Committee investigates airport protests
A committee set up to inquire into a 2016 demonstration that saw protesters pepper-sprayed by police has started its work.
The December 2, 2016 protest against the public-private partnership deal for the redevelopment of LF Wade International Airport turned violent when police officers clashed with demonstrators who blocked entry to the House of Assembly.
At least 26 complaints were made to the Police Complaints Authority by members of the public in the wake of the protest. The BPS said 14 of its officers were assaulted.
Kim Swan, a Progressive Labour Party MP and chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee, said the seven-strong committee was “already working well together”.
He added the members had “demonstrated a commitment to participate on this important committee”.
Mr Swan, MP for St George’s West, said: “We are all committed to doing our best for Bermuda, and we are all committed to ensuring that any research and investigations related to this investigation are carried out with fairness and objectivity.”
He said it was important that a “serious national incident” was investigated.
Mr Swan added: “Our terms of reference direct us to look into the events that day, including the decision-making and any directives that may have led to the Bermuda Police Service being called out in riot gear and using incapacitant spray on citizens assembled in protest.”
Mr Swan said the committee would review all evidence it was presented with.
He added: “We will make our decisions and recommendations based on fact.”
Joan Dillas-Wright, Senate president, Progressive Labour Party MPs Tinée Furbert, Michael Scott and Neville Tyrrell, One Bermuda Alliance MP Ben Smith, and OBA senator Andrew Simons were also chosen for the committee.
The members were picked by Dennis Lister, Speaker of the House.
Mr Smith said he was selected as the OBA House of Assembly member of the committee because he was not involved with the incident and would have an independent perspective.
He added: “My role on the committee is to help to gather the facts so that we have an understanding of what occurred on that day.
“It is important because there are lots of emotions caused by that day and we need to be able to explain what happened.”
Members of the public can submit statements as well as documents or records they think could assist the committee.
The name, address and contact details of people who provide information must be attached to their submissions.
Information can be sent by post to the House of Assembly at 21 Parliament Street, Hamilton, or delivered by hand to the Office of the Legislature at 26 Victoria Street.
Submissions can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
All submissions must be received no later than 5pm on Wednesday, February 7.
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