Cannonier: ‘Inner Circle Exploiting A Situation’

July 24, 2012

[Updated] The PAC report revealed an inner circle of people exploiting a situation to serve their interests before the public interest, Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier said.

“The BLDC situation reveals poor judgment and careless behaviour at the highest level of government. If our political leaders do not enforce the rules, if they do not set the highest standards of conduct, then Bermuda has a serious challenge,” said Mr Cannonier.

“People need to know that the people at the top are doing the right thing. That wasn’t the case at the BLDC. We can’t have one set of rules for insiders and another set of rules for everyone else.”

A Special Report from the Auditor General previously revealed that former BLDC Chairman [Ed Saunders] and Deputy Chairman [Pastor Leroy Bean] received $160,000 in consultancy fees, which the Auditor General called a “fundamental conflict of interest.” The PAC report noted this, and said they support the Auditor General’s recommendation that the $160,000 be refunded.

The PAC investigation also revealed that BLDC’s Deputy Chairman asked the CEO to remove the original painting contractor, and give the contract to a painting company operated by the son of the BLDC’s Chairman, with the contract valued at thousands of dollars more than the original contract.

The PAC report said that anecdotes like these caused the PAC to question whether the BLDC Chairman and BLDC Deputy Chairman were acting “honestly and in good faith.”

Mr Cannonier also said we have to question the message the Premier sent “by supporting the candidacy of one of the former BLDC official at the centre of the reported ‘misuses of public money’ – a man she ordered fired from his position as BLDC Deputy Chairman.”

Earlier this month the PLP confirmed that Pastor Leroy Bean will stand for them in Constituency #4 St George’s South. When asked at the rollout about the Auditor’s comments on the BLDC payments, Premier Cox said, “I think what’s important to note in terms of the Government and even with the Auditor General..that time and time what comes up are these innuendos and hints of corruption. That seems to be always the subtext sometimes of certain lines of questioning.”

“Why are people suggesting it? Is it because they have a black government? I think the issues with regard to the Auditor General are clear. They’ve been documented, they’ve been set out. My views are also clear, as to the fact that there has been nothing that was done that indicated that there was anything that was corrupt.”

Mr Cannonier’s full statement is below:

The Public Accounts Committee’s report on the Bermuda Land Development Company reveals government behaviour that should concern all Bermudians.

The report, which was signed by members of the One Bermuda Alliance and the Progressive Labour, reveals an inner circle of people exploiting a situation to serve their interests before the public interest.

And it shows a senior Minister operating without regard for rules and regulations and openly defying the Premier.  All of this is completely unacceptable.

This morning the Premier responded, saying she had passed good governance legislation since the incidents at the BLDC came to light. It sounded good but here’s the thing:

This situation did not require new legislation to stop it from happening. All the rules and regulations to make sure people do not misuse public funds were already in place. But in this instance, people completely disregarded those rules and regulations.

This gets us back to our basic concern about the government’s good governance programme: You can have all the rules you want but if you’re not going to follow them, if you’re not going to enforce them, then there is no accountability and Bermuda is never going to have a government people can trust.

The BLDC situation reveals poor judgment and careless behaviour at the highest level of government. If our political leaders do not enforce the rules, if they do not set the highest standards of conduct, then Bermuda has a serious challenge. People need to know that the people at the top are doing the right thing.

That wasn’t the case at the BLDC. We can’t have one set of rules for insiders and another set of rules for everyone else. That’s not how we’re going to build a better Bermuda.

We must be about fairness. We must follow the rules. We must set the best standards of contact. Do that, and we will get to that better tomorrow.

On a final point, we have to question the message the Premier sent to the people of Bermuda by supporting the candidacy of one of the former BLDC official at the centre of the reported ‘misuses of public money’ – a man she ordered fired from his position as BLDC Deputy Chairman.

Surely, the Premier had a choice in the matter – a choice to send a signal about what is acceptable and what is not.

Update 7.56am: In response, the PLP said: ““There Mr. Cannonier goes again. More attacks and negativity. No ideas. No solutions. No vision.

“The truth is, the PLP responded swiftly by introducing landmark good government reforms that strengthened whistleblowers, increased penalties on corruption and made the tendering process more open and clear.

“The OBA hasn’t offered any ideas. Paula Cox and the PLP are standing strong for Bermudians by surely and steadily working to crack down on corruption and make government a little bit better.”

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Comments (42)

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  1. Family Man says:

    Here's an idea, FIRE THE LOT OF YOU.

