Furbert: ‘A Sad, Sad Day In Bermuda History’

December 2, 2016

“It was a sad, sad day in Bermuda history,” Bermuda Industrial Union President Chris Furbert said after today’s protest, which saw police officers dressed in riot gear descend on the crowd.

The debate on the legislation regarding the airport redevelopment agreement was set to take place at the House of Assembly this morning [Dec 2], resulting in a gathering of people outside the grounds.


Initially everyone gathered outside the House, with MPs not being allowed to enter. After a few hours, the police moved in, with pushing and shoving commencing, someone appearing to hit someone else over the head with an umbrella, and the police using what appeared to be pepper spray on the crowd, with at least one person seen taken away in an ambulance.

“I never thought I’d see this crap happen in Bermuda again,” a 64-year-old lady told Bernews as she wiped her eyes. “Oh my Lord, they stood up there and they sprayed and they sprayed.”

Speaking to the crowd gathered, Opposition Leader David Burt said, “We have spoken to the Police Commissioner, and we are extraordinarily concerned with what went on today, and somebody must answer. Members of the police pepper sprayed our senior citizens.”

“It’s a sad, sad day in Bermuda history,” BIU President Chris Furbert said. “The people decided to protest, peacefully, about a Bill and this happens to them? You have seniors being pepper sprayed.”

The House session was eventually cancelled, with Speaker of the House Randolph Horton saying, “Pursuant to section 42 of the Constitution and House Standing Order 7, I have adjourned the proceeding of the House of Assembly until Friday 9 December 2016 at 10:00am.“

We will have additional coverage of this matter as the evening progresses, and in the meantime you can see our live updates here, and all our coverage of today’s protest here.

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Comments (39)

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  1. N. Christiansson says:

    Mr. Furbert and Mr. Burt – it is a sad, sad day for Bermuda with the likes of you two and all the ignorant people you are blindly leading to no where, except the destruction of this once beautiful island – SHAME ON YOU! GROW UP AND ACT LIKE MATURE RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE!!

    • Hair says:

      Mr Furbert, you are a sad person in this world, but you won’t bring this proud Bermudian down..

    • Up D Hill says:

      All you so called protesters disgust the “The.Real People” of Bermuda!! You are proving you are nothing but hooligans there on orders to disrupt Bermuda.

  2. hmmm says:

    You can’t just block a road, or an entrance. How would you like it if I blocked you from leaving your house. You were blocking the Government of Bermuda from conducting its business on behalf of the people of Bermuda……….. Working up innocent people and encouraging them to break the law is disgusting….Anyone hurt is on your hands Furbert

  3. Ringmaster says:

    Listen and learn from the press conference by the Commissioner of Police. He is an Independent authority, nothing to do with PLP or OBA. There is a rule of law that controls protests. Clearly some of the demonstrators broke the law and obstructed the lawful passage of others to The House. It had nothing to do with Derrick Burgess’s attempts to make it “white supremacy”. Watch the video and it is clear that the police, and MPs, were prevented from performing their lawful duties. A peaceful demonstration would have given a passage to The House, but it was not to be. This was not a peaceful demonstration, but an unruly mob.

    • mj says:

      clearly ringmaster you are ignorant, it is not the police job to ensure that parliament takes place, if it is the peoples business and if they do not wish it to move forward it WONT! if we do not speak up we will be subjected even more and unless you wanna be the ringmaster who can make sense out of the nonsense concerning the A CON deal than shed the light if not shut up! you obviously do not understand that the people ARE THE ultimate authority! police protested the house and if they represent the people that PAY THEM then they need to check that oath they said and signed and remember that we are family here and those that are NOT, are using family in our own households against family! “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge!” Hosea 4:1 “hear ye the word of the Lord ye children of Israel: for I have a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, no mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.”

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Actually, when an unlawful group refuse to allow lawful access to somewhere, it is the Police’s responsibility to aid in the law. As for the AECON deal, having read all available info, it is mind numbing entirety, agreement, emails, schedules… I can say, that Burt and company have been misleading their supports and the people with carefully selected/edited snippets in order to fabricate their narrative. Is this the best deal we could get, no, but we are also not in position to get the best deal, thanks in no small part to the PLP’s financial stamina. So it is ultimately the best deal we could hope for, because we don’t have the luxury of living in an ideology… they never work anyway.

      • hmmm says:

        I think you got a bit mixed up there mj. the law is the law and the police are there to ensure all activities are lawfully enaged in…please listen to the full Police commissions press conference without wearing any bias and you’ll understand how things work a little better.

    • World Without Protest says:

      The world without protest gave us 2 World Wars, world with protest ended discrimination,women voting voting rights,ended colonialism, Black people voting rights,ended segregation, rights to fair pay, health, better government for all , corporation killing the environment list is endless . unless your are born yesterday.. this have been the NORM to bring change….we as human have never been perfect beings..

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        World with unreasoned protest is simply mob rule, and that has given us wars, discrimination and social injustice. Protest is an important part of democracy, but only if it is a function of reason. In this case it is political mob rule in response to a failure by its instigators to losing to reason.

