During the course of 2021 there have been a number of occasions to celebrate Bermuda and its people:
- The return of Cup Match, the annual Bermuda Half Marathon Derby, Sail GP, the PGA Golf Tour and numerous other matches, events and competitions which fill our lives with joy.
- Our highlight must surely be the historic gold medal performance of Flora Duffy at the Tokyo Olympics. We also had an opportunity to meet Clarence Hill and celebrate his achievements as the first Bermudian to win a bronze medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
- Here at home the Royal Bermuda Regiment plays an important role in supporting the safety and security of Bermuda both on land and at sea. Another highlight of my year was attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, while on leave in the UK, for the Commissioning Parade of Royal Bermuda Regiment 2Lt Scott Brown and 2Lt Corrie Cross.
While having much to celebrate within our community over the past year, the island has also suffered losses.
We have lost numerous members of our community to road traffic accidents, while others have suffered serious injury. Many of these accidents are as a result of behaviour that we must change. We all must do our best to discourage drinking and impaired driving, and speeding, and encourage people to slow down and drive safely. Each life lost is a tragedy we can act together to prevent.
We have also lost too many members of the community to acts of violence. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who has lost a loved one or has otherwise been affected by these incidents. I give my full support to the Bermuda Police Service as they continue to play their part in making Bermuda safe. Changing the tide requires a holistic approach to changing behaviours and attitudes with regards to violent crime and all forms of serious crime.
In 2021 the island weathered two spikes in COVID cases which resulted in more Bermudians losing loved ones to this pandemic. My thoughts and sympathies also go to those families. During the past year the UK has continued to assist the Government of Bermuda by providing much needed vaccines and ancillary equipment to fight COVID-19. These supplies have been delivered at no cost to the people of Bermuda.
I extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone that continues to play a role in Bermuda’s response to the pandemic including our emergency services, health care providers and the many charitable organisations helping to feed, care and support the people of Bermuda during these challenging times.
This year also saw the Government of Bermuda participate at COP26 in Glasgow. We at Government House stand ready to continue to support the Government of Bermuda and the many champions across the island who are working to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. Whilst we are running out of time, we are rich in opportunities to lead the way and demonstrate what can be done in a short space of time in a developed island such as Bermuda.
2022 will mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen. In early November my family and I were delighted to welcome members of the community to Government House to assist with the planting of 70 trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service. The native, endemic and edible trees were kindly donated by members of the community, schools and volunteer organisations. We look forward to further celebrations in the year ahead.
As we approach the start of another year living with COVID, it is my prayer that we will be more compassionate and less divided. That we will come together in a spirit of friendship and fellowship, and unite around a positive vision for our children, our society and our environment.
My family and I have now been in Bermuda for a full year and I am grateful for the warm welcome which we have received from all those whom we have met since our arrival. Next year I look forward to getting out and meeting many more of you as I continue my service to the people of Bermuda.
I wish you and your families a very peaceful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.
Ms Rena Lalgie
Governor of Bermuda