Jul 2, 2020
Deadline for submission to the Commission of Inquiry for Historic Land Losses has been extended to 23rd of July 2020, due to the COVID 19 Shelter-In-Place. Submissions can be made to the Secretariat of the Commission by clicking the Submission link in the menu bar.
Pursuant to the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1935, this Commission of Inquiry was established on 31st October 2019 by the Premier, the Honourable E. David Burt JP MP. The Commission has been directed to inquire into historic losses of citizens’ property in Bermuda, in keeping with the mandate of the House of Assembly as expressed in its Resolution of 4th July 2014.
The Chair of the Commission is Justice Norma Wade-Miller OBE, JP. Its members are Mr. Wayne Perinchief, Mrs. Maxine Binns, Mrs. Frederica Forth, Mrs. Lynda Milligan-Whyte, Mr. Jonathan Starling and Mr. Quinton Stovell.
As part of its mandate, and based on the evidence it will hear, the Commission will make recommendations to the Government of Bermuda that may compensate for historic land losses, refer cases to the Director of Public Prosecutions where appropriate, and/or may make recommendations that might forestall future land losses by any unlawful or irregular means.
As the Commission is not a court of law, it will not issue any orders that will address individual land losses, except as part of a result of a systemic cause, nor will it attempt to provide an individual remedy for any loss.
On 8th March 2020 the Commission issued a Notice that a Planning Hearing would be held on 19th March 2020.
On 13th March 2020 the Premier of Bermuda stated:
‘to ensure public safety, I can confirm that all Government public events will be canceled for the next four weeks. “
Additionally, we are urging event organizers and sporting bodies with anticipated gatherings of more than 50 people, to postpone their events.’
In order to comply with the spirit and letter of the Premier’s announcement, and keeping in mind the health and well-being of Bermudians who might have planned to attend the Planning Hearing, the Commission decided to adjourn the Planning Hearing without specifying a date for its resumption.
Given the current uncertainty when the public aspect of the work of the Commission may resume, but wishing to advance its work, the Commission has decided to deal with all the applications for standing based on the written materials already submitted to it. To that end, and since there will now be no oral submissions (at the Planning Hearing) that may provide additional context for the written material already submitted, the Commission has decided to invite persons who may wish to make oral submissions in support of their application for standing to file any additional written evidence they wish to rely on, together with a brief statement in lieu of their oral submission.
Any additional material should be filed electronically if possible by 23rd of July 2020. If electronic filing is not available, then paper copies may be filed by 23rd of July 2020.
The date and location of the substantive hearing(s) will be decided once all Government public events may resume. Once those dates are decided by the Commission, they will be published.
Taking advantage of this delay and to avoid any further delays, the Commission also invites those persons who wish to have party status, but have not yet filed an application, to file electronically if possible by 23rd of July 2020. If electronic filing is not available, then paper copies may be filed by 23rd of July 2020. Persons should do so in writing, setting out the nature of their interest in the work of the Commission, together with any written documents they wish to rely on.
All such material should be filed
(1) in writing, addressed to: The Secretary of the Commission Sofia House- 4th Floor 48 Church Street Hamilton HM 12, or
(2) by email, addressed to Secretarycoihll@gmail.com.
Persons who do not wish to have party status, but who have evidence (facts) or information relevant to the Commission’s Terms of Reference can also file by 23rd of July 2020 a short summary of the evidence (facts) or information they wish to present at the substantive hearings (fact hearings).
Once the Commission has had an opportunity to consider all of the materials and submissions filed, it will provide further directions to the applicants in writing.
The Commission has now established a website where information regarding the Commission may be viewed, including the mandate of the Commission, the Members of the Commission, the Rules of the Commission and other significant Commission documents. The address of the website is historiclandlosscoi.bm.