Bermuda Mourns Loss Of Ottiwell Simmons

June 17, 2023

[Updated] “No odds were too great, no cause too small, and no negotiation too complex for Ottie. Today all Bermuda mourns the father of the modern labour movement,” Premier David Burt expressed his condolences and those of the Government and people of Bermuda at news of the death of Mr. Ottiwell Simmons, former President of the Bermuda Industrial Union and Member of the House of Assembly.

The Premier said, “Ottie’s fearless pursuit of social justice and rights for Bermuda’s workers laid the foundation for the employment protections which today we often take for granted. With the support of so many others, Ottiwell Simmons’ name is synonymous with transforming Bermuda into a more just and equitable society.”

Throne Speech Bermuda, November 9 2018-6666

The Premier concluded: “His legacy is defined by the strength of the Union to which he devoted his life and the core ideals that inspired his leadership during a key period of Bermuda’s history.

“To his family and the members and friends of the Bermuda Industrial Union, sincere condolences on the passing of this Lion of the Labour Movement.”

A Government spokesperson advised that in the coming days an announcement will be made regarding a Book of Condolence for the public to record messages of thanks and sympathy.

Update 10.37am: Dr. Ewart Brown said, “Bermuda has lost an iconic man. Ottie Simmons was not just a fellow politician and legendary union leader. He was a father whose children were gifted by their father to witness his leadership and strength against all odds.They observed him standing up when others around him were bending to the tune of those in power. Ottie was a beacon of courage who opened the doors through which we walk so casually today.”

Update 2.52pm: OBA Leader Cole Simons said, “On the eve of Bermuda’s National Heroes Day, we find it deeply meaningful to honor the memory of Mr. Ottiwell Simmons, whose passing leaves a void that resonates with the sentiment of the occasion.

“Fondly known as “Ottie,” he was not only a prominent figure in public life, but he was also a father, a grandfather, a leader, a friend, a confidante, and a mentor. Above all, Ottiwell Simmons was a giant of a man, a son of the soil and a genuine Bermudian hero.

“For over four decades, Ottie selflessly devoted his life to advocating for the rights of Bermuda’s working-class people and beyond. As the leader of the Bermuda Public Union, he brought unparalleled passion to his role. Whether at the bargaining table or in arbitration hearings, Ottie demonstrated unwavering determination, relentless persistence, and remarkable skill. He fearlessly led marches, boycotts, and demonstrations, emerging as a powerful force advocating for workers locally and internationally.

“He was not only a man of words but a man of action. While Ottie fiercely defended the rights of Bermuda’s workers, he embodied the qualities of a true gentleman. There was nothing thuggish about him. His strength was rooted in compassion, empathy, and respect for others.

“Today, we, the One Bermuda Alliance, extend our deepest condolences to Ottiwell Simmons’ family, friends, and all who had the privilege of knowing and cherishing him. Bermuda owes an immeasurable debt of gratitude to this extraordinary man. Ottie’s legacy will endure, serving as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come.”

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