BERMUDA TRIANGLE

Most of us see the angry ones as the people who adorn the walls, or who hang on the street. To many people they’re identifiable because of the way they dress. A few of us identify with them because they’re members of our family. Some close. Some distant. But still family. To most of us, they’re young, black, and male.

            They’re not the only ones though.  I believe that there are two more angry groups. One group is smaller. The other group is probably – possibly – as large as or maybe even larger than the oft-mentioned group of ‘young black males’. This third group consists of both blacks and whites. Males and females.

            The smaller of the two groups is the ‘young white male’. He can be, and he often is, as shut out as the ‘young black male’. Though he may have been privately schooled for all of his Bermuda education, he might have just squeaked through this better and more efficient private education system. He might have failed to graduate from either system.  Educational failure isn’t discriminatory!

            He doesn’t always come from a new money or old money family. Often he comes from just an ordinary hard-working family – that just happens to be white; and, in all other aspects is not different from an ordinary hard-working family – that just happens to be black.

            He is not markedly different from his black male counterpart. Like his black male counterpart, he is not so numerate and literate that he can easily fit himself into Bermuda’s economy with its insistence on high-end intellectual skills and its huge demand for exotic but narrow skill-sets.  So, like his black counterpart, he too, finds it hard to compete successfully in Bermuda’s globalized job market.

            But he’s not that visible is he? I guess it’s his colour. With all that black around, he’s not so easy to see. But he’s there…he’s there.  Like a white ghost, he’s there. And he’s Bermudian and he matters.

            Though I see him and I’m worried about him, I’m even more concerned about this other group – this other race and gender integrated group. Like ‘hizbollah’ rockets, this lot are well-hidden.  They’re  buried deep.

            They’re the ones – black and white, male and female – who did go off to college or other school; who worked and paid for years of education or specialist training so that they could get a degree or a technical skill. Then they came back home to Bermuda to work and live. They did get jobs. They actually do turn up every day. They actually do a lot of good work. They get paid. They get paid good money.

            Then they get caught. They get caught in the Bermuda Triangle of ‘Not’s’. Not enough total income to buy a Bermuda house. Not enough disposable income to live the way they’d like to live because of high Bermuda prices. Not enough promotion or advancement prospects because of the relatively small and ‘flat’ corporations or entities that they work in. 

            The worst ‘not’ is the house ‘not’. A couple of college-educated professionals, each working in a ‘good’ job, each bringing home  $75,000 a year is caught in the ‘not’ triangle. Have kids? Not enough income for their children’s private sector education and a mortgage.  No kids now? Probably can afford a mortgage but must not have any children. Want to enjoy the fruits of their labours? Forget the house.

            But isn’t that why they spent four years and $60,000 [and often much more] on getting that college degree?  Didn’t they do all that so that they could have a better range of choices? Didn’t they forego ‘now pleasures’ for ‘tomorrow satisfactions’? And doesn’t it now look as if something has taken tomorrow and ripped it apart and trashed it? Made tomorrow disappear?

            Over time, I’ve received many emails expressing this kind of sentiment. I’ve seen the feeling set out in other people’s blogs. I’ve had telephone callers spill out their frustration. I’ve had professionals and semi-professionals tell me directly how angry they are. How cheated they feel.

            I wonder. Am I just hearing gripes from a few sour-grapers, a minority of inveterate grumblers? Or, am I hearing the cries of a sizeable, but not so easily visible group, that is very, very, angry?

            What am I hearing? What am I seeing?  Can someone tell me?

 

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE YOUNG MEN GONE?

Where have all the young men gone?

            The recent series of full page ads advertising the public and private high school ‘graduates’ shows a solid national fact. The fact is non-controversial, and neither the ads nor I make any overt accusation against any racial group. The ads just show, and I simply see, a national fact.

            Look at the whole accumulation of all the faces on display. Count them. In particular, count the genders. Count the graduating boys. Count the graduating girls. Add them all up.

            You’ll see an unnatural disparity. What’s unnatural is that seventeen and eighteen years ago, as is entirely natural and predictable, the number of boys born roughly equaled the number of girls born. There was no great disparity then.

            Yet seventeen and eighteen years later, in the numbers advertised as graduating, there is a material preponderance of girls. So far more girls ‘graduate’ than boys. Girls are graduating out of proportion to their numbers in their birth-group or age cohort.

            So what happens to Bermuda’s non-graduating boys?

