OBA Responds To Scott’s Anti-Corruption Plans

January 13, 2013

[Updated] The One Bermuda Alliance has responded to former Premier Alex Scott’s anti-corruption plan saying they welcome any move towards preventing corruption, while also pointing out that when Mr Scott served in Government he rejected calls for anti-corruption legislation saying it “could taint the Island’s reputation.”

Mr Scott served as an MP from 1993 – 2012, and was Premier from 2003 to 2007. He decided not to run for re-election in the 2012 General Election, and his son Lawrence Scott won the seat.

He recently unveiled a proposed Anti-Corruption Act, and called upon Premier Craig Cannonier and Opposition Leader Marc Bean to support the “furtherance of the legislative progress.”

The OBA said they “made better governance a centre piece of its plans for Bermuda, outlining a broad range of reform to bring the highest levels accountability and transparency to the business of government.”

“Our programme was developed in the context of a troubling history in which public concerns about corruption within government formed over a series of scandals from the Bermuda Housing Corporation, pay-to-play fundraising, untendered contracts and project cost overruns that cost taxpayers untold millions,” the OBA continued.

“Official investigations into various alleged wrongdoings also revealed the inadequacy of Bermuda’s existing laws, leading one investigator to conclude that officials had behaved ‘unethically but not illegally.”

The OBA said that during Mr. Scott’s years in public office, including nearly three as Premier, there was no “meaningful strengthening of governance measures.”

They noted that in 2005 when the Opposition called for stronger anti-corruption laws, Mr. Scott “rejected the call saying they were playing a dangerous game that could taint the Island’s reputation.”

“Mr. Scott’s Government did not support an Opposition motion the following year for legislation similar to that which Mr. Scott brought forward last week,” said the OBA. ”Had Mr. Scott and the PLP government moved at the time to pass anti-corruption legislation, Bermuda may have been spared questionable activity that clearly damaged the Island’s reputation as a responsible and well-run jurisdiction.”

The OBA said they “will make the changes necessary” for an “open, transparent and accountable government,” and said they saw the need for stronger governance on two basic levels: accountability and transparency.

The One Bermuda Alliance’s full statement follows below:

Any move toward stronger rules to root out and prevent corrupt practices in government should be welcomed.

The One Bermuda Alliance made better governance a centre piece of its plans for Bermuda, outlining a broad range of reform to bring the highest levels accountability and transparency to the business of government.

Our programme was developed in the context of a troubling history in which public concerns about corruption within government formed over a series of scandals from the Bermuda Housing Corporation, pay-to-play fundraising, untendered contracts and project cost overruns that cost taxpayers untold millions.

Official investigations into various alleged wrongdoings also revealed the inadequacy of Bermuda’s existing laws, leading one investigator to conclude that officials had behaved “unethically but not illegally.”

The OBA saw the need for stronger governance on two basic levels:

Accountability, to ensure public officials are held accountable for their actions. To that end, the OBA committed to:

  • Integrity in Public Office legislation, with minimum standards for disclosure by Parliamentarians as it relates to financial dealings with the government
  • Full support for the work of the Auditor General as the watchdog of the people’s money
  • Zero tolerance of unethical behaviour for public officials
  • Clear guidelines on what constitutes corrupt practices whether by Parliamentarians or civil servants, and
  • Ensure the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has all the resources necessary to assist the Contractor General and the Auditor General in their review of Government spending.

Transparency, to ensure the work of government is open for the people to see. To that end, the OBA is committed to:

  • Implementing Freedom of Information and whistleblower legislation,
  • Creating an independent Contractor General to oversee Government construction projects, including open tendering.
  • We appreciate former Premier Alex Scott’s push for legislation to combat corruption in public life, and are sure the new Government will review it for proposals that can be incorporated into the OBA’s good governance programme.

We note that Mr. Scott’s years in public office, including nearly three as Premier, did not result in meaningful strengthening of governance measures, despite promises to do so.

Indeed, when the Opposition called in June 2005 for stronger anti-corruption laws, Mr. Scott rejected the call saying they were playing a dangerous game that could taint the Island’s reputation.

Mr. Scott’s Government did not support an Opposition motion the following year for legislation similar to that which Mr. Scott brought forward last week.

Had Mr. Scott and the PLP government moved at the time to pass anti-corruption legislation, Bermuda may have been spared questionable activity that clearly damaged the Island’s reputation as a responsible and well-run jurisdiction.

Good intentions are one thing, but without action they amount to little. The OBA will make the changes necessary to ensure Bermuda’s rules of governance provide its people with the checks and balances and clear standards of conduct for open, transparent and accountable government.

