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Dunkley dismisses ‘gutter politics’

Parliament will hear today from Michael Dunkley, the Premier, on his telephone conversations, including contacts with police, during the protests at the House of Assembly on December 2.

Mr Dunkley dismissed suggestions from Walter Roban, the Shadow Minister of National Security, that he had been “hiding” details, saying Mr Roban was “trying to pull something out of thin air”.

“Mr Roban is continuing a trend of gutter politics, with misinformation and prevarication.” He also criticised the Opposition's dissatisfaction with the pace and scope of investigations into tactics used by police, including pepper spray, to move protesters off the gates of Parliament.

“I had death threats against me on the Saturday after December 2. It's been two months now and I am not aware of any closure. You don't hear me complain.” Asked if he felt the Bermuda Police Service's investigation with the Police Complaint Authority and a UK peer review were sufficiently independent, the Premier told The Royal Gazette: “I certainly hope so. That was my thought when they were set up. I still believe that will be the case.”

The Premier sparred with Progressive Labour Party MPs at last week's sitting of the House over parliamentary questions on his communications with police regarding the protests.

After repeated questions, MPs heard that he was “not going to stand on the floor of the House and give details without going through my phone records”.

Yesterday, he reiterated: “I had dozens of calls. One phone had over 100 and the second had 50. I had to go through each number in my phone and see who it was.”

Mr Dunkley said he had used his travel time to and from London to establish each call. He called Mr Roban's suggestion that he had denied, on December 6, that he had spoken with the Commissioner of Police “totally inappropriate”, saying he had never made such a denial, and that, in any event, did not get involved in police operations.

Asked by this newspaper for the substance of his discussions with police, Mr Dunkley said he would rather bring those details to Parliament today.

The Premier said he was satisfied with the details he had given on December 6 — adding that the question as to why the PLP would allege that he deliberately withheld information was best left to the Opposition.

“I have no idea what political opportunity they are trying to create,” he said.

Mr Dunkley also thanked the Blue Ribbon panel for their assessment of the airport project.

“They're a good cross-section of the community and they did their work very comprehensively in a short period of time. I had an opportunity to read the report a couple of times. It's a good overview of why this is the best way forward.”

On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on a story that we deem might inflame sensitivities or discontinue them when the discourse is lowered by commenters to unacceptable standards. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

Premier Michael Dunkley (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published February 10, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 10, 2017 at 8:34 am)

Dunkley dismisses ‘gutter politics’

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