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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online
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I'm told by a friend presently working in Bermuda for a major multinational insurance company using Bermuda as its tax haven, with Bermuda's main source of tourism and international business coming from the USA, that Bermuda should avoid at costs being impacted by bad international human rights-related publicity likely to come about if Bermuda does not correct its laws in two specific areas. One relates to persons of the same gender who cannot get married in Bermuda, only enter into a domestic partnership. The other concerns expatriates and their families, believed to be at least 600, who have lived solely in Bermuda for generations, mostly people originally from the Azores or Caribbean islands, who have have always been law-abiding, paid their taxes, contributed to the economy but have been denied citizenship, voting and certain real estate property rights despite having had children born in Bermuda. Bermuda residents should know that both these Human Rights wrongs matters are now being actively investigated by Human Rights organizations here in the USA and elsewhere. Thomas G. Mason, Fifth Avenue, New York 10103, USA, September 29, 2018.
Such a shame that you guys in Bermuda only have one "all-inclusive" place at Grotto Bay and it is not really all-inclusive in that liquor drinks of all kinds are not included. Places like Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, etc have stacks of them, with really nice restaurants offering different cuisines and bars and they are really paying dividends. I understand all-inclusive places such as the latter have become so popular that they all now get more tourists each year than Bermuda. Once, they were far behind Bermuda. Nor do they have a "resort" charge that Bermuda has. Pity, c'mon, Bermuda, loosen up. You were once so nice, with loads of options, don't be behind the times. Joe E. Martinez, Clearwater, Florida 33756. USA. September 27, 2018.
I was dismayed to note in a recent Bermuda newspaper report your excellent Bermuda Online reviewed that some of Bermuda's new breed of politicians clearly resent the fact that the white residents on your island have much higher incomes than black residents who comprise the majority. It has to be both recognized and understood by all in Bermuda, regardless of race, that this is one of the inevitable consequences of Bermuda being an international business center and residence of some of the world's wealthiest people who just happen to be white. I wish we in St. Lucia were so lucky with such overall affluence. Because of it Bermuda is streets ahead in international commerce. It should be regarded as a simple but fortunate fact of Bermuda life, not with resentment. All who live and/or work in Bermuda benefit directly or indirectly from it. What is disconcerting is that Bermuda is one of the very few countries where whites and blacks are shown separately. We do not do this here in St. Lucia or other Caribbean islands and I don't think they do it any more in Britain or Canada or the USA or elsewhere. It just creates unnecessary dissent among politicians anxious to score cheap political shots. It is also one of the many negative factors of political parties. Andrew Bristol, Castries, St. Lucia, West Indies, 3 June 2018.
Bermuda must now be regarded as Russia's best friend. At a time when we here in the USA, most of Europe and elsehere have applied significant sanctions against Russia for its attempted killing of British-Russian citizens in Salisbury, England, Bermuda accords huge benefits to Russian-owned aircraft by having them registered in Bermuda. It is by far the largest tax haven in the world for Russian aircraft both private and commercial. It also allows hundreds of other wealthy Russians to own and operate Bermuda-based companies, with no intention whatsoever to cancel any of these corporate advantages. Why? Surely this is wrong? John D. Martin, Wall Street, New York, NY 10005, USA, April 6, 2018.
I write as a US citizen with family links in Bermuda. I am deeply offended, ashamed and embarrassed by the attempt of a plainly biased US talk show host and others of her ilk to try to boycott Bermuda for no longer allowing same-sex "mirage" after May 31, 2018. (I refuse to call it marriage). She and others who believe in her cause have completely and likely deliberately failed to mention that most of the Caribbean territories (other than the US entities there) don't allow same-sex mirages at all. Yet they have not been threatened with boycotts and worse. So why should Bermuda government officials and others be worried by their whining and Hitler-Mussolini-like ravings. Hope you publish this. Virginia M. Williams, Boston MA 02101, USA, March 12, 2018.
I write to respectfully recommend that the Bermuda Government avoid at all costs any further bad publicity after the debacle of the Appleby Paradise Papers noted in your Bermuda Online. It will attract further grief on both sides of the Atlantic if it goes ahead with its proposed attempts to have Bermuda gambling casinos come under the personal control of your Minister of Tourism. When I heard about that it seemed Bermuda was in the process of becoming a less-than-desirable gambling banana republic. No country in the world with gambling or gaming has such an industry under the overall regulatory administration of a single government minister. Instead, they all have gambling or gaming commissions completely independent of their local or national legislature, to help ensure fairness, honesty and integrity. I know for a fact, as a journalist myself, that if Bermuda does not comply with international gambling or gaming conventions your island is going to get creamed by the US, UK, European and other news media. Your gambling license fees for hotels, hugely expensive by international standards, already mean the chances of winning are less in Bermuda than anywhere else. It will not attract gamblers, it will further harm Bermuda's reputation. Stuart P Wright, Newark, NJ 07102, USA, November 16, 2017.
All that British and international news about the Appleby Paradise Papers and their revelations mentioned in your excellent Bermuda Online has surely had an enormous negative impact on average persons in any democratic country who work and pay their taxes in that country. In my view, any for-profit or non-profit business entity or individual who does any kind of business in any country should pay all the taxes in that country that others have to pay. Apple, Google and other multi-nationals should not be allowed to evade paying corporate taxes where they earn good money by going to another country such as Bermuda or Grand Cayman or Bahamas or Turks & Caicos or Gibraltar or Channel Islands or wherever, especially when individual US citizens are legally required to pay taxes from wherever in the world they do business. It is manifestly wrong for Bermuda to unreservedly welcome legally wholesome business entities for tax avoidance purposes (which is why they do it) from other countries to register in Bermuda, yet on the other hand to be so protectionist in local legislation that they cannot actually do business in Bermuda except with other international companies unless they are 40% owned and managed by local individuals, which 99+ percent of Bermuda-registered but not actual Bermuda companies are not. Such non-local entities, to justify going to places like Bermuda, should be required to undertake some form of business in the local marketplace in competition with local entities or should not be allowed to incorporate in Bermuda, period. John D. Goodman, Jamestown, Virginia 23081, USA, November 8, 2017.
It's monstrously unfair of the BBC in London, not honest, factual, impartial, comprehensive at all in this case, to give such concentrated publicity via its team of Panorama investigative journalists to the Bermuda Appleby law firm and the Paradise Papers while the BBC has conveniently totally ignored the fact that its pensions to its staff are, now, or were once, lodged with a Bermuda-based entity. The BBC, as well as noting that the Queen, Prince Charles and others once had Bermuda accounts, should have had the integrity and honesty to admit it has been just as culpable. The world expects more from the BBC than flagrant journalistic hypocrisy and news twisted to hide its own sins. Thanks for allowing me to say this in your superb Bermuda Online. Thomas Mason, Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 3DE, England, 8 November, 2017.
I note from your Bermuda Online how your new Bermuda Government is claiming many of its first 100 days of resolutions have been achieved. I believe it should first concentrate on resolving long-standing immigration issues, focus on long-standing Bermuda Human Rights wrongs, to avoid problems and publicity that will surely otherwise occur with or from international Human Rights organizations. Without any further delay, your government should give all the people who have applied for it and have long deserved it from their unblemished local residency but so far have been denied it, their Bermuda Status citizenship. Amend your laws so that anyone born there, whether or not either parent had citizenship at the time, automatically has it. All other democratic countries offer this, Bermuda should do the same. Thomas V. Morton from Arlington, VA, currently visiting a friend at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104. November 8, 2017, USA.
Further to viewing your comprehensive Bermuda Online website I write to request some advice on swimming in Bermuda. We are a swimming holiday company and arrange worldwide swims in both warm and cold water locations and you are more than welcome to look at our website swimquest.uk.com. In past years I have had experience of arranging swims in the Caribbean but am keen to research Bermuda and I have detailed below some questions and any advice would be greatly appreciated. I realize that this may fall out of your remit but if you have any suggestions as to whom I may contact that too would be most kind.
Swim Guides on all tours: All our tours are managed by two Swim Guides who are very competent swimmers and coaches, are qualified beach lifeguards, in first aid and have a Royal Yachting Association Powerboat Level 2 license with an international endorsement.
Tour Type 1 – Hotel or Villa Based – Saturday - Friday. We usually base ourselves at an hotel with a boat that takes our group of 8-14 swimmers out each day for the day. We usually do one swim in the morning and one in the afternoon of approximately 1.5 – 3km each swim. This distance varies on the ability of the swimmers and the prevailing weather. The hotel is usually half board for our guests as for dinners we usually go out to local restaurants.
Tour Type 2 – Live-aboard boat cruiser/sailing yacht – Saturday - Friday. We also arrange tours on a live-aboard boat. The boat would be similar to a dive boat but we would live on the boat all week – our current example is our Maldives tour. The boat is usually to a high standard with a mixture of double and twin share air-conditioned en suite cabins and we motor around the islands with a route that is dependent on the prevailing weather conditions.
Weather in Bermuda. Given the weather conditions throughout the year, what would suggest are the best times to swim in Bermuda? Is November 2017 or early January to March 2018 a good time.
Safety boats for swims and daily itinerary. For our hotel/villa based tours, we would usually use a large boat (normally a fishing boat) that can take the entire group and have a small tender (with engine – approx. 10-15 hp) towed behind so that when we swim one boat is up front of the group and one is at the back. Our usual plan is two swims per day with lunch in between the swims and maybe some days we would require a packed lunch. The large boat would be skippered and we would work with the Skipper to arrange the swim itinerary based upon the weather and his/her local knowledge and expertise.
Do you have the details of any maps of the area that you would recommend?
Dangerous sea life. What dangerous sea life do you have in the region – sharks, Portuguese Man-O’war, jellyfish?
I trust this covers all points and should you have any queries please do come back to me at any time and I look forward to hearing from you soon. John Coningham-Rolls, SwimQuest Ltd, 6/51 Cavendish Road, Clapham, London, SW12 0BL, UK, 1 August 2017.
Referred the writer to the Bermuda Business Development Agency.
It's so sad to see that Bermuda, with its constantly nasty racially-divisive politics, now faces the prospect of an unexpectedly early General Election after the America's Cup but before the end of summer. If that occurs and the political party causing all the trouble get in, then bang goes any hope of having any of Bermuda's Human Rights wrongs addressed, as the present government has, to its credit albeit belatedly tried to do. For those beyond Bermuda who do not yet know, over 700 Bermuda-based individuals and their families originally from the Caribbean, United Kingdom, Azores and more, with unblemished, crime-free decades of full-time Bermuda residence, have been denied citizenship, voting, home ownership in any price bracket and more for solely political reasons, in deliberate contravention of internationally accepted Human Rights codes. Appallingly, the Human Rights Commission in Bermuda has not been campaigning for their Human Rights wrongs to be righted. Sadly, the organization that could and should have done something about it, namely the America's Cup entity, before they picked Bermuda to have their events, totally ignored it. With their world power, they should have insisted that Bermuda first correct its Human Rights wrongs. It is good to know Human Rights authorities in other parts of the world will now be formally demanding that those individuals concerned are given citizenship. Bermuda, in its best interests, to avoid further international Human Rights wrongs censure, must be made to comply. John H. Robinson, East 49th Street, New York, NY 10017, USA, May 20, 2017.
With your remarkably comprehensive Bermuda Online as my guide, I tried, as part of my job, to access the Bermuda Government's Registrar of Companies public listing of A-listed Bermuda-incorporated companies. I had read earlier on your site and in public announcements put out by your government that it had long been complying with basic public information of this type. But instead, what I got was a warning that I was doing so at my own risk. I tried other alphabetical listings as well, in case it was a one-time fault, but the problem was repeated. The warning was quite stark. It says "there is a problem with that website's security certificate. The security certificate presented by that website has expired or is not yet valid. Security certificate problems may indicate an attempt to fool you or intercept any data you send to the server. We recommend that you close this webpage and do not continue to this website. Continuing to this website is not recommended." I did so anyway, as my system's anti-virus etc. protection is fully up to date. But it creates a deterrent to others. If the information is indeed public and as such publicly available then surely these warnings should not be appearing? Does your Registrar of Companies need to update its software? I wanted to report this to you before it is misinterpreted or seen as an attempt to actively discourage people from accessing information understood to be publicly available.. Kenneth Dawson, Fulham Road, London, England SW10 9EL, 29 April 2017.
I and many others here in Florida read your December 30, 2016 Bermuda Online news report on how a decades-long rum war between the Communist Cuban government and Bermuda-based drinks giant Bacardi featured on January 4, 2017 in a top US TV news show. CBS current affairs flagship 60 Minutes examined the fight for control of the Havana Club brand name — which has been running since Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959 — in a segment called “The Rum War”. The Havana Club trademark originally belonged to Cuban rum-makers Jose Arechabala, whose family company was seized and nationalized after the revolution that deposed hated dictator Fulgencio Batista. The family left Cuba, stopped producing rum and allowed the US trade mark to lapse in 1973. The Cuban government registered the trade mark in the US in 1976 and assigned it to French partners Pernod-Ricard in 1993. Since 1994, Havana Club has been sold around the world, but not in the US. Bacardi, however, obtained the Arechabala family’s remaining rights to the brand in 1994 and began selling limited amounts of Havana Club in the US, which sparked a legal battle with Pernod Ricard, which was successful in two of the first three court decisions in the matter. After further legal battles, the Cuban government’s US trademark registration expired in 2006 — but in January, amid a thaw in relations between the US and Cuba, the American government gave Cuba rights to the Havana Club name, a decision Bacardi insists should be reversed. Bacardi also mounted a major marketing campaign for its version of the brand and maintains that the renewal for Cuba breaches a 1998 Act of the US Congress designed to protect trademarks taken over in the wake of the country’s revolution. The Bacardi family, whose distillery company was founded in Santiago de Cuba in 1862, were also forced to flee Cuba after their assets were also seized and nationalized without compensation. The company set up its world headquarters in Bermuda a few years later and has become the largest privately held and family owned spirits company in the world. Our view, and we believe the view of the majority of Republican Americans, is that if Bacardi commits to relocate from Bermuda back to the USA mainland or Puerto Rico (where its rums are made) in both corporate relocation and physical headquarters, and guarantees to stay there with the incentive being a massive decrease in corporate taxes President Trump has pledged to implement, then the US Congress should empower Bacardi to regain control of the Havana Club brand. But if it will not commit to relocate from Bermuda back to the USA or Puerto Rico, then Cuba should win. No offense meant to Bermuda but we have to think of America first in a much-needed wholesale review of the USA's tax system to bring businesses back here instead of going abroad primarily for tax avoidance or tax evasion reasons. This also has to include no longer allowing US corporations to go abroad to places like Bermuda to have their conferences or conventions but claiming their conference or convention expenses as deductibles in their US tax returns. Andrew J. Strauss, Sarasota, Florida 34231, USA, January 24, 2017.
I read with dismay in your unique Bermuda Online website and in the news section of your Royal Gazette how women from Bermuda went to Washington DC on the day after President Trump's inauguration to protest about him. Why, when at least 53% of American women voted for him? I am not a Republican but I fully accept the result of the Presidential vote and hope President Trump succeeds in his ambition to make America great again. The rage and frenzy of those Demonrat women - a good word to describe them as they are too nasty to be Democrats - was internationally appalling. They came to Washington DC not as good-mannered guests of our country to obey our laws but simply to cause trouble. Their blatant hypocrisy deserves international condemnation. What were also outrageous were the constantly anti-Trump comments from other British and in particular British Broadcasting Corporation staffers. The women and BBC collectively did their best to crucify President Trump as the worst of all men, but he has never treated any of them in the way King Henry VIII of the UK did. He had them executed for offending him, but President Trump employs hundreds if not thousands and has treated them fairly. Why have those women never publicly reviled that murderous lecherous British king and stripped him of his Royal lineage? Why do women in particular worldwide seem to love the British royal family despite all its executions, murders by King Henry VIII and his ilk and clear modern-day bias against only Catholics among all religions. Other kings and British Prime Ministers have been horribly promiscuous but this is ignored by militant women. In France, this has happened regularly. In the USA, presidents have had mistresses, Democrats John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton were sexual predators. Yet only President Trump gets publicly bashed and not by Republican women, just Demonrats. Clearly, they are not in need of a job, don't want their economic circumstances improved It is sickening. Arthur J. Armstrong, America Street, Rhode Island 02903, USA, January 22, 2017.
I write as an incredulous resident of Lewes, East Sussex, UK. I read your newspaper's report that if a car valued at more than £35,000 stops at a set of traffic lights in a well-heeled London neighborhood, the driver is likely to see a Bermuda Tourism Authority advertisement flash up on a billboard screen opposite. The driver will see an enticing offer to visit Bermuda, and the invite will be personalized with a message such as “Hello Bermudaful in the Range Rover”, depending on the make of car they are driving. To me, this kind of advertisement should never have been approved. It totally misleads the public. No UK resident intending to visit Bermuda will ever be allowed in Bermuda to rent a Range Rover, only some dumb tiny little two-seater. Why has the Bermuda Tourism Authority worked with Britain’s Media Agency Group to create this totally untrue farce? The latter clearly needs to know that Bermuda has massive tourism-related restrictions not shared by any other island. Neal Adams, Friar's Walk, East Sussex BN7 2XW, UK. 7th January 2017.
