Police: ‘Jetgate’ inquiry is still open
Craig Cannonier resigned as Premier of Bermuda in May 2014 after the “Jetgate” scandal engulfed him and his party.
As well as ending his short-lived stint as leader of the country, the controversy led to a police investigation into donations made to the One Bermuda Alliance's 2012 election campaign, a fraud squad inquiry which continues to this day.
Now, Mr Cannonier has launched a bid to lead the OBA again; he is likely to face fresh questions and criticism about his involvement in Jetgate.
Allegations started in May 2013, less than six months after the OBA's General Election win, about a trip Mr Cannonier took to Washington on a private jet owned by Nathan Landow, an American tycoon and casino developer, who was interested in the Club Med property in St George's and other hotels on the island.
Mr Cannonier was accompanied on the trip by the late Shawn Crockwell and Mark Pettingill, both Cabinet ministers, as well as Mr Cannonier's business manager Stephen DaCosta. At the time, the Opposition Progressive Labour Party questioned why the ministers accepted the free trip, why Mr DaCosta went and whether there was a quid pro quo, such as a gaming licence or development deal, for the businessman who picked up the tab.
Mr Cannonier gave a personal explanation to Parliament in 2013 and insisted that “no contracts, guarantees or promises were made for any property or any other business in Bermuda”.
The accusations did not go away, and more were to follow.
Marc Bean, then Opposition leader, and David Burt, then his deputy and now premier, alleged in Parliament in early 2014 that Mr Cannonier had offered them bribes.
Mr Cannonier later launched a defamation suit against them.
News website Politica later revealed that Mr Landow had made a $300,000 donation to the OBA's 2012 election campaign through the Bermuda Political Action Club, a group linked to the party.
Just days after Mr Landow confirmed the donation to the Bermuda Sun, it was curtains for Mr Cannonier.
He resigned as Premier on May 19, but insisted “nothing illegal was done”, although he admitted a “failure over time to be completely transparent”.
The Bermuda Police Service revealed two months later that its financial crime unit was investigating whether any criminal offences were committed in relation to payments to the Bermuda Political Action Club bank account.
A BPS spokesman said yesterday: “The inquiry continues.”