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House: support for scientist Weldon

MPs defended a top Bermudian scientist leading the test programme for the coronavirus after social media posters questioned the island's run of almost two weeks without a positive result.

The support came after David Burt, the Premier, said he was disappointed to have to repeatedly justify the work done for Bermuda by Carika Weldon.

Dr Weldon is a biochemist at the prestigious Oxford University Hospitals in England who came home to lead testing for the coronavirus at the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at Southside in St David's.

Neville Tyrrell, a Progressive Labour Party MP, said he could accept past doubts over Dr Weldon's credentials because of a lack of knowledge.

But Mr Tyrrell said her presence on the island for the past few months had given people plenty of time to “do their homework”.

Mr Tyrrell told the House of Assembly on Friday: “I am just going to put it down to ‘haters will be haters'.”

Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, said he still had not seen the posts that Mr Burt had talked about.

But Mr Dunkley added: “There is no way any individual should attack someone else on social media.”

He said insensitive posts online, including graphic details of deaths on the roads, made “tragic situations even more unbearable” for the families of victims.

Mr Dunkley suggested legislation could be brought to “make these acts against the law”.

Mr Dunkley also queried why “something unfortunate happens and very little is said — for instance, the dismissal of Tawanna Wedderburn from the health council”.

Ms Wedderburn was fired as chief executive of the Bermuda Health Council in December 2018.

Mr Dunkley told the House that it had been six weeks since Mr Burt had said that Kim Wilson, the health minister, would deliver a breakdown of the costs of tackling the pandemic, including personal protective equipment.

He added: “That's one of the reasons why people ask questions on social media.”

Carika Weldon (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published July 06, 2020 at 4:00 pm (Updated July 06, 2020 at 4:00 pm)

House: support for scientist Weldon

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