False rumour aimed at governor triggers probe

| 06/04/2020 | 62 Comments
Cayman News Service
Governor Martyn Roper at Sunday’s press briefing

(CNS): A viral voice note making unfounded allegations against the governor and his wife and a false conspiracy theory about the real motivation for the British Airways emergency flight is now under police investigation. Governor Martyn Roper made it clear on Sunday that his wife will not be on that flight, as she remains in the UK looking after her elderly parents, and the air-bridge flight is first and foremost to bring essential supplies for Cayman.

The voice note recorded by Mario Rankin, originally sent to a private chat group of around seven people, was forwarded by one of those recipients to many more people. It eventually found its way into the social media accounts of thousands of residents here.

Police Commissioner Derek Byrne has said an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the false accusations is underway. He said it was a breach of section 64 of the Penal Code (see here) and he had some indication as to who circulated the note.

“An investigation is underway and 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,” he added.

The voice note falsely alleged that the motive for the BA flight on Tuesday, which is actually bringing medical equipment, 1,700 testing kits, personal protective gear for emergency workers and groceries, was just to bring Lizzie Roper back to the island. But speaking at the daily COVID-19 briefing on Sunday, the governor made it clear why this flight was coming and that his wife is not returning to Cayman in the foreseeable future.

“Last night my wife and I were the victims of a fake news attack stating that my wife was returning on the BA flight. That is completely untrue. Lizzie, my wife, is in the UK at the moment and will be there for the foreseeable future because she is looking after her elderly parents,” he said, adding that her father was particularly unwell and he was sure everyone here would send their best wishes to her and her parents.

The governor described the unpleasant voice note as a “report” and part of the “curse of fake news”. However, this was a false rumour and the speculative opinion of Rankin recorded on a WhatsApp voice note and not a media report of any kind. Nevertheless, the content was very unpleasant and misleading and reached thousands of people.

Reflecting on the Queen’s special address, which was broadcast on Sunday, when she spoke of people looking back with pride over how they behaved during this COVID-19 crisis, the governor wondered if the person who circulated the recording would be able to look back with pride on how they behaved during the crisis.

The BA flight has been the source of much concern in the community as 60 Caymanians will be returning on that flight, many of them students who have been stranded in the UK. Despite confirmation that all of them will be in strict government-mandated quarantine from the minute they get off the plane, some prominent members of the community have made it clear they object to the return of these young fellow citizens over fears of them bringing in COVID-19.

The governor said the flight was about much more than bringing home these stranded Caymanians.

“That BA flight is bringing in much needed medical goods,” he said. “It is helping 130 people who are on our islands who want to return to loved ones to go. It is enabling 120 Bermudians who want to return to Bermuda to do so, and 60 Caymanians will return here and will be in isolation for 14 days in a highly supervised situation so we can manage that risk.

Premier Alden McLaughlin has previously stated that the risk from these 60 Caymanians is much less than the unnecessary trips people are still making during the soft curfew period each day. He recently said many of those “obsessing” about the BA flight were the same people chatting with friends at the supermarket and placing the community at risk.

See the press briefing on CIGTV below (set to start with the governor):

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Comments (62)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    his performance in the trillion pound paradise documentary shows you everything you need to know…..

  2. Anonymous says:

    Without any affiliation to this suspect or the CPR, and not to diminish the seriousness of the accusation – but this is not the first or last politico to spread fake news, and/or crash their vehicle drunk, and/or flee the scene. Let’s report on all of these societal repugnances equally, including the drunk battery villains, convicted coke dealers, the religion-shielded hate mongers, and those that campaign with hundreds of thousands of dollars of our public money to spread false narratives. Let’s seek the disqualification all of the vile disingenuous occupants (and aspiring) of our LA that seek our ongoing amnesia from their closeted pasts, and/or those that seek to avoid more immediate prosecutions. That is, if we are so suddenly concerned/offended with the integrity of the truth, and decay of moral fibre…not a minute too soon. Shine the light in on all of this.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well Mario I hope when you read these comments and I am sure you are. You are proud of yourself.

