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Diverse groups to protest against Government

Protesters looking to band together include opponents of school closures, such as the West End Warriors (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Taxi drivers and fishermen have joined forces with opponents to school reforms and farmers for a one-hour show of dissatisfaction with the Government tomorrow morning.

It was unclear which group organised the event, which will run from 9am to 10am at Kindley Field Road in St George’s.

A government spokeswoman last night underscored its support for peaceful protest — adding that the administration was committed to consultation.

Ricky Tucker, vice-president of Bermuda’s taxi association, confirmed taxi operators would attend.

The BTOA has spoken out on a string of issues from app-based competition to the need for a fare rate increase.

A spokeswoman told The Royal Gazette: “The taxi drivers are honoured to march in solidarity with the organisations mentioned above on Wednesday and we look forward to supporting our brothers and sisters during this time.

“Taxi drivers will be there in solidarity against the transportation issues.”

Government response

A government statement last night, in response to calls for a demonstration, said: “In any democratic system striving to modernise and adapt to changing times, one can expect challenges and some resistance.

“In our democracy, the right of our citizens to engage in peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our society.

“As the Government, we remain committed to ongoing consultation with various sectors as we progress with the reforms we were elected to implement for the betterment of all of Bermuda.

“We will always prioritise the fundamental principle of what is in the best interest of the entire island in any changes we propose.”

The Fishermen’s Association of Bermuda had been at loggerheads with the Ministry of Home Affairs, which handles environmental issues, over the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme, which would place 20 per cent of the waters in Bermuda’s offshore exclusive economic zone under full protection, with no fishing permitted.

Ellen-Kate Horton, of the West End Warriors, which opposes the closure of West End Primary School, said: “This is one of many planned protests by individuals feeling aggrieved by the Government.

“We all have different issues. We want to show our faces so they can see the people who will be going to the polls when the next election is called.”

She said that the St George’s Preparatory School’s Parents and Teachers Association, which had similar objections to school closures under sweeping reforms to public education in Bermuda, also supported the demonstration.

A farmer who requested not to be named said the industry was fed up with onerous restrictions imposed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that were costing farmers and hampering their ability to grow crops.

Messages circulating via social media called for “one hour of taxi owners, operators and their supportive friends and families” to come out in a show of unity.

A video listed problems from the island’s “outrageous” cost of living, accusing the Government of having “no real economic plans” and a “broken education system”.

Last week, the Bermuda Union of Teachers went public with complaints that schools had not been ready for the beginning of the academic year.

The message called for anyone unhappy with the running of the country to join in the protests.

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Published September 19, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated September 19, 2023 at 7:35 am)

Diverse groups to protest against Government

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