Premier hits out at FOI, press

Insisting that the Cayman Islands remain a democratic country with a free
press, Premier McKeeva Bush announced Thursday afternoon his intention to
implement hefty new business fees on various media publications.

Mr. Bush also took a swipe at the
country’s fledgling Freedom of Information Law, following a request by a media
organisation for his travel records since taking office in May 2009.

“The FOI Law, while purporting to
ensure transparency and accountability, costs the country a lot,” Mr. Bush
said. “Requests can literally come from Mickey Mouse. And they call this
progress.”

At a press conference held Thursday
afternoon, Mr. Bush ran through his travel schedule for each month from June
2009 onward.

“Tell me what good is this
question? Everyone knows that I have to travel.”

Mr. Bush said he felt that
individuals making open records requests should at least have to state why they
wanted such information or to what use it would be put. Currently, the FOI Law
makes it illegal for government entities to ask those questions of requesters.

The Premier said that he believed
he started out his term having a good relationship with the country’s press,
but he said recent comments on “the blogs” and “the so-called Net News”
(referring to a local newspaper) were doing the country no good.

“I know as the press, you have a
duty to say things are happening,” Mr. Bush said. “You don’t have a duty to
pound away on people when it’s a personal matter.”

Although no specifics of the plan
were given, Mr. Bush said he intended that news-related businesses, “blogs and
such,” would have to pay a “good, good fee” to operate in the country. It was
believed the fee was to apply to internet-based news services, but the Premier
did not specifically use those words.

He said newspapers printed overseas
for local distribution would also have to pay a “good, good fee”.

“I’m not talking about a $5,000
fee,” he said. “I’m talking over $100,000,” Mr. Bush said, adding that
non-payment of the fees could lead to fines or even jail time.  

Read more on this story in next
week’s editions of the Caymanian Compass…

 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, you now officially have a dictatorship in the Cayman Islands.

    You can not control the media Mr. Bush, the media is free. The only way you can control it is to limit the internet access and literally cut off the island.

    I hope the media bands together and calls his bluff on this one. In fact, maybe I am overseas now, how are you going to impose fines on my blog and my reporting of happenings in the Cayman Islands. Oh wait, you can’t!

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  2. If accounting is doing their job correctly, travel by government officials on government business should be a point, a click and a print. If it is not so, it should be so.. There is no doubt; Cayman will remain a democratic country with a free press.. What else, a dictatorship with state media?.

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  3. Am i reading this wrong or is McKeeva calling for censorship of the press? Ths sounds an awful lot like fascism… This could be the proverbial straw for me.

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  4. Well? There it is!! Our illustrious premier has sharpened his fangs and taken a deadly bite into the jugular vein of democracy in the Cayman Islands. Once the democracy has been drained of life we will be left with his communist dictatorship. What must be done to stop him? Are we really helpless to prevent this?

    He is angry that the people want to know how much he has spent on travel. I think this is a reasonable question Mr. Bush. You are angry because you know that this informatin will empower us with hard facts that you are simply on a 4 year long play-cation. You insist that you will now silence us from our freedom to express ourselves on the net and there fore you will now implement "goog,good fees" in order to try to prevent us from having such a forum. Oh I almost forgot the possible jail time. Yep that is communism to the letter.

    You Mr. Bush are a disgrace to this country and I personally dont care how much you rant. You can never silence the people of these islands from saying what we think of you. My only hope is the the UK government will catch on to this brazen move and strip you of your power and titles and force you into exile. Possibly somewhere like Haiti where dictatorship is still a way of government. Oh and you can probably get turtle meat there cheaper.

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  5. False Reporting – I think that is what the Premier was talking about. But as for the bloggs, I think that is opinion and the Premier shouldn’t attack people’s opinion

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  6. This man is an embarrassment. I can’t believe that we’re sending him on trips abroad to represent this country. I have to wonder whether he will outlaw editorials from the press. I guess we’re not allowed to have an opinion and especially not allowed to print it for the general public to read it. Maybe the trip to Cuba was to get some pointers on how best to run a communist country?

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  7. All I can say I now fully understand why my comment regarding the Premier’s utter dislike for the ex- auditor general who in my opinion is man among men was not published here online, this Premier is an embarrassment to the intelligence of Caymanians, something has to be done about this dictator like behavior and fast!!!

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  8. All I can say under Mr. Bush leadership which has the appearance of dictatorship moves we’re all up the creek without a paddle.

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  9. What is it going to take for this country to see that he is going to be the ruination of the country if we don’t stand up and say no you can’t do this and we will not stand for this. First it will be free press, then comes free speech, next thing you know we will be prisoners in our own countries, sad to say but I am glad that I have dual citizenship.

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  10. We are fix betwix two beast:

    The Premier McKeeva Bush and the fearful beast of the UK with their colonial mentality, taking over this island and our inidividual rights like it did to the Turks and Caicos Islanders all in the name of corruption. The take over was done without their consent and their corrupted Premier Misick, gave the UK grounds to come in and take over their financial records. NOW CAYMAN… DO WE WANT THE SAME TO HAPPEN TO US???

    All I have to say – we better do something about the Premier fast or things will become worse for us! We do not need a dictator here and we do not need British Rule undermining who we are as a people!

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