On the UBP tag: ’There may be people within the community that wish we had a strong economy like we did back then’ *Photo by Glenn Tucker
On the UBP tag: ’There may be people within the community that wish we had a strong economy like we did back then’ *Photo by Glenn Tucker

JetGate is dead, now let’s get back to work. This was the rallying call from Premier Michael Dunkley at the end of another eventful day in Bermuda politics yesterday that saw Mark Pettingill resign as Attorney General.

Mr Pettingill’s decision to take a job in the private sector came less than 48 hours after Craig Cannonier resigned as Premier amid revelations surrounding his dealings with US businessman, Nathan Landow. 

Describing Mr Pettingill’s resignation as a “noble gesture,” Mr Dunkley would not to be drawn on whether the move was linked to the fallout from the JetGate saga. It is understood that Mr Pettingill has taken a job with Clarien Bank, formerly known as Capital G.

The Premier has given his backing to Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell —  the only other Government Minister who was on the controversial flight to meet Mr Landow who has not resigned.

“Jetgate? Deadgate!” was Mr Dunkley’s stance.

He also told the Sun that Opposition comparisons between the OBA and UBP were futile, and urged the public to judge him on his actions.

Asked about Mr Pettingill’s resignation, he admitted he said he was a little surprised, but maintained it did not damage the party’s reputation further.

He said: “I hit the ground running on Monday night and have had some time with as many Parliamentarians to get a feel for what they were thinking and where we needed to go moving forward.

“I had spent some time with the AG to discuss matters and get up to speed.

“When he came to me this morning, it was not an outright surprise. It was a noble gesture by him.

“I accepted it and he can go to work in the private sector without any conflict. He will be a valuable member of the team on the backbench.”

Mr Dunkley added: “I don’t think it does any damage to the party. There has been enough publicity that is not acceptable to me over the last couple of days.

“I think this helps us on our way forward. There is and will be as seamless a transition in this situation as there can be.”

Yesterday the PLP renewed its call for more heads to roll in the wake of more JetGate revelations, saying Shawn Crockwell and Michael Fahy should also step down.

But Mr Dunkley said that Mr Crockwell had his full support. He added: “In my mind there is no question over Shawn Crockwell’s position. I do not expect him to come into this office other than to offer advice and support.”

Mr Pettingill will be replaced by Trevor Moniz, who was sworn in as Attorney General at Government House yesterday.

MP Jeanne Atherden will take over Mr Moniz’s Health Portfolio.

Mr Dunkley told the Sun he did not expect any further Cabinet changes.

He said: “It is time we moved forward. We Bermudians are very good at looking backwards. We still have serious challenges.

“A lot of people are unemployed and struggling. They are hurting and I am not about to be distracted by the politics of looking backwards. I have the support of my colleagues to lead. I will listen, make decisions and lead.”

The new Premier dismissed comparisons between the current OBA and the old UBP,  saying people should be judged on what they do and their performance.

He added: “If I had enough time in the day I could go back and look at Opposition members and question what they have done. Maybe there are people in the community who want to tie us with the UBP. It does not make a difference. There may be people within the community that wish we had a strong economy like we did back then. My goal is to bring some stability back and restore confidence and make sure we get out of this mess together.”

Mr Dunkley, who will remain as National Security Minister, confirmed he would not be taking up residence at the Premier’s official residence, Clifton, but would stay in his Devonshire family home.

And he said he had not yet appointed personal consultants to take over from Mr Cannonier’s ‘personal team’ that had included press secretary Charmaine Burgess and Don Grearson.

A poll released by Profiles of Bermuda yesterday indicated that almost twice as many voters thought the PLP were more in touch with people’s concerns than the OBA. Mr Dunkley said the poll did not surprise him.  He added: “A poll is a snapshot in time. It is the ebb and flow behind what is going on. We are well aware of what has taken place over the last couple of days.

“My job is to fix it and move forward.”