13 November 2019 | News from the O

Ombudsman Issues Hearing Decision 74


The Ombudsman issues Hearing Decision 74, involving the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport 

An applicant made a request for access under the Freedom of Information Law (FOI Law) to two letters of intent between the government and two cruise lines in relation to a procurement exercise for a cruise berthing facility in George Town.

The Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport argued that the procurement process is still ongoing, and disclosure would prejudice the commercial interests of the cruise lines and the Cayman Islands government (section 21(1)(b)) of the FOI Law, the effective conduct of public affairs (section 20(1)(d)) and would constitute an actionable breach of confidence (section 17(b)(i)).

The Ombudsman considered whether the letters of intent were exempted and found that in accordance with section 21(1)(b) that it would prejudice the commercial interests of the parties and that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the responsive records while the negotiations relating to cruise berthing continue.

The Ombudsman appreciates the public’s concern about this particular project and urges the Ministry to ensure the process is as transparent as possible. However, the FOI Law exempts these types of records from disclosure while the procurement process remains ongoing.

The Ministry has assured the Ombudsman that there will be further disclosure once the process is complete. In the event the Ministry fails to make further disclosures, the Freedom of Information process is available to the Applicant.

The decision can be found here