Premier David Burt

♦ The following letter was submitted to for publication on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by Dr Muriel Wade-Smith, PhD

Greetings Honorable Premier,

“Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”

Last week, I sent you a letter. It had Private and Confidential on it. I know that you have been abroad, but because of the urgency of this matter and many sleepless nights, I have resorted to writing to you again.

Our family is in the dangerous position of not being able to continue to pay mortgage payments. It is like a noose around our necks.

We have been trying to get a more accommodating mortgage with the banks over the past three years. It has all been to no avail.

Are we going to be subjected to the embarrassment of losing our home?

My father and my father-in-law built this house for us 51 years ago.

It was built in the days when blacks combined their forces and had work rallies to help each other.

Blacks used to jog along and build their house.

Blacks could not get a mortgage from the banks until they reached wall plate.

Many times, they used to say that if I have gotten this far, then, I might as well continue without any money from the bank. It is said that the late Sir Henry Tucker declared that he was tired of blacks building a house of a bottle of black rum and a meal. They introduced financing at 95 percent financing.

I will be 80-years-old in July.

We turned the affairs of our house to our son. He has been trying for the past three years to get a more accommodating mortgage from the banks. It has all been to no avail.

Now, he is out of work and this payment is like a noose around our necks. After all our hard earned efforts and sacrifice are we going to have to lose our family home?

Our situation is further complicated by the faith that I have been denied job opportunities in my native land.

Our family sacrificed so that I could go abroad and study. My husband faithfully packed up our house with me so that I could fulfill my goals and aspirations. He worked out in the frigid cold winters of Ohio and did not make the kind of money he could have made if he stayed in Bermuda. He fully supported my goals. Coupled with this, he had visions of retiring at age 55. Not so, he worked until he was 76.

Why? Since I returned to Bermuda in 1978, I have never been able to secure a job commensurate with my competencies, skills, qualifications and abilities.

I applied for over 9 positions. In 1994, I finally accepted the fact that I would never get a job in the education system in this country. I have recorded all of my attempts to apply for jobs in my book entitled, ‘Let Justice Flow – A Black Woman’s Struggle for Equality in Bermuda’ (1999).

I left a copy for you and the Minister of Education at the PLP headquarters last November. I never even received an acknowledgement that you had received the book.

Here are some of the salient points regarding my failure to secure a job in my native land, in spite of being my untry’s first internationally qualified curriculum coordinator:

  1. Read Chapter 4 in my book, pages, 67-88
  2. I was never notified of any vacancies in curriculum
  3. Read the letter where Mr. Sinclair Richards, the Chief Education Officer, said that he understood from reliable sources that I said I was coming back when I finished my studies to work in the Ministry of Education That was far from the truth, and even it I did say it wasn’t it a reasonable goal and expectations. After all, he and Mr. Mansfield Brock were holding the top positions in education with Master’s degrees
  4.  Mr Brock told me that he did not know that I was coming home, That is a lie straight from the pit of hell. My professor, Mr. Orval Connor sent a letter of recommendation stating the areas where he thought I could be most helpful to the system. This letter is in my file and stamped “Received June 28th, 1978″
  5. Mrs Roslyn Burchell, whom I understand was a former girlfriend of Mr. Richards, the Chief Education Officer with a Master’s degree, was appointed as an Assistant Education Officer for Curriculum in April 1978/ She was a Reading Teacher. Then, to add insult to injury, they offered me her position as Reading Teacher. What qualifications, training, exposure, experience and expertise did she have in curriculum development in the public school? I was coming home in 4 months time. Such actions would not have taken place during Dr. Kenneth Robinson’s time. He had the highest qualifications in his field and did not need to resort to cronyism, nepotism, favoritism or personal vendettas in executing his duties
  6. Read pages 86 to 88 in my book. I applied for the job of Education Officer in Social Studies. The successful candidate was Mr. Llewellyn Simmons. I was Bermuda’s first internationally qualified curriculum coordinator. I was overlooked for him. Interestingly enough, the person who was the Senior Officer for Curriculum, Evaluation and Instruction had a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling. Was this some more cronyism, nepotism, favoritism or personal vendetta
  7.   Dr Llewellyn Simmons has been at the Ministry of Education for more than 20 years. What has he done to bring about a relevant, identity curriculum with cultural integrity, infused with the African content and the Bermuda content? Our children need a liberating curriculum not an oppressive on. They need a system that addresses the need for Nation Building with Warriors, Healers and Builders

Premier Burt, the Bermuda Government has contributed to my family’s financial situation. If I had been treated fairly, justly and rightly, this mortgage situation would not be our lot.

For 40 years, I have written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Governors, Premiers, Members of Parliament and Letters to the Editor. It has all been to no avail.

Let me hasten to add that outside of the system, I have come up with a solution for Middle School and High School Students. It is the AYA International Institute. I am their Ambassador in Bermuda and it is an online African Centred Education Program which has enjoyed huge success over the past 20 years.

Now, the ball is in your court. There are no time constraints with justice. God requires that which is past – unless there is justice for Dr Hodgson and myself, then, there is no justice for anyone else in Bermuda.

Now, the same way, the Bermuda Government paid Dr Ewart Brown 1.2 million dollars, the Government needs to rectify the insults, injustices and indignities meted out to my family and me by removing this mortgage noose from around our necks. If I had been treated fairly, justly and rightly, this would not be my family’s lot.

One day, you and all of Bermuda will have to stand before the judgement seat of God and answer to,

I was Bermuda’s first internationally qualified curriculum coordinator and never got a job in my native land.

Will you be weighed in the balance and found wanting?

This country has never held Mr Sinclair Richards and Mr.Mansfield Brock accountable for their actions.

In the meantime, my family has suffered and brought us to this point.

You, Honorable Premier, can rectify the wrongs meted out to my family. It is in your court.

May God help you to do the right thing on our behalf!

An Unrelenting Agitator for Truth, a Conduit for Change – Shayna Duncan and Born to Teach – Muriel M. Wade-Smith, PhD