Bishop Ingram travels to Bermuda to support Rev. Tweed; Government continues to deny work permit
On January 3, Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram met with the Bermudian Premier Michael Dunkley regarding the case of Rev. Nicholas Genevieve-Tweed, pastor of St. Paul AME Church, Bermuda. According to news releases, Premier Dunkley indicated that the application would not be reviewed. At a mass meeting held later that day, Bishop Ingram stated, “Someone put out the word that the Church was not standing here. I’m the Church and I want you to know that I stand unequivocally behind what he stands for and what he is.”
In a telephone conversation with The Christian Recorder, Rev. Tweed commented, “The Government has decided not to review the work permit because I’m a political threat to them. For the first time in 146 years, the lead AME Church in Bermuda has a pastor who is being denied the right to work in Bermuda.”
Rev. Tweed is one of the founding members of the People’s Campaign for Equality, Jobs and Justice. The campaign was started in 2014 in response to growing levels of inequality and dissatisfaction among a majority of Black Bermudians. Rev. Tweed indicates that the Campaign is inspired by A. Phillip Randolph, the March on Washington, and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. It has the backing of the two major Labor Unions on the island as well as parliamentarians from the opposition Progressive Labour Party. Since its founding, a comprehensive manifesto has been produced and massive acts of peaceful protest have been organized by the People’s Campaign including shutting down the Bermudian Parliament.
Bermuda is a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom with a population of approximately 65,000. The AME Church is the largest and oldest Black denomination in Bermuda. There are 11 churches in the Bermuda Annual Conference. The majority of Bermudians are of African descent and the political parties in the island have tended to center on ethnic lines. The opposition Progressive Labour Party is viewed as have a progressive orientation and mainly representing the Afro-Bermudian population. The ruling One Bermuda Alliance has its roots in the United Bermuda Party and is widely viewed as representing business interests and the White minority.
In spite of the Premier’s comments, Bishop Ingram is still negotiating to rescind the denial of Rev. Tweed’s permit. If the negotiations are unsuccessful, Rev. Tweed will have to either leave or be deported from Bermuda on January 19th.
Please continue to pray for Rev. Tweed, the AME Church in Bermuda and Bishop Ingram.
Statement from St. Paul AME Church: http://bernews.com/2017/01/statement-st-paul-ame-church/
Footage of Bishop Ingram’s Meeting with the People’s Campaign and supporters at St. Paul (fast-forward to the 54-minute mark). http://bernews.com/2017/01/premier-michael-dunkley-meets-with-ame-bishop/
Photo is from the Bermuda Sun.