Progressive Labour Party Chairman Damon Wade has responded to the call for his resignation, following published reports on the audio leaked via social media.
That audio included comments by Mr Wade stating that “incompetence, arrogance and vindictiveness” was deployed against him by members of the PLP Cabinet at a Central Committee (CC) meeting at party headquarters earlier this month.
He also denied that he tried “to gain a government contract or to seek personal gain” by responding “to an open bid for an Energy Savings Initiative for the National Sports Centre in February 2018”.
It prompted a unanimous vote of no confidence in the chairman by the party’s executive last week, saying it had “zero tolerance” for “the exploitation of a party office for personal gain”.
A PLP spokeswoman issued a statement that said: “In the PLP, we proudly stand on our legacy of vowing that Bermuda’s opportunities and ingenuity must always be utilised in the public interest and for greatest good.
“Regrettably, the individual failed to live up to the high moral standard that the officers and members have set for the party and themselves.
“The party acted to protect and further enshrine its values.
“To that end, the PLP wishes to advise the public that the executive committee of the party held an emergency meeting last week where a motion of no confidence was passed unanimously against chairman Damon Wade.
“The executive committee also called for the chairman to immediately resign his position.
“The PLP has a zero-tolerance policy regarding the exploitation of party office for personal gain.
“No public official or public servant acted inappropriately,” she added.
But in a post published in various chat groups on the local social media circuit on Christmas Eve, by various sources, Mr Wade stated outright that he has no intentions of handing in his resignation as party Chairman.
Good Day Friends & Family, You may now be aware of the remarks I made at Central Committee December 9th, 2019 and the resulting articles in the local media.
15 Facts! The Project
1. I did not use my position as Chairman of the Party to gain a government contract or to seek personal gain. I responded to an open bid for an Energy Savings Initiative for the National Sports Centre in February 2018.
2. The winner was announced September 2018.
3. I became Chairman the end of October 2018.
4. As of December 9th, 2019 (the date of my comments and 15 months after being awarded the bid) there was no “notice to proceed” for the project due to delays in the various Ministries mentioned in my remarks.
5. I raised my concerns repeatedly to the Premier over the 15 months (as invited and instructed by him) given our regularly scheduled weekly meetings. The first meeting at which I raised my concerns regarding my project was January 24th, 2019 after two months delays experienced by the National Sports Centre going through their reporting Minister. The National Sports Centre was and still is in desperate need of the equipment we are replacing. They have lost revenues and experienced extremely high maintenance costs as a result of the delays. The Comments
6. A CC meeting notification was sent out for December 9th, 2019. An agenda was approved. I used my agenda item to report on my experience with the PLP government and highlighted this to be a trend with other members and supporters. What other organ should I have taken my concerns to?
7. My behavior was governed by CC meeting rules, Robert’s Rules, and the meeting Chairman and/or the Ex-officio Chairman (the Leader). There was ample opportunity for a point of order, but none was made and as of today no one has disputed my portrayal of the events.
8. The Executive called an emergency meeting to discuss the events and to come up with a way forward. I informed the Executive as follows, “I thought this meeting was to discuss the fallout from my comments in the party / general public and a way forward. It would appear as though you are trying to hold some type of hearing. That would not be in the Executives purview and you would be compromising any future disciplinary hearing.”
9. I was interrogated by each member of the Executive and asked to resign. I refused to resign, so they put a motion on the floor of “no confidence”. 11 voted for the motion and 1 abstain (me).
10. Per the constitution the Executive had no right to appoint themselves judge, jury and executioner in this case. Nor did they have the right to publicly disparage me in public in the absence of due process! My Reality
11. I am a young Black Bermudian Business Owner with unique skills and experience acquired from working at the Ascendant group of companies for almost two decades. Those who know me know my gift is not to flaunt my skills and experience but to share them. I joined the Party to share my skills, experience and knowledge. I ran for Chair because I did not see a strategy in place to ensure we held the Government long-term.
12. My belief is you cannot stay in government if you do not have an answer to the economic crisis facing this island. More specifically, we need to deal with the plight of Black people. We need to support and build new Black business and the PLP claims to support this view. How much revenue did we create for Black businesses over the past year? How can you improve what you don’t measure or even discuss?
13. I have spent over a year now trying to help the Party in an unpaid position, relying on my business to foot the bill for my time an effort. Simultaneously, the same government is causing significant delays (and significant financial damage) in the business I am using to help me support the Party and my family. I still need to feed my family!
14. I had no intention on calling on anyone to address my company needs. I didn’t even mention it until after 3 months of delays and no feedback through the normal channels. So, I think is extremely disingenuous for people to say I was using my position for personal gain. I was using my position to get clarity on delays which may have be systematic but certainly felt deliberate (this was supported by insiders who could not believe I was experiencing such delays for simple routine requests). But for those who still sit on the fence, I would ask you to ask anyone who knows me what I am about and then look at who the people are who are spouting negatives views about me before you jump on one bandwagon or another.
15. Ask people at BELCO, BGU, Stationary Store, or Office Solutions. Everything I did there was for the benefit of all the people. Not me. That has always been my mantra and that’s people there still support me. And that’s what I trying to do at the PLP. What are others doing?
Earlier this week, Mr Wade who became chairman in October 2018, was quoted as saying: “I do not intend to discuss the details of our dispute publicly, but I adamantly reject the extremely damaging statements made by the party spokesperson, regarding my actions as party chairman.
“The publishing of their statement was irresponsible and unconstitutional. I have asked them to retract the misleading and malicious statements made.”
On his proposal to generate jobs and provide funds for investment in black-owned businesses, he said: “Instead of seriously considering the potential, the Premier sent me to discuss this project with the Secretary of the Cabinet.”
He was also quoted as saying: “A large target was placed on my back as soon as I announced that I would be running for chairman and my intent was to hold our Cabinet accountable.
“It‘s been a year, struggling, begging these people to allow me to do this project.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back occurred over a week ago, when I angrily brought this situation up in a WhatsApp to the Premier, and true to form, he proceeded to tell me he did not like my tone.
“Seriously. Him and the members of his Cabinet have cost me over a quarter of a million dollars in 12 months and he don’t like my tone.”
It was also noted that his speech was recorded without his consent, which is why he has declined to comment.
We should also note that his statement was published by various sources, which as far as we know, did not include Mr Wade.