A constitutional case for the kite flyer
First I want to extend my prayers to the entire Bermudian community. We are all labouring under the new circumstances, and I pray that our island home stays safe.
But lately there seems to be a lot of conversations regarding kites — particularly because we are required to shelter in place — the way they sound, the persons flying them and their ultimate purpose.
For some reason, certain members of the community believe that young black men, who apparently have nothing better to do with their lives, were put on this earth to annoy them. The purpose of my letter is to dispel that myth.
My friend and I are young black men in our early twenties. We both graduated from high school, we both attended college and we both love to fly kites.
We come from families of strong men and women who instilled us with morals and ensured that we understood the history and traditions of Bermuda.
Our families get together for Bermudian holidays — and even those that are not — every chance that they get. At those functions, we enjoy traditional Bermudian food, laugh and play games.
I have never been in trouble — although once I did have to go to court for a speeding ticket, but I never did it again, as my mother put the fear of God in me. As a lawyer, she has the ability to do that!
From as long as I can remember I have loved kites, both making them and flying them. I recall one year, when I was about 12 years old, one of my older cousins invited me to his traditional kite-making party. The party was always the night before Good Friday and those in attendance were expected to stay up all night making kites for the family.
I am glad to say that I made it through the night and left his house feeling like a champion, having learnt so many new things.
I have moved on from making kites the night before Good Friday to making them year-round. It used to drive my mother crazy to see her living room strewn with kite sticks, paper and string.
She has since softened her position and the reason why is simple: I am doing something positive.
I do not drink, I do not smoke, I do not get into trouble; I am a young man with goals and ambitions and I surround myself with positive people.
One day, my friend and I were flying kites at Bernard Park. We were approached by an older man who said that it was good to see young Bermudians taking an interest in kites.
He invited us to join a group and the rest is history: we are now the youngest members of the Kite Warriors.
I am no conspiracy theorist but it surprises me that citizens of this country would take such a hardline approach to kite flying, especially since we have so many other important things to worry about.
Yes, the hummers are loud, but that is half the fun; it is tradition.
What would you prefer? Would you prefer that I was out in the community wreaking havoc? How about I join a gang, become a drug dealer or maybe I should rob a bank.
When I was younger and wanted something, my mother would make me prepare submissions and advocate why my request was important.
This is what I am doing today. The Constitution provides for rights and freedoms, and I am telling everyone in Bermuda that this is my freedom of expression.
I feel sorry for the police; they have to be the arbiter of this situation. But I say to them, do not be bullied by those members of the community who seem to have nothing better to do with their time other than to complain.
The recent newspaper article regarding the police advisory provides that we must be sensitive to the rights of those persons who file reports, but what about my rights?
Ultimately, I would say to those persons making complaints, please remember that the wind blows both ways.
Which way would you prefer that it blow?