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Opposition MP wants clarity on Govt’s position on declaration of interests

Walton Brown renewed his call for resolution on the issue of election candidates declaring their interests in Government contracts.

The Progressive Labour Party paid for a newspaper advertisement listing its candidates interests prior to the general election, but the One Bermuda Alliance did not disclose interests in Government contracts for any of its candidates, stating there was nothing to declare.

Mr Brown said the Bermuda Constitution states all candidates must declare any interests within seven days of nomination day.

Mr Brown asked: “Is the constitution unclear on this? Do we need to amend the constitution? Because I don’t think anyone wants to have people elected to parliament and then find out after they are elected that there is some fundamental conflict that this person has in terms of a relationship with a Government ministry.”

The Shadow Education Minister also criticised this newspaper for “marginalising” a major constitutional issue, instead focusing on his refusal to declare his financial interests.

In a story published on April 3,

The Royal Gazette reported that Mr Brown had refused to declare his financial interests to Parliament on a point of principle.

When interviewed for that story, Mr Brown said he would not submit his details for the Register of Interests until there was clarity about the law requiring election candidates to disclose about their involvement with Government contracts.

Mr Brown broached the issue at a Progressive Labour Party town-hall meeting this week, telling the crowd that the story stemmed from a press release in which he called for answers on the constitutional matter.

He said: “Our constitution says within seven days of nomination day all candidates must submit a declaration of their interests in Government contracts as a condition of their eligibility as a candidate. The OBA position is that they didn’t need to make any submission, despite what the constitution says.

“Are we in a position where we will never again have candidates make declarations of interest on Government contracts? Because that is the precedent set by the OBA.

“That was the issue that was posed.

The Royal Gazette, in their infinite wisdom, decided to position the story as one person, myself, refusing to make my own declaration under a parliamentary policy that is not even enshrined in our constitution.

“I found it interesting that a fundamental constitutional issue was marginalised to focus on something far less significant and in no way a constitutional obligation.”

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Published April 12, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 12, 2013 at 12:12 am)

Opposition MP wants clarity on Govt’s position on declaration of interests

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