Tributes continue to pour in with word of the sudden passing of Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown, who died on Tuesday at the age of 59.
A host of Mr Brown’s political colleagues expressing shock on hearing the news.
When contacted by Bermuda Real on Tuesday, former Premier Dr Ewart Brown said: “I have lost a cousin and a political comrade.
“Bermuda has lost a visionary who wanted political maturity for his fellow countrymen.
“May his mother and his siblings find peace during this difficult time,” Dr Brown said.
“He struggled alongside us in Opposition, locked arms with us in front of the House of Assembly and spoke passionately in the House on the issues that mattered so much to him and so many Bermudians.
“In him, Bermuda had a writer, a teacher, a human rights activist, a champion for Bermuda’s sovereignty, and a fighter for Bermudian workers. But our loss cannot match that of his family who now mourn a father, a brother and a son.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and my hope is that in the difficult days ahead they draw strength and comfort from the sacrifice and commitment Walton brought to serving the people of his beloved Bermuda,” said Premier Burt.
Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier also expressed sincere condolences to Mr Brown’s family “at this very difficult time”.
“Likewise, I offer my condolences to the Premier and the Progressive Labour Party. They have lost a Party stalwart and an excellent MP who always put Bermuda first,” he said.
“As I started to get involved in politics, Walton took the time to give me some political perspective on Bermuda. His insights were, and continue to be, a tremendous help and I will always be grateful.
“Later, Walton and I used to meet often for breakfast where I had the privilege of discussing with him the direction of Bermuda, regardless of political outlook.
“It is a sad day for Bermuda and Walton will be tremendously missed.”
Bermuda’s Governor John Rankin added: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Walton Brown.
“As Governor I was pleased to engage with him both as a Member of the House of Assembly and as a Minister.
“I always found him to be a most thoughtful individual and I give thanks for his service to Bermuda. I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends on his passing.”
Fellow MP Jamahl Simmons said he was “shocked…devastated and heartbroken” over the loss of his friend.
In a post published on Facebook on Tuesday, he wrote: “I will miss brainstorming over a glass of wine, your sense of humour, your historical perspective and your insight.
“I know that when, in the future, we take down the Union Jack and raise our own flag in an independent Bermuda that your dream will be fulfilled and that you will be smiling down upon us. Rest well my friend.”
Calling him “a long-standing passionate advocate for social justice in Bermuda,” PLP Chairman Damon Wade described the well known Member of Parliament as an author, academic and an advocate for social justice in Bermuda.
His bio states the Parliamentary website says Mr Brown an alumnus of West Pembroke School, The Berkeley Institute and Bermuda College.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts [Hons] in Political Studies from Queen’s University and a Masters Degree in Political Science from York University, both in Canada.
As the author of several academic papers, Mr Brown published extensively in academic and mainstream media, made numerous presentations at conferences throughout Europe, the US and the Caribbean.
He also wrote ‘Bermuda and the Struggle for Reform: Race, Politics and Ideology, 1944-1998’, a book which won the National Literary Award for Nonfiction in 2013.
Mr Wade also noted that Mr Brown, whose association with the PLP “goes back to the mid-80s”, served as Chair for the PLP’s Pembroke Branch and was appointed to the Senate by former Premier Dr Ewart Brown.
He carried the PLP banner in the historical UBP stronghold in Pembroke West where he was successfully elected to Parliament in 2012 and re-elected again in 2017, when he was appointed as Minister of Home Affairs and later as Minister forf the Cabinet Office by Premier David Burt.
“The PLP will miss Walton and his strong advocacy for Bermuda’s sovereignty, his determination to strengthen immigration on behalf of Bermudians, his political insight and perhaps most importantly, his friendship,” said Mr Wade.
“We are thankful for having known Walton Brown and grateful for his work and sacrifice. Bermuda is richer for his commitment to our island and our people.
“Yet as the PLP family mourns the passing of a beloved comrade at arms, his family, his loved ones and his friends are also mourning his loss. We are committed to standing with his family and encourage all of Bermuda to stand with his family during this time of bereavement.”