MPs Spar Over Premier Not Answering Question

March 8, 2014

The beginning of yesterday’s [Mar 7] session in the House of Assembly saw a back and forth exchange as the Opposition appealed to have two questions allowed, which resulted in the Premier declining to reply.

Attorney-General Mark Pettingill’s position was that due to the legal matters underway discussing the matter was sub judice, while his Shadow, PLP MP Kim Wilson, put forth an opposing position.

Following an almost hour long exchange on whether the questions could be asked, Speaker of the House Randy Horton ruled that MP David Burt’s two questions for Premier Craig Cannonier were allowed, however the Premier declined to respond [audio].

On February 21, three writs were entered in the Supreme Court, with Premier Cannonier filing against Opposition Leader Bean and Mr. Burt, while Minister Shawn Crockwell and Mr. Pettingill filed against Mr. Bean.

This followed after allegations were made in the House of Assembly on February 14 by both Mr Bean and Mr. Burt, which they both subsequently repeated outside of Parliamentary Privilege.

Question #1 posed to the Premier was:

Will the Honourable Premier please inform this Honourable House if he and any of the Principals of Landow & CO. Builders [Bethesda, MD] have met, spoken via telephone, or corresponded via email, since his Personal Explanation given to this Honourable House on May 31, 2013.

Question #2 posed to the Premier was:

Will the Honourable Premier please confirm to this Honourable House if the “Exchange of Information” trip to Washington DC, detailed in his Personal Explanation of May 31, 2013, was the first time the Honourable Premier had met any of the Principals of Landow & CO. Builders [Bethesda, MD].

Attorney-General Mark Pettingill

Speaking after the morning session, Minister Pettingill said, “There have been actions that have been filed in the Supreme Court of Bermuda and everybody is aware about that and they are certainly aware of that.

“In those circumstances it should not be for the Opposition to go on a fishing expedition about issues or evidence that relates to those pending court actions.

“Those are public matters to be heard, so all those questions can be asked. But they should suitably be asked in the Court, and not with the fishing expedition going on here.

“And I find it really interesting…with all of the questions asked last week by the Opposition about investigations in relation to corruption that relate to their administration, their questions, they want to know if investigations are gong on and so forth.

“At the same time, over and over again, we are hearing jet smoke, as that is what it is in my view. It’s a complete smoke screen with regard to what I believe perhaps the real concerns are.”

Opposition MP David Burt

Mr. Burt said, “I think what the people of this country saw, was that the Premier of this country when put question in Parliament, refused to answer question simple yes or no questions.

“The yes or no question was ‘Had he any contact since the time and that he gave his personal explanation to the House with a certain developer.’ He refused to answer that question.

“When he came to Parliament he said that he would let the public know if there was any application received, or if there was anything that happened in the future. He refused that today.

“In addition, I asked the Premier to confirm that what he said earlier, in so far is the as first time he met with a developer was when they contacted him to go on this trip to Washington DC. Again he refused to answer a simple yes or no question….”

Shadow Attorney-General Kim Wilson

Speaking after the session, Ms Wilson said, “Generally speaking, the matters that are before a court to be decided and resolved are referred to as sub judice and therefore the House of Assembly will not discuss any matters that may very well prejudice the outcome of the court proceedings.

“However, in this particular instance, the submissions that we made which the House of Assembly, the Speaker ruled in our favour, in the favour of the Opposition, is so far that the questions that were attempted to be asked were not actually sub judice.

Ms. Wilson added, “So I’m pleased that the Speaker did rule in the favour of the opposition by stating that these questions were not sub judice.

“However, the larger picture, that hopefully members of the public will have to ask themselves, is why were the questions not answered?

“And to attempt to rely on “oh, it might prejudice me, etc, etc” is very, very unfortunate because these are fundamental questions involving a situation that has been in the public domain since May, and the public has a right to know what agreements and what circumstances have come out of this whole episode concerning these meetings with the developer.”

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  1. Arthur Scargill says:

    If these questions will be answered in court, why waste time in the house?

    It sounds like zero was achieved by Govt. or Opposition in yesterday’s session. So even if the legal action is not costing the tax payer, yesterday’s pi$$ing contest did.

    The Premier has got questions to answer and the forum for these have been set. The house should be a forum to move Bermuda forward.

    • Loving Togetherness says:

      I must say that MP Wilson presented a good legal defense in the House, which the Speaker of the House allowed the Questions. The Speaker did a great job reviewing the positions presented and in the end made the decision to allow the Questions from MP Burt.

      Mr. Burt did a professional job in his wording and asking the Questions. Thanks Mrs.Wilson, I was most impressed. It was very good to be present in the house during this early morning debate. One gets a new found appreciation of the political process. It was my first time attending, I encourage others to do the same.

