News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Acting Minister of Public Works, Wayne Furber attended the formal ribbon cutting ceremony for the Casa dos Acores Community Centre on Monday.
The Centre will serve as a base for the non-profit organisation and registered charities purpose of promoting and preserving the Azorean heritage and culture in Bermuda and preserving the historical significance and contribution that Azoreans and Azorean descendants have made to Bermuda since the mid 1800s.
Minister Furbert officially opened the Centre alongside the Director of Regional Communities of the Azores Government, Dr Jose Andrade.
Following the ribbon cutting, Minister Furbert addressed the gathering, saying: “I am honoured to be here for the re-opening ceremony of the Casa dos Acores Community Centre, located here in Admiralty Park, North Shore, Pembroke.
“Founded on March 10, 2015, the Casa dos Acores da Bermuda Limited, which translates to House of the Azores Bermuda Limited, had the initial designation of the Friends of the House of the Azores Bermuda Ltd. The charity is responsible for promoting and carrying out activities that celebrate Azorean culture and promote its history with the Bermudian community so that we all can understand who they are, where they came from, and their contributions to our society.
“Many will know that the history of the Portuguese in Bermuda goes back several years. The oldest confirmed record of Portuguese arriving in Bermuda was in 1849 when 58 men, women, and children arrived from Madeira, located near the Azores. However, possibly the earliest signs of humans in Bermuda are the initials carved into a rock located in Spittal Pond. Originally believed to be from Spanish sailors, it is now known as Portuguese Rock and indicates that Portuguese sailors were once shipwrecked on the island in 1543.
“In any event, since they arrived in Bermuda, the Portuguese community have made Bermuda their home while promoting and preserving the heritage and history of the Azorean culture and educating the wider community on the contributions of Azorean descendants to our country.
“More recently, many of you will be aware of the Governments initiative involving public, private partnerships to restore vacant, derelict buildings so that we can put them to beneficial use. In early 2019, this was one such property that the Government was confident could be put to good use.
“And so I was pleased when in May 2019, the Casa dos Acores da Bermuda Limited was granted a lease by the Department of Public Lands & Buildings. The agreement included the complete renovation and use of this building, located in a national park, into the organization’s resources and a community centre. The work included replacing the asbestos roof, structural repairs and fittings installed throughout the building.
“Since then, the organization’s dedication and enthusiasm to complete the project and achieve its vision for Bermuda has been demonstrated by the passion and effort put toward making significant improvements.
“Thinking back a year ago, I remember when Premier David Burt and the substantive Minister of Public Works, Lt. Col. David Burch, participated in the roof wetting ceremony.
“Now as the Acting Minister of Public Works, I am proud to be here today to celebrate the official re-opening of the Casa dos Acores Community Centre and reaffirm this Government’s commitment to collaborations that benefit our community.
“I now look forward to the contributions of the Portuguese community in Bermuda expanding even further.