Cabinet ordered to decide over Savvy documents release
Information Commissioner Gitanjali Gutierrez has ordered the Cabinet Office to make a decision on whether to release records about an entertainment company which was lent $800,000 from the public purse.
The Royal Gazette requested the documents under public access to information last September – after it was revealed that the loan had not been repaid and police had been called in to help track down Savvy founder Anthony Blakey, an American music promoter.
The Royal Gazette got no response from the Government or any decision following a review by the Cabinet Secretary.
Now Ms Gutierrez has given the Cabinet Office until March 23 to issue a response.
She wrote in a decision due to be published this week: “It is a matter of fact that the Cabinet Office did not provide the applicant with an internal review decision within the statutory time frame.
“The Information Commissioner is satisfied that the Cabinet Office failed to comply with section 43(2) of the Pati Act.
“The Information Commissioner recommends that the Cabinet Office consider whether it is appropriate to apologise to the applicant for its failure to comply with the statutory timescale …”
The newspaper revealed in July 2019 that Government was trying to recover the loan, which was for a recording studio at Dockyard which never materialised.
In September 2020, it was reported that lawyers for the Government had failed to find Mr Blakey in Georgia to serve him with a legal demand to return the taxpayer funds, plus interest.
The story prompted David Burt, the Premier, to apologise for overseeing the loan to Mr Blakey and Danilee Trott, a Bermudian event planner who was working for Savvy.
After The Royal Gazette’s story was published, the Government made a complaint about the missing funds to the police and an investigation was launched.
Police arrested an individual – believed to be Ms Trott – on September 30 in connection with the missing cash.
Zane DeSilva, a former government minister, was arrested two days later and said after his release from custody that he had “absolutely no involvement” in the deal.
A police spokesman said on January 21: “The BPS continues to investigate matters initially referred to us by Government relating to a loan to Savvy Entertainment.
“The investigation has now expanded with two persons remaining on bail.”
The Pati request asked for records held by the former Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism on Savvy and on the loan agreement, including communications concerning Savvy, Mr Blakey and Ms Trott, and calendar or diary entries showing meetings between government officials and the pair.
Tourism now falls under the Premier’s brief.