Column: ‘Pure Politics Of Misinformation At Best’

June 22, 2018 | 13 Comments

[Opinion column written by Shadow Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley]

At times, just as it is wise to give a fish some line to get hooked, it is also prudent to let a politician talk.

Recently, after comments by MP Zane DeSilva regarding the relationship between the US and Bermuda and any treaty violations against the OBA Government on the Motion to Adjourn, I rose to set the record straight, correct the comments and reflect on the alarming comments by the Premier during the motion to adjourn on March 9th.

First, I agree with the Premier on the MTA in March when he said at that time, and Hansard records it on page 106 of the March 9th sitting, “people must be held to account for their actions”.

Yes. Everyone, no matter who you are.

During that MTA in March I believe the Premier actually mislead the House either intentionally or unintentionally with his comments in regards the OBA Government putting at risk our treaty relationship with the United States

Let me explain and elaborate.

If you refer to the Hansard for the day, the Premier is quoted; “Well the fact of the matter is that there was a complaint by the US Department of Justice which was sent to the OBA Government that the information was used in their civil case came through a mutual legal assistance treaty request. And that information should not have been used in a civil case.”

The Premier goes on to say…”these are the facts, Mr. Speaker and there is not a single person on that side who sat in Cabinet who will stand to a point of order. Because they know it to be true.”

Well I did not stand to a point of order because at times, just as it is wise to give a fish some line to get hooked, it is also prudent to let a politician talk.

The Premier goes on to say in the Hansard on page 108…”The fact of the matter is that there was a complaint by the US Department of Justice that the OBA Government used information that was received in a mutual legal assistance for a civil matter. Those are the facts.”

And on page 109 the Premier says “this is a very important matter, which can have an impact on our relationship.”

Members of the House will recall that the Premier showed the e-mail in question to the Speaker. It was an e-mail that I believe was leaked from Chambers and given to a PLP opposition member at the time.

So perhaps the end of story perhaps?

Well not quite so fast.

What the Premier did not tell the House, or the people of Bermuda, was that within a very short period of time, about 24 hours I believe, there were other exchanges by e-mail that cleared up this matter to the satisfaction of the DOJ.

Yes, that cleared up the matter.

These are the real facts of this matter; not what the Premier stated on March 9th.

There were in fact other important exchanges of e-mails that the Premier failed to mention.

Within twenty four hours of receiving the original e-mail from the DOJ in Chambers a reply had been sent back explaining the matter and within the same 24 hours the DOJ had replied that all was well.

This is a totally different set of “facts” to the misinformation provided to the House by the Premier and former Minister Desilva.

During my comments on the MTA, Minister Caines rose to challenge my record of the e-mails. The Speaker verified my information as correct. He noted the e-mails could be deemed “sensitive” and thus he did not ask for them to be tabled but he has seen “the paper trail.”

So the question must be put… did the Premier, and now MP Desilva, mislead the House purposely or did the Hon. Members not check for further correspondence. If the latter, then one would rightly question how anyone would not check for the full train of information.

After all, that is the natural course of action to take and certainly, in such an important matter, it is inconceivable that this was not done.

I suggest that the Premier’s MTA on March 9th was pure politics of misinformation at best!

To put it bluntly, the Hon. Members have mislead the House and the Country as there was never any issue between Bermuda and the US. The Premier simply made it up and the former Minister followed along.

Can you imagine?

Simply making up a serious allegation like this!

Bringing into question our relationship with the United States of America for political posturing!

Now if this was a mistake because the Premier was given bad advice then heads should roll – if not, then the Cabinet, backbench and the rest of Bermuda should question the integrity of the Premier and now the MP DeSilva who willingly mislead the House and the people of Bermuda for what reason I do not know.

To stand on the floor of House and make very strong allegations impacting our relationship with our closest neighbor and the strongest country in the world is beyond belief.

The Premier and MP Desilva owe this House and the people of Bermuda an explanation.

I started with a quote from the Premier and I will end with the same quote but in full context …”so when you decide to risk the relationship that we have with our number one trading partner by using information that is received from a federal grand jury that is shared for you for mutual legal assistance, and then you take that information and use it in a civil trial and you attract the attention of the US Department of Justice who is asking, why are you doing this? People need to be held to account for their actions.”

I have shown the Premiers allegations, now followed up by the MP Desilva, to be incorrect.

When an Hon. Member stands in the House and uses one e-mail, but fails to mention two further e-mails important to this matter, someone needs to be held to account. I trust the Premier will clear up this matter.

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Comments (13)

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  1. stating the obvious says:

    This comes as no surprise given the recent spate of just incredible antics by Ministers of the Gvt. We have returned to the old days.

    Quo fata ferunt.

    Blessing abound!

  2. watching says:

    Does the shadow minister realize that no one listens to him?

    • Double S says:

      I don’t know about that, but I do realise that you have hard time ever addressing the message.

  3. inna says:

    And if he didnt voice his opinion, you would castigate him for not !!

    What a world we live in !

  4. Queen says:

    He needs to write a opinion on why he’s lost a particular segment of the population. This UBP party will never win until someone is honest enough to be real.

    • Double S says:

      Do you actually have anything to say on the article itself?

      Or is attacking the messenger your limit ?

      • Las Vegas says:

        Attacking and being honest are entirely 2 separate entities. The UBP oba fails to realize this even after defeat. This party that I used to support in past years as a Bermudian of color will continue to lose.

  5. Well..well..this man ..what he is saying is about HIMSELF!!

  6. SMH says:

    “….until someone is honest enough to be real.”

    LOL, like the plp? Like how they show what bigots they are every time they speak?
    Why are you proud of your bigotry?

  7. aceboy says:

    Typical.

    The PLP supporters are told a pack of lies by the Premier and a Minister and eat it up like it was their last meal on earth.

    When it is shown to be a pack of lies they simply don’t care.

    This is why the PLP was successful in the last election. They bleated nonsense which was accepted completely by their faithful and it didn’t matter if it was true or not.

    • Redrose says:

      Michael needs to leave politics and go back to making milk and removing sugar from his juice products! Focus on that Mr Milkman! You are errroneous and irrelevant!

    • Double S says:

      Notice how not one has addressed the issue at hand and instead went on an attack of the messenger.

      Your synopsis is spot on and these comments prove it.

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