There was swift reaction to Premier David Burt’s ‘change of heart’ on the Commissiong appointment, just two days after he was sworn in at Government House as the new Minister of Community Affairs and Sports and Government Leader in the Senate.
It started with a post on social media on Friday (October 9) by One Bermuda Alliance candidate Catherine Kempe who wrote: “Seventy percent sexual harassment goes unreported…up to 85 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment at work…1 in 6 women have been a victim of rape or attempted rape… There is no place in leadership for this behaviour.
The post generated a slew of comments, including one woman, who said: “And the game of politics continues…
“None of it happens by mistake either. Not when you are dealing with highly intelligent individuals. What is Really going on here? Really?”
When contacted by Bermuda Real after the former Progressive Labour Party was fired on Saturday (October 10), Ms Kempe said: “Mr Commissiong stepping down was the right action to take.
“However, I question the Premier’s decision to appoint him in the first place given the allegations.”
Moving forward, she said: “I would hope that the Premier will appoint a strong female Senate leader and minister to improve women’s representation.
“We need to continue to watch Government appointments to ensure that they are in the best interest of the country. With only 20 percent of the parliament being women we must be vigilant in condoning misogynistic behaviour.
“October 11 is the international day of the girl, let’s all work together to eliminate societal double standards and to elevate women in positions of social equality,” she added.
Another woman wrote: “Just disgusting being talked about all over talk radio. WOW they are all liars. Can’t trust anyone these days, shameful.”
And a male blogger said: “Yes it;s a poor choice I agree ! But you all was crickets when Michael Dunkely , mr Fahy and Cannonier were appointted over and over after tons of scandal they was doing you all sat quiet!”
But another man was even more forthright saying: “It’s not COLOUR either…Both of these men are f–king idiots…Yes I said it.”
Another male blogger added: “You get what you voted for. Enjoy the next four years.”
Former Premier Michael Dunkley was quick to react to the appointment last week. When contacted by Bermuda Real after Commissiong’s appointment was revoked, he questioned the Premier’s “handling of this matter”.
He also said the two-day turn around “demonstrated a clear lack of leadership” on the part of Premier David Burt, saying the whole thing reeks of a coverup,” said Mr Dunkley.
“As called for by myself and others in the community, it is the correct move that Premier Burt had his controversial appointment rescinded this weekend.
“It was a terrible decision in the first place, demonstrated a clear lack of leadership and empathy and a lack of support for women!
“The entire matter reeks of a cover up to me! – If the matter occurred some time ago how is it that Premier Burt only learned of it in August after the election writ was dropped and canvassing had commenced?
“If the Premier considered this ‘incredibly serious’ in August what made him have a change of heart and make the original appointment?
“The Premier’s handling of this matter is a slap in the face to all women. How about supporting women and protecting them and their families from men who act inappropriately?
“The Premier should not hide behind an Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA). He needs to provide a documented timeline clarifying this matter and explaining his lack of judgement.”