OBA accused of hypocrisy over Ball selection
The Progressive Labour Party claimed yesterday that the One Bermuda Alliance candidate selected to fight a House of Assembly seat showed “hypocrisy and cynicism”.
The ruling party hit out after it was revealed that Vic Ball, a former OBA senator, will battle for Smith's West after the resignation of veteran MP Trevor Moniz.
A Commission of Inquiry heard in 2016 that Mr Ball failed to mention his father's 50 per cent interest in Harmony Holdings, a company he recommended for a $1.4 million government project when he was a Department of Works and Engineering purchasing officer in 2009.
The commission, established to inquire into the findings of the Auditor-General's reports for 2010 to 2012, highlighted in a report that Cabinet approval for the contract had not been asked for.
It ruled that Mr Ball's actions were a breach of financial instructions and the Civil Service Conditions of Employment and Code of Conduct.
A PLP spokeswoman said yesterday: “The announcement of former senator Vic Ball as the OBA replacement for Trevor Moniz exposes the hypocrisy and cynicism around the vicious campaign that party has waged against the PLP over the past 20 years. It is clear that the OBA has no plan and lacks vision.
“During the OBA's Commission of Inquiry, allegations surrounding senator Ball's involvement in a contract awarded to his father would have been condemned if something even remotely like this occurred involving a member of the PLP.
“Under the OBA's standards, this fits the bill of ‘friends and family'.
“Under everyone else's standards, it fits the bill of lacking transparency and openness.
“And to make matters worse, Senator Ball said he would do it again.”
She asked: “If the PLP presented a candidate tainted with these allegations and who claimed publicly that they would do it again, would you vote for them?”
The spokeswoman said: “The residents of Constituency 9 deserve a new start.
“After years of being ignored by their MP and the OBA administration, it is time they have one who will meet them on their doorsteps and lobby on their behalf.”
She added: “The Progressive Labour Party will be announcing our candidate for Smith's West in due course, and when we do, it will be someone who will commit themselves to their constituency, and who will ensure their needs are communicated to the Government and actions taken on their concerns.”
But an OBA spokesman said: “After giving $1.2 million to a former PLP Premier, the PLP makes itself sound ridiculous.
“The PLP needs to be focused on fixing the economy. Why did it not release a statement on its economic plans, which is what Bermudians really want to hear about?
“They want to know what this government is doing to provide an economic stimulus to make sure they have a job.”
He added: “Lastly, Vic Ball attended the Commission of Inquiry, unlike others. Perhaps the PLP can explain that?”
Mr Ball said yesterday that he was “beyond” the conflict of interest controversy, which caused him to offer his resignation as a senator to Mr Dunkley, then the Premier, in 2017.
Mr Dunkley rejected the resignation offer and yesterday welcomed Mr Ball's selection as a candidate.
Mr Ball highlighted that the incident happened 11 years ago.
He said: “People are now concerned about how they're going to buy groceries in 11 days, how they're going to pay their bills in 11 months and the education that their children are going to receive and the jobs that they might be able to get over the next 11 years.”