Governor: “In My View The Police Got This Right”

March 20, 2016

“It is not always sensible for the police to apply zero tolerance at the time, especially when emotions are running high,” the Governor said, adding that he would like to thank the police for their “highly professional handling of the situation” as in his view “the police got this right.”

Governor George Fergusson’s comments follow after a multi day protest over the proposed ‘Pathways’ immigration legislation, which saw people gather on the House grounds for five days — and block MPs access to the House on Monday — and resulted in the Government agreeing to withdraw the Bill and “enable further community input” into immigration reforms.

People march away following the final day of protests after hearing Govt agreed to withdraw the Bill

The Governor said, “As Bermuda reflects on the events of the past week, I would like to thank the Bermuda Police Service for their highly professional handling of the situation.

“I know that they will have had their critics, probably from both sides of the argument. Policing events like these involve difficult judgments.

“But I am clear, the police have a duty to maintain public peace as well as to enforce the law. These can be two different things, though it is not good if they diverge too far or for too long. The law should not be broken.

“However, it is not always sensible for the police to apply zero tolerance at the time, especially when emotions are running high.

“There was a risk of violence last week, despite the good efforts of the protest leaders to prevent this, and violence would have had serious consequences for the whole community.

“Although the police will no doubt be learning lessons too, in my view the police got this right.”

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  1. WarwickBoy says:

    Did they get it right when they stood by and allowed thirty people to block East Broadway for two hours a few weeks ago, inconveniencing thousands of commuters?

    • Hurricane says:

      @ WarickBoy…….good question. We haven’t heard from him all this time. I would have done better keeping his mouth shut on this one.

      • Warwick Boy says:

        I don’t have an issue with hundreds demonstrating on the grounds of the House of Assembly for the thick end of a week. It is their democratic right to do so and that should be allowed without reservation. However, physically blocking access to the HoA and not allowing the MP’s to enter and perform their constitutional duties was not acceptable. As the Crown’s representative here, the Governor should have been gravely concerned by this and acted to ensure that free access was restored. The fact that he doesn’t appear to believe there was anything wrong with that action, and did nothing about it, is simply inexcusable, imo.

    • Luis Suarez says:

      Spot on. I teach my kids that bullying and intimidation is very wrong, and yet the police, the Government and now our weak governor fold to it. Its certainly a watershed, and a new low for all concerned.

      • Bdaluv says:

        Well your kid may then get bullied Bec they may not have a backbone to stand up on ! Piss poor parenting smh

        • hmmm says:

          So, you bully your kids and think bullying is OK?


    • Gym Leader says:

      Get over it!!!! PRC is ENOUGH you are NOT ENTITLED to Our BIRTHRIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!

      • Jim says:

        Really? Even after spending 20+ years on the island, children born and raised in Bermuda, contributing taxes to BDA economy, putting children thru Bermudian school system, supporting Bermuda business, helping Bermudians pay their mortgages. In some cases even stepping up and coaching young Bermudian children when no one else is willing to.

        At some point I think a person should have the right to be recognized as a citizen in any country meeting those criteria.

        It’s 2016, the world is integrated, other countries welcome Bermudians with open arms and grant them citizenship.

        I’m still confused as to what year a person had to settle on this island to be considered a ‘REAL BERMUDIAN’?? On the first boat to Bermuda? 1800? 1920? 1980? Is there an actual definition?? SMH..


        • Gym Leader says:

          You are still a Guest Worker

        • Gym Leader says:

          Are you suggesting we start a resettlement plan afain????

        • Onion says:

          My family arrived here in the 1620s but according to some I’m not even a real Bermudian so good luck with that.

      • Cristina says:

        PRC is not enough, you get over it.

    • Albie says:

      A measured response in a situation that apparently developed with notice and thankfully no harm was done to commuters.

      Personally I think that they should have been shut down immediately but that would not have helped what was to follow at the Sessions house.

      So all in all I vote with the Governor.

  2. So Tired says:

    I agree

  3. history says:

    This GOVERNOR had obviously agreed to have had this immigration proposal tabled.

    • rich says:

      The Governor has no role to play in tabling legislation except for certain financial measures.

