PLP demands unedited’ report on Jetgate
Bermuda deserves full disclosure on the details of the Jetgate scandal, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher said.
Rolfe Commissiong said the One Bermuda Alliance must come clean over the scandal that led to the resignation of Craig Cannonier as premier in 2014.
He said: “It is time for the OBA to do the right thing and release the full, unedited report that they promised so many years ago, into an investigation into the Jetgate affair.”
Mr Commissiong was speaking at a press conference held at Alaska Hall yesterday.
He said that the island’s reputation had been damaged by recent international media coverage.
Derrick Green, an adviser to the OBA during the 2012 election campaign, made headlines this week after earning a top post with the New Jersey governor.
Mr Green is being paid $140,000 a year as a senior adviser in Governor Phil Murphy’s Democratic party administration.
The article said Mr Green was “tied to a campaign finance scandal under police investigation in Bermuda known as Jetgate”.
Mr Cannonier was announced last month as the new Opposition leader, replacing Jeanne Atherden.
At the time, he said that information on the scandal would be “coming forthwith”.
Mr Commissiong said: “After almost three weeks, no further information has been produced.”
Comments on an article published by The Royal Gazette this week questioned whether Mr Green had ever been hired by the PLP.
Mr Commissiong said that to the best of his knowledge he had not.
He questioned whether the country could trust Mr Cannonier.
Mr Commissiong said: “This scandal unfolded while he was Premier of Bermuda.
“And the facts that we know of are fairly egregious.”
He added: “Failure to come clean on Jetgate does not give us any optimism.”
Mr Commissiong said that Mr Cannonier had also given “contradictory information”.
He said that Mr Cannonier had said in an interview earlier this month that the Jetgate trip had “nothing to do with gaming”.
Mr Commissiong said this statement clashed with an interview Mr Cannonier gave in May 2013 when he said the meeting was about gaming.
An article on northjersey.com said this week that Mr Green set up a secret bank account linked to the OBA which received $350,000 from wealthy American businessmen, including Nathan Landow, a Maryland developer and Democratic donor.
Mr Commissiong said: “If the scandal had not been uncovered by individuals within the PLP, we may very well have seen, by today, Landow Gaming and Resort.”
Mr Green had an undisclosed commercial relationship with Mr Landow, who was interested in building casinos in Bermuda.
It was claimed he was responsible for introducing Mr Cannonier to Mr Landow, though he denied that.
Mr Cannonier, along with Cabinet ministers Mark Pettingill and Shawn Crockwell, travelled to Washington on Mr Landow’s private jet after he became premier.
The trip raised questions in Parliament about whether Mr Landow had been offered a quid pro quo, such as a gaming licence or development deal.
Mr Cannonier issued a statement saying Jetgate was “in the past”.
He added: “I am focused on changing course for the OBA, concentrating on fiscal and social responsibility and holding this failing Government to account.
“I will not be diverted from this course despite the PLP’s mudslinging.”
Mr Cannonier said the Government’s focus on Jetgate highlighted their “tried and tired tactic of deflection — to deflect from their own broken promises and failings, failing to the people of Bermuda.”
He pointed to a purported planned trip to New York David Burt, then Opposition leader, was going to take last year with PLP MP Zane DeSilva, and former independent MPs Mark Pettingill and Shawn Crockwell.
He said: “What Mr and Mrs Bermuda also want to know are the reasons for the Four Seasons trip.”