Three New National Heroes To Be Honoured

April 28, 2011

Three trailblazers behind the social and political reforms that influenced the development of the modern day Bermuda will be jointly honoured as National Heroes in 2011.

Making the announcement today [Apr.28] Minister of Youth, Families, Sports, and Community Development Glenn Blakeney said that after reviewing all of the nominations submitted by the public, the Naming and Recognition Committee had selected the following three individuals to be jointly honoured as National Heroes in 2011:

  • Dr. Edgar Fitzgerald Gordon (‘Mazumbo’)
  • Dr. Pauulu Kamarakafego [Dr. Roosevelt Browne]
  • Sir Henry ‘Jack’ Tucker.

“These men who are considered contributing architects of the modern day Bermuda, will receive posthumous recognition for their contributions” Minister Blakeney said. “They are each reflective of the Island’s cultural heritage and diversity – which is one criteria for a National Hero Award. Another criterion is that nominees ‘increase awareness of collective history and enhance a sense of national unity and social cohesion amongst Bermudians.’

“Undoubtedly all three icons also demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities – an attribute that National Hero Award nominees are required and expected to possess,” Minister Blakeney added.

Dr. Gordon, widely regarded as the “Father of the labour movement” in Bermuda, championed the cause of Bermudian workers and fought tirelessly for equal rights for all Bermudians, thereby laying the groundwork for much of the political and social change that came about after his death.

His courage, feistiness and dogged determination were often on display when Dr. Gordon confronted subtle, yet formidable segregation in Bermuda. As a MCP [Member of the Colonial Parliament], Dr. Gordon was relentless in challenging social and political inequities. He demanded to know why black Bermudians could not work as nurses at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital or sell stamps at the Post Office. With only seven per cent of the population eligible to vote, he also pressed for the abolition of the property vote.

Sir Henry Tucker is considered one of the Island’s most important leaders of the 20th Century. He became Bermuda’s first Government Leader on May 22, 1968 in the first election held under a new Constitution and a two-party system.

Sir Henry, a founder of the United Bermuda Party, was a dominant figure in business and politics for three decades before that. He piloted the Bill in Parliament that gave women the right to vote. As the number two, then the number one man at the Bank of Bermuda, he oversaw its transformation from a local bank to international financial institution. He also helped lay the foundation for international business in Bermuda.

Sir Henry Tucker formed the United Bermuda Party (UBP) in 1964 and underwent a political evolution over time as his pragmatism as a Government Leader saw him transform from a representative of the status quo to an advocate of social justice and cooperation among the races, observing: “One of the ways in which we can be in contact–people of our two races-is to integrate primary schools. Children at the age of five, when they go into the government school system, are without prejudice.”

Dr. Pauulu Kamarakafego [Dr. Roosevelt Browne] was a civil rights leader, political activist, Parliamentarian, ecological engineer and United Nations NGO who used his ideas to make changes at home and abroad.

He worked tirelessly and courageously to empower peoples around the globe. He was regarded as a modern day ‘Johnny Apples-Seed’ who planted ideas everywhere he went and changed social environments in his path.
In 1960 the Committee for Universal Adult Suffrage (UAS) was formed and Dr. Kamarakafego was quick to pick up the political ball and run with it. He organized meetings all over Bermuda and stayed with the fight until 1961 when Universal (not equal) Suffrage was won, and the first political party, the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) was formed and the property vote abolished shortly afterwards.

Dr. Pauulu Kamarakafego stated: “I learned at a very early age that whatever knowledge I acquired from society does not belong to me. Therefore, my philosophy in life is that we should always give back to society wherever we are.”

Minister Blakeney said: “The Government believes it is essential to honour those among us who fought for justice and democracy as too often we do not give enough credit and recognition to those Bermudians who have made significant contributions to the Island.”

He added: “We also feel it is critical that the youth of Bermuda be aware of those individuals who fought for basic civil rights in Bermuda. We want to ensure that our young people don’t take their right to vote for granted.”

On Sunday, 19 June the 2011 National Heroes’ Day Proclamation Ceremony will be held at the Botanical Gardens to honour the achievements of Dr. Gordon “Mazumbo”, Sir Henry “Jack” Tucker and Dr. Pauulu Kamarakafego.

