Former police commissioner DeSilva to be next Ombudsman
Government House has confirmed that former Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva will be the next Ombudsman of Bermuda.
The announcement comes after Derrick Burgess, the Deputy Speaker of the House, claimed that he had information that Mr DeSilva, who quit as commissioner in 2018, had been pencilled in for the post.
Speaking in the House last month, he said: “I’m a bit taken aback because what I’ve been told is that the chief occupant of Langton Hill wants to appoint the former police commissioner as the Ombudsman.
“And I find it a bit concerning to me because, if you look at the history of Government House, I would venture to say that 70 per cent of the appointees that come under their charge are people who are white.
“And so I’m a little concerned about that because I do know – I’ve been told by sources outside of government – that between 12 and 14 applied for this job. And so I get concerned there.”
Today Government House said the appointment followed an “open and competitive recruitment process and a recommendation received from the advisory panel established to interview the candidates”.
Rena Lalgie, the Governor, said: “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr DeSilva as the next Ombudsman.
“The Ombudsman is a role fundamental to good governance and fairness, giving the members of the public a means of resolving problems which may crop up in dealing with the public service – and where necessary holding systems to account.
“Mr DeSilva’s commitment to public service, experience and extensive qualifications will stand him in good stead for the job’s challenges and responsibilities.”
Mr DeSilva said: “I am very grateful to Her Excellency the Governor and her advisory panel for their confidence to appoint me as the Ombudsman for Bermuda.
“I am honoured by this unique and exciting opportunity to return to public service.
“I plan to continue the work of my accomplished predecessors who built the office’s solid reputation of providing complaint resolutions that are independent, impartial, and fair.”
Mr DeSilva will replace Victoria Pearman, whose term of office will finish on March 16.
Ms Lalgie added: “Ms Pearman has been a remarkable and impressive Ombudsman. I am extremely grateful for her service. She has maintained widespread respect for the office here and earned high regard among the wider Ombudsman community in the Commonwealth and beyond, gaining respect for Bermuda as well. “
Mr DeSilva holds a Master of Business Administration degree and a postgraduate diploma in Strategic Management. He is also a chartered manager and fellow of the Chartered Management Institute of the UK.
He has more than 30 years’ experience as a police officer, having joined the Bermuda Police Service as a cadet in 1985.
He moved up the ranks to become deputy commissioner in 2008 and commissioner in 2009. He was the Commissioner of Police until his retirement in 2018.
Ms Pearman was appointed Ombudsman in 2014 for a five-year period and the Governor extended her contract for another three years until March this year.
She graduated in law from the London School of Economics and was called to the Bermuda Bar in1993.
She set up Juris Law Chambers in 1998 and trained a number of well-known lawyers.
Her legal career was mainly as a defence counsel in criminal cases.
Ms Pearman was appointed to the Senate in 2001, and served for a time as junior education minister.
The appointment of Ombudsman is made by the Governor under the Constitution.
Before making the appointment, in which she is advised by a panel headed by the Deputy Governor, the Governor is required to consult the Premier and Leader of the Opposition.