‘Peace Trees’ Honour Bermuda Crisis Resolvers

May 15, 2024 | 0 Comments

‘Peace trees’ were presented to honour “three individuals who played key roles in the peaceful resolution of 20th century Bermuda’s most substantial societal crisis.”

A spokesperson said, “At the media conference held at St Paul AME to highlight the historic contributions of three individuals who played key roles in the peaceful resolution of 20th century Bermuda’s most substantial societal crisis, representatives from various relevant stakeholders gathered. The purpose was to present 3 olivewood ‘peace trees’ in honour of each.

“Coordinating the event, Glenn Fubler of Imagine Bermuda offered an overview summarising the release.

“Host Pastor of St Paul AME, Rev Nicholas Tweed, welcomed those attending and provided a brief overview of the church’s long history of involvement in social justice and pointed out that Rev Larry Lowe had been continuing a tradition during the referenced major contribution.

“Michael Nisbett, son of another one of those being honoured, made the point that all three exemplars had been following the example of Jesus in doing right and standing for justice while fostering peace.

St Paul AME Bermuda May 2024

“Rev Jay Tucker, Priest at Christ Church Devonshire, noted that all three exemplars had a personal impact on his life. Rev Lowe was his childhood Pastor; Police Superintendent Campbell Simons had been his supervisor during his career as a young police officer and he currently serves at Christ Church, walking in the footsteps of Canon Nisbett, the first Black in the local Anglican Church.

“The out of the box engagement by Canon Thomas Nisbett, Rev Larry Lowe, and Police Sergeant Campbell Simons during Bermuda’s biggest crisis of the 20th century offers an example of great character for today’s generations. All three of them, during the 1981 General Strike, chose to exercise personal agency that went beyond their call of duty, assuming responsibilities that proved critical in ensuring a peaceful resolution in the most contentious circumstances.

“That said, it is arguable that Canon Nisbett and Rev Larry were simply following the footsteps of Jesus. They both embraced the invitation to serve as co-chairs of the Strikers’ Family Support Committee, collecting funds and groceries for those impacted and demonstrating an example of love for neighbour. This fostered a sense of human solidarity across the community, dampening polarization.

“Additionally, Pastors Lowe and Nisbett hosted lunchtime peace vigils at St Paul during that most challenging period when the Bermuda Regiment was embodied, given community tensions.

“Police Sergeant Campbell Simons’ out of the box involvement took place at a pivotal time. On May 1, 1981, he engaged a group of strikers and supporters while they were launching an unauthorized procession through Hamilton. Rather than going by the book, Sgt Simons, accessing his wisdom, guided the peaceful group through the city traffic for almost an hour. This collaboration that the veteran policeman facilitated fostered a palpable reduction of tension across the island. Campbell Simons’ demonstration of policing arguably offers an example that might be of benefit globally.

“The engagement of these three late exemplars played a key role in 1981, marking a paradigm shift in Bermuda’s history. During the prior two decades, our island experienced repeated violent unrest up to December of 1977. However, since 1981, there has been no socio-political violence, which was leveraged by the shift made during that major dispute.

“That said, it noteworthy that we have been experiencing recurring gang violence in the last two decades and we might draw lessons from that 40-year-old milestone towards this latest cycle of violence.

“In symbolizing the contributions of these three, olivewood ‘peace trees’ are being presented to stakeholders, representing generations across the community.

“The peace tree honouring Rev Larry Lowe is represented by St Paul AME and Berkeley Institute. The tree donated by the Corporation of Hamilton will be planted at Victoria Park, which was a venue of significance during ’81.

“The peace tree honouring Canon Thomas Nisbett is represented by Christ Church Devonshire and Somersfield Academy, which is a neighbour of Christ Church who will be collaborating regarding that tree.

“The peace tree honouring Police Sgt Campbell Simons is represented by the Bermuda Police Service, who will be collaborating with CedarBridge Academy in that tree planting.”

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