‘Let The Police Investigate, Keep Politics Out’

June 17, 2011

[Updated] This morning [June 17] in the House of Assembly, Premier Paula Cox fired back at Opposition Leader John Barritt saying, “It is wrong and unconscionable for the Opposition Leader to seek to impugn the integrity of the Government.”

She went on to say that, “The Police are investigating the allegations arising in the Bolden case, let them get on with it and do their job, and keep the politics out of it.”

“Once the investigation has been concluded, let the chips fall where they may, and then whatever needs to be stated or done can be done. However pending the outcome of the investigation, I will not remain mute to unconscionable utterances directed at this Government.”

The Premier was responding to a statement released by Mr Barritt in response to the allegations levied at former Premier Dr Ewart Brown by David Bolden during his trial.

Mr Bolden and his wife were accused of stealing from their company Emerald Capital and laundering some of the money. On June 14th, the couple were found guilty of one count of misleading the Bermuda Monetary Authority, and were acquitted on 18 charges of theft and money laundering.

After the conclusion of the trial, The Royal Gazette reported that while on the stand David Bolden made allegations in reference to Dr Brown, and the Police confirmed they have “commenced inquiries to determine whether any criminal offences have been committed.”

OBA Interim Leader John Barritt had responded to the news saying, ”These are extremely serious allegations, made under oath in Supreme Court before the Chief Justice of Bermuda. They raise questions about the conduct of the Government of Bermuda that must be answered.”

“The allegations must to be subject to an immediate and thorough Police investigation. Every reasonable and right-thinking person would expect that.”

“Until the allegations are addressed, Bermuda’s international reputation will suffer and we will endure another episode when the integrity of Bermuda’s political leaders is open to question,” concluded Mr Barritt.

This morning Premier Cox rendered her objection to Mr Barritt’s statement saying “We must come together as political rhetoric is not without consequence for a community and indeed a country seeking greatness.”

“The new Opposition Leader commenting on the allegations a few days ago, later than I as Premier, and echoing in large part my view there should be an investigation is fine.”

“It would have been best left at that. But his attempt to put a sting in the tail re-Government does a disservice to a role of that Honourable Member, who should be setting out best practice for Parliament.”

“On some issues one must put country first, and resist the temptation to fire cheap political shots. No one, not one person on the Government benches, endorses unlawful actions. And it is wrong and unconscionable for the Opposition Leader to seek to impugn the integrity of the Government in that way.”

“It is farcical, to tell the Bermuda story on the world stage, and then to score own goals in this manner. The Police are investigating the allegations arising in the Bolden case, let them get on with it and do their job, and keep the politics out of it.”

“Once the investigation has been concluded, let the chips fall where they may, and then whatever needs to be stated or done can be done.”

“However pending the outcome of the investigation, I will not remain mute to unconscionable utterances directed at this Government.”

“We must be models of leadership, and therefore we must focus on character, substance and integrity in all that we do. And remember that we are elected to serve and to be honourable and honest brokers in our dealing with the public and each other,” concluded Premier Cox.

Following the Ministerial statement, Opposition Leader John Mr Barritt questioned the Premier. Mr Barritt’s final question was, “Is it the Premier’s position that all the Government is doing at this time, is allowing the Police investigation to take its course, and doing no investigation of its own?”

The Premier replied that, “What the Government is doing is making sure we take every measure and action to enhance good governance.”

Speaker of the House Stanley Lowe interrupted and said he is “reluctant to open that up because of what is taking place down below.”

The Speaker was then interrupted by Mr Barritt who said, “You may be reluctant but that was an attack on me in a Ministerial statement with no opportunity to reply,” to which Mr Lowe replied “Thank you Mr Barritt, please take your seat.”

In a statement issued yesterday evening Dr Brown said, “Further to my initial statement, I had indicated that I would pursue a private prosecution for perjury against David Bolden because of the wholly unfounded allegations he made at his recent trial. I have sought the services of Queen’s Counsel Jerome Lynch to assist Mark Pettingill and Marc Daniels toward that end.”

“Since my initial statement, there has been an announcement that there is to be a formal police investigation into the matter. I wish to make it crystal clear that I welcome that investigation and will assist in whatever way I can. It is not without significance that the one count Bolden is convicted of is lying to the Bermuda Monetary Authority, which is an imprisonable offense.”

“I challenge Bolden or anyone else to repeat that allegation in public without the protection afforded by the system that says that no one can be prosecuted for defamation for words uttered in Court. I also challenge Bolden to name the government Minister who purportedly brought him a message from me,” concluded Dr Brown.

Update 12:57pm: The Premier’s full statement is below:

I am becoming increasingly concerned about the continued rhetoric coming from political leaders of this country that sit in Opposition. We understand fully the role of an Opposition given the 35 years that we spent keeping the former UBP Government in check, and as the Honourable and learned Member John Barritt, JP, MP has said on many an occasion, “the role of an opposition is to challenge the Government of the day.”

