News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda – In celebration of the public holiday next month to mark the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants in Bermuda, a series of events have been scheduled to include an official visit by the President of the Azores, Vasco Cordeiro along with other Government dignitaries.
President Cordeiro will arrive in Bermuda on November 2. Flight information will be posted on the Consulado Honorario de Portugal nas Bermuda Facebook page.
A Government spokesperson said: “We would ask for the community to show President Cordeiro and his team a Bermuda welcome at the LF Wade International Airport on the afternoon of November 2.
The weekend’s program will consist of the following on Saturday, November 3, 2019:
- President Cordeiro will call on the Governor
- Block party on Reid Street, sponsored by Vasco da Gama Club from 6pm to 12am. As part of the effort to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda, there will be a Community Block Party taking place on Reid Street between Burnaby and Parliament Streets. The evening kicks off at 6pm on Saturday, November 2. It will feature performances by the Portuguese School of Bermuda, the Vasco da Gama Folklore Group, In-Motion School of Dance and the Warwick Gombey Troupe. Other acts will be announced in the coming days. DJ and MC for the evening will be Scoobay of Young Guns. Additionally, traditional Portuguese food, such as chouriςo sandwiches, pork sanwiches and Portuguese donuts will be available for sale. Many local vendors will also be participating in the event. There will also be entertainment for the whole family, such as laser tag, fun castles and more. For more information visit the Vasco de Gama Club Facebook page
- The Premier will host a reception in honour of the President
Sunday, November 3, 2019:
- President Cordeiro will visit the Commissioner’s House in Dockyard to view the Azorean Exhibit
- As a collaboration between the 170 Celebrations Committee and the Catholic Church of Bermuda, there will be a special church mass at 1:30pm, at St Theresa’s Cathedral followed by a Procession of Faith through the Victoria-Dundonald Street area. The Procession will be followed by a Coffee Social hosted by the Portuguese Pastoral Council at Mount St Agnes Academy
- As a collaboration between the 170 Celebrations Committee and the Bermuda Government the President will be the special guest at the 170th Anniversary Gala being held at Discovery Hall, CedarBridge Academy from 7pm, where he will be joined by the Minister responsible for Culture, Lovitta Foggo. The gala will include performances by the H&H Gombeys, Portuguese Diocesan Choir, Casa dos Acores da Bermuda and Vasco da Gama Club I Folklore Groups, Caroline Araujo, Eduardo Simas, and Tony and Elizabeth Gouveia & Friends (Canadian Portuguese Fado and traditional music group). For more information on tickets please contact Café Acoreano, and the Facebook pages of: Consulado Honorario de Portugal nas Bermuda and Casa dos Acores da Bermuda
Monday, November 4, 2019:
- On Monday, November 4, the Public Holiday, there will be an official ceremony and tree planting, monument plaque unveiling at the Botanical Gardens at 11:30am
- At 12:30pm, the Premier and President will inaugurate the Casa dos Acores da Bermuda (House of the Azores of Bermuda Charity #967) at No 1 Admiralty Park. All are welcomed to the inauguration
- The President will also pay a visit to the Vasco da Gama Club that afternoon, where he will have the opportunity to meet the club’s Executive and membership
Tuesday, November 5, 2019:
- President Cordeiro will call on the Premier at the Cabinet Office at 9am
- President Cordeiro will depart
“This is an important ‘first’ in our community and the significance of the event is marked by the presence of the President of the Regional Government of the Azores. It is an honour to welcome him and the delegation as we mark this important milestone,” the spokesperson added.
Ms Andrea Moniz-DeSouza, the Honorary Counsel of Portugal in Bermuda said: “As the representative of the Portuguese Government in Bermuda I welcomed the announcement of the 170 year celebrations when it was first announced last year by the Premier, David E Burt.
“The marking of this momentous occasion, and the meaning of these celebrations, are of crucial importance to the Portuguese Community of Bermuda as it is both a sign of recognition by the Government of the central role the community has played in the history of Bermuda and also an acknowledgment of the community’s contributions for the last 170 years for an island which we all call home.
“We also see the 170 commemorations as an opportunity to reinforce the relationship between Bermuda and Portugal, and specifically the Azores, since Azoreans are the majority of the Portuguese community in Bermuda, and are delighted to have the President of the Azores and dignitaries from the Azorean Government present in Bermuda for the November 4th commemorations.
“The Celebrations Committee has worked diligently over the last few months and has consisted of representatives from numerous organisations in the Portuguese Bermudian community, including that of the Committees of the Feast of the Holy Spirit, Feast of Santo Cristo dos Milagres, Catholic Church of Bermuda and Casa dos Acores da Bermuda.
“Speaking on behalf of the Portuguese Government, I hope that everyone comes out to celebrate and support all the events being scheduled for the November 4th weekend as these celebrations are not only for the Portuguese community in Bermuda but an opportunity to celebrate and share with all of Bermuda the Portuguese Bermudian culture and traditions.
“We are your coworkers, neighbours, family and friends, the same people with which you have shared your past, are sharing your present and will continue to share your future with. Let’s celebrate that!”
The Catholic Bishop of Bermuda, Bishop Wes Spiewak said: “The Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton in Bermuda welcomes with great joy the decision made by the Bermuda Government to commemorate the 170th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda.
“It is to be emphasized that their coming to Bermuda coincides evidently with the beginning of the presence of the Catholic Church in Bermuda. In fact, since their arrival on the Island, the Portuguese have played and still play an important role in the life of the Catholic community.
“There is no doubt that Portuguese devotion, culture and tradition have left a significant and indelible mark on Catholicism in Bermuda.
“I am very pleased that the organisers of the commemoration events requested to have some religious expressions to be part of the anniversary celebrations. This perfectly reflects the spirit of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda who brought with them a passion for hard work, a love for their culture and a devotion to their faith.”
According to Vasco’s President, Paul Franco: “In our view, the holiday does not belong to any one group or community – it was given by the Government for everyone. With this objective in mind, we are aiming to put on a programme at the Block Party that shows how the Portuguese have integrated into the broader Bermuda family.
“We encourage everyone to come out for this fun family evening. Come out and celebrate this important milestone and the first time that a diaspora Portuguese community has been recognized by the world with its own public holiday!’
Eugene Lima, 170 Celebrations Committee Member and Vice President of the Committee of the Feast of the Holy Spirit said: “It is a great honour for me to have been invited to participate and work with this Committee to help celebrate the 170th anniversary of the Portuguese community in Bermuda.
“I thank the Bermuda Government for its acknowledgement of the Portuguese Community of Bermuda and welcome to Bermuda the President of the Azores, Vasco Cordeiro.
“I also hope that our Bermudian community will come out and support the 170 Years Anniversary Gala dinner which promises to be a very special evening with lots of good entertainment. Let us all make it a memorable event.”
Lucia Botelho, 170 Celebrations Committee Member and Vice President of the House of the Azores Charity #967 said: “It is an honour for me to have been a part of this.
“We are delighted to have the honour of having both the Azorean President, Vasco Cordeiro and our very own Premier David Burt perform the inauguration of the House of the Azores during this momentous occasion.
“It will be a dream come true for our Charity and we thank the Bermuda Government for all their assistance.
“I really hope that everyone will come and join us for the Gala dinner since it is going to be a significant and entertaining evening.
“Let’s all celebrate this special event as one community.”