‘Strengthening Of Anti-Corruption Laws Needed’

August 21, 2015

[Opinion column written by Opposition Leader Marc Bean]

The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party believes that political corruption in any form, and regardless of the political affiliation of the offenders, must be exposed and punished to the full extent of the law. As leaders, this is the standard we must set and as Bermudians concerned about the well-being of our island and our people, this is the value system we must all embrace.

Politicians that reach into the people’s “cookie jar” not only are an affront to good governance, honesty and integrity but also contribute to government waste, loss of investor confidence and global reputational damage. Corruption in Government should be unacceptable to all right thinking people, regardless of political affiliation.

Bermuda is not another world when it comes to greed and corruption and so we must remain vigilant and defend our country against the rise of a systemic corrupt political culture.

As government, the PLP introduced tougher sanctions against politicians convicted of bribery or corruption, yet it is evident that these tougher penalties are no deterrent to individuals determined to break the law and enrich themselves at taxpayer’s expense. Further strengthening of our anti-corruption laws is urgently needed.

The PLP proposes:

  • 1] Introduction of Anti-Corruption legislation which will: create an independent corruption watchdog; broaden the definition of official corruption; increase the requirements for disclosure of financial interests for politicians and senior civil servants; give the Auditor General the power to ‘follow the money’; increase prison sentences and fines for official corruption; and void any contract entered into by the government which has been found to be procured via corrupt practices.
  • 2] The introduction of Campaign Finance Reform to create greater openness and transparency surrounding financial contributions to political parties and the expenditures of political parties. The people of Bermuda should know who bankrolls our political parties and how those funds are spent.
  • 3] Government Procurement Reform with the introduction of legislation mandating open and transparent tendering processes, which have been ignored in the airport project, and the tabling in Parliament of any contract over $50,000.

Corruption can be avoided if we are prepared to reform our laws, modernize our approach and send a clear message that “cookie jar politics” have no place in Bermuda. Period.

- Marc Bean

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Comments (55)

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  1. steve says:

    I totally agree, but for all the reasons that are likely to be listed by others on this thread, I get nauseous when this is stated by a member of the prior government.

    • So because PLP F#%€d up it justifies UBP for F#%€ing up.
      I hope UBP railroads us, and give a lesson to the Surrogate and stay away voters.
      Make them suffer UBP and Flog the S#%£ out of them.

  2. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    Oh how I would like to believe, but one of the greatest hypocrisies I find in this opinion is that he just eludes to the OBA term, but says nothing about lifting the veil on what went on in the PLP terms. I would include that to ministers who override their technical officers, like in the case of Spice Valley

    • Rhonda says:

      @Build a Better Bermuda, would you like to see a law that prohibits any Minister from overriding a Civil Servants..

      • hmmm says:

        NO. I’d like to see a law that where a minister does override a top civil servant, that the reasons for the override are made public.

        • Ringmaster says:

          If the PLP was serious it would also state that any new anti-corruption law would need to be retroactive to say 15 or 20 years. Why now going forward? Corruption is corruption. If there has been corruption then surely it should be uncovered and punished regardless of when it took place, within reason?

          • I totally agree with Ringmaster, why not turn back the pages?
            Yesterdays history can become tomorrows miseries. In quoting that famous line by Humphrey Bogart, “the same old gang.”

  3. serengeti says:

    “The people of Bermuda should know who bankrolls our political parties and how those funds are spent.”
    Who bankrolled the PLP in 1998?

  4. nomoremeoney says:

    give the auditor general power to follow the money…..well, cant disagree with that. I do remember a former administration that suppressed files, gagged media, arrested the AG, and seemed to be hiding something. Remember BHC scandal ?
    Have a read, its easy to find

    • Hmmm says:

      They forced them to move offices when the AG wasn’t around too.

  5. inna says:

    LOL so hypocritical, it really is laughable!

    The peoples “cookie jar” ?! Another new low. Beanie and the PLP must be trying to get some votes from those quiet tombstones!!!

