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Bermuda's History 2000 to 2006

Significant events and social consequences for those calendar years

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Bermuda stamps 1902 set

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us).

See end of this file for all of our many History files

2000

The German color mini TV series "Inselfeiber" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0486532/ was filmed partly in Bermuda. It was written and produced by Jens Fintelmann and Thomas Seekamp.

The Bermuda insurance marketplace began to build a reputation for being innovative. Therefore, whenever companies or clients were in search of solutions to their problems, they came to Bermuda. The increasing number of global insurance and reinsurance companies with a head office in Bermuda continued to cement the Island as a major insurance hub.   

Bear Stearns was ordered pay out $125 million to investors who were left high-and-dry by the collapse of Bermuda-administered Manhattan Investment Fund in 2000. The New York broker continued to accept $125 million in margin payments from the fund's Bank of Bermuda account during the final year leading up to the collapse of the fund in March 2000, which left investors with more than $400 million of losses. It has been argued in court that Bear Stearns continued to extend margin to the boss of the fund Michael Berger, up to a year or more after it should have known he was acting in a fraudulent manner. Austrian-born Berger pleaded guilty to fraud in November 2000, some eight months after the fund collapsed. Investors lost more than $400 million when the fund collapsed seven years ago after being exposed as a "Ponzi" scheme that cheated around 300 investors. Companies involved in administering and auditing for the fund were ordered to pay out tens of millions of dollars in liabilities. Deloitte & Touche, the fund's Bermuda auditors agreed to pay $32 million in a settlement relating to its part in the collapse, while Fund Administration Services (Bermuda) Limited, an affiliate of Ernst & Young who administered the fund, paid out $40.8 million. The Manhattan Investment Fund fraud came to light when Deloitte & Touche withdrew approval for the fund's financial statements for 1996, 1997 and 1998.

March 6. Tributes poured in for the "daddy'' of entertainment in Bermuda, Sydney Bean, who died this week at the age of 92. Fellow performers said Mr. Bean was a pioneer of Island music and the first Bermudian to regularly play abroad. Mr. Bean wrote hundreds of songs, including Bermuda's Still Paradise, Where Did You Stay Last Night Caroline?, and Spend Your Money on Me, which was co-authored by Ted Ming of the Bermuda Strollers. He used to entertain in the US before local entertainers even thought about it. One job he had in Philadelphia, he was the entertainer and (TV superstar) Bill Cosby was the barman. He sang, he played guitar, played bass, he did everything. He was an all-round great entertainer, and well-liked. He was easy-going, always smiling and saying hello, and he loved to be out where things were happening.' Mr. Bean, a leading calypsonian, had his own band, the Sydney Bean Trio, but also played jazz at weekends with Rex Richardson. He played in hotels across the island and was the entertainer for Bermuda Island Cruises before becoming its cruise director -- a position he held until the early 1990's. He was still working on the boats when he was in his eighties. He was known as the first local entertainer who could do impersonations of jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong. Sydney was the pioneer of island music in Bermuda because he was older than Hubert Smith or the Talbot Brothers. Mr. Bean, who was married three times, lived for many years in Greene's Guest House in Middle Road Southampton, but last year he moved to a nearby rest home.

May. The restored Commissioner’s House was opened by the then Premier, now Dame Jennifer Smith, DBE, JP, DHUML. Bermuda’s first permanent exhibit on the slave trade and slavery in these islands was also opened there as a dedicatory history of Bermudians of recent African descent, in the two main reception rooms in the House. In addition to the fundamental role of collecting and preserving material related to Bermuda’s history and heritage, the Museum is also dedicated to make materials and subject matters accessible to the Public, naturally by way of exhibitions, but also through publications.

June 17. Several of the Island's distinguished citizens were honored in the Queen's Birthday Honours List this week. Dr. Barbara B. Ball was named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. For almost four decades, Dr. Ball has been amongst Bermuda's most influential women as a medical practitioner, trade unionist and Member of Parliament. Carol Dowding Hill and Alexander J. (Sandy) Mitchell were also named Members of the Order of the British Empire. Mr. Mitchell was instrumental in the establishment of the WindReach Recreational Village. Miss Hill is a pioneer, teacher, director and community worker. Awarded the Queen's Certificate and Badge of Honour were soccer player Clyde Best; chartered public accountant and Youth Net founder Cornell Fubler; Rev. Betty L. Furbert-Woolridge; Wendy Lambert; Anthoni Lightbourne; Cecile Musson Smith; baker Jean Smith; and June M.B. Tuzo. Awarded the Colonial Police Medal were Commandant Eugene Vickers; Chief Inspector Roger Kendall; and Chief Inspector Derek Smith.

June. Tall Ships arrived in Bermuda for the Tall Shops 2000 Race, second leg, Cadiz to Bermuda, June 9 to 12. The Bermuda Monetary Authority issued three commemorative coins, the Gold 0.5 oz for $300; the Silver Proof 1 oz for $40;; and the Cupro-Nickel 1 oz for $15.Vessels that arrived in Bermuda were splendid.

July 1. Saul Froomkin, Queen's Council, a former Attorney General of Bermuda, was appointed Canada's Honorary Consul to Bermuda. This was requested by Canada in 1999. 

September. The Coalition on Long Term Residents was formed as a result of meetings between the West Indian and Portuguese communities in Bermuda. The object at the outset was to assist Government with respect to proposing solutions as to how to address the rights of these individuals. The following were founding members of the Coalition on Long Term Residents. They also represent the Steering Committee and each are Bermudians of either West Indian or Portuguese heritage. Manuel Edward (Eddy) De Mello; Foster A. Burke; Judith A. Swan; Shurnett Yvonne Caines; Trevor G. Moniz JP, FCIArb, MP: and Robert R. Pires CFA.

October. The Department of Consumer Affairs, formerly known as the Consumer Affairs Bureau, was given legislative powers, when the Consumer Protection Act 1999 came into effect this month. The primary purpose of the Department is " Promoting Confident Consumers and Responsible Traders."  This is achieved by ensuring the rights of consumers to fair trade practices and product safety, by educating consumers and businesses on their rights and responsibilities, enforcing the Act and allowing for redress. The Consumer Protection Act 1999 is divided into six parts: Preliminary; Administration; Unfair Business Practices; Consumer Safety; Enforcement and Miscellaneous. Typically but not exclusively, consumers call the Department of Consumer Affairs with complaints about Defective or poor quality products; Problems with warranties; Issues concerning  sales and return policies; Automotive sales and repair; Home improvement contract disputes; Landlord/tenant issues; Financial contracts and Deceptive advertising. Businesses also contact the Department when they require advice and guidance about customer complaints as it relates to the Consumer Protection Act 1999.

Implementation of Bermuda National Pension Scheme Act 1998.

The Ministry of Tourism & Transport began the ferry modernization project. It was divided into three phases all of which are now completed and include the following:

2000. November 30. Thanks to Historic Scotland and the British Government's involvement in classifying it as a British overseas territory and therefore as one of Britain's such sites, Bermuda's Town of St. George and related fortifications became a World Heritage Site and was inscribed as such on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. It was described as “The Town of St George's, founded in 1612, an outstanding example of the earliest English urban settlement in the New World. Its associated fortifications graphically illustrate the development of English military engineering from the 17th to the 20th century, being adapted to take account of the development of artillery over this period.”

2000. Tourism Minister Mr. David Allen sparked some optimism by announcing that Malaysian development company Aman Capital wanted to redevelop the site vacated earlier by Club Med in which the Camberley Hotel company of Atlanta was no longer interested.

Sorry, but other 2000 information is not available here. 

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2001

January 17. Bermuda can look forward to millions of dollars of free publicity which could run for years as a result of a travel writers' conference being held this year. Around 500 of North America's leading tourism journalists, photographers and cameramen will come to the Island in September for the annual Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) conference.  

NASA's Cooper's Island base was closed. It was first established in 1961 and used as a tracking and communications facility for various space programmes, including the Mercury and Apollo missions and space shuttle flights because of its key geographical position in relation to launch trajectories for space vehicles blasting off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. After  shut down, it became a collection of abandoned buildings and related structures. Part of the area was earmarked by Government as a future nature reserve and visitor centre.

May. The African Diaspora Heritage Trail was launched as a project of the Bermuda Ministry of Tourism, to identify, conserve and promote historic sites linked with the development and progress of people of African descent in Bermuda. They, whether in Bermuda, the Caribbean or the USA are descendants of the African Diaspora propelled by the advent of transatlantic slavery. Research into historical archives has indicated that the discoverer of Bermuda, Spanish navigator Juan de Bermudez, had more than a dozen African slaves on board his ship. No earlier record of African slaves being transported across the Atlantic to the Western Hemisphere has to date been found.

May 25. A skeleton more than 200 year-old has been unearthed on Governor's Island in St. George's during an archaeological dig. The skeleton is the second to be found buried in Smith's Fort on the island. For the past four years, under the auspices of the National Parks Commission, director of the Bermuda Maritime Museum, Dr. Edward Harris and Professor Norman Barka of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia have, with the help of students and volunteers, been excavating Paget Fort and Smith's Fort. The archeological research is part of a long-term study of the first forts built in Bermuda after settlement of the island in 1612. The latest skeleton, a male estimated to be in his early 20s, was discovered in one of the fort's "Merlons'' which is a large rampart part of the wall, between which cannons would be fired. The fort was originally built in 1613, and the foundations of two towers built in Bermuda stone were discovered two years ago. In June 1999, another skeleton was found on the same site, only yards from the current skeleton and both appear to have been laborers working on rebuilding Smith's Fort in the 1790s. The fort was modified at that time by St. George's first mayor, Major Andrew Durnford who was also a Royal Engineer. The Royal Engineers were an army corps responsible for constructing forts and bridges. Maj. Durnford was responsible for modernizing Bermuda's forts following the American revolution, and destroyed all but the footings of the original fort before rebuilding it. Modifications to the fort were deemed necessary at the time to fortify Bermuda as one of the British strongholds in the New World. The individual just discovered was buried in a nightshirt and possibly a shroud, as pins for the sheet and buttons for the shirt have been found with the skeleton. In addition, a coin or medallion was found in the area of the heart and was perhaps in a pocket as it had fragments of cloth adhering to it. The coin was a major find for the team and will help them to date when the man was buried, but the cloth that has corroded to it prevented them from reading the date. It is difficult to age or sex a skeleton without full examination in a laboratory, but the archaeologists believe that the two skeletons were those of young men. The latest skeleton was remarkably well-preserved and the man had an almost perfect set of teeth and no visible signs of trauma or injury. The two men had been buried in coffins and although many nails were found the wood had completely rotted away. They may have been victims of yellow fever which claimed many lives in Bermuda over several centuries. The skeletons will eventually be sent overseas for analysis, but there were no obvious signs on either of any injury. They will then be kept in the care of the Bermuda Maritime Museum. Smith's Fort is one of the fortifications at the east end that are now on the UNESCO World Heritage list and the work by Professor Barka and Harris was instrumental in having the forts added to the list along with the town of St. George.

June 8. The cost of parking in Hamilton is to go up by as much as 50 percent in a bid to raise more money to provide additional parking. The move is also aimed at encouraging residents to use public transport to travel into the city to work and shop. The Corporation of Hamilton, however, sweetened the pill of price hikes by announcing that it is to put up an extra floor of parking at Bulls Head Car Park (subject to planning approval) and is actively looking into providing more spaces within the City. The cost of the extra floor at Bulls Head is believed to be about $3 million and will be met by the hike in the cost, which will hit all forms of parking as of June 25. Parking vouchers and the cost of parking at Cavendish, King Street and Number Seven car park will go up from 50 cents to 75 cents. City Hall, Par-la-Ville, Number One and Number Five car parks will all go up from 75 cents to $1 and all day parking at Bulls Head, Bulls Head North, Laffan Street and Elliott Street car parks will rise from $3 a day to $4 per day. The issue of parking has been a heated topic of debate in the city since the City of Hamilton 2001 Plan was published. In this, a form of pedestrianisation of Reid Street is proposed. But there has been opposition to the plan because some retailers state that it would reduce the already small number of parking spaces available in the City. The Corporation and the Ministry of Transport have been meeting with retailers and the Chamber of Commerce to find a solution to the problem.  

July.  Tucker’s Point Club Hotel & Spa, St. George’s was approved via a Special Development Order.

July 13. This month’s big game fishing tournament will help net the island’s economy around $5 million. The Billfish Triple Crown attracts the best crews from across the world and sees around 40 teams do battle in the waters around Bermuda over 15 days of intense competition. Series producer, Dan Jacobs, has seen the fishing championship grow significantly since it first started in 2001. And it has become one of the biggest and most exciting fixtures on the game fishing calendar. 

September 9. Legendary Travel Journalist Arthur Frommer was in Bermuda at the Society of American Travel Writers Bermuda conference and advised people to stop "trivial" travel writing. He abhors the kind of "trivial" travel writing that does not make waves; is not relevant; does not believe in travel criticisms when due; and encourages journalist and travel writers to write uncritical pieces after enjoying "junkets" - free trips - from hotels or airlines but at local or overseas taxpayers' expense.

Effective in 2001 the term limits policy enacted restricts work permit holders to six years on the Island, under normal circumstances. But a three-year extension is available if an employer makes a successful case, depending entirely on circumstances relevant to that matter as circumstances may be different in other cases that the employee is key and all other conditions or expectations have been met. Employers deemed to be good corporate citizens are also exempt from the policy which is intended to encourage employers to make genuine efforts to recruit and train Bermudians. Normal procedures, such as advertising requirements, apply for work permit renewal applications. There was little overt opposition from the business community when it was announced.

The movie "Life as a House" - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264796/ - was filmed partly in Bermuda.

September 11. The world's worst terrorist attack occurred at the World Trade Center, New York. More than 2,752 innocent civilians were killed when 19 al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger jets. Two aircraft flew into the World Trade Center in New York while another hit the Pentagon and a fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Among the dead were 38 year old Bermudian operations manager Boyd Gatton, Rhondelle Cherie Tankard and Robert Higley. Mr. Gatton, 38, was working on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center with the Fiduciary Trust Company when the attacks took place. Mr. Higley was on the 92nd floor of the South Tower. Ms Tankard, an employee with Bermuda-based insurance company AON, had started work there just two days earlier. Both Mr. Gatton and Mr. Higley were former students of Saltus Grammar School. North America’s airspace was quickly closed to all commercial air traffic. Many international flights all ready flying across the North Atlantic en route to the US were diverted to Bermuda. There, hotels across the Island found themselves dealing with hundreds of displaced air passengers when flights destined for the US were diverted as the 9/11 emergency took hold. The Island’s airport soon resembled a parking lot of jet airliners as flights from Europe and the Caribbean were instructed to head to Bermuda when the US closed its airspace in the wake of the terrorist attacks. The airliners had been en route to the US when the 911 attacks occurred. Among the displaced flights were planes from Spain, England, Germany, Italy and Puerto Rico. European airlines were persuaded to refuel and go back to Europe. The airlines serving Bermuda from the USA and Canada organized their passengers into local hotels. Within hours the Bermuda Hotel Association had mobilized, and it identified 600 rooms available across the Island to accommodate the hundreds of people who were stranded. The hardest thing for the hoteliers was providing guests with definitive information on what was happening and when they might be able to reach the US. Some of the guests had relatives and friends in the twin towers. For all awaiting entry to the US there was a delay of four or five days before North America’s airspace was reopened to commercial flights.

September 11, 2001 in New York City

October.  Harbour Court Tucker’s Point Club, St. George’s was approved via a Special Development Order.

November 9. Public Health Act 1949 was amended to ensure the regulation of businesses that practice tattooing, electrolysis and body-piercing.

December 4. Bermuda mourned the passing of Hubert Smith Sr, one of Bermuda's pioneers and legends of the local music scene. And last night tributes and well-wishes poured in to his family for the legendary musician, who was considered a ''true ambassador of Bermuda.'' Mr. Smith died suddenly yesterday of a massive heart attack, according to family members. He was 83 years old. And although Mr. Smith's family said they are struggling with the tragic loss, they are also celebrating his many contributions to shaping Bermuda's music scene and culture. Mr. Smith 's daughter Velda Ming said she last spoke to her father the night before his passing and said she is coping with the shock. He enjoyed good health in his 83 years. He spent close to 70 years in the business, was a hero in his own right throughout Bermuda's music scene, a major influence in shaping the traditional sound of Bermudian music, such as calypso and jazz, and is probably most remembered for crooning 'Bermuda Is Another World', which he wrote in 1969. But his dedication to the local music scene went far beyond his singing and song writing talents.  

December 11. Three months after the shock and horror of September 11, 2001 the deadliest terrorist attack in history, with financial markets in a state of paralysis, Bermuda profited hugely. The hijacked airliner attacks on the twin towers of Manhattan’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington led to more than $11 billion in fresh insurance capital flowing into the Island, as a dozen or so new companies were established to fill the hole in insurance capacity. Some of the companies born during that period became serious international players. Axis Capital, Arch Capital, Allied World, Endurance Specialty and Montpelier Re subsequently celebrated growth, both in terms of shareholder wealth and global expansion. Their founders recognized a once-in-a-generation business opportunity, to start up in a hard market across a broad range of business lines in a world that viewed their risks in a whole different way after the unthinkable had become reality. Almost every major line of business was impacted: property, aviation, terrorism, workers’ compensation, personal accident, life and business interruption all experienced substantial claims. After 9/11, there was an across the board hard market, around the world. It was a one-two punch, the capital loss from the World Trade Center claims coupled with the shock to the stock markets which caused European insurers assets to decline. The result was an incredible opportunity to enter the business with a clean balance sheet and attract new business at attractive prices. Those elevated rates, coupled with a couple of quiet loss years after 2001, helped the Class of 2001 lay firm foundations. Axis achieved in two years what it took Ace and XL 15 years to do. That was the nature of the opportunity. The influx of insurance talent that came with the new companies and the demand they stimulated for everything from real estate to restaurant meals sparked a boom in the local economy. The significance to Bermuda of the Class of 2001 was not limited to the industry itself. This was the largest of the ‘Bermuda waves’ in terms of both capital dollars and number of new starts and catapulted Bermuda into the group of top three reinsurance jurisdictions and the cat risk capital of the world. This significant boost in both reputation and scale has been a key contributor to international business in Bermuda and the related economic growth of our country over the last ten years. Other “waves” experienced by the Bermuda market have occurred in response to natural disasters, such as those after Hurricane Andrew in 1993 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The nature of the 9/11 attacks meant the Class of 2001 was different. While hurricanes and earthquakes can never be predicted with certainty on either timing or magnitude, they are known events that will happen at some point and can therefore be priced and underwritten. 9/11 caused perceptions of risk to fundamentally alter. This led to widespread premium rate increases across many lines at the same time as demand increased in the heightened consciousness of terrorism risk. Before 9/11, the Bermuda insurance and reinsurance markets were significant, but the Class of 2001 made the Island a major-league industry centre. Their impact was rapid. Nearly instantaneously, brokers and clients were introduced to a new group of companies focused on providing meaningful capital to capacity-strained product lines and they could all be accessed within the confines of a few city blocks. The Class of post September 11. 2001 launched multi-line insurance and reinsurance platforms and quickly diversified their operations both geographically and by product discipline, bringing balance and additional scale to the Bermuda market. The question of why so much capital came to Bermuda after 9/11 was not, they say, so much an issue of tax, as many other jurisdictions can offer similar advantages on that score, but rather the short time in which investors could get their new companies up and running. The Bermuda advantage of speed to market, for an entity with the right pedigree of capital source and management team, meant they could be up and running well before the 2002 renewal season. Secondly, capital came to Bermuda post 9/11 to support the large reinsurers who were bearing a significant part of the loss from the event. 9/11 was unprecedented; the Bermuda companies who bore the loss had strong ratings, management teams and track records and were therefore able to attract additional capital to replenish and strengthen their balance sheets. Investors had faith that these companies would capitalize on the opportunity afforded by the post 9/11 environment. On of the many new Bermuda insurer post September 2001 success stories was the formation of Axis Capital by Mr John Charman, after raising around $1.7 billion in capital from investors. He was later CEO of the company for nearly 11 years. His personal holding in the company, according to Yahoo Finance, was around 2.36 million shares, worth more than $78.8 million in 2012 after he left the company.

Enactment of Bermuda's Historic Wrecks Act 2001. That law for shipwreck heritage mandates that all work carried out on the remaining sites be done by the scientific methods of archaeology and that artifacts and material found belong to the Government, which is also entitled to copies of all records made during the work. Those collections of artifacts and records are ultimately to form the ‘National Collection' of shipwreck heritage, to be preserved, studied and shared on behalf of the people of Bermuda and the wider world. It was based in part on the 2001 UNESCO “Convention on Underwater Heritage.”

The Bermuda Island Games Association (BIGA)  was founded. The NatWest Island Games, so-called because they are funded principally by Britain's National Westminster Bank (owned by Britain's Royal Bank of Scotland) provide an opportunity for athletes from island communities with a population of less than 125,000 to compete at international level. They are now an established biennial international multi-sport event. Bermuda is the host July 13-19, 2013. They occur once every four years in different island jurisdictions. They include Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Boardsailing, Cycling, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Sailing, Shooting - Clay and Skeet, Shooting - Pistol and Rifle, Squash, Swimming, Tennis, Traithlon, Volleyball. 

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2002

January 21. After decades of service, Sir John Plowman, Kt., CBE, OBE, MLC, died at home yesterday morning. He was 93. The long-time community activist, who was born here but moved to the UK as a child, was refused entry when he returned to the Island 16 years later. However after a careful look at Bermuda's immigration laws he convinced officials to allow him to take up residency in his rightful birthplace and went on to serve the Island for more than 65 years. Born on September 18,1908 to a non-commissioned officer stationed at the British Army camp at Prospect, Bermuda. Sir John was one of seven children. During his early years in Bermuda, Sir John lived on Frog Lane with his family and attended the Garrison School. After the First World War, his family moved back to England where Sir John attended the Highfield School, Clark's Modern School for Boys and later the London School of Economics. After a brief stint in British politics where he was branch chairman and vice chairman of the Junior Imperial League, a speaker at Conservative Party rallies, a 1912 Club member and the youngest Borough Chancellor, he returned to the Island. It was 1935, he was 27 and he believed there were opportunities here. Shortly after arriving in Bermuda Sir John went to work at distributing company W. S. Purvis and Company Limited and married Marjorie Harwick. Sir John quickly joined the debating group Forty Club and later joined the Bermuda Volunteer Engineers. A Food and Supplies Control Board had been formed in 1940 to monitor the distribution of food on the Island which had become a problem as supplies being shipped to Bermuda from the United States were limited. Sir John acquired the newly created position of Rationing Officer and later served as the Assistant Director of Supplies from 1942 to 1945, Director from 1945 to 1947 and Chairman of the Supplies Commission from 1947-1949. Sir John was awarded the Queen's honour of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his services with the Bermuda Wartime Supplies Commission. In 1945 at the end of Second World War, Sir John was approached by the partners of Holmes Williams and Purvey (HWP) to become the fourth partner of the company in the position of Managing Director. He went to work at HWP in 1947 and stayed until 1998, serving either as Managing Director or Chairman. While there he was instrumental in bringing the first cars to Bermuda and in bringing the GE dealership to Bermuda for the distribution of large electrical appliances. In 1948 Sir John became a member of the Chamber of Commerce for which he served as vice-president until 1950 and president from 1950-1952 and 1960-1962. He also served as a member of the Census Committee from 1949 to 1950 and 1959 to 1960. Sir John was appointed to the Transport Control Board in 1951. He served as Lions Club Bermuda branch president in 1952. A keen sportsman, Sir John joined the Bermuda Athletic Association in 1947 and was also instrumental in combining the two segregated football leagues into the Bermuda Football Association in 1955. He was elected Vice-Chairman of the BFA in 1955. With Sir John Plowman as the Chairman of the board of governors from 1968 to 1977, Warwick Academy became the first school in Bermuda to integrate. Sir John's political career in Bermuda began in the early sixties when Employers Council Chairman Henry Tucker asked him to take a position on the committee. He was appointed president in 1963. While he would shortly thereafter run for a seat in Paget East and lose, this did not stop Sir John from being active in what was to become the United Bermuda Party. Instrumental in forming the UBP, Sir John went on to serve as the chairman for many years. In total he gave 40 years of service to Government. He was Minister of Organisation from 1973 to 1976, Minister of Marine and Air Services from 1976 and Minister of Government and Commercial Services. He was appointed a member of the Legislative Council in June 1966 and served for over 11 years. He was also a member of numerous government and public boards including the Bermuda Hospitals Board on which he served as chairman from 1966 to 1968. He was given the Queen's Honour of Commander of the order of the British Empire in June 1970 and was knighted in 1979. Even after he retired from Government in 1982, Sir John did not cease to be involved in public affairs. Some of his activities in recent years included serving as Chairman of the International Year of the Older Persons Committee, being very involved with Project Action and serving as the director of the Senior Learning Centre. Sir John was also committed to education and youth and gave many of his employees at HWP opportunities for advancement. Widowed in 1986, Sir John is survived by two sons, Michael and Piers.

February 12. An Olympic-sized cheer abounded across the Island yesterday on the news from the Ministry of Telecommunications, CableVision and Bermuda Broadcasting Company (BBC) that coverage of the Winter Games would be expanded. Three local channels will now be broadcasting the 2002 Olympics from Salt Lake City for the duration of the Games - ZFB channel 7 (which holds local broadcast rights for the Games) and cable TV channels 6 (WDIV) and 25 (CNBC). Local coverage of the Salt Lake City games first fell under heavy criticism when technical problems resulted in complete blackout of coverage for a couple of hours Friday evening. While that problem was rectified, hockey fans continued to fume over the CNBC blackout because ZFB 7 was not airing any Olympic coverage at all while the popular winter sport was being shown on channel 25 - which CableVision subscribers pay for but were unable to watch. Yesterday, however the Ministry of Telecommunications brokered a deal to satisfy all fans of winter sports. Although BBC hold exclusive rights to the Olympic feed in Bermuda and originally intended to air coverage only on ZFB 7, company CEO Rick Richardson instructed local cable TV provider CableVision to end the blackout of CNBC last night.

February 19. Yesterday’s front page story in the New York Times — “US companies file in Bermuda to slash tax bills” made headlines. Some weeks ago, in the wake of a series of negative press reports about Bermuda relating to the collapse of Enron and Global Crossing Ltd. and the difficulties facing Tyco and Elan International, the daily newspaper warned that Bermuda needed to mount a media counter-attack. The need for a full response became more pronounced yesterday when the New York Times described how one Bermuda-based company had moved from its New Jersey headquarters to Bermuda and as a result paid $27,000 per year to Government instead of $40 million in corporate income taxes to the United States. Last week, another manufacturing company, the hardware company Stanley Works, announced it was moving to Bermuda as well. The primary reason was to reduce its tax bill. And it said its profits would be $30 million higher in the next quarter as a result. Bermuda has spent decades trying to shed the tax-haven label. The New York Times also added a new twist to the question, by quoting an expert who said the issue for companies was, quite simply, patriotism or profit. Investors and stock analysts may prefer reducing taxes and raising profits, but many Americans, and almost all American politicians, will prefer patriotism in the wake of September 11. The truth is that companies like Stanley Works, which will have no corporate presence in Bermuda, do very little to boost the Bermuda economy. It is the companies with a physical presence — some three percent of the total — that contribute 70 to 80 percent of the money international companies bring to Bermuda. Then too, as Bermuda was at pains to explain to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development last year, Bermuda does not have a preferential tax system. No companies pay corporate income taxes in Bermuda. When the OECD was tackling tax havens, the Bush Administration was reluctant to give it much support , regarding Bermuda and other reputable offshore financial centres as places that increased the efficiency of the global economy. And companies like Stanley Works move because they are at a disadvantage with their overseas competitors. Reducing their tax rate helps them to compete in foreign markets, and that is good news for the US economy. It is also worth noting that companies that move offshore only reduce their tax bills — they do not eliminate them. Even companies like ACE and XL, which were founded in Bermuda and do business all over the world, pay hundreds of millions of dollars in US taxes, they have to do in order to do business there. But that does not mean they should pay taxes to the US on business they do in the UK or Germany. That message must be made to policy makers in Washington and elsewhere. It should be recalled that one prime time TV programme effectively killed the US bases in Bermuda. It is up to Government and the leaders of international companies to ensure that one front page New York Times story does not do the same for international business.

March 20. The American Consulate submitted plans for multi-million dollar security upgrade and is seeking a special development order from Government to carry it out. Among the changes in store for the Middle Road, Devonshire property will be a steel picket fence around the perimeter of the property, a vehicle barrier at the gate and new controlled access centre (CAC) building at set slightly back from the road. The United States Government chose to revisit security provisions at its overseas embassies and consulates following bombings at two African embassies four years ago. After the horrific bombings in the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in August 1998, the Department of State - by mandate of the US Congress - undertook an ambitious project to upgrade the security at all American diplomatic facilities around the world. The major upgrades needed to bring the Consulate General up to congressionally-mandated worldwide security standards include; construction of a nine foot perimeter wall/fence; a vehicle barrier and access control centre at the entrance gate; `hardening' of the interior walls on the ground floor of the building; and, installation of blast-proof windows." Consulate staff also took measures to inform area neighbours of the upcoming security changes. US Consul Jennifer Schools said every effort had been made to keep the appearance of the Consulate in line with Bermuda architecture, with the CAC building to resemble a small, Bermuda cottage. Ms Schools also said many of the routine forms people seek at the consulate, such as visa applications, will now be held in the CAC building. 

April 5. Surf Side Beach Club last night opened three new luxury three bedroom apartments, which are part of a $5 million facelift at the Warwick resort. Owner Naval Mehra also revealed he is hoping for final planning approval for an additional identical three storey development, which will take the resort to 49 units. The three bedroom seafront units, which cover an entire floor, include sitting room, full kitchen and laundry facilities, are available from April 13 at $850 a night. Alternatively, a one bedroom unit on the floor can be let separately for $350 a night. Mr. Mehra's company, Bermuda Resort Hotels - which also owns the Harmony Club and new Wharf executive suite hotel in Paget that is due to open next month - has spent a total of $5 building the new units and upgrading ten executive suites. At the opening last night, he paid tribute to Tourism Minister David Allen's Hotel Concessions Act for making the new projects possible.

June. The Queen's Golden Jubilee was celebrated in Bermuda. at Government House. Thousands of Bermudians were invited

June 18. In its "Exchange of Notes" when everything was formally handed back following the end of the US Bases in Bermuda in May 1995, Item 5 reads:....."The Government of the USA will pay the Government of the UK for the benefit of the Government of Bermuda, the sum of Eleven Million Dollars in consideration of the termination of all obligations relating to the maintenance and repair of the Longbird Bridge......"

June. The Bermuda Government's  National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged was formed to provide a central point of access to government services. 

June. Tourism Minister David Allen was airlifted to the United States for medical treatment after undergoing tests in King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. The nature of his illness was not disclosed. Mr. Allen was advised by doctors to get further tests in the United States after he underwent treatment at KEMH. Premier Jennifer Smith, who is due back on the Island this week, will decide who will take up his post in the meantime. Mr. Allen was taken out on an air ambulance on Friday to the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts, which is regarded as one of the top hospitals in the US. 

June Tourism Minister David Allen died, of cancer. Minister of Tourism, he was the only white Cabinet member of the PLP Government and had supported it for decades. He had a full state funeral. 

David Allen

Late Tourism Minister David Allen

August 19. Patients facing the daunting prospect of having to pay up front to have their babies delivered and for other surgical procedures can rest easy again after Government announced on Friday that a settlement had been reached between insurers and physicians. But this "settlement" does not constitute a final agreement, merely a ceasefire while a new fee schedule is worked out. That means that doctors and insurance companies may again disagree on what constitutes fair payment for their services. But the row is a chilling sign of how fragile the Island's health insurance system can be and how easily it can be turned on its head. And it is worrying that the dispute could have led to a person being denied an essential medical service because they could not pay up front. It did not come to that, and it is difficult to imagine a physician actually taking this dispute that far; but the possibility nonetheless remained. Health Minister Nelson Bascome said on Friday that the health system has worked well, and for the most part he is correct. No one in Bermuda is denied health care. The young and the elderly receive high quality basic care at little or no cost, while Government's Health Insurance Plan (HIP) does the same for people of working age. The private insurance companies provide higher levels of service to people who are employed. The hospital and Government's other health clinics provide a high standard of care, especially given the Island's size. This mixture of public and privately funded health care has served Bermuda well, as Mr. Bascome said. It has avoided the worst problems of 100 percent publicly funded health care, like the years-long waits for "non-emergency" surgery that have come to epitomize Britain's National Health Service. It has avoided the inequities of private health care, as epitomized by the refusal of some US hospitals to treat uninsured patients. Nonetheless, Bermuda's system does face a number of challenges. Clearly, the question of how much insurance companies are prepared to pay physicians is one issue that has to be resolved. More seriously, the issue of elderly patients whose access to major medical health insurance is cut off then they retire has to be addressed, either in conjunction with pension schemes or via some other from of group health insurance. But the notion that a person can pay health insurance premiums for upwards of 40 years, only to be cut off when they most need insurance is invidious. The problem of skyrocketing medical costs is next. Generally speaking, medical costs have risen at three or four times the general rate of inflation in the last five of six years. That's why physicians are arguing with insurers and it is why the insurers are arguing with the hospital, it is also why the hospital runs at a deficit every year and, finally, it is why the consumer keeps having to pay more for health insurance and health treatments.

September 9. Death, in Canada, at the age of 82, of Edward DeJean, one of the founding fathers of the Progressive Labour Party in Bermuda. Although a Canadian, in Bermuda he was a teacher, school principal, football (soccer) coach, political activist, role model and mentor to many.

October 23. The Bermudian Business magazine, once a quarterly publication, will now be publishing six issues a year. The issues will be produced every other month starting with the February/March issue, and the first issue will highlight the top ten businesses in Bermuda.

The Government was given $11 million as part of the Baselands deal signed in Washington D.C. In the deal, the US refused to pay to clean up the pollution of its two former bases, but did give the Island $11 million for Longbird Bridge, which US troops built and which has been plagued with mechanical problems.

November 8. The first Bermuda Culinary Arts Festival (BCAF) came to a close on Monday after a weekend-long series of seminars, cooking demonstrations and tastings hosted by celebrity chef and Food Network star Sara Moulton, and Gourmet magazine's wine consultant Michael Green. The three-day event, which was held at the Fairmont Southampton Princess Hotel and was developed to encourage visitors to travel to Bermuda, was hailed as a fabulous success and is set to be even bigger next year. Presented by the Department of Tourism, the Bermuda Electric Light Company, the Fairmont Southampton Princess and Gourmet magazine, Bermuda's new culinary event was planned to be similar in nature, but sufficiently different from other food festivals around the world so as to differentiate Bermuda as a unique place to visit, according to Mr. Redford. To that end, the organizers partnered with global food and beverage publication Gourmet magazine to garner international media exposure and reach an attractive target market. While the gourmet event was initially planned for November 2001, it was postponed due to the tragedy of September 11 and eventually rescheduled for November 2002. With a star-studded roster of world-renowned chefs from the United States and England, festival visitors were able to see, hear, smell and taste the makings of culinary masterpieces. As well, they were treated to authentic Bermudian delicacies prepared by local chefs in addition to wine tastings, celebrity chef hosted dinners and book signings with Sara Moulton. The Bermuda Culinary Arts Festival also featured the People's Choice Awards, a culinary competition between various Bermuda restaurants sponsored by Butterfield & Vallis and Conagra Foods. The competition, which ran from October 14 to November 2, enabled the participating restaurants to feature a four-course fixed menu with wine pairings. Diners were able to judge and score the People's Choice menu based on specific criteria such as creativity, presentation and visual appeal, culinary techniques, taste, texture, temperature and flavor, service and wine pairing. The epicurean weekend wrapped up with a charity golf tournament benefiting the Windows of Hope relief fund and a local culinary scholarship.

December. Three more bids to redevelop the Club Med abandoned hotel site were considered by the Bermuda Government, but one of the competing groups got fed up with waiting for a decision and the other two withdrew..

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2003 

February 9. Death of Dr. the Hon E. S. DD. Ratteray, former UBP Minister (Education, Planning), dentist and activist,  only 68. 

March. Kurron Shares of America first made headlines in Bermuda when it was hired to conduct a study of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and what was St Brendan’s Hospital, now the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. Nelson Bascome, then health minister, announced the appointment of the health management and consultancy firm, whose headquarters were in Manhattan, which sparked opposition criticism that it had come “out of the blue”. The firm was paid $450,000 for a report on the two hospitals.

April 27. Shaundae Jones, 20, was shot in a car pulling away from the Club Malabar nightclub in Dockyard around 3 a.m. The gunman jumped on the back of a motorcycle ridden by an accomplice. Police believe the Bermuda College student may have been the victim of an "east vs west" revenge attack over a relatively minor incident.

