HAMILTON, Bermuda–Premier, the Hon. David Burt, JP, MP has released to the press a statement regarding the firing of a new member of the Senate and government minister.
On Thursday I presented a team that would be responsible for delivering on the unprecedented mandate of trust received from the people of Bermuda on October 1st. One of the appointments made on that day has generated some significant concern, concerns which I must equally now share.
I reject completely any suggestion that I would personally endorse or tacitly support any action or knowingly make an appointment of this nature without regard to the critically important need to protect women in this community.
I am the son of a strong, enterprising mother; husband to an independent and loving wife; and father to a young daughter to whom I am already teaching the importance of self-respect and dignity. Women in this country must feel safe and respected in all their pursuits. Where that is not the case, leaders have a responsibility to act and to act decisively.
Accordingly, I have today advised His Excellency the Governor to revoke the appointment of Rolfe Commissiong as a Senator and have accepted his resignation as a Minister. Whilst it is not for me to judge any conduct or to determine the outcome of any further action which may be taken, I am compelled to act now.
The appointment of the Government Leader in the Senate and of the Senator who must, under the Constitution, be a member of the Cabinet, will be made in due course.
Reports indicate that in the past Commissiong has been an outspoken critic of the “Forty Thieves”, a local name for the families of descendants of British settlers who monopolized the economy in Bermuda for many years and controlled much of the infrastructure.
It is not known what the proximate reason for the dismissal was, though Burt’s statement hints an issue regarding the protection of women. Commissiong had also allegedly been described by some PLP officials as ‘unelectable.”