The issue may no longer be on the radar screens of many
readers, but this newspaper carried a story Friday detailing the local Human Rights Commission’s findings regarding the now infamous dispute that occurred
between this publication and certain members of the Cayman Islands Legislative
Assembly on 9 December, 2010, regarding an article and an editorial written
about the government’s review of the FOI Law.
The dispute, you may remember, ended in one of our reporters
being expelled from the Legislative Assembly and calls for this newspaper to
The HRC’s finding in this case is what it is. The
commission, we believe, has sought to strike a balance in determining the
rights to freedom of expression and parliamentary privilege. It has spoken with
skill in a hard place and it did eventually meet with members of this
newspaper’s staff to discuss the situation – something local lawmakers did not
do before taking up the “motion to prosecute”.
Not to demean the work of the commission in any way, but we
believe there has been an injustice done to this publication with regard to
this situation as well as the reporter who wrote the news story that was
apparently so shocking it required calls for criminal prosecution.
The HRC has not addressed this issue.
Outside the legally protected confines of the Legislative
Assembly, both on a local radio station and a website publication, a member of
the assembly made separate accusations of law-breaking against the newspaper
and its reporter.
After reviews of the matter by the attorney general and the
Human Rights Commission, it seems that no legal authority has ever claimed the
report or the editorial published in the Caymanian Compass represented a
“gross, wilful or scandalous misrepresentation of parliamentary or committee
proceedings”. This is what is required by the law to determine alleged
illegality. We believe all people, not just newspapers or journalists, should
be held accountable for their statements.