Government Land Leases to Farmers
- Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 July 2018 11:08
Trust President - Alana Anderson
July 24, 2018 - The Bermuda National Trust welcomes Public Works Minister David Burch’s decision to renew the lease of the Bascome family at Westover Farm, Sandys and of his intention to extend all lapsed agricultural leases of Government land to 21 years less one day.
The Trust believes that the preservation of arable land as open space, and the maintenance of working farms as a means of giving Bermuda a minimum level of food security, is vital for Bermuda’s long term sustainability.
Bermuda National Trust President Alana Anderson said: “We welcome the fact that not only will farmers see their leases renewed, but that they will be renewed for more than two decades. This means that these 13 vital open spaces will also be preserved for 20 years and will be available for the next generation of farmers.
“We also urge the Ministry, as landlord, to encourage farmers to use best practices, and where possible, to introduce sustainable farming methods which will ensure that Bermuda’s arable land will be healthy and productive for many years to come.”
The Long Arc of Progress
- Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2018 16:39
One of former United States President Barack Obama’s guiding principles was this statement: “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
That statement, first made by an American abolitionist in the 1800s, popularised by the Reverend Martin Luther King, and then taken as an article of faith by Obama, tells us that even when progress seems impossibly slow, we should have faith and hope that better times are coming.
It is sometimes wrongly criticised for being overly passive — you may think there is no need to do anything because change will come naturally, or that because progress is so slow, there is no point in trying to accelerate it. In fact, its deeper meaning is that even if the road seems impossibly long with no end in sight, you must keep moving forward — change will come.
Fifty years ago this week, 19,123 adult Bermudians, 91 per cent of registered voters, cast ballots in the first General Election held in Bermuda under universal adult suffrage — the principle of one person one vote, that right given without regard to gender, race or, for the first time in Bermuda’s history, property ownership.
It had taken 348 years to reach that point — almost 3½ centuries had elapsed between the first meeting of the House of Assembly and the 1968 election.
You can see the history of that evolution in the Chubb Gallery for the next two weeks at The Road to Democracy, a Heritage Month exhibition organised by the Bermuda National Trust with assistance from the Bermuda Archives, the Bermuda Historical Society, the National Museum of Bermuda and the Bermuda National Gallery.
As you follow the display around, you may notice that gradually it moves from a predominance of things — drawings of buildings, maps, medals, furniture and documents — to a predominance of people.
Some of the “things” are extraordinary. They include the 1834 Emancipation Act, which “utterly and forever” abolished slavery in Bermuda, Abraham Lincoln’s signature, artefacts from the women’s suffrage movement and more.
But the latter part of the exhibition consisting mainly of people reminds us that it was people who made the change that came about in 1968. People were elected to the House of Assembly who argued for a wider franchise. People joined the Progressive Group and launched the Theatre Boycott, which inspired more people to form the Committee for Universal Adult Suffrage in 1960 and 1961. Seven years later, the 1968 election took place.
For many people today, the world of pre-1968 Bermuda is, to steal the words of the song, a different world. Most of us have no conception of a government chosen by a few people to rule over many, or a world of legalised segregation.
For some of our older residents, people such as E.F. Gordon, Eustace Cann and W.L. Tucker remain living, breathing human beings — people they knew and worked with. The purpose of the exhibition and of historians is to make sure that they remain alive to us. We need to understand how we are connected to them, and them to us.
So this week we pay tribute to Dame Lois Browne Evans, to Sir Henry Tucker and to Sir Edward Richards, and to those young men and women elected for the first time in 1968, determined to make a new and better world. People such as John Barritt Sr, Eugene Cox, Quinton Edness, Austin Thomas, Roosevelt Brown, whose CUAS accelerated the change, John Stubbs, L. Frederick Wade, Gloria McPhee, Reginald Burrows and more.
And we also credit the few who are still with us today — Bill Cox, Stanley Lowe, Stanley Morton, Walter Roberts and C.V. “Jim” Woolridge — who were honoured in the House of Assembly this week.
To be sure, these people had their differences, political and otherwise. But in 1968 they recognised an essential truth: that Bermuda had to change.
There was confrontation and violence before, during and after 1968, but far less than there could have been. This largely peaceful revolution happened because far-sighted people were able to sit down and find ways to settle their differences. No one got everything they wanted at the 1966 Constitutional Conference, and today in Parliament not everyone gets everything they want, either. But they find a way to move forward. That is the essence of democratic government.
Before 1968, a small group of people made the decisions for all. Afterwards, everyone had a say. For that reason, it was a watershed year — the Bermuda we know today would not exist were it not for the events of 1968.
To be sure, the system is not perfect. But the miracle of 1968, and the lesson of 1968, is that Bermudians have the tools to change and improve on the system and they have done so. It may not always be easy, but it can be done and people can have hope that they can bring about the change they desire through peaceful and democratic means. That could not be said before 1968.
