December 16, 2017

The Editor Speaks: The other side of the story

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I have been discussing with a lady from (who does not want her name disclosed) re artist “Foots” Kynes activities on the Brac that has incited the many locals to act aggressively against him.

I have promised to make public “the other side of the story” – her title.

The lady sent me many photographs of the many billboards Kynes has placed in full view for the public to see. She has asked me not to publish the photo of one particular billboard as it has people’s names, private details, and unfounded accusations on it. She shared these photos with me because she wanted me to “see ALL the reasons why any decent citizen of any country would be offended by his actions, and demand that the authorities get involved in the interest of public order, public morality, peace, and to protect the freedoms and rights of others.” The large majority of the people named on the billboards are well respected members of the community. It is shocking.

One of the images is of a billboard, which is about the size of a huge sheet of plywood, is standing just a few feet from the main public road, obviously to gain the maximum attention

The lady states that Kynes deliberately put up these signs knowing the outrage it will cause among the people of Cayman Brac. He has published on some of the signs the names and employment details of private citizens that is particularly obnoxious and any respect I had for him has gone.

One of the signs has the antagonizing public message “If you don’t like it, don’t look”!

There is an online petition that people can sign and gives the “other side of the story” at: https://www.change.org/p/protect-the-rights-freedoms-and-reputations-of-everyone-in-the-cayman-brac-community

I understand that for years several leaders and residents in the Brac community have spoken to Kynes privately in an effort to reason with him. Instead of simply building an art gallery to show his work like other Brac artists have done on the island, it looks like he chose to exacerbate the situation by erecting the huge billboards.

The lady said “it is important to note that for many years the police ignored calls from the community to help keep the peace in this situation, claiming that it was a ‘civil matter’. It’s only after the penal code connection was highlighted by members of the community that the police took action, since this time some of the objects did cross the line.”

She also said, “I agree with you that the negative publicity isn’t good for Cayman, and frankly that makes me and other Brackers all the more upset with him. But just like the tax haven and issues you mention, negative global opinions about this matter will ultimately be based on one-sided media coverage. In this case, so far the media coverage locally has ignored his responsibility and fault in this situation, and disregards the freedom of expression rights of others to object and oppose. Mr. Kynes has been very good about presenting himself to the media as a “victim” of the very conflict he caused and continues to perpetuate by disregarding and trampling on the rights of others (I believe that’s called narcissism), indeed for the publicity the local media has been keen to feed him and serve to the world without presenting both sides of the story.

“For the record, I don’t agree with any vandalism of art, and that has certainly only garnered more external support for him.”

I do not know who started it all first, but I suspect it was Kynes with one of his statues. The vandalism to his work has caused him to fight back in a way that has exasperated the whole affair to proportions now that are almost out of control.

I doubt there is any way to reason with him, nor will the powers who have brought this lawsuit against him, to drop it.

No one will really win except the third parties who find any excuse to smear our country any which way they can.

They don’t care for the other side of the story, except their side.

My appeal to Kynes is:

You are a foreigner, in a foreign land. You should, at the very least, respect not only the laws of the country you are now living in, and being allowed to, but also the culture and customs of the country.

Whilst I respect you as a very talented artist I abhor the signs that you have posted. None of them are art and, to me, far more offensive than any of the statues you have placed. Even the one that is the centre of the law suit against you.

Two wrongs do not make a right, and the vandalism and the police’s lack of finding the culprit/culprits on a tiny island is, I am sure, frustrating. However, there was absolutely no need to fight back in the way you have. I am VERY disappointed in you. That is not what I would expect from a talented artist.

Shame on you.

That shame is brought because of the other side of the story.

Therefore, I am very pleased to have published “The other side of the story”.

PS. I decided not to publish ANY of the images sent to me.

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