The Mid-Ocean Article

I think most people on the island are by now aware of the serious allegations alluded to in todays Mid-Ocean News, essentially concerning the BHC scandal that first emerged in 2002. The articles essentially are a series of leaked Police documents from the police investigation from 2002-2004, and implicates in particular Premier Dr. Brown, MP Nelson Bascome, and alleged PLP candidate Zane DeSilva, as well as some other notables such as Former Premier Jennifer Smith, Former Minister Arthur Hodgson and former MP Arthur Pitcher.

I had first heard same bits of the news throughout the day, solely through word of mouth as well as from a post on the Bermuda Sucks website, that for some reason I cannot access any more right now. After work I was able to read the Mid-Ocean articles myself, and although I missed the beginning of the local news, I did catch some of it, as well as the Premiers press release regarding the issue.

Quite frankly I’m still considering the full extent of these allegations.

Right away however I will say that I without a doubt do feel that this leak is one of malicious political intent with the idea of character assasination, primarily of Dr. Brown, Nelson Bascome and Zane DeSilva, but of the Progressive Labour Party and its government as a whole. Such an attack was of course expected long before Dr. Brown became Premier, and was considered to be par for the course of any election campaign. The exact nature of course was undetermined. It is important to stress here that I am not saying that the BHC scandal was expected, only that it was expected that certain elements would seek out some sort of scandal, real or fabricated, with the intent of either aiding the Opposition UBP or (which is not neccessarily the same thing) attacking the governing PLP. With Dr. Brown as Premier it was clear that the main line of attack would revolve largely around Southlands, cronyism in general, and conflicts of interest concerning the Hospital. The attacks against ‘presidentalism’ emerged later, and many (the copius motorcades) I believe were largely fabricated or at least overly exagerrated.

That being said, it is important to carefully consider the scope of allegations covered in the Mid-Oceans peice. The reaction of the Premier in his press release and the consequences of this must also be considered.

If any of the allegations are true, illegal or not there should be consequences as a result. There will be those (and I have heard that some have already done so on the talk shows, but I do not generally listen to these and cannot confirm) who will say that this is no different from what the UBP did, and that those who argue these issues are more serious, or that those days should no longer occur, are arguing from an inherently racist position. I do not accept this line of argument as valid. Even if the UBP did commit similar actions, this is immaterial. It was long stated that the goal of the PLP was not to equal the UBP in corruption, but to purge corruption from the very system itself, and that the PLP sought not to rule as the UBP did, but better than the UBP. If these allegations are true, then the PLP has so far failed to do so. If the allegations (even if not illegal) are true it proves how far the Party has gone from its labour roots if its leaders could even consider even a handful of the activities alleged in the report.

I was not impressed by the Premiers press release rebuttal. Although he quite correctly stated that the very reports quoted in the Mid-Ocean stated that there was no reason to suspect him of criminal offence, or rather, it was decided not to pursue such investigation, this is not sufficient. Nor was his threat towards the Governor wise or prudent or neccesary. The whole speech reeked of reaction and anger, which was unfortunate. There will be those who will beleive they detected a hint of possible restricitons to press freedoms and civil liberties in that speech which was indeed pregnant with emotion.

I have always had a distinct aversion to any secret documentation and am a supporter of a full Freedom of Information Act, one that is not emasculated by vague concerns of national security. If the allegations are not true they must be rebutted, not swept away. Otherwise suspicion is aroused. Furthermore, while it is true that one is innocent until proven guilty, far too often in public perception the reverse is true, and this case is no different. Even if the accuser is the notoriously biased Mid-Ocean.

For the record, I was disappointed, but not suprised by the Mid-Oceans apparent Cuba fetish, or rather phobia. ‘Remote Caribbean dictatorship’ – what tripe! I have no problem whatosever dealing with Cuba, although I do have quite a bit of anger towards those who would exploit the Cuban people and their natural resources as it seems Mr. DeSilva and some ‘Cuban authorities’ seemed intent on doing with the alleged asbestoes and marble dealings.