    It's time for people of honesty and integrity to lead this island.

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    • Both parties stink right now! says:

      You mean like what the UBP did to the blacks on this island back in the past? The same UBP people that joined to form the UBP/OBA to take us into the future. Freak the UBP/OBA and freak the PLP. So do I vote for my brother in the hoody or the white man (KKK)in the hoody?

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      • Claudio says:

        PLP was voted in because people wanted a change. What was the point IF they are doing the same thing?

        Right is right and wrong is wrong regardless of colour.

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        • Victor says:

          The UBP gave Bermuda over thirty years of honest, debt free government and decades of prosperity, the fruits of which we continue to live off today, despite this present Government's ignorance and incompetence. To say that because the minority race was deeply involved in the UBP at all levels, it was therefore by definition a racist organization is at best PLP rhetoric and at worst more lies, hate and deceit by the racist political nomenclature that have run this country into the ground these past thirteen years - and in so doing completely and utterly betrayed their own PLP party, especially the grass roots supporters who remain decent, honorable yet evidently misguided people.

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        • Tolerate says:

          Exactly, what change did I get? The supposed white man who has been stealing and reaping the rewards, to now the black man. The PLP was to change all this. Not replace it with themselves. Shame on all you that think it’s OK now a black party is doing it.
          Hypocrites.

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      • Me 1 says:

        right on both parties are worthless...vote for the independents, they owe nor tow party lines. they represent the people who elect them full stop.

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    • pepper says:

      I agree family man,we need people that care about us... and not people that are only concerned about themselves .

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    • dumbfounder says:

      Lord have mercy, he speaks (now that the house of assembly is out for summer break) but of course from a prepared speech.

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    • Pot n Kettle says:

      That is definately the pot cussing the kettle. how did the oba gain the title opposition? Their INNER CIRCLE, LIED CHEATED AND STABB GOOD MEN right before the entire Bermuda public. give me a break!

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  2. Joey-Bag-O'doughnuts says:

    When you have a government where those that govern have the ability to vote themselves raises and other perks then you have a lost society.

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  3. Enough is enough says:

    This is the behavior that has become the norm since dr. Brown took leadership of the plp and continues today via his cog in the wheel Paula cox

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  4. Edmund Renound says:

    “Why are people suggesting it? Is it because they have a black government? I think the issues with regard to the Auditor General are clear. They’ve been documented, they’ve been set out. My views are also clear, as to the fact that there has been nothing that was done that indicated that there was anything that was corrupt.”

    Yes That is it!! Because it is a black government. Keep hiding behind the race shield, the PLP's go to. It is clear now from the inquisition that Burgess disobeyed the law and clearly did whatever he wanted with public money. This resulted in a so called 'Pastor', getting paid for well, being a consultant regarding land development. is that not what Pastor's do?

    The present government claim to have invested in the infrastructure of the Island. But at the same time they have pilfered the public purse into their own pockets and their mates pockets.

    PLP following Black Bermudians justify this though. 'Got mines!' Reparations finally!!

    I don't support either political party, but the present government really is a bunch of self serving hypocrites. They only want Bermuda for their black supporters. And if you are black and don't support them then you are just as bad as the white man. Bermuda, the black utopia!!! Let's kick all the white people off the island and take all of their money at the same time for what they did to us 100's of years ago!!!

    All they are doing is crippling the economy and taking the peoples money.

    End political parties and stop the racial bating! Political Parties are what keeps this Island divided.

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  5. Purple says:

    It seems that the Premier and her party would like to ignore the last 12 years of their "leadership", answer for nothing back then and say that "everything's better now", play the race card when the questions get too uncomfortable - in order to keep everyone in line, throw out the "before 1998" excuse for behaving the same as the previous government (although more blatentely and in less time I might add) and hope that it all just goes away. The truth is that - Opposition Party removed - the PLP continually shoots itself in the foot. The Premier shows us that as Finance Minister under the previous party leader, she was either oblivious or extremely weak. And as Premier, to surround herself with the same characters of extremely questionable behavior has made the Party untrustworthy. The PLP continually wishes to throw the past behavior of some members of the OBA in their faces and at the same time hide from their own. You can't have it both ways. Come clean PLP!! If you don't do it yourselves, it will be done for you! You are running out of excuses!

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    • street wise says:

      All this because Dr Evil is still pulling the PLP strings behind the curtain. Megalomania has no cure. And Paula will be quickly replaced after the election by Derrick 'son of a slave' Burgess, Dr Evil's sock puppet. Oh what fun that will be!!!

