Miller: Prosecute Compass for liquor ads

North Side Member of the Legislative Assembly Ezzard Miller is asking why authorities in the Cayman Islands aren’t taking legal action against the Caymanian Compass for running liquor advertisements in the newspaper. 

Cayman Free Press Managing Director Brian Uzzell said, “This issue has been raised several times over the years. Clients of Cayman Free Press who advertise in the Caymanian Compass or any print media are not included in the definition of broadcast and are not in breach of the provisions of the Tobacco Product and Intoxicating 
Liquor Advertising Law.” 

In a 14 January letter addressed to the director of public prosecutions, Mr. Miller writes, “I am requesting that you inform me of the legal authority that allows the police, the Liquor Licensing Board and your office to ignore the provisions of The Tobacco Product and Intoxicating Liquor Advertising 
law (21 of 1986).” 

In his letter, Mr. Miller cites the following section of the law: “No advertising concerning tobacco products or intoxicating liquor shall be broadcast from within the Islands or shown on any 
cinematograph display”. 

Whoever contravenes that section of the law “is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of one 
thousand dollars”. 

 

‘Hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines’ 

The law to which Mr. Miller refers was amended by The Tobacco Law, 2008, and is now called the Intoxicating Liquor Advertising Law (1998 Revision). The 2008 Tobacco Law includes provisions against advertising tobacco products and removed provisions in the Intoxicating Liquor Advertising Law that mention tobacco. 

Mr. Miller notes that the law defines “advertisement” as “(a) every visual form of advertising, whether or not accompanied by spoken words or other sounds; (b) any broadcast or cinematography display; or any public announcement made orally or by any means of producing or transmitting light or sound; and (c) any hoarding or similar structure used or adapted for use for the display of advertisements”. 

Mr. Miller writes, “A casual walk around George Town or review of the local newspaper will reveal many contraventions of this law and the potential for the Government to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. “These are fines that should be collected through the enforcement of this law and would do well to fund the National Drug Council and their programmes to prevent alcohol and other drug abuse.” 

He writes, “The liquor companies know the value of these illegal advertisements and that they are very effective as a review of the last several years of the surveys done by the National Drug Council will indicate that the average age of alcohol consumption is trending downward, while liquor distributors both wholesale and retail reap the benefits. 

“I have consistently raised this matter of the illegal advertising of Intoxicating liquor in several forums, including the Legislative Assembly, the Rooster talk show and in the media without any success, so I have to assume that there is some legal authority of which I am not aware, which allows this to continue.” He writes, “I am reluctant to conclude that the frequency with which the police and your office enforce the Marine Conservation law and the Misuse of Drugs law, which I entirely support, while not enforcing the tobacco product and intoxicating liquor law or the legal practitioners law is selective law enforcement because those who contravene these two latter laws have the resources to challenge their enforcement.” 

Mr. Miller writes, “The effects of the continued “turning a blind eye” on the liquor establishments and the media outlets that facilitate them maybe even worse as it is a scientific fact that alcohol is the most frequently used ‘gateway’ drug and it is counter productive to allow the liquor establishments to overcome the setbacks caused to their sales by those who promote through education a reduction in the consumption of alcohol. “The terrible effects of alcohol abuse on our society are well documented and supported by scientific research and is what prompted the Members of the Legislative Assembly to pass the Tobacco product and intoxication liquor advertising law in 1986,” he added. “I ought to know as I was a member in 1986 when the law was passed.” 

 

Radio, TV, cinema 

The law clearly states that no advertisements for liquor shall be broadcast within the Cayman Islands or shown in the cinema. 

Mr. Miller’s letter does not include the definition of the word “broadcast”, which, according to the law, “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”. 

The law does not define “wireless telegraphy”, but the usual contemporary sense of the phrase is to describe transmission by radio waves. 

During the debate in the Legislative Assembly over the passage of the bill in 1986, Bodden Town MLA Haig Bodden lamented that the bill excluded newspaper advertising. 

“The bill before the House is a phony,” said Mr. Bodden, according to Official Hansard Report. He noted that neither the government-owned Radio Cayman nor the movie theatre had run tobacco or liquor advertisements for some time. 

Mr. Bodden said, “Yet, the bill does not seek to prohibit the advertising in newspapers, why? Is it because the government is afraid of the editor of the one newspaper? Is it because they are afraid of his editorials? Is it because they would hurt the man whom they recently gave Caymanian status to? Or, are they afraid that he will come out against them and may spoil their image for the next election?” 

Health Minister Benson Ebanks said the bill seeks “to prohibit all advertising of tobacco products and intoxicating liquor on radio and television broadcast from within the Islands, and at cinematographic displays”. 

