A police investigation has been launched into what Governor Martyn Roper called a “fake news attack”, alleging that his wife Lissie was travelling on Tuesday’s British Airways flight.
Roper, speaking at Sunday’s COVID-19 press briefing, said he and his wife had been “victims” of the attack, which was contained in an audio note and a post that were circulated widely on social media platforms.
The post had suggested that the main reason for the flight was to allow the governor to get his wife home to Cayman.
The governor said the allegations levelled against him and his wife were “completely untrue”.
Police Commissioner Derek Byrne confirmed at the briefing that he had launched an investigation into the matter.
He said under section 64 of the Penal Code, such incidents were a criminal offence.
“I do have some indications of who it might be,” he said. “An investigation is under way but it will take me a couple of days to put it together and I don’t think I should say anymore than that; and I will keep the governor advised of developments.”
Roper confirmed that his wife was off island, but said she was not travelling back to Cayman any time soon.
“Lissie, my wife, is in the UK at the moment and will be there for the foreseeable future because she’s looking after her elderly parents. Her father remains very unwell and I’m sure again everyone will send our best wishes to Lissie and her mother and father,” Roper said.
Last week, the governor said a rapid response unit had been set up to deal with fake news and false rumours that were causing alarm or distress being circulated during the COVID-19 crisis.
He said Saturday’s incident made him reflect again on “this curse of fake news, and we have emphasised again and again that people do need to be responsible”.
The governor issued a direct message to the person who created and circulated the fake report.
“Will they be able to look in the mirror after this and say, ‘I can look back with pride on how I contributed to helping my community deal with this crisis?’ That BA flight is bringing in much-needed medical goods, including 1,700 test kits which we urgently need. It’s bringing gowns, it’s bringing in gloves,” Roper said.
He also pointed out that the flight, which was arranged by the Cayman Islands government and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will also be helping to take 130 people who want to return to their loved ones to leave the island.
“It is enabling 120 Bermudians who want to return to Bermuda to do so and 60 Caymanians will return here and will be in self-isolation for 14 days in a highly supervised situation so we can manage that risk,” he said.