Video: PLP On Review Report On Protest/Police

March 30, 2017

[Updated] Following the release of the Peer Review Report, which was prepared by an officer seconded to the UK’s National Police Coordination Centre, Opposition Leader David Burt said that “if they coordinated anything, it was to be complicit in the lack of disclosure on the pepper spraying of citizens on that fateful day.”

“This is insulting to those who were there; insulting to those who were pepper sprayed and insulting to all Bermudians who simply want the truth,” Mr Burt said, adding that “the report leaves us with more questions than answers.”

The Opposition Leader also said that “the Peer Review hasn’t got to the bottom of exactly what was communicated between the Premier, the Commissioner of Police, Government House and the Speaker of the House.”

Mr Burt’s statement follows after the release of the Peer Review into the police actions during the protest on December 2, 2016; as well as news that Court summonses have been served on some people, including BPSU President Jason Hayward.

Speaking at a press conference today, Mr. Burt said, “Since the events of December 2nd, 2016, we have been resolute in our call for an independent investigation into what the Premier called ‘violence against our citizens’. In spite of opposition, the ducking of questions, the silence on others and the withholding of information, we held out hope.

“We hoped that the sunshine of public scrutiny would reveal exactly what happened. Sadly, that hope diminished with the release of the Peer Review Report on Tuesday by the UK’s National Police Coordination Centre.

“If they coordinated anything, it was to be complicit in the lack of disclosure on the pepper spraying of citizens on that fateful day. The report leaves us with more questions than answers.

The 24-minute live video replay of this afternoon’s press conference is below:

Mr Burt said, “The Peer Review Report tells us three things: Firstly, that the Governor, the OBA and the Speaker of the House are willing participants in a political cover-up.

“I remind everyone that the aim of the review was to ‘assess the planning and response to the protest, and to review the tactics used.’ Pepper spray was the response. Pepper spray was the tactic – the Police themselves told us so. Yet we read nothing in the Review about it.

“This is insulting to those who were there; insulting to those who were pepper sprayed and insulting to all Bermudians who simply want the truth. It was the Premier himself who said he wanted an investigation to reveal ‘what happened and why.’

“Well, Mr. Premier, you may know what happened, but we, the people, don’t. You have failed in your responsibility to ensure that the full facts – not selected ones – were revealed. The Premier’s silence since this report was released speaks volumes.

“Secondly, the Peer Review hasn’t got to the bottom of exactly what was communicated between the Premier, the Commissioner of Police, Government House and the Speaker of the House.

“Only after our Party’s Parliamentary Questions did we finally get an admission from the Premier that he spoke with the Commissioner at least six times just prior to the pepper spraying. Yet, the Peer Review talks in mysterious terms about the ‘Platinum Level’ public order command and how the Commissioner engaged with ‘senior stakeholders.’

“Well, if one of those senior stakeholders was the Premier, we’d like to know because for two months he was very reluctant to tell the country that he spoke with the Commissioner. In fact, in December, he denied it. This is now all the more critical. Why?

“The Peer Review Report states, ‘Given the pressure the [Police] command team were undoubtedly feeling.’ Pressure from whom we ask? We now know the Premier spoke with the Commissioner six times and the final time was just minutes before the pepper spray. The Premier has never revealed what he spoke about or what demands he placed on the Police. He simply refuses to say.

“The Review fails at this first hurdle and no-one reading it a month from now, a year from now, a generation from now will ever know about the pepper spray. They will never know about the Premier’s role – he isn’t even mentioned. It’s as if the Premier and pepper spray didn’t exist on December 2nd. Like they never happened.

“Further, this report indicates that the Speaker of the House cancelled the sitting of the House, only to change his mind after telling the police that the session was cancelled. Why did the Speaker of the House change his mind?

“Given the Speaker is supposed to be free from influence of the Government, who exactly did the Speaker discuss this cancellation with and why the change.

“The third thing the Review tells us is how asleep at the wheel the Premier, as former Minister of National Security and Minister Baron have been. Delegated authority for the Police budget, Police training, Police equipment and the general organization of the Police rests squarely on their shoulders. Training, as the report attests, was seriously neglected. The Premier and Minister cannot duck the fact that successive training budgets were cut.

