the Deputy Information Commissioner from June 2010 to December 2013. Prior to that, Mr. Liebaers was a key member of the FOI Working Group which drafted the Cayman Islands FOI Bill from 2005 to 2007, as well as the FOI Steering and Implementation Planning Committees which assisted in the development and planning of FOI in the Cayman Islands.

The Information Commissioner is responsible for hearing appeals and monitoring compliance of public authorities under the Freedom of Information Law, 2007. That Law gives the public a general right to access records held by public authorities, and requires that authorities provide the record within 30 days, unless one or more of the limited exemptions to disclosure applies. Individuals who are dissatisfied with the response of the public authority to their request may file an appeal with the Information Commissioner.

 
Information Commissioner retires Print E-mail

Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert, MBE, JP, Information Commissioner for the Cayman Islands from 2009-2013, retired from the ICO on 31 December 2013 after more than 30 years in public service.

Jennifer Dilbert was the Cayman Islands’ first Information Commissioner. Prior to her appointment in January 2009, she served as the Government Representative in the United Kingdom for over 8 years.

Following a lengthy career in the Civil Service in which she spent several years in supervision of the financial services industry, Mrs. Dilbert joined the private sector as Executive Director of Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Ltd. from 1996 to 1999.

Mrs. Dilbert was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2005, and as a Justice of the Peace in and for the Cayman Islands in 2006.

A special farewell message appears in Issue 18 of the ICO Newsletter.

 
Press Release: Decision 32 issued, 19 December 2013 Print E-mail

Press Release, 19 December 2013

Information Commissioner issues Decision 32, upholding the decision of the Public Authority to withhold or redact information from responsive records

An Applicant made a number of Freedom of Information requests to the then Labour and Pensions Office (LPO) between May and August 2012. Hearing 32 dealt with four of those requests which were accepted by the ICO for investigation between August 2012 and February 2013. The appeals proceeded to a single hearing involving the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs and the Department of Labour and Pensions, and was brought before the Commissioner in October 2013.

In her Decision, the Information Commissioner upheld the decision of the public authority to withhold or redact information from most of the responsive records. The Commissioner stated that this had been a particularly difficult Hearing due to the many factors as set out in detail in the Decision. Most difficult had been the separation of the FOI matters from the general complaints and issues surrounding the request. "I believe that it has been frustrating for the Applicant, who has felt that…there have been unacceptable delays. At the same time, the public authorities have made a huge effort, albeit sometimes after delays, to provide the Applicant with a multitude of records."

For full details the public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 32.

 

 
Press Release: 2013-2014 First Quarter Report released Print E-mail

12 December 2013

The Information Commissioner has released the ICO First Quarter Report for 2013-2014. See the full report here.

 
Press Release: Decision 35 issued, 6 December 2013 Print E-mail

Press Release, 6 December 2013

Acting Information Commissioner Mr. Jan Liebaers issued Decision 35 involving the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs on 5 December 2013. In October 2012 an Applicant made a request under the Freedom of Information Law, 2007, to amend/annotate his personal information contained in a report created by the Human Rights Committee in 2007, and currently available on the Cayman Islands website. The HRC was at the time funded through the Ministry of Education, Training, Youth, Sports and Culture, the predecessor of the present day Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs.

Following a series of communications and meetings, in February 2013 the Applicant applied for access to the related records which support the Report. In response to this request, no records were found.

Both the request for amendment/annotation of the HRC Report and the request for access to related records were appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The Acting Information Commissioner dismissed the Ministry’s assertions that the ICO does not have jurisdiction over the reasonableness of a search for records under regulation 6 of the Freedom of Information (General) Regulations, 2008, and over the amendment/annotation in the specific circumstances of this case.  

The Acting Commissioner decided that a reasonable search had not been conducted, and referred the matter back to the Ministry for completion of a new search.

The hearing on the request for amendment/annotation was deferred, pending the outcome of the new search.

For full details the public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 35.

 
ICO Investigation underway Print E-mail

22 November 2013

The Information Commissioner’s Office is currently conducting an investigation into the operability of all public authorities’ general FOI email addresses (e.g., This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). This investigation is being conducted under section 46 of The Freedom of Information Law, 2007.

It has come to the attention of the ICO that some FOI email addresses are not able to accept emails from outside of Government and that perhaps some email addresses are not being appropriately monitored.  We are also concerned that emails are not being forwarded to the appropriate persons in each public authority.

The purpose of this investigation is to discover if these problems are in fact taking place and to look for ways to rectify any underlying issues that may exist.

The results of this investigation may be publicly reported, including on our website.

 
Press Release: Tempura FOI Matter Continues, 05 November 2013 Print E-mail

Tempura FOI Matter Continues

 
Press Release: Decision 36 Issued, 12 November 2013 Print E-mail

Decision 36 issued involving The Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs and The Department of Labour and Pensions.

 
8th Annual International Conference of Information Commissioners Print E-mail

The Information Commissioner, Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert and the Deputy Commissioner Mr. Jan Liebaers attended the 8th International Conference of Information Commissioners which was held in Berlin 18- 20 September 2013.  Mrs Dilbert also participated in a meeting and a presentation by the International Advisory Board of the Centre for Freedom of Information, of which she is a member.  Both attended a separate closed session for International Information Commissioners only.