            Before graduation, do boys die in disproportionate numbers on our roads? Certainly they die, but not in such large numbers. So no, it’s not that!

            Before graduating, do they die or disappear fighting some war in some far-off dusty land? No!

            Pre-graduation, do they, in large numbers, waste away from some dreaded male only disease? No!

            Do young boys emigrate to other countries while young girls stay home? It seems not!

            So what causes this visible disproportion in boy/girl high school graduation rates?

            Is there something in our Bermuda water or food supply that only affects Bermuda males?  Are there facts and realities and ‘somethings’ in our family and social and educational structures that have a strong, negative, and particular impact on young Bermudian men?

            Certainly, a large number of young men are missing from this year’s crop of ‘graduating’ high school students. But in most of the media reports of crimes and illicit activity, young men predominate.

            From media reports, it appears that the gun-men involved in the recent ‘drive-by shooting’ were all male. It seems that the snatchers involved in the ‘ride-by’ bag snatching are all male. It looks as if the people involved in the flag-burning and violent attack fracas at the Docksider Pub were all male.  The shooter as well as the people shot in the Spinning Wheel shootings were reported to be male. There were no girls involved in the machete melee at Wellington Oval. So males are active. They exist.

            Of course there’s nothing to say that all the males I’ve just mentioned are recent high school non-graduates. I haven’t said that. But they do appear to be all male. Similarly, males greatly outnumber females – is it as high as eight to one? – in Bermuda’s national prison system.

            So there’s the national imbalance. There’s the gender imbalance.

            At the time of high school get-your-picture-in-the-paper graduation, males are a distinct minority. In crime and in the prison system, males are a distinct majority. Even allowing for the importation of guest workers, males are still the minority – but by a smaller margin – in Bermuda’s national workforce.

            Why? Why? Why?

            Part of the reason does lie in a national failure – first – to recognize, accept, and then vigorously address this gender and results issue with a clear plan to resolve it. The second lies in the reality that the continued increase of single parent absent father households is probably a factor that feeds the problem. The third reason lies with a national educating system that does not address, and that has not addressed, actual critical national issues in a timely and professional manner.

            Overall, the young male problem that currently exists in Bermuda is a problem that is larger today than it was when I first wrote – way back in July 1992 and then re-wrote five years later in July 1997 – of the existence of a ‘Hidden Army in our midst’.

            Back then, the ‘Hidden Army’ that I wrote of hadn’t yet taken to drive-by shooting. Nor had it indulged in ‘knee-cappings’. Now, it has, and the Hidden Army is still being added to. It’s still growing.

            Are we still denying it? Or are we now about to admit – as a first step in combating it – that it actually does exist?           

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

There we were, Bermudians, entertaining guests from the Caribbean.  We’d invited some important people from the Caribbean to come and see and our National exhibition. They very nicely, very graciously, thanked us for the invitation and for our hospitality.

            Then the National Exhibition’s closing ceremony. The Bermuda Regiment band marched on; did a short musical display; and played – as is the military custom – a short evening hymn. Then the Band started the well-known, often heard, strains of “Sunset”.

            “Sunset” is played at the same point in every Retreat ceremony.  This happens in every Band display that ends with the lowering of Bermuda’s national flag.  If other national flags are flying, these flags are also lowered at the same time.

            If the Band performs at the American Consul’s celebration party for the American 4th July holiday; then the Band will still play an evening hymn and then play “Sunset”. Or, in deference to the Americans, the Band might choose to play ‘Taps’ – the American equivalent. At a Canadian, or Jamaican, or Barbadian, national celebration – in Bermuda – the Band would again play the evening hymn and then “Sunset”.

            Whatever happens, and for whatever country, “Sunset” would be the tune played as the national flag is, or flags, are, lowered. It’s an unvarying sequence.

            Watch Americans as ‘Taps’ is played as their ‘Old Glory’ is lowered. You will see that, almost to a man, woman, and child; they will stand and face their flag. Many will put their hand over their heart.

            Watch Canadians as their ‘Maple Leaf’ is lowered. They too, will stand and face their flag. Watch Jamaicans as their ‘Green, Black, and Gold’ is lowered. Watch ‘Trini’s’. Watch ‘Bajans’.  You’ll see the same sort of respect being paid.

