July 25, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.

The bank knew more than voters

The bank knew more than voters
The bank knew more than voters

By Elaine Murray- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Right now Thad Hollis must feel like one of those chief financial officers at a major company. You know how that goes. When a company is making money, it’s all good but when the numbers begin to plummet, it’s time to unload on the CFO. Someone has to be the fall guy and that way, it’s not the company’s fault, it’s the CFO’s fault.  

The OBA hasn’t exactly had a walk in the park since they became Government. They inherited a staggering debt which they are struggling to turn around and just when they felt like maybe, just maybe, they could gain a little traction in the economy — boom! JetGate.  My Reader’s Digest version:  One Attorney General, one Tourism Minister, one what-exactly-does-Steve DeCosta-do-anyway? and one Premier board a jet and go see a business man about investing in Bermuda. They took a ride on his private jet when they should have gone commercial. Strike one.

Next up:  Months earlier, one political consultant, Derrick Green, and what-exactly-does-Steve DeCosta-do-again? open a PAC (Political Action Club) bank account to help one Craig Cannonier become the first One Bermuda Alliance Premier. The problem?  No one in the OBA party, including the Party Chairman, Thad Hollis, knew anything about the existence of the bank account accept for three, maybe four people. Strike two.  

One Premier resigned and then one Attorney General resigned, saying he had a new job, one Tourism/Transport Minister still has a job and one Minister of Home Affairs and Planning claims he didn’t know the nature or purpose of the account despite the fact that he was asked by a bank to confirm that political consultant, Derrick Green was a legitimate work permit holder working for the OBA before they approved his account. What a mess.

I have one criticism for Michael Fahy and that is, if a bank calls you asking about an American consultant attempting to open a local account, no matter that he has a work permit, a red flag should have gone up and you should have asked a few questions. Why? Well firstly, it’s highly unusual for consultants (who, by the nature of their work would only be in Bermuda temporarily), to open up a Bermuda bank account. With all the “know your client” regulations and policies at banks around the world, it’s a real pain in the neck.  

Secondly, most Americans absolutely don’t want one more IRS tax form to fill out. Yes, Americans are required to disclose all of their non US bank accounts to the IRS no matter how small. I would have at least asked Derrick Green, “Why?” since you were asked to vouch for him. I accept Michael Fahy’s explanation that he didn’t bother to ask but as a trained attorney I would suggest that next time, if there is ever a next time, ask the question!

And what about Derrick Green?  Derrick Green calls himself a political consultant? First rule of thumb, don’t screw the party that is compensating you to run a clean campaign and direct funds to get the party’s message out but not tell anyone about a secret PAC account. I think it’s safe to say that a one-way ticket home would be in order. Certainly, there are plenty of political consultants around who would like to spend time in a sunny place and not be tempted to do shady deals. 

Here’s a suggestion for the OBA when they begin working on their future reelection campaign: Take a page from the banks and “know your client” or in this case, know exactly who your team is before embarking on a campaign that’s primary message is “Change” and “Transparency”. “Change”, by the way, doesn’t mean money changing hands! 

The bank knew more than the voters and if Steven DeCosta and Derrick Green are such loyal friends of former Premier Craig Cannonier and if there is really nothing to hide, then grow a set and come clean. 


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The Bermuda Sun bids farewell...

JUL 30, 2014: It marked the end of an era as our printers and collators produced the very last edition of the Bermuda Sun.



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