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Monday, August 10, 2009

Such A High Price to Pay To Dwell In Greener Pastures

During the 1970s and the 1980s many West Indian teenagers left their families, their friends and all that was familiar to them and journeyed to Bermuda in search of and to graze on what was suppose to be greener pastures. Their crest was to make a better life for their families and themselves. The Bermuda Police Service benefited from this migration because most of the migrant were recruited by that institution.

In this period, Bermuda was engulfed with openly racist and other prejudicial practices that were considered an acceptable part of the system. In this era there were three classes of people who resided in Bermuda: they were the elite white, who by virtue of slavery found themselves at the top of the food chain; there were the black Bermudian who by the virtues of their birthright has a sense of entitlement and were considered second class citizen, and then there were the third class citizen which included the West Indian and the Portuguese who were considered as outsiders.

It is interesting that the elite white who were the chief land holders, the major employers, the law makers and the enforcers of the law, only saw two classes of people in Bermuda which were: the white and the none white people. The none white people were treated as inferior and without rights; this included the black Bermudian.

You will be surprised to know that the third group came about because of the attitude and treatment that were aimed at West Indians and the Portuguese by the black Bermudians; while the Black Bermudian flunt their their birthright to the West Indian and the Portuguese (Even then a large percentage of Portuguese were/are Bermudian by virtue of birth but still are not treated as if they belong).

When these teenage young men arrived on the island of Bermuda, the only familiar thing they knew were their reflection in the mirror. Unfortunately there were points in their youthful lives when they look into the mirror and did not recognized the person who was looking back at them; for they were riddled with depression and other imposed trauma. This was the unfortunate price to pay for grazing on greener pastures; a price in my opinion that was much too high to pay for money.

The fact that these young men were recruited by the Bermuda Police Service (paramilitary organization) made it worst; the hierarchical and the regimented system that exist in the Service give rise to many more stresses and problems that did not plagued others who had migrated.

I have heard some gruesome stories of the inhumane, unethical and unlawful treatment that were inflicted on the West Indians that lived and dowelled in Bermuda during this period. these Stories revealed the continual and indiscriminate rap of these helpless young men by their superior officers, and because of the shame that is/was associated with such undignified behavior and treatment the young naive teen took a self-imposed vow of silence (some at the prompting of their rapist and some out of shame) which they maintained up to today.

There was a touching story of betrayal that caused my stomach to turn when I heard the details. One individual told of a superior officer who quieted his mother’s concern for her son’s safety; (her son being in a strange land far from all he knew) by vowing to and reassuring this trusting woman, that he will look out for her son and see to his safety. Unfortunately this superior officer took advantage of the trust placed in him by the mother and her son and later became the young police officer’s sexual abuser. It is important to note that such behavior were common practice in Bermuda. Today there are many West Indian in Bermuda who were able to break away and disassociate themselves from the evils that were inflicted on them, while on the other hand there are those who have adopted the lifestyle and are on the down low, keeping their deranged sexual habit between a few close friends and anyone they can recruit to join their group.

So when you see any of my fellows West Indian from that era, please know that they were guess of Bermuda yet they were treated with the uttermost disrespect; they were not protected and there were no redress for the evil that was inflicted on them. That was a very high price pay and a painful legacy to endure while serving and ensure the safety of the people of Bermuda.

What was unfortunate was when a victim, becomes the perpetrator, ensuring that the same dirty legacy of rape and other sexual abuse of those who were/are weaker than themselves. It is also important that you understand that West Indians were not the only victim of such humiliating abuse, there were also many native (Bermudians) victims also.

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