June 13. Opera singer Jose Carerras - one of the Three Tenors - was at the Maritime Museum to lead an early salute to Bermuda's discovery in 2005. Tickets were over $100 per person.

July. For the upcoming General Election, what had earlier been a 40-seat House of Assembly became 36, as a direct result of electoral boundary changes and the introduction of single-seat constituencies.

July 24. The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) again defeated the United Bermuda Party (UBP), this time by 22 seats to 14. Jennifer Smith was deposed as Premier, replaced by the Hon. W. Alexander Scott JP, MP with Dr. the Hon. Ewart Brown JP, MP as Deputy Premier. Mr. Scott remained Premier for three years. 

July. Despite its location well north of the Caribbean, Bermuda became an associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The latter is a socio-economic bloc of nations in or near the Caribbean, such as the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, the Republic of Suriname, and Belize in Central America as full members. The Turks and Caicos Islands, an Associate member of CARICOM, and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, a full member of CARICOM, are in the Atlantic, but near to the Caribbean. Other nearby nations or territories, such as the USA, are not members (although the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has Observer status, and the US Virgin Islands announced in 2007 they would seek ties with CARICOM). Bermuda, at roughly a thousand miles from the Caribbean Sea, has little trade with, and little economically in common with, the region, and joined primarily to strengthen cultural links. Opinion polls conducted by Bermudian newspapers The Royal Gazette and The Bermuda Sun showed clear majorities of Bermudians as opposed to joining CARICOM. The UBP, which had been in Government from 1968 to 1998, objected on the basis that joining CARICOM was detrimental to Bermuda's interests. Other than large-scale West Indian immigration to Bermuda throughout the 20th century, Bermuda's trade with the West Indies had been negligible, its primary economic partners being the USA, Canada, and UK (there were and are still not even direct air or shipping links). Further,  CARICOM was moving towards a single economy, which Bermuda would not be able to form part of without disastrous effects on its own economy. Additionally. the Caribbean islands are generally competitors to Bermuda's already ailing tourism industry; participation in CARICOM would involve considerable investment of money and the time of government officials that could more profitably be spent elsewhere. But despite these logical protects, the majority PLP government enacted the enabling legislation.

August. Bermuda Immigration Officers denied seven Chinese nationals, who were seeking to use Bermuda as a backdoor to the States by using false Japanese passports, entry to Bermuda from the United Kingdom and sent them back on the plane to London. Earlier in the year they had entered Bermuda from the UK using false Japanese passports but were arrested after being apprehended by US Immigration officials as they attempted to depart Bermuda for the USA using the Bermuda-USA airport pre-clearance system.

August 22. Twentieth century world history is set to come alive for Bermudian school students in November when the youngest daughter of Britain's war-time Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill comes into their classrooms for a series of talks. Lady Mary Soames will be in Bermuda with leading international scholars and politicians to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic summit held here between Sir Winston, US president Dwight D. Eisenhower, and French Premier Joseph Laniel. And the winner of a school essay competition will be given a scholarship to attend a programme in London and Oxford next year. As well as speaking to school students, Lady Soames will donate books on her father's life to schools. The four day conference held in Bermuda in December 1953 set a trend for international summits to address international crises. This year's conference at the Fairmont Hamilton Hotel will focus on previous summits at Teheran, Yalta, Potsdam and Bermuda which have helped shape world history and the theme will be "Summitry and the Special Relationship." It is being organized by the International Churchill Society and guests will include Sir Michael Heseltine, the former British Defence Secretary in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government of the 1980's. The 1953 conference was the first post-war summit held by Churchill and it came against a backdrop of the early days of the Cold War, the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin just as the Communist regime had successfully tested an atomic bomb, and an uneasy truce in Korea. Churchill, who arrived with Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden on December 1, spent four days at the conference in the Mid-Ocean Club, and a further six days on the Island. The threat of nuclear war - and Eisenhower's suggestion that atomic weapons be used if Communist China broke the Korean ceasefire - dominated the talks as grave uncertainty hung over the planet. The other main point was to persuade the French to allow the German military to play a role to defend western Europe against the threat of Russian satellite states to east. And Churchill tried unsuccessfully to persuade Eisenhower to join Britain in defence of the Suez Canal in Egypt. The keynote address at November's conference will be given by Churchill's official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert. Sir Martin wrote: "At Bermuda, Churchill tried to build a path to the summit which, as he had envisaged it, would also have been a path to world peace." Bermuda Post Office will be producing special commemorative stamps to mark the conference. The International Churchill Society was established in 1968 to inspire leadership and statesmanship among democratic and freedom-loving people based on the thoughts, words and deeds of Sir Winston.

September 5. Hurricane Fabian ravaged Bermuda. It was the strongest storm to hit Bermuda's coast in four decades. It began mildly when Bermuda woke to winds gusting between 25 mph and 37 mph as Hurricane Fabian had it sights set on Bermuda. The hurricane approached the Island from the south, south-west and moved north. The eye of the storm, which was 50 miles from north to south and 30 miles from east to west, then travelled across the Island bringing the highest winds. The wall of the eye skirted to the West sitting on the Island for about three hours in the north-east quadrant, traditionally the strongest part of the storm. By 5.55 p.m. when the strongest winds of 150 mph were recorded, the Island had already lost four lives on the Causeway.  They all died when they were swept from the Causeway during the hurricane.  P.C. Stephen Antoine Symons, 37, P.C. Nicole O'Connor, 29, Station Duty Officer, Gladys Saunders, 48, were trapped on the bridge in one car. Stephen Antoine Symons 'Chicken', 37, was one of two officers escorting Station Duty Officer Gladys Saunders, back to her home in Duck's Puddle, Hamilton Parish. A civilian, Manuel Pacheco, 23, an employee of the Corporation of Hamilton, was stuck in a second care behind them at about 2.30 p.m. He was returning home after securing his boat in St. David's. Although attempts were made to save them, fire fighters, police officers and a constructions worker had to abort the mission when the storm became too bad. The body of P.C. Symons was found two days later and the other victims were never seen again. During the day of Fabian there were reported gusts closer to 160 mph, however, around 4.55 p.m. the Bermuda Weather Service's monitoring equipment had shorted as water surged eight feet above sea level and recording stopped for two hours. The Weather Service crew were lucky to still have equipment to monitor after their meteorologist Brian Kolts said that five more knots would have blown the roof off their bombproof US military-made shelter. At about 6.55 p.m., the eye was north of Bermuda and the winds switched direction to come from a westerly direction on the comparatively weaker side of the storm. And by 11.55 p.m the next day, the hurricane winds had officially passed over the Island, with sustained speeds of 40 knots (46 mph) gusting to 52 knots (60 mph) hitting the Island. From then on, there was a steady decline in wind speed as Fabian blew out into the Atlantic northwards, and by 4.55 a.m. on Saturday the Weather Centre was barely registering tropical storm conditions, with sustained winds at 36 knots (41 mph). But what it left in it's wake was anything but calm. Estimated costs for damage from the storm ran in the area of $300 million. Around 25,000 out of 32,000 homes and businesses were left without power, though by mid-afternoon on Sunday, BELCO reported that 11,000 homes had their power restored. A 20-strong team from the Caribbean Electric Association, in Cayman, arrived on the Tuesday to offer help where they could. The East End of the Island, however, was cut-off for days after the Causeway was impassable. Days later it was open to one-way traffic, but still closed at night and finally in October the main artery of the Island was running as normal. Bermuda's hotels suffered, with the majority of the Sonesta Beach Hotel's roof flying off and the Fairmont Southampton also struggled to replace its roof. Fabian conveniently hit at the beginning of the school year and meant the opening of Government schools was delayed a week and they did not open until September 15. St. George's prep spent months recovering after the storm which wreaked havoc on the building and two years after Hurricane Fabian ravaged the Island The Department of Parks and the Ministry of Works and Engineering started repairing the entrance to Church Bay, which was badly damaged. Later, the September 5th Foundation, a registered charity, erected a memorial bench in Kindley Field Park, near to the scene of the tragedy. The foundation since created a scholarship fund for the Fabian victims' children. 

September 26. Death of Bermudian Major General Glyn Gilbert, Bermuda's highest ranking officer in the British Army. See full details of his life and military exploits in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyn_Gilbert

October 28. The Bank of Bermuda has accepted an offer from HSBC Holdings Plc, the world's second- largest bank by market value, to be bought for $1.3 billion in cash. Bank of Bermuda shareholders will receive $45 per share, 16 percent more than the average closing price for the past three months on NASDAQ, London-based HSBC and the Bank of Bermuda said. "The acquisition will significantly enhance our capabilities in some important lines of business," HSBC Chairman Sir John Bond said in a statement. Founded in 1889, Bank of Bermuda has assets of $11.8 billion and 3,000 employees in 13 countries. The lender earned $83.9 million before taxes, or $2.53 a share in 2002, HSBC said, pricing the transaction at about 18 times earnings. Bank of Bermuda's board of directors will recommend that shareholders accept the deal at a special general meeting. The deal has received the support of the Ministry of Finance. The bank's private client business has about 5,000 clients controlling $21.7 billion in assets. It also helps administer about $113 billion in assets for institutional investors. The board of Bank of Bermuda has approved the sale and will recommend it to shareholders, HSBC said. Bank of Bermuda shareholders will receive $40 per share in cash from HSBC and $5 per share from Bank of Bermuda as a special dividend, according to the statement. Bank of Bermuda will pay the dividend before the acquisition is completed. HSBC shares gained 2.5 percent to 865.5 pence in London. Bank of Bermuda shares jumped to $44.88 in afternoon trading. Bank of Bermuda was advised by Merrill Lynch.

November 13. Bank of Bermuda president and CEO Henry Smith yesterday confirmed that he will be leaving his post within a year of the bank being bought out by HSBC. Although still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, multinational banking giant HSBC is set to close on its purchase of Bermuda's largest bank, in a deal worth $1.3 billion announced at the end of last month, during the first quarter of next year. Mr. Smith, who will be leaving the bank after 30 years and having worked his way from teller to the post of CEO for the last seven years, said yesterday in an interview with that he hopes that he will be asked to stay involved as a director of the board, and perhaps also continue to be involved with the Bank of Bermuda Foundation. Mr. Smith said: "It is going to get out so I might as well address it. The intent of HSBC is indeed in the spirit of Bermuda law, we are actually obliged by law to have Bermudian minded management, and we are actually obliged to have a predominately Bermudian board. In the spirit of that law, HSBC intends to keep the senior management in place." Mr. Smith added, however, that he and CFO Ed Gomez were not part of that deal. Mr. Gomez is to be replaced by an HSBC appointed chief financial officer and Mr. Smith has been asked to stay on for up to a year, but not more. A Bank of Bermuda spokesperson yesterday said it was too early to determine whether the post of CEO would go to a local management person or an HSBC executive, once Mr. Smith quit that post.  

2003. Death in Bermuda of Wing Commander E. M. Ware, then leasing from the Bermuda National Trust the property known as Palmetto House, Devonshire. 

2003. Bermuda's Bank of Butterfield established its wholly-owned Barbados subsidiary, Butterfield Bank (Barbados) Ltd. The Barbados subsidiary was established upon the acquisition by Butterfield of the Barbados assets of the Mutual Bank of the Caribbean, Inc, at the time a subsidiary of The Barbados Mutual Life Assurance Society.

2003. The St. George's Renaissance Consortium, backed by Canada-based Quorum, led by Wanda Dorosz, got the nod from the Bermuda Government for a limited-term exclusivity agreement to redevelop the old Club Med hotel.. Costs were estimated at around $80 million and the group wanted to be in business by 2005. They claimed to have spent more than $2 million on the project that would have brought a Four Seasons hotel to Bermuda. The consortium's $220 million plan, unveiled in November 2003, included demolishing the old building and replacing it with a hotel of at least 90 bedrooms and a cottage complex of 90 condominiums, designed in a European style with public squares and fountains. An underground theatre, seating between 400 and 500 people, would be used for cultural events and the consortium had gathered support from several overseas cultural institutions which would have resulted in world-class theatre coming to the island.

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2004

January. Bermuda International Airport received high marks in passenger satisfaction surveys, placing first among North American airports in the "Under 15 million passengers" category in 2003 and fourth world-wide in its size category, according to the global airport monitor report that year. Cited were courtesy of staff, security, and check-in facilities.

February 27. Independence? No. Retired lawyer and former United Bermuda Party MP and Cabinet Minister William Cox published 2,000 copies of this epistolatory booklet in which he makes plain that his sympathies lie with maintaining Bermuda's current constitutional position. In a foreword to a collection of seven letters mostly relating to Bermuda's constitutional relationship to the UK, Mr. Cox makes the case that "Bermuda has always benefited from this UK connection and the peace and prosperity we have enjoyed throughout our history and still enjoy is in no small measure due to this connection". He advises that "as with all relationships, if it is to work it must be a two-way street, which means it is necessary for there to be good relations between the Governor and the local Government." Mr. Cox takes successive Governments to task, arguing that while "the UK Government has always gone more than half way to meet the aspirations of the Bermuda Government . . . the Bermuda Government has not displayed the same goodwill in return, especially in the last 30 or so years". He lists a dozen events or factors that have made things difficult for the UK Government to work in harmony with the Bermuda Government over these years, including the 1972 murder of Police Commissioner George Duckett, the 1973 murders of Governor Sir Richard Sharples and his aide-de-camp Captain Hugh Sayers, and the decision of "the Gibbons Government" to hang the perpetrators. He alleges that "the 1983 Swan Government, spearheaded by the Finance Minister David Gibbons, publicly hounded Governor Richard Posnett out of office on trumped-up, spurious charges" and that the Pamela Gordon Government did likewise to Police Commissioner Colin Coxall in 1997. The Progressive Labour Party is not spared: Jennifer Smith is castigated for announcing the holding of a general election in 2002 without telling the Governor, and Premier Alex Scott for using the need for the appointment of a Chief Justice as an excuse to make irresponsible political and personal attacks on the Governor in the media. Mr. Cox warns: "If the Bermuda Government wishes to sever all links with the UK, it must hold a referendum and get a significant majority of Bermudians to support such a move." He suggests that "for members of the Bermuda Government not to observe at least the basic minimum of the courtesies which should be observed in ordinary human relations when dealing with the Governor indicates nothing other than bad breeding and ill manners".

March 9. Campaigning for a referendum as the best means for deciding how Bermuda should decide on whether it should move to Independence is premature, Premier Alex Scott said yesterday. The Premier pointed out that the focus should be on making sure the populace is fully informed on Independence, and related issues, not on swaying public opinion. He added that Opposition Leader Grant Gibbons should be looking into "the merits of going to Independence, if we should choose to do so, by a General Election". Mr. Scott's call for an open, national discussion on Independence at his party's Founder's Day luncheon on February 29, was initially met with an overall positive reaction. But Dr. Gibbons later called for the Country to first agree on how Bermuda should go about the process of constitutional change and the transition to Independence before embarking on an open discussion. And the Opposition Leader said he was concerned that the Progressive Labour Party still held that the General Election is the best way to gauge the will of the people, and has been pushing his party's position for a referendum. Mr. Scott has already said that his party is willing to be guided by the people on the issue and that based on public feedback, the PLP may well decide to abandon its long held position, a stance not adopted by the United Bermuda Party. He said the discussion has not differed much from that in 1995 when the Country held a referendum on Independence. He agreed that the issue was hugely politicized in 1995. The PLP, in Opposition, urged supporters to boycott the 1995 referendum.

April 1. Bermuda became a 'designated territory' under the Financial Services Act of the United Kingdom. See http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/mou/mou_bermuda.pdf.

April 30. Premier Alex Scott wants a review of Government departments' financial management systems to clamp down on instances of public money going missing. Last week Government clerk Clayton Albert Busby was jailed for three months after admitting to stealing $159,493.37 from the Government Employee Heath Insurance scheme. Another employee of the Accountant General's department has been charged in the disappearance of $1.9 million. And an Immigration officer is currently on suspension following allegations that money had gone missing.  

June. The Washington DC-based World Bank released its World Development Indicators report for 2004, ranking Bermuda #1 in terms of Gross National Income.

June 5. Death of former US President Reagan. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan. Under his Administration Bermuda benefited hugely from US tax and other matters.

July. At the 2004 Summer Olympics, Bermuda competed in sailing, athletics, swimming, diving, triathlon and equestrian events. In those Olympics, Bermuda's Katura Horton-Perinchief made history by becoming the first black female diver to compete in the Olympic Games.

August. An extensive survey was funded by Bermuda-based Atlantic Philanthropies Limited, and resulted in the report "Ageing in Bermuda: Meeting the Needs of Seniors" by Dr. Irene A. Gutheil and Dr. Roslyn H. Chernesky of Fordham University.

October. An America-made car arrived on Bermuda’s roads, via Rayclan Limited. The first Chevrolets arrived in Bermuda, with three-quarters of the shipment sold before they hit the docks. Why? Because of the name GM; Chevrolet has a history of being a good car. While the Class D Aveo ($16,500) is by far the most popular model sold by Rayclan, the G Class Optra ($25,500) and Class H Vivant ($26,500) are quickly becoming hot sellers.

November. The Imperial Hotel which stood at the corner of Church and Burnaby Streets in Hamilton for more than a century was demolished. Built in the late 1890s, the hotel – one of the few black establishments on the Island – played a central role in the movement for desegregation. Many famous black people visited the hotel, some from the islands, but most from the United States. One was a young actor named James Edwards who starred in a movie called “Home of the Brave” in 1949, a war movie starring a black protagonist and dealing with racial prejudice. Because of the subject matter, Bermuda’s theatres would not show the movie but Mr. Edwards, who came to Bermuda of his own volition – bringing with him his own copy of “Home the Brave”. The movie was shown at the Imperial Hotel, and Mr. Edwards traveled throughout Bermuda talking to Bermudians. The Leopards Club also met at the hotel for their famous luncheons, which they broadcast over the radio. At one time, black Bermudians were boycotting the Bermudiana Theatre, which did not allow black people on the basis of being a private club for those of unmixed European descent. A Harvard anthropologist visiting the Island had been invited to speak at a Leopard’s Club luncheon at the time and he explained over the radio the science behind the races – and that there was no such thing as an “unmixed” race. At one point, Frederick Yearwood, an immigrant from the Caribbean, owned it. Jardine Gibbons Properties, who bought it and demolished it, will build a five-storey office block in the hotel’s place, to be used by the Gibbons Group of Companies as well as a local law firm and others. Pending planning approval the development should start early next year and take around 15 months to complete.

Then-Transport and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown sparked a diplomatic incident when he was accused by the USA of failing to comply with routine security screening at Bermuda International Airport. The US Consulate in Bermuda said Dr. Brown had committed a gross violation of security procedure. US Consul General Dennis Coleman also criticised the Bermuda Government, saying its efforts to foster economic relations with Cuba was sticking a finger in the eye of the USA, which has conducted a long-standing economic embargo of the Communist island.

The Bermuda International Film Festival (BIFF), became an Academy Award qualifying festival. It was launched in 1997 to advance the love of independent film from around the world in Bermuda and to encourage and inspire young Bermudians to capture their very special narrative through a camera lens. It has welcomed numerous celebrities and stars of the film world over the years, including Michael Douglas, Earl Cameron, Willem Defoe and Richard Dreyfuss. While there are more than 1,000 film festivals worldwide, only 62 are Academy Award qualifying festivals and BIFF is one for the Short Film (Live Action) Oscar. Since becoming a qualifying festival in 2004, two of BIFF's Shorts Award winners have gone on to win: Wasp (2005) and Toyland (2009).

The Bermuda Health Council Act 2004 - see http://www.bermudalaws.bm/Laws/Annual%20Laws/2004/Acts/Bermuda%20Health%20Council%20Act%202004.pdf came into effect, introduced by the Minister of Health, the Honourable Nelson B.A. Bascome, JP, MP. It was a development of the initiative shown in 1993 when the Government of Bermuda, in response to community-wide concerns over the escalating cost of healthcare in Bermuda, and a growing public concern over the quality of healthcare services available on the Island at the time, appointed a committee chaired by Senator Oughton, to review the healthcare system. The committee’s review, generally known as the “The Oughton Report – 1996″ concluded that while Bermuda generally had a good healthcare system, the system could benefit immensely from improved coordination of its disparate parts and cost containment measures to mitigate the impact of inflation on the system’s sustainability. The Oughton Report, and a later report – The Bermuda Healthcare System Redesign Initiative – advanced the idea that a Bermuda Health Council was needed to manage the quality, cost efficiency, and sustainability of Bermuda’s healthcare system. From its inception, the Health Council was designed to be a unique entity. It began with a multidisciplinary working committee and three sub-committees (focused on governance and structure, information technology, and legislation) that commenced operations later, in March 2005. The working committee was responsible for establishing the Council’s governance structure and guidelines for operation. This was facilitated in partnership with IBM Global Services. Membership selection guidelines and criteria for Council membership were created.

The Elbow Beach Hotel and Development Company was given planning permission to build more than 60 housing units on land adjacent to the hotel property.

Bermuda’s air ambulance service, Bermuda Air Medivac, was established, to make trips to take sick people for specialist medical help overseas, to mostly Baltimore, MD and Boston, MA. Patients ranged from head injury and stroke victims to cardiac cases.

December 25.  A Christmas Day fire occured at the Devonshire Tynes Bay incinerator area. The Tynes Bay Waste Facility itself was not damaged in the weekend fire and the plant was back in operation following shutdowns for maintenance. The pile of garbage that ignited was generated when one of the existing streams of the plant was taken down for routine maintenance in mid-November. A second stream was taken down to accommodate system upgrades and repair work on the boilers and furnace. This caused 50 to 60 tons of garbage to accumulate daily. Contractors cleared the site and removed debris to the Marsh Folly waste facility. The plant was again fully operational and normal garbage collection and disposal resumed although the Works and Engineering Ministry said no more bulk wood waste will be accepted at the plant until further notice although residents can still take domestic waste. The blaze was being investigated by the Fire Department and arson had not been ruled out.

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2005

January 1. The Bermuda Government decreed that Bermuda's seniors who own homes in their own names became exempt from paying land tax from this date. Prior to this change, homes owned by pensioners with an ARV of less than $40,000 were exempt from land tax. 

February. Lt. Col. David Burch of the Bermuda Government told foreigners trying to get involve in the Island's debate on Independence to "butt out – this has nothing to do with you" when he addressed the Kiwanis Club of Hamilton.

40th anniversary of riots between Police and workers outside the BELCO gates. Former BIU organizer Ottiwell Simmons was one of those involved. It proved to be a turning point in labour relations in Bermuda in terms of addressing the inequalities between black and white workers.  

St. George's residents and Mayor E. Michael Jones expressed concern about raw sewage being pumped into the sea near Tobacco Bay through a broken sewage pipe.

Bermuda is to feature in two documentary films about coral reefs. The films are part of "The Reef Series" being made by award-winning filmmakers Guy and Anita Chaumette.

New regulations were put in place to prevent foreigners buying property on the Island unless they were buying from non-Bermudians. The policy was criticised as working against Bermudians by limiting their options to sell property.

Celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of uninhabited Bermuda by Juan de Bermudez, Captain of La Garza, a Spanish vessel. Bermuda is named after him.

75th anniversary of birth of radio broadcasting in Bermuda (1930) by Thomas Wadson.

March. Plans by the Renaissance Group to redevelop the old Club Med remained on track, with a much-increased cost estimate of $210 million and the Four Seasons hotel chain set to manage the resort.

April 13. The Bank of Bermuda's controversial sale to multinational banking giant HSBC more than a year ago made it part of a vast global network that spans 79 countries. But what does that mean for bank customers here? On top of upgrades underway at all of the bank's Island branches, bank management say Bank of Bermuda clients, through HSBC, have access to many services which it wasn't possible for the bank to offer when it was a much smaller, albeit global outfit. And in the next year or so, the day will come when bank customers can be universally recognized throughout the multitude of countries HSBC operates in. That means bank customers will be able to get cash and account details from ATMs around the world - at 16,658 HSBC cash points, to be exact. The bank says its integration into the HSBC network is well ahead of schedule - and once the Bank of Bermuda completes its multi-million dollar migration on to HSBC's technological (HUB) system, it will be possible for bank clients to be recognized across the HSBC network. The system is also designed to be more intuitive about customers' buying habits. For example, there are certain dollar amount limits on how much money you can, say, spend or withdraw with a Bank of Bermuda credit card. This will all snap into place with the HSBC HUB system, which is designed to take into consideration a client's individual buying habits. With that information, the bank has the capacity to automatically authorize increases on credit card limits reflective of spending patterns and overall financial stability. But for some of the bank's preferred customers, there is already greater access to the HSBC network through a service designed to give “individual attention to you and your money”. The service isn't something you can sign up for, but it's yours if you have $250,000 and up on deposit or invested with the bank. The service - HSBC Premier - was officially launched from a plush and dedicated fifth floor space at the bank's Front Street headquarters on Monday. But the Bank of Bermuda already knows customers like the service, having been operating in a “soft” mode for several months.  

May 5. BELCO completed the 20-year development of the East Power Station, officially bringing the last of eight new engines online. At the same time, the Company began working on a new integrated resources plan for the next 20 years, taking into account the Island's development and emerging issues, including renewable energy and sustainable development

Tourism Minister Ewart Brown came under fire from one of his predecessors for an apparent "about-face" over mega-ships. Former UBP Minister Jim Woolridge condemned Dr. Brown's decision to invite mega-ships to the island and extend the cruise ship season until November, pointing to a statement made by the doctor five years earlier in which he said mega-ships would never be welcomed in Bermuda. Dr. Brown was also attacked after the Mid-Ocean News revealed that he attended a banquet hosted by the Reverend Al Sharpton in the USA – at the expense of taxpayers.

July was a particularly hot month for Government which was even blamed for the weather. A lack of rain had water dealers working around the clock – and chastising the Ministry of Works & Engineering for failing to maintain leaky water tanks.

An extensive fire at the Belco plant caused an island-wide blackout. The flames took 29 hours to extinguish with up to 75 firefighters battling the blaze at any one time. Fire inspectors had examined the power plant just weeks before the fire, a precaution that helped them contain the damage.

Bermudians without family ties to the UK are unlikely retain a British passport if Bermuda goes independent, according to a letter from Governor Sir John Vereker to the Bermuda Independence Commission.

June. The 30th Regional Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was held in Bermuda,

Originally built by Shell Oil, the refitted Niobe Corinthian first came to Bermuda waters in 2005 as a floating casino but it was dogged by controversy from the beginning. Its operators sidestepped the island's anti-gaming laws and the 175ft ship operated 12 miles offshore in international waters, where gambling became legal. (But the ship still had to use Bermuda as its home port, and police raided it in August 2006, seizing 100 gaming machines. Then captain, Fermin Reyes, was arrested along with manager George Kezas, and later convicted of illegally importing the machines into Bermuda). 

20th July. The body of young, wealthy accountant and businessman Peter Dimitri Pappas, 37, was discovered hanging in a clothes closet in Bermuda. The official legal inquiry to unearth the facts relating to his death - the Coroner's Inquest - has been repeatedly postponed. He was a US citizen, a long-time resident, certified public accountant and businessman in the Cayman Islands who was visiting Bermuda for personal and business reasons. He is survived by his parents, Sue Kongsli and Jack Pappas of Knoxville, Tennessee.

July 20. Envirotalk, the publication of the Bermuda Government's Department of Environmental Protection, ceased publication.  Before that, it had been published monthly and was highly regarded.

July 20. Closure of the Admiralty House Community Centre, with the demolition of the Admiralty House office, restaurant, library and kitchen. The ballroom was placed under special government preservation but nothing has been done to-date to restore its rich Royal Navy heritage.

July 22. The Bermudian Publishing Company announced yesterday it will cut publication of its namesake 'The Bermudian' magazine from 12 issues a year to four in 2006 and will be making two of the company's four jobs redundant. The company will also print its publications overseas and relocate to an office outside of Hamilton, all in a bid to cut costs.  

A E TuckerAugust 30. In the old days Bermudian children who misbehaved were threatened with being "put in canvas". It was a reference to the canvas uniform worn by boys at the Nonsuch Island Training School that operated in Bermuda in the 1940s and 1950s.  The grandson of Arthur St. George Tucker, the first superintendent of the training school, was on the Island last month to carry out research for a book about the school. "Really, the purpose to being here in Bermuda is to see if there is anyone on the Island who has recollections of this or has anything they would like to say,? said Dr. Arthur Tudor Tucker II. "A lot of the children who would have been in the programme are rather elderly now. We did put an advertisement in and we have had a few people come back to us." Dr. Tucker is not a writer by trade and is looking for someone to ghost write the book. He is currently a state registered clinical scientist and honorary senior lecturer at the Ernest Cooke Clinical Micro vascular Unit at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, England. During the First World War, his grandfather, Arthur St. George Tucker, was in the Royal Navy as a gunner. He was wounded in the Battle of Jutland and was invalided out towards the end of the war. After the war ended he married Elsie Green, and the couple were put in charge of the quarantine station at Nonsuch Island. During this period two boys who were considered too young to be sent to prison were sent to help Mr. Tucker. This inspired Mr. Tucker and his wife to open the training school. It opened in January 1934. "Until my grandfather retired in 1958 some 276 boys passed through the school with over 80 percent not re-offending " - a record that clearly has lessons to teach us in the current day"  said Dr. Tucker. The school ran along military lines, and the boys were taught the principles of naval routine and discipline. They received a formal education as well as training in practical things such as cooking, bakery, seamanship, knots, sail making and repair and engine repair."The situation in Bermuda at the time was that your petty crime was out of control" Dr. Tucker said. "This is potentially based on people's feelings about themselves,  the despair of the younger generation on the Island. I think after the First World War there was a lack of direction in Bermuda. There was very little work. I have heard tales of rum running and all sorts of strange behaviors just to make ends meet." Dr. Tucker said that with all the problems that today's youth are experiencing in Bermuda, he has often heard that something similar to the training school should be tried again. "My grandparents gave these kids the discipline which was necessary, but also a degree of self worth and self belief which is critical to training children," said Dr. Tucker. The training school was not without excitement. Shortly before the training school opened Nonsuch Island was the headquarters of marine scientist Dr William Beebe and his bathysphere team. Mr Tucker was skipper of the deep-sea tugboat that transported and lowered Dr. Beebe and the bathysphere into the ocean. Later, the training school boys would sometimes help Dr. Beebe with his projects. Today Dr. Tucker, still has some of the original Beebe dive footage. The training school also had some unusual residents. In 1941, during the Second War World, a Nazi spy called Ruth Belcher, was transferred to the training camp at Nonsuch Island from St. George's. Dr. Tucker was inspired to write a book about the training school when he recently came into possession of documents relating to the school. "I have the original ledgers from the training school including things like the accounts, how much was spent per boy, a list of all the boy's names, when they were taken to the school and when they were eventually discharged. I have only just come into receipt of the ledgers, but it has some very interesting details. For example, the ledgers show that the boys were well fed. Malnourishment on the Island was quite common, and today malnourishment is an issue, which is worrying considering this is one of the most affluent places on the planet." At the training school boys slept in hammocks. According to Mr. Tucker's notes, this was to prevent lounging and to a great extent other practices. When the boys were punished they were made to walk around the Island carrying their hammocks on their shoulders. As a reward, well behaved boys were allowed to go with Mr. Tucker to town to get supplies and go to the cinema. Among Dr. Tucker's documents are notes and memories written by his grandfather. Mr. Tucker wrote: "If a crime is committed, let's say stealing, wilful damage to property, or anything likely to upset the ordinary tranquility of the ship (the school), we have an enquiry on the quarter-deck, and if found out, which is generally the case the guilty party lands in the Captain's report." Mr. Tucker's wife Elsie acted as matron and nurse to the boys, and the couple treated the boys like their own children, even though they had three sons and a daughter of their own. "My father, Arthur Tudor Tucker I, use to tell me that at Christmas he didn't get his meal or his presents until the boys had been looked after"  said Dr. Tucker. "The boys got priority. It wasn't a regime of brutality. These were disaffected young men. As you do in the military you take all the negative and you rebuild it the way you want it to be. You can't judge what was done 50 years ago by current standards. It's always tempting to do so, and say we couldn't possibly do it this way. You have to also think about the self reliance they were taught, the life skills." However, Mr. Tucker's own thoughts on the causes of delinquency were surprisingly progressive and insightful. He wrote: "It should be borne in minds that every single boy needs individual attention. He has his own problems, sometimes bordering on the tragic. If you get to know him, then you may help him over a difficult period. There is a tendency to get rid of a very difficult boy by transferring him to the Senior Training School for the convenience of the staff. This is wrong; it would be hard but rewarding work if he can be retained. Some of the most resistant boys have turned out the best. The officer who is not really fond of children and cannot find pleasure in their company is not a suitable person to train and teach them. If a boy is misjudged or blamed unjustly, no time should be lost in putting right, even by humble apology on the part of the officer. Thereby he gains the boys? respect. A boy should never be misinformed, if the officer does not know the answer to a question, he should tell him so, and then find out for him. The boy will appreciate it." Mr. Tucker believed that many boys misbehaved either out of desperation or because they had never had a better example to follow. He listed unsatisfactory homes, overcrowding, parental neglect and discontent, and the bad influence of comic books and movies as some of the reasons boys went wrong. "Not many years ago families went out together, on picnics, often rowing miles in a small boat," Mr. Tucker wrote.  "One, these days, seldom sees the older minor with his parents. Why? Because the latter are too busy having a good time themselves, leaving the former to their own devices, probably some mad cycle ride through the parishes, there meeting others. And then what? The smaller children being left with, grandmother." He believed that some cures included schools equipped with properly supervised playgrounds, not necessarily the norm in the 1930s. "There are too many advisors, and not enough hard workers who are willing to make the necessary sacrifices, to effectively help these youngsters. We seldom have any real trouble, and then mostly by a boy who has been sent down late ? say about 14 to 16 years, but they knuckle down after awhile." Mr. Tucker and his brothers, Dickey and Edmund, all received MBEs for service to the Queen during their lifetimes. Mr. Tucker died in 1958 not long after handing the reins of the school over to someone else. "I would be interested in hearing from anyone who knew my grandfather or father" said Dr. Tucker. "I am particularly interested in those who passed through the school or who were associated with it and their memories and recollections of their time there. The experiences gained, good and bad to help maintain the balance of this record. It is the heartfelt wish of the Tucker family to commit these experiences to print for the benefit of posterity and for the common interest of all Onions. Furthermore, we are seeking a local researcher to assist in the compilation of this text."

September 12. Two years after Hurricane Fabian ravaged the Island The Department of Parks and the Ministry of Works and Engineering are teaming up to repair the entrance to Church Bay, which was badly damaged by the hurricane. Workers will be building a new boardwalk and stairs to replace the damaged access, pictured right. The beach will remain closed until the end of 2005 so that construction can start.

Auditor General Larry Dennis expressed alarm at another proposed change if Bermuda became Independent – that future holders of the post will be hired by the Public Services Commission on limited terms. Mr. Dennis told the BIC that an auditor appointed by a Government body would be compromised while the idea of a limited term would deter the most capable applicants. In the same week, business executives told the BIC that Independence would not necessarily trigger an exodus of international businesses. Former Attorney General Lois Browne Evans kept the issue bubbling with a further proposal – that an Independent Bermuda should drop the UK Privy Council in favour of the trouble-hit Caribbean Court of Justice. The UK Privy Council is the island's highest court of appeal. International business representative David Ezekiel said such a move had the potential to cause widespread instability in the off-shore sector. When the BIC finally submitted its completed report to the public, it was condemned for containing a glaring inaccuracy on the issue of Independence. The report read: "The Commission learned that, in many cases, the decision on Independence was determined by means of a general election and, in no instance, did the Commission discover the use of a referendum." Pressure group Bermudians For Referendum said the claim was totally inaccurate and illustrated the Commission's bias towards Independence being decided by election rather than referendum.

Following talks with the UK's Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in London, Premier Scott revealed details of the meeting to the island's media. He said that his proposal for Independence to be decided by way of a joint referendum and General Election was met with some interest by the British delegation who ruled that "such a unique solution of election and referendum would not necessarily be out of the equation". A Whitehall source later revealed that the UK Government was embarrassed by the leak, adding that protocol forbade either party speaking out on the behind-closed doors talks.

