Ellio wants protest rules

George Town Member of the Legislative Assembly and former radio talk show presenter Ellio Solomon has quizzed police chief David Baines of whether protesters at a public meeting in Bodden Town had police permission to demonstrate. 

Commissioner of Police Mr. Baines told Mr. Solomon that the demonstrators, who held placards and shouted slogans during the meeting on Thursday, 8 March, had not filed an application to hold a demonstration. 

However, the police commissioner said police officers who were present at the meeting did not see any behaviour that would have led them to make arrests or detain any of the protesters. 

The meeting, called by the UDP government to discuss the proposed development of a waste facility in Bodden Town, attracted dozens of protesters opposed to the project. They stood at the back of the parking lot at the post office where the meeting was held, holding placards reading “Don’t dump on Bodden Town” and “Keep Bodden Town dump free”. 

Insisting he had no issue with anyone holding demonstrations, Mr. Solomon described the protest as a “worrying development”. 

He described himself as being “first in that race to make sure people could express themselves”, but wanted to raise the issue because there was likely to be further public meetings and corresponding protests. 

“I’m not lodging a specific complaint here,” Mr. Solomon told Mr. Baines at a Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, 13 March. “I’m just raising the issue, because what we had … was an organised demonstration and my understanding is that the law of the Cayman Islands says if I organise a demonstration, I have to seek permission for that.” 

Mr. Solomon added: “There were a significantly large number of persons. There was a lot of shouting and screaming, to me almost an attempt to try to make sure you couldn’t hear the speakers on the platform. Then there seemed to have been almost arguably a growing friction between those who came … in support and those who came against.” 

He called for a policy to be set on how to deal with such demonstrations in the future.  

“Let us not be able to say a month or a year from now that it has not been raised as something that should have been considered,” he said. 

Mr. Baines responded: “You will be well aware that people as an individual can stop and pronounce and exercise their democratic right to protest, but it’s not deemed to be a procession.” 

The police chief said that under existing legislation, processions or demonstrations in public places require applications to be filed with the Commissioner of Police if they could potentially disrupt traffic, block roads or breach the peace or public order. 

“There is general legislation which is about breach of the peace and public order, but that does not go against democratic society’s right to protest,” the police commissioner said. 

He said police could take action to maintain peace in the event of a demonstration turning violent, if rocks or punches were thrown, or if demonstrators shouted foul language. 

Ellio Solomon

George Town Member of the Legislative Assembly and former radio talk show presenter Ellio Solomon has quizzed police chief David Baines of whether protesters at a public meeting in Bodden Town had police permission to demonstrate.
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7 COMMENTS

  1. The way the opposition and independent express their disapproval of decisions made by the to the current government is easily adding to and creating a divided society in Cayman and the angry emotions shown by these politicians passes on to the people and will eventually lead to violence if not checked. All it will take is one person to act up and things will get out of hand. I’ve watched some of these guys on the News and listened to them on radio stations and sometimes I think that they would like to see people at each other’s throats. You can see the anger in their conversations. A finely tuned opposition would offer viable alternatives to the current government not just bash them at every moment without offering any better ideas.

    I just can’t wait to see what happens after the next election, if these guys are in charge. They are against everything the current government is trying to do but I haven’t noticed them once say what they would do or offer any realistic alternatives. Yeah they say why move the dump remediate it in Georgetown, Great idea but do they say how it will be paid for.

    Can’t wait to see what they have to offer, hopefully it’s more than just talk.

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  2. Let us not be able to say a month or a year from now that it has not been raised as something that should have been considered, he said.

    Mr. Solomon what are you saying here. Be aware it is politician who usually plant the seed of discontent and fan the flames of passionate position.

    The two party system is something your team brought to this island I am sure you have studied it and are proactive in its evolution and preparing for the expected.

    Lest we forget who this structure emulate, and their state of political rivalry, this warning seem a timely extract from a scholar’s hand book masterfully presented as a prelude to what? we will have to wait and see..

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  3. Mr. Solomon wants to stifle public discussion all because it’s aimed at him. This guy is unbelievable being a radio announcer and all that. It seems he can’t take the heat after getting in the kitchen of politics in which he so desperately wanted. This is the same man that has criticized two governments with a political blog and from behind the mike of a radio show. How times have changed, from the country’s number one voice of challenge to the nation’s number one hypocrite.

