Funeral service for BIU and PLP stalwart held
Political allies and colleagues said a last farewell to a veteran trade unionist today.
LaVerne Furbert, who died earlier this month, was praised as a “lioness”, a “warrior” and “a voice for the voiceless”
David Burt, the Premier, told the congregation he had asked his wife Kristin to join him at the service for support.
Mr Burt said Ms Furbert, who worked at the Bermuda Industrial Union, was “a mother, a guiding light and a matriarch.
“There were not many things she did not think that she could change.”
He added: “Anger, frustration and rage – none of them can sustain you.
“Hatred may move you for a minute but love will energise you, love will sustain you and love will keep you on the front line for the causes that matter to you.
“She was energised by love of country, love of party, love of union, love of her fellow men and especially love of her fellow woman.”
Mr Burt asked: “How do we honour this lioness’s memory and carry on her legacy?
“We pick up where she left off, be champions for the people who have no voice and never be afraid to speak truth to power.”
Mr Burt was speaking at a funeral service for Ms Furbert at the First Church of God, North Shore Road, Pembroke.
Mourners heard that Ms Furbert, who was 74, was a devoted mother, a grandmother, a union and Progressive Labour Party stalwart, a former senator and “a champion for justice”.
Derrick Burgess, a friend and colleague in the Bermuda Industrial Union, said Ms Furbert was “indispensable”.
He added: “If you searched LaVerne Furbert from the crown of her head to the bottom of her feet, you would only find integrity and a woman of kind spirit.
“Bermuda has lost one of its most greatest and fearless women – a true warrior. Rest in peace freedom fighter.”
Bishop Vernon Lambe said Ms Furbert was “an outstanding woman whose personality was bigger than life”.
Nicholas Tweed, a pastor, added Ms Furbert “was born into a segregated community, bound together by the cement of racism and economic disparity, and yet she was not afraid to break the silence”.
Others at the service included Ms Furbert’s sons Vance Chapman and David Chapman, Dame Jennifer Smith and Paula Cox, former PLP Premiers, Chris Furbert, the president of the BIU and Molly Burgess, the union’s general secretary.