Saluting a man of vision and vigour
Dear Brother Jason “Church” Hayward,
Your stance in January 2015 for the workers of Bermuda has become one of labour movement legends. Along with other union leaders, you energised thousands to take a unified stand at the Cabinet grounds for three days through wind, rain and cold weather — a feat never before seen by thousands under the age of 40.
For many, you helped to instil a sense of pride and dignity that comes only once in a lifetime.
Perhaps it is for that very reason that you are now being constantly attacked by those who fear the power of the leadership that unites Bermudians.
Those who demonise you today are of the same mindset of persons that demonised every grassroots leader of yesteryear who simply wanted equality and freedom for all.
Leaders such as:
• Arnold Francis;
• Bob Marley
• Barbara Ball
• EF Gordon
• Gloria Steinem
• Harriet Tubman
• John F. Kennedy
• Nelson Mandela
• Marcus Garvey
• Barack Obama
• Kingsley Tweed
Perhaps, just perhaps, they now see that they have made a grave error, as over the past few weeks you have received statements of solidarity and support from all leading unions and thousands of individuals across Bermuda.
A testament to the love and respect that follows you. Rest assured, you have already won this case in the heart and souls of your fellow Bermudians. Many are now hashtagging #freechurch.
Always remember that you come from the same bloodline as the “Mother of Bermuda”, our aunt, Dame Lois Browne-Evans.
Vision and Vigour
Many Bermudians are now looking to you for leadership and vision going forward in addressing a myriad of issues facing our country such as:
• Access for Bermudians to quality education and job training
• Creating a fair and equitable tax structure
• Defending individuals’ fundamental right to freedom of speech
• Economic reform that seeks equitable balance for Bermudians
• Educating members and the public at large about issues facing Bermuda
• Expanding private-sector union representation
• Holding the Government to account irrespective of party
• Implementation and enforcement of fair work permit policies
• Job security
• Protection of employee benefits
• Protection of publicly owned assets
• Seeking ways to make the Civil Service more effective and efficient
Tonight, at the annual BIU Labour Day Banquet, hundreds will show up to hear you deliver not just a sermon about the history or importance of the labour movement in Bermuda, but also to remind us that it takes many hands from many organisations working together to move Bermuda forward.
You, and others of “Generation Next”, must continue to forge a coalition of the “willing and able” of many different sectors of society to seek and build a sustainable future in which all Bermudians, and residents of Bermuda, can coexist in social and economic equity.
You cannot do it alone and will need the assistance of organisations such as:
• Community clubs
• Political entities
• Private-sector groups
Over the next few years, thousands more will watch the video or listen to the audio of your every word. It is for them that you will stand and deliver tonight and every night until Mr Augustus comes for you.
Thank you for all that you have done thus far and all you will do in the future for Bermudians.
United We Stand. Onward and Upward.