      Unfortunately, The Premier ducked the Questions. This was not a good move as I am now convinced more than ever he has something to hide. It was also clear that the AG worked hard to defend the actions of the Premier, which only supported what I and others believed, this Premier is hiding and ducking from a very important matter.

      My only hope was for the OBA to come to the HOA and address the country in an Open and Transparent manner. Today this was not the case, and I beginning to think it never will be the case.

    • Eye of Horus says:

      There is no guarantee these questions will be asked or answered in court. These questions are not supposed to be part of the case which is allegations of bribery. The only way these questions are part of the case is if the meeting the Premier’s business manager was in is the same one the alleged promise of kickbacks was made in. It’s important the questions are answered & not put to the wayside for a case where those on trial may not be able to ask the questions & the trial may last years. If we move forward in a direction that might be crooked as we’ve found out in past we may never be able to u-turn & will have to continue on a path that we would know will twist in on itself. We need to know now what happened not later because later we may end up like the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes or Rocky Gap Lodge & Gold Resort.

  2. shaka zulu says:

    I say fire the whole 36 MP’s!!they are not taking care of the peoples affairs or the countrys..Like a bunch of babies week after week wasting the tax payers money, while they try to score politcal points..Next election i will never vote for either party again..Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.

    • Hey shaka , could not agree with you more!!but here are some of my thoughts on the “36 on the hill gang” A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.If a politician isn’t doing it to his wife, then he’s doing it to his country.Ninety eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Bermudians. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them!A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.Be a politician; no training necessary.
      Crime does not pay … as well as politics.Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory,There is one sure way of telling when politicians aren’t telling the truth – their lips move.

    • Mazumbo says:

      Best thing um heard you say Sucka Dodo.

      • shaka zula says:

        @mazdumbo, you still trolling here, you and you racist crept you spew daily,Go get a life dreamer..Better yet get an education, for a mind is a terrible thing to waste!!opps sorry , forgot you don’t have one, just full of hot air between your ears..

  3. evie says:

    They seem like straight forward questions to me yes we have or no we have not straight unless there is more whatever it is remember u r not there because we like you but to do a job you are an employee for the people of Bermuda all of you do your job SMDH

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    36 of them spent at least a half hour going backwards & forwards on this. The net result was zero. 18 MP hours wasted away never to be recovered.

    Why the theatrics? Everything will come out in court. Get that on a fast track. Get past it. So sick & tired about who was on a 1 1/2hr plane ride that did not cost the taxpayers a thing & what was said by whom during any informal discussion. in that 1 1/2hrs.

    Only in Bermuda can so much time & effort be wasted over so little.

  5. Looks very much like CC, MP & SC been caught playing “PLP TRICKS” & PLP pissed dem byes trying… & OBA about to expose some PLP’s dirty laundry from 14 years….. Suggests the 3 “mouseketers” step aside and let dem old UBP byes take charge. UBP byes from Sir John’s era sure knew how to keep us debt free, corrupt free, nil unemployment, steady growth, healthy real estate market, right-sized civil service, etc.. PLP were excellent opposition then pushing for social justice etc.. Poor Freddy & Sir Henry must be spinning in der grave…

    • JAWS says:

      Don’t be a fool. It has been allege the UBP byes did the same thing when it came to taking care of their own. They just had the FREEMASON code. Meaning don’t talk about it and my lord no recording peoples conversations. TRUST ME I KNOW!!!!

      • Eye of Horus says:

        A Master Mason should know the code of Mah-Hah-Bone & should have never let someone like Stephen DaCosta in their circle if they wanted to keep the code.

    • Ya Crazy says:

      Yeah, helped the rich get richer and the poor stay poor!More black owned homes and business under PLP government

      • Ganja mon says:

        Really? Can you provide some stats or proof to back your statement? I doubt it…just a bunch of noise!

  6. Walter Burgess says:

    @ OBA- PLP. -

    Over the past month the entire bunch of you MP’s are behaving like school children arguing over a marbles game at recesses time.

    Don’t any you MP’s get it?

    Fellow Bermudians are loosing their jobs on a weekly bases. And all you can seem to do is sling mud at each other, all the while the local economy is truly on the rocks and we have NO true LEADERSHIP at the helm.

    I have had enough of Bda party politics, we need a revamp of the constitution and how we elect leaders.

    Enough of ALL these fools….

    -FWB Jr

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      All very well to complain. Any viable suggestions on the framework for electing people?

      • Mike Hind says:

        Sure.

        Have everyone run as independents.

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          There you go. Return to what was before party politics. It worked. They all had to work out things together.

          Select people by proportional representation. Some sort of preselection process would have to be worked out to get the candidate pool to a reasonable number. After that voters get to vote for a set number out of the candidate pool. Top 36 get in.

