Premier’s Office Refers Internet Post To Police

August 16, 2010

[Updated] The Premier’s office today [Aug 16] released a statement saying they have “notified the Bermuda Police Service about this threat and asked for an investigation” after “a so-called ‘joke’ about assassinating the Premier” on a local message board. The full statement and screenshot provided follows below:

Recently, it was discovered that a so-called ‘joke’ about assassinating the Premier was published on an anonymous online messaging board with a history of hateful comments against the Progressive Labour Party.

The comment, which did not receive condemnation from fellow commenters on the message board, read, “OK… point me to the grassy knoll then… actually that would be better now thinking about it… I’ll actually have a better shot view, and no one will ever see me… and I can leave without a trace…”

Assassination is no laughing matter. To this end, we have notified the Bermuda Police Service about this threat and asked for an investigation.

For years, shrouded in a cloak of anonymity, a small cabal of angry opponents of the PLP has spewed venomous hate toward the Party and its members on this message board. These anonymous online hypocrites claim to be beyond race, but, use it at every opportunity to highlight our differences and advance their agenda. Consider this recent post, published in full:

Yeah… it’s like the qLq (derogatory term for PLP) has forced Bermudian whites to ‘circle the wagons’ and separate protect themselves from those in power. Including the Gangsters, as they have much power as well. A giant step backwards, but perhaps necessary for survival….

Remember when the banks used to pull mortgages to advance their political interests? Well, this anonymous commenter wants to bring back those tactics:

Been calling for a boycott a long time…. you will not see my money going to any business or service owned by anyone related to the PLP Government. Meanwhile I’ll cash in on any and all the services they care to provide and jack the price up on anything they have to get from my businesses.

Finally, it’s not just about the PLP leadership to these people. It’s about PLP members and supporters. They have deep disdain and a fundamental lack of respect for the thousands of Bermudians who support the Progressive Labour Party:

Many have been accused of referring to PLP voters as ignorant sheep or blind followers. If the shoe fits...”

While we encourage and support freedom of speech – including anonymous speech – comments alluding to violence and assassination must be taken seriously. Assassination is never a laughing matter. Given the tone set by commenters such as those on the anonymous message board and in the media, we must not deny that the potential for political violence exists in our society.

The term ‘grassy knoll’ was made famous by the assassination of US President John F Kennedy. The screenshot provided by the Premier’s office is below [click to enlarge], and the original post can be found here.
Update Aug 17th: Bernews has been copied in on an email from someone claiming to be a poster at Bermudaisanotherworld [BIAW] forum, which came to the public’s attention yesterday following a statement by the Premier’s press secretary. In addition to mailing the media, the poster has emailed various Police departments stating his/hers concern over a posting made last night on the Premier’s Facebook page at 10:15pm Bermuda time, by an account appearing to belong to one of the Premier’s family members saying:

…But see me i dont joke about my father being killed….Premier or no Premier if I ever have the chance to find one of these people it will NOT be a good look for them or THEIR family….

The BIAW member goes on to say that:

…. if such family members did find the name(s) of online posters then I truly fear for their – and possibly my own – safety. In times of rapidly escalating violence island-wide I hope you take this threat seriously and investigate to the fullest of your abilities if any crimes have been committed – in much the same manner you will be doing with regards to the ‘grassy knoll’ posting previously mentioned.

The post has since been removed, however Bernews did see the initial post and we can confirm it existed. We also persused the account it came from, and the poster’s email stating whom the account belongs to appears to be correct. You can view the Facebook thread in question here, although the initial post has been removed.

Update #2: The Police released a statement saying:

The Bermuda Police Service following the information received by the Premier’s Press Secretary Jamahl Simmons has commenced inquires into the threat against the Premier Doctor the Honorable Ewart F. Brown JP MP. The first course of action will be to assess the threat then identify whether or not any criminal offences have occurred.

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Comments (34)

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  1. Mike says:

    Clearly the reference is to Kennedy. The comment made on the forum is lacking in basic common sense, but it certainly does not constitute a plan to assassinate anyone, let alone the Premier.

