Residents enjoy Bermuda Day online
Hundreds of people linked up online for the first virtual Bermuda Day celebration yesterday.
Residents and viewers from overseas logged on to Facebook to watch footage of previous parades, interviews with stars who took centre stage or people who worked hard behind the scenes as well as fresh performances by some of the island’s top talent.
Qian Dickinson, of Bermemes, the social-media group that produced the film, introduced each of the features on the show, which was put together in the wake of the cancellation of the normal festivities because of the coronavirus crisis.
He explained: “Tradition is important and we know that this parade meant so much to so many people.
“That’s why we decided that the show must go on.”
Runners and beachgoers also upheld island traditions as athletes, deprived of the usual half-marathon, pounded the roads on their own or in small groups and families visited the island’s beaches to make the most of the public holiday.
The virtual Bermuda Day Parade, which first aired at noon, included clips from earlier events and included spectators and politicians talking about what Bermuda Day meant to them.
A skit from brother and sister comedy duo Nadanja Bailey and Nishanthi Bailey highlighted the absence of a traditional parade because of strict Covid-19 restrictions.
Patrina “Power Girl” O’Connor-Paynter, the parade’s MC, and Wendell Dill, its former host, revealed some of their favourite Bermuda Day memories.
Ms O’Connor-Paynter said: “It means something to me, it means our heritage, our traditions, our family, our friends.
“People give me fried chicken, people give me potato salad, I get hugs, I talk to seniors.
“The tourists fly down for it, the politicians are interacting with each other and with the community.
“It’s something special.”
The MC fought back tears as she added that she gave “everything ... to try to make sure that everybody is having a good time”.
She said: “When Wendell handed me that baton ... I took it as something serious.” Mr Dill added: “In my own opinion, the best person to keep this crowd happy because they love to do it — is none other than my girl Power Girl.”
Viewers also saw performances by the PHC Majorettes and Drum Corps and United Dance Productions — recorded in the run-up to this year’s event with mask-wearing and physical-distancing observed.
Carlita Lodge, of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, a sponsor of the virtual parade, explained the origins of Bermuda Day, which stemmed from recommendations to unite the community and provide a source of national pride contained in the 1978 Pitt Report into riots the year before, sparked by the last hangings on British soil.
Erskine “Buck” Burrows was executed for a series of murders, including the killings of Sir Richard Sharples, the Governor, his aide-de-camp, Captain Hugh Sayers, Commissioner of Police George Duckett and two supermarket managers, earlier in the decade.
Co-accused Larry Tacklyn was acquitted of the killings of Sir Richard and Captain Sayers, but was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Victor Rego and Mark Doe at the Shopping Centre supermarket in Hamilton.
Ms Lodge said more could be done to help bridge the gaps between racial and socioeconomic groups on the island, in line with Lord Pitt’s proposals for a more just society.
She added: “Nothing’s stopping us from celebrating this special day and celebrating unity within our community.
“We still have a long way to go and a lot of work.”
She said that culture and sport could be used to unite people.
Ms Lodge added: “We need people that are committed to doing that work, to break down boundaries within race, within class, within economic status.
“We are a very small place and there are still so many things that are in the Pitt Report ... that we haven’t addressed, that are still relevant today and there is still so much more work to be done and we’re all responsible for that.”
Ms Lodge said: “Yes, it’s a fun parade, but it’s also an opportunity to get together with your community and have some important conversations and foster a sense of togetherness. Especially in these times, we all need to stick together.
“That’s what Bermudian excellence is, that’s what Bermudian resilience is and that’s what our country has been built on — resilience.”
Another segment included non-Bermudian residents wishing people a “Happy Bermuda Day” in their own languages.
Andrew Holmes, a brand director for Gosling’s Rum, which also sponsored the virtual parade, demonstrated how to make a South Shore cocktail.
The grand finale brought together the leaders of each of the island’s Gombey troupes for a first-of-a-kind performance.
A tracker on the website showed that at least 950 people had visited by the end of the show, which will remain available on the Bermemes Facebook page.
The show had been viewed 12,000 times by last night.
One Twitter user wrote: “It embodied everything that makes Bermuda Day so important and so amazing.
“People, history, culture and the continued effort to bring us closer together.”
Families enjoyed the sunshine at some of the island’s beauty spots, including Horseshoe Beach.
Runners were spotted on the roads and trails, despite the cancellation of the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby.
They included the Warwick Academy Bear, who, for the tenth year, ran a half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles from Somerset to Bernard’s Park.
The mascot’s efforts were for the school’s Make A Difference Campaign, which will split funds between the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy and Warwick Academy’s Student Rescue Fund.
Scores of work permits denied since pandemic
Luxury Riddell’s Bay development backed
1st Earl of the silver screen
Bermuda free of Covid-19 infections
Jobs and job recovery in Bermuda
Mixed emotions as airport reopens
Jury selection rule called unfair
Woman accused of $75,000 blackmail scheme
Cousins charged over RBR checkpoint crash
Burch’s warning to corporations
Restaurateur adopts wait-and-see approach
Take Our Poll