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  4. If you went to Google and typed the word Protests in the search bar… your screen would be instantly flooded with photographs of people all over the world protesting. Regardless of the country the photos were taken in, in a truly free country the protesters are only exercising their freedom of speech. If you look further on, you might see anti-government, anti-religion, anti-war, anti-gay, and anti-abortion protests, and all the protests from the other side of the argument… Some of the protests might even be offending to you, most are to me… but isn’t this freedom of speech? Bet your ass it is!

    Do you want true democracy? The more I read the Cayman Islands’ constitution, the more I see three islands that want to be free, but are wrapped in the inescapable cloth that is socialism.

    In the Cayman Islands Constitution says The Cayman Islands are and should be :

    A caring community based on mutual respect for all individuals and their basic human rights.
    A country committed to the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
    A community that practices honest and open dialogue to ensure mutual understanding and social harmony.

    Ha ha ha… Okay….

    It also says The Cayman Islands are and should be:

    A safe, secure and law-abiding community.
    A country that is free from crime and drug abuse.

    Further reading on the Constitution says, A God-fearing country based on traditional Christian values. Okay good…. Wait a minute… Then it says, Except with his or her consent or, in the case of a minor, the consent of his or her parent or guardian, no person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance that relates to a religion other than his or her own. Oh come on people! Pick a side and stay on that side!

    Anyways back to the topic at hand…. Freedom of speech.

    The Cayman Islands Constitution says:

    In regards to Expression:

    1)No person shall be hindered by government in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of expression, which includes freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference, and freedom from interference with his or her correspondence or other means of communication.
    2)Nothing in any law or done under its authority shall be held to contravene this section to the extent that it is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society
    a)in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;
    b)for the purpose of protecting the rights, reputations and freedoms of other persons or the private lives of persons concerned in legal proceedings, preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, maintaining the authority and independence of the courts, or regulating telecommunications, posts, broadcasting or other means of communication, or public shows or entertainments; or
    c)for the imposition of restrictions on public officers in the interests of the proper performance of their functions.

    In regards to Assembly and Association:

    1)No person shall be hindered by government in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of peaceful assembly and association, that is to say, his or her right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to political parties or to form or belong to trade unions or other associations for the protection of his or her interests.
    2)Nothing in any law or done under its authority shall be held to contravene this section to the extent that it is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society
    a)in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health;
    b)for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons;
    c)for the imposition of restrictions on public officers in the interests of the proper performance of their functions.

    So, I can express myself openly, but not if I offend someone? Yes, that is exactly what it is saying. Oh, that doesn’t sound very free at all. So I can protest I just cant offend… How is that freedom of speech? I want to protest to get my aggrieved point across to the people I am protesting! I don’t care about their feelings, I just want the problem fixed! Oh… wait a minute… This is how the Government stops you from protesting their operations. Thank you MLA Elio Solomon for doing just that when you went to the Police Commissioner and asked if the protests were legal!

    Just for comparison sake the US constitution says this about freedom of speech, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. That is freedom of speech!

    Speak your mind and live free, it’s your God given human right!

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  5. Heaven forbid that the UDP will be the CI Government to implemenT this impending Bill of Rights, due in Nov.

    McKeeva Bush one can live with as the dinasour that he is, his time is passing very quickly but…

    Is this an example of Cayman’s new, younger breed of politician ?!

    Pleeaasseee….say it aint so!

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  6. Democracy..mmm..I wonder!!
    Beginning to sound like our neighbours just to the north of us!!
    We better speak up, ‘n’ keep speaking up. You see what they will try, man!

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  7. Last I saw, it was actually the protesters who tried to make sure no one else could get a word in and attempted to drown out anyone from speaking.

    then they have the gall to complain about THEIR free speech? Free speech works in both direction as they clearly had no respect for anyone else’s free speech. What I saw in bodden town was simply disgusting, disrespectful and uncivilized behaviour.

    That protest in Bodden Town was a hate filled obstruction campaign without concert for fact, other people’s positions or discussion.

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