Minister Richards: Govt Will Not Pay Legal Costs

September 4, 2015

The government’s financial support is “becoming a distraction from the real issues” so he will “not be seeking reimbursement of legal costs from the government in his legal action for defamation,” Minister of Finance Bob Richards said today.

The Finance Minister launched legal action against BPSU President and People’s Campaign member Jason Hayward after Mr Hayward made certain statements about the Minister on a TV appearance in relation to the emails over the airport contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation.

On August 17th, while replying to a Parliamentary Question in the House of Assembly, Minister Richards said that the legal action against Mr Hayward would be funded by the Government, saying “The action has directly to do with my fulfillment of my duties as Minister of Finance, and the Cabinet took the position that this related to that, it was a Government matter, and the Cabinet decided this would be the policy.”

However in a statement today, Minister Richards said, “I have been grateful for the Cabinet’s support of the principle of financially backing a Minister of the Government when he is defending himself against defamatory comments in connection with the carrying out his of duties as Minister.

“This is an important principle because if a Minister did not have the means to pay legal costs to defend himself and the government did not support him, then it may become open season on that or any such Minister.

“However, in my case, the government’s financial support is becoming a distraction from the real issues surrounding the case. Let it be known, therefore, that while I will continue to seek legal redress through the courts, I will not be seeking reimbursement of legal costs from the government in my legal action for defamation.

“Any financial damages awarded to me by the courts will be donated to charity,” added the Minister.

This is very similar to what happened with former Premier Craig Cannonier’s lawsuit against Marc Bean and David Burt, as it was initially stated it would be a “government lawsuit,” with Mr Cannonier subsequently saying the lawsuit would not be covered by public funds.

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Comments (58)

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  1. hmmm says:

    will the defendant pay his own bills?

    • TonyC says:

      Given that the BPSU has already written to it’s membership requesting donations to pay Hayward’s defence bills, I would like to donate money to the Minister of Finance. Where do I sign up?

      • hmmm says:

        How can the BPSU write to its membership to ask for donations, when he was acting on behalf of the Peoples Campaign.

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          If he was speaking for the Peoples Campaign maybe Mr Hayward should be seeking donations from the 10 or 20 that make up that self appointed group.

        • hmph says:

          DONATION. GIFT. CONTRIBUTION. PRESENT. OFFERING.

          Not mandatory. What is the issue????

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          PC, BPSU executive committee, BIU executive committee, PLP… is there really any difference, different organizations working for a singular political purpose to have a PLP government again… all getting there orders from the same people.

        • Hoolieh says:

          Go got it!
          Pot calling the kettle black!
          The hypocrisy is amazing!

  2. Vote for Me says:

    Well done to the Bermudian people.

    Do not be fooled. Min. Richards did not wake up today and decide “I will not use public funds for the legal fight.” We can rest assured that his fellow OBA members would have acted to convince him.

    On a related note, it would be interesting to see the Cabinet Paper that proposed for government to fund the action. The analysis should have included discussion about the likelihood of public fallout and previous comments from the Auditor General.

    • Politricks says:

      Shame the PLP Cabinet didn’t have the same mindset when breaching financial instructions.

      Instead they had to be forced to return the $30k of taxpayer monies spent on Canadian lawyers.

      They even attacked the AG for her scathing report on their use of public funds.

      See the difference?

  3. watching says:

    Well done David Burt and the PLP to force Bob into this action. Great work!

  4. San George says:

    Good job Burt ane Bean; you byes are putting licks on Richards. This chap thinks he can do as he pleases.

    Thanks again!

  5. how you doin says:

    Thank you PLP….

  6. Tolerate says:

    Bermuda must really qualify for the award of “Most Hypocrites per Square Mile”.
    And I thought Churches and Golf Course was up there.

    SMH

  7. Chris Famous says:

    People Power Prevails

    He never had the right to do so from the get go.

    • Politricks says:

      Hey Mr. Famous,

      A quick question for you.

      Do you find it hypocritical that you say this lawsuit is a violation of free speech, but you have, on social media sites, threatened other posters with defamation law suits?

      Just to note I agree with this decision of Min. Richards. It was the right thing to do as his decision to continue the law suit against Mr. Hayward for his remarks on a paid TV broadcast

    • hmmm says:

      Thank God the PAC recommendations (including Burt) were never followed eh Chris.

      Now how about some support for the victim in all this….Richards.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      People Power Prevails……laughable!!!

      • People Power help please says:

        Great result–Can you turn your attention to helping to find solutions for our $2bn debt overhang that was accumulated over the past decade PLEASE?

        This is an issue that is going to haunt us, our children and possibly theirs–

        If anything requires PEOPLE POWER its that.

        Have a Blessed Day!

        • Vote for Me says:

          @ People Power help please
          We seem to forget the $800m of the existing debt was ‘accumulated by the OBA’ in less than 1 year after taking office.

          • jt says:

            You fail to understand why.

          • Politricks says:

            And that was solely due to the PLP’s decision to increase the budget deficit by 2,620% in just a decade.

            One that same time period the PLP tripled Govt expenditure on relation to Govt income.

            The last PLP budget resulted in a $408mn deficit which the OBA has reduced by almost 50%.

            If they didn’t borrow then the other option left was to enact draconian budget cuts to balance the budget immediately.

            That would’ve meant laying off more than half the civil service at least.

            Is that what you would at her have happened as opposed I borrowing to close the PLP deficit?