“The Police have not received the budget they required to keep their training and skills to the required level. Officers on the day knew it; the Commissioner knew it; the Ministers knew it; the public suspected as much, and now we all know.

“The Premier, Minister and their OBA Government cannot claim this has come as a surprise. They neglected to heed the call of the 2014 National Security & Defence Review which identified the importance of maintaining public order training – for public safety’s sake. They failed.

“In other jurisdictions someone accepts responsibility and resigns, but in this instance the Commissioner, Speaker, Premier and Minister do not think they bear any responsibility for what took place.

“I am not going to call for their resignations today, as there are many who should have long since tendered those resignations, but it seems that all are comfortable to be complicit in covering up the facts in what took place that day.

“This report says is it not redacted, but it is clear that fundamental information has been deliberately omitted from this report. How can a report that states that riot shields would have been ‘wholly inappropriate’ is completely silent on whether or not pepper spray should have been indiscriminately deployed against peaceful protesters?

“Though the intent of this press conference is to comment on the ‘Peer Review Report’ I cannot ignore that fact that at the same time as the release to this report many of our citizens have been served with summons for indictable offences relating to what took place on December 2nd.

“This is despite a report that said the police erred, and a report that confirms the Speaker of the House told the police that the sitting of Parliament was cancelled, and numerous citizens being subjected to violence by police.

“The fact is that persons who were violently pepper sprayed by police have now been attempted to be criminalised by the Government. The DPP is supposed to be independent, so I will ask members of the media to call the Premier, and the Minister of National Security, and ask them if the support the police action to criminalise their citizens.

“I encourage the media to ask them if they are troubled that this report is silent on the appropriateness of the use of pepper spray. I challenge you to find the Premier who is normally not afraid of cameras and ask him if he requested the Speaker of the House that Parliament would sit after the Speaker decided to cancel Parliament.

“Whoever made the call to insist that Parliament sat that day is responsible for the actions that took place, and that person needs to consider their position and do the right thing by the people of this country.

“Finally, in closing, the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party will not stand by while persons who answered our call to stand for transparency are made into criminals for exercising their democratic rights. Anyone who has been served with a summons, I urge you to contact us at PLP Headquarters by phone at 292-2264 or by email at info@plp.bm”.

Update 6.52pm: In response, Premier Michael Dunkley said, “Once again the Opposition Leader is spreading misinformation and alternative facts for political purposes.

“I have not been silent on this matter, as he said. I spoke to the people of Bermuda the night of Dec 2nd, as he did not say.

I held a press conference early the following week, as he did not say, answering questions there, and then repeatedly in the House of Assembly.

“Bermuda is best served by sticking to the facts, so let’s do that.

“For the record, I did not nor did any of my colleagues instruct the Bermuda Police Service at any time on Police operations and tactics. The Police Commissioner confirmed as much by stating at the time that no order came from the Governor or the Speaker or the Premier.

“Indeed, the Commissioner told Bermuda that day that “The only people who can instruct police officers to use lawful force is police officers.”

“Mr. Burt wants to raise doubts about the day because he believes it works for him politically. And he’s willing to cast responsibility for the events in every direction but his own. It’s gutter politics. Bermuda deserves better.

“Finally, it goes without saying that Government MPs all wished the House to be in session that day or any day to progress the people’s business, and we are aware that a decision on a sitting is the responsibility of the Speaker.”

click here Bermuda protest on Dec 2nd

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Comments (37)

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  1. trump supporter says:

    How about this. Start taking responsibility for your own actions.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    ‘Opposition Leader David Burt said that “if they coordinated anything, it was to be complicit in the lack of disclosure on the pepper spraying of citizens on that fateful day.” ‘

    Ok. So Mr. Burt assumes that the overseas review is covering up where it records that “The protestors’ response became more aggressive and some actively resisted, prompting some officers to deploy incapacitant spray where they felt threatened by the actions of individual protestors.”

    I guess some people will simply never accept answers unless those answers are the ones they want to hear.

