In the interest of full disclosure it was sent by a very close relative (my sister). They apparently don’t fool around in the Assembly down there!
A member of the Legislative Assembly staff, accompanied by a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officer, was sent up into the press galley of the LA chamber Wednesday – apparently to check the length of a journalist’s pants.
According to the female reporter, who is employed by Cayman Free Press, she was taking notes during a speech by Premier McKeeva Bush when an RCIPS officer beckoned her to the back of the press gallery.
When the reporter went over, a member of the LA staff said she needed to check if the journalist was wearing shorts.
The journalist, who was wearing Capri pants that came to her mid-calf, wasn’t wearing shorts and was allowed to return to her seat to resume taking notes.
Cayman boxing champ Charles Whittaker, who was sitting in the viewing section of the upstairs gallery when the reporter was called over by the officer, said he was a bit taken aback by the incident.
“I asked the reporter over and said ‘did she really check on the length of your pants?’ She said ‘yes’. And I said ‘wow’,” Mr. Whittaker said.
Mr. Whittaker said there was another female sitting in the press gallery wearing a skirt that was much shorter than the pants worn by the Cayman Free Press journalist, but she wasn’t approached by the officer or LA staff member.
“I thought she was up there for the other young lady [who was wearing a skirt],” he said. “I was also surprised that it took her [LA staff member] to get an officer to check [the reporter’s pants].”
The RCIPS issued the following statement on the incident: “A police officer merely accompanied a member of the LA staff into the press gallery. The member of LA staff was acting on the instructions of the Speaker of the House.
“Any comment [on] the incident in question, or the circumstances surrounding the instruction, should be sought from the Speaker or the LA.”
The Caymanian Compass sent questions to the clerk of the Legislative Assembly seeking to clarify the incident. LA clerk Zena Merren-Chin said the RCIPS officers assigned to the assembly are under the direction of the Serjeant-at-Arms. Speaker of the House Mary Lawrence had not commented on the matter by press time Thursday.
Around the time the journalist’s pants were inspected, another media representative in the press box was using an iPad – which is against the stated rules of attendance for the Legislative Assembly that bar laptop computers and the use of electronic devices like BlackBerrys or iPhones in the press gallery. Nothing was said to the representative by LA staff or RCIPS officers