DeSilva On March: Episode Of The Racism

July 24, 2010

Minister Zane DeSilva addressed the incidents that occurred yesterday at the “Save our City” rally. His full statement follows below:

On Friday July 23, my family and I experienced yet another episode of the racism that this White segment of the Bermudian population continues to deny exists.

We constantly hear from the combined Opposition how divisive this Government has been, especially since the introduction of the Big Conversation.

The people, along with those who paid for and supported the media ads that have been splashed across the newspapers and radio these last few months, are the ones who continue to divide this country.

Do these individuals believe these types of actions will bring our people together?

I have seen many marches and protests in my life and I don’t recall a Minister of ANY government being treated the way my family and Premier, Dr. the Hon. Ewart Brown and his family have.

“I refer to the march/protest last year on the Cabinet grounds and again yesterday at the House of Assembly.

“What do you think the Black people of this country think when they witness such hatred and nastiness?
They chanted ‘coward’ at me – why? Because I didn’t address them?

Anyone who witnessed to the abuse that our Premier and his wife, along with my wife and I, had to endure last year on the Cabinet grounds, would certainly agree that no Government Minister let alone a human being should be subjected to such abuse.

In no way was I going to be subjected to that experience again. Had my wife not been able to restrain my son we could have an all out bloodbath yesterday.

Look at a replay of the ZBM news last night (Friday, July 23) and you will get a little taste of what happened yesterday.

I’m tired of pleading to this segment of the white community and am convinced they will never change! As MP Mark Pettingill stated yesterday he was ‘ashamed to be White’.

My faith is in the remainder of the White people in Bermuda, many of whom have called over the last 24 hours, with support and sympathy.

These are the people who I am placing my faith in to make a change and embrace our Black Bermudian people as our brothers and sisters – and as Race Relations advisor Rolf Commissiong and I have said repeatedly over the years until the White community start to embrace and mix with the Black community, AND we don’t close the wealth gap in this Country, we will remain divided, long after our current Premier is gone!

Update July 26 2:45pm: The PLP website carried this same statement prefaced with “Minister Zane DeSilva was confronted by a group of angry and unhinged protesters. They were blinded by their rage and lacked the slightest bit of decorum and respect.”

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Comments (51)

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  1. Rockfish#2 says:

    DeSilva needs to look in the mirror and ask himself a few probing questions. He can start with this: What is the REAL reason for my joining the Progressive Labour Party? or, If I did not own a construction company would I have joined? This process may assist him with understanding how he is perceived in the community. (Black AND White)

  2. terry says:

    After waking up from a snooze and no booze….all I can say is that from my experience with people in need that this is someone reaching out.

    Bermuda, whites, blacks, Yoo Bee Pee, Pee Al Pee, Birmyoodah Demahgraphics Annialasayseonz……..annhaul Gang Bahangarz……………….this is the moment to reach out to one crying for help.

    The lines are open….yes you can help by calling 1-800 thousand save the City of Zane………………………Operatorz are waiting for your ammendment……………

    Act nha……………………and save ………the lines are busy but to remain zane you must refrain and don’t listen to the bain of the wolves.

    Your call is free and you will receive a free buttle of Goslings…………………

    You sir are no Jack Sharpe. The mobylette still rules but you will never get it….well maybe in the mail…..a new karborator………………….

  3. AJ says:

    Great statement until the last paragraph – lost all credibility referencing Rolf!!! Rolf has done NOTHING to advance race relations – quite the contrary!

  4. Boot them out says:

    Anyone who could twist yesterdays march into ‘racism’ is truly delusional.

    And if you , Zane , want to close the wealth gap you claim is rampant why don’t you start by giving away a few of your hard earned millions ?

  5. Starman says:

    You make me sick Zane, the way you lie & spin. Nobody “abused you” at the demonstration. If anything, you abused a demonstrator who had his back turned to your car, as you appeared to reverse right into him without warning! Yeah, you check out the video! All that happened to you yesterday was that a few people – catching you attempting to slip out of the Parliament grounds undetected – called you a coward for not having the balls to address the crowd. And you call that “abuse?!” Come on Zane, grow a pair, you’re a politician. This, all the while Mrs Furbert might be calling people “a**holes” as they walk by her. Anyway, you aren’t supposed to be ferrying your family around in a Government GP Car in the first place. One more thing Zane – there are witnesses – and no one touched your car, let alone beat on it.

