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Commentary: Plausible deniability in Bermuda
Published on August 14, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Christopher Famous

Plausible deniability: the capacity of senior officials to publicly deny knowledge of and/or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by the lower ranks.

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:
On Wednesday July 23, 2014, Senator Michael Fahy gave a personal explanation to the Senate to offer “plausible deniability” regarding his role in the ongoing JetGate scandal. In explaining his alleged role in assisting to open a bank account to facilitate $350,000 to be transferred from individuals connected to Nathan Landow, he stated:

“I was therefore phoned, as an OBA official, in my capacity as OBA campaign director, by a senior official at the bank. I was asked two questions:

1. Does Mr Derrick Green work for the OBA? My reply was ‘yes’.
2. Does Mr Derrick Green hold a valid work permit? My reply was ‘yes’.

I was not advised by the Bank as to why I was being asked those questions and the conversation ended.”

According to Senator Fahy, he never asked the bank for further details despite his being a lawyer and the OBA campaign chairman.

More questions than answers

Question 1:

Senator Fahy’s assertion contradicts Steven DeCosta who has publically stated that:

“…she (the bank representative) said you can’t open an account without the authorization from the party, so we told the bank to call the campaign chairman.”
Bermuda Sun, Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

“On 12th July 2014, I orally advised the former chairman by telephone of the fact of the call by the bank and clarified with him the circumstances of the call.” (MF)

Is this a case of ensuring plausible deniability?

Question 2:

If the bank spoke to Senator Fahy in August 2012, why did he wait nearly two years to reveal this fact to the OBA, as per the OBA constitution?

Question 3:

Did Senator Fahy inform the rest of the Campaign Committee?

“There was no secret and no attempt to keep the account secret.” (MF)

Question 4:

If this is true, why did Senator Fahy opt not to tell Chairman Hollis for nearly two years?

“To this day I have no knowledge of all the individual donor’s names.” (MF)

While Senator Fahy might not know ALL the donors’ names, he has admitted to knowing some.

Question 5

Did he know of Landow’s donation?

Question 6:

If Senator Fahy did know of Landow’s donation, did he know prior to the election?

Question 7:

Did he share this information with the Executive Committee and the then deputy leader Dunkley? If not, why not?

“It is not in breach [of]…, in my view, any OBA campaign protocols” (MF)

This directly contradicts former OBA chairman Thad Hollis’s report, which stated: “This account was not authorised by the established protocols of the OBA.” When Steven DeCosta was asked why these donations were not deposited into the OBA’s official account, he said: “So we could control the spending of it without authorization.”

“Who controls those monies and how they are spent is a matter, first, for the donors and, then, for the account signatories.” (MF)

On Friday July 25, 2014, Mr DeCosta revealed via radio that Senator Michael Fahy knew of all underground campaign activities. More importantly, that once presented with receipts, Senator Fahy covered the $78,000 shortfall between the $350,000 donated by Landow and friends and the $428,000 spent by BPAC.

It is therefore reasonable to conclude that, since Senator Fahy authorized the payment of BPAC invoices using OBA’s monies, he could very well be held to account for the following:

1. Authorizing payment for “six people blogging 24 hours a day.” BPAC hired persons using fake names to flood “Facebook, Bernews, the RG and radio talk shows” with anti-PLP lies and pro OBA propaganda.

2. Giving “win bonuses paid to practically everyone in the whole team.” These bonuses were paid after the OBA won the election and was potentially a part of the shortfall payment using OBA funds.

3. Targeting the black community for underground campaign activities.

There is deafening silence coming from Premier Michael Dunkley regarding;

• The OBA report on the $350,000
• Stephen DeCosta’s revelations
• Senator Fahy’s Senate statement

The OBA constitution states that the then party leader (MP Craig Cannonier) and the deputy leader (MP Michael Dunkley) were both members of the Campaign Committee.

“If I can do anything by my leadership it will be to be straightforward… be open and transparent with Bermuda.” Premier Michael Dunkley, May 20, 2014.

"I am not a crook." Richard M. Nixon
Reads: 6813

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