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Tales from Tortola Pt VI

-‘Be not unevenly yoked’
Thomas C. Famous. Photo: Provided
Bermuda's House of Assembly. Photo: Internet Source
Bermuda's House of Assembly. Photo: Internet Source
Thomas C. Famous

The following was a speech delivered in the House of Assembly (HoA) in Bermuda, on Friday, June 1, 2018.

Mr Speaker, my short sermon for today is taken from the holy book. A passage that my uncle, the Honourable Julian Fraser, in the Virgin Islands loves to quote—2nd Corinthians 6:14.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?”

On Thursday, May 24, 2018, approximately 5,000 residents of the Virgin Islands gathered in Road Town, Tortola, to march from the HoA onto the grounds of Government House, which is the direct representation of colonial rule in the VI. Indeed, it was a historic march for the people of the Virgin Islands; it brought tears to the eyes of thousands; a proud moment in time for the people of the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean on a whole.

They protested, not to burn down cane-fields or sugar-mills but to stand up for their rights to economic survival, which is being threatened by recent actions of the British Parliament.

Mr Speaker, so strong was the sentiment against these actions that Deputy Premier, the Honourable Dr Kedrick D. Pickering was quoted as saying, “...we need to ensure that we understand the real issue and where we stand here today, that we have declared open war on the UK with respect to this Sanction and Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Bill; we have declared war because we do not agree. So, we have to be prepared to fight,”

Mr Speaker, when someone has their foot on your throat, you do not shine their shoes. For your very own survival, you are forced to cut off their foot. Mr Speaker, subsequent to that historic march, there is now a call for the people of the Virgin Islands to boycott the Annual Queen’s Birthday Parade.

Mr Speaker, it is clear that our cousins in the Virgin Islands no longer wish to be yoked or choked, by anyone in England. In light of recent actions in this island, maybe we need to do the same thing right here in Bermuda as we can no longer be unevenly yoked. Mr Speaker, in our younger years, coming from town we used to chant anyone of our friends or family who joined the Bermuda Police Force. Due to how the police abused and treated us we called them, ‘bald-heads,’ ‘sell-outs’ and, or ‘Babylon.’

Mr Speaker, over the course of time, we realised;

  • It was the police officers from the United Kingdom who treated us as if we were criminals, constantly harassing us and arresting us for no reason,
  • It was our very own local officers who were firm but fair,
  • Over the course of time, we were proud to see our very own rise in the ranks,
  • Over the course of time, we believed that Bermudians were now in control of the Bermuda Police Force.

Mr Speaker, Her Majesty’s Governor John Rankin’s recent appointment of UK based Chief Superintendent, Stephen Corbishley as the new Bermuda Police Commissioner has proven yet again; we are living a pipe dream.

Subsequent to the 1977 riots, a report was tabled that spoke specifically to the urgent need for a Bermudian Police Commissioner. Some 40 years later, we are faced yet again, with someone who may have visited this island once now being appointed as the head of the Bermuda Police Service.

What message does this send to our very own Bermudian police officers? It tells them that no matter how hard they work they will never reach the top. What message does this send to the people of Bermuda? It tells us this simple message, no matter how qualified our people are for top Police jobs, as long as we are not in control of the decision-making process we will have no say in who becomes the Police Commissioner.

Simply put, it reminds us that this country—our country—is really [governed] by those in the UK, because we are the colonised. I remind the Bermudian public of this simple sermon;

“Be not unevenly yoked.”

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

10 Responses to “Tales from Tortola Pt VI”

  • 123 (03/06/2018, 16:46) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    deep boss
  • 123 (03/06/2018, 17:23) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    I enjoy reading his stuff
  • Beautiful piece, (03/06/2018, 17:39) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    Expending military (police presence) has always been their strong pursuit for maintaining colonial power, and they are always ready to extend monetary support to sustain that position. However, ask for monetary support towards education, health, or infrastructure, and their response has always be extremely lackluster.

    Conversely, self-determination is a frightening term because people of colour under colonial rule have become so distracted with excessive materialism that it will be very difficult to live a simple existence where the delusion of colonial support is not present.
  • we (03/06/2018, 18:10) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
    have been conditioned to believe that only our colonizers can rule us fairly, and looking back at history this has been reinforced even stronger, witnessing what has been happening when our own were elected to rule who, with the same type of conditioning, have made a disaster of the countries (unbridled corruption, lack of accountability and transparency); the same situation from Africa to the Caribbean. The change must begin from a total overhaul of our deepseated mental conditioning, or else- we will continue to sow more of the same.

  • saying (03/06/2018, 18:14) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    too much greed to trust our own.
  • vi (03/06/2018, 18:49) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    I think we need to decide as territories; do we want to remain colonies, do we want to integrated with the UK as one country, one citizenship or do we want to be independent?
  • yes (03/06/2018, 19:04) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    These colonialists only like giving money for prisons and police backup to lock up our people, but not for education and other nation building support, go figure.
  • Binocs (03/06/2018, 19:10) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    Britain did not have the conscience to pay our Ancestors, nor their descendants, for making them soo wealthy. Now, we are here, still depending on them to throw a few crumbs ourway from their buffet.
  • i from here (03/06/2018, 21:08) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Keep the pressure on bvi
  • The TRUTH (04/06/2018, 11:04) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    A bunch of chickens in a pen cackling. That's what you are. Meaningful change can only come when we decide to give the Euro-man back his religion. Religion is at the root of this conflict. I realize that most of you can't see it but it's the truth. Religion is the most powerful weapon our oppressors use against us. Religion is the mental cage that we're locked into and we can march protest quarrel or whatever...once we are not able to free our dome(head mind) we will remain nothing but a bunch of chickens in a pen cackling.

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