Man ‘banned’ from talk show

A Jordanian man who has recently been making himself something of a celebrity on the local talk radio circuit told the Caymanian Compass on Friday that he’s been “banned” from appearing on one of the local talk-back programmes.

The man, Amjed Zureigat, said he was told by Cayman Crosstalk host Austin Harris during an appearance on last Thursday’s show that he would no longer be allowed to call into that programme.

“I consider this a sad time for freedom of expression and democracy in the Cayman Islands,” Mr. Zureigat said. “It’s very sad … that if you have a certain opinion, a certain radio station will not let you voice your opinion.”

Speaking with the Caymanian Compass on Friday, Mr. Harris – a long-time host of the show, along with co-host Gilbert McLean – said Mr. Zureigat’s comments about the Rooster morning talk show not letting him “voice his opinion” were not true. Mr. Harris acknowledged that Mr. Zureigat had been told he wouldn’t be allowed to call the show, but only after Mr. Harris said the Jordan native told the show hosts he would hold them liable if something happened because of public fallout from Mr. Zureigat’s appearances on the call-in programme.

Mr. Harris said he could not allow Rooster FM to be held liable in such a situation, so he told Mr. Zureigat not to call Crosstalk anymore.

“[Mr. Zureigat] has many ways to express himself in public,” Mr. Harris said. “He can call Talk Today [Radio Cayman’s afternoon talk-back programme], he can write on the blogs [referring to reader comment areas on several local news-related websites, including].”

Mr. Zureigat, who has been on Island six years and is married to a Caymanian, has often found himself in the press or the local media. In 2007, the Compass published an interview with him after he was assaulted behind a building downtown by perpetrators that appeared to be wearing high school uniforms. He lost his wallet and $500 that day, he said.

He has also made other claims of being attacked for various reasons and more recently said he was being threatened by certain individuals because of opinions he was stating on Crosstalk, in particular.

“I did issue a statement [on the radio Thursday] that, after the hate being promoted against me, because I view my opinion in the public radio station, the amount of hate being promoted against my opinion … it makes me concerned,” Mr. Zureigat told the Compass on Friday. “I did receive threats … by people who call in the radio station, by supporters of [a politician]. They issue disrespect to my family, they said racist comments.”

The Compass checked with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service regarding any threats alleged to have been made against Mr. Zureigat. Only one such incident has been reported. Ironically, it occurred just hours after Mr. Harris told Mr. Zureigat he could no longer call in to the talk show.

“Police responded to a report of a verbal altercation in Lawrence Boulevard shortly after 11am Thursday, 19 April, where it is alleged one male threatened another,” the police statement about the incident read. “Police enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”

No other earlier reports of threats or violence against Mr. Zureigat as a result of his talk show appearances have been made, police said.

Mr. Zureigat claimed that during Thursday’s incident, some men were taking cell phone camera pictures of him inside the Cafe Del Sol store and behaving in a threatening manner.

The Compass has contacted two of the three individuals involved in what police described as the “verbal altercation” on Lawrence Boulevard last Thursday. One declined to comment, another said he hadn’t taken anyone’s picture at the location. The two individuals are not being identified by the newspaper because they have not been charged with a crime.


  1. Mr. Zureigat has just learned a lesson in Democracy and Free-Speech:
    While You are free to voice your opinion,
    You are also free to suffer the consequences of doing so!

    Every privilege comes with a certain responsibility!

  2. And we’re does Mr Miller fit into this. Isn’t he the one who identified this Jordanian on Crosstalk. Did he not attempt to identify this individual as an obvious foreigner to prove his opinions and comments irrelavant. Sad state of affairs with representation like Miller, he’s a hateful man.

  3. That’s too bad. I enjoyed the Jordanians interruption of the boring, nonstop anti-foreigner trashing and boaster inputs from tedious callers with their usual gibberish. If the Jordanian made the same comments in a Caymanian accent and his last name was Bodden, Ebanks or Bush he would never have been banned. Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech should be one and the same.

