One obvious alternative to Somers Day

  • Sally Bassett embodies our struggle for true emancipation

    Sally Bassett embodies our struggle for true emancipation

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” — Harriet Tubman

Bermuda is getting ready to celebrate the 116th annual Cup Match classic and Emancipation Day.

We will dress in red and blue.

We will dress in blue and bluer.

We will watch the game.

We will go camping.

We will go boating.

Yet we are not free.

Yet we are not emancipated.

More than 100 years ago, our ancestors, through the Friendly Societies, set us on a path of collective responsibility and self-determination.

Yet, somewhere along the line, we have dropped the ball.

Perhaps, it was my generation and/or subsequent generations, because somewhere along the line, we have lost the true meaning of what emancipation means.

Every year, without fail, the following happens:

• Millions go to supermarket owners

• Millions go to wholesalers

• Millions go to liquor companies

Instead of financial freedom, we as a people have become addicted to consumerism.

Sadly, our two beloved clubs who annually host our biggest and longest holiday must rely on sponsorships and grants to host the very same event that generates millions of dollars in sales.

They themselves are not yet financially free.

Collectively, we will spend millions of dollars and unlimited time on looking and feeling good for those two days.

Yet, as a country, we don’t teach our children about our centuries of enslavement and those who fought for our freedom. Nor do we teach ourselves, as a country, about the Friendly Societies that started Cup Match.

We must ensure that our children, all of our children, are taught the true origins of this event. We simply cannot, as a country, continue to be addicted to consumerism.

Over the next few days, some will dance to reggae.

Over the next few days, some will dance to soca.

Yet there are still far too many who will deny that we are of direct Caribbean heritage.

Over the next few days, some will skank to the drum of the Gombeys.

Yet there are still far too many who will deny that we are of Africa.

So, no, we are not free. No, we are not emancipated.

Every Fourth of July, we will dress up in red, white and blue to celebrate a former colony that went to war, in which thousands died, to be free from British control.

Yet, some 400 years later, we still have that very same Union Jack as our flag.

Some 400 years later, we still have the pictures of colonisers hanging on our walls of parliament.

Some 400 years later, some are afraid to stand up to recent bullying and attempts of colonial control from the present British Parliament.

Four hundred years later, we still have the representative of those colonisers handing over our “Emancipation Cup”.

So, no, we are not free. No, we are not emancipated.

In the year 1999, we rightfully named the first day of Cup Match “Emancipation Day”. Yet, somehow, the second day is named after someone who was a coloniser and a privateer.

Let us remember that Sarah “Sally” Bassett decided to take matters into her own hands.

Let us remember that Ms Bassett’s act inspired slave rebellions throughout the entire Caribbean region.

She is the one who truly deserves a day of recognition.

My fellow Bermudians:

It is time to stop having our Cup Match clubs depending on grants.

It is time to stop being afraid to teach our children the full truth about slavery and emancipation.

It is time to start naming our second day of Cup Match after someone who truly fought for emancipation.

Then can we see some progress towards being truly emancipated.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery”

“None but ourselves can free our minds”

— Bob Marley

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

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Published Aug 1, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 1, 2018 at 7:57 am)

One obvious alternative to Somers Day

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