Govt. accused of bias over naming public places after national heroes

The UBP has accused the Government of bias in its naming of public places after national heroes.

The Opposition last night criticised the renaming of Bermuda International Airport, saying the choice was politically-motivated and undemocratic.

An official dedication ceremony will today rename the facility L. F. Wade International Airport in honour of the late Progressive Labour Party leader Frederick (Freddie) Wade.


The UBP has accused the Government of bias in its naming of public places after national heroes.

The Opposition last night criticised the renaming of Bermuda International Airport, saying the choice was politically-motivated and undemocratic.

An official dedication ceremony will today rename the facility L. F. Wade International Airport in honour of the late Progressive Labour Party leader Frederick (Freddie) Wade.

Mr. Wade became leader in 1985 and is widely recognised as having laid the foundations for the party’s first election victory in 1998. He died two years earlier, aged 57.

The PLP Government says dedications of public buildings, sites and streets are a part of its 1998 election platform. Last year it named the Hamilton bus terminal after driver Hubert (Sparky) Lightbourne, and in 2002, honoured Registrar General Valerie T. Scott at the Parliamentary Registry Building.

However, the UBP says Government should be restricted to putting names forward, with the final decision resting with an independent committee.

John Barritt, Shadow Minister for Legislative Reform and Justice, said: “While we have great respect for the late L. Frederick Wade and his political career, the announcement by the Progressive Labour Party last week that the airport is to be named after him, raises an important and vexing issue.

“Naming public sites after prominent Bermudians, as the PLP promised some time ago is a project being undertaken in the name of promoting national pride. We in the United Bermuda Party support that aim. What we do not support is the PLP’s view that since it is the government of the day, it is the only game in town.

“The Government’s involvement ought to be no greater than having the right to suggest names of those they believe ought to be honoured. Other interested people and organisations in the community ought to have the same right, so that the results can truly be said to be rooted in the community, rich in diversity as it is.”

He added: “Members of the PLP seem to believe that being elected to Government has given them the sole right to decide what is good for Bermuda and for Bermudians.

“Bermudians should be alarmed at how quickly the PLP is prepared to cut the rest of us out of the picture if they think they can get away with it, and insulted by what that says about the their lack of respect for the people they are supposed to be leading.”

Mr Wade’s widow Ianthia, who has campaigned for more public recognition of national heroes, last night said that her husband’s contribution rose above politics.

She said: “There are so few people who have had places named after them, how can it be politically motivated?

“It is important for young people to be able to recognise the people who have made Bermuda what it is.

“My husband was PLP but his commitment was to making Bermuda a better place for all Bermudians. What he was trying to do was look at the system and make it better for everybody.”

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