Front Street and other streets were temporarily closed to traffic today as Bermudians, by the hundreds, marched through the streets of Hamilton chanting: “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
Singing ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ as they made their way back to the House of Assembly, protesters returned early on day four of the impasse on immigration reform continues; in spite of occasional early morning rain showers on day.
By 9.00am the crowd had swelled to more than 1,000 as Bermuda Industrial Union President Chris Furbert told the crowd of a letter received yesterday from the Premier.
“They are testing us. This issue is bigger than a furlough day, and this is directed to all employers, not just Government,” he said.
The union leader also said it was “totally irresponsible” to release the same letter to the media. Any decision on the contents of that letter he said belongs to the people, not the Premier.
Reverend Nicholas Tweed of the People’s Campaign, then read the letter to the crowd gathered.
“It maintains that everything they do is aimed at providing and decrying job opportunities for Bermudians, including the America’s Cup,” said Rev Tweed.
Bermuda Public Services Union President Jason Hayward then said: “The people have heard it, digested it and rejected it. Please do not send any further communication to this hill unless you’re communicating that the bill has been withdrawn.”
Mr Furbert told the crowd that now’s the time to demonstrate. “It has to be about us and how we get the result for our children and our children’s children,” he said.
In an emotional address, he broke down in tears as he expressed what this dispute really means to him, his family and “this country”. Referring to his teenaged daughter he said: “She wants to be involved because she understands what it’s about.”
He also noted the impact of budget cuts by the Minister of Finance for education and seniors.
As it stands on day four of the islandwide withdrawal of labour, the offer made by the Premier yesterday has been flatly rejected.
Parliamentary proceedings have been adjourned until 10am Friday morning by Speaker of the House Randy Horton.
And in a statement released shortly after midnight last night, the PLP stated the party’s position remains the same. Said Mr Bean: “The position of the PLP remains the same…That the OBA withdraw this Bill and take a bipartisan, comprehensive approach to immigration reform.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport confirmed there will be no bus or ferry services until further notice, as a result of the industrial action.
A statement released earlier today said: “The Ministry apologises for this development and will keep the public advised of the status of service.”
The Transport Control Department also closed at noon today.
There will also be no garbage collection until further notice. Residents were advised by the Ministry of Public Works to take their trash to the Tyne’s Bay public drop off, which opens daily from 8am to 7pm (extended hours) for the rest of the week.
However, the Marsh Folly Depot, Government Quarry, and Airport Disposal Site are not operating today.
By Ceola Wilson