Protesters prevent MPs from entering Bermuda House of Assembly

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OBA MP Susan Jackson taking in the action of protesters gathered at the perimeter of the House of Assembly in Hamilton, Bermuda, preventing MPs from entering the grounds. The controversial Airport Redevelopment deal was set to be debated on Friday morning

By Carla Zuill
Today in Bermuda

HAMILTON, Bermuda — "We’ve been here since 5.00 this morning and will remain here for as long as it takes," said one of many protesters who gathered around the perimeter of the House of Assembly grounds in Hamilton, Bermuda, preventing MPs from entering the property.

Their actions are a result of discontent with the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) government’s plan to table what the opposition Progressive Labour Party described as "a secret deal that will privatise our airport to a Canadian company for 30 years and give away hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that could be spent on education, seniors, healthcare, economic development and on training and retraining our workforce for job opportunities".

In a statement circulated Thursday night, opposition leader David Burt said: "The PLP knows that we need to do something about our airport, but we must make progress while obeying the law and adhering to the principles of good governance. As your political representatives, the PLP have exercised and exhausted every political option at our disposal to bring openness, transparency and reason to the conversation surrounding the OBA’s airport scheme and the government in their arrogance continue to refuse to share the full details of this airport privatisation.

"The PLP has put forward a common sense compromise that will request the auditor general to review this deal in advance, and provide MPs with an independent assessment of the cost of this secret deal to the Bermudian taxpayer. This would allow the auditor general to look at the deal before we are locked into a 30 year contract that will cost the country hundreds of millions in lost profits. The OBA has rejected our proposal, and tomorrow will ask Parliament to approve an agreement that MPs have not seen. Tomorrow’s proposed debate flies in the face of good governance and should offend all Bermudians as a yes vote by the OBA majority will give a blank cheque to Bob Richards and the OBA.

"That is why the PLP are calling on all Bermudians to Stand Strong for Bermuda’s future and join us at the House of Assembly… starting at 9.00 am to let the OBA know that they cannot move forward with this secret deal without having an independent review by the auditor general. Recent History has shown that, though the OBA can ignore the PLP, they cannot ignore the will of the people. When it came to furlough days the OBA wouldn’t listen and the people forced them to listen. When it came to Pathways to Status, the OBA wouldn’t listen and the people forced them to listen.

"Now it is time for the people to demonstrate our strength yet again, because you know, as we do, that ‘the power of the people is far greater than the people in power.

"It is vital that we all come together tomorrow to show our people power and demand that Premier Michael Dunkley and the OBA request an independent review of this 30 year secret deal by the auditor general. Let’s make sure that December 2nd will be remembered as a day the people earned a victory for our children. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow."

Protesters at the House of Assembly in Hamilton, Bermuda, on Friday

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