Editorial for 29 January: Making accusations is easy

We can hardly believe our ears, but it seems that North Side
MLA Ezzard Miller has taken to the public airwaves, once again, to accuse this
newspaper of committing crimes.

This time, it seems we are advertising liquor in a manner
that is “illegal”, he said.

It was to be hoped after his failed efforts to have one of
our reporters arrested and our organisation thrown out of parliament, bringing
international embarrassment upon the territory, Mr. Miller would have given up
this practice. However, it seems the long-time politician simply cannot help
himself.

We mention that Mr. Miller is a long-time politician because
he was among the members of the Legislative Assembly in 1986 to approve the law
that he is complaining about. Unfortunately, Mr. Miller appears not to have
understood the legislation he voted for in 1986.

The Intoxicating Liquor Advertising Law (1998 Revision)
clearly states that no advertisements for liquor shall be “broadcast” within
the Cayman Islands or shown in the cinema. According to the law, “broadcast”
means “a broadcast by wireless telegraphy by way of sound broadcasting or
television of sounds or visual images intended for general reception, whether
the sounds or images are actually received by any person or not”.

“Broadcasting” is not what is done on the pages of a
newspaper.

It seems that, if the member opposed such wording, he had
his opportunity to vote against it 27 years ago. He didn’t. He should not now
try to make up for that by alleging crimes have been committed by this
publication or any other business entity or person. 

There are particular reasons Mr. Miller should be careful in
making such allegations. In addition to the above law, Mr. Miller should
educate himself about Cayman Islands Penal Code (2010 Revision) Part E –
Defamation, sections 171-179 concerning “defamatory matter”.

This is now the second time he has wrongly accused this
publication and its employees of breaking one or more laws. He was proved wrong
in his first attempt, and he will be proved wrong again.

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Listen to Rooster talk show on Tuesdays. Mr. Miller can be heard ranting and raving on just about anything from X-pats to Dart. And then at certain times this is followed by a commercial break. An advertisement BROADCASTED by the spoken sound of an announcer. A paid for advertisement promoting some event sponsored by some beer company or liquor distributor. And then the show returns and Ezzard has not left the building.

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  2. Mr. Miller really needs to make sure of his ground before makes serious public accusations. This must be quite embarrassing for him as he was an MLA when the law was passed and it appears he did not understand the law although some other MLAs who debated it pointed out that it did not cover advertising in the print media.

    However, it is quite ironic that the Compass should be threatening Mr. Miller with the defamation provisions in the Penal Code since, as I understand it, these are viewed as anti-freedom of speech by the local media which consider that they ought to be repealed so that defamation is a purely civil matter.

    Defamation concerns allegations of fact rather than opinions of law. There is no doubt that the Compass prints advertisements of liquor for sale (the fact), but it is an opinion of law whether such conduct is illegal. However mistaken it is, there is little doubt that was Miller’s honest opinion given the step he took to write to the DPP.

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