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Banning order a sad day for diversity and inclusion

The 2023 Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby had a typical mix of Bermudian, non-Bermudian, White, Black, resident and non-resident. That will change this year (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Dear Sir,

The following is for the attention of the organisers of the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby.

I write to you as a Bermudian, quite frankly embarrassed, about your decision regarding the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby.

Bermuda is a place that should represent inclusion, opportunity and a platform for all. Your recent decision regarding the exclusion of foreign runners from the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby goes directly against this premise, but ultimately the premise of sport.

What is the purpose of sport?

In the global eye, sport is widely seen as a way for people from different backgrounds to interact and integrate by taking part, spectating or volunteering. In fact, I would go as far to argue that sport is the single-most impactful activity for inclusion across the world.

Your chosen decision goes directly against the idea of sport. On a local level, what message does this send to people not from the island? What message does this decision send to tourists? What message does this send to our youth?

Maybe simply that they aren’t welcome or that we are anti-competition. Certain sectors of the population may believe that we are already unwelcoming. However, I’m not sure they would have envisioned seeing that in the sports arena.

I am born and raised, but this is not the Bermuda I know and love. In the past, Bermuda set the standard for welcoming people from different creeds, countries and backgrounds. Has that been lost?

From a personal perspective and as a potential runner, it makes me question my participation. The person who crossed the line first last year, rightfully, was OK not being the winner and took a back seat. However, not having him on the course this year instantly devalues the event and the idea of competition.

Lastly, you have stated that the community was involved in this decision. My question to you is, where was the consultation process? It does not seem that the vast majority was included.

This decision has sent a message that is loud and clear for all to see. This is a very slippery slope for our society.

For the sake of sport and the idea of competition, this decision should be reversed.

We should be encouraging competition, diversity and inclusion in sport, business and society.

Without competition, we do not better our people. I love my country; however, these decisions pain me.



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Published March 02, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated March 02, 2024 at 7:07 am)

Banning order a sad day for diversity and inclusion

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