PLP Renew Call For ‘Independent Investigation’

January 11, 2017 | 41 Comments

The PLP today renewed their call for a “comprehensive, public and independent investigation into the events of Friday, December 2nd 2016,” saying that when citizens “engaged in a peaceful protest are pepper sprayed by Police Officers, it is imperative that a thorough and transparent examination take place.”

Speaking at a press conference, Shadow Minister of National Security Walter Roban said, “We urge the Governor, who has Constitutional responsibilities for Police operations to ensure that a public, independent investigation be done.

“The public needs to be assured that protocols and policies, designed to ensure Police and Public safety, were complied with.

“Given the seriousness of this event and the political context in which it occurred, the public has every right to know who in authority, outside of the Bermuda Police Service, was advised in advance, of the intended deployment of the Police Support Unit, the tactics, operations and equipment made available to them, including pepper spray.”

23-minute live video replay of PLP Press Conference:

Shadow Attorney General Michael Scott said, “I made a PATI request on December 30th 2016, and was informed of its receipt yesterday. The PATI Act requires a response within six weeks, however, I urge the Government to act on this request for an inquiry without delay as the public shouldn’t have to rely on individual requests for this information.

“The importance of revealing the political and tactical considerations of this event can’t be diminished. Furthermore, critical to the Inquiry will the victims and the public having the opportunity to be heard.

“Judges are very experienced at determining facts, therefore, the PLP makes a recommendation to separate the Inquiry into two distinct phases: The first investigative, whilst the second establishing recommendations.”

Statement from Shadow Minister of National Security Walter Roban

I’m here in my capacity as Shadow Minister of National Security, alongside my colleague, Shadow Attorney General Michael Scott, to renew the Progressive Labour Party’s call for a comprehensive, public and independent investigation into the events of Friday, December 2nd 2016.

When citizens, including women and seniors, engaged in a peaceful protest are pepper sprayed by Police Officers, it is imperative that a thorough and transparent examination take place to restore vital confidence in the Government and the Police.

We were the first to call for this public, independent inquiry. The Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Hon. K. H. Randolph Horton JP MP, made a similar request. After declaring the police action as “violence against our citizens,” the Premier informed the country that he requested an investigation. However, he has given no assurances that the findings will be made public and has failed to commit to ensuring the independence of this inquiry. Additionally, the Minister of National Security, Senator Jeffrey Baron hasn’t mentioned the need for an independent investigation at all.

This is simply not good enough. The public deserves an independent investigation and so, quite frankly, do the Police. Canisters of Pepper Spray are Prohibited Weapons under the Firearms Act, 1973 – for which the Police receive an exemption. The possession and discharge of them can lead an ordinary citizen to a period of imprisonment – such is the gravity of their use. There is precedence in Bermuda for a public and independent investigation when the discharge of a firearm by the Bermuda Police Service has occurred. Certainly, Police policy has been that if a discharge of a weapon occurred, an independent, experienced law enforcement officer investigated the incident. In 2001, a trained ERT member of the BPS shot an Arwen Baton round, also known as a rubber bullet, at a suspect. In accordance with established policy an independent investigator from Canada was brought in and disclosure of findings was released to the public.

It should also be noted how rapidly the Bermuda Police Service responded to the request from the Royal Cayman Islands Police for their assistance to independently investigate a serious and deadly Police shooting on January 6th and how slow the Bermuda Government is to provide the Bermudian public with the same commitment to independently investigate Police action here.

We urge the Governor, who has Constitutional responsibilities for Police operations to ensure that a public, independent investigation be done. The public needs to be assured that protocols and policies, designed to ensure Police and Public safety, were complied with. Given the seriousness of this event and the political context in which it occurred, the public has every right to know who in authority, outside of the Bermuda Police Service, was advised in advance, of the intended deployment of the Police Support Unit, the tactics, operations and equipment made available to them, including pepper spray.

We are of the firm view that the public deserves to know whether the Governor, Premier and Minister responsible for National Security will support the call for a public, independent investigation into the events of Friday, December 2nd made by the Progressive Labour Party and the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

We will continue to press for this until a full explanation of the events of December 2nd is given.

