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No Jubilee public holiday is a missed opportunity, says BIU leader Chris Furbert

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In celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's platinum jubilee, a banner was placed on the Seon Place Building. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Failure by the Government to follow other Overseas Territories and declare a two-day public holiday to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee represents a missed opportunity to give workers a break, a leading union chief has said.

Chris Furbert, head of the Bermuda Industrial Union, said if ministers “missed the boat” on the matter they needed to acknowledge that.

The comments come as the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos and Montserrat are following Britain and holding two days of bank holidays today and tomorrow to mark the Queen’s 70-year reign.

The British Virgin Islands, where there has been a growing political push for independence recently, is celebrating the landmark with a national day off tomorrow.

Mr Furbert noted that special public holidays had been granted in the past in Bermuda, such as to commemorate the first Portuguese immigrants.

He told The Royal Gazette: “If other jurisdictions are doing it, having a national holiday, I think that the Government should take a look at that.

“If the Government missed the boat they need to acknowledge that they haven’t given the workers a holiday. It’s a missed opportunity.”

BIU president Chris Furbert (Photograph by David Skinner)

Nathan Kowalski, president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said that such public holidays would need to be flagged a good deal ahead of time so that businesses could prepare.

“For us, we would need to have notice well in advance to plan for it.

“We need these things sorted out months and months in advance so that we can sort out staffing.

“I am sure that some businesses would like to stay open on such days. It’s a nuanced situation.”

Nathan Kowalski, president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce (File Photograph)

A one-off public holiday was observed in Bermuda on November 4, 2019 to mark the 170th anniversary of the first Portuguese immigrants to the island.

While Bermudians will not get any days off to mark the Queen’s jubilee, a number of activities are taking place to mark the celebration.

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, will host the Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Reception at Government House with her husband, Jacob Hawkins, today.

And Ms Lalgie will join David Burt, the Premier, to plant two commemorative trees to mark the occasion tomorrow.

On Saturday, the annual Queen’s Birthday Parade will take place along Front Street in Hamilton.

The spectacle will include marching units from the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the RBR Band & Corps of Drums, the Bermuda Police Service, the RBR Junior Leaders and the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps.

The Governor will also present representatives of the uniformed services with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Hamilton on Sunday, June 5.

A jubilee service will be held on June 12 at St Peter’s Church in St George’s, also marking the tenth anniversary of the intituling of St Peter’s Church as “Their Majesties Chappell”.

The City of Hamilton will give its own tribute for the event.

A tree planting is planned for the city’s Queen Elizabeth Park, which was formerly Par-la-Ville Park before being renamed in 2012 to commemorate the monarch’s diamond jubilee.

* What do you think? Should Bermuda be doing more to mark the Jubilee? E-mail news@royalgazette.com

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Published June 02, 2022 at 7:55 am (Updated June 02, 2022 at 7:34 am)

No Jubilee public holiday is a missed opportunity, says BIU leader Chris Furbert

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