Centre celebrates Azorean community
A new community centre overlooking North Shore was welcomed yesterday as a place not only to celebrate Bermuda's Azorean community, but to highlight the island's many cultures.
The centre for the charity Casa Dos Açores da Bermuda Limited, at the east end of Admiralty Park, Pembroke, got a traditional roof wetting of rum from David Burt, the Premier, to mark the completion of its refurbishment.
The charity partnered with the Bermuda Government to remove asbestos and repair the ageing building near Spanish Point.
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, told the gathering: “Since they arrived in Bermuda, the Portuguese community have made Bermuda their home while promoting and preserving the heritage and history of the Azorean culture, and educating the wider community on the contributions of Azorean descendants to our country.
“And so I am pleased that we are all here today, to acknowledge the progress being made in bringing your new home to fruition.
“I am certain that once the facility is completed, the contributions of the Portuguese community will expand even further.”
Andrea Moniz-DeSouza, the Honorary Consul of Portugal in Bermuda, said that the charity was dedicated to “celebrating the melting pot of cultures in Bermuda and paying homage to the beautiful differences in all of our traditions”.
The group, formed five years ago, has contributed to a wide range of Bermuda charities.
Speaking inside the centre, Ms Moniz-DeSouza added: “This project is a very large commitment for the charity.
“But we are so very excited for the centre to reopen and be fully functioning, and are counting down the days until it opens as it will enable us to fully be able to carry out our mandate and be open to all of Bermuda to share with us.”
The building was inaugurated in November with Vasco Cordeiro, the president of the Azores regional government, for the celebrations of 170 years of the island's Portuguese community.
Upon completion, it will house a library, with language and music workshops as well as demonstrations of Azorean arts and crafts, and a genealogy programme.
Movie nights, cultural dinners and a youth programme will also be on offer.
Ms Moniz-DeSouza added: “Our charity also hopes to play a role in assisting the Bermuda and Azorean Governments in really exploring and sharing similarities between all of our islands in the form of exchanges that could beneficial to both Bermuda and the Azores.”