Proud to be known as a ‘pond dog’
I was brought up in the “back of town” on a hill overlooking the Pembroke Dump, in a poor neighbourhood and in a very poor family — like most who lived around me. So I don’t mind being called a “pond dog”, for I have grown up most of my life knowing what it means to be a pond dog, and I’m proud of it no matter what.
I know just what it is like to be living at the low ebb of life, clutching on to an illusion that was created by others who would have never invited anyone like me to their house for dinner.
I lived among a class of people who had to live off the lowly crumbs that were thrown to them from an economic system that was laid out by the old oligarch families who benefited from it the most and who may still be doing so today.
It all started out with most of us in neighbourhoods like mine growing up believing that the system that we encountered each day was the way it was supposed to be.
After all, wasn’t I supposed to have been taught in a public-school system to know my place in a system designed by someone I had never known or would have never met?
In the beginning, it all just seemed normal and was accepted for what it was, if we wanted to survive in this place we called “paradise”. When you are just a little child, you are too young to analyse any part of the social conditions one finds himself living in.
But not to worry, Sir, it was my little old white Barbadian grandmother who used to work in the homes of some of those old oligarch families who taught me what Bermuda was really all about.
That I could not identify what part African-Bermudian history had played in Bermuda’s history made me feel as if I did not belong, and that I was of no more worth to the system than an expendable economic slave — no doubt just like most of those who lived in my neighbourhood.
But, Sir, with my low-life, socioeconomic background, who else could I have looked up to for hope and salvation on the barren political landscape of Bermuda but the Progressive Labour Party? After all, it was only they who prowled our neighbourhoods and promised to fight for my cause, even though it seemed at the time that they did not even have a snowball’s chance in all of fiery hell of ever winning the government.
Why then should anyone be so stupid to think that hard-working people would kiss up to a political institution such as the United Bermuda Party, which did not have a comprehensive, justifiable social agenda or was never seen to represent the interests of the working class in the first place, and whose members mostly seemed to look down on people such as us because of who we were and where we came from?
By the way, who were these people that made up the core of the UBP anyway? And what part of the Bermudian community did they come from was the question I kept asking myself. But, Sir, I had made it an important point to acquire the knowledge and a good understanding of just where political and social stratifying technocrats such as Sir Henry Tucker were coming from and it became very clear and important also to know just who Sir Henry was — both from his historical and genealogical background.
I had learnt over time that he had come out of one of Bermuda’s most powerful oligarchy families who were at one time one of Bermuda’s biggest slaveholders and how much of that family history may have contributed to his thinking of the modern-day political and social stratifying of Bermuda during his time.
So it seemed that the political philosophy of the UBP, drafted by political technocrats of the likes of Sir Henry, was seen to be designed to do one thing, and that was to drive a wedge through the middle of those blacks who were considered conservatives within the African-Bermudian community and to reward them with gifts of social standing and political promotion, which in today’s world seems to have lost its appeal and does not appear to be working any more.
So those who support the One Bermuda Alliance must be reminded for ever that the propping-up of wimpy, weak blacks to take superficial leadership roles, like the UBP did over the years gone by, does not work any more and is seen as being very tacky at best.
It was very clear to most that Craig Cannonier was used as a prop to draw black support to the OBA, as it was the same role that Sir Edward Richards played, as he was being used and propped up by the UBP to become Bermuda’s first black premier.
It would appear that most Bermudians, no matter what their ethnicity, are no longer willing or interested in supporting blacks, or anyone for that matter, who allow themselves to be used as political props where they can be seduced into following one political direction or another that doesn’t support their best interests.
Sir, it would appear that the time has long since passed that we the people of Bermuda should have been doing the right thing in seeking honest leadership, the sort that has shown to be true to our cause and which has supported the ideals of true democracy.
No matter who is in charge, we require people who are willing to lead our country along the path of transparent and good governance.
E. McNEIL STOVELL