The Bermudan government wants to sign a contract with AECON, giving the Canadian corporation control of the airport for the next 35 years. However, a survey in 2015 suggested that 75 per cent of the population felt it was a bad deal.
Trade unions, churches and community groups formed the People’s Campaign to oppose the plan. On the 2 December 2016, campaigners surrounded the houses of parliament to stop members of parliament (MPs) debating the bill to back the airport deal.
The peaceful protest was violently broken up by police officers. Protestors were pepper sprayed, including several older people, and one female trade unionist was thrown to the ground and needed surgery for her injuries.
On 27 March 2017, 12 members of the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU), and a church leader, were charged with offences relating to the protest under archaic, obscure laws that predate, and seem to contradict, the Bermudan constitution.
President of the BIU, Chris Furbert, who is one of those charged, said: “I personally would like to thank ITF unions for the letters of support in relation to the charges against me and other members of the BIU. We will continue to fight vigorously to have these charges dropped and have the incident [of the police violence at the protest] investigated thoroughly.”
ITF unions are asked to send letters, calling for the charges to be dropped and for the police violence to be properly investigated, to:
Mr John Rankin, Governor of Bermuda,
11 Langton Hill,
Pembroke, HM 13,
On 10 Feb 2017, MPs convened again under heavy police security and passed the airport bill.