Statement from Shadow Attorney General Michael Scott

The events of December 2nd 2016 tore at Bermuda’s national fabric and left all right-thinking people alarmed and outraged.

Whilst Premier Michael Dunkley has requested an investigation, he has not indicated any parameters for such. With harm caused to otherwise innocent peaceful citizens exercising their constitutional right of protest and the decision makers most closely connected with the events being at the very top of Government the importance of a Judicial Public Inquiry is highlighted. It is only the Judicial branch that is free of conflict to appropriately examine the incident.

I made a PATI request on December 30th 2016, and was informed of its receipt yesterday. The PATI Act requires a response within six weeks, however, I urge the government to act on this request for an inquiry without delay as the public shouldn’t have to rely on individual requests for this information. The importance of revealing the political and tactical considerations of this event can’t be diminished. Furthermore, critical to the Inquiry will the victims and the public having the opportunity to be heard. Judges are very experienced at determining facts, therefore, the PLP makes a recommendation to separate the Inquiry into two distinct phases: The first investigative, whilst the second establishing recommendations.

The Opposition PLP further recommends that there be an Implementation Action Plan whereby relevant parties would have to feedback how they have implemented the points made by the Inquiry within 12 months. It is felt that only with effective follow up can the Inquiry avoid becoming just the delivery of eloquent words, but rather result in lessons learned.

On another matter, which is equally relevant to the interest of holding government to account and preventing the abuse of power, is the proposed Public Service Commission Amendment Regulations, which I have already commented on. Yet, there seems to be no action or response made on the concerns highlighted by senior civil servants and the BPSU.

The impartiality of the civil service is a guiding and fundamentally protected principle of the Bermuda Constitution. These amendments introduce the frankly unconstitutional risk of transforming the role of the PSC from an “impartial appointing authority” for senior civil servants into a “politicised semi-executive body” as noted by former Cabinet Secretary Mr. Donald Scott.

Further to my statement released in December I remind the Government that proposals for changes to the Public Service Commission Regulations demand careful and considerate thought and respect for the fundamental principle of impartiality. Despite the later recall by the Premier, using the unconvincing excuse of prematurity of this inappropriate publication, the Government’s foolhardy approach on this issue should remain on our minds.

click here Bermuda protest on Dec 2nd

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Comments (41)

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  1. NCM says:

    The Irony. This coming from two people who were breaking the law by blocking access to the House. Why haven't we seen charges laid against PLP MPs? Plenty of video evidence to show they broke the law.

    Like(41)
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    • In the past during Slavery and the Civil Rights Era, many laws were broken to get a point across to oppose injustice and bias practices.
      Same S!@# different day.

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    • steve says:

      I want to live in PLP land where there is no police force,expats gotta leave,nobody is gay,and we are all rich!

      Like(5)
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      • Big Bio says:

        You may need to fat check that statement the OBA had the seats in the house to give Jack and Jake a house on the hill. They failed you. Now lay down and go back sleep idiot.

        Like(1)
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  2. North Rock says:

    All of this sounds great...pretty words and all. I suggest the first thing you do is implement similar procedures with the BIU, the so called very few Peoples Campaign and your beloved party. I also suggest that you talk to Burt who - as all right thinking people KNOW - called out the people...

    Walter and Mikey, you may call it 'peaceful' but all RIGHT thinking people understand that when you break the law and dont move when the Police ask you to...peaceful is just a word you PLP'ers like to use

    Like(94)
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    • Black Soil says:

      There needs to be an Independent Investigation on why the PLP are trying to tear down Bermuda and ruin it for ALL of us.

      Like(94)
      Dislike(7)
      • Its good that de opposition are not letting these clowns just legislate anything without accountability.
        To every action there is a reaction, no one is mentioning de suspect contract that these clowns made. Everytime a Black entity or movement take action the spotlight is ALWAYS on re-action instead of on the reason why they take action.

