Editorial for 19 December: Speaker thwarts press again

The relationship between Cayman Free Press and Speaker of
the House Mary Lawrence has been strained ever since she decreed that one of
our journalists “defamed the integrity of the country’s Legislative Assembly
and the integrity of its honourable members by deliberately planting in the
minds of the public the idea that persons they have chosen to represent them
are not worthy of their trust and respect…” and then banned that journalist
from covering assembly meetings unless he and the Caymanian Compass apologised.

Her statement came after the journalist called a closed-door
government subcommittee’s review of the Freedom of Information Law that was not
announced to the public until the reporter’s article ‘secret’. No one,
including Cayman’s attorney general, ever established that anyone was defamed
by our reporter’s article, but it is interesting to note, given recent
happenings, that the members of the legislature have done a pretty good job of
proving they are not worthy of the public’s trust and respect all by
themselves.

In her apparent mission to intimidate the media in general
and particularly Cayman Free Press, Mrs. Lawrence has also ordered that one of
our female reporter’s Capri pants be measured for length in front of others in
the gallery; has taken away the right for reporters to use most of the
Legislative Assembly’s parking; and has announced that the reason some
reporters no longer attend Legislative Assembly meetings – and we have to
believe she was referring to us since we no longer do – is because they want to
sit in more comfortable chairs.

Yesterday, Mrs. Lawrence threw another dart our way when she
refused to let Cayman Free Press video the historic House proceedings, even though
she allowed another media house to do so.

We would have thought Mrs. Lawrence wouldn’t have taken such
an antagonistic approach with any of the media in her time as speaker, but she
continues to try to intimidate us. We only hope that whoever takes over the
government can see the damage Mrs. Lawrence is causing to government
transparency and removes her from her position, if not now then after the next
general elections.

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps someone ought to inform the speaker that section 11 of the Constitution exists and that it can be enforced through the courts in respect of anyone exceeding their lawful authority.

    Editor’s note: Or how about section 16 or section 19? Take your pick.

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  2. I think the newly appointed administration has the chance to mend fences with the press and the people by starting a new age or openness that the previous premier did not have.

    This means freedom of the press. Of all the press!!

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  3. The speaker also singled out and threatened to have a Reuters correspondent removed for taking photos from the gallery as well and afterward demanded to inspect the photographers photos despite the fact that all the media houses were taking photos.

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