My name is Michelle (Wilhelm) Dorbert. First, let me say, thank you for your dedication to this entire site, I've scoured it many times over the last several years and it always brings back some of the fondest memories of my life - I've lived many places, and there is just no better place than Bermuda! Anyway, the reason I'm writing you today is because, as luck would have it, I was rummaging through some [very] old stuff and happened to find a box full of my elementary school things. Of particular interest are a Roger B. Chaffee handbook (1971-72 school year) and a 1971 3x5 fold-up map of Bermuda. I have the ability to scan them into .pdf format and can upload them to Google Drive and share them to you if you have an interest in them. I'd also love to share my Father's information here - I know people will remember him. His name is James (Jim) Wilhelm. He was in communications and worked for the Base Commander - I think he even arranged special leave and travel for people to come state side - I just don't remember his rank/unit. We lived at Building Bay on St. George's (actually moved in the day before Hurricane Ginger hit 22 September, 1971) then we moved to Crawl Hill and then we finally moved on base and lived on the hill overlooking the airport next door to the EM/Officers Club (for some reason I think it was a combined club). My fondest memories are of the many multi-family weekend parties at Clearwater Beach or at someone's home - our parents all played Pinochle - that's what they did, there wasn't anything else to do! My best friend was Mary Gietz, her father was the base Commander, so I got to play at her house many times which was amazing! I wish I had pictures of that house to share with you - It truly was a sight to see inside! My Mom has a ton of photos from the Wives Club - I'll see if I can get some from her and scan them for you if you're interested. Again, I can post them to my Google Drive and share them to you so they don't take up your drive space - that way you can pick and choose what you want and download at your discretion. Just let me know. Again, I really want to thank you for the dedication you put into this site and for sharing your passion - coming to your site kinda feels like coming "home" for a girl that always thought Bermuda was her "real" home... at least in my heart. Michelle Dorbert - (dependent daughter of James I. Wilhelm - USNAS/Bermuda - 1971-1975). Odenton, MD, USA, August 25, 2016.
At long last, a US state, my neighbor, has objected to those from Bermuda being allowed to drive and rent automobiles while here but we as US citizens or residents cannot similarly drive or rent vehicles when we vacation in or visit Bermuda. I object strongly to the latter's undemocratic, unfair ban, as I know personally that many Bostonians and others from MA do too . But I and others will gladly support a reciprocal agreement. If those from your island wish to drive here we must be permitted to drive there, otherwise no deal. Kenneth W. Brown, America Street. Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA, August 1, 2016.
Thank you, Bermuda-online.org, for mentioning that in Bermuda there has to be a formal legal revaluation of property once every five years. I understand there are similar requirements in the USA, Canada and beyond, with one result being that within towns or cities or states or provinces local authorities in those countries all owners of homes including their acreage area of about the same market value pay a comparable and equitable property or real estate tax. Also, you mention how your many of your homeowner Bermuda senior citizens over 65 pay no property tax or land tax as you refer to it, at all, or they are significantly discounted. I know authorities in another island, Barbados, have a similar concession for their pensioners. I wish we here in the UK were as fair and democratic in both areas. We have not had a countrywide or local revaluation system since 1991. Our local authorities here in Eastbourne have long had monstrous inequities in their equivalent (council taxes), which they will not change. I gather other UK local authorities have similar horror stories in council tax inequities and because these inequities are also reflected in their grossly unfair water and waste water or sewage charges, they give clear evidence how undemocratic and autocratic, not democratic, the UK really is in this regard. What you pay in your dollars for much larger and appreciably more expensive homes on average, we have to pay far more in British £ sterling. I really hope international publicity will soon focus on the UK in this matter. In the meantime, thanks again, Bermuda, for being one of those places with decency and fairness in property taxes for your people. Bertram Forbes, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 5PU, UK, 27 July 2016.
I write to say that in order to attract and retain international businesses and tourists, not drive them away, Bermuda has to change its ridiculous laws. I refer to those that (a) permit sudden wildcat strikes affecting public transport that hugely upset visitors; (b) don't allow buses to service hotels directly from the airport with passengers' luggage, as they do in any other developed country; (c) don't allow major hotels to arrange their own courtesy car or bus transport to and from the airport and hotel as they do in most places elsewhere; and (d) don't allow tourists to rent 4-6 passenger cars as they can do in any other country including all of Bermuda's principal competitors including those with, for Americans, constant and wrong-side-of-the road driving and traffic jams such as in London and much of the Caribbean. When these outdated laws change Bermuda may be a more practical realistic tourist destination. In the meantime, thinking about permitting Americans and other visitors to drive tiny electric 2-passengers only minicars adds insult to injury. As Bermuda, despite its small size, charges tourists far higher fees and taxes than most other jurisdictions it should at least match if not exceed them in facilities and services, not offer them far less in comparison. Alexander A White, Jersey City 07302, USA, July 18, 2016.
I would like to commend and thank you for publishing bermuda-online.org which we at Greenrock.org find to be an extremely useful and insightful source of information. In particular, I find the http://bermuda-online.org/electgas.htm to be the best source of information on Bermuda's electricity sector. I wondered if, by any chance, you knew or could point me to a source to find the current and historic $ amounts Belco pay/have paid per barrel of fuel oil? Carol Dixon, Greenrock Director, 48 Par-La-Ville Rd, Hamilton HM11, Bermuda, July 5, 2016.
Bermuda Mobile Licensing Oddities. Dear Bermuda Online, my name is Andras Szucsik, and I’m working with BodyTrace, a mobile operator from Netherlands. We are contacting you as a person who seems to care much about Bermuda. We have gathered a lot of information from your website about your beautiful island and appreciate your tireless work in past years. As you may have heard, the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (RAB) is planning to assign 4G mobile frequencies and the final Request for Applications (RFA) is about to be released any minute. Being a mobile operator ourselves too, we were very much excited about it, especially because RAB seemed to be very encouraging and eager to attract a new entrant to the Bermuda mobile telecommunication market. A third player could stir up a rigid, duopolistic market and could imply innovation and competition. Our enthusiasm diminished when we saw the planned RFA with some barriers to entry in spite of the declared goal of welcoming new entrants. One of the biggest barriers is the prerequisite to be an ICOL (Integrated Communications Operating Licence) holder even for being able to participate in the application process, while there is a moratorium on the issuance of ICOLs at the moment. This means for us (and for any other potential new player on the market) that we need to obtain a license which is impossible to obtain, resulting in the fact that no one but the 2 incumbents will remain the only players on the market keeping the status quo. We have indicated our concerns to RAB, but at the end the RFA did not change very much. What do you think we could do in this situation? I’m looking forward to your kind feedback! Andras Szucsik, Director of Business Development, BodyTrace Netherlands B.V, bodytrace.com, Netherlands, Europe, May 23, 2016.
Replied suggesting he contact the Business Editor, Royal Gazette at www.royalgazette.com and give the above details in hope of publication.
We had been hoping to go to Bermuda this year on a cruise after honeymooning there 50 years ago. But your 2016 accommodation, departure and other taxes now known by all reputable travel agencies have put us off. Travel agencies and travel agents, including several of the latter in our extended family, have told us privately how shocked they are. Please Bermuda, don't alarm me and my family. We want to go back but we are not willing to pay what are now the highest taxes in the world by far in Bermuda in cruise ship cabin taxes and for airline passengers in hotel occupancy, gratuities and much more, then have to pay Bermuda WIFI costs other cruise ship destinations don't charge for at all while in port. When your government applies these outrageous taxes compared to other islands in the way it has done, it ruins Bermuda's previously good tourism reputation. We are not looking for cheap prices but we absolutely insist on good value for money. More and more would-be Bermuda tourists will go to Barbados, Cuba or Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands instead if you do not moderate your tourism and related taxes. Simon Johnson and family, Coopersburg, PA 18036, USA, May 5, 2016.
Until recently, my wife and family and I were planning a stay in Bermuda. Which is why I have been studying your superb Bermuda Online and daily Royal Gazette newspaper. But we are no longer considering it. Why? Because of your newspaper's and your online reports of mass public protests by locals against giving Bermuda citizenship not to newcomers but to others who have lawfully and legitimately lived in Bermuda for decades, with some of their children having been born there. I am also appalled that our US Consulate in Bermuda has not said anything. Our President and State Department have long complained to China and other countries about their human rights wrongs. They should be equally critical of Bermuda residents who don't believe in fundamental human rights of citizenship based on country of residence. in my view In my view, the US State Department should stop US tourists going to Bermuda until the dissidents see sense. The UK Government should also act. Your present Bermuda Government is finally trying to do the right thing. Your citizens should do likewise in this matter. No country in the world, except Bermuda, has such vicious feelings against long-term residents who in any other country would have qualified for citizenship in five years at the most since first arriving. Only in Bermuda has it become a racial issue. That has to be publicized internationally. Hope you publish this. Brian A Adamson, Beacon Street, Boston MA 02116 USA, March 1, 2016.
On January 13, 2016 in your History and Newspaper Headlines file on Bermuda Online you ran a most interesting piece on how certain Bermuda hoteliers are calling for cheaper flights to the Island and strong international branding as the keys to rebuilding Bermuda’s hotel industry. In my view, to create a successful ‘Brand Bermuda’ based on all Bermuda's strengths Bermuda should call on and get some professional marketing advice from the one organization that has hugely successfully created and refined its own unique branding, not only in Jamaica but throughout the rest of the Caribbean. The Sandals brand and the all-inclusive packages offered by the many Sandals resorts in Jamaica, three in St. Lucia, also in Grenada, Barbados and elsewhere are the principal reasons why so many tourists now go there en masse, from the USA, Canada, UK and beyond. Yes, there has always been a belief that Bermuda’s hotels are too expensive. But it is not the answer merely to say that because Bermuda has such a variety of guesthouses, small properties and big hotels, there is a wide range of rates that can appeal to those with lower budgets. Instead, the emphasis has to be on value for money. Yes, Bermuda needs something that is going to change the game but it will not be simply because there is a chronic need to offer guests going to Bermuda an affordable flight from the eastern corridor. Bermuda, now the most expensive place by far in the whole Western Hemisphere, needs to drastically chop its now totally unrealistic tourism taxes on arrivals, departures, stays at resorts and other hotels and other places. Bermuda's entire hotel industry must persuade the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the tax-hungry moguls in the Bermuda Government to get together, figure it out and make it happen. Only when it does so will it increase business, increase arrivals, increase Bermuda's international popularity to the benefit of everyone. Who better to create a whole new value-for-money Bermuda Brand than the Sandals teams who have revolutionized and re-ignited tourism in all the islands offering Sandals resorts and are wonderful places for my entire family and circle of friends to go. Anybody who is anxious for value for money and has any common sense will now compare total prices of Bermuda guesthouses hotels and resorts with Sandals resorts. In Bermuda, you then have to add on resort levy and other taxes. At Sandals, all those and airfares are included so you know upfront exactly how much you will pay. Bermuda should do the same. When that happens, my family and I, all of us wanting value for money for our $100,000 + per year in income, will be glad to return to Bermuda. Our earlier visit was just far too expensive for what we got in value for money. David W Grant, Oberlin, OH 44074, USA, January 19, 2016.
Hi Bermuda Online, I write as someone from the USA who owns considerable stock in several prominent US-based but Bermuda-incorporated corporations and as a stockholder has recently visited Bermuda once both as a tourist and conventioneer. With Bermuda so close commercially, economically and spiritually to the USA, with over 75% of all your business, commerce and tourism coming from the USA, I write to ask if you can answer this business-like enquiry relative to the election in November this year of a new US president. Is it true, as I have been told, that most Bermuda nationals want the Democrats to win? But if so is it not also true it is the Democrats, not Republicans, who have been trying consistently but not yet successfully to hinder if not cease completely the efforts of Bermuda-incorporated insurance companies to insure business interests in the USA? I understand President Obama himself, then as a senator, was once personally involved in one of those campaigns. Given this scenario, if indeed the majority of decent folks from Bermuda nevertheless want the Democrats to win again, is this is in total contrast to the likely political views of the owners of most present and future Bermuda-incorporated entities, nowadays the main bread, butter and jam of Bermuda's economy, who may for their own corporate reasons want the Republicans to win? Which of the US Presidential candidates from both mainstream US political parties offers the best likelihood of Bermuda remaining such a prominent tax haven when compared to the corporate tax policies of the USA? If the Democrats win the election for a third time I have been reliably informed they will succeed in their efforts to close down or at least severely hamper the efforts of all tax havens beyond the USA and its dependencies. Can you comment? John D Martin, America Street, Providence RI 02903, USA, January 15, 2016.
Interesting email, perhaps it will help generate more comments on this topic. They will be welcomed if factual. It is certainly the case that Bermudians and residents depend far more on the USA for their business, commerce and tourism than on any other country. But beyond that not much more can be said at present by this author about Bermuda's stand.
Dear Bermuda Online. I am writing an article about Coopers Island for The Bermudian magazine. Could you tell me whether it is still being used as a temporary tracking station for NASA. I would be most grateful. Kind regards, Liz Jones, Freelance Writer and English Tutor. Hamilton, Bermuda, November 18, 2015.
See our references to Coopers Island and photographs in our St. David's Island file, under "Coopers Island"
I was particularly interested when told by my UK travel club colleagues about the email sent to you by fellow-member John Foster of Palmers Green, London. I will not be surprised, frankly, if you at Bermuda Online do not wish to publish this because it more than confirms what Mr Foster has said. Just for comparison purposes, because my wife and I also have a family member working in Bermuda for a multi-national insurance company whom we would like to visit, but who lives in a smallish one-bedroom apartment in your City of Hamilton, I asked by email for an in-season (June 2016) quotation for a hopefully nice but not Atlantic sea view hotel room at Bermuda's elite Elbow Beach Hotel. I requested breakfast, lunch and dinner but got a quote for only breakfast and dinner. No airfare or drinks are included. I also asked Sandals Barbados for an in-season November 2016 quote because we have friends living in Christ Church, Barbados, only a few miles away. At Elbow Beach, Bermuda, the quote, which does not include any airfare or a portion thereof or drinks or lunch, the room sub-total quote including an astonishing Resort Fee of $700 was $12,822.99, with daily breakfast and four-course dinner an extra $3000 plus, making a total of over $16,000, with Bermuda Government and hotel taxes not included. At Sandals Barbados, with a substantial portion of airfare in premium economy or economy included from London Gatwick and breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and unlimited alcoholic drinks, cocktails and liqueurs and all Barbados Government and hotel taxes also included, the quoted cost was £8709, or about US$13,000. What a difference, publish this if you dare, feel free to check for yourselves! Michael Harrison, Southgate, London, N14, England, November 11, 2015.
We are glad to publish all such comments when factually correct. We first checked the quotes to ensure they are substantially correct. We have asked the Bermuda Tourism Authority to comment on the two emails below. Bermuda's hotel prices are clearly higher.
I write from the UK as a potential visitor to Bermuda primarily because of a brother working there as an executive of a Bermuda-incorporated British insurance company. With many friends and business colleagues I belong to a UK-wide travel club in which members give their candid views on where they have been and what they particularly like or dislike about places they visit. I'm told that while virtually all visitors from the UK enjoy their Bermuda holiday, they have two areas in particular of major grumbles that prevent them being firm repeat visitors. One is their shock over how much in the variety of hotel and Bermuda Government taxes all Bermuda visitors now have to pay, with some complaining they had to spend over US$50 a day just in room taxes. The other is their disappointment there is only one all-inclusive resort in Bermuda, with a very limited number of restaurants and only average overall quality of meals, mostly buffet. My colleagues compare this with their stays in Barbados, in particular at Sandals there, with I believe eleven restaurants, a huge choice of international cuisine including Japanese, Italian, French, all included and a la carte, not buffet, plus all alcoholic drinks also included, all types of cocktails, mixed or blended drinks and premium liqueurs from around the world. We all wish there was a Sandals in Bermuda. We hope this will be possible, especially with your Tucker's Point Hotel up for sale. We also hope Bermuda will change and reduce its visitor-tax system to make it much reasonable like Barbados, not extortionate as it is now. It must be reported and recorded that Bermuda prices for premium (like Sandals) and other Bermuda properties has been noticed and is now written extensively in the UK. A fortnight in Bermuda including premium economy airfare at a premium Bermuda hotel with only lunch and dinner and no lunch or alcoholic drinks included is about 45% more expensive than a similar premium-economy flight fortnight at a particularly luxurious swim-up poolside room at four-star all-inclusive beachside Sandals Barbados. John Foster, Palmers Green, London, N13, England, 9 November, 2015.
I write in hope you at Bermuda Online and your Bermuda Tourism Authority can reassure me and similar older folk that Bermuda, its hospital and Bermuda Medical Association all now have the highest possible medical ethics in the event of an unexpected death while in Bermuda on vacation or business of an airline or cruise ship visitor. Can you say categorically that a situation that happened in Bermuda in April 2008 - see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2392160/Familys-anger-Norman-Palmer-died-Bermuda-brought-organs-missing.html#ixzz3n1Igj3gYwhen an Englishman then in Bermuda died and had his kidney, spleen, brain, throat, thyroid, prostate, bladder, small and large intestine removed before his body was sent to his home in Yeovil, England, was an unfortunate one-off and will never happen again? Or does it now happen routinely whenever a local or visitor dies in Bermuda, as several have done in 2015 to date, even when a visitor has not signed up to any local or international agreement as an organ donor and tourists and visitors presumably do not receive any prior notification of this from your Tourism people? When I let it be known I was considering a 2016 post-retirement cruise vacation to Bermuda I was reminded about this by friends and relatives from Yeovil in England, who sent me the above link. As an elderly New Englander I will gladly consider a visit to Bermuda on its merits. But I would never, ever, go there if it means that if I die there and without any consent from my family my remains will be mutilated with my kidney, spleen, brain, throat, thyroid, prostate, bladder, small and large intestine removed before my body is sent to home to Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Kevin K. Malloy, America Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, September 25, 2015.
It is regretted Bermuda Online (BOL) is unable to state that the captioned incident was a one-off. Visitors concerned about this and needing to know what happens to their body parts in Bermuda when visitors die in Bermuda and whose remains are sent to their home countries should contact the Bermuda Tourist Authority at http://www.GotoBermuda.com, also the Bermuda Health Council at www.bhec.bm and Bermuda Hospitals Board at http://www.bhb.bm.
