PLP Leader, Attorney-General: Municipalities Bill

July 11, 2015

Government had the “audacity” to bring legislation that is “inextricably linked to the recent and longstanding allegations of corruption and bribery in terms of the waterfront and JetGate,” Opposition Leader Marc Bean said in the House on Friday [July 10].

Mr Bean was speaking about the Municipalities Amendment [No. 2] Act 2015 which was passed in the House yesterday, with the bill amending the Municipalities Act 1923 to “provide for greater supervision of the Corporations.”

The Opposition Leader said, “This Municipalities Act is at the very centre and core of the utilization of this Parliament to do actions and pass laws which have the appearance, or potential appearance, of being meant to support bribery and corruption.”

“But yet, the Junior Minister is going to get up here today without any response from this Government to the people of Bermuda, who I suspect, are going to try and make this sub judice argument, in order to suppress the truth.”

“How disrespectful can this Government be to the country? That you have the audacity to stand up here today and bring the Municipalities Act,” added Mr Bean. “You had the audacity, arrogantly so, to bring this legislation to this House.”

Mr Bean was presumably referring to the recent allegations made in Michael MacLean’s affidavit, which surfaced this week with Mr MacLean making a number of allegations in reference to discussions over the waterfront development.

In response, Attorney-General Trevor Moniz said it “was clear that there needed to be better guidance” to the Corporation as they had “gone off the rails” with respect to how they ran the Corporation.

“Everyone will know the scandal of the Black Mayors Conference that I guess was never to be,” added the Attorney-General. “The monies were paid over, and I wonder where those monies have been gotten back to this day. I think it was $100,000 payment was made.”

“There have been all sorts of problems, some of the problems are caught up with respect to court cases, but we obviously have the issue of the missing monies that are out there. The monies with respect to Par-La-Ville, which I understand are sub judice, but we have $18 million dollars that disappeared, that need to be tracked down.

“It’s obvious to every member of the public, why there needs to be a continuation of some sort of governance by the Government over the Corporations,” said Attorney-General Moniz.

While it was initially stated the Opposition would not engage in a debate on the Bill, there was a change of plans and the matter was debated in the afternoon and the Bill eventually passed by a margin of 18-16, with all OBA MPs present voting in favour and all PLP MPs present voting against.

We will have coverage of that debate at a later time, and in the meantime coverage of the initial discussion about the Bill is below.

Audio excerpt of some of the discussion about bringing the Bill:

Opposition Leader Marc Bean began by saying, “I rise, as the Leader of the Opposition, instead of the shadow responsible for this legislation to state, explicitly, for the listening public our concerns at the apparent arrogance of this Government who have the audacity to bring before this honourable chamber a piece of legislation that is inextricably linked to the recent and longstanding allegations of corruption and bribery in terms of the waterfront and JetGate.

“This Municipalities Act is at the very centre and core of the utilization of this Parliament to do actions and pass laws which have the appearance, or potential appearance, of being meant to support bribery and corruption.

“But yet, the Junior Minister is going to get up here today without any response from this Government to the people of Bermuda, who I suspect, are going to try and make this sub judice argument, in order to suppress the truth.

“Remember there’s a concept of a right to know, Mr. Speaker. They will take that approach. The Premier will make a statement to his colleagues. It is the closest thing to a kindergarten statement, Mr. Speaker.

“How disrespectful can this Government be to the country? That you have the audacity to stand up here today and bring the Municipalities Act, an Act that was brought by a Minister who sits in another place, who has a thunderstorm cloud over his head, in addition to other Ministers.

“Mr. Speaker we refuse to participate in such a travesty. We refuse to participate in activity that continuously brings this House into disrepute. Mr. Speaker we hope that later on we can have a open and robust discussion on this information that has now been presented to the public, but I know myself, has stood up here for two and a half years and we warned that Government.

“We warned the Government that they are on a path of destruction, Mr. Speaker. It’s clear that we understood and knew everything they were doing. We warned them every time, Mr. Speaker, when they brought up the Municipalities Act, that you’re going down to a path of disrepute.

“And yet today, you had the audacity, arrogantly so, to bring this legislation to this House. Of all people talking, Dr. Grant Gibbons shouldn’t talk. Because, if you want to talk, I suggest you break that Deloitte report on the airport, because it’s just as shady Mr. Speaker. And everyone knows it.”

Minister of Economic Development Dr Grant Gibbons said, “Mr. Speaker, point of order. The honourable member, so far, has said almost nothing with respect to the Bill that has been been brought. I think he’s way off track.

Mr Bean said, “I will now take my seat. We do not intend to participate in this travesty.”

Speaker of the House Randy Horton said, “Thank you honourable member. Any other member care to speak? The Chair will recognize the honourable Attorney-General, Minister, a learned member, Trevor Moniz, you have the floor.”

