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What are the basic rules on provision of documents?
Members of the public can get most government documents regardless of the year that they were created. However, the Law also explains that while the public has a general right to documents, certain information is exempt because of a need to protect the interests of everyone in the Cayman Islands. These protections include rights to confidentiality regarding personal information, certain commercial data, and where national security may be endangered. However, when a document with protected information is requested, the agency may copy the document, extract the protected parts, and give it to you.
How will access to documents change the way government is run?
When freedom of information is guaranteed, it makes government more accountable and transparent. It also ensures public participation in national decisions. It gives you the power to know, and an informed and involved public is the cornerstone of democracy.
Is there going to be a lot of red-tape?
The Law sets out rules on the provision of information and charges public agencies with the responsibility of getting you the information you need quickly:
  • Government agencies will have to provide the information in 30 calendar days, and can only add another 30 days in special cases.
  • When asking for a document, you do not have to provide any reason for wanting it and your request may be made by letter or email, though not by telephone.
  • Government agencies must help you find what you need and if they can not help, they must transfer the request to the relevant agency within 14 days and let you know.
  • Although you might have to pay a fee for the documents, this fee must be reasonable.
How will I know where to go to get specific information?
A list of public authorities and their functions will be available on both the FOI website and the website. The FOI Law requires that every public authority must publish in the Official Gazette a description of its area of work, a list of its opening hours, title and business address of the principal officer, along with information on its rules, guidelines, practices and relevant precedents within one year of the law being brought into force. These must be made available to the public for inspection or purchase. This information must be published in the Gazette every 12 months. E-based publication schemes will be created during the period of implementation.