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Bermuda's History 2007 August

News and significant events in this calendar month

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

line drawing

Bermuda stamps 1902 set

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

August 1. Rising demand for deluxe scotch whisky in China, Taiwan, Korea and other Asian countries has prompted Bacardi to invest more than $250 million to expand production of its Dewar's brand in Scotland. The Bermuda-based company intends to add a new maturation warehouse and blend centre in the Scottish city of Glasgow, which will include new bottling lines and packing equipment. Bacardi is also finalizing options to buy a 100-acre site in central Scotland for a second maturation and blending facility. The Dewar's brand of whisky includes 12-year, 15-year and 18-year maturities and therefore any increase in production has to be planned with a significant lead-up time. It is anticipated the $250m investment will be spread out over the next 10 years. Bacardi is the largest privately-held spirits company in the world. It bought the Dewar's brand in 1998 and has five distilleries in Scotland, including one in Perthshire. The company has seen a surge in demand for quality brand whisky in the booming economies of Asia, where people now have greater purchasing power and are seeking the best whiskies they can buy. And with changes to spirit duty restrictions in India another massive market has become more accessible. Imports of scotch whisky to China jumped 27 percent last year to more than $110m, making the country one of the ten most valuable export markets in the world for scotch, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. "Demand for whisky is more favorable today," said Joaquin Bacardi, senior global brand director for Dewar's. He said conditions were now favorable for customers in Asia to go out and buy high quality whiskies, and Dewar's 12-year blend is one of those premier regarded products. Andreas Gembler, president and CEO of Bacardi Limited, said: "Demand for Dewar's premium whiskies has grown significantly, especially in Asia and other emerging markets where the brands were launched only in the past three years. "To support our growth, we will invest more than $250m in additional capacity to meet these needs, creating an entirely new infrastructure to support higher inventories of maturing whisky and increasing our blending, bottling and packing capabilities." He added: "Bacardi has a rich history of investing in our brands and their heritage, the backbone of our fine spirits. This substantial plan demonstrates our clear commitment to Scotland, known around the world for its quality whisky, and to our Dewar's brands, favorites among consumers." The redevelopment of the existing Dewar's site at Parkhead, Glasgow, together with a planned second maturation and blending facility in the central Scotland region will increase jobs and provide knock-on benefits for the Scottish economy including the sourcing of packaging and purchasing materials from suppliers within the country, according to Bacardi. As well as the increasing demand for the Dewar's whisky range in Asia, Dewar's is the number one selling blended scotch in the US.

Bacardi Bermuda

Bacardi World Headquarters, Bermuda

August 1. Extra ferries are being laid on to take spectators to this year's Cup Match festivities in St. George's. A ferry will leave Dockyard at 8 a.m. tomorrow and Friday and travel to the slip road at St. George's. A boat will also leave Dockyard for St. George's at 4.30 p.m. both days. The return trip from St. George's to Dockyard will be at 7 p.m. tomorrow and 8 p.m. on Friday. For more information contact the Hamilton Ferry Terminal on 295-4506. 

August 1. Police are again urging the public to leave the carving knives at home for their pitch-side picnics this Cup Match. Police and security guards will be strictly enforcing weapons legislation which forbids carrying blades more than three inches long in public. CADA is still in talks with cab drivers, minibus drivers and sponsors over the revival of the 'Let us Drive' scheme, which took home 212 people in the eight-week trial run, will see runs staggered later.

August 1. More than 35,000 people have now signed a petition calling for action to end modern day slavery. Anti-Slavery International's Fight For Freedom declaration calls for world leaders to end all forms of human captivity, including human trafficking, child labour, bonded labour and forced marriage. The number of signatures on the worldwide list was yesterday at 35,153 but campaigners stressed it remains vital for as many people as possible to add their names. Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, thanked people for their support so far but stressed the need for everyone who hasn't signed the petition to do so. "It's a crucial demonstration of support from the global public calling on governments to address the Transatlantic Slave Trade's legacies and end slavery once and for all," said Mr. McQuade. "Anti-Slavery International is grateful for the Bermuda public's support in this crucial campaign and participation in collecting signatures. Many thanks to all of you who have signed the Fight For Freedom declaration. The campaign continues and the declaration will remain open for signature throughout 2007. The need for signatures continues. If you haven't signed yet, take action today. Or see what else you can do to be a modern day abolitionist at www.antislavery.org." Social Rehabilitation Minister Dale Butler, who fought on a movement in Bermuda opposing apartheid in South Africa, pointed out the significance of issues beyond the Island's shores. "Bermuda plays a critical role," said Mr. Butler, as he encouraged people to sign the Anti-Slavery petition. "It has an international responsibility to say while we enjoy certain freedoms, we would like to fight any movements like slavery. "To be silent would mean we are like the people in Nazi Germany who said: 'They are not picking on me,' until there was nobody left to be picked on but them."  

August 1. It was William Wilberforce who set the ball rolling in the face of fierce opposition by steering anti-slavery legislation through British Parliament 200 years ago. If he were still around today, the great emancipator would no doubt be horrified to see how, with millions of men, women and children suffering across the globe on a daily basis, slavery remains alive and well. But one thing would surely comfort him: it's clear the name Wilberforce will never give up the fight. Charlotte Wilberforce, William's great-great-great granddaughter, is now carrying the anti-slavery baton and, inspired by her ancestor, is determined to do her bit to help stamp out human captivity once and for all. Ms Wilberforce, 28, who arrived in Pembroke from the UK earlier this year, hopes her Run For Freedom can propel the anti-slavery message to the forefront in Bermuda. If all goes according to plan, hundreds of people will quite literally be running for freedom in and around the City of Hamilton on Sunday, March 23, next year, two days before the anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. They will be raising money for an anti-slavery charity and, just as importantly, generating awareness about the need for world leaders to take action to help release more than 12 million people whose lives are wrecked by modern day slavery. Ms Wilberforce began her own campaign by organizing a Run For Freedom in London last March to mark the bicentenary of the Slave Trade Act, which her ancestor fought for all those years ago. She got involved after meeting representatives from international anti-slavery coalition Stop The Traffik at a preview of Amazing Grace, the movie telling William Wilberforce's inspirational story. She was sickened at what they had to say.

August 1. A descendant of slave emancipator William Wilberforce today called for hundreds of people to sign up to a Run For Freedom in Bermuda to raise awareness of the fight against modern day slavery. Charlotte Wilberforce, a great-great-great granddaughter of the trailblazing British politician, has set up the sponsored event to put pressure on global leaders to end the captivity of more than 12 million men, women and children across the world. It comes as campaigners press forward with plans to erect a Middle Passage monument in Dockyard as a tribute to millions of slaves who died crossing the Atlantic. A copy of the petition, signed by more than 35,000 people across the world so far, will be presented to Government and Government House later this year. Ms Wilberforce, who arrived in Pembroke from the UK earlier this year, says she has been inspired by her ancestor, who fought against the odds to push anti-slavery legislation through British Parliament two centuries ago. William Wilberforce's efforts culminated in the 1807 act outlawing the slave trade, which paved the way for another act abolishing slavery itself in 1833. Finally, Bermuda's 4,200 slaves - almost half the population - won immediate freedom on Emancipation Day, August 1, 1834.  

August 1. With the Cup Match holiday approaching, a number of tourists will be on the Island for the festivities. Norwegian Majesty arrived at Ordnance Island yesterday and will set sail at noon on Friday. The Norwegian Crown, which arrived yesterday morning at Penno's Wharf in St. George's, will shift to Hamilton today and will set sail from there at noon on Friday. Empress of the Seas arrived in Hamilton on Monday, will shift to Penno's Wharf in St. George's this morning and will leave tomorrow morning. At the West End of the Island, Norwegian Dawn will arrive in Dockyard tomorrow at 6 a.m. and will sail at 6 p.m. The Crown Princess left the Island on Monday, but will return to Dockyard on Friday from 6.30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Explorer of the Seas arrived in Dockyard yesterday and will leave today at 5 p.m., before the festivities begin. The Azamara Journey arrived on Monday and passengers may get a small taste of the holiday before leaving tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m.

August 1. Former Club Med squatters and residents of the Leopards Club face their second temporary move since May despite Government pledging to work towards a permanent solution. In a press conference held at the Cabinet Building yesterday, Senator David Burch said the Government would not rest until people who are in need of homes are properly housed. He announced there would be a new transitional/emergency housing complex at the Gulfstream, Southside, St. David's to house 83 displaced families - those currently at the Southampton Beach Resort, Wyndham, along with people on the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) emergency housing list. The squatters at Club Med moved to Wyndham and the Leopards Club residents were placed in an old rest home in St. George's and then Wyndham making this the third move for both groups. Housing Minister Sen. Burch explained the building is three storeys and was previously used to house single US military personnel. The building has 83 suite-style rooms with a bathroom between two rooms. He said: "Asbestos abatement work began at the beginning of July to endure that health and safety concerns with regard to the building were addressed. Invited contractors will being the renovation works immediately [after] the asbestos contractor concludes his work". H.U.S.T.L.E. truck workers were involved with the initial clean-up removing trash and old furniture. Renovations include new windows, electrical and plumbing upgrades, installation of smoke detectors and a new roof being put on. The target date for the families to move in is mid-September when phone one of the renovations are complete. 

August 1. In a career of many milestones, tonight marks a special one for Bermudian singer, songwriter and recording artist Wanda Ray Willis as she hosts the first local launch of her newly-minted album, 'Here I Am', during a special reception at Greg's Steak House (The G Spot) in Hamilton. In fact, the event is a double CD release party, since she is sharing the occasion with singer/songwriter Marcus Dagan, on whose latest album, 'Bermuda Sessions', (previously covered in the June 16 edition of Lifestyle) Ms Willis sings back-up on the track, 'All My Dreams are Gathered Safely In'. Her 13-track album features 11 original songs written by Ms Willis, which she describes as "a compilation of songs written between 1990 and now". On one of them her brother, Eldon Raynor Jr., joins her, and another was inspired by watching the Bermuda/Bangladesh World Cup cricket match in Trinidad. The other two songs are covers: Willy Mitchell's 'Let's Stay Together' and 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow?' by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, the latter being one of her favorite composers, pianists and artists. "I wrote 'While We Are Waiting' while it was raining in Trinidad," the singer-songwriter relates. "Someone was handing out pocket Bermuda calendars and a friend handed me a copy saying, 'Here, use this'. I still have the map with the song written on two pages. When I arrived back in Los Angeles, I went straight to my keyboard. " With her track to the song completed, Ms Willis decided she needed "an energetic male vocalist from the islands to give it a Caribbean feel," but she could hardly have imagined that she would find Trinidadian Dakeye to fill the bill through a chance encounter with the dreadlocked stranger, whom she overheard talking very loudly on his cellphone in her local bank. Instinctively, she knew he was a singer, and she was certain he was the man for whom she was looking. She caught up Sakeye in the car park, where he said he was going on tour, but gave her the business card of his manager, and told her to check out his web site. Arrangements were duly made for the singer to record the song, on which Ms Willis also sings, and she is delighted with the result. 

August 2 and 3. Public holidays, no newspaper

August 4. An annual report for 2006 for the Transport Control Department is to be distributed to schools and community groups. Premier Ewart Brown told a press conference that TCD had not produced such a document in some time. "However, rather than dwell on that, I'd like to take this opportunity and extend my thanks and appreciation to the management and staff at TCD some who are here today for their hard work and dedication to seeing this project through," he said. The report reveals that TCD generated almost $27 million in revenue in 2006; that March was its busiest month in 2006, when it handled more than 14,800 transactions, and that as of last December, the Island had 47,074 licensed vehicles.  

August 4. A pressure group formed to fight a new housing law which penalizes Bermudians married to foreigners will hold its first meeting later this month. Two expert lawyers will speak at the event at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22 at the Chamber of Commerce. The group was launched by Ronnie Viera in protest at the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007, which became law in June. It requires Bermudians and their expatriate spouses to obtain permission to buy property and restricts the number of homes they can own to one, so long as the foreign partner does not have Bermudian status. Mr. Viera, who is married to a Canadian, has set up a group dedicated to getting the law changed on the social networking internet site Facebook. It has attracted comments on its discussion board from Islanders angered by the legislation. Diane Bissell wrote: "This law is in direct contravention to the Human Rights Act as it discriminates based on marital status." The description for the group reads: "The effect of this law, is that BERMUDIANS and their families are disadvantaged when compared to the Bermudian married to another Bermudian. The law is unnecessarily harsh and discriminatory." Mr. Viera said this week that the two conveyancing lawyers would explain key aspects of the Act at the meeting and discuss guidelines being produced by the Department of Immigration. "Given the expected high turnout, they cannot give advice on specific situations," he said. Anyone interested in joining the group and/or being on its steering committee can email Mr. Viera at bermudian2007@hotmail.com.

August 4. St. George's Cricket Club retained the coveted Cup Match trophy at Wellington Oval yesterday by way of a tame draw. But it was challengers Somerset who stole the show in the final session of play by producing an awesome fireworks display of batting to give those who braved the inclement weather value for their money. Chasing St. George's first innings total of 361 for nine declared, Somerset replied with 285 for six in 39 overs when stumps were drawn in fading light at 7.35 p.m. The challengers found themselves in early trouble at 88 for four with their hosts pushing for a third straight win. But a breathtaking 143-run fifth- wicket stand between Janeiro Tucker and Dean Stephens, the second highest of all-time, knocked St. George's off course and put paid to their victory plans.  

August 4. Bermuda-headquartered insurer Hiscox is to launch an TV and print media advertising campaign across the UK from this coming Monday. Hiscox is one of the UK's leading insurers of higher value homes. The new campaign is entitled "Certainty", and seeks to drive home a message of confidence in the company and the assertion by Hiscox that half the claims it pays out every year would not have been paid by a standard insurer. Filmed in Toronto, Canada, the 60 second advert was directed by Brett Foraker of Ridley Scott Associates whose previous projects include directing ads for Sony and Virgin and Channel 4. Director of Photography was Bill Pope who has worked on The Matrix and Spiderman 3, while the voiceover artist was Bernard Hill, of Lord of the Rings and Titanic fame. The campaign will run for five weeks at prime time viewing on all major satellite channels, including Sky Sports, and terrestrial channels in key regions across the UK. The schedule features both 30 and 60 second versions of the ads. A second burst is currently planned for February 2008. The advertising is part of an integrated £10million ($20m) marketing campaign, supported by press advertising, digital marketing and public relations activity. According to Hiscox the new work targets the growing number of affluent homeowners in the UK and builds on the company's first TV campaign, "Superstitions", which first ran in May last year and featured a well dressed man confidently ignoring typical signs of bad luck, including a road full of black cats, because he is protected by Hiscox.  

August 6. Premier Dr. Ewart Brown has described the excitement of being in Bermuda for Cup Match on radio show The Urban Journal. The XM Satellite Radio programme was broadcast on Thursday and Friday from the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and featured several contributors discussing their Cup Match experiences. Guests included Minister of Social Rehabilitation Dale Butler, US Consul Margaret Pride, performer Nadanja Bailey, Tobacco Bay representative Amelia Heath and Gosling's brand manager Andrew Holmes. The programme can be heard online at: website theurbanjournal.org. Today, the Premier takes to the airwaves once more as a guest on The Steve Harvey Show, which is broadcast across the US. He will discuss the upcoming attractions of the Bermuda Music Festival. Dr. Brown will also address US golf writers at the PGA Championship's media reception in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday. He will discuss the Island's role as the host for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. The winner of the PGA Championship will be the fourth professional golfer to take part in the tournament at the Mid Ocean Golf Club on October 15-17.

August 6. A record divorce battle could be played out in the courts of Bermuda after an appeal to UK Law Lords failed. The BBC has reported that reinsurance tycoon John Charman is now "considering his options" after being told he cannot appeal to the House of Lords. His spokesman said: "There may be proceedings in the Bermuda court." Mr. Charman, 54, chief executive officer of Axis Capital Holdings Ltd, has been fighting to get a $96 million divorce bill to ex-wife Beverley, of Kent, reduced to $40 million. The settlement was upheld by the UK Court of Appeal in May - the largest divorce payment in British history. At the time, Mr. Charman branded it "grotesque and unfair". He said the $40 million offer reflected his ex-wife's role as "a housewife". Mrs. Charman, 53, however, claimed the $96 million "fairly" recognized her contribution to their 28-year marriage. The legal battle may now return to Bermuda after three Law Lords ruled there can be no further appeal. Mr. Charman's spokesman said: "It was deemed to be not in the public interest that the matter be debated further. He is now considering his options and there may be proceedings in the Bermuda court." Mr. Charman was ranked second in the list of executives' salaries at 18 of the Island's biggest insurance and reinsurance companies. Last year he picked up a compensation package of $10,875,051. His salary was $1,250,000 and he received a bonus of $1,989,700. The original divorce settlement ruling at London's High Court a year ago said Mrs. Charman was entitled to a large portion of the assets because when the marriage started the couple had little money and she took care of the home while Mr. Charman went out to work. At the time she estimated he was worth $320 million, but Mr. Charman said this included a $140 million trust in Bermuda for their two children, Nicholas and Michael, and future generations. His lawyer Barry Singleton QC, argued that Mr. Charman had made an "exceptional" contribution to the couple's wealth through his financial skills, and that it would be discriminatory for judges not to award him a higher percentage of the assets.

August 6. A special development order paving the way for a hotel at Southlands has been officially signed off by the Environment Minister. Neletha Butterfield announced: "The SDO was signed on July 30." Last night she would not comment further, but during an earlier Government television broadcast Ms Butterfield summed up Jumeirah Southlands as "a facility that we will all be truly proud of". The Minister's approval has all but demolished the hopes of campaigners that she might reconsider the five-star resort. Stuart Hayward, chairman of Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce (BEST), which collected more than 3,200 signatures to 'Save South Shore', said: "It's a real disappointment.  This flies in the face of the best advice that is available to the Minister, as well as decades of wisdom in planning regulations and decisions." He said BEST would continue to try to preserve the land in its natural state, possibly through legal process. "A judicial review will remain on the cards," said Mr. Hayward. "But firstly we will look at all the details of the SDO to see if it is stringent enough and whether all the bases are covered and the conditions adequate. The question is then who is going to enforce them. At the moment Government's ability to enforce environmental violations is limited." Mr. Hayward said: "The SDO is not the end of this, all it is a milestone. We must now turn the corner on this milestone and proceed to the next phase of our activities." The 30-minute Government television broadcast confirmed Cabinet's approval of the SDO following weeks of rumors. Premier Ewart Brown, Works and Engineering Minister Dennis Lister and Labour and Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess all emphasized the resort's importance to the future of tourism. Ms Butterfield told viewers that she had yet to sign off the SDO: "I have to tell you that this has not been an easy process of decision for me. I have read the objections that were submitted. I have heard the voices of environmentalists and I share their love of Bermuda's open spaces." But she added: "This new hotel will show that we have balanced conservation with the future development needs of our tourism product." The SDO however, bypasses the need for an environmental impact assessment. Developers Southlands Ltd. only need building permits before the cranes move in. The first stage of Jumeirah Southlands is expected to be completed by next summer, with the 37-acre resort up and running by 2010. The 497-bed facility will offer tourist accommodation in 176 suites but 135 suites will be sold as fractional vacation units. The cliffside resort features five restaurants and bars, a nightclub, spa, swimming pools, equestrian facility and conference centre. Government says the hotel is needed to cater for the Island's booming tourist numbers. It will be the first 'luxury' resort constructed on the Island for 35 years and will offer 590 full-time positions. Environmental campaigners however, say the development will wipe out one of Bermuda's last areas of open space. They claim it will destroy wildlife habitats and increase traffic congestion along the South Shore. Yesterday, US tourist Christine Ming said she had spotted a rare bird at Southlands on a recent visit to Bermuda. Ms Ming said: "I'm a bird enthusiast and was walking through the Southlands beach area and saw a nesting Yellow-Crowned Night Heron there. I think this bird is rare in Bermuda and uncommon in many countries. I feel a resort in this area is a terrible use of such beautiful coastal land. I have also been grieved to find that the beaches I once believed to be the most beautiful in the world are now more trash-littered than ever. Bermuda is slowly losing her battle to keep this island the paradise that it was and it will lose much more in the end, as returning tourists like myself will no longer wish to witness the decline." The Yellow-Crowned Night Heron inhabits the eastern United States and is listed as endangered or threatened in several US states. It was introduced to these shores to replace the endemic Bermuda Night Heron which became extinct after human colonization of the Island. Yesterday Andrew Vaucrosson, vice president of environmental group Greenrock, said: "We feel that this decision of the Minister is systematic of this current Government, in that they appear to be ignoring all the hard work the previous administration put into place regarding the Sustainable Development Strategy Plan. "The current administration led by Premier Brown does not seem to be taking any guidance from the SDSP that his own Party put in place. Also this SDO for Southlands is being granted before the revision of the Planning Act. Is this coincidental or intentional? This SDO did not include an Environmental Impact Study which would have addressed the traffic congestion, the shore erosion, the loss of open space, the need to build infrastructure to support this new development, and other important factors. Greenrock is concerned by how this current Government seems to be operating outside of its own guidelines stated in the SDSP. The Southlands development appears to be receiving special treatment despite being contradictory to this Government's own guidelines. Greenrock hopes that the public realizes this hypocrisy." Shadow Environment Minister Cole Simons warned: "The SDO enabling the development of Southlands will change the face of Warwick forever." BEST is to hold a picnic and discussion of environmental issues at Astwood Park on August 25 from 3 p.m.-9 p.m.

August 6. Bermuda still has unfinished business in the journey towards a place where people of all races can live together in freedom. That is the view of United Bermuda Party leader Michael Dunkley who was speaking about Emancipation Day, which marked the first legal step to freeing people denied their human rights and dignity. Mr. Dunkley said one of the most important days for Bermudians to celebrate was Emancipation Day. "It is fitting that it has become an integral part of Cup Match, which I think everyone would agree is the pinnacle of all Bermuda holidays," he said. Mr. Dunkley said Emancipation Day, August 1, marked the first real step toward the promise of a better world where people of all races live together in freedom, equality and mutual respect. But he added: "It is a journey not yet complete. It has been more than 170 years since 'freedom day', but we still have a long way to go. There is plenty of unfinished business to take care of. You can see it in income disparities and corporate ladders; you can see it in social gatherings and hear it on radio talk shows,'' he added. Mr. Dunkley added: "The challenge in finishing the unfinished business is bringing people together to agree on what needs to be done. This, I think, is the big challenge facing us as Bermudians. If we can get to a point where we agree on the diagnosis, then we can probably agree on the prescription. That would be a start, but we have to work to get there. As a white Bermudian from a relatively privileged background, and as someone who deeply cares about our society, I make a conscious effort to understand other perspectives and other experiences rather than remain in the comfort zone of my upbringing.  I also know that my belief in equality and justice for all Bermudians is the right place to start. I know my faith in people to be good and my faith in God to guide their actions gives me the optimism to work for that better world. Those are my starting points, but I'm realist enough to know that idealism and optimism are not enough. Emancipation Day, after all, was a beginning not an end. The battles here and elsewhere for voting rights, for desegregation and for economic opportunity can all be connected back to the system of slavery when one race used its social, legal and national resources to keep in place another race. It is a heavy legacy. Slavery lasted long enough to become part of the landscape of our history. The system was ingrained in our ancestors, black and white, and while diminishing over time it has not yet disappeared. So the struggle must continue. I believe one way to continue that struggle is to set a good example. Be the change you want to be. Live by doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Live this way and we will bring that better world closer. It's about striving for something better. In that, I believe, lies the great meaning of Emancipation Day, a very important day for Bermudians to celebrate." 

August 6. The Progressive Labour Party has come under attack for promoting party leader and Premier Ewart Brown's private stem cell research venture on its website. Shadow Health Minister Louise Jackson says the PLP should not be seeking to gain political brownie points from Dr. Brown and wife Wanda's partnership with American company Stemedica Cell Technologies. The Premier announced the link-up in his role as president of Bermuda Healthcare Services at a press conference last month. Reacting to the news, an item on the party website's blog, submitted by "PLP", states: "Dr. Brown is creating hope. The ultimate hope. Hope for millions who suffer from debilitating (sic) illnesses." Mrs. Jackson likened the move to the United Bermuda Party advertising Leader Michael Dunkley's dairy, or her own dance school, on its website. "Suppose we started doing that?" she said. "It's something we would not do. If I were the Premier of the Country I would not go and start putting on the United Bermuda Party's website that the Jackson School of Dance is wonderful and everyone should go there. It's bad practice and inappropriate to put the Premier's business interests on the party website." The clinic, named Brown-Darrell after the Premier's parents, will be on the site of the former Winterhaven property in Smith's, which is owned by Dr. Brown and currently undergoing refurbishment. It will be staffed by physicians from Bermuda Healthcare and Stemedica and is expected to eventually treat one or two stem cell patients a week. Last month's press conference was told how the initiative could lead to scores of patients a year flying to Bermuda to receive revolutionary treatment for illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and spinal cord injuries. The Premier described it as one of the most exciting developments in healthcare on the Island in recent times. On this point, the PLP website article states: "Moving stem cell research forward is not only good for Bermudians, it's good for humankind. As the US National Institute of Health noted, 'Given the enormous promise of stem cells therapies for so many devastating diseases, NIH believes that it is important to simultaneously pursue all lines of research and search for the very best sources of these cells. This research holds the key to a cure to a number of diseases. Dr. Brown is making sure that Bermuda makes a contribution to this medical revolution." Last night in response, David Burt, the PLP's party chairman, said all the language refers to Dr. Brown, in reference to his role as a private citizen, not his role as Premier. 

August 7. A Bermudian fishing boat was unable to start its engine and was adrift 21 miles offshore last night before two other vessels came to its rescue. Around 5.20 p.m. Harbour Radio received the distress call and the two fishing boats who were nearby responded. A spokesperson at Harbour Radio said the two people onboard the disabled vessel, Provider, were unable to get the engine to start and the first vessel to arrive was the visiting US fishing boat Great Escape. Provider had departed from Dockyard on Sunday and the two men had been fishing near Argus Bank, a point almost 21 miles Southwest of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, before running into trouble. Though initiating the tow, the crew on Great Escape brought the disabled vessel closer to Bermuda where a local fishing boat, Bay Roots finished the tow into Ely's Harbour at 10 p.m. last night.

August 7. Developers Southlands Ltd. have pledged the preservation of the natural wonders and unique heritage of the 37-acre South Shore resort. Craig Christensen, one of three partners, said Jumeriah Southlands would respect the history and beauty of the area, and that measures were already in place to restore the estate to its former grandeur. He said developers wanted to reassure environmental campaigners that the folly-esque quarry gardens, created by James Morgan on his purchase of the estate in 1910, will be preserved. Mr. Christensen said the Main House will be renovated into a museum detailing the history of Southlands, with a possible cafe. The estate's ghostly banyan trees and royal palms will also be retained. Southlands was a popular attraction for days out due to its botanical gardens-like setting. People marveled at the quarry gardens and the species of plants and trees cultivated over the decades. However, the estate fell into neglect during the 1970s. According to Southlands Ltd., only 16 percent of the 37-acre estate will be built upon during construction of the 497-bed resort. The land has 42 percent tourism zoning and a number of woodland reserve and open space areas. In a statement, the company said owners Brian Duperreault, Craig Christensen and Nelson Hunt "have the best interest for Southlands and Bermuda, with the vision of building exceptional tourist accommodations married with the lush beauty of the property. They understand the history and value of the site and will be returning the main house and quarry gardens to their former glory." Mr. Christensen said a greenhouse is already nurturing plants on site to be used in the landscaping of the grounds. "We've got an extensive plant nursery where work has been going on for over a year now, in order to propagate a lot of decorative plants and trees," he said. He added: "I think people misunderstand that we obviously want to save the Banyan trees, which are absolutely beautiful. The royal palms are also a central feature and will stay right where they are. We've designed the buildings around them. We will roll out even more interesting plans very shortly but we are starting to eliminate the invasive species on the property, which is a huge undertaking, particularly on the western side. We've had a horticulturalist with us, Malcolm Griffiths, who has been working with us for the past 18 months, and in the quarry gardens we've cleared the majority of invasive species, which include Mexican Pepper and Indian Laurel. There's still some work to do because they were completely overgrown, but now we can walk through those particular gardens." Mr. Christensen said that although some of the estate cottages may be pulled down, the mausoleum will remain intact. "The mausoleum will be a feature on the property and we intend to restore it back to the way it was when James Morgan (the estate's former owner) was buried there in 1932. If anyone has any pictures or articles on Southlands, particularly the quarry gardens, we would appreciate copies of those so we can see how things were done back over the years, particularly in the beautiful quarries." The developers envisage two main hotel buildings, one overlooking the South Shore and the other further back, north of South Road, situated in front of the Main House. "Most of the main resort will be near the beach but the core hotel will be in front of the Main House, so the back part of the property with all its fabulous features will be preserved," said Mr. Christensen. "In the quarry gardens all of that area will be preserved woodland." He added that the resort's 311 suites will be built in "a Bermudian style. The Main House will stay intact and become a museum," he said. "Previously it wasn't in the best condition but we've done some maintenance in order to start to bring it back. The final decision on a cafe hasn't been decided yet but one of the things which has been bandied around is perhaps a wine-tasting cafe, so that people can enjoy and feel the history of Southlands. The idea is to create the Main House as a centerpiece for all the history of Southlands. We've been collecting articles and memorabilia so we can showcase that, as well as a stone quarry museum." Regarding public access to the estate, Mr. Christensen said: "What we would want to do is to take specific groups on a tour, so the public can see it this way. The answer is 'yes', but we can't just have a free-for-all. People could take a tour in order to see the grounds, but the museum and cafe would be open to the general public."

