CURB urges SDO ‘quiet protest’
Anti-racism group CURB is calling on people to join a ‘quiet protest' when Senators discuss the controversial Rosewood Tucker's Point SDO.
The Senate is due to debate the issue on Wednesday - the SDO has already been passed in the House of Assembly.
In an email to its members, supporters and friends, CURB says: “The Tucker's Point Special Development Order is due to be debated in the Senate at the Cabinet Building beginning 10am on Wednesday, March 16, and CURB is appealing to you to come to the Cabinet Building grounds any time during the day from 9.30am onwards to quietly protest the SDO.”
In the email, CURB also lists 15 reasons for objecting to the SDO and they include:
* The Tucker's Point property is a visible and poignant reminder of the forcible relocation of hundreds of people, generations of whom had been there for over 125 years.
* The ongoing grief and sadness of the present-day descendents has never been acknowledged, recognized or recorded; and the Tuckers Town story is only now being told.
* The destruction of historic buildings important to Black Bermudian history located on this site has continued up until recent times representing an ongoing intention to ignore that particular history.
* The original Tucker's Town represents a Black community initially of free Blacks, and later of emancipated Blacks who struggled and successfully created a safe and isolated environment for their families by building their own school and church, and creating a community made up of land owning farmers, pilots and fishermen. Women grew vegetables and fruit to feed their families, to sell in St Georges, or barter with others in the community. Children grew up in an environment supported and protected from the prejudice and discrimination that awaited them outside the protection of their community. A Letter to the Editor in the late 1890s describes the area as idyllic with citrus groves and fig trees, neat homes and gardens, and friendly and industrious people. All this achievement despite an environment of racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression and disenfranchisement.
* The site is symbolic representing sites and properties throughout the island which were lost to Black Bermudians in the past due to similar oppression.
* The current redevelopment plans are one more attempt to ‘make money' off the loss of this land to the Black community. Like the Native Americans, Black Bermudians and Tuckers Town descendants view this as one more broken promise in a string of broken promises since their land was first taken.
* In the 1920s three of the Bermudian developers were also members of Government, helping to pass the legislation ordering the compulsory purchase of land.
* Black Bermudians were forced to give up their lands for the “betterment of Bermuda” and “for tourism” a string of broken promises, three SDOs later… Bermudians are yet again being asked to give up their heritage for the very same reason.
The email adds: “The failure of our community to teach the full truth about our history is a loss to us all. We must ask why we have not been taught the stories of Black Bermudian history and achievement?
“Stories such as the extraordinary Tucker's Town community; the heroic rescue of the slaves off the ship Enterprise in 1835 (the legal precedent which was used by President John Quincy Adams in his defence of the Amistad slaves); and tragic stories such as the St David's Islanders and the destruction of their homes, their land, means of living, culture and way-of-life when they were displaced in the 1940s.”