News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda – The PLP have paid tribute to the late Vera Commissiong, a trailblazer who is best known for her work with the Progressive Group, which helped to end official segregation in Bermuda
PLP Leader, Premier David Burt said: “The PLP was saddened to learn of the passing of our life member, Vera [Legull] Commissiong, mother to MP Rolfe Commissiong, Dane, Troy and special mother to Sacha Commissiong.
“Vera’s early working life was spent as a teacher at the “Old” Elliott School and she is fondly remembered by those students that she taught at that time. She later went on to work in the front office at Hamilton Princess Hotel, where she was one of the first Blacks to hold such a position.
“However, most of her adult life was spent at the Bermuda Electric Light Company Ltd. [BELCO] where she was also a trailblazer, as BELCO, like the Hamilton Princess Hotel rarely hired Blacks to fill “white collar” positions in their businesses.
“While at BELCO, Vera became a godsend to many young, struggling mothers whose electricity was disconnected because of non-payment as she worked along with them in order that they could have their lights on during those dark times in their lives. One would never know if her actions were sanctioned by the powers-that-be at BELCO or if that was something she did from the goodness of her heart.
“Vera was best known for her work with the Progressive Group, the group that was responsible for ending official segregation in Bermuda. She, and her then-husband, Rudolph Commissiong, joined a group of other young Bermudian couples and organized the successful “Theatre Boycott” in the 1960s which resulted in other businesses in Bermuda, including hotels and restaurants opening their doors to all Bermudians.
“A close friend of the late Dame Lois Browne-Evans, as their husbands were both from Trinidad, Vera was one of the earliest members of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party. Rarely did she miss an event that was hosted by the Party, whether it was a banquet or a public meeting. She also made her presence known at protests that were organized by other entities in Bermuda.
“Vera will be remembered for her sense of style as she was always impeccably turned-out, no matter what the occasion. The PLP extends our heartfelt condolences to her sons, grandchildren and other family members and dear friends. May she rest in eternal peace.“