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    • Crying Wolf! says:

      Peaceful? Either they were not there, have not watched any of the video and audio clips, or are really trying to grasp at straws. The strike itself was illegal, they blocked the road, at least one man pysically attacked the police with a weapon, dozens made verbal threats, they refused to move, they refused to listen to all requests and before being pepper sprayed they were warned over and over again. Are you for real? I was taught to respect your family members, elders, and the law amongst other things. When you know you are doing wrong and you are asked to change your behaviour and refuse more than once, don't be surprised by the consequences. Its because of this attitude why teachers in our public schools struggle to teach. They ask all students to behave and listen so that all may learn. Instead, a few refuse to listen and comply and as a result all ostudents in that class suffer. As soon as they try to discipline them in any way, the same parents that won't come to a PTA meeting, help at a function, ensure they do homework or discipline their own children - attack the teacher as if they are the problem. The end result, many grow up to be these same individuals that spew hate, threaten police, refuse to move when asked the first time and are surprised when others react.

      Like(38)
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  3. serengeti says:

    So they want an independent investigation any time a person is pepper sprayed by police? How about any time the police use handcuffs? Or anytime they use a stern voice?

    Like(63)
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    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Did the police ask them to move in a very nice & gentle so as not to hurt any tender feelings? Did they say "pretty please, if it would not be too much trouble to ask but could you possibly move so that the HOA can conduct its business?"

      Like(47)
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  4. CCT says:

    Walter Roban is a joke, just like his party! They refuse to accept responsibility for calling for this 'anything but peaceful ' protest.

    Like(77)
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  5. Long Bay Trading Co. says:

    Oh gawd! They have arisen and are at it again!!! Just when you thought they had gone away with their tails between their legs to reasses their stratagity - here they are are back again !! Damage Control at its finest.......A bit like Glen Close in the final scenes of "Fatal Attraction" when Michael Douglas thinks she is dead in the bathtub and she comes back out of the tub at him again!!!
    Guys.....right now you are better to stay quiet rather than continuing to put your collective feet in it! As the saying goes "when you are in a hole, STOP digging"!!!

    I would think the combined Opposition of PLP/BIU/PC have done and said enough for one week? One month even??? hell...........for the rest of the year would be nice!!

    Like(83)
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    • Infidelguy says:

      They come and go like hemorrhoids!

      "They can protrude, or pop out, with a bowel movement; usually, they return to the inside by themselves. External hemorrhoids are felt as a lump near the a.... that can cause pain."

      LOL!!

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  6. San George says:

    "Rules for Rascals" has consequences - made for great media.

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  7. wahoo says:

    Right, right. Let us start with who told these people to break the law in the first place and who convinced them that yelling and threatening the police was "peaceful demonstration". I have a fair idea of how the police felt when they were faced with this group and I have to say I think if I had been one of the cops I would have felt compelled to defend myself also. To the protesters, go back and watch some of the videos, they clearly show your leaders stepping away while you face the police.

    We also need to ask Mr. Burgess who it was that he spoke to about coming with weapons. He should be able to tell us in these days of caller I.D.

    I am 100% behind the police. They are the ones who need questions answered.

    Like(62)
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    • sage says:

      The cops knew well in advance of the day what was going to happen, again, and should have simply secured the parliament entrances from 4 am before the protesters showed up, they failed miserably in trying to force access then sprayed people who were outside the grounds on Reid St.(rather than locking the gate). Was the strategy just stand back, allow people to break the law then read them the riot act and attack? Had the island descended into anarchy as a result, as it has before, both sides would share the blame. De-escalating a situation can be better than exacerbating one unnecessarily.

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  8. sandgrownan says:

    Here's a recommendation - stop inciting people to break the law you clueless nitwits. For Christ's sake stop digging, you're a laughing stock.

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    • I can't wait for the 2017 election says:

      Lets see your face after we lick you next election.

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      • Onion says:

        It will be a hollow victory. It may feel good, but the PLP don't have your best interests at heart. They just want power again so they can go back to stuffing their own personal pockets.

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      • Big Bio says:

        lol they going to turn upside down

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  9. Point boy says:

    It was unlawful! Period!
    No need for a damn review.
    If the combined opposition simply think before they speak (and create a mob of uneducated radicals) we could be in a far better place.

