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MP launches attack on ‘threatening’ civil servants

Derrick Burgess, Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly (File photograph)

Civil servants think they are in charge of Cabinet ministers, MP Derrick Burgess has claimed.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly also accused public service officials of “threatening” people.

Using the example of the experience of a businesswoman, in reference to civil servants, Mr Burgess said in the House of Assembly: “We have some that think they are in charge – even of the minister.”

He said a businesswoman he had been in contact with was being “penalised” by civil servants.

Mr Burgess, a former Cabinet minister and president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, said: “They went as a far as to put it in writing, threatening this lady, if she didn’t pay these funds by today, they will hold up her shipment. Putting her livelihood at risk.

“They didn’t care, but they put it in writing – civil servants. This is not right – we should not be threatening our people.”

Mr Burgess said: “They put her through pure hell. H-E-L-L – Hell.”

He added: “One civil servant even called her father. This is the power they think they have. They think they are above the ministry and the Government.”

Mr Burgess added: “Civil servants making policies as they go. You will not find anywhere in the code of conduct where you can threaten a taxpayer, a businessperson.

“This is shameful, very shameful and we will not tolerate it. We will never, ever tolerate it, being treated other than the norm.”

Mr Burgess stated: “When we decided to remove the red tape and make it friendly for business, I think we fell short in some aspects.

“We have to make it friendly for them to operate in Bermuda. All the bureaucracy is still there and they are still penalised because they haven’t followed the regulations.

“I know one businessperson that has had their goods detained for over three months by customs. And not even told what regulations … that they violated.”

Mr Burgess also took a swipe at the Bermuda Police Service and the criminal justice system on the island.

He said: “A lot of people go to prison and they are not even guilty. Because they have been set up by authorities.

“Yes, we do have bad policemen, too, and good ones, and, I would think that most of our policemen are good ones.

“But a lot of our people go to prison – not guilty. They didn’t have the money to have a defence, to prove their innocence.”

The Bermuda Public Services Union and the Bermuda Police Service were asked for comment and had not responded by press time.

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Published February 09, 2023 at 8:04 am (Updated February 09, 2023 at 8:04 am)

MP launches attack on ‘threatening’ civil servants

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