On-air bust-up sparks security review

MLA Ellio Solomon barges into radio studio

Hurley’s Entertainment, the owner of local radio station Rooster 101.9, is reviewing security procedures following what it described as an ‘unplanned interruption’ during its Wednesday morning talk show programme.

The interruption occurred when former talk show host and current George Town MLA Ellio Solomon entered the studio uninvited to challenge statements being made by former education minster and now-opposition MLA Alden McLaughlin regarding the government’s construction of two new public high schools.

Mr. Solomon entered the studio while the programme was on-air Wednesday morning.

Show host Austin Harris was asking a series of questions to Mr. McLaughlin about the on-going schools construction project, which has been the subject of dispute for several months.

Mr. Solomon indicated he was upset about claims a relative of his had benefited from the project. Mr. Solomon said those allegations were not true.

Calling the on-air bust up an ‘unfortunate event,’ Managing Director Randy Merren said new security measures would be put in place as soon as possible.

‘The incident brought to light that we, as a company, need to review out security in order to ensure that neither our invited guests nor the hosts are confronted by any unplanned interruption,’ Mr. Merren said.

Both show hosts, Mr. Harris and former MLA Gilbert McLean, said they had been caught off guard by Mr. Solomon’s sudden entrance to the on-air studio.

‘There was little that could be done to stop what took place on Cayman Crosstalk (the name of the morning show),’ Mr. Harris said, adding that he would like to apologise to Mr. McLaughlin for the incident.

However, Mr. Harris also opined that both men should have been more circumspect.

‘The statements and subsequent allegations were made by two sitting members of the Legislative Assembly who should know better really and should be expected to conduct themselves with the decorum and mutual respect their positions…would normally require,’ Mr. Harris said.

Mr. McLaughlin said he wasn’t sure why Mr. Solomon couldn’t have simply called or e-mailed a response to the show hosts, instead of ‘barging into the studio.’

‘He abused the relationship he enjoys with Hurley’s Entertainment,’ Mr. McLaughlin said.

Mr. Solomon responded with the following statement: ‘MLA Alden McLaughlin made statements on Cayman Crosstalk about me that were false and arguably defamatory. Upon my arrival to the studios, and in consistency with the expressed desires of Crosstalk to allow both sides to air their positions, the host activated my mic and I was allowed to question Mr. McLaughlin on those statements.

‘After questioning, Alden accepted that the statements he made were false, and apologised profusely. I accepted his apology, and the issue is now behind us.’