            Watch Bermudians. You won’t see Bermudians stand and face the flag as their national flag is lowered. Bermudians certainly did not stand during the playing of “Sunset” at the National Exhibition’s closing ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

            Of course, apologists will leap up and say that it’s because Bermudians don’t have any national identity. They’ll likely expand on that by saying that until Bermuda becomes an independent nation with it’s own new and different flag, people will not identify with the existing national flag that has been carried – as Bermuda’s unique national flag – at every Olympics Games that Bermuda has ever entered; at every Commonwealth Games that Bermuda has ever entered; at every CARIFTA games that Bermuda has ever entered; that is flown at every RIMS conference that Bermuda takes part in; that flies at DAVOS when Bermuda is there; that gets taken as the national flag whenever or wherever any Bermudian wants to express his or her Bermudian-ness in someone else’s country.

            So – I confess that I don’t understand the argument – any argument – that condones or excuses any Bermudian who sits or lolls or walks away; or, in any way, ignores the short occasion and the few seconds that it takes to formally lower Bermuda’s national flag at a public celebration.

            You may think that I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about something that’s pretty unimportant. Think again!

            On Saturday, at the National Exhibition, proudly flying from the flagpoles, I saw the flags of Kenya, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados,…and many, many, other countries. When the Band played “Sunset”, all these flags were lowered.

            If Bermudians find it unacceptable to stand for their own – existing – national flag, do they intend to be so rude and so ignorant that they will not be courteous enough to stand for the flags of other countries?  Especially when we’ve gone to the trouble – and expense – of inviting people from those countries to come visit us – and we are their hosts?  Did we really intend to insult them?

            Not standing for your own national flag displays national ignorance. A few people seek to disguise or explain this behaviour by employing some fuzzy political rhetoric about colonialism and independence. Not standing for someone else’s national flag, though, displays a crass national ignorance. An ignorance that cannot be hidden by any kind of rhetoric whatsoever. This is just plain ‘dumbness’ – and rudeness to others.

            Can – will – ‘national pride’ and good national manners suddenly materialize at one minute past midnight on some future Bermudian ‘Independence day’?

            No. It’s ‘iggrance’ about Bermuda. It’s rudeness to other nationals. It was Bermudian ‘iggrance’ and rudeness that I saw on display during the playing of “Sunset” at the National Exhibition on Saturday afternoon, 23rd April 2006.

THE FIRST MAN

Way back in 1912, a young twenty-year old Bermudian joined the Royal Navy, left Bermuda, and went into Bermuda’s history.

He started by joining the RN warship HMS Sirius, as a cooks-mate. HMS Sirius was then a part of the RN’s North America and West Indies Squadron. This Squadron consisted of a large number of warships. The Squadron’s duty was to patrol the Caribbean and western Atlantic looking after the many bits of the British Empire scattered around and in the Atlantic triangle that stretched from what was then British Guiana [now Guyana], to British Honduras [now Belize] to Newfoundland [at the time not a part of Canada]. The Squadron was based in Bermuda, and was commanded by an Admiral who lived in lordly splendour in Admiralty House, just above Clarence Cove in Pembroke.

When HMS Sirius finished her two year West Indies Squadron commission, she returned to the UK and paid off. That means that her entire crew were sent on home leave. Men due for discharge were discharged. Men continuing their naval service would come back at leave’s end and join a different RN ship.

However, this young Bermudian had not actually joined the RN as a naval enlisted man. Instead, he had joined as an auxiliary. So when HMS Sirius paid off, he actually lost his job. Even though he was thousands of miles away from his Somerset home, and even though there was no possibility of a quick trip back home by a British Airways flight [ocean crossing passenger planes were still twenty years in the future], he was not fazed.

He signed on again in HMS Aboukir. This time as an Officer’s Cook, 1st Class. This was a step-up from cooks-mate.

In 1914, HMS Aboukir was a fourteen year-old four-funnel coal-fired ship-of-the-line designated as a cruiser. Since the RN was shifting from coal to oil, HMS Aboukir was already obsolete. However, on 3rd August 1914, when Great Britain went to war with Germany, every ship of the RN’s Home Fleet was pressed into service.

That’s how this now twenty-two year old Bermudian found himself at sea in the North Sea, at about 6:25am on 22nd September 1914. HMS Aboukir, along with HMS Cressy, and HMS Hogue, all three part of the 7th Cruiser Squadron of the 3rd Fleet, had been assigned a patrolling task that kept them at sea.

