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UPDATED: Gospel concert controversy; Miller-Concert should be pulled

Controversy continues to swirl around a Government-sponsored gospel concert scheduled for Sunday (31 December.) It’s the same day many businesses have had to ditch their New Year’s Eve plans due to a law that prohibits music and dancing on Sundays.
Today (29 December) the Opposition Leader is calling for concert to be scrapped while raising objections to the provision in current law which is preventing music and dancing on New’s Year Eve.

Meawhile the House Speaker weighed in on the discussions.

House Speaker Hon. McKeeva Bush says as it stands the law is the law and there are no exemptions for this occasion.

“I’m not against the law. The law is the law and I believe there should be exceptions because the New Year’s Eve is special. But we wouldn’t have this again for a long time,” Mr Bush said, as he clarified his position on the matter on Sunday (31 December.)

On Friday (29 December)  the liquor licensing board confirmed the ban will remain in place, but a blanket extension of hours was given from 12:01 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Meanwhile Opposition Leader Hon. Ezzard Miller today calls for the gospel event to be scrapped saying there is no exemption to the law when it comes to the genre of music or church events.
“There is nothing that can be now to make it legal. In my view, the concert is ultra vires to the law. If they are charging an admission, if they are doing it for profit, if they are bringing in people and creating a concert environment I do not think that is what the law envisages on Sunday nights and therefore I think it should be stopped,” Mr. Miller said.
The Office of the Premier, as well as, the Department of Tourism are listed as sponsors of the concert. Yesterday (27 December) the Premier defended his sponsorship, adding that as long as he was Premier he will defend Cayman’s culture and Christian traditions. However Mr. Miller said the issue is not an attack on Cayman’s Christian traditions, but what is right under the law.

“Everybody should be free to make their own choices and I do not think that because I am framing something in that it is a gospel concert therefore it is a Christian concert that I can get away with something that someone else cannot get away with,” Mr. Miller argued.

House Speaker McKeeva Bush was also identified as a sponsor of the concert on the promoter’s Facebook page. We reached out to Mr. Bush. He clarified, “I’m not a sponsor because I don’t have the funds to do so, but I support it.”

He explained the concert will “go on til 11 p.m. No dancing, no liquor. It’s a religious concert so the concert is not an issue at all. The rub of the law is that we are tourist destination!!! Tourism is our business!!! It means that while we are a tourist destination we prohibit simple entertainment that tourists expect to find when they come here for New Year’s Eve. But the law is the law!!”
Now the House Speaker stopped short of calling for changes.

Cayman 27’s Kevin Morales talked about the Music & Dancing (Control) Law in depth with Former legal draftsman Bilika Simamba.  Watch it here

 

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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