  6. TRUTH says:

    It is true, Bermuda is lagging behind in the reform of several key laws. We need to move into the 21st century.

    1. Anti-Corruption legislation
    2. Campaign Finance Reform
    3. Government Procurement Reform
    4. Tendering Process Reform

    All 4 will bring about greater TRANSPARENCY and OPENNESS, I believe Bermuda should move it such a direction. Great Recommendations! I only hope both political parties can come together and get this done. It would be a great thing for Bermuda moving forward.

    • mj says:

      Who are we lagging behind? have you seen the state of the rest of the world and the outright ignoring of Constitutional Laws ! What country is an example of being in the so called 21st century? There is corruption worldwide and Bermuda is not immune.. This doesn’t escuse anything, but until the PEOPLE decide that they will no longer defend what is “WRONG” because of party politricks than we will continue in the quagmire and slippery slope we find ourselves in… People must wake up to truth rather than siding with any particular group ;for it is confusing to call something that is right–wrong –just to side with a group rather than stand up for your own convictions.This system of Party politics is ruining our ability to discern facts and truths from propaganda and lies.

    • hmmm says:

      and PATTI, oh the OBA already did that one.

  7. SMH says:

    What’s this going to cost to implement Marc. Ten cents a lick?

  8. Bullseye says:

    That cookie jar he speaks off is empty and cracked.

  9. Unbelievable says:

    Where was this column prior to December 17, 2012?

    • watching says:

      Where is the transparency, openness and accountability promised by the OBA prior to December 17, 2012?

      • hmmm says:

        Public information act PATTI was put in place under the OBA.

        PLP just talked about it and pretended.

    • Betty Boop says:

      Yeah, this legislation should have been in place in 1997.

  10. J Starling says:

    I would like to think these initiatives would be welcomed by all, and that the PLP and OBA could work together on this. Hopefully get it in place for the next election.

    Wish it had been in place decades ago, but better late than never I suppose.

    • Jeremy Deacon says:

      i for one totally welcome it. It is so long overdue that it is laughable, I just ask why the PLP is proposing it now? Just call be a cynic ….

      • J Starling says:

        I’d guess Jet Gate has led to the realisation existing laws were insufficient.

        More interested in recognising it’s a long overdue move myself, and hoping it gets done.

        • Jeremy Deacon says:

          There was a realization in 2004 that the laws were insufficient: Google Kulandra Ratneser and BHC

        • jt says:

          I’d guess that realization was in place long before that. The best cheaters know the rules back to front.

        • Trulytruly says:

          Can’t wait for Min Crockwell to reveal his research into trips on private jets owned by developers by former tourism ministers. Should add some perspective to the tired jet gate discussion. We will have to wait till November for that. The plp continue to tread on very thin ice.

  11. Jeremy Deacon says:

    Why now? The PLP had plenty of time to upgrade Bermuda’s outdated corruption laws, why didn’t it do it when they had the chance? Please explain …..

    • Rhonda says:

      Jeremy Deacon..really what difference does it make..

      Should we stay stuck because the PLP didn’t do it.

      • Jeremy Deacon says:

        clearly not but why complain now when the power to change it was in the PLPs hand for so long? Diversionary tactics are old now, have not read the PLP PR handbook?

      • Pastor Syl says:

        I am still trying to understand why people get so bent out of shape when PLP failings are mentioned but have no problem going back to pre-1998. If the past isn’t relevant, then it isn’t relevant. If it is relevant, then acknowledge the inadequacies (to be nice about it) of the immediately prior administration, and please stop complaining when they are brought to our attention.

  12. Will says:

    Good idea Marc bean..now if only you could say that with a straight face whilst insisting that zero corruption happened within the plp a few years ago…

    • Navin Johnson says:

      Does,he have anything other than a straight face……..I kept waiting to read April Fool…..I find him the most boring individual and can not take anything he or his comrades say seriously…..14 years of lies and deceit does not go away

  13. Jeremy Deacon says:

    Will the proposed legislation be retrospective?

