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Rabain ‘disgusted’ by Apex

Government Senator Diallo Rabain

called upon workers who feel discriminated against to speak up in the wake of a human rights inquiry ruling against Apex Construction.

Shortly before the Senate adjourned, Mr Rabain declared himself “appalled, absolutely disgusted, that something like this could happen in 2012”.

Apex was deemed to have unfairly treated Bermudian carpenter Pernell Grant, who said he had been given unfavourable working conditions as someone taken on to justify the company’s contracting of foreign workers.

Sen Rabain said: “Here we have a man that has 30 years’ experience being hired only to satisfy Immigration policies.”

He added: “I hope this encourages any Bermudian out there who feels discriminated against to come forward.”

Over the years, Sen Rabain said, workers who spoke out have been branded as “troublemakers”. He said the board of enquiry’s ruling on Mr Grant’s case should discourage other companies from engaging in similar practices.

Sen Rabain went on to urge the Island’s unemployed construction workers to register for the February 23 job fair at the Bermuda College.

Also yesterday, Independent Senator Joan Dillas-Wright was elected vice president of the Upper House yesterday, and new Independent Senator James Jardine took his place for the first time following the retirement of Sen Walwyn Hughes.

Legislation favouring the use of solar panels was tabled by Progressive Labour Party Senator David Burt.

The Development and Planning (General Development) Amendment Order, 2012, which raises the area of panelling allowed without Planning permission from 80 sq ft to 400 sq ft, will go before the Senate for approval at the next sitting.

A long-awaited motion by Opposition Senate leader Michael Dunkley, to discuss last year’s Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on gun violence in Bermuda, will have to also wait. Yesterday’s meeting broke early for the funeral of One Bermuda Alliance founder Sean Pitcher, whom OBA Senator Mike Fahy recalled as “a dear friend to me and my family”.

Sen Dunkley agreed, calling Mr Pitcher “a man who reached across all boundaries”.

Sen Dunkley also delivered an emotional tribute to gun victim Stefan Burgess, whom he had employed.

“Stefan was on a good road,” he said. “He loved his girlfriend, and loved his daughter.”

He called Mr Burgess’s January 8 murder “truly one of the things in this life that we can never understand”.

Government Senator Jonathan Smith offered condolences to the husband and family of deceased Pc Sandy Rowe, who came to Bermuda from Jamaica as part of the Bermuda Police Force’s strategy of recruiting Caribbean officers.

“She became very popular for the five years that she served here,” Sen Smith said, noting that Pc Rowe was closely involved with the Community Action Team.

And Sen Jardine drew laughter by sharing the advice given to him by retired Independent Senator Walwyn Hughes, whose place he has taken.

“I spoke with him a few weeks ago,” Sen Jardine said. “The first thing he said to me was, ‘Don’t say anything during your first Senate meeting.’”

The Upper House will next convene on February 29.

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Published February 16, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated February 16, 2012 at 8:10 am)

Rabain ‘disgusted’ by Apex

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