August 7. Three area residents submitted preliminary papers to request a judicial review of the controversial two-storey parking lot for the First Church of God in Pembroke. In May this year Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield approved the lot application from the church's leader, Bishop Vernon Lambe in the face of objection letters submitted by angry residents. Darrell Clarke of Darrell Clarke Barristers and Associates, represents the applicants who he says are questioning the approval on the basis of illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety. "We have applied for a leave to file for a judicial review. Basically we are asking the court to consider filing a writ to examine the decision made by the Minister and the legality of it.   At this time I believe it (the civil case) would be the only way to deal with it." In an application to file for a judicial review submitted on July 31 this year, the applicants, Lauretta Lorna Stoneham, Claudette Fleming and Janet Francis, named the Environment Minister, the Attorney General and the Development Application Board (DAB) as respondents. Mr. Clark said he has had an additional 70 objectors contact him over concern about the Minister's approval, but only three were named on the motion. The filing was not with the hope a review of the Minister's decision could be conducted, but also to halt any building that may have already started on the plot. Currently the church has about 100 parking spaces for its 1,000 seat house of worship and is looking for a considerable expansion. Overflow parking has been facilitated at Pig's Field, but since that recreation area is due to undergo an upgrade it would be off limit to cars. Public records had shown that the original parking lot application for this area went into the Department of Planning in March 2005 and was rejected in October 2005. However, earlier this year Bishop Lambe made changes to the application in an attempt to appease dissenting neighbours. A neighborhood committee needed to meet in order to collectively decide if their concerns were properly addressed, however without consultation Ms. Butterfield approved the appeal. Apparently the reason she accepted the Bishop's appeal, which he was constitutionally allowed to do after being rejected by the DAB, was because she had reviewed it herself. Arguments for the request to file for a judicial review of the Minister's decision have already been made by Mr. Clarke to the Chief Justice.  

August 7. Bermuda Aviation Services' (BAS) case against the Government for an alleged breach of its exclusive rights to provide private jet services at L.F. Wade International Airport is set to be decided by arbitration. The case centres around a writ filed by BAS and its subsidiary Aircraft Services against Premier Ewart Brown, in his capacity as Minister of Transport, and Attorney General Phil Perinchief. BAS chief executive Kenneth Joaquin exclusively revealed yesterday that the matter was to be decided by arbitration. "We are going to arbitration," he said. "That was the ruling, so hopefully we'll get it under way as fast as possible. Again, it is something that we would hope for a speedy resolution." Mr. Joaquin said his company's exclusivity deal runs until 2014, but new competitor Sovereign Flight Support Ltd. was being allowed to offer a rival private jet service. BAS believes Sovereign has not had to compete for tender to offer the service and the Ministry would be going against the advice of its own technical advisors if it gave Sovereign permission to operate private jet services. "For us it is about a point of law," said Mr. Joaquin. "Obviously we believe we have that right to offer the exclusive service and we'd like to see that upheld."

August 7. Car sales have fallen by a double-digit percentage for a third month this year, with the unavailability of the popular Honda CR-V sports utility vehicle pinpointed as a primary cause for the poorer sales. Bermuda car-buyers' love affair with the Honda CR-V has come to an abrupt halt through Honda's decision to cease production of the export version of the old model. Honda's new version of the CR-V is too long and too wide to legally be driven on Bermuda's roads and therefore will not be coming to the Island. At the moment no suitable replacement vehicle has been found to import in place of the CR-V. As a result, vehicle sales have plummeted this year and are now 25 percent below the 1995 level. Across all sectors of the retail economy there was a 1.6 percent decrease in the volume of sales during June. Although the retail sales index went up 0.8 percent year-on-year the volume of sales remained in negative territory in real terms once the 2.5 percent retail sales inflation rate is factored in. Motor vehicle dealership sales took the heftiest tumble, down 27.7 percent. Showroom sales fell 24.1 percent in February and 14 percent in April. "The weakness in sales can be directly attributed to lower stock levels as well as the fact that one of the most popular new vehicle models on the Island is no longer available," reported the Government's Department of Statistics in its monthly bulletin. That was confirmed by Alan Brooks, HWP general manager, who said the company had snapped up 90 CR-Vs last year after Honda announced it was ceasing production - the last of those 90 was sold in March. Since then it has been slim pickings for any potential car-buyer seeking a top of the market SUV. "As a distributor we are looking at alternatives within upmarket SUVs. The export model of the Honda CR-V was ceased production and the new model is longer and wider and would not fit on our roads," said Mr. Brooks. He hinted that two possible SUV alternatives for Bermuda are being investigated by HWP.  

August 7. Fraudsters are targeting Bermuda residents looking for love on Internet dating sites in order to swindle them out of thousands of dollars. Con artists posing as potential soul mates have persuaded victims to cash American Express travelers cheques for them and wire the funds. However, the cheques have turned out to be fakes, leaving their 'dates' badly out of pocket. According to Detective Sergeant David Geraghty of the Bermuda Police Fraud Unit, three men and two women from Bermuda have fallen victim so far this year, with losses approaching $10,000. The criminals spin various tales to get the cheques cashed and money wired back to them, such as that they don't have a bank account, they live in a country that doesn't accept travelers cheques or that it is a 'work from home' opportunity for the victim who can keep ten percent of the funds

August 7. The sister of Education Minister Randy Horton yesterday told of her commitment to improve school standards and to keep family ties separate from the workplace. Ellen-Kate Horton stressed there was no conflict of interest in her appointment as Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Sports and Recreation. Her brother's Ministry came under fire in the Hopkins Report, a damning review of Bermuda's public education system. As Acting Permanent Secretary, Ms Horton will help to implement reforms as recommended in the report. Ms Horton's appointment however, has resulted in feelings of mistrust among some teachers. She takes over from Alberta Dyer-Tucker, who was appointed Acting Permanent Secretary after Rosemary Tyrrell was reassigned to the Ministry of Justice in a Civil Service shake-up in May. Yesterday, Ms Horton attempted to reassure teaching unions of her impartiality at a press conference organized by the Bermuda Public Services Union. President Armell Thomas and General Secretary Ed Ball spoke out in Ms Horton's defence, following criticism by the Bermuda Union of Teachers in a television broadcast on Friday. Mr. Thomas said: "We are very disappointed at the BUT's response in reference to Ellen-Kate Horton being Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education. We have no jurisdiction over the permanent secretaries being moved around the civil service. But if the BUT wanted to fight the process they should have called the union and expressed their views. Then we would have spoken to Ms Horton, but instead they took it straight to the media, which was wrong. She has never acted as Permanent Secretary for Education before, so you're going to shoot someone down before they get the job." He pointed out that Ms Horton had extensive experience. Her teaching career began at Warwick Secondary School (now Spice Valley) in 1971 where she eventually headed up the maths department. She has helped to formulate public education standards and was also President and General Secretary of the BUT. Mr. Thomas said that as BUT President, Ms Horton had led the teaching strikes of 1981. The recent criticism had therefore left her feeling personally hurt. "Ms Horton needs the support of the BUT," said Mr. Thomas. "As Acting Permanent Secretary we're getting a good package. She's Bermudian and qualified, she's a woman and a leader, what more do we want? She really is committed towards improving the standards of our education system. If the BUT can't actually interpret that then something is wrong." Referring to accusations of a conflict of interest, Mr. Thomas said: "There's checks and balances in the civil service. I'm sure they have thought this through and gone through the proper decisions." BPSU General Secretary Mr. Ball said: "Miss Horton has worked underneath the Minister for a number of years so it's not unusual for her to be working at the same place of appointment as Mr. Randolph Horton. She will help to advise the Minister, and so no one can judge her. Ms Horton is stating to everyone that she is up to the task and is aware of the scrutiny and that she is going to be a professional, because if she fails I think we all fail." Ms Horton said: "I'm an educator first and foremost and have served in just about every position that one can think of. I was an acting deputy principal before I moved into the Ministry of Education, where I was an education officer. I have a good rapport with many, many teachers. This was evidenced by the telephone calls of support I received after the television news. I will work to my utmost to ensure that the children of Bermuda are serviced, and whether they are serviced by Bermudian teachers or foreign teachers, it's not an issue. I will fulfill this role to the best of my abilities. This is not the first time I have worked very closely with the Minister but we are both professionals. I remain optimistic with most of the teachers and look forward to working with them and ensuring that all of Bermuda's children are served. Each child deserves to be the best that they can be." Ms Horton will be employed as Acting Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Sports and Recreation for an initial period until December 1. The appointment will then be reviewed. Representatives of the Bermuda Union of Teachers were off Island last night and unavailable for comment.

August 7. A 58-year-old Bermudian woman died suddenly last night after being stranded two-miles off of Bermuda while scuba diving. At 4.15 p.m. yesterday afternoon, the woman, today named as Patricia Steinhoff, along with her husband and two of their friends, who were visiting the Island, anchored their boat and went diving. After diving to about 25 feet at Southwest Breakers, a popular diving spot, for over an hour, the four surfaced at 5.35 p.m. to find their boat had somehow broken from its anchoring and drifted away. With little other choice the stranded scuba divers began the two-mile swim back to the shore near Granaway Heights Road and Southampton Road, on South Shore. According to the Police, along the way, Mrs Steinhoff, a mother of three sons, ran into difficulties and was aided by her husband and their two friends. When all four finally reached the shore, the scuba divers walked to the nearest residence where the homeowner called Emergency Services. A Police spokesperson said they received a call at 6.03 p.m. and paramedics arrived soon afterwards, but Mrs Steinhoff was pronounced dead at the scene at 6.45 p.m.. A Police spokesman said: "We would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased." The motorboat was later recovered off of Daniel's Head, in Somerset, and a Police spokesperson said it appeared to have broken off the mooring.

Earl CameronEarl and Barbara CameronAugust 8. 90th Birthday of Bermudian actor Earl Cameron who lives in Warwickshire, UK. Born in Pembroke in 1917, he has had a career spanning appearances in  over 60 films and TV programmes and recently also celebrated  the 40th Anniversary of his appearance in the cult TV programme “The Prisoner”. When a youngster, he joined the British Merchant Navy, and sailed mostly between New York and South America. When war broke out he found himself stranded in London, arriving on 29th October 1939. As he himself put it: “I arrived in London on 29 October, 1939. I got involved with a young lady and you know the rest. The ship left without me, and the girl walked out too.” His first acting role came in 1942 when he got a part in a West End production of Chu Chin Chow. He was good enough to act in a number of plays in London, including The Petrified Forest. He understudied with Amanda Ira Aldridge, an opera singer, singer, teacher and composer, daughter of the famed black American actor Ira Aldridge. His breakthrough acting role was in The Pool of London, a 1951 film set in postwar London involving racial prejudice, romance, and a diamond robbery. He then appeared in the 1955 film Simba, a drama about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in which Cameron played the role of Peter Karanja, a doctor trying to reconcile his admiration for Western civilization with his Kikuyu heritage. From the 1950s he had major parts in many films including: The Heart Within (1957) in which he played Victor Conway in a crime movie yet again set in the London docklands; Sapphire (1959) in which played Dr Robbins, the brother of a murdered girl; and The Message (1976) - the story of the Prophet Muhammad; Tarzan the Magnificent (1960) in which he played Tate; Flame in the Streets (1961) in which he played Gabriel Gomez; Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963) in which he played Mang; Guns at Batasi (1964) in which he played Captain Abraham; Battle Beneath the Earth (1967) in which he played Sergeant Seth Hawkins; Sandwich Man (1966) in which he played a bus conductor; and the James Bond movie Thunderball (1965) in which he played the role of James Bond's Caribbean assistant Pinder Romania. More recently, he was in The Interpreter (2005) in which he played the fictitious dictator Edmond Zuwanie. In 2006, not looking at all 89 years old at the time, he had a brief speaking part early in the film The Queen, playing the affable artist painting the Queen (Helen Mirren). He has appeared in a wide range of TV shows, one of the earliest of which was in the BBC 1960 TV drama The Dark Man in which he played a West Indian cab driver in the UK. The show examined the reactions and prejudices he faced in his work. In 1956 he had a smaller part in another BBC drama exploring racism in the workplace entitled Man From The Sun in which he appeared as a community leader called Joseph Brent. He was in five episodes of the TV series Dangerman alongside series star Patrick McGoohan. He worked with McGoohan again in 1967 when he appeared in the TV series The Prisoner as the Haitian Supervisor in the episode "The Schizoid Man". His other work on popular TV shows includes: Emergency Ward 10; The Zoo Gang; Crown Court; Jackanory in 1971; Dixon of Dock Green; Doctor Who; Neverwhere; Waking the Dead; Kavanagh QC, Babyfather; Eastenders (as Mr Lambert), Dalziel and Pascoe, and Lovejoy. He has also appeared in a number of other one off TV dramas including: Television Playhouse (1957); ITV Play of the Week (two stories - The Gentle Assassin (1962) and I Can Walk Where Like Can't I? (1964); the BBC's Wind Versus Polygamy (1968); ITV's A Fear of Strangers (1964);  ITV Play of the Week - The Death of Bessie Smith (1965); The Great Kandinsky (1995); and two episodes of Thirty-Minute Theatre (1969 and 1971). Cameron is a member of the Baha'i Faith. He currently lives in Warwickshire in England. He is married to Barbara Cameron. His first wife, Audrey Cameron, died in 1994. He has five children. In Bermuda in 2007, accompanied by his wife, he was given the Prospero Award for lifetime achievement in his field by the Bermuda International Film Festival.  In the Queen's New Year Honors List 2008/2009 he was awarded a CBE for services to drama after a movie, television and theatre career spanning seven decades.

August 8. A Tucker's Town home owner accused of concocting a bizarre fake murder attempt on his own life has gone on trial in the US. John Donovan Sr, an IT guru worth $100 million who owns Winsor House in the enclave dubbed "Billionaire's Row," told Police he was shot by two masked men as he got into his car in the parking lot of his business in Massachusetts on the night of December 16, 2005. Donovan, who has been locked in a bitter legal fight with his children for years, claims the attempt on his life was orchestrated by his oldest son, James. However, prosecutors claim Donovan, 65, staged his own shooting to gain an advantage in the battle with his children for control of trusts that he claims are worth at least $180 million. According to the Bermuda Online database, while Donovan lives overseas and rents out Winsor House, he has a number of trust fund interests based in Bermuda. In the case that opened against him at Middlesex Superior Court in Massachusetts this week, he stands accused of filing a false police report, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum one-year sentence. Prosecutors claim in court documents: "John Donovan repeatedly provided false information to police about a crime that did not occur in order to 'frame' his son for a crime his son did not commit and had no part in." Prosecutors say Donovan made up the story to exact revenge, and that their evidence includes a cryptic "to-do list" written by him on the menu of the Algonquin Club, an elite business club in Boston, in the pocket of a jacket he wore on the night of the shooting. The notations included words such as "gloves," "tool," "rifle," and "shells," according to court documents. The case against Donovan also cites contradictions between his story to Police and the injuries he received. He told Police he had been shot twice in a large belt buckle he was wearing. However, the emergency room doctor who treated him said he did not see the type of injuries he would expect if the belt were on when the shots were fired. Donovan received a gunshot wound to his left abdomen. In hospital medical records, it was noted that Donovan "survived relatively unscathed," according to court documents filed by prosecutors. Donovan denies any role in his shooting and insists he was attacked by two strangers who approached him as he got into his car at his business, Cambridge Executive Enterprises. During the 911 call he made from his cell phone after the shooting, he told a state police dispatcher that James, now 40, "laundered $180 million" and had threatened to kill him. According to a report in the Boston Globe newspaper, defence lawyer Michael P. Doolin said in his opening statement on Monday: "There is no evidence that Mr. Donovan shot himself. There is no evidence that he procured someone to do it." However, prosecutor Adrienne Lynch told Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman that Donovan staged the shooting to "get revenge" against James. She played an 11-minute cellphone call to State Police on December 16, 2005 in which, she said, Donovan repeatedly asked police to protect his wife Linda at their US home and accused James of laundering millions in family money, but could not tell dispatchers where he was located, even though he was sitting in the parking lot where he worked. Donovan, a business professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1969 to 1997, made a name for himself as a technology guru. He commanded big fees as a sought-after speaker to Fortune 500 companies, started more than a dozen companies and published 11 books. However, according to an Associated Press (AP) report detailing the court proceedings against him, he made a lot of enemies during his long and multi-faceted career. In 2005, he was involved in more than a dozen lawsuits with former business associates and relatives, including the a bitter fight with his five children over trust assets. Donovan's children were beneficiaries of just one trust that is worth far less than the amount claimed by their father, AP said, quoting a spokeswoman for four of the five children.

August 8. A husband last night paid tribute to his wife who died tragically after being stranded while scuba diving more than a mile from land. Mr. Robert "Bob" Steinhoff spoke about Patricia, 58, who was not only a successful business woman, strong scuba diver, but also a loved mother. "She followed a career in insurance industry. She worked for Marsh as an accountant and most recently as a trainer," he said. "She made many friends in the business world both locally and internally, but she was also a very popular mother. For many of my sons friends she had become a surrogate mother. She was always such a happy outgoing person and this is just such a big loss." The pain over the sudden loss of his wife and the mother to his three sons, Robert 32, Thomas 30 and Brian 22 was palpable as he choked back tears. He tried to recount the terrible events that led up to the death of Patricia on Monday evening. He and Patricia were taking their two friends and houseguests, Silvard and Barbara Kool, who were visiting from Boston out diving. Bob said they chose the Southwest Breakers, a popular dive site, because the already secured dive buoys there usually provide a safer option to tie up their boat. After mooring the boat to the dive bridle, a second line off of the buoys, all four entered the water diving for a little over an hour. When Mr. Steinhoff, his wife and their friends surfaced the water their boat was out of sight leaving them only one option- discard all diving gear and start swimming for the shore. After dropping all of their lead weights and air tanks the four started for the shore which was a little over a mile from the dive site. Mrs. Steinhoff, however, ran into difficulties swimming and though Bob, Silvard and Barbara all helped giving mouth to mouth air every two minutes on the thirty-minute swim into shore, it sadly was not enough. Mrs. Steinhoff was pronounced dead at 6.45 p.m. by paramedics after the divers reached the shore. After almost 20 years as an experienced diver, the sudden death of Mrs. Steinhoff, said Mr. Steinhoff was shocking. "She was just an extraordinary woman who has been diving for close to 20 years. She also had advanced diving qualification." Last night her middle son, Thomas said the family had had a very emotional day and were overwhelmed by the support they received. "The phone calls have been overwhelming- positive support. She was a very loved woman and the response has just been tremendous," he said. Speaking to close friends of the family, yesterday, the memory of Mrs. Steinhoff will live on for years to come as the bubbly, friendly woman opened her arms to all those around her. Originally from Montreal, Canada, her parents and four siblings in June had a reunion at her family's cottage in Norway Bay near Ottawa. Mr. Steinhoff met his wife while they were both working in Montreal in 1970 and only a year later were married. The couple moved back to Bermuda where Deborah Burville met Mrs. Steinhoff 30 years ago when both worked at American International Group insurance company. A friendship quickly developed to the point where both Steinhoffs were present at Mrs. Burville's wedding to John Burville 32-years ago. It was Mrs. Steinhoff's affinity for the water, however, that Mrs. Burville said was so compelling it convinced her to overcome her fear of being underwater and to take-up scuba diving. "She was the one who quite a few years ago, loved diving so much she took me into her pool and worked with me until I felt comfortable. She loved diving and her boys. She was very, very competent under the water, which makes this so shocking. Were just in Indonesia diving where we were faced with awful currents, but she always kept her head about her." Barry and Pam Shailer who had spent the last ten New Years' Eves with both the Steinhoffs and the Burvilles said they were just shocked and saddened by the news. Mr. Shailer who was speaking from New Hampshire said the loss of such a hospitable and loving person was made all the more tragic because the couple had just moved into their dream house in Somerset. "We would like to express our great sadness and sympathies for Bob and the family. Initially we were just numb by the news," he said. Patricia was such an amazingly hospitable and loving person and organized such great parties. She will be sorely missed. A funeral service will be held at St. Andrew's Presbyterian next week and Mr. Steinhoff said an announcement will be made later on as to the date. 

August 8. A Hamilton carriage tour operator claims her 16 horses will have to be put down if her business is banished from the city after the Harbour Nights stampede. The Corporation of Hamilton will publish an ordinance next week giving it the right to impose such a ban, if approved by its members. Responding to the news, Shilo stables operator Dee Charles said her business would not survive a ban. "I would have to put the horses down - how would I feed them? I could not operate anywhere else as there are already companies in St. George's and Somerset although when they hit one they will hit the others, they will not get away scot-free. They are going to ban them there, that's obvious," she speculated. She also claimed that her business has not been adequately consulted by the Corporation on the topic. "For them not to discuss it with us is very off-putting. I saw Mr. Madeiros when they were talking about having no carriages down Front Street originally and they were having a meeting with us and several other parties. They did have a meeting with the Government vet Dr. (Jonathan) Nisbett - he's on our side - but we were not invited to the meeting. It was supposed to be held the day Dame Lois Browne-Evans died and then they moved it to a different day, but never called us back. I think it shows a lack of respect for us and I think it shows a lack of knowledge of the tourist industry. This is a business that the tourists just love. Taking it away would be very detrimental." Carriage rides are currently subject to a temporary ban from the fringes of the Harbour Nights tourist event each Wednesday. It came after 19 people were injured on April 25 when two spooked horses owned by Dockyard-based operator Ray Bean broke loose and tore through a barrier and down Front Street with their carriage. Three weeks later, a second un-manned horse and carriage bolted along Front Street onto Bermudiana Road before a member of the public was able to grab the carriage and bring it to a halt on Par-la-Ville Road. The owner of this vehicle was never made public. While tours are operating as usual outside of Wednesday evenings, Mr. Madeiros revealed in his initial response to the stampede that the Corporation would work on gaining further control over the carriage operations as it waited for the formal Police report into what happened. 

August 8. After months of feverish election speculation the political parties could be forgiven for taking a breather after the realization Premier Ewart Brown has effectively foregone the chance to call a summer poll. Pundits from both camps believe the next likely window is December with the Premier still keen to capitalize on his student following. United Bermuda Party chairman Shawn Crockwell said: "Obviously we don't know but it looks like a summer election is no longer on the cards. "We feel for various reasons it might even be next year." He said the poll results showing the Opposition ahead for the first time in years and the booing directed at Dr. Brown at a recent Collie Buddz concert in Snorkel Park would have forced a rethink. "If the Premier is holding true to including students in the election process then a December election could be a possibility when the kids are at home at Christmas break. Otherwise it's anyone's guess." Some pundits believed the Premier would want the election before the Privy Council gave a ruling on whether the press should continue to be gagged from revealing information from Police files probing corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation. The hearing is set to go ahead on October 29. But Progressive Labour Party candidate and political pundit Walton Brown said he didn't believe the Premier would want to rush the election before that hearing. "I don't think the Privy Council ruling will have any impact on any date the Premier selects for the election." He believes the media would have already picked the most damaging allegations from the BHC files while people should not assume because Bermuda courts had found against the Government then the British courts would do the same. He said: "I would be very surprised if the Privy Council ruled it appropriate for the contents of a Police file, as a matter of practice, to be released into the public domain." Mr. Brown said with the summer gone he believed December would be the most likely date. But Mr. Crockwell said if the Premier was really so confident of his boast that his party would increase its share of seats from 22 to 30 he should have called the election by now. And he said he couldn't work out why the Premier had not gone earlier this year when the UBP was struggling with leadership problems, claims of racism and messy resignations by senior party figures. "We were having our own struggles but for whatever reason he didn't call the election. Now we have a new leader and we have gone from strength to strength and we are in the best position we have been in the last three years. He might regret not calling an election back then." And he said the UBP, if elected, would do away with the Premier's prerogative to call an election when it suited him and move to fixed-term parliaments. At the moment the Premier (like the Prime Minister in the UK) can choose virtually any date as long as an election is held at least every five years and three months. However Mr. Brown said Bermuda's entire constitution would have to be re-written if the Premier's right to pick a date was abolished. He said such a move would then end the right of MPs to move a 'no confidence' motion against the Premier and dissolve parliament that way.

August 8. A Healthy Weight Action Plan" was today launched by Government to tackle an alarming rise in obesity and related illnesses among children and adults. Physical activity will be promoted in schools, while people of all ages will be urged to do more exercise and eat healthier foods, under the scheme announced by Health Minister Michael Scott. The Minister said urgent action was needed to reverse a trend showing 63 percent of adults in Bermuda are overweight or obese, up from 57 percent in 1999. In the same period, adults with high blood pressure increased from seven percent to 25 percent; and high cholesterol from eight percent to 34 percent. Heart disease, which is linked to both conditions, remains the Island's number one killer. Announcing the action plan, which will also include tax cuts on healthy foods, at a press conference today, Mr. Scott said it would tackle the tremendous local problem of overweight and obesity in youth and adults. "Health authorities globally have concluded that obesity is reaching pandemic proportions" said Mr. Scott. The proportion of obese population has grown by 400 percent in the last 25 years in many high-income countries. In Bermuda, as in other places, this is a major public health concern." 

