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Commentary: The three wise Bermuda monkeys
Published on May 17, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Christopher Famous

The three monkeys in the Japanese proverb are Mizaru, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, who speaks no evil.

The recent story appearing online on clearly outlined shocking allegations against the premier of Bermuda, the attorney general and the tourism minister.

Christopher Famous is a Caribbean real estate developer and business owner. Raised in various Caribbean islands such as; Bermuda, Jamaica, St Eustatius and St Kitts and Tortola. He has a weekly social and political column in The Bermuda Sun. Feedback to:
Premier Cannonier: “I think it’s clear. We haven’t violated any laws here. We haven’t violated any code of ethics or any code here. We’re in good stead here.”

Okay, let's review both the Ministerial Code of Conduct and the OBA Constitution

Mizaru, See No Evil

Code of Conduct:

• 6.1 The Attorney-General must be consulted in good time before the Government is committed to decisions involving legal considerations

• (xvii) Ministers should not seek or accept any kind of favour from individuals who are in negotiation with, or seeking to enter into contractual or proprietary or pecuniary relations with the Government.

• 16. Expenses on Travel and Hospitality - Accepting offers of free travel can be misinterpreted... Offers of travel from other organisations should not normally be accepted ... in any cases of doubt, the Secretary to the Cabinet should be consulted.

Attorney General MP Pettingill, knowing the Ministerial Code of Conduct, never advised the premier that that accepting this all-expense trip was a violation.

MP Crockwell: “I said that there was nothing untoward on that trip that I observed.” HoA - May 9, 2014

Kikazaru, Hear no Evil

Code of Conduct:-

• A. (i.) Ministers must uphold the principle of Collective Responsibility.

OBA Constitution:

• Integrity -- “One Bermuda Alliance will have a zero tolerance policy for fraud and corruption in government.”

• Transparency -- “We are committed to transparency, open government and reform. We will hold ourselves to the higher ethical and moral standards …”

The OBA failed to demand accountability and transparency from the JetGate Trio. After one year, they are only now beginning to investigate the serious violations of their very own constitution. This highlights their lack of integrity to the electorate.

Iwaxaru, Speak No Evil

Code of Conduct:

1.(v). It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament ... Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignations to the Premier.

• May 29, 2013 -- No mention of the presence of fourth person: “They therefore offered to fly the Hon. Mark Pettingill, JP, MP, Attorney General & Minister of Legal Affairs and the Hon. Shawn Crockwell, JP, MP, Minister of Tourism & Transport along with myself .” Premier Cannonier

• February 14, 2014 -- Premier Cannonier admits that his business manager, Stephen DeCosta, was merely "bumming a ride". When asked if DaCosta attended the Landow meetings, our Premier responded, "No, of course not. Of course not."

• Days later, MP Crockwell admitted on The Sherri J. Show that Mr DaCosta attended the Landow meetings

• Attorney General MP Pettingill has never offered his version of the events.

Code of Conduct:

A. (vi) Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public.

June 3, 2013

• Premier Cannonier -- “They were aware of the trip. We didn’t say we were going on a private jet per se, but they were aware we were going away." Royal Gazette

• MP Grant Gibbons -- When asked whether Cabinet knew of the trip, he responded, “I was not aware.” Royal Gazette

March 7, 2014

• Premier Cannonier -- “…we will not be discussing this matter any further. I refuse to prejudice myself concerning this matter -- my answer is my answer.”

• MP Pettingill -- “I certainly wouldn’t get into any answering any questions which are almost like cross examination questions in the House of Assembly.”

The Way Forward

The OBA has failed to swiftly address the violations of the Ministerial Code of Conduct:

• whether there was a prior relationship between MP Cannonier and Landow,

• the allegations of a $300k election campaign contributions made by Landow,

• the troubling presence of the Innovative Group in the Landow meeting,

• the real possibility that the Corey Butterfield report and subsequent decision to abandon the gaming referendum being the direct result of Landow influence,

• the accusations that there was an attempt by our premier to garnish $2m from Landow

The higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his behind

The Code of Conduct is clear:

“Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignations to the Premier.”

As of Friday May 16 it has been confirmed by Nathan Landow in the Bermuda Sun, that the premier of Bermuda did indeed receive $300,000.00 in donations that he and the OBA are denying that they received.

There is really only one question left to ask at this point in Bermuda’s political history:

“To whom do the premier and these ministers hand their resignations?”
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