Mystery Surrounds Casino Advocacy Campaign

February 26, 2014

A new casino advocacy group which was attempting to solicit financial donations is shrouded in mystery, with speculation swirling over who is involved in the online campaign.

The website — JobsBDA — is not be confused with either the Bermuda Job Board, which is run by the Government, or the Government’s official gambling awareness website gamblingawareness.bm

JobsBDA has not responded to our queries, so the source of their funding and/or who would receive the donations they were trying to solicit has not been confirmed.

The only entity confirmed to be involved is the JD Lewis Group, who made that known in a somewhat unusual manner.

Lewis sent a statement to two emails associated with the JobsBDA website, and also included both Bernews and Jonathan Starling, who is involved in the campaign calling for a referendum on gaming.

Her statement alleged that the JD Lewis Group was not involved, and was requested that JobsBDA deal with a query by Bernews as well as an unrelated tweet by Mr. Starling. Ms Lewis purported to be addressing the entity that was handling the website.

Ms Lewis later indicated she had not been truthful during the initial contact, and said she was in fact involved in the website and was providing “consultation services”, and declined to provide any further details.

According to their website, the JD Lewis Group previously did PR work for the One Bermuda Alliance, and one of the documents on the JD Lewis website references gambling. It says it was submitted in February 2013, but does not say to who it was submitted.

The document, which as of this writing is on the JD Lewis Group website [PDF here], begins:

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of key political players within Bermuda to enhance future business relationships with potential investor in reference to gaming in Bermuda.

JD Lewis has taking [sic] the time to develop a brief overview and biography of Premier Craig Cannonier JP MP, Mr. Mark Pettingill, JP MP, Mr. Shawn Crockwell JP MP, and Senator the Hon. Michael Fahy JP for your convince [sic] and review

The Government, Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] and OBA have denied being involved, with a Government spokesperson saying that neither the Government or the BTA has engaged the services of Ms Lewis or the JD Lewis Group.

Following our questions, JobsBDA made some deletions and the page attempting to solicit donations via a Paypal form was one of the items removed, however you can view a screenshot taken of the page prior to its deletion  here.

While the BTA said they are ”not familiar” with the JD Lewis Group or JobsBDA, they said they provided funding for the gambling awareness programme. When asked for details on the agencies and cost, they declined to provide particulars citing confidentiality.

The full reply from the BTA is below:

The Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] engaged a local company to assist in the community education and awareness programme on Integrated Resort Casino gaming in Bermuda. This work included advertising, website and mobile app development as well as social media work.

The contracted company subcontracted some of this work to other entities and the particulars on the scope of work, costs and engagement of subcontractors are confidential.

Confidentiality is necessary to ensure the BTA can secure the services of private companies to carry out its work.

Gaming is not a silver bullet, but it provides much-needed entertainment, particularly in the winter months. Many changes are needed in order for Bermuda’s tourism product and hotels to be more competitive, and gaming can be a part of the solution. We look forward to Parliament’s vote on the issue.

When explaining why they support casinos on their website, JobsBDA said, “In this time of economic uncertainty, we maintain that it is imperative that Bermuda attracts hotel development and foreign investment; Casino gaming is a means to do so.

“We are appreciative that the Government of Bermuda has judiciously determined a model for casino gaming that will best benefit Bermuda and its people.”

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Comments (34)

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  1. Truth is killin' me... says:

    So many questions…not enough answers. Does it surprise me…not in the least! Everybody’s hiding something!!

  2. Former OBA Supporter says:

    What the hell is going on with the OBA?

    This is what my tax dollars are going to… an OBA insider who doesn’t know how to use a spellcheck?

    Nothing surprises me with this lot anymore. How silly to lie to a reporter then call them and say you lied.

    Can I get my vote back please?

    • Srsly? says:

      How can you bash an entire party that is essentially saving Bermuda not only for you, but *generations* to come.

      How f****** small minded can you be?

  3. Chris Famous says:

    Olivia Pope needs to come off of maternity leave

  4. Chris Famous says:

    At the risk of sounding like a wuss. I know Jodi does go hard and is coming along as a PR professional. She may be working for the wrong team but as a Bermudian Woman and Mother,she is putting her best foot forward in her craft.

