MP's arson attack an 'appalling attempt at intimidation', Minister
National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief this afternoon described an arson attack on a PLP MP's car as an "appalling attempt at intimidation that will be investigated and strongly prosecuted".
PLP MP for Pembroke South East Ashfield Devent was woken by his dog just after 6am today to see his car on fire.
He said: "My little dog earned his keep and woke me up at five past six this morning, as soon as it happened.
"I looked outside my bedroom window and could see flames around the area of my car.
"I think whoever did it must have run away really quickly. I ran to the back to get a hose and by the time I came back there was nobody there.
"It appears to be a clear case of arson. One of the car windows was broken and we found two oil containers. One was intact and the other was on fire.
"I was afraid it might explode. It was right up against the house, only a few feet away, so an explosion would have been very dangerous."
He added: "I hate to jump to the conclusion it could be politically motivated. I would hate to think it's that. If so, it would be another frightening change of events for Bermuda.
"I'm also chair of the Parole Board and there have been recently somewhat high-profile people who have not been before the courts yet. Or it could be a random act of violence."
The car was second hand white Suzuki Swift. "I can't think about a new car. I bought it second hand and I was hoping to get it painted."
Mr Devent added: "It's just so very sad that for whatever reason someone has chosen to do that. I foresee Bermuda slipping further into this type of activity.
"Four, five or six years ago, we would never have thought we'd have people shooting at people as commonly as they do. Now it's stepped up a realm."
This afternoon Mr Perinchief said the attack was "an appalling attempt at intimidation that will be investigated and strongly prosecuted."
He added: “I met with Mr.Devent this morning and he has shared with me his account of this appalling event. He is a true public servant and is undeterred from doing his duty.
"In fact, he has already given a statement to the police and his example of assisting the police is something we emphasize regularly.” M
Mr Perinchief is due to meet with Governor Fergusson and the Police Senior Command this afternoon.
"I have already received a preliminary briefing from the Commissioner and he has assured me that this matter will be investigated with a view to bringing those responsible to justice.”
This afternoon Mr Fergusson issued this statement: "I am shocked that an attack like this should be made, especially on someone involved directly in the service of his community and the whole of Bermuda, as an MP and as Chair of the Parole Board.
"I know that the police are making every effort to find the perpetrator and I ask that anyone who knows anything about this incident should pass it on to the police.”
This morning Premier Paula Cox said: "Clearly any attack or personal threat against an individual is reprehensible and has no place in Bermuda. We are a community that adheres to the rule of law and where we uphold as a country, law and good order.
"I have reached out to Ashfield DeVent to check on how he is personally. He occupies a very key role as the Chairman of the Parole Board and has always been a fearless advocate and has passionately spoken out about what he sees as the ills of the community."
The PLP also condemned the attack, issuing a statement which said: "The Progressive Labour Party condemns in the highest regard any attack on any individuals or their properties.
"This type of behaviour has no place in Bermuda. We call on the authorities to investigate to the fullest extent. The Hon. Ashfield Devent has served our country well and in no way deserves to be treated in this manner.
"We call on the members of public to refrain from these types of destructive acts, especially in this heightened political environment."
And PLP candidate for Pembroke South East, Rolfe Commissiong, said: "Firstly, I wish to personally deplore the apparent firebombing of the car of MP Devent.
"No person in our community should be subjected to the wanton destruction of personal property in the manner that Mr Devent has.
"I also hope that the person and/or persons who have committed such acts are swiftly apprehended by the police.
"I would encourage members of the community who may have any information related to this incident to contact the relevant authorities."
A Police spokesman said: "Around 6.20am on Monday, police and Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service personnel attended a reported vehicle fire on Friswells Road in Devonshire.
"A white Suzuki car was damaged as a result; however the fire was apparently extinguished prior to the arrival of the emergency services. There were no reported injuries. Inquiries into this incident are underway and anyone with any information is encouraged to contact Detective Constable Chris Sabean on 295-0011.