My colleagues and I in the the USA's hotels and tourism industry in both individual states and nationwide read with great concern in your Bermuda Online how, on September 8, 2015, during Bermuda's Labor Day commemorations, there was unrelenting condemnation of the policies of your Bermuda Government. Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert stated publicly your government is going to get bashed by Union members. Unfortunately for once-beautiful Bermuda, it now has a notorious reputation among serious professional American tourists not only as a place where Bermuda's public transport cannot be relied on any longer because of all-too-frequent and sudden wildcat stoppages particularly affecting and inconveniencing airline tourists and cruise ship visitors, but also where your Bermuda Industrial Union, its officials and their petty antics were the single biggest reason by a very wide margin why all American, British and European hotels have left Bermuda, to avoid constant union bickering, walk-outs, strikes and never-ending hostility, often blatantly racially anti-white and anti-foreigner. To this day, Holiday Inn, Marriott's, Sonesta, Wyndham and more, all still operating by the way in the the far less union-belligerent islands of Caribbean, UK, Europe and elsewhere, privately and publicly cite the BIU as the principal reason by far they left Bermuda, never to return. It is our considered opinion this has also been the main reason why Bermuda's tourism has slumped so hugely in recent years. Until this is recognized and dealt with, Bermuda is not going to progress in tourism. The group from Venezuela contemplating a new Bermuda hotel had not previously known this but know it now and are apprehensive. They should have been told by both your present and previous government. Of course there is a need for unionism, but it should be responsible and accoutable and work with government, to serve the community, not disrupt and harass the latter. I hope you will publish this frank opinion. John P. Daley, Washington DC 20007, USA, September 13, 2015.
I have personally attended Cup Match on multiple occasions, and I have a group wishing to experience Cup Match in 2016. Your site indicates that The Bermuda Cup Match will be played August 4 & 5, while "Thinking Of Bermuda" states that, "Cup Match will take place on July 28 & 29 2016".I respectfully ask you to kindly confirm the date of Bermuda Cup Match 2016 if possible. Thank you, Joseph Calvacca, Cruise Planners American Express Travel Services, NY. September 7, 2015.
The info you were given is incorrect, for correct details see our http://www.bermuda-online.org/pubhols.htm.
Hello Bermuda Online (BOL)! By way of introduction, my name is Brady Whittingham, Founder of the Bermuda Golf Classic, a Spring event on the island featuring NFL players. I’ve also recently joined the 2015 Bermuda Goodwill Golf Tournament committee to help with the event, now in its 63rd year. I often come across Bermuda-Online.org in various searches related to Bermuda and I wanted to reach out to find out if we might be able to raise the awareness of our events with listings in your events calendar. From my own google experience, my guess is your Website is one of the most visited of the Bermuda sites, which could of course really help draw attention to the golf product on the island. Aside from the events I mentioned above, I believe that there isn’t a better golf destination in the world. I strongly believe that tourism during the slow months from September to April could really get a boost from people experiencing what I have during those months. I love Bermuda, and if there is a way I can impact the health of the tourism-dependent businesses on the island, I sure would like to do my part. If you think there might be a fit, please email me back. Warm regards, Brady Whittingham, Event Director, Bermuda Golf Classic, East 1000 South Pleasant Grove, UT 84062, USA, September 1, 2015.
Replied, stating BOL will gladly work with him and help promote Bermuda's golf especially the events mentioned above, assuming he is willing to agree to reciprocal linkage shown BOL's Linkage and Mentions.
Plagiarism unmasked. For many years now I have studied and admired your Bermuda Online for its honesty, integrity and reliability of its own carefully researched and constantly updated information. A friend, in his case a hotel part-owner and its executive chef, like me once again Bermuda-bound soon, used another Bermuda site, Bermuda.com, to get his food information. We compared notes. I was shocked to see how your own Bermuda Cuisine site has been plagiarized, word for word, by Bermuda.com. It's not only plagiarism it is extreme, deliberate and blatant plagiarism. To quote Wikipedia, "plagiarism is the wrongful appropriation, stealing and publication of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the false representation of them as one's own original work. Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics." Is this how website owners behave in Bermuda, in violation of international authors codes of ethics? The fact that the two websites have a common owner is no excuse. What should have happened is that Bermuda.com, instead of plagiarizing the piece, should have hyper-linked to it and thereby acknowledged your Mr Keith Forbes as the author and researcher of the Bermuda Cuisine information. Bermuda.com should now do the decent thing, apologize and create such a link. Edward D. Adams, Wisconsin Avenue NW, Georgetown, Washington DC 20007, July 30, 2015.
My name is Yuxi and now I am helping my client perform an analysis related to its Bermuda business and we are wondering if you could kindly provide me the labor cost data of Bermuda. General hourly labor cost in local currency would be good enough, appreciate your help! Thank you so much and have a nice day! Yuxi Meng, PwC | Transfer Pricing, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, High St, Boston, MA 02110. July 1, 2015.
Replied, referring the writer to the applicable one of many Price Waterhouse offices incorporated and domiciled in Bermuda.
I am one - of the many I know - who have much appreciated your very informative file on Artists from Overseas, including from here in the UK, who have gone to Bermuda and been very productive. You have done a nice job portraying them and their works, some of which have achieved world acclaim. I also know that from time to time some of us in the commercial or private art collecting business have contacted you at your excellent Bermuda Online (BOL) in hope of getting some kind of a valuation on some works by Bermudian or Bermuda-based artists. I understand from others in my circle that BOL has always been willing to create a free courtesy electronic link to organizations such as the Bermuda Society of Arts, Masterworks and others and various other galleries in Bermuda, but with the very natural and normal proviso that those entities should reciprocate the courtesy with a return link. On several occasion, you have referred us to the Bermuda Society of Arts (BSoA) when further information about a particular artist is needed. But, to our dismay, the website for the BSoA does not seem to have an index containing any facts about any specific Bermuda or Bermuda-based artist. If indeed the Society's mission has always been, as it claims, to further the cause of art and artists in Bermuda, could it please start to have a publicly accessible file on each one of them, past or present? Surely this is both feasible and practical to expect in the annual membership fees levied by BSoA? If present members of the presumed 400 or so Bermudian and Bermuda-based artists don't already have their own websites, could BSoA provide one so that their works can be glimpsed internationally? And surely, given the exceptionally detailed information about Bermuda that BOL has exclusively in many areas, the BSoA and other artistic entities would want to link to you? Is it their lack of knowledge about how the World Wide Web works that prevents them from doing so, for the overall benefit of Bermuda? George Robertson, Lancaster, LAI 3PE, England, 20 June 2015.
I am hoping you at Bermuda Online might be able to assist me with questions regarding a Bermuda mailing address from the 1930s. As this year's guest curator for the Tasha Tudor Museum, I am currently preparing to do a presentation during a centenary-celebration weekend in late August at TTM (in Brattleboro, Vermont). Recent research has revealed that in 1932, Rosamond Tudor (Tasha's late mother) offered to teach two months of painting classes to prospective art students while she--and teenager Tasha--visited Bermuda during the winter. Her announcement included a contact address of "The Gooseneck, Somerset Bridge, Bermuda." My understanding is that Tasha and her mother were, at that time, guests of other Tudor relatives but I am not sure of their names nor if they were seasonal or year-round residents. I have read a little about Tudor Hill but have not ascertained if the area's name is directly related to any of the Tudor family members from New England, primarily Massachusetts. Today I read an online announcement about the Somerset Bridge sub post office's closing which occurred last November. Would I be correct in thinking that it is the same "Somerset Bridge" office which is part of the 1932 address? Any information you may have or any direction you can provide, especially regarding The Gooseneck, will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for taking the time to consider my inquiry. Sincerely, Jeanette Chandler Knazek, Alpharetta, Georgia 30004 USA, June 16, 2015.
Answered stating Tudor Hill was named after a 17th century British Bermudian family, not known from here if they had any US relatives. Also that Somerset Bridge is a well-known scenic and residential area of Sandys Parish and, in a follow-up, stated we knew of a 2015 application to Planning re Gooseneck Cottage, understood some time ago to have been rented to artists both before and after the visit mentioned by Ms Knazek of Rosamond Tudor, her husband and daughter.
Thank you for your time and effort on your Bermuda Online's War Veterans Pages. I noticed that you don’t seem to have any information about Bermudians who served in the Canadian Army during WW2. Here is the short version of one story. My Father, Timothy Joseph Card, was among the very first to go off to Canada at the outbreak of the war. I do not have a detailed time-line but anecdotally I believe he went to Canada with a group some of whom ended up in the Canadian Air Force. I believe this may include Eldon Williams and Chummy Zuill with whom he was good friends but I am not sure. He ended up in the Windsor Regiment (The Essex Scottish) as a Sergeant in the Intelligence Section. They trained near Barrie Ontario and were then stationed near Aldershot in England until they went ashore at Dieppe. I do recall he had an enduring friendship with an Officer named Worthington ( I don’t recall the first name). He was wounded on the beach and captured and after convalescence in a POW hospital in France was interned at a Stallag near Dresden. At the end of the war, after several ‘escapes’, he ended up in the then Czechoslovakia (just across the border from Dresden) where he became part of a group running an ‘underground railroad’ assisting escaped and released Allied POW’s who were fleeing toward the west to escape the oncoming Russian forces. The Russians at that time were convinced that once the Nazis were defeated the Allies would turn on them. As a result they had a reputation for executing the internees of POW camps which they over ran - Particularly Officers. Many German camp commanders therefore released their internees and told them to make their way to the west. The Czech group was supplying maps, directions, clothing and food to these freed allied troops. My mother, Vera Pokorna-Card, and her family were part of the group. Once the Russians took Czechoslovakia my father made his way to London and worked there to get a war-bride visa for my mother. He was demobilized in Halifax and came back to Bermuda. My mother joined him soon after and they were married at St. Theresa’s. Jan Card, Harrington Sound Rd, Smith's Parish, FL 07, Bermuda, May 24, 2015.
All of us in my financial advisors group appreciate the uniquely-in-Bermuda impartial facts and figures contained in your advertising-free Bermuda Online which have helped us to realize at least some of the potential significance and future financial implications involved in any possible Bermuda hotel or other guest property acquisition. There are others too, beyond your scope but which we have to consider, such as whether your government offers any incentive-financing as do all the Departments of Economic Development of all 50 US States and/or other tax incentives and what our US tax position might be. I should perhaps have stated at the very beginning I write as a financial advisor and broker for a hotel group that could express an interest in the Rosewood Tuckers Town Hotel if the buying conditions and profit potentials are right. By that I mean an overriding condition would be an outright freehold sale, not a long lease, at a realistic price. My associates and I have learnt from former American operators of Bermuda hotels, namely Holiday Inn, Loews Inn, Marriott and Wyndham, all of whom still operate profitably in the Caribbean and once but no more operated prominent hotels in Bermuda, that only with outright undisputed ownership, not long leasing, sensible non-union interference, not having to pay huge import duties on imports or unrealistic energy costs and other concessions, might it then be feasible because of significant other overheads particularly in Bermuda but not present here in the USA, to buy, operate and hope to profit from a Bermuda hotel. Any potential new non-local owner will also need to know in advance whether they can bring and accommodate in their own management and other key staff without going through Work Permit hoops that don't apply elsewhere and can reasonably hope to avoid any local union problems. John D. Williams, Wisconsin Avenue NW, Georgetown, Washington DC 20007, May 22, 2015.
The information you show in your excellent Bermuda Online News files re Bermuda's Public Assess to Information (PATI) developments is interesting. From personal experience here in the UK I must mention that if your PATI is at all modeled on our UK's Freedom of Information Act, it will not always give you the information you seek. I tried recently to find out via the Edinburgh city council if Scotland's First Minister paid Council Tax for his (now her) official residence at Bute House, Edinburgh, as we all do for our homes here in the UK. But I was refused that information. If there are similar refusal provisos in Bermuda, it may mean that your PATI is also somewhat lacking in real potence. Arthur Rose, Inverness, Scotland, UK, April 6, 2015.
My compliments to those who contribute and take the time to update Bermuda Online website. You have a wealth of information here for potential travelers to Bermuda. It is refreshing to explore a good non-commercial site free of advertising and pop-ups and actually learn reliable information from real residents. Kudos! My question is about sea glass. I read from your beaches description pages that it is illegal to collect sea glass from beaches in Bermuda. Are there specific shops or stores or vendors where I could possibly legally purchase wares such as jewelry, decorative arts and more handcrafted from seaglass? If so, would you recommend one particular shop I should visit? Thanks in advance for your time. Looking forward to my upcoming visit in August. Best, Christopher Simone, Pickerington, Ohio 43147, USA, March 25, 2015.
Here in central Scotland, UK, a lady friend of mine, a fellow travel writer and editor on jurisdictional economic comparisons including departure taxes, joined me in comparing the value-for-money cost, not an actual value cost, of a possible Bermuda holiday. As we both have relatives qualified in various professions working in Bermuda under contract to leading offshore insurance firms and have been thinking of going to Bermuda for a fortnight or so to visit them, we have perused with great interest your particularly informative Bermuda Online pages, indeed a unique virtual encyclopedia on Bermuda. We have looked for information and statistics that paint an overall picture of the taxes payable at established and up-and-coming tourism resorts and why and how they compare with competing places. In Bermuda's case, we were dismayed to discover a range of disturbing statistics that should be of acute concern to your tourism officials. We recommend they be addressed as quickly as possible with the aim of creating a scenario in which Bermuda can be seen to be competitive in every way with other jurisdictions instead of being so far in front of them in over-the-top tourism expenses. What we have found out in merely some basic facts and figures is not complimentary to Bermuda. As just a few examples, we have discovered how Bermuda has not only 36 members of parliament all earning far more than our own members of parliament here but also more than 4,800 full time government employees, 600 police, tourism accommodation taxes of very nearly 20% plus from 1 April 2015 a departure tax of US$50 per person, the highest on the world by a huge margin for such a small island of only 21 square miles. Something has to give, heads galore have to roll, if you want to see Bermuda holding its own in providing value-for-money tourism. John Mackay, Glasgow G1 IPP, Scotland. UK, 13 March, 2015.
Interesting to note how the news of your new Bermuda Departure Tax of US$50 from 1 April 2015 is spreading around like wildfire and causing so much dismay among would-be travelers. Here in Barbados, our departure tax now and also applicable from 1 April is Barbados $55 or US$27.50. We don't believe in overcharging our tourist guests. Thelma Brathwaite, Maxwell Coast Road, Christchurch, Barbados, March 3, 2014.
I write to say I was shocked to hear your Bermuda Departure Tax will be increased from $35 to $50 from April 1. I want to express my extreme displeasure, to the point I am no longer considering a 2015 25th anniversary visit with my wife, whom I met in Bermuda. At $50 for each of your island's 21 square miles, this works out at $2.28 dollars per square mile, absolutely outrageous. No other country in the world, not even far larger countries, applies such a departure tax rip-off. If your tourism authority hopes to revive your tourism, it had better roll back this outrage. Instead of over-charging tourists, you should instead be halving your number of legislators. Having 36 in only 21 square miles means tourists don't get value for money, all we do is let your legislators get rich at our expense. Puerto Rico here we come, instead. Rick C. Brown, Jersey City, 07302, USA, February 22, 2015.
My wife and I met at the Coral Beach Club 50 years ago. I was the night auditor coming from the Hotel school of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Rosemary had been hired by Mr Wardman to work at the front desk and came from Belfast. We fell in love and got married in Geneva in 1964. We would like to celebrate this 50th wedding anniversary, in coming by boat from New York to Hamilton harbour and either return by boat a week / 10 days later to New York or fly home directly from Bermuda to London - Geneva. From Geneva, I have trouble organizing this boat trip. I do not want a large cruise ship docking far away from town and I was wondering if you could help me with the name (and website) of a shipping company sailing regularly from New York to Hamilton ? I thank you very much in advance for your help and look forward to hearing from you. Jan & Rosemary LEPPIN Bois-de-Seyme, Vandoeuvres SWITZERLAND, January 23, 2015.
Replied with info requested.
I'm quite impressed with your Bermuda Online website. I am writing about Bermuda's tourism industry and what the country is doing to improve travel and tourism. You have a lot of very good information on your site. Are you available by phone to talk about Bermuda tourism for my story? Many thanks, Johanna Jainchill, Destinations Editor, Travel Weekly, New Jersey, USA, January 14, 2015.
As a possible newcomer to Bermuda from the UK, with my own exportable business I might well wish to operate from Bermuda with my wife and adult children, I'd like to express my sincere appreciation for how much your Bermuda Online has helped me do some very extensive personal research on Bermuda. But what concerns me are the the bureaucracies of establishing an international company there compared to other jurisdictions; the expenses of doing so compared to other jurisdictions; and the overall cost-of-living compared to elsewhere. I gather there have been recent commendable initiatives to transform your tourism industry, to get back the leading position Bermuda once had. Are similar moves being contemplated to help turn Bermuda into a more internationally business-friendly place? Its reputation as a reputable business domicile has suffered severely of late owing to political put-downs galore on the expat community, regulations that don't occur elsewhere and, significantly, that your government has not and will not offer local citizenship even to blemish-free expats or their children who have lived there for generations. Now, with a recent change of government, will it soon be possible, as has been the case for years in the UK, USA, Canada and beyond, to incorporate a Bermuda-registered company or partnership without first having to use a lawyer? To have more than one car per family? To pay none or reasonable (not grossly expensive) annual car registration for those with low vehicle emissions, as happens now in the UK? To freely use, without the need for special permission, a purchased or rented home or flat (apartment) for purely office-like business purposes? And to pay annual property taxes at say City of Westminster London rates instead of as much as say $90,000 a year? I'm a potentially serious corporate newcomer once I can be convinced that Bermuda is a truly competitive international business jurisdiction in overall jurisdictional transfer costs. John Williams, Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 3DE, January 5, 2015.
