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Premier and Governor to chair new National Security Council

A new National Security Council will focus on internal security and will be chaired by the Governor and Premier, according to a statement issued this morning by Government House.

The Council will be made up of the Governor as Chairman; the Premier as Co-Chairman; the Deputy Premier; the Attorney General; the National Security Minister; one other Minister (or Junior Minister) to be nominated by the Premier; the Commissioner of Police; the Deputy Commissioner of Police; the Deputy Governor; the Commanding Officer of the Regiment; and the Assistant Commissioner of Police.

The statement says: “The National Security Council shall discuss matters relating to internal security with a focus on the prioritisation of Bermuda Police Service resources, and the public presentation of the Bermuda Police Service's role in law enforcement. Operational and staffing matters will be excepted.

“The Governor shall act in accordance with the conclusions of those discussions, unless he or she considers that giving effect to the advice would adversely affect Her Majesty's interest (whether in respect of the United Kingdom or Bermuda). Where the Governor has acted otherwise than in accordance with the conclusions of the Council, he or she shall report to the Council at its next meeting.”

It adds: “The Commissioner of Police and the Deputy Commissioner of Police shall provide regular briefings to the National Security Council on matters of internal security, including the Police Service unless to do so would prejudice current operations; inform the National Security Council of significant security developments in Bermuda, including significant criminal activity; and retain responsibility for the day to day operations of the Police Service.”

The National Security Council will be able to invite any person or public officer to attend and participate in, or provide briefings to, the Council on the areas of their work bearing on internal security and will meet every two months.

This afternoon, Kim Swan, who was elected as a UBP MP, issued a statement whic said: "The United Bermuda Party consider the establishment of a National Security Council to make imminent good sense for Bermuda.

"From my tenure as Opposition Leader, I am well aware of the some of the sensitive challenges navigating policy and funding for the Bermuda Police Service.

"We feel that this mechanism can balance the role of the Government - to provide funding for the Police, with the constitutional responsibility of the Governor - for the provision of Bermuda's internal security.

"In our reply to the Budget we stated that National Security is the number one issue confronting Bermuda and that it transcends politics.

"We see the establishment of this Council as a good mechanism to get the leadership of National Security focussed and on the same page for the betterment of Bermuda .

"We look forward to the National Security Council working successfully with the leadership of the Bermuda Police Service to make Bermuda a peaceful and tranquil Country."

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Published March 06, 2012 at 9:00 am (Updated March 06, 2012 at 9:30 am)

Premier and Governor to chair new National Security Council

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