Welcome to Bermuda: The Premier greets the Uyghurs at the Cabinet Office. *File photo
Welcome to Bermuda: The Premier greets the Uyghurs at the Cabinet Office. *File photo
To assess the legacy of Premier Brown you have to go back to the PLP’s first term, when he was Minister of Transport.

The law making the wearing of seat belts compulsory was passed during his term as Transport minister. It has surely saved lives.

Having dragged the country kicking and screaming to except his initiatives and/or ideas; he must have long ago develop a strong backbone.

Who can forget the protests and criticism over his introduction of the fast ferries — many  had considered them to be a waste of  money, others argued they would harm the marine environment. Then along came Hurricane Fabian; the Causeway was damaged and east end was cut off and that was when the country first saw the real benefits of the fast ferries. But the real legacy here is the increase in the volume of west end commuters, who now leave their cars at home and take the ferry instead.

Dr. Brown’s had struggled with cabbies over GPS  — and its success or failure is yet be fully determined — but we’ll look and see it as the beginning of a technology-driven taxi industry.

His drive to revive Bermuda’s flagging tourist industry could not faulted, even by his most ardent political detractors. New airlines have created new air routes and brought airfares down. The new Dockyard cruise terminal will shape the future of the cruise industry with its large capacity. The Premier has constantly pushed for the building of new hotels to revive the tourism industry.

Looking back

The building of the first urgent care centre at the East end (there’s also one slated for the west end) can also be added to the Premier’s list of achievements. But we also need to look back to put his tenure in its proper perspective.

Some would credit  Sir  Henry Tucker as the one who presided over social  change in  this country; I beg to differ. Real change came about as a result  of  the black Bermudian civil rights/labour/political  struggle. Sir Henry was pragmatic enough to see the writing on the wall, unlike his fellow white leadership of the day who were determined to stand in opposition to the winds of  change.

Sir Henry once made a  statement that was echoed many years later by former  PLP MP Renee Webb; something to the effect of ‘people who look like me’  in  the context of economic empowerment. Sir Henry was not speaking of race but wanted members in his new political party, the  UBP, to look like him; that is, to hold a similar  conservative viewpoint. The result was a further 30 years of UBP control of government, helped by black political conservative support.

Dr. E. F. Gordon was the father of black Bermuda’s struggle for civil and political rights: he in turn inspired such leaders as Walter Robinson; Pauulu Kamarakafego (Roosevelt  Browne;) Dame Lois Browne-Evans and L. Fredrick Wade. My point is that there is a unbroken link between past leaders and Premier Brown; a continuing legacy.

Premier Brown has gone further than his predecessors. And ironically his legacy rests  partly on the most controversial decision he made  during his premiership; agreeing to the American request to give sanctuary to  the four Uyghurs. 

With that decision he was asserting Bermudian  self-determination; he was stating to the world that Bermuda had its own national interests which may not coincide with those  of  the U.K..

If the future political leadership of this country follows in his footsteps, this will be the greatest possible legacy Ewart Brown could leave his country.