Wesley LeRoy Tucker Businessman, parliamentarian.
Born September 23, 1907
W.L. “Bip” Tucker played a leading role in business and politics during the turbulent 1950s and 1960s. Bermuda’s leaders were coming under intense pressure from blacks—and the United Kingdom government—to abolish segregation and the property-based voting system. The battle for full voting rights, or universal adult suffrage, was played out on two fronts. Tucker led the fight in Parliament.
He is known as the ‘Father of the Franchise Bill’ for piloting through Parliament the bill that led to all adults over age 25 getting full voting rights in 1963. It fell short of full universal adult suffrage, but excluding the bill that gave female property owners the right to vote in 1944, it was the first major change to Bermuda’s voting system in 300 years.
Tucker also made his mark in other areas: he was the first black person appointed to the Executive Council, the forerunner of Cabinet, and the first black president of the Bermuda Employers' Council.
Bermuda celebrates its first Labour Day September 6, 1982
Union members take part in the 2013 Labour Day parade. Photo by The Royal Gazette.
Bermuda observed its first Labour Day with a weekend of events, culminating in a march
through the streets of Hamilton on the holiday itself and a day-long celebration at Bernard
The impetus for the holiday was the 1981 island-wide strike, which brought the island to a
standstill during the height of the tourist season, leading to recriminations over the cause by
workers and employers.
The following year then opposition MP Eugene Cox brought a bill to the House for a Labour
Day holiday to take place on May 1, in line with the practice in Europe.
The ruling United Bermuda Party amended Cox’s bill so that Labour Day would be observed
on the first Monday in September, to coincide with the US holiday.
Andrew Young, civil rights leader, former United Nations ambassador and then mayor of
Atlanta, was the keynote speaker for the Labour Day events. He was the first of a series of
distinguished international figures brought in over the years to headline Labour Day festivities.