Daniels: Planning appeal was above board
Opposition leader Marc Bean has so far failed to respond to questions from this newspaper about his controversial decision to uphold two Planning appeals.
The Royal Gazette first e-mailed Mr Bean on Sunday afternoon with a list of questions relating to his November 2012 decision to uphold an appeal by the owners of a property off Spice Hill Road in Warwick, effectively overturning a DAB ruling that a planned shelter should not be built on the site.
Mr Bean responded on Sunday evening, saying that he was travelling, but would respond to our questions “as soon as possible”. Subsequent e-mails from this newspaper on Monday and yesterday — when we also asked Mr Bean questions about his April 2012 decision to uphold Sen Daniels’ appeal — have gone unanswered.
Sen Daniels did issue a response to our questions yesterday.
The Royal Gazette of “acting like a tabloid with these frivolous questions”, adding: “Your questions are clearly politically motivated and biased and I cannot understand the relevance, importance, or public interest arising from this subject matter, other than to malign members of the PLP, including myself, and to impugn our characters on some alleged immoral or unethical basis, to which I take great personal offence.”
Sen Daniels pointed out that his property was private and “not a matter of public concern”. He added that his neighbours had not submitted any objections to his plans to develop the property and that the appeal process “was conducted in accordance with the law and based on substantial arguments relating to private property rights, which also involved a historical analysis of the previous development of the said property”.
“You will be aware that the Ministry prepared a substantial report in support of overturning the appeal as drafted by the previous Minister with the assistance of his Permanent Secretary, who I believe possesses the requisite technical experience,” Sen Daniels said.
“I further understand that appeals are not reserved for those involved in politics and that many appeals are indeed successful regardless of political affiliation. I am sure that the records of appeals granted in favour of applicants will support these facts.”
Sen Daniels also claimed that he was not involved in politics at the time of his application. However, although his application was submitted in March 2011, it was not assessed by the Development Applications Board until October 2011. By that time, Sen Daniels had already sought to become the Progressive Labour Party candidate for Southampton West at a future general election. He was unsuccessful in that bid but continued to work for the party.
He campaigned for younger PLP MPs — including Mr Bean — to take over the leadership of the party from “older statesmen” in the wake of the party’s election defeat last December. He was appointed to the Senate by Mr Bean just days after he became leader of the party.
In his e-mail yesterday, Sen Daniels also took offence to questions by this newspaper relating to the fact that Mr Bean’s wife is employed by Sen Daniels at his company, Charter Chambers Bermuda Ltd.
The Senator pointed out that Mrs Smith-Bean was hired by his former business partner, Attorney General Mark Pettingill.
“Your imputations concerning the hiring of Mrs Smith-Bean or the fact that the previous Minister granted an appeal in my favour speaks volumes of your intent and your newspaper’s allegiance towards the Government and its contempt for the PLP,” Sen Daniels said.
Last night a spokesman for the One Bermuda Alliance condemned Mr Bean’s failure to respond publicly.
“Transparency is what Bermudians want from their government, and to make that a reality their government, whether it be OBA or PLP, should be ready to answer any and all questions about their decisions,” the spokesman said.
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