  14. Common Sense says:

    One often said lie by the PLP supporters was that no wrong doing was found by the investigation into the BHC scandals. I seem to remember the words “Unethical but not illegal” and no prosecution would follow because of outdated anticorruption laws. In my opinion unethical is wrong or do the PLP supporters think it is OK.

    • @ Common Sense: To put it in medical terms, “there’s never any mistakes made at a hospital – in-spite of deaths.”

  15. Rhonda says:

    Oh know, we can’t move forward the status quo must remain, after all the PLP didn’t do it…so why should the Oba…..

    • hmmm says:

      OBA put in PATTI…PLP just talked about it for about a decade.

      • Trulytruly says:

        Cayman had their PATI 7 years before Bermuda. Just shows you how much of a priority it was for the former govt.

    • Jeremy Deacon says:

      no. it must be done, but as usual you miss the point, which is that this has been pointed out many time before …..

  16. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    clean up your own back yard first bean

  17. NCM says:

    Search for an oped written in April, 2014 – first two lines are:

    “In the fall of 2013, the OBA Government quietly enacted the Proceeds of Crime and Related Measures Amendment Act 2013. This omnibus legislation, which became effective on 8 November 2013, not only greatly increases the penalties for political corruption but also greatly strengthens the ability of the police and Director of Public Prosecutions to gather evidence and recover tainted property such as bribes, kickbacks and any assets purchased with that tainted money.”

    • aceboy says:

      Yup. Bean probably has no idea what legislation has been passed already.

  18. Only politicians in opposition care about doing the right thing. Sure, the PLP cares now, as soon as they’re elected back to power they’ll do just like the OBA and backtrack on commitments for better governance in favor of doing whats in their own best interest.

    What an absolute joke. If the PLP wants to be taken seriously they should call for investigations into some of the practices deemed questionable while they were in power alongside those that are questionable from the OBA. At least that would be something I could get behind as I have near zero faith in either party’s ability to do what is right when they are handed the reigns.

  19. john galt says:

    so am i correct in assuming that bean is asking for an investigation of dr brown?
    if so i think its long overdue and would like to see plp members being told that they are free to cooperate with the investigation

  20. Rhonda says:

    The OBA has the power to have an investigation into anything past or present… Any reason why they wont….Oops i know why…the PLP had 14 years and they didn’t do it…

    • Trulytruly says:

      We have an existing organization that investigates wrongdoing – it’s called the Bermuda Police Service. If there is sufficient evidence a case can be made, if not, nothing will come forward. This is purely noise and the plp are playing people for fools, over and over again.

    • Pastor Syl says:

      Rhonda, you know they are investigating. Hence Roban’s question in the House about the investigator involved with getting the goods on Misick in Turks and Caicos

  21. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    Y’all are living in the past…y’alls comments confirm that y’all just don’t have a clue as to what is transpiring as y’all bicker amongst yourselves like a dog chasing it’s own tail…It’s really a crying shame.
    Governments in the new millennium don’t work for the people…whether you like it or not they work for “Lobbyists “…”Donors” and people of “Special Interests “…Now…where do YOU fit in?…hopefully YOU will answer your own question.

  22. ImJustSayin says:

    There are pockets of wealth in this country. Mostly those pockets are in the politicians’ pants. And those who fight corruption should be clean themselves.

  23. Grizz says:

    Why is it every time an idea is offered as a solution to a problem, the past has to be brought up? Everyone has made mistakes THIS SIDE, THAT SIDE..ALL SIDES! Sooooo, because one has made mistakes in the past they can’t offer a solution for the same mistakes not to be repeated? So sick of it, if a solution is offered and it makes sense then just frickin try it. I FRIGGIN HATE CORRUPTION, DON’T CARE WHAT SIDE IS DOING IT! Something has got to give