Column: Richards, JetGate, Lessons To Learn

August 24, 2017

[Opinion column written by John Barritt]

That Bob Richards interview in the newspaper confirmed what most of us already knew, The OBA did not tell us all there was to know about the so-called Jetgate affair. But that was always a kind of open secret, wasn’t it?

What is new is the claim that former leader and Premier Craig Cannonier was the ‘fall guy’ for what went down. Do tell us more, please; but, no, sadly, on this most recent twist on just what happened, and why, we were once again left uninformed.

Big deal. Does it even matter? The people have already spoken. The OBA were soundly defeated. We have a new government. True all that. Still, there may be a couple of lessons to be learned here – for us and for them..

What was the harm in telling people exactly what went down at the time questions were first raised about Jetgate. The first and best opportunity to come clean came when questions were raised in the House of Assembly and the Legislature is the one institution where voters might reasonably expect their elected representatives to give truthful answers. Information should not come in dribs and drabs, with each answer begging further questions.

A lot of what passes for truth is put down to politics. Spin, and its cousin, parsing, have practically become acceptable in political circles. The norm, you might say, as those of us who are onlookers learn to read between the lines and divine what our politicians are really saying, or rather what they are trying really hard not to say.

But any way you look at it, ultimately it’s a tangled web that is woven that we get to see through either immediately or eventually. That is lesson number one. Lesson number two is that it marks the beginning of the end. There begins a loss of trust and confidence, two very important pillars for any government. Who is to say the next time that government is challenged that its members are not either [one] responding truthfully and/or [two] withholding critical information.

It is a ball and chain that becomes hard to shake off. ‘Deadgate’ it never was. A Premier was taken out in the dead of night without a full and complete explanation from the main players. Apologies might have been in order as well.

One cannot help but wonder what the outcome might have been had the people responsible been straight up with us right from the start. It would have at the very least been consistent with a party that promised us greater transparency and accountability. It would underscored that this was a party that was going to practice what it preached.

Failure to have done so led to lesson number three. Reputation and credibility are vital to the continued and future success of any politician and his or her party. Bob Richards with his comments has once again highlighted that which hurt the OBA so soon in its term, and more significantly perhaps, reminded us of events and questions which were never satisfactorily explained.

Unlike Mr. Richards, there are those who were at the centre of what occurred who remain in the front lines for the OBA. Their collective and individual reputations remain in question now that their former deputy has rolled out this grenade on to the public stage. But to what end, if he and they won’t come clean?

To revive the party? Good luck with that.

How much better, and that much more positive, if we were told what went on and what went down that led to the resignation of a Premier. It constitutes an ideal springboard for much-needed campaign finance reform; and just the impetus required for the PLP Government and the Opposition OBA to get on with a shared goal.

- John Barritt


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Comments (28)

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  1. Double S says:

    I hope Barritt’s next article is how the PLP should come clean about all the shenanigans uncovered by the Auditor General and Commission’s findings. You know the one’s that actually cost the taxpayer millions of dollars and created the massive deficit and by extension debt.

    • Ezy ryda says:

      More deflection from you OBA twits. You tell us. Your party spent millions of dollars in a commission and law suit to reveal these shenanigans which all they did is tell us things we already know. Just face the fact u was fed Kool aid by the oba and you drank it. Over 60 percent of the island saw that is why oba is doa lol….

      • Double S says:

        You already knew about the shenanigans and the fact the PLP won’t punish them and actually allow the alleged perpetrators back into positions of power, and OBAers are twits?


        • Ezy ryda says:

          U all are a bunch of twits. Bias twits at that. U all conviently forget your govt doubled the debt, doubled the unemployment amongst blacks and the lower and middle class, totally neglected black ppl of Bermuda, crapped on education for our children and left the seniors with no help but some how some way you will deflect, deny, and straight up deceive ppl into thinking it’s all the PLPs fault lol so much hypocrisy. Your tears are soooo sweet

          • Double S says:

            Not only are you a twit, but you’re a disingenuous liar.

            The perfect mix for sheep supporters.

            Hilarious but sad:(

          • nerema says:

            You conveniently forget your government quintupled the debt in five years, threw 5,000 Bermudians out of work, and mortgaged our grandchildren to foreign bankers.

      • nerema says:

        So you ‘already knew’ all this, and you STILL vote for them?

      • islandgal says:

        deflect, deflect deflect

    • Toodle-oo says:

      * You know the one’s that actually cost the taxpayer millions of dollars and created the massive deficit and by extension debt.*

      Let’s face it , a huge percentage of Bermudians have no idea what this whole debt thing is all about or even that it’s their money that was either wasted or ‘went missing’ that now has to be paid back.

      They complained ,though ,that Bermuda was expensive before and now they’re paying even more for everything , totally unable to make the connection or who is really to blame for foisting this meteoric rise in the cost of living on us .
      And you know one thing for sure , once things go up here , taxes included , they NEVER go back down !

