In other countries, people would say that we had come from different sides of the tracks. In Bermuda, we came off different hills. I came off Pond Hill. He came off Trimingham’s Hill. We both lived in Bermuda. But we lived in different Bermudas. At the start, his Bermuda was white and privileged. At the start, my Bermuda was black and was kept, and kept well, in second place. In life, and as in all of Bermuda’s 398 year history, our paths crossed.
The first crossing was in 1966 when he brought his blue-hulled sloop ‘Privateer’ to Bermuda and slipped her at Darrell’s Island. I was tasked with the job of varnishing and painting that yacht. I did it well, and I enjoyed doing it. A sometime boatman myself, I understood the pleasure that a man derived from owning and sailing a yacht. Later, I gave up some 24th May holiday periods to work – for pay – and paint and varnish ‘Privateer’. I stopped that and moved on.
Later, from 1996 to 1998, our paths crossed again. I was working towards the PLP’s 1998 victory. Our paths crossed because, as Chairman of the Board of Director’s of the Bank of Bermuda, he was part of a consortium of Bermudian power-brokers who – every year, and year after year – pumped, and had always pumped, hundreds of thousands of dollars into UBP coffers; but had always denied similar funding for the PLP. More time passed.
In February 2002, I wrote about Bermuda’s overall Tax structure. I said that in Bermuda’s best long-term interests, Bermuda needed to shift from its 1930’s style over-reliance on Customs Duties, that had been put in place as long ago as the 1830’s. I’d written that Bermuda needed to move to taxing corporate profits and a point of sale Sales Tax.
In publicly agreeing with me in two newspaper pieces, Eldon Trimingham and I crossed paths for what turned out to be the last time. From one Bermudian to another, I was sorry to note his passing.