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, visited Bermuda briefly with his wife. Nane. Mr Annan was a Ghanaian diplomat and Nobel Prize laureate. The couple attended a tree-planting ceremony at Government House with Governor Sir John Vereker. Mr Annan and Sir John frequently worked together when Sir John was Permanent Secretary for International Aid and Development in the UK, the post he held before becoming Governor. Sheilagh Head, a local painter, said she was shocked to have Mr Annan come to her studio. She said: “I got a call from the UN in New York and they asked if I was available for a visit from the Secretary-General. I took it as some artist friend having a joke. They said they were serious, but I still didn’t really believe it. I said I’m still not going to clean up my studio. About an hour later two guys show up with Bermuda policemen and said they were here for the visit from Kofi Annan.” Ms Head described Mr Annan as a true gentleman and a statesman. She said: “I was honored to meet him, and honored to chat with him for an hour. I followed his career like everyone else. I think he was one of the last true statesmen.” Ms Head added: “I remember he had the most incredible eyes. I suppose as a painter I look for peoples eyes.” Mr Annan was appointed the seventh Secretary-General in 1997, and his achievements in the post won him a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. He was re-elected to the post in 2006 and served until the end of his second term in 2007. He later served as a special UN envoy for Syria, working to end the conflict there. 

2005 Kofi Annan visit

Kofi Annan and party in Bermuda

The Isle of Man and Bermuda became locked in a contest over satellite slot rights. The Isle of Man had intentions to use the satellite slot to earn potentially hundred of millions of extra dollars. But Bermuda counter-claimed to safeguard its slice of outer space.

The issue of Independence came to the boil, with Premier Alex Scott blasting Governor John Vereker over public remarks made at the Speaker's Dinner. Sir John reiterated to his audience that the UK would withdraw citizenship from an Independent Bermuda – a claim Mr. Scott described as "premature and inappropriate. Responding to questions put to him by the Bermuda Independence Commission, the Premier said he gave the Governor a dressing-down, accusing him of allowing an octogenarian anti-Independence activist "right of Attila the Hun" to write his speeches. "I thought it was premature, inappropriate at the time, and it may have, in my opinion, misled the public because some of what he said will be discussed with the British before it becomes engraved in granite," Mr. Scott told BIC commissioners.

New Works & Engineering and Housing Minister David Burch was accused of breaching Cabinet rules by continuing to host his Sunday night radio show after being appointed to the Ministry. The Premier eventually rejected Opposition calls for the show to be plugged, saying the code did not prohibit Ministers from practicing journalism. But the Opposition was further outraged when UBP Senator Gina Spence Farmer was told that she could not help produce a radio show presented by Bermuda College students – because of a supposed conflict of interest. The College, whose chairman is a Government Senator, told students that the programme might become political with Sen. Spence Farmer at the helm. Minister Burch kept his radio show in the spotlight by referring to programme callers critical of Government as "house niggers." Another caller took the Minister to the Human Rights Commission after alleging that the host cut her off after she confirmed she was white. Minister Burch also came under attack after defending the cost of the Berkeley school project. At a Press conference, he claimed that the final cost of the building would be $121.7 million – just $23 million over the original estimate. But Shadow Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin then accused Col. Burch of trying to mislead the country. She pointed out that Government figures released by Finance Minister Eugene Cox in 2000 put the total cost of the project at $71.2 million – and that the final cost of the school would be more than $50 million over budget. "How gullible does Sen. Burch believe the people of Bermuda to be when he attempts to mislead them with a statement that the project is only $23 million over budget?" she asked.

Opposition Health spokeswoman Louise Jackson defended the rights of seniors by exposing supposed neglect at a Government nursing home. Mrs. Jackson revealed to the Mid-Ocean News that seniors were living in sub-standard conditions at the Pembroke Nursing Home while disgruntled and non-accountable staff failed to provide adequate care.

When in this year 2005 the US Congress passed a bill to extend daylight savings time by a month the Bermuda House of Assembly passed the Time Zone Bill, which keeps Bermuda in line with the US change. Bermuda follows the USA, on the same day, a week later than in the UK and Europe. 

Architect Ian Gordon questioned a Government proposal to place prefabricated homes at Morgan's Point, adding that a requirement for an environmental impact study to be carried out before any development got under way appeared to have been waived. And he said contaminants already recorded at the location could be spread through water run-off from the temporary homes.

The Bank of Bermuda's plans to build a new head office on the site of the former Trimingham's store were thrown into further controversy when the Mid-Ocean News revealed that Government – which has the final say on whether the plan can go ahead – was looking at buying up the bank's former properties if the project gets Planning approval. The bank was also condemned for "consigning Bermuda's history to the trash can" after it removed a series of parish crests that had been decorating the facade of its current head office for more than 30 years. The Bermuda Historical Society accused the bank and its parent company, HSBC, of trying to re-write history.

Government passed legislation requiring all taxi operators to have GPS units installed in their vehicles, despite the objections of many drivers. While the operators were initially given a deadline of February 2006 to install the devices, that deadline was pushed back for more than five years due to slow adoption rates and a batch of faulty systems.

The new organization Friends of St Peter's was formed under the patronage of the Duke of York. The first major undertaking of this organization was the refurbishing of the St Peter’s tower clock. Apparently it ceased working about 50 years ago and was subsequently dismantled and its inner parts stored somewhere within the church. The clock's face was taken and stored in an outbuilding at St Peter's rectory. The clock face was replaced with a replica, made of fibreglass. The remarkable thing is that most of the clock's parts, when found, were still largely intact, with only a few minor parts missing. The clock was originally purchased by John Till in 1815, but sometime in the mid-20th century it was damaged in a storm and then replaced by an electric clock with an electric bell. It is believed that the original clock was repaired by the same firm that actually made it in 1815, namely Thwaites and Reed, of Brighton, England. The tower itself, was built in 1814. St Peter’s has evolved over the centuries. The original church, a wood and thatch structure, lasted only a short while before being destroyed in a storm. This was replaced by a more substantial building and this is the one depicted in Captain Smith's illustration of 1624. Eventually the church was replaced by a stone structure, but with substantial amount of timber from the original building. Over the years since, various wings have also been added. The Victorian Gothic entrance that we see today, dates from 1841. Although we all refer to the parish church in St George's as St Peter’s, it has only been known by that name since 1826, when the church was consecrated by Bishop Inglis. Before that it was known as the St George's town church or more simply, the town church.

Health Minister Patrice Minors hit the headlines after she lashed at out the Salvation Army. The charity cried foul – and called for more funding – after Government confirmed it was spending nearly $1.5 million refurbishing the Premier's official residence, Clifton. When the organization said the money could have been spent on a new homeless shelter – something which has been continually promised by Government in recent years but always shelved at the last minute – Mrs. Minors said she was "fed up" with the charity's request for more cash.

The construction industry had  concerns after the West End Development Corporation failed to secure a deal with cement giant Cemex to take over the Bermuda Cement Company.

National Dance Foundation of Bermuda (NDFB) amalgamated with the Bermuda Ballet Association (BBA).

November 18. 50th Anniversary of Bermuda Orchid Society was celebrated with the issue of four orchid stamps. 

Bermuda stamp orchids a 2005 Bermuda stamp orchids b 2005

Bermuda stamp orchids c 2005 Bermuda stamp orchids 4 2005

Bermuda stamps 2005 for orchids

December 2. Should MPs and Ministers get another pay rise? That is the question being addressed by an independent board that has been meeting to establish whether our Parliamentarians receive sufficient remuneration.  The Board must report on its recommendations this month. The Ministers and Parliamentarians Salary Review Board was set up by legislation enacted this summer in an effort to end the recurring controversy that flares up every time MPs vote for a pay rise for themselves. The Board comprises an eight-person committee including an accountant, a lawyer or judge, a retired MP, two members nominated by the Opposition and three people appointed by the Premier. Under the Ministers and members of the Legislature (Salaries and Pensions) Amendment Act 2005, the Board must make recommendations in the form of a report to be presented to the House no later than December 31 this year. MPs awarded themselves a 4.5 per cent pay rise in March this year, which was above the rate of inflation, but in line with the pay increase given to civil servants. MPs are currently paid $39,428 while Senators receive $26,287. Premier Alex Scott is paid $111,714 while Deputy Premier Ewart Brown receives an annual parliamentary salary of $88,713, and Attorney General Larry Mussenden gets $110,254. Cabinet Ministers earn $37,730 in addition to their salaries as MPs or Senators.

December 5. The Renaissance group, with its $220 million worth of financing in place and apparently primed to press ahead with its redevelopment of the old Club Med hotel site, was dealt a major blow when it appeared Government stopped talking to it.

December 7. From Ord Road to Court Street and from Royal Naval Field, Somerset to North Shore Road, Crawl, drug pushers are now an ever-present of Bermudian life. Whole neighbourhoods have ceded control or live in an uneasy truce, trying to keep their children out of the pusher's clutches. And the tentacles keep spreading, blighting the island's recreational spaces. Daylight drug dealing has been seen in Shelly Bay field car park while addicts have been spotted desperately hunting for a drugs drop off in secluded Devonshire Bay. Where are the Police, comes the constant cry? Well, eight years ago the Police took on the drug dealers head on when Commissioner Colin Coxall unleashed Operation Cleansweep. The strategy, months in the planning, was to round up the street level dealers and then work upwards to the big men. But then the politics came into it. Already the whipping boy of the Progressive Labour Party before he had even set foot on the Island, Mr. Coxall then earned the wrath of the ruling United Bermuda Party when cabinet member John Irving Pearman's name came up during investigations. Despite slashing crime and having the dealers on the run Mr. Coxall was forced out even before completing his three-year tenure because he had been given reason to suspect some government officials were involved. Unpopular among the powerful during his time here Mr. Coxall has since experienced an upsurge in popularity. Two year's after his departure PLP backbencher Derrick Burgess said Mr. Coxall was "the best thing since Jesus" while new anti-drug supremo Wayne Perinchief, ironically forced out of the Police by Mr. Coxall, recently also hailed Cleansweep as much needed. This week Mr. Coxall spoke about his aborted mission, halted just before it got to the rotten heart of the Island's drugs network. He was in no doubt about the importance of that mission. Keen to understand Bermuda's criminal population after being "parachuted in" he set up surveys of Bermuda's criminal population. It showed more than 90 percent of those arrested had a drug dependency. With crime rising at about 20 percent per annum Mr. Coxall, backed by Governor Lord Waddington, saw breaking the back of the drugs problem as vital to cracking crime which was hurting tourism through street muggings and burglaries at guest apartments. Detective Superintendent Paul Hoare was seconded from Scotland Yard, the nerve centre of the British constabulary, to head up a purge on street dealers. Sometimes dismissed as the small fry of the drug world, Mr. Coxall points out that in Bermuda the front line pushers were very rich men by anybody's standards. Intelligence gathered by Police and undercover officers borrowed from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) found that individual drug sites were making $20,000 per day or more than $3 million a year. A half gram or bag of cannabis that would sell for $2.50 in the US was costing ten times that on Bermuda streets. Other drugs yielded similar exorbitant profits. By making the streets a no-go area for the pushers Police hoped to force the criminals to start dealing from premises which would leave them vulnerable to having the premises confiscated. Next on the hit list were the big men behind the operations. An offshore boat was loaned from the DEA to catch drug drop-offs beyond the reef. But key to the plan was to trace the drugs back to the American sources by analyzing how they had been mixed. By studying the tell-tale chemical breakdowns it would be possible to work out which crime gangs in America were selling to Bermuda. Although he believes there were perhaps six or so major importers he estimates they could have been dealing with just two suppliers in America. Further intelligence gathering in the States, perhaps via moles planted into the drug barons operations, would then reveal the names of the bulk buyers in Bermuda. He was confident the plan would have worked, given the excellent working relationship with the American authorities. Then the Pearman affair ratcheted up the pressure on the Commissioner, eventually forcing Mr. Coxall's resignation. No action was taken against Mr. Pearman through lack of evidence. Now the dealers are back out in the open and Bermuda's drug problem seems worse than ever. It is not likely to change under the present approach argued Mr. Coxall. Although frustrated by the failure to get political backing, Mr. Coxall – a high-flyer before his doomed Bermuda adventure – has hardly had problems finding work since returning to the UK. He is now employed as a strategic security advisor to Capita Symonds.

December 15. Describing it as one of their most productive annual meetings, Government and hotel owners met at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel yesterday. The meetings are an opportunity for both sides to discuss strategies to improve tourism arrival figures and hotel occupancy, key issues facing the Island's hoteliers and the importance of partnership and co-operation between Government and hoteliers. Premier Alex Scott told delegates that while there is no magic answer to how Bermuda can remain competitive in a fiercely competitive market, he was grateful that both groups were committed to combining their time, energy and resources to revitalizing the Bermuda tourism product. It was important for hotels to try and attract young Bermudians into the industry. A financial update and report on the hotel industry as one of the country's largest employers was given by the president-elect of the BHA and general manager of Elbow Beach Hotel. The presentation pointed out clearly what the challenges are facing hotels in the current economic environment in Bermuda. Discussions also focused on the issues of the high costs of airfares to Bermuda, enhancing the destination experience for visitors, the branding of Bermuda's image, revitalizing the entertainment offered to visitors and mixed-use development of hotel properties. Tourism Minister Ewart Brown told the meeting of several positive initiatives already being worked on by his Ministry that he believed would improve the Bermuda tourism product. He said he was looking forward to working with the hoteliers to achieve a resolution of outstanding issues including changes to the Hotel Concessions Act which will be debated in the House of Assembly tomorrow. At the close of the meeting, the delegates resolved to meet early in the new year to report on a number of resolutions that had been put forward. The Premier underscored the need for a collective team approach regarding tourism.

December 16. The Bermuda Police Service is headed by George Jackson. He became Police Commissioner when Jonathan Smith stepped down. His 2005/2006 salary is $137,000. He is Bermudian, born in St. Vincent. He joined the service in 1975. Roseanda Young is the new Deputy Commissioner.

December 16. One of the biggest political rows of 2005 erupted when Government backbencher Renée Webb sought to introduce legislation protecting gays from discrimination. The former Minister planned to force MPs to vote on the issue after tabling an additional amendment to a bill on the Human Rights Act brought by Community Affairs Minister Dale Butler. But MPs dodged the issue after Mr. Butler's original bill was dropped from the House of Assembly's order paper at the last minute.

December 20. The House of Assembly voted to open Bermuda's books to the world in order to put an end to negative opinions in the world press that the Island was a tax haven. Then Finance Minister Paula Cox introduced the International Cooperation (Tax Information Exchange Agreements) Act 2005 in the House of Assembly on Friday by saying it was to effect information exchange with other countries through Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA). Bermuda began negotiations with Australia in May 2004, Ms Cox said, but on November 10, 2005 Bermuda signed a TIEA with Australia. This bill is umbrella legislation to allow TIEAs to take place with other countries, in order to adhere to fair tax competition principles outlined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which Bermuda signed up to in June 2000. There had been some negative press in Australia about Bermuda, she said, which had been turned around by meetings with the OECD. "I understand that both Australia and Bermuda are committed to ensure that their financial sectors are not used for money laundering or the financing of terrorism," Ms Cox quoted OECD Chairman on Fiscal Affairs Bill McCloskey. "Bermuda has already has a strong track-record in this respect. As a result Bermuda was not included in the OECD list of Tax Havens," Ms Cox said. "Bermuda's strategic position of constructive engagement with the OECD has been vindicated as almost every jurisdiction that did not make the commitment in 2000 and found themselves on the 2000 OECD list of Tax Havens has now given the commitment and has been removed from the list." She said Bermuda was negotiating with the UK for a TIEA and was in diplomatic communications with Mexico. A TIEA would benefit Bermuda's economy, as it would enhance trade in financial services and improve commercial relations. "As such it is important to our national economic interest that Bermuda directly negotiates with such countries. A TIEA can only be embarked upon with express consent by the Governor acting on behalf of the UK Government. However, Bermuda's letter of entrustment from the UK only grants permission to have a TIEA with OECD or European Union countries, which could have ramifications as Bermuda industry was interested in business opportunities in South America. The OECD has active relationships with some 70 other countries, NGO's and civil society. The OECD encourages non-OECD countries with large economies to support OECD standard of transparency and mechanisms for effective exchange of information."  Heads of the G-8 in Gleneagles this summer endorsed transparency. Bermuda's first TIEA was with the US in 1988. However, Opposition Leader Grant Gibbons said it was a disgrace and disrespectful that the Opposition had not seen the TIEA connected to the bill. Since the US TIEA in 1988 there had been a shift away from placing the burden of proof on foreign investigators, to Bermuda giving them the information asked for barring exceptional circumstances. However, Ms Cox countered that anyone who asked for a copy of the agreement had been given one, however, but it would not be tabled in the House of Assembly until after Australia signed it. The Minister said she had the discretion to decline a request for assistance if it was not in Bermuda or if it was from a period over six years prior to the tax period subject to investigation. "The information to be requested must only relate to a taxpayer being investigated and the person served need not deliver more information than that which relates to a taxpayer," she said. "This ground is intended to limit fishing expeditions." Countries who wanted to engage in a TIEA would make a request at the Attorney General's Chambers and the Ministry of Finance. The bill was passed in committee and was sent to the Senate.

December 23. Stanley Gibbons Group Ltd, rare stamp dealers, launched the Bermuda domiciled and incorporated Rare Stamp Investment Fund, with legal advisor Cox Hallett and Wilkinson. 

2005. The Bermuda Captive Owners Association (BCOA) was created, with the general intent of establishing a forum for the exchange of ideas and to promote the interest of their captives.

2005. The Bermuda Government abolished estate or death duties. Until then, estate or death duties were levied on all residents who own real estate or other property others inherited.

2005. Bermuda's Lost at Sea Memorial in St David’s was created by Bermudian artist Bill Mussy Ming.

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2006

January 1. The Supreme Court of Bermuda set up The Commercial Court as a Division of the Supreme Court of Bermuda. It was born on this date when the Rules of the Supreme Court Amendment Rules 1985 enacted by Chief Justice Richard Ground came into force. Under section 62 of the Supreme Court Act 1905 the Chief Justice was empowered to make Rules regulating the practice of the Court, and Chief Justice Ground took the necessary steps to ensure that the Commercial Court became a reality. It has since enhanced the island’s legal infrastructure and enabled Bermuda to become a leading offshore jurisdiction for the resolution of commercial disputes. Members of Bermuda’s Commercial Bar had for many years called for a specialist commercial court. Official support for such an innovation came earlier, in March 2004 from the Justice Review Committee set up by then Attorney-General Larry Mussenden and chaired by Justice Norma Wade-Miller. 

February. Belco signed an agreement with Current to Current Bermuda Limited to purchase up to 20 MW of power. The Massachusetts based corporation and Belco hope to sink the world's first underwater power generator off the south coast of the Island. The Current to Current scheme would capture ocean currents to initially provide nearly ten per cent of the Island's electricity needs.

Bermuda Stamp 60March. An ambitious scheme will de-clutter and beautify Hamilton's Front Street waterfront and create new land in the harbour. It was presented by Mayor Lawson Mapp and colleagues to the people of Bermuda at a packed public meeting. It radically does away with the cargo docks and the need for cruise ships to berth alongside Front Street blocking views of the harbour. And an underground car park for 800 cars and 800 motorcycles would both do away with unsightly parking lots spoiling the aesthetics of the scheme, while at the same time boosting the number of parking spaces in the heart of town. Luxury waterfront housing, a hotel, end of pier restaurant and marinas would transform the area, along with landscaped public parks that can be used for hosting open air events, including the potential for 1,000 people to enjoy musical events on a sloping lawn in a new "Parliament Park" opposite the Cabinet Building. The plan would entail building new land mass jutting out into the harbour on which to build a hotel, housing, offices and shops as well as marinas. Early concept artwork showing a signature public park surrounded by pavements and plazas, a new road taking traffic off Front Street half-way between Parliament Street and Burnaby Lane, and a new cruise ship pier angled out of Albuoy's Point. Among those who attended was Deputy Premier Ewart Brown, who spoke at the start of the meeting. It is estimated the plan will cost around $639 million and take between ten and 20 years to complete. Those involved in the five-month project to draw up the waterfront vision believe 80 percent of the development would be funded from the private sector with the remainder – estimated to be $122m – the responsibility of the Corporation of Hamilton. 

Bermuda stamp 400 yearsMarch 2. The Bermuda Government needs its own television station to speak directly to the public “in an unmediated and unedited fashion”, Premier Alex Scott claimed yesterday. But the Opposition labeled the proposed TV station – on which Government plans to spend $840,000 this year – a “wasteful propaganda exercise”. Speaking in the House of Assembly, Mr. Scott likened his job to being CEO of a large, modern day corporation in an era of sound-bites and provocative headlines. However, a Premier came under the close, daily scrutiny of the media – and could be the victim of a “media feeding frenzy” – more than any CEO, he said. This was why the Cabinet Office – of which the Department of Communication and Information (DCI) was one of five Cabinet Departments – was needed, he said. Mr. Scott said during the Budget Debate on the Cabinet Office. A total of $840,000 had been allotted for the equipment purchase and installation for the proposed station which will be built by the Ministry of Works and Engineering and Housing. The Government Television Station will be the key pillar in the Government’s intention to communicate more effectively and strategically with the people of this country. It will provide a medium for the leaders of Bermuda to detail what the Government is doing, the status of Government initiatives, and the level of progress in reaching important goals for Bermuda. The “long-overdue” station also gave Government a chance to showcase its relationship with businesses and community organizations. Other stations around the world were considered, including: the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, GOT, a local Government Access Channel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 

March 16. One of the world’s most famous hotel brand names is coming to Bermuda to replace the Ariel Sands resort with a five-star vacation club. And it has the blessing of Bermuda’s own Hollywood star Michael Douglas – a member of the Dill family dynasty that has owned and operated the South Shore resort for the past 50 years. The double Oscar winner has played a part in securing a partnership with the Hilton group that could see as many as 50,000 prospective vacation club owners visit the Island during the next four years. A scheme to create “one of the premier tourism products anywhere on the planet” is now in motion having attracted the backing of the Hilton Grand Vacation Club and Florida-based developer Bruce Sonneborn. Within two years the Ariel Sands hotel and cottage colony properties will be demolished and replaced by a $170m development featuring vacation villas, a world-class spa and fitness centre and restaurant and conference centre. It will allow Bermuda to tap into an expanding community of 100,000 vacation club owners who already holiday in Hilton clubs in Scotland, Florida, Hawaii, Las Vegas and elsewhere.

March 24. Employers are being urged to submit occupations they consider to be "key" and therefore eligible for exemption from the work permit limits to the Department of Immigration before a final list is determined. That was one of the statements made by Assistant Chief immigration Officer Rozy Azhar during a seminar this week on work permit limits. Work permit limits come into effect on April 1, 2007 when non-Bermudians who have been working on the Island since before April 1, 2006 will have to leave if they have not been granted extensions. Mrs. Azhar is asking employers to start the process early in applying for exemptions for their key positions or make arrangements for the replacement of staff that will not remain after the expiration of their work permit in 2007. Changes to the work permit policy announced by the Minister of Immigration in early 2005 regarding key occupations has not been written into policy as the Minister is still receiving representations from various industries, she said. When he is satisfied that all have had an opportunity to be heard he will submit the list of occupations to Cabinet for approval as the final step before publishing any policy. These are some of the other questions that were raised during the seminar: What happens in the case where one work permit holder qualifies as a key employee and is exempt from term limits but his or her working spouse does not qualify for an extension? Will the spouse without the exemption be prevented from working? While the spouse will not be asked to leave Bermuda if he or she is in a position subject to term limits, any applications for renewal of work permits will be reviewed to ensure any further approvals will not be an impediment to the career paths of Bermudians. In addition, unlike spouses of Bermudians, spouses of Permanent Resident's Certificate (PRC) holders (who arrived before August 1989) do not accrue benefits from marrying the holder of a PRC.

April 4-6One of Europe’s most innovative figures in the low-price aviation, travel and leisure market arrived in Bermuda as a keynote speaker at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel. The conference was presented by the Caribbean Hotel Association, Caribbean Tourism Organization and Burba Hotel Network. It looks at the future of tourism in the Caribbean and ways to stimulate investment and visitor numbers. Greek-born Stelios Haji-Ioannou was only 28 when he set up the ground-breaking EasyJet airline company, which is generally credited with bringing low price airfares across Europe through its own services and those of imitators. The appearance of the EasyGroup owner is a major draw for the conference. The businessman has branched out from the aviation business in the past ten years to offer branded low cost car hire, hotels, cruises, financial and other services linked with the travel and leisure industry. It is expected 300 “top tier executives” representing investors, tourism and a number of governments will attend the three-day event starting next Tuesday. However, it is not expected the EasyGroup entrepreneur will be revealing plans to expand his European-centric airline and cruise ship business to the region. The tourism investment conference features experts in finance, development and tourism fields giving updates on changes and trends within the industry. Amongst the topics discussed are timeshare and fractional deals, development projects, condo hotels, private residence clubs and mixed-use projects.

Bermuda stamp DiasporaApril. The Government is to appeal against a Supreme Court judge’s ruling which branded its decision to ban Bermudians from selling homes to foreigners “unlawful”. Randy Horton, Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Public Safety, stated the Government had until Thursday to appeal in the GoldenEye case and would definitely do so. He said: “We are going to be filing an appeal. The Attorney General is reviewing the grounds. I have nothing more to say other than that the Attorney General is dealing with the legal aspect of this.” Mr. Horton brought in a controversial policy change last year which prevented Islanders from selling homes to non-Bermudians. Previously, foreigners could buy homes from Bermudians so long as they had an annual rental value (ARV) of more than $126,000. Property developers Alan and Vera Rosa Marshall took the Government to court over the change as it prevented them from selling their $45 million Tucker’s Town mansion GoldenEye, on which they had invested $37 million. They claimed no Bermudian would be able to afford the asking price for the plush home, which is on so-called Billionaires’ Row and has the highest ARV on the Island at $1,182,000. Puisne Judge Geoffrey Bell ruled on March 3 that the Marshalls had a legitimate expectation to be able to sell GoldenEye and that the Government policy change was “unlawful and “an abuse of power”. Mr. Marshall said yesterday he was not aware of the Government’s plan to appeal. “I don’t know what’s happening with that right now,” he said. He would not comment on whether he and his wife would respond to the appeal or on whether GoldenEye had been sold yet. The property, which Oprah Winfrey was once rumored to have been interested in buying, was put on the global market soon after the outcome of the case. The Marshalls’ QC in the case, Saul Froomkin, a former Attorney General, said he too was unaware of the Government’s decision to appeal.

April. A grant of £44,680 ($89,300) received by the Trust from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP), a joint UK Foreign and Commonwealth and Department for International Development Programme enabled the Bermuda National Trust in late 2006 and early 2007 to carry out extensive nature conservation work including removal of many invasive trees that threatened the survival of native and endemic species and establishment of a habitat restoration project.

Bermuda stamp greetingsApril 7. Opposition MPs Louise Jackson and John Barritt are launching a fresh crusade to help struggling seniors. And as part of the "Silver Revolution" the pair are calling on Government to fund a Seniors' Advocate to give practical help and legal advice to those in need. In a manifesto printed in this month's Mid-Ocean News lawyer Mr. Barritt, the United Bermuda Party whip, and Mrs. Jackson, the party's spokesman on Health and Seniors, called for "a radical rethink on how we can assist and provide for those seniors in need". Initiatives include the introduction of reverse mortgages to help seniors who are asset rich but cash poor, the building of assisted-living apartments and the introduction of a senior healthcare clinic. Yesterday Mrs. Jackson said she and her colleague were prompted into action after being "bombarded with calls" from seniors seeking help on a range of issues. She pointed out that Mr. Barritt has since devoted hundreds of hours of his spare time providing free legal advise to seniors in distress. "There's a crisis out there with our seniors and the whole thing is just so sad," she said. Mrs. Jackson also blasted one Government agency – the National Office for Seniors – for failing to take a hands-on approach to individual queries from seniors, accusing the organization of doing little more than referring clients to other Government departments. Both MPs believe the creation of a Seniors' Advocate would result in individual cases being tackled more effectively. And Mrs. Jackson also expressed concern over regulations on rest homes, claiming they failed to protect residents who were often given poor care. Rounding on her opposite number, Mrs. Jackson said the Ministry of Health needed a Minister "with know-how and heart" who would "acknowledge that we have this problem". "We don't need someone who's learning on the job," she said. And she also dismissed claims by Premier Alex Scott that Government was ushering in a new "age of empowerment". "I was stunned when the Premier gave his address earlier this week about empowerment and mentioned that seniors get a tea once a year and have been given some computers," she said. "Hello? Doesn't he realize that we've got seniors who are dying because they can't afford their medication, seniors going without food because they don't have money for electricity."

Bermuda stamp Dockyard ApprenticesApril 10. Booming car sales and a rebound in spending on building materials and hardware had cash registers ringing in February. The Retail Sales Index for the month jumped 9.1 percent after accounting for inflation, offsetting a poor January when the volume of sales slipped 0.6 percent year over year, according to the Government Department of Statistics. Before adjusting for the 2.8 percent inflation rate in February, sales rose 12.2 percent compared to February, 2005, with turnover rising from $41.1 million to $46.2 million. All sectors in the Retail Sales Index reported positive sales gains with the exception of apparel stores. The Department of Statistics said the 12.2 percent increase was the largest year over year increase for a month since June, 2005, when sales rose 16.4 percent. Much of the increase in February was driven by car sales, which soared 46 percent over February, 2005 and have been averaging year over year increases of 26.6 percent over the last 12 months. HWP chief operating officer Alan Brooks said on Friday: "We have seen a considerable rise in automotive sales in the past few months, particularly in two automotive classes, compact vehicles and SUVs. Mr. Brooks said HWP, which sells Hondas, Mazdas, Suzukis, Hyundais, Volkswagens and Nissan cars, has seen strong sales for Honda CRVs and Hyundai Tucsons "in keeping with the global trend towards sports utility vehicles". "Due to lower licensing fees for compact cars, vehicles such as the Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Getz and the Daihatsu Sirion and Caharad are also popular," he added. Gross receipts for food stores rose 9.2 percent in February 2006. Grocery stores retailers have made consistent monthly gains since September, 2002. Meanwhile, food prices registered a 0.3 percent decline for the month of February. Retailing activity in the building and hardware sector recorded double-digit gains for the second consecutive month, increasing 16.5 percent over February 2005. Higher levels of construction activity translated into higher sales for building and hardware vendors who supply construction related materials. The increase in sales marks a turnaround from the last seven months of 2005, when sales either fell or rose marginally. Residents returning to the Island from business and vacation tips declared overseas purchases of $3.4 million during the month of February 2006. This level of spending was roughly $0.4 million or 10.0 percent higher than the level of spending reached in February 2005. 

April 28. Jay Bluck clinched a knife-edge election victory to become the new Mayor of Hamilton. Mr. Bluck defeated Sonia Grant by just 21 votes, as former Mayor Lawson Mapp's six-year reign ended. Mr. Mapp – who had led the City since 2000 – failed to secure a controversial third term in office. He received just 22 votes as the electorate decided it was time for a change at the top. Mr. Bluck polled 115 votes, narrowly seeing off the challenge of Miss Grant on 94 votes. Mr. Bluck, 65, pledged to introduce constituency clinics and regular consultation sessions, particularly on the massive $630 million waterfront development. The Somerset resident stated that he would be "re-establishing contact" with developers interested in building a new hotel on Par-la-Ville Road. Retired merchant Mr. Bluck takes control of a $20 million budget, praised his successor Mr. Mapp and said he was sorry that he attracted such a small number of votes. "He has put in a huge amount of service for Hamilton and has given great service to the city." Mr. Mapp, who had served at City Hall since 1979, said his biggest achievement in office was the beautification of Hamilton's parks; while his biggest regret was not getting a developer to sign up for the Par-la-Ville hotel project.

Bermuda stamp Girl GuidesMay 2. Premier Alex Scott will head a Government delegation to Washington, DC for groundbreaking talks with a host of influential American politicians. Mr. Scott, who hailed this month’s two-day trip to Capitol Hill an historic first for the Island, will meet Speaker of the US House of Representatives Dennis Hastert – third in line for presidential succession. Other key White House policy-shapers on the agenda during a whirlwind of diplomatic activity include Senate leader Bill Frist and Senator John McCain, defeated for the Republican nomination for President in 2000 and expected to run again for the presidency in 2008. US Consul General Gregory Slayton organized the whistle-stop visit he said should give Bermuda lawmakers “unprecedented” access to key movers and shakers in the US establishment. Concrete details of what will be discussed on the pioneering trip to the seat of US political power were not outlined yesterday. But the delegation will use it to boost relations between the two countries – and it is understood that trade, tourism, the war on drugs and homeland security issues will be on the table when Mr. Scott’s team arrives. Another topic likely to be on the agenda will be international tax laws. And Mr. Scott will be seeking to issue assurances in the wake of comments made by Presidential hopeful John Kerry in the 2004 campaign, when the Democratic challenger said he would shut down tax loopholes that allowed “$40 billion” to go to Bermuda. Mr. Scott said he understood the tax topic had slipped off the “front burner” in the US after that election – and he said the trip to Capitol Hill would give him chance to hammer home the facts face-to-face with decision-makers, ensuring they speak from “first-hand knowledge” and not from a campaign speech. “Our tax policies have not changed in the last 100 years. We did not create a tax regime aimed at avoiding taxes,” he told the press conference, adding that monetary authorities ensured the country met international finance rules. The Premier said that Bermuda’s success in the international business arena had catapulted it into a worldwide leadership role – and given it a global reputation as a major player. 

Bermuda stamp seahorseMay 3. Reuben Christopher Alias, one of only four black Bermudians to serve in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War, has died, aged 84. Mr. Alias, who was also the first black to be appointed a clerk to Magistrates Court and assistant to the secretary to the Cabinet, passed away at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital on Monday. Mr. Alias, of Hill Top Drive, Southampton, was born on the Island on December 11, 1921, and was educated at Central, West End and Northlands schools and the Berkeley Institute. He studied at the business school of the Sir George Williams College in Montreal. During the Second World War, he was conscripted into the Bermuda Militia Infantry (BMI) and later served in Canada and England in the RAF, along with three black Bermudians from the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA). In 1957, aged 36, he volunteered for service in the BMA as a private soldier and earned a commission as a Second Lieutenant two years later. He eventually resigned his commission, with the rank of Captain, from what had become the Bermuda Regiment. Mr. Alias joined the Bermuda civil service in 1951 as a temporary clerk in Magistrates Court, eventually being promoted to senior clerk. He served as assistant to the secretary to the Cabinet, then became the first person, black or white, to be appointed civil administrative officer of the Bermuda Defence Board. His last civil service appointment was in 1976 as chief immigration officer, a post from which he retired in 1981. Mr. Alias, a freemason, was made an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List in 1972 and was presented with the Bermuda Government's Special Achievement Award in 1985. Both awards were given for his contribution to association football on the Island. He participated as a player, referee, coach and administrator for the sport and served as vice-president of the Bermuda Football League and chairman of the Bermuda Football Association. His friend Dr. Gerard Bean, chairman of the National Sports Centre, paid tribute to him last night. He said: "He was a very articulate, very intelligent and very thorough person. He had many "firsts" and he was able to move from one sphere to another with relative ease. He was also a very loyal friend. Mr. Alias leaves behind his second wife, Elvira. The couple were married in 1961 and had no children. A private funeral and cremation will take place on Friday.

May. Who the Premier and Ministers met in Washington DC:

Bermuda stamp DerbyMay 18. Americans living in Bermuda will see their tax costs rise dramatically as a result of tax legislation US president George W. Bush is expected to sign tomorrow. The election year tax measure aims to cut US taxes by $70 billion over the next decade by extending low tax rates on dividends and most capital gains until 2010 and preventing 15 million households from being hit by the alternative minimum tax. However the 4.1 million Americans – excluding military personnel and foreign service officers – living outside the United States will bear a portion of those cuts via complicated tax rules which will result in them paying $2.1 billion more in taxes over the next decade. Currently, US expatriates are exempted from paying US taxes on the first $80,000 of foreign earned income. The new legislation would increase the exemption by $2,400 to $82,400 as of tax year 2006. However, US citizens will see the tax exemption on foreign housing expenses significantly reduced. Currently, American expatriates can deduct virtually all of their housing expenses which is a benefit that has helped attract Americans to live in high priced Bermuda. The new rules however cap the housing deduction at $11,536 although Treasury has the ability to adjust the housing deduction when countries have abnormally high costs of living relative to the US. Expatriates will also be subject to higher tax brackets so a single taxpayer or married filing jointly taxpayers who maximize the foreign earned income exclusion and housing deduction – approximately $93,000 – would see additional tax costs of $20,806 and $16,811 respectively, said PricewaterhouseCoopers Bermuda tax advisor Rick Irvine.

May 26. The Bermuda Post Office released this stamp to commemorate the 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition in Washington DC.

