Political subversion alleged against ‘the Jordanian’

An outspoken Cayman Islands resident was accused in 2012 and again in 2014 of engaging in politically subversive activity by a lawmaker, according to government records obtained by the Cayman Compass.

Amjed Zureigat
Amjed Zureigat

The resident, Amjed Zureigat, who has become known locally as “the Jordanian” because he is originally from Jordan, is a frequent commenter on local talk radio programs and is a well-known supporter of the Cayman Islands Democratic Party (formerly the United Democratic Party) and its leader, West Bay MLA McKeeva Bush.

Mr. Zureigat has denied the allegations and said he believes they were refuted by the Cayman Islands Immigration Department. He said he is trying to get official confirmation of that via a Freedom of Information request made to the department. So far, there has been no response. Immigration officials have not responded to queries from the Cayman Compass seeking comment on the matter.

“I don’t hide that I support [the Cayman Islands Democratic Party],” Mr. Zureigat said Tuesday. “I support what is good for the country. I have my freedom to say my views about things. That’s the law of the Cayman Islands.”

According to records seen by the Compass, North Side MLA Ezzard Miller complained to the chief immigration officer on Nov. 25, 2012 about certain behavior by Mr. Zureigat.

Mr. Zureigat made the complaint letter public recently, after his application for Caymanian status was rejected. There was no suggestion in any documentation from the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board that Mr. Miller’s complaint was even considered relative to that status application.

The allegation in the November 2012 letter states: “This person [referring to Mr. Zureigat] is very much involved in political activity. He appears to be a staunch supporter and a designated promoter of the [then] United Democratic Party and, in particular, of [former George Town MLA] Ellio Solomon, a member of the United Democratic Party. This person call [sic] the radio talk shows both Talk Today on Radio Cayman and the morning talk show on Rooster.

“On both talk shows he is particularly critical and insulting to myself and the elected member for East End [Arden McLean], but also members of the PPM [People’s Progressive Movement]. I believe that his political activities are in contravention of section 38 [1] [of the Immigration Law].”

That section refers to an individual who organizes or engages in subversive political activity, or organizes, causes or promotes racism in the Cayman Islands.

“I am requesting that the enforcement arm of the Immigration Department investigate this matter and determine if Mr. Amjed Zureigat is in contravention of this section of the Immigration Law.” Mr. Bush, the former premier, said Tuesday that Mr. Miller’s complaint amounted to “an injustice.”

“Come on, how can anyone’s preference of a political party or team be called subversive?” Mr. Bush said. “No matter how strongly we feel about protecting Caymanians. Ezzard’s complaint is not about protecting Caymanians. It’s a personal matter. It’s absolutely wrong.”
Mr. Miller said Tuesday that he did not wish to comment further on the matter, adding only that he believed he had done “his civic duty” in reporting the issue to the Immigration Department.

Further documentation seen by the Compass indicates that Mr. Miller then took the issue to Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush on Sept. 12, 2014 in another letter.

The letter states: “I believe, if inquiries are made on Mr. Amjed Zureigat you will find that his political activities have intensified since my letter of Nov. 25, 2012. His criticism of members of the current government, the elected member for East End and myself have been raised to an unacceptable level of political subversion. He has announced on the radio shows that he has formed a pressure group called Justice for Cayman. I am still of the view that he contravenes section 38 [1] [of the Immigration Law] and should be investigated.”

Mr. Zureigat also alleged, as did Mr. McKeeva Bush, that Mr. Miller’s complaints against him amounted to a “personal issue.”


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