Is it legal to burn the Cayman Islands flag as a form of protest?
Auntie’s answer: This is an interesting question and one that has been in the news recently as part of all the insanity of the US presidential election. Up there, the right to burn the flag has been upheld as protected under the US Constitution, covered by the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, which includes freedom of speech and religion.
In Cayman, Section 77 (“Vandalising the flag of the Islands”) of the Penal Code (2013 Revision) says, “A person who unlawfully damages or destroys the flag of the Islands commits an offence.”
There does not seem to be any room in the law for damaging the flag as a means of expression or protest.
A quick look at other countries provides a mixed bag. Burning the flag is not a criminal act in Canada; it is also a protected form of expression. Nations where it is illegal include China, Austria, Argentina and Croatia. Others, like Denmark and Japan, allow their flags to be burned but not those of other countries. New Zealand prohibits “dishonouring” the flag but what that means is open to interpretation.
We don’t seem to have that freedom of interpretation in Cayman, which I am sure is just fine for some and not so much for others.
Category: Ask Auntie