Thrill of victory: The OBA’s Michael Fahy embraces his colleague Shawn Crockwell on election night in December, 2012. Steven DeCosta, who declined to be photographed for our story, says his grassroots campaign work with Derrick Green was crucial to the win. *File photo
Thrill of victory: The OBA’s Michael Fahy embraces his colleague Shawn Crockwell on election night in December, 2012. Steven DeCosta, who declined to be photographed for our story, says his grassroots campaign work with Derrick Green was crucial to the win. *File photo
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The stealth campaign to canvass votes for the OBA was absolutely vital in the party’s election victory, according to Steven DeCosta.

Mr DeCosta told the Sun the party would not have won had it not been for the efforts of his canvassing team, who worked around the clock to promote the OBA on the doorstep and media outlets.

And when asked, he said he felt betrayed by the party because he is now perceived publicly by some as a wrongdoer rather than a successful political activist.

Mr DeCosta maintained that the grassroots campaign, which he ran with OBA consultant Derrick Green, involved a huge social media effort as well as thousands of signs and pamphlets to promote the party.

And he believes he and Mr Green have not received the credit they deserve.

Mr DeCosta said: “We were part of a grassroots campaign that was unprecedented prior to that election, that was an integral part of that election.

“Derrick and I ran a campaign that was successful and we are not being given the credit we deserve for doing a great job.

“And during that time we used people who had no work. We gave them a job. We still have a couple of people that worked for us during that campaign working for us in the gas station, because they were good guys.

“They just needed to be given a chance. Some of them have police records but they are good people.”

Since the OBA’s election victory in 2012, the party has been dogged by the JetGate scandal and allegations of wrongdoing over a $350,000 donation received by US businessman Nathan Landow and some associates. 

It prompted the resignation of former Premier Craig Cannonier in May and Mr DeCosta says he too has been impacted by the saga: “When we won the election we were ecstatic —  Derrick and I honestly believed that we were an integral part of the OBA winning the election, no question.

“Derrick Green did a phenomenal job. He did not have the Bermuda contacts and the people that I knew, but what he brought to the grassroots campaign with his experiences was unprecedented in Bermuda.”

But Mr DeCosta added: “Now there are accusations out there that we took this money. It is not true.

“It’s difficult when you are part of something so big that was so successful to 15 months later be perceived by some as doing something wrong. It has impacted my family.”

Last week the OBA chairman Thad Hollis released his findings after investigating a $350,000 donation to the Bermuda Political Action Club account that was set up by Mr Green and Mr DeCosta to run the canvassing campaign. Mr Hollis’s future with the party seems uncertain; he offered his resignation this week but talks are ongoing.

Mr DeCosta said: “I think Thad should be commended. It was difficult for him to do an unbiased report because of the amount of information that had been put into the media — fiction or fact — and to be able to do a report knowing either way he does it is not going to be good enough. He’s in a lose-lose situation.”

He added: “I guess one of the questions is why did I wait so long [to talk publicly]?

“Well, a lot of it was that because there is not any truth to it I did not feel like I needed to defend lies.

“But perception is greater than reality.” 



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