- The following statement was issued on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 by OBA MP & Former Premier, Michael Dunkley
Like many I was very surprised and concerned with the acknowledgment by the PLP Government that taxpayer’s money will be or has been paid to demonstrators after the Police Complaints Authority ruled there was no misconduct on the part of individual officers.
Sadly government’s brief justification that the settlement saves the costs of a lengthy court hearing and ends the prospects of any further proceedings is insufficient for a number of reasons:
- The PCA is a respected body with respected members and chaired by a highly respected lawyer. If their report finds no misconduct by individuals officers then why does the government feel it would not stand the challenge of a judicial review or any other proceeding?
- Taxpayer dollars should always be spent with openness, transparency and accountability. The government has provided no justification for their secrecy.
- Can the PLP Government be intimated by a threat of legal action and forced to settle in secrecy? This is not the first time the PLP Government have succumbed rather than let a judicial process play out.
- How can the Government justify this significant payout without information?
- Why is there a need to keep details under wraps?
- If the government feel 26 complainants should be paid is the government considering paying the 14 police officers who are alleged to have been assaulted?
In addition, many will highlight and compare the hypocrisy of this payout, and the excuse of saving costs, with the fact that, in spite of losing on more than one occasion when it comes to SSM, the PLP Government is willing to continue to spend taxpayer dollars and challenge the ruling in the Privy Council.
The PLP Government seems to be setting a precedent of payouts cloaked in secrecy. Does the government believe this can stymie a PATI request?
I hope the government will reconsider their muted approach to this matter and provide a more detailed justification of this and other decisions.
Hon. Michael H. Dunkley JP, MP
Former Premier of Bermuda and MP for Smith’s North.