To understand why this matters, we need to go back another quarter-century.
In 1944, the issue dividing the island was over whether women of property should have the vote.
Dr Cann, whose mission is life was to end the property vote, feared, like other black politicians, that giving women property owners the vote would entrench that system, not weaken it, and he had previously opposed female suffrage.
But in 1944, Dr Cann had a change of heart when, after countless rejections, the legislation came up once more.
He said: “I shall vote for the measure today because I hate to see any group enslaved by the power of others and refused their legitimate rights.
“I call on all Assemblymen to consider these matters that would grant to others the same privileges now proposed for the Suffrage Society.”
Dr Cann argued that just as gender should not determine a basic right, nor should race, which was the effect of the property vote.
He was exercising hope; hope that the moral arc of history would bend towards justice and that his act of support would bend people towards his point of view.
It would take another 24 years, and Dr Cann would have gone to a better place when it did, but in 1968, 50 years ago this week, he saw his dream fulfilled.
• Bill Zuill is the executive director of the Bermuda National Trust. The Road to Democracy is at the Chubb Gallery until June 1. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm
Wayne Jackson Tribute
- Last Updated: Friday, 06 April 2018 09:16
The Bermuda National Trust has learned with sadness that its former President, Wayne Jackson, passed away last week and has offered condolences to his wife Juliette and her family.
Mr. Jackson was President of the Trust from 2002 to 2005, having previously served on the Trust Council and as Fundraising Chairman. He presided over the successful launch of Buy Back Bermuda in conjunction with the Audubon Society of Bermuda, the further expansion of the Trust’s portfolio of own open spaces and nature reserves and the recovery from the devastation caused by Hurricane Fabian in 2003.
During his tenure, the Trust also expanded its book publishing activities, continuing the publication of volumes of Bermuda’s Architectural Heritage, and releasing “Rogues and Runners” on Bermuda’s role in the American Civil War. The period 2002-2005 were also years in which the Trust’s fundraising efforts were highly successful, putting the organisation on a sound financial footing for the more difficult economic years after 2008.
After stepping down as President, Mr. Jackson remained an enthusiastic supporter of the Trust, and was a frequent attendee and participant in Trust events.
BNT president Alana Anderson said: “I remember Mr. Jackson fondly as someone who welcomed me into the National Trust family with open arms.
She added: “He was generous with his time and passionate about his vision for the Trust and how important it was to get involved. I am deeply saddened by his passing and on behalf of the Trust send sincere condolences to his family.”
Hugh Davidson, who succeeded Mr. Jackson as President, added: “Wayne was a good and dedicated friend to the National Trust. He was especially proud of the small birdseye cedar coffee table made by his ancestor John Henry Jackson which was sent to London in 1851 to be shown at the Great Exhibition.
“The table now lives at Verdmont and I think of Wayne every time I see it.”
Mr Davidson added: “We will miss Wayne’s continuous support and enthusiasm for the Trust and are deeply saddened to lose a member of the Trust family.”
ATVs on Railway Trail and in National Parks
- Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2018 11:27
The Bermuda National Trust is deeply dismayed and disheartened by the decision to grant a one-year license for ATV tours on the Railway Trail in Sandys.
We are particularly concerned that the Minister of Parks feels able to ignore the fact that 99.7 percent of those who responded to the public consultation objected to the proposal. Many will perceive this as making a mockery of the public consultation process and this will reduce confidence in public consultation in general.
This morning we reached out to other concerned groups who objected to the plan and we are to hold an emergency meeting to review the options open to us.
Notwithstanding the need for innovative experiences for our visitors, the safety and enjoyment of our National Parks is paramount. They are the preserves of all of us; our children, seniors, athletes, artists, differently abled, farmers, birdwatchers, walkers, horse riders, fisherman, visitors and more. Open spaces like the Railway Trail are essential to the public’s overall health and the wellbeing of our community. This tour threatens to disrupt the peace and tranquility people seek in parks and open spaces.
We do not believe that this one tour with its limited reach, nuisance and the dangerous precedent it sets, can in way demonstrate that it is in the public interest to justify overriding a number of different pieces of legislation.
Annual Auction and Jumble Sale
- Last Updated: Thursday, 01 March 2018 18:45
March 1, 2018 - The Bermuda National Trust’s annual Auction and Jumble Sale kicks off today with hundreds of bargain hunters and lovers of antiques and Bermudiana descending on the Botanical Gardens.
Two 18th Century Bermuda cedar chests are among the highlights of Saturday’s auction, whose preview starts today. The chests, donated by a Bermuda family, are fine examples of the high standards of workmanship of Bermudian cabinetmakers.
The chests are in excellent condition and in one case, still have the staple hinges which were typical of the original chests. The Trust is very grateful for this exceptional and generous gift.
