28 September 2021 | News

PRESS RELEASE - FOI: It’s yours, just ask!

Since the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in the Cayman Islands, the government has received more than 6,500 open records requests – and has disclosed public information in roughly half of those cases.

In 2020, some of those disclosures included information on duty concessions, Labour Tribunal and Appeals Tribunal decisions, land survey files, records concerning residency and employment rights certificates for same-sex couples, exam results, the cost of John Gray High, government’s compliance with the National Pension Act, and more.   

The Office of the Ombudsman believes there is reason to celebrate as we mark International Right to Know Day this Tuesday, 28 September. The FOI Act took effect in Cayman on 5 January 2009, granting individuals the legal right to request information held by public sector entities.

Since then, hundreds of FOI requests have been made each year leading to hundreds of disclosures of public records – either in full or in part. Last year as the nation grappled with the pandemic we saw the lowest number of open records requests since the Act came into effect, with 230 FOI requests made of which 61% were disclosed in full or in part.

“As time has gone on, we believe more and more government agencies are making information available to the public proactively, reducing the need for FOI requests,” said Ombudsman Sandy Hermiston. “This was one of the original goals set out in enacting right-to-know legislation more than a decade ago.”

Making an FOI request does not guarantee that the records sought will be disclosed if they fall under one of the Act’s exemptions. In just under 40% of requests made last year, exemptions were claimed or another reason was applied to deny access. In general, the FOI Act ensures that requests must receive a government response within 30 days.

“Request handling times have remained stable since last year, but many previous years saw quicker responses from the government”, said Deputy Ombudsman Jan Liebaers. “We are looking forward to improvements being made to the government’s FOI tracking system, which should give us more specific data next year”.

For more information about FOI in the Cayman Islands, please see the report attached to this press release, and our website: https://ombudsman.ky/foi. Individuals wishing to appeal FOI decisions to the Ombudsman may contact our office at 946-6283 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.