Second chance for suspended talk show host

Austin Harris back at Rooster on Monday, police investigation continues


Morning talk show host Austin Harris will be back in the anchor chair at Rooster FM on Monday after being given a “second chance” by the radio station following his arrest earlier this year on suspicion of assaulting a woman.

Hurley’s Entertainment also announced on Thursday that Gilbert McLean, the co-host of Crosstalk, was retiring and would be replaced by Jonathan Piercy, Government’s former director of commerce and investment.

Mr. Harris, 41, was suspended from the job on March 11, after he was arrested following allegations of assault and damage to property.

He remains on police bail as inquiries continue into the alleged offenses but no charges have been brought.

His departure and temporary replacement with former United Democratic Party legislator Ellio Solomon had an impact with both the government and independent lawmakers boycotting their weekly slots in an apparent protest at Mr. Solomon’s political affiliations.

Randy Merren, managing director of Hurley’s Entertainment, said the invitation remained open for the independents and the government to come back on the show in their regular Tuesday and Friday slots. He said he hoped that both would be back on the show next week.

Mr. Merren said on Thursday that he was confident that the “right steps” were being taken to address the matter that led to Mr. Harris’s suspension from the show in March.

He said, “Everyone deserves a second chance and I am sure he will grow and learn from this experience.”

Mr. Harris added, “I am working diligently to put an unfortunate incident behind me and I look forward to continuing the important job of keeping the Cayman public informed.”

A police spokesman confirmed that a 41-year-old man arrested in March on suspicion of assault causing actual bodily harm and criminal damage remained on bail pending a legal department decision on whether to bring charges.

Mr. McLean, who has been co-host of Crosstalk for almost five years, said he would miss his role on the lively morning debate show.

“My work here on Crosstalk has been special and satisfying. I will no doubt miss the daily banter and comments on current affairs. However, time moves on and so will I.”

Mr. Merren said he was sorry to be losing Mr. McLean, who will be replaced by Mr. Piercy.

“We shall truly miss Gilbert but we are pleased to have someone of Jonathan’s stature to take the chair.

“His combination of private sector and government experience will be a valuable asset to Cayman’s most popular radio program. We’re delighted to add Jonathan to our on-air team.”

Mr. Piercy had 15 years experience in the financial services industry including a term as director of the Cayman Islands’ government Department of Commerce and Investment. He ran as a UDP candidate in George Town in last year’s election.


Mr. Harris


Mr. Piercy


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