      • Coffee says:

        It probably was in the governors view that Dunkley , Moniz and the other bye who shall not be named , had it right by demonstrating the art of brute force and ignorance on the equally stubborn demonstrators for over a week .

  4. I Disagree says:

    Fascinating response. I cannot fathom a time when the UK law enforcement would allow their seat of government, the Houses of Parliament, to be blockaded.
    It simply is unquestionably wrong…period.
    I strongly disagree that this was ever acceptable.

    • mixitup says:

      Maybe it slipped your mind that you are NOT in the UK….

      • Charming says:

        Maybe it slipped your mind that this is a UK overseas territory, hence legally the UK. You British citizen you!!

        • Gym Leader says:

          Self Governed. So why seek Bermuda Staus and not UK citizenship??

    • Gym Leader says:

      As do I with a guest worker “believing,” they have a right to status in a country they came to work in!!!! Is PRC not enough for you????

      • Slow and Steady says:

        Guest workers can’t get PRC status if they got here after 1989. And children of guest workers born in Bermuda can’t become PRCs either. PRC status might be “enough” but that’s not offered either.

        • Gym Leader says:

          That’s what’s available stop trying to force OUR government to settle issues parents neglected!!!!

  5. On Racist Rants says:

    In my view the Governor got this right. Yet the infantile spoiled feel that he should uphold their side of the argument and side with them because he represents their hue and therefore should support their hubris. The governor supported wise judgment and not the historical racist response when people react to oppression and deception!

  6. Watch this space says:

    The Governor, Government, Opposition and the Police have just told the BIU that they have the license to do what they want, when they want.

    They will do more next time.

    How is blocking the House of Assemby ever something to be allowed?
    Can they next time block the judge from entering the court house or the police from entering the police station or guest entering a hotel?

    There is freedom to protest but regardless of the topic you can never allow people to break such constitutional laws.

    The police didn’t do anything because half of the foreign officers working front line would have benefitted from this law. Many of the local police were against the law because they didn’t want those foreign police officers to have the same rights as them. Hence, you can’t send police officers who are not united to deal with such an unrest.

    • Terry says:

      What a load of s***

    • Jack de ripper says:

      Actually they did prevent the Supreme Court which sits in that building from operating

    • Jim says:

      Tough decisions had to be made, and the police took an approach that prevented the situation from going from bad to a lot worse. There was no way to please all sides involved, as is usually the case.

      But the police have the right to use discretion, especially in matters of this magnitude.

      If they had used ‘force’, then we all would have expected to see someone get hurt, and that is ultimately what the police are trying to prevent.

  7. Terry says:

    History does repeat itself.
    No idea if the Governor called and made his feelings known which I doubt.

    Police have been doing same for 50 years.

    When the cocktails come out they respond.

    Now you figure ^
    Have a nice Sunday.

  8. No, the governor has nothing to do with financial measures. But I do agree that the police got it right. Bermuda is the better ,for the fact that cooler ,and wiser heads prevailed. It is never a good idea to put out a fire with gasoline.

  9. Davie Kerr says:

    In a situation such as this, the Police simply cannot win: they’ll be second-guessed no matter what they do or don’t do. Instead of bitching about the Police, why not try supporting them for a change? While I freely admit to bias because I was one of them for 34 years, I think you’re very fortunate to have the Police Force (oops, sorry: SERVICE) that you have.

    • I also believe the Police Service had done the right thing by not taking the tough-guy stance…Yes, the Governor could have called on England, (our Motherland) who’ll have every right to come to our aid if / when required.

    • Terry says:

      49 years.
      Not a bad summation.

  10. Southampton says:

    I would like to know if all of these protesters were paid during this event.
    Of course now they will have to be paid overtime and or double time.
    PAY THEM REGULAR TIME OR PAY THEM NOTHING AT ALL. Oh, I forgot, they called in
    sick to collect sick time.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      That of course is the $64,000 question .
      There’s no way that a competent and reputable doctor would be issuing sick certificates for this lot and if the gov’t paid them ‘just to keep the peace’ then I’ll never support them again . Ever !
      I anxiously await news on this situation .
      Care to comment Prem Dunkley ? We know you read these news boards and forums .
      At least , as far as I can see, no trash was collected over the weekend , so at least no overtime windfall has been paid out to reward bad behavior.

