Joanne MacPhee yelled at marching workers on Front Street. *Photo courtesy of Bernews
Joanne MacPhee yelled at marching workers on Front Street. *Photo courtesy of Bernews

Joanne MacPhee has been fired from her executive director post at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.

The news come after the chamber’s executive board met to discuss Ms MacPhee’s behavior on Wednesday, when she yelled at a group of marching  union workers who were protesting a handful of employment redundancies at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. She told themthey should be happy to be employed and to go back to work.

Thursday, Chamber President Ronald Viera announced she was suspended without pay. This afternoon, the chamber confirmed that she had been sacked.

Ms MacPhee has since apologized for her outburst, which occurred on the balcony of a Front Street restaurant. Her Thursday comments now seem prophetic.

“It was a very inappropriate decision that could have a very devastating effect on my life,” she said Thursday afternoon.

Bermuda Industrial Union President Chris Furbert, who led the march, framed the comments as irresponsible.

“We could have had a mini-riot yesterday and I’m not trying to overdramatize anything,” he told union workers gathered at the Heritage Worship Centre on Wednesday.“Here you have a person in authority, inciting workers…and I don’t want to get into a race issue. Don’t want to. But guess what? For Ms. MacPhee to make that kind of statement, we could’ve taken it there. We were having a peaceful march and there was no need for her to do what she did yesterday. She owes this country and our members an apology.”

Statement by Mr. Ronald Viera, President of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce

“Following a meeting of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce Board, the decision was made to terminate Mrs. Joanne MacPhee as Executive Director effective immediately. Employee benefits such as health insurance and coverage in The Employee Assistance programme will be offered to Mrs. MacPhee for a period following her termination. The Bermuda Chamber of Commerce wishes to assure our membership that all of the Chamber’s programmes will continue as planned as we continue to support local business development initiatives. We will begin the search for a suitable replacement as soon as possible.”


  More on this story:  Witness to MacPhee outburst: 'She was not trying to intimidate BIU workers'