The man in the middle: Governor George Fergusson has chosen to extend the 
contract of expatriate Rory Field as DPP rather than appoint Bermudian Cindy Clarke. *File photos, montage by Gary Foster Skelton
The man in the middle: Governor George Fergusson has chosen to extend the contract of expatriate Rory Field as DPP rather than appoint Bermudian Cindy Clarke. *File photos, montage by Gary Foster Skelton

Whenever I hear about an appointment or promotion that has suddenly vanished into thin air, I begin to wonder. 

I wonder if anything was said, not said, or if perhaps the candidate at the end of the day just wasn’t the candidate everyone had purported them to be.  

I start asking questions like, “Where did they go to school?  How long have they been in their career?” and the obvious, “Have you ever heard about any problems?”   

I begin to doubt the candidate’s worthiness and without knowing all the details, I confess that I start to lean in the direction of “The powers that be must know better than me,” or “There must be more to this story than anyone’s letting on.”

This time my instinct is different. This time I feel it in my gut that it’s not the candidate who’s the problem but the one person whose seal of approval was necessary for this person to move forward for the position.

Governor George Fergusson, with all due respect, you are wrong not to confirm Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke for the position of Director of Public Prosecutions. 

She is qualified and has been vetted and approved by a panel chaired by your own Deputy Governor David Arkley. The legal community is dismayed at this outcome and are incensed that a qualified Bermudian attorney has been turned down for a position she deserves.   

What is incredibly disturbing is that despite the panel’s recommendation, Premier Craig Cannonier’s and Cabinet’s support, not to mention the legal fraternity’s support (not exactly an accept anything-at-face-value crowd), you have deemed that her appointment, after “subsequent developments,” would be, “untenable for the appointment to proceed.” Excuse me?  Untenable?

Due diligence

How does an independent panel led by your own Deputy Governor get it so wrong, then?  Performing their due diligence, wouldn’t they have unearthed any shortcomings or skeletons in the closet in the early days of the interview process? 

In a town as small as Bermuda, one would be hard pressed — and especially if you were a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions — to hide anything.  

In the unlikely event that there was something in Cindy Clarke’s personal or professional life that made her appointment, as you say, “untenable” then I believe this would have emerged long before even a resume was produced.  There would have been the ‘quiet word’ the ‘suggestion’ to the candidate not to proceed. Perhaps there might have been even a little guidance as to how to deflect inquiries as to why one wouldn’t be looking for the head job. Something is terribly wrong and it seems Cindy Clarke has been wronged. 

What I think is that the infamous letter sent [to the Attorney General] in support of Cindy Clarke has played a key role in your decision.  

But your public explanation of events has been inadequate and by not appointing Cindy Clarke to the position of Director of Public Prosecutions and especially so late in the process, you risked casting aspersions on her career and possibly her personal integrity. This seems unfair to her and to all Bermudians.  

In spite of your decision, I do hope that Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Cindy Clarke stays the course and continues her work in the department. Bermuda needs her and if nothing else she has certainly demonstrated grace under pressure and unparalleled professionalism. Many could learn from Cindy Clarke.