Bermuda Stamp for Washington Exhibition

Bermuda stamp moon landingMay 30. Bermuda, the world’s largest captive domicile, is also the best one to do business in, according to the findings of a new survey. The Island was voted tops for tailored regulation, accessibility, cost efficiency, and for protected cell legislation, in the survey published in the May issue of Reactions magazine. The broad vote of confidence is heartening news for the hundreds who work in the Island’s captive management sector. The plaudit affirms the Island’s leading place, as it comes under increasing competition from a growing number of rival domiciles – particularly in the US. The praise could also serve to bolster interest in the Bermuda Captive Conference, to be held for the second consecutive year this September. The conference provides a broad range of captive-specific information, including tax and regulatory issues, to risk managers and corporations that own the self-insurance vehicles. Conference coordinator Mike Hardy said the 2006 Bermuda Captive conference was expecting in the region of 400 risk managers, chief finance officers and captive owners. Last year’s inaugural conference attracted 300 people. The world’s top captive domiciles – Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Vermont, the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey, Barbados, Luxembourg, Dublin, Turks and Caicos and Isle of Man – grew by less than four percent in 2005, according to a survey by Advisen, cited in the Reactions report. And a growing number of US states catering to captive insurers, led by Vermont, is proving strong competition for offshore domiciles, now that tax advantages for offshore captives have more or less faded. 

June 6. A cruise ship that left Philadelphia on Sunday is stuck on a sand bar in Bermuda. The Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Crown, ran aground. At the time, it was being steered by and was therefore under the command of a Bermuda port pilot, not the ship's captain. Under Bermuda law, the Bermuda Government's liability for its pilots is very limited. The ship's passengers and crew were in no immediate danger, the cruise line said. The 34,00 ton vessel has 1,104 passengers and 500 crew, and it arrived in St. George's, Bermuda on Monday. It was on the way to Hamilton, another port, when it got stuck. Tug boats failed to get the ship free this morning and they will attempt to move the ship Tuesday night, when the tides are more favorable. "All guests and crew onboard are safe and no one was hurt," the cruise line said. "Initial inspection indicates that the integrity of the ship has not been affected. A full damage assessment will be conducted by a team of divers during the day." The company said it is currently tendering passengers to shore in Bermuda as planned. It is working with local authorities to determine what caused the ship to run aground.

June 7.  Spanish Point Park was awash with binoculars and digital cameras as crowds turned up in droves and trained their sights on the dramatic Norwegian Crown rescue. Amazed bystanders unfolded beach chairs, weighed anchor and made themselves comfortable almost from the moment the news filtered through that the 34,000 ton cruise ship had run aground near Dockyard just before 8.30 a.m. By 7 p.m., she was finally free. An hour of frenetic high-tide activity involving at least three tugs and several circling speedboats ended the Norwegian nightmare. The rumor mill was in full swing, with speculation running wild. Some said the pilot made a misjudgment; or the wind was too strong; or torrential rain squalls and poor visibility sent the ship veering off course. The Norwegian Crown became the latest in a long line of ships to run aground on an Island renowned for its perilous reefs. Every Spanish Point spectator had a different story. But they all agreed that this was worth witnessing – and something Bermuda had rarely seen before.

Bermuda stamp theatre boycottJune 17. Shadow Health and Seniors Minister Louise Jackson has slammed Government for paying lip-service to the plight of seniors. And she identified four problem areas she said must be tackled if the welfare of the island's elderly is to be improved – but said Government showed no sign of facing up to the challenge. Mrs. Jackson spoke out after her opposite number, Health Minister Patrice Minors, reported on a joint "initiative". Speaking in the House of Assembly, Mrs. Minors said her Ministry was working with the National Office for Seniors and Age Concern "to collaboratively work towards addressing elder abuse in Bermuda". But the Minister gave few details about how the initiative would work, other than to say the partnership was formed "to better protect and reduce the risk of harm to seniors, increase awareness, prevention, and intervention effectors throughout the community and within responsible advocacy. The proposed measures are necessary to ensure that Bermuda's seniors are treated with respect," Mrs. Minors said. "We need our seniors more than ever to continue to serve as leaders, mentors, volunteers and active members of society. Accordingly abuse of seniors should not be tolerated by any society." Yesterday an angered Mrs. Jackson condemned Government's treatment of seniors as "window dressing". "Where are the solutions?" she demanded. "They have come forward with this but they aren't offering any solutions – they need a reality check." The four areas of concern Mrs. Jackson highlighted were: Homelessness. The need for legal advice. Poor medical care.  Poor standards of care in nursing homes.  "In the last three or four years homelessness has become an increasing problem and it does affect seniors – we have seniors out there living rough and everyone knows it," Mrs. Jackson said. "The Government knows about it and just expects the Salvation Army and Fern Wade to deal with it. We need a solution which is quite simple – to provide a temporary shelter to get these people out of the bushes." Mrs. Jackson said she receives dozens of calls from seniors looking for legal advice but cannot afford a lawyer. "They have problems such as a child trying to take their home away from them. But they can't afford a lawyer and getting legal aid is a lottery. The solution would be to have an ombudsman who can talk them through the process and Government should make sure people have a place to go for advice." 

Bermuda Stamp 60June 20.  In 1999, 51 per cent of Bermudians stated they would take independence rather than have closer ties with the United Kingdom; today less than 30 per cent report they support statehood. While winning public support for independence seems to be a key objective of Government this year, the publication of the Bermuda Independence Commission report-along with its attendant silences and controversies-and the recent round of public forums have produced no discernible increase in public support for independence. Clearly, a great deal has transpired since 1999 to weaken Bermudian support for independence and Government would do well to understand why this shift has taken place if the quest for sovereignty is to be won. Many issues need to be understood in this respect: labour mobility, trade, investment, and security issues, for example. One salient issue which touches every Bermudian in a direct and intimate way is that of citizenship. Many Bermudians feel so strongly about citizenship not because of any symbolic value in what flag is raised or national anthem is played at key events, but rather they are concerned about the practical benefits of being a British Overseas Territories Citizen versus a British Citizen versus a Bermudian Citizen. When the British Government reinstated full British Citizenship for Bermudians and all other British Overseas Territories citizens in 2002 thousands began applying for British Passports. With this passport Bermudians are entitled to many of the rights and privileges of any other British Citizen, such as residency and employment rights within the European Union and travel benefits. Bermudians holding such a passport, however, do not have equal political rights and therefore cannot vote or stand for office in any UK election. Let’s deal with the two main issues raised here: (1) the travel benefits of a British Passport versus that of a Bermuda Passport and (2) residency and employment rights in the European Union. Because of our propensity to travel (a product of our wealth), Bermudians cherish the visa-free restrictions currently enjoyed with many countries and attribute this to being under the British umbrella. Any discussion about independence has to confront this reality in a meaningful way if we are ever to push support for statehood beyond the 50 per cent threshold. Currently, those of us who have a British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) Passport are able to travel to many countries visa-free, including the US, Canada, the Schengen group of European nations (currently 15), Caribbean states and most of Latin America. Clearly this is not the same as a British Passport, for as the British Government points out on its website, BOTCs “may need a visa that is not required by British Citizens” to visit certain countries. Thus British Citizens do not require a visa to enter Thailand while BOTCs do. Holding a British Passport, however, does not guarantee visa-free access to all countries. Many African countries require visas for British, and for the matter, US citizens.

June 23. Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal (formerly, Princess Anne) is due to arrive in Bermuda today from London's Gatwick Airport for a weekend visit to take part in celebrations surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Newport-to-Bermuda yacht race. The Queen’s only daughter, and eighth in line to the Throne, will be accompanied by Miss Amy Briggs and will be met by Governor Sir John Vereker and is expected to visit a number of locations around the Island, including going onboard the US Coast Guard tall ship Eagle while it is docked at Front Street. US Consul General Gregory Slayton said Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal is to be a special guest at a reception on the Cutter to mark the 100th anniversary of the Newport–Bermuda race, which was held this week. Princess Anne is a sailing enthusiast and is president of the Royal Yachting Association. While on the Island, the Princess is also due to visit the Windreach Recreational Village, Riding for the Disabled, Bermuda Sailors Home and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club tomorrow. On Sunday, The Princess Royal will lay a wreath at the Bermuda Royal Navy Cemetery at Dockyard and visit Matins at St. Anne’s Church in Southampton. She is also expected to enjoy some private sailing during her stay and to view yachts that have taken part in this year’s Newport to Bermuda race. The Princess Royal is the first Royal visitor to Bermuda since Prince Andrew, Duke of York, was on the Island last November to deliver the Throne Speech.

July.  Bermuda Tourism offices in Halifax and Toronto were closed

Bermuda stamp 400 yearsJuly 3. What price Becky's life? $2,840.63. Ten years ago today Cindy Bennett’s teenage daughter was raped, tortured and stabbed and left to die in agony on a beachside road. Rebecca Middleton’s brutal, lonely demise hundreds of miles from home sparked an international outcry. Two suspects were brought in within days yet Bermuda’s legal system was unable to find either guilty of murdering the Canadian teen. While the Middleton family were enveloped in an outpouring of support from a shocked Bermudian public following the tragedy, Bermudian officialdom has piled on one insult after another, from day one. An inquiry launched partly to find out who was to blame for the legal fiasco failed to find who was responsible for the plea bargain at the heart of it. Meanwhile a senior Government figure publicly said Bermuda owed the Middleton family nothing. After years of campaigning by the family the Department of Public Prosecutions finally agreed to re-examine the case this year – only to rule out reopening it under fresh charges. A scholarship set up in Becky’s memory at Bermuda College from funds raised by well-wishers was left to lie unused for years until prompting from the family finally got it going again. This summer a tree which had become a shrine to Becky’s memory was removed without warning by the Parks Department. Government has yet to apologize. And then, just a few weeks ago, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board put a figure on Becky’s life after the family put in a claim for the maximum of $100,000 for pain and suffering. That figure? Just $2,840.63. After a decade of hurt all the Bermuda Government was prepared to pay for the cost of Becky’s ticket, the cost of flying her corpse home and sundry expenses such as the flight ticket to watch the failed trial. A further $3,000 was awarded for the Middleton’s legal costs, far short of what they had spent. Had not their lawyers agreed to wave the rest, the Middletons would have been seriously out of pocket. While other families of murder victims have been awarded tens of thousands of dollars The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board argued that larger payouts can only go to dependents of victims. Cindy is saddened but not surprised. For her it was never about the money but for Becky’s memory with the cash bolstering Becky’s Bermuda College scholarship fund. For her the paltry compensation sum is the same old story. “No one wants to be responsible. No one took responsibility for screwing up the investigation. No one took responsibility for making sure the right charges were laid, no one took responsibility in following through. It’s ten years later and they want to sweep it under the carpet.” All the application did was reopen old wounds as she pressed the case for a pain and suffering award - only to be told that pain and suffering comes with a caveat. She said: “I think the Board should have been clearer on the ‘pain and suffering’ – to me they have just picked cases to suit their purpose. It was very difficult to write the letter regarding ‘pain and suffering’. I had actually started and then stopped and told my lawyer I couldn’t do it and to forget the whole matter – but a few months later I buckled down and spilled my guts.” That letter included the sharp sense of loss a mother feels when her child is taken away from her. She misses Becky’s smile, her hugs and kisses, the voice on the end of her phone, her distinctive laugh. “When I see a blonde head, I catch myself looking – hoping to see a glimpse of Becky.” Today Cindy is just left with her memories of the daughter she sent to Bermuda when she was just a few days shy of her 17th birthday. Asked how she will be marking today’s somber anniversary she said: “I will just have a quiet day, probably have some tears. Of course I would like to see justice but we don’t always see justice in our lifetime sometimes but I believe every dog has its day.” She is glad the case is being pursued by Becky’s father and others. “I think of Becky everyday – not a day goes by when I don’t think of her. Her picture is on the fridge right now, where it was before she went away, and it is never coming down. We have other family members so we have to keep Becky’s memory alive and give them the love we can’t physically give Becky and protect our family. As far as pursuing it I don’t have any faith in Bermuda at all, literally no faith in the legal system.”

Bermuda stamp DiasporaJuly 310th anniversary of death in Bermuda of Canadian tourist Rebecca Middleton, 17 years old. She was raped, sodomized, brutally stabbed and cut 35 times, beaten, tortured, and then murdered, at Ferry Reach. It was the worst, most brutal and savage murder ever committed on a woman anywhere in the world. When contacted by The Royal Gazette for his comments on the Middleton case a decade after a murder that stunned the Island, the former Commissioner stressed he did not want to get involved in Bermuda affairs. In an interview marking the tenth anniversary of Rebecca’s death, however, the UK-based former top cop briefly touched on some issues surrounding the saga – and spoke of his “terrible sadness” for the Middleton family. “Within a few days of arriving in Bermuda, Rebecca was forcibly kidnapped, terribly sexually assaulted – her underwear was cut from her body – violently raped and simonized and clearly tortured before being stabbed to death,” said Mr. Coxall. “She was stabbed nearly 40 times. “I find it outrageous that nobody has been held to account for those most serious offences.” Asked about the severity of the murder, one source told The Royal Gazette: “On a scale of one to ten this is about as bad as you can get.” Mr. Coxall said the chain of events – spanning from Rebecca’s death to the murder case collapsing against one suspect, after another got five years for an accessory role – was the biggest injustice he had witnessed in a policing career covering four decades. “I can’t recall a worse miscarriage of justice in my 40-year policing career, most of which was spent as a chief officer in London and elsewhere in the UK. “I truly believe, and I’m saddened to come to the conclusion, that this child and her parents have been poorly served by Bermuda’s Government, judicial and prosecution systems and Police service. “They have all failed this family and this child.” Mr. Coxall, said he was disappointed to hear that it appeared that Police had not reviewed the case on a regular basis – and claimed this amounted to “neglect”. “In line with British and international best practice, cases of this seriousness that are outstanding are normally re-investigated on a regular basis, in line with developments in DNA testing and other improvements in forensic science. “I’m disappointed to hear from The Royal Gazette that this appeared not to have taken place. “I believe this is a neglect.” And he added: “The way the entire judicial system of Bermuda dealt with the murder of that poor child was a travesty and Bermuda should be ashamed”. Asked if he would have done anything differently, knowing what happened in the weeks after Rebecca’s death when one suspect was charged with being an accessory before the murder case against another defendant spectacularly collapsed, he replied: “Definitely. I would have grabbed hold of the case from the start. “That’s with hindsight. I could never have guessed it went that way. “Truly, I think we did the best we could. We threw all our resources at it and the highest-ranking officers. Then it went wrong after the arrest.” At least 20 officers were assigned to the case, led by Senior Investigating Officer Vic Richmond. Head of Operations Harold Moniz oversaw resources, while Michael Mylod handled family liaisons. Asked about the quality of the original Police investigation, Mr. Coxall stated: “I believe that officers did their best in line with the level of experience and training that existed at that time. “They did their best.” Mr. Coxall said that he hoped him speaking out on some aspects of the murder would help kick-start a debate about the case – and lead to new serious sexual assault charges being laid. “I hope this will stimulate a discussion to have this case thoroughly re-examined using the very best investigative skills off the Island,” added the ex-Commissioner, now an expert on terrorism in the UK and working for a firm helping London bolster security ahead of the forthcoming Olympics. “The most modern methods of science are not there on the Island. Using them, I truly believe it (the Middleton investigation) could be rescued and new charges brought forward.” He pointed to several long-standing rape cases in the UK – just as old as the Middleton case – that had been solved with minute DNA fragments thanks to technological advances. And he said there should be “masses of DNA” from the case still in cold storage at Police HQ that could be sent overseas for review. Now a tiny flake of skin can trace a killer, and sources say Rebecca’s body would have been “littered” with the DNA of her killers. Sources contacted for the Middleton anniversary said the case started going downhill after the two suspects Justis Smith and Kirk Mundy were arrested. An accessory plea was accepted from Mundy, who claimed he had sex with Rebecca but later found Smith killing her, and the indictment was split. They said this broke the “golden rule” of charging two defendants accused of a violent offence together – so they can blame each other in front of the jury. “This was the fatal and fundamental error,” said one source. The Royal Gazette understands Mr. Coxall was not consulted on the Attorney General’s decision to accept what sources said was a “totally flawed” consensual sex alibi from the suspect later convicted of the accessory charge. This came at a stage when the investigation was far from complete, sources indicated, with results on DNA removed from Ferry Reach crime scene still to be confirmed. DNA evidence later showed only Mundy’s semen inside the victim’s body. After finding out about the accessory charge, sources said Mr. Coxall and some senior officers held a series of heated meetings with the Attorney General Elliott Mottley where the Police team strenuously argued that, based on the evidence available, both suspects should be charged with murder. A forensic expert told one of the meetings that she was prepared to go on oath and say the murder was almost certainly a double-hander. The Royal Gazette understands that the former Commissioner left Bermuda at the end of 1997 having been told by the AG that both men would be charged with murder and tried together. Both suspects were eventually charged with Rebecca’s murder, although in March, 1998 a higher court blocked attempts to prosecute Mundy and said the decision to charge him with accessory was too hasty. The case against Smith was thrown out by a judge at his trial in November, 1998. Meanwhile, Mr. Coxall said that his stance on the evidence being re-tested was backed by a recent review of the case by DPP director Vinette Graham Allen. He said her report, outlining why fresh charges would not be filed, stated that the two suspects could have been prosecuted for murder in 1996 on the state of the evidence as it stood then. She added that no new evidence had emerged, and Mr. Coxall said that this was a effectively an admission that if new evidence came forward then fresh charges may have followed. The Commissioner of Police when Rebecca Middleton was murdered, Coxall has described her death as the worst miscarriage of justice of his 40-year career. But he said he remained confident the ten-year-old case could still be cracked – if the Middleton file was re-opened and investigated again by overseas experts. Speaking in detail publicly for the first time about the Canadian teenager’s death, Mr. Coxall said he found it “outrageous” that nobody has been convicted for the savage killing. Bermuda should be “ashamed” of the way its judicial system handled the case, he stated. Responding to critics who say the case was botched from the start, he maintained that officers did the best job they could given resources available on the Island in 1996. Ground-breaking advances in forensic techniques meant the investigation could still be “rescued”, he believes. And he said he was confident there was “masses” of DNA in the case that could be probed by experts as part of a new review by senior Police from Britain or America. Mr. Coxall told The Royal Gazette: “I believe it’s still not too late. Cases of rape and serious sex assault are now regularly being solved in the UK many years later as a result of developments in DNA testing. “I believe that a sufficiently skilled investigation team of international standing – either from the FBI in the US or from British Police service – could re-investigate that case in its entirety and even now bring it to a successful conclusion.”

July 5. There are four days and two presentations left before Bermuda’s Island Games fate is decided. A delegation of eight – including “the world’s most enthusiastic Sports Minister” Dale Butler – flew out last night bound for Rhodes for the Island Games Federation AGM and a head-to-head battle with the Isle of Wight to host the 2011 Games. And Jon Beard, chairman of Bermuda’s Island Games Committee, is confident they can win the votes necessary to bring the $3 million Games to the Island. I'm feeling a lot more comfortable than I did a few months ago,” said Beard, who revealed the bid package had already cost $20,000. “I know some of the islands have already made their minds up – because they have contacted us to say they are going with us – but there are still a few left to persuade. I think it will be very close but I have been rehearsing the presentation – I must have done it ten times now – and every time I go through it, I feel more and more confident. I think we are in a position to put on a very good Games – a once in a lifetime event for the other islands.” The delegation, including Minister Butler, arrive on the Greek island of Rhodes today and will be staging a workshop/bid presentation tomorrow. Friday sees a site visit for venues for next year’s Rhodes Games before the D-Day AGM on Saturday. There will be one final presentation before the vote, scheduled for some time in the afternoon. “The executive committee recommended the Isle of Wight bid,” continued Beard. “The three main areas of concern were cost, Governmental support and how new we are to the Island Games movement. I am happy we have addressed all those concerns. We have spent a lot of time with Tourism and the hoteliers and we have been able to come up with some deals which will bring down costs. The introduction of the new airlines has also helped our cause. As for support of the Government, they are now very much behind us and the world’s most enthusiastic sports minister is part of our presentation. The newness thing is really nothing – we will be as new to the movement then as Rhodes are staging this next Games.” The decision on whether Bermuda will get the chance to host the best part of 3,000 athletes and officials in the 14 sport event will be voted for by members and the executive committee at the end of the AGM. “It’s going to be very close,” added Beard. “Very close.”

July 6. Forensics – or the lack of them – were at the heart of the botched legal bid to nail the suspects accused of the Rebecca Middleton murder. Prosecutors and Police pinned their hopes on a confession by Kirk Mundy who claimed to have had consensual sex with the 17-year-old Canadian visitor on Ferry Reach beach – only to find his friend Justis Smith murdering her when he returned from washing himself in the sea. Police were influenced by false lab results which initially indicated semen in all three of Becky’s orifices – suggesting more than one man must have been involved, particularly given the timeline which had the suspects at the scene for only a matter of minutes. Later it emerged faulty swab evidence had overstated the case and there was only semen in the vagina. By then the Crown had split the indictment as Mundy had already pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact while there were no forensics linking Smith, now solely charged with the murder, to the scene. Smith was later cleared by the Supreme Court who ruled he had no case to answer while efforts to recharge Mundy were also blocked by London’s Privy Council. Yet alarm bells were ringing in all sorts of quarters in the early stages of the investigation. David Middleton, Rebecca’s father, had arrived in Bermuda the day after his daughter’s murder. Despite the emotional need to take Becky’s body home both he and his estranged wife Cindy, who had joined him on that journey, recall explicitly offering the Police more time to examine the body. But doctors only took one day. Mr. Middleton said: “My take on it was they wanted it over and done with as quickly as possible. Yet three of the attending physicians suggested they get a further autopsy done by a pathologist from Dade County, Florida. That didn’t happen. We said ‘do it properly’.” Mr. Middleton now believes authorities in Bermuda didn’t know what properly was. “Did they do any fingernail scrapings? The answer was no they didn’t. When you have a brutal murder like that would you not think to do that? That’s 101. We just assumed that Bermuda being a hi-tech country, with all the banking facilities and tourism, that they have the same types of skills and procedures that we have here. But we came to find out they were in the dark ages. They didn’t even cordon off the scene. They had people tromping around there.” That view was backed up the Commission of Inquiry into Series Crimes report in 2000 which looked at the Middleton case. It said there was no doubt whatsoever that the crime scene was “not properly secured in the first instance and properly managed thereafter”. The report went on to say the crime scene was not scoured for clues using the latest forensic methods to pick up trace material which could have pinned the murderers to the scene of the crime. Even when subjects confess, the hunt for DNA must not stop, said the Commissioners. DNA can convict the guilty and absolve the innocent and the report said undue reliance should never be placed on confessions. However former Superintendent Vic Richmond, who supervised the inquiry in the crucial early stages, said criticism of the Police has been overstated. He said: “The crime scene was completely secured and tented with a big marquee over it.” And he said it was normal to use new recruits to do a thorough inch-by-inch search of the outer perimeter. “That’s normal procedure here and everywhere else. They won’t touch anything. They just mark it out if it is at all suspicious. Nothing of significance was found.” Mark Pettingill, Mundy’s lawyer, felt Police could have done better. “As the investigation progressed I began to think there were things that were questionable given my experience with the Police in the past. Many of the usual faces I had seen involved in a case of that level were for some reason not involved. I have no idea why. I am a big forensics buff and was pretty well versed in crime scene investigation – I certainly questioned some of the things I saw. A crime scene can tell a lot of stories about a case but it didn’t seem that was the focus.” He said questions were laid a year after Mundy had been convicted. Attorney General Elliott Mottley decided to seek the advice of US experts Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Henry Lee on forensics. That is certainly something one would have thought would have been prudent to do at the outset.  They had opinions about what the crime scene indicated that had not been put forward before. Nowadays the first thing you will see with a crime is you have your forensics experts in there – Michael Baden, Valerie Rao, Henry Lee – to support what is becoming a very good unit in Bermuda.” He said greater professionalism in handling crime scenes was one of the positives to have emerged since the infamously mishandled case. “There hadn’t been similar investigations before, that was part of the problem. There had been other murder cases but not where the forensic evidence would have been as significant as it potentially was in this case. I think there was habit in Police forces across the world, even as little as ten years ago, to try and obtain verbal evidence, statements and eyewitness reports. Forensics was seen almost as supporting evidence. But forensic evidence doesn’t lie, witnesses do.” However Mr. Richmond believes little was done wrong by his team who worked around the clock on the case, although he does acknowledge a few “hiccups”. Asked what he would have done differently if he was doing it again he said: “The only thing I may have done differently is brought in a forensic pathologist from the very get-go rather than have the local pathologist perform the autopsy. Although the results of both Dr. Johnson and Valerie Rao were in the end the same saying that it was highly unlikely that one person alone committed these crimes, but they couldn’t say for certain.” He is still angry the failure to nab the murderer has been blamed on a botched Police inquiry. “Nothing could be further from the truth. This is not an unsolved murder case.” He said the investigation was characterized by “dogged determination to identify suspects and build a strong case”. The bungling commenced long before the tragic events of July 3, 1996, said Mr. Richmond. “Kirk Mundy should never have been free to have been in Ferry Reach, St. George’s on that fateful night,” he said. “Despite strenuous Police objections to bail at the time of Becky’s murder he was on Magistrates’ Court bail for a serious armed robbery of a Bank of Butterfield van at Mermaid Beach club.” Police were stretched to the limits at the time of Becky’s murder, added Mr. Richmond, but the force still deployed “all available resources to that inquiry” in what he said was an intensive investigation which led to the culprits being identified and arrested. Recalling the strain put on Police he said the murder took place in the early hours of Wednesday July 3. Two days later a tourist died in a parasailing accident which needed a Police probe to makes sure there was no criminal negligence. Then on Saturday Police were called to deal with the fatal shooting of James Caines. “Despite what Dr. Michael Baden said in the NBC news story on the Middleton case, within hours of the arrests of the two suspects we had recovered the murder weapon from the waters of St. George’s Harbour near to the Swing Bridge.” It was identified as belonging to a set kept at Smith’s home which had one missing – after a hiccup in which the KEMH resident pathologist said the murder weapon was a double sided stiletto blade and the knife Mundy had led Police to had too much marine growth on it. A marine biologist then said the knife could very well be the murder weapon while another experiment showed the knife left the same tear marks as those on Becky’s shirt. Police were also told there was semen only in the vagina, anus and mouth – only to discover it was only in the vagina, said Mr. Richmond. “These little hiccups influenced the direction of inquiry and the method of the interrogation of the suspects. Now when you discover there was semen in the mouth, anus and vagina you think, well how can an individual deposit semen in all three orifices. If there was only semen in the vagina, you think only one person did it.” Police and prosecutors were under massive time pressure to charge the pair within 72 hours – the standard time charges must be laid before defendants are released. Mr. Richmond recalled the crucial meeting to discuss the charges. Present were Attorney General Elliott Mottley, Solicitor General Barry Meade, prosecutor Khamisi Tokunbo, Chief Inspector Carlton Adams and Detective Inspectors Leegay Farley and Stuart Crockwell. “To me it was very unfortunate that perhaps the most experienced and able member of the AG’s staff with regard to criminal prosecution was on overseas leave – Brian Calhoun.” Discussions mulled over a successful recent murder case which nabbed the killers of Vincello Johnny Peppers Richardson in St. George’s. That prosecution, by Mr. Tokunbo, used one suspect as an accessory after the fact with his evidence helping secure the conviction against the main culprit, said Mr. Richmond. He said he had reservations and called the pathologist to ask if it was possible for one person alone to have sexually assaulted and stabbed Rebecca Middleton. The pathologist doubted it, but could not say for sure. But a consensus of having holding charges against Mundy as an accessory and Smith as the murder accused was garnered, according to Mr. Richmond. “I had reservations, but the normal thing was to charge them with something rather than release them.” Asked why the Crown was moving that way Mr. Richmond said: “We had a statement from Mundy implicating Smith. We had nothing from Smith. The feeling was we can’t release them. We have to decide on a holding charge. For some reason an event occurred and Mundy was allowed to plead to that holding charge. There was never a meeting between us to say ‘do we continue with the holding charges?’” Asked if he requested one, he said he could not recall. “If at that time I had no further evidence I would probably have gone along with the process. Bearing in mind all the evidence was linking Smith more and more to the crime rather than Mundy. I think Mark (Pettingill) was pretty shrewd. He took care of the interests of his own client and got him a good deal.” Mr. Richmond said normally a suspect who gave evidence against an accomplice would be liable for a sentence reduction. “But you have to be convicted before you can give evidence against your co-accused.” However, by the time of Smith’s trial Mundy had already been put away for 16 years for armed robbery which was added to his five years for accessory. There was little incentive to play ball although Mr. Richmond can’t recall why Mundy was not called as witness. Mr. Richmond said plea bargaining was a calculated risk prosecuting authorities took. “But it happens all the time. Generally the person will come through.” He believes if the case had gone to the jury, as the Privy Council said it should have done, the Middleton case would not still be such a running sore. “I think a jury would have come to the same conclusion as both the pathologist and myself – that they acted together.” Mr. Richmond questioned why Smith’s trial case was handled by newly-arrived Solicitor General William Pearce whose expertise was in civil litigation and not the Attorney General Elliott Mottley or top prosecutor Brian Calhoun. “I got the sense that if Brian wasn’t there from the get-go, liaising with Police, he didn’t want to be involved.” He said a timeline, corroborated by security guards in the Ferry Reach area, cell, phone and Police radio records and statements, showed from the time the motorbike with three people entered Ferry Reach and the time it left, with two people and a rag covering the number plate, was a matter of minutes. “That was never used. Bill Pearce never introduced that. Say it was 12 minutes for people to go in there and commit a heinous crime, sexual assault and multiple stab wounds was strong evidence for a jury to say they must have been acting together to do all this in that short space of time. But it was never introduced as evidence.” Becky’s mother Cindy said she felt sorry for Mr. Pearce. “He had just arrived on the island and this had already happened and he gets this thing to work on. Why would not someone who had been there and knew the system take the case? One of the others. Bill did a fantastic job. I don't fault him at all. He did the best job he could with the hand he was dealt. Sandra Bacchus, his assistant was phenomenal too.” By the time of Smith's trial the Middleton's had already had bitter experience of Bermuda's court rooms after seeing Mundy got a deal they knew nothing about. One time Dave Middleton and his son Mark flew down for an arraignment session but were cleared from the courtroom. Cindy Bennett said: “I thought – this is about our daughter. Why are they hiding - why can't they be in there? So the Smith trial was yet another ordeal for the family of the slain girl. Cindy said: “Some people were in court just because it was a high profile case. Smith's father slept in the back of the court. Smith was never called to the stand.” She said hot-shot English QC John Perry seemed to control the court with presiding judge Vincent Meerabux enthralled – when he wasn't showboating himself. “It was like he was on TV, it was like a little stage up there, the way he acted.” At the start she had every hope but towards the end of the three-week trial she felt it was slipping away. “I think if the judge had let it go to the jury they would have done the right thing. I felt sorry for the jury having to sit there and listen to everything, see everything and not given the chance to do the job they had to do.” When Mr. Justice Meerabux aborted the trial Mrs Bennett felt “sick to my stomach”. “To me he didn't let people give the evidence they wanted to. I don't think he had control of the court. I think the defence lawyer did. It was like a little show with bantering back and forth. Maybe Meerabux found it humorous. But you know it is a serious thing, somebody is dead and it happens to be my daughter. I didn't appreciate it. It was a serious thing but they would be laughing.” She never saw “hide nor hare” of the Police she'd met who had done the investigation. “You would think they might come around. But at that point I didn't know how badly things were screwed up. I think some of them were embarrassed and they had a right to be embarrassed.” She said she felt a lot better when Det. Sgt. Terry Maxwell got involved with the case but she said it was too late by then. Cindy Bennett said Attorney General Elliott Mottley, who along with Mr. Tokunbo has declined to be interviewed for this series, should take some responsibility for the fiasco. “I never met him but I think he played a part in the way the charges were laid out. The Police don't make deals. Maybe they rushed to get a conviction. Maybe they should have been more careful.” And Mr. Pettingill, despite having a professional victory in the case, said it gave him no personal satisfaction. He said: “The obvious conclusion was that the whole matter was a complete debacle and in these types of instances the buck should stop with the man in charge - the Attorney General in my view should have resigned over it.” In conclusion Cindy Bennett said: “My daughter was murdered and no one was convicted. Did she murder herself? No. I blame the Policing and blame the prosecution. I blame them all.”

July 6. Canadians have hit out at the Bermuda Government’s decision to award less then $3,000 to the family of murdered Rebecca Middleton. Ten years on from the Canadian teenager’s brutal death in St. George’s, The Royal Gazette revealed how the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board put a figure of $2,840.63 on Rebecca’s life. The family had submitted a claim for the maximum $100,000 for pain and suffering. News of the compensation award yesterday hit the headlines in major Canadian newspapers. And the amount has been criticized by listeners on one of the biggest radio stations in the country, with a handful of callers reviving talk of a Bermuda boycott. Outraged Canadians had called for a boycott of the Island in 1998 in the wake of the fallout from the collapsed Middleton murder case. Ryan Doyle, executive producer at CFRB 1010, last night said that a 30-minute news phone-in session yesterday morning on the Middleton pay-out attracted about 20 callers. “The majority of people were of the opinion that it was not enough,” he said. “Some people said that Canada is no better, but the majority were disgusted by it and said you might as well not offer any compensation at all.” The senior producer said at least three of the callers mentioned a travel boycott. “One woman said she had been to Bermuda about 20 to 25 times and she would definitely think about not going back.” News of the compensation payout also featured in the Toronto Star.

July 6. Famed forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden said hasty prosecutors and a poor decision by the trial judge were to blame for the failure to convict anyone for the murder of Rebecca Middleton. Dr. Baden and fellow US expert Henry Lee had been tracked down by Det. Sgt. Terry Maxwell after the legal case began to unravel and testified in the collapsed murder trial of Justis Smith. Dr. Baden, the Chief Forensic Pathologist for the New York State Police, recalled looking at the crime scene at Ferry Reach where Rebecca met her violent end. He saw the photos of the body in the roadway. He said: “The crime scene had been tampered with. When we came down and reviewed everything – the murder would have occurred on the beach and the body was moved up and put on the roadway with the idea, it appeared to Dr. Lee and myself, that someone coming along on that dark road would hit the body on the road and make it appear like it was a road accident. They were thinking about how to get out of it.” He said they determined from blood spatters that the body had to be brought to the scene by two people carrying it. “A very serious mistake was made when the prosecutor provided immunity while having no idea who the perpetrator was. He gave it to the one who was more serious, who left DNA. It seemed to me they were acting in concert.” He said the jury should have decided the matter. “Every time there is a sexual assault and a murder the defendant always says there was consensual sex. You have to rely on credibility. Is it possible that it happened that way? Anything is possible. Is it reasonable? No. Sure it’s possible but it’s bizarre and I don’t believe it. It’s lousy for the prosecutor to make a decision like that before you get all the evidence in. First get the facts – the autopsy, the scene, the DNA. Once you get all that in you know how better to interrogate witnesses and ask questions and get additional information. That’s where detecting comes in.” He said whenever there is a crime, information is given out first by the suspects and then Police go back and get more evidence and information and question them again to see if the story changes to accommodate the new facts. “If you give immunity before you can do that then you can never really test Mundy’s statement,” he said. Dr. Baden, who has dealt with cases all over the world, said it was premature to accept a deal without knowing whose DNA was found on the body. “It’s a very basic mistake. The Police did the job properly as I recall, the prosecutor screwed up. Pearce, the new prosecutor then tried to make up for it. That’s one of the reason he had Dr. Lee and myself come down. He tried very hard to undo the damage which had been done.” He said he felt Puisne Judge Vincent Meerabux then made a serious error by saying there was no case for Smith to answer. “I think the jury was also shocked by that.” Dr. Baden, like Rebecca’s mum Cindy Bennett, felt the judge was intimidated by Smith’s lawyer John Perry and yielded too much. He said he believed there was enough evidence to get proper convictions. “You have very good Police down in Bermuda and very well trained. Maybe it’s the politics of how you choose prosecutors and judges.” Dr. Baden has seen hundreds and hundreds of murder scenes in his time, some sadder than others. “If heroin addicts get in a fight and one gets killed, or spouses are always fighting and one gets killed – as sad as those are the victim has something to do with the murder. They are not totally innocent. It’s drugs or alcohol or they stayed in abusive relationships. But this kind of death is more outrageous and upsetting. “Not because there was so much blood at the scene but because she was totally an innocent victim. It’s very sad – a 17-year-old tourist.”

July 7Top British Policeman Bryan Bell was appointed Bermuda's new Assistant Police Commissioner. Mr. Bell arrived in Bermuda a few days earlier and will focus on crime, drugs and intelligence during his three-year stint. He will work closely with the National Drug Control ministry. With more than 30 years policing experience, Mr. Bell was the first national coordinator of Special Branch which oversees UK security matters. That post involved working with the British Government, intelligence agencies and 55 Police forces in the UK.