    My reading is that individual officers made individual decisions based on the threat they perceived and that there was no general order to “pepper spray” protesters. I think my reading is supported by the fact that only a handful of people were sprayed, not hundreds of people en mass.

  3. Nanny Pat says:

    They broke the law. It’s all on video.
    End of story.

  4. Kangoocar says:

    So now in their latest desperate attempt to escape prosecution, the desperate plp are trying to throw the Speaker of the House, under the bus! Burt needs to repeat over and over to himself, his very own words, ” it is the Speakers decision” until he actually gets it!,
    This is just another nauseating press conference by the same three stooges of the plp! Nothing to see here folks move along!

  5. puzzled says:

    The last paragraph presented above will be a great opening statement in any prosecution.

    The PLP and their leader admit that they sent out a “call” to stand for transparency and were “made into criminals”.

    You asked for it you got it Burt

    • Bill says:

      And yah boy Burt said quote ” to all Bermudians who simply want the truth”. Till the plp tells the truth for where the money went. Im not buying anything they say. Uighur gate, heritage wharf gate, port royal gate, tcd gate, new ferry boats gate, tug stowe gate, new court house gate, berkley school gate, cedarbridge gate, southlands land swap gate, new hospital gate, faith based tourism gate, cedar beams gate, cement cilos gate, and the list goes on

    • Rumsoak says:

      They just don’t get it .

  6. Warlord says:

    They must really think that the pepper spray incident will win them the next election.Change the record it’s repeating itself.

  7. bluwater says:

    Well, I guess the police don’t have experience with anti-democratic mobs because, before Mr Burt’s leadership, the HOA was allowed to sit and debate.

    How silly he’s made himself look today.

  8. Long Bay Trading Co. says:

    OMG will it ever end??? Will they ever STOP? They will be saying the earth is flat soon – in SPITE OF ALL THE EVIDENCE. Oh never mind…… I dont even have the energy to continue. They suck the air out of EVERYTHIING.

  9. George says:

    Let the video footage of that days events speak for itself. Video from both the Police position and the protesters position is damning Mr. Burt. We don’t need you to tell us or speculate about you think happened that day. Why don’t you tell us what your real motivation is because discovering the TRUTH isn’t it!

  10. So we live on a time were the Government can do what the F!@# they want without any opposition and if the people protest they get arrested.
    Sounds like communist dictatorship to me.

    • puzzled says:

      Oh shut up Betty/Yettb/ et al.

    • wahoo says:

      That is rich coming from anyone.

    • A Chap called Vanz says:

      The opposition are supposed to go into the house, not stand behind pensioners blocking it!

    • bdaboy says:

      “So we live on a time were the Government can do what the F!@# they want without any opposition and if the people protest they get arrested.
      Sounds like communist dictatorship to me.”

      Yes, the plp set the precedent for this.
      Thank you plp for bringing dictatorship to Bermuda!

    • the real Terry says:

      O J great news the polls are in and you have been voted “The biggest racist a$$ h of Bermuda” Congratulations you deserve a well earned rest after all your hard work, take a break and give your ace boys Alvin and Chris a shot at the title. Well done

    • wahoo says:

      That is the best you can do. I say that because literally that is the BEST you can do…deflecting our thoughts to some far flung corner of the world when we live in Bermuda which has never been near communism and dictatorship with the exception of 1999-2012 era. Rant on rant on.

      Give me a reason why the plp have earned anyone’s vote.

    • Anbu says:

      No OJ if the people attack police officers they get arrested. It is not the officers or the governments fault that stupid seems to prevail when it comes to the opposition and their blind supporters. If u dont like how things are done here there is a simple fix. LEAVE!!! Nobody will miss you and that is fact. And before u muppets can start hitting the dislike ill give u a headstart. Lmfao.

  11. It's about time! says:

    PUHUAH HA HA!!!They seem to get more ridiculous by the day!!! By all means we, the WIDER Bermudian public deserve to see ALL the video footage and let us make up our own minds as to what really transpired that day…and as much as Burt calls for full disclosure I think a little qui pro quo would go a long way…

  12. wahoo says:

    I tell you what is insulting, what insults Bermudians is how gullible you think we are. The organizers of the protest knew what would happen there is evidence of that and they put unsuspecting protesters on the front line with reasonable knowledge of how the police would eventually have to react.

