Hello Bermuda. It’s Cup Match time! One of the biggest holidays of the year;
When we gather to celebrate our unique way of life.
On the field, we will see the Island’s best cricketers battling for victory. We will see teamwork and players stepping up. There will be setbacks and comebacks, and moments of glory.
The struggles and triumphs that characterise Cup Match resonate throughout this special holiday, as they have across centuries of Bermudian life.
Emancipation Day celebrates freedom from slavery; teaching us that freedom – and the opportunity and equality that make it real – are not givens; that they must be fought for and protected.
Struggle is the one constant that reveals who we are as a people – our shortcomings, our goodness and our everlasting hope for a better tomorrow.
Somers Day commemorates the perseverance of our first settlers, finding new life in a new world.
Each generation of Bermudians works hard to overcome the particular challenges it faces; and like Cup Match, there are setbacks and comebacks, but the push is always for a better Bermuda.
Every Government shares this goal.
Our focus has been to restore opportunity – turning back an economic crisis that hurt thousands and threatened our future.
We have made progress.
The economy is growing, confidence is returning, hotels are developing, tourism is reviving, and businesses are hiring.
St. George’s is on the verge of revival with the return of cruise ships, higher revenues for civic improvements and a new hotel.
We have taken care to prepare people through the National Training Plan, Career Pathways and small business support such as micro-loans.
Community life is stronger for Cash Back grants, Team Street Safe and the GREAT programme that has graduated more than 600 children.
Seniors have further protections through pension hikes; home care help and financial assistance.
We have outlawed forms of discrimination, and the work for equality under law will continue. We have also used our time to make Bermuda more transparent and accountable – to grow participation, protect people and ensure good governance.
We are making progress, but there is always much more to do. The goal is one people – equal, prosperous and safe. We can all play a part in this national effort, and I invite everyone to consider what you can do for a better Bermuda.
For this Government, it means doing a better job communicating, and we’re working hard every day to do that.
In addition, we will endeavour to detoxify the political environment, to make it more collaborative, compassionate and civil. Politics should bring people together, not drive them apart, but that has been the tendency here for too long.
We will do more to prepare people for the opportunities coming our way, in all sectors of the economy. And we will continue working hard in communities across the Island, to break the cycle of violence that is hurting so many, and to help young Bermudians find their way.
Progress on these big challenges will depend on our willingness to work together.
We live in an age of hyper-criticism and quick judgment, which sows division and discord. I believe it is better to be civil and positive and to give the benefit of the doubt. In breaking with negativity, we will see that we have much more in common than we thought.
Which brings me back to Cup Match – an excellent time to celebrate our identity as Bermudians, our life together and our faith in a better Bermuda for all.
And let us also use this moment to honour Fiqre Crockwell with a great Cup Match that demonstrates the competitive spirit he always brought to the game.
In closing, I want to extend thanks and appreciation to Somerset Cricket Club president Alfred Maybury and his members. I visited them last week and they have done a great job preparing the club and grounds for what promises to be two days of first-class cricket.
And to everyone, no matter where you spend this holiday, let’s show our visitors true Bermudian hospitality and spirit.
Happy Cup Match Bermuda.