I’m glad that the Gaming Commission has made a statement today regarding the hiring of former Education Minster Wayne Scott.
It helps to clarify the situation and is repeated here in full. For reference, this was the original story where mention of the involvement of Cabinet ministers was mentioned.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2017
‘SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT’ – A Statement from Alan Dunch, Chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission
Much has been said in the last week in the local media and through various blogs/ political forums about the hiring of OBA MP Wayne Scott, as Chief Technology Officer of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission. I would like to address what is clear misinformation circulating about the proper interpretation of the Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2016 – and set the record straight.
It is being repeatedly said that the Act prevents former cabinet ministers from any involvement in the Gaming industry for two years after they leave office. This is simply wrong and those who say or publish this have obviously not read or understood the relevant sections of the Act.
The relevant sections of the Act are Sections 187A to 187D of the Act, which was passed in the House of Assembly on November 21st, 2016.
The Act states that a “relevant official”, defined as a Commissioner, Commission staff, some Government employees and Government Officials, is prohibited from holding “any interest” during the period in which they hold office, and for two years from the date in which they cease to hold office, without the prior written consent of the Commission.
However, the Act is very clear as to the quite limited nature of what exactly this “interest” involves.
Section 187D states that it shall be an offence for any relevant official, or for the immediate family of said official, without the prior written consent of the Commission, to have a direct interest, either legally or beneficially, in any licenced casino entity or its affiliates.
Just like every other employee of BCGC, Mr. Scott is neither the holder of a casino licence nor is he affiliated with anyone that is in the process of applying for one.
Having regard to the other express and limited provisions of this Section, the former Education Minister has not solicited or accepted any complimentary service from any entity applying for a casino licence under the Act, nor has he provided any goods or services to an applicant for of any licence under the Act, other than in the ordinary course of his duties as an employee of the Commission.
The Act does not prohibit former or sitting ministers or members of Parliament from being employed by the Commission. It also does not prohibit such persons from any involvement in the gaming industry for a specified or any period of time.
As stated last week by Richard Schuetz, the Commission’s Executive Director, the review panel for all interviews as it pertains to the role of CTO was composed of BCGC Commissioner Judith Hall Bean, someone much respected in the community and with 49 years’ experience in Bermuda’s Civil Service, as well as a technological advisor from one of the Big Four accounting firms on the Island. Also on the review panel was Mr. Schuetz himself and the Commission’s Chief Financial Officer. All four of the reviewers unanimously ranked Mr. Scott as the best candidate for the job in both rounds of interviews.
While none of the candidates had gaming experience, the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission was committed to hiring a Bermudian for the role of CTO and Mr. Scott had virtually all of the technical skills and qualifications required for the job.
The Commissioners unanimously accepted the recommendation of the review panel that Mr. Scott be appointed to the role of CTO and we look forward to working with him in our quest to create a viable, regulated casino gaming industry in Bermuda.”
A statement by the OBA said in part:
“The Opposition says Mr Scott’s appointment is a conflict of interest and that he should resign, but Section 187 of the Casino Gaming Act makes it clear that there is no breach of the Act. Indeed, Mr Scott’s position is no different from that of Ms Wilson, who has a position with the government-funded National Anti-Money Laundering Committee.
“It is our view that both MPs should be entitled to use their expertise; and should matters come before the House of Assembly relating to their employment the Speaker is responsible for decisions on their recusal.”
I have to say, I have never come across the National Anti Money Laundering Committee and a quick Google search fails to throw up any stories.
I am sure Mr Scott is the best man for the job and I wish him well, but it will be interesting to be in the House if this situation crops up as I am sure the PLP will not want to let this one go.