The Progressive Labour Party hit back at comments made by Opposition MP Scott Pearman on the five-digit contract awarded to the Attorney General’s husband, Myron Simmons.
A party spokesman dismissed the remarks by the Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, as “unfounded and irresponsible”, after the Government was accused of making “considerable payments to friends and family”.
This after Mr Simmons was listed as “counsel” with a contract worth $13,721.96 per month from April 1 to June 30.
In a statement released earlier this week, Mr Pearman said there was “no legitimate justification” for Myron Simmons, to be awarded a government contract worth nearly $14,000 a month by the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Reform while his replacement was sought.
The party was quick to respond, claiming the statement was “baseless and reckless” and a “deliberate smear attempt”.
He noted that it is common practice for public officers who have ended their term of employment to be asked to provide services for a fixed time while the recruitment process is completed.
“If this is not the case, the Bermudian taxpayer is at a disadvantage as services provided by the Government or technical expertise can be lost. Should this common practice not be the case just because of whom someone is married to?
“It should be common understanding for One Bermuda Alliance MPs that all public funds are safeguarded through adherence to Financial Instructions and policies,” he added.
“As such, Financial Instructions dictate the processes that public officers must follow to engage someone in a consultancy role to ensure the proper use of public funds.
“These consultancy arrangements, approved by the Head of the Public Service, are handled by professional and non-partisan public officers.
“This process was followed in this case.
“Mr Pearman’s accusations not only malign our diligent public servants but undermine the principles of good governance — that those who cannot defend themselves shouldn’t be attacked publicly.”
The spokesman also stated: “The PLP will not tolerate these misleading allegations that only try to undermine public trust in the work of the Public Service.
“We would hope that Mr Pearman, and by extension, the OBA, would focus on constructive criticism, holding the Government to account when rules are broken rather than resorting to cheap defamatory tactics when rules are followed because it is politically expedient to do so.”