Our Island celebrated in all its glory
Bermuda Day 2013 has come and gone, and spirit-wise it could easily enter the record books as the best, being more infectious and unrestrained than ever. Thousands lining the streets, jumped up joyously indulging the theme of the day which was a celebration of the colours, sights and sounds of our Island homeland.
Ordinarily, they are beautiful, but on the holiday they were magnificently accentuated. And everything went incident-free, being a credit to the everybody involved.
We accepted the invitation of Minister of Cultural Affairs Wayne Scott for a seat in the Front Street viewing stand. The area had been made slightly more spacious than before by the Hamilton Mayor Graeme Outerbridge, having had the old flagpole removed days before the parade.
Bermuda's Premier Craig Cannonier, sporting a St David's Island type cowboy hat, had left his grand seat a couple times overpowered by the music of the Gombey dancers, Chewstick paraders and most especially when the entry of the Bermuda African Dance Company hit the scene.
Our Governor George Ferguson appeared as if, with just a little more persuasion, he too would have left his wife and joined the street crowd with a bit of Electric Slide or Gombey bounce. Maybe next time around.
There was never a dull moment during four or more hours the parade took to pass the reviewing stand. The master of ceremonies, Village Voice Wendell Dill, despite the many hugs from excited paraders, kept the thousands alive to what was happening 'now and next' while cueing the nearby deejays with in-between sounds.
Following is a list of the Bermuda Day float winners:
Premiers Award (Best Float)
TN Tatem Middle School
Ministers Award (Most Original)
Bermuda Sloop Foundation
Reggie Ming Award (Most Beautiful)
Dept of Public Transportation
Ruth Thomas Award (Heritage Award)
Sandys Secondary Middle School
DJ Williams Award (Best Middle School)
1. TN Tatem
2. Sandys Secondary
LCCA Award (Best Charity Organisation)
1. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc Bermuda
2. Bermuda Sloop Foundation
3. Bermuda Hospital Charitable Trust
Best Govt Department
1. Dept of Community & Cultural Affairs
2. Dept of Public Transportation
2. Opportunity Workshop
Best Community/Volunteer/Political Award
1. TROIKA Bermuda
2. Bermuda Shriners Club
3. Vasco Da Gama Club
Community Honourable Mention
Bermuda Netball Association
MATRIARCH MILDRED AND MAJUMBO LEGACY
Some home-going services for deceased persons can be sad and depressing. Others can be stimulating and uplifting, like the one this week celebrating the life of Mildred Lucille Layne Bean.
Mildred was the 88-year-old mother of Bermuda's first female Premier, Dame Pamela Gordon Banks; her sister, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin and their brother Keith Gordon. Their father was Dr Edgar Fitzgerald Gordon. He was the Trinidad-born surgeon, who later became more famously known as Mazumbo, father of the organised labour movement in Bermuda. His story is told in this writer's book, History of the Bermuda Industrial Union and also Freedom Fighters, Monk to Mazumbo and in Dale Butler's book Mazumbo.
Rev Nicholas Tweed, pastor of St Paul, described Mother Mildred as the matriarch of the movement for equal rights and as protector the great Dr Gordons legacy. Alluding to the fierce love-hate relations Dr Gordon had generated community-wide up to the time of his death in 1955, Rev Tweed felt Mildred had received God-given courage, passion and power just to go to the supermarket or wherever else.
Mother Mildred's granddaughter Veronica Daley read the obituary. If ever I were to have a reprint of Freedoms Fighters I would have as an addendum excerpts from Mildred's obituary.
Following are a few quotes from the obituary.
Mildred was born January 5, 1925, the second in a family of five. She grew up in Happy Valley, Pembroke. She attended Central School, being forced to leave at age 13 through the depressed economic circumstances of the thirties.
During the 1940s Mildred met Dr Gordon after having learned that he had become quite enamoured with her. Mildred and Edgar became devoted partners and made 'Beulah' their homestead. At Beulah they hosted the 'kitchen cabinet' of political strategists who were integral to the struggle for equality in Bermuda. Beulah was also Dr Gordons medical practice and ultimately it became the home within which Edgar and Mildred started their family.
Whilst there, Mildred managed to ensure that her busy partner effectively balanced his time between his medical practice, his politics and his young family. Together they had five children: Olympia (deceased) Fitzgerald (deceased), Patricia, Keith and Pamela (who was born five months after Edgars death in 1955).
Edgar's death was devastating to Mildred. She had lost her partner, she was heavily pregnant, she had four young children, and while Edgar had gifted her numerous properties upon his death, she had also inherited considerable debt through sizeable mortgages on the properties.
She was determined to survive. It was through a combination of tenacity, personal integrity and commitment to her children she was able to save all of the properties and formally educate all of her children, sending Olympia, Fitzgerald and Patricia to school in Jamaica, Keith to the United States and Pamela to Canada.
Later she met and married Neville Bean. While the marriage was brief, it endured and as a testament to that friendship she retained his name.
Mildred was a very spiritual woman. She grew up as a Wesley Methodist and later, attended St. Paul AME Church. She believed in tithing and knew that God would make a way out of no way.