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OBA: Government must follow the rules

Nepotism and self-dealing in Government won’t be stamped out until people are made to follow the rules, the One Bermuda Alliance has claimed.

The Progressive Labour Party’s reputation on good governance has been dealt yet another blow, says the OBA, with news that relatives of politicians Ewart Brown and Derrick Burgess were appointed as silent partners on the company contracted to build the police/court building.

And while Premier Paula Cox has repeatedly stated her aim of improving transparency and accountability, it counts for nothing when question marks hang over Government’s approach to the public purse, according to the official Opposition.

Ms Cox has been accused of continually failing to use the sanctioning powers already available to her when Financial Instructions have been broken in projects concerning taxpayer dollars.

The Royal Gazette reported how court papers in Canada state Landmark Lisgar was given the police/court building contract against the advice of Government’s technical officers.

Dr Brown’s half-brother Vincent Hollinsid and Mr Burgess’ cousin Winters Burgess are listed as shareholders and directors in the company.

Court documents also show architect Sam Spagnuolo, who oversaw work on the project until his company was dismissed over the ‘false cheques’ affair, claims Landmark Lisgar made claims for inappropriate expenses.

An OBA spokesman said: “Claims about nepotism in the newspaper could be the subject for another chapter in the Auditor General’s report on misuses of the public’s money.

“The One Bermuda Alliance is committed to reforms that will shut down opportunities for self-dealing in Government, but rules can only go so far.

“As OBA leader Craig Cannonier said last week, you can have all the rules you want, but if you’re not going to follow them, if you’re going to try to manipulate them, then Bermuda is never going to have a Government they can trust. At the end of the day, good governance comes down to people.

“The activities revealed by the Auditor General and by

The Royal Gazette’s latest stories raise again a big question about this Government and its Ministers. Can you trust them to get on with just the people’s business or not? On that point, we think your questions should be directed to the Premier and her Ministers because they need to clear the air.”

The court papers relate to a case where Dr Brown and Mr Burgess are suing Mr Spagnuolo and Government architect Lawrence Brady for $2 million each for alleged defamation. Both architects strenuously deny the allegations against them. Mr Brady is the brother-in-law of

Royal Gazette editor Bill Zuill.

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Published February 08, 2012 at 8:55 am (Updated February 08, 2012 at 8:55 am)

OBA: Government must follow the rules

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