‘Jetgate’ viewed as a non-issue on the street
The controversy surrounding a jet flight for the Premier and two Cabinet Ministers paid for by a private party is a non-issue, according to members of the public.
In recent weeks the Opposition has roundly criticised Premier Craig Cannonier, Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell and Attorney General Mark Pettingill for accepting a flight to Washington DC for a five-hour meeting, paid for by potential investors.
The Opposition allege that accepting the flight was a breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct at put the Island’s reputation at risk. Government however has maintained that there was no breach in the code, and there was no bid, no request for proposal and no expectation of any favour in return for the trip.
The Royal Gazette took to the streets of Hamilton asking more than a dozen people for their thoughts on the controversy.
The majority of those questioned said they had no opinion either way about the incident, and those who did have an opinion generally sided with the Government.
Rick, from Devonshire, said the issue of the flight would have been more concerning if Government had paid for the flight.
“From what I heard he didn’t pay for it so what’s the big deal? That’s nothing,” he said. “He’s the Premier. He can do what he wants, particularly if he didn’t pay for it.”
Asked about the Opposition’s concerns that the flight could suggest the possibility of corruption or favouritism, he said the Opposition were “nitpicking”.
Arthur, from Pembroke, agreed, saying: “I don’t see anything wrong with it. It didn’t cost the Government anything. If it cost the Government something I would be more concerned.
“They are trying to get jobs for everyone. All they are trying to do is get some things happening here.
“If this comes to fruition all those people saying something now shouldn’t be applying for the jobs that come, because they don’t need the jobs.”
He added that he wished the Government the best of luck.
Damiko Walker said he didn’t feel that the cost of a flight and hotel stay was significant enough to warrant concern.
“I don’t have any problem with them taking a free flight or whatever as long as there’s no corruption or anything like that,” he said.
“I don’t see any issue in that. If they bought them a house, sure, but a flight away? I’m not worrying about that.”
A Pembroke man, who asked not to be named, said the Premier’s actions were no different than those carried out by any other leader in his position.
“It is what it is,” he said. “He’s the Premier. That’s the way the world works.”
And a woman, who asked to be identified only as Maryanne, said she was confident the Premier is doing what is best for the country.