I'm hoping you guys at Bermuda Online or any of your readers might know or know of or be able to locate any of those involved with Clarion Enterprises of Box1707, Hamilton 5, Bermuda, going back to 1982 and beyond. It produced the Bermuda Islands Guide, printed in Canada by Dollco Printing of Ottawa. That entity's art director was a Karen Azulay Dolan. I am trying to locate a principal, to congratulate him or her and to ask if by chance an update is available. I appreciate it was a long time ago but any information you have or can get will be much appreciated. John F. Buchan, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA, January 4, 2015.
I write as a possible future first-time visitor to Bermuda, although not one at all interested in the America's Cup, about which I gather there has been so much excitement in Bermuda. It may indeed prove to be hugely beneficial to your island's economy which has clearly been struggling in recent years. But in the meantime, as Bermuda can so easily sign up to the enormous number of concessions required the America's Cup organizers in terms of satisfying their needs, can Bermuda please also begin to cater to the needs of non-sailing tourists who need to be able to get around and about via rented automobiles instead of having to be reliant on public transport or taxis. It's my belief this has been a principal reason why your tourism has declined to markedly in recent years. There is no valid reason why tourists should not be allowed to drive themselves around. When you can do so everywhere in Europe despite often horrific traffic congestion in cities like Paris, Milan, Berlin, and routinely in USA, Canada, even the least economically developed countries of Africa and the Caribbean, you surely ought to be allowed to do so in Bermuda. Saying no to this is like saying no to generations of lost tourists. If you come to an expensive and affluent place like Bermuda, you should be able to expect far more options than often-crowded mostly daytime public transportation too often not available because of some wildcat strike, or over-priced taxis. Marvin B. Peterson, Rye, NY 10580, USA, January 3, 2015.
Coming as I do from a largely rural state of the USA, it's natural that I and most of my fellow farmers or similar use pickup trucks both for home use and business. But when my wife and I visited Bermuda recently on a cruise ship, after seeing your great Bermuda Online, we were amazed to note there are very few pickup trucks in Bermuda. We were told in Bermuda that your equivalent of our Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does not routinely allow Bermuda consumers to own pickup trucks, as they do in every part of the USA to the best of my knowledge and belief, you have to be a business. Why is this the case, when pickups are so incredibly useful for household chores? Everyone I spoke to in Bermuda, including cab drivers, said they wished Bermuda laws would allow them to have a pickup as their sole vehicle, instead of a sedan. I can understand why a small island like Bermuda must have some restrictions not necessary in much larger countries, but surely pickups instead of regular automobiles should at least be an option? They are in other small countries. Arnold C. Brown, Kansas City, Missouri 64114. USA, November 3, 2014.
I think your post about Hurricane Fay is incorrect in the "Hurricane History 1963-present" in your Climate file. It states that Fay strengthened suddenly and passed directly over Bermuda. Residents experienced 80-120 mph gusting winds later reported to have peaked at 155 mph. Coconut trees and other trees collapsed, blocking access to houses. Many roofs were damaged. All schools were closed as a result and one of the government schools lost its roof. Two thirds of homes lost electricity as power lines were blown down or broken by trees. Electricity outages meant no power, no running water, no flushing toilets, no fridges or air conditioning, no radio or TV or Internet. Many boats were wrecked and shipping containers blown from the Port Of Hamilton into the harbour. This was a fast, furious and very short-lived hurricane of just a couple of hours duration. I don't believe this is accurate. Please confirm. At worst, it was a category 1 storm when it passed Bermuda. Thanks, Jamie Jones, Lead Meteorologist NetJets Inc. 4111 Bridgeway Avenue Columbus, OH 43219 USA, October 14, 2014.
It is accurate, confirmed and reported in-depth by our Royal Gazette daily national newspaper.
I write from Barbados to say how intrigued I am with your user-friendly Bermuda Online and from the information you provide, that the entire area of Bermuda is the size of the Barbados parish, Christchurch, in which I live. I have a cousin from Barbados living and working in Bermuda, hence my interest. What truly amazes me however is the fact that while we have 5 members of our parliament for each of our parliamentary constituencies in our 53 square kilometres or 21 square miles, you guys in Bermuda have a staggering 36 members of parliament in your 21 square miles. I used to wonder why my Bermuda-based Bajan cousin always complains bitterly about the hugely higher cost of living in Bermuda compared to Barbados. Now I know - it is primarily from the enormously high cost of your legislators and their unfortunate economic ripple effects. No wonder it is so expensive to tourists! I'll need to become a millionaire before I can afford to visit, it will be a while yet.... Thelma Brathwaite, Maxwell Coast Road, Christchurch, Barbados, September 25, 2014.
I've just been told that a Briton who was employed in Bermuda from about 1972 until 1991, in other words for 19 years, now nearly 70, does not get a Bermuda Department of Social Insurance pension, only got a one-time amount of what he put in, with no interest. Surely that is not right? In the UK, Canada and USA, he'd surely get a regular monthly pension, or monthly Social Security. I really believe this scenario, if true in this chap's case, needs to be aired publicly and rectified before it affects Bermuda's reputation as an international business centre. Others who have worked in Bermuda for a similar length of time or longer from 1972 who also paid Social Insurance but who don't get it at age 65 should be interested. It's my understanding that Bermuda's Social Insurance is paid in addition to any qualifying pension obtained through a private or public Bermuda employer under the National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Act 1998. Thomas O'Neill, Leadenhall Street, London EC3A 3DE, 5 September, 2014.
At what I understand is an uncertain time in Bermuda in your economy, politics and tourism, key things about your Bermuda Online stand out. They are your accuracy, consistency in updating, honesty, integrity and reliability. You don't editorialize, you just state facts. You often make comparisons with other jurisdictions, often significant. I also particularly like the fact that when another major website in the Bermuda stable seems to have stopped production entirely at the end of July, yours has continued its uniquely informative service. May it long continue! George W. Dickinson, Fifth Avenue, New York 10103, USA, August 15, 2014.
Much appreciated compliment, very pleased to know the website is relied on.
I was referencing the Bermuda Online site for the umpteenth time and then it hit me how I simply take it for granted. For many years I have gone to the site as a starting point to answer questions I might have about the history of Bermuda, its government, immigration policy and on and on. This site is of a very high, uniform quality and I just wanted to say how much I (and I am sure many others) appreciate this most valuable resource. Great stuff! David Bedard, Smith's Parish, Bermuda, August 5, 2014.
A serious question for you good guys at Bermuda Online. Who owns Bernews.com? If you know, can you say? I ask because it's been noted in the past that some quite authoritative Bermuda journalists appear to have written for it but no bye-lines ever seem to be given. Normally, one can go to Whois and get some basic details but in this case all you can get is the name of one person, a Burchall. At one time I know that in the days before the Internet, all written offline publications had to show who printed and published them but this does not seem to be the case with websites. It really ought to apply. In the meantime, many thanks for not hesitating to say in your About Us in your fine website who owns it. Thomas G. Hancock, Dover, Delaware 19901, USA, July 30, 2014.
I write you in Bermuda Online (BOL) as a news editor to express my disgust over how some politically motivated people in your country are demonstrating publicly to prevent foreigners who are long-term law-abiding residents of Bermuda from ever gaining the citizenship they have richly deserved for many years. I'm glad this has now reached the attention of newspapers here in the USA, Canada, Caribbean and further away. Bermuda is getting some really bad press from it. It's an appalling international story. In tourism alone, Bermuda has more restrictions by far than in any other country and this is becoming more and more known. There are so many things tourists cannot do in Bermuda that they can in other countries. Insane restrictions Bermuda has but other countries don't are in also in living conditions and fundamental human rights. If you want tourism, create attractive incentives, not restrictions ad nauseam. If you want international business, create business-friendly and citizenship incentives, not insultingly insufferable human rights wrongs. It's not surprising internationals are objecting. Until your people learn to loosen up, to give tourists and residents the same rights - not privileges - as folks beyond Bermuda get, you won't re-grow your hugely-declined tourism or international business, you'll just continue on the downward spiral of declining returns yet in some cases outrageously high prices that are more turn-offs not turn-ons. Surely this must be totally obvious to your politicians of all political stripes and tourism officials. Kenneth W. Morgan, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772, USA, July 28, 2014.
Thanks, Bermuda Online (BOL)! For a wealth of information about your island on all types of topics constantly updated and presented in an easy-to-see manner. For your website which is updated in part on a daily basis, including all public holidays. By their very nature, websites should have constantly updated news and you achieve that. You also answer inquiries about the contents of your website within a day even when a public holiday. I believe you are the only website in Bermuda that does that and I commend you unreservedly for it. We in New England regard you as the best website in Bermuda by a very wide margin for your insider knowledge, detail and thoroughness. Thanks solely to you also, we now know that the correct name for your citizens is Bermudian, not Bermudan. Long may this continue. Joseph P. Arnold, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA, July 18, 2014.
Thanks so much, Bermuda Online for your sensible advice to all from USA or Canada or wherever who seek to rent a vacation home in Bermuda mentioned in your Bermuda Homes. My husband and I and our children are most grateful. Yes indeed, all who seek to rent a Bermuda home, whether on a short term holiday (vacation) basis or on a monthly lease or rental agreement, are strongly advised, before the rental period occurs, to get it in writing that the owner or owners have had the property and in particular its water tank both examined and certified by a competent Bermuda authority such as the Department of Health, as free from any water contamination that could cause potentially very serious health problems. Most folk who are not Bermudians or long-term residents don't know that Bermuda has absolutely no standard piped-in underground fresh water supply and no piped-out underground waste water and sewage system. It also has rivers or a rainy season, no fresh water lakes. It has to be said publicly that many Bermuda home owners and landlords do not comply with nearly 65 year old Bermuda Government regulations - Public Health (Water Storage) Regulations 1951, which require all household water tanks to be professionally cleaned every six years, as a result of which unsuspecting tenants could be unwittingly exposing themselves, their children and their pets to dangerous drinking and bathing water. It also has to be said that these regulations, which in any event are too old to comply with international current standards, have not been enforced in Bermuda and that many properties have not had their tanks professionally cleaned for possibly as long as 30 years. Many water tanks located in homes rented to non-Bermudians do not meet American, Canadian and other international hygiene standards and prospective renters should make a special point of asking for appropriate certification that water tanks have been cleaned recently before they rent. If they cannot be supplied with such certification they should not rent the property, period. Jane M. Patton, Rye, NY 10580, USA, July 17, 2014.
My wife and I agree completely with John Anderson of RI in his July 6 email. We too were Breakaway passengers and had paid for ferry passes but could not use them because of a sudden walkout by Bermuda's unionized public transportation employees. This nonsense has to stop or Bermuda's reputation as a nice place to visit will soon end. It's happened too often recently according to friends who have earlier cruised to Bermuda. News gets around fast. In the past, Bermuda has been one of the best places to cruise to primarily for three reasons, its level of public transportation, its acceptable pricing and the fact that unlike most ports in the non-American Caribbean, Bermuda, as a far more prosperous island, has no hustling beggars that so annoy cruise visitors it's a turn-off for those islands, But if you can't rely on the Bermuda public transport the cruise lines and Bermuda Tourism Authority say is available it can spoil or lessen the value of a cruise vacation and then other factors come into play such as rip-off in-port Internet and WIFI fees so hugely high in Bermuda compared to all Caribbean ports bar none and staggeringly high prices for off-ship restaurants and bars. It's also been noted by many that the quality of food on a number of the cruise ships leaving US ports and going for 2.5 to 3 days solely in Bermuda has decreased significantly, not Bermuda's fault but a reason nevertheless to make sure one gets best value for money in a hard-earned vacation. David H. Mancini, Brooklyn, New York, 11208, USA, July 10, 2014.
I write as a New England newspaper journalist then on vacation as one of the passengers on the Norwegian Breakaway berthed at Dockyard Bermuda on June 20. My wife and I and thousands of other cruse ship passenger were stranded in Dockyard that day when the sudden suspension of ferries upset our plans as visitors. Overall, more than 6,000 passengers and 3,000 crew of our ship and the Celebrity Summit were taken by surprise. Many, like my wife and I, had paid for daily transportation passes which were useless. So we and thousands more really got ripped off in Bermuda. The resultant negative newspaper, radio, television and social media publicity Bermuda got could easily have been avoided if Bermuda had enacted legislation, as all public transportation services in New York, Boston, Providence and elsewhere in the USA have done, to prohibit strikes of public transportation personnel. It should surely be obvious to your Government, tourist board and unions that when you get 85% of all your tourists and international corporate customers from the USA you should cater to them adequately, not contemptuously. I'm told Bermuda has now been struck off the list of desirable places for cruise ship passengers to go to until the situation changes drastically. John B. Anderson, Providence, Rhode Island 02915, USA, July 6, 2014.
Mr. Forbes, thank you for creating the Bermuda Online (BOL) website. As a mother of two primary age children, your site has helped us create many informative projects and to discover numerous facts about our island home that would otherwise take a lot of time. I appreciate your dedication to Bermuda by documenting and containing such an enormous amount of up-to-date information about Bermuda, her history and her people in one location. Appreciative Mom (Mrs. Angela Symonds), Hamilton, Bermuda, July 3, 2014.
Compliment much appreciated.
As frequent cruisers and travel writers for seniors, my wife and I just returned home after a cruise first to Caribbean island ports then to Bermuda via the USA where my wife and I were visiting our son, daughter-in-law and their children. We all cruised to Bermuda from Boston, MA. It was a nice cruise in many respects but in one particular area it was a disappointing and shocking rip-off. I refer to the exorbitant cost in Bermuda for Internet access for cruise ship visitors at your Royal Naval Dockyard. $5.99 an hour is unjustifiable, an outrageous price compared to many Caribbean ports where their tourism boards either now routinely provide entirely free WIFI or, such as in Grenada, it costs cruise passengers only $3 not per hour but per a day, or at no cost at all if you have a $3-$5 maximum price rum punch, unlike Bermuda's hugely higher drink costs, at a local bar while in port. Please pass this on to your Bermuda Tourism Authority Authority for it to take appropriate remedial action before it gets noted unfavourably about Bermuda in Trip Advisor and more. John Goldsmith, Southgate, London, N14, England, UK, 12th June 2014.
I write as an amateur historian visiting and researching an historic American place, to thank you at Bermuda Online (BOL) most sincerely for your incredible files specifically including your numerous online Bermuda History files, the Histories in Bermuda of the once-extensive operations and personnel or units of the US, British and Canadian military and so much more. Your pages are a national treasure, clearly compiled over many years with meticulous research and long may they continue. I've noted how you are constantly updating them with fresh information and graphics. I hope the author of those pages, Keith A. Forbes, gets the credit he surely deserves. I'm surprised he is not mentioned by name in your government's community and cultural affairs website, he certainly should be. Your government's website, which does not have any similar information, should make a special point of linking to BOL. Vaughn W. Johnston, Jamestown, Virginia 23081, May 25, 2014.
I'm hugely impressed by how your Bermuda Online has nearly tripled in size since 2012 and more recently appears to have doubled its hits-count. These figures speak volumes and show how much your website is a hugely significant credit to Bermuda. I assume your website staff have been suitably well rewarded for their fantastic performances. It is part of my business activities to monitor activity of leading websites by country. I also focus on how updated they are and when this is done. It's great that every one of your sites shows the date of last update. I'm also amazed by the quality and detail of your sub-sites and how you've expanded significantly in certain international business areas, not only in tourism activity. I've duly noted from your files how Bermuda's international business, not tourism, is the economic life-blood of Bermuda and been amazed by some of the high-profile American and foreign corporate names with Bermuda corporations. Well done, guys for your sustained superior performance! Jeremy C. Adams, Towson, Maryland, 21204, USA, May 20, 2014.
I'm a Scotsman with an ongoing Bermuda interest and, like most Americans, Scots, other Brits, Canadians, etc, always interested in getting fair value for money. At my suggestion, some friends of mine from elsewhere in the UK joined the Bermuda National Trust (BNT) in March 2014, a few weeks ago. The latter's website said their membership was for a year. But it now turns out that their membership, instead of being for a year, doesn't end a calendar year later, or even on 31st December 2014 but on 30th September 2014. Whereas here in Scotland, other parts of the UK, Europe and further still their National Trust or equivalent memberships do last a full calendar year. In my view as a social commentator and consumer advocate, the BNT, if its wants to have and maintain good international reputation, should offer fair value for money, not short-change its members, or at least update its website so as to be more explicit re membership so people can know in advance. It does not reflect well on Bermuda as a favoured tourism destination when its National Trust charges for a full year of membership but offers only half a year's worth at this time of year. Alisdair McKay, Thurso, Scotland, KW14 UK, April 2, 2014.
On your great Bermuda Online website you've always stated, correctly in my view, that of the former principal US Military bases in Bermuda, one was in St David's in St. George's Parish but the other one was in Southampton Parish. It was certainly that way in the late 1980s when my family used to visit friends on that base. But on the Bermuda map published by your Bermuda Tourism Authority, Morgan's Point, where the US base used to be, is now shown in Sandys Parish. If Morgan's Point has now indeed been moved by your government or tourism authority it seems to have escaped public notice, in which case might it be to quietly compensate for the fact that Sandys Parish, with Cambridge Beaches as the only luxurious place and the continued closure of 9 Beaches, needs to be beefed up substantially in the on-the-map by parish hotels rooms count? David C. Cooper, Houston, Texas 77095, USA, March 21, 2014.
Thank you for all the work you do to provide so much valuable information on your Bermuda Online website, pages and pages of it on so many good topics. Upon looking at the Seniors section, I did not see any information about the Seniors Learning Centre which has been running out of the Bermuda College for many years now. They offer an extensive variety of daily classes for seniors, well-attended. Seniors can even audit classes at the College for $50 a semester. The SLC can be contacted at 239-4029 Mondays through Fridays between 9.30 a.m. and 2.00 p.m., or at 236-9000. The Co-ordinator is Dr. Janet Ferguson. You might wish to look up its Spring 2014 course schedule. which gives full details Also, Seniors pay only $10 for classes offered by the Adult Community Centres. Keep up the good work, Lucille T. Lambert (Mrs.). Bermuda College, Paget, Bermuda, March 13, 2014.
