On behalf of the outgoing Human Rights Commissioners who served from 2015-2018, I would like to express our thanks to the activists, human rights defenders and the Officers of the Human Rights Commission who have worked diligently for the protection of human rights during our appointment. We have witnessed a growing awareness and appreciation for the rights issues facing Bermuda, evidenced by an unprecedented level of public and stakeholder involvement, inquiries and complaints to the Human Rights Commission and the growing body of human rights related legislative developments and legal precedents.
Preferring passion to apathy, while we do not support positions that seek to deny the rights of others, we do appreciate opportunities for dialogue and public participation that serve to advance the discussion on the protection and balance of rights. Over the past six years of my appointment I have often heard blame on divisive rights issues being laid at the feet of the OBA or the PLP and their elected officials, however we should not absolve the voting public of their responsibility for policies proposed and sometimes implemented. If there is an ongoing system of inequality in our Bermuda in an area protected under the Human Rights Act 1981, we have an obligation to ensure that our elected officials are working to address it in a manner consistent with the advancement of human rights. Conversely, we should all share pride in the progress that Bermuda has made over the past six years, which far outpaces many Caribbean nations and other larger jurisdictions around the globe. There have been changes which many thought they would never see in their lifetime (and I dare say, perhaps hoped not to see).
As 2018 ends in an increased awareness of the definition and acknowledgment of discrimination,we can be sure that the task that lies ahead regarding the protection and balancing of rights, while daunting is not insurmountable if we strive to ensure that our neighbor is afforded the same rights and protections due to us. In addition to my thanks and gratitude to the Commissioners who have served on the Commission for the past three years: Deputy Chairperson John Hindess, and Commissioners, Carla George, Ben Adamson, Carolyn Thomas, Jahan Cedenio, Dany Pen , Quinton Butterfield and Jonathan Young.
I would like to give a special acknowledgement to the Commissioners whoserved with me for the past six years on the Human Rights Commission and are also completing their service, Jens Juul, Donna Daniels and Kim Simmons. Bermuda, thank you for your support and best wishes for 2019.
Sincerely, Tawana Tannock, Chairperson the Bermuda Human Rights Commission