August 8. Developers Southlands Ltd. have extended an olive branch to protestors by encouraging them to have a say on an Environmental Advisory Board for the South Shore resort. At a press conference yesterday, developers said they would set up a board to "provide positive input on environmental matters". Craig Christensen, who owns Southlands Ltd. with Nelson Hunt and Brian Duperreault, also revealed it was the Ministry of Tourism who had "encouraged" the project back in 2005. Mr. Christensen said: "The process started in early 2005 at meetings with the Ministry of Tourism who encouraged us to consider building a new hotel. We decided to pursue the tourism option, and retain the 37-acre lot as a whole rather than build individual houses on the existing sub-divided lots." Last night, the Bermuda National Trust called on Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield to use her powers to demand developers contribute towards creating another area of public open space as a trade-off. "Large-scale development on greenfield sites has been recognized to be an unsustainable practice and as we are all dependent on the Island's beauty and open spaces, we have to protect the remaining sites. If this is not possible, the National Trust feels that newly-protected inalienable lands must be secured as a compromise," it said in a statement. Yesterday, the developers were keen to emphasize respect for the environment. Mr. Christensen said: "We appreciate, and are sensitive to the natural beauty of Southlands and its importance to the surrounding area and Bermuda. To this end we are forming an Environmental Advisory Board and will be seeking members of the Bermuda public who have the ability to provide positive input on environmental matters." Appealing to campaigners to come on board, he said: "We would like to grab some of the Islanders concerned to be a part of what we are doing and to provide advice where they can." Stuart Hayward, chairman of Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce, last night welcomed Mr. Christensen's comments. "I think it's a good gesture," he said. "I would need to know more about it, what they're looking for advice on and whether it's more than an Advisory Board in name, but we have always wanted to have input, and if we were invited we would certainly welcome that." Yesterday, Mr. Christensen said that Jumeirah Southlands would aim to meet the standards of "green conscious" tourists. "Our design, construction and on-going operations will address these important matters," he said. "We will have the board oversee the establishment of a LEED programme (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which is a comprehensive global initiative relating to energy conservation, renewable energy sources, water management, sewage treatment, recycling programmes and other matters. Our horticultural programme will seek to eradicate invasive species and reintroduce endemic plants. Beyond this, we further intend to create Environmental Habitats that will reintroduce endemic animals such as Skinks (lizards) and Longtails. We will be seeking advice from the Aquarium, Audubon Society and others, to create an environment which will allow their reintroduction at Southlands." Commenting on the granting of the Special Development Order for the 37-acre resort, he said: "We know the conditions for approval are strict and demanding and we appreciate the Minister's need to balance conservation with development. We respect that process and will work diligently to satisfy each of the rigid conditions laid down in the SDO." Mr. Christensen said Jumeirah will shortly be recruiting Bermudian applicants, and those successful would receive training at the group's "overseas operations". A scholarship will also be available at The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai. "Our aim, together with our operator Jumeirah, is for Southlands to be one of the most luxurious resorts in the world," he said. Commenting on the resort's proximity to the new Grand Atlantic Resort also recently granted an SDO, Mr. Christensen said: "We feel we have addressed the traffic needs, we have done a traffic survey. I don't think anyone else on this Island has been put through the scrutiny which Southlands has for the SDO application. We have been put under the microscope. In terms of an environmental-impact statement that has to be part of the requirement submitted to the Department of Planning. We've already put those things for review under the SDO application, and there are some other applications we must comply with." The 590 full-time staff are to be housed in an accommodation block planned for Khyber Pass. This planning application is separate from the SDO, and was described as "still pending" by a Department of Planning spokesman yesterday. Mr. Christensen said: "We were going to house the staff at the Khyber Pass location. It's about a seven minute walk from here and that accommodation will be available to both Bermudian and non-Bermudians." He added that rumors of a casino were unfounded: "We're certainly not aware of any plans for a casino." Last night the Bermuda National Trust said in a statement: "The National Trust hopes, in light of the enormous environmental cost and the pressure that will be placed on Bermuda's infrastructure, that this development be made to facilitate the purchase of open space elsewhere on the Island. This type of trade-off agreement between development and conservation is standard practice in other jurisdictions. Bermuda already has the legislation in place in Section 33 of the Development and Planning Act, whereby Government funding can be generated to create and protect open space by providing the Minister of the Environment with the ability to charge developers of a building project, such as Southlands, for permission to develop outside the provisions and rules of the Island's Development Plan. This money can then be used for the creation of community areas, for instance open space for parks. The Bermuda National Trust also wishes to appeal again to the Minister to place a moratorium on issuing any further Special Development Orders, except in cases of National Emergency, until such a time when the impact of those Orders already granted can be adequately assessed to determine how their impact on the Island has been absorbed." 

August 8. Bermuda's children face shorter life spans than their parents due to high levels of diabetes and obesity, according to a health expert. In a presentation at the Hamilton Rotary Club, Dr. Jennifer Attride-Stirling, Health Promotion Coordinator for the Department of Health, presented 'Well Bermuda', a national health promotion strategy. The strategy was launched in November. During the presentation, Dr. Attride-Stirling explained the health strategy was necessary because the main causes of death have changed in the past 50 years. She said today's health problems are strongly related to lifestyle factors and there is a shift from infectious diseases to chronic non-communicable diseases. The three themes she focused on were healthy people, healthy families and healthy communities. She spent the most time on the first theme with Rotarians learning that 63 percent of Bermudians were overweight or obese in comparison to 57 percent in 1999. Dr. Attride-Stirling said in the media there have been reports saying in leading Western countries, almost a quarter of the population are overweight. "A quarter of our people are overweight. We're already there", she said. The largest group of overweight or obese were black people with 73 per cent and people aged 55 to 64 at 69 per cent. "Everywhere in the world people underestimate their weight and overestimate their height. We're right up there with the country leaders," she said. She explained that child obesity and diabetes has reached a high in Bermuda with 24 percent of children being overweight or obese and 29 per cent of black children being overweight or obese. Dr. Attride-Stirling stressed the important of health saying: "Today's generation will have shorter life spans that their parents if this continues. A child that has diabetes at ten or 12 will have heart problems in their twenties and be dead in their thirties." She also said the leading cause of deaths in Bermuda was heart disease with 36 per cent of all deaths in 2005 caused by heart related problems. The statistics for high blood pressure and high cholesterol dramatically increased in the past eight years with 25 percent of Bermudians having high blood pressure compared to five percent in 1999. Thirty-four percent of Bermudians have high cholesterol compared to two percent in 1999. Dr. Attride-Stirling said an action plan is currently in the works for each of the goals.

August 8. Charities that fail to file annual accounts will be named and shamed for a second time later this year, Social Rehabilitation Minister Dale Butler warned yesterday. He told a press conference that almost a hundred of Bermuda's 408 registered charities have still failed to disclose their finances to Government despite a Senate report in June declaring them "delinquent". The Registrar-General sent letters to 145 non-profit organizations which were behind with their reporting in June and 46 have since responded. That leaves 99 non-reporting groups at risk of losing their registered charity status if they don't file accounts before September 30. Mr. Butler said: "The charities that have not reported by September 30 will have their name published in the newspaper with a final request to have their finances submitted." He said after that their details would be sent to the Charities Commission, which would determine whether they could retain their status and continue fundraising. "Charitable organizations in Bermuda collectively raise millions of dollars annually to enable them to fulfill their charitable purposes," said Mr. Butler. "My Ministry, and indeed the Government, does not intend to treat lightly the issue of registered charities whose financials are not up-to-date. Charities must be reminded that since they raise funds from the public, they have a responsibility under the law to report how those funds have been managed." Of the 99 delinquent organizations, 67 have not reported for more than one financial year and 32 have not reported for less than a year. Charities are required to submit a statement of accounts to the Registrar-General annually within six months of the end of each financial year. Mr. Butler said there was a high number of charities which were many years behind in reporting. He added that those struggling to file accounts could contact the Center on Philanthropy for help. The Social Rehabilitation Ministry which was newly formed last October when Premier Ewart Brown came to power is reviewing changes to the legislation which governs charities on the Island, with a new Act due in the autumn. 

August 8. Bermuda Public Services Union head Ed Ball is warning civil servants not to break the rules on staying out of politics if they don't want to risk the sack. He said a PLP candidate had recently publicly named Government employees as being among his doorstep campaigners. But Mr. Ball said Bermuda still had strict rules on civil servants not getting politically involved. "There is a possibility they could jeopardize their job because of the current election regulations pertaining to civil servants." Head of the Civil Service Ken Dill said he had not heard complaints about anyone bending the rules although he said he had warned Melvin Dickinson, Director of the National Office for Seniors and the Physically Disabled, that he would have to choose between politics or his job after Dr. Dickinson won the nomination to stand for the PLP in Warwick West. Dr. Dickinson chose his job and withdrew his interest in the seat. Mr. Dill added: "On an ongoing basis I raise the matter at the civil service executive and urge people to be vigilant." One source said in the 1980s the Government had threatened several Government workers with the sack after accusing them of backing the Progressive Labour Party. But its claimed the move backfired when it was argued there were others in the civil service who were clearly aligned with the ruling United Bermuda Party. Guidelines published before the last election warned civil servants that they should maintain a low profile during general elections to avoid being tainted with political affiliation. It said: "Officers should not undertake any activity that could call into question their political impartiality." It warned that civil servants should not express opinions about any party in letters or articles, make political speeches or hold office in any party. Those ignoring the rules face disciplinary action or the sack said Mr. Ball. And if civil servants want to run for office they must first resign their job. Teachers and school admin. staff, however, can run for office without resigning. They must take a leave of absence during the campaign and if elected must choose between their teaching job or politics. Former school Principal Dale Butler, who is now a Cabinet Minister, called for the rule barring teachers from also serving as MPs to be abolished. He said: "You could be a lawyer or a doctor running. Why pick on teachers? "It is discouraging people at the moment, it's a really worry."  Mr. Butler said the rule had been created as an anti-PLP move because of the party's support among teachers. Asked why it had not been changed since the party took power he said: "We cannot do every single thing. It would be seen as just taking care of our own interests. It is not in the top 50 things to do but it might come up next time around." Mr. Butler stood for the PLP in the early 1980s and resumed his job after his unsuccessful bid. In 1998 he tried again and took a ditch digging job during the campaign. "I had no salary for weeks." In Britain industrial and non-office grade civil servants can throw themselves into politics while top civil servants are completely barred. However those in the categories in between can campaign for political parties if they have permission from their department head. But every category of British civil servant must resign their job to run for parliament.

August 9. The Healthy Weight Action Plan, unveiled by Health Minister Michael Scott yesterday, lists the following recommendations for a less obese Bermuda:

August 9. Taxes could be cut on healthy foods and increased on fatty ones as part of a drive to tackle an alarming rise in obesity and related illnesses. The move, aimed at giving people an extra incentive to ditch junk food, is one of a raft of recommendations in a new Healthy Weight Action Plan announced by Health Minister Michael Scott yesterday. It is hoped Cabinet will approve a revising of Bermuda's taxation structure later this year, meaning it can be implemented by 2009. The action plan calls for 14 new health measures, including a nutrition policy and more physical activities at schools; promoting walking ahead of car usage; and ensuring Government vending machines are loaded only with healthy snacks. It comes after statistics at the end of last year showed 63 percent of adults in Bermuda are overweight or obese, up from 57 percent in 1999, while a quarter of the Island's children are overweight or obese. In the same period, the proportion of adults with high blood pressure has increased from seven percent to 25 percent; and high cholesterol from eight percent to 34 percent. Heart disease, which is linked to both conditions, remains the Island's number one killer by claiming more than a third of all deaths. Chief Medical Officer John Cann, who has been involved with the development of the plan, said taxing food depending on its health value could make a big difference. Dr. Cann said it was currently too tempting for people to buy 'empty calorie' snacks like potato chips, while shunning the relatively highly priced fresh fruit and vegetables. "The foods which are obesigenic, that increase our propensity to put on weight, tend to be the cheapest foods," said Dr. Cann. "With limited land mass in Bermuda, and decreasing farm acreage, the costs of fresh vegetables can be higher and some people may find them less attractive to buy. This is trying to look at how to redress some of that." Dr. Cann said the whole community had a responsibility to help fight obesity. "The rates are a result of our changing lifestyle. We are not as active as our grandparents, and we eat differently. The answers are very simple: increase physical activity and have a healthier diet. Too often, we blame individuals; we look at them and say their lifestyle must be wrong. We all have to look at trying to be healthy. We have to change norms. It's not just individuals. Restaurants and supermarkets can help by thinking about things like portion size." The action plan, put together by the Department of Health's Well Bermuda Partnership, has been developed after several years of research and short-term initiatives. Mr. Scott told a press conference the plan would tackle the tremendous local problem of overweight and obesity in youth and adults. "Health authorities globally have concluded that obesity is reaching pandemic proportions," said Mr. Scott. "The proportion of obese population has grown by 400 percent in the last 25 years in many high-income countries. In Bermuda, as in other places, this is a major public health concern." Earlier this week, health promoter Jennifer Attride-Stirling of the Department of Health warned Bermuda's children face shorter life spans than their parents due to high levels of diabetes and obesity. Dr. Attride-Stirling said 24 percent of children in Bermuda were overweight or obese, adding that youngsters who have diabetes before reaching their teens face heart problems in their twenties and death in their thirties. Yesterday, Mr. Scott said he was worried about the number of overweight children he saw as he went about his daily business. "It's a real concern," he said. "Government owes it to their citizens to ensure we turn these children around from this kind of journey. But this is not a place for pity, it is a place for action." He said education and influence from parents, siblings and other family members could all improve the situation. Jessica Wade, a dietician and diabetes expert at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, backed the action plan yesterday. On changing tax rates in relation to a food's health value, Mrs. Wade said: "Some people do comment on the cost of fruit and vegetable. They are more expensive here than they would be in North America, for example. "We would encourage anything that reduces the costs of those foods to promote a healthy diet." 

August 9. Premier Dr. Ewart Brown will have more than just a passing interest in the 89th PGA Championship, with the winner securing a place at the PGA Grand Slam to be held in Bermuda. And Dr. Brown, a self-confessed Tiger Woods admirer, has made the journey to the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to cheer on the world number one, who could complete the elite foursome who will compete at the Mid-Ocean Club from October 16 to 17, the first time the tournament has been held outside the US. Woods has already won the PGA Championship, which runs from today until Sunday, on three occasions including last year's tournament. He was the highest paid professional athlete in 2006, having earned an estimated $100 million from winnings and endorsements. Last year at the age of 30, he won his eleventh and twelfth professional major championships and has more wins on the PGA Tour than any other active golfer. Padraig Harrington was the last player to book his place at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf following his triumph in The Open Championship at Carnoustie last month. Harrington, became the first Irish winner of The Open Championship since Fred Daly in 1947, clinching the title in a tense four-hole play-off with Sergio Garcia of Spain. The 31-year-old, who is ranked sixth in the world, also became the first European to win a major since Paul Lawrie won the same tournament in 1999. He has won tournaments on the European tour and PGA Tour and is the only player in the world to have been partnered with Woods in a tournament five or more times and to outscore him. Harrington has a 68.83 average in six rounds, compared with Woods' average score of 69.50. The rest of the world's top players averaged over 70. Angel Cabrera, became the second first-time qualifier into the PGA Grand Slam of Golf last month, joining fellow first-time qualifier Masters Champion Zach Johnson by winning his first major championship at the 2007 US Open at Oakmont near Pittsburgh. He finished the tournament at five-over, topping Woods and Jim Furyk by one stroke. A year ago all three of golf's most recent champions were not exactly stars or household names, and there is no doubt tournament organizers will have their fingers crossed Woods, one of the most famous sportsmen in the world, qualifies for the event. His presence would increase the already massive interest in the tournament and guarantee box office viewing figures and draw in the crowds. But while Johnson, Cabrera and Harrington, a self-proclaimed journeyman, do not have the same pull as Woods their unforeseen recent rise has certainly caught the imagination of the golfing world. "I know people back home, especially when they hear me announced as from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2007 Masters champion, they take it to heart. They take pride in it," said Johnson. "I'm not changing," he added. "I'm still in jeans and T-shirts and shorts, whatever. Just to be in that fraternity and have that title, more or less at least for this year, is very, very special." Cabrera's victory was considered a huge thing for Argentina, a country that had not celebrated a major golf champion in 40 years previous to his win at Oakmont. "It's very difficult for Argentinian golfers to achieve good things, to get to the PGA Tour or the European tour without the help of another professional golfer," said Cabrera, known as "El Pato" or "The Duck" because of his trademark waddles down the fairway, often with a cigarette in hand. "There's not much help other than what another golfer can provide." David Charles, director of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, said he was pleased with the excitement and energy the PGA Grand Slam of Golf was creating in Bermuda. He added if ticket sales were any indication, it was clear there were many golf enthusiasts on the Island looking forward to experiencing the toughest tournament in the world to qualify for. In July, tickets had doubled from last year's sales, justifying the PGA's decision to hold the much-anticipated tournament in Bermuda.. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is the world's most exclusive golf tournament. It is an annual off-season golf event contested by the year's winners of the four major championships of regular men's golf, which are The Masters, the US Open, The Open Championship and the PGA Championship. The tournament has been staged since 1979 with a couple of short breaks and is a two-day, 36-hole strokeplay competition.

August 10. The United Bermuda Party last night repeated calls for a National Development Plan to rein in the recent acceleration in hotel development. In a ten minute broadcast to the nation, Shadow Environment Minister Cole Simons; Jeff Sousa, party candidate for Warwick South East; and Roderick Simons, candidate for Warwick South Central, avoided direct criticism of the Government and instead called for measures to "discipline" any future resort plans. The programme featured the three men strolling along the South Shore, emphasizing the need to preserve Bermuda as a "garden paradise". It was broadcast in response to Government approval of the Special Development Order for Southlands and the recent SDO for Grand Atlantic Resort and Residences, on the neighboring Golden Hind Site. Shadow Environment Minister Mr. Simons said: "We as Bermudians live in a garden paradise, a garden paradise which has sustained us for centuries, and that is what we must retain for Bermuda. "We need to be more disciplined as to how we address development in this country. So many people forget that our island is smaller than Disney World, so we don't have the land mass other jurisdictions have." He said: "We must build on brownfield areas, areas which have already been built on. We must protect the green land we have now. "We do not have a National Development Plan but when we talk about developing Bermuda it makes sense to have a blueprint for the next decade. "It would tell us how our land is to be used and it would also address hotel development." Without a plan we can't move forward properly and efficiently. It would be like building a hotel here and one there, it would be chaos. What we're proposing is a disciplined approach to Bermuda's development. "Let's get the National Development Plan done, and ensure that all of Bermuda buys into this Plan. We want Bermuda to be successful as well (in tourism), but at the same time we must find the balance between the environment and economic sustainability." Roderick Simons added: "We don't have the luxury to make a mistake. When you drive up and down the South Shore Road it's a tranquil drive, and to destroy that green environment we are blessed with, it would be a shame." We believe the nature reserve at Southlands should be preserved for future generations." He also asked: "What is being done at Morgan's Point? It has beaches and it has parkland. Why not make that a public park, a place where people can go to enjoy themselves, and enjoy family time." Jeff Sousa commented on the opposition to the 497-bed resort among Warwick's residents." So many of the people who live in those neighboring homes do not want to see a hotel development. They're already looking at Warwick as the most densely populated area in Bermuda," he said. He added that in giving the 37-acre South Shore resort the green light, Government had shown a "total disrespect" of the neighboring residents. He said: "We need to listen to the people." Mr. Sousa said: "People come to Bermuda for its natural beauty. We must protect its natural beauty. People will stop coming here if it's going to be a concrete jungle." Shadow minister Mr. Simons told viewers: "The main message we want to convey is we need to protect our island paradise. We all as individuals all have a responsibility to do our bit in our neighbourhoods and we as government need to have a disciplined approach when developing this country and preserving Bermuda's beauty. We need to ensure it's beauty for the next generation. "We as custodians of this country must ensure that the beauty of Bermuda today is preserved for future generations." Mr. Simons said although the UBP wanted to encourage hotels and tourism, he wanted to see a more careful approach to development. "We need a robust economy but in so doing, as protectors, we need to ensure our land is used with discipline," he said.

August 10. Tonight almost 200 members of the golf media will hear about plans for the 2007 PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda from the Premier. Yesterday, Premier Dr. Ewart F. Brown and his wife, Wanda Henton Brown, left for the PGA Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Along with TNT sports, the television partner for the Bermuda tournament, Premier Dr. Brown will give an overview of the planning for the tournament tonight. Dr. Brown said: "I have been really looking forward to this tournament because, when it ends, the planning for the Grand Slam in Bermuda goes into overdrive. No matter who fills the final spot on the scorecard this PGA tournament will be a blockbuster for Bermuda, particularly for the tourism industry." Tomorrow afternoon the Premier is scheduled to meet with PGA president Brian Whitcomb and PGA chief executive officer Joe Steranka to discuss preparations for the Grand Slam at the Mid Ocean Club. Three golfers, Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, and Padraig Harrington, have already qualified for the October tournament and Premier Brown said he was hoping the fourth spot would be filled by Tiger Woods, who is playing in the PGA Championship this weekend. Premier Brown added: "I'll be pulling for Tiger again this time, but even if he doesn't win we'll still have a world class foursome to participate in a world class event and it will all happen right in our backyard."

August 10. For the first time in history a show jumper will represent Bermuda at an Olympic Games, it has been revealed today. The Bermuda Equestrian Federation (BEF) has received official confirmation from the Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI) that they will be eligible to send a rider to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The unprecedented slot was secured through the impressive performances of Jill Terceira, riding Navantus, and Patrick Nisbett, on Antille 8, in the Pan-Am Games last month. Paul Pereech, was who Chef D'Equipe in Rio, said he was "ecstatic" about the news. "By qualifying we have made history as Bermuda has never had a show jumper compete at the Olympics before," said Pereech. "We have had representation in dressage and eventing but never show jumping. I'm ecstatic as that was one of our main objectives before Pan-Am and it's thanks to the performances of Patrick (Nisbett) and Jill (Terceira) we have achieved it. If they had not qualified for the final in Rio it's very doubtful we would have this slot - we would have had to have hoped for a wildcard." Both show jumpers, and their horses, have obtained the certificate of capability for the Olympic Games and have qualified - but only one spot at Beijing has been allocated. The decision on which rider heads to the Olympics next summer will rest with the (BEF) who will base their decision on their performances over the next 12-months. Pereech, chairman of the international committee of the BEF, said the door had also been left open to any other Bermudian show jumper to also stake a claim for the vacant spot. "The BEF will base our selection on certain criteria over the next year and although Jill and Patrick have already qualified other riders will have a chance to qualify if they perform at a high level," he added. Holland-based Terceira ended her Pan-Am Games in fine fashion with a near-perfect clear round finishing 25th with 91.49 penalty points. Her Games had been marred by a roguish ride on Navantus - a stallion - which ensured she was not able to threaten the top-ten placing after being dealt a hefty 21.78 penalty points. Nisbett also enjoyed an encouraging Games, finishing a respectable 17th with 52.99 penalty points. His final performance was handed 13 penalty points, with the rider making steady progress up the results table throughout the event. Jill Henselwood, from Canada scooped the gold medal in Rio with just four penalty points, while Brazilian Roderigo Pessora took silver with 5.74 penalty points. Canadian Eric Lamaze finished third with 6.43 penalties. The show jumping events in Beijing will be held in Hong Kong due to quarantine complications, but all performers will still be able to attend both the opening and closing ceremonies.

August 10. Four months on from the Harbour Nights stampede, the pain that victim Erin Wilson suffers every day is a constant reminder of her ordeal. Ms Wilson had arrived on the Island from her Toronto home on April 24, and headed straight to the popular tourist event on Front Street. However, the evening descended into a nightmare for her when two runaway horses tore through a barrier and dragged their carriage into the crowd. Ms Wilson, 25, found herself trapped under its wheels, having suffered a deep head wound that penetrated to her skull and left her covered in blood. She was assisted by off-duty nurse Irene Walbaum, who bandaged her after she was pulled free. She later received ten stitches at the hospital. Speaking this week Ms Wilson, a youth worker, said the wound has healed well but she has since realised she was more badly hurt than originally thought. "I have whiplash and I'm supposed to be going for physiotherapy but I'm not able to go because I don't have insurance and it costs $400 for ten sessions. It's just constant pain every day," she explained. The accident has also left her with mental scars. "I went to a concert in Toronto recently and the big crowd took me back to what happened in Bermuda. It was a very scary experience. I still talk about what happened all the time because I live with the pain, which the doctor says could be long-term," she said. Of the Police report into the incident, which is yet to be completed, she said: "I would like to hear the outcome and I'd also like to hear what other people have done, whether they are experiencing the same things as me."

August 10. Police must unveil their report into the Harbour Nights horse stampede as a matter of urgency to provide much-needed answers, event organizers have said. Nineteen people were injured at the popular tourist event on April 25, some seriously, when two spooked horses crashed through a barrier and dragged their unmanned carriage into the crowd on Front Street. Earlier this week, Mayor of Hamilton Sutherland Madeiros said the Corporation wished to view the official findings before making a decision on whether horses and carriages should be banned from the City. Adding her voice to the calls, Diane Gordon, executive vice president of Harbour Nights organizers the Chamber of Commerce, said: "We are still waiting to hear as well. Several months have gone by and there's a number of people who are waiting to get a report or an outcome as to the incident. "I would like to see closure to this and we are concerned for all of those people who were injured, just to ensure that they have closure." The stampede involved horses belonging to Ray Bean, a Dockyard-based carriage operator. Mr. Bean was said to have chased his runaway horses and calmed them down, despite suffering rib injuries when they first ran out of control. Speculation about the cause of the horses getting spooked has ranged from an exploding firecracker and noise from a children's train to a bridle plume sweeping one of the animals in the head. Mrs. Gordon said: "It's really sad we are stuck in this rumor mill but that's normal. Because people don't have a concrete report in front of them, we are guessing." The most seriously injured victim, Lucille Moniz who was visiting from the US, suffered two broken arms, a broken leg and a badly damaged ear. According to Mrs. Gordon she is out of hospital but has been unable to return home yet because of her injuries. "We're concerned about her. The victims must be feeling frustration and wondering," she said. However, she added: "I don't want to bash the Police at all. There were so many people they had to get reports from, they're really trying to get accurate assessments from everyone because there's been a lot of rumors. They are doing their due diligence, getting all the accurate information possible, before doing anything." Mr. Bean, from Somerset, did not wish to speak in detail, saying he had given a statement to the Police and met with his insurers, and been advised not to speak to the media. He confirmed he was insured in relation to the incident, and said of the pending Police report: "I want to follow up on that with them myself. I would have thought by now it would have been made public." A Police spokesman said: "The investigation is ongoing and in its advanced stages." He declined to comment on when the results would be revealed. 

August 10. Bermuda's national heroes should be celebrated with a group of statutes in a park or walkway say the Opposition United Bermuda Party. And the UBP have called for the new law courts, being erected in Court Street, to be named after former Attorney General Dame Lois Browne Evans who died in May. UBP Leader Michael Dunkley told a press conference his party recognized the value in celebrating people who have helped shaped Bermuda's history. In May the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs invited people to submit ideas on how the Dame's memory could be commemorated. Mr. Dunkley said: "It seemed to us that the one common denominator throughout Dame Lois' life was that she was a champion for justice. It is therefore part of the submission of the United Bermuda Party that the new law court building, when it is completed, be named in her honour." And Senator Bob Richards said discussions on the Dame had led the UBP caucus to put forward the idea of a broader plan to celebrate national heroes. "After a lively and enthusiastic discussion, we settled on a Heroes Park or Walkway where we could erect over time statues and plaques commemorating the lives of great Bermudians. We think it would be a fascinating addition to one of our city parks, such as Par-la-Ville Park or Victoria Park." The UBP called for a non-partisan Heroes Committee to decide who should be honored.

August 10. A meteor shower will pass Bermuda this weekend lighting up the night sky. August is traditionally known as 'shooting star month' but this weekend the sky will be brighter when the meteor shower Perseids passes the Island. The Perseidas shower has been documented since 35 AD and were originally called the tears of St. Lawrence, named after a Christian martyr. The bright lights that star gazers see on Earth is actually melted debris from an icy comet which was orbiting the Sun. The debris ends up becoming a stream, millions of miles long behind the comet. When the Earth comes into contact with these streams astronomers call it a meteor shower. The best time to catch this particular shower is 3 a.m. on Sunday. However the Astronomical Society of Bermuda believes that there will be some great sights as early as 9 p.m. on Saturday. Spokesman for the group, Eddie McGonagle, said: "It is always worthwhile to look a few days either side of the peak period as small unpredicted outbursts are possible. "The only instructions are to use the darkest site possible the moon even cooperates with its absence this year use a comfortable lounger, and have nice companions." He added that there was no need for optical aides with this particular shower.