    “Sunshine of public scrutiny….” I seem to remember hearing that from a former leader of the PLP not long before things started going missing and Auditors started getting locked up.

    Screw you, we gave you a chance and you squandered it. You broke our faith in you.

  13. Up D hill says:

    Break the law some more dreamers and get sprayed some more !! Why don’t you three focus more on gun play,shootings and murder in the community rather than moaning and crying and talking alot of crap that won’t fix anything !

  14. Hater Watching says:

    Waiting on the hateful attacks

    • wahoo says:

      Why don’t you become a “defender watcher”? Oh there are very few who can defend this disingenuous type of crap so that would be a dead end career? PLP need to do better if they want our vote, stop with the crocodile tears for the poor working man Blah Blah. You f#$@ed the working man when you blew all the money, you booby trapped the next government by oversizing the civil service, borrowing more than we could afford and leaving an entire infrastructure in disarray. Notice I did not mention the findings of the COI, oh wait I just did. Okay then while we are on it do you think that PLP are in serious damage control? Begging for something to happen real quick that might enable them to stop what is coming? Inevitable.

      Well they ain’t gettin’ a reprieve.

  15. Point boy says:

    I needed toothpicks to read that. Gonna need a new drum soon, they beat the hell out of this one.

  16. Kevin says:

    why do the PLP continue to look like idiots …..the tactic was never to pepper spray i must be stupid it has been said a hundred times that the officers involved who used pepper spray did so because they felt endangered and the video shows that there were a few individuals who were very agitated and showed aggression it was the officers call – right or wrong …you know i thought that maybe we had an opposition who could make this government pay attention but no what we have are a whining …spiralling out of control group trying to deflect all of the commissions findings …how low have we gotten

  17. Pat says:

    That really was a pitiful press statement followed but even more pitiful responses to a couple mildly challenging questions… Sorry, my vote will not be with the PLP.

  18. wahoo says:

    Good lord. Please tell me that this is not a government in waiting. I just watched the entire thing (it was hard) what a hot mess the plp are. The other two guys never said a word and Burt had to read from a script. Sorry the guy to his left said something but not sure what.

    • Humphrey says:

      They are a sorry bunch.they break the law an wonder why they’re going after them Smh.n they want to run the country again or should I say Ruin the country again

    • aceboy says:

      The PLP are following some PR consultants advice on how they should run the election campaign to “win at all costs”. That is why Burt has to read prepared statements, he didn’t write them, the consultants did. Back when they were government the actual work was all done by consultants while the well dressed Ministers and Civil Servants went to expensive lunches and on useless trips. The same will happen if they get back into government. They have no substance at all.

  19. UmJustSaying says:

    One Donald Trump is more than enough!!!!!

  20. be realistic says:

    If it were the case that the police ‘attacked our seniors’ then SHAME ON YOU BURT for pushing them to the front and using them as a shield.

    You have no class, no substance and no balls

  21. UmJustSaying says:

    Presently there are two (2)) People in politics i Like to Dislike
    Trump and Burt
    Like, or Dislike that
    The Truth will set you free.

  22. Do Right says:

    Burt loves power but hates responsibility. He called the people out like sacrificial lambs, and now blames everybody else. Lets also remember the COI revelations a few days prior to Dec 2nd. One massive distraction is what this is!

  23. Rasta says:

    Putting seniors on the front line to do their dirty work, cowards.

    • steve says:

      I watch Burt and I say to myself, when are you going drop the facade and endless all things OBA are horrible. show us your true character and who you are, be secure enough to say well done to an opponent and occasionally be fair with criticism to your own group.That’s part of real leadership.He acts young but follows and decaying mantra.
      Sitting in front of a camera and crying foul once a week has got to stop is anyone in the PLP embarrassed by this?

  24. Janice says:

    So tiresome yawwwwwwwwn