After more than three decades in an entire career of public service, Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva announced that he will step down as Bermuda’s top cop, effective June 15th, with his last official duty in May.
The announcement of his retirement, which came after more than eight years as Commissioner of the Bermuda Police Service (BPS), has initiated a search both locally and abroad for his successor.
In a statement released yesterday, Mr Desilva said: “It was not an easy decision to retire and leave a career of over 32 years in the making.
“I am passionate about policing and I have dedicated my entire adult life to public service. I am grateful to all of my colleagues, past and present, for their support and commitment during my tenure. It has been an honour and a privilege to lead so many dedicated and skilled police officers, support staff, reserves, and cadets.
The outgoing Commissioner continued: “I am proud of the significant impact we have made in helping to reduce violence, but there is more to be done. After eight (8) years as Commissioner it is the right time to let someone else lead the BPS from its senior post, and continue the mission of ‘Making Bermuda Safer’. The time is also right for me to move on to the next chapter.
“I selected the 15th of June so that I can complete my term as President of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) in May, followed by my last official duty at the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Parade.
“It has been deeply rewarding to serve the community as a police officer. The experience has shaped my life both as a professional and as a person. I shall remember it fondly.”
Minister of National Security, Wayne Caines described Mr DeSilva as “a consummate professional of unparalleled commitment to policing and the safety of Bermuda”.
Reflecting on the news from Government House of his retirement, the Minister noted that since his appointment in 2009, “the paradigm shift in policing Bermuda has been led head-on by Commissioner DeSilva.
“Successive ministers and governments have benefited from his counsel and perspective on a variety of issues and at no time have I known him to give other than his very best for Bermuda.”
The Minister continued: “Michael DeSilva brought the invaluable local knowledge and understanding to complex social issues that have confronted the Bermuda Police Service during his tenure. As the process is now initiated for his successor, like every citizen in Bermuda, I too look forward to a fair, open and transparent process that will identify a Commissioner who can continue to build on the foundation provided by this exemplary tenure.”
Mr DeSilva joined the Bermuda Police service in 1985. He succeeded George Jackson as Commissioner of Police in 2009, at a time when Bermuda experienced a surge in gang and gun related violent crime.
His legacy will also go down in history as the man who was ultimately in command when police officers clashed with demonstrators and pepper sprayed protesters, including senior citizens outside the House of Assembly on December 2, 2016.
The outgoing Commissioner was awarded the Queen’s Medal for distinguished service in January 2017.
- Feature Photo Courtesy of DCI: Michael DeSilva with Governor John Rankin, Premier David Burt & Minister of National Security Wayne Caines with Long Service Honours & Award Recipients for 30 years of service, at Government House – November 2017