It would seem that the fallout of this issue is only now beginning, and it will be legion. I sincerely hope that the allegations will prove just that, allegations. I would expect better from the Progressive Labour Party. I am not in a position or with the knowledge with which to adequately refute these allegations, but I wait to hear them from those who are.

12 thoughts on “The Mid-Ocean Article

  1. When you do unethical, under-the-table sh** like that with the people’s money you assassinate your own character… it’s called political suicide! if it’s true, that is.

  2. The validity of the allegations have not yet been proven. It is my hope that they will be successfully rebutted, and that in the event some of the allegations are substantiated, that appropriate repercussions occur to the relevant people (I would think it would be prudent to resign depending on the severity of the incident), and actions taken to prevent the possibility of similar incidents occurring again.

    I do think that a register of interests of all MPs and prospective political candidates should be compiled and updated regularly, say quarterly.

    I do think that we need a Freedom of Information Act in place that is comprehensive.

    I do think we need some sort of whistleblower protection act, complete with full investigatory powers to determine the validity of the situation.

    I do think we need to get away from private political donations, and make it so that a Party’s funding derives solely from its membership dues (that should be capped by law at a certain level), as well as State assistance equally to all political parties, along with strict equality of media use, including no ‘friends of campaigns.’

    I do think we need to seriously review some of our legislation, as disregarding the validity of the allegations, if they did occur as reported, to me they should be illegal and not merely ‘unethical.’

  3. Without going into to much detail let me just say that I myself and many I know have a long history of bad buisness deals with Zane DeSilva. From bad work to unpaid bills totalling thousands of dollars over several years. While I can not comment of the others mentioned in the reports including Ewart Brown, I can say with my past experience I see no reason to doubt the claims made against Mr. DeSilva, of course one is always innocent until proven guilty ;).

  4. where’s the $520 million dollars also the $750 million can someone tell how this can be unaccounted for. just.Interested. Has anyone apologize for the money problems from BHC I remember the Then Minister saying it was not true. Was he Lying to us the Bermuda Public

  5. Jonnystar, best I can tell, you are the last progressive left in the PLP. The US is suffering under the neo-cons, while we are being abused by the neo-fortytheives.

  6. With regard to Jonnystar’s excellent comments which I have just finished, I would like to share some differing perspectives: personally, I believe public figures should be held to higher standards than the public at large and in this instance the onus is clearly on the Premier and the various others to clear their names or resign. This is much more than simply an issue of whether or not crimes were committed- it is about credibility and integrity, and this correspondent’s view is that the Premier’s response to date has been sadly lacking on both counts.

    On a more minor note, I also take issue with your views on Cuba. This is one of two remaining Stalinist dictatorships, a regime which prostitutes its own people (sex tourism- ever wonder why so many of Bermuda’s high flyers like it there so much), a regime with more than twenty thousand political prisoners, and a regime which is regularely condemned by the civilized world (note the Swedish foreign minister’s recent comments). I could share a lot more, but I think you get my drift.

  7. Hi Noah,
    I wrote about my views on Cuba in a post ‘Cuba con Castro’ which you will find in the International Politics category. I agree that Cuba certainly has Stalinist dimensions and these must be criticised. There are also some serious gains in Cuba, and these deserve to be recognised. Similarly, the US and many other countries that routinely criticise Cuba do so hypocritically (such as the US in relation to torture, criminal aggression, and Guantanomo Bay), and these hypocrises must be pointed out not to distract from the failings of Cuba, but to show the bias of those that would point at Cuba and not themselves or their allies.

    My main point in regards to Cuba in this particular post was because the MON has a track record of attacking Cuba in an unbalanced way, and in my opinion deliberately included the Cuba allegations (the media reveals today that the published allegations are only a fraction, no doubt the most sensationalised, of the entire allegations) in line with their apparent editorial policy of unfairly attacking Cuba. I beleive it was the MON that came up with the ridicolous argument that the new Bus Station was a model of the one in Havana, as if that had any bearing on the utility of the structure whatsoever. I’m sure they would be amazed that Cuban buildings also have windows or doors!

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