Roll up, roll up:
Premier Craig Cannonier described recent political events as a ‘circus’. Former Premier Alex Scott says neither party has covered itself in glory. *Photo montage by Gary Foster Skelton

 


 Will Bermuda’s international reputation be hurt by the verbal salvos between the PLP and the OBA?

Since Friday’s House of Assembly allegations, the two sides have dug in like it was trench warfare, neither giving an inch nor gaining one.

Premier Craig Cannonier said in a press release: “In my opinion, the politics over the past few days is so extreme and so indifferent to what’s important for the island today that it threatens the recovery of Bermuda; threatens to undo investor confidence that we’ve been trying to build, and the jobs that come with it.”

Peter Everson, who is chair of the Economic Division for the Chamber of Commerce, said it is difficult to say whether this will have a damning effect on Bermuda’s international reputation. 

“Whether or not people in New York, London, Toronto” or elsewhere are following this “I have no idea”, he said. 

“The area of most concern would probably come from the potential hotel developers — the mainline chains you see everywhere else on the globe. If people like that had any hesitation, that obviously would be bad news.”

One international business person, who asked not to be named, told the Bermuda Sun: “I can only see this hurting investor confidence if it is proven that the Government took a bribe. As it stands, the allegation is they were offered a bribe, not that they took it.

“Most people in the western world understand how politics works. It’s the same whether it’s the UK, the US or Canada. 

“The party that is out of power will do whatever it takes to get a political foothold. You have to look no further than the Republican party in the US to see that.”

The debate quickly migrated from the House to social media and among claims, all of which are unproven and unconfirmed:

It was alleged that an IT contract was offered to PLP MP David Burt if he struck a deal with the OBA to coerce other PLP MPs to vote to agree with the OBA on no referendum for the gambling;

• It is claimed that Craig Cannonier’s business partner was with the Premier, Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell and Attorney General Mark Pettingill on the free, private plane trip, an episode that has since become known as ‘Jetgate’, to meet with a potential hotel developer for Bermuda.


M
arc Bean spoke in the House on Friday about discussions he had with Premier Cannonier last September on the subject of on-island gaming, and made some eye-opening allegations.

The written version of his speech reads: “During these discussions, four main points became the focus of our attention:

1) The Premier’s various business holdings were in severe financial difficulty, and despite his ties to the business community, he had been unable to secure financial relief.

2) The Premier’s high level of distrust with the members of his team and in particular, those OBA colleagues who were drawn from the ranks of the UBP.

3) I proposed the formation of a coalition government of which one sitting OBA MP had indicated a desire to join, with others showing interest. I will not reveal the name of these members as a mark of respect for our private conversations. This proposal of a coalition between disaffected OBA MPs and the PLP was made in an effort to allow our Premier to break free of the forces that were, in his mind, restricting and preventing him from making real progress for Bermudians. This offer was declined.

4) In rejecting our offer of a Coalition Government, The Premier revealed that there is a developer who is willing to pay him and his two cabinet colleagues (the Learned Minister of Tourism and AG) upfront for a casino license, and from that point he will be free from, and I quote, “...these rich, white, UBP boys!’”

Premier Cannonier and his OBA colleagues have strenuously denied the allegations. 


CasinoGate

What damage to Bermuda’s image overseas?

Has Premier been in talks with controversial developer? 

Will Marc Bean push for a vote of no confidence?

What was potty-mouthed Michael Dunkley thinking?

Nandi tape: Why is it a state secret?

Voters take sides: Man on the street poll