August 10. The United Bermuda Party denied it is trying to turf people off the electoral register but said it is doing its job by making sure people don't vote in areas they no longer live. It follows claims by the Premier's Press secretary Glenn Jones that the Opposition was behind all the names on a list of objections published by the Parliamentary Registrar this week. Those named have two weeks to say where they are living before the Parliamentary Registrar investigates and either removes their name or alters where their vote is registered. Yesterday UBP leader Michael Dunkley said his party was doing its job in unearthing discrepancies and reporting them for investigation. He said in Warwick North Central UBP candidate Wayne Scott had unearthed a case of ten people still registered to vote at a derelict home. That seat will be a key election battleground in what could be a very tight election. In 2003 the PLP won 22 seats to the UBP's 14 but if 80 people in five key seats had voted differently the UBP would have won power. But Mr. Jones said the UBP had been suspiciously active in objecting to voters. He said: "According to the people I have spoken to, the Opposition, as they are allowed to do, submitted a list of voters they object to. It was abnormal to me because I was told this list was far larger than one that's ever been filed before. Last time it was about ten people, this time it is about 290. It raises suspicions because the typical motive for someone who files a name is to have them removed from the voters' list. You have to assume that is their intention here. I am not accusing them of anything. I am suspicious, is all." Mr. Jones claimed the entire list published by the Parliamentary Registrar had been provided by the UBP although other sources said the PLP had also provided some names but Mr. Jones said he was unaware of it. Mr. Dunkley said he didn't know if most of the names had been provided by the UBP. "I haven't looked at that. But if that is the case that just goes to show that the PLP haven't been carrying out their responsibility with the parliamentary registry. "The over-riding point is that on election day we need to have a register which is exactly accurate. That way democracy will prevail." Otherwise abuse could creep in, either intentionally or unintentionally argued Mr. Dunkley. He said the Parliamentary Registrar had a difficult job and since the abolition of annual registration and the move to require people to re-register only when they move, many people did not inform the Registrar of their change of address. "We have made a concerted effort within the United Bermuda Party to do our best to inform the Parliamentary Registry of changes which are needed to keep constituencies as accurate as possible. That's our responsibility as a political party. I would assume the PLP has done the same thing and has made submissions to the Registry which have been incorporated in that list. I don't hear the Parliamentary Registry complaining in any way about what is happening in his communications on a regular basis with the UBP. So I assume he supports our efforts to help him conduct his job to the best of his ability." He said the UBP were not trying to bar people from voting only to help prevent people from voting in the wrong seat. "There is no way I, as Opposition leader, would try to stop people from their democratic right. "We are actually trying to help them get them out to the polls. But the process won't work effectively unless people vote where they live. Glenn Jones is saying people should be able to vote (in the same place) even after people have moved out of the constituency months and months ago and haven't taken the time and effort to re-register. That's wrong. I don't agree with him in any way." Mr. Jones had claimed most of the names had popped up in marginal constituencies. Asked if the UBP were only concentrating on the register in the see-saw seats Mr. Dunkley said the effort was island-wide. If Mr. Jones thinks that is wrong he needs to change the Act. I think he is spin-doctoring for whatever reason." Progressive Labour Party spokesman Wentworth Christopher said he didn't know if the PLP had formally objected to any voters but he said: "If our people are canvassing and there is a discrepancy they would inform the Registrar. "No one had told me if they have submitted something on this occasion but historically it is something we would do." Last night, Parliamentary Registrar Randy Scott issued a statement saying he wanted to take the opportunity to remind residents that it was 'imperative' that if there were any changes in registration particulars to notify the Parliamentary Registry office within 28 days. Registered voters could be challenged at the polls if they attempted to vote in a constituency they no longer lived in. Registers can be viewed at the Parliamentary Registry office, all Post Offices, Police stations, the Bermuda library and online at website elections.gov.bm. 

August 10. The Premier's Press Secretary has been urged to stay out of politics after he launched a public attack on the United Bermuda Party. Glenn Jones, who was appointed to the $102,000 publicly-funded post earlier this year, had voiced concern about the Opposition raising objections to specific voters on the electoral roll. He did so at an impromptu press conference on Wednesday where he appeared to indicate he was speaking in a personal capacity. However Opposition leader Michael Dunkley said: "I don't buy that. Glenn Jones speaks as the Press secretary for the Premier. That conference was held at Cabinet Office grounds. If he was speaking as individual I would have thought it would be somewhere out on the street. Or if he was speaking on behalf of the PLP I would have thought it would be at their headquarters. Clearly this gentlemen has a hard time understanding the realm and scope of his responsibilities." Mr. Dunkley said the use of political appointments at the taxpayer's expense raised grave concerns. "We supported the appointment of Mr. Jones as press secretary to the Premier because he was someone who brought a wealth of knowledge and provided the resources and experience the Premier needed, that any Premier would need. However we have become concerned now with things like this. Clearly we see this as a political move and we don't, in any way, support the comments." Mr. Jones said he had gone public because most people wouldn't be aware of their names being published at the back of a newspaper notifying them they risked being booted off the electoral roll. He said: "I am trying to bring attention to it because if those folks don't deal with this they will be challenged on election day. No one should have to face that." Mr. Jones said if the UBP's true aim was to merely make sure people voted in the right place they would have made more noise about it. "I would have thought they would have done everything in their power to draw attention to their list." Mr. Jones conceded the final list published came from the Parliamentary Registrar, who was tasked to investigate, not the UBP. Mr. Jones stressed he was not a civil servant but a political appointment. It is thought Mr. Jones was appointed under a 1983 act allowing the Premier and Opposition leaders to appoint personal staff paid for out of the public purse but separate from the Civil Service. Asked if he would be making more political attacks he said: "I don't know, this was opportunistic. I didn't know it (the list) would be in the newspaper. I saw it in the newspaper on Wednesday morning. I was curious, did some research and I thought I should say something about it. It's not like a strategy change." Mr. Jones said he had volunteered to go out front because, although the Premier was on the island, he had a busy schedule. Asked yesterday if he was speaking on behalf of the Premier he said: "Yes, whenever I address the media on an issue of what we do I am the Premier's spokesperson but yesterday's words were my own. I guess I am asking to have it both ways."

August 10. Thrice-weekly direct flights to Baltimore from Bermuda will end on August 27 and resume next May. USA 3000 Airlines said yesterday it was stopping the route between the Island and Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) during autumn and winter to carry out heavy maintenance on its aircraft. BWI is the closest airport to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, a facility used by many Bermudians. Patients from the Island will have to fly to Reagan National Airport instead which is about an hour away from the hospital on one of US Airways daily flights. USA 3000 spokeswoman Christy Ortiz said the route was popular with American tourists and Bermudians but the airline only had a small fleet which had to be maintained. "Over the fall and winter season we have to go through our... heavy maintenance on all of the aircraft," she said. "While most of the flights are being combined, it doesn't work for Bermuda. It has meant we have to cease Bermuda services for fall and winter. These heavy checks happen once every five years so it should not affect next year's operation." Aaron Adderley, general manager at L.F. Wade International Airport, said USA 3000 used to operate flights to Newark, New Jersey and Philadelphia from Bermuda but now only had the Baltimore route. "The USA 3000 flight is a favorite for Bermudians flying up to Johns Hopkins but we do have the US Airways service," he said. Meanwhile, budget British airline Zoom is hoping to get permission in the next few days to fly a shorter route across the Atlantic cutting its journey time from London to Bermuda by almost two hours. The low-cost carrier which began operating flights between Gatwick and the Island in June is still waiting to get its ETOPS (extended-range twin operations) licence from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The certification for long over water flights will mean Zoom no longer has to keep within an hour-and-a-half of land a requirement which has caused journey times to be far longer than originally advertised. Premier Ewart Brown told a press conference last month that the CAA approval had been granted and shorter flights down to six hours and 45 minutes from eight hours and 30 minutes would begin today. But yesterday Zoom spokeswoman Lorna Inglis said: "I can definitely confirm they haven't got it yet but they are hoping to get it within the next day or two." She said the airline was taking the most direct route it could in the meantime. Mr. Adderley said: "The Premier, when he made his announcement, it was based on information we had received from Zoom at that time. Unfortunately, the UK authorities didn't complete that approval when we anticipated they would have so it's taking a bit longer than was first communicated. I know it must be a frustrating situation for the airline, not having this in place. This has dragged on." The CAA did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

August 10. A blunt warning that Bermudian jobs could be lost as an unforeseen consequence of Government's six-year work term policy has been met with silence from Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess. High profile business leader David Ezekiel has warned that international companies are starting to outsource jobs overseas that were previously filled in Bermuda by ex-pats on work permits. The next step will be for international companies to shift lower-level administration and processing jobs, traditionally done by Bermudians, to those outsourced locations because of economic dynamics, according Mr. Ezekiel, who is chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies. "Once you allow that outsourcing train to leave the station it will be difficult to get back. The changes will start with the outsourcing of the work permit jobs, but once that pipeline is on place, the cashier jobs and processing jobs will go too," he warned, adding that failing to generate jobs for Bermudians was "not ideal" but there would be a balancing act for international companies to perform to maintain benefits for their clients. Brad Kading, president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, agrees that "anything deters companies from having important operational functions here" detracts from the economic benefit they bring to Bermuda.  

August 10. Mauritian-born L.J. Kersley Nanette opens an exhibition of model boats in the Rose Gallery at Masterworks in the Botanical Gardens this evening. The collection of 17th and 18th century vessels is entitled 'The Bounty: Handcrafted Scale Model Ships'. The artist undertook an apprenticeship in Mauritius at age 12, and since 1979 has developed a passion for making model ships in teak and cedar in various sizes, ranging from five inches to six feet. His latest pride and joy was making five-foot models of 'The Sea Venture' and 'The Deliverance' in Bermuda cedar. The latter of which was depicted on the Bermuda to Jamestown postage stamp marking the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. The artist describes model ship making as a rare art to which he has devoted countless hours over many years to perfect. The owner of 'The Bounty' shop in St. George's, Mr. Nanette says it requires lots of knowledge, ability, determination, patience and love to become a model maker, and is really a labour of love.

August 11. A new law which effectively prevents Bermudians married to foreigners for less than a decade from buying more than one property will not be retrospective. The Department of Immigration confirmed yesterday that Islanders who already own additional properties which their expatriate spouses benefit from or contribute to can keep them — provided they apply for and obtain a licence from Government. But as of June 22 this year — when the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007 became law — mixed status couples are no longer allowed to purchase more than one property. Those that have bought extra property since June 22 — be it private residences or business property — will have to sell it before June 2010. Campaigners against the new Act gave a cautious welcome to the clarification last night — but Ronnie Viera, who has set up a group to protest against the law, said it was not good enough. "People are still restricted after June 22 and there are a lot of people who have complained about that to me," he said. Mr. Viera said the new law discriminated against Bermudians married to expats. "Although they have softened their stance there has been no indication that they are going to amend their Act. It means that they could always change it and decide to make it retrospective in the future." Shadow Immigration Minister Trevor Moniz said: "The new law is somewhat harsh towards Bermudians married to non-Bermudians. At least the Minister has recognized this to some degree and softened the law by grandfathering in those people who already own more than one property." He added: "I'm not sure it goes far enough, though it's a start. There is some recognition that it was unfair." Mr. Moniz said though the law was designed to outlaw fronting — where non-Bermudians gain an interest in land here by using a Bermudian "front" — he was not sure how this aspect of the legislation would help to do that. And he questioned whether the Department of Immigration would be capable of getting the processing time for a licence for properties down to four weeks, as pledged by Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess. "A lot of people are unconvinced by that promise," he said. "Immigration is overloaded. Can they actually achieve this? Will getting a licence be onerous?" The clarification on how to interpret the law regarding extra properties came from Labour and Immigration permanent secretary Robert Horton. He explained that when a non-Bermudian spouse contributes towards mortgage payments or benefits from rent received for a property, a constructive trust is created with their Bermudian partner. "Under the new legislation, the Bermudian is required to obtain a licence under section 77 of the 1956 (Bermuda Immigration and Protection) Act," he said. The limit of one licensed property to any given non-Bermudian is a matter of policy and is not built into the law. Bermudians and their non-Bermudian spouses now find themselves in the position of requiring licenses where these constructive trusts have been created. It would be unfair and probably unconstitutional to force Bermudians to sell their properties that are caught in this way." He said the Minister had decided that Bermudians who were constructive trustees for their non-Bermudian spouses' equitable interest in land in Bermuda would be granted a licence for each property acquired before June 22, 2007. The licenses have to be applied for in each case and applications must be made before June 22, 2010. Mr. Horton added: "From June 22, 2007, as has been, and still is, the general case, policy will continue to limit a non-Bermudian spouse to one property and may set conditions on the disposal of the property."

August 11. Environmental campaigners yesterday welcomed several recommendations in the SDO for Southlands which require developers to mitigate the impact of the 497-bed resort. Details of the SDO for the 37-acre hotel complex on the South Shore were yesterday published in the Official Gazette. They require developers to "mitigate any adverse impacts" on sea birds and to create artificial longtail nests along the cliffs, among other environmental considerations. Stuart Hayward, chairman of Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce (BEST), last night welcomed the measures but said Government had not taken into account the accumulative impact of the construction of a neighboring resort when finalizing the SDO. He was referring to the nine-storey, 220-room Grand Atlantic Resort and Residences which was recently also granted an SDO and which will be built 'next door' to Southlands on the former Golden Hind site. "The Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) are concerned more about what is omitted by the just-published SDO for Southlands than what it contains," said Mr. Hayward. "The most serious omission is that of the impact of this development when added to next door Atlantic Ltd. Development. The people depend on the Government to consider the combined effects of neighboring developments. It is totally unacceptable for the Government to treat these adjacent developments as though there is no interaction and no combined impacts on the cultural integrity of the neighborhood. The bottom line is that with the issuance of the final SDO, another hotel along with four or five dozen other multi-storey buildings, is going to be built right on the shoreline, right next door to another nine-storey hotel with additional multi-storey buildings. The conditions of the SDO do nothing to avert the loss of 37 acres of greenfield site being developed with concrete and glass, while already-developed brownfield acres around the island sit idle. The conditions of the SDO do nothing to soften the impact of two hotel developments, side-by-side, that will add perhaps thousands of new residents to an already congested area; add to traffic congestion; add to housing demands and shortages; swallow up hundreds of yards of beach; and exacerbate already tense social conditions." He said: "The SDO requires further study and we will have further comment in due course." Although conditions to minimize the impact of construction traffic are stipulated in the SDO planning requirements for Southlands, the impact of another hotel being built on adjacent land at a similar time is not mentioned. What the SDO does require developers Southlands Ltd. to do is submit plans and data within six months "as are necessary to examine and assess the potential environmental or other impacts on the matters described below, including the measures to be taken to mitigate any adverse impacts". They are listed as follows: the habitats of fauna and flight patterns of sea birds; storm waters; multi-storey buildings; arrangements for supply of electricity and water; impact of construction traffic; arrangements for the housing and transportation of construction employees. The developers must provide detailed research and scientific data on the effect of a hurricane on Jumeirah Southlands. The information is needed under "storm waters" and includes "an assessment of potential hazards, the impact on coastal erosion and evacuation procedures". Southlands Ltd. must also construct their multi-storey suites in such a way as to avoid "shading/and or intrusion of privacy" on "neighboring residential properties". In addition, the company must submit a "Landscape and Woodland Management Plan" and a foreshore protection scheme — including longtail nests — in liaison with the Department of Conservation Services. The SDO also appears to prohibit future development of the arable and woodland areas of the estate, by asking the developers to amend a section 34 agreement with Southlands' former owners. Southlands Ltd. must "amend the current agreement with the Trustees of the Willowbank Foundation to restrict or regulate the further development or use of land deemed to be worthy of preservation and protection, including significant areas of woodland and agricultural land". Yesterday, Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield refused to comment on the conditions of the SDO. Earlier this week BEST ran a full-page advertisement which said: "Southlands creates significant precedence for use of public lands by private developers." In a statement the organisation said: "A development priority, as put forward in the Government's own Sustainable Development Strategy, must be to redevelop derelict tourism properties rather than developing new ones."

August 11. A slavery historian is calling for the United Nations to be more aggressive in helping free millions of modern day slaves. Franklin Knight said the problem was so widespread in today's society it could only be tackled by a body which represents all corners of the globe. Dr. Knight, a Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, was in Bermuda to give a lecture on the abolition of the British slave trade. One of the main features of his talk was that it would be wrong to view the end of slavery as something which happened solely with the passing of anti-slavery legislation in the early 19th Century. He said it saddened him that different forms of human captivity, such as women being trafficked as prostitutes, took place today. "The UN has not been as aggressive in ending slavery as they should be," Dr. Knight said: "It's within the power of the UN to make it one of the responsibilities of international courts of justice to stop slavery. If you are going to attack an international problem, you need an international organization. Only global solutions can be successful to this global problem. How else do you stop human trafficking when there are so many countries involved, when people are bought in one country and taken to another? It's more than just sending out Policemen. You have to have leaders of countries ultimately responsible for what is carried out in their countries." He said leaders who fail to act against slavery in their own country should face punishment. Dr. Knight is the author of 'Slave Society in Cuba during the 19th Century' and 'The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism'. He was invited to speak at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for the second annual Dr. Kenneth Robinson/Cyril Packwood Memorial Lecture. His call for the UN to do more to help tackle modern day slavery comes after this newspaper relaunched its Break The Chains campaign to fight against more than 12 million slaves across the world. We are urging readers to sign Anti-Slavery International's on-line Fight For Freedom declaration demanding governments across the world take action to end all forms of modern day slavery, including human trafficking, child labour, bonded labour and forced marriage. The campaign in Bermuda has been given extra impetus after Charlotte Wilberforce, a descendant of slave emancipator William Wilberforce, began organizing a Run For Freedom on the Island to raise awareness and cash in the fight against modern day slavery. It will take place in March to mark the anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.

August 11. Dozens of students were given a helping hand towards their career goals after being named as recipients of scholarship awards. Education Minister Randy Horton gave out Government scholarships, teacher training awards and mature student awards in a ceremony at Camden House in the Botanical Gardens yesterday. "Even though you may be returning to Bermuda upon completion of your studies, never lose sight of the fact that you will be competing with the rest of the world for positions in whatever is your chosen field," the Minister told the recipients. "To use the language of the young people, you must therefore represent and represent well. Show that this country, despite its size relative to other larger countries, is capable of producing individuals of the highest quality. The Ministry of Education, Sport and Recreation, as well as the Government and people of Bermuda, celebrate your success, and proudly consider you ambassadors of this country. Make us proud." Kristen Douglas, 17, who is heading off to La Sierra University in California to study math, psychology and actual science, said she screamed with joy when she found out she was going to receive a Government scholarship. She said: "It will take off the financial burden from my mom and it feels good that your country will invest in you."  Government scholars: Alison Bolton, Kristina Crockwell, Kristen Douglas, Thomas Foster, Promila Gonsalves, Lisa-Jayne Metschnabel, Donita Stevens, Ciara Talbot. Teacher training award recipients: Maura Almeida, Tarick Bean-Darrell, Shawnette Brangman, Shantel DeShield, Vernon Lambe III, Jenny Palmer, Vernee Proctor. Mature student award recipients: Valerie Akinstall, Theresa Caines, Ugene Godfrey, Tammisha Francis-Wainwright, Alfreda Hughes, Thomas McKittrick, Danvers Seymour, Natasha Shabdeen, Keita Swan.

August 11. You can buy a piece of Southlands for just $265,000. Southlands Ltd. say the price of a fractional suite, complete with butler, will range from $265,000 to $1.2 million. This buys you a one-sixth share in a 'Bermudian-style' villa, equating to eight weeks' holiday a year — or four fortnights. A total of 311 suites are planned, of which 135 will be sold as fractional vacation units. Developers are to build four blocks with 66 suites above the cliff face, overlooking the ocean. Two of the five-storey blocks will offer balcony suites for sale, with the remaining shared-ownership villas dotted around the perimeter of the Southlands estate. The remaining two cliff-top blocks will provide hotel suites, while the core guest accommodation will be set back on the estate. Four five-storey blocks are to be built in front of the main house, featuring balcony suites overlooking the ocean, and Belmont Hills Golf Club to the rear. Traffic along South Road will be diverted from the coastal road into a tunnel running beneath a land bridge which connects the north and south sections of the resort. The 17 two-storey beachfront suites — to be built into the cliff-face — will be reserved for hotel guests. In each hotel and fractional unit, architects Botelho Wood aim to combine traditional features such as Bermudian stonework with modern design. The extensive use of glass will provide scenic panoramas over the Atlantic Ocean. Guests of Jumeirah Southlands will be able to enjoy a 1,700 ft beachfront plus all the amenities of a five-star resort. An open air lobby is planned, while the spa will be subterranean in style, built underneath the ground at the rear of the main house. There will also be five restaurants and bars, a nightclub, equestrian centre, two swimming pools and a conference centre. Developers say they will retain the Quarry Gardens, Banyan trees and the main house in their natural state. The main house is an outstanding example of Bermudian architecture, dating back to 1745 and featuring three butteries. The mausoleum where former estate owner James Morgan (1846-1932) and his wife Anna E. Lyman Morgan (1847-1929) were buried will also remain intact. However, three of the seven farm cottages will be leveled. Southlands Ltd. plan to create walking trails through the maze-like Quarry Gardens, enabling visitors to ramble through a rich variety of flora and fauna, the two stone tunnels and ten ponds. The Special Development Order was approved by Cabinet and rubber-stamped by Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield after the original Planning application was rejected by Planning officials. The first phase of the resort — the beachfront suites and entertainment complex, is now expected to be completed by early 2009. Developers aim to open the completed Jumeirah Southlands resort by the end of 2011. Jens Maitland, vice president of sales for Southlands, said the fractional vacation units could go on sale in as little as three months. "We will have to start our marketing and advertising, setting up websites and DVDs, so it will take another 12 weeks before we go to market," he said.

August 11. A so-called "boutique" airline which planned to start running luxury flights between Bermuda and London appears to have folded. Fly First Class first touted plans to operate a route linking the Island with London Stansted and Wilmington, North Carolina, in October 2005. Its then-chief executive officer Darrell Richardson said the three-star service would use a 90-seat Boeing 767 plane and passengers would enjoy free meals and drinks and personal videos. The Fort Lauderdale-based airline has said ever since that it has been awaiting government permission to launch the service and was in talks with UK operator Silverjet regarding the route. Attempts this week to contact Fly First Class for an update have been unsuccessful and one travel agent in the States said the firm was understood to no longer be operating. Mr. Richardson said he no longer worked for the company. The Florida telephone number listed on the airline's website is no longer in service and a man who answered its UK phone number said the company had shut up shop in Surrey several months ago. Fly First Class' Bermuda representative could not be contacted for comment. The UK Civil Aviation Authority said in May that Fly First Class had not applied for permission to launch its service. L.F. Wade International Airport general manager Aaron Adderley said yesterday he had received no recent updates from the company. Carl Paiva, chief executive officer at the Island's largest travel agency, C-Travel, which is listed as a travel partner on the website flyfirstclass.biz, said: "We were basically their appointed sales agent here when they were ready to sell. That was the extent of our relationship with them and we have heard nothing further from them."

August 11. Premier Ewart Brown last night said he was rooting for Tiger Woods to win the PGA Championship this weekend to earn a place in October's Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. Dr. Brown was speaking from the Southern Hills Country Club course in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he joined spectators following Tiger Woods around for the first ten holes of his outing in yesterday's second round. Asked if he thought Woods was going to win the last major of 2007, Dr. Brown said: "Yes, and I think that more so today (Friday) than yesterday (Thursday), as he's playing well and looking confident." Woods completed the round with a course record-equaling 63 to lead the tournament by two strokes. The winners of golf's four majors - the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship - are the players who qualify for the PGA of America's Grand Slam of Golf, which will be held at the Mid Ocean Club over two days in October. The first three majors were won by Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington, but should in-form Woods triumph this weekend, it will give the Grand Slam the huge boost of featuring the biggest name in world golf. The Premier said he believed most Bermudians were pulling for Woods to win the final slot and he added: "They should be if they know what it could do for the Island." The Ministry of Tourism is backing the Grand Slam to the tune of $1.5 million, in the hope that the TV exposure of the tournament will attract more visitors. And Dr. Brown said the PGA was doing a "great job" of providing publicity for the Bermuda tournament. "I spent this morning with David Charles, the executive director for the Grand Slam," Dr. Brown said. "We talked about everything, the course itself, the merchandising, the catering, all of it. Norman Furtado, the superintendent of the Mid Ocean Club, is also here." Dr. Brown was enthused about what the Grand Slam could do for Bermuda. "We are hoping to turn Bermuda on," he said. "This tournament means so much to the whole Island and we are hoping to extend it beyond the boundaries of the Mid Ocean Club." 

August 13. Premier Ewart Brown says the international media are sitting up and taking notice of Bermuda as the knock-on effects of the Island hosting the PGA Grand Slam of Golf start to show. The Premier also revealed his ambition to turn Bermuda's two-year deal with the PGA into a link-up which could stretch further into the future. Dr. Brown, who is also Tourism Minister, addressed more than 100 golf writers from a number of countries while in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to watch the PGA Championship. He said it gave him the opportunity to sell Bermuda as a golf destination and discuss the level of excitement building on the Island. "I told them (the golf writers) the PGA made an excellent choice when it decided to move the tournament to Bermuda," said the Premier. "The whole country will be tuned in. I wanted the reporters to know they should not be fooled by our size, there are a lot of golfers and a lot of golf courses in Bermuda. We want vacationing golfers to come and experience, at least once, what Bermudians get to enjoy every day of the year." At the same media event on Friday night, TNT Sports, the broadcast partner for the Grand Slam, presented newly recorded aerial footage of the Mid Ocean Club and its surrounding area. Dr. Brown said: "The room filled with 'oohs' and 'aahs'. The footage was very impressive. Bermuda will be showcased very well in this event. The Grand Slam stands to benefit our tourism product in a way we've never experienced before." On Saturday, the Premier met with PGA president Brian Whitcomb and PGA chief executive officer Joe Sternanka to discuss Grand Slam preparations. Yesterday, in an interview with the Golf Channel's Scott Rude, Dr. Brown said: "Bermuda is a unique mix of friendly people and natural beauty." When asked about Bermuda's deal with the PGA, the Premier said: "We have a two-year deal with the PGA, but we think we can turn it into a multi-two year deal." The Premier told Reuters international news agency: "There is high excitement! It's going to be a great event. There is no question that this will be the event of the year for us. It will be a wonderful launch to our golf and spa season." 

August 13. Government's Hustle Truck has been suspended due to "behavioral challenges" with some of its workers. The scheme, which involves bussing unemployed people around the Island to carry out manual labour, needs to be completely reviewed to deal with the problem, Housing Minister David Burch said in a statement released late last night. Sen. Burch said changes were needed to better manage the personnel, "who have a variety of issues not normally seen in the workplace. We have encountered some challenges with some of the workers," he continued, "and in order to guarantee the continued success of this initiative, I have ordered a complete review of the policies and procedures to ensure a smoother running of the programme." He said criteria were being put in place such as asking all workers to confirm pertinent information including their work history, skill set and desired occupations. Information will be passed to relevant agencies to help workers become more productive members of society. "A renewed and improved programme will return as soon as the new procedures are in place," he said. "This Government is fully committed to providing employment to those who, for a variety of reasons, had opted out of society, but it will be conducted in a professional and proper manner." The Hustle Truck was launched in April under the guidance of Bermuda Housing Corporation. Hustle stands for Help the Unemployed Sustain Themselves through Limited Employment. On a weekly basis, able bodied men and women arrived at 8 a.m. and worked a seven-hour work day. The programme began with the contracting of eight young men and women of Middletown to paint over graffiti and walls of BHC properties. "As the programme progressed, it grew to outstanding success with numbers of workers increasing week by week. The workers have been men and women, both young and old, from a cross section of the community," said Sen. Burch. "With the evolution of the programme, interesting facts were revealed. The numbers of unemployed Bermudians seeking work or payment for work in Bermuda is extraordinary." Speaking in the Senate in June, Sen. Burch said seven participants had already gone on to find permanent jobs. 

August 13. Bermuda's distribution of wealth remains top-heavy in favour of whites and the attitudes of some white Bermudians reflect a commitment to white supremacy, a race expert has claimed. American Professor Robert Jensen, co-facilitator of Government's Bermuda Race Relations Initiative (BRRI), is no stranger to controversy — having authored numerous contentious publications on the subject of racial affairs in the United States since the 1980s. When asked about the state of race relations in modern Bermuda, Dr. Jensen, who is white, said the Island differs from the United States in its structures but still supports racial inequalities. A highly-regarded professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Jensen was contacted by Premier Ewart Brown in 2006, to take part in the BRRI after Dr. Brown read some of his publications online. "The United States has a white majority and the major institutions, political and economic, are in the hands of white people," he said. "When examining the distribution of wealth and power and the underlying racial ideology, it is clear to me that the US is still a white-supremacist society. This is even with the significant gains of the civil-rights movement in the last half of the 20th century. Is Bermuda a white-supremacist society? That's obviously a more complex question in a country with a black majority and a black-led government, the distribution of wealth remains racialized, however. And the attitudes of at least some white Bermudians reflect a commitment to white supremacy. As an outsider, I don't think my job is to answer that question but to raise questions that can help Bermudians understand their own society." Since the BRRI started in March, Dr. Jensen along with Dr. Bernestine Singley, a black American lawyer, also regarded as an expert on race issues, have been pounding Bermuda's pavement in search of solutions. Dr. Brown devised the BRRI, with the support of the Cabinet Office and the Community for Unity and Racial Equality (CURE), and its forums are held once a month and will run until November. However, it's too early to judge the effectiveness of the campaign, Dr. Jensen warned. And, he said, it is a process that should not be critiqued hastily. "In a sense, I think it's too early to judge the effectiveness, in the sense that we're in the middle of a process that began in March that goes through until November," he said. "Very consciously, Dr. Singley and I think of this as an ongoing process, not one that can be judged as an instance. Beyond that, the real success or failure of this initiative will be judged in the future in terms of what contribution is made to Bermuda's ability to achieve a more just society. Also, with race relations, you're also dealing with emotions and these are not purely abstract issues that people are arguing about, this is very much woven into the fabric of our lives."