    • Real talk says:

      sounds to me like the truth hurts and you just cant see beyond your vision of what happened, but then again, IM NOT SURPRISED

  6. confused says:

    Where is the racism? A bunch of angry taxpayers calling a politician a coward is a racist episode? I’m confused….

  7. Real talk says:

    White people of Bermuda are still in denial !! And as you read articles like this where another white person puts you on blasts you feel as if he is lying or doesnt know or have the capabilities to understand how ignorant white people are and can be..

    Get used to a black Government !! I wont every vote for UBP in my life for the simple fact of the denial white people have. You wont change ! Meaning you won’t ever try to understand the PLP. Black people are the majority in Bda, and a black party looks to be in POWER for the next 20 years! Its LOVELY !

  8. Phil says:

    Actually, Starman, I was right there and one guy did bang the side of Mr. DeSilva’s car with his hand. Another (or maybe it was the same guy) obstructed it as he was trying to leave. Both were stupid, pointless things to do.

    That said, I doubt Mr. DeSilva was that upset by the abuse he received, judging by the smile and somewhat insolent wave he gave the crowd as he drove off.

    I also fail to see how a bunch of mildly annoyed white taxpayers calling a white politician a coward is an example of racism.

  9. Jt says:

    Just look at the reaction to what he is saying. The worst thing to do is accuse a white person of racism in 2010. Just look at the reaction. It is very much like how the Tea Party behaves in America. The similarities are amazing. Dr. Brown is no Obama by far, but look at how these people react to EVERYTHING he does.

  10. drew says:

    “The worst thing to do is accuse a white person of racism in 2010.”

    No, the worst thing to do is accuse a person of racism when no such thing occurred. I was at the march/rally and saw no hints of racism at all from those involved. The only mention of race I heard was from black hecklers onlooking from the sidewalks.

    And Real Talk you appear to be the ignorant one… Rejoicing in the fact that a ‘black government’ is in power shows just how much of a mental midget you truly are. They may have the ‘power’ but are hardly in control of anything they do… “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. WTF is a black government anyways?

    • Real talk says:

      Im not surprised you were there and the only hecklers were the white ppl with signs. IDC if you think Im ignorant! BTW, a black government is the PLP.( A group of black people in charge!

      • Starman says:

        Not “hecklers,” dude, protesters! You don’t you get it do you? The Brownites certainly have done a number on your head!

  11. UncleElvis says:

    JT, it’s not that he’s calling us racists, it’s that he’s lying and using race as a political weapon.
    I stood not 15 feet from him at the first rally after the Uighurs. The ONLY person I saw lose their temper in that area was Mr. DeSilva, absolutely overreacting to someone calling him a name. Yelling, profanities, threats… red in the face…
    the only abuse given was by him. He then went on and lied in the house about what happened that day, and continues to misrepresent reality.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts, Jt, on the Uighurs situation. I’d love to hear whether or not it’s ok with you that Dr. Brown lied to the House and the people of Bermuda about them being vetted by the police.

    This “You guys are just like the Tea Partiers” just doesn’t ring true. There are WAY too many differences between people outraged by The Brown Administrations actions and behaviour and the Tea Party.
    If you want to be inflammatory, you COULD say that, comparing the use of rhetoric, shaky logic, outright lies and inciteful language, this Government is FAR closer to the ideals of the Tea Party.

    I REALLY enjoyed “Real talk”s bizarre take on the situation, bringing up the UBP (which… um… are there ANY actual UBP supporters left? I mean other than in the minds of the SmearSquad, who need to paint anyone that doesn’t follow the party line blindly as UBP supporters), then somehow ignoring ANY salient point brought up and blaming EVERYTHING as “denial” by white people.

    So sad that there’s NO dialogue happening ANYWHERE…

  12. Pete Wilson says:

    Zane Desilva
    And all of his fellow Azorians here in Bermuda do`nt fool me at all they flocking to the PLP, that they any regard for Black Bermudians.
    They are using the PLP as a means of furthering their own agenda.
    Not one of them employ Black Bermudians in any upper decision making positions
    in the businesses that they own,or operate.
    I can attest to the construction Industry as a great example of the institutional
    Racism practiced by those people, where are all the Black contractors working on
    Bermuda Government projects, even down to the smallest job like side walk curb stone work ?
    I find it ironic that the PLP, Dept. of Immigration minister,Works and Engineering , along with the NAR, BIU, all seen to quietly side step this blatant issue.
    It`s time the Black Bermudian Community looked closely at this situation, and see it for really what it is, your leaders are Selling You OUT!!

