Dr Rufus Ewing, leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP), said he will submit a written objection to the appointment of Carl Simmons to the Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC).
However, Ewing told television viewers that the appointment of local attorney Tremaine Swan-Harvey, who is an associate of the law firm of Misick and Stanbrook, in his view, was acceptable and that she was a person of integrity.
The founder and senior partner of Swan-Harvey’s employer is Ariel Misick, the brother of now disgraced former premier and former leader of the PNP, Michael Misick, who is currently a fugitive from justice.
Ewing’s issue with Simmons is that the local CEO of Tropical Shipping is a member of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) National Governing Council. However, PDM insiders say that Simmons rarely attends NGC meetings, which require full attendance of all members without a valid excuse. Simmons does appear and vote at PDM conventions.
Ewing is pleading that there was insufficient time and notice for the political parties to agree on the members of the EBC. However, the Governor, who appointed the commission members, which also include a local judge Margaret Ramsay-Hale, has published the following list of at least five separate times both parties were notified to come to an agreement on a neutral party. The first notice was in early February this year, almost five months ago. However, Ewing was not leader of the PNP at that time and the notice was given to then PNP leader, attorney Clayton Greene.
• 7 February – Letter to PNP leader on various matters, including a direct request to propose with the PDM a joint member to the EBC
• 29 March – Joint meeting with PNP and PDM chaired by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy at which both parties were asked to come forward with a joint candidate for the EBC. Governor’s Office personnel present at the meeting and Ewing was a member of the PNP delegation that attended the meeting
• 10 May – Letter to PNP leader on various matters with a further request to nominate one member collectively with the PDM
• 28 May – Oral request by the Governor to both party leaders in the margins of the ceremony at the JAGS McCartney Memorial on National Heroes Day
• 12 June – Meeting with both party leaders by Minister Henry Bellingham at which he asked party leaders to nominate jointly one member to the EBC
• 14 June – Email to each party leader on various matters including a further request to nominate a collectively agreed member. Both parties submitted separate names but failed to indicate if the other party was in agreement. June 18 deadline set for a response from the parties.
• 20 June – No response received from the parties. Governor moved to invite an individual to be appointed.
Both parties had reportedly discussed two different local pastors but each party found the other’s suggestion unacceptable, which appears to reflect the political polarisation of the territory reaching even the local religious leaders.
Former premier Michael Misick early in his administration passed out large donations of government funds to local churches, bishops and pastors. In one case, a government cheque for $140,000 was reportedly given to a local bishop at a PNP prayer breakfast.
The pastor suggested by the PDM to serve on the EBC is reported to have torn up the cheque given to him by the Misick administration.