OBA Chairman Thad Hollis *File photo
OBA Chairman Thad Hollis *File photo

THURSDAY, MAY 15, UPDATE: Statement by Premier Craig Cannonier:

"I welcome and support any effort to ensure full transparency and accountability. The inquiry was approved with a view to clearing away doubts and questions that are distracting attention from the Government’s hard work to rebuild Bermuda’s economy and the much needed jobs that come with it."

WEDNESDAY, MAY 14: Multiple media outlets are reporting OBA Chairman Thad Hollis is saying his party never received any funds from American businessman Nathan Landow and his associates. According to Bernews, the OBA plans to conduct an internal investigation into the matter and make their findings known to the public.

It was reported by local independent journalist Ayo Johnson last week that Mr Landow, who had eyed developing a casino in Bermuda, along with unnamed business associates wired a $300,000 political contribution to the party after meeting with Premier Craig Cannonier in the run-up to the 2012 election. 

Now, the OBA is saying the party never saw any such money. There is no law that requires political contributions in Bermuda to be publicly disclosed, as a result campaign contributions are rarely publicized.

A call into Mr Hollis was not immediately returned.

Opposition Leader Marc Bean has questioned whether there was any quid pro quo in the premier's dealings with Mr Landow, something Mr Cannonier has firmly rejected.

Statement from PLP Leader Marc Bean:

 "On Friday in Parliament, Premier Craig Cannonier called the www.think.bm article “foolishness” and said that this issue, “is not a concern of the people”.

Today, a year after this issue first came to light, the Executive of his own party has launched an internal investigation into their own leader’s actions. 

Earlier today, instead of calling the serious allegations “foolishness”, OBA Chairman Thad Hollis said, “we have a story, that appears to have some validity to it”.  What is even more shocking is that the Chairman admitted that the Premier of the Country did not tell the truth to the Chairman of his own party when asked about Mr. Stephen DeCosta’s participation in the trip now known as JetGate.

Though many Bermudians should rightfully be concerned if an investigation that has only been commenced a year after this issue first came to light can be fair, the PLP will await to see how transparent the OBA will be. To date, their transparency has made a mockery of their election pledges and good government. However, for the first time, it seems that some members of the OBA are saying enough is enough.

It is imperative that the Attorney General, Mark Pettingill, and the Minister of Tourism, Shawn Crockwell also come clean to the people about the details of this Washington trip.  It is my hope that the OBA MPs who have defended or remained silent while the Premier and his Cabinet colleagues make a mockery of good governance will now have the courage to speak up for what is right. Those that choose to remain silent will be just as complicit as the Premier if any wrongdoing is found. 

As I said yesterday, “Investment in Bermuda  is critical for our success and for our reputation to be clouded with this affair is unfair to everyday Bermudians who are looking for jobs and careers. The PLP fully supports efforts to see development at Morgan’s Point, Par-la-Ville, and the Club Med Site (among others) and it is essential that the OBA government sort this matter out.”  

I once again ask for the Premier and his Cabinet colleagues to do the right thing and, "Just tell the truth"."