Premier Dunkley On National Heroes Day

June 15, 2014

[Written by Premier Michael Dunkley] Our Island home has been blessed with a tradition of men and women committed to selfless public service and whose lives have been spent almost entirely devoted to improving the circumstances of the people.

We all have personal heroes, in our families, in our churches and communities. They do good work and we honour them with respect and gratitude. The five men and women who are Bermuda’s National Heroes are so designated because their service to our Island transcends the personal; it was legion, it was exceptional and it was transformational.

This observance is relatively new and our traditions surrounding it are still maturing. In the midst of this growth we should still celebrate these Heroes and the lasting national impact of their lives. We do that by sharing their stories with our children to ensure that their memory never fades.

However we spend this holiday we should do so in the spirit that is exemplified in each Hero’s life story. The common bond of these national figures is a spirit of selflessness and a sense of community that challenges us to emulate their exceptional example. Dr. Pauluu Kamarakafego put it best when he said:

“My philosophy in life is that we should always give back to society wherever we are….giving back can be in many forms; teaching, informing the public of their rights and working with them and volunteer work”.

All of us are called to some form of public service and in these economic times we have unique opportunities to give back to society. National Heroes Day can and should be a day of service and commitment. We are strongest when we work together.

On behalf of the Government I wish you all a safe National Heroes Day and recall with admiration and pride the service of our national heroes: Dame Lois Browne-Evans, Dr. E.F. Gordon, Dr. Pauulu Kamarakafego, Sir Henry Tucker and Mary Prince.

- Michael Dunkley

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Comments (6)

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  1. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    This whole process does not resonate well with me. Dame Lois Browne-Evans who was no Mother Theresa, and can never, I my opinion, rise to the status of defender of the downtrodden. A woman who did irreparable legal damage to families in inheritance disputes, yet we never look objectively at the carnage damage that was inflected upon Blacks, yet allowed the PLP to force us to view their heroes.

    But the story clearly, carefully and deeply hidden an entire Black community that was economically independent and striving far beyond the first thought of a political party called PLP. They survived in the aftermath of slavery and at the apex of institutional racism. They set the example, broke the mould and shattered the elusion that Blacks were incapable of being successful entrepreneurs and self-sustaining, yet we, as a country, continue to ignore, devalue and discount their vital contribution to the wholesomeness and the positive image of being the first amongst first in Bermuda.

    Premier Dunkley, if you truly want to reward heroism by the year 2020 return the land in Tucker’s Town back to the people of Bermuda. The Government of Bermuda should buy back the land and turn it into a national park and honorary graveyard of those Blacks already buried there. The graveyard can also become a resting place for all national heroes past and/or future.

    And by this Act of Parliament you will wipe out the fallacy of two Bermudas and usher in an era of political leaders standing on the merits of party’s manifesto, not the skin colour of the leader of the party.

    You were brave enough to dance with the gombays, but now is the time to have the encourage right an historical wrong.

    London, England

    • Tricks are for Kids says:

      Don’t hold your breath because THAT will never happen I’m afraid……

      • Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

        Why? Because the PLP failed to do it while they were in power, or because by placing the negative remark in the public domain it’s your sincere hope that it never comes to pass?

        We know, with absolute conviction, that the concept was NEVER conceived and/or shown any dignity or respect under a PLP government; and we ultimately witnessed that during their rein of power. Not one clear thought, plan and/or action was undertaken by the PLP when they were in power or even NOW. So, your comment trashes the concept as it deeply covers the tracks of PLP’s lack of historic perspective and respect for those who came far BEFORE them.

        The only people the PLP think fit to honour, respect and/or dignify were those whom they re-wrote contemporary history for in order to sanitise their reputations (even when they destroyed, by legal and political means) anyone who challenged they misrepresentation of the facts.

        Provided that you are always prepared to uplift those onto your shoulders (knowing what they did to other innocent Blacks by political force) steep in the rationale that because all are Black it’s okay, you are of the same mentality and clearly there is no benchmark of unacceptable behaviour. United you stand, divided you fall.

        Thus any comment I would make regarding healing the wounds inflicted by legal and political damage caused fall on your deaf ears and those of your elk.

        It is therefore essential that these stories be carefully documented and presented to those who will listen, investigate and make an impartial judgement – not based on skin colour and/or political affiliation. And I am not naive enough to discount the fact that I am your enemy for doing so.

        London, England

  2. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    You were brave enough to dance with the gombays, but now is the time to have the ‘courage’ to right an historical wrong.

    London, England

  3. just saying says:

    Dame Lois Brown Evans (correct me if I’m wrong) was born in St. Kitts…I find it a contradiction – because if she arrived in Bermuda today, she would have to jump through hoops to stay here…would have to be married to a Bermudian (and treated like a second class citizen)for 10 years before being allowed to apply for status…and then have to go through more hoops for a Bermudian passport. So,we therefore have an expat as our national hero..fancy that..

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      Well, here’s your correction. Lois Brown was born on Parson’s Road, Pembroke, her father James Browne, a contractor and owner of the Clayhouse Inn, and her mother Emmeline, née Charles as well as her grand parents emigrated to Bermuda. The laws for immigration of the time for Bermuda differed from what they do today due to the Bermudian population being very small in comparison to that which it is today. That said, her parents emigrated to Bermuda in 1914 so she her family can trace their Bermuda roots for a century on this island (kind of makes that little 10 years you complain of look petty huh?