Gospel concert controversy; Miller-Concert should be pulled

Dec 28, 2017 News

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 both the Opposition Leader and the House Speaker are raising objections to the current law and the liquor licensing board is today confirming the ban will remain in place. 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 has 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. 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 registered his objections, but he 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