Challenge, hold accountable, that is what should be expected of a credible opposition, and we applaud those few members of the opposition that understand their role and do the hard work necessary to offer challenge with substance and alternative solutions. This is not a time for us to play at politics. This is not a time to be negative just to score political points.

The world’s economies continue to struggle in the aftermath of the worse financial crisis in more than 100 years, and we know that we cannot sit here alone in the Atlantic and not be impacted by what is taking place elsewhere in the world.

We must learn to be more positive about our achievements:

  • - Averted a major banking crisis through Government support when many banks around the world failed and world economies sit today on the brink of debt defaults.
  • - Averted massive shocks to the employee base through industry crippling redundancies by introducing more than $50 million in stimulus to the local economy.
  • - Enhanced our standing in the global financial services marketplace through negotiating tax treaties (24 and counting) and through enhancing our regulatory framework.
  • - Opened the doors to foreign investment in our hotel properties.
  • - Eased the financial burden on mothers and fathers looking to see their children get higher learning through the Bermuda College.
  • - Supported both Hoteliers and retailers during some very difficult years by providing tax concessions.
  • - Championed the building of a top flight hospital to ensure our health care product can be of better quality.
  • - Police and community success in bringing murderers to justice.

These are all positive achievements during extremely challenging conditions. It is completely unacceptable therefore, for this country to risk Hari Kari (an ancient form of ritual suicide that defeated Japanese Samurai would undertake).

The sense of unity that is needed during times of crisis is being suppressed by the partisan rancor that distracts us from shaping good public policy. That is why our young people lose faith. That is why our voters become disaffected. That is how countries self-destruct.

The fervour around the next election is becoming a distraction, and is fostering the political rhetoric that you see playing itself out in the press today. There’s too much unbridled emotion and anger.

We need unity. But the emergence of unity is being impeded because petty politics is taking precedence over common sense. Maybe the election needs to be sooner rather than later, so that we can put all of this behind us, and get on with the healing that this country needs.

Mr. Speaker, I will never forget a friend saying that their greatest concern for Bermuda when the PLP won the Government in 1998 was the extent to which an opposition will go in order to wrestle back the power that comes with leading a country.

Our people need the “maximum” effort from all Members of Parliament, Government and Opposition, that sit in both the Upper and Lower Houses of the Legislature.

We must come together as political rhetoric is not without consequence for a community and indeed for a country seeking greatness.

The new Opposition leader commenting on the allegations a few days later than I as Premier and echoing in large part my view that there should be an investigation is fine. It would have been best left at that but his attempt to put a sting in the tail re Government does a disservice to the role of Honourable Members should be doing in setting out best practice for Parliament.

On some issues one has to put country first and resist the temptation to fire cheap political shots. No one, not one person on the Government benches endorses unlawful actions and it is wrong and unconscionable for the Opposition Leader to seek to impugn the integrity of this Government in that way.

It is farcical to tell the Bermuda story on the world stage and then to score own goals in this manner. The police are investigating the allegations arising in the Bolden case- let them get on with doing their job and keep the politics out of it.

Once the investigation has concluded then let the chips fall where they may and then whatever needs to be stated or done can be done. However pending the outcome of the investigation I will not remain mute to unconscionable utterances directed at this Government.

We must be models of leadership and therefore we must focus on character, substance and integrity in all that we do and remember that we are elected to serve and also to be honourable and honest brokers in our dealing with the public and each other.

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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Comments (38)

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  1. Terry says:

    21st Oct…..

    • Black Soil says:

      John Barritt was just responding to questions raised by our (still free) media. He never made a stink of this in the House. Oddly enough it is the Premier who is making politics out of this.

  2. Amazed says:

    I don’t understand why the reported testimony mentioned Dr Brown by name and not the government minister alleged to be involved. That is of a bigger concern because this individual may still be in office and entusted to serve the island.

  3. chris says:

    “… the integrity of the Government.” LULZ!

  4. Young Observer says:

    im confused as to how exactly the premier expects us to keep politics out of an issue concerning alleged political corruption. It would appear to me that the opposition leader was simply doing his job in calling for an investigation into this very serious matter and say that if we didnt have one that our international reputation and domestic trust at risk.

    This is again government ploy of avoidance because now instead of focusing on the allegations were all suppose to be up in arms about the Mr. Barritts comments like thats the real story. Just look at the fact that her speech in parliament was much longer than his comments, if she really wanted to leave politics out of this she wouldnt have addressed it again at all. She is trying to make a big deal out of comments when we all know thats not the real issue at hand.

