Premier soaks up the Cup Match festivities
One person intimately involved in the revelry and occasion at Somerset Cricket Club was David Burt, the Premier, who could be found soaking up the festivities, meeting and greeting those that ventured to the West End.
A known Somerset supporter, the Premier was quick to give praise to Dion Stovell, of the home team, on the occasion of his first hundred in the midsummer classic, while also acknowledging St George’s opener, Treadwell Gibbons, for notching his maiden Cup Match half-century during his team’s second innings.
“All in all it’s great to see everyone out,” said the Premier, just before sitting down for lunch. “It’s great to see Dion get his first century. It’s great to see Treddie get his half-century. It’s great to see the atmosphere here, see people out enjoying themselves, that’s what it’s all about.
“It’s about unity, the celebration of emancipation, the recognition today of the role that Mary Prince played in emancipation, and that’s what we have here in Bermuda, it’s lovely.
“I’m not a cricket player, I’m just here to spectate and enjoy the atmosphere. So I look forward to a Somerset victory, but whatever happens, I look to good play on the field.”
Unlike 2020, when the match was cancelled, and last year, when limits were placed on crowd capacity and proof of a negative Covid-19 test was required, this year was unrestricted in its manner, with Mr Burt noting that it was up to the people as individuals to guide themselves in terms of personal safety precautions.
“As we said in March, everyone should feel free to take whatever precautions they deem necessary,” he said. “There are senior citizens who have their masks on, there are people who are immunocompromised who have their masks on, there are those who don’t, that’s what the rules are in Bermuda. People should be free to enjoy themselves how they see fit.”
Asked if enough was being done to highlight the significance of the holiday as marking the abolition of slavery, Mr Burt pointed out the intermingling of all races at the match, while calling attention to how the first Progressive Labour Party government changed the name of the first day of Cup Match to Emancipation Day, while he later spearheaded the move to rename the second day in honour of slave abolitionist Mary Prince.
“We recognised and changed the holiday to recognise the role Mary Prince played in emancipation, after all this holiday and its origins are from emancipation, so in 1999 the first PLP Government changed the first day to Emancipation Day and in 2019 we changed the second day to Mary Prince Day,” said Mr Burt.
“It is celebrated in Bermuda with a cricket game between east and west and, as long as that happens, we are celebrating. People can celebrate any way they want, but the most important thing is unity.”