A Twitter account that touched off a firestorm of controversy on the Cayman Islands by parodying Premier McKeeva Bush is back in action after a several month layoff.
The account was last used on 1 April until a post on 19 August declared: “The boss is back in town. Been keeping quit [sic] but no more, all this moaning from the opposition party is just petty.”
Then the next tweet: “4 million can buy you a free passage to heaven, I got the manual.”
The Twitter account, operating under the name ‘McKeeva Bush 345’ and using an official photo of the Premier, is a parody and was clearly marked as such following an uproar over the account – which some feared might actually be interpreted as Mr. Bush making off-colour comments.
According to a spokesman for the Premier’s office in March, the Twitter account does not belong to Mr. Bush and is an “impersonation”.
The Twitter account – which in March contained a “bio” that read in part: “I’m from West Bay aka Republic/Gazza. That means ‘me alone run tings’, if you don’t know then you’d better ask somebody”.
The heading of the site now reads: “Premier of the Cayman Islands. That means, I call the shots! The Premier is watching, are you?”
“The Premier does not and has never had a Twitter account,” read the earlier statement by Mr. Bush’s press secretary Charles Glidden. “An impersonation complaint was filed with Twitter which acknowledged the complaint.”
Impersonation accounts are against Twitter’s rules. It is a violation to pretend to be another person with the intent to deceive on Twitter. However, the company’s policy also states: “Twitter users are allowed to create parody, commentary or fan accounts. Accounts with a clear intent to confuse or mislead may be permanently suspended.”
Mr. Glidden’s statement in March indicated that government intended to consider legislation that addresses the “misuse of the Internet to the detriment and defamation of others”.
Such legislation would not block Cayman Islands Internet connections, the statement claimed. No such draft legislation has been brought to the Legislative Assembly since March.
What Cayman Islands law says about Internet “impersonation” isn’t precisely clear. Mark Connors with the Information and Communications Technology Authority said the entity may have little power to regulate the issue in any case.
“The ICTA can’t impose rules on Twitter or any US or Canadian website,” Mr. Connors in response to Caymanian Compass questions earlier in the year. .
Section 90 of the ICTA Law (2006 Revision) states: “Whoever knowingly uses an ICT network or service to defraud, abuse, annoy, threaten or harass any other person is guilty of an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for one year, or, on conviction on indictment, a fine of $20,000 and to imprisonment for two years.” In such a case, the local court can restrain someone convicted of this offence from using ICT services.
However, Mr. Connors said he couldn’t comment on whether any section of the ICT law would apply, and it certainly would not apply if the person used a network outside the Cayman Islands.
The Cayman Islands Penal Code (2007 Revision) also makes it an offence to “personate” any person employed in the public service “on occasion when the latter is required to do any act or attend in any place by virtue of his employment or who falsely represents himself to be a person employed in the public service and assumes to do an act or attend in any place for the purpose of doing any act by virtue of such employment”.
Again, it was unclear whether posting messages on the Twitter account has any application to that section of the Penal Code.