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Burgess draws race card over next DPP

The next Director of Public Prosecutions should be a black “born Bermudian” the Deputy Speaker of the House has said.

Derrick Burgess, of the Progressive Labour Party, said “perpetual racism” had kept white people at the top in Bermuda during the motion to adjourn on Friday.

He was speaking after Larry Mussenden, the present DPP, was appointed a Puisne Judge.

Mr Mussenden will take up the role when Carlisle Greaves retires in July.

Mr Burgess said most senior appointments tended to be given to “Caucasians”.

He added: “I do hope that the next appointment to the DPP is a born Bermudian, preferably black Bermudian.”

Mr Burgess claimed that Government House, responsible for the appointment for some positions such as judges and commissioners of police, seemed to be “the chief patron of perpetual racism”.

He said: “Of all the appointments that come under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office representatives in Bermuda, 75 per cent of them, at least, are Caucasian.

“The history of the courts in this country is not great.”

Mr Burgess highlighted Commissioner of Police Steven Corbishley, Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, and Chief Justice Narinder Hargun as examples of white appointments.

But other MPs pointed out that Mr Justice Hargun was of Indian ancestry.

Mr Burgess said: “The Chief Justice is white. He goes for white in this country. He is accepted as white. He wouldn't have it if he was looking like me.”

Mr Burgess, during a 2016 Commission of Inquiry into government contracts, when Mr Hargun appeared as counsel for the commission, claimed Mr Justice Hargun was a South African.

Mr Justice Hargun was born in India, his family moved to Britain when he was a child and he has Bermuda status.

A spokeswoman for Government House said: “Under the Constitution, the DPP is appointed by the Governor and a recruitment process will get under way soon.”

Racism debate: Derrick Burgess, seen in October 2016 when he appeared before the Commission of Inquiry, for which Narinder Hargun served as a lawyer, cites the Chief Justice as an example of a white appointment (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 25, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated March 25, 2019 at 12:50 pm)

Burgess draws race card over next DPP

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