(CMR) Recently Cayman Marl Road reported on an incident that occurred at the home of Neil and Cathy Williams.
Yes that Williams family, “the most powerful name in real estate.” The Williams hosted a party in their home that resulted in a 15-year-old girl going to the hospital unconscious by ambulance for alcohol poisoning. There was also another boy who was vomiting at the party, and two other parents have now confirmed their children also got sick that evening from overindulging in alcohol – all I should mention are under the legal drinking age here in the Cayman Islands and are high school students.
There was a great deal of backlash at Cayman Marl Road for reporting this story and asking whether the question of privilege played a role in the eventual outcome. Honestly, they asked the question because I and others asked them to since we know this is not an isolated incident. The only significant difference that evening is that the authorities had to be contacted so the young girl did not die.
There were immediate claims that the information obtained was either false or inaccurate. Fake news seems to be the only thing those in attendance and who clearly knew better could attempt to use as a means of deflection. They questioned minute details of the reporting like the exact number of students in attendance. I would suggest details involving the exact number of children and other irrelevant information not overshadow the results of an unsupervised party of minors.
I am only revealing the names of the key players at this point because they are part of the public record and for some, they have posted with their real names on the Cayman Marl Road social media accounts; which is an open platform. This editorial is about privilege and how it most certainly played a role in this episode and sadly man others that CMR and the larger community have no knowledge of.
My children and their friends are my primary sources. Observations and additional details came from snap chat screenshots, Instagram screenshots, and real-time updates. Many kids know that their actions are wrong and they should not be drinking with the consent, knowledge or willful ignorance of adults around them and they will talk about it.
TO BE CLEAR, not all who attended this party drank, and this party was not exclusive to CIS kids as some wanted to imply. Other students from other private schools where also in attendance. The article never made the allegation that all should be painted with the same brush, but again this is a way of deflection from the real issues that this horrible incident highlighted.
The entire incident was an epic parental fail in many ways and a great example of how privilege is applied here in Grand Cayman.
Alcohol was present for the minor children. That fact cannot be disputed. By some accounts, it was provided for by the homeowners, while others say it was brought in by kids.
In both scenarios, it was known to the homeowners that the minors would be drinking. Unlike their version of events, we know for a fact that each child was NOT greeted at the front door. Other parents can testify that they dropped children off and waiting a bit to see if any adult would be present and saw none. When they drove off – they also committed another parental failure. Simply put, more questions needed to be asked from the onset.
The children were left unsupervised and the party largely unmonitored to the point where the 15-year-old child was left to her own devices long enough to become severely intoxicated and passed out on the floor for an extended period of time.
We also know that the parents were in the main house while the underage children partied in the guest house. If the parents had been present during the party, then it would have been highly unlikely that the kids would have been able to get so intoxicated or have access to alcohol at all.
Need I remind people that underage drinking is illegal and any adult that supplies liquor or allows it to be consumed by minors in their presence has committed an offense.
Kids in attendance reported they only saw the Williams when a friend of the sick girl alerted them to the 15-yr-olds deteriorating condition. The homeowner's response was to tell everyone to leave immediately. An ambulance was dispatch as well as several police cars.
This action shows incredibly guilty and panicked decision making on the homeowner’s part. Minors who had been drinking were sent out into the street all before the extent of the 15-yr-old, and the other young man’s condition was even assessed.
Luckily the 15-yr-old girl was treated at the hospital for alcohol poisoning and released; having learned a valuable lesson no doubt. She could have easily been victimized or died on the luxury floor of someone else’s home. The outrage her mother expressed at the A&E can be understood by most parents who decide that parenting first is their priority.
The young man I can only assume is better, and the other two kids have fully recovered as well.
The following morning, Cayman Marl Road had written a story about the incident. They obviously had access to a number of very reliable sources. I was then appalled to see a young man named Max Peccarino responded to the account on the public Instagram platform with:
“fat ass bitch named Sandra mad cuz her husband gotta a little ass dick. The parents must have been so concerned their daughter CHOSE to drink a shit ton of alcohol, ain't nobody forced her so guess who's fault is…HERS. Parents shoulda done a better job raising her “
Needless to say, I was sickened to see this comment. It was apparent that Max did not grasp the gravity of the situation and that he was not mature enough to comment thoughtfully. CMR’s IG account has over 5,000 followers and it’s impossible to know how many of them saw that post. As we all know from watching the news – once something is posted on social media platforms it lives on in infamy. Screen grabbing is as easy as one click of a button.
His mother, Anna Peccarino, saw the reposting of comment on CMR’s Facebook page and quickly reach out with what appeared to be a reasonable parenting response. She ensured that her son would be issuing an apology and hand-delivering flowers to CMR administrators – who the comment was personally directed at.
The half-hearted attempt at an apology was posted on the CMR public platform a few hours later first by Anna and then by re-posted Cayman Marl Road with a note stating the apology was accepted.
