If last week’s reported assertion that Stephen DaCosta was once employed by Nathan Landow is true, it is now impossible to support Craig Cannonier’s claim that DaCosta was merely bumming a ride. But even if DaCosta was being opportunistic, Cannonier’s lack of transparency (in this instance and others), especially to his OBA colleagues, was unacceptable and resignation-worthy.

Cannonier has accepted this, and consequently stepped down as Premier.  Michael Dunkley, the leader of Bermuda’s top dairy, commonly referred to as ‘the Milkman’ and a suspected importer of illicit drugs*, has now become Bermuda’s 14th Premier.  

Wait, did I just call the Premier a suspected drug importer? Yes, I did. 

Do you not recall that last November, PLP Opposition Leader Marc Bean drew our attention to the 2007 YouTube video released by former Police Superintendent, Larry Smith? Yes, I’m referring to Larry Smith, who currently serves on the PLP’s violent crime task force.  

*Smith’s 2007 video (click to view), which was uploaded to YouTube just 10 days prior to the December 2007 General Election, appeared to hint that Dunkley might be involved in drug importation. Note, this video was released just days before a bullet was found in Premier Brown’s mail (sometimes, timing is everything, isn’t it?).

But that wasn’t all that Smith alleged. If you wait until 3:51, you will also see where he goes on to imply that the then-Police Commissioner, Jonathan Smith, might have been involved in a cover-up of some kind to protect Dunkley. So are we now to understand that not only has the OBA appointed an illicit drug importer to Premier, but the PLP appointed a corrupt Police Commissioner to the Senate and ran him as a candidate in the 2012 election?

To be perfectly clear, I have no reason to believe that Michael Dunkley is a criminal or that Jonathan Smith was a corrupt Police Commissioner. 

The moral of the story is that Cannonier isn’t the only party leader who has misled voters, and that dragging JetGate out has very little to do with accountability, and everything to do with acquiring political power by any means necessary.  

For this reason, it is critically important that we distinguish between a failure to be transparent and actually being corrupt. Unfortunately, Ayo Johnson’s report, ‘Selling Bermuda’ [on the Politica journal at www.think.bm] and the Opposition Leader’s crusade to ensure that justice (as he selectively defines it) is carried out, do much to blur the two. In my view, there are several critical things in ‘Selling Bermuda’ that just don’t add up, but there are two in particular that demand voters’ attention:

1. Johnson’s source claimed that Cannonier informed Landow of the referendum being cancelled in February of 2014 (when they seemingly met by chance during a prayer breakfast in DC).  Common sense dictates that if (as alleged) Landow was pressuring/bribing Cannonier to abandon the referendum, he would have known prior to, or soon after it was cancelled back in December 2013.

2. The source also claims that in March 2013 Landow was stunned by, and rejected, Cannonier’s alleged request for $2m in “facilitation costs”. [In a Bermuda Sun interview, Landow denied the request was ever made]. Another source claimed that Pettingill and Crockwell were oblivious to what was going on. Especially if Michael Fahy knew about the Bermuda Political Action Club account, are we still to believe that Cannonier told Bean that he (along with Pettingill and Crockwell) were in line to get paid for granting a casino licence? Or, did Bean mislead voters with that claim? If so, then perhaps he should also be resigning his post.

 

To be perfectly honest, I am no fan of politically-expedient political resignations, because they have so little to do with accountability. It is a practice the PLP elevated to an art form during their tenure, and it continues today. One recent example concerns the comments made on Twitter by PLP Public Relations Officer, Jamahl Simmons:

“What would happen if we stopped shooting each other and put bullets in the heads of those who hate us and won’t hire us?”

“If you are excluded from the society what do you care if society burns? You aint a part of it anyway. It might be fun to watch it burn.”

To date, I have not seen a single PLP MP, Senator or Officer, condemn Simmons’ remarks. His swift resignation was substituted for real accountability.

Another example concerns the recent court ruling which saw the 21-years less one day lease for White’s Island being voided. Will the PLP demand that Derrick Burgess “come clean” about the initial lease and the automatic renewal clause? Does transparency and accountability matter in this case? Apparently not. 

Per the PLP’s grotesque double standards, clearly this protracted inquisition isn’t really about transparency or accountability — it is about political power.  As such, this threatened censure motion [it could play out in the House today] seems to be yet more political theatrics that demonstrate that even when our fragile tourism industry is showing signs of recovery, the PLP is willing to (as Simmons put it) watch society burn just as long as they end up ruling it. 

Bryanttrew@mac.com