These days I try not to get rattled in this political life so easily and bark at every passing dog, but I must say the Jan. 10 Compass article cannot be allowed to go [without] some challenge and clarification. Sadly the Compass tried to reach me at an email I don’t use and hence I missed responding in your original article.

When one questions my integrity the bus must come to a halt and this is how I read what MLA Alva Suckoo has tried to do, or has done here. Now who is playing politics one might rightly ask? Bearing in mind that the silly season is upon us and we have just witnessed Trump winning as U.S. president giving scant regard for the truth, I guess we should expect anything in the coming months from certain quarters desperate to hold on or win a seat. To say I’m disappointed in my friend Mr. Suckoo’s allegations is putting it mildly.

He alleges that we (Minister Wayne Panton and myself – two men he knows very well) gave away tickets to play politics with the Island Rumble event, and that this is all so wrong and unethical and was purely to benefit the Progressives and its administration and supporters. Well let me ask Mr. Suckoo what’s so wrong now that he’s on the other side when we sponsor large events and are given, as a sitting government, an allotment of tickets, for that very same reason. Organizers or promoters of events do this all of the time to major sponsors, and since when is it a crime?

Mr. Suckoo certainly played his part in such activities for the 2.5 years he was a member of the Progressives and now suddenly, because he walked away from the government for no good reason, breaking his promise to us as a party and the people he was elected to serve, it is all so wrong? Mr. Suckoo can’t have his cake and eat it, too. If he wanted tickets to hand around to a few people at times like this, when events are being held and sponsored, then maybe he should have stayed where he was up until December 2015. He was, after all, my councilor for sports, and he knows the system all too well! I wonder how he wishes to explain that the ticket he received for the event was also comped by the promoter? I would ask him, “Does that make you unethical as well, Mr. Suckoo?”

As for the allegation that we removed him from the Bodden Town list of invitees for the Beach Bay groundbreaking, although I had nothing to do with arrangements, I am positive that this would not have been intentionally done, as it is common practice regardless of sides that district MLAs are invited to such events that we all have an interest in. Having said that, another area that Mr. Suckoo has great interest in is boxing, and [he] previously supported me well in this regard, yet, although invited to the groundbreaking in Bodden Town on Saturday morning for the new boxing gym, he did not attend. I’m having some trouble reconciling this all and knowing he was at the Saturday night event.

All of my life I have been honest, hardworking and community minded, and it’s the reason I am where I am, of that I am sure. I help people whether I am in or out of government, and therefore for me to think that tickets valued at $35 would secure someone’s vote for me would be shallow minded at best. This was simply a gesture to people who work closely with us of appreciation for all they do. They are already supporters of ours! We had nothing to hide and hence we used an email to them, due to the short time between receiving the tickets and the event. Where is the corruption in this? Will we now seek to ban entities from issuing comp tickets?

I will leave it there, but I serve notice to all and sundry – beat me up all you want politically, but when you challenge my integrity get ready to defend, because I will be firing back. At 55, it’s all I really own and I will take [it] to the grave with me.

Minister Osbourne Bodden

 

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