Log In

Reset Password

Government hits back at former premier’s National Hero criticism

Sir John Swan, the island’s only living National Hero (File photograph)

The format of the recent Premier’s Concert, which honoured National Heroes followed the same order as previous editions, the Government insisted yesterday.

It came following claims by former premier Sir John Swan that he felt insulted at the event at Ruth Seaton James Centre on Sunday, which celebrated the island’s National Heroes.

Sir John said he felt he was “an afterthought” during the programme, which had a video tribute to him scheduled after closing remarks by Owen Darrell, the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport.

On Wednesday, Sir John told The Royal Gazettethat he believed he was poorly treated because of his recent criticism of the Government.

He said: “If you look at the programme, it makes it look as if I’m just an adjunct.

“The bottom line is, I’ve never been an adjunct in this programme; I’ve always been included with the rest of the National Heroes.

Yesterday, a ministry spokeswoman said she was “totally confused by this characterisation” by Sir John.

She said: “The format of the Premier’s Concert has been a staple of the event for some years and as the programmes from 2022 and 2023 indicate, the same format was followed, with the minister giving closing remarks, followed by a finale.”

She said the final tribute at those two events were made after the minister gave closing remarks. In 2022, the final tribute was for Dr Pauulu Kamarakafego and in 2023, Dr EF Gordon.

The spokeswoman recounted: “On the night, Sir John was delighted with the event and effusive in his praise of the whole department of culture team.

“In his own inimitable style, he hugged and kissed the organisers after the show.

“We know Sir John well in the department and believe me, if he was unhappy, he would have said so there and then, as he has done so in the past when he has felt we haven’t got it right.”

The spokeswoman added: “The Premier’s Concert is not a political event.

“It is one which the Department of Culture proudly produces to display Bermudian talent combined with a celebration of the women and men whose lives have been lived in service to the people of Bermuda.

“The order of events or tributes in no way minimises any National Hero's contribution to the island and this is the first time that such a suggestion has been made.”

The spokeswoman said the Department of Culture’s team “produced a dignified event and, on the night, our only living National Hero appeared to agree”.

She said the department “is committed to growing the event, engaging more of our young people and doing its part to ensure that our National Heroes and their legacies are celebrated”.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published July 06, 2024 at 7:56 am (Updated July 06, 2024 at 7:56 am)

Government hits back at former premier’s National Hero criticism

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon