Bur­ton Win­ters’ fam­ily asks gov­ern­ment to call in­quiry

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - WEEKEND LOCAL - BY JAMES MCLEOD

The fam­ily of Bur­ton Win­ters wants an­swers from Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons about when an in­quiry will be called to in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances of Bur­ton’s death, and Par­sons is of­fer­ing as­sur­ances that the in­quiry is go­ing to hap­pen.

In a news re­lease, the fam­ily pointed out the 14-year-old from Makkovik died in Jan­uary 2012, and de­spite a 2015 elec­tion cam­paign prom­ise from the Lib­er­als, no ac­tion has been taken on the in­quiry.

“Hav­ing en­dured the worst pos­si­ble loss imag­in­able, com­pounded by se­ri­ous ques­tions re­gard­ing search and res­cue ef­forts, the time is long past for giv­ing this fam­ily the an­swers they de­serve,” said lawyer Thomas Wil­liams, speak­ing on be­half of the fam­ily.

“With al­most two years hav­ing past (since the 2015 elec­tion) still no in­quiry has been called and there are no in­di­ca­tions of when that might hap­pen. The fam­ily and Bur­ton de­serve more.”

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is a lit­tle bit jammed up with in­quiries right now. Ear­lier this year, Jus­tice Leo Barry com­pleted a promised in­quiry into the shoot­ing death of Don­ald Dun­phy. The Lib­er­als also promised dur­ing the 2015 elec­tion cam­paign to do an in­quiry into a con­tro­ver­sial Labrador road­work con­tract in­volv­ing Hum­ber Val­ley Paving.

Since the elec­tion, Premier Dwight Ball has also com­mit­ted to do­ing in­quiries into the Muskrat Falls hy­dro­elec­tric project, and into the is­sue of Innu chil­dren in so­cial ser­vices care.

Par­sons said the prov­ince still plans to hold an in­quiry into Bur­ton Win­ters’ death, but the Cana­dian Se­nate is cur­rently do­ing a na­tional study of search and res­cue is­sues, with the fi­nal re­port ex­pected to be re­leased in De­cem­ber.

“I don’t want to start an in­quiry prior to that, be­cause they may do a sig­nif­i­cant amount of the work for us. That be­ing said, we’re still com­mit­ted.”

Par­sons asked for pa­tience from the Win­ters fam­ily.

“I un­der­stand their pain,” he said. “What I would as­sume is that they want some­thing that’s done right, and done in a fash­ion that would pro­vide an­swers.”

In a news re­lease, Wil­liams asked the gov­ern­ment to get mov­ing.

“The death of a young child and the sub­se­quent search and res­cue ef­forts are at the heart of this is­sue,” Wil­liams stated. “Young Bur­ton Win­ters was very clearly let down in the worst pos­si­ble way by the sys­tem, and we can­not stand by and con­tinue to let him down. The fam­ily is urg­ing Min­is­ter Par­sons and Premier Ball to do the right thing and call this in­quiry im­me­di­ately, so that they might fi­nally have some peace.”

“I un­der­stand their pain . ... What I would as­sume is that they want some­thing that’s done right, and done in a fash­ion that would pro­vide an­swers.”

Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drew Par­sons

Bur­ton Win­ters

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