Arguments from 10 years ago ‘still relevant’ Hayward
Arguments from more than a decade ago are being echoed in the Rosewood Tucker's Point SDO row.
In the summer of 1998, MPs clashed over a proposed law change paving the way for the multi-million dollar rejuvenation of Marriott's Castle Harbour Hotel at Tucker's Town.
At that time, hotel owners Bermuda Properties Ltd said the move relaxing the requirement for the House of Assembly to approve any redevelopment was crucial to get new investment so they wouldn't have to close.
Then, as now, opposition was fierce. The National Trust pointed to environmental concerns, while Dame Lois Browne-Evans, the leader of the then Opposition Progressive Labour Party, spoke of the history of the land, from which Bermudians were forcibly removed in the 1920s.
The bill eventually passed 26 votes to ten before sailing through the Senate unopposed, allowing the development to go ahead.
Then United Bermuda Party Government Minister CV “Jim” Woolridge, the local MP, had spoken out against the move, telling the House: “As much as Bermudians travel they must be concerned that Bermuda is becoming a mass of concrete.”
Speaking on the history of the land, Mr Woolridge said: “What we are looking at here is an insult to the integrity and the dignity of black people who were down there in that area they farmed the land, it was their home, they were just pushed out and they had no powers.”
Mr Woolridge said in his 2001 book ‘The House That Jack Built': “As an elected MP, who had represented the descendants of Tucker's Town for 31 years, I felt obliged to speak out and to voice my concerns as to what was being contemplated.”
Environmentalist Stuart Hayward said yesterday: “That idea was pooh-poohed back then, and what Mr Woolridge had to say back then is still relevant today.”