IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Premier King probably thinks that he can just keep talking about COVID-19 and carry on ignoring his obligation to ensure that he and his government abide by the provisions of the law enshrined in our Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPP) Act. He may believe the issue will eventually be forgotten and just go away. He’d be wrong about that.
If Islanders only knew how utterly total the culture of coverup and collusion is within this government with records they’d be shocked. Especially, I suspect, with people like me trying to expose corruption and reveal the truth about scandals.
It’s not just one or two people in government. It’s not just one or two departments within government. It’s not just the Access and Privacy Services Office (APSO). It’s all of these and more. This camouflage culture is pervasive, even encircling and swallowing the all-party Special Legislative Committee on Government Records Retention that was charged with the mandate of discovering who destroyed government records, as a result of the findings and Order of the former Privacy Commissioner, Karen Rose, who found that Brad Mix’s records had been deliberately deleted.
Well, I have just started that same process that took nearly 2 years with Brad Mix with former Premier Robert Ghiz.
I’ve been repeatedly told by the Premier’s office and APSO workers that Ghiz’s records were all kept in tact. I have reason to believe otherwise.
I suspect you’ll soon (maybe not too soon) be hearing about “gaps” in Robert Ghiz’s records, just like we all learned about the deliberately-destroyed records of Brad Mix – but that information only came like juice from a frozen lemon, after a long, slow 2-year squeeze.
It’s clear that the Special Committee on Records Retention will not achieve its principal objective as mandated in the Motion: to find the “document destroyer(s)” within government. No, that vehicle took a sharp right-turn detour mid-way through the process.
Rather than inviting Robert Ghiz and Neil Stewart – the two people who signed those deletion Forms sent to Information Technology and Shared Services resulting in the razing of all electronic files (we still don’t know “who” “how” or exactly “when” [I think we know “why”] they were destroyed. Nor do we know anything about the deletion (shredding?) of the PAPER records of LeClair (Ghiz) and MacEachern (Stewart).
We do know that neither Neil Stewart nor Robert Ghiz backed up any of those electronic files and emails, as they were required to do by law before instructing ITSS to destroy them. No one in government – nor anyone in our judicial system – seems to think that deserves some attention – that there was anything apparently wrong with that.
I finally received a letter yesterday – what the APSO people refer to as a “response letter” – on a FOI request for Ghiz records. I had submitted that request mostly trying to answer the key question for which I’ve been unable to get an answer for over two years (an answer in the form of a visible confirmation or “proof” of an actual government record belonging to Robert Ghiz).
This FOI request was for records that were either “…sent, received, copied to or even MENTIONED then Clerk of Executive Council (Rory Beck).”
Beck had all of his records deleted by Premier Ghiz’s office as well as Chris LeClair, and no, they weren’t backed-up first if you’re wondering. I figured if Ghiz records exist at all, I’d easily find records mentioning his Clerk of Executive Council, Rory Beck. I went very broad – asking for any mention of Rory Beck in Ghiz’s records for the ENTIRE 6 MONTHS prior to his sudden passing.
I received a response from Premier King’s office yesterday. Like one I received with a previous Ghiz FOI request last year, and like the response to a Ghiz FOI request submitted in 2014 by Private Investigator Bruce MacDonald ; or like the response Paul Maines received for a Ghiz FOIPP…..all received the identical response: NO RECORDS FOUND.
Given the unbelievably-wide net that I had cast with this last request for Ghiz records there should have been multiple records for each work day – there were NO records for 6 months. That’s as close as I can get to proving Ghiz’s records were deleted (or that if they exist somewhere, the Premier’s Office is lying to me (again) and keeping them from me.
I’m not letting them away with this anymore…they just can’t tell me that there are no records again and again and again and expect me to say “O.K., thanks for looking” and go away. They have already cost me a tremendous amount of lost time and income with those lies, and by breaking the law, frustrating my work pretty-much ruined prospects of a book deal…they won’t give me the information and records I need to finish my work!
I’ve already generated roughly 2,000 pages of research and notes in dozens of published articles. That work is the basis for and means by which I was to pull the findings of all my research together into an actual book. I can’t finish that project because records are being illegally withheld from me and I can’t get confirmatory information about the status of government records.
I sent the following letter to our new Information and Privacy Commissioner, Denise Dorion this morning. It maps out the basis for my request asking her to commence an investigation to answer the question whether there are any records in Robert Ghiz’s email and office record archives.
The letter is self-explanatory, providing background information on my and other’s previous efforts to obtain records from PEI’s Ghiznyland Document-Storage Amusement Park.
I’m no longer finding playing in that park to be much fun or one-bit amusing.