          That is just basic starters.

      • DJO says:

        ask Warren Buffet to run the island like a business as a defat type mayor. Ain;t to much he is involved in fails and I would bet pounds to pennies he wouldn’t put up with half the c*** that goes on in the HOUSE

    • Paul says:

      Randy Horton , has no control as the speaker of the house….We need a tough person for this position… I think he is still a supporter of the former gov !!!!!

  7. nuffin but the truth says:

    The House of Assembly is more like The Human Zoo!

    GROW UP and BEHAVE or GET OUT!

    • Terry says:

      And loose all the perks?
      Free health insurance for life et al.
      Part timers.
      They all have jobs and or businesses .
      The onion field needs ploughing.

  8. Walter Burgess says:

    @ Triangle Drifter:

    http://www.uow.edu.au/~bmartin/pubs/95sa.html

    -FWB jr

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Some of those methods might work if everyone cared & took the time to take part. But they don’t & they won’t. Apathy rules. Even under our system look how many could not be bothered to vote 15 months ago.

      • PettyBDAthinking says:

        Triangle gypsy 15 months ago it wasnt so much about people couldnt be bothered to vote, it was more like they had lost confidence in all sides included in that election. A damned if you do and damned if you dont type situation. Either way you put it the times have far gone when “our” MPs cared about others then themselves. Now is the times when they are too selfish and self centered. Even as our country stuggles to get through these harder economic times “our” MPs continue to make 6 figure salaries for part time work, drive government provided vehicles, but yet still are all for themselves and claim to be for the people. They only seem to care for the people around election time when they engrace the regular folk with their presence, making false promises and seeming interested in our concerns. People are tired and feel somewhat helpless. The continued disregard for sincere concern for the wellbeing of all of us as a country is absolutely sickening. I think most can agree that politics and moral on a whole has reached an all time low. Govenment has asked middle class workers to withhold raises/backpay, overtime, take furlow days and basically ridiculous requests of the people but yet the top brass of this country cant lead by example. If we are in this together like how they claim lets all take sacrifices together. Mps dont replace your liscence plates with regular plates, park the cars and utilise public transportation like the rest of us. I could go on with alot more but frankly it makes little sense. “Our” concerns really do.t matter. We will only be in this together when we are equal. Equal meaning live like the common folk, struggle like the rest of us, who feels it knows… people are tired. As sad as it may be and will be riots will probably be the only way of leveling the playong fields. And please in no way am I encouraging any type of insurgency but please wake up Bermuda government. Please remember where we’ve been and what has been put in to get us what we’ve become. Bermuda is just a place, what would it be without the people, we make it what it is. If we’re in this together than lets make it better together for each and everyone of us. We are our brothers keeper. Let God be with us. Amen

  9. Coffee says:

    Mark Pettingal really isn’t qualified for the position of AG , he is getting paid way , way above his ability . Perhaps he is best suited as an ambulance chaser . The HOA is not the place to be learning the job that hard and hardly working taxpayers are paying him for .

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      What makes you qualified to make a judgement call on Mark Pettingill, or anyone else for that matter, qualifications & ability to serve as AG?

      Are you a senior partner in a long established law firm here?

      Just wondering?

      Your opinion is your opinion & most likely worth what it costs us to read.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Anything to back this claim up? Or is this just more baseless, false, mudslinging from the hooded, anonymous masses without the courage to show their faces?

      Show some evidence.

  10. PICO says:

    He the Premier DID answer the question, just not the answer the plp wanted. TOO BAD. Get on with OUR business not your little petty childish antics.

    • Eye of Horus says:

      The Speaker Of The House pushed the question in the end as a simple YES or NO which was not given so you are WRONG. The answer was sidestepped with opinions not a direct answer. The answer is OUR business not STEPHEN DACOSTA’S BUSINESS OR CRAIG CANNONEIR’S & we will have to pay the debt ontop of debt that this business has accrued if anything goes sideways. What gives the premier the right to invite his own business manager into OUR business negotiations & allow him to know what’s going on & not us?

  11. Take it Easy! says:

    While the PLP keep marching on about “jetgate” Bermuda has sold Pink beach, 1300 new insurance companies (the most since 2005) retail sales and car sales gone up! I get it PLP u are not use 2 seeing things going up! Um pretty sure the supporters that didnt vote for you for see what i see! BTW Mrs. kim wilson the books where not looked at since 2005 during which time U was AG why wasn’t U doing your job? Did Dr. Brown push the mute button on u? Did U know what was going on and didnt speak up? Or was u just “do what i say not what i do?

