He is, to many, the face of Bermuda’s homeless problem, and most people don’t even know his real name.
Nicknamed Scientist, Junior Maxwell Ming says he is 52 years old, has been living rough for the past six years, and rides the length and breadth of the island on a variety of bicycles; his most recognisable feature, second only to an almost toothless grin. He also, sadly, refers to himself as a “retard”, perhaps reflecting an opinion others have expressed to him over the years.
He seems especially proud of the fact that he “learnt how to dress myself, and I dress warm”.
Given Mr Ming’s circumstances it seemed only natural that we put him on the cover of the magazine, although getting the picture proved a bit of a challenge. Fate often dictates that when you’re actively looking for something you will not find it.
Eventually he surfaced on Front Street; beer in one hand, his bike of the moment in the other. Happy to have his picture taken, the offer of lunch was turned down because he told us that he “was going to St George’s after to enjoy lunch at the big restaurant by the water”.
Conversation with him was as you might expect; fractured, confusing, and occasionally nonsensical.
“I stay out by the old Freezer Fresh in a bus stop and I try to keep out of the way,” he said. “I was staying around the corner but a man said I was too close to his house so I moved. I try to stay out of the way. I sometimes have trouble getting food but people buy me meals sometimes and I feel like I am an angel. I am an honest man and I don’t steal anything and I don’t commit any violent acts. I don’t go to the Salvation Army, I am frightened of people. I exercise often, I ride my bike.”
When earlier declining our offer for lunch he told us all he wants to do is ride his bike, because, “it makes me happy”.
In the past he has spent time in St Brendan’s. As far as we could gather he no longer attends what is now the Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute, he also said he does not take any medication. “Living out in the open is fine,” he said. “A lot of people have come and helped me, and if I didn’t have clothes they gave them to me. If I didn’t have a bike, they gave me one. I said I am going to be a good man and I am.
“I have to tell myself that nothing is tough. I stay away from bad people and no one bothers me. I never go to the doctor because I never get sick. My parents passed away and I have been living outside since I was 46. I have never been abroad, never been on an airplane.”
*We have been made to understand that Mr Ming has a family that support him and that his lifestyle is of his own choosing.