    • LOL (original) says:

      She is pointing to the fact that the investigation is happening already so Barritt is just blabbing about something already on the move hence further politicizing it. It just make him look foolish. Also the continued defense of her role as finance Minister is equally foolish.

      LOL

  5. The Messenger says:

    “let the chips fall where they may” I just hope in the end, Madame Premier doesn’t have to eat those words. I like Paula Cox but I am disappointed in the state of this country and the things I am hearing and seeing going on with present and former politicians have me concerned. I’ll be watching and waiting for the outcome.

  6. Geza Wolf says:

    I smell an earlier then expecte election lol

  7. LOL (original) says:

    This morning Premier Cox rendered “We must come together as political rhetoric is not without consequence for a community and indeed a country seeking greatness.”

    So what happened during the Brown years and LV’s utterances. Guess it depends on who is saying it.

    “We must be models of leadership, and therefore we must focus on character, substance and integrity in all that we do. And remember that we are elected to serve and to be honourable and honest brokers in our dealing with the public and each other,” concluded Premier Cox. Again what happened durring the Brown years. These are just empty defencive statement but I agree let the police do their job Barritt the plp will only make you a fool till then.

    LOL

  8. Don't care what he says:

    It’ll be another unethical but not illegal thing.

  9. GoPaula! says:

    I like it Premier Cox. Certain sectors of society are so hell bent on regaining “power” that they will denigrate our entire reputation and politicize everything that happens. Rather than work in a cooperative spirit they will demean and destroy just for the sake of it. They don’t even care if their negativity and criticisms reach the rest of the world and ruin our reputation in the process. All they are interested in is Power at any cost.

    • Ganja mon says:

      EXACTLY SPOT ON !! People think the White man like being out of power? They won admit it…smfh

    • New view says:

      It was all about ‘de powa’ when the PLP took the reigns , and look what they did with it and what it did to us.

      Now it’s about ‘responsibility’ .. It’s going to take a lotta good men and women to put our island back on track and it aint about ‘de powa’ .. Only fools gloat over ‘power’ .
      Intelligent people know it’s about responsibility because that’s what taking control of the gover(n)ment is going to be about from now and going forward.

      Give up ‘de powa’ psycho babble.

    • Keeping it Real!! says:

      I agree with you 100%.

      The problem is that too many people want to see the former Premier lynched before given the opportunity to be proven innocent. There are many in the opposition that are praying for the former Premier to be found guilty for political points. Our politics in Bermuda has become much like the foolish gangs playing tit for tat. The opposition, particularly Dunkley, Barritt, and the gang has always tried to demonize this government. Dunkley mentioned facts!! Facts are more than welcomed but when our elected officials rant and rave beyond the facts it become a little child like playing ‘look at me now’ games. Its time all of our politicians “put up or shut up.”

      The true power is not in elected officials that constantly break their word. The true power belongs to we the people. The problem is that we the people lack the balls to stand up collectively for what is right. When the constituency is weak, not the opposition, than our politicians can do whatever. When we as a constituency gives up all power to elected officials then democracy cannot survive.

      • Keeping it Real!! says:

        To be clear I agree with GoPaula

    • Red says:

      Go Paula: You are joking right? Right?

      Negativity and the good doctor are synonymous – inseparable. In this situ the glove does fit…

  10. Riley B King says:

    So we’re coming up to an election soon and suddenly the ruling party wants ‘unity’ and would like the opposition to be ‘more positive about our achievements’?

    And now that the former Premier and a government minister are implicated in allegations of dishonesty, she wants to ‘keep politics out’…? What does she think politics are? Should the US have kept politics out of Watergate?

    It all sounds like desperation. Now is the time, actually, for proper scrutiny of what happened.

    If she were smart (I said ‘if’), the Premier would put whistleblower immunity in place so that people could come forward and state what they know without fear of losing their jobs (civil servants, employees of contractors, etc). If she were smart. Because that would tell people that she is serious about clearing the air on all these allegations.

  11. Face the Nation says:

    Former Premier DREB , by his own doing , engendered so much bile out of ordinary people that unfortunately a vast demographic are now chomping at the bit to see this investigation come to the fore , and bear the desired fruit . Sorry Premier Cox that you now have to deal with the coming firestorm , my advice is to suit up .

  12. Liars says:

    Without Prejudice

    My geuss…..Lt. Col could have been the other minister….hopefully it wasnt the highesy ranking official…….l can’t even say it!

    • Justin says:

      It wasn’t Burch, because Bolden said it was an MP. Burch was never an elected official and therefore not an MP.

      • Ganja mon says:

        @Liars..stop trying to ridicule the Government and you have very little understanding of what an MP is…Research before you try to sound smart @$$ !