July 12. Bermuda’s Small Island Games delegation may have failed in their bid to host the 2011 Games, but they’ve responded in the most positive way – by shooting for 2013. Bid leader John Beard said yesterday that the “enormously positive” reception their presentation to the Small Island Games congress had received convinced them almost immediately that a follow-up bid would be successful. He even claimed that the Faroe Islands had been “so impressed” by Bermuda’s case that they had decided to abandon their original intention to bid for the 2013 Games “to give us the best shot of winning”. The Isle of Wight were awarded the 2011 Games last Saturday at a meeting on the Greek island of Rhodes, beating Bermuda by the extremely narrow of margin of 30 votes to 25. “The feedback we received leads us to feel that we are a strong contender for 2013,” Beard said. “We may have lost the last battle, but we did Bermuda’s reputation a great service, and hopefully set ourselves to host one of the largest multi-sport events in the world in 2013.” Another member of the nine-man Bermuda delegation, Bermuda’s assistant national football coach Paul Scope, was equally optimistic and lavished praise on Sports Minister Dale Butler, who he claimed changed several countries minds with a typically electric final speech to the congress. “He was absolutely sensational,” said Scope. “The passion of his speech at the end of our presentation made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and everybody was enormously impressed both by him and our bid. We were always up against it given how much cheaper the Isle of Wight’s cost estimate was, not to mention the recommendation from the Games’ executive committee to back them and not us. But in the end we secured nine extra votes and were only three votes away from over-riding the executive committee’s position – which was a pretty remarkable achievement in itself.” Scope admitted, however, that no matter what cost-cutting measures they came up with, Bermuda would always be a more expensive island than any other. But he insisted that Bermuda was capable of putting on a Games “the likes of which has never been seen before” and that other countries would quickly stop moaning about the cost. "We worked hard for our 2011 bid to get the costs down,” he said. “But even after we had negotiated some pretty decent deals with the hotels, the cost of accommodation that we can offer was almost three times more than is available on the Isle of Wight. But we were determined throughout the congress not to apologise for the cost factor, and our line was that you would get what you paid for. By 2013 as well, the Centre Core of the National Sports Centre should be complete, with the facilities on offer there unlike anything any other island can even dream of. But every person on the delegation worked extremely hard to pull it off for 2011 and though we were disappointed to miss out, it was strange because were also euphoric at the response to all our work. There’s no doubt in my mind that we are favourites for 2013, and when the time comes to start bidding again, we will be even better prepared.”

July 19. The voice for Bermuda’s insurance and reinsurance companies is preparing to lobby the US Treasury over a new US law that significantly increases the tax burden for Americans living in places such as Bermuda. President Bush signed the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 into law in May. While the law increases the amount of foreign-earned income that can be exempted from US taxes to $82,400 from $80,000, it significantly caps housing allowances – a benefit that has helped attract Americans to live in high priced Bermuda. In the past, Americans could deduct virtually all of their housing expenses. Under the new law, their housing allowances are capped at just under $12,000 in 2006. While there are plenty of other concerns about the tax changes, the Association for Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers is zeroing in on the housing allowance cap. That is because there is a provision in the new law that allows the US Treasury to change this cap in jurisdictions with a higher cost of living. ABIR plans to file a report detailing Bermuda’s high cost of living with the US Treasury. “Congressional staff are interested in making sure that Treasury follows their intent and their intent clearly stated that they would recognize a greater housing allowance,” said ABIR president Brad Kading. Last month, South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint responded to the controversial law by proposing a bill to completely eliminate the cap on foreign earned income. Mr. Kading said it is unlikely that the legislation will move in the 2006 legislative session since the sponsor of the legislation is not on the key committee and it is an election year. Even after the election, however he sees the chance of overturning the law as “very remote.” “The US budget runs a huge deficit that means they are always looking at ways to raise money so it is very hard to make a change,” he said. Ironically, US Consul General Gregory Slayton, Premier Alex Scott and his contingent were in the White House on May 17, the very day President George W. Bush signed the tax changes into law. Mr. Slayton said he had a number of sidebar conversations on the issue with close friends in the White House that day. The discussions did not include the Premier and his team. Mr. Slayton, a Republican who was the co-chairman of the Silicon Valley Bush 2000 fundraising committee, said that as a former businessman and as a former American expatriate he totally understands the concerns of American individuals and companies. “There is a lot of heartburn about this recent tax as there are about all taxes, but this one has some really pernicious affects on America’s ability to be effective overseas. I’m a Republican. Obviously I believe in small efficient government and low taxes. I believe people should keep as much as they earn as possible and so I am just philosophically opposed to big government and big taxes.” Most of the 8,000 Americans living in Bermuda are dual nationals – generally Bermudian /Americans who are not necessarily expatriates. However they too will be hit in the pocketbook if their earnings exceed the foreign earned income cap. Not surprisingly, American employees and employers have been contacting Mr. Slayton on a daily basis since the law came into effect. “Anyone that represents the US overseas, ambassadors in every developed country where the US has significant business interests are concerned and getting lobbied by Americans and that is the way the process works. The majority are concerned about the fact that the tax is retroactive to January 1 this year so not enough tax has been withheld from their pay cheques for the first five months of the year. People are also concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the housing cap, about whether their employers will absorb the increases and what this will mean for future employment opportunities abroad." 

July 21. Government ministers spent more than $630,000 of the taxpayers’ money on travel in a single year, parliamentary questions revealed. Opposition Finance spokeswoman Pat Gordon-Pamplin hit out at the $77,000 racked up on daily expenses on top of meal, air ticket and hotel bills. She said: “What stands out is the apparent misuse of per diems, which total $73,355, which one would expect would be used for incidentals – but food, transport and miscellaneous costs of $36,000 have been charged to the travel account in addition to per diems. What seems painful for the public to swallow is the amount of extras that Ministers are receiving at the expense of the public purse, especially in the face of the mammoth salary increases they have just voted for themselves.” The analysis shows a further $326,000 in airfare and $198,000 in hotels bills the public has been forced to paid for, said Mrs. Gordon-Pamplin. The questions revealed Premier Alex Scott took eight trips costing the taxpayer $132,180 while Home Affairs Minister Randy Horton is king of the jet-setting Ministers, racking up costs of $137,316 for his ten trips. Included on Mr. Horton’s busy travel itinerary were three trips to the States meet Sgt. De Lacy Davis about anti-gang initiatives, visits to the UK to look at electronic tagging of inmates, a visit to Washington DC for an employment summit and to look at speed cameras and two trips to Geneva for International Labour Organisation (ILO) summits. He also attended a conference in Miami, a Bermuda regiment camp in Jamaica and talks with the US Government in Washington. However Mr. Horton’s expenses were distorted by the fact that two trips to ILO conferences fell within the timeframe under the questions – June 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. Government picked up the tab on both occasions for a entourage of union and business leaders. The Premier was also on the Jamaica and Washington trips with Mr. Horton and attended conferences in Antigua and the Caymans. Mr. Scott attended a CARICOM meeting in Miami and St. Lucia (which was classified as one trip), the World Economic Leaders Conference in New York, and the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) conference in Hawaii. Also adding up the air miles was Tourism and Transport Minister Ewart Brown who spent $125,118 on 21 trips – making him Government’s most frequent flyer. Unsurprisingly many of the trips were for meetings with airlines and for tourism conferences. Finance Minister Paula Cox spent $82,255 on trips. They were to the Caribbean Postal Union Conference in Trinidad and Tobago, to Switzerland to meet tax officials, to Washington to sign a tax agreement with Australia, to the RIMS conference in Hawaii and to Washington to meet senior US politicians. Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield spent $71,872 on six trips, often traveling with a large entourage. Four were for agricultural shows in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the Cayman Islands. She also went to a slave memorial ceremony in Virginia and to the swearing in ceremony for the Jamaican Prime Minister. Community Affairs and Sports Minister Dale Butler took three trips – one to Cuba on his own in October 2005 costing $4,192, one to New York in January this year with two staff costing $8,277 and one to Australia for the Commonwealth Games with one staff member costing $33,437. The total bill for the three trips, including staff, was $45,908. Telecommunications Minister Michael Scott took three unspecified trips, two of them unaccompanied, costing the taxpayer $15,043. Education Minister Terry Lister gave a full response about his three trips which cost $12,166. Two trips were for educational conferences in the Bahamas and Trinidad while the third was to Canada for the graduation of 18 Bermudian students from CompuCollege in Halifax. Health Minister Patrice Minors took just one trip – accompanied by her Permanent Secretary and the Chief Medical Officer – to an Avian ‘flu conference at a total cost of $5,840. National Drug Control Minister Wayne Perinchief took one unspecified trip, with a staff member, costing a total of $5,616. Yet to be revealed are the trips undertaken by Government Ministers sitting in the Senate. Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “Parliamentary questions are the only means by which Ministers are held accountable to Parliament for their spending and the responses to such questions allow the Opposition not only to scrutinize the expenditure, but also to share this information with the public.” Earlier this year it was revealed Ministers spent $155,464 using Government credit cards over a 21-month period from April 1, 2004 to December 31, 2005 while another $77,610 was paid out in per diem travel expenses.

July 21. Bermudian homeowners are getting rich off the island's expatriate community, charging exorbitant rents for relatively moderate properties, according to a British daily. London's Financial Times said locals are taking advantage of stringent regulations which prevent foreigners from buying their own homes. In response, companies are forking out huge housing allowances to keep executives happy because they are intent on maintaining a presence in "one of the world's most important centres for reinsurance." The island was described as a known "tax haven", said to attract well-paid executives whose rental homes come with a monthly price tag of $24,000. According to Heather Botelli, a real estate agent with The Property Group, foreign workers typically receive a monthly allowance in the region of $5,000 and $10,000. "For the lower sum, you can get a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo, but this would have no frills, probably no view, and the closer you get to Hamilton, the more you pay." She told the Financial Times that many foreigners come to the island with specific requirements. "They want views of the ocean, a swimming pool, an old traditional house or a modern place. And, more often than not, they want something with easy access to Hamilton, near schools for their children." A second agent, Gail Aruda of Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty, agreed it is rare to find a place that matches every expectation. "Bermuda is sophisticated but it's small and what many people don't understand when they arrive is that means there is not a large choice and therefore they have to be flexible," she said. There is no doubt, however, that Bermudians are benefiting from the influx. The Financial Times spoke with one local who said many homeowners use their property today for additional income instead of investing in the stock market. "The pirate in Bermudians came out," the relocation specialist said. "These companies were so keen for a part of the reinsurance pie, so the locals saw they could make money by renting out their homes at pretty much whatever price they wanted. Now everyone is trying to build or buy something so they can get on this bandwagon of rentals. People used to trade in stocks. Now this is the way for Bermudians to make money." At least one expatriate appears mindful of that fact. The Financial Times spoke with Anna Smith, who moved to the island with her reinsurance executive husband and their children four years ago. "It was very hard when we first arrived," she said. "There was very little on the market and even though we knew the island, the house we went for was the only one on offer. I think the company was a little horrified that it was going to be $11,000 a month. (But) it's getting more and more difficult for the tenants. There are not enough properties and often Bermudians are taking advantage of the situation to inflate the prices. There are a lot of great things about moving here: it's a very beautiful place, you have great weather, the sea. And for the men (typically the ones working), it can be fantastic, with no commuting like in London but for the women it can be a big shock. Here they are in a strange, expensive place, on a small island and often immigration laws mean they cannot work. There is a serious lack of schooling for boys and then if they have trouble with their landlords that's an additional worry."

July 22Death in Bermuda of former Deputy Premier John Irving Pearman, aged 79. Acting Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley described the retired politician as "one of the bedrocks of the United Bermuda Party" in the 1980s and 1990s. He said: "He contributed greatly to the success of the Island. "I think he came from pretty humble beginnings and rose through the ranks. He certainly had a lot of compassion and empathy with people and that's why he got involved in politics and did a fantastic job for the people of Bermuda." Mr. Pearman, of Warwick, became a Senator in 1982 and was elected an MP the following year. He served as Deputy Premier under Sir John Swan and held the Cabinet posts of Tourism Minister, Home Affairs and Labour Minister and Youth and Sports Minister. He is survived by his wife Erminie, son John, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren. His daughter Desiréee died in 1991. His son noted his father had lung cancer and died at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. "When I saw him at the hospital there was only one thing I came up with," he said. "He was a good man. He was a very dedicated family man." Gary Phillips, who served under Mr. Pearman as Director of Tourism and taught his daughter at Berkeley Institute, said: " We had an extraordinarily close relationship and developed a very, very strong friendship. I'm just overwhelmed by this loss." He said Mr. Pearman brought a "fresh, business approach" to the Ministry of Tourism and was Acting Premier on a number of occasions. Former UBP Education Minister Gerald Simons was Mr. Pearman's running mate in the old Warwick East constituency for four consecutive General Elections. He said: "He had the amazing ability to relate to people from all walks of life. He was 20 years my senior but the friendship developed. I have known him all my life and he was a well-known person in the parish." Shadow Home Affairs Minister Maxwell Burgess said: "He was certainly a guiding force in politics." Mr. Pearman was born on April 28, 1927. He worked at the naval annex in Southampton during the time the US Navy was positioned there. In 1950, he joined car distributor and service garage Holmes, Williams and Purvey. He worked his way up from panel beater to become managing director and chairman of the company, retiring in 1996. He served as director on a number of company boards, including the Bank of Bermuda and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and former president of the Employers' Council. He served on the Royal Pitt Commission in the late 1970s with Premier Alex Scott. 

July 23. Jason Lightbourne,18, was shot dead behind the wheel of a car in Ord Road, Paget. Despite the offer of a $50,000 reward, Police have been unable to solve the case.

July 27.  One of America’s most well-known theatre critics Henry Hewes, who married a Bermudian at the end of World War II, died aged 89. Amongst many achievements he is credited as being the man who encouraged writer Tennessee Williams to turn his short story ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’ into a play, which went on to become a smash hit production and Oscar-nominated movie starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Mr. Hewes was a fellow classmate of future US President John F. Kennedy. It was going to a show that was backed by Mr. Kennedy’s father, in honour of his son’s 10th birthday, that sparked Mr. Hewes interest in theatre. The Boston-born writer served with the US military during the war and it was while stationed in Bermuda that he met his future wife Jane Fowle, of Somerset. The couple were married at St. James Church in Somerset Parish on August 21, 1945 and then moved to New York City but remained regular visitors to the Island. Mr. Hewes made a name for himself in the US where he became a long-time theatre critic for The Saturday Review magazine, serving as chief critic from 1955 to 1973, previously he had written for the Sunday arts pages of the New York Times. He also founded the American Theater Critics Association in 1974 and helped to establish the “Tony Award” for regional theatre groups. Mr. Hewes was a past president of the New York Drama Critics Circle and edited the “Best Plays” anthology from 1960 to 1964. Mr. Hewes is survived by his wife Jane, his sons Henry, Tucker and Havelock and six grandchildren.

July 29. A new fast ferry is due to reach Bermuda by the middle of August, a hill that causes a slight obstruction to pilots landing at Bermuda International Airport is being demolished and the excess material sold off, and a live exercise is being planned next week to show the benefits of the new GPS taxi equipment system. All three topics were discussed by Transport Minister Dr. Ewart Brown as he presented an update on transport matters affecting the Island. The Ministry of Transport is stepping up the number of options available to people seeking to find alternative ways to get around. That is why a new ferry will soon be in service on the Island. The vessel is expected to be launched at Bridgeport, Connecticut next Monday and will undergo final tests before its due departure in early August to sail to Bermuda. And reporting on ongoing progress at the Airport, Deputy Premier Dr. Brown said: "After Hurricane Fabian the Airport sustained massive flood damage. In order to help prevent this major amount of damage in future we have begun a three-phase project of reinforcing the foreshore of the Airport. This project began in September 2005. Phase one has been completed and phases two and three will be completed before the end of the year. It has been discovered that Long Bird Hill causes a slight obstruction in the landing visibility for aircraft. In June we began to level out the hill. This is a three-year project being carried out by Bermuda Construction Services. As they will be selling the materials from the demolition of the hill this project is being carried out at no cost to Government with Government actually receiving a percentage of the material sales." And, there is just over a week to go before it becomes the law for taxi operators to have installed and to be using new GPS equipment, said Dr. Brown. There has to date been a 75 percentage compliance rate with 440 of the Island's 600 taxis now having the equipment installed. The Transport Minister said reminder letters have been sent out to taxi owners to reinforce the fact that the use of the equipment is compulsory as from August 6. "Taxi owners have had ample time to comply. The few that do not comply are placing a greater burden to carry the load on those who are. Early next week I, along with technical officers, will conduct a specific media event on this crucial area of computerized dispatch." The Minister also announced that a night piloting simulation of Bermuda's cargo vessels undertaken at MITAGS in Baltimore earlier this month had been completed and was designed to develop electronic models for cargo ships serving Bermuda, identifying improvements and upgrades to channel entrances and maritime navigational aids and digitizing nautical charts. During the past two months the Department of Maritime Administration has added a further six commercial vessels totaling 446,700 gross tons to the Island's register.

July 29. Almost a quarter of a million visitors came to Bermuda between April and June representing the highest number of tourists for any three-month period this millennium. As a result the Island has edged closer to full hotel occupancy and set an all-time record for the number of visitors to arrive during the second quarter of any year. But residents have been warned that all the efforts to put tourism back on track could be jeopardized by crimes against tourists and damage to the Island’s reputation from violent incidents such as the gunshot murder and machete attack that occurred last weekend.," We must recognize there can be clouds to the silver lining. Complacency, violence and inattention to detail. Each of these in their own way will detract from the tireless efforts of many Bermudians to grow tourism,” said Deputy Premier Dr. Ewart Brown. “As a community we must resolve not to tolerate any of them and to combat any attempt to ruin our good name. Any violence or negative experience that is had by a visitor will make our job more difficult. Bermuda must first be safe for Bermudians and, if it is safe for us, it will be safe for everybody.” Hotel reservations for August have jumped 39 percent on last year, an increase of close to 10,000 extra room nights sold, representing further proof of a revival in the tourism sector. And more dollars are being spent by visitors that ever before, according to the latest report by the Tourism Minister with air visitors injecting an estimated $115 million to $130 million into the economy during the past three months. Dr. Brown revealed second quarter visitor numbers for 2006 have eclipsed all previous figures for the same three months. Between April and June a total of 228,781 visitors came to Bermuda, a jump of 28.4 percent on the same months in 2005. There were around 9,000 more visitors landing at Bermuda International Airport, while the number of cruise ship visitors is now well above air passenger numbers with 122,560 disembarking during the past three months, just under 40,000 more than the same period last year. Dr. Brown mentioned a new initiative to encourage cruise ship guests to become repeat visitors and opt for hotel stays. He said: “We will shortly launch a tailor-made incentive programme designed to convert our one-day cruise passengers into return hotel guests.” The concept is being worked out in partnership with the Bermuda Hotel Association, whose president John Harvey referred to it as the “Bounce Back Programme”. 

July 30. Employers and employees will pay more in the Contributory Pension Fund beginning next week. The Department of Social Insurance yesterday advised all employers that the weekly contributory rates will rise from $50.68 to $53.60 from Monday, August 7. Employers should deduct $26.80 which amounts to one half of the contribution rate from each employee's wage or salary. Employers' Social Insurance statements sent at the end of each month will show the new full weekly contribution rate. Employers will also receive the 2006/2007 Social Insurance contribution calendar to assist them in calculating the social insurance contributions they are required to pay during the 2006/2007 year. For further information, employers may contact the Contributions section of the Department by calling 295-5151, extension 1147, 1135, 1117 or 1134. The increase is in accordance with the Contributory Pensions (Amendment of Contributions and Benefits) Order 2006.

August 2. With Bermuda churning out more garbage per person than the population of Manhattan it is not surprising to discover the man in charge of overseeing the removal and disposal of the Island’s mountains of trash is “horrified” by the statistics. And with the ever-present worry that a major breakdown at the Tynes Bay incinerator could halt the entire waste disposal process Works and Engineering Minister David Burch has every reason to be concerned enough that he has a number of strategies on the go aimed at improving the situation. The ten-year-old incinerator has two input streams for carrying garbage into the furnace. It is intended to create a third stream, allowing more flexibility to shut down one of the other streams to allow for regular maintenance. Even with a more effective incineration process, it is finding ways of restricting the 67,000 tonnes of waste generated each year on the Island that is taxing Sen. Burch and his department the most. A mechanical breakdown at the North Shore plant used for cutting down and shredding larger items such as construction waste and wood pallets before they reach the Tynes Bay incinerator has resulted in a towering mountain of backlogged trash. If Sen. Burch has his way the amount of rubbish sent for cutting down will be reduced by shipping wood pallets back to the US on returning container vessels rather than have them piled up and burnt on the Island. “I am amazed at the endless stream of trucks that roll in with truckloads of wooden pallets that come off the container ships. I’m saying ‘can’t we put them back in the containers and when they open them back on the other side they have got a gift of their pallets back?’,” explained the Minister. “We have started initial talks about the pallets because it does not make sense to incinerate them when they still have some useful life. I’m bold enough to say ‘let’s try it’, stuff them back in the containers and see what they say when they get on the other side. The containers go back empty to be refilled. It is worth exploring.” Sen. Burch is also concerned with dangerous items being placed in rubbish sacks, such as sharp, pointed items and other dangerous materials. One of the difficulties we are having with what people are putting in their garbage is the complete disrespect and danger that they are placing the collectors in. Most people appreciate that if we didn’t have people doing this job we wouldn’t want to do it. In having someone remove our garbage we should have some respect.” While there are no legal sanctions that can be imposed at the moment against offending neighborhoods or houses who cause problems for the trash collectors, he is supportive of the garbage being left outside the offenders’ homes as a lesson if they “continue to abuse the situation”. W&E and the Keep Bermuda Beautiful group are discussing waste management issues. Sen. Burch expects legislation to be tabled in the next Parliamentary session making it easier to take enforcement action against those who abuse waste management rules. The promise of a third stream for the Tynes Bay incinerator was once thought likely to add 20 years of effective capacity to the facility. But Sen. Burch points out: “Well, a lot of those numbers and data are being thrown out of the window because the waste that we are generating is making a mockery of those projections. The time is going to be a lot less than that, which means that Tynes Bay’s useful life is likely to come to an end a lot sooner than was originally planned for.” The landfill dump at the Airport is moving closer and closer to Tucker’s Town. However, pilot projects to ship old computers and air conditioning units to recycling centres overseas are underway. And a new automated recycling plant should be commissioned in January. It will deal with glass, aluminum, and tin and has capacity to recycle other materials. Sen. Burch said: “We used to recycle paper and there are some silly issues as to why we don’t do so now. The complaint has been that we generate too much paper to sell it to mostly farmers for bedding. Sen. Burch concluded: “My view is that we make money from it, you are helping the environment and the fact that you may have to incinerate some the excess is a bonus because at the moment we are having to incinerate all of it. We might as well make an opportunity to use some of it and not have to put it all in the incinerator.”

August 7. Images showing how the proposed new $170 million five-star Hilton Grand Vacation Club will look when built at the Ariel Sands resort on South Shore have been released. Hollywood star Michael Douglas, part of the Dill family dynasty that has owned and operated the resort for the past 50 years, played a part in securing the interest of the world famous hotel group to come to Bermuda earlier this year. The concept images and plans show ten buildings mostly three-storeys high, which will house 60 two- and three-bedroom vacation suites and will be sprinkled around the site with large glass frontages facing out onto the breaking waves of the South Shore. There will be a central hotel and clubhouse complex that will entice guests in with cascading water features running all the way through, past the reception area to a landscaped inner courtyard lined by boutique shops. This in turn leads to a hotel lounge area and on to an outdoor infinity pool looking out on to the beach and ocean. A restaurant that includes an outdoor patio for al fresco eating is adjacent to the main complex. Within the main building is a restaurant waiting area and bar, a health and beauty spa, and a conference facility. Upstairs there will be ten hotel guestrooms. Around the outdoor infinity pool are sun decks and wooden bridges across the pool. It will also be possible to swim from the infinity pool into a heated indoor swimming pool. The plans have been submitted as part of a planning application and a decision on whether the scheme can go ahead is expected within the coming months. Tourism Minister Dr. Ewart Brown has previously spoken in support of the development, which is expected to attract 9,000 new well-heeled visitors to the Island each year as well as bring one of the world’s most prestigious hotel and resort names to Bermuda. Architecture and design company Terceira Quarterly Limited has submitted the plans for consideration. It is intended to phase the development in stages so that the resort remains open at all times. From start to finish the project is likely to take in the region of three to four years. “The unique thing for Bermuda is that this will be a complete demolition and rebuild. A lot of resorts get revamped, but here the entire hotel is being demolished,” explained Glyn Quarterly, of TQ Limited. He explained the new vacation club suites would have their own kitchens and en suite bathrooms with spa facilities. There is also a fire place for use in the cooler months. The buildings are designed to incorporate Bermudian architectural features such as stepped gables, but also to be more contemporary in style. Peter Terceira, of TQ Limited, said the layout of the buildings was also designed around the topography of the site and to afford sea views to each of the suites. He added: “Hilton Vacation Clubs are all around the world and they have members who can afford to buy time in Bermuda.” The new venture will allow Bermuda to tap into an expanding community of 100,000 vacation club owners who already holiday at Hilton clubs in Scotland, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Florida and other destinations. Members buy a fractional ownership and then can use their right to holiday in Bermuda or at other Hilton clubs and affiliated resorts around the world. Mr. Quarterly said: “It is going to bring tourists in all year round. Hilton are over the moon with the development.”

August 7The head civil servant at the Human Rights Commission (HRC) resigned weeks after the chairman of the Government board also stepped down. Mr. David Wilson’s resignation came after Rod Attride-Stirling, then chairman of the HRC, called for jobs to be lost over the Commission’s repeated failure to produce annual reports in compliance with the Human Rights Act. The last annual report for the HRC was filed in 2001 and a report for 2005, which should have been presented to the Minister for Community Affairs by June, had not been delivered.

August 16. A new private jet company will begin offering travel from Bermuda to North America and Europe from early September. Fly First Class Private Jets says it will offer significant time savings to those who opt to travel in its luxury aircraft – plus the chance to avoid the long queues associated with current heightened airport security. With a fleet of 14 aircraft ranging from the 11-passenger Gulfstream III to the eight-passenger Lear Jet 35, the company will not have an aircraft based in Bermuda permanently, but plans to have at least one of the fleet positioned on the Island on a regular basis. Prices will vary, with the typical per-hour rate to hire a large jet at around $5,500 and from $3,000 for one of the smaller aircraft. Gabrielle Griswold, executive vice president of the Fort Lauderdale-based Fly First Class said: “Private jet travel is often thought of as wildly expensive and extravagant. We disagree. Private jet travel is becoming more and more affordable and mainstream. When you consider the amount of time associated with commercial air travel, there are many savings involved when traveling by private jet.” According to Tom Murray, corporate manager of C Holdings Ltd., most passengers are expected to be business travellers and celebrities who want to save valuable time when jetting to locations such as New York City. “This is becoming more affordable. If you are traveling first class (on a commercial plane) and you share one of our planes with other people, you are not paying a lot more,” he said. C Holdings owns Contemporary Market Solutions, the company representing Fly First Class in Bermuda. Mr. Murray explained that C Travel, which also falls under the C Holdings umbrella, had previously received requests for private travel. However this meant that aircraft would first have to be brought to Bermuda to accomplish this – bumping up the cost. “Now we will have aircraft positioned here on a regular basis,” he said. Although marketing is only just beginning, Mr. Murray anticipates that the recent terror alert which has caused chaos at UK airports and strict security for those traveling to the US will have fuelled the demand for the service. “If you charter an aircraft it’s working to your schedule and you can arrive right up until five minutes before takeoff – although we would advise 15 minutes. There is a quick private security check and if you have pre-cleared US Customs in Bermuda you can get straight into the limo or car waiting for you at the other end,” he said. Longtail Aviation Ltd. is believed to be the only private jet company with a permanent presence in Bermuda, although other companies visit. As The Royal Gazette has previously reported, Fly First Class is hoping to start running luxury ‘boutique airline’ commercial flights between Bermuda, London and Wilmington, North Carolina, in future. Although it had been hoped to start in the first quarter of 2006, Mr. Murray said that the processing of the application to fly is still in the hands of the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority at present. It is now hoped that the service will begin in the third quarter of this year.

August 30. Police numbers on the Island could soon be boosted by 30 new officers from Barbados, according to overseas reports. With Bermuda’s top cop George Jackson currently in the Caribbean country on a major recruitment drive, the Prime Minister and Police chief of Barbados have both spoken out amid speculation that their country’s force is set to lose scores of officers. Barbados Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin called on PM Owen Arthur to urgently tackle the issue of salaries and working conditions for his officers. His comments came after media reports indicated that about 30 officers were planning to leave the force for Bermuda. A rookie constable in Barbados reportedly earns $1,029 a month ($2,061 Barbados dollars), compared to five-year contracts in Bermuda said to guarantee $5,400 ($11,000 Barbados dollars) per month. “Nobody expects Barbados to match these salaries,” The Nation newspaper quoted Mr. Dottin as saying. “But there is certainly a case for improved pay and conditions.” He was said to have described talks with Mr. Jackson last week as mutually beneficial. Reports suggested that some members of the Special Services Unit – which recently received specialized anti-terror training ahead of next year’s Cricket World Cup – were among the group planning to quit. Mr. Dottin indicated to The Nation that this issue was discussed when he met his Bermuda counterpart. Shortages in manpower are not unique to Barbados, Mr. Dottin was also reported as saying. “All commissioners around the region, even (George) Jackson, even though his is relatively well off, he speaks about the bad conditions too and that his officers are worse off. He tells me that his buildings are bad and things like that.” However, PM Owen Arthur, responding to his Police chief’s comments, told The Nation that the number of officers leaving the Royal Barbados Police Force was so small there was no need to panic. Officers departing to work in Bermuda are nothing new, he was reported as saying, and added: “Barbados has always been a place where people have looked to for nurses, Police and so on.” As part of the current recruitment drive, Bermuda Police Service is looking to hire 40 extra officers from Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and the UK. Commissioner Mr. Jackson has told the Sunday Sun newspaper in Barbados that the recruitment push was not aiming to deplete resources of other forces gearing up for the Cricket World Cup. Constables with up to four years’ experience of general patrol work who show leadership were being targeted, he added. Governor Sir John Vereker has pledged to get the service up to its full strength of 469 officers by the end of October. A Bermuda Police spokesman said he had no comment yesterday when asked about the reported influx of 30 officers from Barbados. He confirmed Mr. Jackson was still in Barbados on Police business.

September 20. A senior has hit out over a four percent pension rise that reached bank accounts this month, complaining that it should have been backdated to its announcement in February. Madeline Watkins, 85, said she felt it was wrong that a recent salary hike for Parliamentarians was backdated to April when the four percent rise for seniors only kicked in seven months after it was announced in the budget. Mrs. Watkins, from Warwick, also complained that an almost eight percent rise in HIP (the Hospital Insurance Plan) from April 1 meant struggling pensioners were feeling the financial pinch. “HIP went up from April 1 but the seniors’ pension rise did not go up until September 15,” she said. “This means the seniors were paying the extra for HIP before they got their rise, which is most unfair. The politicians voted themselves a large rise retroactive to April 1. The way this Government treats the seniors is absolutely horrific. I’m going to be 86 soon, and I will keep battling for seniors. Quite a few have called the talk shows to talk about their disappointment and to ask why the rise can’t be retroactive to April.” Louise Jackson, Shadow Minister for Seniors, said she shared Mrs. Watkins’ concerns. “Surely the health insurance should not outweigh their pensions. That’s just an insult to seniors ... there are people who need every penny in order to live. It’s a nightmare for seniors who only have their pensions to live on,” she said. She pledged that her party would reform the pension plan and adjust HIP “when we become the Government.” Asked for specifics, she said: “We have to sit down and figure out what’s viable, and what the Government can afford.” The monthly HIP premium for seniors rose from $161.14 in 2005/6 to $173.84 in 2006/7 – an increase of 7.9 percent. The monthly pension rate rose by four percent this year compared to last, with the new rate for the basic contributory pension being $826.07 and the approximate maximum pension standing at $1,069. A Ministry of Finance spokesperson said: “In keeping with established practice, pension increases are always effective on September 15, to coincide with the start of the fiscal year of the fund. The most recent increase is the sixth in eight years and, at four percent, represents an absolute increase of $31.77 in basic pension benefits. The approximate absolute dollar increase for the maximum pension paid from the Contributory Pension Fund is about $42, far higher than the increase in HIP premiums which also came into effect this year.” He added: “It should also be noted that the most recent pension increase comes on the heels of a 3.5 percent increase in August, 2005, which followed a 9 percent increase in 2004 and a three percent increase in 2003. HIP premium increases are effective on April 1 of each year, to coincide with the start of the fiscal year of the HIP fund. Government decided to shelter seniors from a portion of the HIP increase and set up a specific premium for all seniors.”

September 22. H2O Cafe owner/manager Holger Eiselt is drawing in locals and Hamilton workers to Buzz, a juice bar specializing in fresh fruit smoothies and tasty wraps. The take out venue operating at the former site of Caffe Latte on the upper level of the Washington Mall opened for business on September 4. Buzz combines elements of an expresso bar, a delicatessen and a juice bar offering a wide selection of coffee, wraps, paninis, milkshakes, health food drinks and other popular items. “We started to sell smoothies in H2O and saw that there was potential of offering a bigger and more healthier variety of food because we mainly use fresh ingredients. Buzz is a two-star coffee bar with a full salad bar selling, sandwiches, paninis.” Mr. Eiselt said residents respond well to new concepts in the restaurant industry and are turning away from junk food and looking for healthier food delicacies. “I always try to do something new and by traveling to New York and going several lunch places we created the idea of Buzz.” Some of the restaurant’s more popular items include its jerk chicken wraps, turkey bacon wraps, chicken Fajita panini and barbecue chicken panini but products such as wheat grass, high in vitamin and mineral content, are also becoming popular selling items. “In my eyes everything that you either eat or drink that really tastes good will give you a ‘buzz’ but juice bars are becoming more popular everywhere due to the health benefits.” Mr. Eiselt, a native of Austria, said he is always trying to respond to customer suggestions and look for unconventional ways to develop products that customers will respond to well. “I thrive on people appreciating what we have to offer and all my staff think the same way as I do and I have been lucky to find very good, skilled staff who believe in customer service.” H2O, also based on the upper level of the Washington Mall, has been operating for two years and the restaurant continues to update its menu on a regular basis to offer a creative selection of cuisine. “H2O has the best hot food buffet and self service salad bar in town,” Mr. Eiselt said.

September 27.  Elbow Beach chef Vijayakumar Velayudhan was dubbed the ‘cod father’ in the first round of the Escoffier Cup cooking competition at International Imports in Hamilton. In the Foley Cod Fillets section of the competition, Mr. Velayudhan beat out Laurent Ajas from the Reefs, Dave Talling from the Barracuda Grill and Don Bombuwala from the new St. George’s restaurant Indulgence. This is the competition’s fourth year. There are three other rounds to come including Maple Leaf Duck, Certified Angus Beef Tri Tips and the Hormel Pork Tenderloin competition. The winners of all four rounds will go head-to-head in a final cook off to find Bermuda’s best chef at the annual Culinary Arts Festival, renamed the 2006 Bermuda Gourmet Getaway. Mr. Velayudhan won the first bout with the heavyweight recipe ‘Black Olive Crusted Cod, Truffle Honey Glazed Parsnips, Roasted Grillotes and Girolles, Fennel Scented Cream’. Veteran Bermudian chef, teacher and cookbook author Fred Ming refereed and co-judged the event along with Tredick Gorham and Anthony McMahon. He described Mr. Velayudhan’s entry as “a long drawn out recipe”. It was broken down into six different components with at least 26 different ingredients. During the Escoffier Cup, chefs have 25 minutes to prepare a meal. Most of the grunt work such as chopping and dicing is done during the competition, although some more complicated cooking procedures such as making stock can be done ahead of time. What distinguished Mr. Velayudhan’s presentation was the speed at which he moved around the kitchen at International Imports. No motion was wasted. He didn’t waste a lot of time chatting up the onlookers, he just went straight to work. To make the olive crusted cod, Mr. Velayudhan combined breadcrumbs in a small bowl, chopped black olives and capers and spread it in a tray slowly to dry and then added chopped tarragon. After frying the seasoned fish on both sides to make the skin crispy, he applied Dijon mustard to the skin, fried it a little longer and then spread the black olive crust over the fillets and roasted it for about four minutes. He finished to much clapping and cheering. During the Escoffier Cup, the chef prepares a dish for the judges to try, but each audience member also gets a sample that was made ahead of time. The chefs are scored on taste, presentation, hygiene, complexity and ingredient compatibility, among other things. A chef can earn a total of 40 points. Although the winner is determined by the judges, they take into account audience scoring. Usually the audience and the judges are in agreement. However, it is probably good that the judges take the audience’s opinions with a grain of salt. By the time Mr. Velayudhan went to bat, the packed room was well-fuelled by Goslings wine, and a particularly potent cocktail called ‘The Bermudian’. Some chefs practice making their dishes over and over again at home to make sure that everything is timed perfectly. The Escoffier Cup is rapidly become a symbol of prestige in the restaurant community. Many restaurant owners turn up at the event to watch their chefs perform. The Maple Leaf round will be held on September 28 at International Imports at 6 p.m. Certified Angus Beef Tri Tips will follow on October 5, and Hormel Pork Tenderloin on October 12. The final will be held on October 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Viking Village, a specially constructed kitchen at the Bermuda National Sports Centre will host several cooking events for the 2006 Gourmet Getaway from October 27 to 30. For more information telephone 295-4558.

