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A man committed to social justice

  • Pollster and politician: Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown Jr (File photograph)

Ewart Brown, the former premier, has paid tribute to the Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown, who has died at age 59.

Dr Brown said in a statement this evening: “I have lost a cousin and a political comrade.

“Bermuda has lost a visionary who wanted political maturity for his fellow countrymen.

“May his mother and his siblings find peace during this difficult time.”

Mr Brown, a political commentator who rose to MP in 2012 and served as Minister of Home Affairs from 2017 to 2018, was recalled last night as a man committed to social justice.

Rolfe Commissiong, a fellow Progressive Labour Party MP, said his colleague “gave so much to this country”.

The Pembroke South East MP said: “He was a giant among my generation and the pride of black Bermuda — of that there can be no doubt.

“His intellectual rigour and commitment to social justice placed him head and shoulders above many of us.”

Mr Commissiong added: “Often we say of some men and women upon their passing that they are irreplaceable. As regards Walton Brown, that would not be an empty phrase.

“In fact, it would be highly applicable and well earned.”

Mr Commissiong said they had both been born in Spanish Point in Pembroke, affectionately known as “Key West”.

He added: “I just find it to have been an honour to have served with him as a Member of Parliament over the last near eight years or so.”

“My condolences go out to his dear mother and family.”

Bill Zuill, a former editor of The Royal Gazette, recalled Mr Brown as an astute surveyor of politics in Bermuda.

He said: “My professional involvement with him came shortly after the General Election of 1998, which the Progressive Labour Party won.

“Walton had been polling for The Bermuda Sun, and he predicted the election result pretty much to the seat.

“It was very accurate — for what it’s worth, the Gazette was not. The election result was not a surprise, but the margin was.

“When I became editor, Walton began doing polls for us until 2007, when he became a senator and had a conflict of interest that was inescapable.

“Over those years, his polling was always extremely good. He was probably the most accurate pollster for politics Bermuda has ever had.

“He understood the electorate and could form questions well to make a very accurate prediction. He did a great service to Bermuda.”

Mr Zuill added: “I always found Walton to be extremely open minded.

“He had strong political views and was willing to engage in good discussions and see and recognise different arguments. He has been taken too young, and it is obviously a great loss to the Government, to the PLP, and to Bermuda.”