Senate Debate – Tuckers Point SDO

March 16, 2011

Dear CURB members, supporters and friends,

The Tuckers Point Special Development Order is due to be debated in the Senate at the Cabinet Building beginning 10:00 a.m. on Friday, 18th March 2011, and CURB is appealing to you to come to the Cabinet Building grounds on Friday any time during the day from 9:30 a.m. onwards to quietly protest the Tuckers Point SDO.  At the bottom of this email you will find the email addresses of your Senators.  Please take the time to email them and express your concerns, worries and hopes for this precious piece of land… our heritage.  Every voice counts.

There are many reasons for objecting to the Tuckers Point SDO but WHY is CURB, an anti-racist organization, objecting?  Below you will find our reasons. Please share this email with your family, friends and colleagues so they too will learn more about their heritage.

1.       The Tuckers Point property is a visible and poignant reminder of the forcible relocation of hundreds of people, generations of whom had been there for over 125 years.

2.       The ongoing grief and sadness of the present-day descendents has never been acknowledged, recognized or recorded; and the Tuckers Town story is only now being told.

3.       The neglected cemetary, and its use as a golf driving range, is an offense to Bermudians and signifies a terrible lack of respect for the families whose ancestors are buried there.

4.       The tiny gravesite is surrounded by a small wall built comparatively recently, and contains the remains of only half a dozen graves… yet this community over its 125 year known history must have buried many men, women and children and it is believed that many lie beneath the golf greens outside the wall.

5.       The destruction of historic buildings important to Black Bermudian history located on this site has continued up until recent times representing an ongoing intention to ignore that particular history.

6.       The original Tuckers Town represents a Black community initially of free Blacks, and later of emancipated Blacks who struggled and successfully created a safe and isolated environment for their families by building their own school and church, and creating a community made up of land owning farmers, pilots and fishermen.  Women grew vegetables and fruit to feed their families, to sell in St Georges, or barter with others in the community.  Children grew up in an environment supported and protected from the prejudice and discrimination that awaited them outside the protection of their community.  A Letter to the Editor in  the late 1890s describes the area as idyllic with citrus groves and fig trees, neat homes and gardens, and friendly and industrious people.  All this achievement despite an environment of racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression and disenfranchisement.

7.       The site is symbolic representing sites and properties throughout the island which were lost to Black Bermudians in the past due to similar oppression.

8.       The land itself still has many areas which are as they were hundreds of years ago when this Black community thrived and prospered.

9.       The Tuckers Town history has yet to be fully researched, documented and commemorated; and the site has yet to be archeologically investigated.

10.   The current redevelopment plans are one more attempt to ‘make money’ off the loss of this land to the Black community.  Like the Native Americans, Black Bermudians and  Tuckers Town descendants view this as one more broken promise in a string of broken promises since their land was first taken.

11.   The taking away of land (equity) from the Black community in the early 1920s resulted in substantially less opportunities for their descendents.

12.   The land was taken under the pretext that it was for the betterment of all, when in fact it was for the enrichment of the developers and the subsequent enjoyment of an elite few.  A story which is repeating itself today.

13.  In the 1920s three of the Bermudian developers were also members of Government, helping to pass the legislation ordering the compulsory purchase of land.

14.   Black Bermudians were forced to give up their lands for the “betterment of Bermuda” and “for tourism” – a string of broken promises, three SDOs later… Bermudians are yet again being asked to give up their heritage for the very same reason.

15.   This historic property should continue to be protected in its current state as a memorial to those Bermudians displaced by this tragedy, and as a tribute to their achievements.

The failure of our community to teach the full truth about our history is a loss to us all.  We must ask why we have not been taught the stories of Black Bermudian history and achievement?   Stories such as the extraordinary Tuckers Town community; the heroic rescue of the slaves off the ship Enterprise in 1835 (the legal precedent which was used by President John Quincy Adams in his defense of the Amistad slaves); and tragic stories such as the St. David’s Islanders and the destruction of their homes, their land, means of living, culture and way-of-life when they were displaced in the 1940s.

Please write your Senators encouraging them to take action to protect this historically symbolic and irreplaceably pristine landscape.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

SENATORS:  Senate President Carol Bassett; Senate Vice President Walwyn Hughes CBE, JP; Senator The Hon. Lt. Col. David Burch, OBE (Mil), ED, JP; Senator The Hon. Kim N. Wilson; Senator E. David Burt, JP; Senator Cromwell M.A. Shakir JP; Senator Laverne Furbert JP; Senator Jeanne J. Atherden, CA, JP; Senator The Hon. Michael Dunkley, JP, MP; Senator Susan Roberts Holshouser, JP; Senator Joan E. Dillas-Wright, MBE.


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