I was most interested to see how your superb Bermuda Online website deals with links, administrators and webmasters. It's great you advocate that website producers write, update, administer and webmaster their sites instead of passing the latter two areas to third parties who therefore effectively control the websites. I hope you use your expertise to good advantage both locally and internationally. I've been looking for a a website specially for administrators and webmasters of your caliber to show me how to eventually become as competent as you are, and much appreciate the sage advice you give in your Links and Mentions. George R Roberts, Dover, Delaware 19901, USA, February 24, 2014.
I've much appreciated and agree entirely with the comments of George Smythe and Kevin Anderson. I'm not a travel writer but a frequent business traveler. I'd like to say, first, how much I like the fact that on your superb Bermuda Online you have this speakeasy option, obviously much appreciated by your contributors, in which you welcome candid, complimentary and other thoughts and impressions of Bermuda. I've noted that on the websites of both www.gotobermuda.com and the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) there are no similar options. I recommend they do so, with a methodology similar to yours. Two-way, not just one-way, website communications, with regular feedback from readers, should be yet another early initiative of the BTA, as well as those of your earlier succinct contributors. And I particularly recommend that the BTA make a special point of electronically linking to your website and other good ones who, like you, have freely offered courtesy reciprocal linkage. The more Bermuda websites link to each other the more Bermuda will benefit. The www.gotobermuda.com website and before that in the old Bermuda Tourism website seemed to totally ignore yours instead of recognizing you carry much unique material about Bermuda that other websites do not. Please Bermuda, listen to these and travel writers' recommendations in your own best interests. Peter Goodwin, Wilmington, Delaware 19808, USA, February 16, 2014.
It was great to see Kevin Anderson's comments. I agree 100%, as a travel writer myself. What also concerns me, and I suspect many others too, is that hotels in Bermuda are apparently not allowed to have their own airport shuttle buses, or to share one. Personally, I will not stay at any hotel anywhere in the world that does not have or use such a service, especially when they also refer to themselves as international business and convention centers. If Bermuda wants to create more tourism it has to loosen up on its many restrictions that don't apply anywhere else. It has to allow visitors to go by rented automobiles or shuttle buses to and from the airport. The BTA also should seriously consider creating a new and better way of reaching properties such as Grotto Bay, the Princesses, Cambridge Beaches and Tucker's Point by ferry or hydrofoil from the airport, instead of merely by taxi or private minibus. In many other jurisdictions they are standard ways of attracting visitors and getting much repeat business, with taxis used now only or merely in cities and towns. George B. Smythe, Georgetown, Washington DC 20007, USA. February 15, 2014.
I was intrigued to note via your excellent Bermuda Online how there is now a Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) with new members, hopefully with new ideas and new initiatives to once again recoup the once-unique role Bermuda once had (until the 1970s) in international tourism circles. As a long-term travel writer, I believe it is essential for Bermuda to at last compete in meaningful ways with other jurisdictions, instead of having significant tourism controls they do not. This means, in order of tourism importance, first reducing by at least 50% the number and cost of your legislators. Nowhere else in the world has 36 well-paid legislators in only 21 square miles. This, in my view, is the single-biggest reason by a huge margin why Bermuda is so expensive a place to get to, stay in and enjoy, compared to the Caribbean islands and many other places. The ripple-effect from this luxury must be enormous to Bermuda taxpayers with high consumer prices to tourists especially an inevitable outcome. Has this cost and its impact been factored into your new tourism development initiatives? It seems not. Then there are other significant factors, such as finally allowing tourists to rent automobiles, as they have long been allowed to do in virtually all other countries, even those with horrendous traffic conditions in their capital cities. And, as tourists now routinely use them to get to and from the airport in all the other developed tourism markets, providing visitor-friendly, luggage-racks-equipped, regularly-scheduled public transport, not just private transportation such as taxis or min-buses as Bermuda presently does, to many accommodation and visitor-friendly places is an absolute must. If you can heed and tackle all the above, I bet you'll soon increase Bermuda's tourism attraction to my fellow-Americans, Canadians, Britons, Europeans and more by 50%. Kevin J. Anderson, Pittsburgh, PA, USA 15218. February 14, 2014.
I write to express my sincere thanks, and those of my friends too, all fellow-passengers on the P&O cruise ship "Azura" from 10th to 24th January 2014, for how, in your http://www.bermuda-online.org/internet.htm, you kindly published Azura's outrageous WIFI charges and how you compared them to the free WIFI now being offered by various ports in the Caribbean. The fact that the Azura is a Bermuda-registered ship was not received kindly by those of us who had to pay those outrageous WIFI charges. We know many were adamant in refusing to pay them at all and made this clear to other passengers. It became a leading matter of discussion at mealtimes, especially among the hundreds who brought iPads, iPods, laptops, notebooks and more, expecting to be able to use them. We hope those in cruise ship management will note your comments and ours and that your Bermuda Government's Department of E-Commerce will soon act to require all Bermuda-registered cruise ships to offer free ship-wide WIFI to all paying passengers and their crews. In complete contrast to Bermuda, Curacao was a fabulous port, for its free WIFI service applicable to all cruise passengers, accessible from Azura's portside balcony cabins and throughout the port for the rest of us. We will now be writing to all the UK's national newspapers and travel companies. John Watson, Harbour Parade, Southampton SO15 1ST, England, 25th January, 2014.
I write from Scotland as a son of Bermudians on this four-day-long Scottish celebration of Hogmanay that begins tonight at 8 pm with a huge Edinburgh Hogmanay celebration followed by fireworks beamed around the world. It has been long been claimed by both modern-day descendants of early to mid 17th century colonists in Bermuda, some of whom came from Scotland, that the distinctive and unique money with which they were paid from 1615 in Bermuda, Hogge Money, was the original source of the Scottish tradition of Hogmanay, the name given in in Scotland to New Year's Eve celebrations. It is pronounced only very slightly differently. Most non-Scots believe the term to have been of French origin, from about 1604. But Bermuda's Hogge Money must surely have an equal claim, being both of similar vintage and pronunciation undisturbed by the French variations shown in the Hogmanay Wikipedia reference, plus having once been real money by that name. I thought you at Bermuda Online might be particularly interested. If so, can you please show a Hogge Money coin? H. Bertram C. Forbes, Rattray, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland, UK, 31st December 2013.
Bermuda Hogge Money 1616, possibly the real reason behind Scotland's Hogmanay? Bermuda was then called the Somer's Islands or Sommer Islands. For further details see Bermuda's History for 1615 and Bermuda's Money.
Just a quickie to let you know I really appreciate how you've updated your Bermuda Online and Cruises to Bermuda files. You've got some really good and useful information there, as I found when I was there this summer. Personally, I did not enjoy the huge size of the Breakaway. Next time, I'll take a smaller ship. I particularly noted and admired how you mention Internet and WIFI services on cruise ships and their costs. It would have been great if Bermuda's Internet and WIFI services had been free instead of available at a cost, but at least they were far less expensive than the ship's costs. I'm one of those who believe cruise ships, which have to use satellite services anyway for navigation purposes, should treat Internet and WIFI as a standard offering, not as a costly optional extra. I know from my own recent experiences it's now regarded as such on most European and other trains and buses for all like myself who use laptops, notebooks or tablets. Keep up the great work! Robert G. Munson, Allentown, Pennsylvania 18103, December 1, 2013.
First let me congratulate you on the work you have done on Bermuda Online. If I might be permitted one suggestion; it might be useful if one could click on Find to get to a particular subject matter. In any case I was wondering if you had any information on the Lyceum in Baileys Bay? Again great stuff. Best Regards, Arthur Hodgson, Attorney APEX LAW GROUP LTD. Barristers, Attorneys & Notaries Public Veritas Place, 6th Floor, 65 Court Street, Hamilton HM 12. P.O. Box 1913, Hamilton HM HX, Bermuda, November 22, 2013.
I am currently writing a book about one of my wifes uncles who was killed during WW2 when his ship, the Narragansett was torpedoed near Bermuda. The ship was found on fire by a US Navy plane flying from Bermuda, and the report reads: SS Narragansett torpedoed 0410Z/25 34-46 N., 67-40 W. COMINCH C 250531. VP took off at dawn March 25th. To search vicinity SSS from Narragensett. Found ship 34-30 N., 67-36 W., bottom upat 1200Z. Ship sank at 1350Z. VP continued to search during day with no sign of survivors. NOB BERMUDA C 252351. Id be grateful if you could tell me what COMINCH C 250531, VP, and NOB are abbreviations for, if possible. My thanks for any assistance you may be able to offer. Harry Scott, Galashiels, Scottish Borders, TD1 2BW, Scotland, UK, 22 October 2013.
Recently, I was quite seriously considering buying a nice vacation home in Bermuda, one near the ocean. But it really turned me off when I learnt from the realtor concerned that the annual real estate tax on the property, increased in April this year by about 25%, is now $90,000. C'mon Bermuda, get realistic, the news has really gotten around that your real estate taxes are way out of line when compared to virtually everywhere else in the world. In the Bahamas, the maximum annual real estate tax payable by a non-national is $50,000. Most properties are far less. In London, England, even 775 room $950 million Buckingham Palace, and all other multi-million dollar properties in the best parts of London, cost less than $2,000 a year in annual real estate taxes. We who are wealthy enough to own nice places like to travel but we also insist on getting fair value for money in the taxes we pay. There are lots of places one can call paradise, not just Bermuda. Your realtors need to get to work en masse to persuade your government not to rip non-local folks off in real estate taxes and to make sure those taxes are posted, as they are in the Bahamas and London, not concealed. George M. Smith, Georgetown, Washington DC 20007, USA, September 25, 2013.
I too write from Pittsburgh, PA. I have good friends in Bermuda working with international insurance companies. Almost every week they email to tell my family and others how hugely expensive healthcare premiums are in Bermuda compared to USA. This is an area of particular interest to me and many of my friends who are working in healthcare and/or senior citizens. It may be of similar interest to you to know that in the USA, effective October 1, 2013, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commences with Open Enrollment in Healthcare, with all its implications for all US citizens and residents of all ages and means in all States, whether high-income or low or none. Presently, according to my Bermuda-based friends, there is nothing similar in Bermuda. Hopefully, Bermuda will want to initiate and enact something similar, given the much higher cost of healthcare now than in USA, especially after October 1. Ray Noble, Locust Street, Pittsburgh PA 15218, September 12, 2013.
I read with incredulity recently how unfairly your government levies annual real estate tax even on someone as important as your former Premier Dame Pamela Gordon Banks and her husband. I understand they had to wage a costly four-and-a-half year legal battle against them, instigated by a senior civil servant who overvalued their Paget Parish house. I read that Chris Farrow, the Director of Land Valuation, proposed an outlandish amount for land tax purposes, an annual rental value (ARV) of $852,000 despite the fact that the highest market rent ever achieved on the Island was $35,000 a month or $420,000 a year. So why does Golden Eye in Tucker's Town have Bermuda's highest ARV of $1,182,000 and a correspondingly obscenely high land or real estate tax? It's not fair on non-local homeowners of Bermuda's most expensive homes. In annual real estate taxes they are being royally ripped off, especially when compared to places like London and Miami and the Bahamas. It ought to be publicized multi-nationally. Edward J. Tucker, Clearwater, Florida 33756, August 6, 2013.
As someone with a severe physical from a long-term medical condition and with national disability connections who one day hopes to visit Bermuda via cruise ship, I note in your informative, accurate and candid http://www.bermuda-online.org/BPHA.htm how disabled Bermudians (yeah, thanks, not Bermudans), residents and visitors have some special challenges and how you who are disabled in Bermuda must write independently on disability matters in Bermuda without any government encouragement or support and in the absence of any website offered by the Bermuda Government's Ministry of Health specifically for its National Office for Seniors and Physically Challenged. It seems disability-related issues are not yet deemed important in Bermuda, which is why you don't yet have and regrettably are not likely to get any Bermuda laws similar to those in the USA specifically for the disabled and handicapped. But there is something the cruise ship lines can do, especially Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), owner of the Breakaway. I understand Its corporations are Bermuda-registered, so it has a greater reason and far more international clout than we as disabled individuals do to press the Bermuda Government to pass meaningful laws to bring services for the disabled up to international par. I recommend that before family members who include a disabled traveler go ahead and pay a high cruise price for a Norwegian Breakaway cruise to Bermuda, they should contact NCL directly instead of dealing with a travel agent. They should tell NCL they know its home port, New York, and all other US ports are required to have full compliance with American disability laws. They should expect NCL to confirm that when it accepts passengers with disabilities on its cruises, it requires governments of all places where it sails including Bermuda to enact similar disabled-friendly laws, so that its disabled passengers get equal value for money instead of being disadvantaged in public transport and other ways. John T Matthews, Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh, PA 15221, USA July 24, 2013.
I enjoy a good game of golf and used to rely on the UK's Daily Telegraph (DT) newspaper for top-of-the-line accurate and responsible journalism. With friends working in Bermuda in the international reinsurance industry, I always read your constantly-changing Bermuda Online for accurate information about Bermuda. I also read with initial great interest but later with some disgust the DT's July 13, 2013 page T16 "Golfing breaks" report on Enviable Greens in Bermuda. I asked my Bermuda-based friends about the article and was told it was a piece of drivel from top to bottom because of its constant chronic inaccuracies. For example, it stated Bermuda's population is 50,000. It isn't. It got the photos of the various Bermuda golf courses mixed up. It referred to the "Bermudan Tourist Board" which I gather would have been corrected immediately if the chap concerned had really played there. There were more mistakes. It made me seriously question whether its author Philip Johnston ever went to Bermuda. I always used to think the DT could be relied on, but no more. So much for the calibre of its travel writing. If the Bermuda Tourism people paid any money or travel expenses for that article they should demand a refund from the DT. Bermuda does not deserve to have its reputation sullied by wildly inaccurate golf stories such as this one. James Morrison, Windsor, Berkshire, UK, 14 July 2013.
I write from Jersey, Channel Islands. I have close relatives participating in the Island Games 2013 in Bermuda. I must compliment you for showing such thorough information about Bermuda in your superb Bermuda Online and about the Games in your What's New page and also accurate and updated information about your Bermuda Government In contrast, I note with dismay that in your Island's official website about the Games still shows information that has not been updated. Surely, the Hon. Craig Cannonier JP, MP is now the Premier, not the Hon Paula Cox?. I believe your Governor and governing political party have also changed. Could you please forward this comment to the powers-that-be in the Bermuda Government to have this and related information updated? In other ways, Bermuda is certainly very nice according to my niece. Gloria Talbot, St. Helier, Jersey JE1, Channel Islands, July 12, 2013
I write to say how much I've appreciated your Bermuda Online comments that rebut succinctly the silly moves by Britain to get Bermuda for the UK's benefit for the G8 in Northern Ireland to follow the twisted UK methodology re tax evasion, tax avoidance and fair taxation. It is hypercritical for the UK government to criticize legitimate tax avoidance and tax evasion when it blatantly encourages it in certain quarters and in fact encourages them with its monstrously unfair tax practices. The House of Parliaments in London and Edinburgh have legislated that Britons and others resident in the UK who own in homes market valued at £180,000,or less, often small three bedroom properties, pay as much or more than £750 million Buckingham Palace does. Also, Parliaments have legislated that Councils can decide their own levels of the UK's Council Taxes. Which means that for my house I pay more for Band E than Buckingham Palace does for Band H. Which, incidentally, also means that although Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory the Bermuda Government follows the odious British Government tax, tax, tax ad nauseam practice of charging significantly more in annual real estate taxes on Bermuda-based properties than the British Government in London does for Buckingham Palace. It is an outrageously, unfair plutocratic tax exemption, tax evasion and tax avoidance for a privileged few, including some of the richest people in the world, at the expense of the vast majority of British UK taxpayers who this pay much more in their taxes. It seems the British Governments of London and Edinburgh have not yet suffered the effects of their loss of the USA following the 1776 American Revolution for monstrously unfair British tax systems. British tax authorities in both the UK and Bermuda, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos, etc. should be applying a single uniform Council tax system throughout the UK, using Buckingham Palace as a yardstick, instead of the dreadful inequity used now. H. Bertram C. Forbes, Blairgowrie, Scotland, UK. 18 June 2013.
Editor's note: These figures confirm the stark comparison in British UK and Bermudian annual real estate taxes, excluding water and waste water charges. For £950 million 830,000 square feet Buckingham Palace, London, Band H,.£1,639.04 (about $2504). For a £170K 1,750 square feet 3 bedroom house in Scotland, Band F, £1,672.67 (about $2592). For a Bermuda $20 million 11,500 square feet house with ARV of $564,000 plus staff apartment with ARV of $48,000. Amount for main house will rise by about 26% from July 1, 2013 to $93,666).