August 13. American Professor Robert Jensen is not afraid of holding strong — and often unpopular — opinions. Nor is he afraid of voicing these opinions loudly — from his stance against white supremacy, to his support of radical feminism and his critiques of racism in the pornography industry. His critics in America have labeled him as an extremist zealot, unpatriotic, a "critic of the American empire" and, according to US conservative activist David Horowitz, as a man "who rabidly hates the United States". If you haven't already noticed, Dr. Jensen, 49, is white. He first visited Bermuda in February of this year, coming to the Island as the co-facilitator of the Bermuda Race Relations Initiative (BRRI), along with American Dr. Bernestine Singley, a black lawyer, educator and popular author in her own right. The series of summits started in March and will run until November, with the next one planned for September 15-16. Some in the BRRI have found his lecturing methods to be rather "aggressive" and "impolite". But, according to his enthusiasts, they merely represent his trademark style of passionate edification — to the ninth degree. "Am I harsh?" he said. "Sure, I think sometimes speaking about injustice should be harsh and I don't mean abusive, but I mean honest and blunt. This is largely a matter of perception. I would say that Bernestine and I are aggressive in the sense that we would like to address the problems aggressively. But I don't think we do it with aggression in the sense that we are abusive. Our strategy and belief is that racial dialogue has to go to the core and that is often perceived as harsh and aggressive." Premier Ewart Brown's motivation for the BRRI has drawn skepticism from critics, who allege it's is nothing more than a political smokescreen and is only designed to stir-up racial tension with an election pending. Dr. Jensen strongly disagrees. "In his interaction with me, he has never once mentioned a political agenda for our work," he said. "I think Bernestine has had the same experience. When Dr. Brown first contacted me, he expressed his concern that there were unresolved racial tensions on the Island that he hoped I could help address. Since the formal initiation of the BRRI, he has never raised any political concerns. I'm not naive. Politicians are political, of course. But my sense is that Dr. Brown sees an opportunity to advance the discussion about race. He realizes the BRRI can't contribute to that if it is seen as merely a front for the PLP or his agenda. Bernestine and I have no stake in Bermudian politics and we've worked hard to make it clear that the BRRI is not a place for party politics." Dr. Jensen responded to the reaction of some whites in Bermuda that have retorted his brand of perpetual invoking of feelings of guilt, by posing, "what are white people supposed to do? The first thing that white people have to do is recognize that the 'race problem' is essentially a white problem," he countered. "In a white supremacist society, white people are the problem — we are the ones who created and maintained the system of white supremacy. The goals of my book ('The Heart of Whiteness') are to recognize that people and white supremacy are the source of the problem and that requires a different perspective. It means we have to rethink our history. We have to rethink contemporary society and our own role in that. One of the main messages of the book is to change the way that we think. But changing our thinking is not enough. There's many ways that white people can contribute to this. Such as, in progressive politics, more generally by making sure that a racial analysis is a part of the progressive strategies." However, as in the United States, in Bermuda one cannot bring up the issue of contemporary racism without asking that age-old question: Can blacks be racist too? The short form answer to that, according to Dr. Jensen, is no. "People of all races and ethnicities can harbour prejudice," he said. "And you see that often. But 'racism' as we've come to use the term is connected to power — to an ability to affect people's lives. In that sense, racism is a feature of white society. When we talk about 'can black people be racist?', I think it's a diversionary question. We're trying to create a more just world and that means focusing on the nature of institutions and the nature of systems. And so it's white supremacy that's the problem and that's where our focus should remain. It doesn't mean that people who are prejudiced or act inappropriately shouldn't be critiqued. For white people, I think it's too easy to say 'look at those black people, they hate us just as much as we hate them, therefore everything's equal and nothing can be done'. It's diversionary in the sense that it takes people away from the struggles to change the system." Dr. Jensen — or 'Bob' as he prefers to be called — joined the University of Texas at Austin, faculty, in 1992. Prior to that he completed his PhD in Media Law and Ethics at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. He was born and raised in the "mostly white state of North Dakota", as he puts it, and prior to his academic career, he worked as a professional journalist for a decade. At the University of Texas, he teaches courses in Media Law, Ethics and Politics. He is also director of the Senior Fellows Programme, the honours syllabus of the College of Communication. In his research, he draws on a variety of critical approaches to media and power. Much of his work has focused on pornography and the radical feminist critique of sexuality and men's violence. Such a combination of modern subjects will most certainly raise eyebrows at first glance — racism and pornography, feminism, sexuality and violence by men. His rationale for the context of such historically taboo topics is: "When you study contemporary pornography, you see that there is a whole of sub genre of overtly racist pornography, which uses very conventional racist stereotypes. For example; we see the image of a black male as a sexual predator," he added. "And the image of black women as sexually animalistic, the image of Latina women as hot-blooded and horny. All of these vary. I hate to even speak of it because it's so crude. But all of the racists stereotypes that exist in culture are used by the pornography industry. White men largely control the pornography industry and the consumer base is largely white male." His opinions on race and pornography are far from his only controversial ones. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, in an article appearing in the Houston Chronicle newspaper, in Texas, Dr. Jensen declared that the United States was "just as guilty" as the hijackers in committing acts of violence. Dr. Jensen wrote that the attack, orchestrated by terrorist Osama bin Laden on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon in Washington DC, "was no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism... that the US government has committed during my lifetime". The editor of that paper received more than 4,000 outraged letters, plus a heap of condemnation for even deciding to publish the op-ed piece. Dr. Jensen himself was denounced as insensitive and an extremist, especially as his piece came just three days after the attack. His boss, University of Texas President Larry Faulkner, also disavowed the article, saying Dr. Jensen is "a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy". In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Jensen writes for popular US media, both alternative and mainstream. He is divorced and has a 15-year-old son who lives most of the year with his mother. "I'm very happy at the moment because he's coming for a visit soon. He spends a lot of time in his office working on his duties for the university and on his piles of research and writing. In addition, he travels extensively and does lots of organizational work in his community, mostly through a US-based group called 'Third Coast Activist Resource Center'. "When I have down time, I tend to spend it either alone, almost always reading or with friends, doing a lot of cooking for them," he said. "I relax by cooking." His opinion and analysis pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics and race have appeared in papers across the United States and around the world. And, he's also involved in a number of activist groups working against the perceived US military and economic domination of the rest of the world. In a highly controversial opinion piece published in 2002, he wrote: "I helped kill a Palestinian today. If you pay taxes to the US Government, so did you. And unless the policies of the US government change, tomorrow will be no different. It is easy for Americans to decry the 'cycle of violence' in Palestine, but until we acknowledge our own part in that violence, there is little hope for a just peace in Palestine or the Middle East." In his opinions on the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and US president George Bush, he also pulls no punches. "We were originally told that the invasion of Iraq was for two reasons: one because they had weapons of mass destruction, and two, that they were linked to terrorists," he said. "We now know that both reasons were lies. Right now in Iraq, there's a lot of terrorism going on, but it's a product of the invasion not the reason for the invasion. In other words, the terrorism was produced by the invasion. So the Bush administration's reasons for invading Iraq were all fraudulent and all based on lies. The invasion itself was illegal and the occupation is illegal, the US owes the people of Iraq massive reparations. If we were going to apply international law honestly, President Bush would be called before an international tribunal for crimes against peace and war crimes." With Bermuda watching closely, with our own pending election, the notion of race and US politics inevitably floats to the surface. US Senator Barack Obama is currently a front-runner for President of the United States and America is asking itself whether a black man can ever be elected President in a 21st century America. Dr. Jensen sees Sen. Obama as a strong candidate — but as one who will not challenge white supremacy. "Barack Obama is seen as a viable Presidential candidate," Dr. Jensen said. "He plays a different profile, he's a Harvard-trained lawyer with some experience in community organizing. But the way you rise in electoral politics in the US, is to align yourself with that concentrated power and not by challenging it. Barack Obama does not offer a critique of white supremacy — you won't hear him talking about it. If there were a black Presidential candidate that were to call out the American public on white supremacy — that person would never be elected." Dr. Jensen's catalogue of books include: 'Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity' (2007); 'The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege' (2005); 'Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity' (2004) and 'Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream' (Peter Lang, 2001). He also co-authored, with Gail Dines and Ann Russo, 'Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality' (Routledge, 1998) and co-edited with David S. Allen, 'Freeing the First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression' (New York University Press, 1995).

August 13. Race activist Eva Hodgson has reissued a challenge to the United Bermuda Party to publicly acknowledge that whites were responsible for segregation and still benefit from its long-term effects. The founder of the National Association for Reconciliation called on the Opposition more than a year ago to take out large-scale adverts and send letters to its members detailing the origins of slavery and segregation. Historian and author Dr. Hodgson says now that her challenge still stands — and claims such actions are the only way the party can prove it is committed to unity on the Island. But Gina Spence-Farmer, Shadow Minister for Community, Cultural Affairs and Race Relations, said yesterday she was more interested in the idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as called for last year by PLP backbencher Renee Webb and earlier this year by retiring Anglican Bishop Ewen Ratteray. Senator Spence-Farmer said: "There has to be forgiveness. It's a call to action for everyone. In order for it to work, everybody has to participate." Dr. Hodgson said she believed her suggestion would allow the UBP to move on in the wake of public accusations of racism within the party from former members such as Jamahl Simmons and Gwyneth Rawlins. "The UBP can, at this moment, make a difference by sending out a letter to all of their members reminding them of how and when segregation began," said Dr. Hodgson. "The UBP has never done what Ewart Brown has tried to do in terms of having people have a conversation about racism. Until the PLP came to power, white people pretty much ignored black people unless there was a riot or something. If the UBP really cared about black people's condition, they would be insisting that they constantly talked about the issue." She added: "The UBP has a responsibility to address the issue among their white constituency and it hasn't done it. All the rest it is saying about housing and education — it's irrelevant. Our housing and our bad schooling are aggravated by the racial divide." Sen. Spence-Farmer said it was wrong to suggest the UBP was not taking action to promote racial harmony. But she said a commission would be a much more positive step than letters and adverts attributing blame. "There is so much talk about the injustice, which I think is wonderful, but I think it's a lot harder to come up with a solution. I think most people would like to get to a place where there is an end result."

August 13. The sport of rowing looks set to take off as the next big thing if the Bermuda Rowing Association's latest regatta yesterday is anything to go by. About 30 beginners and experienced rowers descended upon the Association's base at White Island early on Sunday morning to compete in the 500-metre sprint racing event. They braved the choppy waters and windy conditions to race head-to-head or against the clock around the square course of buoys with everything from boys and men's singles and doubles and girls and women's singles and doubles to mixed doubles and cox fours in competition. Club president Michael Swain started the Association three years ago because he wanted someone to race against and in that short space of time he has already seen the membership base grow to around 50 and the number of boats increase from two to 13. The Association members range from 10 to 60-years-old and it has already attracted trainers of the caliber of current rowing world champion Toby Medaris, who races in the Harvard 1st heavyweight crew and will take part in next year's Boat Race wearing the blue of Oxford, and current head coach and former Canadian national champion Jim Ganley, who is currently doing intensive training with members throughout the week. Swain said: "I went here 15 years ago and bought my own sculling boat, but I wanted someone to race against, so I started the Association, but with the emphasis of getting into the community. The values are teamwork and pulling your own weight in a crew and reliability." With boats setting off around the course and crossing the finishing line left right and centre all the time, Swain and his group of assistants cruising around in the umpire's boat were on hand to lend an encouraging word or two and fish out any unlucky rowers who had tipped over into the deep. Back on dry land, or the quay to be precise, rowers were preparing to go out on the water or drying themselves off and getting a much needed drink of water, or even discussing their performance and their plans for the next time round. Natalie Luthi and Will Porteous, who train together, were rowing as a pair and managed to clock an impressive time of three minutes and five seconds. Luthi first got into the sport because she always wanted to give it a try and is now in her third year. "I never rowed until three years ago and I saw the opportunity to do it and now I try to get out three times a week," she said. Meanwhile Porteous has been racing since he was 14 at school in England and at the age of 29 is currently enjoying the status of one of the more experienced members of the Association. "We are only three years old as a club and if you look at the number of people here compared with what we started with, with two boats, and now we have got many, many more and it is definitely a great sport," he said. "We only have these races initially, but the idea is to go away to compete in the States on the east coast and Canada where it is a pretty big sport. We can then go higher and go to Boston, so hopefully we will be doing that." Kat Carr only started rowing a month ago and is already experiencing the benefits of the sport such as getting fit and making new friends. "It is great - it is really fun," she said. "I think this is just a chance to practice our skills - it is more fun than competitive and it is just something different." But it is not just about the adult rowers, there is also a healthy contingent of youngsters, of whom 13-year-old Bermudian Marcus Nathan is tipped to be one of the up-and-coming stars of the future. Nathan has only been rowing for six months, but is already starting to make a big impression. "I saw somebody rowing across past my house and I just asked about it," he said, by way of explanation as to how he got into the sport. "I am going to keep up my rowing and would love to represent my country one day." Jasmine Rempel and Alshauntae Hollis are also aiming to go onto bigger and better things in the forthcoming years. Rempel, 16, got involved in the Association through a friend who recommended it to her and is still there two years later. "You meet a lot of new people and I enjoy the competition," she said. "I am planning to go to more regattas now." Among the more unusual stories surrounding the Association is that of Brian Motyer, who has been rowing for 26 years, competing in the Masters South East, the Masters Nationals and the Master World Championships. Bermudian Motyer comes back from his home in Florida to see his family on a regular basis, but what makes his tale so interesting is the fact that he trains in an alligator-infested lake back in the US. "It is certainly an incentive not to fall in the water," he admitted. "It can be a little bit unnerving - you tend to want to go out and catch the calm water. I have haven't had a real problem personally with an alligator, but I have had my boat damaged and picked up by an alligator. That was in May and that is the mating season and I was going around one section and there was one point where they all like to gather and I had just stopped there and was wiping my brow and I felt my boat go up and it came down hard in the water with a big thud - I was wondering what on earth had happened." Another phenomenon is Shane Antoniton, who, at the age of 13, is already making waves in the sport of rowing. Antoniton is not your typical young rower though - he has found his niche as a cox for the teams of four. "At the start of the Annual Exhibition Summer Camp they had the rowing machines there and the lady in charge of it said I had the technique and that is how I got into it," he said. "Coach Jim Ganley noticed that I had that ability as a cox and tried to put me in that position as much as possible. Being in a four-person as a cox there is a lot of responsibility being the leader of the boat, so you have to be alert all the time because the conditions can change in an instant and we have to warn the crew as early as possible. The most important thing is that you have to speak up and you have to be loud and clear." Swain and the Association, with the support of the Ministry of Sport, are planning to go one step further than just holding regular regattas like this though and actually install rowing machines in public schools to allow pupils to compete against each other and other schools both in Bermuda and abroad via the internet and so they can base their syllabus for biology, physics, mathematics, geography and IT around the machines and those who show the most promise will be invited to train on Olympic-standard racing and development boats. The Ministry is also backing the Association's proposals to put their Fitness Trails (circuit training) scheme on Government administered islands. "The Ministry of Sports have already said they will support the idea of rowing machines in schools," said Swain. "The children will be able to race other schools on the Internet and in England they have built a whole syllabus around these machines, so it will allow them to learn, get an education and get fit at the same time." The last word went to Ganley, who despite having endured an exhaustive day of instructing and timing all of the competitors, was still keen to promote the values of rowing as sport for all. Rowing is just a great sport for anyone to get into and I would thoroughly recommend it," he said. "I believe that rowing helps your long term goals, with teamwork and dedication and it's another great fitness opportunity for Bermudians." Rowing may still be in its relative infancy as a sporting Bermuda, but one thing is for sure - if the Bermuda Rowing Association get their way it may not be too long before we see the Island competing in the Commonwealth, World or even Olympic Games.

August 13. The widow of a man who fell overboard from a Bermuda boat claims she faces financial ruin because of delays in receiving his death certificate, according to a British newspaper. Beth Yates, from Stirlingshire, Scotland, has hit out at the Island's authorities for taking too long to send the document about her husband Richard, 49, who died more than a year ago. The Sunday Mail reports that she has been unable to claim his pension or get her mortgage paid off without the death certificate. The article states merchant seaman Mr. Yates was working on a Bermuda-based Shell gas tanker on a voyage from France to Africa. It does not specify where or when the accident happened, or name the vessel. "I am being denied the circumstances surrounding my husband's death. Now I face the daily worry of finding money for the house, loan and car," Mrs. Yates is reported as saying. "I have begged the Police in Bermuda to send me his certificate and let me know how Richard died but they have so far refused." According to the Sunday Mail, Mr. Yates' shipmates only realised he was missing when they found his empty coffee cup and newspaper on a table. A spokesman for Shell is reported as saying: "A death certificate can only be released once the coroner has a report from the Bermuda Government." A Bermuda Government spokesman reportedly said: "We hope to get it resolved as soon as possible for the family."  

August 13. The Island's young people can benefit immensely from Government's Summer Employment Programme (SEP) because of the versatility gained through real work experience, a Government Senator has stated. Senator Davida Morris championed the scheme on Friday, at a lunch cruise and reception at Albouy's Point, for more than 250 pupils hosted by Minister of Labour and Immigration Derrick Burgess. "Government is so diverse, so try everything you're interested in," Sen. Morris advises to other young people. "Explore, network and throw yourself into the different departments, while learning as much as possible because it can lead to a job." Approximately 140 college-age students participated in the SEP from June 18 to August 10, with the rest coming from Secondary schools, and joining from July 9 to August 10. Bermudian Tre Houston, 17, about to enter his last year at CedarBridge Academy, said: "I'm here today because I heard it's mandatory and if you don't come, you don't get paid." Mr. Houston has been working as a golf caddy at the St. George's Golf Club for the summer and has enjoyed his introductory flavor of the workforce. "It's a good opportunity," he added about the programme, "because if you're interested in it, you might want to take it up further as a career or something. Right now I've got my mind on being a physical education teacher. I'm also a track runner and I would like to take part in the 2012 Olympic Games, I'm on the national squad. Before I started working this summer, I went to Europe to compete in the World Youth Championships, then to North Carolina in the US, to compete for the Bermuda Pacers Track Club — my team." Normally, a 40-hour workweek is required of pupils and they are paid accordingly. Also seen boarding the cruise boat with loud music pumping, was Acting Premier Paula Cox, Minister of the Environment, Telecommunications and E-commerce Neletha Butterfield.

August 13. Banks in Bermuda are refusing to hit the panic button despite the big fall in global stock markets at the end of last week. Billions of dollars were wiped off share values with the Dow Jones share index dropping by 60.89 points or 0.5 percent to 13,209.79 and the FTSE 100 share index experiencing its worst day in more than four years, losing 3.7 percent of its value. The Paris CAC index and Germany's main Dax followed suit, collapsing by 3.1 percent and 1.4 percent, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index ended the day down 2.88 percent at 21,799.96. But Wayne Chapman, head of HSBC private bank, who also works for the Bank of Bermuda, moved to reassure customers that their funds were in safe hands despite the stock market fall out. "At a time where there is volatility in the market you have to stay in touch with your clients," he said. "So, yes, it is a concern (about the stock market fall) and it is disconcerting, but it is not a new phenomenon. We have had a major run up in the market since 2003 and our concern is opposed to a market collapsing." And he reckons they need to be able to diversify in order to allow for any falls in the market. "You need to have well diversified portfolios - for example, if one segment of the equity market drops you could maybe get out of that market and take some profits and maybe move into the treasury market. And you need a rigid portfolio team so you are not just betting on one or two horses." Above all, Mr. Chapman believes the most important thing is to keep their clients up to date with the situation. "What is key when markets do fall out your priority is to maintain contact with your client base, so you are on the phone telling them what is happening. This not short term investment gains, this is long term investment that we tie clients up to." He does not believe the stock market collapse will have a significant effect on the Bank of Bermuda specifically. "It will have minimal impact. The idea is to talk to clients and reaffirm our long term strategy. As a result of the drop there is no great impact." Analysts predict the crisis could make it harder for banks and financial institutions to borrow or get money, a view not concurred with by Mr. Chapman. "I don't see that as being any harder next week as last week," he said. "We are an important part of the community and we will continue to make funds available because we have a balance sheet that we can lend out to clients and loans will go through subject to meeting the criteria in terms of risk and ability to repay." One area of contention in recent weeks has been fears raised over the financial institutions' exposure to bad credit in the US sub-prime market, but Mr. Chapman does not reckon that will have an effect on either Bermuda or the Bank of Bermuda. "We don't expect the sub-prime mortgage market to impact Bermuda or the Bank of Bermuda," he said. "In the US there will be higher borrowing costs that will impact some of the mergers and acquisitions." As a result of these problems with bad credit in the sub-prime mortgage market, a number of banks have started charging more for the money they lend in a bid to limit their risks, but that is not the case with the Bank of Bermuda, as Mr. Chapman explained. "We are very keen to grow our market share here in Bermuda and we have gone out of our way to do that over the last three or four years and we will continue to do that," he said. "We are looking to grow our mortgage book and we are very much open for business. I think there would be some sub-prime mortgage companies who were just solely in that business are suffering at the moment, so there will be some fall out of that. But there are positives when the equity market drops and the bond market rallies, for example." Central banks worldwide have moved to prop up markets by lending money to troubled banks, with the European Central Bank and numerous others injecting 61.05 euros into the eurozone money market for a second day running on Friday and Japan's central bank earlier pumping one trillion yen ($8.5 bn) into the financial system to boost liquidity. The Reserve Bank of Australia added more than twice the usual amount of money into the banking system, injecting AUS$4.95 bn in its regular morning money market operation, while central banks in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines intervened to support their currencies and South Korea vowed to get involved if necessary to counter the international turmoil. Elsewhere, the US Federal Reserve also scrambled to avert a liquidity crunch, promising to provide whatever funding was needed to ensure that the banks were able to continue lending to each other at normal rates as it abandoned its 'business as usual' stance to ensure the dollar money markets continued to function. It pumped $38bn into the financial system on Friday via its money market operations and promised privately whatever additional funding was needed, while also starting to accept high-quality mortgage-backed securities as collateral for the entire amount of these funds - something it rarely considers acceptable.

August 13. Tiger Woods survived a few anxious moments on the back nine to clinch his fourth US PGA Championship and 13th major title with a two-shot victory yesterday. Three strokes clear overnight, the world number one fired a one-under-par 69 for an eight-under total of 272, finishing ahead of fellow American Woody Austin (67) at a sun-baked Southern Hills Country Club. South African Ernie Els birdied four of the first 10 holes on his way to a six-birdie 66 and third place at five under. The victory means that Woods qualifies for the PGA of America's Grand Slam of Golf, to be held at Bermuda's Mid Ocean Club in October. Only the four winners of this year's majors are invited. Woods, who claimed his 59th PGA Tour title, became only the third player to win at least four PGA Championships. Fellow Americans Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen won five apiece. "Any time you win a major championship in the year it's always going to be a great year, and this certainly is," a smiling Woods told reporters, having gone on to win his 13th major after holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead. "And it's a feeling I've never had before, having Sam there and having Elin there," he added, referring to his wife and two-month-old daughter Sam Alexis who were waiting for him in the scorer's hut. "This one feels so much more special than the other majors." Woods, whose last major victory came in the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah, said he gave himself a wake-up call after bogeying the ninth and 14th holes. "I felt like I gave all the momentum back to Ernie and to Woody," the 31-year-old said. "I made a mess of it there on 14 and I just did serious yelling at myself going up to the 15th tee, just to get back into what I do. When I made that putt there on 15, it felt great. I felt like I had the momentum again and I was back in control of the tournament." Overwhelming favorite at the start of another stifling day, Woods briefly stretched his lead to five when he rolled in a curling 25-footer from the fringe at the par-three eighth. As the ball dropped into the hole, he pumped his fist in celebration. However, he then bogeyed the uphill ninth to reach the turn in one-under 34 and also faltered at the par-three 14th, where he three-putted for bogey. At that point, his lead had been trimmed to one with Austin and Els his closest challengers. With typical timing, though, Woods hit back with a birdie at the par-four 15th, calmly rolling in a 12-footer to restore his two-stroke cushion. He safely pared the last three holes to ensure he ended another year with at least one major title. After his ball dropped into the cup, the game's leading player removed his cap and lifted both arms into the air to acknowledge the roars from the crowd packed around the green. Austin, who booked a place in the US Presidents Cup team with his first top-10 finish in a major, was delighted Woods was given a bit of a fight in the final round. "I think it's great that Ernie and I didn't let him just coast in," the 43-year-old former bank teller said. "I'm going to take this as far as I can take it and try to be as positive about it as I can and hopefully turn the corner." Three-times major winner Els rued a few missed putts after posting his fourth top-five finish in the PGA Championship. "I played really well today and got off to the start I needed," the 37-year-old said. "I made a lot of putts but I missed one on nine and one on 11, plus the drive on 16, and that probably cost me. f I could have those three back, it would have been a perfect round of golf. But I played really nice and at least I had half a go at it." Canadian Stephen Ames, who played with Woods in the final pairing after lying second overnight, fell back into a tie for 12th at two over after closing with a 76. Temperatures reached 102 degrees (39 degrees Celsius) in the final round, with a heat index of around 110 making it one of the hottest days in major championship history.

August 13. Bermuda was celebrating last night after Tiger Woods booked his place in the Island's Grand Slam of Golf. The superstar won a dramatic PGA Championship in Oklahoma yesterday, meaning he qualifies for the showpiece event at the Mid Ocean Club in October. Premier and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown last night predicted Woods' participation in the contest would help lure millions of extra television viewers, ensuring Bermuda gets maximum exposure across the world throughout the two-day event. Dr. Brown said setting up the Grand Slam, which is expected to put Bermuda on the world golfing map and attract numerous tourists to the Island over the years, was now his most significant achievement in his three years as Tourism Minister. Yesterday, the Premier watched the action unfold at Southern Hills Country Club, where Woods, 31, fought off competition from Ernie Els and Woody Austin to clinch his 13th major title. Dr. Brown said: "This means a lot. We will be able to launch our golf and spa season with a great event, and the world's best will be there. Tiger Woods is considered the number one sports star in the world. He makes a big difference to an event. The experts tell me that, when he plays, there's a 45 to 50 percent increase in the TV audience. More people are interested." The PGA of America's Grand Slam of Golf is for the winners of golf's four majors — the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship. Woods joins Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington on the invite list. Participation is not compulsory, but Dr. Brown said signs from the PGA were positive. Asked how a PGA Grand Slam featuring Tiger Woods compared with any other achievements during his spell as Tourism Minister, the Premier said: "This is at the top of the pile." He said the $1.5 million invested in the event by the Ministry of Tourism would turn out to be money well spent. "Long-term, we expose Bermuda and create an awareness," he said. "One hundred and twelve countries will see this event. Many of them will see Bermuda for the first time. Just think for a moment what this means for us in a global perspective. Golf fans in Korea or China who have never thought about coming to Bermuda for golf might consider it after they watch the Grand Slam on television. We have a golden opportunity here to create new interest in Bermuda tourism if we can capitalize on the marketing opportunities in front of us." The Mid Ocean Club is 400 yards shorter than the Tulsa course, but Dr. Brown said it would still pose a challenge to Woods. "Of course you have the winds from the ocean and sloping greens. They will make it a challenge for him," he said. 

