‘Terms Of Reference Are Particularly Unbalanced’

February 26, 2016

DESILVA, ZANE“While I agree with the stated intent of any Government to detect and punish corruption wherever it is found, I am concerned that this Commission of Inquiry is flawed and has all the appearances of a witch hunt,” said Opposition MP Zane DeSilva, adding that the “terms of reference are particularly unbalanced when the administrations being examined” are all PLP, asking why it didn’t include the final three years of the UBP or the first three years of the OBA.

In December of last year, the Premier announced that a Commission of Inquiry will be formed “to investigate the issues raised” in the Report of the Auditor General.

The Auditor General’s report on the Government’s Consolidated Fund for the years ended March 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012 included information on instances of overspending, expenditures not having the required Cabinet approval, contracts not being tendered, duplicate payments being made and other issues pertaining to tens of millions of dollars.

And yesterday Premier Michael Dunkley announced that Sir Anthony Evans, John Barritt, Kumi Bradshaw, and Fiona Luck will sit on the Commission of Inquiry, which will start its work on April 1st.

Mr. DeSilva said, “While I agree with the stated intent of any Government to detect and punish corruption wherever it is found, I am concerned that this Commission of Inquiry is flawed and has all the appearances of a witch hunt.

“The terms of reference are particularly unbalanced when the administrations being examined are all Progressive Labour Party Governments.

“It is universally known in Bermuda that the Auditor General has, over the years of the UBP government, discovered numerous violations of Financial Instructions.

“Why didn’t the terms of reference include the final three years of the UBP Government or the first three years of the OBA Government? I do not expect the OBA Government to answer these questions.”

Mr DeSilva added that he does “not expect the Auditor General to make public the suspected Financial Instruction violations” and the alleged corruption “surrounding JetGate and the airport redevelopment project.”

“But I do expect Bermudians to follow the proceedings closely and determine for themselves that this entire Commission of Inquiry is less about good governance and more about the next General Election,” concluded Mr DeSilva.

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Comments (43)

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  1. Terry says:

    Worried Zane?
    You ought to be.

    • This To Shouldn't Pass says:

      Strange? The leader of the PLP Mr. Marc Bean didn’t not seem to have a problem with it and welcomed it. But Mr. Zane does??? Why??

      Its not a witch hunt Zane but rather a hunt for $800 million that is listed as unaccounted for while you and your pals were in charge.

      May you loose as much sleep worrying as I have when I lost my job because your parties bully tactics was the deciding factor behind my former employer leaving Bermuda and the reason why my tenants both left Bermuda. In a few months I almost lost everything including my sanity from worry.

      • Tolerate says:

        First rule when feeling threatened by a Commission of Investigation; discredit the investigation so later when it’s findings are released, you can challenge them.
        SMH

        • Tolerate says:

          “terms of reference are particularly unbalanced when the administrations being examined” are all PLP, asking why it didn’t include the final three years of the UBP or the first three years of the OBA.
          So basically waste time and resources investigating years that are NOT under question?
          That statement is as dumb as one I read on this blog challenging the age of the elected chairman.You do understand that Bermuda is lucky to have such a resource available to us. I would not want a rookie overseeing this Commission.

  2. hmmm says:

    Port Royal should be interesting.

  3. David says:

    Someone’s getting nervous already. You should really play it cooler than that, Zane :)

  4. lalalalala says:

    scared some?

  5. Onion says:

    Simple: because the Auditor General highlighted those years as an especially bad breakdown of financial control.

  6. Jolly says:

    Because this is the period where fiscal management totally went off the rails.

  7. meh. says:

    When money disappears like magic into thin air; hunting witches isn’t a bad idea

  8. Lois Frederick says:

    Why am I not surprised to see this? He has an uphill battle coming from all sides. As the saying goes, you made your bed, now sleep in it.

  9. Mr Sparkle says:

    The squeals and deflection have started already and they will get louder. We can only hope that just like a witch hunt, the guilty are burnt at the stake (rhetorically speaking of course).

  10. voltage says:

    “The lady doth protest too much – methinks” – Act -III, Scene-II of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Queen Gertrude

  11. Zane, you sound as if you’re attempting to wriggle out of the sh-tttt :-(
    “While I agree with the stated intent of any Government to detect and punish corruption wherever it is found, I am concerned that this Commission of Inquiry is flawed and has all the appearances of a witch hunt,” said Opposition MP Zane DeSilva.” Really huh?

    • By the way Zane here is a thought for today: “Trust is the first step to love. -Munshi Premchand, novelist and poet (31 Jul 1880-1936)

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      If Zane has something to hide it doesn’t look like he’s trying to get out of it. He would know it’s too late. He’s even saying he agrees. He’s trying to make sure that all come under the same scrutiny and if OBA is as transparent as they say they are they should also be investigated for jetgate.

      The only thing being wriggled out of is your head from OBA’s backside to make your posts. Do you wave pom poms around and wear red cheer leader outfit while you type your crap?

      • Double S says:

        Do you wear green pum-pum shorts while you type yours?

        Why would there be a need to review the OBA’s first 3 years in power? All their AG audits have come back unqualified.

        Which was quite a change from the 6 CONSECUTIVE qualified audits that occurred up until the PLP’s ousting.

        So by definition reviewing an issue where no issue has been made is a true witch hunt.

  12. Enough says:

    PLP had plenty of time to investigate in their time in office. They chose not to. Glass houses and all that……

    I do agree though. The OBA should extend their investigation all the way back to 1998.