    • Dufus says:

      The reference isnt lost on most, but it appears that the significance of such a statement, particularly at a time of increased gun-play on Bermuda’s streets, is lost on those who seem to now be defending it or minimizing it. I will be interested to see whether those who consider it to be no more than a lack of common sense, now that is in the press, suitably berated the poster when it was first posted. Clearly it isnt a plot, but once again it underlines the responsibilities that accompany freedom of expression.

  2. Scott says:

    Look this was a badly timed statement htat is being blown out of proportion. I can guarantee this is not the first person to have thought or commented somethign like this regarding the premier… he has given people ample reason to at least think it from time to time.

    Plus this shouldnt come as too much of a shock. The premier is the first to hire bodyguards all the time. Obviously he knows full well that there is a lot of ill-will towards him, and as such jokes like this come as no surprise to him. I think this is simply being spun and made up to be some big anti-plp/brown conspiracy, when really it was a passing comment made.

  3. UncleElvis says:

    I take more issue with the sentence “For years, shrouded in a cloak of anonymity, a small cabal of angry opponents of the PLP has spewed venomous hate toward the Party and its members on this message board”, personally, but it’s interesting that they’re being so blatant in doing what they’re doing. This is just another smear campaign, another “They’re a lynch mob”.

    Funny how this comes up a MONTH after the post was made, after so many on that site have expressed a real show of support for Mr. Lister’s campaign to be Premier…

  4. can't forget says:

    One would have thought that the bullet found in the mail constituted a far more tangible threat than this message board remark !

    Wonder what ever became of that investigation ?

    Oh I forgot …. it was just a vote garnering fraud ….

    • Alex says:

      That’s what happens when you send mail to yourself…

      • mr b says:

        more like thats what happens when noone is allowed to look in the mail that you send to yourself…

  5. Letariatpro says:

    No real context there, he could be the paparazzi looking for an angle on Dr. Brown and his glitterati.

  6. Saved says:

    No matter what anyone thinks about the Premier, he is just that, the Premier. The person who posted those hateful remarks should be arrested and prosecuted, full stop.

  7. Rockfish#2 says:

    Clearly, the police should be alerted when anything that suggests that ANYONE has death threats made against him/her.
    However, does anyone really believe this is a genuine threat? Especially if it was made a month ago, and only now officially reported? I smell a rat!

    • Scott says:

      i agree.. alerting them isnt bad. perhaps its good pro-active care.. just in case..

      having a big statement about it that demonizes everyone on the forum though.. totally over the top politicking.

  8. Todd says:

    YOOOO HOOOOO….. over here! Pay no attention to that bad Policeman taking us to court over there…. We found somebody who talks bad about us….

  9. Rockfish says:

    Looks like someone is vying for a post in the next administration. After all, the incumbent always has an advantage!

  10. Taurus says:

    Why are people so hateful??? In light of the fact that there has been a lot of shootings, this threat cannot be taken lightly.It’s senseless that anyone would want to wish anyone dead. Remember karma!!

  11. UncleElvis says:

    Have you read the entire thread?

    Just curious. This was taken TOTALLY out of context and, as mentioned, was ignored for over a month… until it could be used for political gain.

  12. Lou says:

    The comments above the reduce this to mere political mischief really turn my stomach. Regardless of your feeling for this Premier, the comments, even if in part are true here cheapen all of us as Bermudians, and do a disgrace to the office of Premier.

    There is no excuse to associate the context of JFK assination with any relevant context for a Bermudian, particularly its leader.

    People who post for shock value and do so anonymously behave cowardly.

  13. UncleElvis says:

    Since we’re posting on both, I suppose I’ll join in…

    Then why did it take a month for this to come to light? Isn’t the timing a little suspect? The day that the Government is taken to court, we’re all talking about this instead?

    How does saying things that are true “cheapen all of us as Bermud…ians and do a disgrace to the office of Premier”?

