Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Dirk Harrison appointed to Commission of Inquiry in Bermuda

Published:Friday | November 20, 2020 | 9:41 AM
Dirk Harrison - File photo

HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – A new senior counsel from Jamaica has been welcomed to a Commission of Inquiry into historic land grabs in Bermuda following the resignation last month of a top Queen’s Counsel from Canada.

Norma Wade-Miller, the commission’s chairwoman, said that Dirk Harrison has joined the inquiry in person “in spite of the [coronavirus] pandemic.”

Attorney Ivan Whitehall stepped down from the role for “personal reasons”.

He had appeared at sessions via video conferencing from Canada.

He would not elaborate on his reasons for resigning.

Wade-Miller, a Jamaica-born retired judge, said that Harrison was a prosecutor “at the national level” in Jamaica.

“He was Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and head of environmental law within the office. He was Contractor General as a sole commissioner to the Parliament of Jamaica. He is an independent member as well as the Chairman of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies.”

Harrison will be assisted by local lawyer Bruce Swan.

The Commission of Inquiry was set up in October last year by Premier David Burt to “inquire into historic losses of citizens’ property in Bermuda.”

The authorities have said that the commission is “not a court of law, and it cannot issue any orders that will address individual land losses or attempt to provide an individual remedy for such loss.

“Rather, it must determine whether a claim is an example of a systemic ‘land grab’ and/or whether a report should be made to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further action.”

The commission hearings, which began in September, are continuing.

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