    Just needs to separate herself from a sinking ship

    • Take it Easy! says:

      Wrong team , sinking ship? Going on Caribbean websites spreading lies about us Bermudians? So they other “sinking ship” is the right team”? Who put holes in the Bermudian ship first? I can tell u one thing its wasn’t the “sinking ship” u refer to! O so since she is on the “wrong team” if she goes to “your team” she alright? Boy do u have a double sided coin i don’t want gamble with u!

      • Unbelievebale says:

        See this is the thing about ace boy TCF. He’s one of those that won’t dare criticise his own party. He just won’t even though he’ll argue that the OBA is the reborn UBP yet the PLP messed up some sort of big time. That’s pretty much been acknowledged – sadly not by anyone in the PLP.
        But if the old UBP is back then someone has to recognise that at the helm of the PLP are the same people who put BDA in this position of economic depression and unemployment. Talk about nothing ain’t changed? Please.

        All the OBA has to do is get a hotel (or two) built and that casino going. It’s not going to be pretty because the PLP is vexed that the “devil worshipping OBA” are doing it after they had 14 years to get it done and didn’t.

        Well OBA, stop being a PR disaster and get these things done and by the book.

        • 4real says:

          How about, OBA stop deceiving the citizens of Bermuda? This is not a tv show! This is not Scandal or the House of Cards! Show us some respect and deal honestly and honorably with the people of this nation! Politicians, stop letting your blind, personal ambition, outweigh the strength of your character!

    • Recall dem all says:

      WTH Chris? She’s a grown a** woman with big attitude, you’re not a wuss you’re sounding like a wu$$y.

      She needs to be professional and act with integrity.

  5. nuffin but the truth says:

    100% SCAM!

  6. Terry says:

    Last bite of the cherry before the PLP regain.

  7. in the know says:

    Chris the only sinking ship is the outdated plp.. just let that go. The oba is turning around bermuda but your beloved sinking plp is to blinded to see the great things happening.

  8. LMAO says:

    The tv news reported she is working for Government on the gaming campaign

    • ??? says:

      This govt. Needs to stop lying to its ppl and come clean about who they have paid to do what and WHEN they paid them to do it! Noone like being lied to! Stop with all the lies and deceit OBA!

  9. The TV did not report that. You need to listen. The report actually stated that the Government nor the BTA hired Ms. Lewis. In fact the reporter asked the question who was funding Ms. Lewis? Welll if it is not the Government then it is not anyone’s business.

    • ??? says:

      The govt. Lying once again!

    • ??? says:

      The next question needed to be asked is whether or not Mrs. Lewis was hired by the PARTY.

    • Meeee says:

      “…it is not anyone’s business?” True, But up only up to a very low point.

      Bermuda is in the business of providing financial services to global entities. Bermuda prides itself and sells itself as a clean jurisdiction that in untainted by criminal or even shady local or international financial dealings.

      That means that Bermuda trades on openness and transparency and this openness and transparency is why Bermuda had little to do with Bernie Madoff and Enron. Bermuda took hard knocks because of its dealings with Kozlowski. All of these were ‘private’ businesses.

      Anyone dealing with the public, as this group were, should have no hesitation in identifying their supporters.

      Just suppose that their backers were the “Parkside Gang” who wanted control of the casino’s. Yes, LOL and LYAOAROTF … but think about and reflect on the principal and concept.

      In any case, when shady people engage in shady operations and seek to shade their activities from public scrutiny, they invariably end up worse off, a la Richard Nixon/Watergate; Bill Clinton/Monica Lewis; Rupert Murdoch/phone-tapping; and now our own ‘who rode on the jet’?

      Staying clean means staying transparent and working in the full glare of scrutiny, not in the shadows of under-handed dealings that reek of dishonesty.

  10. Johnie C says:

    I do not see the problem. This is a private entity that supports jobs and the introduction of casinos in Bermuda. No government funding and people are still complaining. The PLP just can’t get over losing the election.

    • Unbelievebale says:

      They’re upset because they aren’t getting these things done – that’s why they are up in a tizzy. They only had 14 years.

      Like I said, if the OBA just does this stuff by the book and gets it done, then the PLP shouldn’t have so much ammunition.

    • ??? says:

      Is it OBA party funding?

      • Unbelievebale says:

        Have you read the story above??? No you didn’t did you.

