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Election committee invites views

A parliamentary select committee established to review elections in Bermuda holds its first meeting today.

Opposition MP Walton Brown, who chairs the committee, is inviting verbal or written submissions from members of the public.

Other members are Shadow Attorney General Kim Wilson and Government backbenchers Jeanne Atherden, Susan Jackson and Glen Smith.

The committee has a mandate to review matters relating to elections in Bermuda and to report its findings and to make recommendations to Parliament.

“A key issue surrounds whether or not parliamentary candidates are legally required to make a declaration of interest in Government contracts, and related matters,” said Mr Brown in a press release yesterday.

Those who wish to make submissions can write to wbrown@parliament.bm or contact the House of Assembly on 292-7408.

The One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) opposed the setting up of the committee when Mr Brown proposed it to parliamentarians in June. House Speaker Randy Horton cast the deciding vote in the Opposition's favour.

During last year's election campaign, the Progressive Labour Party questioned whether OBA candidates Bob Richards and Jeff Sousa were qualified to run.

Then PLP chairman Anthony Santucci said in a statement that OBA members had not declared their interests as required by law.

“Any candidate who has not declared an interest in any government contract is automatically disqualified as a candidate. Section 30 (6) of the Bermuda Constitution is very clear: ‘Subject to such exceptions and limitations as may be prescribed by the Legislature, a person shall not be qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Assembly if he has an interest in any Government contract and has not, within seven days of his nomination as a candidate for election, disclosed the nature of the contract and his interest therein by means of a notice published in the Gazette or in a newspaper published and circulating in Bermuda.'”

Mr Santucci added that the PLP understood that both Mr Richards and Mr Sousa had declarable interests.

The move forced the OBA to take legal advice and announce that their candidates had nothing to worry about.

The PLP did not pursue the matter and both Mr Richards and Mr Sousa went on to win seats in Parliament.

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Published August 23, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated August 22, 2013 at 11:25 pm)

Election committee invites views

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