Brother Derek helped us see beyond surface differences

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  • The late Derek Morris

    The late Derek Morris


“They say that hindsight is 20/20 and if one could turn back the hands of time, they would do everything perfectly. Perhaps that is true. However, the reality is we cannot yet turn back the hands of time, so we can only learn from our errors and strive to do better as we go forward.”

Some profound words from a profound man I once had the opportunity to spend a brief moment in time with.

During one particularly hot day during the summer of 2012, I had the privilege of canvassing with Vance Campbell in Constituency 9 (Smith’s South), which was then a United Bermuda Party stronghold under the unchallengeable control of Trevor Moniz.

Suffice it to say, although we were fighting an uphill battle, our resolve was to knock on every single door.

On this Saturday, we entered the yard of a house on Verdmont Road. Initially, we had no reply, then moments later from behind a screen door we saw a silhouette come into focus and subsequently a gentleman emerged.

We introduced ourselves and he then proceeded to ask us pointed questions in regard to the policies of the Progressive Labour Party government.

One particular issue that seemed to be of great interest to him was how can we revive tourism while ensuring stability of international business. He threw a combination of a number of life experiences and advice in our direction before we parted.

As we walked off, there was a shared feeling between Vance and myself that this gentleman had the best interests of all Bermudians at heart.

Some months later, December 17, 2012 to be precise, we saw him again at the polling station, clad in shorts and flip-flops, coming to vote and greeting us with firm handshakes and slaps on the back. On that cold day in December, he brought joy to our spirits.

History will recall that things did not exactly work out well for the PLP on that day.

A year or so later, I saw him on the street and he invited me over to his house to chat. It was then that he shared the sentiment about learning from our errors and moving forward.

He used the word “our” specifically to denote that it was not about one sector of society being right or wrong, but all of us attempting to see beyond surface differences and, in his words, “work as a band works, different people with different instruments making music together”.

Over the years his words resonated with me in many ways as the play of life unfolded itself. Whether it be in a family, community or national setting, it will take a variety of perspectives and or methodologies to address any given number of challenges.

None of us have all the answers. Heck, sometimes all of us combined don’t have the answers. However, when faced with challenges, should we not seek advice and help from anyone willing to offer it?

I suspect the answer to that question is a resounding “yes”.

A few weeks ago, hundreds of persons, from literally every walk of life, gathered to have a small Woodstock-like tribute to this man who loved flip flops. Looking around there was a kaleidoscope of ethnicities, personalities and professions.

Anyone in attendance felt the spirit of Derek Morris permeating the building, smiling to himself that he had gathered his band of brothers and sisters together.

Indeed, his choir sang on:

“I’ll stand before the Lord of Song

With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah”

Leonard Cohen

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm

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Published Feb 2, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 2, 2018 at 8:51 am)

Brother Derek helped us see beyond surface differences

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