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Update 8.43pm: In response to Mr Scott’s proposed Act, the Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said, “We thank Mr. Scott for his assistance in suggesting an outline/draft for possible anti corruption legislation. We agree that stronger laws should be enacted to address corruption.

“And as Mr. Scott will be aware, this Government had already specifically committed in its election platform that it would bring forward the Integrity in Public Office Legislation.”

Minister Fahy noted that the aim of the Integrity in Public Office Legislation in part would be to enforce accountability within the public and private sector as well as bring about greater transparency to government.

Minister Fahy said, “Our introduction of the Integrity in Public Office legislation would indicate a zero tolerance of unethical behaviour by public officials and establish clear guidelines on what constitutes corrupt practices.

“There are many examples of anti corruption legislation from other jurisdictions that we will consider as we draft legislation appropriate for Bermuda, and we will also consider the suggestions made by Mr. Scott.

“However I must note that it is a bit curious that Mr. Scott was not able to bring similar legislation when he was Premier in the three years from 2003 to 2006. We note that in June 2005, the then Opposition leader now Minister, Dr. Grant Gibbons, brought and debated a motion in the House, recommending similar legislation.”

Minister Fahy pointed out that the anti-corruption motion tabled by Minister Gibbons in 2005, was not supported by Mr. Scott or his government colleagues during the debate.

Minister Fahy said, “Worldwide, Governments are taking a stand to address unsavoury and unethical behaviour in the public and private sectors, and this Government is pleased to say it will soon be joining the ranks of those jurisdictions.

“Nevertheless we are pleased that Mr Scott is now embracing this concept and trust that his colleagues will support such legislation in the House when the Government brings it forward,” concluded the Minister.

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Comments (37)

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  1. Bobmarlin says:

    Less talk OBA.Get moving on anti – corruption legislation ASAP. Make sure The Auditor general has the revelant power to do her work.Too many instances of financial instruction not adhered to.Investigate suspected malfeasance regarding past govt contracts.The Court Building,The Emission Control Building,The Port Royal Golf Course and The Heritage Wharf to start with.Too much money in overruns.There must be corrupt and /or gross incompetence. We are in a debt spiral because of the aforementioned,and the electorate deserves to find out the truth!

    • Out of flight says:

      Alex is a hypocrite. He avoided it when leader until….he was dumped. Still upset by being dumped as Premier by his Deputy Dr. Brown. this is widely seen as a move to get back at Dr. Brown and add to his (Alex’s) resume for a knighthood. Bet he takes it.
      They all say no and then their children tell them to take it….so said Lois Brown. Jennifer just took it and so will Alex. The legislation looks good to Govt House and the British monarchy.

      • All Change says:

        The biggest challenge in Bermuda is relevance.

        Like so many in both Political Parties Alex Scott is now irrelevant.

        Isn’t it ironic how he now wants to spearhead this anti-corruption initiative.

        PLP and OBA, please complete the internal transformation that is necessary to make your Parties relevant in 2013.

        Alex and the following should now become trusted advisors to the new upcoming (and aspiring) Bermudians who wish to contribute their time in the House and Senate to improving our Island:

        - The Listers
        - Randy Horton
        - Michael Scott
        - Walter Roban
        - Zane DeSilva
        - Derrick Burgess
        - Wayen Furbert (I am UBP)
        - Lovitta Foggo
        - Glen Blakeney
        - Rolfe Commissiong

        AND ALSO

        - Grant Gibbons
        - Trevor Moniz
        - Bob Richards
        - Cole Simons
        - Jeanne Atherden
        - Kenny Bascome
        - Nandi Davis (is she really an MP?)

  2. Eastern says:

    Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black…..or is it the ketlle calling the pot…..or is it glass housed idiots having a rock fight again!!!

    …..and what happened to P.A.T.I.????

  3. Richard Osborn says:

    Neither the OBA nor the PLP’s election platform include an Anti Corruption Act.

    That OBA stated: “We will have a Zero Tolerance Policy for unethical behavior” is great as far as it goes.


    There is no statement about making unethical or corrupt acts actually illegal.
    Just a policy. 
Unethical is not the same as illegal.

    The OBA platform said:” We believe good governance is more than lip service. It starts at the top. It sets the highest standards and does not accept excuses”.

    Is the vilification of Mr. Scott who has clearly produced an excellent draft Act “a future based on tolerance, teamwork and collaboration”?
    Is who said what in Parliament
 in 2005 an excuse now?
    Did the former UBP members actually table an Anti Corruption Act?

    Mr. Scott’s Act seems a good place to start, if both parties support its introduction of this comprehensive legislation and help its passage.