Attorney-General Trevor Moniz said, “Thank you Mr. Speaker. It’s interesting that the Opposition don’t wish to engage with the debate on the Municipalities Act. This is of course, a subject that they commenced, it was commenced under their watch, as the honourable Junior Minister said in his brief, that this was something that they looked at. In fact they wanted to, at one time, get rid of the Corporations all together, because of the activities.”

Various MPs made inaudible comments.

Attorney-General Trevor Moniz continued,Well that was probably because you changed Premiers. There was one Premier under the Opposition, the present Opposition, who was against having the Corporations at all. He wanted to take them over. Luckily, Premiers were changed, I guess, in that regard. That motion didn’t move forward.

“Mr. Speaker, the situation here has been clear, historically, that something was needed once the voting was changed for the Corporation. It was clear that there needed to be better guidance to the Corporation. The Corporation had gone off the rails in many respects, under the recent past administration, with the respect to how they ran the Corporation. I am speaking specifically of Corporation of Hamilton.

“Everyone will know the scandal of the Black Mayors Conference, that I guess was never to be. Where money was paid over to an organization that had all sorts of problems. There were allegations of a person who claimed to be the head of it wasn’t actually the head of it. There were all sorts of accounting issues and there was effectively no conference ever going to be held. Then monies were paid over, and I wonder where those monies have been gotten back to this day. I think it was $100,000 payment was made.”

Unidentified MP called out, “Nobody’s listening.”

Attorney-General Trevor Moniz said,At least one person’s listening. That’s what I’m glad to hear. At least one person’s listening, even if he can only tell me no one’s listening. Means he must be listening so that’s good to know.

“There have been all sorts of problems, some of the problems are caught up with respect to court cases, but we obviously have the issue of the missing monies that are out there. The monies with respect to Par-La-Ville, which I understand are sub judice, but we have some $18 million dollars that disappeared, that needs to be tracked down.

“I think it’s obvious to every member of the public, why there needs to be a continuation of some sort of governance by the Government over the Corporations. As the brief says the Corporations are a very important life-blood of this community, and without that life-blood we will be in severe issues. Everyone will be aware of the issues we’ve had with the waterfront…”

The full Municipalities Amendment [No. 2] Act 2015 follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (12)

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  1. Stop crying bie’…If you’re still not aware, it passed 18 to 16. Sad for some yes, but true :-(

  2. Terry says:

    I wish Bermuda well.

    I remember in the 60′s and 70′s when certain persons stated that they will do whatever “By any means necessary” to take control. They did. Lost it and screwed Bermuda.

    Many are still active and behind the scenes.

    Some took the money and left this mess.

    I wish they would just close the PLP GATE.

    We are flooded with garbage and verbal waist from the current members of Parliament.

    Shalom.

    • Can you also remember in the 60′s and 70′s when Black people had to turn this Island upside down because white people where treating us like dogs.
      Well all depends, because some people treat their dogs better then their fellow men.

  3. Mind-boggling says:

    “It’s clear that we understood and knew everything they were doing”

    Does this statement not make the opposition also culpable if any of the allegations are true ? Is it not their responsibility as elected representatives (and as responsible citizens) to report any knowledge of corruption ?

    I do not understand how any person(s) who claim to be all about Bermuda’s best interests could sit on said knowledge without bringing it to the correct authorities. Mind boggling that they admit they knew all along – doesnt speak well to the honesty of either side of the house.

    • Terry says:

      Not that ‘Mind-Boggling’ at all.
      WE HAD TO DECEIVE YOU’.

      PLP logo.
      You should see dee place in/on Marthas Yard.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Clear as can be on Google Earth or Bing Maps if you know where to look.

        monstrous!

      • Ann says:

        You should see New York as well, gullible till the end!

      • So I take it that no U.B.P. members have property overseas, oh I forgot they didn’t “assumingly” steal to get it.
        PRICELESS

  4. Not again says:

    Really Bean? Sit down and close it. Even some of your own are thinking this Now. Know your role and for God’s sake grow up. Who do you think you are to choose to not debate anything? If you have a problem as you perpetually do, then you debate it out, not choose to abstain from debating! Be reminded that you are the Opposition Party, as limited as that remaining time might be, get in your lane and stay in it. Choosing not to work when you go to work (reality check) is not optional. Primary school recess break antics are over and should have been left behind in childhood. Is there no one else less irritating in the PLP to lead the party?

  5. The Truth and Nothing but the Truth !! says:

    Well the pressure is on I guess, as the Leader of the PLP speaks!! Not that he said anything (never does)as it is obvious that Zane is looking at the leadership or will it be one of the UBP`ERS?? Truly a comedy!

  6. Simple Solution says:

    How about if I get and independent arbitrator to go to each Parish and RANDOMLY pick 3 people who are not black or white, Bermudian by birth certifiable to at least the 1800′s background check, have the ability to recite the alphabet and count to ten. They must also denounce allegiance to any political party. We get rid of the 2 ring circus in Hamilton. they draw straws for a Speaker, and let them run the circus.. At the very least we wouldn’t have to put up with the petty bickering and tit for tat that we are presently subjected to on a daily basis.