On Thursday evening, former Premier and the Shadow Minister of Public Works the Honorable Craig Cannonier hosted a Zoom meeting regarding documents that have been leaked surrounding the development project for the National Sports Center which costs more than $3 million.
According to Mr. Cannonier, several people within the Government and on the Board of Trustees for the sports center have called the leaked documents inauthentic. He would like to assure the public that these documents are genuine.
“ These [documents represent] facts that we know, in writing, have taken place,” he said. “Facts that the trustees have written to the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports, and then have the trustees question the Permanent Secretary as to the confusion going back and forth as to if they knew, did not know, etc. All of this is in writing and has names to it.”
Since this is the case and that the documents are now in the hands of media, Mr. Cannonier urges the Government to stop the farce and come clean, because they will be made public eventually.
“ I would like the government to show us those documents and minutes [which state that the trustees are in agreement with this project], and you will not find them,” he said. “ I have all of the documents [in question] in my hand.”
Mr. Cannonier believes that the Sports Center’s finance officer, Norette Simmons, resigned from the board after three years because she knew that the proper financial instructions were not followed with the approval of this project and refuses to get caught in the middle of the situation.
Mr. Cannonier has not accused anyone from the Government of anything yet, but he has asked some questions; which according to him, have not yet been answered. The Finance Minister the Honorable Curtis Dickinson also raised questions about the project and voiced that better terms need to be renegotiated or the project needs to go back out to bid.
“ The Premier also wrote a letter for [Ms. Simmons] to put out to the public after she stood on the side of integrity, to compromise herself,” he said.
This is not the first time, according to Mr. Cannonier, that Premier Burt has tried to compromise people’s integrity and make people scapegoats.
“ All you have to do is ask Neletha Butterfield about becoming the Premier’s scapegoat . . . talk to Marc Bean and find out what he is willing to do,” he said. “ I am not accusing anyone of anything, but no one is getting any answers [with this project] and there is a reason for it.”
Mr. Cannonier would like to thank the National Stadium trustees for the hard work that they have been doing in trying to keep the center afloat, even before the pandemic. He understands how much more difficult it is now, given the current circumstances, to keep a balanced budget.
“ To the trustees, I have the documentation where you guys have been writing to each other back and forth and supporting one another and saying that the process has not been transparent and I smell a rat. I’m asking them to not back down to the bully,” he said.
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