The leader of the One Bermuda Alliance yesterday praised workers and the labour movement on the eve of the Labour Day weekend.
Craig Cannonier said that the efforts of labour leaders had bettered the lives of Bermudians, including members of the OBA, who came from “all walks of life”.
He added that the OBA had also helped to create jobs and improve working conditions over its time in power.
Mr Cannonier said: “Despite what some would have you believe, we increased Bermudian employment and introduced minimum expected standards in a number of working-class job categories to protect Bermudian workers.
“We implemented the Jobs Board. We created huge opportunities for Bermudian workers at the airport, The Loren, the St Regis, the Azure and, yes, the America’s Cup.
“These projects supported — and will continue to support — Bermudians and their families, especially in the blue-collar sector.”
Mr Cannonier was speaking as he announced newcomer General Election candidates Antoine Cannonier, who is his cousin, and Kimberlee Pitcher as candidates in the East End in the October 1 General Election.
The party leader said that his party backed proposals for a living wage when in power.
He added: “When we were the government, we supported labour by refusing to make redundancies, even though we were facing huge pressure to do so to cut costs and help steer our economy in the right direction.
“We negotiated 10 per cent off prices on Wednesdays with the grocery stores.”
Mr Cannonier said: “With that said, now is not the time to try and cut the pay of our frontline workers who risked their lives during Covid-19; often without the proper safety equipment.
“Now is the time to celebrate their sacrifice and show them support.”
Antoine Cannonier will run for the St David’s seat and Ms Pitcher will run for St George’s South.
Lovitta Foggo, of the Progressive Labour Party, defeated OBA candidate Andrea Moniz-DeSouza by 737 votes to 228 in the 2017 General Election.
Ms Foggo beat Gaylynne Cannonier, of the OBA, the party leader’s sister, by 511 votes to 384 in the 2012 General Election.
Antoine Cannonier, a former policeman, now a cybersecurity consultant with the TLC Group, said that he wanted to bring more economic stimulation to St David’s.
He added that St David’s was “a forgotten part of Bermuda” because the area did not see a lot of tourism and was left underfunded.
Mr Cannonier added: “These are areas that need to be cleaned up and something needs to be done about them.
“It does exist — it’s part of Bermuda — and I believe if we do make the effort to do that then this could breed some jobs for people as well as bring money in because now tourists would want to come there.”
Mr Cannonier said that he also planned to bring back a sense of community.
He said: “Everything is commercialised now and no one has time to stop to support a child because we are always racing to and fro.”
Mr Cannonier added: “Let’s stop acting like gangs and more like family.
“During lockdown, we got to act like family again — we got to stop and know our neighbours better.
“Let’s not lose that. Let’s return to our better ways.”
Ms Pitcher, a nursing assistant, said that she hoped to tackle problems in her community such as a lack of infrastructure and disturbances from private jets landing at the airport.
She said that noise and pollution from private jets was a major problem in the constituency.
Ms Pitcher added that she also wanted to tackle island-wide problems such as financial problems suffered by ordinary people and the protection of vulnerable groups, such as children.
She said: “I don’t need to tell you that Bermuda has her work cut out for her.
“An ageing population, high cost of living, financial debt and our children lost in gangs.
“In 2018 there was a total of 1,142 new referrals for concerns about child abuse here in Bermuda.”
Ms Pitcher added: “I have chosen to put my feet to the ground and my heart into the issues with a determination to help my fellow Bermudians.”
Tinée Furbert, of the PLP, held the St George’s South seat after she defeated Suzann Roberts-Holshouser, of the OBA, in 2017 by 652 votes to 429.
Ms Roberts-Holshouser defeated Leroy Bean, of the PLP, by 515 votes to 467 in 2012.
The PLP has yet to announce its candidate for St George’s South.
The OBA leader also clarified his comments on former MP Rolfe Commissiong, who quit as a General Election candidate after an incident from two years ago was publicised.
He said: “Let me be clear, I in no way condone the behaviour, I was simply highlighting the fact that after two years we are just dealing with it.
“No form of harassment is acceptable.”
• To read the remarks from the candidates and Opposition leader Craig Cannonier, click on the PDFs under “Related Media”