Deputy PLP Leader Derrick Burgess *File photo
Deputy PLP Leader Derrick Burgess *File photo

Statement by Deputy PLP Leader Derrick Burgess

 

We in the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party are standing strong for our Leader , the Hon. Marc Bean and the Shadow Minister of Finance, David Burt and we are here today to show our collective support for them.

We were extremely disturbed that during the Motion to Adjourn in the House of Parliament, on Friday, December 13, 2013, Premier Craig Cannonier and Minister Shawn Crockwell and Attorney General Mark Pettingill leveled serious allegations on our leader regarding a telephone conversation that was held between the Opposition Leader and the Premier.

Needless to say, we found it unacceptable that such allegations would be leveled at a time when the Opposition leader was not in the chamber as he was attending to family matters.

It is our opinion that Parliamentary protocol requires that accusations such as those made by the Premier should have waited until our Leader was present in Parliament, to look his accusers in the face and provide his own response.

We therefore believe that our Leader had no choice but to respond to those allegations in a parliamentary “Personal Explanation” as his reputation was sullied when those three Honorable Members alleged that the Opposition leader threatened to undermine the referendum on gaming.

Moreover, our faith in the integrity of our Parliament was severely tested when Minister Crockwell and AG Pettingill taunted that they overhead the telephone conversation between the Premier and the Opposition Leader, as the Premier admitted to sharing this conversation with his Ministers via speakerphone, without the decency of informing the Opposition Leader of this circumstance.

  These actions were conducted in bad faith and reflect the character of the individuals involved.

  We consider the actions of the Premier and his colleagues to be a willful intent to solidify their political position through deceit.

We further consider the assertion offered by the Shadow Finance Minister, David Burt, that the Premier offered IT consulting work on the absentee balloting system to his private IT company with the money saved from abandoning the referendum equally disturbing. The Premier admitted on February 14 to having discussed absentee balloting in the meeting that he had with MP Burt on December 10, 2013.

Why would the Premier need to discuss this matter with MP Burt when he has the entire Government IT Department at his disposal.

The Premier¹s deflections do not add up! I have always found MP Burt to be a man of integrity and I am confident that my Parliamentary colleagues agree.

As I stated in Parliament on Friday, February 14, 2014, Premier Cannonier also asked to meet with me on December 11, and during that meeting he suggested to me that I use my influence to convince the PLP Caucus to support the OBA effort to bypass the referendum process.

Needless to say, I informed the Premier that he should be having that conversation with the Leader of the Opposition, not the Deputy Leader.

The Premier also denied the meeting ever took place and said that “I had no need to call any of the opposition members for anything”.

The Premier has gone on record stating that his business manager, Mr. Stephen Dacosta, was only “bumming a ride” with him when he, along with Ministers Crockwell and Pettingill traveled to Washington DC last year.

However, yesterday on the Sherri Simmons talk show, Minister Crockwell told the public that Mr. Dacosta was there because of his “expertise” on golf, and he also revealed that Mr. DaCosta was an active participant in the official exchange of information meetings.

There are now two conflicting versions of what happened in Washington DC, one by the Premier and one in contradiction by Minister Crockwell.

We would like to make it very clear; our members will not be silenced by legal threats or any legal action in order to suppress the truth.

And the Premier cannot hide behind legal threats as his own version of events has been challenged by his own Cabinet Minister.

Ultimately, Bermudians must decide who spoke the truth, as the integrity of our whole system of governance is being tested in a manner that this country has never witnessed before.

The truth must prevail and the Premier must stop ducking the questions and reveal to the country the nature of his relationship with Mr. Nathan Landow.

Any potential development is far too important to the future of this country.

We need jobs for our people and the Premier is putting this at risk by his refusal to speak to a relationship with a potential developer.

There is an RFP process underway, and improper contact can derail this process and delay any development.

Our country cannot afford that outcome and that is why it is important for the Premier to explain the nature of his relationship with Mr. Nathan Landow.