May 28, 2023

Cayman Islands DOI working to address FOI delays

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GRAND CAYMAN (GIS) – The Cayman Islands Department of Immigration continues to work proactively to address delays in its Freedom of Information (FOI) process.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration has actioned a plan to mitigate the situation, by assigning two additional staff members from the Ministry to the FOI team who have extensive knowledge of the protocols and processes.

The delays have been mainly due to recent staff shortages caused by illness, early retirement of key personnel, as well as the duration of training necessary to on-board the new FOI manager and records officers.

Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Bruce Smith, said historically the DOI receives the largest number of FOI requests, and that the complexity, in terms of the amount of resources necessary to complete the requests, continues to increase.

Over the last 12 months (May 2017 – 2018), the DOI have received a total of 65 FOI requests, of which 52 have been addressed, leaving 13 to be finalised.

Mr. Smith explained that of the 13 requests only seven are currently overdue and the department is actively working to complete the requests to ensure openness, transparency and accountability under the Law.

“Requests under the Freedom of Information Law are one of our competing priorities and we shall not settle for what is satisfactory but strive to raise the standards in which this is managed,” he said.
The expanded FOI team is now working closely with the Office of the Ombudsman on all outstanding FOIs to process the delayed requests efficiently.

“I join the Acting CIO in apologising for the FOI delays, and I am confident that the team we have assembled will soon get the DOI’s FOI team to the point where we are responding to FOI requests in a timely and high quality manner,” Chief Officer for the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration, Wesley Howell concluded.

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