Politics is all about people - the people we serve, the people we listen to, and the people with whom we must consult.

The Premier's handling of the arrival in Bermuda of the four former Guantanamo Bay detainees has demonstrated amply that he has not learned this simple lesson. Instead, the people he serves were kept in the dark; and the people he ought to consult and listen to - in this case, His Excellency the Governor, and his own Cabinet and Caucus, at a minimum - were ignored altogether.

This lack of consultation has prompted outrage throughout the Island from voters across the political spectrum. Marches have taken place, and numerous letters to the editor and calls to radio talk shows have protested his unilateral decision-making process.

Media reaction overseas has been strong, too, and we will not know the international ramifications of this decision for some time. In fact, any long-term consequences were probably not even considered.

The Premier has said "this too shall pass" - but even that comment demonstrates a general disregard for the people and their views. The Premier has also admitted that had he anticipated the "firestorm" his unilateral decision has created, he might not have brought the Guantanamo detainees to the Island. That is all the more reason why consultation is necessary before decisions of this magnitude are made.

The reason this issue has international consequences, of course, is that not only were people in Bermuda not consulted, neither was the British government. The Premier, and Senator Burch have said that the matter is an immigration issue, and does not concern the British government - but even the Deputy Premier wasn't buying that line.

The Governor has noted that the direct negotiations that took place between the Premier and the United States were in breach of section 62 of Bermuda's Constitution because they clearly fall into the area of external affairs, matters that he has sole responsibility for. Because of this, His Excellency added, the "exchange of notes" that was negotiated and sent on June 10 was invalid. In addition, His Excellency said that the negotiations had breached the spirit of the "General Entrustment" agreement Bermuda has enjoyed with Britain for the last 40 years.

It has become clear that U.S. Consul General Gregory Slayton was presented with a fait accompli, too. He has thanked the Governor for representing the United Kingdom with dignity, honour and class - and for not escalating the issue into a massive international incident.

It was interesting to finally hear what our Attorney General had to do say about these matters - until a week ago, she had been silent. When she finally delivered her opinion regarding legality, it was at odds with the prevailing view. Is her opinion designed to protect the Premier?

In order to learn from this fiasco, the Premier must tell the citizens of Bermuda how this plan to accept four former prisoners at Guantanamo Bay came to pass. Did the Premier read about it in the Washington Post, did the Premier's new lobbying firm come up with the idea, or as Minister Burch said, did it start at the "highest levels"?

We also need to be assured that the Premier is prepared, going forward, to be bound by our Constitution, which is the supreme law of Bermuda. Bermuda must stand for the rule of law; everything depends on it - our reputation, our economy, our security, our system of governance and justice, and our stability.

Virtually every other country working with the U.S. Government on this matter is doing so openly, in the sunshine of public scrutiny. Even tiny Palau sent a fact-finding team to Guantanamo to report back.

As we move forward, the Premier must be reminded - again - that the citizens of Bermuda expect him to be accountable to all of us for his decisions. We expect him to tell us the truth about this issue and all other political issues - and we expect good governance from the leaders we elect.

I call on Government to prepare and present a complete and truthful report on the Uighur controversy, from its origin, with timelines, security report, who Bermuda was negotiating with and what costs are involved from beginning to end. This report should be tabled in both Houses for reasons of accountability and transparency.  

We must live and learn, and corrective action must be taken to prevent such a fiasco from ever occurring again.

Senator Michael Dunkley is shadow minister for public safety.