  4. hmmm says:

    I suggest people watch the footage of police actions and THEN the watch the Police commissioners speech.

    It will help you understand what happened and why it happened.

  5. Noncents says:

    The saddest part is that the PLP expected and hoped for this outcome.

    • Ben says:

      The majority of the PLP is comprised of black people. By saying the PLP planned for this outcome, you are saying that black people deliberately turned black people against each other.

      Either you’re ignorant, or racist, or both. The worst part is, it’s obvious you have absolutely no intention of ever changing.

      • Hmmm says:

        Huh? This is baseless reaching. Your comment is just throwing mud and hoping some gullible fool reacts to it.

        Burt and Furbert caused the mess yesterday, it is on their hands. Apportion the blame properly.

        When asked to continue a peaceful protest, and to desist from breaking the law, Burt and Furbert did not help that process. They organize the protest publicly, they were the leaders of the protest. Any blood or outcome is on their hands and because of their actions.

  6. Truth teller says:

    What sad is how you children are going to strike when you don’t get your way. Half of them up there don’t even know why they are there.
    That’s sad

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    Oh the drama of it all!

    What do they expect? They obstruct access to the HOA. They fail to comply with police instructions. There are consequences. Be thankful it was only pepper spray & nobody got tazed. Nobody got tear gassed. Nobody got hit with rubber bullets. Lots of places any or all of those methods would have been used, especially if such a hostile crowd was blocking a Government building.

    So a few seniors got a dose of pepper spray. Too bad. Of all people they should have known the risks & consequences of placing themselves in such a situation.

    The police behavior today was disgraceful. By 10:05AM they should have had access to the HOA cleared for MPs & anyone wishing to see the proceedings of the day in an orderly respectful manner.

    • Ben says:

      “So a few seniors got a dose of pepper spray. Too bad.”

      Good Lord. Do you ever stop to listen to yourself? Do you actually hear the garbage coming out of your mouth?

      • Hmmm says:

        Why did the leaders of the protest move the muscle they had there earlier and replace them with older folks. They put the older folks in harms way, how disgusting.

  8. N. Christiansson says:

    Leaders of the plp it is a sad, sad day for Bermuda with the likes of you and all the ignorant people you are blindly leading to no where, except the destruction of this once beautiful island – SHAME ON YOU! GROW UP AND ACT LIKE MATURE RESPONSIBLE PEOPLE!!
    Do you have the money to build a badly needed airport? If not, then why act like this….WHY!!

    • almost says:

      They are terrified of the outcome of the COI, they are terrified of the OBA continuing the giant strides back towards prosperity for all which they have made so far, they are terrified that their chance at the PLP trough may have passed them by.

      It’s so simple. They have to get rid of the OBA at all costs, and to hell with the Bermudian population they purport to represent. Mr Burgess….unbelievable he can get away with what he said both today at at the COI.

  9. Vote for Me says:

    Today’s demonstration will be recorded as a pivotal moment in Bermuda’s history.

    Beyond the obvious negative optics of deploying the riot squad and use of pepper spray on the anniversary of the 1997 riots, the protest is a stark reminder of how little progress has been made in Bermuda over the past 39 years!

    Add to that the contrasting comments on the evening news of a white resident’s support of the airport (stating that Bermuda needs the airport at all costs and the protesters were breaking the law) and comments from BIU President Chris Furbert (black resident) emphasizing that protestors had a constitutional right to protest.

    A political significance of the protest and riot police is that it is a stark lesson for Bermuda’s young people (anyone less than 40) about enduring real risk to get what you believe is right.

    It is no secret that many young people are not engaged in Bermuda’s political activities and do not easily relate to ‘stories’ from their older parents and grandparents.

    Well, after today, they do not have to rely on stories of Bermuda’s past. They can relate to their own experiences if they were at the protests today or the more immediate recollections from their mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles etc that were at the protests today.

    Bermuda has 7 days to demonstrate lessons learned from today before the House reconvenes on Friday December 9th…

    All eyes are on us.

  10. Sojourner says:

    Why were not Furbert, Burt et al at the front of the protesters instead of leading from behind. Their incitements put others in harms way while they prevaricated from the back. Shame on them.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Expect any different from them?

    • Truth teller says:

      Didn’t have the ring leader my tweed with them.

    • Truthseeker says:

      umm, not sure what video you were watching OR if you were there. but obviously not. coulda sworn I saw both of them right there, especially Burt on the frontline initially.
      please show me any form of “rules of engagement” where a leader should be in front dirctly in harms way, instead of protected so they can still “lead”…..
      where are commanders during a war? in 20 ft deep underground bunkers calling shots….
      oh wait, u gonna say Martin Luther King did, right? smh
      You should ask the same question to your country leader then, why didnt he come out and support the riot squad Bumrush? instead of prevacating from “the back”?
      shame on him.
      Some are saying wake up and stop acting like children.
      Ahhh yes the US election, the campaign, the results, the riots and protests thereafter, the blacklives matter movement etc etc.
      And lil ole Bermuda is still in a Bubble?? we are really suppose to be sooo different right.