      Ewart Brown will not stop until he is President of an all black Independant Bermuda. Want that? Then vote for the PLP again.

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    • pepper says:

      Think about who is running this ISLAND...we have Zane who is in charge of our health care !!!!!! and Paula who is in charge of our finance...why the hell are these two still on the payroll ????

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  6. Argosy says:

    I wonder how the PLP would describe "corruption"?

    Probably "an action that's unethical but not illegal".

    This tells us that (a) our corruption laws are outdated and there is no political will to change this; and (b) we have a Government that tacitly condones/supports unethical behaviour.

    Well said, Craig. We need honest, ethical leadership.

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  7. 32n64w says:

    "No ideas. No solutions. No vision."

    This sounds like an apt description of the PLP Cabinet as evidenced by the last 14 years. When you can't run on your record you attempt to run over your opponent. Stay classy PLP.

    "Paula Cox and the PLP are standing strong for Bermudians" ... on the shoulders of innocent children who will inherit crippling debt and a crumbling infrastructure.

    They must be so proud.

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    • say it like it is. says:

      and no Pervert Register, don't forgert the PLP could care less for our children either.

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  8. Amazed says:

    It amazes me that the PAC report does not seem to address the fact that these men claimed that they had both a legal opinion and an independent consultant opinion as to whether they were allowed to accept the assignment. Mr. Richards and the committee have appeared to avoid this issue why? The truth is there probably should be an independent review committee so that the public can get the real truth without the political taint!

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    • Rockfish #2 says:

      @ Amazed,

      Political taint?

      What? Please remind us,who signed the report?

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    • 32n64w says:

      The legal and independent consultant opinions would have been based on their remit - which was likely very narrow.

      For the sake of transparency one would need to see both the original request and subsequent replies in order to appreciate their applicability. I think your suggestion for an independent review committee makes perfect sense - which is exactly why it will never happen!

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  9. Yng Black Mind says:

    I can only be true to myself - - -

    I agree that this government has done a poor job in regards to how it conducts itself and its business - - they should be held accountable - at all levels.

    Additionally, I am very concerned at the opposition and the way they conudct themselves - - their creation (the how) leaves something to be desired in my books.

    So what am I saying? Both parties suck - plain and simple. It boils down to who you feel is the lesser of two evils!?! It is your vote - make it count (either way you vote)

    Yng Black Mind
    (those who know understand)

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    • More with less says:

      There is always the option to not vote at all! If I didn't have a clear view of who would be most likely to turn our ailing economy around, I know I wouldn't bother to vote at all! We deserve better than the lesser of two evils!

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    • say it like it is says:

      I understand how you feel, but regardless of what people say, the OBA is new, and can make changed, if not they get voted out. I don;t think you should give up your right to vote.

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      • The truth please? says:

        The OBA is the UBP! The previous party should have never joined with these fools. That is when they had my vote.

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        • FB poster says:

          On Famoous FB page it's mentioned that 19 other than PLP OBA will be running. You will have a choice young black mind.

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    • Me 1 says:

      Alternatively, young black mind, They can vote for the independents. On Famouss' FB page, Ceola wrote currently there are 19 running so you will have a choice of NOT voting for the lessor of the 2 evils.

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    • holllllaarr!!! says:

      Young Black Mind, do not dispair! It is impossible to know what the other party will do until they get in..They must discover what they are working with first!! no one else knows whats really been going on with the public purse because no one but the Plps' Premier/finance Minister has had access to it.. In order for us to change we must have a new group in, if not we will either vote independent members or have Britian decide, PlP must be voted out in order to change our circumstance and no one on the OBA,UBP or Independent candidates, have a clue of exactly what they will do until they are sworn in to perform and given the portfolios to each department to determine how changes will be made.. They have a job as opposition to oppose!!believe it or not, that is their job right now to show you what they are also noticing about their Government and our Government it is all our Government even the opposition, but in order to change the way we have been governed we must put people there that will at least prove to be honest and operating within the sunshine of public scrutiny no matter how bright the lights or blurry the vision.. If the next party proves incompetent to include the people that elected them to assist in moving our country upward out of this abyss of debt delusion and utter denial of supposed intelligent people.. Have your say by voting out or voting in but exercise your right to change things! there is no guarentee that the elected members will hold a portfolio at all, but they will be in the house to make a difference one way or another.. so don't dispair, appear and make a difference for yourself cos you have the power along with the rest of us to change our present circumstance of being governed by a divided group who no longer care about us after only 14years! they look more like the ubp used to look than the plp I always knew who were rebels with a cause who decided to retreat when given the opportunity to show the public gratitude for being elected to enjoy spending OUR MONEY!!!anyway they liked.. plueeeassse... think more highly of yourself and fight for what you know to be right and correct..

