WEDNESDAY, MAR. 16: One of the most emotive arguments against the SDO concerns the history of the land proposed for development.

In the 1920s black families were forcibly removed from the area, to make way for previous tourism development.

When the SDO was first announced, CURB (Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda) described it as “a slap in the face to the original residents and their descendants”.

CURB said: “Once the home for centuries to a majority of black Bermudians, and which was forcibly taken away from them, will be the scene of money-making activity yet again, with 78 residences (starting at $3.2 million) and 70 hotel rooms being built across the 240-acre site.

“Almost 100 years ago, the Government of the day ordered a compulsory purchase, or otherwise acquired, a large portion of land in Tucker’s Town, which resulted in numerous people having to leave the area. The majority of the families forced to sell were black Bermudians.”

The anti-racism group released a 15-point list at the weekend, arguing why Senators should block the SDO. Among the points were:

“The Tucker’s Point property is a visible and poignant reminder of the forcible relocation of hundreds of people, generations of whom had been there for over 125 years.”

“The neglected cemetery, and its use as a golf driving range, is an offence to Bermudians and signifies a terrible lack of respect for the families whose ancestors are buried there.”

“The site is symbolic, representing sites and properties throughout the island which were lost to black Bermudians in the past due to similar oppression.”

“The current redevelopment plans are one more attempt to ‘make money’ off the loss of this land to the black community.”

Denny Richardson, deputy chairman of the Tucker’s Town Historical Society, said his great, great uncle Benjamin Talbot had to sell 70 acres for $8,500 “under duress”.

“Under an order from the tribunal he had to take it or leave it.”

The response

Government responded to CURB’s first statement, saying: “The Government would like to stress that it is very mindful of Bermuda’s history and the legacies that continue to this day”.

“Its efforts to create a new social balance that brings equity to all Bermudians are the foundations of its numerous programmes and policies.”

The land is privately owned by the Tucker’s Point resort.

Ed Trippe, Tucker’s Point president, said the cemetery where former residents are buried will be among the areas protected.

In response to a statement at the weekend by BEST (Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce), he responded: “The history of this land certainly dignifies respect and Tucker’s Point has tried to do so.”

Mr. Trippe said: “Tucker’s Point and its predecessor have been owners of this land since 1958. We need to be accountable for our actions since that date, but not for the actions of others before its time.”

He said the SDO was needed to secure jobs for Bermudians and the island’s tourism.

“The SDO will insure the hotel and resort are successful and continue to be an important contributor to the economy.”

For more on CURB’s position, go to: www.uprootingracism.org.

 

Special report: Tucker's Point