    If you wish to prevent future “pillaging of the public purse” and other practices do not only complain about the past – call your MP and actively support passage of Mr. Scott’s non partisan Anti Corruption Act so we get our act together and have proper Anti Corruption legislation legislation in place.



    This should be first business of the new OBA Government.

    And, by all means, look at past Government dealings involving contracts, commissions, agencies and shareholdings of those associated with office holders.

    Richard Osborn

    • Richard – yes I agree with you.

      Instead of saying who did what, welcome the draft(and as someone else has done the hard work to table such) and have it reviewed and put in place immediately!

    • We the people says:

      FYI, the UBP was prevented from tabling an anticorruption act because of Parliamentary rules. Only the Government can table legislation that would cost money to implement. That’s why opposition parties bring motions, not acts.

    • We the people says:

      First order of business? I’m not quarreling here, but it seems everybody has a first order of business for the new Government, now just a little over three weeks old. What an impatient lot we have become.

  4. Nuffin but de Truth! says:

    it’s time to start Investigating ALL the deals the plp made and find the missing MILLIONS and charge those involved!

  5. Tired says:

    @Bobmarlin…..Why does everyone put so much trust and power in the Office of the Auditor General a.k.a. ‘Chief Checker’!? My question is to you and ALL of Bermuda is “Who will keep a check on the ‘Chief Checker’”??? Also add to your list Tynes Bay, the Bermuda International Airport and Westgate Correctional Facility to name a few. If you want to sling dirt make sure you grab from the bottom. Finding out what happend to mis-used money pre-1998 is just as important as mis-used money post 1998.

    • street wise says:

      The UBP as a Party is now defunct. The shredders have done their job. I doubt that you’d find any evidence to support your allegations regarding “mis-used money pre-1998.” The plp did it.

    • Richard Osborn says:

      Have you actually read Alex Scott’s draft Anti Corruption Act ?

      It’s very well drafted perhaps because I guess whatever you think of him Alex has a lot of experience in legislating:

      - an independent Commission appointed and supervised by the Governor,
      - a range of offenses including conspiracy to bribe, aggravated fraud, abuse of office, false accounting
      - includes associates and friends’ & their companies inside and outside Bermuda
      - investigative powers
      - confidentiality of investigations
      - clearance by the commission for legitimate transactions of public officials
      - true whistleblower protection

      If you are unhappy with what went before then ask you MP what he or she will do to get it passed in to law.

    • James Rego says:

      @ Tired

      Do you believe for one minute if there was corruption / illeagle / unethical dealings prior to 1998 by the UBP,do you honestly believe the PLP during their 14 years as government would not have exposed it?

      • Richard says:

        lol funny james your saying there was no back door dealing under the UBP hmmmm

      • m3ke says:

        If there was bribery or under the table deals they would have never been able to be traced anyway. It’s only conspiracy until someone shows proof anyway. The business owners in Bermuda do it everyday and get away with it. They do whatever they like and charge whatever they want an hire almost whoever they want… Yet nobody complains…

  6. god1st says:

    Alex Scott take your foot out of your mouth .

  7. Bobmarlin says:

    @tired
    Let’s start around 2005.That is when the National Debt started to go through the roof,with little to show for it.If you add up the cost of the projects I posted previously,it totals approx $150,000,000. Our debt is approx 1.48 billion$.
    Let’s account for the difference 1.33 billion$. Where is it? Show us the books,and if any suspicion is aroused INVESTIGATE. Be honest with yourself,and you will agree that prior to 2005 there were no allegations of corruption.We all suspect under who’s leadership,the publics’ purse went awry!

  8. Question would be is this new legislation that is so desperately needed be tabled onto the order paper within the first or second session,if not how soon and once passed how far back do we take the investigations.

    Even if it just too prove that some of our former leaders got away with serious possible acts, that because of old antiquated laws can not be prosecuted and due to more modern laws should have been considered white collar crimes.

    Also will we be willing to go back and revisit the whistle blower case that saw a young lady Leoni,loose everything like her job and her home and can not get employment in Government or any other decent paying job.

    Will we be willing to disclose if their is any connection between some of our former politicians and ongoing investigations in the Turks and Caicos,also the Dominican Republic.

    Then finally Mr Scott why is this anti corruption law so welcomed now and not under your administration or any other administration under the P.L.P after your tenure.

    • Richard Osborn says:

      Let’s see what can be done in regard to the past, yes, but it is important that an Anti Corruption be enacted.

      $1 billion revenue Bermuda gets from International Business fees and expenditures requires that Bermuda be credible and takes care of this problem for the future and brings its legislation up to modern standards.

