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Furbert: I have no intention of going

Chris Furbert says he will continue to head the Bermuda Industrial Union after protests focusing on the proposed airport expansion plan failed to materialise yesterday.

“My position is not up until 2018,” the BIU president told The Royal Gazette. “I have no intentions of going anywhere right now.”

Mr Furbert spoke to this newspaper shortly after telling a crowd of up to 200 people to go back to work instead of protesting against the One Bermuda Alliance's plans for a new terminal.

In the run-up to yesterday, Mr Furbert had led a rallying cry for people to show up and oppose the development as MPs debated airport legislation at the

House of Assembly. It came a month after the BIU's threat to derail the America's Cup received a very poor reception from the public, and from sections of the union membership.

Speaking to this newspaper about his future yesterday, Mr Furbert said: “I'm elected by the membership, and if the membership will help me serve another term, I will serve another term for the membership.

“It's their decision, not mine, it's theirs.”

Mr Furbert also offered further explanation for why he had urged union members to return to work.

“We said that if we got a good response then we would go to the House, and if we didn't get a good response then we wouldn't go,” he explained.

“There are a lot of people out there that are agreeing that this deal is not a good deal, but are not prepared to come out and protest.”

The airport project has been vehemently opposed by the BIU, the Progressive Labour Party and the People's Campaign, but a poll commissioned by The Royal Gazette, published yesterday, found that 62 per cent of registered voters want the Bermuda Government to pursue the plan.

Mr Furbert argued support thrown behind the proposal — including by the Blue Ribbon Panel and the Bermuda Tourism Authority — was not surprising. “All these people support the OBA government. So why would they not come out and make a statement that we support?,” he said.

Mr Furbert was in the headlines last month when he helped lead protests against the Bermuda Government's refusal to renew the work permit for the Reverend Nicholas Tweed.

At that time, he warned unless Mr Tweed's permit was renewed, and the airport redevelopment taken off the table, the America's Cup “will be in jeopardy”.

A poll commissioned by The Royal Gazette found that 86 per cent of respondents did not support the ultimatum, with 7 per cent agreeing with the stance, and 7 per cent undecided.

Of the 12 BIU members included in the poll, 10 said they did not support the demand.

•On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on what we consider to be a controversial or contentious story. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

Not moving: BIU president Chris Furbert says he will continue to head the Bermuda Industrial Union after protests focusing on the proposed airport expansion plan failed to materialise yesterday (Photograph David Skinner )

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Published February 11, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 10, 2017 at 11:02 pm)

Furbert: I have no intention of going

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