      Oh , and it’s also very obvious that the paid dislikers have gone into complete hyperdrive as of 5.30pm on this article.

      • mdb says:

        trash was def picked up this weekend. They have been working day and night getting OT not surprised.

    • Verly says:

      No they did not, so stop it.

    • Coffee says:

      I’m sure no one has asked you for a cent . Keep out of others pocket !

  11. Six Seventy One says:

    I lost hundreds of thousands of dollars last week whilst these people marched up and down and did not go to work and my goods were locked on that ship. They get the same money I pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in customs duty……
    The BIU has constantly held this country to its knees, killed tourism, killed IB, killed the economy…
    And don’t mention The great Ewart
    They just don’t get Economics …….. The Co Op ..Prime example ..
    When the Bermuda Dollar devalues and evaporates which will be soon … Anarchy
    Stay tuned.

  12. Shaky Ground says:

    Until the next time :(

  13. Good guy says:

    Do ppl Understand that the police would be going to War with ppl that have NOTHING to LOSE! They are suffering and hurting and that’s a War those ppl would have Won! It is still an ongoing war but you have to be smart about these battles! When there is lot on the table like such as the Americas Cup, then this immigration bill is not a priority so get over it!

  14. nok says:

    It would have been a riot this island was on its knees!

    • hmmm says:

      The island is on its knees because of the PLP. Not the people.

  15. fed up says:

    Come on people , if the police handled this heavy handed there would have been riots . Can we honestly say that would be the best thing for Bermuda ?

    • Precisely my sentiments…Bermuda was held hostage :-( It was a situation of, “you’re damn if you do and damn if you don’t.”

  16. lizard says:

    I think the homeland security personnel got it badly wrong and should step aside and let competent persons take charge. Governor, Premier, Commissioner of Police and Baron should step down. The Police did nothing to move the blockade on East Broadway, Parliament, and the Supreme Court.
    They are all liken to sharks. “No backbone”

    • jaybird says:

      I absolutely agree. The OBA leadership has been dealt a death blow by people aided and abetted by the police and the Governor. This Governor, like most, is just a diplomatic tourist with no real interest in Bermuda or it’s people. He should dissolve Parliament and then go back home.
      There is no point in the current Government remaining in place. They clearly have no authority and no longer have the support of the majority of the public. Best to move on and give those that now are unofficially in charge the official mandate to rule – and I do mean rule, as opposed to govern…

  17. M.C. Beauchamp says:

    While no one wanted a riot, and make no mistake, that’s where least week was heading, the House should not have been barricaded. It would not have been had the Governor and the Police made it known to the usual suspects that barricading the House would not be tolerated. A riot was avoided, but that fact alone is not worthy of the Governor praising the Police. By doing nothing, we are sure to see the House barricaded again.

    • Terry says:

      Soozy is coming with her side…………………….

  18. swing voter says:

    The police were out numbe4rd so breaking the human chain would have been foolish. All u law n order folks making comments about softness of decisions not to arrest and detain need to smarten up

  19. Triangle Drifter says:

    There is no way police would allow access to Parliament to be blocked in London. There is no way police would allow access to the Capitol Building in Washington DC be blocked to members of Congress.

    By all means, if you want to surround the HOA here in protest, do so. But do it in a respectful orderly manner. Blocking access to MPs is neither repectful nor is blasting music at a high volume orderly.

    Shame on the protestors & leaders for their behavior. Shame on the BPS for not doing their duty in upholding the law.

    • Gym Leader says:

      It worked!! And to remind you again this is Bermuda!!!!

      • I imagine Hubert Smith song, “Bermuda is another world” will be the theme song for the next protest at against the Gov. / One Bermuda Alliance :-(

  20. Don't tell them the truth says:

    Also are not for every one Premiere needs to be fired along with minister Fahy he also needs to be fired enough is enough

  21. standing in the road in commuter traffic lanee was reckless endangerment , or cause thereof…with a moving vehicle.Also depravation of liberty…whereas a commuter has a reasonable expectation to navigate HM roadways safely as is their legal privilege to do so.
    Emergency services both five ambulance and police would have to slow and wait as well…and life and property cannot always wait.