George Town MLA Linford Pierson said, “While this bill deals primarily with the prohibition of advertising of tobacco products and intoxicating liquor on radio and television broadcasts from within the Islands, and at cinematographic displays, I feel Sir, that it is unfortunate that it did not go beyond this” – to include restrictions on smoking in public places. 

Mr. Bodden said, “How can they bring a law so bias, seeking to stop advertisements in the radio, when the radio does not accept advertisements for liquor and cigarettes, seeking to stop advertising in the cinema, when the cinema does not accept advertisements, yet not seeking to stop advertisements in the newspaper, where they appear daily? How can we be so phony?” 

The bill passed with 13 ayes and no nays. West Bay MLA McKeeva Bush and Mr. Miller both voted in favour of the bill. 

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Miller needs to revise his question. He should be asking the legislature why they have failed to include print media in the legislation.
    The police and the prosecuting authority need a law to be in place before they can take any action and the law, as it stands, does not prohibit advertising in newspapers.
    Should he care to consult any good English dictionary he would see the verb ‘broadcast’ means to transmit by radio or television and the courts, interpreting this word, would take it as such. I am aware that one can also use the word broadcast for ‘publicly tell’ but I am sure the court would give its everyday meaning and this would be reinforced by the extracts from the official record of the time the legislation was originally passed that the legislature acknowledged it did not include print media. He was part of that assembly so any fault lies with him.
    Of course, Mr Miller might have an axe to grind with the police etc.?

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  2. Ezzard Miller concerns me as he seems to inflame situations rather than resolve them peacefully.
    On the surface his recent focus on the Compass and alcohol advertising is one thing but I remember his attack on the Compass reporter in the LA where he wanted the AG to persue criminal charges toward a Compass reporter.
    This could have been handled better.

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  3. What is really wrong with Miller anyway? He just picks at everybody. I am sure Cayman is sorry the day that he got back in the LA. Well we have no one to blame for that but Premier Bush who has got him back in now he is getting stabbed him in the back from all of them.
    Mr Miller should be more concerned about all those Cigars coming in from Cuba.

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  4. This is what Ezzard Miller is worried about? Why not go after the hundreds of people who are illegally selling items on ecay without a TB license? Shameful that it has to make front page news….

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  5. Mr. Miler continues to loose all credibility. Every week he appears on Roosters Crosstalk where liquor ads are played, and that, without doubt, is broadcast. If he really cared about the law then he would address it correctly, lets start with the law, then with the companies who advertise, and, if all fails them take it to the media. Mr Miller clearly likes to make headllines ans see his picture in print. He has clearly showed his bias against the Compass and support of a station that gives him a voice despite that station clearly breaking the law.

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  6. Ezzard Miller is finally showing himself to be the ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ that he’s always been.

    I’m surprised that so many people had been taken in by his new ‘personna’…a man of the people, for the people ?

    Please…give those of us who know him better a break !

    This politician has always been a dictatorial bully.

    What hypocrites some of these politicians are !

    This law that was passed in 1986 was hypocritical even then, Cayman being a tourist destination where entertainment, including the consumption of alcohol and tobacco products, are an integral part of the economy…and of the social fabric of life in Cayman.

    Address the health issues…they are well known universally…but leave people to their free choices.

    The new tobacco law prohibiting smoking in public places was a big step in the right direction and a concentrated educational campaign on the dangers of drinking and smoking would go a long way in having people adopt a healthier lifestyle if they choose to…

    But attacking press freedom under this guise fools no one…at least no one who knows Ezzard Miller.

    Miller is only trying to ensure that Cayman Free Press does not adopt any stance coming into this election that would prove detrimental to his agenda…which is to be Cayman’s next premiere.

    If you think Cayman’s last straw-boss, wanna-be-dictator, McKeeva Bush was bad…

    Then let Ezzard Miller fufill his ambitions…

    And Cayman’s people will learn what a real dictator is all about.

    I keep warning Cayman Free Press that they will soon have to take the matter of freedom of the press…and their own survival…before the courts in Cayman.

    Let’s see how long it will take for them to heed my warning.

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  7. Two types of laws, firery. Those laws that derived from the people of the Cayman Islands through their elected Assembly; and, those laws that derived from politicians – uk and local ones, and has nothing to do with the people’s census.

    When you understand this, you will see how much of a control politicians have over us; especially the uk ones.

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  8. The law shall apply to all otherwise none at all. If there are exceptions, it should specifically written in the law except print media. Broadcast covers everything and the root word broad itself is broad. If there’s grey area as general rule the law should not be biased and unfair. What apply to X should apply to Y. If TV and radios are suffering from liquor advertising, do you think print media exception is fair?

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  9. Please see the quotes from the article below:

    George Town MLA Linford Pierson said, While this bill deals primarily with the prohibition of advertising of tobacco products and intoxicating liquor on radio and television broadcasts from within the Islands, and at cinematographic displays, I feel Sir, that it is unfortunate that it did not go beyond this to include restrictions on smoking in public places.

