The first casualty of North Side MLA Ezzard Miller’s oratorical “revolution” is Mr. Miller’s reputation as a credible leader in the Cayman Islands.
The counteroffensive to Mr. Miller’s initial salvo has been overwhelming, arriving in the form of near-universal condemnation by Cayman’s political and business establishment of his remarks, which referenced “bloodshed” if Cayman immigration policies are not changed to the further benefit of Caymanians.
Now on the defensive, Mr. Miller rushed to the friendly confines of talk radio, where he attempted to deploy the oldest and most predictable strategy in the playbook of any politician who suddenly finds himself entrapped in his own words or behavior: deflect, deny and obfuscate.
That must not be allowed to happen. Mr. Miller has claimed that the Compass’s reporting was inaccurate and took his quotes out of context. That direction offers no avenue of escape for Mr. Miller. We have double-checked the audio of Mr. Miller’s speech in the Legislative Assembly, confirming the accuracy of our original reporting.
For the record, here’s exactly what Mr. Miller said:
“Madam Speaker, I’ve said on the floor of this assembly several times, revolutions are not caused in countries by poor disadvantaged people. They are the people that are used. It is them kind of unemployed, education people that are going to cause the revolution in this country. We have two options being presented to us on a daily basis throughout this country. People are asking for a Martin Luther King to come out and get us a part of the pie that we used to have, get it back for us.
“There are others who are asking with a Malcolm X attitude. ‘We want a part, we must have a part and if we can’t get a part we’re going to destroy it.’ The latter is becoming far more popular than the former because the young people, the families they have tried everything in the former of trying to negotiate to be a part of.”
“One commodity in a capitalist market, free society, that has no value is qualified Caymanian labor. Why? Because we allow the route of the work permits.”
“We need to do something about it urgently. I believe one way of doing that is allowing them to be able to see what’s available.”
“I going to probably be in front with them in leading the revolution. They’re not going to be leading it against me, I going to be with them. Because it has to come. Madam Speaker, the Bahamas made their adjustment in the ’70s, you know. They made it early enough that they had no bloodshed. We don’t have too many moons here to make the adjustment locally and put Caymanians back in charge. We had an opportunity in December when we passed the new business licensing law. Never changed nothing.”
“If we don’t do it soon, we not going to do it without bloodshed. Because people are getting fed up.”
In regard to the broader context of Mr. Miller’s remarks, that is entirely irrelevant. Why Mr. Miller said what he did is a separate matter from what he actually said. Suggesting amendments to immigration policy to promote the employment of Caymanians (something the Editorial Board of the Compass might agree with) is a far cry from his remarks warning of possible “revolution” and “bloodshed.”
On yesterday’s Rooster talk radio show, Mr. Miller issued another chilling statement:
“All I have to say to the Compass and the Editor is that they have been warned.”
Mr. Miller has yet to repudiate, disavow or apologize for his reckless remarks on the floor of the House. It now falls to more responsible voices in the Cayman Islands to do so – if not on his behalf, then on behalf of the good reputation of the Cayman Islands.