Speaker of the House Dennis Lister, has appointed the “Parliamentary Joint Select Committee (JSC) Inquiring Into The Events of December 2nd, 2016 Incident At The House of Assembly”.

The official notice, obtained by Bermuda Real last week, is due to be published this Wednesday and Friday, notifying residents who intend to make submissions on what’s required moving forward.

PLP Backbencher Kim Swan, MP

The notice lists Progressive Labour Party (PLP) MP Kim Swan as head of the JSC, appointed to get to the bottom of who gave the order to police to pepper spray protesters outside the House of Assembly, including several senior citizens.

Other JSC members include Senate President, Senator Joan Dillas Wright, PLP MPs Michael Scott, Neville Tyrell, and Tinee Furbert, One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) MP Ben Smith and Senator Andrew Simons.

The notice specifies the committee’s commitment which states: “Each member of this Parliamentary Joint Select Committee will carry out facets of its operation, including but not limited to research, investigations and deliberations, with fairness, transparency and sensitivity”.

Mr Swan, the Chairman, put forward a Motion on December 1st last year, which was approved “to investigate the events leading to the events of December 2nd, 2016”.

The Terms of Reference set out require the JSC “to look into the events of 2nd December 2016 generally, including the decision-making and any directives of the Executive and then Speaker of the House given to the Bermuda Police Service that led up to precipitated the events on that day.

“These events include the deployment of Police in riot gear and the use by some Police of incapacitant pepper spray on the crowd of citizens assembled in protest.”

Based on the Parliament Act 1957, the JSC was appointed to:

  1. inquire into the events as aforesaid as thoroughly as may be;
  2. to bring closure to these events by making all necessary findings, recommendations, and, where required, to recommend any proper sanctions; and
  3. to submit its report to the House of Assembly within three to six months

In relation to every issue relevant to these events, the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee shall:

  1. identify the key or relevant decision-makers of the precipitating actions which led to the main events of the inquiry;
  2. send for all persons, papers and records that are relevant to the Committee’s mandate to thoroughly inquire into the events;
  3. examine all persons who are or were accountable for decisions, deployments, and acts or omissions on December 2nd, 2016 whether as Premier, Ministers, Public Officers, Civil Servants or Constitutional Office HoldersInvitation

Anyone who “wishes to provide a statement (written, audio or video) of their experiences relating to December 2nd, 2016; and/or holds or knows of documents and/or records of any nature (eg video or audio recordings) which he or she thinks may assist the Committee in its work, is requested to supply the relevant information to the Committee in order to assist in its investigation”.

It was also noted that “the submission must include the name, address and contact information, including the email address if available, of the sender and should be addressed to the Clerk – Parliamentary Joint Select Committee-December 2. Submissions can be delivered by any of the following methods:

  • By mail to: The House of Assembly, 21 Parliament Street, Hamilton HM 12
  • By hand to: Office of the Legislature, Ground Floor, Swan Building, 26 Victoria Street, Hamilton
  • By email to: adyertucker@gov.bm

“All submissions should be received no later than 5pm on Wednesday, February 7th, 2018.”

And the committee “reserves the right to require that persons making submissions may be called upon to provide additional information”.

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