I’ve been on holiday mode for the last week or so, which seems to have coincided with a sudden acceleration of Premier Cannonier’s slow political death.
As I write this Premier Cannonier remains Premier, but the Governing party is clearly in convulsions over the expanding political scandal of ‘Jet Gate’.
To me, the Premier’s position is untenable. It’s no longer a question of ‘will he resign’ but one of ‘when’ and ‘how’.
The whole Jet Gate scandal has been a slow-motion train wreck, with the fate of Premier Cannonier and all those closely associated with him slowly materialising before our very eyes.
It’s true that, like in any country, there’s political junkies who have first focused on this issue before others, pointing to the problem with the Jet Gate trip right at the start, and noting how it has slowly evolved into a more and more serious incident over time.
The bulk of the people however have generally ignored this incident, shrugging it off as no big deal, but increasingly that is no longer the case.
Quite frankly, it’s reached a critical point where enough information has been revealed that the ‘man and woman on the street’ is beginning to detect the stench of corruption that is Jet Gate.
It is a stench that increasingly stalks the corridors of power in Bermuda, and threatens to undermine the country completely.
Our island’s reputation is at risk of being irreparably damaged.
Only a cathartic moment, involving the resignations of Premier Cannonier, AG Mark Pettingill and Tourism Minister – not just from Cabinet but from parliament itself – and a full independent investigation of Jet Gate will restore trust in our democracy.
More than that, this scandal needs to serve as a catalyst for campaign finance reforms in order to prevent such a scandal erupting again. This would restore faith in our democracy going forward, as the lack of such laws has long been a corrupting force in our politics.
There’s also the question of collective responsibility.
The OBA Cabinet, backbenchers and party officers have all rallied around those most tainted by this scandal – and as such all of them are now tainted, to varying degrees.
Ultimately, failure to address this issues will lead to the OBA being increasingly lacking in political capital to move forward.
For a party that was elected largely on a wave of anger towards perceived maladministration by the former PLP Government, to have been brought so low, by their own hands, is incredibly disappointing.
It’s time for it to end.
It’s time for the Premier and the others involved in Jet Gate to resign from Cabinet and from parliament.
It’s time for accountability.