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OBA member ‘offended’ by Cannonier return

Oath: Former Premier Craig Cannonier is sworn in as Minister of Public Works at Government House, witnessed by Governor George Fergusson (Photo by Mark Tatem)

The decision to appoint Craig Cannonier to the Cabinet has sparked embers of discontent within the ranks of the One Bermuda Alliance.

The former Premier was unveiled as Minister of Public Works as part of a major Cabinet reshuffle at Government House yesterday. Sources within the OBA told The Royal Gazette they were “disappointed” and “offended” with the decision to give him responsibility for a ministry given the damage caused to the party by his actions and resignation.

Mr Cannonier, right, stepped down as Premier in May 2014 amid a storm of controversy surrounding his dealings with an American property tycoon, Nathan Landow, and a $350,000 donation made to the party.

“The decision to bring Craig back into the Cabinet is really disappointing,” said the party insider.

“It seems like a reward for bad behaviour. The OBA does not just consist of MPs, it is a representation of people across the Island.

“I find the decision to appoint him as a Minister offensive.

“The OBA came to power standing up for values of transparency and accountability.

“Craig Cannonier lost his integrity as Premier and was forced to step down.

“How can he now have the integrity required to be a Minister?”

Mr Cannonier has been warming the backbenches since his resignation in May 2014 in the wake of the so-called Jetgate saga.

The OBA’s Parliamentary caucus was informed of the decision to appoint Mr Cannonier to the position of Minister of Public Works a short time before the official announcement at 12.30pm yesterday.

His return to the Cabinet comes just eight months after Michael Dunkley took over as Premier.

The OBA source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added: “I fear that this announcement will fragment the party and I think it is a bad business decision.

“We have all these great initiatives and projects in the pipeline and the Public Works Ministry is obviously going to play a major role in all of them.

“It is a serious concern that given the manner of his departure as Premier, his reappointment could have a negative impact on all the positive work that is going on. It’s very worrying.”