Crockwell attacks Government over inquiry

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  • Shawn Crockwell (Photograph David Skinner)

    Shawn Crockwell (Photograph David Skinner)

Independent MP Shawn Crockwell launched a scathing attack on the Bermuda Government for casting “dark clouds” over the heads of “good people” after the Commission of Inquiry.

In an impassioned speech in the House of Assembly on Wednesday evening, the former One Bermuda Alliance minister criticised his former party for spending $1 million on an inquiry through which he “learnt nothing new”.

Derrick Binns, Cherie Whitter, Marc Telemaque and Anthony Manders — all of whom earn substantial six-figure salaries — were named in the Commission’s report as having failed to follow the rules on government contracts.

Mr Crockwell referred directly to Auditor-General Heather Jacobs Matthews’s previous report which found “serious internal control deficiencies identified in the management of various capital development projects” under the watch of the Progressive Labour Party in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Speaking during the Motion to Adjourn, Mr Crockwell said: “I didn’t have a say in the decision.

“It was my view that the Auditor-General’s report and special reports were sufficient as they relate to dealing with this matter.

“I was concerned because there’s still a police investigation into many of the issues raised in the Commission.”

Mr Crockwell also drew attention to what he believed would be perceived as racial bias.

“I was concerned because the Commission of Inquiry would have heightened the level of tension in our community and created more polarisation in our community along racial lines. And I believe that my concerns were realised.

“Start with the optics — we should have known that those called before the Commission were going to be black. The composition of the Commission of Inquiry was white with an English chairman [Sir Anthony Evans]. I’m not questioning his qualifications — I question the optics at a time when things are shaky. Having former Opposition leader John Barritt to the Commission.

“He was a very vocal Opposition leader and I believe that John Barritt has the ability and talent to separate. But does the average man on the street think he is going to be impartial? The optics created a very stressful situation.”

The Commission of Inquiry has been hugely critical of former premier Ewart Brown, highlighting “possible criminal activity” in five contracts linked to him. It emerged yesterday that Mr Crockwell is now representing a patient of Dr Brown, whose medical records were seized during raids, and that he had held a “significant meeting” with about 150 of his patients suggesting further legal action against police could follow. Mr Crockwell concluded: “I was interested in its findings — I was expecting greater clarity.”

However, he continued: “When I got to the findings, I did not learn anything new. The outcome was that there was ‘possible criminal activity’ and that it [the Commission] ‘supports the ongoing investigation’.

“I say that’s not good enough after spending $1 million on this process. People are feeling offended by this process and we are still waiting.”

Holding up a copy of The Royal Gazette, he pointed to those suffering “unnecessary distress”.

“That’s not good enough. They say justice delayed is justice denied. Enough is enough. If someone has evidence bring it and lay it. One has to question whether this was a political exercise. Good people have dark clouds hanging over their heads — it is outrageous.”

On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on a story that we deem might inflame sensitivities. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers

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