            I agree that the OBA is far from perfect, but the argument of them needlessly borrowing is simply disingenuous and is a sad attempt to rewrite history regarding the PLP’s complete mismanagement and destruction of our public finances.

            In other words the requirement to borrow is simply a consequence of PLP’s out of control spending.

      • Good, Chris!! Let PEOPLE POWER PREVAIL. Beautifully written!!

    • Anbu says:

      Oh stuff it chris. How much money have the pee el pee wasted? What was it again? Oh thats right over 1.5 billion

      • mixitup says:

        I’d like you to break down this ‘wasted’ 1.5b for me.. I’d like to keep myself ‘in the know’ with some facts…

      • Betty Boop says:

        Pee el Pee, how funny!

    • serengeti says:

      So is Hayward going to fund his own legal costs, or is he going to make his members pay?

      • mixitup says:

        If he’s reaching for Tax dollars to do so, I’d have an issue, if the members so chose to pitch in then more power to them.

        • serengeti says:

          Why would his members pitch in? He was making the statements on behalf of the People’s Campaign.

    • Hoolieh says:

      Can you guys grow some integrity???

      EB has so much influenced the PLP that there are so many now with NO integrity. Lies and lies and twist of the truth! My head hurts and I’m dizzy! The party will never be the same!

      It’s unbelievable how strong the seeds of mischievousness, deceit and alright lying, at all or any costs, have taken. Lets lie and cheat and fight each other! The truth no longer matters! Really, does anybody understand why and for what?

      Are there are true Christians left in the PLP? Are there any members left with some integrity? Please stand up!

      God help Bermuda!

  8. Just a matter of time says:

    @Vote for Me. I totally agree. There was a lot more pressure behind the scenes including voting ones I bet. PLP showing itself to be an effective and resilient Opposition despite the continued name calling ad nauseum by OBA supporters which, when all else is lost is the only weapon they have left.

  9. Neutral says:

    Donated to charity? You should have donated the tourism authority CEO’S Bonus to charity. I can’t wait to re election.. you and the OBA will never see POWER ever again.

    • If that's true says:

      The we are sunk…..

    • Betty Boop says:

      I sure hope thst if the Pee El Pee ever get back in power, you will pay close attention, like you are now, to them so that their spending can be reigned in. And you should have done that when they were the Government, maybe then we wouldn’t be in such a mess.

  10. M. T. Pockets says:

    Good job! Previously with Govt paying the legal fees, Mr Richards said that any award made to him would go into the Gov’t coffers. Now with him paying the legal fees himself he has now decided to donate the award to charity.
    Charities may benefit but Gov’t loses that potential donation. Money that could be used to reduce the debt.
    Surely the pressure applied by the PLP could have been redirected to something more worthwhile that would benefit Bermuda. But the PLP did score a minor victory here, the island however did not.

  11. Unbelievable says:

    Hang on a minute? Has the BPSU REALLY asked its membership to donate to Mr. Hayward’s legal fees?

  12. pot stirer says:

    You bies are wirse the the chilrooms:)

  13. Common Sense says:

    Now will the PLP return the money spent on it’s lawsuits to attempt to prevent the media from publishing the results of the investigation into the BHC scandals. These cases went as far as the Privy Council and the result of all three cases was that the Bermudian People had the right to know how their money had been spent, and that right superceded all other factors. The only people to gain from keeping the truth from the people were the PLP, while the people of Bermuda would be the losers. It was ironic that the people of Bermuda funded a case which was not in their interest! By the way; How much does it cost to take a case to The Privy Council?

  14. jt says:

    The Brilliance of Bob.
    Forced PLP and Burt into publicly denouncing using government money for such cases.
    Well played.
    Brilliant.

  15. Triangle Drifter says:

    Somehow I think Mr Richards will be getting excellent legal advice. Any idea how many good lawyers there are in the OBA or support the OBA who would be happy to handle this case?

    If Mr Hayward loses he will be the one paying Mr Richards bill.

    • Earlier Post claims that says:

      Mr. Hayward is taking donations to fund his legal costs.

      Is that true?

      • Zevon says:

        He’s asking people less well off than he is to pay for it, yes.

  16. so one sided says:

    i have a feeling he is already getting excellent advice.

  17. Terry says:

    34 north
    64 west.

    Hopes it is there when I come back to see nothing has changed except Frunt Streat.

  18. just wondering says:

    I dont really support party politics as I think Bermuda is to small.
    So if the PLP got back in power, who will they have for a leader, finance minister etccc. The guys they have right now are to IMMATURE and lack experience in MY OPINION.
    I also do not agree with everything the OBA are doing but.

  19. Bermuda123 says:

    Well done Bob. You are right to get rid of the distraction of the costs and focus on the issue. All right thinking people are behind you.

  20. Very thankful says:

    I would never donate to Jason Hayward. Very proud of minister Richards and you will win this case! Time to stop these people’s campaign from their postering.

  21. Alvin Williams says:

    Beaten into submission by the just disapproval of the people; The People 1; this government 0

    • Unbelievable says:

      Alvin, you should read the Auditor General’s response to David Burt’s request that she comment on Bob Richards.

      Once again the PLP gets caught skewing facts to suit their purposes. True story.

  22. swing voter says:

    when I was engaged in legal battle, I paid my own legal bill. After throwing 12k down the toilet my lawyer got rude with me. I fired her greedy azz took my case file from her and handled it myself….all those years of watching Jack McCoy saved me 100k in legal fees. Its not that difficult Bobby!