      I guess Alex Scott tried to get the PLP to introduce his draft Anti Corruption Act but the PLP caucus refused him?

      He is not everyone’s cup of tea but Alex Scott has done lot of work on this very professional Act. No one else did it.

      This Act should be among the first things the House of Assembly passes and preferably with everyone’s support.

      • Argosy says:

        “He is not everyone’s cup of tea but Alex Scott has done lot of work on this very professional Act. No one else did it.”

        With respect, Richard, that’s a stretch!

        Mr. Scott is a lot of things but, as far as I know, he is NOT a lawyer…..

        This piece of legislation is based on UN guidelines but has obviously been drafted by a knowledgeable “Parliamentary draftsman” who would normally be working in the Attorney General’s Chambers.

        Who darfted it and under whose “drafting instructions” would be an interesting question! AND….who paid for the exercise???

        OR…..it may be based on another OT’s (or the UK’s) in-place legislation…..Cayman, TCI come to mind.

        Either way, Mr. Scott certainly did not do this “lot of work”!

      • Verbal Kint says:

        “$1 billion revenue Bermuda gets from International Business fees and expenditures requires that Bermuda be credible and takes care of this problem for the future and brings its legislation up to modern standards.”
        I couldn’t agree more. The corruption in Government, meanwhile, pales in comparison to the corruption in the legal system in Bermuda. The state of the practice of law here should be enough to drive off International Business. The state of Gov’t and the courts may be a factor in the flight of IB, and we would never know it.

  9. Mad Dawg says:

    He’s been a backbencher since 2007 but brings this up, out of the blue, 2 weeks after the PLP loses office. I guess he knew it was a waste of time raising this when they were in power.

    • Bermudian says:

      @ Mad Dawg,

      It seems that most people commenting are playing the blame game, or the too late game, instead of embracing the idea. If you OBA supporters are really about moving Bermuda forward, why would you not support something that will help make government more transparent? From these comments, you wonder if people really want to move forward, or stuck on revenge.

      I agree with Richard, lets get this legislation on the books so nobody in the future can get away with corruption, be it either party!

  10. Victor says:

    Revenge is a dish best eaten cold and I am under no doubts as to the person Mr. Scott has in his sites – rest assured Mr. Scott many thousands of us share the sentiment that this man needs to hand back our hard earned money that he has stolen and be punished.

  11. Fred says:

    Sure “Anti-corruption” sounds great on the surface and it’s a wonderful idea in an idealistic world, but in reality all it takes is one high and mighty government official to create new laws, etc to circumvent and negate it’s ability to do what it is purposed to do… and Voila! you have end of utopia. Imagine what Dr. Bad would have done to circumvent anti-corruption?! Probably write a letter to his cabinet demanding that you will follow me.. or else!. Oh yea, wait a minute he did do that!

  12. Pastor Been & Gone says:

    You know I have to give a huge amount of Kudos to the OBA for the civil, restrained and extremely politic way they have responded to all these infantile attacks that the Old Guard of the PLP have mounted in only the last couple of weeks that the OBA have effectively had time to govern Bermuda.

    Personally I would have told them to “go away and think-on old brothers and sisters”… in a much coarser language of course… that is probably why I am not a member of parliament…
    Nevertheless the PLP is out of power and in opposition – they should really start to learn the new form of diplomacy that has served the rest of the civilized world for the last three decades or so.

    It is extremely refreshing to see such a politically mature group of people running our country and NOT reverting to the juvenile playground tactics that this country descended into over the last fourteen years under the PLP’s dictatorship.

    Since December the 17th 2012 their has been a major shift of the balance of power from the PLP to the ruling party – the OBA. The PLP “Old Guard” have been most disingenuous in defeat – merely showing how petty and spiteful their logic is AND how worried they are about having their fourteen years of corruption unveiled to the rest of Bermuda… and the world.

    People like Chris Furbert, LaVerne and especially Alex Scott, do not realise that they are now “Yesterday’s People” – spurned by the electorate as dinasours of an age and mentality which is now long and consigned to ancient history.

    It seems ironic to me that Bermuda is now going to undergo what happened to the UK 32 years ago… Back in 1979 a Labour government was in power and the Unions dictated government policy by wildcat strikes (e.g. no official ballot of the entire union membership – for LaVerne’s education) and sympathy actions (as implicitly inferred many times by by Chis Furbert.)

