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Any Covid-19 inquiry must be non-party political – Dunkley

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Michael Dunkley, shadow health minister fort the OBA

Any top level parliamentary inquiry into how Bermuda has coped with the Covid-19 crisis must be non-party political, the Opposition has insisted.

The comments come in the wake of David Burt, the Premier, saying a committee of lawmakers would be best placed to evaluate the Government’s handling of the pandemic.

Michael Dunkley, shadow health minister for the One Bermuda Alliance, said important lessons could be learnt from such an investigation.

Mr Dunkley said: “I don’t think there’s ever harm to take a look back to see what happened in such an important situation.

“But how it is set up is vital, it has to be non-partisan. I would include independent senators as well.

“We had a similar inquiry before when guns and drugs became more prevalent in Bermuda.”

Mr Dunkley claimed that the Progressive Labour Party did not have a grip on the Covid situation.

He said: “In the beginning they did a credible job, but since late last year they seem to have lost their way.”

David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Premier said in October it was “the job of legislators to scrutinise the work of the executive”, and that the parliamentary committee responsible for health could carry out such a review.

Mr Burt noted that the PLP had sought to put in place “permanent oversight committees in the House of Assembly” after the 2020 General Election.

“I know those are written into the standing orders,” Mr Burt said.

“The Speaker of the House and I are working to make sure they can become a reality.”

The remarks followed a report in the UK House of Commons going over Britain’s response to the pandemic – and its failings.

Mr Burt said he supported examining Bermuda’s handling of Covid-19 and getting “recommendations for how we can approach things in the future”.

“It is my expectation in the next session of Parliament to have these committees up and running.”

Mr Burt said it was “always vital that we review the work we have done and accept recommendations on ways to improve” as the island moves to a transitional phase of the pandemic.

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Published December 08, 2021 at 7:43 am (Updated December 08, 2021 at 7:35 am)

Any Covid-19 inquiry must be non-party political – Dunkley

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