Leaders condemn Miller's remarks


Several of Cayman’s political and business leaders have condemned remarks made by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller in the Legislative Assembly last week warning of “bloodshed” and “revolution” because of immigration policies that impact employment of Caymanians. 

Mr. Miller, who was speaking in support of a private members’ motion that asked for the government to mandate all business staffing plans be made public, suggested that the revolution would be caused by educated, unemployed Caymanians who, if they can’t get “part of the pie,” would destroy it. 

“I’m going to probably be in front with them in leading the revolution,” he said. “They’re not going to be leading it against me. I’m going to be with them.” 

Premier Alden McLaughlin condemned the remarks over the weekend, calling Mr. Miller’s comments “irresponsible and dangerous.” Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush noted that Cayman’s tourism and financial services sectors are both highly dependent on tranquility and stability, which he said “we must never allow to be compromised or called into question.” 

On Monday, other politicians weighed in on Mr. Miller’s remarks, with Cabinet Minister Osbourne Bodden expressing disappointment. 

“It is not a responsible statement by a leader,” he said. “Our job is to ward off such statements when we hear them spoken and certainly not add credibility to them. 

“Comments such as these are inflammatory and are not in the public interest, and a veteran like Mr. Miller should be more careful in his public utterances, as what we say as leaders are on record forever.” 

Mr. Bodden acknowledged that there are some disillusioned people in the community for a variety of reasons, including a lack of means to sustain themselves and their families. 

“This doesn’t mean there is some planned uprising, although words are often used in anger by a few,” he said. “Our job is to try to assist them and give them hope, not encourage them to destroy Cayman.” 

George Town MLA Roy McTaggart said, “shock and disappointment” would be the best way to describe his reaction to Mr. Miller’s remarks.  

“In my mind, by openly advocating for violence and bloodshed, it destroyed any merit his motion may have had and irreparably harmed his own credibility and reputation,” he said. “I believe that it is quite wrong for MLAs to use the floor of the Assembly to advocate for violence and bloodshed. Whatever difficulties and issues Cayman may have, we are a peaceful and peace-loving people who have always found nonviolent ways to resolve our problems.” 

Mr. McTaggart said he had no impression that Caymanians were contemplating a revolution with bloodshed. 

“Such actions are clearly ill-advised and would, in an instant, destroy 50 years of growth, prosperity and a high standard of living that has made Cayman the economic success story that it is.” 

Cabinet Minister Tara Rivers also offered a short but succinct response. “I do not condone violence of any kind,” she said. 

Private sector  

Politicians were not the only ones to express opposition to Mr. Miller’s remarks.  

Chamber of Commerce President Barry Bodden said Mr. Miller’s comments “are damaging to Cayman’s social harmony and reputation as one of the top jurisdictions in the world to live and conduct business.”  

“It was irresponsible for Mr. Miller to use his high office to make such outlandish and threatening comments in the Legislative Assembly,” he said. “Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected to represent the views and concerns of the people who elect them. We are certain that the majority of the voters and legal residents in our community do not support Mr. Miller’s comments.” 

Mr. Bodden noted that after several years of recession in Cayman, there were signs of a sustained economic recovery and that the Chamber had no evidence to suggest that Caymanians were contemplating any form of revolution or protest.  

Cayman Islands Tourism Association President Kenneth Hydes also said he saw no indication that Caymanians were desirous of a bloody revolution. 

“The comments by Mr. Miller could easily be construed as incitement at worst or irresponsible at best,” he said, adding that it was certainly not the “tone or content we should expect from our elected officials.”  

“While I am confident that Mr. Miller was trying to address issues he views as important in today’s society, this form of commentary will not positively change the direction of those challenges, but will only serve to create more resentment and [division],” he added. 

Leading businesswoman Brigitte Kirkconnell-Shaughness also expressed concern over Mr. Miller’s remarks.  

“They may put ideas into people’s head to do something terrible, all the while thinking they are supported and justified because a political figure has suggested he will lead the charge,” he said. 