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  10. Verbal Kint says:

    The PAC report states that the opinion of the lawyers was obtained after the fact. The opinion of lawyers with an interest to protect is not law. Political taint? The PAC is bi-partisan.

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  11. Verbal Kint says:

    It is obvious that making
    Government a little bit better is not nearly good enough.

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  12. Triangle Drifter says:

    The BLDC was in trouble from the first days of the PLP. Read the book USS, Bermuda. A long sad story of PLP ineptitude.

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    • pepper says:

      The author of the book "Uss Bermuda.. Don Grearson is worth reading...it sure tell us the facts about the current leaders of this Island !!!!!!

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      • Me 2 says:

        Unfortunately, Don Greason, a paid UBP/OBA writer, speech-writer, writer-chief-spinner, did not truthfully tell the truths about the inner-circle of the UBP/OBA and the $$$ obtained and the source.

        Let's all wait for Jamal Simmons book to see the other side. Can't wait, hurry Jamal, I want to buy 5 copies for my mother, on the cover of the rolling stone.

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  13. Bewildered says:

    Th PLP response at 7.55am very conveintly ignoresthe fact the they have been the Government since 1998. The current Minister of Finance, Paula Cox, has held that post since 2004 and overseen all of the matters that are the subject of the Auditor General's Reports and the PAC Meetings. She is responsible for what has occurred. Instead of taking action against the wrondoers and wrongdoings, she has enacted new legislation to stop it happening again. It shouldn't have happened in the first place and there were laws in place, but these have been ignored.
    Clearly the solution is to remove the PLP from Government, or at least remove all the PLP MPs and replace them with new people who have honesty and concern for Bermuda, not themselves.

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  14. Bermy's Finest says:

    It is clear that under Dr Brown's Government there where a number of transactions and interactions that are questionable. However I do believe that current Premier is taking steps to change this. She is of sound character and education it is just unfortunate that she has to clean up such a mess.

    The OBA has quite a few shady characters within thier party as well. I mean Mr Crockwell is a convicted criminal!! He stole from the court!! I can go on and on..but the issue is this none of these parties are fit to run this paradise!! And as a young person with kids, a house and a husband I will not be exercising my right to vote in the next election.

    Call it what you like I cannot vote party just because of legacy or new party for change because of my morals.

    Bermuda is in a BAD PLACE!!

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  15. Curious George says:

    Wait for it.... "we had to deceive you."

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    • Me 2 says:

      who's zooming whom? We had to deceive you or we had to deceive you and change only our name, not our hearts, not our commitment to all bermuda but commitment to Mr. Big DollarBill Bermuda? shame shame shame on you! But Shame on me if I believe any of you lot have changed.

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  16. Triangle Drifter says:

    As long as it is only unethical all is fine according to the PLP. Says a lot about the morals of those who vote them in time after time.

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  17. Enough is Enough says:

    People need to keep this article in mind in regards to the BHB with no doubt the aide of certain members in the government hiding the truth of why KEMH Chief of staff is on suspension. More scandals. more cover ups.

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    • Rockfish #1 says:

      It will be snowing in Hades when the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth emerges re. The Chief of Staff's suspension.

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  18. oh boy says:

    Oh dear, someone just had to play the race card. Sad, pathetic and most of all antiquated.

    Let's stick with the facts, let's deal with the corruption and fix the probems.

    Action is what is needed, honesty and integrity a must.

    Admit the corruption, apologise, fix it and move forward as a country and as a community without hate, racism or guilt!

    Peace!

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  19. Come Correct says:

    Them boy say money a de root of evil, them a try trick black people, lie them a tell, cuz a money buy them house and money buy them vehicle.

    Me preferre and happy with a bag a money,
    Me can't happy wen me hungry,
    Me preffere a billion a year wen I go nowhere,
    That better than poor and poor say,
    Me want a dozen house,
    Me want a dozen car,
    If money evil, then me an satan a par,
    Sippin the wine round,
    sushi and caviar,
    Me have me money so me nah fi beg no rum a bar

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