‘Bermuda for Bermudians’ isolates the rest of us

  • Recovered story: the front cover of Ira Philip’s book, From Monk to Mazumbo, which details the court case against the Reverend Charles Vinton Monk

    Recovered story: the front cover of Ira Philip’s book, From Monk to Mazumbo, which details the court case against the Reverend Charles Vinton Monk

Dear Sir,

Please allow me the space to share my views on your recent article published on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, titled “Governor researches case of jailed pastor”.

The article was very interesting to me, as it brought to life two important issues, one of which I am very troubled by. For one, the article seems to have conveyed how aware David Burt, the Premier, is of the seeming injustice handed down to the late pastor of the AME Church and he wants to right that wrong.

Perhaps, one can understand this decision, as, indeed, the Progressive Labour Party is closely affiliated with the AME churches in Bermuda, and, perhaps, even the Premier himself is a member.

Similarly, the article in my view also points indirectly to a seemingly unaware premier regarding the injustices and harsh treatments meted out to immigrants, particularly Jamaicans as recent as the first 80 years of the 20th century. These men and women toiled long and hard, building the Bermuda we know today.

Yet they are given ignorable credit, if any at all at present. For me, it is particularly troubling that the present premier, more than any other I have experienced, has been using the rhetoric of “building Bermuda for Bermudians” or similar variations thereof.

It is timely, that the Premier is reminded that the Bermuda he seeks to build for Bermudians was built to a large extent by immigrants, countless amounts being Jamaican.

Coincidentally, the Premier is noted in the article as seeking to exonerate the late pastor Charles Vinton Monk, who he contends was wrongly jailed for speaking out against the harsh treatments and poor living conditions he saw Jamaican workers experiencing as they toiled in building the Royal Naval Dockyard project — a project that remains a hallmark of the Bermudian landscape.

Let me remind the Premier that he, too, is also endowed with the potency of the rich Jamaican blood, and that the pains and injustices endured by our men and women who worked to build Bermuda are equally radiant stains on the fabric of the island deserving to be recognised if not, at all, honoured and cherished.

Sadly, the Premier’s continued use of the inward-looking rhetoric, “building Bermuda for Bermudians”, flies in the face of every hard-working Jamaican, past and present, and other nationalities who gave so much for building the island nation of Bermuda.

Also, and perhaps unbeknown to the Premier, his continued use of such rhetoric undermines the contribution of immigrants to Bermuda, which does himself and his ancestry a great insult.

May I suggest that, in the same breath that the Premier is now moving to right the record of the late reverend, that he also consider as a minimum acknowledging the great injustice suffered by the hard-working men and women of Jamaica, who gave sweat and tears building the nation he now leads.

Failure to do so is a disservice to the late Reverend Charles Vinton Monk, who stood up for these souls so much so that he was jailed for it. A good start for the Premier in this process would be him abdicating the insulting rhetoric of “building Bermuda for Bermudians”, as it is indeed an insult to all immigrants living on the island and working hard to make Bermuda a better place for everyone.

Further, the continued usage of that dogma is a great dishonour for our Jamaican ancestry whose contributions have shaped the trajectory of the island for centuries and whose imprints are evident on the architecture of the island across every industry.


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Published Aug 16, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 16, 2018 at 11:20 am)

‘Bermuda for Bermudians’ isolates the rest of us

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