Registrar hits back at Opposition claim

  • Parliamentary Registrar: Tenia Woolridge (File photograph)

    Parliamentary Registrar: Tenia Woolridge (File photograph)

The Parliamentary Registrar’s office asked the Opposition to amend “inaccurate statements” by former Opposition leader Patricia Gordon-Pamplin yesterday over the release of voter information for political purposes.

The call came a day after the One Bermuda Alliance again highlighted that voters’ information had been given to the Progressive Labour Party and demanded a report by the Parliamentary Registrar on the controversy be released to the public.

The Parliamentary Registrar, however, said the Governor, John Rankin, who is responsible for the office, had already responded to the OBA.

She added the matter had been dealt with “appropriately” by Mr Rankin in a letter to the Opposition “communicating the results of the Parliamentary Registrar’s review”.

The OBA held a press conference on Monday to ask for the report to be made available.

The Royal Gazette reported last August that the present Parliamentary Registrar, Tenia Woolridge, had found that then Registrar Randy Scott provided voter details after a request from the PLP.

Ms Woolridge took up the post in October 2014.

The Opposition said on Monday that the OBA had been informed by Ms Woolridge in October 2015 that voter contact information was “not something that we share outside the office”.

The OBA raised concerns again before last year’s General Election and wrote to Mr Rankin just after the landslide victory for the PLP.

Mr Rankin responded to the Opposition with a review that showed that Ms Woolridge did not give permission to release voter contact details and that there was no evidence that its database had been hacked.

The Governor’s letter added that the details were released in 2012 at the former Registrar’s discretion, but that Ms Woolridge took “immediate steps to shut it down” after she took the post.

The Parliamentary Registrar’s statement said that the Governor wanted correction of the “inaccurate statements” made by Ms Gordon-Pamplin on June 8 in the House of Assembly.

Ms Gordon-Pamplin told MPs that the Parliamentary Registrar, without making it clear that she was referring to Mr Scott, had released voter information.

She added that Ms Woolridge had “indicated that she had followed a precedent that had been established by the previous Registrar Randy Scott and that nobody had challenged whether it was correct or not for her to do so”.

The statement from the Parliamentary Registrar yesterday said: “Until such statements are corrected, the Parliamentary Registrar is not prepared to respond further to comments made via press release by the former Opposition leader that builds on inaccuracies already released to the public on the floor of the House of Assembly.”

Ms Woolridge told The Royal Gazette in August last year that Mr Scott had approved the release of voter contact details in 2012 and that file transfer of the information “was still in effect beyond 2012”.

She added that it was not her position to release details to parties and candidates, but that there were “no laws prohibiting such release.”

Ms Woolridge said that she would “consider each request based on its merits”.

The OBA maintained that Ms Woolridge had promised to release the results of her investigation to the OBA and said it would “ensure fair elections in the future”.

Mr Scott could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

For a timeline on the issue provided by the One Bermuda Alliance, click on the PDF under “Related Media”

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Published Jul 18, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 18, 2018 at 10:06 am)

Registrar hits back at Opposition claim

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