Paranoia gone wild

  • Life’s a beach: Richard Schuetz’s time in Bermuda was rarely as relaxing as this, his stint as executive director of the casino gaming commission coming to an inglorious end, followed by a gagging order

    Life’s a beach: Richard Schuetz’s time in Bermuda was rarely as relaxing as this, his stint as executive director of the casino gaming commission coming to an inglorious end, followed by a gagging order

Quia timet. Fear of the unknown. A pre-emptive strike.

It can be said with certainty now that freedom of the press — The Royal Gazette, in particular — to look into the goings-on of the fledgeling casino gaming industry in Bermuda is at the heart of the court injunction to silence the former executive director of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission.

Richard Schuetz has been uncomplimentary about Bermuda’s politicians, including MPs and Cabinet ministers of past and present governments, notably over the decision of tourism minister Jamahl Simmons to hound “political appointee” Alan Dunch out of his job as chairman, replacing him with Cheryl-Ann Mapp.

The resistance to have under the commission’s remit regulation of the betting industry as a whole, which belatedly came into effect last month, was a key arguing point during his tenure.

So it is clear that Schuetz and political elements in this country did not see eye to eye on how the supposedly independent quango should go about its business.

What is also clear is that the Special Report we published on October 18 last year ruffled more than a few feathers.

Schuetz, and The Royal Gazette by extension, has been accused of seeking to bring “irreparable harm” to the reputation of the commission. By that, according to the Specially Endorsed Writ of Summons that we have been granted access to, “if the reputation of the Commission is harmed or is seen or perceived to be harmed, and/or to have been harmed, then its whole purpose and function is likely to be undermined with irreparable damage being done”.

Paranoia gone wild.

Schuetz is being accused in the writ of operating in collusion with a Royal Gazette reporter to cause irreparable harm to the casino gaming industry in Bermuda.

Paranoia gone wild.

Schuetz is accused of not only paving the way for Pati requests to be answered in a timely manner, but also of providing the questions in those requests.

Paranoia gone wild.

Schuetz is accused of being “secretive in his practices” and of using his personal laptop to conduct commission business instead of the office desktop computer.

Paranoia gone wild.

Schuetz is accused of having information, the identity of which the commission is unaware, in his possession that will cause irreparable harm.

Paranoia gone wild.

Schuetz is accused of attempting to ensure through media campaigning here and abroad that casino gambling in Bermuda does not get off the ground.

Paranoia gone wild.

This is the same industry expert that Bermuda worked so hard to get on our shores, only for him to realise over a period of months that the independence his group thought it had was steeped in political interference and backstabbing.

Instead of taking serious note of the concerns he raised in his resignation letter — the potential for corruption, including money laundering — and maybe investigating further, we try to shut him down and use public money to do so through litigation.

To repeat from a previous opinion, with the public funding the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, they have a right to know what is going on — especially when the implications for the Bermuda economy and the island’s reputation are far-reaching.

The numbers referred to in the Special Report are staggering and, given the misappropriation of funds or otherwise that have cast a blight on Bermuda over the past ten or more years, it is our duty to shine a light on possible and potential wrongdoing.

But the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission — sans the Schuetz-Dunch axis, plus a number of others who have left their positions — wishes to blunt such earnest reporting.

It also wishes to deprive Schuetz, an American citizen, of his First Amendment rights in the belief that whatever he has to say should be shrouded in a confidentiality agreement that governed the terms of his employment.

Bermuda’s citizens, including its public officials, have the constitutional right to freedom of expression, too.

As to the complaint against our reporter, she is merely a diligent journalist going about her job of informing the people of Bermuda in as professional and as dignified a manner as possible.

Looking under the hood that has been paid for by the taxpayer; turning over every stone.

All journalists should be so driven to unearth the truth.

Quia timet. An injunction to restrain wrongful acts that have not yet commenced.

Paranoia gone wild.

• To read the Specially Endorsed Writ of Summons in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

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Published Mar 23, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 23, 2018 at 8:21 am)

Paranoia gone wild

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