Gaming executive candidate pulls out
The island’s gambling watchdog will go back to the drawing board to find a replacement executive director after a candidate pulled out.
The Bermuda Casino and Gaming Commission has hired a professional services firm to help and said that the job will be advertised again, more than two years after the previous postholder left the job.
The news came after Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, told MPs six months ago that there had been preliminary talks with a potential candidate about their “suitability for the role”.
The BCGC has also advertised for a legal director and was considering applications last week.
The commission said at the time: “In regards to the executive director position, a suitable candidate had been identified for appointment to the post of ED, however before the completion of the recruitment process the applicant withdrew interest.
“The post will be re-advertised locally and if we are unable to fill the post through this medium, the assistance of international online advertising media will be sought.
“The Director of Legal post was advertised locally and responses are now being assessed.”
It added that PricewaterhouseCoopers was “engaged by the board to undertake a search for a new chief executive” this month.
Richard Schuetz, the former executive director of the gaming commission, quit in July 2017 and left the job at the end of that year. The post has been vacant since then.
The Royal Gazette revealed last February that Deborah Blakeney had resigned as general counsel. She was also acting executive director.
Her departure meant the commission’s usual four-person executive team was reduced to two.
The BCGC said at the time that Julie Grant, the chief financial officer, was acting in the executive director role.
Mr Dickinson, whose ministry has responsibility for gaming, told the House of Assembly last March that recruitment of an executive director was a “critical priority” for the commission.
He explained that the post was advertised on the island and overseas in August 2017, twice in 2018 and in January last year.
Mr Dickinson told MPs then that it had been “decided to engage the services of an executive recruiter to assist with securing a suitably qualified leader for the commission’s team as soon as possible”.
He said after parliamentary questions last July: “I can advise that the commission continues with its recruitment process for an executive director.
“A potential candidate has been identified, and they are in the early stages of discussions as to suitability for the role.”
Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance MP, asked the minister to say which executive recruiter was used and the cost.
But at that time Mr Dickinson replied: “I am not advised that the commission is actually using an executive recruiter.
“They have identified a candidate on their own and are engaging in conversations on their own.”
MPs also heard that the commission cost $2.51 million to run over 15 months between April 1, 2018, and June 30 last year.
A total of $1.37 million was attributed to wages and salaries and about $336,570 was spent on fees for consultant and service providers over the period.
The commission said in an advert last month it wanted “a highly qualified Director of Legal”.
It said duties and responsibilities included “implementing a robust regulatory regime relating to the oversight of casino gaming and other non-gaming activities in Bermuda”.
The advert added: “Participating as a senior member of the management team working directly with the commissioners and executive director to undertake strategic initiatives on behalf of the commission.”
Qualifications were expected to include membership “in good standing” with the Bermuda Bar Association and a current practising certificate or admission to the Bar of a Commonwealth jurisdiction.
Applicants were told that “at least ten years demonstrable experience in public and administrative law, regulation and commercial law practice” was “desirable”.
The advert said: “Experience within a public authority, quango or public sector entity is preferable.
“Exceptional leadership, interpersonal skills are required.”
Ms Blakeney was appointed as general counsel in January 2016, three months after it was announced that Arlene Brock, a former Ombudsman, had landed the role.
Alan Dunch, a lawyer and the commission’s chairman at the time, said Ms Brock “resigned from the position to take up other opportunities”.
Mr Dunch resigned as chairman in November 2017 after the Government tabled legislation designed to give the responsible minister power to fire members of the BCGC and issue policy direction to the regulatory body.
He was replaced by Cheryl-Ann Mapp, also a lawyer and former magistrate.
More legislation was passed last November to put the finishing touches to casino gambling rules.
But Mr Dickinson said two resorts that hoped to have casinos, the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club and the under-construction St Regis in St George’s, wanted “some certainty around banking”.
Mr Dickinson said his ministry was in talks with banks in Bermuda to find “creative solutions”.
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