Video: Premier Cannonier On Private Jet Travel

May 31, 2013

[Updated with video] The private jet trip by Premier Craig Cannonier and two Cabinet Ministers was discussed in the House of Assembly today [May 31], with the Opposition questioning the Premier about the circumstances, and the Premier delivering a personal explanation.

In a statement earlier this week, Premier Cannonier said that he was contacted by a group of interested investors to attend a meeting in Washington D.C, and due to scheduling conflicts they offered to fly himself along with Attorney General Mark Pettingill and Minister of Tourism & Transport Shawn Crockwell to their location for a one day meeting.

Shadow Minister of Tourism Wayne Furbert previously said it “represents a serious breach of ethics,” while Opposition Leader Marc Bean said, “We cannot send the message to the world that the Bermuda Government can be influenced by a few perks and trinkets.”

During today’s session in the House of Assembly, Shadow Minister of Transport Lawrence Scott asked the Premier who the meeting was with, and the Premier replied that it was “confidential.”

Shadow Finance Minister David Burt asked “under what grounds” is it confidential, while Shadow Attorney General Kim Wilson said that questions should be answered except for items of national security.

The Premier speaking about the matter outside the House today:

In response to other questions from the Opposition, the Premier also said they did not have any civil servants accompany them, the meeting lasted for about 5-6 hours on March 21st and that they returned the following day.

A brief check of online flight data indicates that at least one private jet left Washington on March 22nd, arriving in Bermuda that afternoon. While not confirmed that was the precise flight in question, flight data shows that the same jet had left Bermuda on the morning of March 20th, flying to Washington Dulles International Airport.

After lunch, the Premier delivered a personal explanation where he spoke on the topic again. He said he was contacted by a “wealthy individual from Maryland who stated that he had an investment group that wanted to meet with the new Government of Bermuda to discuss the current economic conditions in Bermuda.”

“This gentleman stated that he had extensive experience in the gaming industry and wanted to share with the Government his views regarding gaming’s potential to help revitalize our tourism industry and generate jobs for Bermudians,” said the Premier.

“He wanted to have a dialogue concerning economic development in Bermuda and specifically asked to meet with me as the new Premier of Bermuda and also requested that the Minister of Tourism and the Attorney General attend this meeting. He said his team had a variety of questions they wanted to raise and discuss.

“I invited this gentleman and his team to come to Bermuda and meet with the Government, but he stated that it would be very difficult to get them all to Bermuda and that he would prefer if a Government delegation could come to a meeting at his office.

“I made it clear that, as this was his invitation, the cost of this meeting should be fully borne by him.

“A date was set and a delegation including myself, the Tourism Minister and the Attorney General flew to Washington for the meeting.

“The meeting was very productive and informative. Several questions were asked concerning the Club Med property, other hotel properties on the island, the Hamilton waterfront and Gaming,” continued the Premier.

“Other questions were asked in relation to work permits, concessions, the government’s relationship with the Unions and other topics. This was our first contact with this group. They had not been identified as a possible partner for Bermuda and had never met or liaised with the Economic Development Committee.

“Throughout the meeting, the Attorney General made it clear to the group that any specific project they may be interested in would have to go out to tender. This was made abundantly clear and, I believe, it was clearly understood.

“At no time were any bids made or formal negotiations discussed for any property. No legally binding contracts, guarantees or promises were made for any property or any other business in Bermuda.

“The meeting, which lasted several hours, amounted to an exchange of information. Subsequent to this meeting, this group has not made any application to this government as it relates to developments in Bermuda.

“This Government is working to create jobs and economic prosperity in Bermuda. Foreign capital is critical to this effort and so it is a matter of course that we meet with people who can bring job-growing investments to the Island.

“I do recognize that accepting the invitation to visit the investor group can be viewed in the negative. I appreciate these concerns. As always, we have Bermuda’s best interest at heart, and we will continue on with the important business of restoring jobs and generating opportunities for the people of Bermuda,” concluded Premier Cannonier.

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  1. swing voter says:

    listening in on Parlimentary debates…..gosh so desparate to link evil to a harmless situation. funny thing is the references to UK policy, haaha when did they start to champion anything from the UK?

