President aims to make West Indian Association more cohesive, responsive

  • <B>The West Indian Association of Bermuda</B> committee Anil Chatergoon, Subira Toppin, Nicole Stovell, Anne Marie Joseph, immediate past president, Susan Moore-Williams, president and Damian Brewster,secretary/treasurer. Not pictured are vice president George Dove, assistant secretary Lauren Francis, Shurnett Caines and Chandra Persad.

    The West Indian Association of Bermuda committee Anil Chatergoon, Subira Toppin, Nicole Stovell, Anne Marie Joseph, immediate past president, Susan Moore-Williams, president and Damian Brewster,secretary/treasurer. Not pictured are vice president George Dove, assistant secretary Lauren Francis, Shurnett Caines and Chandra Persad.
    (Photo by Mark Tatem)


In her second term as president of the West Indian Association of Bermuda, Susan Moore-Williams aims to make it more cohesive and responsive to members’ interests and needs.

Mrs Moore-Williams, who is also the senior legal aid counsel for the Legal Aid office, has been a member of the West Indian Association of Bermuda (WIAB) since 2000, the year after she arrived in Bermuda.

She was invited to attend the WIAB’s annual general meeting by friend Philippa Burke, a long-standing member of the Association. It was at that meeting that she was nominated as a committee member.

“Since then I have remained on the management committee of the Association serving in every capacity with the exception of secretary, assistant secretary and treasurer.

“I was previously president of the Association from 2003 to 2005.”

Mrs Moore-Williams was re-appointed president after winning the AGM elections last December.

“The current management committee is very much a team and we work very well together to motivate and provide direction for the Association,” said Mrs Moore-Williams.

“The management committee team is also reflective of our culture and community ties since members are from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Bermuda.

“Our goal for this year is to make the Association more cohesive and responsive to members’ interests and needs. We are also focusing on membership development and empowerment as we strive for active participation by our membership in all our activities.”

The Guyanese-born president says she is involved in every facet of the Association.

“I am an ex-officio member of all the Association’s sub-committees and make myself available for guidance and to help in any capacity needed,” she said.

“I also am chairman of the New Year’s Dinner and Dance sub-committee. This is going to be one of our signature events in which we celebrate our culture, historical and current links with Bermuda.”

Being involved with the organisation has great meaning for her. “I am a strong believer in the importance of history and culture as contributors to national identity.

“The West Indian community here in Bermuda has made significant contributions to the development of the Island in every sphere from education, health, law, politics, trade unionism, art, food, the list is endless.

“In the more recent past we have continued this work as evidenced by the Association bringing members of Caricom secretariat to Bermuda to provide information on Caricom and organising a forum at Bermuda College, which assisted in the public debate and understanding of this issue which led to Bermuda becoming an associate member of this body.”

In addition, she was instrumental in the art exhibition that took place at the Bermuda National Gallery during Heritage Month in 2005.

“It featured not only local artists of West Indian descent such as Vernon Clarke, Frank Dublin and Manuel Palacio, but also well known Trinidadian artist LeRoy Clarke,” said Mrs Moore-Williams.

“The Association has also spearheaded national fundraisers for disasters in the Caribbean such as the hurricanes, which devastated the region in 2004 and the earthquake disaster in Haiti in 2010.”

As a mother of a Bermudian child she wants her son and those who, like him, have West Indian heritage to be proud of and acknowledge both cultures.

“Through the West Indian Association he will hopefully be able to see that we are inclusive and recognise and embrace Bermudians as being part of our community.”

For some that feel that West Indians don’t belong here, she said: “As someone who has Bermudian status, as do many West Indians who live here, we chose to apply for status and were recognised by Bermuda as meeting the criteria to be granted status.

“As such we continue to contribute to the success of this Island and have raised and are raising children who are and will be this country’s leaders. Therefore our history here is inextricably linked to that of Bermuda and therefore we are equal under the law of the land and should be treated as such.”

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Published Aug 15, 2011 at 9:11 am (Updated Aug 15, 2011 at 9:11 am)

President aims to make West Indian Association more cohesive, responsive

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