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Published 20th March 2009, 1:21pm

Jennifer Dilbert, Caymanís first Information Commissioner, today issued a set of policies and procedures advising members of the public and public authorities how she intends to be guided in exercising her duties and authorities under the Freedom of Information Law (2007) which came into force on January 5, 2009.

"I hope, through these policies and procedures to provide, for all Cayman, certainty, transparency and efficiency in the dispute resolution and appeal processes" she stated.

The Information Commissioner is responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the Freedom of Information Law by over eighty public authorities. That law gives the public the right to request records in the custody or control of a public authority, and requires that authority to provide the record within 30 days, unless one of the limited exceptions 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.

For all types of appeals, the Information Commissionerís overriding policy will be to seek a mediated resolution of the appeal between the parties, without having to resolve the matter through a formal hearing. "I intend to actively seek mediated resolutions as part of the process," the Commissioner stated. With mediation, both parties maintain more control over the outcome and it is more efficient. This takes into consideration the fact that the learning curve for public authorities about their new responsibilities is steep, and the understanding of the public will take some time to mature."

The public is invited to submit any comments on the interim guidelines to the Information Commissionerís Office at the below address by the end of March 2009.

Jennifer P Dilbert MBE JP, Information Commissioner for the Cayman Islands
Information Commissioner's Office, 1st Floor, Cayman Corporate Centre, 27 Hospital Road
PO Box 10727, Grand Cayman††KY1-1007, CAYMAN ISLANDS
Telephone: +1 345 244 3619 | email: appeals@ico.gov.ky