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Commissiong axed from Senate and Cabinet roles

PLP Press Conference: Rolfe Commissiong (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Under fire new senator and Cabinet member Rolfe Commissiong was sacked by the Premier today after just two days in the posts.

Rolfe Commissiong was appointed the Senate leader and community affairs and sports minister by David Burt on Thursday, despite being forced to stand down as a Progressive Labour Party election candidate after he admitted an “inappropriate” remark two years ago.

Mr Commissiong said in a letter of resignation from Cabinet to Mr Burt that he would resign with “immediate effect”.

He added: “I apologise to you for not being completely honest and forthright to a question asked prior to my appointment and I am sorry that my appointment has become a burden to the Government.

“Thank you for considering me to lead the Senate team. I hope that you will consider me for service in the future.”

Mr Burt said he had advised John Rankin, the Governor, today that he wanted to revoke the Senate appointment and had separately accepted Mr Commissiong’s resignation as a Minister.

Mr Burt said: “I reject completely any suggestion that I would personally endorse or tacitly support any action or knowingly make an appointment of this nature without regard to the critically important need to protect women in this community.

He added: “One of the appointments made on that day has generated some significant concern, concerns which I must equally now share.

Mr Burt said: “I am the son of a strong, enterprising mother, husband to an independent and loving wife and father to a young daughter to whom I am already teaching the importance of self-respect and dignity.

“Women in this country must feel safe and respected in all their pursuits.

“Where that is not the case, case leaders have a responsibility to act and to act decisively.”

News of the appointment of Mr Commissiong, the former MP for Pembroke South East, who stood down from the contest for the seat in August to avoid a “distraction” from the PLP campaign, sparked fury from campaign group Social Justice Bermuda and the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance.

Mr Burt added: “Whilst it is not for me to judge any conduct or to determine the outcome of any further action which may be taken, I am compelled to act now.”

He said: “The appointment of the Government Leader in the Senate and of the senator who must, under the Constitution be a member of the Cabinet, will be made in due course.”

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Published October 11, 2020 at 5:43 pm (Updated October 11, 2020 at 5:43 pm)

Commissiong axed from Senate and Cabinet roles

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