“Bermuda should be very concerned about comments by the Ombudsman that she was subject to high-level pressure to scrap an investigation into Government activities,” Shadow Attorney General Trevor Moniz said.
In a recent report [PDF], Ombudsman Arlene Brock said “Now that the SDO reports are finalised, I can inform the Parliament and public that — if not for the protection of Bermuda’s 1968 Constitution — this investigation might not have been conducted at all.
“After announcing the investigation in April 2011, I endured six high level conversations with three different persons over a four week period during which I was asked, advised, cajoled and urged not to conduct it. Finally I was told ‘there is no value to this investigation.”
Mr Moniz said, “Ms Arlene Brock’s revelation indicates that elements within the government will not hesitate to pressure – even bully – people who don’t toe the line.
“The Premier has made a big deal about pushing forward good governance measures to make sure “abuses will be a thing of the past”. But we continue to see indications that questionable behaviours continue, regardless of her declaration that there will be “zero tolerance for behaviour and practices that do not accord with the highest standards of good governance.”
“This underscores our concern that it is not just legislation that makes for good governance. For good governance to succeed, it requires people in positions of power to honour and respect those whose job it is to keep us honest and in check.
“We in the OBA understand that and it is both our promise and commitment to embrace what good governance will require of us as Government. That is the true meaning of letting in and working in the sunshine of public scrutiny.
“Good governance needs strong leadership. Without it, there is little chance for the change Bermuda needs, little chance for civil servants to work for the best interests of Bermuda.
“In the meantime, we urge the Premier to address Ms Brock’s comments. People would like to know where she stands on the matter,” concluded Mr Moniz.