The RG is reporting that the Government has decided to ‘phase out’ the Queen’s Birthday as a public holiday. Along with Rowland and some other bloggers, I too am very happy with this move. I had earlier suggested that the furore over changing Bermuda Day to National Heroes Day could be solved by changing the Queen’s Birthday holiday to the National Heroes Day one. As is, i think this move is a better one than the one I had initially proposed.
There are some who are upset with this move, and honestly its not possible to please everyone all the time. The best argument I have heard in opposition to this change is that it gets rid of some of our ‘traditions’ and that it would effect tourism. As for ‘traditions’ I have always been of the mentality that all such traditions need to be critically evaluated and some deserve to be confined to the dustbin of history. As far as I’m concerned the very concept of a Monarchy, be it constitutional or absolute, is one of these ‘traditions’ along with celebrating an obsolete Monarch’s ‘official’ birthday.
I do recognise however that the event is useful from a tourism perspective. It should be noted that the parade and its pomp is not being discarded, it will continue, much as the Peppercorn Ceremony up at St. Georges. This will continue to serve the interests of tourism, and in fact having the pomp as a draw while not having a holiday actually makes some rather good commercial sense; I can imagine the tacky souvenirs and what nots that can be profited by this change.
Having a phased period also allows for adjustments that private businesses can make, and so in the long run will allow for a smooth transition.
I would also like to echo Rowland’s call for Labour Day to be moved from September to May 1st, International Labour Day, and declaring March 8th, International Women’s Day a public holiday.
Shortly I will post the entire text of the original declaration, but on the first celebration of Labour Day in Bermuda in 1982 – essentially as a result of the 1981 General Strike, the Progressive Labour Party, in the person of the late Freddie Wade, issued a statement that when the PLP forms the Government one of their first acts would be to change Labour Day to May 1st.
Ten years late is still better then never…