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Pettingill defends hiring UK legal draftsman for gaming bill

Government spent $40,000 on a UK legal advisor for drafting gaming regulations — and paid $45,000 to local law firm MJM for the drawing up legislation for the new Tourism Authority.

But Attorney General Mark Pettingill defended the contracts as “well worth it”, telling the House of Assembly he'd saved $1 million across Government last year on outsourcing and hiring of counsel.

“Sometimes you have to go out and get it,” Mr Pettingill told Opposition MPs questioning the budget for Legal Affairs. “Sometimes you've got to get things done in the window of time as it relates to legislation.”

Shadow AG Kim Wilson questioned why the Ministry had paid UK barrister Christopher Gillespie, a criminal lawyer at the London firm 2 Hare Court, $40,000 for his help when his website didn't mention gaming.

Mr Pettingill defended Mr Gillespie as experienced in gaming regulations, telling the House that the Bermuda legal team had needed assistance in that area — and said the payout to MJM for professional services was “not a startling number”.

Mr Pettingill claimed he'd implemented a 50 percent reduction in Government's legal fees by putting brakes on the ability of Ministries or Departments to “go off and hire any lawyer”.

The AG also defended going overseas to fill a position in the Legal Aid Department, saying that the post had been advertised locally but candidates hadn't had the necessary qualification of five years' court experience.

“We had to go outside and outsource it,” Mr Pettingill said. “It's as simple as that.”

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Published March 06, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated March 05, 2014 at 11:00 pm)

Pettingill defends hiring UK legal draftsman for gaming bill

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