News of ‘an incident’ involving Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush at a West Bay establishment has ignited debate and driven speculation in the Cayman Islands. Host Kayla Young interviews journalist Reshma Ragoonath about her coverage of the event, questions about conduct by elected officials, and the #sheissupported movement.
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Partial audio transcript:
Kayla Young: Welcome to the Cayman Compass newscast. This is your host, Kayla Young, and I’m here with Reshma Ragoonath. How are you, Reshma?
Reshma Ragoonath: Hi, Kayla. I’m doing good. Thank you.
KY: You’ve had a pretty busy breaking news week.
RR: Yeah, I did not expect that my week would have been this busy. It feels kind of like when the earthquake hit in January. Everything was. going pretty good on Saturday morning [22 Feb.] until I got that buzz of an incident.
KY: An incident. ‘The incident.’
RR: The incident, correct. We shall now refer to it as ‘the incident’.
KY: And why don’t you take a step back for us, for people who might not have followed the whole saga, but for some reason are listening to our podcast. What happened Saturday?
RR: Well, that is the big question, Kayla. What did happen on Saturday? We have had so much speculation, so many different versions, so many bits of information coming back and forth. But who are we to ask? This is something that the police has to investigate because it is a police investigation.
So the question remains, what happened on Saturday? Initial reportS suggested that there had been an incident. An alleged assault of the female manager at Coral Beach on West Bay Road. And it involved a public figure in the Cayman islands as the police put it. Initially they had said a senior government official. And then of course, that changed later on in a correction.
KY: But really both descriptions resulted in being truthful once more details came out.
RR: Well, for all intents and purposes, yes and no to an extent. Because Mr. Bush, as we all know, whose name has been called and by his own admission, on Monday stated that there was an incident, but he doesn’t know what happened because he can’t recall, but he was told.
So, we’ll get into that bit, but Mr. Bush is not part of the ‘government’. He is the House speaker. He is a Legislative Assembly member for West Bay West. So, he’s not, for all intents and purposes, part of the government. He is part of the Legislative Assembly. His seat gave the PPM the numbers to form the government, but he’s not part of the government, essentially.
KY: That’s an important distinction to make.
RR: Exactly. So that, that’s what the distinction was that was made on Saturday as well when the police corrected their statement. So I think that’s important to note. So, when this whole thing blew up over the weekend, there were so many aspersions being cast and a lot of people just getting into the mix and just running with it.
KY: A lot of rumour and speculation
RR: Exactly, a lot of rumour and speculation. I know there are some who may say, well, the Compass hasn’t really been covering this hard enough and we haven’t been throwing enough paint on the wall. But to be honest, Kayla, that’s not our role. That is not the function of a journalist.
I have been reporting my stories straight down the line as objective as I can. Also, bearing in mind the journalistic responsibility that I hold as. You know, as a reporter.
KY: Well, and, and I think you bring up an important point about speed versus accuracy.