  4. Anonymous says:

    He is just a terrible, horrible example of a human being. Everyone want to call him “energizer bunny” and then scolded business leaders when they confronted him for what he is, absolute scum of the Earth. Mario is a disgrace to Caymanians especially at a time when we are supposed to bring each other up not take each other down. Shame and he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  5. Anonymous says:

    For it to be a section 64 offence it has to ” cause fear or alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace” – not sure that alleging the governor has abused his position would cause fear or alarm, or disturb the peace, no matter how offensive it is to the Governor. Section 171 for libel might be a safer bet, or at least in the alternative, since there is no doubt its defamatory. In either case if I were the publisher of any online publication that carried the voice note or quoted for it I would be a tad worried, since its not just the author that is at risk but any publisher that repeats it some attempt to ascertain if its true.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bloody arrogant and disgusting behaviour! Mario should be ashamed of himself to make such false accusations!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I had one conversation with this muppet for the first time last year. The amount of crap he spewed about people and organizations which were utter lies and he still hasn’t learned. He bragged about how all this information he knew because someone trusted him with it. I remember warning him that people like him with loud mouths are used as pawns and he should be careful. He laughed at me and said “don’t worry sweetie, I know what I talking about”.
    I knew it wouldn’t be long before he’d be in the news again.

    Some of you ask how the sensible honorable members of CPR could associate with him? Well easy he has the passion and emotion needed to drive a cause and in my opinion the only good thing I know of him is working hard to halt the port process for now. He served a purpose then.

  8. Greyson Thompson says:

    He was always a big mouthed conspiracy theorist. Lock him up.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Worse than the voice note is his pathetic attempt at an apology(presumably to try to get the judge to reduce his sentence). The vitriol in his voice is clear for all to hear.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Take his black Ferrari with private plate off him, sell it and use the proceeds as compensation towards us chartering the BA flight.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Build our port!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Shame on CPR Cayman for aligning yourselves with this vile man. Something to be said about to company you keep Johann, Shirley and gang. And yes, I’m against the port, but will not support CPR as long as that man is part of it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Kick him off the group or CPR will forever be tarnished by his vile and hateful recording! And, do it ASAP.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree. He needs to be removed from that group. The rest of the members are outstanding honest citizens.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a real story:

    Carnival Corp (CCL:NYSE) raising $570mln in equity offering “for general corporate purposes” via BofA and GS. This is in addition to $4bln in convertible debt being issued at 11.50% plus an additional $1.95Bln all due 2023.

    Our Cabinet should read the cautionary notes that accompany the “forward looking statements” related to these announcements, particularly their remarks on “uncertain future”, and how earlier development plans may not happen as they had expected:


    • Anonymous says:

      Great try at deflection CPR😉

      Does not work!

      We don’t want the Port – we know that!

      At the same time, we also know that we don’t want idiots like Mario messing with good, hard-working, and honest people.

      These traits he does not know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well done. Good journalism.

    • Anonymous says:

      Diversion as usual…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mario should stick to riding his kart

    • Anonymous says:

      Who is Mario, what does he do, does he have any education or qualifications, any worthwhile skills, just don’t understand who he is other than common rabble rouser.

      • Anonymous says:

        Qualifications, education, experience?

        Nothing to speak of other than aligning himself with a good and respectable Caymanian family and abusing that relationship.

        The rest is McKeeva’s fault.

        • Anonymous says:

          This is the same idiot that wanted to put an Oil Refinery next to CUC in the North Sound.

          Then later he comes crying about the environmental damage of the Port!

  15. Anonymous says:

    mario is a muppett and should be shunned by the community in general.

    • Anonymous says:

      Where is the “muppet hunter”?

      Bring him out.

      If not, take away his ice cream!

    • Anonymous says:

      Muppet Hunter, put down the ice cream, put on your costume, and help Cayman hunt down this muppet, please.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I just pray that there is another flight that could bring the remainder of Caymanians home. Our family (students) tried to get on this flight and was told that the flight was booked. Not being selfish, however, i think that our children/family should have had priority.

    Apologies to the Governor and his wife for this rude act which was carried out.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This penal code is ridiculous. Not endorsing Mr. Rankin’s behavior but this is not a good use of police’s time, and pressing charges against him for spreading a rumor is ridiculous. Just dismiss the rumor and move on.

    • Anonymous says:

      I suggest you listen to his abusive and bile filled tirade which risked undermining the basis of our governance and was personal and extremely defamatory, and then get back to me. It is certainly a police matter.

    • Anonymous says:

      This person(you?) should be caught, charged, and made an example of. Quickly and his arrest should be as public as possible. Not surprised that there are a large percentage of people who think this is OK but most of us will not tolerate your attacks on any of us.

      • Anonymous says:


        Time to stop little cowards like this in their tracks.

        Sullying the reputation of good people who become the true victims.