    • No Laughing Matter says:

      Where was Waldo (Rev. Tweed)? I guess he stayed away from all this brouhaha and is on his best behaviour these days; awaiting the outcome of the church’s appeal of his work permit refusal…

  11. E.Johnson says:

    The more things change the more they stay the same. The island of Bermuda has and will always be a beautiful place. Standing firm in your belief and demanding that your voice be heard is a healthy and safe manner for the masses to gain the necessary attention to their issue. This is not anything new. Neither was the response. A protest is healthy. Beats a riot any day. But then again soccer would not be soccer in Britain without a “riot” I heard? Hmmmm. Student had a great teacher I heard.
    The more things change the more they stay the same.

  12. Watcher says:

    Where the police actions heavy handed? Possibly but please stop with the peaceful protest nonsense. I stood today and watched some dred wail on the cop with a cedar walking staff for no reason the dread whacked him 5 or 6 times On his legs, hit him so hard he broke his cedar stick. Luckily for the dread the big guy just gripped him and locked him up, if it had been me I’d have peppered his a$$ but if the cop had done that we’d have been screaming about police brutality. Right is right there was no need for that today especially with that big fella who most folks really like.

  13. van martin says:

    The Police did the correct thing today. These self entitled, leftists were obstructing free passage to the seat of Government. They deserved far worse than what they got.

  14. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Just like Donald Trump brought out the real feelings White People feel for black People,,,,,,O.B.A and their supporters bring out their real feelings.I guess December 2nd really shows annually the hypocrisy

    • Hmmm says:

      People are people, stop trying to perpetuate a dvisionto justify your own personal hate.

  15. No laughing matter says:

    You were instructed by the police to move and not block the entrance to the house. You refused police orders, now face the consequences. Don’t come crying foul on the police. You know darn-skippy well that when the police instructs you to do something, you comply. Same as in traffic. If the police instructs you to stop your vehicle, do you stop or do you keep on driving? There was no difference here. An order is an order. You were given an instruction by the police to move from the entrance because you were breaking the law by obstructing the democratic process and by denying other people their right to perform their duties. I saw the videos, so stop with the peaceful protest excuses. Stop with the selective amnesia. There were some clear instigators in that crowd who are nothing but trouble, yet the PLP and BIU have the nerve to ask the police to exercise restraint. How about the PLP and BIU make the instigators stand down and get cracking? Leave it to the genuine protesters with no hidden agenda to carry on with their right of free speech in a LAWFUL manner.

    The best thing from now on is police officers standing guard at the entrance of the house (the gate and pathway to the house) 24/7 until things calm down. Also barricades must be setup so protesters can stand a short distance AWAY from the entrance to the house.

  16. swing voter says:

    we’re killing ourselves and our quality of life because of a few politically stupid decisions. OBA just pay the 20M penalty to cancel the contract. That’s right, 20M….where you gonna get that money? cut back government services and introduce a 4 day work week. From what I saw, some government workers don’t value their jobs anyway. BTW don’t even think about financial assistance, you obviously want to be poor

  17. smh says:

    You got what you deserve! If that was a group of young men blocking the police you all would be saying arrest those idiots!

  18. No Longer A Memeber says:

    The question should be asked, who truly provoked this? What is Mr Burt’s agenda? What is Mr Furbert’s agenda? What is Mr Tweeds agenda? What is Mr Hayward’s agenda? Is it power and money or is it justice and honesty? Look into their history for answers and if not, new history being made will tell. Bermuda’s future will be very sad in very short order?!?!

  19. v smtih says:

    They have demonstrations all over the world

    in Bermuda its mild,this has taken me back to 1977, how sad.

  20. god1st says:

    Members of the police pepper sprayed our senior citizens.”

    “It’s a sad, sad day in Bermuda history,” BIU President Chris Furbert said. “The people decided to protest, peacefully, about a Bill and this happens to them? You have seniors being pepper sprayed.”

    I agree with you brother ,it is sad to SEE THE LIKES of yourself?tweedy/David Blurt/ seniors inciting, obstructing the general public.

    You all got what you asked for .

  21. mmm says:

    This past year or so a lot has been going on 1. relaxing term limits 2, looking at immigration reform and pathways to bermuda status 3. the sage report and privitisation being considered 4. the unemployment rate 5. armed robberies and shooting deaths …It seems to me a lot happening, do we have adequate resources to address these matters, primarily people,s lives and liveli-hoods. The Commission of Inquiry seems to have lost a few teeth, as some persons have been given exemptions, so what has been happening with the public purse !!! Is there no accountability…no one knows who the fourth person was on that plane…and no one seems to know where the 350 thousand donation came from when first questioned…so thus a lack of trust, so its slowly culminating in unrest and more unrest for us all, in one form or the other. I suppose one may say there are always issues on hand when you are serving the public and trying to determine the best way forward. Let,s hope and pray that the legislators will do what is best.