National Heroes Selection Process and Criteria
Thursday 27th May, 2010
@ 11:00 a.m.
The A.B. Place Media Room
The Hon. D. Neletha I. Butterfield, M.B.E., J.P., M.P.
Minister of Culture and Social Rehabilitation
As we approach our National Heroes Day, I wish to take this opportunity to highlight the meaning and intent of National Heroes Day, which this year will be celebrated on Monday June 21st 2010.
The purpose of National Heroes Day is to honour those persons who have been officially designated as National Heroes in Bermuda. Dame Lois Browne-Evans, DBE, JP, LLB, was designated as Bermuda’s first National Hero in 2008. As such, Dame Lois will continue to be celebrated and remembered on each and every National Heroes Day.
The intent is to add more deserving people to the list of National Heroes in the future. Thus, while National Heroes Day this year will continue to honour the only current recipient, Dame Lois Browne-Evans, there is no question that other National Heroes will be selected, and all designated National Heroes will be collectively and appropriately honoured each year on National Heroes Day, which will be celebrated each year on the third Monday in June.
The National Hero designation is a lifetime honour that is bestowed. Once a person is named as a National Hero, he or she will be a National Hero forever.
How will National Heroes be selected? Government has developed both a process for selection and a set of selection criteria, which I will now briefly describe.
A person who is selected to be a National Hero must meet the following criteria:
· made a significant and lasting contribution to Bermuda
· enriched the lives of others
· his/her legacy will stand the test of time and have continued relevance in the future
· contributed to the quality of life and destiny of Bermuda
· be considered as outstanding in their area of activity
· has ready name recognition among the general population
· is recognized by his/her profession or organization
· is reflective of Bermuda’s cultural heritage and diversity
It is important that the individual or group of individuals designated as National Heroes be of outstanding character. Such persons may possess some or all of the following characteristics:
· demonstrate consistency and passion
· agent of change or betterment
· demonstrate love of Bermuda and her people
· demonstrate leadership qualities
Nominations for National Hero must be submitted to the Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation by September 30th of each year. The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will make the public aware of the criteria and process for the selection of National Heroes through multiple media sources including television, internet and print media. Any member of the public including civil servants can make nominations for a National Hero. Applications, guidelines and guidance notes will be available online by the end of June 2010 at www.communityandculture.bm and at the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Offices.
In terms of the selection process, it should be noted that several jurisdictions including Australia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Cayman Islands and Jamaica have selection panels or committees that are charged with selecting heroes that the public has nominated according to pre-determined criteria.
Government has determined how it wishes our National Hero selection process to proceed. Accordingly, I wish to announce the formation of a five-member National Heroes Parliamentary Selection Committee, which will be comprised of three (3) members from the House of Assembly and two (2) members from the Senate. Two (2) of the Members of Parliament will represent Government and one (1) Member of Parliament will represent the Official Opposition on the Committee. One (1) Government Senator and one (1) Opposition Senator will sit on the Committee.
The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will act as the Secretariat for the National Heroes Parliamentary Selection Committee to ensure accurate records are kept of the process and recommendations made. The Committee will review all nominations received in a given year and make recommendations to the Minister of Culture and Social Rehabilitation. It is expected that the Committee will keep the dignity and honour of the designation of National Hero foremost in mind when persons are being considered for recommendation to the Minister.
The Minister of Culture and Social Rehabilitation will then review all nominations for National Hero received from the Committee and prepare an annual report to Cabinet during the last quarter of each year. Cabinet is not obligated to select a National Hero each year. During the last quarter of each calendar year, the Minister of Culture and Social Rehabilitation will publish a list of names of all persons nominated for National Hero during the year. If no nominations are received, and/or Cabinet decides not to select a National Hero in any given year, then no list will be published.
If a new National Hero has been selected, that person or persons, or if deceased the significant surviving family member, will be notified in writing by the Minister of Culture and Social Rehabilitation prior to any public announcement. The Minister of Culture and Social Rehabilitation will make a formal public announcement at least four (4) months prior to National Heroes’ Day. This early announcement will allow time to prepare for National Heroes Day.
In promoting National Heroes Day, Government seeks to develop a populace that is cognizant and proud of contributions made by its National Heroes; a populace whose collective level of consciousness is raised about Bermuda’s history, heritage and culture; and an enhancement of a sense of national unity and social cohesion amongst Bermudians.
In the near future I will announce who will initially serve on the National Heroes Parliamentary Selection Committee, and when National Hero nomination forms will be available.