      • M McLaughlin says:

        Charge him with what? Speaking his mind? Our governor is an adult.

        We all know Mario is a big mouth idiot, charging him and giving him attention makes no sense.

        Id hope the Prosecutions Office has more important matters to address.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong. At a time like this false news and the halfwits who spread it need to be stamped on hard.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mario is a dink., his mouth should finally be silenced.

    • Hafoo says:

      Mario, da you?

  18. Anonymous says:

    People see things where there are no things to see, and stir it up unnecessarily by spreading thoughts/comment into which no intelligent thought has actually gone. See how unpleasant it is? Its even more unpleasant I suspect when you get caught doing it and prosecuted for it. Wonder how many messages doing the rounds right now speculating on Mr. Rankin’s future? If you have no direct knowledge of a matter, you have no knowledge at all, so just keep your flapping mouths closed.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If any news outside the mainstream is propagated, it needs to be fact and backed up by evidence.
    I have no idea about this Rankin deal, but if it was true, he went about it in a wrong way. If false, then lock him up.
    The same applies to government and the media. Fake news=jail.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Mario Rankin, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Childish to say the least. Time is too serious to engage is such immature behavior.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What? this guys acting like a POS? I am shocked…said nobody ever.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I wish certain Reporters (not CNS) would stop trying to find out the cost of the testing strips. Obviously some of you do know enough about the race that is on for these testing kits. Are you even up to date with the world news? Our government is paying for them, they are arriving on BA, that is all the information you need to know. Premier, Governor and Doctor Lee please do not make it public knowledge – not necessary- and please ensure that the Minister of Health is kept out of it as well, because sometimes he speaks out of turn! I am getting real tired of him and his embarrassing rubbish too.

    • Anonymous says:

      In the uk you can get the test done today privately for 29 quid so i doubt the tests cost more than $5 in bulk.

    • Jotnar says:

      What is the problem with knowing what the price is? We may not like it – sure it was expensive- but it is what it is. But saying there are certain things that the government can spend money on and not tell the taxpayers about is a very dangerous path indeed.

      CNS: The governor has indicated that they will reveal the price later but just want to get them here. I believe the issue is not to jeopardize the arrival of goods which every country in the world currently needs. There will be a time for transparency.

  24. Anon says:

    This just shows how narrow minded some people in the local community are,the same ones who won’t donate blood unless it’s for their immediate family.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would be happy to donate but as someone who lived in the UK in the 80’s my blood is not welcome here, although it would be in the UK. I do not understand why my blood and any other former UK residents can’t donate with the blood labelled as such and only used on former UK residents who would face exactly the same risk with UK donated blood. That would free up the remaining blood supply for others. Following the FDA regulations is all very well and good, but they are not designed for situations where you may actually run out of blood supply. The UK regulations are perfectly OK with supplying donor blood form people living in the UK in that timeframe to anyone, including visitors and those born in the UK after BSE was eliminated in the national herd.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I hope this will settle down this rabble rouser. He is always spewing out fake news. He was instrumental in stopping the port now he thinks he is the cat’s pajamas. Lock him down.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stopping the Port is and was necessary but clearly he crossed the line this time with his despicable rhetoric.

    • Anonymous says:

      Glad the port was closed before this happened. Imagine ruining our waterfront only to invite virus infested floating garbage receptacles!

    • cayman care says:

      Too much gossip around in Cayman. Why not do somthing good and positive rather sitting there chatting other people affair or creat rumor.

      There also had people there sell things to media to make more drama to satisfy their own interest

      When we learn to treat others with compassion, we are a real person.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not sure if people are selling news (getting paid) to the media, but it has become clear that a certain platform (online based), does intentionally entice people to provide them with all sorts of gossip which they spin, wrap up with and preface it with a bible reading and claim it’s news.
        There is definitely a concerted effort there to stir the public pot and then try to tone it down after they have caught the followers attention and then reveal the person(s) messages, notes sent to them in confidence. I don’t condone the voice note or whomever did it, but a certain platform created further distribution of the material by playing It over. A real reporter would have reported like above on CNS and still get to the point. Certain platform, playing clever orchestrated mind games and not a real news outlet.

        • Hafoo says:

          I wouldn’t call that a news platform,more like a gossip platform/sensasional news…saw one that said something about CAL,making one believe it was about Cayman Airways,when acfually its about Caribbean Airlines.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good riddance to the port; doesn’t excuse this though.

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