The larger chest dates back to the 1790s and the earlier, Chippendale chest is a fine example of Bermudian cabinetwork.
The auction also features other Bermuda cedar antiques, including a rare cedar tea table with a scalloped curtain and two rocking chairs. There is also a wide selection of mahogany antique furniture, including a tilt top breakfast table and a Victorian four poster bed.
There are several outstanding pieces of art. A Charles Lloyd Tucker pen and ink drawing of a fishing boat at Front Street is one of the highlights, and there are also two Chris Marson watercolours.
A sterling silver tea urn from 1890 is in excellent condition, and there is also a full set of Royal Worcester Beaufort bone china.
There are at least three antique dining tables and there is also an excellent set of six English Rosewood dining chairs.
At the jumble sale, which started today, there is some excellent jewellery and fine housewares, in addition to more than 3,000 items covering every imaginable category for the home.
The auction preview and jumble sale take place today from 8.30am until 6.30pm and tomorrow from 8.30am until 2pm. The auction starts at 10am on Saturday – rain blow or shine.
ATV Tours on Railway Trail and National Parks
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2017 09:11
Photo credit Max Kehrli - The Bermudian Magazine
The Bermuda National Trust is strongly objecting to the proposal to allow the Railway Trail and National Parks in the West End to be used for ATV tours.
And we are urging you, our members and supporters, to review the proposal, which would require changes to the rules governing vehicle access to public parks, and to send in your own objections.
The former One Bermuda Alliance government gave provisional approval for the plan. We understand that the approval was given despite a unanimous recommendation by the Parks Commission to reject the proposal.
The proposal would bring all-terrain vehicles on to the Railway Trail, Hog Bay Park, Fort Scaur Park and the Heydon Trust. It would also run alongside the National Trust’s Gilbert Nature Reserve for part of the route.
National Trust President Alana Anderson said: “The Trust vehemently objects to National Parks being accessed by motorised vehicles as it would be wholly incompatible with the quality, character and function of these natural and historic sites.
“The National Trust supports the active enjoyment of our parks and open spaces and encourages their enhancement and new uses for them. We also welcome innovative thinking to revitalize our tourism industry and to enrich our visitors’ experiences in Bermuda.
“Nevertheless, the proposal would set a terrible precedent. Hog Bay Park is one of Bermuda’s largest and most peaceful parks which is a vital amenity for neighbourhoods in the area while thousands of people use the Railway Trial for walking and relaxation.
“The disruption from the proposed tours in terms of noise, erosion to unpaved walking and nature trails, disturbed wildlife and threats to safety would have a detrimental impact on surrounding nature reserves, parklands and historic sites and conflict with their function as places of respite, amenity, education, recreation and conservation.”
National Trust Preservation Committee chairman Robert Masters added: “There is no doubt that the use of the 150cc ATVs will pose a threat to public safety; it is nonsensical to imagine that they will remain at or below 10mph. In addition, there are already walking and bicycle tours of these areas.
“Also, this will exacerbate the problem of illegal access by motorised vehicles of these parks. Hog Bay Park has suffered from an entrenched problem with scramblers for years without any effective solution – damaging the paths, endangering the users, negatively affecting the agricultural land and disturbing neighbours. Introducing ATVs to the park will only make it worse.”
The deadline for objections is November 14 (next Tuesday).
Comments may be sent in writing via the Government Portal at https://www.gov.bm/proposed-change-use-scaur-hill-fort-park-and-hog-bay-park, or at: https://www.gov.bm/sites/default/files/8500_Proposed-Change-of-Use.pdf
- Submissions can be sent in to the Parks Department, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org before 4pm on November 14.
- You can also mail your submissions to the Department of Parks, P.O. Box HM20, Hamilton, HMAX.
- You can also make your submissions in person by visiting the Department of Parks’ main office, Ground floor Global House, Church Street, Hamilton.
The Department of Parks will have forms available to fill out, and schematics of the proposed trail changes will be on display in their main lobby for review and consideration.
For more information regarding this proposal, you can email email@example.com.
2017 BNT Raffle Winners
- Last Updated: Thursday, 02 November 2017 14:24
Coming Up at the Trust
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2017 10:50
BNT 2017 Raffle
- Last Updated: Thursday, 07 September 2017 10:04
The 2017 Bermuda National Trust Raffle has launched and we need your support! We are recruiting volunteers to help sell raffle tickets at various MarketPlace locations across the island. If you are able to spare two hours of your time for a good cause please sign up today using the following link: http://bit.ly/2xLPpit
Our top prizes include a a Bermi 200 electric car, a $5000 travel voucher, $2500 in vouchers at the MarketPlace and a whole lot more. All proceeds go directly towards helping the Trust preserve Bermuda's unique natural and cultural heritage.