I've been reading with great interest your Royal Gazette newspaper's articles on your Bermuda Government's robust defense of its tax policies in the face of criticism from the UK especially and details of your 2013 Captive Insurers conference. It's great your superb Bermuda Online (BOL) has stated so succinctly "that of all the countries in the world that deserves to have its own unique offshore international companies tax structure publicly praised and recognized by the UK's PM, the USA's President, the EU, etc., Bermuda is the most deserving. It's the smallest by far of all the British international business centers and has no natural resources of its own. Despite that it has long been the only British Overseas Territory that has (a) not been a burden on the UK's economy and (b) where the Governor is paid by Bermuda, not the UK. In international business it punches far beyond its weight and height. These are the qualities that made Bermuda so uniquely useful to both the British and Americans that during and after WW2 they were visited by British Prime Ministers and American presidents. They admired Bermuda then but seem to want to change it now, purely to suit their own ends, not Bermuda. But do they similarly seek to change Jersey or Guernsey or Puerto Rico or the USVI? No. Instead of changing Bermuda they should instead change their own appalling tax systems, to make them more acceptable to the international business world." To me and I know many others as well it is a massive hypocrisy for Britain's Prime Minister to call for major tax changes in Bermuda but not Britain. The world does not yet know but should that the British Government via its legislators at Westminster and Holyrood has decreed that a very large number of British taxpayers, for properties worth less than $225,000 have pay more in annual real estate tax than your British Queen does for Buckingham Palace worth a conservative $1 billion. Here in the USA, states and cities change their real estate taxes frequently to adjust to changing times. I've read from your excellent BOL material that Bermuda does too, every five years or so. But the massive inequities in UK local authorities' real estate (council) taxes have remained unchanged since 1991 despite many properties having suffered substantial declines in market value in recent years. The UK is clearly not now and never has been a democracy, it's still a blatant autocracy despite having lost the US War of Independence. As for the USA, it too has one of the most unfair tax systems in the world with its insistence that US citizens, residents and even non-residents but with US interests must pay tax on their world-wide income and file complex annual tax returns or be penalized, even when they no longer live or work in the USA. This is so unfair to so many who live elsewhere because it is where their non-American spouses live, and who are not employed and have not been for generations. No wonder there are protests galore by so many international activists before and during G8 meetings. Until they change their outrageous and undemocratic tax laws for the better the UK and USA should be banned from attending G8 Meetings despite being two of the world's most influential countries economically because they in particular make the G8 an event to be publicly protested about instead of being approved for being in the public interest. However, the UK and USA, etc. must be commended not faulted for their citizenship-from-birth policies which Bermuda does not have but should have. It's not right but a massive wrong surely of concern to both the UK and the USA that Bermuda will not on principle (primarily because Bermuda's Progressive Labour Party now in opposition after 14 years in power and possibly others too would object), give citizenship to law-abiding non-nationals who have resided there for more than five years or their children even when born there. Serious self-inflicted errors like this and the fact that Bermuda has had for years one form of direct tax in its payroll tax but states publicly it has no direct tax help lead people to conclude, wrongly, that Bermuda is a tax haven. Other factors that also make people believe Bermuda is a tax haven are due to Bermuda's active Aircraft and Shipping Registries similar to those the Bahamas, Liberia, Panama, etc. have. It is well-known in the industry that many leading cruise ship corporations such as Cunard have their cruise ships registered in Bermuda and Russian aircraft do so for your Aircraft Register primarily to escape the taxes or conditions or regulations applicable in the UK or USA. John D. Johnson, Washington DC 20523, June 11, 2013.
I read your page on Bermudas Environment very thorough. I am doing some research on Bermudian waste management. I thought you might know some information I am seeking or at least a good place to start. My specific questions relate to characterization of the quantity of tires at the Airport Facility. Are the tires organized or mixed with the other items at the dump? How many tires are dumped annually? Any guidance would be appreciated. Tyrone Thomas, President, BreakThrough MediaLabs, Washington St, Jersey City, NJ 07302, May 31, 2013.
Referred Mr Thomas to Bermuda's Environment Ministry. It would know.
My name is Ian Robinson and I am currently the Leading Physical Trainer onboard HMS Lancaster, a type 23 British Royal Navy Frigate. We are due to visit Bermuda on Fri 7 Jun until Mon 10 Jun 2013, and am enquiring into what sports Bermuda can offer us as a ship's company. We have 180 personnel onboard and I am sure there will be a lot of interest in all sports and water activities. I already have a rugby game arranged with the Police, however I am very keen to arrange Cricket and Rugby and any adventure/watersports activity. Could you put me in contact with the relevant people? I look forward to your reply. Many thanks. LPT IAN ROBINSON, HMS LANCASTER, Royal Navy, 30 May 2013.
Replied with referral to the Sports section of our Royal Gazette newspaper.
I have just found the most interesting segment in your Bermuda Online web-site on Banana Manor (originally called Lough House). Dr. George Forbes of Bermuda was born in 1705 in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK and baptized 24 August 1705. I am also related to the Lough family (my Grandmother was a Lough) and to William Bennett Perot who was my GG Grandfather. I am interested to know which Lough first owned Banana House. Was it Rev John Lough (1790 to 1839)? I suspect it was, as he had married Mary Forbes Hinson a descendant of Dr George Forbes. When did the property cease to be owned by the Lough family (and who sold it)? If you know any more about the family or Banana House I should be most interested to know. I also wonder if you can tell me anything about "Loughlands" in Bermuda which was a substantial house built by William Perot Lough (1867-1959) for his mother Susan Downing Perot (a daughter of William Bennett Perot)? Is the house still standing? Nick Thomson, Remuera, Auckland 1541, New Zealand, May 29, 2013.
Replied with referral to Bermuda National Trust. It has published several books about historic and prominent houses in Bermuda.
I have a painting of my two brothers and myself on the beach in front the house where we lived in Somerset when I was a child. It is signed by F. Kenwood Giles and dated 1956. I think this artist deserves mention in your list of Bermuda's Foreign Artists of Yesteryear. The internet only tells of commercial art and war and tropical disease posters he did (for which he was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society). When I visited two years ago, I found a short reference in a book on Bermuda artists in the Bermuda archives which says that he exhibited with the Society of Artists in 1952 1956 and was on their exhibition selection committee in 1954. It also says he did Howdy Doody cartoons for the Royal Gazette in the 1950s, advertising for the Bank of Bermuda, as well as maps of Hamilton and St. Georges, brochure and magazine covers, depictions of scenes from Bermuda history, etc. I recently found several of his paintings listed at $1500 despite the fact that the gallery owners in the USA profess ignorance of the artist. Susan M. Thomas, Charlottesville VA 22903 USA, April 26, 2013.
It seems obvious from the quality of your website that you guys at Bermuda Online keep your finger on the Bermuda pulse. You seem to have a keen interest in Bermuda Industrial and other Bermuda union news. So it may be of considerable local interest to know how one British UK public service union, UNISON, makes a point of publicly advertising in certain national newspapers its charges for union membership. Monthly cost starts at £1.30 sterling for lowest paid public service employees and rises in stages to the top rate of 22.50 sterling for employees and management staff. Do any of the Bermuda unions similarly publicly announce their membership dues? If not, shouldn't they? I recommend it as a valuable exercise in continuing public relations and union transparency. H. Bertram C. Forbes, Blairgowrie, Scotland PH10 7AW, UK. 15 April 2013.
I email as a resident of Saxony, Germany, formerly in East Germany. How very nice it was on 7 April 2013 to meet your Bermuda Online's Editor, Herr Keith Forbes, and his charming wife who were writing a travel feature about a Viking River Cruises visit from Prague in the Czech Republic via Dresden, Saxony, to Berlin. They told me and many fascinated others wonderful things about your islands that we did not know. We were amazed to hear about Bermuda's part in the Bermuda Triangle; how Bermuda is not in the Caribbean as we had all thought but 900 miles north of it; and how in the early 1900s or thereabouts a certain Herr Weiss originally from Saxony but living in Bermuda as a photographer was getting his postcards of Bermuda printed in Saxony and having them sold in Bermuda. Mr. Forbes's comments and comprehensive photographs and writings about Bermuda that he showed us on his laptop on board the Viking Schumann made us all want to visit the beautiful islands of Bermuda as soon as possible. Vaclav Schmitt, Dresden, Germany, April 12, 2013.
I write from Richmond, near London, England. I've not yet been to Bermuda but friends from the USA who own a home in your Tucker's Town have suggested I join them for a relaxing early summer holiday. It's a tempting prospect but I was greatly dismayed when my wife and I read the travel section, page T4, Holiday Offers, of today's Daily Telegraph newspaper. There, we discovered that return flights from Gatwick to Bermuda between April and July 2013 cost from £648 per person via British Airways, but in the same section we noted that return flights from Gatwick to Barbados, much further away from London than Bermuda, cost from £495 per person, via flightcentre.co.uk. Why is it so much more expensive to fly to Bermuda from the UK than from London to Barbados? Is it because the cost of living in Bermuda is higher than in Barbados or Bermuda Government fees are, or could it be that British Airways flights cost more to Bermuda than to Barbados because there is no airline competition, unlike to Barbados where it is not only British Airways but also Virgin, Thomas Cook and Thompson. so flight costs are cheaper? John Wilkinson, Richmond, Surrey, England, 16th March 2013.
I write as a British resident of the Isle of Wight. I'm one of those with relatives taking part in the Natwest Island Games to be held in Bermuda in late July. I really like how in your superb Bermuda Online you have highlighted the Games in both your Calendar and Sports sections and have provided such detailed information about Bermuda in your many other files that other web files about Bermuda don't show at all, or to the same extent, yet are not linked to in the Bermuda Island Games Association (BIGA) website. I hope they will soon do what the official Island Games website does, namely link both to you and to your Royal Gazette newspaper in its "Useful Links" area for the information you not only show now but have shown - and in your case still show - about Bermuda's past Island Games performances. I'm sure your daily newspaper will be carrying daily results of the Bermuda Games, to contribute meaningfully to publicity of deserved winners of events in ways other websites won't. It just seems wrong that neither your website nor that of the Royal Gazette, the two most deserving, are yet linked to in the BIGA website. By the way, I note your website even shows how much your hotels and schools will charge for accommodation. I see you show that at one hotel, the Southampton Princess, the price is for two beds, two to a bed, ahem, unusual without further explanation. Anyway, thanks again. John Williams, Newport, Isle of White, England, United Kingdom, 26th February 2013.
I have been looking through your Bermuda Online website and have found some facts there that worry me at present, and I was hoping that you could clarify them for me. I am due to take part in the Island Games in July this year in Bermuda, but I saw on both your site and another site, the matter of customs and import duty/tax. From what I can gather, it appears that all visitors to the country are required to pay an import tax on any items being brought into the country valued at over $100? I will be bringing with me equipment and sporting equipment to the value of around $12,000 (Bermuda Dollars). Would I have to pay any form of tax on these items? Don Cowan, Avalon Web Enterprises, United Kingdom. Dom Cowen, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 2FL, England, United Kingdom, 25 February, 2013.
Any visitor who brings in expensive equipment worth far more than most visitors bring to photograph and record their visit, which may make their goods dutiable or subject to certain conditions re their use in Bermuda should, to avoid any problems that might arise on arrival, make a point of contacting Bermuda Customs with questions. Also, note limits on what visitors and residents can import duty-free, etc and be informed about import duties on other items imported. It is recommended they do so well in advance of their arrival, supply appropriate full information re purpose of the equipment they bring, provide their full contact details and give any sports or other relevant credentials requested. For more information on the Island Games including schools' dormitory pricing and hotels pricing, see our Calendar for July 2013.
As a possible first-time visitor to Bermuda and follower of your excellent Bermuda Online, I was dismayed to read of the triple-whammy tourist transportation disadvantages when arriving at your Bermuda airport. Not being able to rent a car is one serious disadvantage. Not being able to use public transportation either is a killer, especially when in all other major tourism resorts in the world you can easily do this via tourist-friendly luggage-rack equipped buses, hotel airport limousines and/or trains. And compared to such places abroad, in Bermuda you can't even yet get a water taxi when your airport is next to the ocean and likely your hotel is too. All this means you have a very serious problem that must be addressed if you hope to attract the many times more tourists mentioned in your new tourism authority plans. You guys in Bermuda need to get major improvements in buses, courtesy hotel limousines and water taxis in real soon if you want to be seen as both tourist-friendly and tourism-capable to pump up your tourist numbers from the stagnant or falling visitors by air you've been experiencing in past years, especially but not exclusively if you want to see world-wide-media-exposure events like PGA golf tournaments continue in your jurisdiction. Mike Carter, Florida 33410, USA, February 7, 2013
You folks at Bermuda Online seem to be well attuned to goings-on in Bermuda, an island group I'd like to visit one day, especially with the incentive of my comments being appropriately addressed. As a regular reader of the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper and with friends living in both Bermuda and the Caribbean, particularly in the case of the latter Barbados and St. Lucia, can I please ask you to publish my request that Bermuda's Ministry of Tourism go to the same time, expense and trouble of promoting Bermuda in the principal UK print media as Barbados and St. Lucia do? In last Saturday's (19th January 2013) Daily Telegraph there was a superb fact-packed 20-page feature on Barbados as a must-see island and the merits of St. Lucia are also featured regularly. But nothing of equivalent noteworthy, quote-worthy and newsworthy travel status ever seems to appear about Bermuda. I understand it's from January each year that most tourists plan their holidays abroad. Please, Bermuda, don't be left out by default. John Williams, Cardiff, Wales, 25 January 2013.
Greetings from New Zealand! I am writing to you at Bermuda Online to enquire if you know what work my great-grandfather John Joseph Crellin (1850-1937) could possibly have been engaged in from circa May 1902 to May/ Jun 1904 at Hamilton, Bermuda. He was a deep-sea diver from the Isle of Man in the UK and had previously worked on Northwest breakwater jetties etc in Colombo, Ceylon in 1890s. A fellow passenger John Rice on board the ship with my grandfather was a diver, presumably engaged on the same project as J J Crellin. I have searched your historical timeline webfiles but was unable to find anything that I thought looked relevant during that period. I look forward to your reply and any info you can send will be most appreciated. Marsha Donaldson, 12 Ngarara Road, Waikanae 5036, New Zealand, 24 January 2013.
There are no online or offline civilian employment records available for public inspection in Bermuda. It's (perhaps remotely) possible your g-grandfather might have been employed at that time in Bermuda by Britain's Royal Navy (RN), as it is believed to have been managing or undertaking dredging or surveying of local ships' channels or working on breakwater jetties then. The Royal Navy left Bermuda decades ago and took all its records back to the UK. There might be a reference there. Hope this helps.
I read with astonishment the Royal Gazette of Bermuda news item "Why strip our seniors of their dignity" in which your new Government's commitment to reinstating the medical clinic for vulnerable patients is a step backwards, according to former Health Minister Zane DeSilva. Its closure was cited as a mistake by your new government and new Health Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin wasted little time pledging to make good on frequent vows to open the facility again. Indeed, it covered all the bases that it should, and served people who needed its services in an excellent way. It was well placed. Transport was provided for seniors and the physically challenged, through the Red Cross and other charities, so they had ways of getting there. Once there, they could be seen by any of the specialists if they were needed. They had all the testing right there at the hospital, and a pharmacy there for them. It was comfortable, and going there was an enjoyable event for many of them. And, of course, you had to be assessed before you were admitted. It provided free medical attention, free consultations, free testing and free medication. Because of the clinics location at King Edward VII Memorial, it had everything under the same roof, with quick and easy access. Transport was right outside the door with the bus stops 100 yards away for people who didnt have their own cars. It's just a universally-unjust shame that for a country as wealthy as Bermuda, with the World Bank accreditation Bermuda has as the world's most affluent nation, Bermuda Governments past and present have not yet considered doing what less affluent nations including the so-called tax havens of Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, etc. have long done and the British Government here in the UK certainly does, namely give free hospitalization and free medical prescriptions to all seniors and medically vulnerable. Why doesn't the British Government here in London insist that its British Overseas Territories do the same! It's monstrous that it doesn't. Margaret Moore, Fulham Broadway, London SW6 1BG, England, 16 January 2013.
As a citizen of Great Britain and with a relative working in Bermuda I write to ask if the National Westminster Bank (NatWest)-sponsored Island Games are still planned for Bermuda in 2013? And if so, are they still going to be funded by that bank, which I gather is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)? If so, while I had no problem with that bank hosting the Island Games when that bank was privately owned, I just don't think it is right or fair for a bank which is now majority British Government taxpayer-owned to be still forking out huge sums for offshore Island Games. Instead, it should be using those funds to pay off its debt to British taxpayers. David Graham, Westminster, London SW1, England, January 15, 2013.
Checked, the RBS is 65% UK Government-owned.
I've been reading bermuda-online.org recently because you have some really useful information on Bermuda that could be valuable for the vacationers who use FlipKey.com, TripAdvisor's vacation rental website. I'm reaching out today because I thought of your site when I was researching travel trends in the Caribbean. We pulled all the travel data we collect here at FlipKey and put together some interesting statistics about how, where, and when people travel to the Caribbean. I would love to share that info with you to use on bermuda-online.org. You can check out this research here: http://www.flipkey.com/blog/2012/10/01/travel-trends-a-week-in-the-caribbean/. If you find that info interesting, please feel free to re-post the full infographic or cite specific bits of information. Thanks for considering! Claire Fischer, FlipKey, Boston MA 02110, January 14, 2013.
Replied saying that Bermuda is often confused with the Caribbean but in fact is over 900 miles north of it, with no airlines or ships providing regular services between Bermuda and the Caribbean.
I'm a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I'm trying to get more information about a 1758 land granting episode sponsored by Governor William Popple that effectively turned St. David's public land into privately held shares. Would you know where I can get more information about this, such as: Which families lived there at the time? Who bought up the shares in 1958? Any information you can provide, or direction you can point me would be very helpful. Jill Gaieski, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104. January 14, 2013, USA.
Referred Ms Gaieski to St. David's Historical Society as they may be able to help with this enquiry.
Im a reporter for the Wall Street Journal at WSJ.com. Im looking at the five best/easiest places to benefit from low taxes and to get citizenship. Its a story on the back of Gerard Depardieus defection from France to Russia and the hike in taxes for Americans earning over $400,000. I picked Bermuda as one place, as it has no income tax, but Im trying to give U.S. readers an idea of how they might apply for citizenship, and what the requirements are. Could you help? Quentin Fottrell, Consumer Reporter, MarketWatch.com, Wall Street Journal Digital Network, New York, NY, January 7, 2013.
Referred Mr Fottrell to Citizenship in Bermuda at http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizenship.htm. Please note you can't buy or otherwise quickly obtain citizenship in Bermuda as Monsieur Depardieu did in Russia, you need (a) to have been a law-abiding resident for a minimum period of 10 years and (b) to be married to and living with a Bermudian. Other factors apply uniquely in Bermuda, as the captioned website mentions.
