Policing Plan For When Parliament Resumes

February 1, 2017

[Updated] In providing information about the policing plan for when the House of Assembly resumes, Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva said there will be no access to the grounds of the House of Assembly by members of the public as “police wish to safeguard any interference with the Legislature, including blocking members from access.”

Commissioner DeSilva said, “Most people will be aware that the House of Assembly is scheduled to sit on Friday 3rd February, having been closed since 2nd December last year.

“I would like to share the policing plan today so that everyone is clear about what to expect on Friday and so that there are no surprises on the day.

“I must start by stating there will be no access to the grounds of the House of Assembly by members of the public.

“There are two reasons for this: firstly, the police wish to safeguard any interference with the Legislature, including blocking members from access, interfering with the lawful activities of the House of Assembly, and any potential damage to the building.

“Secondly, the grounds of the House of Assembly do not safely lend themselves to accommodating large groups of people, and the police wish to safeguard against any potential injuries that might result from large crowds congregating on uneven ground, concrete steps, low walls, and grassy hillsides.

“In order to manage any large crowds that might assemble on the day, Parliament Street will be restricted to one lane of traffic on the western side, between the junctions of Reid Street and Church Street.

“The eastern side of Parliament Street [the side closest to the House] will be reserved for pedestrians. If more space is required, Reid Street will be closed to vehicles after the 9:00 am rush hour traffic has cleared, between the junctions of Court Street and Parliament Street.

“This will create two sides of the House of Assembly – Parliament Street and Reid Street – that are designated as ‘protest areas.’ The police will consider other road closures, if the need arises, based on the actual numbers that might be in attendance on the day.

“Members of the public will not be permitted through any of the House gates. The gate on Parliament Street must remain clear and unobstructed, at all times, to allow authorized entry and exit, particularly by emergency vehicles.

A map of the area, with guidelines, provided by police [PDF here]

PowerPoint Presentation

“The public gallery at the Assembly will be open, and members of the public wishing to visit the gallery must present themselves to the police officers at the Parliament Street gate. The public is reminded that the gallery holds a maximum of 37 people at a time.

“In the event that there are no protestors, then policing at the House of Assembly will revert to normal. There have not been many indications that protests are, in fact, being planned.

“And those political leaders and labour leaders who have spoken publicly have stated that any protests that do take place will do so peacefully. That is extremely encouraging news.

“But the police wish to remind the public, once again, that protests must be peaceful and lawful. Peaceful means the absence of violence. Lawful means that protestors do not engage in activities that might constitute a criminal offence.

“I draw your attention to the statement made on 3rd December by the Centre for Justice. Unlawful activities during an otherwise ‘peaceful protest’ might include:

  • Blocking and preventing access through the gates of the House of Assembly.
  • Interfering with the free exercise of any Member of Parliament or Senator.
  • Interfering with the lawful activity of the House of Assembly.
  • Obstructing or assaulting police officers in the execution of their duties.
  • Participating in a public procession without a permit from the Deputy Governor’s office.

“I want to close by recognizing that 2nd December was not a good day for police and community relations. Everyone should be interested in ensuring that the events of that day are not repeated.

“The BPS has worked extremely hard for several years to raise public confidence in the police. Our community partnership in tackling gangs, guns and violence is strong. The police do not want that effort to be weakened, and we do not want to be drawn into confrontations that are avoidable.

“We expect that any protest activity at the House of Assembly this Friday, next Friday, or at any other time, will be conducted with peaceful intentions and lawful conduct. I hope that this briefing today has assisted in providing absolute clarity in that respect.”

The House of Assembly will resume as scheduled on Friday [Feb 3], however debate on the Airport Bills will be deferred to Friday, 10th February.

Update 7.53pm: Minister of National Security Jeff Baron said, “Certainly the events of December 2nd, were distressing for our entire community. And as a people we continue to learn from the challenges we experienced.

