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Par-la-Ville hotel debate labelled ‘political theatre’

A lease and bridge loan to aid the creation of a hotel on the Par-la-Ville Park site has been approved by the House of Assembly.

However, Government came under fire during the debate for allegations made by the developer involved in the project, Michael MacLean (see separate story).

Shadow Immigration Minister Walton Brown described the allegations made by Mr MacLean regarding the scrapped Waterfront redevelopment project as “disturbing”, saying he understood the developer had gone into hiding and was being searched for by police, a suggestion disputed by the Police Service.

Mr Brown also objected to the fact the lease had to be brought to the House, saying it was the result of laws that should never have been passed.

“This Government has passed a piece of legislation which has the authority to render invalid any decision made by the Corporation of Hamilton,” Mr Brown said. “We are here as a consequence of that decision.”

Glenn Blakeney questioned the lack of an explanation from Government about the allegations, saying there was a cloud of secrecy over the handling of the project.

He asked: “When the developer that we are trying to enable has accused Government members of untoward behaviour and has felt such a level of persecution that he himself recorded conversations involving Government Ministers, how are we in good conscious expected to let that go without any reference to the public good?”

Premier Michael Dunkley, said the MP was making allegations without any facts, and Attorney General Trevor Moniz said that if the developer does want to make allegations of untoward behaviour against the Government, he should be running to police rather than from them.

Junior Home Affairs Minister Sylvan Richards said the debate had largely been “political theatre”, saying that both parties agree that moving the project forward was in the best interest of the public.

“It seems like no matter what this Government does there's controversy, whether it's manufactured controversy or real controversy,” he said.

And regarding Mr Mac Lean's allegations, Mr Richards said: “If Mr Mac Lean has a tape, he should release the tape. If I was Mr MacLean I wouldn't be running from police, I would be running to police with the tape and play it.”

Last night a police spokesman denied that the service were searching for Mr MacLean, saying: “The Bermuda Police Service has received no information or complaint of crime and has not commenced an investigation.”

Michael Maclean

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Published June 14, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 14, 2014 at 12:32 am)

Par-la-Ville hotel debate labelled ‘political theatre’

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