I write to say I liked how Bermuda's Royal Gazette daily newspaper commented about Bermuda's depressed economy. As a past Bermuda visitor with current Bermuda connections and an economist visiting friends in Washington DC, I feel qualified to offer my opinion to supplement the comment. In my view, for Bermuda to begin to prosper again it has to become in every meaningful way a competitive international business administration instead of continuing as one with more petty restrictions and controls than any other international business jurisdiction. Nowhere else in the world are there such controls. They completely deny citizenship to all newcomers from foreign lands unless they wait 10 years and marry Bermudians. Non-Bermudians who have resided in Bermuda crime-free for generations and have contributed significantly to the local economy are not allowed to vote or own any real estate except in the top 5% of taxable value of their residential category. Nor are their children allowed citizenship, even after being born in Bermuda, unless one of the married-to-each-other parents is Bermudian. Here in the USA, I believe elsewhere too except with the notorious exception of Bermuda, children born here, including to parents neither of whom are American, immediately become US citizens at birth. The Bermuda Government limits most non-nationals to a maximum of 6 years of Work Permit approval. Here in the USA, as legal immigrants, there are no similar limits on residence or employment and they may if they wish apply for and obtain US citizenship after five years, or three years if they marry an American. Hotel properties cannot be bought freehold by non-Bermudians, they can only be leased. This is the principal reason why Bermuda hotel redevelopment, wrongly assumed by your local politicians in 2009 to be so promising, has failed so miserably. International-standard hotels must be offered freehold not leasehold, it's the only way to make them realistic in their business planning and marketing. Free up your hotel potentials instead of freezing them by souring their potential value to investors, only with international financing and international-standard concessions in every respect will they ever get built. The cost of living in Bermuda is outrageously high, fuelled by the ridiculous system of customs duties that is Bermuda's biggest single source of government revenue. Bermuda already suffers dreadfully from lack of economies of scale caused by its isolation and tiny resident and visitor population by world standards. It makes matters infinitely worse by levying a rip-off up-front customs-duty methodology on your people instead of applying a moderate income tax and thereby allowing goods and services to be much more competitively priced. The system you have now not only affects all residents Bermudian and non-Bermudian, it also impacts hugely on visitors. Only 2% report their Bermuda vacation as good value for money, 80% of air arrivals and cruise ship visitors complain of 5-star prices for 2-star service. Conde Nast's tourists' blurb about Bermuda is very different to the real story. International business, which in recent years climbed to earning 95% of Bermuda's net government revenue, has been shrinking fast, and tourism, which since 2001 has shrunk from 60% to 5% of net revenue, offers less value to visitors than ever before. If you are a senior citizen and not earning $150,000 a year per person, you simply cannot afford to live in Bermuda, not with no Canadian or European system of free hospitalization and prescriptions for senior citizens or American-style Medicaid or Medicare for qualifying applicants. In short, if there is a change of government in Bermuda resulting from the general election on December 17, 2012 it will not result in any economic improvements in Bermuda until the massive changes in Bermuda's government, political and economic systems are made and Bermuda can at last compete with other international business jurisdictions in what they offer in short, intermediate and long-term security and quality of life for citizens, residents and business or employee newcomers. Unfortunately, you guys follow the British pattern of government by autocracy, only selective democracy and excessive taxation instead of the American democratic system irrespective of party politics. David C. Cameron, Wisconsin Avenue NW, Georgetown, Washington DC 20007, December 6, 2012.
Congratulations, Bermuda Online, on your both constant and constantly updated, comprehensive files on a vast array of matters relating to Bermuda. I'm especially glad you make a point of featuring Bermuda's unique cave system in your Hamilton Parish files. Thanks to that file I became aware of them and passed that information on to my friends and business colleagues who are also cavers. I recommend Your Department of Tourism link to your files as they do what Tourism's files do not, namely show unique aspects of Bermuda. I was so sure, when today I found Yahoo's Ten Best Places in the World to Explore Underground - see http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/10-best-places-to-explore-the-underworld.html?page=all - that Bermuda's Caves would be included. They certainly should have been. Yves Lambert, Montmartre, Paris, France, 28th October, 2012.
I have just seen and read your most excellent article about the dockyard and wonder if you know of any records that might provide further details of my family. I am engaged in compiling an extended family tree of my Bermudian roots and bought home with me a copy of Halletts book of births, deaths and marriages as a starting point. Things I would like to know about include the deaths that occurred in and around the dockyard. I have at least 3 relatives who were shipwrights and simply disappeared from Bermuda records. I can now trace a direct line from my first ancestor on the island to my parents. All were involved in the dockyard from the first, Richard Parker a stonemason from London, through James William Parker a writer in the steam factory. John Andrew Feild, who married his daughter Constance Gertrude, was a blacksmith from Wales; Albert Longhurst Blackmore married their daughter MIldred Ellen Feild and was a shipwright also from Wales, and he ended up running the floating dock; finally my father (Leslie Harold Blackman)who came from England after the war storing ammunition and met my mother Elizabeth Constance Blackmore who worked as a clerk in the northern storeroom next to the clocktower. I saw my great great grandfather's grave in the Royal Navy cemetery (James William Parker) and also that of his young sister Eliza Ann who died age 12 in 1856. Finally I saw my mum's house, 4 Victoria Row. My mother and father married in June 1950 and left Bermuda 2 months later. My mum's sister, mother, father and grandmother, Megan Dawn Blackmore, Albert & Mildred Balckmore & Constance Gertrude Feild, left later in 1950 as the dockyard closed. I have visited the dockyard and trod in my ancestor's footsteps and I remain fascinated by the intertwined nature of my family history and that of the dockyard. Are there any personnel records showing where people worked in more detail and what they did. James William Parker for instance was a writer in the steam factory. I assume this means he was a clerk but what did a clerk in the steam factory do? This was his sole employment for 30 years so there must have been something to keep him occupied! I have managed to expand my Bermuda family tree quite widely and it will not be long before I have exhausted Halletts and will have to move on to the records held by the Registry General. BTW I spent a day in the Archives plus a day in the RG during my visit. My aim is to gather enough information to create a book showing my family history. It will not be a conventional text based book; instead I want to have a timeline running along the bottom of each page with notations of world history, dockyard history and my family history so it can be seen how they are linked. I would be very grateful if you can point me towards any further records that will help me in my quest or indeed if you have any information you would be willing to share with me. Peter Blackman, London, England, 19th October 2012.
When the British Army and Royal Navy at the Bermuda Dockyard left Bermuda in the 1950s (except for a token presence until later in the case of the RN) they took most if not all their civilian and military personnel records re their once-active and subsequently de-activated Bermuda military bases with them back to the UK. Only (a) Bermudian and (b) locally-employed apprentices with got some personnel records. British Army and RN military and civilian personnel units then stationed in Bermuda were at designated sovereign military bases areas outside of local government and reported directly via their COs to the UK and were not in any way (except for contravention of local laws for speeding and other minor legal infringements) recorded by Bermuda's local civilian government. This may explain why certain sought-after information never appeared in local (i.e. civilian) records. In the UK, It may necessitate a search of British Army or RN records at Kew in London. It is not known if there is a particular place or office in the MOD or Kew that handles any records from the British Army units once stationed in Bermuda or the Bermuda Dockyard.
I was wondering if you could direct me to a person or organization that might have records for the Royal Naval Cemetery in Sandys Parish. My great-great-grandparents James Bone and Ellen (Miller) Lutman (military records consistently referred to them as 'Luffman') were based on Boaz Island in November 1871, with the 69th Regiment of Foot and according to a record they kept in their family register their second child was born on Boaz and died aged ¾ of an hour. I presume they would have buried their child at the Royal Naval Cemetery. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Greg Stott, PhD, Faculty of Arts and Science, University College of the North,Thompson, Manitoba R8N 0A5, Canada, 11th October 2012.
It would have been unusual for a Royal Navy Bermuda grave to have been used for a British Army dependant, referred the writer to the Bermuda National Trust as it looks after British Army in Bermuda graves.
By way of introduction, my name is John Cook. I served in the U.S. Air Force Force for 22 years, including four years at Kindley Field (1956 1960). My wife of 54 years (who passed away late last year) was the daughter of E.T. Sayer, long time editor of the RG and General Manager of the Bermuda Press. Though I havent been to Bermuda since before 9/11, I still am interested in the Islands, especially historical artifacts, photos and collectables. Of late, I have been assembling a collection of airline badges, buttons and wing of the airlines that once served, or are still serving Bermuda. Did United serve Bermuda before its merger with Continental in 2010? Any help would be appreciated. John W. Cook, PO Box 288, Rose Kill, KS 67133-0288. September 27, 2012.
I was totally shocked to hear on the British television stations that an Italian gossip magazine owned by former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi (who I understand from a reliable source owns a luxurious home in Bermuda) published a 26-page spread of topless photos of Prince William's wife Kate today despite legal action in France against the French magazine that published them first. I understand Chi hit newsstands on Monday, featuring a montage of photos taken while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on vacation at a relative's home in the south of France last month. They included the 14 pictures published by the popular French magazine Closer, which like Chi is owned by Berlusconi's Mondadori publishing house. But the Chi spread ran the whole sequence of photos as the couple sunbathed on a terrace. I'm glad the Royal couple is hitting back hard against the publication of the images, which William's St. James's Palace called a "grotesque" invasion of their privacy. Later today, lawyers for the royal couple went to court in Nanterre, France, to seek an injunction against Mondadori to prevent further dissemination of the images, which were also reproduced over the weekend by an Irish tabloid. The palace said it would seek damages from Mondadori. I believe the Bermuda Government of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda should also take immediate action against Berlusconi. They should declare him as no longer welcome in Bermuda. He should be booted out for allowing those pictures to be published in his magazine. And who of us who are royalists would ever now want to go to France or Italy or the republic of Ireland after their insults to our Royal Family. BTW, please show a Union flag, not a Scottish one one if you publish this email. Bertram Forbes, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, United Kingdom, 17th September 2012.
I write to express my sincere thanks to you at Bermuda Online for the forthright, honest and comprehensive summary of Bermuda's Disability and Physically Handicapped conditions. They told me what I needed to know when, as a severely handicapped wheelchair bound cruise ship visitor, I went to Bermuda recently via the USA. Thanks to your good advice I avoided having to take a super-expensive private taxi van as my only option and was able, using the wheelchair accessible ferryboats to and from Hamilton, Dockyard and St. George's, to see a fair bit of your island. Much appreciated! David M. Black, Toronto, Canada, September 12, 2012.
I was shocked and appalled to read in the Canadian press of how a Canadian family who had spent over eighteen continuous years as unblemished Bermuda residents and whose daughter was born in Bermuda were unable to obtain Bermuda citizenship. In Canada, well within five years of obtaining permanent residence, which you need to live and work in Canada, you can apply for and get citizenship. I firmly believe that those of us who are Canadians or Canadiennes or Canadians-in-waiting should by all means spend our hard-earned dollars in foreign places where we are welcomed as tourists or visitors and newcomers then citizens within say five years. But we should not go at all as tourists or visitors or as professionally or casually employed persons to those places such as Bermuda that refuse to let us become citizens and vote, even with 18 years of law-abiding residence. Emily Etienne, Montreal, Canada, September 12, 2012.
Note: See the citizenship laws in Canada at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/become-eligibility.asp#status.
A relative worked in Dockyard in the late 20's I believe in the victualling yard. He was there with his wife and four children. Following the death of his wife Daisy Fitzgerald on 4th December 1929 he returned with his children to England/Gibraltar and remained in the Admiralty until the late 50's. I have found online an image of Daisy's headstone in the Royal Dockyard Cemetery. I would like to obtain a copy of her death certificate. Could you offer any guidance on from where to request this? I have been unsuccessful using the usual search engines. I am visiting Bermuda in early October and would wish to pay my respects and visit any other relevant locations while I am there. Thank you for any assistance you are able to offer. Peter Kent, Kent, south east England, UK, September 6th, 2012.
Suggested to Mr Kent that before his Bermuda visit he locate the Bermuda Government's Registrar General on the government's website http://www.gov.bm. Email to ask if it can issue him with a death certificate and if so how much will it cost and can he go there to collect it? This should be obtainable if (a) his relative's wife died in Bermuda and (b) his relative and his wife were civilians, not serving members or a dependent spouse of a Royal Navy member. If the latter, he may have to go via the Royal Navy, MOD, UK, which left Bermuda decades ago with all its records.
My name is Priscilla and I work for Global LT, a language training company. Our company provides expatriates and their families with foreign language and English as a second language instruction around the world. I found your Bermuda Online information on Google and I hope you do not mind that I'm contacting you. We are currently looking for an English Second Language tutor in Paget, Bermuda and I was wondering if you would know a professional that would be interested. Our client and her daughter would like lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10-11am and 7-8pm, respectively. So if you know anyone who might be, I would greatly appreciate the referral. We often employ graduate assistants, teaching assistants and instructors seeking to supplement their current income. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Thank you so much for your time and consideration! Priscilla Gambino, Woodslee Drive Troy, MI, USA, August 28, 2012.
Referred Ms Gambino to Ministry of Education and Bermuda College in hope they might help.
How nice it is, via a relative working there on contract, to read via your oh-so-informative and proactive Bermuda Online that your government has not allowed your monopoly Bermuda electricity supplier to raise prices arbitrarily and unfairly. I wish we had the same calibre of government here in the UK where there is no such compassion for our people already hit by massive recent household energy prices. Our government should take lessons from your Bermuda Government. Consumer groups here in the UK have reacted with fury after a nationwide energy firm confirmed plans to once again - after huge increases in 2011 - raise its gas and electricity bills by an average of 9% from October 15. SSE said the 9% rises would add the equivalent of $13 a month on to the typical monthly billing done by direct debit. Last winter, over eight in 10 households rationed their energy use because of cost - a round of British price hikes this winter will condemn many more to this misery too due to our rip-off British Government and its indifference to the plight of so many people, especially those on low or fixed incomes. I'll gladly recommend your Premier who is also your Minister of Finance exchange posts with our Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer. I bet the latter two would not last a day in Bermuda. Elizabeth Mills, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL52, England, 22 August 2012.
I found your name while researching Bermuda stamp issues on your Bermuda Online website. I realize that you make no claim of being a stamp dealer or expert, however the information on the history of Bermuda Philately on your web site certainly makes you someone that I need to at the very least contact in my quest. I am writing in hopes of your possible assistance. I have a customer who is seeking a Mint Never Hinged Block of 4, pristine condition, Bermuda issue Scott number 109. This is the yacht "Lucie" issue, brown black & turquoise blue. This is proving to be an exceptionally difficult item to find. With your knowledge of Bermuda philatelic issues I am hoping that you may possibly know of someone who can direct me to such an item. I am a motivated buyer. I will appreciate any assistance you may be able to offer. David M. Chamberlain, Owner, Midwest Philatelic, Marshall, Michigan, USA, August 14, 2012.
I write to express a particular hope for the new Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB) website. It was my clear understanding that the legislated mandate of the entity was to promote equal opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups and to work towards the elimination of racial discrimination and institutionalized racial discrimination. I hope it will note that you at Bermuda Online (BOL) via your very detailed history files and elsewhere have consistently taken a non-racial line and done probably more than any other Bermuda website to help observe and promote equal opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups in Bermuda. Well done, keep up the excellent work! I hope CURB will want to provide a link to you on its website, to do its bit to promote fairness and racial harmony. I'm sure that if it does so you will reciprocate. John Walters, Wood Green, London N22, August 1, 2012
I write as the mother of a daughter who had been planning to get married in Bermuda, so nicely covered by your comprehensive Bermuda Online website. But both she and her husband-to-be are concerned over what has been happening in Bermuda re the possibility of same-sex marriages. A friend from Bermuda has been forwarding me your Royal Gazette daily newspaper stories and their email threads. I'm totally appalled by some of their comments; how some are allowed to get away with pseudonyms instead of real names; and how, when others who use their real names make sensible points, they get ridiculed. My own attitude, which I know is shared by my husband, is that we had favored Bermuda as a wedding destination for our daughter and would have recommended Bermuda as a wedding destination for our friends and business associates for their daughters, for one very simple but important reason. It is because it has long been the only place within reasonable distance where local laws sensibly, rationally and with good taste require a man to marry a women and a women to marry a man. I gather there's been considerable controversy in Bermuda, with homosexuals and lesbians bleating they should be allowed to get "married" to follow-homosexuals or fellow-lesbians to have "equality" under your laws and some legislators supporting them. My faith believes in equality under the law when it involves both a man and a women. By what twisted imagination can it now be perceived that instead of a man and a women being deemed to be equal under the law to be eligible for marriage, equality now means two men or two women? In my view they should not even qualify for a civil partnership, only an uncivil one. I believe with all my heart and soul that marriages should always be only between a man and a women and that civil partnerships, which are not marriages and never should be and I believe are many, should be only between men and women. If Bermuda wants to take the same route of places where sham "marriages" and uncivil partnerships apply, then I believe you'll lose a lot of future tourism business, including mine. So please don't, please maintain your high standards. Tracy Andrews, Buffalo, NY, 14201, USA. July 15, 2012.
Greetings, Bermuda Online (BOL)! I am the author of more than 30 books on ghosts and haunted places in the NE United States, a morning radio announcer on station WEEU in Reading, Pa., and also a travel writer for the Reading Eagle newspaper in Reading. I will be escorting 40 folks from my area on a Royal Caribbean cruise in late August. I am hoping to guide some of them to any haunted places that may be accessible to the public. Do you have any leads? I have read John Cox's and Terry Tucker's books on the paranormal in Bermuda, but can use all the help I can get. I'd love to write about our experiences in my travel column sometime around Halloween. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. Charles J. Adams III, Reading, PA USA, July 13, 2012.