        • huh says:

          Dud read what ??? question was? No, you didn’t did u? They didnt ask if the govt. hired them. They asked if the OBA party hired them because it appears that BTA and the GOVT. claims that they didn’t hirs her but, what about the party itself? Thks for reading!

    • Mind the Avatar says:

      I guess “Travis tucker” & Johnie C use the same computer? LOL

  11. Johnie C says:

    The party can hire who ever they like. I thought the PLP supported Bermudians, guess not.

    • huh says:

      Hey Johnie, of course they can hire whoever they like. That’s not the issue. The issue is lying about who they have and have not hired and for what purposes and when. They need to be truthful. Please don’t misconstrue the issue.

  12. So who is funding BEST? Who is funding Bermuda First? So if donors of private organizations are at risk of being exposed and ridiculed by the likes of you all then no-one will donate.

    • huh says:

      When those private organisations are in the business of influencing public policies and laws then yes, it needs to be done in the light. This will help to stop pay to play, cronieism and all around conflicts of interest that always try to rear their ugly head in politics.

  13. Frank Roper says:

    The last time I checked Bermuda has over 10 percent unemployment. More than 20 percent underemployed(that is employed but need a second or third job to make it). If a group is trying to assist in bringing jobs on the Island and it is private group what is the problem. I cannot believe people are talking about PLP and OBA and sinking ships when there are people in Bermuda who are struggling to make ends meet. I am Bermudian living abroad and I know the pain unemployment or underemployment causes.

  14. Coffee says:

    How many more times do the names of the Three Wise Man and a Ghost Rider have to come up in some secret operation surrounding the very , very , lucrative issue of gaming , I repeat how many more times until somebody , anybody under the OBA tent yells FIRE .

  15. ….Surely you jest. says:

    As usual, so many folks missing the REAL story. For the second time your Tourism Authority refuses to tell you how it is spending your money. So I guess transparency and accountability checked out after December 2012. Now all of a sudden “Confidentiality is necessary to ensure the BTA can secure the services of private companies to carry out its work.” Well will you look at that. So just think, they could’ve hired Global Hue and you all would never know it. LMAO. It’s possible because they’re sure repeating everything else Ewart did.

  16. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    After reading the article, like most I found it more concerning than enlightening. After reading today’s posts, I’m impressed. Bloggers are really probing whilst staying on point of the subject-matter.

    Whereas many are calling for transparency irrespective of whether it is a private company or not, what sends off alarm bells to me are the following questions: 1) since this private company was soliciting donations, it is a registered charity and where is it registered; 2) to collect donations from Bermudians will require transparency and accountability, i.e., where are funds going – Bermuda or overseas, what are the funds being used for – specifically, such as, projects, administration, etc; 3) why would this private company have so much proprietary information on the Government and use that information on their website, WITHOUT the Government’s knowledge and/or expressed consent? That type professional conduct does appears to have legally crossed the line of propriety.

    As I mentioned earlier, many are calling for transparency, but I would also add a call to be enlightened under the ‘public interest’ seeking accountability into the Government’s gaming initiative; and this being a public policy initiative (gaming) makes this private company’s actions, subject to public scrutiny and/or accountability. For why would the Government not know that a company is soliciting donations from Bermudians whilst claiming to work on its own public policy initiative? Is that not very surprising? A company can, by affiliation, setup a website (under construction) and solicit donations for the Government’s gaming initiative and it’s a secret?

    Moreover, the final paragraph of the article was very revealing; “We are appreciative that the Government of Bermuda has judiciously determined a model for casino gaming that will best benefit Bermuda and its people.”

    The gaming model has already been determined? When did that take place, before or after the Singaporean visit? What are the town hall meetings for, to brainwash? Or to get feedback from the people of Bermuda and to incorporate their comments, ideas, notions and/or criticisms moving forward?

    Oddly, this individual appears to have very specific inside knowledge for a private, third party entity, so, does s/he sit on some board or have direct access to Government ministers?

    The footprints of what the Government wants, where the Government intends to go and who will be given access and/or opportunities, even if the entity has 6 degrees of separation from the Government, has already been set in stone. And, the rest is just an illusion for public consumption?

    But please bear in mind, the ‘public interest’ into the gaming initiative makes the Government of Bermuda accountable to the people, NOT the other way around.

    London, England

  17. Samantha says:

    Isnt this the same J Lewis that works for The Bermuda Housing Corporation??? Where does she find the time?