Minister ducks family curfew breach query

| 28/04/2020 | 242 Comments
Health Minister Dwayne Seymour at Monday’s press briefing

(CNS): Health Minister Dwayne Seymour gave a bizarre response on Monday to a question from CNS about a possible breach of curfew at his family home but failed to answer the question. A video posted on social media over the weekend appeared to show his wife working out with a personal trainer, which was potentially in contravention of government’s shelter-in-place order to protect the community for COVID-19.

The Instagram post was picked up by Cayman Marl Road. Publisher Sandy Hill told CNS that, in addition to the fact that the trainer was wearing a mask, she was certain the footage was recent because the comment accompanying the post indicated that the workout happened this weekend, and because of other technical protocols relating to the social media platform as well as her own research.

As a result Hill opted to feature the incident in the site’s ‘Jackass of the Day’ slot, where people doing what might be considered stupid or dangerous things during the curfew are ‘named and shamed’.

The post was picked up on social media and shared extensively. People expressed outrage that the health minister’s own family was potentially breaching curfew and wanted to know if the post was accurate. If it was, the question arose as to why the trainer or the minister’s wife had not received a ticket like dozens of members of the public.

Consequently, after receiving dozens of requests from readers for the question to be put to the minister, Wendy Ledger, the CNS reporter who joins the press briefings via Zoom each day, asked the minister if he wanted to comment on the truth of the CMR report and the potential breach of curfew at his house.

However, the minister proceeded to suggest that Ledger was somehow “brave” or “stupid” to ask the question, adopting a deflecting tactic that increasing numbers of politicians around the world are doing when asked awkward questions by the media. But not satisfied with attempting to undermine or bully the journalist on this occasion, the minister went on to remind people of two well known Bible stories from Christmas and Easter that appeared to have no relevance to the question at hand.

When the minister asked Ledger if that answered her question she pointed out that it did not. He did not deny, however, that there may have been a breach of curfew at his home.

CNS has contacted the police to see if any tickets have been issued regarding the allegation and we are still awaiting a response. But in the meantime, the minister’s assertion that the question was stupid or silly appears to have struck a chord with the public.

In an explosion of messages and social media postings, the Cayman community is now demanding that the minister answer the question given the circumstances. Many people point to the minister’s own pleadings, often in an array of foreign languages at the daily briefings, for people to stay at home and follow social distancing protocols, and they want an explanation.

However, many people were also disturbed by his approach, the bizarre response, the refusal to answer the pertinent and reasonable question and the implications that the minister was refusing to be accountable.

“Getting bullied or berated by politicians is nothing new; it’s part of the job and certainly on the increase these days as a result of the way the president of the United States has opted to engage with the media there,” Ledger said in the wake of the incident, noting that it was a pertinent question about curfew breaching.

“But there are few ways to get a response from this minister in particular because since his appointment he has not answered a single inquiry from CNS,” she added.

Regular readers will recall many issues surrounding Seymour’s ministry in particular, and while on occasion we have been able to get a response to our questions from some of his civil servants, the minister continually opts not to respond to this media house.

It may be that on this occasion that there was no breach, if the trainer lives on site or is an exempted worker or the Seymour family has been given some other lawful permission for a trainer to visit the home. However, so far the minister has not offered any explanation about the allegation.

See the question by CNS and the minister’s response at Monday’s press briefing on CIGTV below:

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Comments (242)

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  1. Tamara Worboys says:

    As a relative newcomer to the Island, I was aghast at the minister’s response to the press question about an apparent curfew breach- almost more than the apparent stupidity of the breach itself.

    If a minister on this island thinks it appropriate to respond to a legitimate press question with a barely veiled threat – then that minister’s fitness to serve needs to come under scrutiny.

    In every other country lesser breaches have resulted in resignations- why not here?

    If the government thinks itself in any way above public or press scrutiny – then the Island is at a more dangerous risk to its civil liberties than It is from Covid 19.

  2. Queenie Ebanks says:

    Cayman continues to spiral downward … slipping into Third World status. Even politicians in Nigeria can’t get away with this kind of arrogance. Shameful. Time to leave this once great paradise.

  3. Anonymous says:

    On a daily basis, the Panel brings up the misbehaviour of certain individuals – curfew violators, Condo parties, Numpty Motorcyclists, Canal swimmers (many, easily publicly identified) so why should CNS not be allowed to ask about another identified perpetrator regardless of their status in society ? The whole point about this exercise is to do what MOH keeps drumming into us in several languages …’Stay Hoom’.

  4. SKEPTICAL says:

    He is, always was, and always will be an ignorant oaf. As a matter of interest, what academic level did he reach at school and afterwards, which would qualify him to hold ANY ministerial position in government – let alone Health.


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