Wade-Miller to lead land grabs inquiry

  • Hard at work: Norma Wade-Miller with David Burt, the Premier (Photograph supplied)

    Hard at work: Norma Wade-Miller with David Burt, the Premier (Photograph supplied)

Retired Puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller will head an investigation into alleged land grabs.

David Burt, the Premier, announced the members of the Commission of Inquiry at the House of Assembly yesterday.

A motion to set up an inquiry was tabled by late Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown in 2014.

Mrs Justice Wade-Miller, the island’s first female Acting Chief Justice, served as a puisne judge for 25 years. She was also the first woman in Bermuda to be appointed a substantive magistrate, and then a high court judge.

Other members of the Commission of Inquiry will be lawyers Lynda Milligan-Whyte and Maxine Binns, business manager Frederica Forth, former PLP MP Wayne Perinchief, environmentalist Jonathan Starling and land surveyor Quinton Stovell Jr.

Mr Burt told the House: “This now forms part of the legacy of the late Honourable Member Walton Brown, who was its champion.

“It is in our late colleague’s honour that I am pleased today to advise this Honourable House of the members appointed to this important commission.”

Mr Burt earlier said the commission’s scope would include the investigation of “historic losses of citizens’ property in Bermuda through theft of property, dispossession of property, adverse possession claims, and/or such other unlawful or irregular means by which land was lost in Bermuda”.

Mr Brown’s motion to ask the Governor to set up a Commission of Inquiry into all known claims of property loss or dispossession was passed by Parliament in July 2014. George Fergusson, the former Governor, rejected the request, which sparked a march on Government House.

The controversy led to a change in the law that gave the Premier power to appoint a Commission of Inquiry without the Governor’s approval. Public service head Derrick Binns announced yesterday that Marva O’Brien, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Legal Affairs, has been temporarily reassigned to support the Commission of Inquiry.

Ms O’Brien will also provide support to the Ageing Well Committee. Jasmin Smith, the Director of the Transport Control Department, has been temporarily reassigned as acting permanent secretary for legal affairs. Terry Spencer has been appointed the acting director of TCD.

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Published Nov 2, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 2, 2019 at 9:17 am)

Wade-Miller to lead land grabs inquiry

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