Premier explores filling TV void

| 29/08/2019 | 70 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin appearing on Cayman 27

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has said he is concerned about the closure of local television station Cayman 27 and that his government would “begin exploration as to how the void … can quickly be filled”. In a short statement Thursday, following the announcement that Cayman 27 will cease broadcasting on Friday evening, the premier noted the need for local television programmes and news, but did not say whether he believed Government Information Services should fill the gap.

“The government is very concerned about the loss of Caymanian jobs and will make available all of government’s resources to assist with finding them alternative employment,” he said.

“The decision to close the station was one made by its owner on the basis that it was not commercially viable,” the premier stated, adding, “The government believes that a television station that produces and broadcasts local programmes and news is a critical piece of Cayman’s information infrastructure and will immediately begin exploration as to how the void created by the closure of Cayman27 can quickly be filled.”

Although McLaughlin’s ministerial portfolio includes responsibility for the utilities regulator, OfReg, which Randy Merren, the TV station’s owner and director, said had played a part in its demise, he said that questions regarding the regulatory breaches should be put to OfReg.

CNS has contacted OfReg about the chain of events and the failure to address the inequities surrounding the issue of local content provision from cable companies and we are awaiting a response. However, the director of OfReg said the regulator would be issuing a statement “in due course”.

Merren, who is also an owner of C3, one of three companies providing cable services, he was the only one investing in the production of local content but was not receiving support from the other providers.

Even before the creation of OfReg, when the ICTA had responsibility for the broadcast sector, the regulator has been examining the question of local content and what cable providers should be required to broadcast as part of their cable TV licence to operate.


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Category: Business, Media

Comments (70)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let them go and soon somebody is going to start a new TV channel at no cost to Cayman

  2. Anonymous says:

    CHARADE

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow typical, Private sector tries to run it and it is not profitable so CIG will run it and spend our money they collect and promote the developers desires as they give them duty waivers which we all pay for with increased utility rates.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians definition…..crabs in a bucket…nuff said!

    Alden, I hope you sleep well tonight..

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is a wonder how they managed to relocate to the most expensive office park in the country and continue to operate from there. Perhaps mismanagement comes into play along with genuine concerns regarding fees/promises/etc from OfReg/CIG/and the rest.

    A community needs a local station. Those saying nobody watches it are wrong. Most watchers are not really there to witness stunning breaking news announcements, most are there to occasionally catch up on what may be going on (you’d be amazed at how many do NOT have time to trawl thru FB/Twit/Blogs/etc all day long), and many watch it for the local insights, e.g. recently they’ve covered tremendous sporting achievements across various Cayman athletic success.

    Whether Hurleys wish to continue with it or not, the country needs it and we should look to have it operational as a not-for-profit with subsidies. They don’t need to operate out of Camana Bay. But they do need to operate for the community, it’s a loss, its part of the fabric of society here and all should be done to support it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Typical private sector modus operandi make a mess then cry for help. Don’t worry CIG will save the day again!!

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  6. Wondering says:

    Oh where, oh where is the Hon. Dr. Linford Pierson, Chairman of OffReg and the highest paid member of any statutory board in Cayman? Why hasn’t he been seen or heard from?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    So a free speech tv station gets shut down and the government is looking into options? It’s simple.

    a) Fund Cayman 27 and not interfere with their programming.
    b) Fund Cayman 27 and turn it into Propaganda TV.
    c) Create CIGTV state run propaganda tv.
    d) Allow Dart to create DTV where you can buy Cayman at a premium.

    It’s not that hard a choice.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Honorable Premier. All these haters need to get off our island as we have the greatest country in the world and the leaders who know how to operate and lead. We need you to our Premier for life as you are the best we have ever had!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    OfReg = Incompetence. Go figure that sums it up.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Not to worry the tv station is free now just like the parrots.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    The Premier has been exploring many things for many years.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Hey Alden, my company is in desperate straits because of Government over-regulation and frivolous Government (but expensive to me) costs! Give me a bailout!!