    • Real talk says:

      yea there selling us out right..but why since the PLP came into power more black owned companies have emerged then ever, more trucks and contracts going to black owned companies.I guess you havn’t seen the increase on your side of the fence yet.

      • Starman says:

        A certain well-known local construction company imported a number of huge over-sized dump trucks – effectively cutting out small black (& white) truckers from major projects (which Premier Brown had no problem with). There have always been droves of successful black-owned businesses here — and way before the PLP came to power too. The only “black owned companies” who profited under the Brown Regime were on his elitist Friends & Family Plan.

        Where do you get your information from, Real talk?

  13. Starman says:

    Real talk says, “Meaning you won’t ever try to understand the PLP.” Don’t worry, we UNDERSTAND the Brown Regime – by their actions. Unfortunately for Bermudians, it’s you who has been brainwashed into conformity and subservience by the your Government’s SPIN MACHINE and divisive racial rhetoric. Because that’s all they’ve got – the race card – which they play every time YOUR attention needs to be diverted elsewhere! In reality though, Real talk, the Brown Regime are the New 40 Thieves; vindictive unscrupulous and elitist in the extreme, greedy and materialistic, ostentatious, incompetent and out of their depth, and looters of our Country’s treasury to the tune of almost a billion dollars! With virtually nothing to show for it. That’s what WE understand, that you are apparently are blind to. We can also see that the PLP’s commitment to DEMOCRACY is seriously waning. And this will affect you, Real talk, in ways you cannot even imagine!

    • Real talk says:

      well the first 40 thieves already took control of the island through Construction, Supermarkets and many other businesses now its time for us to get ours. I would rather be robbed from the PLP then the UBP anyday..You call it ignorant, I call it getting equal.

      • Starman says:


      • Tired of the nonsense says:

        And that is why Bermuda will never progress.

        You do realize that 2 wrongs don’t make a right and thus you preaching this stuff makes you no different than the people that you rant about.


        • Tired of the nonsense says:

          “I would rather be robbed from the PLP then the UBP anyday..You call it ignorant, I call it getting equal”

          You do realize that if they rob from you, it is not you that is getting “even” right? If they are robbing from you it is to elevate themselves (small band of insiders) from your hard earned tax dollars. If they are robbing from you it is to enrich themselves off your hard work through means of abusing their power.

          So real talk, how are YOU getting equal by getting robbed? How does you getting robbed help you get “equal”?

          So yeah, going off your post and justificaiton…it is ignorant.

  14. Starman says:

    Phil says, “I was right there and one guy did bang the side of Mr. DeSilva’s car with his hand.” As I understand it; that’s because Zane backed into the guy, almost knocking him over. So the guy may have hit the car to warn Zane that he was there.

  15. ACOREANO says:

    @Pete Wilson…boo hoo, get over it mate and try working hard for a bit and raise your own company but as usual blame the gees, which seems to be the national bermy pastime.


  16. Mike says:


    The way you move society forward, is not by continually and continuously referencing historical events and the evil actions of white people that no longer exist. It actually takes us backwards – not forwards.

    Are you expecting white people, people who look like you, to say “ah, we get it?”, simply on the basis of this historical referencing?

    Well – we get it – we understand. We all know that there were some evil white folks around before us. But you and this Government need to find a different formulae than the one your good friends Ewart and Rolfe are using.

    It isn’t working Zane. It never will. More of the same from this Govt, leads me to consider the possibility that this Govt is quite happy to continue treating the issue the way it does. After all, when things don’t go to plan or people do react as they have, crying racism is an easier response than actually tackling the issues.

    Isn’t it?

  17. Son of the soil says:

    As someone said – get over it Zane – and a bunch of people of all colours demonstrating is racism! – phooey to you Zane – bring your head out of wherever it is. What is scary is that there is more to come, the Police next, Independence next – reeks of Zimbabwe Zane, next time dont be so gutless for who knows if you had spoken to us we may have changed our minds.

    And whose bright idea was it to tear up the Opposition amendments? Talk about scum-bag activity !