    • Oh this is Funny says:

      So you don’t think that it is a problem that your government Ministers violated the Code of Conduct for Ministers, which forbids them from accepting travel from people wanting to do business with the government.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        Show us the exact extract from the Ministers Code of Conduct. Or is this a figment of your imagination?

        • Black Soil says:

          Here is a word of advise for the PLP. Criticize the OBA for not promoting Bermuda enough….show the light where they are lagging and what PLP would do to do a BETTER job. But don’t criticize OBA cuz they are trying to get business for Bermuda. It is EXACTLY what the OBA supporter want you to do cuz you like fools for doing so. If you follow this advise you can do without your political consultants. Simple. Yes PLP, it is that simple.

  2. SoMuchMore says:

    the man has spoken and so has the pee l pee… the difference is the oba will explain and the pee l pee would never share anything with the public.

    pee l pee. get over it already, really cause its getting boring!

    • JAWS says:

      Stop being a fool, you know very well neither of the 2 people who accompanied the Premier know anything about business or tourism.

      If we going to compete send the best from the team we have. Mr. Grant Gibbons and Mr. Bob Richards are business men.

      Mr. Crockwell knows nothing about tourism we could have sent Mr. David Dodwell I really don’t care if it’s a conflict of interest because he owns his own hotel, he heads the Tourist Board aka Tourism Authority. Mr. Pettingill last I checked was defending his clients in the Supreme Court for murder.

      • Time Shall Tell says:

        Good point JAWS.

      • You know you make some real good valid points there but the good thing is we the tax payers did not pay for it, and they did not get to rack up any sky miles.

        So they could get all the bubbly they want and get plastered and promis these folk the world on their free ride, just make sure Bermy benefits from the deep pockets of deese byes an get bac down de road safe lee, so we can buil de hotels vif de cas sino dat dey vant. dan c hoo gonna talk trash about BAR MUDIANS NOT VERKIN.

      • Hey says:

        Crockwell is the minister of tourism and Petingell is the authority of legal issues….sound very appropriate to me….. If you think they should not have accompanied the Premier, then is is YOU that dies not understand tourism, business or the context of the meeting.

        • Who feels it knows it! says:

          …and taking the two Ministers that he did seems relevant to the deal that potentially could be made! It is what it is, transparency, answers, only when questioned! Whatever!

          • BS says:

            Nice one Jaws

            Crockwell doesn’t understand what he’s doing as Minister. He’s a lawyer, why take 2 lawyers that don’t understand crap.

  3. js says:

    I had to read this part twice

    “they had not been identified as a possible partner for Bermuda and had never met or liaised with the Economic Development Committee.

    It is unbelievable that a Premier and two of his senior cabinet members would take the risk of being transported by and meeting with an unknown and his associates who have not been thoroughly vetted for security risks whether financial or otherwise.

    These wealthy people with interests in gaming could have connections with organized criminals and our Premier shows up at their front door after a short phone call to discuss “business”

    The Premier needs an aide de camp to protect him from his self.

    I know that Bermuda is desperate but good lord we don’t need to reek of it and show up like a cheap pole dancer when the dollars start flowing.

    • wtf says:

      at least the meeting was in Washington D.C. and not Bogota Colombia HaHa

  4. Amazing says:

    I have so much more respect for you Mr Cannonier for openly discussing the motive and reason for your trip, if everything you said was true. I’m glad you are working for BDA and you didn’t spend any of our money to meet with the potential investors. Hopefully, you are successful with bringing in the foreign capital and revitalize our economy. Provide honest answers when asked and you will continue to win over people like me. I have been very satisfied with your reign as Premier so far.

    I respect the opposition for bringing this up, keep up the good work…you definitely make a good opposition.

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      Amazing, where has the Premier explained anything? I suggest you go back and re-read his explanation.

      • I guess the same could be said about ya mate ven he vent on air pane and vile ys at it, ask him about dem fast ferrys an a place called got ya, vat ever came about dem dings an i might just have me a speed boat so i can beat de banna boat getting dere.

        sorry it vas bought to my tention dat the byes ya cosin.

      • Nuffin but da Truth says:

        there’s a useful 4 letter word and you are so full of it.

      • jt says:

        Hopefully more to follow – unlike China and Cuba for example.