First of all, please know what an incredible resource your Bermuda Online (BOL) website is - I refer to it frequently. What an amazing amount of work you've put into it. We are in the process of trying to make sure that information regarding St Peter's on various websites is correct and up-to-date. I wonder if you would be able to add an update to your article on St Peter's? 1. Correct Heading: "St Peter's, Their Majesties Chappell. " 2. In 2012, its 400th anniversary year, Queen Elizabeth II honoured St Peter's with the title: 'Their Majesties Chappell', a term first used in the late 1600's during the reign of King William and Queen Mary. 3. If possible, could you replace the existing photo of the church interior with the attached? Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. Linell Greet, Parish Administrator, St Peter's, Their Majesties Chappell, St George's, Bermuda, July 13, 2012.
Happy to have complied immediately with this request re http://www.bermuda-online.org/seetown2.htm.
Sincerest thanks and congratulations to you folks at Bermuda Online (BOL) for your clear, concise, detailed, logical and well-presented piece on Links and Mentions and how they fit into your methodology. Also, I like your comments on things not Bermudan but Bermudian (thanks also for that correction). As a Floridian myself, I particularly understand your comment that only non-Bermudians refer to Bermudians as Bermudans. I'm sure Canadians feel miffed when ignoramuses refer to them as Canadans not Canadians. Shame on you, Webster's, Oxford University Press, Encyclopedia Britannica (EB) and others for being so ignorant. Speaking of EB I note much of the information about Bermuda is way out of date, pity they don't rely on you. For example, EB states your City of Hamilton is a free port but surely not based on prices business associates and friends of mine found when there recently and confirmed by your piece about how Customs Duties, which reflect in all Bermuda retail prices, are the major form of Bermuda Government revenue (as demonstrated rather shockingly by how your residents, who traveled on the same flight to Bermuda as my friends, had to pay up on arrival in Bermuda for items that in the USA are routinely duty-free). It's my understanding free ports are duty-free places and attract tourists en masse for their low retail prices. Given that Bermuda is revising its tourism policies and trying to revive and rev up its tourism industry, it would seem logical for Hamilton to become at last a true duty-free port. It would help to lower the hugely higher cost of a Bermuda business visit or vacation when compared to anywhere in the Caribbean. Jose Gonzalez, Clearwater, Florida 33756, June 30, 2012.
I am writing a book about the 1944 captivity of the U-505 crew, from their capture off West Africa, their internment in Bermuda as prisoners-of-war, then their relocation to the USA and post-war return to Germany. I live a few miles from Camp Ruston, Louisiana, where the crew was held after departing Bermuda. Your Bermuda Online website has been extremely helpful in determining where the crew and the U-boat were kept in Bermuda. The multiple American bases had me confused until I found your site. Do you know if any photographs exist of the Naval Operating Base (Annex) dispensary where Captain Lange was treated or the stockade where the crew was interned? I'm also looking for anyone who might can describe these facilities to me, or if either is still standing. Thank you for any help or suggestions you can provide. Wesley Harris, Ruston, LA 71273-0030, June 24, 2012.
Regret don't know if any photographs exist of the NOB's dispensary or stockade. If any exist they would not be in civilian Bermuda but might be in the archives of the US Navy in USA. When it left Bermuda in 1995 it took all its military Bermuda-related records with it. Those facilities were available only to qualified US staff who most likely all returned to the USA after their Bermuda visit or posting.
To supplement those of the Scottish lady from Fife I'd like to add my own comments about Her Majesty the Queen to your always-informative and proactive Bermuda Online website. I too have a relative living and working in Bermuda with whom I keep in close touch. He refers me to your website. With the Queen having now served for 60 years and still carrying on wonderfully serving your country, mine and many others despite her advanced age of the late 80s, why is it that her civil servants including the Police are allowed to retire on fat government pensions and golden handshakes when in their late 50s? I'm one of those who believes firmly that especially now in these lean times economically for most of us in any British or British Commonwealth or British Overseas territory it should be mandated that occupational contributory and non-contributory government and private sector pensions should not start until they are at least 68 years old, not far younger. And that, again in deference to Her Majesty, God Bless her, all domestic properties in the UK, as the Fife lady has implied, should be re-rated by their local authorities and taxed at a national, not provincial, level based on their re-assessed market value fairly proportionate to the current market value of Buckingham Palace. One way of doing this would be to raise the number of tax bands significantly. Elsbeth Gibson, Edinburgh, Scotland EH28 8AU, 3 June 2012.
I write as a Scot with a nephew working in Bermuda, hence my interest in your Island and your website as the most informative by far on Bermuda according to my nephew. I'm not an anti-royalist by any means, just a tax-paying realist. As a Scottish taxpayer, I wish folks in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, British Overseas Territories like Bermuda and British Commonwealth of Nations countries like Australia, Canada, etc. and royalist adherents in America would know how over-taxed British-UK taxpayers are in Council Taxes or US-style property or real estate taxes compared to the Queen. Where I live, in a modest 3 small bedroom bungalow on 0.25 of an acre with a present market value of about £179,000 (about Bermuda $250,000) I pay as more in annual Band E 2012-2013 Council Tax (UK property tax) than higher-banded Buckingham Palace, London, the Queen's official London residence estimated to be worth £935 million, with 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms, a cinema, swimming pool, on 40 acres of land. It's just not right that I, with so little compared to the Queen, should pay more in annual tax on my house than the Queen does on hers. You're most welcome to check my figures if you wish. I'm told your Bermuda system of calculating your property taxes are much fairer, are updated more frequently and are much more democratic than ours (last updated in 1991 but still grossly unfair). My sister who lives in Connecticut, USA, pays only a fraction of the property tax of that state's most expensive home, which is how it should be but not in the UK where autocracy not democracy still rules despite the lessons of 1776. Sarah Jones, Cupar, Fife, Scotland KY15 UK, 30 May, 2012.
The Queen is not involved in setting real estate tax rates, her government is. But in other ways this writer is correct. According to its last (1991) tax valuation, Buckingham Palace is in Band H, which covers all properties valued at £320,000 or more, in Westminster City Council in London, where Buckingham Place is located. Thus the Queen's annual real estate tax for the palace with all its opulence is less than for a small Band E 3-bedoom house in Cupar. Council Taxes in the UK vary so hugely by local authority jurisdiction that many affluent homeowners such as the Queen actually pay less than or the same in land/property taxes as homeowners whose properties are valued at far less.
I really like how you guys at Bermuda Online have such a comprehensive website on each one of Bermuda's parishes. As a long-time frequent visitor to Bermuda and with Paget Parish one of my favorite places to stay there, your write-up on Paget is easily the finest and most comprehensive of any Bermuda website. You mention aspects of Paget other websites don't cover, clearly from the point of view of a Paget insider. You even mentioned Elba Beach, where my grandparents and parents used to swim in the 1950s long before that beach became fashionable as a Bermuda College facility and later a Bermuda Government-owned hotel. With the sheer quality of your Paget website I hope the folks at the Bermuda Government-appointed Paget Parish Council have asked if they can link to your site because of the information you show that its own website does not. James D. Egan, Brooklyn, New York 11208, USA, May 17, 2012
I write to thank you unreservedly for your very practical and sensible Links and Mentions web file and policy relating to them. I've long thought there's no point at all in linking to and/or mentioning any entity that won't reciprocate the link and mention unless for strong strategic reasons and you've kindly reinforced my opinion. Thank you for making it clear that if entities want to show their message on your website they should either agree to reciprocate the link or be prepared to pay for it in the manner you indicate if they don't wish to link. I'm going to follow that methodology on my own website. I'm also very grateful to you for being the only Bermuda website to state, to help American, British and Canadian visitors who will be in Bermuda during the 2012 Olympic Games - as I will - and want to cheer on the athletes from their home countries, what Olympic websites they should use. Great stuff! Thomas M Malloy, South Attleboro, MA, 02703, USA, May 13, 2012.
In your excellent Bermuda Online you noted that "since September 2011 Publicasity UK vowed to come up with innovative ways to encourage Brits to fall in love with Bermuda. It was selected to carry out a massive marketing blitz in a bid to lure more tourists to Bermuda from the UK. The company, based in Covent Garden, London, selected a Bermuda Team of staff to draw up its marketing campaign. Staff are said to dedicated to reawaken Britains love affair with Bermuda. The company aims to showcase the Island as never seen before through print, broadcast and digital mediums. They want to make sure Bermuda is read and talked about, watched, listened to and engaged with in all of the right places. The aim is to boost arrival numbers and length of stay of visitors stay by specifically targeting the urbane over-35 traveler market. Rooster Inc previously represented Bermuda for four years and it is understood they bid for the contract again. From April to June 3011 there were just 6,371 visitors from the UK compared to 61,232 visitors from the US. But Publicasity believes Bermuda offers an unparalleled island experience because of its secluded location, pink beaches and quaint ports. Publicasity also handles the UK publicity for Orlando and South Africa, plus Bacardi, Heinz, Kia Motors, McVities, Jack Daniels. With Bermuda considering whether to legalize gambling, the company also has Grosvenor Casinos as one of its clients." While Orlando and South Africa are clearly shown as Clients on its website, Bermuda is, sadly, omitted. I find this a deplorable omission from a company that has publicly stated its Bermuda ambitions and efforts. If indeed it includes Bermuda as a client then can it please earn its money by being active on Bermuda's behalf with appropriate publicity including, surely, taking the time and trouble to ensure all its clients are included on its website. J. H. Mackay, Palmer's Green, London N14, England, 28th April 2012.
I am UK pensioner who has been hoping to go to Bermuda soon to see English expatriate relatives living and working there. I'm intrigued and concerned by your reports in your Senior Citizens of Bermuda sub-sites and those in recent articles of your Royal Gazette newspaper on the plight of the elderly generally in Bermuda. I note there is an Age Concern in Bermuda. I'm distressed to see it does not appear to be doing anything similar to what Age UK - formerly Age Concern and Help the Aged - is doing to counter age-related pain by insurers and your government. I'm one of those who welcomes Age UK's campaign to put a stop to UK insurers discriminating against older drivers being forced to pay sky-high motor insurance premiums. Age UK believes that insurers should judge drivers on ability not age and should offer drivers in later life appropriate motor insurance products. I was appalled to hear from my Bermuda-based relatives that 65-year old people, even with a maximum 75% no claims bonus have to pay so much for their motor insurance. I'm also advised that only in Bermuda do drivers over 65 have to get re-licensed for a maximum of three-years at a time subject to a satisfactory medical and eye sight test. In comparison, in the UK this does not happen until a pensioner is over 70. I understand pretty much the same policy applies in the USA and Canada. I believe Age Concern Bermuda should be pressing your government to remove the over 65 restriction and replace it with the over 70 methodology. Also, with the UK, all of Europe, Canada and USA via Medicaid now offering substantial concessions to the elderly in either free or nearly-free prescriptions, medical and health services, why is Bermuda so mean to its seniors? Age Concern Bermuda, if it really does have Bermuda's seniors' welfare in mind, should be advocating vigorously that there's no way many of your nationals can afford the Bermuda Government's hideously expensive FutureCare and that Bermuda should instead copy what the elderly but not very affluent get, free, in prescriptions and other healthcare services from their governments in the UK, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, Monaco, Canada, etc. Free healthcare services are are largely considered a universal right in Europe. They so hugely more important, impactive, significant, less stressful and contribute far more to a better quality of later life than the scant considerations given in Bermuda to citizens in free annual registration of cars and free annual property tax that only car owners and some pensioners who own their own homes in Bermuda get. I know Age UK and my friends in the USA who are members of the AARP agree. Jean Smith, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7, UK. 3rd April 2012.
Your Bermuda Online website clearly has quite a following here in Edinburgh! Everyone I know quotes from it as the definitive guide to Bermuda! I write as one of a trio of close friends from Scotland, all of us retired but still active sports women, interested in renting a cottage for a month in Bermuda in August this year, to be well away from the madding crowds expected to pour in to England for the London 2012 Olympics, and to see some close friends from the USA whom we know will be visiting Bermuda then by cruise ship. To avoid the rapacious new Air Passenger Duty (APD) hike imposed by our rip-off UK government we will be flying from the UK to Amsterdam to New York, then New York to Bermuda three days later and returning the same way instead of using that crowded British Airways from and to Gatwick. As Silver Surfers we particularly want to be able to follow the Olympic action and results from Bermuda. We've paid close attention to your encyclopedic website, have read and printed out or linked to much of Bermuda of prime interest to us. Ideally, we'd like to find a cottage, not a flat (I think you call them apartments?) in a scenic area out of your city and town areas but not too far from where cruise ships berth (to help our friends from America who will arriving from New York by cruise ship). We'd like to stay at a nice two or three bedroom 2 bathroom cottage equipped with free WIFI if we can rent for a month for under £2,300 sterling a month, payable by telegraphic transfer or credit card. By the way it's a huge point in your website's favour that you've listed precisely by website URLs in your Bermuda Accommodation files how visitors from UK or USA or Canada who bring their own laptops or netbooks (as we will) can log on from their WIFI-equipped Bermuda holiday location directly to their country's Olympic sites. Well done! Elizabeth Grant, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, 10 March, 2012.
As a retired newspaper executive and with a relative working in Bermuda, I've been fascinated by apparent differences in press standards and behaviour in the UK including Scotland and Bermuda, with particular regard to the Leveson Inquiry still going on in London. There have clearly been some major press abuses here in the UK, most noticeably in phone hacking, while in Bermuda your press appear to have acted constantly conscious of both responsibility and accountability. I've read Bermuda's Media Code with great interest. But I'm puzzled by some references and possible omissions, for example with reference to press treatment of Bermuda government ministers, members of parliament and civil servants. Here in the UK, when MPs and cabinet ministers break the law such as when speeding or being ticketed for other traffic offenses or in misuse of public funds, newspaper headlines trumpet this. But I've been told that in Bermuda newspapers never report them. Is this because your MPs never break the law and if so should be commended for their exemplary conduct especially when compared to ours here in the UK? Or, lest it risk the displeasure of MPs and others, is it simply not recorded and reported under the terms of your very generous to MPs and civil servants Media Code? Oh, and one other thing about Bermuda intrigues me greatly. I've learnt that when his referendum for possible political independence for Bermuda from the UK failed, your then-Premier, Sir John Swan, whom I'm told was Bermuda's best Premier by far, did the honourable thing and promptly resigned. I just hope that Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmon MSP, if his planned referendum for Scottish independence fails, will be as honourable as Sir John was and will resign as well, to end the Salmondella-created divisiveness. James McPherson, Glasgow G3 6BY, Scotland, UK. 27 February 2012.
What a treasure-trove of 50 year-old information in the Kindley AFB and US Navy sections of your Bermuda Online website! Who would have thought such a specific and narrow data base would be captured on the internet? - US military personnel based in Bermuda from the 1940s to the 1990s! My father, also Joseph J. Narciso, served there in the 55th Air Rescue Squadron from April 1960 to June 1962. We lived on St. George, across the harbor from Kindley, where for years there was a large rusty old shipwreck right off the dock behind our home on Cut Road. I am the oldest of his six children and was aged 10-12 while there, yet my memories are still quite vivid - a visit by President Kennedy; walking to Stella Maris Catholic Church to serve early Mass under Fr. Vallimont; receiving the New York Daily News every day - but always a day late - to follow baseball and the Roger Maris & Mickey Mantle pursuits of Babe Ruth's home run record in 1961; seeing the Ocean Monarch and Queen of Bermuda spill tourists onto St. George; watching construction of the uniquely-shaped and -positioned Sonesta Beach Hotel on Southampton's South Shore; taking visiting relatives from the US on a one-day taxi tour of the islands (Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Somerset Bridge, Devil's Hole, Fort St. Catherine, etc.). Thank you. Joseph J. Narciso, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, January 21, 2012.
A bunch of us from various parts of the USA are friends and committed NBC-watchers and sports fans. We are planning a trip to Bermuda to coincide with the 2012 Summer Olympics from London, staying in various places you link to and recommend. We note from your excellent Bermuda Online (BOL) there's an NBC affiliate TV station in Bermuda, VSB, with it's own website. That's great, can we assume it will be linking directly to the NBC Olympics coverage? We really appreciate how you guys at BOL have been suggesting to all potential internet-savvy visitors while in Bermuda how to link up with the NBC Olympics events to help support our athletes from the USA, what to bring in suitable WIFI-ready equipment and urging places to stay in Bermuda that they have WIFI. David L. Jones, W. Burke Ave, Towson, Maryland 21204, USA, January 12, 2012.
Referred this enquiry to VSB Radio/TV. Mike Bishop, Station Manager, replied promptly, saying VSB will be announcing what will be happening this summer in due course. If Mr. Jones or anyone else wishes to call VSB re this topic, the phone number is (441) 292-0050. Suggest all from USA interested in following the NBC-broadcast Olympics while in Bermuda first contact either www.nbcolympics.com, or www.olympic.org to determine for sure who will be broadcasting from Bermuda.
You chaps at Bermuda Online are on the ball with your astute observations in your Bermuda Government file. I was distressed to note that your general election and bye-election procedures are so restrictive and unfair to Bermuda voters compared to the methodology long in effect here in the United Kingdom, and I believe in many democratic places elsewhere too. Yes, I can confirm - as one who used this provision not long ago when I returned home from a longish spell overseas - that voters are given up to 15 years before they lose basic voting rights, not merely 6 months as is the case in Bermuda. If individual Bermuda Members of Parliament are unwilling to legislate appropriate changes in time for your next General Election which I'm told could be in 2012, perhaps the UK Parliament or the European Court of Human Rights or folks at the UN can assist in helping Bermuda bring its standards up to acceptable world levels so that Bermuda students, elder people, your other citizens who own homes there, etc. can go home to vote without being penalised. Donald McKey, Ludlow, Shropshire, SW8 1AY, UK, 12th January 2012.
November 8, 2018
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