The news that Mrs. Windsor, our unelected head of state, decided not to attend our 400th birthday party celebrations – apparently due to the Uighur incident – has made some headlines regionally and in the UK. I think my position on Mrs. Windsor has been evident on this blog for some time – I do not recognise her as the legitimate head of state. While I do think that the UK is being a bit petty on this issue, I really couldn’t care less whether or not Mrs. Windsor visit Bermuda, although I can certainly see the tourist benefits of the pomp and circumstance that such a visit might entail. Ultimately though, her actions, or lack thereof, are meaningless to me.
What does get me pretty irate though is Dr. Brown’s non-attendance at the ceremony – or Ms. Cox’s for that matter who, last time I checked was the Deputy Premier. Don’t get me wrong, I totally think he’s entitled to a holiday (although looking at his overseas expenses indicates he’s had plenty already), and I can appreciate that after the recent traumatic events of the June demos, the gambling bill and the passing of both Nelson Bascome and Julian Hall, he certainly must have been relishing a chance to get away from it all. Despite this I do find it a bit of a slap in the face to the Bermudian public at large that he ‘coincidentally’ (accidentally) arranged his vacation at the same time as what should be the pinnacle of Bermuda’s 400th birthday celebrations. I find it even more disturbing on account of him being the Minister of Tourism as well.
Before I left last August one of my biggest regrets was that I would miss what promised to be some fascinating celebrations of Bermudiana. While I am aware of some wonderful cultural events that have taken place, for the most part I am disturbed at the low key nature of these events so far. I am increasingly feeling that the Government has dropped the ball on what could have been a great tourism event and also a platform for building a sense of Bermudian-ness – which as a pro-independence individual I think is necessary for helping with realising this goal.
Here in Scotland there has been a big tourism and cultural project with this year being declared the ‘Year of Homecoming‘. This has seen quite a tourism surge here, as well as a number of mass cultural events, something that I would have envisioned Bermuda’s 400th would have been.
I would hope that we take the opportunities presented by the 2012 400th anniversary of our formal colonisation (with the arrival of the Plough in 1612) or the 2020 anniversary of our parliamentary tradition (in 1620) to make better use of these symbolic dates.