    • dthtoo/ says:

      Amazing, you are such a dumb, nit-wit!

  5. Truth is killin me... says:

    Well done Craig, Shawn et al. Keep up the good work!

  6. Politcally Incorrect says:

    This bit made me chuckle
    “Marc Beans said, “We cannot send the message to the world that the Bermuda Government can be influenced by a few perks and trinkets.”

    No the PLP would demand much more.

    • here's a thought..... says:

      BAhaha…you’re exactly right…. they’d never accept a few….. It would have to be many, many, many. does mr bean truly believe his predecessors weren’t supremely on the..??? wow. naïveté is cute on some people. not him.

      this was a business trip. and I am hopeful that he didn’t land at the airport and hop into a waiting car with bags and bags of shopping from designer shops, bypassing the customs line, as i witnessed several times with a certain past premier.

      keep up the good work OBA. you’ve only held the reins for a few months…. please don’t become arrogant. stay the course.

      • Who feels it knows it! says:

        Funny is you want all to believe the OBA and its players are different…why not give MB a chance…what the doc did is the fattin past and surely the same way we give OBA a chance, same for MB. This man is moving on from the PLP of the past…or at least playing the game that he is…which is all politics is, play the game…they all are doing it, the questions is, just how well!

  7. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    The Premier was doing what the plp never could…looking out for Bermudians.
    The plp only looked out for their own pockets!

  8. Looking for an effective opposition party not PLP wimps says:

    I am just glad that they did not bring back Uighurs……… Travel to far away countries to buy generic drugs not yet FDA approved or spend monies on a Beyonce appearance.

    Come on guys….. Be a real opposition party.

  9. pilot011 says:

    I agree with JS! they have no clue what they are doing. Next!

  10. Shaking My Head says:

    So how long does it take for a party to become an effective Opposition Party? Enquiring minds want to know…

    • Cboradman says:

      Until we forget the huge mess they left the country in

      • Hey says:

        We will never forget, the burden they lumped on us all will be a constant reminder of the hell they put us in.

        • dthtoo/ says:

          Hey, your UBP/OBA government is going to lump a GREATER burden and a hotter hell on this island before their short-lived tenure expires. I am going to keep a close eye on you.

  11. 100% says:

    Accepting a ‘freebee’ from someone who has an interest in ‘potentially’ investing in Bermuda was wrong. The reason why they went was not wrong, but the decision to accept a ‘gift’ of flying in a luxury private jet paid for by a potential investor in Bermuda is a breach of the code of conduct and the decision was unethical.

    While the decision was unethical, it was not illegal, let’s call it for what it is, learn from it, and move on. After today this story should be dead.

    • jt says:

      Can you be speific as to which part of the minesterial code of conduct was broken? No one has been able to say. Thanks.

      • Bermewjan says:

        The “CONFLICT OF INTEREST” rule – geez, do some research yourself or at least read the previous posts before making yourself sound foolish when posting.

        • jt says:

          And how is it a conflict of interest? Unless they acrue personal gain, it is not.

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          Which rule, exactly? From where? Reproduce the Ministerial Code that Furbert said was broken.

    • Bermewjan says:

      True.

  12. Wow says:

    Laverne wouldn’t speak about Col Burch bringing 4 Uighurs back with him on a private jet in the middle of the night ! Amazes me how she is so one dimensional ! Laverne ! Take a damn break will you !!! Tired of reading your one sided biased prejudice opinion !!! Ugh !! The reason why we can’t move forward as a country is because we have handbrakes like you voicing your ignorant opinion !!! Sad thing is that some fools actually listen to you !!!

  13. collins says:

    I agree with you Wow,Laverne is so biasd ….the only fools that listen to her are the callers who call “the peoples show ”
    I hope and pray that the owner of Z.B.M see what this so called talk show host is all about .
    David Lopes/shirley Dill are the best talk shows in Bermuda they have a variety of callers to their show …. unlike the’PEOPLES SHOW ” who have the same callers everyday……..and bash the O.B.A. and the host of this show shows his bias…..and people the host has the same six callers everyday……ENOUGH

  14. Elston says:

    Those of you listening to the House this evening will already know — Wayne Furbert just admitted being flown to Vegas to ‘negotiate’ (his words) with a billionaire potential developer on his (the developer’s) dime while he was Minister. I can tell you the PLP benches got might quiet after that…

    • jt says:

      Tip of the iceberg.

