Acting Governor Ginny Ferson ‘Very Concerned’

December 2, 2016

“I am very concerned at the events which took place today outside Parliament,” Acting Governor Ginny Ferson said this evening, as “Bermudians elect their MPs to represent them and to debate Bills in Parliament.”

Mrs Ferson said, “Preventing MPs from getting into Parliament to carry out their legislative business is a serious infringement of the rule of law and the democratic values we all hold dear.

“The right to peaceful protest is also a right we hold dear. But there are people who seek to go beyond peaceful protest and incite criminal activity. The Bermuda Police Service is tasked with upholding the law and assuring public safety.

“The protocols they follow are aimed at minimizing use of force and avoiding injury, both to the public and to their officers. For my part, I would urge those who wish to protest to act within the law so that occurrences like this can be avoided in the future.”

We will have additional coverage of this matter as the evening progresses, and in the meantime you can see our live updates here, and all our coverage of today’s protest here.

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Comments (20)

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  1. ian says:

    She is clearly delusional to give such a foolish statement

    • Sojourner says:

      Yes she is, as Burt and company have shown no respect for the law or for their positions. Words are wasted on them.

    • Bermyluv says:

      how do you figure? If the injured protesters got caught in the crossfire between police doing their jobs and anarchists breaking the law then that is unfortunate. If the injured protesters and the lawbreakers are one and the same then, while their injuries were unfortunate, they are a result of their own actions.

    • Ohsaycanusee says:

      I thought it was only me. Is she for real?

  2. Mike says:

    Is that the briefing you got from authorities acting governor, then you were misinformed. Go back to England we don’t need you here!

    • Purple Cuff says:

      Yeah, we do – because our people left to their own devices are clearly inadequate to run a country, to get to their jobs, do their work, and have a normal functioning society.

      • Bob says:

        Brits left to their own devices vote to leave the EU and have buyers remorse – Americans vote for the facist Trump and silly Bermudians need foreign intervention – Really!!!!!!

    • Hair says:

      Mike, what you doing here???

    • Bermyluv says:

      care to explain what she got wrong? I wasn’t their so i’m truly curious as to how she and I and anyone reading the media reports are so misinformed.

  3. mj says:

    where is the law to which you speak (ferguson), further there is no constitution in Britian so what are you talking about, further than that!, Elizabeth of Windsor has never laid a brick here and never will all she or any other british elitist have ever done here is dug up dirt to plant a tree, further than that I wonder whether or not ANYONE has ever read ALL of this supposed “sweet ” A_CON deal and understands the ramifications for the majority stakeholders which are the Bermudians. So obviously the premier himself is not even concerned enough to read details but yet trust his finance minister, I guess cabinet don’t matter, and you wanna mention DEMONACRACY!?!there are obviously different mindsets in this little island and it ain’t gellin.

  4. Vote for Me says:

    A dangerous narrative that is developing from comments attributed to the Deputy Governor, Premier and Police Commissioner is that the protestors caused the escalation. I hope that does not form the basis of their preparation for next Friday!

    To paraphrase MP Crockwell, today’s events should have been foreseen and therefore prevented.

    It is clear from any objective review of the various recordings of today’s events that the deployment of the riot police caused the escalation. To his credit, Chris Furbert firmly rebukes any protestors that ‘act out’ at protests.

    Let me hasten to add that there was a natural conflict with the protest because Speaker Horton, and by extension Premier Dunkley, has a duty to ensure that the weekly sitting of the House proceeds as scheduled. In that context, an agreed one week recess might have helped to calm the situation and provide more time for constructive discussion with MP Burt.

    In the words of Larry Burchall at the conclusion of the Thursday forum, in times of need, Leaders Lead! Bermuda needs the Premier to demonstrate more appropriate leadership at this pivotal moment for Bermuda. Ironically, former Premier Cannonier might be a good resource for the current Premier.

    A lesson from today is that relevant Officers need to rethink their crowd control strategies. To start, the call for a demonstration was obvious after Thursday’s town hall meeting. A basic preparation would have allowed for at least one ‘safe passage’ into the House grounds, using barricades and manned officers. This would have then been a secure access for politicians and any necessary staff.

    Given the likely racial makeup of the demonstrators, more thought can also be given to the officers assigned to secure the grounds, especially the senior officers. Familiar faces tend to be more successful is resolving disputes.

    We have 7 days to learn from today’s events!

    The ‘authorities’ cannot take the easy way out and blame the protestors for the escalation. Instead, they have a duty of care to the protestors, attending officers, MPs and Bermuda at large to be better prepared.

    Assuming that there will be a similar protest with potentially double the numbers next week, is the answer to deploy the Regiment in addition to the riot squad? CLEARLY NOT!!

    • Joe says:

      I note that you offer no lessons for the protestors to learn.

    • Onion says:

      Did you watch the video? The escalation was clearly from the protestors. Pepper spraying was wrong but the protestors were far from innocent.

      • Positive Pessimist says:

        The police need additional training. As I’ve said under other articles, nowhere in the world do riot police show up before there’s even a riot and then march right into the middle of a crowd. They stand at the outskirts, form a barrier by linking arms with shields held in front and stick together. They then push the crowd back as necessary. This lot marched right into the middle where they were then quickly surrounded, with no escape route and no way for backup police to assist. They then panicked and went into survival mode when there was no way for them to retreat-and I don’t blame them on that because any human would do the same.

        I am NOT saying the protesters should have attacked them because I respect the police-I have many officers in my family. My point is that the commanding officers went on the assumption that people would respect the police authority without question, and that the mere sight of them in riot gear would be enough to make the crowd disperse. That did not happen, the crowd knew they outnumbered the police and the sight of an elderly woman being thrown to the ground seems to be what really set people off. Oh, and trying to arrest the head of the BPSU right in front of union members didn’t help. This whole thing was botched left, right and center.

      • Bob says:

        Democracy is better then 2 wolves and a sheep debating what’s for dinner …

  5. O'Brien says:

    Note to the “protesters”: as it turns out, there is legitimate and totally democratic way for us ALL to determine who gets in and out of Parliament: it’s called an election.

    The last one was in 2012. The OBA won, which is why they are the government now and can now decide matters such as whether to build a new airport and how to finance it. The next election is in about a year. If the OBA is as bad as you seem to think, then your opposition should have little difficulty taking back government.

    But in the meantime the OBA is the duly-elected government. You don’t get to shut down Parliament just because you disagree with them. That isn’t how this representative democracy thing works.

    Hope that clears things up.

  6. watchfuleyes says:

    The police better think very carefully about taking any action like that next week.

    • Onion says:

      Hopefully by next week they will have arrested and charged all the people blocking Parliament. Each one faces a large fine and/or 2 years in prison.

      Wouldn’t want to make it 4.

  7. Pastor Syl says:

    When a senior politician warns the police that there may be folks with firearms, did he really expect them to back off? That would be blatant dereliction of their duty. Of course they came in bullet proof vests and helmets. A threat of firearms being present is a clear indication of the possibility of violence.

    I take note of the above comment that for the police to march into the middle of the protesters without an escape route was to ask for problems. In addition, to think that asking folks to disperse and expecting them to meekly follow the directive shows a distinct disconnect with the mood of some of the electorate. There are some who appear to be looking for an opportunity to escalate.

    I also agree with the person who suggested for the future that setting up a safe passage route for the Parliamentarians and presenting a clear “don’t pass” wall of police bodies would have been a better plan.

    I hope the police have learned a lesson from yesterday’s events. From the comments I have heard, it would seem that at least some of the protesters are not planning to take a leaf from Ghandi or King with regard to non-violent civil disobedience.