  12. Chris Famous says:

    I will give Mike Hind one point

    he never is afraid to show his real name and face

  13. MAKE MY DAY says:

    How many times during E. Browns tenure as the PM – did he evade, avoid and “spin” a multitude of questions on many issues – when he had monetary control over two separate ministerial portfolios – the most important one being *Tourism*?? Hopefully this is something that is being *investigated* at-the-moment!!

    I still want to know what the Island received for the $40 MILLION that was given to a business friend/associate from Detroit (D. Coleman / Globalhue )… See part of the article below and the full URL at the end for ALL the story + emails!!

    Ewart Brown, the former premier of Bermuda, emailed me recently to accuse me of being a “racist” simply because I questioned the way the archipelago nation* paid the ad agency handling its tourism account.
    If this sounds weird, that’s because it is.

    “I do not know you, but my experience has taught me that people who write like you do are usually committed to a Racist agenda,” Brown told me in an unprompted email. “I pray that you will stop practising Racism.” (I’ve reproduced our email correspondence at length, below.)

    The context is this: A few years ago, when I worked for CBSNews.com, I wrote a series of stories questioning the way that Bermuda awarded and paid for its tourism advertising, handled at the time by Globalhue in Detroit. Bermuda’s auditor general found the government was over-billed by $1.8 million.

    My stories caught the attention of the Bermuda press (even though they were developed largely from the local press), and the scandal surrounding the tourism ad contract repeatedly came back to haunt Brown until he retired in October 2010.

    At least one civil servant was forced out of his job after he questioned the expenditures. At one point, a dissident group within Brown’s own party moved against him, in part due to the tourism ad fiasco, and he suppressed it by requiring his cabinet to sign loyalty oaths.

    Since then, I have not given the issue much thought.

    Brown, apparently, has been dwelling on it.

    The background is that Bermuda’s $6 billion GDP economy is dependent in large part on tourism, much of it from the U.S. Its tourism Ad budget is one of the island’s most closely watched government expenditures.

    Thus, when Brown was Bermuda’s premier (2006 – 2010), he also took the cabinet position of tourism minister. During that period, Bermuda spent $41 million on tourism advertising.

    Don Coleman
    Globalhue
    Don Coleman

    On Brown’s watch, the government signed Globalhue to handle the account from 2006-2011. Brown and Globalhue CEO Don Coleman are longtime friends. Coleman has given Brown a ride on his private jet. The contract was renewed without a competitive bid in 2009, I noted at the time.
    During that period, the number of tourists arriving in Bermuda declined 35%, according to the Royal Gazette, the island’s newspaper. A lot of that was due to the recession, of course. But it was also due to Globalhue’s counter-intuitive media strategy, which involved spending $200,000 for ads on a gospel music TV channel that few watch, but only $45,000 in bridal magazines (where the honeymoon market is).

    Throughout the period, Brown denounced his critics as racists. Brown is black, Globalhue CEO Coleman is black, and a majority of the island’s voters are black. Brown’s position seemed to be that anyone asking questions about whether the country’s money was being spent appropriately was motivated by racial animosity.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/bermudas-ewart-brown-globalhue-and-tourism-2013-5#ixzz2vSvMyuWO

    http://www.businessinsider.com/bermudas-ewart-brown-globalhue-and-tourism-2013-5

  14. MAKE MY DAY says:

    @Walter Burgess says:
    March 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Mr. Burgess… Very strange you did NOT raise-this-issue the way you are now doing so – when the PLP had control of the “purse strings” and the *Power* that goes with being the Government – to make all manner of “bad business decisions” for the Island… That have ultimately placed Bermuda in a very precarious financial situation – not to also mention the 3000+ people who are out-of-work!!

    It is what it is….PERIOD!!

    • The vast majority of foreigner here on the Island doing menial jobs had been granted work permits while the Island had been Govern for 14 years by the Progressive Labour Party :-(
      So please,(tell us the truth)why is it that thousands of Bermudians are out of work?

  15. “You …no speak my face!”…”You …speak my face!..”…Me…takah de fiff mandmant!…”Me no criminatah mahself!”……..Come on you lot this is a politician telling another politician you are lying..pot calling the kettle black…..one question….are either one of your lips moving?This question is totally redundant and irrelevant!.We don’t care at this point…you lot are focusing our attention away from somthing the other hand is doing….and frankly your there to do a job and are wasting our tax dollars through doing extra curricular activities during the framework of a vocation that tax dollars pervue!

  16. mimes are like clowns,but anechoically monochromatic….capella said this…..sounds like a cali sayin…

  17. The posturing and posticulation (in its’exuberrance),is specifically designed to incite a visceral response…a baser instinctual emotional response….repeat after me;- I think…therefor I am…sentient thought past emotional is what separates man from manimal…er…animal….we walk on two they walk on four….To think or not to think…tis a far far better thing I do…