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Bermuda calls on Church to pay up: CEN 3.14.08 p 6. March 16, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Bermuda, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Civil Rights, Politics.


(Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Hamilton, Bermuda)

A Bermudan government minister has called upon the Church of England to pay reparations in atonement for its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The Minister for Culture and Social Rehabilitation Mr. Dale Butler MP released a statement on March 1 “inviting the Church to do more to show the religious community and the people of Bermuda that it is committed to help heal the wounds of racial divide in Bermuda.”

Butler’s Progressive Labour Party (PLP) won a third term in the Dec 18 general elections against the conservative United Bermuda Party (UBP). The racially charged campaign was marked by accusations of corruption and calls for group solidarity.

The UBP-which had governed the British dependency since self-rule was granted in 1968—was ousted from power in 1998 by the PLP which promised a “new Bermuda.” The PLP promised to empower blacks who comprise about 60 percent of Bermuda’s 62,000 people saying they continued to face discrimination and enacted laws mandating racial preferences in the workplace.

Following the Church of England’s 2006 apology for its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Premier Ewart Brown called upon the Diocese of Bermuda to issue its own apology. Whilst he applauded the diocese’s subsequent statement of remorse, Butler-a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church—called upon the Church of England to back up its words with cash and endow a scholarship programme for black Bermudians.

“The Minister believes, that while investment in the future of Black youth in Bermuda could never adequately compensate for the injustices done to past victims of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Bermuda, a strengthened and long-lasting gesture on the part of the Anglican Church would contribute to healing a race that remains scarred by injustices that have not found acceptable resolution in Bermuda,” a statement released by Butler’s office said.

“The legacy of a scholarship could help heal this country that continues to be divided by race,” the PLP minister said.

The Bishop of Bermuda, the Rt. Rev. Ewan Rattray declined to comment, saying he was studying the request.

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