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Cannonier calls allegations ‘pure nonsense’

Craig Cannonier, Minister of Public Works (File photograph)

Developer Michael MacLean’s allegations of ministerial corruption are a “last-ditch desperate effort” to secure compensation for the termination of his agreements with the Corporation of Hamilton to develop the waterfront.

This according to Craig Cannonier, the former Premier, who has branded Mr MacLean’s claims that he and two other government ministers asked him for cash through businessman Steven DeCosta in return for their support of his project as “complete nonsense”.

Mr Cannonier’s assertions are contained in an eight-page affirmation that was filed with the Supreme Court in response to Mr MacLean’s affidavit alleging bribery and corruption in relation to the waterfront deal.

Mr Cannonier, who resigned as Premier in May last year and is now the Minister of Public Works, states: “These allegations are completely and utterly false and untrue.

“They have been intentionally contrived by Mr MacLean in what appears a last-ditch desperate effort on his part to secure a settlement from the Government in connection with his claim for compensation arising out of the voiding by Parliament of various agreements that he had entered into with respect to the Hamilton waterfront.”

Noting that Mr MacLean’s affidavit was leaked to the media Mr Cannonier claims that the accusations “have clearly been made” in order to be put into the public domain.

He states: “I understand that counsel has received an anonymous e-mail indicating that if terms could be mutually agreed then the author of the e-mail would identify the person who leaked these documents to the local media, whilst also supplying the identities of the recipients of the documents.”

In his affirmation Mr Cannonier acknowledges that he has had a long-term business relationship with Mr DeCosta, but maintains that he never authorised or instructed Mr DeCosta to engage in discussions with anyone in relation to his political position.

He states: “Mr DeCosta is a business associate of mine and I hired him as my general manager. He remained in that role until earlier this year when he left Bermuda to relocate to the United States.

“However he remains a consultant to my businesses for the time being whilst I seek a new general manager.

“At no time has Mr DeCosta acted for and/or on my behalf in my capacity as a politician and a Cabinet Minister and any suggestions by Mr MacLean that Mr DeCosta was the ‘Premier’s assistant’ or someone acting as an intermediary on my behalf is simply incorrect. If and to the extent it is in fact correct that Mr DeCosta engaged Mr MacLean in a ‘long series of discussions’ then he did so on his own motion and with his own agenda in mind and certainly not after consultation with me or with the benefit of any input from me.”

Mr Cannonier goes on to add: “I was finally able to speak with him yesterday (July 15). He informed me that the allegations were untrue and that he could not believe that Mr MacLean could say such things.”

In his second affidavit Mr MacLean alleges that the money he was supposed to pay Mr Cannonier and Mr DeCosta was to be invested in a gas station in the US that Mr DeCosta would “bleed the money out of and let it fail”.

Mr Cannonier described the accusation as “patently ridiculous and utterly untrue”.

Mr MacLean also suggested that he helped get Mr Cannonier and Marc Bean, Leader of the Opposition, together because Mr Cannonier was looking to leave the One Bermuda Alliance and join the Progressive Labour Party.

Mr Cannonier states: “The suggestion is laughable. No such thing ever happened.”

He concludes by saying: “There is nothing in the MacLean exhibits which in any way supports these allegations.

“That is hardly surprising as there is nothing authentic and genuine which could support such allegations.

“It is difficult to know what more I could say other than that I wholly deny having ever been involved in any attempt to extort money from MacLean in the form of bribes either for myself or for anyone else.”

• To read Mr Cannonier’s full affirmation, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.