October 21, 2020

The Editor speaks: Deputy Governor says despite answering FOI requests a lot has been achieved

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colin headLocal lawyer Peter Polack has I believe made the most Freedom of Information Requests than anyone else in the Cayman Islands.

He is often ignored but this does not stop him asking again and again and again.

One such request that has produced zero involves the Justice of the Peace Regulations that following serious mistakes made by some JP’s was said to be under review.

A review was conducted by the Office of the Deputy Governor of the functions and processes of the Justices of the Peace but after two years the new regulations have not come into effect.

Polack outlined this failure and also pointed out that the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Chris Bryant, in his letter of the 28th September 2009, agreed to the Government’s borrowing request subject to a number of conditions. One of these conditions was:

“You commit to a review of the public service, focusing first on the major spending departments with a view to reporting emerging findings not later than January 2010″.

The word ‘failure’ must have hit a raw nerve with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson who hit back very quickly with a reply.

“Dear Mr Polack
Kindly note that over the past two years we have:-
Obtained Cabinet’s permission to amend the Summary Jurisdiction Law:
Drafted the amendment to the law
Obtained permission from the LA to introduce the changes to law
Drafted the JP regulations as part of the Summary Jurisdiction Law
Trained and consulted with JP’s on the proposed new regulations
We expect to have Cabinets approval of the JP regulations (this month)

“All of this was accomplished while completing other projects and responding
to other requests such as FOI’s etc. Given this, I cannot agree that all of this has been a failure.

“Best wishes, Franz Manderson Deputy Governor”.

This should help Tabitha Philander, Clerk of Court Information Manager, Judicial Administration. In her reply to whether the Justice of the Peace Regulations were in effect said, “As far as I am aware, the Regulations are not yet in effect, and I am on hold for notification of a date.”

Perhaps the Deputy Governor is actually implying that even more would have been achieved, and the Justice of the Peace Regulations may now have been in effect … if there were not so many FOI requests to deal with……..?

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