Dunkley: Questions Revealed ‘Important Facts’

May 13, 2019

“It was only after questioning by myself and OBA colleagues that important facts were revealed,” Michael Dunkley said, citing matters including the secondment of Commissioner Lamb, the hot water supply at Westgate and the amount of Corrections Officers that called in sick.

Mr. Dunkley said, “On Friday in Parliament, Minister Caines delivered a statement concerning Westgate and the current Work to Rule situation. It was only after questioning by myself and OBA colleagues that important facts were revealed and the dire state of affairs made known to the people of Bermuda.

“Before I highlight what was not said in the statement, but came to light due to the Opposition’s diligent probing, it is important to state that critical issues within the facility are dealt with and pay and GEHI issues are resolved. However, until the Minister and Government are fully transparent in regards to these challenges the lack of trust between the Government and the POA could grow.

18-minute audio of Mr Dunkley’s comments in the House:

“Now to the statement by Minister Caines. It is not what’s in it, but what’s not in it and what came to light upon questioning that is concerning and important. The questioning centered around three areas:

“The Minister stated ‘the most significant concerns center on the POA’s desire for an increase in pay and the POA membership payment into GEHI.’ When asked what has been budgeted to cover this item the Minister was unable to answer and, up until the time of drafting this comment, still has not provided the information in spite having committed to do so. I then asked how long before this matter is sent to arbitration and the Minister said that was an administrative procedure.

“Finally, I asked what the Minister meant by the word ‘restricted’ when he stated ‘POA members continue to work to rule, this means the Correction Officers will not work overtime, programs and all classes are restricted, visits are restricted.’ The Minister replied upon questioning ‘they are not having classes at the moment.’

“Clearly there is a difference between ‘restricted’ and ‘not having classes.’ More importantly, classes and programs for inmates are critical to any sentence thus not conducting them highlights a lack of progress for any person incarcerated.

“The Minister was then questioned if it was intended that the secondment of Commissioner Lamb would end and he would return to Corrections.

“The Minister replied that he would not return to Corrections. This is a surprising and glaring omission from the statement to say the least. The Minister mentioned an impasse between Corrections and the POA and that officers had called in sick. When questioned the Minister replied that 36 officers had called in sick.

19-minute audio of Minister Caines comments in the House

“The final area of questioning pertained to the Ministers comment that ‘the Westgate Correctional Facility had limited hot water supply.’ The Minister was asked at any time was the facility without hot water. The Minister replied he ‘would have to confirm that.’ He later replied it was completely without hot water for approximately nine months.

“As with the Minister’s use of ‘restricted’ and ‘no programs’ there is a big difference between the word ‘limited’ and words ‘completely without hot water.’ This acknowledgement is most concerning as nine months is a significant period of time and any other facility that requires hot water for the kitchen, sanitation, and laundry functioning and general hygiene would probably have been closed if it was not fixed in some fashion at the earliest opportunity.

“It is important that Ministers update Parliament on matters within every Ministry. However while doing so it is critical that a Minister provides accurate and factual information.

“In this case the OBA has highlighted glaring shortcomings by the Minister and, if this is not corrected, it will contribute to a rising level of disconnect between the PLP Government and the Prison Officers Association and any progress on these critical issues becomes harder to achieve,” Mr Dunkley added.

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Comments (16)

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  1. DeOnion says:

    I guess the extra on communications is being used to actually try and hide the truth! Nine months without hot water!!!!

  2. trump supporter says:

    Thought this govt preached transparency!

    • Rockfiaf#2 says:

      They don’t practice what they preach though.

      The unwritten rule for this government seems to be, if a senior civil servant is incompetent or underperforming, he/she will be banished to a useless desk job, promoted, or have a job created for him/her.
      Look around, there are several examples of this expensive foolishness.

  3. Rhonda says:

    When you know we’re all the items are burried you’re in the best position to dig them up..

    I thank the oba for bringing their neglect to the forefront.. but for them being in Opposition we still won’t know the mess they left behind..

    Thank goodness for a caring plp Administration..

    Let’s get this done.


    • LaV says:

      “Thank goodness for a caring plp Administration..”

      Why don’t you care about gay people?
      Why are you so homophobic and hate filled?
      Why must you lie so much?

  4. Rhonda says:

    “Mr. Speaker, the Westgate Correctional Facility had limited hot water
    supply. The budget for the new industrial heater was recently approved
    by Cabinet. The Industrial Water heater will be shipped to the island and
    will be operational by July 2019. The facility was also in need of two
    industrial washing machines, one was purchased in 2018 and is in
    operation, and the other industrial washer was recently approved by
    Cabinet and will be on island and in operation in July 2019. There were
    major leaks in the Westgate Water tank. Repairs to the Tank have
    Minister Caines

  5. Rhonda says:

    “Mr. Speaker POA have concerns with reference to staff shortages.
    Please be advised that twenty five (25) new Correction Officers were
    hired in September 2018. The recruiting process for twenty two (22)
    Corrections Officers commenced in March 2019. Training and
    development of officers is paramount as is succession planning. The
    Senior Leadership team have been tasked with discussing the plan with
    the POA to ensure that the training and development program is robust
    and fit for purpose.”

  6. chartie says:

    Wow, blatant lying is not a good look on you, Wayne.

  7. watching says:

    While clearly many of the issues need resolving I think it is disingenuous at best for Mr Dunkley to want people to believe that these issues all only began to be issues under the PLP Administration.
    As the former Minister of National security I am sure he was aware of many challenges facing the POA and Westgate Facility, and why weren’t they resolved?

    • question says:

      You’ve had 25-11 for two solid years. If you haven’t sorted it out by now it’s because you don’t give a d..m. Nothing has stood in your way. No opposition, no marches, no strikes, no cheap shots from political groups financed overseas. You can do basically anything you like – reduce human rights, reduce services, increase taxes, taxes on food, taxes on rents, cutting back pensions, donations to millionaire ‘friends of PLP’ who live overseas.

      You 100% own any problems that exist right now.

      • Double S says:

        Absolutely correct. But as history has shown responsibility is the PLP’s kryptonite.

  8. Concerned Citizen says:

    Thank you Mr. Dunkley for telling us like it is. Bermuda needs to hear the truth so that we can speedily get back on course!

    • Onion Juice says:

      Suck it up and wait for your turn.

      • LaV says:

        “Suck it up and wait for your turn.”

        Remember that next time you lose….that means you don’t get to protest anything, or illegally shut down the HOA…you uneducated git.

  9. kevin says:

    Watching..that is such a typical plp fan statement you guys crack me up your beloved party put us in this situation starting in 1998 and you want to try an squeeze out 4 years in 21 that is funny ….the plp have been useless for 20 years but you will continue to vote for them you my friend are blind …..there are some of us Bermudians who want us all to succeed
    keep voting plp its working really well wouldn’t you agree

  10. Chris says:

    So the OBA is being blamed for not fixing everything in 4 years, however, the PLP get understanding for not being able to sort everything out in the previous 3 administrations they had, AND bankrupting the country….seems fair I guess.