Opinion: “Bring New Ideas And New Solutions”

February 11, 2015

weeks michael[Opinion column written by PLP MP Michael Weeks]

The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party has a responsibility to not only hold the government accountable, but to bring forward new ideas and new solutions to the issues facing Bermudians.

In the last session of the House, we brought forward draft legislation that would have ended conscription, decriminalized Cannabis and among other things, would have shifted Bermuda Day from the 24th of May to the Friday before the US Memorial Day in May.

This change in date would prove beneficial to Bermudians in many ways, and ties in nicely with the US Memorial Day Holiday, which would be a boost for our tourism product. You might rightly ask, with the economy is such dire straits and so many people out of work, why is changing the date of Bermuda Day so important? We believe that changing the date would not only create greater convenience for Bermudians, but would also create some economic benefits to our tourism industry.

The US Memorial Day holiday falls on the last Monday in May, creating for our American neighbors a 3 day weekend. This is a time when many travel and look to get a little time away for themselves before summer. By placing Bermuda Day on the Friday before Memorial Day, we open up Bermuda as a destination for these potential travelers that has the added benefit of our own local version of Carnival taking place over the same weekend!

Imagine the marketing opportunities for Bermuda. Imagine the possibilities that would open up for our hotels and tourist accommodations to do promotions and create special packages to capitalize on this new opportunity.

Successfully managed, this would lead to higher tourist arrivals for that period, that would mean more work for Bermudians in the hotel industry, more tips for Bermudians in hospitality and more opportunities to create an experience that will create regular return visitors who can further spread the word about what Bermuda has to offer.

Beyond the financial aspects, research has shown that when the holiday falls before a school day, attendance plummets. This is attributed to the high participation of our youth in the Bermuda Day Parade and the various sporting activities. Parents and students alike could benefit from a day to rejuvenate and recover. And, more importantly, the Ministry of Education statistics would show a notable increase in school attendance.

Bermuda Day is a celebration of all that makes us Bermudian. It celebrates our history, our heritage and our culture. When we look at the thousands of tourists that flock to the Caribbean for events that celebrate who they are, their music, art, history and people, it makes a compelling argument for us to delve deeper into how Bermuda and Bermudians can better benefit from our own heritage.

Bermuda is more than a place to vacation and make money. It is the warmth and friendliness of our people. It is our music. It is our art, our history and our culture. Many of us feel that our culture, our very way of life is under siege. To preserve it, we must continue to innovate and find new ways to give it life for today and for generations to come.

I hope that I have given you some food for thought and that you will support us in our efforts to highlight our Bermudian traditions and move Bermuda forward.

- Michael Weeks

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Comments (14)

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  1. flikel says:

    “Bermuda Day is a celebration of all that makes us Bermudian. It celebrates our history, our heritage and our culture”

    Shifting the day merely to coincide with US Memorial Day totally contradicts the premise of Bermuda Day ‘our’ day to celebrate what makes us unique. Changing any national holiday to coincide with the holiday of another country is wrong, in my opinion.

    What’s next…let’s change National Heroes Day to coincide with Canadian Thanksgiving. Let’s get those Canadian visitor numbers up.

  2. Unbelievable says:

    Changing the date of Bermuda Day is not a bad idea but it should not be touted as if it’s the panacea. Take it easy.

  3. serengeti says:

    These are the ‘new ideas’ for the ‘issues facing Bermudians’?
    What a bunch of lightweights.

  4. Politricks says:

    I believe a most recent poll indicated that the majority of residents would like the holiday to remain on the 24th.

    And if parents can’t be bothered to get their children to school the day after that is their irresponsible choice.

    • inna says:

      Agreed.
      Both parent and child need a “day off” after 24/May to recoup and recover? Give me a break!!

    • PBanks says:

      I agree, even though I’d be in favour of the “3 days before the last Monday of the month” option, the poll showed majority is in favour of status quo. A decent application of a survey.

  5. agatha christie says:

    Really? An op-ed about stimulating tourism by moving the May 24 holiday? Won’t Americans come anyway if they are on holiday?

    • stunned,,, says:

      not only that, while Bermudians are out partying on Bermuda day, Bermuda is not a place for a tourist to be. everything is shut down, trash strewn all over front street, can a tourist get a taxi on a timely basis?

      Bermuda day is just that – now leave it alone. come up with an even more brilliant idea.

  6. Unbelievable says:

    This is a little out of left field.

  7. aceboy says:

    When you have no clue you throw anything you can at the wall in the hopes that some of it will stick.

    thus far the PLP have created nothing but a gooey mess at the bottom of the wall.

  8. Huh? says:

    Am I the only one confused here? Memorial Day is on the 25th. So, if Americans want to see Bermuda Day, they can enjoy their 3 day weekend here. If you move it to Friday, they would have to take at least one day off (depending where they are coming from, they may have to fly in Thursday), which would make people less likely to go.

    And you have obviously never been to Carnival if you think Bermuda Day even comes close!