  18. Tired of It says:

    Gee Zane, can’t take a little heat? Maybe you are not cut out for Brown Party politics. He plays mean and this is the reaction he gets. If you can’t stand the heat……

  19. JD says:

    The Portuguese where once called the “White Devils of the West”, by African slaves being transported from the land of birth to our modern western world. Just because you claim to be best friends with Dr. Brown, doesn’t make you black. Where does Mr. Desilva get the room to speak out on behalf of blacks? Were you given permission by Rev. Jesse Jackson?

    I understand where you come from and how you are a so-called self made man. But, what you fail to see is that you are not special, you boast about how you worked from the the bottom up to get where you are Mr. Desilva…a lot of us did.

    Just as Dr. Brown stepped into a role once occupied by his father, you bought daddy’s company and stepped into something that had already been created for you. Only to turn your back on him and his opinions concerning the company’s direction. That doesn’t make you a visionary, that makes you two-faced. Not to mention that the both of you, Dr. Brown and yourself are from privileged upbringings.

    Mr. DeSilva, you need to develop a thicker skin if you are to be Dr. Brown’s right hand man. There are angry people on this island, if people call you a coward, then that is how you are perceived by the public. Playing the race card will only make you more of a coward. I understand that it must be frustration and embarrassing for your family to here it, but Dr. Brown and yourself have created this monster, therefore you must deal with it.

    I love this island, I love it’s people, regardless of their color or creed. Can you say the same Mr. DeSilva? You are creating this hate, every time you open you mouth in public. You are responsible.

    I am a caucasian man and my wife is a black woman. Wait…or is it the other way around? Regardless, she is the center of my world and I love her with every fiber of my being. You see Mr. DeSilva, some of us, God willing, the majority of us see only human beings.

    The Bermudian government is a corrupt group of individuals who are using their power for their own financial gain. No matter who is in power, the PLP, UBP or the BDA. That is why I will never vote again as long as I am a Bermudian living here. The voice of the united people on this island will never be heard as long as people like Dr. Brown and yourself exist.

    • Real talk says:

      you contradicted yourself like 4 times..

  20. terry says:

    The irony of all this is the fact that if Zane had created more than what the rally was about and created a “Bloodbath” his credibility and usefullness would have caused Dr. Kavorkian of racial mistrust and confused peeples to declare Cup Match cancelled.

    It’s all a game of chess. Look at the rules. Pawns….boy oh boy……………….

    Last time I looked at the Constitution and the Criminal Code, MP’s are not exempt from arrest.

    Then again, I was there when Dame Louis set the “bloodbathers” on me………………

    The tide is rising.

    I hear that the “Deliverance” is up for sale and the Lemmings Shop on Front Street is for sale.

  21. Just a point of order towards Starman’s original post. I have only come across one person, posting under a pen name, on one of the local forums (BIAW) alleging that Ms. Furbert made such a comment. That hardly constitutes a factual account; it is little more than hearsay and whether it happened or not we don’t really know. If the person who alleged it posted under their real name it would carry more weight, but as it is I suggest it be disregarded.

  22. Boot them out says:

    What needs to be disregarded is your ability to reason , excuse and dismiss any one who’s a Gov’t supporter’s bad behaviour.

    1) You’re not currently here.
    2) A lot of these folks are older than you and have experiences you don’t/never will.

  23. terry says:

    Well all I can say is the PLP look no further. We have found the “Johnathan leak…………………………………………

    Now if we could just rid the island of those pesky starlings……………………..+:)

  24. Phil says:

    @Starman Mr. DeSilva did slowly back into the man, but only because the man left him no choice, leaning against the back of his car to try to stop him leaving. If i had been in Mr DeSilva’s position, i would have done the same. The man who hit the car hit the side of the car, not the back, and it seemed to me that he did it petulantly, not as a warning to Me DeSilva that he was there. Mr. DeSilva’s statement above is ridiculous, but in this confrontation at least he did no wrong.

  25. Starman says:

    Mr Starling, I believe the reference you made to the protester who posted on BIAW about Ms Furbert – a member of the Human Rights Commission! – allegedly calling people a**holes, was in fact the actual person who was allegedly called an a**hole by LF. So it may indeed a factual report.

    I almost forgot, Zane, I tore up your statement into a million little pieces and I’m sending it back to you. It’s the latest fad, yano.

  26. Todd says:

    Starman, That is a GREAT idea! Why don’t we all print out his statement and rip it up and mail it to him!! A great form of protest!

  27. Starman says:

    @Pat: It would be cool if you incorporated a ‘preview’ feature in your comments section similar to how it works on BIAW… less typos and errors that way. Thanks.

