The following statement was released this morning by OBA MP Scott Pearman, Shadow Legal Affairs Minister
Children at the centre of investigations into abuse and neglect say they have not been interviewed as part of investigations into allegations against the Director of the Department of Child and Family Services, according to Shadow Legal Affairs Minister Scott Pearman.
“In his Budget Statement presented to Parliament last Friday, the Finance Minister, Curtis Dickinson, said that his Government’s Budget “must signal to the most vulnerable that they are not forgotten”.
This is a noble goal – one which all Bermudians will agree upon. But let us test these commendable words against what is actually happening to Bermuda’s most vulnerable today.
What in the world is going on with the Government’s so-called ‘investigations’ into allegations of child abuse and neglect by persons at the Department of Child and Family Services?
Despite repeated calls from various quarters, the Attorney General has yet to personally explain, since the suspended Director returned to DCFS, what has actually happened at the Department.
And no one from the Government seems prepared to clarify who is actually in charge of these various “investigations”.
The outcome of the first investigation – very properly commenced by former Minister Michael Weeks MP – has been buried.
The second investigation – apparently conducted by an unnamed person at the Department of Internal Audit – will also not be made public.
So, let me share with Bermuda what is not happening. Remarkable though it may seem, no thorough, proper or transparent investigation is being carried out.
The lawyer Saul Dismont, who represents several children at the centre of the complaints of abuse and neglect, has confirmed to me that his clients were never interviewed as part of the so-called investigations into the Director of DCFS.
The first investigation was allegedly concluded months ago. The second inquiry was announced by the Government as long ago as 7 November 2018.
How can the Government expect the Bermudian public to have any faith in a so-called “investigation” which is so fundamentally flawed that the complainants are not even interviewed?
The Government needs to treat these appalling allegations concerning our most vulnerable with the seriousness they deserve.
Allegations of abuse and neglect against Bermudian children cannot simply be swept under the rug as if nothing has happened.
If Bermudians are to have faith that our vulnerable are truly being protected, then the Attorney General must take charge of this matter and appoint an independent counsel – someone who has the public’s confidence to investigate these appalling allegations thoroughly and properly.