Broadcaster pressured to remove talk-show hosts
(CNS): The management at Hurleys entertainment has confirmed that it has been pressured by the government to remove Austin Harris and Gilbert McLean from its morning radio talk-show on Rooster before the firm can get a duty waiver for a planned Cable TV project. Speaking on the programme on Wednesday, Harris said that the Hurleys group had been “held hostage” because of the show. Cayman Crosstalk has been accused by the premier of running down the government, and despite once being a regular guest on the programme McKeeva Bush now refuses to go on the show and criticises it on a regular basis.
During Wednesday morning’s show when members of the opposition appeared as guests, Harris raised the issue of the pressure the owners of Rooster were under to remove the controversial hosts.
“The deal is fire Gilbert and Austin and you’ll get what you want,” Harris revealed on air on Wednesday when he said Infinity Broadband Ltd, which is a sister company of Hurleys, had been told by government that it could not get a duty waiver for the project, even though all other businesses in the same field have received waivers.
Every other firm that has successfully chosen to take advantage of the liberalisation of television provision and acquired a licence has been offered a waiver in order to encourage development of this sector. However, Hurleys management confirmed that the waiver for Infinity was being withheld.
Despite the ultimatum, Hurleys told CNS that they would not be firing either of the two popular hosts and would seek to find another way to continue with the project. A spokesperson for the entertainment groups said that the project would generate as many as fifty jobs and represented millions of dollars of investment but they were not prepared to be pressured or threatened in such a way.
Hurleys Entertainment and its owner, Randy Merren, is like CNS still facing legal action brought by the premier over comments made on the show about Bush’s leadership, which it is continuing to fight. The management noted that this latest issue over the duty waiver was just another attempt by government to silence its critics.
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