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House: Dunkley speaks on protests

Police and protesters clash outside the House of Assembly on December 2 (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Michael Dunkley has told MPs that he first became aware of the deployment of helmeted police against protesters on December 2 when he saw images of them on social media.

Responding to questions from the Opposition, the Premier said his opinion had not been asked about the deployment of the riot squad.

Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, Mr Dunkley was unable to give details on his phone conversations throughout the day, saying he had yet to finish going through his phone records.

The Premier said his phone had been ringing throughout the day, commencing at about 5.30am, but that he had met at Government House at 3pm with the Acting Governor, the Attorney-General, the Minister of National Security, and the Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.

He told the House that “we all have grave concerns about what took place” but repeatedly stated that the tactical decisions lay with the Commissioner of Police.

Two special branch officers were in Cabinet at the time, with a discussion on options for MPs to enter the House, but no decision was made as Parliament was called off.

Mr Dunkley refused to detail the options that were discussed, despite being pressed by the Opposition on that point, including Progressive Labour Party MP Kim Wilson asking if measures included being escorted through the gates in marked vehicles.

When asked by Diallo Rabain of the PLP if “at least two” ministers had asked for access to the House be gained “by force”, Mr Dunkley told the House that he would not answer to “innuendos and rumour”.