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  10. Irritated Jean E says:

    I have seen the emails where Burt called people out to block Parliament. This whole script has been written by the PLP and the PC. Complete lunacy.

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  11. Fly it says:

    PLP talk like they were given pepper spray on the day. Every Police Officer carries Captor Spray and tasers every day. They will use it when they feel threatened. If some lady got sprayed while they were spraying other unruly individuals then that is unfortunate. From what I saw on the videos even some officers got sprayed. I suggest next time they ask you to move, just move. For you others that say if they were OBA supporters they wouldn't have been sprayed you are absolutely right because they would have moved when they were asked to.

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  12. From very tired ex PLPer, This all seems like a hide and gp seek game to you guys at PLP, BIU & PC. This tit for tat is buu888hit at its worst. All this is about the Americaa Cup and that Pastor. You guys can givw a rats a88 Bout who waa pwppered sprayed. Pretending to hate thw cops. All they were soing is their fri88in job. If you didnt call these so called innocent people to come and protest, guess what, NO ONE WOULD HAVE GOT PEPPERSPRAYED. The funny paet is this. Who willbyou all call when your relative has been shot, home broken into, aon, daughter or loved one beaten up?? Huh??? Who?? Take your time, Im listening ans I got all damn day.

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  13. Jadon says:

    13th - Great movie. You all should watch it.

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  14. aceboy says:

    Where is the Leader of the Opposition? Why is he hiding?

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    • Poppa says:

      By the leader of the Opposition, you must mean Chris Furbert. Burt is merely the face of the party.

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  15. Trump supporter says:

    I guess if the independent review finds the police where within there rights, you'll want a review of the independents reviews results.
    More hot air

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  16. James Rego says:

    I hope this review will also include instigators of this peaceful protest. Otherwise it would be one sided and the combined opposition wouldn't like that.

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  17. Up D hill says:

    More school yard nonsense from the PLP ! So yes the PLP want a investigation for what was the PLP's doing!

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  18. John says:

    Reading off cue cards like second grade school children

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  19. CPM says:

    This is nothing to do with the airport or Tweed or Americas cup it is all about trying to bring our wonderful island to it's knees because they cannot deal with the government being successful for all of us

    Like(14)
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  20. Widget says:

    I could never support a Party or Organization that is he'll bent on destroying this beautiful island we all call home. Have you no shame? Do you not understand that the world islooking at us? Do you not understand that your stupidity will and is effecting future development in this country. My God no one in their right mind would vote you back in power when you act like a spoiled child

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  21. JohnBoy says:

    Oh geeeees. You mean this issue has been kickstarted again? Pahleeeeze!

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  22. Silence Do Good says:

    The opposition is no opposition in the house. They have no game or political wit to sway a slim majority house into: there might be something wrong with this project. So they incite their loyal followers and call for a investigation as to why the Police are doing their job. The issue I have is why the Police acted so poorly in maintaining control over the crowd by not making arrest to any individual that pushed back or the leaders of this peaceful protest that incited it

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  23. Baygrapes says:

    I support the police and their actions 100%. Given the provocation, I think they acted with restraint. We all know what this was. A concerted effort to provoke, block and them blame. The combined opposition should hang their head in shame - except, I don't think any of them have any shame.

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  24. Jahstice says:

    This is so pathetic.

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  25. Unbelievable says:

    Getting ready to fan the flames for Feb 3 again.

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  26. John says:

    Should get them to try saying
    Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
    If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

    Boy don't make me roar

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  27. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Given the seriousness of this event and the political context in which it occurred, the public has every right to know who in authority, outside of the Bermuda Police Service, was advised in advance, of the intended deployment of the Police Support Unit, the tactics, operations and equipment made available to them, including pepper spray.”

    I agree the events were serious. The Peoples Campaign called for the public to break the law by blocking MPs from entering Parliament. That should be investigated as rigorously as the police action and those responsible for blocking Parliament brought to justice.

    As for who knew about the police action, the (Bermudian) Commissioner of Police has already said (several times) that no one outside the Police Service knew. If you are going to call him a liar, say so. Don't just imply it.

    Like(1)
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