Freedom of Information Act on the Cayman Islands

The passage of the FOI 2007 arises against the trend of civil servants to keep Government business secret due to the fear of losing their jobs or a promotion due to putting out wrong information in public. (Fuller, 2008). The Freedom of Information Act of 2007 seeks to achieve a balance between the citizen’s right to know and the obligation of the Government to preserve the confidentiality of certain kinds of information. The major objectives of the Law are set out under Part I, Section 4 are to give effect to the “fundamental principles underlying the system of constitutional democracy, namely

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(a)governmental accountability
(b) transparency. and
(c) public participation in national decision making” by allowing the public to participate in national decisions through granting them a “general right of access to records held by public authorities”, subject to certain exemptions.1

In essence, the Law seeks to grant citizens the legal right to inspect or copy official documents in the possession of Government authorities. Members of the public can also ask for their personal information to be changed and the Act allows citizens legal grounds to appeal if access to a record is either not granted or not granted in time. This Law specifically applies to Public authorities, which as defined under the Act, also includes government ministries, portfolios, statutory bodies and government companies2. The scope of information as contained in government records includes “information held in any form”3 and it applies to all government records, irrespective of the date when they may have been created4.
One of the drawbacks in the law, however, is the failure to adequately define what exactly constitutes “public interest” or “access”.&nbsp.

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