Famous: don’t forget Cup Match origins
Millions of dollars are spent over Cup Match benefiting “those who are rich already” while people forget the true meaning of emancipation, according to government MP Christopher Famous.
The backbencher also complained that the second day of the holiday is named after Sir George Somers, whom he described as a “slave owner”, and echoed his colleague Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch’s complaint that the trophy is presented by the Governor.
Mr Famous and fellow Progressive Labour Party MP Kim Swan urged Bermudians to remember the true meaning of the Cup Match holiday during Friday’s motion to adjourn at the House of Assembly. Mr Famous said people were more interested in spending “tons of money” than “what emancipation is really about”. He said: “We spend all this money on looking good but we spend no time teaching ourselves and our children of the origins of Cup Match.”
Mr Famous added: “Our ancestors, in their infinite wisdom, set us on a path of collective responsibility, self-determination.
“That is what Cup Match started off as. Somewhere along the line, we lost the script. We lost the script as to what Cup Match is really about, about what emancipation is really about.”
Mr Famous said the wealthy benefit from the millions and said: “Yet the two clubs that were built from Cup Match are got to be sitting around here begging for grants.”
He added: “Yet we don’t teach our children about friendly societies. We don’t teach our children about slavery. So mentally, are we free? Are we slaved to consumerism?
“I implore persons such as the education minister to ensure that our children know the true meaning of Cup Match. We cannot go another generation with people just addicted to consumerism.”
Mr Famous added that “we are not free, we are not emancipated” until the Governor, as the Queen’s representative, no longer hands over the cup.
He also pointed out that the second day of Cup Match “is named after a slave owner”.
Mr Famous said: “For us as a people, we got to stop bowing down to the person that represents the Queen, number one.
“We have got to stop having our clubs depend on grants and do what we can to make them self-sufficient. We have got to stop being afraid to teach our children about slavery. And I am going to lastly say, stop naming the second day of our emancipation after a slave owner.”
Mr Swan said: “I am sure that if we reflect on the mindset and the import of what our forefathers and foremothers wanted out of that day, materialism wasn’t the end result.”
He said that since he had experienced Cup Match “we, as a collective people, are less together today than we were then”.
“And if we are less together today than we were then and we are swimming against the tide of materialism, which is fuelled by those who look only to the bottom line as their salvation, then we need to figure out how we are all going to get on the same page.”
Mr Swan said people who were benefiting from the current situation were “plotting” to make Bermuda the “same old, same old for another 120” years.
He added: “That’s the tragedy. So this nicey, nicey, cosmetic, superficial façade of diversity cannot speak to the real challenge that this country faces.”
David Burt, the Premier, stressed the importance of coming together over the holiday period.
He said: “In 1834 on August 1, the slaves in the British colonies were freed. But as we stand here very many years after that fact, it is clear that there is a lot of work to do to ensure that the descendants of those slaves who were freed have equal access to opportunity, have equal access to education and have equal access to the tools to that can ensure that they can provide for their families and ensure a better living.
“That is the work that we have to be committed to in this House and that is the work of which is important that we remember during this holiday season.
“On Thursday most of us will attend the Somerset Cricket Club. Let us not forget the people who toiled to make sure that we could celebrate this holiday. Let us not forget the friendly societies who were the genesis of this holiday and let us also not forget the hard working men and women.
“Let’s celebrate the holiday in the fashion that it should be, with unity peace and love.”