50 years ago: Radio station acknowledges Cayman is inhabited

This week in Cayman

In the Oct. 11, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following story, titled “WGBS, Miami apologises” appeared:

“Radio WGBS in Miami was certainly made aware that the Cayman Islands are indeed inhabited following their newscasts in connections with Hurricane Beulah.

“Following our Editorial and letters from Mr. Silby Coe and Mr. Eric Bergstrom for the Tourist Board pointing out their grave error when their announcer broadcast ‘But Beulah was not expected to threaten anything except a few uninhibited islands before the weekend,’ letters of explanation were duly received.

“It appears from the information given by Mr. Spencer E. Danes, programme manager for WGBS, that the advisory in question was from the United Press International newswire. His letter continues, ‘Please note two things. Nowhere in the advisory or the copy is there a direct reference to the Cayman Islands. Also in one story, the use of the word “uninhibited” is attributed to Gordon Dunn of the U.S. Weather Bureau as a direct quote. Perhaps our newsroom should have been more aware of the path of the storm and questioned Mr. Dunn’s quote or the UPI copy. However, in normal day to day operation of our newsroom, we must assume that direct quotes from an organisation as large as UPI are accurate. And, undoubtedly, every other UPI subscriber in Florida and across the nation used the same copy. I hope this clarifies the situation and please relay to as many of the 10,000 residents in the Cayman group as possible that WGBS will always strive to be as accurate as possible in reporting on hurricanes or any other news.’

“Mr. Coe also wrote to Mr. Gordon E. Dunn, Director of the U.S. Hurricane Centre at Coral Gables, who pointed out that his advisory did not use the word ‘uninhabited’. Mr. Dunn commented, ‘I have visited Grand Cayman a number of times, and I am thoroughly familiar with the wonderful beaches, the very fine people, and the hospitality of the residents.’

“Thus it seems, there are apologies all round and the Cayman Islands can consider themselves ‘on the map’ as fully inhabited.”

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