Somers statue goes for a stroll
Panicked St George’s residents feared the statue of Sir George Somers in the Olde Towne had fallen victim to protesters this week.
But the sculpture by Desmond Fountain, which has stood on Ordnance Island since 1984, was only moved from its traditional spot by the Corporation of St George to give it a more prominent location close by.
Two residents who declined to be named, sounded the alarm in the wake of high-profile attacks on statues of controversial figures around the world.
One wrote: “This is devastating for St George’s, Bermuda history, and tourism if it was destroyed.
“Sir George Somers, as far as I know, was not a slave owner and had absolutely nothing to do with slavery. Perhaps it was taken down to protect it?”
Another woman said yesterday: “I was shocked when I walked past. It looked like it had been vandalised.”
But she said she was relieved to learn that the statue had only been taken down so it could be repositioned.
The woman added: “I’m so pleased it’s being given a better position and the corporation is working on the whole island to make it a fun place.”
Sir George’s role in colonialism brought a reassessment of his legacy this year.
A statue of Sir George in Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, where he was once mayor and which is twinned with St George, had “murderer” scrawled across a plaque on the plinth as Britain experienced a wave of antiracism protests in June.
A statue in Bristol of Edward Colston, a prominent slave trader, was put into storage after protesters pulled it down and rolled it into the harbour.
The attacks echoed increasing calls in the United States for statues that honour Civil War Confederate leaders to lose their place of pride in many cities or be ditched altogether.
Sir George’s legacy was revisited after Progressive Labour Party MPs Rolfe Commissiong and Christopher Famous said his arrival in Bermuda in 1609, which led to the island’s permanent British settlement, had been an accidental aside of a mission to bolster Britain’s Jamestown colony in Virginia.
His name was removed from the second day of Cup Match this year in favour of Mary Prince, Bermuda’s world-renowned former slave, whose book documenting the horrors of enslavement boosted the abolitionist movement in Britain.
A member of staff at the Corporation of St George confirmed yesterday there had been a flood of calls from people worried by the statue’s disappearance.
He added that the local authority had already put out statements on its plans to renovate Ordnance Island and give the bronze statue a more eye-catching location on the area’s roundabout.
The corporation’s website said exhibits and activities would be added in phases to commemorate the Olde Towne’s history.
The corporation proposed a more elaborate exhibit for the replica of the ship Deliverance, followed by a seawater fountain, playground equipment, and revamped exhibits for tourist attractions such as the ducking stool.
Meals on Wheels appeals for help
Election 2020: Thomas Palacio quits FDM
Man arrested in sex assault case
FDM anti-mask stance attacked
On borrowed time ...
Llewellyn Hollis (1936-2020)
Tobacco Bay happy hour selling out
Hayward vows to help laid-off hotel workers
Jacqueline Lightbourne (1935-2020)
Liquidation sale at ASC Women store
Take Our Poll