August 14. Bermuda's reinsurers feature highly in the world's top 35 reinsurance groups, according to AM Best's latest report. The ratings agency have listed three companies with a presence in Bermuda in the top 10 alone, including Hannover Re, Everest Re Group and Partner Re Group in fourth, seventh and 10th positions respectively. Meanwhile XL Capital are just outside the top 10, while Scottish Re, Renaissance Re, ACE, Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd., Arch Reinsurance Ltd. and White Mountains Re make the 15 to 25 slots. Axis Capital Holdings Ltd., Platinum Underwriters Group, Aspen Insurance, Montpelier and Allied World also feature in the next 10. Hannover Re, despite having one small office on the Island, justify their standing with gross and net consolidated premiums of $12,265 and $9.361 respectively, which compare favourably to top dog Swiss Re Group, who have figures of $28,415 and $25,808. Their total shareholder fund amount to $4,629, with a combined ratio of 101.2 percent. Everest Re recorded their best ever position, climbing up three places from 10th, as they reported totals of $4,001 and $3,876 for gross and net premiums respectively. Partner Re also rose two positions with an impressive $10,131 in shareholders funds, while XL Capital slipped four places back to 11th, the first time they have been outside the top 10 for five years. Scottish Re continued to perform well in only their second year in the listing, with ACE maintaining a solid middle of the road placing of 21st, as did the likes of Endurance Specialty, Arch and White Mountains with consolidated premiums around the $1,250 to $2,000 range and total shareholders funds anywhere between $2,00 and $5,000 upwards. Combined ratios for these firms varied from around 80 percent to 102 per cent. Allied World also did well in their inaugural year in the rankings, making the top 35 in 35th place, coming in with consolidated premiums of $573 and $572 for gross and net respectively and total shareholder funds of $2,200, as their combined total peaked at 82.1 percent.

August 14. Delays in securing building permits has meant that ground-breaking for a new multi-million dollar desalination water plant at Tynes Bay has only just begun. But an overall target completion and commissioning date for February next year remains on schedule for Consolidated Water (Bermuda), which will generate $10.5 million revenue through its contract with Government to build and operate the facility for its first year. Despite being held up by permit delays the Tynes Bay facility is underway for the water plant, which will have a capacity to create 600,000 US gallons of drinking water per day. The new plant, which will turn seawater into drinkable water, has been designed to allow a doubling of its production capacity in the future. Consolidated Water (Bermuda) is an affiliate of Cayman Islands-based Consolidated Water, which has just released its second quarter results showing a $100,000 rise in its profits to $2,621,537. "We are making good progress on the Bermuda project although we only recently broke ground on the site because of building permit delays. The overall schedule for the project remains on target. Much of the equipment is on order and we still expect to complete the plant in early 2008," said Consolidated Water president and CEO Frederick McTaggart. The building of the Tynes Bay plant, together with another project in Cayman, added a combined $626,131 of profit to Consolidated's balance sheet for the first six months of the year. Six month revenue of $3.7m was again mostly down to the Bermuda and Cayman plant projects adding $3.2m of revenue. Under a contract with the Bermuda Government, Consolidated Water (Bermuda) will receive approximately $10.5m under its contract to construct and operate for the first year the Tynes Bay desalination plant, the company has an agreement to receive up to $7.5m in loans from the Cayman's Consolidated Water to complete the project. Construction of the Tynes Bay plant has brought in six-month revenue of $1.5m for Consolidated Water (Bermuda), of which $739,539 came in the past three months. The Tynes Bay project includes providing a standby electrical power plant and 1.27 miles of pipelines for water delivery. Cayman Islands' Consolidated Water reported $12m in second quarter revenues, up 24 percent year-on-year.

August 14. Public Safety Minister David Burch says he has been in discussions with Government House over changes to operational policing which could be brought to the Island. Sen. Burch revealed the move as he repeated his call for the Governor to do more to help address Bermuda's policing difficulties. He told a press conference that he had put forward his concerns that it takes too long for Police to respond to calls from the public. "We are fairly close to agreeing a way forward in terms of some changes to operational policing we have been discussing," said Sen. Burch. "It's clearly an initiative led by Government. We have been stepping outside the box." Sen. Burch called the press conference in response to claims by the Opposition United Bermuda Party about a lack of Police presence in the town of St. George. He said Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley had made a promise he would not be able to keep by pledging to provide the town with a permanent Police presence if elected into power. "When I asked for the responsibility to address precisely what the Opposition Leader raises it was called a constitutional crisis. It is dishonest to suggest that this Government does not want to police St. George's and Bermuda as a whole," said Sen. Burch. "Operational issues are a matter for the Commissioner of Police and the Governor and Mr. Dunkley was quite happy to see the Minister left out of the equation. To now criticize the Government on something over which we have no control demonstrates a complete lack of integrity in dealing with the serious issue of law and order in this country. The Governor is solely responsible for the operations of the Bermuda Police Service and try as they might, no amount of carping by the Opposition can change the nature of the relationship." Complaining the relationship rendered him "powerless" as Minister, Sen. Burch continued: "I can purchase vehicles but I can't tell them where to drive them to police our community. Bermuda has real problems and those problems are not insurmountable. However, they require bold steps to address them. We in Government are doing our part and I again call on Government House to do theirs." Earlier, Mr. Dunkley had issued a statement on St. George's saying: "Residents have been complaining about the lack of Police presence on the streets since the closure of the Police station was followed by unchecked rises in crime, particularly violent acts such as muggings that have targeted locals as well as visitors. St. George's is a vibrant, working town. As a Government, the United Bermuda Party will provide the town with a dedicated, permanent, year-round Police presence. It's what the Old Town needs, and it is what the Old Town will get."

August 14. A dozen Hustle Truck workers hurled abuse and vandalized Bermuda Housing Corporation property in a row over pay, Housing Minister David Burch revealed yesterday. Sen. Burch said last Friday's incident had forced the temporary suspension of the scheme, in which unemployed people are bussed around the Island to carry out manual labour. "We have suspended the operation of the Hustle Truck on Friday after an incident at the Corporation," Sen. Burch told a press conference. "It didn't involve a threat of violence. It involved the national word of Bermuda uttered fairly loudly and fairly frequently. There was a little bit of vandalism, some pictures off the wall and bits and pieces." Asked whether the incident had anything to do with pay, Sen. Burch replied: "It had everything to do with pay and how much they were being paid." He said he had since been involved in discussions with BHC staff who have been managing the project. "We sat and figured out what's been going wrong and what their mechanisms have been for correcting the situation," he said. Stressing that the Hustle Truck was "not gone forever", he added: "We are fully supportive of the programme. It's been a resounding success. In a nutshell, even though we went into this with our eyes open, some of the challenges (with the clientele) have been greater than we anticipated. We are looking at how we can correct those challenges." Sen. Burch said 270 people had participated in the initiative since its launch in April, with 26 graduating to full-time employment. Workers arrived at 8 a.m. and worked a seven-hour day, returning consistently throughout the week. Regarding those people who were not involved in the BHC incident who would still lose their jobs, he said: "It's unfortunate that the innocent must suffer because of the guilty. All those people essentially fall into a broader category of opting out. It's a situation we regret but to get a handle and better manage, and not have a repeat, it warrants the decision I made." Sen. Burch had hinted at the incident on Sunday night when he released a statement referring to "behavioral challenges" with some Hustle Truck employees. He said changes were to be made to better manage the personnel, who have "a variety of issues not normally seen in the workplace." Workers are now expected to confirm information including their work history, skill set and desired occupation. Hustle stands for Help the Unemployed Sustain Themselves through Limited Employment. Reacting last night, Sen. Gina Spence-Farmer, Shadow Minister for Community and Cultural Affairs, said the Hustle Truck was a good idea, but had ran into problems because organizers had not made measures to work effectively with street people. "It is not strictly the fault of the workers that the programme was suspended because of what the Minister described as 'behavioral challenges' among them," said Sen. Spence-Farmer. "Despite the big public relations push by Minister Burch through the first months of the programme, the reality is that he did not have a realistic plan in place to manage the people they were putting to work. You can't just take people off the street and expect them to do spot work around the Island without proper supervision and support. It is just one more example where an idea to do some social good did not get the commitment and resources needed to succeed; where the programme fell short of the promised opportunity."

August 14. Leaders in the hotel community last night attributed increased occupancy to affordable airfares. On one night this August the Fairmont Hamilton Princess' numbers jumped 20 percent from the same night a year ago. Last year on Friday, August 11 the hotel was only 77 percent full while this year on the same date Friday, August 10 the occupancy was 97 percent. Manager of Fairmont Hamilton Princess Allan Trew, last night said he believes his hotel is almost full because tourists can now afford to fly to Bermuda. "It has been this way all summer. There has been a noticeable increase of visitors coming in on Thursday until Monday or Tuesday. The visitors are coming specifically for the weekend. In my opinion it's because it is more affordable to get here now. People are doing more weekends because they can come for just three or four nights." Not only has he seen an increase in visitors for the Hamilton Princess, but also the customers have changed from business people who leave on the weekend to leisure travelers who visit only on the weekend. Jet Blue, in particular, has helped bring down airfares and has increased visitors for the Fairmont Southampton Princess, which has also seen a change in clientele, according to Shelley Meszoly the hotel's Regional Director of Sales and Marketing. "North American continues to be the majority of our visitors, but we have also seen an increase in our customers coming from the United Kingdom," Ms Meszoly said. "It is probably due to the introduction of Zoom airlines and the seven-day British Airways flight." The Southampton Princess was 99.9 percent full for August 9 through to the 11 this year, 90 percent on Sunday, August 12 and 88.5 percent full on Monday, August 13. The Sunday and Monday numbers have both increased almost 15 percent-from 75 percent last year to 90 and 88.5 percent, respectively- the same days last year. Glenn Jones, the Premier's Press Secretary provided numbers for the period of August 9 to the 13 this year only, which also reveal high occupancy for other hotel leaders on the Island. Elbow Beach reached an occupancy rate of 93 percent on August 9, 91 percent on August 10, 93 percent on August 11, 86 percent on August 12 and 91 percent on August 13 this year. For two days this past week, on August 9 and August 11, Grotto Bay was 100 percent full with 99 percent occupancy on August 10, 95 percent on August 12 and 96 percent last night. Surf Side hotel was 100 percent full every night from August 9 until last night and the Reefs Hotel only dipped from 100 percent occupancy over the same five-day period last night to 97 percent. From August 9 to August 11, Pink Beach was 99 percent full with two days, August 12 and 13 dipping down slightly to 98 percent. While Ariel Sands experienced varying degrees of occupancy for August 9 until last night with 94, 81, 88, 75 and 75 percent occupancy rates on the respective days. Grape Bay was 96 percent full on both Thursday, August 9 and last night with 92 percent occupancy for the three nights in between. Larry Lamb, a general manager of Pompano Beach Hotel last night said their occupancy has also been very high this summer much the same as last year. "It has certainly been a good summer. We are running virtually the same occupancy as last summer," he said. For Thursday, August 9 to Sunday August 12 Pompano was 100 percent full while dipping down to 97 percent full last night. "Thank goodness the numbers seem to be continuing," Mr. Lamb added, "Our challenge is the other eight months of the year, but I think the PGA Grand Slam will help that."

August 14. With seniors awaiting a 4.5 percent pension increase later this month, Finance Minister Paula Cox has announced a turnaround in the fortunes of the fund that will pay it out. A report on the Contributory Pension Fund as at August 2005 was finalized in June 2007, and will be tabled when the House of Assembly reconvenes. Giving a preview of the contents, Ms Cox said: "The projected financial position of the fund at the current review is better in the longer term than at the previous review. The main reason for the improvement in the fund is that over the three years ended 31 July 2005, the real rate of return earned on the fund was about eight percent a year, as compared to the real rate of return of three-and-a-half percent a year assumed at the 2002 review. Thus the value of the fund as at 31 July 2005 is about 25 percent higher than projected at the 2002 review." Ms Cox also attributed the improved financial position of the fund to Government's policy shift in increasing contribution rates by 1.75 per cent rather than the previous level of 1.25 per cent above the rate of pension increases. She added: "As at July 31 2005, the market value of the fund was $996 million, approximately 12.25 times the outgo in the year ending July 31 2005. This is a relatively high level of funding when compared to national social security schemes of other countries. For instance, the US Social Security trust fund and Canada's national pension plan holds assets valued at four times benefits." Ms Cox said in the short-term the fund is in good financial shape and continuing to get stronger in the current market environment. The market valuation of assets in the Contributory Pension Fund as at June 30 2007 was approximately $1.27 billion compared to the $996 million as at July 31 2005, she said. However, the Minister conceded that Bermuda, like most of the developed world, is faced with the challenges associated with the growth of an ageing population. During the next 40 years the numbers over the pension age of 65 are expected to increase from 7,728 to 18,506 - an increase of more than 139 percent, which, she said, will place greater strain on the country's pension system. The 4.5 percent increase in the pension payment is the seventh in the eight years since the Progressive Labour Party was elected in 1998. Reacting to the news, Shadow Finance Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said: "Any increase for seniors is welcomed, but with the high-end rate of benefit set at $1,150, what the Minister needed to say, to be honest, is that there are very few of our seniors receiving pensions at that rate. In addition, she should put the percentage in real number terms - at the top end, seniors will receive about $25 per week more money. A significant number of seniors are receiving closer to $500 and this equates to approximately $12 per week more money."–She also criticised Government for lack of action in curtailing healthcare costs. Many seniors are still in the position of making the choice between food and medicine or rent and electricity. The HIP premium increased with effect from April 1, but seniors have to wait until August to receive their pension increases. It is interesting that government Ministers voted their increases to be retroactive to April 1 last year," she commented.

August 14. Three lawyers have joined the Attorney General's chambers — meaning the office is now almost up to full strength. Bermudian Maryellen Goodwin, Canadian Gregory Howard and Brit Huw Shepheard were introduced at a press conference yesterday. AG Philip Perinchief described the trio as the "newest, brightest, legal minds" and said their recruitment would "have an immediate and positive impact on the efficient progress of legislation, litigation and advice on behalf of the Government". Ms Goodwin, from Smith's, is a former Department of Environmental Protection compliance officer and reporter at The Royal Gazette. Mr. Howard, from Prince Edward Island, has some 17 years experience in public and private law and Welshman Mr. Shepheard has been a barrister for 25 years. The new appointments take the number of lawyers currently work in the AG's Chambers up to 12. There are two vacancies: Solicitor General and Senior Crown counsel. The AG has also employed three law students this summer who will have jobs waiting for them at his Chambers once they complete their studies overseas. The students are 23-year-old Paul Wilson, from Hamilton Parish; Lauren Francis, 33, from Devonshire, and Tawana Tannock, 32, from Devonshire. Senator Perinchief said: "The commitment of this Government to Bermudianization remains strong and this effort will go a long way in developing positive steps in that direction."

August 14. The Tiger Woods factor is beginning to hit Bermuda already as excitement builds around the superstar's qualification for the Island's Grand Slam of Golf. Sports players, hotel bosses and politicians are all rubbing their hands at the prospects of the man dubbed the world's number one sports star gracing the Mid Ocean Club greens. They spoke out after Woods, 31, sealed his place in the contest with a dramatic victory in the PGA Championships in Oklahoma on Sunday. Brian Morris, Belmont Hills Golf Club head golf professional, said: "Everybody's really excited. On Sunday, everyone was sitting a round and watching the tournament — all watching to see if Tiger would come through and win so he can get here. "Our club has 350 members. With Tiger coming along I think there will be a lot more tickets sold I can tell you that. Golf, in my opinion, is just as popular as football or cricket — it just doesn't get the exposure. I'm anticipating our course to be empty during the week of the tournament, because any golfer here will not be playing golf that day and pass up the opportunity to see Tiger play because he's probably the greatest golfer of our era." Mr. Morris predicted Woods might not have it all his own way as he locks horns with Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington, the other three winners of golf's four majors who are invited to Bermuda. "I think Tiger's pretty much unbeatable but it's all unfamiliar territory for all four of the finalists because the Mid Ocean course is different; it's breezy," he said. "If that's the case, the guys from South America may be more familiar." David Ezekiel, general chairman of the PGA Grand Slam, which is organizing the event, said: "Tiger's likely visit to Bermuda is a huge plus for the tournament. Every club in the world wants to see how he does on their golf course and obviously Mid Ocean Club is no exception. The Mid Ocean course will be in fantastic shape for his arrival — the greens are in absolute tremendous shape and we are looking forward to it. Obviously with Tiger's presence, everything gets doubled up in volume in terms of crowd control. According to the PGA ticket sales are going off the charts and my guess is that they will be sold out within the week as well as the corporate hospitality. It's what everyone wanted and it's a big challenge." Mr. Ezekiel said 250 people were already working on the project — selling tickets and dealing with access, security, hospitality and computers. "We've been working on all of this since last November," he said. "It's really a mammoth undertaking when you think that it's just four guys coming to play golf, but that's the way it is in the world of golf nowadays. Tiger will be favored but it would be good to see some of the others challenging him strongly as I'm sure he will because no one that wins a major is a bad golfer. We've got four unbelievable golfers coming more than and even though Tiger's record is phenomenal." Tom Lambe, managing director at Pompano Beach Club Resort, who is setting up a couple's golf event to coincide with the Grand Slam, said: "The event is good for Bermuda and naturally all of us are thrilled that Tiger won Sunday's round. He's such a big draw — we were all praying that he would pull out and win. It's great for the whole Island because Bermuda will certainly get great exposure just by him being here. The advantage we have is that the entire event may help us promote our couple's tour a little bit more. We're saying to all those visitors coming to Bermuda to play in our tournament, 'hey come in a little bit earlier and go watch the PGA Grand Slam' because they're all golfers coming down anyway. Even though our hotel is not right next to Mid Ocean Club, I don't think that it's going to matter. I think that people are going to come down, take the time to watch the golf on their own and also take the time to go watch the event."  

August 14. The Southlands estate dates back to the eighteenth century. The main house was built in 1745 and inhabited by the Ministers of Christ Church in Warwick. During the late 1700s, when Warwick Academy fell into disrepair, the ministers taught the pupils at Southlands. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, Southlands became a limestone quarry. Much of the stone was used to build the City of Hamilton, which became the Island's capital in 1815. During the nineteenth century however, little is known about the estate. The next known owner, James Morgan, a Glaswegian, bought the land in 1911. Morgan (1846-1932) also bought up the adjoining properties, extending the estate to cover more than 80 acres. As the co-owner of Morgan's of Montreal with his brother Henry, he built up a successful business and the Canadian department store was seen as the Harrod's of its day. It was eventually sold to the Hudson Bay Company in 1960. Under Morgan's artistic eye, Southlands blossomed. He developed the estate into a wonderland of quarry gardens, exotic plant life, ponds, peacocks, aviaries and horses. Morgan filled in the holes left by the quarrying of the nineteenth century, creating ten ponds and surrounding pathways. He also extended the main house in 1913. The businessman was also a benefactor of Warwick Academy. His generosity (1918-1928) made possible the extension of buildings around a quadrangle area, which still remains the heart of the school. He also contributed towards an assembly hall (now the gymnasium) and a science laboratory. Morgan was a friend of headmaster Dr. Francis Landy Patton and encouraged students' gardening skills by providing them with plots in which to plant vegetables and flowers. Annual prizes were given to the plots showing the most originality. Morgan also donated a large sum to build Morgan's Hall. The road next to Warwick Academy, Morgan's Road, is named after him. The businessman also contributed to Bermuda's heritage by lobbying for legislation for residents to paint their roofs white. He was later offered a knighthood for his civic contributions, which he declined. James Morgan died in 1932 and was buried in the same mausoleum as his late wife, Anna E. Lyman Morgan of Connecticut (1847-1929), on the Southlands estate. The next owner of Southlands was Brigadier Dunbar Maconochie. He leveled out the beachfront and used it as a training ground for US soldiers, called the Southlands Anti-Aircraft School. In 1977 the Willowbank Foundation then purchased the property. They planned to build a retirement complex but after this failed to materialize, plans were put forward for 130 residential units amid the natural beauty of the grounds. After this proposal also failed to come to fruition, the Trustees of the Willowbank Foundation sold the estate to Southlands Ltd. in 2005.

August 14. Government refused to comment yesterday on why planning permission for staff housing was removed as a condition of the Southlands Special Development Order. Developers Southlands Ltd. applied for the ten-storey accommodation block last year, on the same date as the 497-bed resort application. The building, in Hunt's Quarry, Warwick, will contain 250 'dormitory-style' suites to house up to 500 Jumeirah Southlands staff. It is currently being considered by Planning officers. In a letter to the Department of Planning, architects Botelho Wood state that the building will also serve as accommodation for other hotel staff on the Island. The letter says it will house "both Bermudian and non-Bermudian staff at the proposed Southlands resort and at other hotels. There is a definite need for the proposed housing which will go a long way to satisfying an existing shortage and offers a vast improvement on the quality of currently available housing for hotel staff," it states. The proposed building, off Khyber Pass, will include a cafe, First Aid/health centre, laundry facilities, meeting rooms and a fitness centre. There will also be parking spaces for 65 cars and 256 motorbikes. Construction will involve the relocation of existing retail/warehouse facilities and industrial operations to the western side of the site. The planning application also mentions this land could be used "for further expansion of the hotel staff housing facilities". The building would cover 15,000 sq ft and consist of 250 suites of 133,000 sq ft  accommodating 375 people in 125 single rooms and 125 staff in two-person suites. Nelson Hunt, one of the three owners of Southlands Ltd. together with Craig Christensen and Brian Duperreault, is the proprietor of Hunt's Food and Supplies. The planning application for the housing block includes "warehousing space for expansion of adjacent Hunt's Food and Supplies, or similar bulk grocery retail type use with offices". There is however, no mention of the ten-storey housing unit in the SDO for Southlands, the details of which were published in the Official Gazette on Friday. The only housing mentioned among the planning conditions for the South Shore resort is for the construction workers. Under section 3 (2) (k) vi of the SDO it states: "arrangements to be made for the housing and transportation of any employee brought into Bermuda during the construction of the development". In contrast, the original draft SDO for the Southlands resort contained the following clause, 3 (2) (c), which stated: "prior to the approval of a building permit the applicant shall obtain planning permission for staff housing". Stuart Hayward, chairman of Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce, said: "That clause has been omitted in the final SDO, consequently there is no reference to the dormitory hotel slated for the Hunt industrial property off Khyber Pass which was previously linked to the Southlands development and must also be considered as part and parcel of the Southlands development. "The developers must not be allowed to shield a ten-storey hotel intended to house 400 immigrant workers from planning and public scrutiny. If an argument being made for Southlands' approval is that the developers are providing housing for the construction and/or operational workforce, then that housing unit must pass muster and receive approval before the Southlands development itself is approved." During the Government's television broadcast which presented the case for Southlands on July 26, neither was there any mention of the ten-storey housing unit.

August 15. Bermudians were urged today by Premier Ewart Brown to get behind the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, an event he described as the "biggest marketing stage ever assembled in our country's history." Tiger Woods, one of the world's best known sportsmen, has qualified to take part in the showpiece event on the Island from October 15 to 17. Dr. Brown told a press conference that the Grand Slam would ensure huge exposure for Bermuda around the world and he said locals would have a chance to show that they are the Island's best attribute. In many ways this is Bermuda's equivalent of the Olympic Games. We are not marketing only our golf courses or our blue waters, we are marketing Bermudians, first and foremost. We want Bermudians to be fully involved in every aspect of the event. I hope all Bermudians will be unified in their support of the Grand Slam. Together we can make it a shining moment for our country." The press conference heard that up to 9,000 people were likely to attend the Mid Ocean Club in Tucker's Town to watch Woods and his three fellow Major winners Angel Cabrera, Padraig Harrington and Zach Johnson play the 36-hole contest. Television screens will also be installed around the Island for those not at the game. One-day tickets for October 16 and 17 have sold out but Islanders can still buy three-day passes from PGA.com.

August 15. Shaun Goater yesterday called for Bermuda to make the most of Tiger Woods' appearance in the Island's Grand Slam of Golf. As many people as possible should head down to the Mid Ocean Club — even if they can't get a ticket to watch the world's number one golfer on the greens — according to the Bermuda Hogges' president. Describing Tiger Woods as one of the leading superstars on the planet, Mr. Goater vowed to go along and soak up the excitement for his expected arrival in mid-October. "Everyone, just go along," he said. "He's the best golfer in the world. That's as much as you can say. Even if you haven't got a ticket, you have got to go there. You have got to go and get a picture or something. This is tremendous. It's so exciting." Former Manchester City striker Mr. Goater said, despite not being a proficient golfer himself, he was still able to draw inspiration from Woods, who qualified for the contest by clinching victory in the PGA Championship in Oklahoma on Sunday. "I'm not a golfer," added Mr. Goater. "I have knocked the ball but I have to say I'm not good. If anyone asks, I have to tell them I don't play. But you don't even have to follow sport to respect what Tiger Woods has done. He knows he has to raise his game and play at his best and he's produced it." He said that Mr. Woods' visit to the Island would have a number of knock-on effects. "It will boost the young kids of Bermuda to get involved in golf and take up golf. The more positive things we can get kids on the better," he said. "We know this talk about the negatives, but this is something positive we can talk about. We have got a well-known star coming to our shores to display his talents. This is great for tourism as well." The showpiece event is for the winners of golf's four majors — the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship. Mr. Woods' victory puts him on the invitation list along with Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington. It is not compulsory for Mr. Woods to play, but Premier Ewart Brown says the signs from PGA officials have been positive. 

August 15. Fearing for the safety of pedestrians and motorists, the Department of Public Transportation last night warned that Washington Street was off limits. The warning comes three weeks after bus drivers decided to call off their work to rule because they felt their safety concerns were being addressed. Chris Furbert, Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) President, last night commended the Department of Public Transportation saying it was a step in the right direction. "This is an ongoing campaign to ensure the public know about the workings of the Central Bus Terminal," he said. Pedestrians were warned by the Department to use the cross walk when travelling across Washington Street and to not sit on the kerbs of the bus bays at Central Terminal. Motorists were also reminded that Washington Street is a no-access road and is for buses only. Any vehicle using Washington Street as a "short cut" or parking on the street could be ticketed according to the Department of Public Transportation.

August 15. Hurricanes are an occupational hazard for staff and managers of Bermuda's Lido seafront restaurant. The dining complex, including the famous Mickey's bistro on the beach, suffered hefty damage in 2003's Hurricane Fabian. It has taken around $12 million to rebuild a better and, hopefully, hurricane-resistant Lido complex. As he gazes through one of the dining area's panoramic window views at the calm blue ocean, Gioacchino Di Meglio wonders if a repeat of the devastation of four years ago - or from the other hurricanes that have cannoned through since he arrived at the Lido in 1992 - may at last be a thing of the past. With a degree of confidence the MEF Group director says: "I'm confident that we have done a good job with the rebuilding. There is a lot of iron in these walls." He adds the caveat: "But you never know. We are not risk-free." The MEF group operates the Lido restaurant, the Sea Breeze cafe bar, Mickey's Bistro and the Deep nightclub. At the moment the nightclub is closed and having improvements made that will turn it into a more relaxed, lounge/club venue. Looking at the place today it is hard to image the Lido complex was effectively ripped apart by Hurricane Fabian, a category three hurricane that was not only the most powerful of the 2003 season but the strongest to hit Bermuda in 50 years. The silver lining was the chance to reconstruct and redesign. For MEF that has entailed around $4m to fit-out the various dining interiors, kitchens and night club. A further $8m is thought to have been spent by Elbow Beach Hotel to rebuild what was wrecked by Fabian. In the past month a brand new conference room / private dining area at the far end of the Lido Restaurant has been completed. It can be isolated from the rest of the dining area and has its own access to a beach patio area where cocktails can be enjoyed. The room is also serviced by waiters through its own dedicated link to the kitchens.  

August 15. A church wants to build a seven-storey office building next to its place of worship. St. Paul's AME Church has submitted a Planning application for an office block at 59 Court Street, Hamilton. Over the past few months several office and apartment complexes have been proposed for Court Street, in what has been seen as a renaissance for the area. In June, chairman of the Sustainable Development Roundtable Arthur Hodgson was granted permission to build a six-storey office block, while Planning officials are also currently considering a five-storey office/apartment block at the corner of Angle Street. Court Street offers many advantages for new businesses moving into the area. Under the Economic Empowerment Zone Act for North East Hamilton, new companies can enjoy incentives such as payroll tax breaks, preferential borrowing rates from financial institutions plus other development 'carrots', all aimed at encouraging more commerce in this previously neglected area of the city. The Small Business Development Corporation, whose Government grant has doubled to $3 million, will also provide small grants to existing and new business owners in the zone, to assist with business strategies, financial statements, marketing and architectural plans. St. Paul AME Church has stated in its Planning application that the office building will be used for church administration. The Royal Gazette was unable to ascertain whether any surplus office space will be used for commercial purposes. 