Ms. Kirkconnell-Shaughness said she was worried about Mr. Miller’s usage of the word “bloodshed.” 

“Who are the intended victims of this bloodshed?” she wondered.  

James Bergstrom, a partner at the law firm Ogier, said he found Mr. Miller’s comments irresponsible and confusing.  

“Irresponsible in that a person in his position should not try to incite violent behavior or make sensational claims when the world’s media is watching, and comments like those could impact our economy,” he said. “Confusing as, one, I have trouble understanding the reference to historical civil rights leaders in the U.S. as it relates to Cayman’s immigration policies, and two, the reference to the Bahamas about actions in the 1970’s – that fueled the start of Cayman’s financial industry and ended that industry there, leading to significantly increased levels of unemployment and a crippled economy. Is he really suggesting Cayman should follow the same path?” 

Leading real estate broker J.C. Calhoun said Mr. Miller’s comments “were at best in extremely poor taste, and at worst purposely and unnecessarily inflammatory and self-serving.” 

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether an MLA or not,” he said. “I would hope our MLAs would not have to mince words in the LA. However, for an elected member to exaggerate and sensationalize such a situation does no good and can cause a great deal of harm. [Mr. Miller] should have known better.” 

Mr. Calhoun said he did not think Mr. Miller’s opinion represented a general, island-wide sentiment.  

“Employment issues are always worse everywhere during a recession,” he said. “Historically, that is when opposition politicians try to use the situation to attack the party in power and gain support for themselves. But that should not be done recklessly.”  

With regard to Mr. Miller’s statement that “the Bahamas made their adjustment in the ‘70s” with regard to the employment of expatriates, Mr. Calhoun expressed surprise that Mr. Miller thought that was a good thing. 

“I was living in the Bahamas through those changes, and as a result of the politically induced changes of the ‘70s, the Bahamas in the subsequent 40 years has never even come close to having the vibrant economy it once had,” he said. “So be careful what you wish for.” 

Additional comments posted to the Cayman Compass website are reprinted on Page 4. 

Mr. Miller


  1. Once again the Compass Editorial Board has not let a chance to marginalize a pro-Caymanian advocate slip by.Instead of reporting on an MLAs effort to level the playing field for Caymanians and at the same time alert authorities (to the fact that history has shown that where people are continually oppressed, the result has often been a violent uprising),they have chosen to kill the messenger because they do not like the message.The Compass had a chance to report on a good story,but have chosen instead to go for sensationalism.What is more shocking is the amount of comments posted on this site by expats living here who apparently have no consideration for Caymanians or their contributions to Cayman. You see this success story that is Cayman did not happen in a vacuum:whilst expats may have contributed cash,Cayman and Caymanians contributed real estate, good weather,and most importantly:a good working climate,namely a friendly and caring people.Over the years changes have occured and now Caymanians are finding that they and their contributions are being ignored by a lot of newcomers who bring a superiority complex with them,and look down their noses at us .This was not the case in the past when everybody made an effort to get a long.I believe that the fact that there are now so many expats here,they no longer have to socialize with the locals ,and thus they can live here for years and only get to know a handful of locals.If an individual identifies as a r "Caymanian" they are ridiculed and told that there are no "real" or "indigenous" Caymanians;that we all came here from somewhere else,but is it that not the case with many other countries.For example the majority of Americans are not native Americans but are descendants of immigrants from Europe,Africa etc.Also didn’t the majority of the British migrate from the Balkans and other European countries.Yet Caymanians are mocked.Mr Miller”s words may appear harsh,but I do not see it as an attempt to incite violence;rather I saw a representative hurting for his people,and crying out for help from the Government and the business community. However the compass ,as is the case most of the time recently has chosen to use this as an opportunity to snuff out any attempts at a pro Caymanian stance.In other words they have opted to go with flash over substance,or the sensational story rather than a good story of passionate advocacy by a local representative of the people.Sad.

