I would like to say welcome to my Ministerial colleagues, the team from Milhouse and certainly the guest of honour today, Mr. Ottiwell Simmons, and everyone joining us here today from the Bermuda Industrial Union and the family.
In times of crisis it is a natural tendency to retreat, to lose hope and to doubt. We are almost 8 months into 2020 and there hasn’t been very much to celebrate and hope has seemed in short supply.
Today we have the opportunity, even if for a short while, to change the pandemic story that has so dominated our lives. Before us is a site that is now cleared of what was old and played out and which will be replaced by the new and state-of -the art. All brought about by the partnership of the government, the private sector and the labour of the men and women who will be employed to bring this new centre to reality.
I speak of hope because it is some of the darkest days for working people in this country, Ottie Simmons stared down the powerful and was determined to bring hope to the people he fiercely represented. He occupied streets, fought hard in negotiations and spoke fearlessly for justice for working men and working women in this country. The honour of today is but a small gesture to recognize the sacrifice and selfless contribution of this man of the people.
In these challenging economic times some people may think the solution to the issues we face is to stop everything. That is not an option. Our people must have work and this country’s infrastructure must continually be improved. Leadership on both these fronts is the Government’s responsibility. This groundbreaking today signals to the people that we want them to work and to provide for their families; it tells investors that this Government is open to innovative approaches to rebuild this economy; and it signals to world that Bermuda is a first class jurisdiction for dispute resolution that is only getting better.
I commend the Minister of Public Works, the Honourable Lieutenant Colonel David Burch and his technical team as well as the visiting team from Milhouse for their partnership in this initiative and the team led by the Bermuda Business Development Agency who have worked to build the necessary buy-in for this critical undertaking.