PLP & Govt On Parade Participation Denial

November 14, 2014

Following a change to the Remembrance Day Parade that saw relatives of deceased veterans prevented from marching on parade, Premier Michael Dunkley it “should never have happened”, and that “Government’s displeasure with this decision has been communicated and that it will not be repeated.”

The PLP said they “were surprised, shocked and angered to hear of the incident,” and they welcome “Premier Dunkley’s admission that denying relatives of War Veterans the right to march on behalf of their deceased family members was a mistake.

Government/Premier Michael Dunkley’s Comments

“This simply should never have happened,” said Premier and Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley after he had been made aware of the last minute change to the Remembrance Day Parade that saw relatives of deceased veterans prevented from marching on parade.

The Premier indicated that he was made aware on Tuesday of the upset and anger the decision had caused.

The Premier added, “I fully understand, appreciate and respect the history of this parade and the importance of participation in it by those seeking to honour the memory of those who served.”

A Government spokesperson confirmed that the decision in question was made on the day of the parade and did not reflect the intent of the Premier, the Cabinet or the Government of Bermuda and had been made without the Premier’s knowledge.

The Premier concluded, “I am satisfied that the Government’s displeasure with this decision has been communicated and that it will not be repeated.”

PLP/Shadow Minister of Public Safety Walter Roban’s Comments

The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party welcomes Premier Dunkley’s admission that denying relatives of War Veterans. The right to march on behalf of their deceased family members was a “mistake…simply should never have happened,”

We were surprised, shocked and angered to hear of the incident like so many others in the community.

“The pain and disappointment in the voice of Ms. Glenda Anderson who appeared on television expressing her displeasure with what happened has touched the hearts of many Bermudians.” says Walter H. Roban.

It was believed by the PLP that such attacks on the rights of Bermudians who had served in past wars ended in 2007 with the amendments to the War Pensions Act.

The changes recognized those who had previously been denied for decades their entitlement to War pension benefits and healthcare.

It was also the year previously unrecognized veterans where allowed to lay wreaths on the Cenotaph. The work of the PLP to rewrite this long standing injustice culminated with the opening of a new War Monument on the cabinet grounds in 2011 recognizing all men and women who served in both World Wars.

The report of what happened appeared to suggest old prejudices and discriminatory practices were still alive in this country. It is important now that the Premier, as Minister of National Security, gives the appropriate directive that guarantees the presence of family members, representing deceased or infirm veterans, as a permanent part of the annual Remembrance Day Parade.

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Comments (22)

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  1. Mike H says:

    So who took the decision?

    • @ Mike H , I am in total agreement whose decision was it and the full information should be made know to the public,and the reasons behind why this direction was taken, our war vets are getting fewer in number and to totally disregard the memory of those who have already gone on, is despicable and disgusting.

  2. Coffee says:

    So if the Premier or the government of Bermuda didn’t make the decision than who did ? Blame it on the Col. Or was It the Dr.? Maybe the PLP or SAGE Com.? I wouldn’t put that horrible fiasco past the Civil Service , they’ve been blamed for worst !

    Whatever , the buck must stop at the Cabinet Office , but that desk is very slippery nowadays , nothing that’s negative seems to stick there . But here’s one more guess , the directive had to come from Blackwatch Pass !

  3. Clever Neville says:

    I appreciate the accountability. “It should have never happen.”
    Blame and accountability are very different. Once blame has been accepted (accountability) and apologies made what else is there to do?

    Sounds like the buck has stopped. Pesky buck!

  4. Jim Bean says:

    I dont understand why the family members of veterans should march. The veterans who are alive from the two world wars and those others who have served on the Home Front should be honoured. I would include people who served in other conflicts such as korea, iraq etc etc. This is for the veterans – the immediate family members such as wives and and sons and daughters can stand together – but not march!! Sorry that this is clearly against the tide of public opinion but it seems crazy. In britain only vets march not extended family members like cousins!!!

    • Kunta says:

      Well Dreamer, how many vets are in Britain, from the looks of it in the next ten-twenty years there will probably be NO vets in Bermuda, and then WHAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Jim Bean says:

    see this from britain. i know we have a dwindling number but it seems dishonest for distant members of war vets to march. we are all proud of their service and like i say the family can as a compromise perhaps stand on front street as a group so we see what sacrifice means. in other words without the sacrifice of the veterans the family may not be here!

    • Regina says:

      Totally agree. Perhaps one family member could march in their loved one’s honour while the rest of the family wears pins or pictures? If we have every family member marching, who will be on the sidelines watching the parade. Admit it, Bermuda is a small place where everyone is related somehow. A happy compromise will maintain the integrity and enjoyment of the parade. Work together Bermuda.