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premier its is so funny you are so concern about Caymanians job but you are not concern about the broken education system that you presently have in place and the thousand of children that will go through that system and comes out uneducated and cannot work anywhere and will not have a job. Go ahead and save Cayman New 27, we all need to hear about all the BS you are doing to this country. You need to go resign

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why blame the Premier for the mismanagement by Randy Merren. Did they need to go to an expensive location if they had never made a profit? How did that make sense? Why have they not paid their licence fees? Why would they believe that they are exempt from paying? Blame bad business managers not Ofreg or the Premier.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Call Ghost Busters

  15. Anonymous says:

    What happens now with the things that Cayman 27 used to do like the NCVO Telethon, the high school graduation, sporting events,Parade of Lights at Christmas or even the first Governors funeral and Royal Visits?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I can answer that. Gone. Gone. Gone. Gone and Gone. In fact fair play to the TV crew for turning up tonight to film/watch the uneducated bunch (it’s not their fault) think that they’ve achieved something by graduating high school.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Lest we forget we are in the middle of hurricane season, and we can see how active it is presently. We need on the ground reporting and not some foreign station like CNN advising us entirely.

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  17. Say it like it is says:

    The Director of OfReg (I thought there was more than one), said “a statement would be issued in due course” i.e. they have requested their consultants (they have a lot to choose from) to prepare it for them at more expense to the taxpayer.

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  18. Losing votes are we?! says:

    Oh Alden, you do make me laugh…

    All of a sudden you’re worried about the loss of Caymanian jobs when it was your beloved PPM and OfReg’s incompetence that resulted in their loss of employment in the first place!

    I think what really has you concerned is the amount of people phoning up your office asking what the %&!@$(& happened ?!

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Alden. Government killed Cayman 27 because it would not enforce the Law. YOU are responsible for that.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Alden, I’m shocked and ashamed of you and my collective PPM Members..How cold and callous can you get? This is a Cayman icon and one of the free bastions of free speech that we have ever had…These employees are not just people you can put on the clean up crew twice a year, they are skilled workers and have spent many years upskilling and learning their trades. This is akin to shutting down Cayman Airways and telling the pilots you will find them jobs elsewhere in the community.

    Other than the government, who will set up a TV station based on the ridiculous rules and regulations developed by your government and the “waste of money” Of Reg.

    As an ardent supporter of the PPM I am ashamed of you and the current government for letting this happen on your watch..First the first time in many years, please don’t consider my vote taken for granted as voting PPM…I am not a happy camper right now..

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    • Anonymous says:

      21 people here like to be told what to think

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have to agree with you..My support for Alden and the PPM is waning. I was hoping that this being his last term as Premier that he would leave a good legacy. I know that Caymanians tend to vote the same way each time but not sure I am just going to blindly give out mine next time. I’m not happy either.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Pity CIG didn’t do their job and make sure that the local content requirement of ALL of the TV stations were being met. Mightn’t have saved C27 but then it wouldn’t have mattered either. Now it apparently does. Should have enforced the rules fairly then shouldn’t you.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Oh sure, the PPM can’t stand 27. The fact is that there is a radio show on it in the am which doesn’t fit their narrative is the reason this is going bye bye. Well, that and the fact that it doesn’t make money like the rest of Hurley’s media. Welcome to the beginning of the end of free speech if the government gets a station.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    This government just loves throwing money away! We don’t need your bias/filtered version of the news!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Premier needs to step up and shut ofreg down. They are a complete waste of time and funds

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      • Anonymous says:

        I agree 3:44 I thought they were going to do something about the high cost of fuel not shut down cayman 27

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      • Anonymous says:

        Shut them down for doing its job? You people are crazy. The man wasn’t paying his fees and when they pressured him for said fees he shut down his radio station! You all probably don’t agree but that is how I see it. I will miss it too but you know life must go on. If government had waived the fees the outcry would have been ” government wasting your money”

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        • Anonymous says:

          No it wouldn’t have been. People would have been happy to see government generosity going somewhere deserving for once. OfReg shouldn’t be ‘pressuring’ anybody – their mandate is to regulate the provision of essential utilities to the people. That does not include forcing them out of business! Their primary duty should be to ensure we all have access to local television, water, power, internet, gas etc. at fair and transparent prices and if there is a problem in the provision of those services they need to fix it, not make it worse/take that service away from everyone!

          • Anonymous says:

            They should have paid their bills. I have to pay them every month or else They will cut of my service. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I bet he is paying The overseas providers.

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          • Jotnar says:

            Not sure you understand the issue. The problem is not OfReg pressuring Cayman 27 out of business, its NOT pressuring the cable companies to sponsor Cayman 27 to provide the local content they, the cable companies, are meant to provide. Its not regulatory pressure, but rather a lack of it that is the issue.