      • Hmmmmm says:

        Don’t you get it? People don’t care about the truth, the want to wish away the people they love to hate. They’re not going to let the truth get in the way of their hate. If David Cox had said on the stand that the Police are in cahoots with Parkside, would that get investigated ? of course not, even if that’s the word on the street; the source is questionable. But a convicted liar says something vague, while fighting to stay out of Westgate and the Plumed One himself is sending cables to London. We are not fooled.

  13. star man says:

    Karma is real.

  14. Hmmmmm says:

    Alright, let’s roll….since we like investigations, let’s have some more please…..its not too late. Let’s investigate:

    1. the years of the DDB Needham contract for the BDOT
    2. The award of tourism contracts to the group that provided the prettiest blond for the Minister
    3. how we overspent on a still unfinished stadium and payed for the seating twice
    4. the supply of computers to the Bermuda College during the Orenduff/Spiering administration
    5. and the death of Mark Martin off Point when we all know who was driving that boat.

    Or do these cut a little too close to the bone for some whose names figure on the side of “right” right now? We are not fooled.

  15. Premier Cox is correct!! Technically, what Mr Bolden has alleged at this point is all “here say”. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Why call Dr.Brown’s name during his trial was it a strategy to take the focus of his case? Why not during the case did Mr Bolden provide evidence as to whom what and when? Also, why now and not when it supposed to have taken place? For example, “someone tells you they saw “Tom,” taking the money out of the milk truck last Friday. For all you know this could be a made-up story or hoax to get Tom into some difficulty. There was no evidence that proves this is the case.

    So Premier Cox is correct, we must let the investigation take place first to determine if Bolden claims are rightful or untrue before we start accusing or hang a person for doing something. (If Mr.Bolden wants this matter to go away quickly, he can be an honest broker and prove his case) If the investigation proves that Tom did take the money, than let the chips fall where they must. But I think the law says “A man is innocence until he is proven guilty”. In this particular case, the rage towards Dr.Brown is likely to go on as the same individuals still hold their bitter feelings towards him. The jury is still out……

    • Rick Rock says:

      Special Girl, The term is “hearsay”, not “here say”, and you completely misunderstand what it means. Technically, it was definitely not hear say evidence. You are wrong.

      As you say, “a man is innocent until proven guilty”. Including, in this case, Mr Bolden.

      We’ll see who is proven guilty in the investigation.

      • Hmmmmm says:

        Mr. Bolden is a convict. Guilty on one count of misleading (aka lying) to the BMA. Afraid the presumption of innocence has left the station as far as he is concerned. And it was hearsay evidence. He said what another person told him Dr. Brown said. It was not direct evidence. He never said “Dr. Brown said…”. All cute little phrases….” a Minister said”….”an approach was made”. You can dress it up however you like, it ain’t worth solid excrement.

        • Shaking the Head says:

          We’ll see, but the mention of an MP means that more than Dr Brown was allegedly involved. Also you are missing Mr Bolden’s other testimony that Dr Brown himself approached Mr Bolden asking for 60% of the commission derived from the Government pension business. That is not hearsay, but direct.

        • Thanks Hmmmmmm for that reply, you are correct. (So there was an error in spacing of the word hearsay….big deal…that’s not a significant deal.)
          “Hearsay is information gathered by one person from another person concerning some event, condition, or thing of which the first person had no direct experience. When submitted as evidence, such statements are called hearsay evidence. As a legal term, “hearsay” can also have the narrower meaning of the use of such information as evidence to prove the truth of what is asserted. Such use of “hearsay evidence” in court is generally not allowed. This prohibition is called the hearsay rule.”

          Mr Bolden is person of questionable character. Why did Mr Bolden come forward with information sooner, why now? He lacks credibility due to his current status. Hon. Premier Cox is correct in what she has said regarding this situation. It is a matter that one must wait to see the outcome and go from there. But at present it sounds like “tick for tack”. Just like in Shuffle!, the player will encounter events that will ask them to choose some option. Choosing one of them may cause an event to happen, while choosing the other may not have any effect on the game. This situation returns in Tick! Tack!

          Hon. Premier Cox is an honourable person, and she does not do anything without careful consideration as to the outcome. As Bob would have many of you believe Bermuda is in total chaos. But the economy in Bermuda is in fairly good shape in comparison to most countries, and in particular to Europe.

  16. Shaking the Head says:

    Unfortunately the Premier is sounding like a wife who discovers her husband has been having affair after affair after affair over a long period, and she didn’t suspect anything. These types of allegations have been around for a long time and been ignored. Let the investigation take its time and scope and then make a judgment.

  17. d reader says:

    hmm so why did ewart brown hire an opposition mp as his lawyer..whoplayingpolitics?

  18. Jen says:

    Premier Cox is quoted as saying” No one, not one person on the Government Benches endorses unlawful actions” and speaks of the “integrity” of the Government. I would suggest that this is not quite accurate as we have the examples of the Guantanamo Bay detainees and the BAS debacle.