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OPPOSITION DEMANDS RESULT OF INVESTIGATION INTO DECEMBER 2 PEPPERSPRAYING

*File photo by Carla Zuill *File photo by Carla Zuill

The people of Bermuda have a right to know outcome of investigation eminating from last December's protests which led to residents being peppersprayed by officers in the Bermuda Police Service.

 This coming from Shadow National Security Minister Walter Roban during a press conference.

"This past weekend marked 100 days since the unfortunate ‘pepper spray’ events of December 2, 2016; a day when several of our seniors and others were pepper sprayed by the Police; a day when the Premier of the country regretted the Police use of ‘violence against our citizens.’

"Although 100 days have passed since that event, we have not forgotten. The people who were pepper sprayed have not forgotten. Bermuda has not forgotten.

"We have been consistent in our call for a full investigation and for the release of the findings of that investigation. We have become disturbed at the responses of the Premier, the OBA, the Governor and the Minister – each of whom who are in a position to fully disclose critical information to the public, but have both delayed to and declined to.

"We note the recent Blue Ribbon Panel analysed a complex Airport construction and 30-year leasing project worth well in excess of $2 billion in a little over three weeks. Yet, more than 100 days have elapsed since our seniors were pepper sprayed and the full facts are yet to be revealed. Our people are demanding answers and this incident, we think, the Premier and the OBA just want to wish away.

"As a reminder, this is how things stand:

  • The response from the Governor to our request for a public, independent investigation into the pepper spray events of Friday, December 2nd fell way short of the reassurance that Bermuda needs. The handling of the incident has the appearance to some, of being nothing short of a whitewash that the Government is happily watching unfold. There is still no commitment from the Governor or the OBA to release the investigative findings to the public.
  • "The Governor hasn’t provided a commitment that the findings of the peer review will be disclosed. That is not in keeping with the best practice he talks of. Indeed, do we even know if the peer review has been done? We now know the Premier withheld information from the public when he failed to disclose, after questioning by three reporters in December, that he spoke with the Commissioner on at least six occasions on the morning of December 2– and indeed just minutes before the pepper spraying took place.
  • "Meanwhile, the Premier is now silent on exactly what the public should know about the events that he described as ’violence against our citizens.’ Minister Jeff Baron’s silence is even more deafening.
  • The few public statements that have been made by the Commissioner and the Governor are suggestive that there were training and operational gaps on the part of the BPS. What were they? What has been done; what will be done to fill those gaps? Will anyone be held to account?

"The country wants to put these events behind us, but we cannot until there has been full disclosure of the investigation; full disclosure of the peer review and full disclosure about exactly what was discussed between the Commissioner of Police and the Premier on December 2. Sadly, the more questions we ask, many more questions remain.

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