    • SoMuchMore says:

      lol. there goes Wayne making things up to sound good. if this was the case he should have said this while he was minister.

      anyway, he’s mad he wasn’t invited to join the trip with the premier.

  15. Really says:

    So proud of our new premier honest and true to Bermuda been missing for so long !

  16. pilot011 says:

    I smell confusion are they all on the same page? OBA that is.

    • dthtoo/ says:

      No, they are not all on the same page, and neither are their faithful and loyal supporters and members. I understand that many of them are terribly troubled/disturbed over the twisted behaviour of their leaders. But they will go to great lengths to have us believe that all is well. I do not feel sorry for them because they have no regard and respect for truth and justice.

  17. Soldier says:

    I will never vote PLP again, ever. Them fools are crazy. Are you fssckn serious!!!! bunch of … Puleeeaseeeeee

  18. Bermewjan says:

    Unfortunately it is clear from this video that the Premier and his advisors do not understand what the “concept of conflict of interest” means.

    Shame really.

    • jt says:

      Why don’t you enlighten us?

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        No answer. That question is much too hard.

    • LOL (original TM*) says:

      Funny just a few months ago befor December 17 2012 the PLP said conflicts of interest were bound to happen as we are such a small island and everyone is related………….

      the irony
      LOL

  19. Observer says:

    For those who have never flown a private jet (and it sounds like few have). Consider this, If you had a limo sent to pick you up by a potential client to attend a meeting, it would be no problem right?

    Well a private jet to a wealthy businessman is no more than that. I have flown them. It is really no big deal for most of these people – simply transport from one place to the other. This discussion should end here. There is nothing here worth any further effort.

  20. Balanced Facts says:

    LOL ! Furbert started the day with OBA Jet Gate and ended with Wayne Furbert Las Vegas T***y Gate!!! LOL What a bunch of Jokers the Opposition are!!!!

  21. Balanced Facts says:

    LOL ! Furbert started the day with OBA Jet Gate and ended with Wayne Furbert Las Vegas T***y Gate!!! LOL What a bunch of Jokers the Opposition are!!!!

  22. waitasecond says:

    Reading between the lines, I think the Premier knows this was a mistake. I have been giving the “Learjet 3″ a hard time but let’s move on folks. Back to work. This Govt are still on training wheels but they are a hell of a lot better than the last bunch

    • dthtoo/ says:

      waitasecond, I am going to keep my ears attuned to you to see if you are going to be singing the same UBP/OBA praises in a short time. I hear your fear.

  23. Let's be for Real says:

    Wayne Furbert admitted in the house he took n all costs paid private jet trip to Las Vegas to meet a potential developer! (Developer paid for the private jet) And he has the nerve to call out OBA for doing the same thing he did ? And there are many other perks that he had enjoyed while serving in both the former UBP and PLP. Shows you the sad state of affairs our Oppostion is in. Do as I say not as I do…….

    Open your minds people. These people send money in a whole different realm than what our minds can conceive. If they can afford a corporate jet, trust me, a run from DC to Bermuda is just like going ” Down de road “. Ask Oppostion MP Scott. He worked with the corporate jet handler here in Bermuda and knows first hand.

  24. pilot011 says:

    Soldier – You never voted for PLP in the first place, so stop trying to pretend you did! I’m not an OBA supporter but Dunkley you better step in and take the job on.

    • LOL (original TM*) says:

      Why so then you and the rest of your cronies in the PLP can say “see look Craig was just a pupet.” Trying to play boogyman tactics again huh…………

      LOL

    • dthtoo/ says:

      pilot011, the UBP/OBA used a Black face to win the government, and come September will thrust a white one upon us. It isn’t difficult to notice that Michael Dunkley is always in the limelight, while the muted Premier Craig Cannonier remains invisible – except for photo shoots during ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

  25. My2Cents says:

    Let me say up front, I am not an ardent supporter of the OBA or the PLP. What I do not understand is this: the shenanigans which OBA supporters rightly criticised the PLP Government for prior to December 17th they are now justifying the OBA Government doing the exact same things (and I am not just speaking of the lastest private jet debacle). And vice-versa: now PLP supporters are railing against the OBA Government for the same questionable conduct which the PLP Government carried out. The hypocrisy is pungent on both sides of the political divide. My mama always told me: Wrong is wrong, and right is right!

