Bermuda official ‘had to beg’ Filipinos to join Heritage Day Parade
Bermuda’s Culture Minister Dale Butler had to “beg” the Filipino community to take part in this year’s Heritage Day Parade and reassure them they wouldn’t be jeered, which happened a few years ago when they won a cup for having one of the best floats, the Bermuda Sun reported.
Some 1,000 Filipinos work in Bermuda as accountants, nurses, waiters and domestic servants. Some are married to Bermudians.
Both the Filipinos and the Portuguese will have dancers at this year’s parade, but other sizeable groups have chosen to stay on the sidelines, notably the Indian, Bangledeshi and Sri Lankan communities.
Butler, who this week awarded more than $25,000 to groups to pay for costs associated with taking part in the parade, said it saddened him that some nationalities felt too intimidated to march or have a float.
He said: “The Filipinos were very reluctant to perform, but I was able to convince them to come back.’
One of the reasons the Bangledeshis and Indians aren’t taking part is because they saw what happened to the Filipinos and besides, Butler said given the jobs they do, they usually only get one day off and don’t have time to organize a performance.
Most Bermudians don’t have any issues with foreigners. The ones who do are usually working class, Butler told the Sun.
“They think the Filipinos are coming in here and doing the jobs, but they won’t do them themselves. It’s the same fear Bermudians had in the 1900s when the West Indians came here.”
He continued: “I believe about 90 percent of the population are beyond the bitterness of the Filipinos winning a trophy but 10 percent continue to blame other ethnic groups for their own plight.”
The theme for this year’s May 24 Heritage Day Parade is ‘Bermuda’s National Symbols.’ There are 57 groups taking part, 14 of which will have floats.