August 15. The Chief Fire Officer yesterday announced a new fleet and $1.5 million of investment to enable firefighters to reach the heights of Hamilton's growing skyline. Vincent Hollinsid admitted that the boom in multi-storey buildings in the capital has forced a re-evaluation of Fire Service equipment. The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service is now to purchase a $1.5 million pump which will enable large volumes of water to hose down fires on any part of the Island. The mobile pump system can cover a distance of two miles and is the same one as used by the UK emergency services in dealing with wide scale flooding. Mr. Hollinsid said the alternative was to dig up the roads of Hamilton and put in pipes to pump water from the harbour, at a cost of $17 million. He said: "The current water hydrant system in the city is totally inadequate and will not supply the water we need. We have to rely on putting pumps into the harbour to supply the water. That takes a long time. It's a long process to call people in who are off-duty, get hoses set up in the harbour and then lay the hoses. "We think this system will be a lot better. It's a two-man operation and the pump is capable of pumping large volumes of water over long distances. We don't have purpose-built fire hydrant systems outside Hamilton, but this mobile system will reach fires in the central area, the eastern end and the western end of the Island. We think it's a great option." He said: "Given the number of large buildings going up now, we had to look at a better hydrant system. The construction of buildings is going away from three storeys to six or seven storeys, and this causes us to look at our equipment design. We have to make sure our fleet can meet the demand of these multi-storey buildings." Mr. Hollinsid also announced that the Island is to get a new fleet, one that is lime green in colour.  

August 15. Chief Fire Officer Vincent Hollinsid yesterday told The Royal Gazette that several bars and nightclubs have flouted fire regulations in recent years, putting the lives of their customers at risk. The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service is now drawing up legislation to enforce more rigorous checks and procedures. The overhaul will also improve safety at hotels and guest houses, although Mr. Hollinsid admitted that hoteliers were already "very cooperative". The Chief Fire Officer was speaking at a meeting of the Hamilton Rotary Club yesterday. He said present standards posed "a major risk to life safety" because although the Fire Service could make recommendations to the owners of a commercial premises after their fire safety survey, officers then had no authority to enter the building to check they were in place. Mr. Hollinsid said: "The Service has no direct enforcement powers under any of the current 'fire related' legislation." Of even greater concern is that there is no 'fire safety' legislation for public entertainment, or nightclubs. At present, existing commercial or office buildings do not have to conform to current fire safety standards once the building owners receive their initial fire certificate. "That has resulted in fire safety systems not being maintained and in some instances, being shut off completely. This is a major risk to life safety." The proposed legislation will mitigate this threat and ensure that all building owners comply with present fire safety codes and standards on a regular basis. Recently the international news broadcasted several nightclub fires that resulted in loss of life due to overcrowding and the lack of fire safety measures in place. Some people are of the view that it can't happen in Bermuda. The proposed legislation will ensure that those risks are significantly reduced by giving the Fire Service direct enforcement on properties that do not meet the standards for means of escape and all other fire safety measures." The overhaul of fire safety legislation was recommended by the UK Home Office in a review of the Bermuda Fire Service in 2003. 

August 15. Repair work is to be carried out on Flatts Bridge later this year. The eastern footpath is to be strengthened and guard rails will be replaced after Works and Engineering found they were in poor condition. A spokesman stressed there is no danger to pedestrians using the footpath, but said regular inspections will take place until work is finished. He said: "Earlier in the year it was observed that the footpath slab and beam appeared to be in poor condition. At that time screw jacks were erected to provide support to the footpath until a more detailed inspection was undertaken. A more recent detailed inspection was undertaken in June. The findings are that the bridge is, generally, in good condition. Noticeable exceptions include the eastern footpath slab and support beam and the guard rails." He said work should be completed by the end of the year.

August 15. Bermuda's Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) has announced the recall of various Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and other children's toys after they were recalled en masse in the US due to excessive levels of lead paint. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead may cause numerous health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. The head of the Chinese manufacturer that's responsible for the potentially lethal toys, killed himself on Monday, authorities there have reported, fuelling growing speculation on the safety of Chinese-made products. The toys affected were manufactured between April 19, 2007 and July 6, 2007 and were sold alone or as part of sets. "Fisher Price" is the brand name of the toys. Bermuda's Consumer Protection Act 1999, empowers the OCA to demand the removal by retail outlets, of hazardous products from store shelves. The Act is in conjunction with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), with the OCA, falling under the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs. However, according to OCA officials, they have not had to flex its legislative muscle, as those few stores found with the affected toys, have been quick to remove them from their shelves. There are 81 toys and figures included in the recall and may have a date code between 109-7LF and 187-7LF marked on the product of packaging. This date code is not immediately noticeable and the number is imprinted on the bottom of the packaging that's located near the product code. OCA contacted the majority of toy retailers on the Island and advised them of the recall. The Annex Toys store on Reid Street, Hamilton, the largest in Bermuda, reportedly removed eight packages from its shelves either because they coincided with the alert or appeared suspicious. 

August 15. Acting Police Commissioner Roseanda Young last night hit back at criticism of Police response times made by Public Safety Minister David Burch earlier this week. Ms Young pointed out in a statement that Government — not the Governor or the Police Commissioner — was responsible for the number of officers on the Island, as well as recruitment, training and equipment. She said policing remained a "partnership" between the Governor, Government and Commissioner George Jackson, adding that Mr. Jackson managed day-to-day operations within the resources available to him. Her comments come after Senator Burch revealed he was in discussions with Government House, the Governor's official residence, about changes to operational policing and that he was concerned it was taking Police too long to respond to calls from the public. Ms Young said response times had improved as a result of a recent realignment of resources within the service which has placed more emphasis on community policing. She said the changes, implemented three months ago after canvassing the public, included more patrol officers in several areas and a new shift system with staggered start times. "As a result of these changes we have received a number of positive comments on improved police times and greater visibility of police patrols," she said. The restructuring means St. George's now has six extra officers; community action teams have also been set up to improve problematic neighborhoods. Constructive" meetings between the Commissioner, Government House and Ministers took place periodically to address concerns. The Bermuda Police Service is committed to serving the entire community in Bermuda equally," she said. "We take our responsibilities seriously and seek no political gain."  

August 15. Showing it is progressive, committed to developing excellent standards of corporate governance within the corporate community and achieving significant membership growth has earned the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (ICSA) Bermuda branch the 2006 "Outstanding Progress" award from ICSA Canada. It is the second time in nine years that Bermuda has been awarded the international accolade. ICSA Bermuda was formed in 1993 and is active in the local corporate environment, providing training, networking opportunities and continued professional development for Chartered Secretaries in Bermuda. Members have been elected to the highest office at international level. In 2005/6 Michael Ashford was elected to the position of International president and this year Bruce Murray has been elected as president of ICSA Canada. The institute has developed the Corporate Practice 1 & 2 specifically for the Bermuda corporate environment. Successful completion of these courses are now considered the standard minimum requirement for employees in the field of corporate administration. 

August 16. Last night the Corporation of Hamilton sought to clarify the access status of Washington Street next to the Central Bus Terminal. Three weeks ago bus drivers dropped their work to rule believing concerns raised over the safety of backing up while cars and bikes used the street as a throughway were being addressed. In a press release on Tuesday, the Department of Public Transportation stated that all vehicular traffic would be banned from entering the terminal from either Church Street or Victoria Street. However, according to a statement received yesterday from the Corporation of Hamilton the road is not for buses only. 

August 16. Government MP Ashfield DeVent has called on Police to produce figures to back claims they have improved response times as he lashed out over drug-dealers operating around the clock in his Pembroke seat. His comments come after Acting Police Commissioner Roseanda Young said response times had improved after shifting resources toward community policing. She said the changes, implemented three months ago after canvassing the public, included more patrols in several areas and a new shift system with staggered start times. But Mr. DeVent said: "A few months ago when Police made a bigger presence in my area I was the first to commend them." He said Police had been seen walking the beat and the pushers had briefly cleared out but now with drug dealing hitting a summer peak the Police presence had dwindled said Mr. DeVent. "Now I don't see the Police and the drug activity is 24/7 — it's in broad daylight. In regard to response times I would like to see the figures. There's a perception among many people that they are not all that quick. If they have improved their response times then gee, what was it before?" said Mr. DeVent who noted the Prospect Police HQ was a very short drive from the crime hot spots of his Pembroke South West seat. He said many residents didn't bother calling the Police because they felt nothing would happen. Earlier this summer Mr. DeVent had complained about the lack of Police which had led to Police Commissioner George Jackson firing back in the media. But he said the Police should address the problem instead of mounting endless PR exercises.  

August 16. A white expert's analysis that Bermuda, like the US, is still a "white supremacist society" is not a new notion but resonates more when a white person expresses it. So says Rolfe Commissiong, consultant to the Premier, who was responding to Professor Robert Jensen's critique of perceived white supremacy in Bermuda in an article this week. Mr. Commission went on to credit The Royal Gazette for publishing the story. He added: "Anytime you see the two words, 'white supremacist' appearing in any Bermudian newspaper, especially in The Royal Gazette, we've had a good day. If there was nothing else in the paper, just a headline saying 'white supremacy; alive and well in Bermuda', we have had a good day." In the story in The Royal Gazette, Prof. Jensen described the propensity of some white Bermudians as being committed to white supremacy.  "What Prof. Jensen is telling people like myself is nothing new," Mr. Commissiong reacted. "It does resonate quite differently when it comes from a member of the privileged group — in this case a white male." Prof. Jensen also articulated that blacks, in his belief, couldn't be racist, as the term 'racism' has been historically connected to power, privilege and the ability to affect someone's life. A highly-regarded professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, Prof. Jensen was contacted by Premier Ewart Brown in 2006, to take part in the Bermuda Race Relations Initiative (BRRI), after Dr. Brown read some of his publications online. Mr. Commissiong further explained: "While blacks do have the capacity to practice racism, historically, they have not done so. Even in those locations where blacks have taken on the mantle of power, internationally, where the society has been dominated by Europeans, blacks have not exercised racism. And, those that believe the mere discussion of race in Bermuda, is only used to 'stir up trouble' or for political gains, my response to that is, 'the worst racists are the ones that deny its existence, as someone once quipped."  

August 16. Affordable airfares and abundant flights have helped increase tourism in Bermuda while other Caribbean countries struggle, according to an industry leader. And at least one fledgling hotel, 9 Beaches, attributes their success this year to last minute reservations made possible by the price of travel to the Island. Earlier this week, Fairmont Hamilton Princess said their numbers had jumped 20 percent over last year and the travelers visiting were changing due to the introduction of budget airlines to North America and Europe. While the Reefs hotel has generally enjoyed high occupancy rates due to a niche it has carved out, according to the general manager Ben Tutt, Bermuda's tourism product as a whole has benefited from the new flights. "We have about the same numbers we have had for the last four years," he said, "In August I think our lowest occupancy was 95 percent at one time. But we consistently have 98 percent occupancy. I would say the airlines though have definitely attributed to a general upswing that seems to be contradictory to the Caribbean, which sees lower tourism numbers." While other countries may be struggling to bring in new visitors, 9 Beaches, which only opened in 2005 with a generally 'new' concept of 'soft-sided' cabanas has only seen their numbers grow. Robin Gilbert, general manager of 9 Beaches said for the past two years the hotel increased its occupancy from around 40 and 50 percent to 70 and 80 percent this summer. While projections were initially not positive for August, according to Mr. Gilbert, last minute reservations have boosted their numbers by almost 20 percent.  

August 16. A rallying call was issued to Bermudians yesterday to support the PGA Grand Slam of Golf — with the Premier describing the showpiece event as the Island's equivalent of the Olympic Games. Dr. Brown told a news conference that Bermuda — which is hosting the Masters' contest for the first time from October 15 to 17 — had been given a wonderful marketing opportunity. "The whole country stands to benefit, but in order to benefit we'll need every citizens' participation. The PGA Grand Slam of Golf will be televised in 112 countries, including the United States where it will be available to 89 million television households. This event is a marketing opportunity like none other. But we are not marketing only our golf courses or our blue waters; we are marketing Bermudians, first and foremost. We want Bermudians to be fully involved in every aspect of the event." The Premier, who is also Tourism Minister, said in a letter to Grand Slam visitors, to be published in October, he cites Bermuda's friendly people as "our country's number one offering — above our beaches, above our restaurants and above our golf courses". He added: "When those visitors are here I hope every Bermudian is prepared to prove me right. The Grand Slam of Golf is an event that literally reaches every single corner of the world. I hope all Bermudians will be unified in their support of the Grand Slam. Together we can make it a shining moment for our country." Tiger Woods, considered by many the world's number one sportsman, qualified for the 36-hole Grand Slam, which will take place at the exclusive Mid Ocean Club, after winning the PGA Championship at the weekend. Attendance is not compulsory and Dr. Brown admitted: "Although four talented golfers, including Tiger Woods, have qualified for this event, it is possible, though unlikely, that one could back out. I have been assured by PGA officials that they expect all four of the golfers who have won the Majors to be in Bermuda. In the meantime, the responsible thing for us to do is prepare for success. No matter which players come to Bermuda it does not change the fact that the Grand Slam is coming to Bermuda. It will still be the biggest marketing stage ever assembled in this country's history. In many ways this is Bermuda's equivalent of the Olympic Games. We must be ready." One-day tickets for October 16 and 17 have already sold out though locals can still buy $150 three-day passes and tickets for the golf clinic and pro-am exhibition on October 15 from the PGA website at www.PGA.com or by calling 1-800-PGA-Golf.  

August 16. Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley last night demanded to know how Government's faith-based tourism initiative clocked up more than $27,000 expenses on business lunches in a year. Andre Curtis revealed the figure earlier this week as he attempted to justify why he is contracted to receive hundreds of thousands of taxpayers money to run the faith-based scheme. Explaining how $200,000 was spent on the project last year, Mr. Curtis presented reporters at a press conference with a print-out of answers to Parliamentary questions posed by Mr. Dunkley to Premier and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown in June. The document, which the Premier's Press Secretary says should not be considered official, stated that, in 2006-07, $27,483 was spent on business lunches, $2,976 on business trips, and a further $229,500 on five church-based projects. No explanation was offered for why the total figure exceeded $200,000 by nearly $60,000, and Mr. Curtis refused to entertain questions on the matter from journalists. Mr. Curtis told the press conference these answers had already been sent to the Opposition, but Mr. Dunkley insists he has never received anything. After being faxed a copy by The Royal Gazette, Mr. Dunkley said: "$27,000? It's a lot of lunches. We need to know why they spent that." The answer sheet also revealed that $200,000 was going on faith-based tourism salaries for 2007-08. On this point, Mr. Dunkley said: "That's higher than Cabinet Ministers get for that type of expenditure. Even if you put somebody else in there (as well as Mr. Curtis), it's expensive. What type of things are we getting for that? This is Government's faith-based tourism initiative. This is taxpayers' money. We haven't seen any programmes. When questioned, Mr. Curtis got very defensive. He still didn't come up with anything concrete to say." Mr. Dunkley's questions were sent to the Premier on June 27. However, because the Parliamentary session ended just two days later, the Premier was under no obligation to provide answers. The Premier has previously stated he will answer Mr. Dunkley's questions in accordance with the Parliamentary process. Mr. Dunkley says he has understood this to mean the questions will not be answered until after the summer, when the next Parliamentary session has reopened and they have been resubmitted. Appearing to cast doubt over the document presented by Mr. Curtis to the press, the Premier's Press Secretary Glenn Jones said last night: "It would be unwise to consider whatever document you have as the Premier's answers to Parliamentary questions. Unless the document came from an Opposition MP or the Clerk to the Legislature or the Premier himself, the document should not be considered official." Mr. Curtis is contracted to receive $400,000 for running faith-based tourism this year, on top of the $200,000 he was given for 2006-07. The money is paid directly to his company Harvest Investment Holdings. He runs Dr. Brown's constituency in Warwick South Central, but both deny faith-based tourism is being used as a means of getting cash to him as a thank you gesture. Calling for the Premier to speak on the subject, Mr. Dunkley, who is also Shadow Tourism Minister, continued: "It's time for the speculation to stop. I don't believe Mr. Curtis is taken very seriously by anyone in the community. This whole initiative is falling apart. "It started out in good faith. I think the only thing to be done is for the Premier to come out and a give a full explanation." Former Opposition Leader Wayne Furbert has repeatedly asked how the money is being spent, but Mr. Curtis has refused to answer questions. He held the press conference on Monday, but told reporters he would not be fielding questions because his statement would cover all the relevant points. He then gave a complicated explanation as to how the money was accounted for and produced a list of ten events he said he had lined up for 2007-08. He provided very brief details of the events. Mr. Curtis was unavailable for comment last night.

August 16. Gospel singer CeCe Winans will be coming to Bermuda as part of the controversial faith-based tourism initiative, it was confirmed yesterday. Following days of confusion, the American singer's booking coordinator yesterday stated she would be appearing on the Island on November 24-25, when she is lined up to appear at Fairmont Southampton. The event was originally advertised on the Department of Tourism's website for December 6-7 — only to be wiped off after booking coordinator Jada Gunn pointed out Ms Winans was already scheduled to perform in Georgia on that date. Earlier this week, Ms Gunn and under-fire faith-based tourism boss Andre Curtis gave The Royal Gazette conflicting answers when asked whether Ms Winans would be appearing on the Island. Ms Gunn stated there was nothing in Bermuda on Ms Winans' calendar; Mr. Curtis claimed the event was set up for November 24-25 and the wrong date had accidentally been posted on the website. However, Ms Gunn told this newspaper yesterday: "Yes, there is a confirmed date for November 24-25, 2007, in Bermuda. It is our policy that we do not disclose the details of an event until it is approved by management. If you would like any other details about this date, please feel free to contact Andre Curtis, the promoter."  

August 16. Government says planning permission for a staff housing unit will remain a condition for Southlands, but under the criteria of a hotel operating licence. Approval of staff housing was a prerequisite for a building permit for the South Shore resort in the draft Special Development Order but was omitted in the final SDO. The only housing mentioned was temporary facilities for construction workers - "arrangements to be made for the housing and transportation of any employee brought into Bermuda during the construction of the development". Stuart Hayward, chairman of Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce, said: "The developers must not be allowed to shield a ten-storey hotel intended to house 400 immigrant workers from Planning and public scrutiny." However, Government this week said planning approval for staff housing will remain one of the conditions for Jumeirah Southlands. 

August 16. Questions were put to the Government and developers Southlands Ltd. on the conditions of the SDO and obtained responses by the Department of the Environment on the following:

August 16. The Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) is holding a 'Picnic in the Park' festival next Saturday. The free family event is being held "in support of Sustainable Development" and takes place at Astwood Park between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Several musicians will perform on a stage overlooking South Shore. The line-up includes Jahstice, Flookie, Olybhossh, Joy Barnum, 1Undread, Ras Georgis and Jackie Ayres. BEST and other organizations will provide information at the fundraiser about the Island and preservation of open spaces. T-shirts and bags will also be on sale, as well as refreshments such as hot dogs, beverages and ice cream. A spokeswoman said: "The 'Picnic in the Park' will be a great day for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, the ocean and listening to music. Bring your family and friends, pack a picnic, a blanket and bathing suit, and enjoy one of the most beautiful parks in Bermuda with some of the best local music on offer." BEST would like to thank the following sponsors: Bang Bang Hair, Goslings Limited, John Barritt & Son, and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Richold. 'Picnic in the Park': Saturday, August 25, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., rain or shine. For more information log onto best.org.bm.

August 17. To mark the 70th anniversary of British Airways air service between Bermuda and Britain, the airline is offering low-cost airfares as well as hotel accommodation. Going on sale today through to August 23, British Airways World Traveler (economy) and World Traveler Plus (premium economy) fares will be available at 70 percent off the regular price with travel valid from August 17 through to December 18, 2007. World Traveler round trip fares during the peak season through September 5 will be $248, from September 6-October 24 they are $ 208, and during the period October 25-December 18 they drop to $160. World Traveler Plus (premium economy) fares are on offer for $210 during the sale period. Taxes and fuel surcharges start at approximately $280 depending on the choice of cabin and dates of travel. The following conditions may apply depending on the type of fare purchased. Weekend surcharges will apply for travel Thursday-Sunday in each direction. Minimum stay is one Saturday night and maximum stay is 11 months. In addition there are low cost hotel accommodations at anniversary sale prices from $70 per person per night based on double occupancy including continental breakfast. Three star properties included in the Bermuda Anniversary offer are: Central Park, Royal National, Jury's Inn Chelsea, Comfort Inn Kensington and Kensington International. The $70 hotel offer is open to residents of Bermuda paying in US dollars and is valid for new bookings only made between August 16-23, 2007.  

August 17. Last night it was confirmed that 40 passengers on the Norwegian Crown cruise ship sought medical assistance after being struck down by a stomach flu. On Wednesday afternoon a team from the Department of Health were sent to the cruise ship according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Cann. Dr. Cann, last night, said that 42 people reported symptoms including stomach cramps and nausea, and water samples were taken to be tested. A representative of the Norwegian Crown added: " A small number of guests on Norwegian Crown have reported to the medical centre with various symptoms of stomach flu. "Symptoms included nausea, stomach cramps and mild diarrhea generally lasting 24 hours. Norwegian Crown has been carrying out an extensive range of preventative measures on board to eradicate the virus." The cruise ship, which was carrying 1,245 passengers and 531 crew members, is still expected to depart Bermuda tomorrow afternoon.

August 17. Hamilton's leaders have moved a step closer to what could become an eventual ban on horse and carriage operators plying their trade in the city. Members of the Corporation of Hamilton have passed a resolution giving them the power to restrict horses and carriages on the capital's streets. The move comes less than four months after 19 people were injured during the first Harbour Nights tourist event of the year when two horses ran amok along Front Street. The shocking stampede on April 25 — and a second incident three weeks later when an unmanned horse and carriage bolted along Front Street onto Bermudiana Road — led to calls for the animals to be banished from the city. But horse and carriage operators claimed that could destroy their livelihood. Hamilton Mayor Sutherland Madeiros explained last night that no ban had yet been imposed. But he said the resolution — which will be published as an official order or ordinance today — was a way of legislating the power do that." There is no change in what is happening now," he told The Royal Gazette. "I think we are trying to dot our i's and cross our t's. It gives us the legal right to make decisions that can be enforced. It makes it clear that we have the power." The Corporation is set to meet in the near future to decide whether there should be a ban on horse and carriages. Mr. Madeiros said the decision could not be taken until the Police report into the Harbour Nights incident was delivered.  

August 17. Education fees in the United Kingdom will be slashed starting September 1 for Bermudians. Earlier this year, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that students from British Overseas Territories would be eligible for the lower fees previously reserved for British students seeking higher education in England. Now, not only will students studying in England be eligible, but also those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for the 2007 -2008 academic year. Currently Gibraltar is the only British Overseas Territory whose students qualify for the home fee rates. This proposed change will also mean that students in the overseas territories of European Union (EU) Member States will be treated equally. Bermudians who wish to qualify for the lower fees will be assessed by the educational institutions in the United Kingdom based on the published criteria. Under the Regulations for England, Northern Ireland and Wales a student must be a European Commission (EC) national on the first day of an academic year of the course, be undertaking the course in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, have been resident in the overseas territory for a three year period preceding the first day of the first academic year of the course and not have been a resident in the relevant territory for the purposes of receiving full time education. The criteria for Scotland are the same as that for England, Northern Ireland and Wales, however the student must be a British Overseas Territory Citizen (BOTC) and must be taking a course in Scotland. Students were warned that a BOTC passport is not proof of British nationality and failure to provide this information could result in higher overseas student fees. These changes were implemented through the Education Fees and Awards and the Education Qualifying Courses and Persons Regulations 2007 of England; The Student Fees Qualifying Courses and Persons Regulations 2007 of Northern Ireland; The Education Fees and Awards Regulations 2007 of Wales; and The Education Fees and Awards Regulations 2007 of Scotland. And in a move to help all university students, Premier Ewart Brown last night announced a link on Government's website for college students to input their information in a database.  

August 17. The Sylvia Richardson Care Facility in St. George's opened at the start of the year at a cost of around $30 million. But although it has a capacity for up to 43 clients, the state-of-the-art facility currently cares for just 17 residents. It employs just four registered nurses and nine geriatric aides but needs a total of ten nurses and 26 geriatric aides to care for a full complement of clients. Although construction was completed in January, the home could not take in any residents because nursing staff still needed to be recruited. As a result, Government announced the home would not be up and running until the summer. Government was later forced to reverse that decision following the enforced shutdown of the Pembroke Rest Home in February. Ten residents from that facility were moved to the new centre in March, along with a number of Pembroke Rest Home nursing staff and assistants. An additional seven clients have moved in over the last three months, but no more can be accommodated until staffing levels are boosted. In April the Mid-Ocean News revealed that residents were being fed a diet of hamburgers and pizza from a fast-food restaurant because the home had failed to recruit kitchen staff. And when contacted by this newspaper yesterday, officials confirmed that more nursing staff were also needed before any more clients could be taken on. Administrator Angela Brangman said the centre had launched an aggressive recruitment campaign overseas to hire additional staff , but so far had only managed to hire three more nurses, who are expected to arrive in October. She said that many UK nurses turned down offers of employment in Bermuda because they believed salaries were too low. A second recruitment drive has now been launched in the Caribbean and Canada. "A recruitment panel went over to the UK in January but we were very disappointed with the response  Nurses were saying that it just didn't work out for them financially," Ms Brangman said. Asked why overseas nurses had to be recruited, Ms Brangman said: "Bermuda does produce nurses but we just don't have enough to meet demand." She said that Government's other nursing home, Lefroy House, was also suffering from staffing shortages, as was King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. "I spoke to someone from the Bermuda Hospitals Board and they assured me that they were having the same problem," Ms Brangman said. Ms Brangman claimed there was a world-wide shortage of nurses, who could afford to move around because they were in such high demand. "Basically, every country is robbing Peter to pay Paul," she said. "Nurses are continually moving around, they can find work in places like Saudi Arabia and Bermuda can't always compete with some larger countries." Health Minister Michael Scott and Chief Medical Officer John Cann failed to respond to questions by this newspaper. But news that the facility is still not fully operational prompted an angry response from Shadow Health Minister Louise Jackson, who claimed that Government had totally neglected seniors. Mrs. Jackson pointed out that only one Government care home, Lefroy House, was currently operating at full strength, and that had only recently got back to full capacity after being damaged by Hurricane Fabian in 2003. "What does this say about Government's management of this facility, they either don't care or don't know what they're doing," she said. "Nurses are not being paid enough and I can't accept that this brand-new facility, which went over budget by millions of dollars, is running at less than half capacity. Seniors are being turned away in large numbers. They have been paying their taxes for upwards of 60 years and now they're being told they can't be admitted into a new facility that's already been open for seven months? 