“In that regard, as Minister, I am encouraged to see that the BPS have provided comprehensive guidelines in the event of any potential upcoming public demonstrations.

“Certainly open communication between the public and the BPS is welcomed. I remain hopeful that should individuals choose to express their democratic right to gather, it will be done so in a peaceful manner.”

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Comments (53)

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  1. Jim Bob says:

    What a load of hogs wash. All of a sudden the grounds of the house of assembly are a problem and health hazard? Commish, you could have come up with a better reason than that for keeping protesters off the grounds of the house of assembly.

  2. wahoo says:

    Democracy lost? Go home Genevieve you are the true threat to democracy.

    • No he is a threat to those who are running this Island under Dictatorship, de same is happening against Trump and his Imps.

      • And for you haters, he is in de same catagory that those who came before him advocating Justice for de working class and exposing the powers that be. Just like how those before him were threatened and orostrisized he is going through the same thing.
        Same S!@# different day.

        • Closed says:

          Justice for the working class? What rights are they losing? The only thing they are losing is the prospect of hundreds of jobs at the new airport while the Unions fight against what their members need.

        • serengeti says:

          It’s good to see the police have a plan to ensure the democratic process continues, despite threats of intimidation by a small group.

        • Jus' Wonderin' says:

          HE’S NOT BERMUDIAN…HE IS A FOREIGNER!!

        • Truth says:

          Are you American? Did you vote? No? Then sit down.

        • Johnt says:

          Funny …. I was under the impression that I along with the majority of Bermudians voted the OBA into power providing them with the platform to govern Bermuda. I am also certain that within a years time another election will be held and if the majority of Bermudians vote for the PLP, the OBA will respect the democratic process and make way for the PLP to form a government. This doesn’t sound much like a dictatorship to me…

  3. Extraordinary says:

    I see it as they are stating the expectations for the course of the day as would any other country. Informing the public of their intentions in order to have a peaceful and fair day.

    I see it as a POSITIVE move on their part. If the people want to protest that is fine. Make your signs, show up and be peaceful. Get the point across in a civilised but persistent manner and it can be documented and put down in the history books.

    Maybe encourage future generations to stand up for themselves in the same peaceful way becoming leaders we can all stand by and be proud of.

    This is strictly my opinion … we are all entitled to this aren’t we :-)

    • wondering says:

      bermuda is soooo far behind the times on many things and we stick our heads above the parapet often only to be quietly laughed down in board rooms, club bars, golf courses, boats, restaurants, you name it – Bermuda is a cash cow and laughing stock all in one and the “sufferers” now will be reeling when the gift horse gets kicked in the mout with the insolence displayed at all levels in our community on both sides of the political abyss and racial crevices

    • Maggie Too says:

      Thousands and thousands of women protested peacefully recently. Surely Bermudians can do the same!

  4. finally. exellent.

  5. legal right to lawful employment. That is the empowerment required.

  6. Alvin Williams says:

    I hope Bermudians will bring out their phone cameras and record for all the world to see; the Bermuda police standing guard over the people’s house from the people.

    • wondering says:

      And the whole world should see the law prohibiting blockage of the house by the people too!

      • the truth will set you free says:

        Wondering: Apartheid was legal, slavery was legal, colonialism was legal, legality is about power not justice.

        • Double S says:

          What does an airport deal have to do with any of those examples?

          Stop reaching.

        • wahoo says:

          Please explain what you know about “colonialism”.

        • Differnece is we are a democracy. This is a free, democratically elected legislature that has previously been prevented from convening by a group illegally convening. No slavery. No apartheid. Just mob rule.

    • jt says:

      “for the people” – fixed that for you.

    • Watcher says:

      I hope they do record the Bermuda Police Service carrying out their mandate to protect and serve, to allow the government elected by the people to carry out the people’s business for which they were elected (and are being paid) to do. Those that successfully negotiated for us to have “one man, one vote” should be glad to see the democratically elected officials (both PLP and OBA) carry on the people’s business, so let’s get to it.