October 3.  It was announced that French oil company Rubis SA has purchased Shell Oil’s operations in Bermuda. It continues to be marketed under the Shell brand. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Rubis revealed that Shell, which in Bermuda owns two major fuel depots, one liquefied natural gas terminal and 12 gas stations, has sales of $45 million per year in Bermuda and net income of $3.6 million. The agreements signed with Shell provide for a licence to use the Shell brand in the service stations as well as finished goods supply contracts. Rubis already has an extensive network of energy businesses in the Caribbean and French Guiana. The deal was announced in July 2006 at when Phil Burton, country chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell Companies Bermuda said a final decision was subject to the approval of shareholders and the Bermuda regulatory authorities. Shell has had the Bermuda operation on the market since late 2005. Rubis is one of the largest bulk storage operators in France. Through Rubis Gaz, the company distributes liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to retailers as well as propane and butane to residential and commercial customers.

October 6. A task force set up to secure better-paid jobs for Bermudians will put key recommendations to Government within the next two months. The news came as a new report revealed a growth in the earnings gap between Bermudians and non Bermudians. The Labour Market Indicators (LMI) survey also showed that the working week has got longer, the workforce has aged, and women still do not pack the same earning power as men. Overall, the report showed the median annual gross earnings – the mid-point of those surveyed before commissions and bonuses – rose from $46,772 in 2004 to $48,183 in 2005. However the contrast between Bermudians and non-Bermudians was marked. While the figure for Bermudians was $45,559 last year, the mid-range earning power of non-Bermudians stood at $58,315 – almost 22 percent more. In addition, the figures showed the gap had widened since 2004, when non-Bermudians earned just under 20 percent more than Bermudians. The report, which is based on the annual employment surveys conducted by Government between 2003 and 2004, notes: “The decision to provide indicators on the basis of Bermudian status reflects the increasing trend by employers of recruiting non-Bermudians to fill skilled and non-skilled positions.” It also compared the earning power of men and women, with a gender divide becoming apparent. Women worked an average working week of 30.1 hours – six less than men – last year and their mid-point salaries were $4,283 per year less than their male counterparts. Government launched its Workforce Development Task Force in March, in partnership with organizations such as the Ace Foundation, to provide better opportunities for Bermudians to fill jobs currently held by expatriates and address other disparities in the workplace. Four committees have been working on the areas of education, employment transition and work preparation, training, and industry and commerce. Deputy Chairman Ralph Richardson, Executive Director of the Ace Foundation, said: “Each of these groups are going to make recommendations to the Task Force and the Task Force will present them within the next month or two to Government. “It has been given a strong commitment by the previous and current Ministers of Labour that they will take this seriously.”

October 8. Closure of the Wyndham Hotel in Southampton, that had earlier taken over the Sonesta Beach Hotel.

October 11. The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 limited the amount of foreign housing exclusion that can be elected by US citizens and resident aliens living outside the United States. Under the new tax law, foreign housing costs could be excluded to the extent that they exceed 16% of the foreign earned income exclusion or $13,184 (16% x $82,400). However, the maximum housing expenses that can be taken into account are limited to 30% of the foreign earned income exclusion or $24,720 (30% x $82,400). Thus, the maximum housing cost amount that could be excluded in 2006 was $11,536 ($24,720 less $13,184). The new law held out a thread of hope for relief by indicating that the Treasury Secretary could increase the upper limits of the formula where local housing costs were deemed to be high. This week, the Treasury Department released a table prepared by the Office of Allowances of the US Department of State that identifies locations within countries with high housing costs, and provides an adjusted limitation on qualified housing expenses for determining the foreign housing exclusion. The Treasury has found that housing costs in Bermuda are high, and has raised the upper limit from $24,720 to $26,200. This will have the effect of increasing the maximum housing exclusion for Bermuda based expatriates from $11,536 to $13,016. This is an increase of $1,480. The tax effect of this increase for most individuals will be a tax savings of about $375. The Treasury has indicated that if a taxpayer believes that the table amount for Bermuda is low, comments can be sent to Notice.commentsirscounsel.treas.gov.

October 11.  For the first time ever in Bermuda, photographs were taken of rare French angelfish gliding elegantly through Bermuda's waters. The elusive but spectacular species were released in local seas more than 80 years ago. Since then there have been very occasional sightings, but nobody has caught them on camera in Bermuda – until now. The team that found them included avid diver and marine photographer Bob Steinhoff, who is also president of the Bermuda Zoological Society. He was with friends Russell Whayman and John Burville, director of Bermuda Biological Station, exploring a sunken wreck off the East End when they discovered the rare treasures. And the prized sighting meant years of patience finally paid off for Russell, who first saw the dazzling angelfish three years earlier and had been searching for them again ever since. Marine experts rate the find highly. They think these French angelfish have not yet established themselves in Bermuda's waters, despite the odd sighting of the black fish boasting vibrant yellow highlights. They are not native to Bermuda, but some were released in local waters in 1924 by the then-Aquarium curator, Louis L. Mowbray. Things went quiet on the French angelfish front until 1968 when Bailey's Bay fisherman Linwood Outerbridge brought one to the Aquarium that had been caught in a trap on the north reefs. No further sightings were reported until three years ago. Then, Russell and fellow diver Mark Bloomfield saw what they thought was a pair of the species at a wreck off the east end. They didn't have cameras, but returned to the site several times in the hope of catching another glimpse, without success. But that perseverance paid off when Russell, camera in hand and this time diving with Bob and John, spotted the pair again. Experts reckon it is impossible to tell whether these two French angelfish were relatives of those released here some eight decades ago. Patrick Talbot, acting curator at the Aquarium and Zoo, said: "It is highly unlikely that these fish are descendants of the original stock brought in by Mowbray, but (they are) probably recruits off the Gulf Stream. The latter is believed to be a major vector contributing to our fish stocks by depositing larval fish from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean onto our shores. It is encouraging to see natural recruitment still taking place; it is also encouraging that people are taking notice." Experts said that unlike the red lionfish, recently introduced by man into the Atlantic from the western Pacific, the French angelfish would be a welcome addition to Bermuda's marine biodiversity. Divers who spot French angelfish should report their discoveries to Lisa Greene, collections officer at the Aquarium, on 293-2727.

October 26.  Marcus Gibbings, 32, was found stabbed to death inside an apartment on Derwent Road, Devonshire, on October 26. Police have in the past hinted that there's more than one suspect - warning those responsible that they "should be looking over their shoulder". However, they are yet to charge anyone over the death of the popular Trinidadian, who worked in Bermuda for more than eight years.

October 27The Hon. W. Alexander Scott, JP, MP was challenged for the leadership of the Progressive Labour Party and as Premier and defeated by Dr. the Hon. Ewart Brown JP, MP. Dr Brown was Deputy Premier, Minister of Tourism and Transport until October 2006, but resigned to contest the position of Premier with then- Premier Alex Scott. He has now resumed being Minister of Tourism and Transport as well. He is 60 in 2006, married, three children with a previous wife, a physician. Born in 1946, he is the son of the late Ewart and Helen Brown of Flatts. He represented Bermuda in the 400 and 1400 meter relays at the (British) Commonwealth Games in 1966. He graduated from Howard University with a B.Sc in Chemistry and an MD. He earned an MPH from the University of California, Los Angeles. He spent many years as a medical doctor at Vermont-Century Medical Clinic in Los Angeles. He became an American by residence years ago. He was first elected to the House of Assembly in 1993. He became Transport Minister in 1998 when the PLP was first elected to power. He was elected Deputy Premier in 2003 when Mr. Scott instead of himself became Premier in a keenly fought contest, He was appointed Tourism Minister in 2004 after Renee Webb resigned.

October 27. Bermuda moved a step closer to adopting a national policy on disability yesterday when a raft of recommendations on what it should include was presented to Health Minister Patrice Minors. A committee formed in January 2005 to consider what the policy — aimed at ensuring inclusion and access for all — should encompass told Ms Minors that Bermuda was seriously behind when it comes to dealing with disability. The group discovered that the Island has insufficient data on the prevalence, impact and management of disability; that current legislation is inadequate in protecting disabled people from discrimination and giving them equal opportunity; that Bermuda is not in line with United Nations rules on equal opportunity and that disabled people are rarely consulted about most aspects of everyday life. Committee chairman Lisa M. Lister Currin, speaking after a press conference at the Cabinet Office, said that despite laws dictating that all new buildings have to provide adequate access for all, many don’t. “There are still many facilities that are designed, built, that are not modified appropriately,” she said. “More enforcement is needed.” Committee member Jennifer Fahnbulleh said deaf people should be provided with a fulltime, qualified, professional translator. “Deaf people in Bermuda do not have access to closed-caption television on local news channels or relay services to make independent phone calls.” Mrs. Minors acknowledged that a national policy was needed and said she set up the committee with that in mind. “The objective of the committee was to determine the guiding principles. Bermuda does not have a consistent approach to providing access to people with disability. I’m pleased that we now have the recommendations in hand. The next step is to put this forth to Cabinet and subsequently to be tabled in the House of Assembly.” She added: “My intention and my desire is that this group does not now disband and that they continue for the purpose of being the voice that communicates to the Ministry of Health on this issue.”

October 27. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Bermuda, and the island has a higher cancer mortality rate when compared to the United States, one of the disturbing findings of the released in 2006 but commenced in 2004 Cancer in Bermuda Study. The co-author of the study, Dr. Frederic Dellaire, said the study compared the incidence of cancer in Bermuda and in the United States. Bermuda had a 45 percent higher mortality rate for all cancer "sites" than the US and the mortality for prostrate cancer was 2.65 times higher in Bermuda despite a comparable incidence rate. Dr. Dellaire cautioned: "The differences between the two countries must be viewed with caution. Nevertheless, it seemed likely that the mortality rate for prostrate cancer, pancreas cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer were higher in Bermuda." Some other key findings of the report were: 25 percent of all deaths in Bermuda were attributed to cancer in 2005. Cancer rates in white women were found to be higher in Bermuda. In whites, the specific cancer types that had a higher rate in Bermuda when compared to the United States included; oral cavity cancer, melanoma, colorectal cancer (in females) and breast cancer. In blacks, the specific cancer types that had a higher rate in Bermuda when compared to the United States included: oral cavity cancer (in males), and ovarian cancer. Lung and colorectal cancers had lower rates in blacks from Bermuda when compared to blacks from the US. Recognized risk factors for oral cavity cancer are tobacco use, alcohol consumption and a diet poor in fruits and vegetables. The most common types of cancer in Bermuda include (in descending order) prostate, breast, colon and rectum, lung and bronchus, and skin. On the positive side, Bermuda's women reported good screening practices. In 2006, 84 percent of women over 35 reported having had a mammogram, and 72 percent had had it in the previous year. Similarly, 96 percent of women reported having had a Pap test, and 74 percent confirmed they had a Pap test the previous year. Men, as the trend is globally, are slightly less proactive, but the 2006 self-reports are positive, with 75 percent of men over 40 saying they'd had a PSA test (56 percent in the previous year); and 77 percent of men over 40 said they'd had a digital rectal exam (DRE), with 60 percent in the previous year.

October 27.  A mystery illness struck guests at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel. It appears to have been a strain of virus commonly known as the “winter vomiting disease” and can cause violent vomiting and be spread easily between people. The source of the illness, which may have affected more than 200 guests and staff including a number of international doctors and medical professionals attending a conference, has still to be found. Laboratory tests appeared to show the illness belongs to the norovirus family, the most well-known of those viruses is the Norwalk virus which has been known to close entire schools and quarantine hospitals in places like the UK and US, plus cruise ships, because of its contagious nature. Bermuda's Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Cann said: “We have results from a sample which leads us to believe it is a viral gastroenteritis – an irritation of the stomach – that can be spread by a number of routes. “It is a form of virus, the Norwalk-like group of virus. We would like to confirm its source. It can be passed on through hand and mouth contact, through water and food, person-to-person contact and respiratory.” What is still eluding the investigation is the initial source of the illness that affected so many guests at the hotel with a number being taken to hospital by ambulance and given intravenous medication. Further tests, including some being undertaken overseas, are yet to be concluded. It is possible the vital clue that will pinpoint the source of the illness may not be found in the samples taken. According to Dr. Cann because some hotel staff were also taken ill it is unlikely a single food source was not to blame, however that cannot be ascertained for sure until all samples of water and food have been fully tested. The Chief Medical Officer praised the hotel for work it has done to reduce the virus from spreading further. One of the difficulties in calculating how many people were hit by the virus is the variable time it takes for symptoms to show up in some people. There were reports of people becoming ill during airplane flights back to North America, including the instance of one Air Canada flight being temporarily quarantined when it landed at Toronto after a number of passengers became violently ill returning from Bermuda. Doctors and medical professionals from various parts of the US have related their experiences in the wake of attending the Ninth International Conference on Mechanisms and Treatment of Neuropathic Pain at the hotel. A number of delegates at the doctors’ conference were affected. 

October 27. Meals on Wheels has been delivering healthy meals to the elderly and the infirm since 1975. It continues to do so under the direction of administrator Tannika Rodrigues and her staff, and a host of long-serving volunteers. Doctors are contacted, asked to provide an assessment of a person’s dietary needs, before they are accepted as a client. Volunteers usually average about 200 deliveries a day. The program is subsidized, enabling clients to receive the three-course meals at a cost of only $4. Approximately one-third of the people can’t afford to pay but others who can chip in. Finding volunteers can be a problem for the charity. A drive is launched at different points throughout the year, to ensure that there are sufficient people to keep the programme running. Many have been involved for several years, their commitment led by a genuine need within the community. At 80, they are eased out of driving unless still capable and not going to go out there to make a lot of mistakes with people’s diets. Their prime mission is to help the elderly and the infirm.

October 28. Bermuda’s new Premier had no last-minute stage fright or pre-election jitters, according to the woman who knows him best. Wanda Brown said last night that her husband was no different than normal as the couple prepared for what was to become the defining moment of his political career.  

November 4. The Bermuda Union of Teachers last night urged new Education Minister Randy Horton to tackle the Island’s dismal graduation rate — and publish this year’s results for the two public senior schools. Union president Lisa Trott stated that increasing the number of graduates from CedarBridge Academy and the Berkeley Institute was critical for Bermuda’s future. In 2005, just over half of the Island’s public school students graduated with a Bermuda School Certificate (BSC). The Ministry of Education has not yet released the 2006 figure — four months after graduation ceremonies took place.  Ms Trott said: “One of the things that we really hope he does is stop and have a look at the graduation rate and the graduation numbers and look at the improvements that need to be made. That’s something that we have been talking about forever. Here we are in November and they are still telling us that they can’t tell us how many students graduated in June. Every year it goes like this and before you know it we are into the next school year and talking about the next set of graduates. The public is paying for these public schools and they have a right to know what product they are getting. Last year we asked for this information and to this day we still don’t have that information. How can you expect the public to be behind the changes that need to be made if you can’t even show them where the deficiencies are.” Freddie Evans, president of the Association of School Principals, added: “I think that we need to be very transparent in all that we do.”  

November 4. Government is to abolish duty on materials for affordable housing development and build 100 homes in Sandys. The development in Ireland Island could start in the first quarter of next year said Housing Minister David Burch who said conceptual drawings had been done. These units will be offered first to tenants in Albert Row and Victoria Terrace which are in dire need of renovation. The remaining 76 units will be allocated to registered applicants of the Bermuda Housing Corporation. Rents for means-tested residents will be calculated at a quarter of total family income. The first project under this radical scheme to tie rents to earnings is Butterfield Lane in Somerset. The BHC is now establishing rules with four families while another eight will be dealt with soon but it will only apply to families not already on financial assistance. The programme will be expanded gradually to the 38-home Perimeter Lane project in Pembroke said Sen. Burch. To provide incentives for builders, Government is to amend the Customs Tariff Act to provide a zero rate of Duty on imported materials for all proposals approved by the Government as 'affordable housing developments'. Such materials often attract duty of 22.25 percent. The duty abolition was welcomed by Habitat for Humanity board member Sheelagh Cooper who said it would make a significant difference. And she welcomed a line in the Throne Speech which said every Bermudian should "reasonably expect to have a safe and adequate place in which to live". She said: "That's a shift from affordable and adequate housing being provided and affordable and adequate housing being a right. I will support that wholeheartedly." Government said it was racing ahead with its commitment to producing 330 units in 30 months made in last year's Throne Speech — with 286 units now under contract with more to come. The record includes:

Government said it will work with the private sector to generate progressive ways to finance new homes and encourage Bermudian landlords to get abandoned houses and empty apartments back into livable condition and on the market for sale or rent. In addition to tackling the problems of building and financing new affordable housing, Government said it would assemble the best legal and financial minds to determine how to renovate derelict homes for rent or ownership by deserving families. 

November 6. Consent to allow the leasehold sale of Government land to allow 54 affordable homes for first-time buyers to be built at Southside has been requested in Parliament. Giving his first parliamentary speech as the new Works and Engineering Minister, Dennis Lister sought a resolution for approval for the Bermuda Land Development Company to sell 2.52 acres of land at Southside for $3.8 million to Trinity Construction Limited. In turn the company will lease the new homes out for a maximum period of 120 years. Eighteen three-bedroom homes and 36 two-bedroom homes are planned and will sell for between $450,000 and $525,000. The scheme was revealed earlier this year by Housing Minister David Burch. It is anticipated the deal will enable young couples to buy their own property. And the sale of land money should assist with financing of other affordable housing projects at Southside, particularly the Harbour View development. Mr. Lister, echoing the words of Sen. Burch in July, said: "This project represents genuine economic empowerment. "Those young professionals who struggle to understand why they cannot afford a home need look no further. Making homes available to first-time buyers, at prices that are simply unavailable in the ordinary marketplace, represents the 'hand-up' that honest, hard-working young Bermudians need and expect."

November 7. Shadow Minister of Health, Louise Jackson claims the abuse of senior citizens in Bermuda is widespread and fears that plans by Government to establish an Elder Abuse Register will not go far enough. Ms Jackson was reacting to news in the Throne Speech that Government plans to create a register, which would name people who have a record of abusing seniors. The Register would be allow organizations to scrutinize potential employees to determine whether or not they have a record involving the abuse of seniors. Ms Jackson said: "The abuse of our seniors is rampant. The idea of a register is ridiculous. What we need to have is legislation." She charged that seniors are not safe in some of Bermuda's rest homes. "Elder abuse is happening right in the rest homes. We need legislation to regulate what is happening in the homes. Government needs to clean up the rest homes and needs to make the health and safety of our seniors a priority," she added. The Executive Director of the Island's largest advocacy groups for seniors welcomed news of the Elder Abuse Register. Claudette Fleming of Age Concern said Bermuda's seniors need protection. She said some seniors are financially vulnerable because of the high cost of living in Bermuda. "A lot of a senior citizens own their own homes. They are property rich but cash poor and often times they have to barter and bargain with their family members or others in order get a cash flow from their assets. What happens in the process is that they barter away their homes, which is the only asset they have. As a medical social worker I have also come across cases where seniors have been neglected and not cared for properly. They are not fed and are physically abused as well." Ms Fleming said legislation to protect senior citizens is desperately needed. "When people think of elder abuse they tend to think it is just physical abuse, but it is more than that. We need legislation to protect our seniors' assets." Ms Fleming said Government has to decide if Bermuda is a place where seniors can live with a decent quality of life. "That is a serious question. I don't know if any administration to date has taken the concerns of the elderly seriously," she said.

November 8. Instances of woman being sexually assaulted after having their drinks spiked with a “date rape” drug are increasing on the Island, concerning Police and the Sexual Assault Response Team as the Christmas party season nears. A young American tourist had a near escape in October when the suspected date rape drug Rohypnol was slipped into her drink at a Hamilton city bar. She was saved by a concerned friend who witnessed the suspicious actions of two men who ‘cornered’ the woman as she showed the effects of having been drugged. The woman was taken to hospital where doctors confirmed she was exhibiting symptoms of having taken Rohypnol. In a period of one week SART was made aware of six sexual assaults that mostly involved some form of drug being used on the victim. Against those statistics, which point to 2006 being a worse year for sexual assaults than 2005 when more than 30 cases were reported, the multi-agency SART is issuing urgent advice. And it comes as the Rebecca Middleton Conscience Trust prepares to introduce easy-to-use detection strips to the Island to help women identify if their drink has been spiked. However, the new detection materials, bearing the name of the teenager murdered in a sexual attack in Bermuda in 1996, are not expected to arrive until the new year. SART chairperson Anne Mello said: “While all drug-facilitated sexual assaults, including those involving the use of alcohol, have been a concern for some time, the rising number of incidents involving date rape drugs is particularly disturbing. We believe the public should know this is occurring and these drugs are being used to incapacitate individuals for the purposes of committing a crime, usually sexual assault. I want the public to be aware of the existence of SART and to know we are always ready to provide whatever physical and emotional care and treatment is needed by victims of sexual assault and to gather the forensic evidence needed to obtain convictions of the perpetrators of these crimes.” One of the problems faced by SART and the Police is the reluctance of victims to come forward and report assaults. Without evidence and information it is harder to track where and how date rape drugs are being used. The reluctance is normally because of a misplaced feeling of shame or embarrassment. 

November 9. A joint diplomatic trip to Washington with the new Ewart Brown Government is planned for the spring, said US Consul General Gregory Slayton. But he said it was too early to tell how the major changes in the US Congress will affect Bermuda. The Democrats gained about 30 seats to take control of the House of Representatives and picked up five of the six Republican seats they need for a Senate majority. In the last US Presidential elections, Democrat John Kerry pledged to close down “tax loopholes” that allowed billions of dollars to go to Bermuda. But Mr. Kerry was defeated by incumbent George Bush. Asked about the effect of the mid-term election results, Mr. Slayton said: “It’s too early to tell. It really depends on what the leadership decides to do in the House. “If it decides to make off-shoring a big issue, Bermuda might end up in the crosshairs. But I seriously doubt it.” Mr. Slayton, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, said Bermuda had plenty of friends among the Democrats including GK Butterfield who has close family ties with Bermuda. Asked if there were plans to repeat May’s diplomatic trip which saw former Premier Alex Scott and other senior Government figures enjoy high level talks with senior Washington figures, Mr. Slayton said: “Absolutely!” He added: “I was speaking to the new Premier at lunch today and the plan is to go forward with another trip in the spring.” Dr. Brown’s press secretary Scott Simmons, responding to the US election results, said: “The Premier does not see the Democrats assuming control of Congress as an immediate concern. He observes that there are many friends of Bermuda in Washington on both sides of the political divide who are well placed. Long serving member of the House of Representatives Mr Charles Rangel (Democrat) of New York’s 15th District is personally known to the Premier and his wife and is expected to assume full responsibility of the powerful Ways and Means Committee as its chairman. Once the dust settles the Premier expects to have access to him.” Mr. Simmons said the Premier’s desire is to visit Washington to maintain existing relationships and create new ones and there has already been an invitation from one congressman to the Premier to visit the US capital. Dr. Brown foresees Bermuda taking full membership of CARICOM “once Bermuda becomes independent,” according to Mr. Simmons, and on the issue of the Island’s links with Cuba he said Government would follow the lead of the UK. International business chief David Ezekiel said Bermuda shouldn’t be too concerned about the American elections which saw massive changes in Congress. Although the Republicans were seen as more business friendly he said Bermuda was less exposed as relations with America were much better than in previous years. Mr. Ezekiel, who is chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies, said: “I think Bermuda relationship with the US is working very, very well. “There might be someone who makes a bit of noise but when push comes to shove we are well placed.” Some commentators are saying the new Democrat influx into Congress is fairly conservative which might lessen any concerns to Bermuda. Mr. Ezekiel agreed and said: “And anyway we are much better positioned given the strong dialogue that’s been created between us and the US. Gregory Slayton has done a lot to open up the channels of communication.” The next presidential election is in November 2008 and Bush is not eligible to run for re-election. 

November 9. Bermuda's graying population will be one of the greatest challenges facing it this century, with the number of seniors set to double by 2030. That was the stark warning in a Government report which lifts the lid on the pitfalls of the "baby boom" generation getting old. Shadow Minister for Seniors Louise Jackson claimed last night that little is being done to tackle the demographic time bomb, and those growing old face a potential "horror show" in later life. The authors of the Bermuda Population Projections 2000-2030 report warned: "The decline in the young population and their ability or willingness to look after their parents someday will have consequences on the structure of our society and the economy. Finding care providers for seniors will become a more pressing challenge than finding baby-sitters as the population continues to age. More retirement facilities and senior citizen day-care facilities will also be required." According to the report, compiled by the Department of Statistics, the number of over-65s will rocket from 11 percent of the population in 2000 to 22 percent over the next 24 years. Fewer babies will be born in future – with the birth rate having already halved since 1950 – at the same time as people living longer. The life expectancy will be almost 82 years in 2030 compared to just under 78 in the year 2000. The combination of less children, an older workforce and more elderly people, it said, will put care facilities, housing, the pension pot and those of working age to the test. "Prolonged life of the elderly equates to increased responsibility for the Bermudian working population in general and their children in particular. A shrinking Bermudian workforce and ageing population also means a smaller tax base for government revenue at a time when the number of pension payments will increase," it stated. Among the options raised to boost the dwindling workforce are increasing the mandatory retirement age of 65 – a plan already mooted by Government and backed by Age Concern – abolishing it altogether, or bringing in additional foreign workers. It also warned of the "far reaching consequences" that the demographic shift could have on the Contributory Pension Fund (CPF). "The financial viability of this type of pension scheme can be problematic if the number of pensioners is rising at a faster rate than the number of workers," it said, quoting past Government green papers that highlighted the prospect of the CBF actually becoming insolvent. Measures to address the graying population were outlined by Minister of Finance Paula Cox in the last budget statement, pledging to encourage work beyond the pensionable age. Expanding on this theme after last week's Throne Speech, Ms Cox said there would be changes to the public Superannuation Fund to take account of those people who wish to work beyond the normal retirement age but still require access to their pension. Employers and employees have been required to pay larger amounts to the CPF since August. The weekly contributory rates for employers went up from $50.68 to $53.60. Meanwhile, payouts increased by four percent. A new elderly care facility in St. George's will soon open, with a $12.5 million housing complex for seniors at Rockaway, Southampton, also in the pipeline. Mrs. Jackson gave credit to for these moves, but believes not enough is being done. "It will be a horror show. I don't even want to be around to see it," she said of her fears for those approaching old age. "It's hard to deal with it today. If Government is not taking care of the seniors now, just imagine the future." The 73-year-old Shadow Minister added: "The rest of the world has been preparing for the baby boomer era to burst into senior citizen territory, but Bermuda hasn't sorted out its present senior situation." She said half the senior population lives below the poverty line, with many struggling to live on the CPF. She expressed concern for the healthcare for the elderly - particularly with confusion surrounding future plans for the Island's new hospital - and repeated her long-standing concerns about widespread abuse and neglect of seniors. She agreed with the report's words about young people today being less willing to look after seniors, and expressed concern that Government would not step in to fill the void. "Parliamentarians are not looking any further down the line than where the next vote comes from," she said. Mrs. Jackson backed the idea of raising the retirement age from 65, as did Shadow Minister of Finance, Patricia Gordon Pamplin. "Historically, at 65, people have been ready to put their feet up. I'm not ready to go home and put my feet up," said the 56-year-old Mrs. Gordon Pamplin. She said with the population living longer, this would also help address the stresses and strains of their financial obligations. She added that a far greater infusion of funds would be needed in future to address the shrinking pool of those contributing to the CPF, "unless people start to have a whole lot more kids." Ms Cox, Minister of Nelson Bascome and Minister of Social Rehabilitation Dale Butler did not respond to invitations to comment by press time.

November 9. A change in UK law that could allow previous suspects in the unsolved murder case of Rebecca Middleton to be brought back before the courts is to be looked at by new Attorney General Philip Perinchief. A change in the double jeopardy rule under British law, which came into effect in 2005, allows suspects involved in serious crimes, including murder and rape, to face a second trial if there is fresh and compelling new evidence. Such a radical change may be considered by Bermuda as part of an assessment of the Island's judicial system. Canadian teenager Rebecca Middleton was brutally killed in 1996 at Ferry Reach, St. George's, but no-one has been convicted of her slaying. Justis Smith was acquitted in 1998 on the order of the judge who said there was no case to answer, while Kirk Mundy was convicted of being an accessory after the fact. A new legal move is being considered this week by Chief Justice Richard Ground that may re-open the case. In the meantime Attorney General Mr. Perinchief says the new administration of Premier Ewart Brown is pushing ahead with its own investigations into possible ways of strengthening and updating the Island's judicial legislation. He is aware of the change in the UK's double jeopardy rule that now allows suspects to be re-tried. "We will be looking at any innovations that bring justice to the country," said Mr. Perinchief, who added the current application for leave to issue judicial review proceedings against the Department of Public Prosecutions' decision last March not to review the Rebecca Middleton case, was being watched "without prejudice." Asked what he thought about how Bermuda is perceived overseas, such as in Canada, in relation to the unsolved murder case, he said: "Not withstanding the views of the world we have justice as a hallmark of the new administration. We will explore every avenue to see that justice is served." United Bermuda Party house leader John Barritt has had previous bids to consider a review of the double jeopardy rule rebuffed by Government. But is encouraged to hear the new AG hint that changes to UK law in relation to double jeopardy will be reviewed. He said Bermuda would not be "leaping into the wide blue yonder" because the new legal framework was working in the UK and added: "I'm pleased if the Attorney General says he is going to review the double jeopardy rule." And Mr. Barritt is to send Mr. Perinchief a letter detailing a proposed amendment to Bermudian law he says could be made in a very quick and straightforward manner giving prosecutors the same rights as defence lawyers to seek an appeal where a defendant has been acquitted on a matter of fact and law. Mr. Barritt's suggestion to amend the Court of Appeal Act was made to the previous AG Larry Mussenden but did not find favour. "I'm going to dust that letter down and send it to the new Attorney General. I understand from some of those on the Government benches that there might be reconsideration and support for something like this," said Mr. Barritt. "I really do think the time has come, not just with the Rebecca Middleton case but others, where we need to modernize our laws. There's so much that can be done with DNA evidence now that can lead to new prosecutions as well as acquittals."

November 10. "Let us take the lead in defusing Bermuda's looming baby boom time bomb." That was the call from Age Concern last night, as the charity responded to news that the Island's graying population will be one of the greatest challenges it faces this century. A new Government report predicted that the number of seniors in Bermuda is set to double by 2030. Claudette Fleming, executive director at Age Concern, said whatever solution was drawn up to combat the problem, her charity would "love to take the lead." She added that the vast experience her organisation had in dealing with the elderly could only help when plans were outlined to combat the predicted pitfalls of the baby boom generation growing old. The report warned that finding care providers for seniors would become a more pressing challenge, and said that more retirement bases and senior citizen day-care facilities would be needed. Warnings were also sounded about the strain more seniors would place on the pension pot, as the birth date drops and the workforce dwindles. Ms Fleming yesterday said the situation could be seen either a "crisis or an opportunity". "That all depends on how prepared we are in Bermuda to answer some of those questions (in the report). "It's not so much of a challenge if we are prepared to be pro-active about it." She said that a conversation was already underway about raising the retirement age of 65 — an idea already raised by a Government clearly concerned about the prospect of a declining tax base coupled with spiraling pension costs. Ms Fleming also said more discussion would be needed on financial planning and investment, to ensure the rising number of seniors were more secure in old age. Reversible mortgages, talked about for years, would ensure property-rich elderly Bermudians were not cash-poor, she said. Other issues included whether there would be enough care professionals to deal with a growing number of frail elderly residents She said that a little more pro-activity was needed from Government on the issue, but that the final answer lay with companies, charities and health groups — and all organizations that liaised with seniors. "How can we create an environment where older people are empowered?" she asked. "We want people to age with dignity and do not want them dependent and relying on Government services more than they have to. There are older people out there that still have something to contribute to this community. They are willing to work". Shadow Minister for Seniors, Louise Jackson, has said those growing old faced a potential "horror show" in later life and claimed not enough was being done to tackle the problem. Asked if she agreed with that assessment, Ms Fleming yesterday said she did not want to scare people about the future. Sounding a more positive note, she added: "It does not have to be a horror show. There's momentum but there has to be a driving force that brings people together and moves forward." This could include a Government task force" she stated, but discussions would be needed before anything was set in stone.

November 10. A murder, an attempted murder and Molotov cocktails thrown at Police are amongst the incidents of personal and property violence between July and September that pushed reported crime figures higher than any quarter since at least 1999. And against this backdrop of a seven-year high in violent crime is worrying evidence a tough law to persuade people not to carry bladed weapons is no longer working. People are increasingly arming themselves with machetes and knives, mostly for protection, despite facing an automatic three-year jail term for having such items in public without lawful excuse. Sobering statistics released by Bermuda Police Service show a jump in burglaries with 29 more during the three months compared with the same period in 2005. Since the beginning of the year there have been 2,079 reported crimes in the benchmark areas of violence, theft, burglary and taking vehicles without consent. That is 110 more than the same period in 2005 and 379 higher than 2004. Included in the latest quarter is the murder of Edward "Sleepy" Dill in September. "The offences that appear to contribute most are grievous bodily harm, wounding and sexual assault robbery burglary, removal off and stealing from unattended vehicles," said Carlton Adams, Assistant Commissioner of Police. "Our enforcement efforts continue to be tested by those persons who are recidivists; those career criminals who are arrested, charges, convicted, incarcerated, released and then commit similar behavior." He said there is evidence of increasing violence between people who with pre-existing relationships. These include partners, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends and people who are just friends. Police are concerned about the higher number of assaults resulting in serious injury and increasing sexual assaults, particularly evidence that many sexual assaults are not being reported to them. However, although the figures are the highest since the reporting period began in 1999 they may also reflect a growing trend for people to report offences that might not have been recorded in past years, according to Assistant Commissioner Adams. One disappointment is the increase in people carrying bladed weapons despite the introduction of a new provision in the Criminal Code Act in July 2005 to order a mandatory three-year jail term for anyone caught in public places with such items without lawful excuse. "After an initial decline the number of incidents began to rise again reaching a total of 17 incidents for the period. The number of wounding offences is proportionate to the level of bladed/sharply-pointed articles being carried and this too has risen," said Bermuda Police Service in a statement.

November 10. A derelict former United States Air Force building in Southside is set to be transformed into a new air passenger terminal for private jet users. Wealthy passengers arriving and departing the Island would use the former USAF facility once it is fitted out with a Customs and Immigration checkpoint and plush departure lounge. As they enter the terminal, on the north side of the airfield, they would walk down a central corridor fitted with a water fountain feature leading to a departure lounge that overlooks the main runway. Plans have been drawn up to turn the disused building, which is near to the Southside Cinema and Pizza House on Southside Road, into a exclusive air terminal for private plane travelers and planning officers have recommended approval. The final decision rests with the Development Applications Board which was meeting this week and will make its decision known next Wednesday. The building, known as "Carter House," is on the outer perimeter of Bermuda International Airport airfield and has its own 275,000 sq ft apron area where private jets can be parked. There will be space for 13 cars to be parked next to the new terminal and a entrance canvas canopy is envisaged above the frontage, which currently features a Moongate-surrounded mural of a longtail bird and a depiction of the Island. Technical opinion was sought from the Department of Civil Aviation, the Department of Airport Operations and the Bermuda Land Development Company and all three have expressed no objections to the current scheme for a private jet passenger terminal in the 8,747sq ft building, which is on the edge of the airfield's chain link security fence. The fence to the west of the building would be moved to allow the rear half of the terminal building direct access onto the apron area where private jets would park. The move to create a new private jet terminal comes at a time when the Fort Lauderdale-based Fly First Class company is set to introduce a luxury service using Gulfstream and Lear Jets to offer private flights from Bermuda to North America and Europe. Kenneth Burns Jr, for the developer The Sovereign Group, said greater detail and a time-scale for the work to turn the unused former USAF building into a new air passenger terminal for private jet users would be forthcoming once the plans have been given the official all-clear, and that confirmation is expected to come on November 15.