In 2008, Bermuda’s first selected National Hero was the Hon. Dame Lois Browne-Evans, D.B.E., J.P., L.LB.

The National Heroes Day Official Public Holiday (the only holiday in June) will be observed on Monday 20 June, 2011. Minister Blakeney invited the community to enjoy the day and to consider the importance of community service and spending time with family and loved ones.

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Comments (18)

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  1. LOL (original) says:

    Sir Henry ‘Jack’ Tucker.

    Has no chance just saying.


    • ^^ Ignorant and inane comment.

      Move along, folks.

    • Goldie says:

      He is being honored

    • truth be told says:

      Can you even read? Because your comment makes it seem like you can’t.

    • Nicole says:

      LMFAO! LOL(original) got owned.

      • LOL (original) says:

        Yes yes yes I did first time for everything I guess. Recation on all the comments on the “House that Jack Built” articales and the PLP spokes person that no one ever puts in her place makes it seem that most PLP supporters don’t like whites on this island along with callers on the daily talk shows which enforce this view so I’m ignorant as much as everyones else who are pros or cons for something. Wow and a UBP white guy at that who would have thought. Still why are we not spacing these out as a one per year thing.

        LOL truth be told, Nicole and some other really you want to call me names based on what is pushed as a socail norm in Bermuda please “sticks and stones…….”

  2. truth be told says:

    That was directed @ LOL (original)

  3. Terry says:

    Well, from what I have read, their all deservant and the issue is “Jointly”.

  4. liars says:

    I wonder if the vote for these people are made over drinks at Alaska Hall?

    ICongrats lottery winners

  5. Terry says:

    It’s too bad that our comments overlap. Most don’t pay attention to the time of the post and loose track.

    Anyway….I put my name forward but did not get a mention. But thats cool….neither did the other 564,000 since 1609……(no birth certificates required-work permits? Another story).

    Um goin sallabrate…detz rite…………

  6. Kennette Burgess says:

    Bie some people can never be pleased, so much pessimism, so much more to accomplish.

    We must honour our national heroes. We must also make sure we honour the right ones.
    I have not heard of these besides Sir Tucker, but I will be sure to research more and learn my Bermudian history.

    Education is a continuous process. History is key.

  7. Onion Seed says:

    All three men deserve to be honoured, Kennette. All three made outstanding contributions to Bermuda and have proved to be “hard acts to follow”

    his news did my heart good. I so am glad there was some positive Heritage Month news today Bermudians celebrating their fellow Bermudians is always good.

    I can tell you I was disgusted at lunchtime when I picked upthe so-called “Heritage” issue. It had a summing up about Bermuda culture by a foreign writer who has repeatedly demonstrated nothing but contempt for that same culture. He has written vicious untruths about Bermuda and Bermudians in foreign magazines and embarassed and demeened in front of an international readership.What were they thinking??? Hiring this man to talk about Bermuda Heritage??? There are dozens of Bermudian writers who could have been called upon. And, if they were going to get a foreign writer, they could have at least have got one who was in touch with the feel and history and people of Bermuda. No shortage of them around. But this was almost like a deliberate slap in the face to all us. Sad.

  8. Stayin Down 'n' Dirty says:

    Front Street ain’t been de same since ol’Tommy Tucker died

  9. Watch & Enjoy says:

    I applaude the Committee for their choices and love the fact that there was more than one. I especially appreciate the fact that there are individuals of different racial, political, religious and economic backgrounds. I love my country but hate the fact that too often, race, politics and religion are used as tools to divide and conquer for personal gain in this country. This committee seems to see the big picture. They seem to understand that while we sometimes have different opinions, come from different places, pray a different way and yes…look, and even talk a little different …our core beliefs are the same. When we alienate one group in order to highlight another we divide and their is never a long term winner. Now if our politicians could just start working together and support good legislation regardless of which political party introduced it…and STOP supporting bad ideas just because they have been pressured to support their party….tourism , interrtnational business and education we would have many more heroes. Good job commottee members.

  10. crazytalk says:

    It’s the Queen’s Birthday. We all know it. Moving it a week doesn’t make any difference.

  11. Winnie says:

    Congrats to these three deserving esteemed gentlemen, Bermuda and the World at large are a better place because of your deeds.