      • Educated says:

        It’s quite obvious the people do not trust the elected government to carry out the business that is best for everyone. Otherwise, I’m sure they would have no problem allowing them to carry out the people’s business. The people have voiced their concerns, yet with confidence, the government will ignore the concerns and still carry out their business without regard – that is unacceptable.

        • Rhonnda Oliver says:

          This is what annoys the heck out of me. And it’s not just coming from you.

          Making statements about ‘The People’ this or ‘The People’ that.

          ‘The People’ should mean everyone everyone resident in Bermuda, at the very least all Bermudians.

          I have nothing against people protesting for what they believe, so long as they do it peacefully and lawfully, but please stop pretending as if they speak for the rest of us. They don’t.

          These protesters, The People’s Campaign, the unions, they don’t speak for the rest of us, the majority of us. They speak for their members. Period.

          The are not ‘The People’.

        • bdaboy says:

          “It’s quite obvious the people do not trust the elected government ”

          No, it’s obvious that a selected few aren’t mature enough to behave themselves in public. Are selfish hypocrites who obviously don’t have the skills to be employed, and spend their time breaking the law.

        • jt says:

          “The people” are not all the people. Not even close.

    • sandgrownan says:

      See Alvin, you try and draw parallels with a civil rights struggle of bygone days, but it isn’t. It’s a bunch on malcontents disrupting democracy.

      I hope cameras are there.

    • bluwater says:

      This arrangement is common in democracies all over the world. Keeps the bullies at bay.

    • Take a break Alvin you an the unions have taken advantage of lworkers knowing full well they cant afford to come out making them lose money,can’t pay bills feed their families but Chris gets his he don’t suffer just the people who follows blindly stop using those who can’t think for themselves

  7. TimBuc says:

    Lol. You can’t make this stuff up!!!

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    And if the laws are not adhered to, then what? Anyone seen any convictions from Decembers fiasco?

    The Commissioner had better have his resignation letter composed in case the wheels come off the bus again.

    • wondering says:

      Yeah because the police should never do their jobs…….

  9. Silence Do Good says:

    Oh well we will get a new airport via a PPP as the PLP will lose the vote in the house when the party whip kicks in. The stall tactic of blocking the house wouldn’t work again as it looks like the BPS has caught on and are ready to prevent that. The union leadership with a few of their radicals under the banner of the PC will have to come up with a different game plan.

    It looks like the PLP will have to step up their game in open debate and show the people of Bermuda why they should be the next government. The screws are now turning in the opposite direction I hope the loyal opposition is ready to do the job they were elected for.

  10. ian says:

    ******* joke!!!

    • jt says:

      The safety of the grounds bit is a reach, for sure.
      Surely everyone can agree with the proactive, informative approach, the provision of safe access for elected officials and designated, lawful areas for peaceful protest.
      What’s unfortunate is that it took two test runs to figure it out

  11. Ouch says:

    Numerous demonstrations have been held on the grounds of the House of Assembly. No injuries. But now the rolling hills are dangerous. I am laughing at this Donald Trump type rhetoric. Itccouldn’t get any better than learning, after the election, how $365,000 was used. Remember that? But we choose to ignore that, the unemployed, the homeless and our rising toll from gun violence. Dangerous rolling hills? Unbelieveable. Let me go back to sleep, wake up and pray for our country and enlightened leadership.

    • bluwater says:

      But they close the House over the AIRPORT.

      They prevented the gov and the opposition from getting to work from getting to WORK on those problems. Hypocrites.

    • Just the Tip says:

      Just a point for you and anyone else who is laughing at this reasoning. Stop and think about the grounds of the House of Assembly (or go look at them), visualize a crowd of people who are now all riled up. Someone hits a Police officer like they did at the last one (that is assault just saying) so the Police start to use pepper spray again while pushing the crowd back. Person with spray in their eyes turns and runs towards the back of the crowd, forgets about the embankment and runs right off it, ends up going head first.

