Premier David Burt has viewed the recent appointment of Narinder Hargun as successor to Chief Justice Ian Kawaley as “an affront” to the Government.

In a statement released last night, he said the Government did not support the appointment and that he had told the Governor, John Rankin, during the consultation process.

Premier David Burt

“The Governor did consult with me and I shared with him that this government could not support the recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Services Committee.

“We were elected to represent the people of Bermuda and to bring meaningful change to this country.

“The views we express are founded in the convincing mandate to govern which was given to us by an overwhelming majority of the people.

“Every Bermudian should be concerned that this mandate can be ignored and discarded by a process that cannot be moulded to reflect their will through the existing consultative process.”

The Governor announced the appointment yesterday. 

Highlighting Mr Hargun’s qualifications and experience he said: “Mr Hargun is a highly regarded lawyer both within Bermuda and internationally.

“He has over 35 years of professional legal experience, appearing as counsel in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council, and serving as an Assistant Justice of the Supreme Court since 2011.

“I am confident that his legal expertise and management experience in the legal profession will serve the Supreme Court well, helping to maintain the island’s standing as a legal jurisdiction of the highest order.”

Mr Burt said: “Bermudians must feel that fairness, equity and above all justice can be found in all our courts.

“After 50 years of this constitutionally sanctioned disrespect, this is the latest example of this modern era of democracy being frustrated by the application of standards from the last century.

“It is now for the new Chief Justice to discharge the duties of the office fairly and justly, and in so doing he will have this Government’s support.”

Mr Hargun served as counsel for the 2016 Commission of Inquiry, which was set up to examine allegations of mishandling of the public purse under the Progressive Labour Party.

Derrick Burgess, a former Public Works Minister accused Mr Hargun of “racist practices” for his line of questioning on Government contracts during the inquiry.

“If they were white, you wouldn’t even hear those questions to me,” said Mr Burgess. “I know you are from South Africa, you know.” 

Mr Hargun will take over as the new Chief Justice of Bermuda on July 14.