By Caribbean News Now contributor
HAMILTON, Bermuda -- Following Monday’s abrupt resignation by Craig Cannonier as premier of Bermuda, the leader of the opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP), Marc Bean, called on tourism minister Shawn Crockwell and attorney general Mark Pettingill also to “do the honourable thing and resign.”
Opposition Leader Marc Bean
“The resignation of former Premier Cannonier was wholly appropriate, but he was not the only OBA official that has violated the ministerial code of conduct, and through omission, deceived the people of Bermuda,” Bean said in a statement.
Cannonier announced his resignation on Monday evening, saying that the so-called ‘Jetgate’ controversy and consequent allegations had called into question his integrity and leadership, the confidence of his colleagues and the support of his party.
“Let me first say nothing illegal was done, but I accept there was a failure over time to be to be completely transparent. As a result ... I have decided to resign my position as premier of Bermuda,” Cannonier said.
However, according to Bean, Cannonier did not act alone, yet he alone is being held responsible. Bean pointed out that, under the Westminster system, the Cabinet shares collective responsibility.
“For 14 months Cabinet ministers spoke in defence of the now disgraced premier and supported his efforts to hide the truth from the people of Bermuda. They defended the indefensible, deflected questions, and made excuses when they had the power to resolve this issue on the first day it became public. They have shirked their obligation to openness, honesty and integrity all in the hope of clinging to power.
“The Cabinet shares in the former premier's culpability in one of the most disgraceful episodes of Bermuda's political history, and must be held accountable,” Bean said.
Prior to the December 2012 general election, Cannonier, as then leader of the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA), met with wealthy US developer Nathan Landow and other entrepreneurs, who agreed to donate $300,000 to the party.
Following the OBA victory at the polls, new premier Cannonier, along with Crockwell and Pettingill flew to Washington on Landow’s private jet for a meeting in early 2013.
Following disclosure of the $300,000 donation, OBA chairman Thad Hollis launched an investigation last week after apparently discovering that the party never received the money in question.
On Friday, Landow said that the $300,000 was paid to the “Bermuda Political Action Group”, which is believed to be an arm of the OBA.