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Furbert: shops can thrive in North Hamilton

BIU president: Chris Furbert (Photo by Akil Simmons)

Businesses can thrive in the back-of-town area of Hamilton, Chris Furbert has said.

Mr Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, added that “all the businesses that have been established in back of town over the years, have grown as the city expands.”

He pointed out that the Bermuda Credit Union had operated in North Hamilton for more than 50 years.

Mr Furbert added that the BIU had also been in the area for more than 50 of its 70 years.

He said the BIU, on Union Square, had not only survived as a trade union, but been able to take on business opportunities.

Mr Furbert said the BIU had invested in seven city properties, six buildings and one parking lot, for the benefit of its members.

He added: “We feel proud about what we have been able to achieve in the 70-plus years as an institution.

Mr Furbert said: “When we look at the businesses that the public patronises, like the Liberty Theatre, we are very proud.”

He added several businesses that rent office space from the BIU had also done well.

Mr Furbert said the BIU had grown and now employed at least 30 people and businesses could succeed anywhere on the island — including back of town.

He added: “Bermuda is only 21 square miles so when you talk about back of town, we are not talking about a few miles away.”

He said North Hamilton was safe for residents and businesses and that tourists visited the area.

Mr Furbert added that the increased use of CCTV systems had helped improve the area.

He said: “Back of town is pretty safe, people just walk. People walk on Court Street and the other streets — nobody interferes with them.”

“There have been a lot of improvement where safety is concerned as it relates to Court Street and other streets.”

Mr Furbert added that Bermuda had done a good job in crime management and that crime rate was minimal compared to other jurisdictions.

Mr Furbert admitted the poor perception of the area held by some could be down to the “back-of-town” tag.

He said that if a name change would boost the image of the area he would support axing the term “back of town”.

Mr Furbert added: “Certainly, maybe that is something that should be considered.

“We may need to have a conversation if we can come up with a more appropriate name.”

He said more family entertainment was needed in the area and more should be invested in island entertainers to boost entertainment options.

Mr Furbert said more family activities would encourage closer relationships among residents.

He said: “Bermuda is a close-knit community — we need to get back to the way things were 40, 50 years ago when I was my neighbour’s keeper.”