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Bermuda is often seen as a tranquil place, especially in ads on American television. Of course, those ads are meant to lure tourists to a place of pink beaches, clear water, and blue skies. Bermuda is a gorgeous place, after all. However, certain things are never aired internationally in public. Bermuda has had a crime problem, and the history of the island chain hasn’t always been peaceful. There’s also the issue of race, which, for the 1970’s, made for a rough decade. 1977, for example, saw race riots. They also saw the existence of “The Black Berets,” a militant organization patterned after Stokely Carmichael and the American Black Panther Parter. It’s recently been the subject of a book I’ve been thinking of buying. According to Mel Ayton’s The Black Panthers: Their Dangerous Bermudian Legacy:

The role the Black Berets played in the assassinations has been whitewashed by consecutive Bermudian Governments for three decades and the truth has remained buried – until now. The UK’s Foreign Office and Scotland Yard files show how the tragic events of the early seventies had been viewed by many Bermudian politicians as a stain upon Bermuda’s reputation as a haven for travellers and an island of tranquillity. This attitude prompted them to ignore the Black Beret connection to the assassinations lest further investigations stir up trouble between the races and provoke island – wide riots. Political leaders were also afraid that the truth about the murders and the instability of its political system, which the killings exposed, would damage Bermuda’s tourist industry which was its principle source of income. They were also embarrassed that an organization like the Black Berets, which had been widely supported by many Bermudians, was connected to the killings. Although two black Bermudians were tried and executed for the murders the weak response of the Government in establishing a wider conspiracy effectively swept the whole affair under the carpet.

During the late 1960s the American Black Panther Party’s influence and example extended far beyond the shores of the United States. It was the trial of Panther leader Huey Newton and the travels abroad by members of the party to raise money for his defence that provoked worldwide attention to the black-clad, shotgun-toting black revolutionaries. The Panthers became a role model for various radical political movements throughout the world, including the Black Panther Movement in the United Kingdom, the Black Panther Parties in Australia and Israel, the Dalit Panthers in India as well as the Black Berets in Bermuda.

As with any source, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s always bias. I’m quoting this particular website — which is absolutely anti-police — just for the informational purposes, like I’ve done in the past and will likely do again in the future.


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