I and others discussed that the back and forth posting on social media was just a distraction from the real issue at hand. We concurred that Williams, irresponsible parenting should face some consequences; but it quickly becomes apparent that none were forthcoming. Is this unreasonable to expect given that a young woman almost died? If there was no consequence, what message is being sent to the kids?
Back at CIS, the daughter of Neil and Cathy Williams was bragging that if everyone followed the agreed-upon storyline that was being circulated on Snapchat, then the whole thing would blow over. Imagine teenagers colluding together to cover up an incident that almost killed one of their friends.
She further boasted among her peers at school that nothing would happen to anyone because her mother was a Martial Arts instructor who trained the police and that she was also “an attorney.” Her mother isn’t a lawyer but perhaps her reputation with her daughter for making legal matters disappeared has earned her that nickname.
The daughter even joked about her father having some inside connection with the police; most parents like myself are well aware that he worked for them and must know some higher-ups in the force who make matters disappear.
The story to be stuck to was the homeowners were present, and that no one could recall who provided the alcohol. The homeowner then openly claimed she was there and personally greeted each teen guest. She also stated she was in attendance the entire time. These statements are falsehoods and easily debunked.
Cayman Marl Road was made aware that Max Peccarino was planning to egg her house as direct retaliation for the story and calling him out. Turns out that he is dating the daughter of the homeowner and must have taken personal offense to the story. One wonders how a seemingly educated young man would think to attack an innocent third party with such vile and disgusting accusations.
However, it’s the kind of dialogue that perhaps irate parents trying to do damage control might engage in – in front of teenagers – who then feel comfortable repeating it on social media.
Ironically, when CMR approached Max’s mother privately about the new information she received about discussion of criminal damage to her property she all of a sudden became the vindictive villain. What we thought was a wonderful parent then turned into Anna calling CMR prejudice and claiming that her underage son was being unfairly targeted. The same underage so that has his age listed as 22-years old on his Facebook page but he’s only 16 according to his mother.
CMR even pointed that out and none of it was received with any remorse. It led to a sensational exchange and why I decided to pen this supportive piece. They even went as far as reporting CMR’s post to Facebook in an attempt to have it removed; which in the end was entirely futile.
As a parent, I could not believe how the actions of poor parenting had turned on a news source and made them the villain. I was also surprised that no other media picked up on the story. I supposed that’s the kind of results you get when you’re the “most powerful name in real estate” and spend advertising dollars with companies that control media houses.
And even my hero parent fell from grace at this point. Instead, of showing the same strong parenting skills we had initially seen Anna shifted gears and tried to make her son the victim of his own actions instead of letting him suffer the consequences.
The reasons this parent stated were: he was in the middle of exams, and this was causing him stress, and it wasn't fair. They just wanted it to disappear after a brief public display. Privilege.
The real focus here is that nothing has happened to the Williams family. If this were any other family with the same near-tragic outcome, there would have been consequences. Major consequences.
Why is this still important? Because no one learned a thing. Their kids learned it's not about honesty, nor integrity, nor safety. They feel encouraged by this experience so much so that they go on social media talking about it in a justified manner.
And if you are not privileged, you will not receive the same treatment that this family has gotten away with. It comes down to the parents acting like parents. We all have lapses in judgment, but what differentiates us from our children is that we accept the consequences of our actions … or at least we should.
We don't rely on false information and relationships to get us a get out of jail free card. It is hard owning up to poor decision making, but the more significant impact would be to lead by example for these impressionable teenagers.
Our actions should have consequences. These consequences would not have had a lasting effect on anyone's life. But potentially, the next underage party hosted by another family would be better supervised, and no child would get injured.
Anna Peccarino tried to do the right thing in the beginning but showed her true colors and the fact she felt the punishment was too great for Max's self-published words. Her sense of entitlement allowed her to think that in the end should control the outcome. She failed in letting him suffer any real consequences of his actions.
Parents acting like parents is not an easy job. But it is the one we accept when we have children. Breaking rules, laws, social constructs are the lessons we should be teaching our children not to do, instead of setting an example that they are above the law. In this case, all anyone learned was to lie and let your status bail you out. Privilege won, and the opportunity for integrity and a life lesson lost.
Actions = Consequences
Several days after the publication of this story and an editorial submitted by another parent familiar with the Williams2 family; a family member of CMR editor was terminated from his job with Delphi – which is owned by the Pheonix Group as retaliation. Delphi eventually admitted to unfair dismissal in the circumstances.
We have received confirmation from the employer's lawyers that the Williams2 owners; notably Cathy Williams “gave the employer an ultimatum” that if they did not fire this individual there would be financial consequences for the company. The company fired him and he is now unable to provide for his Caymanian family which includes young children.
This blatant form of retaliation is shocking and demonstrates the importance of highlighting such issues in our community. If their actions don't speak to the very privilege the original article spoke of then what does?
They operate in a world where money gets them anything they want and they believe they operate with complete impunity.