  2. Political, business leaders condemn miller’s "revolution" comments. I seen what Mr. Fishman talks about in his comment many years ago. While I don’t agree with the way that Mr Miller has brought this issue to the LA for discussion should be ignored. I feel that these business leaders and all politicians come together to discuss this further, before they meet to discuss there should be a face to face interview with the "real" Caymanian people to see how they feel about this whole issue . This issue should not be ignored.

  3. I have read many good, smart, intelligent, and true comment’s , but people still thumb down the comments, why is it that you can”t stand the truth or you are in denial to the fact.

  4. This article contains quite a number of quotes in response to what is alleged to have been said by Mr Ezzard Miler in the LA; what is less clear is whether any of these individuals heard these comments firsthand ,or were they responding to the Compass version of what was said.In fairness to these persons I would like for them to post a yes comment on here if they indeed heard it firsthand,or no if they did not.Also it would be nice to get their opinion on the subject of the business staffing plans being made available.These individuals represent a good cross section of Caymanian society so it would be really great to get their views on this.Unfortunately by focussing on Mr Miller personally the Compass missed a good opportunity to inform the Caymanian public. In fairness to Mr Miller I believe the Compass Editorial Board should print a copy of the hansards (the LAs record of the debate)so that we can decide for ourselves.If they do not publish this ,then members of the public are free to assume whatever they want about the accuracy of the Compass report.

  5. Ron
    You sound like a pretty decent guy.
    I think the reason that people are disagreeing with your comment is that it appears to support the hate-filled remarks of Mr. Ezzard.
    Remarks that have been picked up by the world’s press and do NOTHING to help these beautiful islands.

    As I’ve said before, there are several issues:

    1. High welfare pay versus low paid jobs.
    Why would anyone be so silly as to work for $5-6 an hour if they can stay at home or go fishing and get $10 an hour?

    The solution would be a dramatic increase in the wages paid for these low-paid jobs. Coupled with a reduction in welfare payments to the able-bodied.

    There MUST be a real incentive for people to take these less desirable jobs. BUT this action will lead to greatly increased prices.

    You can threaten employers as much as you want, but it won’t work unless willing workers show up to take the job.

    2. The education level in government schools must improve. Kids have no incentive to study as they are never held back. And once they get behind they can NEVER catch up.
    It’s a tragedy.
    There must be education to try to prevent teenage pregnancies.

    And the decision to exclude foreign kids from government schools is a serious problem. Caymanian children grow up without mixing with children from other nationalities. They don’t learn first hand how life is in other countries.
    Equally bad, foreign children growing up here only mix with other foreign kids. They typically don’t have Caymanian friends.

    3. Work ethic. As someone else commented yesterday, Caymanian children should be able to take on the world. This used to be the case when Caymanian seamen worked all around the world. Are there many hard working young Caymanians. ABSOLUTELY!
    Are there some who show up late, spend time at work chatting with friends or checking their Facebook page.
    Sorry that that’s true too.

    4. Businesses will always try to increase their profits. They will NOT employ angry people who think they deserve a job, even if they aren’t willing to perform.

    Ezzard Miller represents a few hundred people in Northside. An area that sadly does not appear to have kept up with the rest of Grand Cayman. Perhaps that is partly because of Mr. Miller.

  6. I like Andy Gray’s comment, he has broader view of the problem. He touched youth disempowerment subject.
    Unfortunately Mr. Miller’ point of view is extremely nearsighted and his rampage, to put it softly, very confusing.
    @RCEbanks, I agree that people should express their point of view instead of just clicking on the red thumb.
    When it comes to the truth, it doesn’t exist, it is an abstract concept.
    Your truth is equal to your beliefs. The same goes for every single person on this planet.
    So accepting that red thumbs are normal expression of people’s beliefs should give you an ease. We can only control our own thoughts about it.

  7. Mr Linton , I were not referring to my comment , I was referring to all smart, intelligent, and true comment”s including yours. You can go back into all the comments subjects and people and see what I am talking about.