    Thatcher (as much as I personally hated her) tamed the Unions by shutting them out of the backroom negotiations. Chris Furbert needs to learn a listen from Arthur Scargill’s (former president of the National Mineworkers Union) history book and keep his thoughts private for the next few months and remember “discretion is the better part of valour.” He may be terminally stupid but he really doesn’t have to broadcast through the media by continually holding pointless incoherent press-conferences.

    Alex Scott – who put/paid you up to bringing this proposition about accountability right now? Ewart? You had the chance when you were the leader of this country for three years (and all the time in between?) Why are you only mentioning this now? Impolite or what? Rather like having unprotected sex for 14 years and then advocating that everyone should be forced to wear condoms during coitus!

    LaVerne?… Well LaVerne is LaVerne (Betty/Vanz/various other ’sock-puppet’ names) you can’t reason with her… so I won’t even try. It’s not that she/they are not intelligent… in fact they are very skillful propagandists – it is just that they are being paid by the word-count by the PLP – just like Herr Doctor Joseph Goebbels was paid to write racist “spin” by the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

    I think that MIGHT be some hope for the New Guard of the PLP because I notice (with sincere admiration) that the current Honourable Leader Of The Opposition has chosen has decided not to sully himself by making “knee-jerk” comments like his older comrades. This bodes well for the PLP to go away and re-think their policies and campaign attitudes during the next five years of their opposition incumbency.

    I truly wish the leader of the opposition success during the next five years and hope that he can rebuild the credibility of the PLP. I must admit though he will have to have a pair of brass spheroid objects between his legs to overcome the dinosaurs like Chris Furbert/BIU, LaVerne, Alex Scott and the rest of the “Pay-ToPlay” hangers on!

    • Bermudian says:

      @ Pastor Been & Gone,

      With all do respect, that is the best you can come up with? So because Mr. Scott brings up legislation some time after he was the Premier, it’s not something Bermuda can use? Please explain to me, if something like this can help Bermuda going forward, why would we not support it? Remember leading up the election was all about transparency!

      Would it have made a difference if someone from the OBA put this forward?

      Honestly, I could care less who drafted this legislation, but if it will help Bermuda, I support it. People need to chill, the OBA won the election. It’s seems as though some of you want a revenge period before we start to MOVE FORWARD.

  13. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Royal Gazette, November 14, 2007

    “However, Mr. Ratneser said during yesterday’s appeal proceedings: “The position is although the media have tried to make it out that there’s a lot of fraud that’s been done at the BHC, that’s not correct.”

    He said that although an allegation of widespread fraud will form part of Smith’s appeal: “There’s absolutely no evidence of that. There will be no evidence before Your Lordships. These statements are very, very dangerous.” “

  14. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Pastor Been & Gone,

    Rest assured, I have no fear of every using my name when posting something on any blog, or writing a letter to the editor. Unlike you, I have the courage of my convictions.

    I saw the movie Jdgango yesterday, and people like you and the another anonymous posters here remind me of the cowardly “cowboys” with the bags over their heads. It proved that nothing much has changed since the days of slavery. People like you are still hiding your faces.

  15. LaVerne Furbert says:

    If the posters here really believe that there was corruption in the PLP, you should have no problem agreeing into an independent investigation as called for by Dr. Brown. I certainly don’t have a problem with it.

  16. Richard Osborn says:

    This is a great suggestion, Ms. Furbert.

    The Governor should be requested to appoint an independent commission of the type recommended by Mr. Alex Scott.

    The commission can review any dealings of office holders with associates after Mr. Scott ceased to be Premier.

    Blogger Pastor Been & Gone is unhinged – he or she disliked Mrs Thatcher too, so pay him no heed.

  17. Pastor Syl Hayward says:

    First a disclaimer. I have not read the entire proposed legislation, but I am willing to bet it is thorough and comprehensive.

    If, as someone previously mentioned (in scorn), the legislation could not have been produced by Mr. Scott because he is not a lawyer, I would take a wild guess that this is likely to be the same legislation Mr. Scott had previously had drafted-up and wanted to put in place when he was Premier but did not have the opportunity to do so. (I am sure I remember that he wanted to introduce PATI legislation way back then).

    Taking a further guess, this is probably the first time since Mr. Scott was deposed as Premier that this legislation has had the smallest chance of being enacted. I applaud his courage in bringing it forward at the earliest possible opportunity. It speaks to his belief in the importance of having this legislation in place, knowing, as he must have done, that he would be opening himself up to all kinds of negative commentary.

    That being said, I would like to encourage the new Government MPs to strive to maintain the ‘high road.’ There are enough other folk who will carp and complain and be rude and nasty. It may be difficult, as it is in our baser nature to crow, but being gracious in victory will take you much further than petty digs.