Former Premier, via a press statement yesterday, lashes out at the Bermud Police Service for raiding his businesses and obtaining confidential patient files, amongst other documentation.
"This weekend, the Police raided, in quick succession, Bermuda HealthCare Services and Brown-Darrell Clinic, breaking windows and forcing doors open. They seized some of our patients’ files and compromised patient privacy, safety and well-being. We are urgently and fervently attempting to get the Courts to stop this totally unnecessary invasion of patient confidentiality.
As of 9.15 a.m. today (Monday), the Police have refused to comply with the judge’s order we obtained on Saturday, which required them to return all files by 8.00 a.m. today. They remain at our premises with full knowledge that their actions are intimidating to our patients and to our staff.
It is important to revisit the timeline that supposedly gave rise to this so-called urgent raid:
"In June, 2011, the Police Commissioner confirmed that, based on a convicted perjurer’s testimony about my allegedly engaging in political corruption with the assistance of a Government Minister, the Police 'commenced inquiries to determine whether any criminal offenses had been committed'. Quite suspiciously, the testimony was elicited moments before the jury was due to return a verdict. The Governor and the Police used this specious junk to launch a far-reaching investigation of me, ostensibly for political corruption.
"It is almost six years later and the Police have never notified the Bermuda public or myself of their findings relative to this political corruption investigation. The Police have never named or, to anyone’s knowledge, investigated the then-sitting Government minister who was allegedly my accomplice. The Police have never acknowledged what they found or whether they intend to pursue any charges relative to political corruption. The public deserves to know. I deserve to be exonerated. As I have said often, they have found no political corruption, because there was no political corruption.
"In May, 2016, the Police arrested BHCS’ Medical Director, Dr. Mahesh Reddy, and conducted an unlawful early morning raid of his home without a warrant. The search was said to be in connection with a financial investigation, and specifically related to Dr. Reddy’s and the clinics’ utilization of diagnostic tests. The investigation, which was ostensibly launched as one looking at political corruption, clearly morphed into an investigation of my personal businesses. It is clear that what originated as a suspicious prosecution has now become a dogged persecution, as Police look high and low to find a crime with which to charge me.
"In July, 2016, the Police admitted that they had spent $2.2 million investigating me between 2013 and 2016, dedicating an entire team to queries about me. They did not give a figure for the total expense their operation incurred before the $2.2 million was expressly earmarked. Nor do we know how much has been spent since July, 2016. The witch hunt goes on.
"In January, 2017, the Police suffered a defeat in Court as they attempted to thwart a motion brought by Dr. Reddy regarding the early morning, unlawful raid on his home conducted by approximately eight (8) police officers without a search warrant.
"On February 11 and 12, 2017 – this past weekend – the Police retaliated by carrying out this raid on our offices under colour of a warrant. After a nearly six-year investigation, the Police would have us to believe that they had to search our offices so urgently that they broke in to one, and broke a window to gain entry to the other. They did not have the time, inclination or civility to arrange to gain access through our lawyers they had just seen in court precisely three weeks before.
"Notwithstanding that the Police have been told repeatedly of our willingness to cooperate with their 'investigation', they have responded this way – removing confidential patient charts and potentially damaging our computer network. They illegally disabled our security cameras and refused to allow our staff members in various areas to quietly observe their search. We have no idea what they did to our facilities or our digital data during their 24-hour plus siege of our private business properties.
"I am offended, saddened, dismayed and alarmed, but not surprised.
"Clearly this was not necessary. All that was required was for the Police to present their search warrant to our lawyers and steps would have been taken to cooperate with them. Instead they have ignored the time-honoured principle of patient confidentiality.
"It is extraordinary in this context that the police persist in staging these spectacular, unnecessary raids which are distressing to all who find themselves caught in the middle. As noted above, the timing of this weekend's raid is particularly interesting given that the police recently lost in court, having argued that the Supreme Court should not have jurisdiction to review their actions in their investigation into Dr. Reddy.
"Meanwhile, I have no desire to be embroiled in legal battles with the Police. I respect and honour the many officers who serve and protect Bermudian citizens, including myself. But, the recent actions of the Police in pepper-spraying Black grandparents and in forcibly seizing my two Black-owned businesses are historic and deserve special observation and scrutiny.
"In my 70 years, I have never seen White elderly citizens man-handled. I have never seen any White doctor or businessman’s offices seized and occupied this way. And, if you think I am “playing the race card,” I am! – because that is the card that you deal me when you treat me and mine differently than you have ever treated yours.
"Where were the Police when two cheques were fraudulently planted in the files attempting to implicate then Minister Burgess and the Premier of Bermuda in corruption? Why wasn’t that obvious crime one of the subjects of the Commission of Inquiry? Why weren’t Jetgate, and the sole-sourcing of contracts done by previous UBP governments brought before the Commission of Inquiry? What about the OBA airport deal that was not put out to tender – no inquiry?
"Take note. Beyond my current situation, there is something going on in Bermuda that reeks of past days of privilege and unfair, racist treatment. It smells bad in my country.
"As for me and mine, we will fight with our last cent and to our final breath. We reserve our rights and will continue vigorously to challenge any unlawful police action against us.
"I am honoring a longstanding commitment to my wife, so unfortunately I could not rush home to be with my amazing staff at both Bermuda HealthCare and Brown-Darrell, who continue to focus on taking care of our patients in an exemplary fashion.
"Our patients and their private, confidential records are our primary concern at this point. We are trying to take every step legally available to us, at whatever expense, to make sure that the patient files that were seized will not be opened or read by the Police or anyone, and that these files that were unnecessarily taken will be returned at the earliest possible time.
"My close and extended family, friends, staff, patients, medical colleagues and supporters have been my eyes, ears and inspiration. In spite of all the unpleasantness that has transpired, I feel blessed, confident and deeply grateful to God for continuing to protect my family and me.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” (Psalms 27:1-2)