Dunkley wants clarity over New York trip

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  • Looking for answers: Michael Dunkley, the former premier, has questioned the planned New York trip (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Looking for answers: Michael Dunkley, the former premier, has questioned the planned New York trip (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Michael Dunkley, the former premier, yesterday called on government ministers to clear up questions about a planned trip to New York involving politicians.

Mr Dunkley’s comments, made during the motion to adjourn, resulted in a heated exchange during which he was accused of hypocrisy by Progressive Labour Party backbencher Kim Swan.

Mr Dunkley said: “I raise it because for government members who profess to want to always be open and accountable and transparent, the easiest way to deal with the problem is not to protest where the information came from, but to state what the intention of the alleged planned trip was and move on from there.”

The clash came as Mr Dunkley revisited an alleged planned trip to New York in the run-up to July’s General Election involving David Burt, now the Premier, PLP MP Zane DeSilva and then-independent MPs Mark Pettingill and the late Shawn Crockwell.

This prompted a point of order from Deputy Speaker Derrick Burgess, who responded that there was “no government business, no government minister, in that trip”.

But Mr Dunkley said that he and his colleagues would keep asking questions and warned: “If the Honourable Members do not clear this up, that’s one more nail in the coffin of gaming.”

He also said constant criticism of the executive director of the Bermuda Gaming Commission, Richard Schuetz, had blocked progress and noted that appropriate regulations were still outstanding.

Mr Dunkley added: “I am very concerned that if we don’t conduct ourselves in a proper way to move forward, gaming will never happen in Bermuda.”

In response, Mr Swan pointed out that the One Bermuda Alliance had promised a referendum on gaming when in government.

He said he, his wife, Cindy, and Jonathan Starling were ridiculed when they presented a petition on the issue to the House.

Mr Swan added: “And then, challenged by my wife to apologise to her individually, that Honourable Member refused and refuses to this day.

“You can’t come here and just pontificate on hypocrisy when you practise it better than anybody in this House.”

He added that the Opposition was “getting all wound up on that side about an alleged trip that didn’t take place”.

Mr Swan said: “If my memory serves me correctly, there was a government where a trip actually took place.”

He also accused Mr Dunkley of disrespect towards Mr Crockwell, who was found dead at his home in Hamilton Parish on June 10.

Opposition leader Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said she mentioned no names in the Reply to the Throne Speech, which raised questions about the trip.

But Mr DeSilva, now the Minister of Social Development and Sport, said she had tried to trick the people of Bermuda by using something she “got off social media or perhaps a police friend”. He said that if the Opposition “expects Zane DeSilva to say what I am doing in my private life, they’ll wait a long time”.

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Published Sep 23, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 23, 2017 at 10:23 am)

Dunkley wants clarity over New York trip

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