    Sounds like someone is running scared.

  13. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    Does he even realize that this is because of scathing auditor reports. Why would we expand the commission to cover years that don’t have reports of horrendous mismanagement and financial breaches. This isn’t a inquiry into the final years of any parties admin, it is a response to a set of reports of such gross misconduct that has never before been reported; messed up as the UBP were in their final days, at least government finances was still being kept fairly well under control, and the reports from the first couple of years under the OBA have reflected that they have been getting it back under control. It is only the years under the PLP that have seen such misconduct of the government finances, and the reports weren’t limited to just those last 3 years.

  14. jt says:

    Mr. DeSilva should bring forward his specific concerns from past audits rather than speaking in such general terms. In the absence of specifics this bluster is nothing more than the usual school yard deflection tactic.

    Zane…SPECIFICALLY…what aspect of the UBP and/or OBA audits you mention do you believe require a COI?

  15. Rock Paper Scissors says:

    We can only assume that the UBP boys perform some underhanded actions back in the day. May God or Santa Clause forgive them.

    You’re correct Mr. Desilva after they question the past PLP and government officials it would be nice of the OBA to fully disclose the JetGate report to the public.

    They should be transparent across the board. I think the voters should have full disclosure and let the chips fall where they are for both parties.

    • wahoo says:

      Did jetgate involve taxpayer money?

    • serengeti says:

      But thought the PLP “welcomed” the commission of inquiry.
      Changed their mind, have they?

    • This To Shouldn't Pass says:

      If they did, at least they had the courtesy or smarts to leave something in the kitty, you know, to run the country. This last crew not only spent everything, they borrowed more left us with a huge amount of debt and also managed to make $800M go poof at the same. They also managed to bite the hand that was feeding them.

  16. Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

    No, Mr DeSilva, it does not have the appearance of a witch hunt.

    The Auditor General’s report covered the period of years that it was working on at the time. And it is those things that the Commission of Inquiry is covering.

    If the Auditor General’s office continues to work in the way it should, there will be reports of the following years, and inquiries done as necessary, regardless of whoever is in Government.

    Now, should previous years be put under the microscope? Probably, but the scope of that project would demand funds that we don’t have. Yet another reason why we’re focusing on the most recent Auditor General’s report.

    • jt says:

      Why “probably”? As I mentioned above, identify the specific items from audits under the UBP or OBA that merit a COI.
      Please don’t lend any credibility to Mr. DeSilva’s generalized, deflective comments by doing the same thing.

  17. Long Bay Trading Co. says:

    Ohhh no surprises here then!

  18. Unbelievable says:

    The reason why the terms of reference don’t include the UBP years or the first three years of the OBA Govt is because the Auditor General’s report talks about the 2010 – 2012 which are PLP years.

    Stop politicking, Zane.

  19. doggystyle says:

    When the PLP won the election the books were in order!!!!!!! . Then 14 years later the books are in a mess and money has gone missing or UN ACCOUNTED FOR.

    Any body that has a brain would ask the question were did it go!!!!!!!! lets find out. Now it up to the Government off the day to sort it out and if any one is found to be tacking out of the kitty. they shoud be brought befor the courts

  20. serengeti says:

    Oh dear. Zane doesn’t want to be scrutinized.

  21. Starting Point says:

    lol this is the best post of the year.

  22. Wahoo says:

    Wasn’t it Alex Scott who said something along the lines of “….bask in the sunshine of public scrutiny..” Well that was a long time ago.

    Perhaps now one could say “…fry in the heat of a commission of inquiry…”

  23. Joe says:

    Let’s get to the bottom of it once and for all and where did the cedar beams go? And dig into the light bulb scandal

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

    Aah! No wonder he gave that big song and dance about how he lived in a shack and eat mayonnaise sammmiches while working 5 jobs…from rags to riches huh…ok.

  25. j says:

    i am concerned that you are flawed

  26. Comfortably numb says:

    Anyone who knows Zane knows it was’t the political ideology of the PLP that attracted him: it was, of course their traditional colour – green.

  27. Time Shall Tell says:

    Scared or not, he does bring up a good point.

  28. John E. Thorne says:

    Zane you shouldn’t have anything to worry about if you haven’t done anything wrong.

  29. mmm says:

    Was there an effort by the opposition party to have the PLP budget examined closely year by year during its 14 year reign, whether they over-spent with in reason or went wild. Was there ever an appeal for a Commission of Inqui ry , say perhaps after a 5 year period as the Government ? The party has a duty to its electorate as well, though they were the Opposition party durin g the PLP reign. On another note some employers failed to forward pension deductions to the Government on behalf of its employees, and this amounted to quite a bit, yet it was rare that the employers were put before the Cour t. Certainly in this computer age, a red flag should go up and inquiries ma de if the employer has missed more than two consecutive payments.

  30. Joe Bloggs says:

    Mr DeSilva added that he does “not expect the Auditor General to make public the suspected Financial Instruction violations” and the alleged corruption “surrounding JetGate and the airport redevelopment project.”

    Translation, the Auditor General is an OBA political stooge who is out to get the PLP.

    Why didn’t Mr. DeSilva mention the fact that the qualified opinions issued by the Auditor General for the last 3 years of PLP rule are the first qualified opinions issued since the office of the Auditor General was established?

  31. James Rego says:

    The PLP had 14 years to examine the UBP’s finances. Why is Zane waiting until now to bring it up?