Global trade union federation Public Services International [PSI] said their “affiliates in the Caribbean loudly applaud the unions in speaking out demanding transparency” on the airport deal, and note recent events with “concern and anger.”
According to their website, Public Services International is a “global trade union federation representing 20 million working women and men who deliver vital public services in 154 countries.”
A statement from the organisation said that PSI’s affiliates in the Caribbean – 23 unions and confederations in 20 countries and territories in the Dutch, English and French speaking Caribbean — have noted recent events with “great concern and anger”.
“All this as a result of actions on that dark day of December 2, 2016 when, acting on orders, police pepper-sprayed citizens and activists who had gathered to protest the Public Private Partnership [PPP] arrangement for the re-development of the country’s international airport,” PSI said.
“PSI’s affiliates in the Caribbean loudly applaud the unions in speaking out about and demanding transparency in the deal between the Government of Bermuda, Aecon Group Inc and the Canadian Commercial Corporation [CCC].
“Current evidence as well as recent statements  from officials in global institutions highlight that PPPs don’t live up to the hype – and that a strong civil service is key in mitigating risks created by the private sector.
“At PSI’s recent sub-regional meetings held in Kingston, Jamaica, Caribbean public services unions re-affirmed their role as guardians of democracy, especially noting the crucial role they play in ensuring fair and sustainable societies for all.
“From our review of the actions on December 2 and especially the response from the police, we believe that the latter was ill-prepared and ill-equipped to handle the situation and the use of pepper-spray on the public was totally uncalled for. That action and the pushing and shoving of people only served to raise tempers, not maintain peace.
“PSI’s Caribbean affiliates are also very concerned and troubled by the continued use of the Courts as a tool to stifle and choke the legitimate efforts of trade unions and other social actors as they demand transparency, democracy, social justice and equality for all.
“Social dialogue has been proven the world over as the best means to deal with national issues that affect all. This is the practice that has proven true and effective in modern, democratic societies.
“Across the Caribbean and with the support of the global PSI family, PSI’s Caribbean affiliates stand with Bros Hayward and Furbert and other members and activists of the BPSU and BIU.
“And together with the PSI secretariat, we will be following the events and outcomes as well as monitoring with you the implementation of the PPP. People before profit.”