The correct impression, according to Speaker Lawrence, is that local reporters like to sit in the more “comfortable chairs” in the downstairs lounge of the LA and so were no longer choosing to sit in the upstairs gallery of the LA.
We must state for the record: That commentary from the Speaker is a mischaracterisation and indeed might tend to give the general public “the wrong impression”.
What is correct is the Caymanian Compass has boycotted the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly – again – because of a decision made by Madame Speaker that we feel – again – will restrict the operation of a free press in a supposedly democratic society; a decision made, we believe, with the unstated goal of intimidation and putting the media in its “proper place”.
What is correct is that other media organisations still attending the LA occasionally are sitting downstairs near lockers where their cell phones and other devices are kept, so as not to be cut off from communications in this modern 24-7 news environment. However, it is hard to hear lawmakers’ contributions to the debate from downstairs, and truly, reporters are spending less time in the LA than they previously did.
This is not to say the Caymanian Compass is no longer keeping up with the activities of government or local lawmakers; nothing could be further from the truth. We still vow to the readers we serve to be as vigilant and honest a defender of the public purse and public information as ever we have.
If we are simply not welcome to attend proceedings of the assembly, whether through direct order – as the Speaker tried late last year – or through rules intended to punish and belittle the free press, we will cover these matters in other ways. We hope now our readership will be left with the right impression.