    Pointing out that things are a little shady doesn’t disgrace the office of Premier. Lying to the people of Bermuda does.

  14. Modern Warfare says:

    Would it be such a bad thing????? I don’t think that a high percentage of Bermudians would mind – it would make the Governor’s job a litte easier when he starts the investgation into all the money that he has stolen from the Bermudian people…..

    “Hypocrites and parasites
    will come up and take a bite
    and if your your night should turn to day
    a lot of people would would run away
    and who the cap fit let them wear it……”

    and don’t miss !!!!

  15. Mike says:

    Can we put this into context please. Even the PLP called it a joke. In bad taste maybe – but a joke nonetheless.

    This morning the Premier’s Press Secretary Jahmal Simmons said: “Recently, it was discovered that a so-called ‘joke’ about assassinating the Premier was published on an anonymous online messaging board with a history of hateful comments against the Progressive Labour Party.

  16. Uncle Ruckus says:

    While I don’t agree with that persons comments this isn’t a big surprise. This is still the same country were they arrest people and haul them into court for “cursing” in public. They don’t arrest and charge every person who insinuates or alludes to assinating the president of the United States believe it or not.

    The timing is MORE than suspect. Another distraction. What became of the whole bullet in the mail situation? BS. I think someone needs to be investigated but not the person who wrote that.

    • Dufus says:

      Swearing in public and moronic statements made on blogs may seem silly to Uncle Ruckus, but they both represent standards that were not very long ago, jealously guarded in Bermuda. I for one agree wholeheartedly with arresting a person for swearing in public. Why should I, or perhaps a young child, be exposed to someone’s vile language? But we have gradually turned our backs on standards such as these and it has come back to haunt us. Swear in public – no biggie, a couple hundred bucks fine. Assault a cop – no bigie – couple hundred bucks. Likewise, drinking in public, littering etc. Now, we find ourselves in a situation where the regard for decency, and even human life, has diminised to such an extent that shootings are commonplace. No – Im not likening murder to dropping the f-bomb on Front Street, but the latter is symbolic of a decline in our values.

      • UncleElvis says:

        I agree completely!

        But I’m curious where your outrage was for Lt. Col. Burch’s various comments, Zane DeSilva’s lying about the Uighur protest and all the other symbols of the decline in our values.

        Surely the Premier lying to the House and to the people of Bermuda is the pinnacle of “symbolic of a decline in our values”.

        Where was the outrage?

      • Uncle Ruckus says:

        Vile language? It’s words that people made “vile”. They don’t arrest people for simply “swearing” in public regardless if your child hears it or not in the United States. Oh no little Billy might hear it- too bad. How many bad things will your child or anyone else who doesn’t like it will hear in their lifetime?

        Dragging people into court is ridiculous and Uncle Ruckus isn’t the only person who feels that way. You ARE linking murders to swearing and that is moronic. How is cursing linked to a “decline in our values”. Do you know how many decent law abiding citizens swear? Do you know how many people swear PERIOD?! So if someone swears in public just having a conversation and a police officer hears they should be dragged into court, have their names in the newspaper yet “alleged” murderers and pedophiles get protected? Yeah okay.

        It’s clear to see where the decline in values in our country are. Uncle Elvis has so kindly already listed some.

  17. WAKEUPBDA says:

    Our country is in turmoil over gang related shootings – but lets waste more tax payers money on having the police investigate a so called death threat, which I think was taken out of context.

    I think we really need to put our focus on taking back our Island from these THUG/HOOD COWARDS.

    PLP where is the SWAT TEAM???

  18. sad bermudian says:

    I do believe our island is turning into crap. the premier needs to get his act together and I dont think it was right for someone to post this “death threat” but honestly what do you expect from the public if our own premier isnt doing a very good job of running a country…Not here to argue with anyone I’m just saying in my opinion he could try a little bit harder to keep promises and lead our country in a better direction then where it’s going at the moment. Effort it the key…Can someone save our precious island before its to late…