- The following article was submitted Shadow Minister of National Security & former Premier, Michael Dunkley on Friday, June 15, 2018
After the comments by Hon. Member DeSilva, regarding the relationship between the US and Bermuda and any treaty violations against the OBA Government earlier on the Motion to Adjourn (MTA), I rise Mr Speaker to set the record straight, correct the comments and reflect on the alarming comments by the Premier during the MTA on March 9th.
First, let me agree with the Hon Premier on the MTA in March when he said at that time, and Hansard records it on page 106 of the March 9th sitting, “people must be held to account for their actions”.
Always Mr Speaker, even the Hon Premier.
During that MTA on that day I believe the Hon Premier actually misled the House, either intentionally or unintentionally, with his comments in regards to the Government, which I led putting at risk our treaty relationship with the United States Page 107.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, the Premier stood in this Chamber and made this allegation, as I said, either intentionally or unintentionally. Neither is good.
Please allow me to explain.
I quote the Premier, same page of the Hansard: “Well the fact of the matter is that there was a complaint by the US Department of Justice which was sent to the OBA Government that the information was used in their civil case came through a mutual legal assistance treaty request. And that information should not have been used in a civil case.”
The Premier goes on to say…”these are the facts, and there is not a single person on that side who sat in Cabinet, who will stand to a point of order. Because they know it to be true.”
Well Mr. Speaker I did not stand to a point of order because at times, just as it is wise to give a fish some line to get hooked, it is also prudent to let a politician talk.
The Premier goes on to say in the Hansard on Page 108…”the fact of the matter is that there was a complaint by the US Department of Justice that the OBA Government used information that was received in a mutual legal assistance for a civil matter. Those are the facts.”
And on page 109 the Premier says: “This is a very important matter, which can have an impact on our relationship.”
And members of the House will be aware that the Premier showed the e-mail in question to you. An e-mail that I believe was leaked from Chambers and given to a PLP Opposition member at the time.
Yes, Mr. Speaker leaked from Chambers.
End of story perhaps Mr. Speaker?
Well not quite so fast.
What the Premier did not tell the House, or the people of Bermuda, was that within a very short period of time, about 24 hours I believe, there were other exchanges by e-mail that cleared up this matter to the satisfaction of the DOJ.
Yes, Mr. Speaker I said that cleared up the matter.
Mr. Speaker these are the real facts of this matter; not what the Premier stated on March 9th.
Mr. Speaker there were in fact other important exchanges of e-mails that the Premier failed to mention.
Within twenty four hours of receiving the original e-mail from the DOJ in Chambers, a reply had been sent back explaining the matter and within the same 24 hours the DOJ had replied to that all was well.
Let me repeat….
Mr. Speaker this is a totally different set of “facts” to the misinformation provided to this House by the Hon Members.
So, Mr. Speaker, the question must be put… did the Premier and now the former Minister DeSilva mislead the House purposely or did the Hon Members not check for further correspondence. If it’s the latter, then one would rightly question how anyone would not check for the full train of information.
After all Mr. Speaker that is the natural course of action to take and certainly, in such an important matter, it is inconceivable that this was not done.
So, Mr Speaker, the Premier’s MTA comments on March 9th was pure politics of misinformation at best! Just like the Hon Member from #C29 tonight (Friday, June 15, 2018).
To put it bluntly, the Hon Members have mislead this House and the country, as there was never any issue between Bermuda and the US. The Premier simply made it up and the former Minister followed along.
Can you imagine?
Simply making up a serious allegation like this!
Bringing into question our relationship with the United States of America for political posturing!
Now if this was a mistake because the Premier was given bad advice then heads should roll – if not, then the Cabinet, backbench and the rest of Bermuda should question the integrity of the Premier and now the former Minister DeSilva, who willingly misled the House and the people of Bermuda. For what reason I do not know.
To stand on the floor of this Chamber and make very strong allegations impacting our relationship with our closest neighbour and the strongest country in the world is beyond belief!
The Premier and former Minister owe this House and the people of Bermuda an explanation.
I started with a quote from the Hon Premier and I will end with the same quote but in full context …”So when you decide to risk the relationship that we have with our number one trading partner by using information that is received from a federal grand jury that is shared for you for mutual legal assistance, and then you take that information and use it in a civil trial and you attract the attention of the US Department of Justice who is asking, why are you doing this? people need to be held to account for their actions.”
Mr Speaker, I have shown the Premier’s allegations, now followed up by the Hon Member of C#29, to be incorrect.
When an Hon Member stands in this House and uses one e-mail but fails to mention two further e-mails important to this matter, someone needs to be held to account.
I trust the Premier will clear up this matter.
- Notes as referred to during my comments on the Motion to Adjourn
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