Craig Cannonier *File photo
Craig Cannonier *File photo

Steven DeCosta says he embarked on a major canvassing campaign for the OBA  because he believed in Craig Cannonier.

The 43-year-old father-of-two, together with OBA consultant Derrick Green, helped run the behind-the-scenes operation to promote the party in the build up to the 2012 election.

Mr DeCosta told the Sun that he did not believe the former Premier should have stepped down because he had done nothing wrong.

And he strongly rejected claims that they had ‘paid for the vote’.

Asked if his decision to get involved and lead the ‘stealth operation’ was just “business” for him, Mr DeCosta replied: “No, it was more because I believed in Craig.

“I supported him and thought he would be able to make a difference and I truly thought that Craig would be able to make a big difference in the black community.

“I still do think that there is economic inequality in the black community.

“At that time that was what Craig was bringing to the table, that was ultimately what he was trying to do — he wanted to change the way. This is a good man, this is a guy that wanted to do something different. That is what won the election.

“I got involved really because of the process that I believed in. I though Craig would truly be able to make a difference if he won the election.”

Mr DeCosta said he had been ‘good friends’ with Mr Cannonier for more than a decade and knew his wife, Antoinette, well.

‘We didn’t buy votes’

He added: “People have had me as Craig’s business associate, then they had me as his business partner. But I am the general manager of the gas stations and he is a shareholder.”

In August 2012, Mr DeCosta said he was introduced to political consultant, Mr Green, by Mr Cannonier and the duo spoke about ideas for an election campaign for the OBA.

They then worked together on how to conduct the canvassing campaign in Bermuda. 

Mr DeCosta added: “We bounced off some of the ideas that I had, some of the ideas he had and we decided that it would be great to be able to do a grassroots campaign. 

“There were different ideas I had about being able to engage people.”

An allegation that swirled post-election was that some constitiuents were offered rewards such as grocery vouchers, in return for their support at the polls.

Mr DeCosta said: “Right now the perception is — and people keep putting a spin on it —  saying that we paid for the vote.

“There was absolutely none of that. I did a proposal to them, with Derrick, and they liked it.

“It was not formal — it was like here are my ideas, here is what Derrick is looking for.

“I’m not a politician or a political strategist. We basically just decided to go ahead and move forward.” 

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