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Contributions of ‘exemplars’ during General Strike honoured

Glenn Fubler, left, with representatives of St Paul AME Church, The Berkeley Institute, CedarBridge Academy, the Bermuda Police Service and the City of Hamilton (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)

Three trees are to be planted to commemorate the contributions to the community of “three exemplars” during the General Strike of 1981.

The recognition is for men who have all passed away: the Reverend Canon Thomas Nisbett, the Reverend Larry Lowe and Sergeant Campbell Simons.

Glenn Fubler, a social activist, was accompanied today at St Paul AME Church in Pembroke by representatives of The Berkeley Institute, CedarBridge Academy, the Bermuda Police Service and the City of Hamilton, who will all have a responsibility for the trees. Somersfield Academy is also involved in the project.

Mr Fubler highlighted Canon Nisbett, who was co-chair of the Strikers’ Family Support Committee in 1981 along with the Reverend Larry Lowe, who was the pastor at St Paul’s AME during that time, and police Sergeant Campbell Simons.

“All three of them chose to exercise personal agency that went beyond their call of duty, assuming responsibilities that proved critical in ensuring a peaceful resolution in the most contentious circumstances,” he said.

“Their engagement in this crisis situation — the biggest crisis of the 20th century — was essential to see that it concluded peacefully.

“We don’t only want to look back, we want to reinforce the lessons that come from that past and go forward.

“We have three olive woods — three peace trees that will be in the ground and as they grow, they will spread the good news that these three have offered to us.”

The Reverend Nicholas Tweed, the pastor for St Paul, said the men contributed to the growth and development of the community.

He explained: “Bermuda’s Black history, and history in general, intertwine with the history of St Paul’s Church, whether it be through the Bermuda Industrial Union, the formation of the Progressive Labour Party as a political vehicle, whether it be the role that St Paul’s or its pastors have always played in terms of social and community engagement.

“We hope that these trees, that are not just plants but are symbols of growth, demonstrate that our contribution should be such that it facilitates and induces growth.”

Michael Nisbett, the son of Canon Nisbett, spoke about the role of the clergy around social justice.

He said: “When we look at the Bible, we see that Jesus was never political but he was always pushing for social justice.

“We have two pastors who were doing the same, not only in 1981 but throughout their whole lives.”

Jay Tucker, the priest in Charge of Christ Church, Devonshire, said the trees represented men who touched his life.

“Campbell Simons was superintendent at the time when I was wearing the uniform, Larry Lowe was my childhood pastor and I was blessed to be one of those standing in the bright light of Canon Thomas Nisbett,” he noted.

“It is a delight to be here and be witness to this great occasion when we shall honour them again and allow their memories to give light to our steps as we go forward.”

The trees will be planted in three places — Victoria Park in Pembroke for Mr Lowe; the police headquarters in Devonshire for Sergeant Simons; and Christ Church, Devonshire for Canon Nisbett.

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Published May 10, 2024 at 4:57 pm (Updated May 12, 2024 at 8:00 pm)

Contributions of ‘exemplars’ during General Strike honoured

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