  4. Here we go again. Just when I had this vision that we were moving in the direction of Democracy, another example appears and bites us in the butt! Freedom of speech is apparentlt a MYTH.

  5. I listen to this show quite regularly and have never heard an inappropriate comment from the so called Jordanian Ambassador. He is intelligent and cogent, though clearly supportive of the UDP. On the other hand, the hate and narrow mindedness of Mr. Miller in particular, and some of the geniuses who call the show on a regular basis is simply astounding.

    The hosts of that show are blind to reality by their own sense of righteousness. I was so disappointed in their treatment of the Jordanian, who clearly has more intelligence and tolerance than all of them combined.

    It is so enlightening to someone like me, who is considering whether or not to retire in this country. This issue certainly put me straight!

  6. It is obvious there is a political agenda on the Rooster talk show and disagreement is taken personally. The political bias there is crystal clear between politicians on air and political hopeful hosts.

  7. I had the ‘pleasure’ of dealing with Mr. Zureigat sometime last year. We both used to work for the same company. My experience with him surely made me think the threats he has been receiving are the work of Karma. What goes around – comes around.

  8. And this makes the newspapers because…..? The moment a Caymanian objects to someone who has very little knowledge of this country’s political background except since about 3 or 4 years ago, but yet finds that their opinions are more important than others and because he get’s whipped after Caymanians have taken enough of his rubbish and now it has back-lashed on him, it makes the news??

  9. Regarding Inahjoke’s comment: As of Tuesday afternoon this story is the most read this week on the website, see the tallies above on the right hand side of the page. We’re not sure if that meets Inahjoke’s definition of ‘news’, but people are sure interested in reading about it!

  10. and your point is The Press? Are you saying that the only read news in this country is one’s where the expats are given a hard time for being outspoken? If that be the case then tell me what is the value of your news then?? THere are people (Caymanians) in this country starving, unemployed, being put on the streets to survive, children without food, water or electricity in deplorable conditions, but yet your paper finds the time to engage this man whose voice is a complete nuisance to the majority.

  11. I am truly disappointed by all the hatefulness and unabashed racism erupting from this incident. My goodness! You all call yourselves good christians, however you display zero tolerance for anyone that isn’t born in this country or supports a different view than your own. In my home country, you would be treated with nothing less than respect, dignity and tolerance. And differences are celebrated, rather than stifled. Shame on you on! And for those who are going to be quick to respond to this post, that perhaps I should go back to my country, double shame on you for sentiments and archaic idealism that you are better than anyone else! I do not necessarily agree with the gentleman from the radio, but I do indeed support and agree with free speech in any public forum. Join the new global century and heed the warning that you are doing nothing less than dipicting yourself as foolish when all this information is available on the Internet…for ALL Eyes to see…

  12. The Press

    I agree with the statement you posted below:
    ‘It is always interesting how people support free speech or freedom of expression until someone says something they don’t agree with.’

    How many posters’ comments have been rejected and not printed due to an editor’s disagreement??!!

    Though, I do have to thank the Compass for NOT printing some of my ‘not so well thought out opinions’.
    At a 2nd, 3rd and even 4th read after I’ve submitted them, sometimes they don’t even make sense to me, let alone others (these being the unprinted ones).
    Once again, thank you for not allowing some of my foolish comments to be published.

    BUT, when my argument is solid and well stated, to myself and others, what ‘personal criteria’ is being used for rejection?

    I’m quite certain I’m not the only one asking this question and would like an explanation as to the decision making and the enforcement policies for non-printable material.

    I would like to know what your threshold of freedom of speech is.
    Thank you for letting me post this comment.

    Editor’s note:
    Although Cayman Free Press supports the idea that everyone is entitled to an opinion, freedom of speech does not necessarily mean our publications have an obligation to print that opinion. Cayman Free Press has standards concerning accuracy, responsibility and good taste for everything published in all of our products.
    In addition, different editors have different thresholds for rejecting comments. Sometimes it’s simply because the comment doesn’t make sense. Other times it’s because there’s something in it that we consider libelous or potentially libelous.

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