November 10. Bermuda was hit by one of the biggest crime waves in recent years this summer, according to police statistics. In the three months to September 30, a total of 749 crimes were reported to police — a rise of 55 on the same period last year. And one of the biggest increases was in violent crime, with police investigating 86 instances of violence — including one murder and one attempted murder — in the three-month period. There were also 20 reports of grievous bodily harm, 17 cases of wounding, 21 robberies and a 50 per cent increase in sexual assaults to 18. In the third quarter of last year 70 crimes of violence were reported. In 2004, 64 cases were reported while in 2003 police investigated 39 violent crimes A police spokesman said: “Of particular concern is the number of assaults involving serious injury and the number of sexual assaults. The Bermuda Police Service is concerned that not all sexual assaults are being reported to the police.” There were also 316 burglaries in the three months, a rise of almost ten per cent on last year, while 70 thefts were investigated. Vehicle crime also rose on last year, albeit by just 13 to 277 incidents and well below 2002’s peak when 395 cases were reported. The theft of cars almost doubled, however, from 12 cases in the third quarter of 2005 to 23 this year. Assistant Commissioner Carlton Adams later told a press conference that repeat offenders were responsible for a high proportion of the crimes. “Our enforcement efforts continue to be tasked by those persons who are part of the recidivist revolving door — that is those career criminals who are arrested, charged convicted, incarcerated and released only to repeat similar behavior.” Commenting on an increase in the number of people arrested for carrying a bladed weapon — 17 people were arrested for the offence in the third quarter of the year compared to seven last year — Acting Superintendent Paul Wright acknowledged that the deterrent of tough new laws introduced last year had dwindled after an initial decline in arrests. “Almost immediately we saw a significant decline in the number of assaults involving wounding or GBH simply because when an assault took place a person didn’t immediately have to hand the sharply pointed or bladed article,” he said. “But we have seen those gains eroded in the last two quarters. We are urging people not to carry these weapons around. You need to be aware that there’s a mandatory three-year prison sentence that can be imposed if you’re found guilty of this offence. The more weapons that are carried by people, particularly young people, the more the remaining young people feel they need to carry a weapon to be safe or for their own defence. But the opposite is the case. The more weapons out there on the street being carried by people, the more likely you are to become a victim of a very serious assault.” 

November 14. The unsolved murder case of Rebecca Middleton is to be revisited after Bermuda's top judge today granted permission for a judicial review into a decision not to consider fresh charges relating to the killing of the Canadian teenager in 1996. Lawyers working on behalf of Becky's father David Middleton are now preparing to argue in court for a sexual assault prosecution to be brought against two suspects in relation to the 17-year-old's brutal rape and murder. Chief Justice Richard Ground met privately with Mr. Middleton's team and announced today that he was satisfied they had the basis of a legal argument to question the Director of Public Prosecutions' decision earlier this year not to seek fresh prosecutions relating to the circumstances surrounding Becky's death. Attorney Jackie Stirling, one of the legal team working with Mr. Middleton, said it was anticipated papers would be filed with DPP director Vinette Graham Allen during the coming week with the expectation that a court hearing will take place in the early part of 2007. Mr. Middleton, who was on the Island when he heard the news, said: "I'm very pleased. We are looking at this as the first step. We have had setbacks before and when you get them you wonder if there is any way around them. Something of this nature should be a way to correct something that appears very wrong." No one has ever been convicted of Becky's murder, although Kirk Mundy was convicted of being an accessory after the fact. In 1998 another man Justis Smith was acquitted of a murder charge by a judge who ruled there was no case to answer. Lawyers at Appleby Hunter Bailhache have been working to re-open legal proceedings with a view to bringing new charges relating to the sexual assault of Becky that took place immediately before her murder at Ferry Reach, St. George's, in July 1996.

November 15. There were 17 reported burglaries over the Remembrance Day weekend holiday, with five each reported in Southampton, Devonshire and Pembroke, while more than a 100 vehicles parked illegally at the Rugby Classic Final were ticketed by Police on Saturday. On Monday morning Police were called to a business premises at Industrial Park Road in Southampton, where it is thought that sometime between Saturday evening and Monday morning an unknown person gained entry and stole a Dell desktop computer, computer speakers and a printer/fax machine. On the same road Police also investigated another break-in at a business premises believed to have taken place over the weekend in which $500 in cash was stolen. Inquiries into both burglaries are ongoing. Over the holiday weekend Police arrested two people on suspicion of impaired driving. There were 22 reported damage-only traffic collisions and four road traffic collisions resulting in injury. More than 100 parking tickets were issued to vehicles parked illegally outside the final of the Rugby Classic in Devonshire on Saturday.

November 17. Government has launched a new digital mapping website called Bermuda Maps. The site will allow people to see Bermuda from the air and to interact with map data. “People in Bermuda might not realize it, but they are most probably using GIS (also called Digital Geography) already,” said Designate Director of E-Government David Astwood in a press release on the launch. “Bermuda has one of the highest rates of IT usage in the world so, as a country, we are very switched on to technology. More of us are using computers, cell phones and electronic organizers at work and home. However, with the launch of Bermuda Maps, people can view the Island in a whole new way.” The launch of the new site was timed to coincide with GIS Day on Wednesday — an international event to promote the importance and usage of GIS around the world. GIS’ usefulness lies in its flexibility, said Senior Land Surveyor at the Ministry of Works and Engineering Peter Hopkin. “It is possible to customize your own personal map, leave out the elements you are not interested in, change the scale at will and plot your own map if you need it,” he said. Bermuda Maps can be found at www.bermudamaps.bm but Government is also encouraging the public to visit the main Government portal at www.gov.bm to see the many other ways in which GIS is being utilized. Among the current uses for the technology are mapping of incidences of mosquito breeding (Department of Environmental Health), helping to assess land tax (Department of Land Valuation), arranging and recording Planning applications (Department of Planning), collecting and recording information on Bermuda’s plants and animals (Department of Conservation Services Biodiversity Project) as well as its use for Emergency Services call outs and responses. Government schools are also this week having their computer networks connected to the same GIS technology used within Government. “The use of GIS in Bermuda addresses two key objectives of my Ministry,” said Minister of Environment, Telecommunications and E-Commerce Neletha Butterfield.

November 20. A “severe” new law aimed at helping Government recoup $27 million in unpaid taxes will make company directors and officers personally liable for outstanding sums. The Taxes Management Amendment Act 2006 – which passed its third reading in the House of Assembly on Friday – will not only affect current directors and officers but will be retroactive, meaning court proceedings will be taken against people for taxes not paid in the past 20 years. Finance Minister Paula Cox told the House that it was “unjust, unfair and unacceptable” for companies to fail to honour their tax obligations. “This Government is determined that all companies must pay their fair share of the tax burden,” she said. “This Government is committed to ensuring that those who are responsible for the governance and tidy operations of a company may not escape their obligations to pay taxes due to the public purse.” The Deputy Premier said $27 million of outstanding taxes was owed to the Government – a figure which has attracted criticism from the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee. She said other countries have moved to hold directors and officers personally liable for unpaid taxes, including Jamaica where court action has recouped about $53 million. The new law will mean “directors and officers of a company or other body corporate which owes tax will be held jointly and severally liable for taxes which became due while they were directors or officers and proceedings may be started against all or any of them for recovery of that tax”. The Minister said civil court action would be taken by the Tax Commissioner even where people were no longer directors or officers of a company owing tax. “This legislation is a bold step and some directors and officers may feel some unease. However, the legislation is not aimed at directors and officers who ensure that their companies’ tax obligations are discharged in a timely fashion. Similarly, the legislation is not aimed at directors and officers of companies that are going through a rough financial period. It is our expectation that very few directors and officers will have to face civil proceedings for recovery of taxes owed by their companies.” Shadow Finance Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin agreed that $27 million was an “inordinate amount” but added that she worried about piercing the corporate veil and making individuals liable. Opposition backbencher Grant Gibbons said his concern was the retroactivity aspect of the legislation. “There is no time limit as far as I can see,” he said. Finance Permanent Secretary Donald Scott said at the weekend that the Limitation Act 1984 would restrict the retroactivity to 20 years. Ms Cox said on Friday: “We thought that in these circumstances it required that we take a very strong line. I appreciate it’s certainly taking a very severe position. We are going to seek to be firm and fair.”

November 22. Tuition fees are to be drastically cut for Bermudians studying at colleges and universities in England. Annual fees – currently nearly $19,000 – will be reduced to about $5,700 from the next academic year. Bill Rammell, the UK Minister for Higher Education, announced the move yesterday as part of a drive to encourage people from British Overseas Territories to study in England. Mr. Rammell said students from all such territories, including Bermuda, would be charged home rate fees for further education and undergraduate degree courses in England from September 2007. Teachers in Bermuda welcomed the move and said it would mean many more of their students could now afford a chance at further education. Yesterday’s announcement came at the Overseas Territories Consultative Council meeting in London, which is being attended by Premier Ewart Brown and Governor Sir John Vereker. It comes following months of pressure on the British Government by Dr. Brown and his predecessor Alex Scott, as well as leaders of other overseas territories. Roy Napier, Head of School at Bermuda High School, said about four or five of his students fly out to study at universities and colleges in England each year.  Jon Beard, head of graduation year at Saltus Grammar School, said about five Saltus students went to the UK to continue their studies last year. He predicted the figure would rise as soon as tuition fees have dropped. Mr. Beard said: “It’s brilliant news. It opens up opportunities for students to go to UK universities to get their qualifications and make their mark in Europe. “The UK has always been a popular choice, but until now many people have not been able to go there from a financial point of view. Reducing the tuition fees will remove that barrier.” Speaking from England, Dr. Brown said: “This is a major development for current and future students who choose to study in England. Any attempt to portray this as a result that came purely as a goodwill gesture from the British Government fails to recognize the hard work and persistence of the leaders of the overseas territories.” Students from Bermuda who are already in England will also be eligible for reduced tuition fees from next September.

November 21. Bermuda is to be a host port for the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge 2009, with the Island’s participation in the international event linking Europe and North America also part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of Bermuda’s permanent settlement. At a gathering in Poland, the Island was given a standing ovation when representatives from the Bermuda Sloop Foundation gave a video-backed presentation of the work that had gone into creating the Spirit of Bermuda sloop and the youth programme that allows youngsters from the Island to learn about life on a tall ship. A delegation from Government and the Foundation attended the Sail Training International annual conference at Szczecin, Poland, alongside representatives from across the US, Canada, Europe and New Zealand to discuss international sail training for young people and plan the 2009 challenge. Bermuda has been named one of the host ports for the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge along with Vigo on Spain, Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Halifax, Canada, and Belfast in Northern Ireland. The tall ships are expected to reach Bermuda between June 12-15 in 2009. It is anticipated that young Bermudians will be given the opportunity to be placed as trainees on some of the international ships as they sail from port to port. The Spirit of Bermuda is also expected to take part in some stages of the event. Some 360 delegates listened to a presentation by the Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s education officer Leila Wadson, watch leader Melvin Martin and Captain Chris Blake. Also attending and spreading the word about Bermuda were Government Communications Assistant Director Beverley Morfitt and John Wadson, chairman of the Sail Training Association of Bermuda. “The conference has provided a terrific opportunity to work with and to learn from the best of the best in the global sailing world,” said Mr. Wadson. “As a founding member of STI, Bermuda has a seat on the international council and strategic planning committee and has established itself not only as a serious contributor and participant in international sailing, but also as a friendly destination for sail training vessels.” He added: “This event has also given us an opportunity to promote and to encourage sail training operators, in particular, the Spanish, the US, Canadian and Irish representatives to participate in the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge in 2009.”

November 24. Premier Ewart Brown has been charged with paying off political debts in hard cash following the creation of several high-profile Governmental posts. The allegation was made following the appointment of Rolfe Commissiong as Government's race relations advisor — a job which it is understood will earn Mr. Commissiong nearly $100,000 a year. Last night United Bermuda Party deputy leader Michael Dunkley slammed the appointment, saying it was just another example of "jobs for the boys". Mr. Commissiong, who took up the post on Monday, has been directed to "conduct a full review of the Young Black Male Study, undertake in-depth research on the plight of young black males in Bermuda and provide recommendations with respect to implementing programmes and initiatives to address the current predicament of this targeted group". Prior to his appointment, the Progressive Labour Party member campaigned for Dr. Brown in his bid for the party leadership. When asked yesterday if rumors that he was now picking up a $98,000 pay packet, Mr. Commissiong would only say: "I can't speak to that." He dismissed UBP criticism, claiming the Opposition was "desperate". But Mr. Dunkley described it as "the latest example of PLP cronyism and another step toward a Presidential-style executive in the Cabinet Office. The Commissiong appointment is more about the Premier paying off political debts from his leadership coup than it is about race relations," Mr. Dunkley said. "This is nothing personal — I would say the same thing if it were my own brother who had been appointed. And we have no problem with the Premier appointing the people he needs to take care of policies. But I have yet to see a clear outline of what this gentleman is going to be doing and whether he will be providing value for money. For the Premier to say that he will be studying a study is ludicrous. We have suddenly got a flood of new people in Government which increases the tax burden on everyone — and Bermudians are paying too much as it is. The appointment ignores the fact that the Government of Bermuda has highly professional civil servants and a Cabinet Minister to deal with this vital issue. It also seems to continue the 'do-nothing' approach to government that Dr. Brown says he wants to avoid rather than the 'high gear' approach he promised last Friday. According to the Premier's press secretary, Mr. Commissiong's first order of business is to study the Young Black Male Study and to "recommend implementing programs and initiatives to address the current predicament of this targeted group. The fact that the Government is appointing Mr. Commissiong to study a study on an issue they have had full knowledge of since coming to power in 1998 says much about their continuing and chronic inability to meet the needs of the people. The Premier was right during the Throne Speech debate when he said his Government was in neutral gear. We're not sure of Mr. Commissiong's qualifications for the job, but believe that programs to help young black males can be put together fairly quickly through a team approach that brings to the table Bermudians of reputation and wide experience. There are plenty of role models who could draw on their diverse experiences to come up with the programmes and initiatives to help young black males. The Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs and civil servants can handle the job of soliciting their views and putting together a programme. As Dr. Brown said when forming his Cabinet at the end of October, the design of race relations programmes 'come out of the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs'. Mr. Commissiong is not necessary to the task. But Premier Brown appears to be more interested in turning the Cabinet Office into Bermuda's version of The West Wing, which he can use as a platform for presidential-style government that is fundamentally about him as the star of a one-man show."

November 24. The wheels have been set in motion to bring the unresolved murder case of teenager Rebecca Middleton back to the courtroom. Lawyers for the Middleton family hope they will eventually be able to bring fresh criminal charges against suspects in the ten-year-old case. Chief Justice Richard Ground listened to lawyers representing both the Department of Public Prosecutions and the family of the murdered teenager yesterday as a timeframe was drawn-up for the countdown to a full judicial review, which is now expected to take place in the early months of 2007. In March this year DPP director Vinette Graham Allen decided not to reinvestigate and consider fresh charges in the brutal rape and murder of Canadian visitor Becky, 17, at a remote spot at Ferry Reach, St. George's in July 1996. Lawyers for the Middleton family claim that decision was wrong and have been granted permission by the Island's top judge for a review of the matter. Attorney Kelvin Hastings-Smith, of Appleby Hunter Bailhache, has now served evidence to the DPP containing reasons as to why the case should be reinvestigated. At a Supreme Court hearing before Mr. Justice Ground, the Department of Public Prosecutions agreed to file its evidence as to why the director made her decision by January 19. The Chief Justice ordered that the judicial review should be set down for the earliest convenient date thereafter. "This issue needs to be resolved and I will not let it drift," said Mr. Justice Ground. He also warned against anyone speculating in public on what form of procedure the judicial review will take, specifically zeroing in on an unnamed lawyer. Mr. Justice Ground said such speculation verges on contempt of court and he considers it a serious matter.

November 24. The perception of a conflict of interests caused by the same person heading the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the watchdog Bermuda Health Council has been resolved with the appointment of a new BHB chairman. Anthony Richardson has ended his three-and-a-half years tenure with the BHB to concentrate fully on his latest post as CEO of the regulatory health council. Back in July there was concern that Mr. Richardson would not be able to function in a truly impartial way if he was in charge of two organizations which might have, at times, different and competing objectives. Assurances were given this would not be the case and Mr. Richardson would take a part-time role at the BHB and excuse himself when conflicting issues arose. Now he has stepped aside from the BHB to make way for the new chairman, retired civil servant and former deputy principal of Sandy’s secondary school Edwin Wilson. Making the announcement Health Minister Nelson Bascome said the appointment put to rest concerns for any conflict of interest between the two health bodies. Asked if it was purely the concerns raised about such a conflict of interest arising that had led to the new appointment, Mr. Bascome said: “Mr. Richardson comes with some very highly recommended positions. The media created this whole furor about him being chair of the board and CEO of the health council creating some conflict. We had some discussions about that. There was no real conflict. He has been tasked with getting the health council up and creating the structure.” The Bermuda Health Council’s stated aim is to regulate and improve health-related services on the Island, including aspects of how the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are run. Introducing the new BHB chairman, Mr. Bascome was accompanied by the BHB’s new chief executive officer David Hill, who has arrived from England and officially takes over in the role next Monday. Explaining what tasks are coming up in the months ahead, Mr. Bascome said: “We will be reviewing the health service utilization profile for Bermuda — this means they will be looking at the health services that Bermudians and residents use in Bermuda and those that they access overseas. This will allow us to determine which of our current services should be included in the new hospital and what new services should be added.” The Minister also said work is continuing on bringing in a Charge Master project to modernize the way the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital bills for its services and how it generates its revenue. And a partnership with Kurron Shares of America has been formally made, three years after Kurron reviewed the set-up of the hospital and recommended 200 specific and detailed recommendations for improvements. Kurron is doing an audit on its earlier review to see which of the recommendations have been implemented and will work with the hospital to measure the improvements that have resulted.

November 25. Government is looking at setting up a Bermuda School of Nursing to help fill the increasing shortfall in local recruitment. Announcing the plan to Parliament Health Minister Nelson Bascome said only 100 of the 430 registered nurses were Bermudian while demand for nurses will go up to 473 in the next decade to help care for increasing numbers of seniors. Qualification requirements might also be relaxed to encourage more Bermudian nurses. Mr. Bascome said the Bermuda Hospitals Board had proposed a partnership with the Bermuda College to open a Bermuda School of Nursing to offer associate degrees in nursing to graduates. “We are looking at qualification levels needed to provide the various services offered. Thus a review is being undertaken to determine whether it is necessary to require all of our nurses to be qualified to the bachelor degree level. Current international trends are to have a mix of associate degree and bachelor degree qualified nursing staff. This does not compromise the quality of care.” He said the major difference between an associate degree and a bachelor degree in nursing are the components related to research, leadership and developments skills. “While these are useful they are not essential to good nursing care.” Mr. Bascome said only three to six Bermudian nurses get Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing each year but there was much wider interest from people who couldn’t afford to go overseas to study. “A Bermuda-based training programme for registered nurses and other healthcare professionals will enable Bermuda to provide its residents with direct access to healthcare education and become more responsible for developing its own talent.” Mr. Bascome recently returned from a site visit to Maricopa Community College in Phoenix, Arizona with a delegation including representatives from Bermuda College, the Bermuda Nursing Association, The Bermuda Nursing Council and the Bermuda Hospitals Board. Options now include setting up an associate degree nursing programme which Mr. Bascome said would entail employing five full-time lecturers and “have the uncertainty of class numbers.” Another option is to hook up with Maricopa Community College which would arrange on-line clinical nursing courses while general education courses and clinical training would be done here. “The potential benefits to Bermuda of providing nursing training locally are enormous. Bermudians would have access to a fully accredited nursing programme while living at home. The cost to families would be manageable. There the opportunity for persons who are not able to go abroad for studies to do so locally.” He said worldwide shortage of nurses meant proactive organizations needed to develop their own pools of talent rather than be liable to the fragile nature of the market for nurses. “The Ministry believes that this would aid with controlling the hospital’s operating costs. In addition should this venture be viable the BHB would have links with a training facility with the possibility of attracting non-Bermudian nurses. This could be a win-win for all.” Mr. Bascome promised to give the House further updates. 

November 25. He came to the Island hoping for a few days in the sun — but Richard Momiyama's holiday turned into a nightmare when he accidentally hit a taxi driver with his suitcase at Bermuda airport. Mr. Momiyama, from New York, spent virtually all his vacation in police stations and court rooms after being charged with assaulting driver Leon Smith on Wednesday at 4.15 p.m. The holiday-maker, 41, insisted he was attempting to put his luggage into the trunk of Mr. Smith's vehicle, and that he clipped the driver by mistake and scratched his arm. He was finally acquitted following a two-hour trial yesterday, when Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner said there was too little evidence to prove the incident was deliberate. It meant Mr. Momiyama was set to fly home a free man today — declaring the past few days "the worst vacation I've ever had." Mr. Momiyama had attempted to plead guilty to the charge at an earlier hearing on Thursday, in an effort to get the matter dealt with quickly so he could enjoy the rest of his trip. However, Mr. Warner insisted the matter went to trial, saying a guilty plea cannot be advanced when the accused has a defence. At yesterday's trial at Magistrates' Court, Mr. Smith, 73, said an argument and minor scuffle broke out after the tourist slammed his taxi door three times. Mr. Smith told the court: "It irritated me, so I took his luggage out of my car. I told him 'I'm not taking you anywhere'. He got out the car and he picked up a suitcase. He was aiming it at my head. He raised it above his head with both hands and appeared to be coming towards me with it. I put my arm up to block it and my arm was struck by the raised bag." Mr. Momiyama admitted he slammed the car door, but said it had been accidental. He said he overestimated how hard it needed to be shut because it was a sliding door. He said: "This must have alarmed Mr. Smith and he shouted at me in a very rude manner not to slam his door. Then he told me he was not going to permit me to ride in his car and I was to get out. He started removing the luggage from the rear. I told him he needed to do what his job was and take us to the hotel. I went to throw the bag into the car. It's got a hinge and that's what must have hit his arm." Police were called, and Mr. Momiyama, who was planning to travel to Southampton's Princess Hotel, was arrested at the airport. He was later bailed, but had to attend hearings at Magistrates' Court on Thursday and yesterday. Under cross examination from Crown counsel Nicole Smith, Mr. Momiyama denied the allegation that he lifted the suitcase above his head in order to attack Mr. Smith. Delivering a verdict of not guilty, Mr. Warner said: "It's for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was not an accident. I am not satisfied that it was not an accident, therefore there's no liability on Mr. Momiyama. It was unacceptable by both people at the airport - an unfortunate misunderstanding." After the trial, Mr. Momiyama said he was glad it was all over. He said: "It's been unfortunate. I'm just relieved that justice has been done. It's been the worst vacation I've ever had. But I've been thinking about it and I think I will come back to Bermuda again anyway." Defence lawyer Larry Scott had been involved in a court room exchange with Mr. Warner when the guilty plea was rejected on Thursday. Mr. Warner had told Mr. Scott he was probably in breach of the Bar rules to advance a guilty plea "merely for convenience." Mr. Scott said after yesterday's verdict: "I am happy with the result. It's a shame that this guy came on a three-day holiday and spent most of the time in police stations or in court. So much for a holiday." Shadow Attorney General Trevor Moniz said he had no complaints the matter went to trial. Mr. Moniz said: "If his guilty plea had been accepted, it would have been alleged they were pursuing a miscarriage of justice. The magistrate did the right thing."

November 27. Government is planning to set up a ‘hustle truck’ to get the most out of those looking for casual work. Announcing the plan, Labour and Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess said he was worried about those not fully participating in the economy because of addiction problems. “We have talked about a hustle truck. Government will pick people up and take them, whether they work for a day or two, pay them so much an hour. That’s in the works. Those folks are still part of society, they should still be doing something. That will be a way to help. It won’t eradicate the problem but it will make life easier for them if they can earn some money on their own.” But he conceded addicted workers were not easy to handle. He said: “Sometimes you get these guys on a job and they want to be paid daily. “We have had guys taken on and people have tried to train them but they walk off the job. There are good employers out there trying to assist those type of guys but they can’t spend all their time trying to find them because they walked off the job. It’s not an easy task.”

November 27. Bermudian actor Earl Cameron will be honored with a retrospective of his work at the tenth Bermuda International Film Festival next March. Mr. Cameron, 89, will travel to the festival from his home in Warwickshire, England. As well as a selection of his films, the festival will also host a sit-down chat with him about his life and career. Mr. Cameron followed an unlikely path to fame. Born in Pembroke in 1917, he joined the Merchant Navy and sailed mostly between New York and South America before the outbreak of World War Two resulted in the Royal Navy diverting his ship to the UK. Unable to get back to Bermuda without a passport, he took a job. Two years later, while working in the kitchen of a restaurant, he saw a play in the West End, Chu Chin Chow. A few weeks later, a walk-on part in the play opened up - and Mr. Cameron, who had friends in the production, stepped into the role. The play ran until 1946, becoming what at the time was the longest-running musical in the West End. His breakthrough film role was as the merchant seaman Johnny in Pool of London (1950). Set in post-war London, the film involved racial prejudice, romance, and a diamond robbery. Mr. Cameron won much critical acclaim for his performance. He also starred in Simba (1955) and low-budget crime drama The Heart Within (1957). His most famous early screen roles were in two melodramas that attempted to confront the issue of racism in Britain: Sapphire (1959) and Flame in the Streets (1961). He also appeared in the 1965 James Bond film, Thunderball. A member of the Baha’i faith, Mr. Cameron stepped away from his acting career in 1979 to move to the Solomon Islands, where he assisted the Baha’i community there. He returned to the UK in 1994 and came out of silver screen retirement in 2004 to play the role of African despot Edmund Zuwanie in Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter and can be seen in the current theatrical release, The Queen directed by Stephen Frears and starring Helen Mirren. He has also starred in numerous stage plays, television series and radio broadcasts. “We are delighted that we will be welcoming Mr. Cameron home on the occasion of the festival’s tenth anniversary,” said the festival’s deputy director, Duncan Hall. “Having a ‘son of the soil’ as one of our featured guests will be one of the highlights of festival week.” Among the accolades bestowed on Mr. Cameron during his long career include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bermuda Arts Council in 1999 and a retrospective by the prestigious National Film Theatre in London in 2002.

November 28. A political activist who intends to lobby politicians in the US to push for a tax law change that could severely impact Bermuda's booming international business sector has paid a return visit to the Island. Democrat John Lundin is seeking to have American laws changed to stop US businesses escaping domestic tax obligations by setting up in Bermuda and other offshore jurisdictions. He claims to be part of a groundswell of support at the grassroots level amongst US Democrats who want to bring a halt to the lucrative advantages offshore businesses, particularly insurance and reinsurance companies, enjoy by setting up headquarters in low tax locations such as Bermuda. The issue of tax benefits enjoyed by the offshore operations has been a contentious issue with Democrats over the years and was part of the 2004 election platform for former Presidential candidate John Kerry. The likelihood of the Democrats wielding enough political power to bring in such wide-reaching changes has been increased by the mid-term elections which saw the Democrats take overall control of both Congress and the US Senate. Mr. Lundin, who hails from Chicago, became a political activist when he moved to Florida where he was a member of the Broward County Florida Democratic Executive Committee. He then moved to Hawaii where he is on the Hawaii Democratic Party State Central Committee. Mr. Lundin sees himself as part of a grassroots movement to lobby Democrat politicians to make a change to the tax regulations to ensure billions of dollars that escape US tax regulations despite being generated by US-centric businesses is captured by the US Government. "There is a lot of debt in the US economy at the moment and there is a lot of talk about fixing this situation where billions of dollars are not going back to the US," said Mr. Lundin. He has visited Bermuda on a number of occasions and confesses to loving the place, but that has not deterred him from taking his patriotic stance. His intention is to have changes to offshore tax rules presented as a resolution at the Maui County Democrat convention in 2008 and from there to become a Hawaii Democrat Party platform and then to the national convention.

November 28.  Sustainable development may not have appeared in Premier Ewart Brown’s first Throne Speech, but it was a mistake to think that meant it was off his Government’s agenda, Bermudian students in London heard. Speaking during an open question-and-answer forum at the fourth Annual Premier’s Dinner for Bermudian students in the UK, Dr. Brown also reiterated his Government’s reactionary policy regarding the sexual orientation amendment to the Human Rights Act. He also voiced concern about what he perceived as a “hostile media” in Bermuda, saying — to applause — that he looked forward to the day when another daily newspaper appeared on the Bermudian scene to offer some “balance”. Noting that he had had a weekend to write the Throne Speech, Dr. Brown said his Government had rid itself of some of the labels of the previous Cabinet — such as the term “Social Agenda”. “I always thought that was what a Government was for,” he said. However he said the decision to take sustainable development out of the speech did not mean Government had ceased to make it a priority. Sustainable development is an “automatic issue that any progressive government must engage in. It means developing for the future,” he said. “I see that as automatic. We have to do that.” However he criticized members of the Government-appointed Sustainable Development Round Table for going to the press with disagreements they had with the Government. Saying that had taken the Government by surprise, he emphasized that disagreement itself was not a problem. But the Government had appointed the roundtable and the expectation was if there was disagreement it would be expressed internally not played out in the press, he added. There will be new sustainable development appointments, he said — “but I don’t believe you should appoint people who don’t understand the agenda”. One student at the Friday night event, questioned Dr. Brown on a lack of debate in Parliament regarding the sexual orientation amendment to the Human Rights Act. To applause, the student said — in contradiction to Dr. Brown’s clearly stated desire to bring young people back to Bermuda — many felt uncomfortable and unwelcome on the Island due to their sexual orientation. However Dr. Brown said he had seen many people including people in Government who have achieved success regardless of their sexual orientation. “I don’t think there is a sufficiently demonstrated problem in that area,” he said. Adding that he was “strongly opposed” to discrimination of any kind, he added there are currently avenues available regarding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, though he did not specify what those avenues were. “However, like any other issue, it’s open,” he said. As for the “non-debate” referred to by students, he claimed the PLP had been ready for a debate in Parliament. But he said: “The Opposition wanted the PLP to speak and be the entertainment for the evening. We spotted that. So there was no debate.” When asked what his view of ideal Government-media relations were, Dr. Brown said Government should be accessible and responsive to the media. He said in Bermuda the Government was, for the most part, working in a “hostile media environment”. Some of Bermuda’s media was “not very concerned with objectivity, but with building an image that suits their political preference,” he stated. “We will do the best we can with the media we have. I have told Ministers to be as open as they can — but if the media becomes destructive, they will stop talking to them for a while.”

November 28. Girl Guiding Bermuda is set for a major revival, according to the organization's Island Commissioner Denise Woodhouse. She hopes to see the image, scope and direction of the Guides leap forward with the introduction of a new programme entitled “GO FOR IT” — and that this energy and direction will draw many more leaders into the organization so that it can continue to be a shaping force in the lives Island girls well into the future. Many of the Island’s most prominent women were once members of the Bermuda Girl Guide Association, Ms Woodhouse said. “Research has shown that over 40 percent of all Bermudian women have been either a Brownie, Guide, Ranger, Sea Ranger or Young Leader and, in fact, many well known women within our community have been involved. For instance Sonia Grant, Dr. Deborah Tuzo, Elizabeth Christopher, Cheryl Ann Mapp, Rachel Emery Ann Spurling-Maule and Terry Lyn Thompson are just a small sampling of the doctors, lawyers, teachers and Rhodes scholars who have shared in Guiding, with each gaining the highest award, Queen’s Guide.” Ms Woodhouse, who is better known as Woody, added: “Many are still involved in the movement, a fitting tribute to its power and influence on our impressionable youth. At its heart, the Guide movement is about developing mature, confident, capable and caring females in a supporting structure that is full of fun, friendship and adventure and underpinned by spiritual and moral values.” Ms Woodhouse, also a Queen’s Guide recipient in England, said that the skills learned in Guiding have helped her in many aspects of life. “It is fashionable in some quarters to look at the Guiding movement as passé, old fashioned, a relic of a past era. But I strongly disagree. Business, computer skills, teamwork, community spirit, adventure badges stand alongside the more traditional cook badges and camper badges. The ‘GO FOR IT’ team projects are on a variety of subjects, which will introduce the group/unit/patrol to a new skill or experience. But while there are exciting, new initiatives on the horizon, Guiding Bermuda is facing a number of pressing challenges that must be overcome. Firstly Asser Hut, the Island headquarters, is in dire need of renovation — these costs being in excess of $50,000. Instead of just appealing to the generosity of overseas companies registered in Bermuda, it was felt that we as a group needed to take up this challenge and raise all the funds dollar by dollar ourselves.

November 28. An elite group of economic experts is being formed to target issues such as affordable housing in Bermuda, Premier Ewart Brown has promised. The Council of Economic Advisers will be formed by the end of next month and will consist of people who understand Bermuda’s “artificially different economy” and its impact on the average citizen. The Premier was speaking at the fourth Annual Premier’s Dinner for Bermudian students in the UK was to convince them to return to Bermuda — preventing a brain drain of the Island’s brightest young people. However, as many students attending the dinner at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel noted, much of the effort the Government made was redundant as almost every student wanted to return. But as they told the Premier — if some of the brightest people in Bermuda could not afford to buy then returning would difficult. And in response to the question of what Dr. Brown will do about affordable housing he said: “That is very much on the front burner. It has to be.” Bermuda has what he termed an “artificially different economy” — an economy where, for example, taxi drivers have traveled more than the passengers they carry. “That indicates the nature of our economy and how different it is. “Housing has become ridiculously expensive,” said Dr. Brown, adding “Most of you will find it difficult.” Dr. Brown, said the Council, which will consist of some of Bermuda’s best financial leaders, will tackle questions including “what kind of structural changes, in a bold fashion, do we have to make?”. He added: “I intend to challenge them to use their brain power to recommend to this Government the changes that must be made. It is ridiculous for you to go out (into the world) and expand yourselves, and then go home and be unable to find yourselves a place to live.”

November 30. International business leader David Ezekiel is to engage a team of top immigration lawyers to work out ways to stave off a threatened brain drain from six-year term limit policies. He will fly to London at the weekend and the mission has the blessing of Government who stressed it is keen not to discourage talent and harm international business. Under the term-limit policy, which will begin to bite in April, work permit holders who have not been granted key employee status and thus the chance of remaining for another three years or more will be turfed out. Mr. Ezekiel said it might be possible to let work permit holders sign away any claim to permanent residency rights in return for a relaxation of the rules. He said: “That’s one of the options we are looking at. But international law might protect people from signing away their rights.” Some within the business community believe the matter is made more complicated with long-stayers likely to have a claim to citizenship if Bermuda went independent – a situation Government is keen to avoid. Bermuda Employers Council executive director Martin Law said: “The need is for Government not to be in a position where people hold residency based on time continuously spent in Bermuda. If there is a legal way around this the Minister is prepared to listen.” The matter was partly addressed by the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 2002 which granted limited residential rights to immigrants who arrived before 1989 while barring automatic rights for those who arrived after that date. But Mr. Law said: “My understanding is the Minister believes that isn’t enough.” Businesses have argued the term-limit policy is unsettling as experienced people will be lost only to be replaced, in most cases, by expatriates given the shortage of labour in Bermuda where more than 25 percent of jobs are held by foreigners. Recently Labour and Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess admitted Bermuda was always likely to need imported workers, with more than 8,000 needed on current standings – even if every Bermudian had their desired job. Mr. Ezekiel said: “I am going to London to meet with some people with no preconceptions to see what the options are. We are talking to the very top people in the field. One is hoping they have been there before in different circumstances and they might tell us something we absolutely didn’t know about. It is the absolute start of the process. We don’t think it is too late. It’s a time when I think both sides realise the ramifications of this policy,” said Mr. Ezekiel, who is the chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Business (ABIC). Junior Labour and Immigration Minister Wayne Caines said Government was keen to work with business on the issues. He said: “It is something we are committed to – the six-year term limits but it is something we are willing to discuss and investigate further.” He said Government’s relationship with ABIC was harmonious. “Their concerns have not fallen on deaf ears and are being investigated.” He said Mr. Ezekiel was going to London to get a team of barristers and the barristers would report to Government their findings and see if a solution can be found. Senator Caines added: “Government is not saying to business you have to leave after six years. 