All three, Aboukir, Cressy, and Hogue were torpedoed by one German submarine – U-9. Aboukir was hit first, and Commander Austin Tyrer RD, RNR on board HMS Hogue tells part of the tale:

“Someone told me that the Aboukir had hit, or had been hit, by something…..the lame vessel slowly lost way… and began to heel over to port and settle by the head. The Aboukir heeled over even more. Her crew were frantically trying to launch their boats. Finally abandoning the attempt, they tore off their clothes … and crawled on to the ships sides. Scores of other naked men had begun to claw their way down it. The rising sum glistened on their bodies and on the wet smooth steel plates of the vessel’s rounded bilge. Down they came slowly, inch by inch, some sitting, others standing, several lying flat.

And then, suddenly, it was all over. The vessel had completely turned turtle and on all sides of her…the sea was literally black with a mass of struggling humanity.[*] One man in that ‘mass of struggling humanity’ might have been this twenty-two year old Bermudian. When the survivors of HMS Aboukir were finally brought ashore, that young Bermudian was not amongst them. Fewer than 280 of the 700 man crew were saved.

The men from HMS Aboukir had come from all over England. One had come from Bermuda. To commemorate them, their names are inscribed on the Chatham Naval Memorial, set on a hill overlooking the town of Chatham, Kent. This young Bermudian’s name is there. It’s listed with the names of his English shipmates. So there, on this monument in a corner of England, is a little piece of Bermuda that most Bermudians don’t know about. Sometimes, though, you’ll find his name published in a Roll of Honour in Bermuda.

His name? Edmund William Smith, son of Mr and Mrs William F and Emma J Smith of Sandy’s Parish.

He was the first Bermudian to die in the Great War of 1914-1918. He was black, but that isn’t so important.
[*] From: “I Was There!” (Vol 1) – Sir John Hammerton – Waverley Book Co – 1936

Three interesting days

Thursday 19th, the Bromby brothers took to the air on the afternoon Everest DeCosta ‘talk show’ to put their side of the Bromby/Talbot court case. The magistrate had ruled the Bromby brothers guilty but had awarded ordered an absolute discharge. The decision was unpopular and there was widespread public comment that there was a racial bias in the decision.  Amongst the feelings expressed was that the Brombys had ‘gotten off’ because they were ‘white’.

            When the Bromby brothers went ‘live’ on the afternoon ‘talk show’ they set a Bermuda precedent. They used their freedom of speech to put their side to the wider court of public opinion.

            Next day, Friday 20th, there was uproar in the House of Assembly. It seems that the Opposition wanted to put up a matter for debate. It appears that the Governing party disagreed with the process. The Speaker of the House – whose word is supposed to be ‘law’ in the House – was unable to achieve a satisfactory resolution of the matter. So the Opposition stalked out of the House.

            Following the arcane rules of the House of Assembly, it seems that there was a problem with the ability to get something debated. Like the Bromby brothers, the Opposition took to the streets and to the air-waves to put their case to the wider court of public opinion.

            If indeed, the opportunity for debate was killed, the Opposition may have won a significant victory. If the matter was killed, they’ll be able to successfully argue – for a long, long, time – that there is no real freedom of debate. The Opposition will also be able to successfully argue – for a long, long, time – that the Governing party won’t listen to dissenting views. They’ll be able to successfully argue – for a long, long, time – that constituents and voters with grievances are being shut out of the discussion process.          Saturday night, the 21st, at the National Stadium, politicians and ‘Drumline’ organizers took to the stage to make grand speeches and presentations. On the eastern side of the field, the audio was not good.  So whatever the politicians were saying could not be heard. The people sitting in the $20 seats got the backs of the politicians and the worst of the sound.

            As the politicians waxed lyrical, saying wonderful things that not everybody could hear, the people in the $20 seats – who couldn’t hear anything at all – got impatient. They started a ‘mexican wave’. The people in the $50 seats joined in. The politicians, finding themselves ignored, seemed to come to their senses, and – finished or not – scuttled off the stage.

            This was a unique display of ‘people power’. It is the first time that I have known a Bermudian crowd display what many Bermudians would describe as ‘rudeness’. That wasn’t the end of it though.

            The stage layout showed that the stage had been ‘set’ for the people sitting in the $50 blue seats.  It seemed that all the band performances were presented for the people in the $50 seats.

            However, everybody, whether in the $20 or the $50 seats, had come to see the promised show – ‘Drumline’. The people in the $20 seats quickly cottoned on to this imbalance.  First, they muttered. Then they shouted comments. Then, as individuals in the crowd recognized a common issue and common purpose, the individual feelings massed into a crowd reaction. The grumbles about watching the ‘backs’ of performances translated into a clear and loud demand that the performances should be re-shaped to include all spectators. But especially the people in the $20 seats.