    We need honest debate on the issues without political partisanship and hold ALL our elected officials accountable for their actions. NO MATTER WHICH SIDE OF THE HOUSE THEY SIT ON. To do otherwise and to be continously influenced by our political biases will only empower the politicians to do as they please with scant regard for THE PEOPLE.

    • Verbal Kint says:

      I could not agree more. Well said. Both sides are proving themselves more than capable of being hypocrates on the matters of transparency and partisanship .

  26. Logical Thinker says:

    My2Cents, your comments are very valid. However, I think the reason people were more rabid towards the PLP’s decisions were because they were very self-serving (or at least appeared to be). I always saw the PLP’s choices as “What can we get out of this?” I view the OBA’s choices as “What can BERMUDA get out of this?” Furthermore, as one that has worked in the airline industry for many years, let me tell you that private jet travel is not some big perk as everyone thinks it is. Not all private jets are big and luxurious, they range in all different styles and sizes. The smaller ones are no bigger than a shoebox inside. To the owners, it is just a convenience rather than a luxury. So people need to take the image of the Premier sitting back, sipping on champagne and getting his feet rubbed out of their mind. Ooops, I do believe that was somebody else from years past…hmmmm???

    • My2Cents says:

      Yes Logical Thinker, but remember the OBA were supposed to usher in a new way of doing politics. One which was not to be subjected to speculation and supposition because of promised high levels of transparency. This latest jet situation and the hiring of OBA sycophants as consultants gives at least the appearence of conflict of interests and cronyism. The PLP were roundly and righty criticized for this.

      As to whether this jet trip was solely for Bermuda’s interest, well I am taking a wait and see approach. The genetic makeup of politicians is that they are out for themselves first and foremost, and will not altruistically act unless they benefit personally. So far, the OBA, like the PLP, have not convinced me otherwise.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        How did the individuals benefit personally from the jet trip? Wasn’t the only beneficiary the taxpayer?

        Isn’t this completely different than, say, accepting a private jet to take a politician and his wife to a soccer game, or to their second home?

        Don’t you find it just a little bit interesting that Furbert took a very similar trip to Vegas? If Bean is saying the OBA was wrong, isn’t he also admitting the PLP was clearly wrong as well? If so, why doesn’t he say so?

        Where is this Code of Ministerial Conduct that was allegedly broken? Why won’t Furbert, Bean or Wilson show it to us? We could perhaps make up our own minds whether it was broken or not. But they won’t show it to us. Why? Does it even exist?

  27. Logical Thinker says:

    Point taken. I agree, we will see. In the meanwhile, I’m keeping an open mind and hoping that we will indeed see a big change. The rest is up to them.

  28. swing voter says:

    It is what it is….one group took trips at the taxpayers expense that led to nothing. This group take a trip at no cost to the taxpayer and the opposition make enough noise to scare away the potential investor. Its very simple. The Opposition will not sit still an let the Government turn this island around. Another reason why the OBA will get my vote in 2018

    • My2Cents says:

      You are clearly not a swing voter as your name suggest. Only 6 months into the OBA’s 5 year term you are exalting them and demonizing the PLP. Any genuine swing voter will wait at least a couple of years to see how either party performs. Methinks you are a bit premature with your assessment of the OBA generally and of this jet situation specifically. On the other hand, any assessment of the PLP when they were the government is entirely warranted given they ran the country for the past 14 years.

  29. shirley Richardson says:

    Today’s media “Lessons Learned,says cannonier,”lol he’s probably been told by his handlers, you better get out there and say you messed up. when Grant Gibbons said he knew nothing of the trip, and his other cabinet members were silent when asked, that told the whole story, Come September, craig is out of here, Dunkley is waiting in the wings, It is quite obvious that craig is nothing but a surrogate that was revealed in that report. As for the Opposition, they are doing what they are supposed to do, exposing the OBA/UBP for what and who they are.