    Mr. Bodden said, How can they bring a law so bias, seeking to stop advertisements in the radio, when the radio does not accept advertisements for liquor and cigarettes, seeking to stop advertising in the cinema, when the cinema does not accept advertisements, yet not seeking to stop advertisements in the newspaper, where they appear daily? How can we be so phony?

    The questions raised by the legislators of the day clearly show that the print media was left out of this law. Else, why spend time discussing it?

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  10. Needlecase:

    I am not sure how you can differentiate between laws passed by the legislative assembly and laws made by politicians. The law ‘politicians’ make is via the legislative assembly which the people vote for. You have an opportunity, in may, to vote for who you want to represent you.

    As for laws originating in the UK (and you could and should add the EU into that equation) the people of the Cayman Islands have a choice – they are entitled if they wish to seek to leave the protection of the UK. It is a universal right for all peoples to determine their own path and this is confirmed by the United Nations Charter.

    I am sure there are many in both the Cayman Islands and the UK that would wish for that to happen.

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  11. Ah yes: the gentleman who threw about accusations about a Governor being drunk in Executive Council; and would not respond to a request to specify the occasion. Like too many politicians, he has difficulty with the truth, and often confuses his mouth with his foot. Advice: take your foot out of your mouth before speaking.

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  12. on another note:
    ‘those who promote through education a reduction in the consumption of alcohol’, didn’t our Education minister just get convicted of a drink-related crime?

    Also, this mention of alcohol as a ‘gateway’ drug, seriously? Most people will have a tipple or two in their life, presumably those who do drugs will be amongst those, but to call it a ‘gateway’ drug is foolishness.

    Alcohol is a minor issue here, smoking tobacco less so. Ask most doctors here and I am fairly certain they may mention the horrific amounts of saturated fat in the diet, being a pretty big cause for concern now and in the next few years.

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  13. needlecase and firery, really what Mr. Miller need to investigate, is how is it that every time government is about to engage in a project or work of development, politicians bark about following process and procedures, which is turn either stops the development or slows down progress.

    The aim of the Foreign Office is to maintain control over the OT’s and what better way to do so than to ensure the economy and self-governance of these islands remains weak?

    Perhaps, Mr. Miller should be investigated himself, because every time there is some development iniative, he barks and creates demonstrations to prevent success. He uses laws to defend his positions, but not all laws came from and for our own self-interest.

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  14. What really needs to be investigated is how some songs that are played on Radio contain expletives. I thought all songs that had vulgar words had to be censored out. Britney Spears and Black Eyed Peas Its Britney @#[email protected]# said as clear as day and the song by Nicki Menage, all I hear is Higher than a MFer and while its not said clearly, surely its not proper for the radio or at least Cayman radio.

    This is same reason why the bigger retail stores all have satellite radio.

    Miller please check that out for me. Those songs are played repeatedly throughout the day.

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  15. Sir Turtle – Good governance means there must be a transparent process with a level playing field so that we can ensure value for money. It sounds like you are one of the Bushite ‘substance over process’ crew. The process is there to prevent corruption and ensure fairplay. If Bush’s govt. was practising good governance there would be nothing Miller or any other opposition member could do to stop him with the 9/15 majority he had in the LA.

    There is no use trying to blame others for Bush’s failures. As I recall it was Bush himself who scuttled the agreement with GLF for the construction of the cruise ship piers, costing us millions in settlement. Had he not done so they may have been nearing completion now.

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  16. For a while I actually respected the Honorable Mr Miller. When I read this kind of drivel when there are so many other pressing issues it rapidly dissipates. If he continues he should be referred to as the Honorable Miller Lite.

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  17. First it was prosecute one of the Compass reporters for reporting in a manner he didn’t like and now prosecute the Compass because they don’t align with his ideologies…. (they *might* not even align with his own consumption apparently…)

    Mac has nothing on this guy. This guy is a economy and foreign relationships wreaking ball. He’s a say-anything/destroy-anything-to-get-elected-stick-my-finger-in-the-air-to-see-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing populist.

    The man has basically maligned just about everyone Cayman and Expat alike. Who in their right mind suggest to prosecute a media outlet even prior of even any law being passed!? What about signs on the road? Businesses, import companies. This guys just a radical that has been bailed out from being shown to the public as who he truly is, via B.S. personality manufacturing shows such as Super Tuesday and other radical tabloids.

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  18. HAHAHA-Is this guy serious??? Miller brings nothing to the table. This guy deserves zero press!!! He just whines and cries about useless issues that wastes peoples time when there are more pressing issues to deal with. I have yet to hear Miller come up with his own ideas that can be positive for the island, he just criticizes everyone else. he is just a bully!

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