    • bernews says:

      Agreed. I am not too sure on preview capability, but will look into it. I am looking at either that or installing edit capability…for a window of say 15mins after one can edit their post.

  28. Rockfish#2 says:

    If a member of the Human Rights Commission called a member of the public an a##hole, because he/she was exercising his/her right to lawfully protest, then this matter must be investigated!

  29. jnc says:

    @J. Starling

    “one person, posting under a pen name, on one of the local forums (BIAW) alleging that Ms. Furbert made such a comment. That hardly constitutes a factual account; it is little more than hearsay and whether it happened or not we don’t really know. If the person who alleged it posted under their real name it would carry more weight, but as it is I suggest it be disregarded.”

    As someone already pointed it out, it’s not ‘hearsay’ as it happened to the poste. As to them posting under a pen name, it’s true he uses one, but he has previously posted who he really is, so he is not an anonymous source.


  30. And as stated, the post was made using a false name, like many of the above comments. Who is this person? Why should I believe the word of someone who posts under a false name? I can understand the concern about ones welfare, leading to one using a false name, but just because one person anomynously alleges that such and such happened, doesn’t mean such and such actually happened. I cannot say whether it did or not, only that it is problematic to accept it as gospel as many are. There are no corroborating witnesses, the credibility is questionable due to the pen name, and there are alternative explanations for it. Who knows? My point is solely just because anomynous person x says y, doesn’t mean y is true.

    • Tired of the nonsense says:

      Does your logic also apply to the PLP postings on their party blog as well?

      • The PLP is an organisation – a body corporate – and as such can be held accountable for its postings through the legal system. They can be sued for defamation or forced to retract/correct their posts under threat of legal action.

        An anomynous poster cannot however be held accountable, and as such their allegations should be held with more suspicion.

  31. Ho Hum ... says:

    Get a grip Zane … you are so busy being black and white you forget that you are Bermudian just like the rest of us.
    “it anit a Black or White thing … “ITS BERMUDIAN!!!!!” Last time I checked Bermuda was a democracy and emancipation was a hundred years ago. Bermudaians are free to voice their opinions on any issue political in nature. My father protested back in the 60′s to effect change. Bermudians are now protesting in 2010 to to try to effect change. “Get over it dude”

  32. Boot them out says:

    So JS , applying your logic , we can believe everything you say as the truth because you use your name ?

    See how stupid it sounds now ?

    • Scott says:

      it’s not entirely stupid. You are only taking part of what he said, and omitting the rest.

      i’d love to bring LF down.. but as JS said, one person supposedly heard this comment, and has reported about it. the fact that it was an anonymous post just adds to the skepticism.

      its not so much about one or the other, its about both factors that make it sketchy.

      if i post a comment from a politician, and post it under my real name but no one can verify it (especially if hundreds of people were around), then people shouldn’t necessarily believe me, or at least not use it as an argument.

      if i post an actual comment under a secret name, but others can verify, then its safe to say it was true.

      but when its a comment that no one can verify, AND the person uses a secret name, then generally its considered proper to not assume the comment is fact.

    • Um, no. However I can be held accountable for what I say and can be sued for defamation or slander. That is the key difference. Posters using their own name have more credibility, I think that is true, but it doesn’t automatically mean they are correct either.

      • Me says:

        J – Unlike in Scotland, in Bermuda if you criticise a PLP figure you can expect that your employer will be contacted by the Minister of Labour and “Public Safety”. Here, people have to hide behind a pseudonym to have even a illusion of freedom of expression.

  33. MR says:

    Phil has it right. One man stood behind the car as it was backing out, refusing to move. Another man slapped the side of the car as it sped off.
    There was no mob or enraged or crazed group of people surrounding the car. I was standing five feet away from it. Further to that, there was no restraining of anyone. Two people sat in the front and one in the back. It must have been a verbal restraining. Silly.
    And even further, there was no racial comment made. I was right there.

    But to say “there might have been a blood bath” is stupid and just goes to show that there is no care or respect for any voter of this country. I don’t see why that was said if no one was being threatened in the first place.

    Racism is used all the time to keep people apart in this country and it’s very unfortunate. Yes there are white people who hate the PLP simply because they are black. I believe that. But just as Premier Brown has said before “we didn’t invent this system, we’re just using it like the last guys did”. No one can ever deny he said that. It’s in the RG. Look it up.