            This discontent, so clearly expressed, brought the Minister Dale Butler – at speed – to arrange a change. He succeeded. The last band, the Howard University Band, started its performance by playing to the $20 people. In the midst of all this though, spectators lost the performance of the Livingston College Band.

            The most interesting fact was that a Bermuda crowd was acting and reacting with a common voice for a common purpose. By its actions, it was causing change – rapid change. This crowd – made up of thousands of ordinary Bermudians – learned a new lesson in power.

            The crowd won’t forget it. That’s the nature of human beings.

            Three interesting days.  Three days watching, learning, seeing, hearing ordinary Bermudians using new powers in new ways. 

            The small man is flexing his muscle. Big men had better watch out.

 

WHAT’S GOING ON?

What are we doing? Can we really be working so hard to create an underclass? Are we really spending millions to nurture a present problem and fertilize a future problem? I think we are.

            On the other hand a team of trained and disciplined Bermudians have just strutted their stuff on the world stage. Bermuda’s National Cricket Team, having won against stiff opposition from countries with massively bigger populations, is on its way to the Cricket World Cup games. In 2003, and again in 2005, another team of trained and discipline Bermudians strutted the world stages at Edinburgh, Scotland, and Bremen, Germany.

            Bermuda is a teeny-weeny society. 62,000 people – only 46,000 of whom are Bermudians – jammed onto 13,000 acres. 

            In business, teeny-weeny Bermuda competes with the Republic of Ireland, the city of Hartford Connecticut, and Lloyds of London – and many other countries and jurisdictions – for a big slice of global business. Bermuda does well because it has good insurance and investment people. Mainly, though, these people are not Bermudian. They simply operate from a Bermuda platform.

            The Bermuda platform that they operate from has good roads, excellent air-conditioning, and a stable community with small social stress and small crime.

            Slowly but steadily, this community is changing. Slowly but steadily, Bermuda’s ambient social atmosphere is displaying more tension. More pent-up emotion and more spill-over violence. More anger. More crime.

            Incidental violence that used to be confined to the odd Saturday night, is now more widespread, more common, more harmful.  Friday and Saturday nights are more commonly ‘fight nights’. Slowly but steadily Bermuda is changing.

            Slowly but steadily, a group of Bermudians is being shoved aside, left behind, or squeezed out of Bermuda’s economic nest.

            Bermuda’s sophisticated economic engines of Insurance and Investment are only absorbing the good and the best. Not just from Bermuda, but from the new and still growing global labour pool. Bermuda’s Hospitality Industry, Bermuda’s third economic engine is already swamped with global workers.

            Result? Some Bermudians are in the awkward position of trying to actually fight their way into a job in their own homeland. Bermudians, living just ‘dahn de road’, must squeeze themselves into a Bermuda job market that doesn’t hesitate to hire someone who lives 8,000 miles away or to pay a $214,000 annual housing allowance [*].

            Where Bermudians are disadvantaged is that the full range of 25,000 working age Bermudians are unlikely to be able to provide the full range of intellectual and other skills to keep all three of Bermuda’s economic engines ticking over. Part of this disadvantage comes from what is just a mathematical genetic reality. But the other part comes from a lack of adequate education.

            Thirty years ago, the Irish Republic invested heavily in education. The Irish government made education ‘free’ even through university. Thirty years later the Irish Republic’s throbbing economic engines suck in labour and suck up capital investment. The Irish are on an upwards roll.

            Thirty years ago, Bermuda began a dis-investment in education. Thirty years later, Bermuda is still dis-investing in education by still regularly churning out a national surfeit of under-educated and under-prepared Bermudians – both black and white, male and female – who are unable to hold their own in the global labour market that has settled on our sun-kissed business platform.

            Eighteen year-olds who are ‘turned out’ by Bermuda’s under-performing public education system have to fend for themselves – in Bermuda – in Bermuda’s global labour market. Bermuda’s under-educated school-leavers have to compete – directly compete in their own 13,000 acre homeland – with better educated people from as far away as India and as close as America.

            Nice words, fine phrases, and reasoned explanations – even when clear and well-articulated, perhaps especially when clear and well-articulated – do not replace, do not negate, do not soften, the harsh realities of this globalized hiring market that thrives on our 13,000 acres in our Bermuda.

