Premier hits out at PLP’s ‘gutter politics’
Michael Dunkley launched a broadside against the Progressive Labour Party last night, accusing its leadership of “undermining the system to serve its narrow-minded, self-serving political motives”.
The attack came after PLP MP Wayne Furbert announced he would table legislation in Parliament today to create a Commission of Inquiry into allegations of bribery made against two government ministers and a former Attorney-General.
Mr Furbert told a press conference last Friday that “in the interests of public welfare”, he wanted the inquiry to conduct a special investigation against the OBA's Craig Cannonier, Senator Michael Fahy and Mark Pettingill. But the Premier claimed Mr Furbert was “just following orders” and his call for an inquiry was part of the sustained PLP programme of “disinformation and criticism”.
Mr Dunkley said: “What does matter to Mr Furbert and his colleagues is doing whatever they can to raise doubts about the Government to distract people's attention from the progress we are making on their behalf and to drag the whole system down into their gutter.
“The Government will not allow the Opposition to undermine the system in order to serve its narrow-minded, self-serving, political motives.
“Their sustained programme of mud-throwing has nothing to do with serving the best interests of Bermudians and nothing to do with progressing the Island's economic recovery that can help so many.
“As for Mr Furbert's motion, we will deal with it accordingly when it comes up in the House of Assembly.”
Last Friday Mr Furbert urged Mr Dunkley to use the power of his office to direct his party to support his motion to establish a Commission of Inquiry.
“From the Jetgate scandal that saw three OBA ministers violate the ministerial code and led to the resignation of Premier Cannonier, to the serious allegations before the courts of attempted bribery in the waterfront scandal by OBA ministers and insiders.
“From Day 1, the OBA government's tenure has been characterised by scandals, broken promises and lack of transparency.
“When ministers are accused of accepting favours and payouts from casino developers or attempting to obtain bribes from waterfront developers, it casts a serious shadow over our reputation as a clean, modern, sophisticated jurisdiction.”
But the Premier, while making pointed references to developer Michael MacLean as “the man”, responded by saying that Mr Furbert's call for a formal inquiry was typical of the PLP leadership's “anything-goes political motives”.
He said: “It is now a well-known fact that they are carrying out a “sustained programme” of “disinformation and criticism”, as directed by a former PLP leader.
“It does not seem to matter that the court case in which the hearsay allegations were made is not yet finished.
“It does not seem to matter that the man did not provide the court with any direct or corroborating evidence to support the allegations made.
“It does not seem to matter that the man's own lawyer made not one reference to the allegations, or indeed anything in the man's affidavits, during the course of arguments presented to the Chief Justice.
“It does not seem to matter that there were four affidavits countering the man's allegations, including one from a lawyer-consultant with the Attorney-General's chambers.
“It does not seem to matter that until the case is resolved, the issues are sub judice with the result that an additional and alternative form of inquiry would be wholly inappropriate and, indeed, might be construed as indicating a lack of confidence in the judicial process.
“None of these things seem to matter to the PLP leadership.”