The Conference discussed important aspects of transparency, privacy and freedom of information, including issues covering the press, the internet, the business sector and open data and open government, and resulted in the attached Berlin Declaration on Strengthening Transparency at the National and International Level, 20 Sept 2013, "Transparency: The Fuel of Democracy".

Along with in-depth discussion of very relevant topics, the Commissioner and the Deputy benefited from developing and maintaining relationships with many of the key Commissioners, in particular those from the UK, Scotland, Canada and Australia.  It was also an excellent opportunity to ensure that Cayman is in the forefront of international developments in the field of privacy and freedom of information, and to benefit from the experiences of others.

 
4th Quarter Report Print E-mail

The ICO 4th Quarter Report, Apr - Jun 2013, can be found here.

 
Information Commissioner issues Decision 31 involving Department of Children and Family Services and the Ministry of Home and Community Affairs Print E-mail

Information Commissioner Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert issued Decision 31 under the Freedom of Information Law, 2007 on 22 August 2013.

An Applicant made a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in August 2012 for particular files. The discussion of specific events and the titles and descriptions of the responsive records in this Decision are deliberately vague, as the issues which underlie the request for records are of a very sensitive and personal nature. During the course of the ICO’s investigation, most records requested were eventually disclosed to the Applicant, with some information redacted pursuant to section 23(1) of the FOI Law. The Applicant also claimed that further responsive records must be held.

In Decision 31 the Information Commissioner upheld the decision of the DCFS to withhold personal information of third parties, but ordered the Applicant be provided with other redacted information.

The Commissioner determined that with respect to the records claimed by the Applicant to have been withheld, the DCFS had provided such records as exist which are responsive to the request.

For full details the public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 31.

 
ICO Decision 33 involving CINICO released Print E-mail

Information Commissioner Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert issued Decision 33 under the Freedom of Information Law, 2007 on 31 July 2013.

An Applicant was refused access by the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company (CINICO) to part of the CINICO Board minutes of 30 January 2013.

The Information Commissioner overturned the decision of the Principal Officer of CINICO to withhold a part of the responsive record under sections 21(1)(a)(ii) and (b) of The Freedom of Information Law, 2007 and required that the record be disclosed in full. She also found an egregious and willful failure of CINICO to comply with various obligations under the Law, and ordered a number of remedial actions which are set out in detail in Section F of the Decision.

The public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 33

 
ICO Decision 30 Issued Print E-mail

Information Commissioner issues Decision 30 involving CINICO

 Information Commissioner Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert issued Decision 30 under the Freedom of Information Law, 2007 on 12 June 2013. 

 An Applicant was refused access by the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company (CINICO) to the annual financial statements of CINICO for the financial year ended 30 June 2012.

 The Information Commissioner upheld the decision of CINICO that the release of the Unaudited Financial Statements, dated June 30, 2012 can be deferred under section 11(2)(b) of the Freedom of Information Law 2007, and did not require CINICO to disclose the record at this time.

 The public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 30-00113.

 

 
ICO 3rd Quarter Report released (Jan-March 2013) Print E-mail

The ICO 2012-2013 Third Quarter Report released. (Jan-March 2013)

 

 
Information Commissioner attends Regional FOI Conference, Kingston, Jamaica, 20-21 March 2013. Print E-mail

The Information Commissioner attended the Regional Conference on Freedom of Information in the Caribbean: Improving Management for the Environment, in Kingston, Jamaica, 20 & 21 March 2013.

 

Press release and group photo

 

 

 
International Survey of Information Commissioners Print E-mail

16 April 2013: The Cayman Islands Information Commissioner participated in an international survey of Information Commissioners carried out by the Centre for Freedom of Information.

Full press release - International Survey of Information Commissioners

Report - Survey Analysis Report

 
Information Commissioner issues Decision 30 Print E-mail

Information Commissioner Mrs. Jennifer Dilbert issued Decision 30 under the Freedom of Information Law, 2007  on 12 June 2013.

 An Applicant was refused access by the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company (CINICO) to the annual financial statements of CINICO for the financial year ended 30 June 2012.

The Information Commissioner upheld the decision of CINICO that the release of the Unaudited Financial Statements, dated June 30, 2012 can be deferred under section 11(2)(b) of the Freedom of Information Law 2007, and did not require CINICO to disclose the record at this time.

The public is encouraged to read the full text of Decision 30-00113 which can be found on the ICO website at www.infocomm.ky/appeals

 

 

 
Decision 29 issued. DOT ordered to release records. Print E-mail

The Information Commissioner issued Decision 29 under the Freedom of Information Law, 2007 on Thursday 11 April 2013. 

An Applicant was refused full access to documents relating to expenditure on entertainment for Department of Tourism events.

The Information Commissioner overturned the decision of the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Tourism and Development to withhold parts of the responsive records under section 21(1)(b) of The Freedom of Information Law, 2007 and required that the records be disclosed in full.

 

ICO Decision 29-02312

 
Information Commissioner meets with Elections 2013 Candidates Print E-mail

Information Commissioner, Jennifer Dilbert, meets with Elections 2013 Candidates, to view the press release click here.

 
Employment Vacancy Print E-mail

The Information Commissioner invites appplications for the post of Senior Appeals & Policy Analyst, for more information click here.

You may also visit our About us page to download the job description and application form.

 
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