Moniz calls on all Bermudians to learn more about the Azores
A former attorney-general has urged Bermudians — not just those of Azorean descent — to learn more about the islands.
Trevor Moniz was speaking after returning to the island from the autonomous Portuguese territory, where he collected an award for public service.
“Obviously a lot of people here have ancestral connections with the Azores, but there are such important connections between here and there,” said the former One Bermuda Alliance MP.
“Our direct flights with the Azores are easy, particularly in a time when so many are nervous about travelling.”
Mr Moniz spoke after travelling to “the ancestral land of many Bermudians, including myself” for the Azorean Order of Merit.
“I truly hope that my receiving the reward and the visit overall can assist in deepening our connections with the Azores,” he added.
Weekly direct flights from Bermuda via Sata Azores Airlines resumed this month for the summer after the service was launched last year.
Mr Moniz said the air link, which was hailed by the Government as a way of forging closer ties with the Azores, was under five hours and has “piqued a lot of curiosity” since its introduction.
Mr Moniz attended his award ceremony on June 6, marking Azores Day, in the city of Lagoa.
The event was presided over jointly by Luís Garcia, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Azores, and José Manuel Bolieiro, President of the Government of the Azores.
Also attending were a host of other dignitaries from across the archipelago.
Mr Moniz attended an evening commemoration of Azores Day at the invitation of the Azorean Emigrants Association.
During the visit, he was also received by the Regional Directorate for Communities, the Archipelago Centre for Contemporary Art, the Military Museum of the Azores and the Carlos Machado Museum.
Mr Moniz said he had used the visit to bring Bermudian books to share with cultural institutes, and had shared books from the Machado Museum with the Bermuda National Gallery.
“I was truly humbled by the work being undertaken by the cultural institutions I visited,” Mr Moniz said.
“They are strongly committed to maintaining connections with their overseas compatriots.”
He said visiting the islands “makes you think about who you are — it’s somewhere similar but with different customs”.
“It’s the things we have in common as well as the differences which make it absolutely fascinating.”
Bermuda celebrated its ties with the Azores in 2019 with a public holiday in honour of the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda.
“I met with people in the Azores with the idea of building these connections on a permanent basis,” Mr Moniz said.
“Our last major cultural event in Bermuda celebrating those links was the art exhibition A Window on the Azores at the Bermuda National Gallery in 1999.
“Of course the 175th anniversary is coming up in 2024.
“I know there are other people working on this anniversary commemoration, but what I would like to see and am trying to contribute towards is a series of events leading up to that celebration.
“We really do too little in Bermuda to celebrate minorities. Particularly now that we have this direct connection with the Azores, I would like to see this milestone become a major celebration, not just one day.”