  22. Hardtalk says:

    In my opinion, there is a big difference between reactive and proactive policing. Once the House of Assembly was surrounded by a human chain, the police did a satisfactory job by maintaining a semblance of order and helping an already out of control situation to not escalate into violence. However, In view of the clear sequence of events that led up to this demonstration the police should have secured the grounds of the H of A long before it was taken over by demonstrators.
    The tone of the entire protest was established by the police allowing 20 some people to cause absolute chaos to the majority of the population on East Broadway while they stood by and directed traffic.
    Sadly, I think the police have established a dangerous precedent that will certainly be exploited by those who seek to gain control of the political process by holding the majority to ransom. Time will tell, but I think the lack of proactive policing will come back to haunt us in the future.

  23. I See says:

    BIU got the magic combination this time. whoever came up with that idea was brilliant.

    Here’s your answer to the Airport situation……

    1. Island Wide Strike
    2. Barricade the House of Assembly
    3. Barricade the entrance to the Arrival hall

    Can anyone spell Americas Cup!!

  24. Farmer Brown says:

    What is going on in our sweet Bermuda??

    Mr. Governor, Commissioner of Police and Min. of National Security will these event be fully investigated with a view of enforcing “The Law.” What example are we setting for those young people in our community? Are we condoning crime?

    I agree that the police was in a very difficult position and should be commended. I am not sure that I can say the same for the Governor and Commissionor tho.

    Certianly at least Mr. Furbert and Mr. Tweed can and should be prosecuted. The evidence is clear. There are others that can be prosecuted as well including MP Walton Brown who called publicly for this unlawful behavior.

    To protest is one thing but to break the law is another. Certainly the police has not excuse now not to act. This event was witness by a numbers of officers we can testify, there are plenty video and photo evidence to support any charge. The offenders should be bold enough to stand before a Court and say “yes I did it.”

    1. A group of people blocked the East Broad Way “Highway,” (committing offences) nothing happened. The Commission of Police Stated that a file would be prepared and sent to the Director of Public Prosecution, to date it would appear that nothing has happened.

    2. A group of people forcefully ceased the House of Parliament and the Supreme Courts by forming a human chain around it, preventing members of the Parliament and the Courts from conducting their consitutional and lawful duty..” To have the Chief Justice standing outside of the Court, forcefully being prevented from entering court, does not argue well for the justice syste if nothing is done about it.

    3. Mr. Dunkley the signing of that document as its relates to not prosecuting members of the protesting groups who blatantly committed several offence at such a level is not lawful. For the following reasons:
    a) You were forced to make that decision at the time.
    b) You do not have the legal authority to do so. The decisions to prosecute matters in Bermuda is that of the Director of Prosecution after being investigated by the police. This is so to prevent the same situation as mentioned above. There should not be any interference of the judicial system by government (it should be strictly independent).

    4. Your Excellency the Governor and Mr. Commissioner of Police you have a duty under the law to fully investigate this matter and present the facts to the DPP for prosecution.

    The inference will be drawn that if no legal action is taken in these matters, then, no legal action should be taken in any other criminal matter in Bermuda. Are we saying to the people of Bermuda that because you do not agree with an issue or you are upset that you should take the law into your hand? If my employer make a decision that I don’t agree with should I get a few friends and hold up the establishment for a few days (even at gun point)?

    The constitution is clear we all have a right to protest, however, the protest MUST be “LAWFUL”. The law is also clear that the Governor, Commissioner of Ploice and the Director of Public Prosecutions have certain “INDEPENDENT” duties. This duties must me done without “FEAR” or “FAVOR”. You have sworn to that.

  25. Y-Gurl says:

    Come on Gov how about telling the truth instead of what the Government want to hear, cops as usual got it VERY wrong on many many levels, they had no idea what they were doing and for you to stand out and say different only erodes your credibility, you have never spoken against any Government action that was seen as wrong by the people