      • smh says:

        Ladies and gents,
        The perfect examples of people who just talk to hear themselves!!!

        If a family wants to march in honor of a relative then your opinion is null and void. You’re complaining about who will be watching??? HELLOO it’s not just a public spectacle it’s about REMEMBERING the veterans. And if that’s how a family wants to do remember them – by marching – then SO BE IT.

        • WillSee says:

          I disagree with you. It is an honor for the veterans themselves to march for the memory
          of their fellow soldiers.That honour should not be granted to civilian descendants who have done nothing to earn their place on the Parade Ground.

    • Self says:

      Who cares what happens in Britain!!! This is BERMUDA in case you have forgotten. Foreigners wonder why they are disliked so much, but what do they expect when they come here and want to run things how they do in their own countries.
      Like it or not, it has been traditional for the family members to march. They were not even given any word beforehand, just told on the spot that they couldn’t march. I am sure it was very upsetting, and as the Premier said it should not have happened and won’t be repeated.
      If you want things to run as they do in Britain, then go live there.

  6. The Fact says:

    The decision is not up to the Col., who wasn’t even there. As for the Adj., it couldn’t possibly be him since he has had this position for years now and has actually marched the war vets and family down himself. That’s not to say the Adj. wasn’t the messenger for someone from Cabinet.

    Either way, the error was made and now we must move on.

    Lest We Forget …

    • swing voter says:

      you have a point. Its local custom to allow a family remember to continue in the place of the departed loved one who actually served. The decision was definitely not ‘local’ thinking…..perhaps Warwick Camp should stop hiding and say something instead of using political scapegoats.

  7. Build A Better Bermuda says:

    The PLP are fast becoming the laughing stock of Bermuda. Nothing more than little dogs nipping a the Governments heels on an hourly basis.

    • Rockfish#1and #2 says:

      It is unfortunate that this serious matter has become a political football.
      Remember,when these veterans were alive Bermuda didn’t have political parties.
      The fact of the matter is, the families are owed an apology for that insensitive foolish decision.
      Clearly, Premier Dunkley knows who made the decision, but chooses to sweep this matter under the carpet.
      This shows disrespect for the families, bad mistake!’

      • Rockfish#1and #2 says:

        To clarify.
        The person who made the decision must apologize, not the Premier.

  8. Alvin Williams says:

    What is not been said is the real motivation behind the ban; and that is the long held belief among some that only those who saw combat in the world wars should be considered as veterans and thereby given the right to march. Those who remain home and manned the home defence are not considered to had been on the front line; but that is not true. Bermuda is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and was at the heart of the battle of the Atlantic in the war against the German U-boat submarine fleet that was sinking ships all around us especially during World War Two. At any time a German U-Boat could have surface and shell Bermuda; they all had that capability with the single gun they carried on their front deck. Bermuda’s defence? The artillery batteries manned by the Bermuda militia mostly made up of Black Bermudians. It’s not that black Bermudians did not serve overseas both in world war one and two. But Bermuda maintained a racially segregated military. You take the fact that many white Bermudians were trained and saw combat as aircrews in world war two. Why was it that Black Bermudians were not trained to do the same? I suspect because of the overt racism at the time which allowed white Bermudians to train as aircrews beginning in Bermuda; but not the black Bermudian. It’s not that a black man could not be train to fly a combat aircraft. Even in America which also maintained a racially segregated military during that conflict; trained aircrews; the most famous being the Tuskegee airmen who have a outstanding combat record. The reason why Bermuda can not get over it’s social hang ups is because we refused to face the truth about our society; but it can not be hidden for every now and than we are reminded of unfinished business.

  9. watchfuleyes says:

    So why have we not heard from the Regiment if they were the ones who made the decision? I guess it takes time to think of a logical excuse eh?

  10. Leaper says:

    I am sure there is no “one person” who made the decision. Parades are run by committee (cabinet, regiment and COH – I think) and as such the committee either made the decision or failed to state a position with clarity. Parades aren’t the sole jurisdiction of the regiment. The regiment and its personnel may have to be on the forefront of communicating/executing the decisions made by the committee, but that doesn’t make them culpable (as a group or any one individual within). No military man would dream of operating outside of their hierarchy. They would seek to execute orders/directions given.

    The fact that there was such confusion makes it clear that there was a failing at the committee level to get clarity on the matter and that is that. Why is this always about blame? A lesson was learned and I have to think that the committee will be sure to be clear on this point going forward. Especially with the people of the front line of executing their decisions – and thus dealing with the aftermath (ie the regiment personnel).

  11. Tom Cooke says:

    With much respect, who is going to march in 10 years time…
    least we forget..