Commentary: The British are coming! The British are coming!

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Chris Famous is a Member of Parliament of the Government of Bermuda. Raised in several Caribbean islands. He has a keen interest in the development and unity of the entire Caribbean region. He can be reached via email: Carib_pro@yahoo.com or via WhatsApp 441-599-0901.

By Christopher Famous

“Cup Match is an event which marks the day that Bermuda was discovered by Admiral Sir George Somers in 1609. It also marks Emancipation Day” ~ One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) 2018 Cup Match message

A wilful and racist distortion by the opposition party of Bermuda about the true meaning of Bermuda’s Emancipation and Cup Match celebrations.

Our Cup Match originated from black Bermudians, children of those formerly enslaved, taking two days to celebrate Emancipation at the beginning of August. The very first cricket match was played in 1902.

For their own twisted reasons, the OBA has attempted to make the emancipation of black people secondary to the exploits of an English privateer/pirate and colonizer.

The real George Somers

“Long before either was knighted for sea-going exploits in England’s service, George Somers and his friend Amyas Preston were professional privateers.

“They were among hundreds of Englishmen of that day who became involved in the privateering business because of its promise of adventure, glory and quick, substantial profit.

“They set off across the Atlantic, bound for the West Indies, arriving off Dominica in May. After a rest, they sailed southwest toward South America, arriving at a little group of three islands just off the coast of Venezuela, called Isla Margarita, Coche and Cubagua. Venezuelan Indians dove for pearls there. The raiders managed to capture a few Spaniards and their slaves at Coche, then headed across to Cumana, a town on the Venezuelan coast

“In the morning, they burned Caracas and some surrounding settlements to the ground, as they had threatened. Taking whatever, they could, they marched back to their ships and set sail for England. Preston and Somers arrived in September 1595, after six months at sea.”

Bermudian Magazine July 2013

European pirates/privateers and colonizers are not to be celebrated, much less to be celebrated during our emancipation observations.

The British are coming! The British are coming!

In the year 2018, the same set of British colonisers have voted for the Overseas Territories (OTs) of Bermuda, Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands to open our books but have not imposed the same rule for the Crown Dependencies (CDs) of Jersey, Guernsey and The Isle of Man.

The main difference between the OTs and the CDs are that the OTs are Caribbean islands/peoples whilst the CDs are European islands/peoples.

This reeks of systematic racism.

Seemingly, not satisfied with those actions, in July of 2018, the House of Lords in the UK debated forcing the Overseas Territories to accept same sex marriage (SSM).

“Lords in the UK have suggested that Britain should force Bermuda to legalise same-sex marriage in the same way it forced the island to adopt public registers.”

Royal Gazette July 25, 2018

So, the question that must be asked is this, how long before they decide to force their will on the Overseas Territories regarding our immigration policies?

Stand up

As Caribbean people, we will have to decide quickly if we are going to continue to be forced to accept rules from an empire built on piracy and colonization.

• An empire that compensated thousands of slave owners in these islands, yet gave the untold millions of the very same persons that they enslaved, absolutely nothing.

• An empire that just voted to damage/destroy our financial services within the next 18 months.

Over the next few weeks the British will attempt to interact with its OTs as a gesture of goodwill.

The unfortunate reality is this, the British Empire clearly has a 500-year history of; colonisation, enslavement, dictatorship and cultural imperialism that continues to this very day. We, the people of the Caribbean, will be foolish to think that they will suddenly change their ways.

Only we can truly emancipate ourselves from those shackles.

You can’t educate I
For no equal opportunity:
Talkin’ ’bout my freedom,
People freedom and liberty!
Yeah, we’ve been trodding on the winepress much too long:
Rebel, rebel!

Bob Marley

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4 COMMENTS

  1. We in the Caribbean never seem to be able to understand from whence we came. What is even more egregious is the fact that the same racist policies are able to continue with the help of our elected governments. In Anguilla for example, we had a constitution unlike any other in the Caribbean, a constitution written with the help of one our most esteemed legal minds, the late Dame Bernice Lake, a constitution that we hardly ever adhere to. We have had a series of governments hat operated in a vacuum, like a bunch of cowboys characteristic of the Wild West, making it up as they went along. We have lost just about all of our sovereignty to Great Britain, every time we sat down at the table with them. We always wound up giving up something to get something of insignificance, a parliamentary secretary for example. God knows what we had to give them to get that. Our governments always seem to be arguing from a point of weakness. When are we going to get politicians who know what the hell they are doing? Sparrow reminded us in his “English Society’ that Britain won a war on small talk alone, so when we sit down to negotiate with them we had better be able to see the big picture and be able to out-dazzle them with their own b.s.. Until we are able to do that, we will always come out on the short end.

  2. What most people do not realize is that Bob Marley was a white man, everyone thinks he was black. I met him and he was white, with permed dreadlocks of brown blondish hair.

    All you islands with British rule, think yourselves lucky you are many times better off than those that chose independence.

    In Saint Vincent, we have to deal with the horrors of vote rigging and election fraud, the formation of ruling family dynasties whose children take every prime position after leapfrogging over those more or as deserving. They are stinking rich and we are stinking poor.

    • Actually Bob Marley had a white father, Norval Marley, and a Black mother, Cedella Booker.

      But I agree with your assertion about the islands with British rule.

    • They are richer than you because they have economies dominated by tourism and international services, and because they have minuscule populations, NOT because they are British colonies. We in the Bahamas are also far better off than the Caribbean proper (even with a population of 400,000, which makes us NOT a micro-state). But we are also FAR better off than we were under British rule in every conceivable respect: the middle class is MUCH bigger, National Insurance offers a social safety net that did not exist then, public infrastructure has been advanced and replicated over 30 or so far flung island groups which were mostly in darkness at independence and we are today the one of only two black countries rated “very high human development” by in the UN’s human development index (the other being Barbados, which is below us).

      Expand your mind and stop imbibing uncritical colonialist narratives and regurgitating them thoughtlessly.

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