Derrick Green, the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) political consultant at the heart of the ongoing JetGate scandal, is staying tightlipped about another political controversy that erupted earlier this week.
David Burt, the Shadow Finance Minister, raised a series of questions about Mr Green’s links with Cosmic LTD, a consultant that had a Bermuda tourism contract earlier this year: “The revelation that OBA political consultant Derrick Green has been linked to lucrative contracts with the Bermuda Tourism Authority should concern all Bermudians,” he said through a statement. “Considering Mr Green has no experience with tourism and is the former college roommate of Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell, the news that Green has pocketed thousands of taxpayer dollars is even more disturbing.”
Mr Burt had a litany of questions pertaining to the specifics of the contract and suggested “Bermudians desperate for work and with experience in tourism have once again found themselves pushed aside in favour of a non-Bermudian with questionable experience.”
David Dodwell, board chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, through a detailed statement, said Cosmic LTD was contracted in January to provide “a casino gaming education program in concert with” the tourism ministry.
Per that six-week agreement, Cosmic was charged with providing facts to Bermudians concerning the economic impact of casino gaming, allowing Bermudians to have a voice in how casino gaming should be structured and educate the public to the benefits of casino gaming.
Cosmic researched the subject, developed a casino presentation, helped conduct Town Hall meetings, and did outreach to social service providers, among other public relations efforts. Such services cost $80,000, according to the authority, and such expenses had previously been budgeted and approved by the management committee overseeing the transition between the former Bermuda Department of Tourism and the new BTA.
Both Mr Dodwell and Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell released statements that took pains to say Mr Green was never awarded any contract by the BTA and that Mr Green was not, and is not, a consultant to the BTA.
The authority stated it had no role in the employment agreement and Mr Crockwell said he had no role in the hiring of Cosmic: “Once again the Opposition has spoken irresponsibly without the benefit of the full facts,” Mr Crockwell said. “And to suggest anything improper regarding my relationship with Mr Green is extremely careless. I take great issue with such inaccurate inferences which only serve to unnecessarily sensationalize the matter.”
Mr Crockwell’s explanation apparently did not sit well with Mr Burt.
“The Tourism Minister must think that Bermudians are stupid, given his inadequate and evasive response to serious questions surrounding the granting of lucrative contracts to his good friend Mr Derrick Green,” he said through a statement. “The OBA promised that the Bermuda Tourism Authority would take the politics out of tourism, but it seems that politics has been replaced with OBA secrecy, lack of accountability [and] political cronyism.”
Mr Green, an American political consultant who helped the OBA to victory in 2012, has batted away suggestions that there was anything untoward in his connection to Tourism Authority. He echoed sentiments already expressed by Mr Crockwell and Mr Dodwell.
“I want to reiterate [that neither] Derrick Green nor Green Consultants has ever received a contract from the BTA or from the government of Bermuda,” Mr Green told the Sun earlier this week.
He declined to answer any questions: “I stand by my original statement,” he said. “I don’t want to get into a back and forth with them.”