Pastor Leroy Bean said that it is “shocking” that a charitable programme is being “vilified,” while the OBA’s Trevor Moniz said the PLP is trying to turn his comments into an attack on CARTEL, when they are really focused on the system that “uses secrecy to favour insiders.”
The Royal Gazette previously reported that CARTEL has a 21-year less one day rent-free lease with Government, with the ‘one day’ short of 21 years meaning it did not have to be approved by Cabinet or Parliament. In addition, CARTEL has been charging fees to another charity to use the island, which Pastor Bean told the paper was due to maintenance and other costs.
Pastor Bean said: “The OBA has offered no ideas and no solutions when it comes to White’s Island. You know what we’re using it for? Not for our own profit. We’re using it to help hundreds of troubled Bermudian young people.
“I invite you to talk to some of the young people that have participated in our programme. We’re working with young people who show anti-social behaviour and working to mediate conflicts between them before they erupt in violence.
“We’re also working with Bermudians who may already be engaged in some of our anti-social problems here in Bermuda and working with these young people to put them on the right path. We educate. We mediate. And, we relocate to take them out of troubled environments.
“Our programme has given them self esteem and set them on the right course in society. CARTEL is doing charitable work and helping our community! We are funded by churches and concerned Bermudians. We are using White’s Island to conduct therapeutic programmes and mediations that are putting young Bermudians back on the right track.
“Would the OBA kick these young people to the curb? Would they say that we can’t have that space because they want to use it to help their rich friends? It’s shocking to me that a charitable programme that has touched the lives of hundreds of young people is being vilified.
“The OBA is quick to attack the crime issue. But, when there are organisations like CARTEL working with our young people to do something about it, what does the OBA do? Do they make a charitable contribution to our work? No. Do they volunteer with our programmes? No. Instead, they try to take away our gathering place where we work with these young people.
“I’ve had enough. Their assault is an assault on all of the kids whose lives that we are touching. We are standing strong for these Bermudian kids and the OBA is working to shut down a programme that helps them. I won’t stand for it and neither should you,” Pastor Bean concluded.
Shadow Attorney General Trevor Moniz replied, saying: “The OBA are dedicated to finding the best solutions for Bermuda’s Youth. We are absolutely sure that secret insider deals done under the cloak of secrecy without consulting or informing the public or even the Cabinet is not the best way to do that.
“The PLP are now trying to turn my comments into an attack on CARTEL and that’s absurd. My comments focused on the system that uses secrecy to favour insiders, similar to what happened when the same people abused the Bermuda Land Development Company – a situation the Auditor General described as a ‘misuse of public funds.’
“Here is a simple thing to do to clear the air: Put the lease on the table for all to see along with any agreement that was signed to ensure that Bermuda’s youth are indeed supplied with first quality services. Let’s bring an end to this reign of secrecy with the public’s money and assets!
“The OBA will provide an open and transparent process in the sunshine of public scrutiny to provide the very best services for Bermuda’s at-risk youth. We will ensure Bermuda is served by a system that is open, fair, transparent and accountable. That’s what we will do,” concluded Mr Moniz.
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