November 30. A new flight service connecting Bermuda with North Carolina and the UK is expected to be introduced in the new year. The airline Fly First Class has been hoping to set up a link from Wilmington International Airport to London Stansted, with a stop on the Island, for about two years. It is hoped the scheme would break British Airways' monopoly of the route from England to Bermuda and lead to cheaper fares for air passengers. According to a preliminary plan, a Boeing 767 – with 90 seats in three classes – would operate twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays. The proposal has been held up for a number of reasons, but officials are now hopeful the connection can be completed in the next few months. Darrel Richardson, chief executive officer of Fly First Class, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said: "We have been planning this service for a couple of years. "We have been going through different scenarios with British airlines, and we are still in the same position as this time last year. But it is still something that we want to do. It's still a great market for us because there's only one carrier (British Airways)." It is thought companies in the UK would back the link-up because of Wilmington's good reputation for pharmaceutical products. Part of the delay has been because Fly First Class needs a contract with a UK operator in order to offer the service. Bosses were in talks with UK firm Flyjet, only for Flyjet to be taken over by a separate company, Silverjet, earlier this year. Officials are now hopeful Silverjet will back the plan. Tom Murray, of Contemporary Market Solutions – which represents Fly First Class in Bermuda – said the move would benefit the Island. Mr. Murray said: "As a travel agency, we try to see competition on a route instead. That would be good for consumers. You wouldn't just have BA as the only carrier, which would lead to more competitive pricing. "There would also be more option for consumers, who would be able to travel to and from Stansted instead of just Gatwick. "With Silverjet taking over from Flyjet, we have been given a new dynamic for this plan." I don't think anything will happen until the new year, but it would be really good if something could happen in the spring."

November 30. The Premier calls it a Bermuda-US programme that has “captivated the collective imaginations of our two countries.” Premier Dr. Ewart Brown, United States Consul General Gregory Slayton, and Social Rehabilitation Minister Dale Butler raved yesterday about an exchange programme which sends Bermudian social services workers to the US to learn strategies that improve families here at home. The programme which already sent one contingent overseas has now announced it will send another, and possibly a third. The initial trip went through four cities over ten days when participants studied 15 programs focused on juvenile justice, youth development, and parenting — particularly for fathers. A non-profit organization called the National Fatherhood Initiative showed the group how to better involve dads in the lives of their children, even taking steps to include fathers who are behind bars. “This focus is on the benefit of the child,” said Granville Bennett who was on the trip. “This is not another dead beat dad programme.” Mr. Bennett runs a project for The Family Centre. He thinks the Fatherhood Initiative can work in Bermuda and also hopes to convince local companies to become more “father friendly,” allowing dads time off for child care and after school activities. Based on the lessons of the trip, the group believes a more involved father makes for a stronger family. Acting Director of Child and Family Services Kennette Robinson led Mr. Bennett and three others to the United States last month. She hopes ultimately to include a myriad of American social programmes into the Bermudian household under the umbrella of her department. So far though none of the US learned practices has been launched locally. “It’s something that’s going to take time,” said Ms. Robinson. “It’s a framework that we’re building on in collaboration with all sectors of the Government and the community. It’s nothing you’re going to just see overnight, but it’s definitely something that’s in the works.” The people who took part were Kennette Robinson, from the department Child & Family Services, Granville Bennett, from the Family Centre, Renee Brown from Cross Ministry Initiative Team, Jennifer Manders from the Ministry of Education and Gary Wilkinson from the department of Financial Assistance.

December 1. The Mayor of Hamilton has lost the support of all but one of the city’s aldermen and councillors — with the rest demanding his immediate resignation over alleged election interference. Sutherland Madeiros would not comment last night on a letter sent to him by two aldermen and four councillors on Tuesday which claimed he had “brought disrepute to the Corporation of Hamilton” during the October mayoral election. But the one councilor still backing him, businessman Jim Butterfield said the Mayor, who is responsible for the city’s $20 million annual budget, had no intention of stepping down and stood by the results of the vote. “I think Mr. Madeiros’ position is: ‘I worked hard for the election and I’m standing by my position’,” said Councilor Butterfield. “I’m standing with him. As far as I know it was a fair election.” The letter — signed by aldermen David Dunkley and William Black and councillors Carvel Van Putten, George Grundmuller, Courtland Boyle and Graeme Outerbridge — claims that election rules were changed at Mr. Madeiros’ instigation, giving him an unfair advantage over mayoral opponent Sonia Grant. It was revealed last week that Miss Grant had launched a legal bid to have the election result declared void. She said yesterday that the allegation made in the letter over election rules formed part of her petition. The row centers on whether companies, associations and partnerships should have been allowed to change the name of the person or nominee registered to vote on their behalf after the election date was announced. Miss Grant said that a person could not be registered after notice of the election was published and that if they were they could not vote. Returning officer and lawyer 

December 1. The Mayor of St. George’s, Mariea Caisey, has thrown her support behind the idea of having mega yachts visit the East End town rather than cruise ships. Government announced the results of the Cruise Ports Study at a public meeting on Wednesday and revealed it was considering turning St. George’s into a mega yacht port, while two huge cruise ships would visit the Dockyard area at the same time. Ms. Caisey said: “This idea wasn’t something that was new to me. I agree with the concept and we are working with Government to see what other means of revenue we can get in our town.” The study showed that Bermuda would face huge financial costs and significant environmental damage if attempts were made to enlarge the navigational channels at Town Cut in St. George’s and Two Rock Passage near Hamilton to fit larger cruise ships. Ms Caisey reiterated her preference that Town Cut not be widened and said she did not believe businesses in St. George’s would suffer financially if the town lost its dedicated cruise ships. “We are still going to have our docks available and we will never get rid of the access to the docks just in case a ship does want to come here. There are small cruise ships that go to Europe and they may be able to visit St. George’s while the larger ships go to Dockyard.” She believes the mega yacht port concept could potentially generate significant revenue and said mega yachts would be inclined to visit St. George’s on a regular basis if Government relaxed the 21-day travel limit for visiting yachtsmen. “We do have mega yachts on our docks. Sometimes the owners leave the yachts in Bermuda and the crew members take care of it. So in the long-term it is revenue for our community because that is money that is being used in restaurants, grocery stores and transportation,” she said. Ireland Island North’s King’s Port would be expanded to accommodate an extra berthing sport, which would enable two huge cruise ships to visit at the same time rather than just one as is the case today. The cruise ships would berth one in front of the other at the north spar at King’s Port. The Shadow Minister for Tourism David Dodwell said he generally agreed with the idea of having two large ships berth in the West End at the same time, however he said he did not think St. George’s should be left without a dedicated ship. “I think it is a good idea, however Government should not forget about the smaller cruise ships. I think St. George’s can still be serviced by smaller ships,” he said.

December 2.  Tough new laws tabled by Government yesterday will see jail terms of up to five years and million dollar fines for foreigners or trustees who buy land without approval. The act is a bid to crack down on fronting trusts illegally buying land for non-Bermudians. Explaining the act Labour and Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess said: “Once we put the legislation in place people who have acquire land in Bermuda, via fronting, will have three years to bring it in accordance with the law. “If it’s not done and it’s found out there are consequences. It’s quite severe. Bermuda is only 21 square miles and we have 6,000 acres of zoned residential land and almost 40 percent of it is owned by non-Bermudians. “So we don’t have the luxury of land but we do have grandchildren and great grandchildren so we try to be fair to them – as any country would do this size.” But he said in the past legal loopholes had let people get away with acquiring land they shouldn’t have. Last year Government said there was financial evidence non-Bermudians were using fronts to buy property because annual revenue for licence fees for legitimate sales had fallen from $13 million in the late 1990s to just under $5 million, at a time when there was an unprecedented demand for real estate. In 2004 the Crown tried to prosecute an alleged sham trust which they claimed had helped buy a $3 million house in Paget but the case was dropped when Puisne Judge Ian Kawaley ruled the search warrants should be quashed. The Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2006 promises to thwart those trying to get around licensing requirements required for foreigners and to limit corporate land-holding.

December 6.  United Bermuda Party Leader Wayne Furbert has hit out at the lack of response to a question tabled in Parliament about the salaries of the Premier’s new senior staff. Mr. Furbert asked for job descriptions, benefits and compensation associated with the posts of press secretary, chief of staff and consultant appointed by Ewart Brown in the past few weeks. However, Dr. Brown’s response failed to reveal specific details about what any of the posts entailed, or what their salaries were. Last night, Mr. Furbert said the public had a right to know how the Government’s money was being spent. He said: “We feel total anguish about the Government not being open about this. The Government is short-changing the people of Bermuda because the people have a right to know the answers to these questions. All we want to do is be informed when it comes to spending the Government’s money. We understand the salary for the press secretary is $120,000 a year. We want to find out whether that is true or not. At least, they should tell the public. We as the opposition have the right to get a reasonable or decent answer to this. The public should not be exempt from knowing how the Government’s purse is spent.” Dr. Brown had earlier appointed Scott Simmons to a new publicly-funded press secretary post. Mr. Simmons previously served an executive role with the Progressive Labour Party. The role of press secretary to former Premier Alex Scott was held by Beverley Lottimore, who carried out the duty in addition to her role as the Government’s director of communication and information, and was not paid any extra for it. Dr. Brown also appointed Sen. Wayne Caines as his chief of staff, to manage his personal and administrative staff. Sen. Caines resigned as a prosecutor and his commission as a Captain in the Bermuda Regiment to take the post. Meanwhile Rolfe Commissiong was appointed to the role of consultant to the Premier, to investigate race relations, particularly the plight of young black males in Bermuda. Mr. Furbert’s question in Parliament on Friday stated: “Would the Honourable Premier Dr. Ewart Brown please inform this Honourable House as to the terms and conditions of the appointment of his press secretary / chief of staff / consultant, including job description and details of total compensation / benefits and use of a Government car?” Dr. Brown’s response was: “The terms and conditions of the appointment of the press secretary / chief of staff / consultant are consistent with those offered to members of the civil service and employees in the private sector and pursuant to the provisions of the Employment Act 2000.” When asked his salary, Mr. Simmons declined to answer. He said there would also be no comment on the criticisms made by Mr. Furbert. Opposition Deputy Leader Michael Dunkley echoed Mr. Furbert’s sentiments. He said the UBP had not been given the “courtesy of a reply” to their question and described Dr. Brown’s answer as “blasé”. Mr. Dunkley claimed that “when the questioning gets tough”, the Premier does not answer. UBP house leader John Barritt added: “He’s obviously ducking and weaving and deciding not to say anything.”

December 8. The Mayor of Hamilton and rebel aldermen and councilors have agreed to put their differences aside to continue with their duties — for now. Sutherland Madeiros received a letter signed by six members of the Corporation of Hamilton last week, alleging he was involved in electoral interference and urging him to resign. The letter, signed by two aldermen and four councilors, stated Mr. Madeiros compromised the Corporation’s mayoral election in October by getting the election rules changed. Mr. Madeiros, who has responsibility for the city’s $20 million budget, has since stated his intention to continue in his position. Last night, the Corporation released a statement saying they had met and come to an agreement to carry on working amicably for the time being. However, that position could change if a legal bid to have the vote declared void comes to fruition. The statement said: “The Corporation of Hamilton today announces that the Mayor, aldermen and councillors have met and agreed to continue the day to day business of the Corporation in an orderly fashion until the issues surrounding the last election are resolved. All parties remain committed to their positions as stated in previous releases.” The rebels had claimed Mr. Madeiros’ alleged interference had placed his opponent, former Deputy Mayor Sonia Grant, at a disadvantage. Last month, Miss Grant launched a petition to have the vote declared void and hold a new election. She said there was an “avalanche of irregularities” relating to the poll that saw Mr. Madeiros become Mayor. The rebels — aldermen David Dunkley and William Black, and councillors Carvel Van Putten, George Grundmuller, Courtland Boyle and Graeme Outerbridge — were supporters of Miss Grant. It is understood the accusation centers around the fact that businesses, associations and partnerships were allowed to change the name of the nominee registered to vote on their behalf after the October 26 election date was announced — a practice not normally carried out. Mr. Madeiros, who was an alderman at the time, said he did not ask for the election rules to be changed, nor had the power to get them changed.

December 8. Late night shoppers will be able to take advantage of an extended ferry service every Friday until Christmas from tonight. The service put on by the Department of Marine and Ports Services aims to give people from the West End and the East End a chance to make the most of Hamilton’s late night shopping festivities. Bosses say the Rockaway-Hamilton route and the St. David’s/St. George’s-Hamilton route will run until 10 p.m. each Friday. As an extra offer, the Marine and Ports Service will be running a free ferry service on the St. David’s/St. George’s-Hamilton route from December 11 to 15. For more information about ferry schedules and times, contact the Hamilton Ferry Service on 295-4605.

December The Bermuda Council on Aging (BCA) was formed, after four year's work, in response to a growing awareness that Bermuda's population is growing older – and this has social, health and economic implications for seniors as well as all other demographic groups on the island. A group of dedicated citizens are researching the needs of seniors in Bermuda and want to convert the results into a plan of action that looks to the future. The needs of seniors have attracted the attention of Government, employers, charities, and concerned citizens alike. A steering committee was formed under the co-chairmanship of Jonathan Brewin and Ralph Richardson and, in June 2006, Marian Sherratt, the local coordinator for the Fordham research project, was engaged as executive director. The purpose is to bring together Government, the private sector, the charitable sector, and the community at large, to identify and help develop appropriate policies and programmes; to research and report on key issues; and to build community awareness of its ageing population. According to the 2000 Census, 11 percent of Bermuda's population is already older than 65, and the Department of Statistics estimates that this will double to 22 percent by 2030. It is important that the image of older persons is projected in a positive manner so that their continuing contributions to society are recognized and fostered. For those less independent older persons, adequate care and protection becomes the responsibility of a caring and just society.

December.  The Grand Slam of Golf is heading to Bermuda. The Department of Tourism has struck a deal with the PGA of America to play the prestigious 36-hole, $1.25 million event at the Mid Ocean Club from October 16-17, 2007, instead of in Hawaii. Bermuda taxpayers will foot the entire bill, expected to be considerably more than $1.5 million.

December 11. A massive breakdown in communication led Police to evacuate the West End on Saturday without first checking if a rumored tidal wave was actually heading for the Island. Officers were deployed to Dockyard and Somerset village to urge people to head east or get to higher ground after a flurry of calls from worried members of the public about large waves breaking on the northern reef line. Bermuda Police Service was remaining tight-lipped last night about why the operation was launched without checks being made with experts at Bermuda Weather Service who could have explained that the dramatic horizon was simply the result of stormy weather last week and an exceptionally clear day. But a source within the service who asked to remain anonymous  said: "There was a major breakdown in communication and there has to be a full investigation. They messed up. They didn't follow simple procedures. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. They had to make critical decisions in what they viewed as minutes. The intentions of those individuals was pure and that was to safeguard the public." Another highly-placed source added: "The Police Service raised the alarm without first checking whether the threat was real in the belief that time was of the essence and that lives were at risk.

December 15. Despite being one of six elected members who withdrew support for Mayor Sutherland Madeiros only a few weeks ago, Hamilton's new deputy mayor William Black does not foresee any problem working in partnership with the recently elected mayor. And with two years' experience serving on the Corporation as a councilor and latterly as an alderman, Mr. Black has a good idea about what projects are most urgently needed for the city. Finding solutions to traffic congestion and limited parking are key areas that need to be addressed, according to the new deputy, and keeping Hamilton an attractive place with a planned month-long clean-up drive next April is also on the agenda. The question of who would fill the city's deputy mayor role has been an issue since November's city hall election, which sparked a rebellion by two aldermen and four councilors over claims the election rules had been altered to favor the winner Mr. Madeiros. The new mayor denies he played any part in the rule changes. Following a letter signed by all but one of the city's councilors and aldermen withdrawing support for the mayor over the issue — which made front page news at the start of December — an agreement has been reached for all elected members to work together while the matter is looked into and resolved. Retired former detective sergeant Mr. Black, who as a businessman owned and operated Wide Security Services and Bermuda Central Station (now The Bermuda Security Group) for 33 years before retiring in 2002, sees no difficulty in working with the new mayor. Asked what projects are going to be high on the agenda, he said: "We have some major problems in the city. One is the huge traffic problem we have to come to terms with and deal with. There are these large cars on the Island and the parking bays are not big enough to accommodate them, so they end up using one and a half parking bays each." Mr. Black also mentioned an intended clean-up of the city in April when members of the public will be encouraged to join in and help give Hamilton a spring clean. The appointment of Mr. Black ends a second stint this year as acting deputy for David Dunkley, who also signed the letter critical of the mayor following the election. Announcing the deputy appointment, Mr. Madeiros said: "I am delighted to welcome Bill on board as deputy mayor. As a retired businessman, I know he will have the time to devote to this very busy and important position and I am looking forward to working more closely with him. At the same time I would like to thank David Dunkley who was acting deputy mayor for the city during the late Mayor Bluck's tenure and over the last six weeks since I have taken office. He made a valuable contribution to the city." Mr. Dunkley will remain as an alderman of the Corporation. 

December 15. Civil Servants have reacted favorably to their pep talk with Premier Ewart Brown on Tuesday. Around 80 top civil servants attended the dinner at the Elbow Beach along with Cabinet members. One department head stated he had been apprehensive about the meeting after Premier Brown had said some civil servants were not buying in to this Government's programme while some were actively taking steps to retard it. Dr. Brown had said last month: "We are going to convince them to find employment elsewhere. I will be asking them to make it clear to us who wants to work and who doesn't." However, Tuesday's dinner took a much more amicable tone. Health Permanent Secretary Warren Jones said: "It was a great evening." He said it was frank but non-threatening. "It was good right after the Throne Speech." He added: "I think it was about being willing to take risks and recognize we serve the public. He's looking to push us to think outside the box.. One civil servant said: "Premier Brown said, if we are eager to make changes and do things differently and better, we have to look at problems differently and explore all the possible solutions and not always do things the same way — if people are in line with that vision they are in line with working with the civil service." Asked for reaction that worker said: "I think the tone was good. I think the meeting was a good thing." Another, who attended the meeting, agreed with that summary and said he had been apprehensive after Dr. Brown's threat to those he deemed not to be supporting the Government. He said: "That was a bit of a surprise. I think he implied some people are trying to thwart their objectives. I have never come across that." He said the basic tenant of the civil service was carrying out Government policies. "I never found anyone trying to actively undermine a minister." A third civil servant said civil servants were co-operating. "But some are being asked to do things which are inappropriate." And that source questioned why the meeting was necessary. "I would think the civil service was, by now, fully supportive." The source said there had been a useful meeting a Stonington when the PLP first took over. "It's fine when you have a change of Government but I don't know what this was about." Bermuda Public Services Union general secretary Ed Ball said it was the Cabinet Secretary who is supposed to talk about matters to do with the civil service. "The whole reason we have a separation from the running of political parties is to ensure there's no intimidation in any way shape or form. That's why Government appoints the impartial Public Services Commission to make appointments and meet out discipline. There are sufficient persons within Government advising the Premier on protocol." Opposition Finance spokeswoman Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said she had no problem with the dinner if it led to Government functioning better.

December 15. The Premier is “deeply and seriously” concerned about the state of education, he admitted to students, teachers and parents at a West End school yesterday. Ewart Brown revealed to Sandys Secondary Middle School that within the next three months the Island would hear “some very significant statements” about what was planned to improve attainment levels. “I have told the Minister of Education that I’m deeply and seriously concerned with some of the trends and performances that I have seen in education,” he told them, in response to a pupil who asked him what changes he wanted to make as leader of the country. “If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we have been getting. We have to do some serious change. Education is in a serious situation.” The frank admission by the Premier that the Island’s public school system is in trouble echoes concerns already raised repeatedly by teachers, parents and politicians, including the Government’s own Renée Webb. This year’s graduation rates for the Island’s two senior schools have still not been made public — almost six months after students graduated. Yesterday, a Government spokesman said: “We are expecting to release the graduation results in the middle of next week.” In 2005, the overall failure rate was 47 percent — meaning almost half of the pupils at CedarBridge Academy and Berkeley Institute did not achieve Bermuda School Certificates. Dr. Brown told the school in Sandys: “I can tell you that I’m not happy and my colleagues are not happy that we don’t seem to be moving forward as a collective. We don’t seem to be getting better. We don’t seem to be producing students out of our system who are guaranteed employment in Bermuda. “Our people are increasingly becoming spectators to what is going on inside our country. The education system has to be the first line of attack.” The Premier said that one of the first changes to be made would be the introduction of textbooks in the first quarter of 2007 that “reflect the kids that read them. The good news is that there won’t be a big period of explanation,” he said. “We have gone through that already. In 2006, it’s an embarrassment to me that our children can’t open textbooks and see themselves.” Dr. Brown was at the school, which has 227 students, for an assembly celebrating the youngsters with the highest grades. He presented certificates to 150 pupils; 19 had achieved an average grade between 90 and 100 percent, 82 had got between 80 and 89.9 percent and 49 had got between 75 and 79.9 percent.  

December 19. The proposed new Ritz Carlton business hotel in Hamilton is shaping up to be the first development to break the city's seven-storey limit for buildings. A special development order (SDO) approved by Government has given first stage planning approval for the concept of a nine-storey hotel, which would set a new standard for the most storeys within the city limits. By a matter of feet the proposed hotel will comply with a strict rule that no building challenge the overall dominance of the Anglican Cathedral in the city skyline. However, the classy hotel earmarked for the Par-La-Ville car park site is one of two currently proposed developments that would top the previous seven-storey limit for buildings in Hamilton. During the summer the late Mayor Jay Bluck spoke of his belief that, in view of the lack of space and the continuing requirement for office space and residential accommodation, the city needed to reconsider its strict building height and multi-storey regulations and look to allow structures of up to ten storeys. The Ritz Carlton would be push that boundary, as would Sir John Swan's planned nine-storey office block at the eastern end of Front Street near Spurling Hill on the fringe of the city. Sir John's scheme was submitted for planning department consideration at the end of July and is awaiting a decision. Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield granted a SDO for Unified Resorts' hotel project to allow it to move forward more quickly. In its planning application developers Unified Resorts Limited expressed a wish that a planning decision be made promptly as the company's period of exclusivity to develop the site, conferred by the Corporation of Hamilton, runs out at the end of December. She also states that, even though the regular planning application process has not applied to the hotel project, members of the public have not been denied the chance to comment on it as the proposed development was advertised by the planning department before the SDO was made. And the scheme must also return for final approval by the Development Applications Board. The idea of having buildings with more than seven storeys is something that is finding increasing favour within the corridors of City Hall. Deputy Mayor William Black said the idea of the hotel being nine storeys was something being discussed in ongoing talks between the Corporation, Ritz Carlton and Unified Resorts, but he does not see that having so many storeys would automatically present a problem in view of the new regards about changing the city's development rules.  

December 22. The Grand Atlantic Resort and Residences have been proposed on a 13.1 acre plot of land south of South Road that is bordered on its eastern side by Astwood Walk and the Warwick gas station and stretches westward just beyond the bend in South Road where it junctions with Dunscombe Road. The proposed new five-star beach hotel and spa resort, if approved and built will rise nine storeys and offer guests spectacular views across the South Shore. The landmark 220-suite hotel will not stand alone but be accompanied by some five- or six-storey buildings offering luxury fractional and residential apartments and a number of seafront luxury villas. Presently, the plot of land houses a derelict former beach bar - the old Bermudiana Hotel facility of the 1960s - and a number of old buildings has been earmarked for the project which has been put forward by Atlantic Development. One of the hurdles facing the proposal is the mixture of green space and open space that would need to be used in order to allow all the new luxury villas, fractional vacation ownership apartments and what is termed as “luxury affordable one- two- and three-bedroom condominiums” to be built. Without all the elements, Atlantic Development does not feel the project would be viable. In its Planning application it has indicated that some of the 57 residential units would need to be built on parts of the site that technically fall under tourism zoning. It is hoped that this difficulty may be by-passed if a special development order is granted. “Some (of the residential units) will be on open space and green space as well as woodland and open space. These units are an essential component to the project and cannot be sited elsewhere on the site due to the site size and physical constraints,” states the developer’s Planning brief. “Some must also be sited on lands zoned ‘tourism’. Given that the planning statement may not offer the possibility of fully considering the merits of this project and the trade-off that will have to occur to bring this project to Bermuda, as well as the need of obtaining approvals in the most expedient manner, we are concurrently with this application seeking approval via a special development order.” The project includes a community swimming pool and a jogging trail, as well as new staff accommodation. In the plans the hotel will rise nine storeys with 220 rooms offering a maximum total of 706 beds, including a six-bedroom penthouse suite. There will also be two five-storey high blocks of 20 two-bedroom fractional ownership apartments, five three-bedroom villas, 20 three-bedroom units in two-storey blocks and 22 two-bedroom and ten one-bedroom units. Also foreseen is a twin two-storey retail area on an approach road to the hotel and resort. The hotel is to feature terrace and dining room restaurants, a beach bar and grill terrace, lounge bar, ballroom, swimming pool, spa, fitness centre and roof top tennis courts.

December 22. The Premier has helped to christen a cruise ship as part of a star-studded ceremony in Miami. Ewart Brown attended the official christening of the Norwegian Pearl, the Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) newest ship, on Saturday, December 16. The 93,530 ton Freestyle Cruising vessel, which has a four-lane ten-pin bowling alley and rock-climbing wall, was christened by popular talk show host and Emmy Award winner Rosie O’Donnell. Dr. Brown said he was delighted to participate in the event because Bermuda was an important destination for the cruise line. The Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Majesty and Norwegian Crown all sail to the Island during the summer. The ceremony at the Port of Miami, which also marked NCL’s 40th anniversary and launched the start of a year-long celebration, was attended by almost 2,500 guests. Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and chief executive officer, said the bowling alley was an industry first. “Since initiating the first Caribbean cruise 40 years ago, NCL has blazed a trail of innovation in the cruise industry. Today, we continue that tradition by introducing our latest treasure, Norwegian Pearl. The first on-board bowling alley, coupled with the rest of the ship’s irresistible amenities, make Norwegian Pearl one of the most exciting ships at sea.”

December 22. A 37-acre, wildly overgrown historic and environmentally-sensitive estate with its old limestone-cutting quarries, woodland, own beach (pictured) owned by Southlands Ltd was earmarked for a two-phase five-star hotel resort. Five internationally recognized hotel operators were contacted to ask if they wanted to get involved, all said yes. But it was Jumeirah, which already runs some of the world’s most opulent hotels including the famous “seven-star” sail-like Burj-al-Arab tower hotel in Dubai, which was chosen. This is despite objections including one from the Bermuda National Trust (BNT) on environmental grounds. The BNT states: "This application seeks to develop a large area of the woodland and open space that were protected by a Section 34 Agreement when original permission was given, in 1993, for a tourism development at this site.” The BNT also feels the application “seeks excessive foreshore development not compatible with Bermuda Planning Policy, reportedly for the purposes of eliminating coastal erosion and associated development setbacks. If permitted, we are of the opinion that the foreshore will be eliminated and the natural quality of South shore severely impacted. The consequence of such an approach is the eventual transformation of Bermuda’s South shore into a concrete promenade. This development is one of many pending large tourism/residential developments. Each of the recent cases has the potential to produce an enormous impact on the Island and the BNT believes that these projects, which could produce harms as great as the reported benefits, must be subject to the most rigorous and transparent scrutiny. As such, we feel that it is vital that independent Environmental Impact Assessments be carried out to determine their collective impact on Bermuda’s environment and also evaluations undertaken to establish their burden on the Island’s infrastructure and in doing so establish whether Bermuda can sustain their collective impact.” Southlands was once a manicured botanical garden-style environment with unusual quarried gardens dating back to the late 1800s. It was bought for $175,000,000 by the Willowbank Foundation charitable trust in 1976 and went under the control of developers Southlands Limited in December 2005. The Jumeirah group, operators of some of the world’s most opulent and spectacular hotels, is lined up to run the hotel once it is completed. Southlands Limited's four key figures are businessmen Craig Christensen, Nelson Hunt, Brian Duperreault and wife Nancy. They submitted artist’s impressions and drawings of how the new hotel resort will look. One of the most unusual aspects is a request to ‘bury’ South Road beneath a large land bridge and divert all South  Road (see below) traffic through a tunnel. Requests for two special development orders (SDOs) have been made, which would allow the scheme to proceed without fulfilling normal planning procedure considerations. The proposal seeks to build on woodland and open space protected from development and alter the coastal zone. Artist’s impressions of the scheme are public documents and can be viewed at the Planning Department on request. The Bermuda Department of Tourism is understood to be very much in favor of the new hotel development. The developers have since announced some modifications to the plan, as pictured above. 

December 28.  A luxurious five star hotel complex creating hundreds of new jobs and a land bridge over South Road could soon be built in Bermuda – with the developers of the world’s most opulent hotel lined up as its operators. Conceptual drawings show a two-phase resort on both sides of South Road at the 37-acre Southlands estate in Warwick. The first phase could be a reality before the end of 2008. Five internationally recognized hotel operators were contacted to ask if they wanted to get involved, all said yes. But it was Jumeirah, which already runs some of the world’s most opulent hotels including the famous “seven-star” sail-like Burj-al-Arab tower hotel in Dubai, which was chosen. However, concern has been expressed about yet another hotel project seeking to by-pass normal planning application rules with Special Development Order status. In the past month a neighboring hotel scheme on South Shore, put forward by Atlantic Development has also asked for an SDO, and the proposed Ritz-Carlton for Hamilton has received an SDO. Plans have been submitted for the Southlands scheme and it is likely that a Section 34 – which gives protection to large swathes of land across Bermuda – will have to be rescinded to allow the scheme to go ahead. The developer is also seeking two SDOs, one for the hotel and one for a staff block as not all the land is zoned for tourism. The draft SDOs are included in the planning application awaiting a decision by Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield. The most unusual aspect of the scheme calls for the realigning of South Road and for it to be covered over by a land bridge – effectively creating a tunnel for traffic passing beneath. Up above will be a wide, landscaped garden and pedestrian street linking the resort’s northern section with its southern section and the south shore beach. And two holes will be created in the land bridge allowing over-hanging vegetation to dangle through and for natural daylight to illuminate the road below. It is anticipated Bermudians will be trained up by Jumeirah in its luxury Dubai hotels before transferring back to staff the new five-star resort. Staff accommodation in a ten-level complex, that will be concealed in the Hunt’s Quarry site will provide room for 375 people. A total of 400 staff are expected to be needed to run the resort. And a concrete sea wall and other permanent foreshore protection features have been designed to safeguard the resort and south shore cliffs overlooking the beach from further erosion. The on-Island developer has asked that a Section 34 agreement dating back 14 years that protects aspects of the site, including woodland and environmental features, be rescinded. It is believed only one Section 34, which currently protects 119 acres of Bermuda, has been rescinded before. Currently Southlands is a mostly vacant site and has a mixture of green space, agricultural, woodland and only some tourism zoning. It is unlikely the scheme would be given planning permission through a normal application. The developers are seeking SDOs as an alternative and on October 13 received support from the Cabinet Committee on Special Hotel Developments to apply for SDOs. The few buildings on the site will be demolished, although the historical Morgan’s Tomb will remain a feature within the resort’s extensive grounds. As well as three five-storey resort buildings close to the shore on the southern side of South Road and a further five five-storey blocks to the north, the resort will boast an exotic spa, numerous smaller residential buildings dotted around the grounds to the north. There will be three ballrooms, a nightclub, conference room and business centre, various cafes, bars and restaurants, dining terraces able to handle up to 400 people and swimming pools. The resort will have 296 guest suites with a total of 371 bedrooms giving it the potential to accommodate 800 people. In addition there will be 42 residential three-bedroom units. The prospect of hotel operator Jumeirah coming to Bermuda was made public by Premier Ewart Brown at a meeting in St. George’s last month. The artists’ impressions of the scheme are now public documents, and can be viewed at the Planning Department in the Government Administration Building. In details for the scheme it is proposed to re-align South Road and widen it from its current two ten foot wide lanes to three lanes 12 feet wide, one to be used for traffic turning in and out of the resort. There will also be two concrete sidewalks for pedestrians. An analysis of the new road configuration claims motorists can look forward to a one-second improvement in their journey times as a result of the slightly more direct routing of the road. The land bridge will be a minimum of 18 feet above the road and the hotel owner will pay for all the road alterations. Plans have been put forward by Southlands Limited.

December 29.  Bermudian businessmen are behind a proposed five-star hotel at Southlands, a 37-acre property along the South Shore in Warwick. The application before the Department of Planning insists that the project will not become a reality unless permission is given to relocate a portion of South Road underground. The deal is also said to be contingent on the owners receiving a green light to "improve" the cliff face through a variety of coastal systems ranging from submerged boulder revetments to reinforced concrete armored facing. They are also seeking an included option to build permanent residences on the resort should they choose at a future date. Principals behind Southlands Resort Development, Southlands Resort Development Limited, have applied for a Special Development Order to fast-track the project. Should they succeed, the property will boast 269 guest suites and potentially, 42 three-bedroom residences. A separate application has been made to place 250 staff apartments on Quarry Lane in Warwick.  Hotel operator Jumeirah has stated it will create an overseas training programme for Bermudians at its operations in Dubai, should the bid prove successful. The Southlands Resort would sit only a stone's throw away from another luxury resort now under Planning consideration, the Grand Atlantic Resort and Residences. A five-star beach hotel and spa, its plans include fractional and residential apartments as well as a number of seafront villas. The resort is earmarked for the old Ritz-Carlton site, a 13.1 acre plot bordering Astwood Walk, the Warwick Gas Station and Dunscombe Road. The project's backers, Atlantic Development, have also applied for a Special Development Order. Plans for the Southlands Resort allow accommodation for nearly 800 guests. Anticipated are 269 suites – 187 one-bedroom suites ranging from 600 to 1,100 square feet, 62 two-bedroom suites at 1,500 square feet and 20 three-bedroom suites ranging from 2,150 to 2,950 square feet. In addition, 42 residential, three-bedroom units ranging in size from 2,150 to 2,950 square feet, have been applied for. The 37-acre Southlands property is zoned a mix of tourism, woodland, agricultural and green space. Planning permission was first given to place a hotel at Southlands in 1993. The Development Applications Board gave the Willowbank Foundation the green light to build a self-catering tourist complex of 21 housekeeping units and also 40 housing units for the elderly. The complex was never completed. Southlands was owned by James Morgan who added to the main house and established intricate gardens in the quarries that existed prior to his purchasing the property. Morgan was an influential person and his activities in Bermuda are documented. The proposed Southlands Resort includes the Morgan homestead as a club and museum to highlight features of the property and its former owner. The long-neglected quarry gardens and water features will be reinstated and integrated into the resort as unique amenities. The Morgan tomb will be restored and preserved. Southlands Resort will enhance part of Bermuda's cultural heritage and make it more accessible. The Southlands property is a very special place with history, unique quarry gardens and vegetation and an ideal topography sloping down from a ridge line along the northern boundary to a combination of beach and rugged cliffs on South Shore. At approximately 37 acres, it is a prime site for a major resort. (However) South Road bisects the property in a manner that leaves too little land on the south side to develop as a viable resort and dislocates the larger, northern portion of the site from the waterfront. Both of these impediments are addressed by the proposed South Road diversion which moves the road further north and partially covers it with landscaped canopies. From above, the site will appear as a continuous piece of waterfront property. Eliminating the disruption of the road and permitting uninterrupted pedestrian access across the site is crucial for a comprehensive, viable, high-class development. The road diversion transforms the property and makes such a development possible. Work will be completed in two phases. The first will see the diversion and relocation of South Road, the construction of 63 suites, reception and banquet areas and meeting rooms, bars, restaurants and other amenities and shoreline protection. Phase two will involve completion of the road and conclusion of the resort – a further 262 suites, the main reception for the resort, a spa, additional banquet and ballrooms, an executive conference centre and further amenities. The plans involve relocating all of South Road which falls within the limits of the Southlands Resort Development property, underground. The existing road consists of two ten-foot lanes with a total width of 20 feet. The proposed road will consist of three 12-foot lanes with a total width of 36 feet. The third lane has been introduced to enable resort access. Bus lay-bys and shelters will also be incorporated. Shoreline erosion, particularly as it relates to the cliff face, is fairly extensive and significant (typical for the South Shore) and poses a potential structural integrity threat to the cliff face. The primary agent that leads to this erosion is storm wave action. If left unchecked, there is no reason to suppose that the level of erosion will not decrease.

December 31. Coupland Trust Associates Ltd. completed their 2002 to 2006 contract with the Government of Bermuda. It included 

For the Bermuda Government Director of Marine and Ports

Bermuda Ferries Projects

Oversee the design, build and delivery of high speed passenger ferries, design specified and built to provide service for an increasing "mega" cruise ship market, tourist market and domestic commuter service

Also in 2006

Movie: A Royal Birthday - see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0876013/ was filmed partly in Bermuda. 

To commemorate the Bermuda Shipwrecks, the Royal Mint released a special Limited Issue Triangular Constellation Ship $3 Three Dollar Gold Proof Coin struck in solid fine .999 Gold Certified Slabbed and Graded by NGC as PF69 Ultra Cameo, and a very special Limited Issue Triangular Mary Celestia Ship $3 Three Dollar Gold Proof Coin struck in solid fine.999 Gold and weighs one twentieth of an ounce of pure Gold Certified Slabbed and Graded by NGC as PF69 Ultra Cameo.

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Authored, researched, compiled and website-managed by Keith A. Forbes. Last Updated: August 4, 2020
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