    • Black Bermudian says:


      24 to 12 seats is no laughing matter my whole family voted OBA in 2012 and even if the PLP mess up we would rather not vote then trust the oba=UBP again.

      • PBanks says:

        I suspect that CC is tainted goods now, and likely wouldn’t be successful if he tried to lead a breakaway movement.

        May have to be someone brand new and not carrying a whiff of UBP backing.

    • islandgal says:

      Deflect, deflect deflect

    • ON a Sunny Afternoon says:

      Mr Barritt, explain the difference between Mr Cannoiers ride on a Jet versus Dr. Browns ride on a private Jet.

    • Onion Juice says:

      U.B.P/O.B.A and B.D.A associates will not see political favour for a long time.
      Remember Bermuda’s David Duke said about P.L.P., it will be a long time before they become Government.

    • Wake up says:

      So why didn’t John run and be in the center if it and get to the truth? Oh no. Chickengate…he did not run. look at the first report they did concluding,pick a black leader to gain the trust of the black people….Let’s face it Bartitt,you stepped aside for that black leader who was absolutely list. Then they stepped all over you. As simple as that. Can’t you see what you were a part of?

  2. JohnBoy says:

    Old news now Mr Barritt. Lessons should have been learned. Time to move on. PS. You have always been a great politician.

  3. LongBay Trading Inc. says:

    Double S I agree yours totally. Everyone getting on the bandwagon bashing the OBA yet everyone forgets the PLP ‘shenanigans uncovered by the AG and COI findings” that still remain UNANSWERED. Selective History is doing us no favours and we need to get to the bottom of the taxpayer millions of dollars that went unaccounted and unanswered for under the PLP…………..ring any bells anyone?

    Messrs Barritt and Comeau – (whom I both normally respect and enjoy very much their writings) are both currently & seemingly happily, jointly bashing the OBA and lobbing grenades into the Bermuda political and physic arena while walking off into the sunset with no solutions except to poke unnecessarily. Apart from an avalanche of discussion is anything actually,in real terms, achieved?

  4. runit says:

    “Unlike Mr. Richards, there are those who were at the centre of what occurred who remain in the front lines for the OBA.” N0 – one has passed. Pettingill went independent and is no longer an MP but is progressing his same aims for gaming with the Government.

  5. puzzled says:

    Well that was a complete waste of email/pm/letter or how transmitted by John Barritt.

    So Cannonier was a fall guy.
    What a waste of what he talks about but still says nothing.

  6. Rocky5 says:

    The fundamental problem with the OBA is that it has no roots and branches & still shows no interesting in building from the bottom cuz all those “big egos” “think” they’ve ALL the answers. If only they “knew how little they know”!!!

    • ON a Sunny Afternoon says:

      Tell me what so you know? What has changed since PLP victory. In 100 days they were going to do it all. Tbey had all the answers. Have they fixed crime? Will they guarantee that as long as they are in power mold wont return to schools. Do they have a better option than AC35 to get Tourist to come from as far away as New Zealand? Whats the plan. 100 days are 1/3 gone.

  7. Francis Gross says:

    Really Mr Barritt. when will you come clean about your reasons for your OBA bitterness. a party you once led. great politician? you failed in your quest to lead the ubp, you failed to lead the OBA and you failed to run as an independent in the last election. just go away. you are part of the problem

  8. HALF HOT says:

    I wonder! I think he was a fall guy for someone not even a oba member, probably someone the left the island QUICKLY!

  9. HALF HOT says:


  10. Chaos Theory says:

    “Unlike Mr. Richards, there are those who were at the centre of what occurred who remain in the front lines for the OBA.”

    Those who were “…at the centre of what occurred…” resigned from the OBA; perhaps trying to distance themselves from their own actions?

  11. Jonathan Land Evans says:

    A good op-ed piece, though I am slightly uncomfortable that Mr. Barritt refers to “the OBA” as if it were some entity with which he had nothing to do, whereas of course he had been an OBA MP and (for all I know) may still be a member of that party. Some sort of brief background note, or at least the candor of a passing mention by the author himself, would be a good thing in such a case as this, to enable the reader (especially an uninitiated one) to better judge the situation and weigh the author’s comments appropriately.

  12. Spectator says:

    Thank you for asking the questions that should be asked about Mr. Barritt’s own credibility. Maybe not the saint after all? He was instrumental in creating the OBA and his bitterness at not being made leader in the Senate has never left him. And why does Mr. Barritt think that Bob Richards’s comments were enlightening? They were an opinion and a pretty opaque one at that.

  13. No Longer A Member says:

    What was the point of this Mr Barrett? What are the suggestions to help? All I know we have a huge debt that needs to be paid and many of our people are clueless to the fact. This election was won by a very good social media campaign of mixed truths. Time will tell the future as the debt has to be paid and the cost of living has to go up and new taxes will be created. The plus side is that there are jobs that OBA has helped create in the Morgan’s Point development, St Regis Hotel and The Airport that will keep things going for a few years. Only time will tell the truth as to Bermuda’s future. Pileoftricks is short lived.