            By actually working – even if not deliberate and planned – in an opposite fashion to the Irish, Bermuda with its under-performing public education system, is steadily creating an underclass of under-educated, under-trained, under-skilled Bermudians who have find a way to earn a decent living in the sophisticated global economy that thrives on this – their own – island.

            But remember those Bermudian cricketers and musicians who took on – and bested – the rest of the world?  They’re from the same genetic pool!

            So why do we have such success – at one end; and such clear failure – at the other end?

            Are we really working so hard, so deliberately, and apparently so successfully, to create an underclass? Are we?

 

 [*] – Housing allowance paid to Evan Greenberg, CEO of ACE, in 2004. [Wash Post 05 Jul 05].  

PEOPLE STUFF

My wife asked me what’s happening about all those hundreds of men who came into the Bermuda  Regiment did their time – sometimes a bit extra – and then went on about their lives?

            That set me thinking. I reckoned that from 1965 to 2004, the Bermuda Regiment received about 5,800 recruits. That’s the number of men who would have stood in Warwick Camp on that awesome Day One of their Recruit Camp.

            These 5,800 men were joined – after 1979 – by female soldiers. Just over 100 servicewomen have served in the Regiment. The number of Bermudians who’ve marched under the cap badge is so close to 6,000 that we may as well call it that.

            Sparked by my wife, I wondered?  Could we all get together – voluntarily of course – at one time in one place? I put the idea about and found great support for it.

            The idea?  Ask – I stress – ASK all ex-members of the Bermuda Regiment to assemble on a Sunday afternoon, in Hamilton, and create a great big parade of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen.

            Why? Because if all, or most, or even a lot of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen did come together, they would form the largest single group of Bermudians who share one common and similar experience. There is nothing else – nothing – on this island of ours that can display such complete and common unity.

            If only 3,000 of the 6,000 showed up, formed up, and marched through town; this would still be the biggest show of common human unity amongst Bermudians that Bermuda will ever see.

            I thought that it might be possible to do this on 27th November of this year. But with the annual Santa Claus parade on that day, the next day available was 20th November.  With all that I do, moving the idea forward became too much for me and, to put it mildly, I dropped the ball on this one.

            So no parade on 20th or 27th November. BUT – it can still happen.

            In Heritage Month 2006, all ex-Officers, ex-NCOs, and ex-Privates of the Bermuda Regiment, male and female, should assemble at 1400hrs on Sunday May 7th 2006 for a grand March Past. The parade – be it 1,000 or 2,000 or 3,000 or more – should form up at City Hall Car Park and return there.

            In the process of sounding out the idea, I realized how the Regiment weaves through Bermuda. You can see this weave in the names of some of the men I’ve asked…Mark Albouy, David Lindo, Derek Ming, Michael Darling, Eugene Raynor, Kim White, Arnold Botelho, John Pitcher, Wendell Hollis, Clifton Lambert, Bill Zuill,…

            So May 7th, 2006.

            Something else….

            On my regular Sunday morning perambulation, I saw Bermudiana Road the morning after the ‘rugby crowd’ had held a street party.

            At eight in the morning Bermudiana Road showed signs of revelry, but it still looked as if might be returned to its usual pristine state with less than half an hours labour by Corporation staff.

            O Monday morning I checked the daily and found no reports of knifings or fights or ‘mooning’. From that I inferred that the booze-up went well. The Rugby crowd is heavily non-Bermudian and generally assembles and disperses without significant trouble.

            One of the concerns expressed about the City Farters – sorry, Fathers – plan to make Reid Street a pedestrian only avenue and to try to encourage people to come into town and stay and chill in town, is that it may attract the wrong people. The other Monday morning headline about the fight outside Champions shows what can happen.

            Bermudians used to assemble for the Easter Parade. Following the 1968 Easter Parade there were riots. The Government of that day banned the parade. Bermudians used to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with home fireworks. The Government of that day thought that this was leading to vandalism, so they banned Guy Fawkes Day and its fireworks. Recently, there were calls to ban Hallowe’en.

            For about ten years, Cup Match and the ‘Ag Show’ were the only times that Bermudians of all kinds came together.

            Now, with Music Festivals and Heritage Day parades and Christmas Boat Parades, Bermudians are re-learning the art and re-acquiring the ability of peaceably assembling. So, City dinosaurs – despite the Champions incident – get out of your ancient banning mode and move forward.

            If all of us ex-Regimental people can stage a grand Regimental re-assembly on Sunday 7th May 2006, we’ll show everybody what a well-mixed well-behaved crowd of Bermudians really looks like.