      Can you now see how the grounds become dangerous? Who would you blame for that persons injures? How much damage could that fall do to a senior?

  12. Brian says:

    So called rioters and law breakers are dealt with in most countries by tear gas , pepper spray , water cannons ,hand cuffs etc if you are leaving home with a demonstrator / rioter mind then be prepared to receive the law enforcement solutions .

  13. NO MORE WAR says:

    Ok so there’s a policing plan for possible law breakers preventing MP’s from going into the house to conduct the people’s business and it has been stated that the public are not allowed. Yet there’s a public gallery which we now know the public will be allowed but in groups of 37 at a time. Wtf.

    Why is there no policing plan for drugs and guns? There’s is drugs being sold daily a block or so from the Hamilton station. I don’t see this failed Commissioner tackling that. Oh I know why it doesn’t fit into Governments narrative and it’s young men who are sure to resist. I’ll be sure to have my popcorn ready for what’ happens next. Smdh.

  14. pepper spray… if properly utilised to disperse crowd should be applied to the bottom of the intended disbursements… it guarantees results!

  15. run forest run!

    • Sharon says:

      In this day and age, all of sudden the peoples grounds is off limits. Remember when the then Premier, David Gibbons called the British Government to come and control. This sounds like South Africa during Ian Smith’s rule. Bermuda needs to get real, wake everybody. No time for backward thinking.

      • Reality Check says:

        Um – Ian Smith was never Prime minister of South Africa, He was Prime Minister of Zimbabwe (Rhodesia as it was then). Please get your facts straight if you are going to make comparisons.

      • bdaboy says:

        “Remember when the then Premier, David Gibbons called the British Government to come and control.”

        Yes, I remember, it was to control the rioting by some Bermudians who were protesting the conviction of murderers.
        Why do some Bermudians worship murderers?

  16. Finally, law and order in this island. says:

    Thank you Commissioner DeSilva. Finally, the government and opposition of this island will be able to get back to work and do what it needs to do for our country. Nowhere else in the world would anything like what happened on December 2nd have happened without people being arrested. Commissioner DeSilva has given everyone here fair warning.

    People blocking access to the White House or the Cabinet Bldg. in America would have been arrested. Same should happen here. We have laws for a reason.

  17. Y-Gurl says:

    Police state: dictatorship, containment and suppression as we see them try to cover up there recent screw-ups

    • Just the Tip says:

      Please lets be real this is far from a Police state.

  18. Long Bay Trading Co. says:

    Pepper Spray was used by Washington DC cops against protesters of Donald Trump’s inauguration………………yet you don’t see them squeeling like a bunch of babies……If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! You WERE given plenty of warning so stop your blubbing.

  19. the truth will set you free says:

    They can come up with a plan regarding peaceful protesters who were peaceful until they came. But when it comes to the unprecedented violence which began in December 2009 and the lives of our black males are being taken from them they have yet to come up with a plan. In 8 years no plan.

    We need to ask ourselves what is of more importance the socio-economic problems we face our an airport. December 2 2016 was a perfect example that these people have always been about profit over people. And slavery is a perfect example of that. There is a book titled Black Labour White Wealth a must read.

    Also the term “protect and serve” pertains to the slave patrols protecting the slave master and his property. But because we do not know our history and have learnt our history from Caesar we have become Romans. This has been detrimental to us as a people.

    Zimbabwean Proverb: “Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

  20. shutthemdown says:

    we shall see, babylon

  21. When the plp unions chase out no tourist no exempt companies leave i want to see what you gonna do you have no banks no stores and won’t have any people here but you whiners an complainers looking for handouts most of your leaders non Bermuda answer so they’ll go to.live abroad n leave your story selves behind n then we shall see keep following blindly and not thinking for youselves