(CMR) During today's COVID-19 briefing Police Commissioner, Derek Byrne, confirmed that an investigation has been launched surrounding a voice note that was sent out by Mario Rankin of CPR Cayman. The information was given after a media question from Cayman New Service.
Bryne indicated that pursuant to section 64 (1) of the Penal Code (2017) Revision where publication of a false statement and propagating of fake news is a serious criminal offense and the matter is being looked into. He indicated that he was aware that they may have the identification of the individual in question and investigations were underway.
Pertaining to the investigation one observer indicated that if this particular incident was not taken seriously it would be near impossible to justify any future actions in regard to breach of that section of the law. They shared:
“If you can attack the governor with fake news at this level and this type of false accusation and nothing comes it then how can you ever prosecute anyone else for publishing fake news. This is quite a serious situation and has caused an immense about of stress to parties who are working tirelessly to make this country COVID-19 free and safe.”
If Rankin is prosecuted he would be the first person to be held accountable under that section of the penal code for peddling in fake news.
The voice note was circulated yesterday evening after 6:00 pm via WhatsApp social messaging and quickly went viral. In the voice note, Rankin accused the Governor of arranging the British Airways air bridge to the Cayman Islands in order to facilitate his wife being able to return to the islands from the United Kingdom. However, it turns out that the basis for the voice note was completely false.
Since then Rankin has blamed CMR for addressing and seeking to correct the information in one of his “Leader of the Opposition Leader” voice notes. The second voice note attempted to downplay the seriousness of the first one in which he said he had his eyes on the governor and referred to him and his wife in derogatory terms.
The initial recorded 43-second rant contained 11 expletives and stated that the governor was prepared to jeopardize the lives of the Caymanian people in order to bring in his wife on the flight. There was no indication in tune or content that it was to be a joke.
Once the voice note went viral Rankin appears to have done an about-face and then issued a second voice note in his alter ego character where he said CMR is the issue here and speaking in the third person someone should also deal with “Mario Rankine”.
Instead of issuing an apology to the governor and his wife he has instead sent a WhatsApp message to Deputy Governor Franz Manderson whereby he claims his voice note was meant to be a joke – one which obviously no one found amusing.
He also accused people of his CPR group for breaching the trust of the group and sending out his voice note. Ironically, almost weekly he sends out voice messages in his alter ego in a similar manner for broad distribution.
TUNE IN LIVE AT 7:00 PM as CMR dissects this apology.