  24. Anonymous says:

    DART TV with Alden as your host / puppet.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Let the dart propaganda station begin

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ofreg will cause more than Cayman 27 to close. Come on people, cut your loses while we can and do away with ofreg

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      • Anonymous says:

        You do realise that OffReg, as independent and you might think they are with their own board of directors,like all other government authorities, has a top boss to tske their instructions from.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    He’s concerned? I don’t believe that statement.

    He’s going to help them look for work? No. He isn’t.

    He’s shutting down free speech in the Cayman Islands.

    He is running a government state.

    Cayman is the China of the Caribbean. Might as well call it the Republic of Cayman.

    A complete dicktatorship, full of propaganda, and obvious and blatant retribution if you go against their regime.

    Hideous. The CIG can give funds to Radio Cayman and the CIG news outlet but not help Cayman 27 that has been around for 27 years.

    I am so sorry for the staff who are losing their jobs. Remember to vote accordingly in the next election.

    Cayman needs youth. Cayman needs change. Immediately.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “The CIG can give funds to Radio Cayman and the CIG news outlet but not help Cayman 27”

      Genuine question. Should CIG be the main one pressing that “leave a tip” button on CNS then? What about CMR? Where do we draw the line?

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      • Anonymous says:

        You draw the line at media that is important to have in a modern, developed society but for reasons is not economical by itself. If you believe that it is important for little Johnny’s swim meet to be televised so that he swims his hardest and becomes an Olympian some day, you make sure we have local TV here. CNS and the Compass make ends meet from commercial revenues. Cayman 27 could not but is still needed so you subsidise it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I believe that CIASA actually paid to have the swim meet on TV.

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          • Anonymous says:

            That’s wonderful. Now there won’t be a channel for them to pay at all. Guess they didn’t pay enough.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I think there needs to be clarity around the fact that Cayman 27 was not asking for a Gov subsidy. There are similar situations in other countries where the market cannot support a tv station with a newsroom and there are mechanisms created to enable revenue to be generated to cover the shortfall. For example if you pay a cable bill in many towns in the US there is a dollar or two added on to cover scenarios like this and the aggregate of that revenue helps to make the tv station viable. If it is of national importance as the premier has said then why is it so hard to respond to a letter or have ofreg do their job!

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          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t understand your comment. In some way, the CIG, should have and absolutely could have, stepped in and done something to stop this from happening.

            The fact of the matter is the CIG did not do anything because it is in their favour to have Cayman27 go dark.

            They don’t want another media company peeling back the carpet to see what has been swept under it perhaps, and especially, on the television where visitors can see it in their hotel rooms.

      • Anonymous says:

        Uhmmmmmmmmmm… you cannot put CNS and CMR in the same column.

        CNS are journalists, with journalistic integrity, command of the English language and grammar, and they write the news.

        CMR is a FB page:

        Full of spelling and grammatical errors (even their cover pic on FB had one for the longest time!)

        Full of gossip and coconut telegraph sound bites

        A podcast that barely works, where the spin of the day is repeated ad nauseam, and Cayman Marlroad’s Sandra Hill looks like she just rolled off the couch

        Pics from car windows with half a story

        Screenshots of private conversations

        Comments from CMR to her friends posting on the FB page to stir the pot….

        I could go on for days. Anyways, not a fair comparison.

        But yes, CIG should be PAYING not TIPPING CNS. For sure. Information is important and, let’s face it, might get them a few votes tossed their way for a story that put them in a nice light.

        CIG should be subsidizing Cayman 27.

        The fact is, they won’t because the good people, at CNS and Cayman 27, couldn’t be bought or told what to say.

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        • Anonymous says:

          My god have you seen some of the nasty comments on there..She is just like the politicians taking advantage of the uneducated using the garbage she calls news…That blog has destroyed so many people’s reputations over the years and somehow she continues to get away with it. I still don’t understand how OF Reg lets her get away with it…but then again anything is possible with Of Reg..

  27. Anonymous says:

    Nobody watches it, it is a relic that we just don’t need anymore.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How are we supposed to get the news that all other major networks and internet providers told us 3 days ago? Who will let us know about the local sports scores that are printed online and in the newspaper?

      I think the government should step in and throw tax dollars at this, because there are about 100 people that need this news. Lord knows we have a budget surplus and no good place to use those funds elsewhere.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody watches Cayman 27 but the over 60 people. Young people have no time for it because of the internet. Same reason why cable television is rapidly dying in the U.S. and Canada.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    Last thing these islands needs is more government approved “news”
    MLA approved propaganda and puff pieces are not news

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