Log In

Reset Password

No decision on protest — Furbert

BIU president Chris Furbert addresses the media at a press conference this afternoon

Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, emphasised at a press conference this afternoon that no meetings had been held to determine whether a protest would take place regarding Government’s airport development project.

Parliament is set to reconvene this Friday, with two pieces of legislation relating to the project to go before MPs.

The debate has been on hold for two months in the wake of protests by the People’s Campaign group, which culminated in a clash with police at the entrance to Sessions House.

Asked if the BIU planned to hold a general council meeting before Friday, Mr Furbert said the decision lay with the executive board to call one tomorrow or on Thursday “if they’re interested”.

He would not comment in his People’s Campaign capacity.

Mr Furbert accused Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, of a “completely false” statement when he said the Government had been transparent and collaborative on the transaction.

“The only reason why the minister has decided to be a bit transparent is because of the challenges from the People’s Campaign, the PLP, Move and the protest that took place on December 2,” Mr Furbert said — questioning the assertion by Mr Richards that MPs would not be voting for “for or against the project”.

The union head also disputed Mr Richards’ statement that all options had been considered — and charged that business organisation had only supported the airport development because it had been put forward by a One Bermuda Alliance administration.

Mr Furbert took issue with a range of recent statements by both Mr Richards and Michael Dunkley, the Premier.

He also noted statements in 2009, when Mr Richards was the Shadow Minister of Finance, in which he was highly critical of public-private partnerships in the context of the new acute care wing for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, saying they generally added extra cost and there was “no such thing as a free lunch”.

Mr Furbert charged that, while the Government had defended the airport PPP as a way of avoiding adding debt, “the OBA Government has doubled debt in four years”.