In an ex-parte hearing this morning Marco Archer received an injunction against Cayman Marl Road to remove a story regarding some allegations as they relate to waiving of stamp duty for various persons. The sentence that called Mr. Archer dishonest was problematic and the story will be removed as instructed by the court.
Justice McMillan indicated that his decision was in the best interest of all parties concerned as it would mitigate any potential damages going forward. He also indicated that he was keen to protect Archer's good name in the community. The injunction was issued with a penal notice. He made aside comments that this was likely an “enthusiastic error” as opposed to being outright malicious.
Since it was an ex-parte hearing CMR was not able to address the judge in any way or make any statements about it's position. However, if the parties wish to continue forward the next step will be an inter-parte hearing which would involve both parties making more substantive arguments on the merits of a case.
The court was keen to protect the reputation of Archer, who stated in his affidavit that he had been approached by various international bodies to undertake public speaking engagements and it could impact his ability to seek employment opportunities going forward.
CMR hereby issues Archer a public apology as it was never this publication's intent to defame him in any way. We were simply attempting to highlight a story that presented numerous facts that made us concerned about how stamp duty abatement applications are handled. The public has a right to fully understand the process and be informed of how wide the minister of fiance's powers of discretion truly are.
Cayman Marl Road Administrator, Sandra Hill, made the following statement after the decision:
“I am thankful for the judge's feedback this morning. It was a very useful learning exercise. The goal of CMR is to educate people and bring perceived injustices to light so that they can be remedied.
Citizen X came to us with documentation that substantiated her claims of what transpired and there are a number of public interest points that arise as a result of her experience. CMR will certainly be more cautious going forward in how we articulate positions including whether a statement is one of opinion or fact.
We are continuing to investigate the matter and follow-up articles will be done to question aspects of how things were handled in her case. For example, there's a serious FOI question here that needs to be addressed as well as how a current minister can rely on the advice of someone no longer in office to make a decision.
I hold steadfast that this was never really about Mr. Archer in any personal capacity; but simply in his role of Minister of Finance. In fact, there's some alleged irregularities that continue to this date that deserve to be explained to the public. The takeaway here is the careful usage of words especially in a forum such as this. We will not be deterred from covering any important issues that face this country and in particular will keep an eye on politicians as they exercise their duty to the public.”