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Tucker’s Town man 'cut short' on cash for land, inquiry hears

Tucker’s Town (File photograph)

The descendants of a man forced to sell his property in Tucker’s Town told a Commission of Inquiry into historic land losses that he was not paid for all of the land bought by compulsory purchase.

Joann Adams told the Commission that her great grandfather, John Samuel Talbot, lost 14.5 acres of land in 1921, but records showed he was only paid for 12.5 acres.

She said: “John Talbot was cut short of payment for two acres of his land.

“Whether deliberate or a mistake, this is incomprehensible. His land had been clearly delineated in the wills of both his parents.”

Ms Adams told the commission on Thursday that Mr Talbot inherited a seven acre plot of land in Tucker’s Town from his father and a second 7.5 acre waterfront plot from his mother.

She said Mr Talbot was paid £400 by the Bermuda Development Company for the plot of land inherited from his father and £600 for the land inherited from his mother.

But Ms Talbot added records from the hearings indicated that the first plot was listed at five acres.

She said that when the mandatory purchase order arrived, he resisted the sale and was penalised for it.

Ms Adams added: “He stood up for himself, his family and his home on a matter of principle.

“He did so with pride and fortitude. For this, he paid.

“What the purchaser called indifference was a commitment to family and community – the tie to the land for at least three generations and the place my great grandfather knew as home.”

Ms Adams said the project cost a community its home and many families their legacies.

She added: “A strong, viable, self-sufficient, self sustaining community in Tucker’s Town, who lived off the land and sea, was uprooted, displaced and disenfranchised.

“That land is still off limits to the majority of Bermuda’s black population unless – as in most cases – they work there.”

Ms Adams said those behind the project acted in their own financial interests.

She added: “If their intent was honourable, they would have developed a club that would have been inclusive, not exclusive or ’discreet’, as they said.

“They would have ensured that the families of the community that were displaced and disenfranchised could have the opportunity to enjoy the amenities of the property too.

“This was not to be because racism reared its ugly head yet again in a still very divided island.”

She said no black golfer was allowed to play on what is now the Mid Ocean Golf Club, built on the land in 1921, until the late 1960s and the club did not accept its first black member until 1973.

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Published November 28, 2020 at 8:36 am (Updated November 28, 2020 at 8:35 am)

Tucker’s Town man 'cut short' on cash for land, inquiry hears

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