August 17. A new concept in international hotels is coming to Bermuda. Plans have been submitted for a ten-storey condominium hotel which encapsulates "the next step in Bermuda's housing, evolution and maturity", according to developers. Similar to 'aparthotels' in cities around the world, the Hamilton complex will offer visiting business executives both short and long-term accommodation, but at a five-star standard. Yesterday the Chamber of Commerce offered its full support for the project. Executive director Diane Gordon said: "There needs to be more hotel development, but it has to be the right development in the right location. Certainly there is a demand for more executive accommodation and this is the right place for it. Our reaction is that this is a great thing for the City of Hamilton and we would certainly support it." The proposed development, at the corner of Court Street and Reid Street, will include a "world class restaurant, concierge and exceptional spa experience". It claims to introduce "a new form of tourism and residential use to Bermuda". Business consultants ARP say it will be managed "by a top tier international brand that will bring excellent exposure to the Island". In addition, the condominium hotel will "serve as a catalyst for further development and improvement in east and north-east Hamilton". In a letter accompanying the Planning application, ARP — on behalf of developers Stonehaven Development Co. Ltd — say the complex is needed to meet the growing demand for luxury business accommodation, a by-product of booming banking and reinsurance on the Island. "New company formation continues unabated in Bermuda (17,038 companies in 2005, up from 16,396 in 2003) which creates a demand for housing that can't continue to be met by the development of vacant land. City living is the next step in Bermuda's housing, evolution and maturity," say ARP. "The target population for the condominium hotel is the business person that is on Island, either for a brief stay, or for two to three years, and who desires an urban living option where work, shopping, dining and entertainment are all within walking distance. The aim is to provide five-star living accommodations with full hotel amenities. The hotel amenities include a world-class restaurant, concierge and exceptional spa experience." The complex, on the site of the New Canadian Hotel, will cover 23,522 sq ft and contain 81 one- and two-bedroom units. It has been designed by architects Botelho Wood. ARP say the development more than meets the regulations of the City of Hamilton Plan 2001, as it is lower than 138 ft and is set back further from the pavement than is needed. The floor at street level is 8ft from the back of the pavement; the second to ninth storeys, 15ft; and tenth, 25ft. ARP adds that the hotel "will not impact on the established view of the Cathedral" but will create "a new and striking addition to the City skyline. The proposed condominium hotel will result in the complete rejuvenation and upgrade of a part of the city — a 'brown field' site at that — which has suffered from neglect for a number of years," say the consultants. "Bermuda can no longer afford to continue to in discriminatorily lose green space to development. Moreover, in line with the Bermuda Government's and the Corporation of Hamilton's wish to rejuvenate the Court Street and North Hamilton areas, the applicant's proposed five-star condominium hotel no doubt will be the catalyst for further investment in the area. New commercial office spaces are shifting to the east side of Hamilton, and ideally, residential spaces and associated amenities should follow along with this exciting project. Our research strongly indicates that both the proposed product and location are extremely suitable for this type of development." City mayor Sutherland Madeiros however, said the Corporation of Hamilton would have to consider the impact of the proposed hotel on the surrounding streets. "Reid Street is one of the busiest streets in Hamilton and so we will have to consider local traffic flow and other issues," he said. "We haven't discussed those issues at this point in time, but I am sure this planning application will be put on the table shortly."

August 17. The wife of former Bermuda prosecutor Lloyd Rayney has been murdered in Perth, Australia. The body of mother-of-two Corryn Rayney was discovered by detectives early yesterday in a makeshift grave in a park in the western Australian city. She had been missing for nine days after failing to come home after an evening class. Members of Bermuda's legal community last night expressed their horror at the news. Lawyer Kulandra Ratneser was acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) when Mr. Rayney worked here as a Senior Crown counsel from 2003 to 2004. "I knew his wife very well," Mr. Ratneser told The Royal Gazette. "She lived here for a short time. She was an extremely nice lady and a very, very popular lawyer. She had an enormous career in front of her and would have become a judge. She was likely to have become one of the first coloured judges that Australia has had." Mr. Ratneser, who also worked with Mr. Rayney in western Australia prior to both coming to the Island, said Mrs. Rayney, 44, was originally from Goa, India. "It's very sad news," he added. "I spoke to Mr. Rayney this morning and he was completely distraught. They were estranged but they were living together in the same house." Mr. Rayney, who worked at the Office of the DPP in Bermuda for just over a year, was mentor to former Crown counsel Graveney Bannister. "When he left Bermuda we had developed a close friendship," said Mr. Bannister. "His family came out here, his wife and children, and then we all went off to Disney World together. His wife was a perfect lady. Very quiet, very unassuming. She more or less befriended my wife when she came over." He added: "It's very sad and it was very shocking to hear the news. I can only have them in my prayers. I will be calling him." Mr. Bannister's wife Deeanda said: "My heart goes out so deeply to the children because her and I both have two girls around the same age and they did spend time together. I enjoyed my time with the family tremendously and it's really, really depressing to me to find out what has happened." The West Australian newspaper reported yesterday that Mrs. Rayney was identified by DNA analysis after detectives found a body buried beside a track in Perth's Kings Park, near to where her car had been discovered. Investigators followed an oil leak from the vehicle to the grave site, less than a kilometer away. Detective Senior Sergeant Jack Lee told the West Australian that it was too early to say how she was killed. "We don't know what injuries she has got, this is way too early," he said. "We haven't completed our examination of the scene yet, this is a very painstaking forensic procedure." Mrs. Rayney, a West Australian Supreme Court registrar, had two daughters, aged ten and 12, with her husband, who was described by the newspaper as a prominent Perth lawyer. Mr. Rayney came to Bermuda in May 2003 and left the following June. While here, he successfully prosecuted Justis Smith — the man accused but never convicted of murdering Canadian teen Rebecca Middleton in 1996 — for stabbing a girl at Dockyard.

August 17. A revolutionary new surface coating removal service looks set to make things plain sailing for boat owners in Bermuda. Bermuda Marine Services are using the Farrow System, which is the first and only one of its kind on the Island, and can remove everything from paint from boats and rust on metal to road markings and even graffiti. And it has the advantage of being diverse in its application, mobile, low on mess, safe to use, environmentally friendly with no chemicals used and no toxic fumes released, and meeting EU safety standards. The system is a state of the art compact unit on wheels which sprays out a natural element combination of heat integrated with water and volcanic media to blast away any unwanted matter from surfaces. It can be used indoors or outdoors and adjustments in pressure and media mix allow it to tackle the largest of heavy industrial jobs right through to the most delicate fine antique. In fact, everything from sandstone, limestone, brick, masonry, concrete and granite to marble, ceramics, terracotta, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, glass fibre, plastic, wood and even paper can be cleaned using the system. William Thompson, who runs Bermuda Marine Services with business partner Tim Patton, first came up with the idea when he was flicking through a yachting magazine a couple of years ago. "I was looking into it then because I thought it was pretty cool and then recently I became a partner in Bermuda Marine Services," he said. "As a result it seemed like a good time to get these pieces of equipment and we are just getting up and running with the service now. We have done a couple of small jobs already and we have a couple of other things lined up, so it is starting to get moving." He has been using his two machines to strip the paint off the bottom of boats right back to the gel coat and then applying a barrier coat on top to lengthen the life of the boat. But it also has a lot of practical applications and is already being used in the UK to remove graffiti spray and clean the streets as well as stripping rust and paint from, and adding finish to, metal. Mr. Thompson said the real beauty of the machines is their diversity of application. "For example, you can turn it right down and take the paint of a Coke can without damaging the contents or, at the other extreme, if you have very rusty iron beams you can strip them right down to bare metal and they have four different grades for coarseness or smoothness," he said. Another benefit of the system is that only a damp residue is left after use because the water is absorbed by the cleaning media, with the largest machines only using under a liter of water per minute and less than 25 kilogrammes of media in 30 minutes, comparing favourably to other high pressure water blasting machines which can use up to 10 or 12 litres of water per minute and high pressure sand blasting machines which can use up to 650kg in half-an-hour. Bermuda Marine Services, which is in the marine contracting industry, working mainly on moorings and deck work, is planning to offer the service as an offshoot of their main business. "The business has been in existence for about 24 years and we are just trying to develop some new areas," said Mr.Thompson. "Although we have only used the system in the boating industry so far, I actually think it has a greater application to re-finish metal surfaces. We have two machines - one big one for removing paint and rust from large surfaces and a smaller one for stripping chairs and varnish work because it is much more manageable and suitable, so with these two we hope to cover all our bases." And he reckons there will be a big calling for this new service in Bermuda. "My hope is that big businesses will want to own these machines or lease them from us and if companies have big jobs I think there will be potential to do short term leases," he said. "It is easy to use and within a morning you can be competent in using it."

August 17. Drastic changes within the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) have reduced the narcotics and criminal investigations departments to half their size and removed community officers from its roster completely. The move is said to have had a demoralizing effect on staff, with claims that the decision was made in the absence of an overall strategy for policing the island and in direct response to recruiting problems encountered as the BPS attempted to establish its new Community Action Team (CAT). According to insiders, officers were moved from several areas in order to make up the numbers needed to enforce the new initiative. And it is believed that the decision, together with operations issues, is causing talented Bermudians to leave for new opportunities and making it more difficult to recruit both locally and overseas. Former policemen spoke with this newspaper about a number of problems they believe are hindering officers from performing at optimum level. High on the list of criticisms was the recent realignment within the BPS. "The realignment has transformed the Service back to where it was when (former Police Commissioner from Britain, Colin) Coxall left," said one. "(The current Commissioner George Jackson has) stripped (the) Narcotics (Department) of half its officers and he stripped half the people in CID because he's having problems recruiting in the UK. (British officers) go back and word gets around about what it's like to work here and so now he has to go to the (Caribbean) islands to recruit." Added another: "There's no longer a street narcotics team or community beat officers. There is a Community Action Team (CAT) which was an experiment back in 2006 which took officers that were off duty and paid them extra to serve as additional units and deal with people in certain areas who were sitting in groups. The idea was to show a police presence to make them feel uncomfortable. It was decided to keep that. It's now a regular thing. But to get the manpower, the Service closed the street narcotics team and got rid of the community beat officers and the schools' resource officer." Police were yesterday unable to comment on the accusations by press time but a statement on the realignment was issued by Acting Police Commissioner Roseanda Young this week. She said that the changes were introduced after public consultation and that they placed greater emphasis on community policing - more patrol officers in several areas and a new shift system with staggered start times. "It's actually pulling officers away from the Bermuda public," said a former officer whose expectations for the scheme's success are low. "We no longer have a schools' resource officer. We no longer have a community beat officer, the person who would establish relationships within the community. What we have instead, is one civilian who is expected to co-ordinate Neighbourhood Watch meetings, for nine parishes and I don't know how many neighbourhoods. Policing is a dynamic, ongoing science that requires constant review and a clear picture of how you want to do the job and it appears there is no clear picture. I'm not just referring to the Commissioner but Bermuda as a society, we don't know how we want to be policed." According to the former officers, additional problems have arisen because not enough is being done to retain talented Bermudians. They claimed that although excellent instruction is offered through the training school, success is undermined as the teachers selected for their specialist skills are often required to leave the classroom to do police work. "There is a Continuation Course which is always run while other courses are going on so the staff at the training school is stretched," said one man. "They have to deal with all the courses and (the people being trained) quite often spend hours without supervision waiting for someone who may or may not show up because they may be called to teach another course. Also, most of the instructors are specialists so if there's a really bad accident or something that takes priority, they're pulled from the training school and told to go and deal so the Continuation Course is left in the lurch." An earlier incident this year, where seven Bermudians were fired after failing one aspect of training, highlighted the lack of commitment the BPS has to local officers, the men said. And they questioned why one of those who had their contract terminated received letters of commendation for his work only two months later. "They had worked in the Service coming up to three years. They failed an exam and were told to come back and re-sit. They failed again and were sent back to the Division to work until the Deputy Commissioner returned from leave. They were all Bermudians. You would think, with the hiring problems the Service is having and their public pleas to get locals to join, they would come up with some sort of plan to get them up to speed. I know one of the officers involved. Yes, he messed up on his exam, but he had been there for three years. The Service asks all sergeant supervisors to give an appraisal (of staff) every three months and I know he had excellent appraisals. Worse, he was fired in January and received letters of commendation in March, where's the sense in that? I don't understand the mentality. It's quite possible that the BPS secretly feels that Bermudians aren't good at policing themselves and Bermudians are getting discarded, discouraged or leaving the profession as such." He stated that the fired officer had failed in a relatively minor aspect of training, a step along the way to court prosecution that is always reviewed by a supervisor, an inspector, police prosecutors and representatives from the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP). "Why fail someone for a file that's always critiqued?" he asked. "Why fire him? There are good people at the training school but they're locked into a bad system. The training school should be a place where you don't pull people out to test and fail, but to train in certain areas that supervisors have identified as weaknesses. It's one way to build the service." The solution lies in a complete overhaul of the Service, one former officer feels. "There is a colonial legacy in the Bermuda Police Service that has to be overcome," he said. "It is an extension of the remnants of the old type of Service, the Bermuda Police Force where the senior officer of a training says, 'I will cut you just as soon as keep you'. What does that say about the desire of the Service to have Bermudians working there? It's losing candidates right from the start because the system is not helping itself. There's a large number of talented Bermudian officers at the rank of Inspector who are leaving the Service. These are officers who can make it here, they can make it in Britain, anywhere. These are good officers the Service can't afford to lose. If the Service is trying to encourage people, it must have some organizational flexibility."

August 17. With a relatively quiet hurricane season so far and Hurricane Dean forecast to pass well to our south some time next week, Bermudians are drawing a collective sigh of relief. Still, Dr. Mark Guishard, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, has warned residents to be wary of complacency and reminded the public that the island is not nearly out of the woods yet. "One really can't say anything about the activity of a season until at least August," he said this week. "In fact, historically September is the peak of hurricane season." Meanwhile, Bermudians have little to fear from Dean which yesterday strengthened into the 2007 Atlantic storm season's first hurricane as it raced towards the Caribbean. By early yesterday it had top sustained winds of 80 mph, was expected to strengthen further in the next few days and could pass to the south of Jamaica on its way Mexico's Yucatan peninsula as a dangerous Category 4 storm. Interestingly enough, another hurricane called Dean brushed past Bermuda in 1989, the first storm since Emily, two years before. Bermudians, however, need not prepare for another visit this year. Speaking to the Mid-Ocean News on Wednesday, Dr. Guishard said: "I think there is little chance of Dean turning north. Storms like this have to be further north by this point to be picked up by the southwesterly steering flow. None of the computer models have Dean re-curving towards the island." Yet, according to Dr. Guishard, that is not a licence for complacency. In addition to the standard hurricane preparation, he offered the following the advice: "The thing you should be prepared for after is power outages. The thing you should prepare for before the storm hits is the high winds, and if you're on the coast the high sea levels and battering waves. The things I advise for all property-owners is to have something to cover their windows, whether that's storm shutters or secure plywood. Having glass and other debris blowing through one's house is exceptionally dangerous. In Fabian, we had wind speeds here that started to rip the plywood we had attached to our windows off. Since then we have proper storm shutters. If you're on the coastline during the storm I would really suggest you go inland." In the event that a hurricane does threaten Bermuda this year, locals can take comfort that Dr. Guishard and his team will have it under close watch. "Our responsibilities are for Bermuda itself. Our job is to take the forecast the NHC (National Hurricane Centre) issues and add value to it by predicting what the effects on the local weather conditions are going to be. We are the only agency that has authority to issue watches and warnings concerning hurricanes. The NHC in Miami is in charge of forecasting the evolution, track and intensity of all tropical disturbances in the Atlantic. They are the experts, they have the equipment and knowledge to be able to specifically look at each storm and what it's doing. We even send our forecasters to the NHC as part of their training. We work very closely with them. We are on the phone at least four times a day if there is a hurricane threatening Bermuda." With the recently-installed Doppler Radar apparatus on Cooper's Island, the BWS has come a long way in the past 20 years. "Back in 1987 the US Navy was in charge of all forecasting in Bermuda. Since then BAS Serco has taken over all their previous responsibilities. The thing about Emily was that it hit Bermuda on a Friday. Thursday night it was a tropical storm and was southwest of Bermuda moving north. It took a very sharp right-hand turn and intensified into a hurricane. So people woke up to hurricane warnings and being advised that the storm was imminent. That's where that perception came from, the fact that the warnings were posted overnight but also that the track forecast wasn't great the day before. Contrast that with Florence, and a good 72 hours away we were already expecting that this storm was going to affect Bermuda. Hurricane Florence, a minimal Category 1 storm, brushed the island last September but caused very little damage. Yet, anyone who experienced Fabian in 2003 or even Emily 16 years earlier will know that, as hurricanes go, they come much worse. Usually by the time a tropical system gets to our latitude it starts to lose its tropical character, which is exactly what was happening to Fabian. The chances of (a Category Four or Five hurricane) striking Bermuda are very unlikely. That's not to say it could never happen. If it were to happen, well, you saw the damage from Fabian. Basically, you're looking at another order of magnitude after that. You could very well expect damage to the runway  during Fabian, the runway down at the airport here was flooded. When crews went out to pick up debris from the runway, they had to remove fish as well. You can imagine if you have that level of water during a Category 3 storm, it's going to be far worse in a Category 4 or 5."

August 17. The Town of St. George's remains a safe tourist destination despite allegations by the Canadian government to the contrary, Deputy Mayor Kenneth Bascome argued this week. His comments followed news that the country is warning its citizens not to visit the World Heritage Site or risk facing the criminal activity, physical and verbal abuse, and gang violence found there. Mr. Bascome, however, dismissed the validity of such claims, insisting that the advisory was really issued in response to Bermuda's botched prosecution of suspects in the brutal murder of 17-year-old Canadian Rebecca Middleton in 1996. Her family is continuing to pursue its legal options and there is the possibility that the case will go before the Court of Appeal at its next sitting. "It's very unfortunate the incidents that have happened," Mr. Bascome said. "I believe all of Bermuda sympathizes with the Middleton family but it's quite upsetting to members of the Corporation and, in particular, the Mayor (Mariea Caisey). And as the Deputy Mayor, someone who has a direct relationship with the young people deemed to carry out these acts of violence, I would like to highlight the fact that (Rebecca's murder) was an isolated incident." On its web site, the Canadian government advises travelers to Bermuda that: "Robbery, assault, rape, and petty crime occur. There have been a number of serious incidents of sexual assault and acquaintance rape. Do not accept food or drink from strangers or casual acquaintances, as these may be drugged. Use of Rohypnol and other 'date rape' drugs has been confirmed by authorities and reported in the local media. Crime occurs at St. George's World Heritage Site, where verbal and physical abuse has been reported, as well as gang activity." The Canadian Consulate offered no comment on whether the warning was linked to Rebecca's murder by press time. Mr. Bascome added that the closure of the St. George's police station had done little to give a sense of security and argued it was possible that any incidents of crime, physical and verbal abuse and gang activity had been experienced by visitors who had gone looking for trouble. "Do they have any proof that the verbal abuse is coming from Bermudians? I've seen people on vacation who are very abrasive to other visitors. And as a former operator of a restaurant/bar, I personally can attest to the fact that there are those persons who come looking for paraphernalia we deem not legal. I have been asked on numerous occasions if I know where they can purchase marijuana. I've also been asked by visiting yachtsmen if I could help them find a member of the opposite sex. Hopefully, with the discussions the members of the Corporation are having with the police, things will improve as far as the policing and safety of the town is concerned. We understand that the police station was not in the best of condition and support the police having surroundings which are conducive to them performing at their best. The police have attempted to put a police presence in the town but it is the opinion of the Corporation that we need a fully- functioning police station within the municipality. We have four cruise ships in the course of a week, each carrying approximately 1,500 passengers, combined with the land-based visitors that visit the town and the general residential population, it is our belief that we should have a fully functional police station." That need aside, Mr. Bascome insisted that the World Heritage Site remains one of the safest tourist destinations on the planet. "In the grand scheme of things, we believe that St. George's is very safe compared to major places throughout the world," he said. "I would challenge anyone to speak with the police. Statistics will prove that St. George's, on a whole, is a very safe place. As a resident of St. George's, I am personally offended that the Canadian government would see the need to inform Canadians not to visit the World Heritage Site. I am in contact with tourists on a daily basis and I'm able to tell which are Canadian by their accent. Most of the Canadians I've encountered are very happy with their experience in St. George's and Bermuda as a whole. In the grand scheme of things, even with the rise of antisocial behavioral problems which we Bermudians believe to be escalating, Bermuda is still a relatively safe country, although we will have crime no matter what we do, because some people live outside the realms of normalcy." As a member of the community, Mr. Bascome admitted to having "a bias" about St. George's but insisted it played an important part to the Bermuda vacation. "I personally believe that because of the manner in which the case was botched, (the Middleton family) has a bad taste in its mouth about Bermuda and St. George's. They feel what happened with her started in St. George's," he said referring to the fact that the teenager accepted a lift with strangers after a night out in the town. But I don't feel it's fair for them to single out St. George's as a place not to be visited. If a visitor comes and doesn't experience the hospitality, old world charm and individuality and uniqueness of the people there, they lose the opportunity of having a true Bermuda vacation."

August 17. It opened in 1972 as Bermuda's biggest hotel — and today the Fairmont Southampton retains that status as it celebrates its 35th anniversary. The famous pink landmark, which straddles South and Middle roads over a 100-acre site, is marking the occasion with a party for its 850-plus staff members later this month. The last three-and-a-half decades have seen the hotel — originally called the Southampton Princess — play host to some of the world's best-known and wealthiest celebrities and dignitaries. Sous chef Herbie Bascome has cooked for most of them — but cites his greatest achievement as introducing Bermudian breakfasts to hotel guests more than a decade ago  The traditional island fare quickly became hugely popular and hundreds of plates of codfish and potatoes are now served there to locals and hotel guests every Sunday. "When we first brought it in we just wanted to give the guests a taste of Bermuda," said the 67-year-old grandfather, who has worked at the hotel since 1976. We didn't expect it to go like it did. We can do 400 to 500 breakfasts some weeks." Nelda Simons, regional director of human resources for Fairmont Bermuda, started as an administrative assistant to the hotel manager in 1977. She remembers the Saudi royal family's stay in the late 1970s, which saw fresh lamb's milk flown onto the Island every day for more than week. "From an entertainment standpoint, one of the most regular guests was Bill Cosby and his wife; she used to celebrate her birthday here," said Ms Simons. "We've had US presidents, including George Bush senior. Tony Blair and Cherie have visited. The Queen and Prince Philip have visited, though they always stayed at Government House. Recently, we had James Belushi. Sometimes we'll have big name entertainers in the hotel who are performing at a convention and the public will never know. The list is endless. We have had some extraordinary guests." Ms Simons, from Somerset, says she was the first Bermudian to be hired as a secretary to a hotel manager in Bermuda. She left the hotel in 1986 but returned in 2002 and became regional HR director two years later. The 58-year-old says that back in the 1970s the hotel was completely self sufficient, housing a fresh flower shop, an upholstery shop, seamstresses and teams of carpenters, plumbers and other tradesmen. "You could live here for a week and never have to go outside," she said. The four-star hotel opened with 600 rooms but now has 593 — the missing seven having been transformed into a lounge on the exclusive Fairmont Gold sixth floor, a "hotel within a hotel" for the richest clients. Millions of dollars have been spent on renovations over the years and the hotel now features a state-of-the-art spa, though the footprint of the site remains the same as in 1972, when then-Governor Lord Martonmere performed the official opening. The Southampton Princess was the brainchild of American businessman and shipping magnate Daniel K. Ludwig, who also owned its sister property, the Princess Hotel in Hamilton. Canadian Pacific Hotels bought both properties in 1998 and took over Fairmont Hotels and Resorts the following year. The hotels were then renamed the Fairmont Southampton and the Fairmont Hamilton Princess. In September 2003, the Fairmont Southampton was damaged by Hurricane Fabian and closed for renovations until April 2004.

August 17. Grieving families of people who have died in questionable circumstances are having to wait months to receive a death certificate. And the delays are causing legal and financial problems for bereaved widows and widowers trying to claim on their spouses' pension and life insurance policies or get mortgages paid off. A massive backlog of case files has built up because the island does not have a specialist coroner's investigation unit. Instead, regular police officers investigate the circumstances of certain deaths on top of their regular duties. Only once an investigation has been completed to the satisfaction of Senior Coroner Archibald Warner can a death certificate be issued. Assistant to the Coroner Sergeant Adrian Cook told the Mid-Ocean News there were a number of factors causing a delay in death certificates being issued but that a manpower shortage was a key factor. Sgt. Cook said police officers "have to compete for time during their regular street duties to try and complete and assemble a relatively complex report. And I can tell you that writing and compiling the covering report is an intimidating task and takes a lot of time and concentration." The delays and subsequent financial hurdles were highlighted by Scottish widow Beth Yates, whose husband Richard disappeared while working on a Bermuda-registered gas tanker about 100 miles off the coast of Senegal last year. Although her husband has been missing presumed dead for 12 months, Mrs. Yates has yet to receive a death certificate from the Bermuda authorities. Without it she cannot claim her husband's pension or get her mortgage paid off. It has now been put to the top of the list for the Coroner's Office after she filed a complaint this week. Sgt. Cook pointed out that his office does not issue death certificates but reports to Mr. Warner, who is also Senior Magistrate, or one of three deputy coroners who in turn complete the necessary documentation required for a death certificate to be issued by the Registry General. Sgt. Cook described Mr. Yates' death as an "anomaly" since he did not go missing anywhere near Bermuda. However, because the ship was registered in Bermuda, the island was obliged to deal with it. "When a death occurs on board a ship, an attempt is made by the vessel owners for the nearest port authorities to deal with it, Sgt. Cook said. "This time it didn't happen because the nearest port was Senegal and it had nothing to do with Senegal, except that once they finished the search and rescue they were ordered to port." An investigation was conducted in Senegal on behalf of Bermuda's Government by British Consulate authorities. Bermuda's Department of Marine Administration was notified of the matter and they in turn notified the police. "The Merchant Shipping Act requires an inquiry be carried out and sometimes these are carried out by paper exercise," Sgt. Cook, said. "When I was first notified of this I took it to the Coroner and we spent some time, several days in fact, going back and forth deciding whether it should be a Bermuda Coroner's case or not. In the end the Coroner decided that although the Merchant Shipping Act does give an option for the Coroner to take it on, there was no compelling reason for him to do so." Sgt. Cook said the case was to be dealt with via an inquiry by the Ministry of Transport. "But by that point I had gained so much involvement in the case that when the Department of Marine Administration made requests of the Commissioner of Police to carry out the inquiry, they already said they had been in consultation with me, so it became my case." Sgt. Cook said no case like this had been dealt with since 1998 when a local investigator traveled to the ship to conduct inquiries. He explained that because Royal Dutch Shell had already collected statements from the crew, along with numerous photographs that had been taken at the time, there was no need for him to do this. He added that Mr. Yates' widow had also since been interviewed by Scottish Police. "All that was left for me was to put the file in some semblance of order, write a report on what I had gathered and venture some opinions, conclusions and recommendations," he said. The report will be in the hands of Department of Marine Administration officials later today and they are expected to make recommendations to the Ministry of Transport. "Should they agree with my findings, they will then make a recommendation to the Coroner that he make a finding that Mr. Yates is missing, presumed drowned," Sgt. Cook said, adding that a form would then be sent to the Registry General which will issue a death certificate. When asked why it took so long for the report to be completed, Sgt. Cook said that, because of the two positions he holds, assistant to the Coroner and officer in charge of the Judicial Support Unit, there was simply never enough time. "Both jobs compete with time for each other," he said. "This was a big report and I wanted to be thorough and I didn't have the time to deal with it in that way, until the issue was forced and I was told, 'Sgt. Cook, don't do anything else except this Yates thing' and in the end it took me four full days to compile my report and send it on." He said a death certificate is usually issued to a family within two to three weeks, but the more factors that press upon the case, the longer it will take as in the Yates' case and that of Patricia Steinhoff, the 58 year old who died earlier this month after a day of diving. Sgt. Cook said he had her autopsy report, but would have to wait up to six weeks for toxicology tests, something required by law in cases in which the nature of death in unknown, or needs further investigation. Only then, he said, could he send a final report to the Coroner who would have to sign off on it. And even that, he said, could take a few months.

August 17. Five popular toy brands have been added to the growing list of potentially dangerous toys and accessories being sold in retail stores across the Island and the United States. Bermuda's Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) made the announcement yesterday, just days after announcing a recall of Fisher Price brand products that was found to contain poisonous levels of lead paint. That recall, like the latest, was announced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and affects roughly 9.5 million toys in the United States and 11 million in foreign countries. And, there have already been reports of children being seriously injured in the US, with a seven-year-old Indianapolis girl requiring surgery to repair abdominal damage, after swallowing magnets from the toys. 'Barbie and Tanner' play sets, made by Mattel, with the model numbers j9472 and j9560; include a scooper accessory with magnetic ends that easily detach. Recalled scoopers have a visible silver-coloured, disc-shaped magnet on the end of the scooper. Scoopers that have a white material covering the magnets and products manufactured after January 31, 2007 are not being recalled. The affected toys were distributed between May 2006 and August 2007. In addition, 'Doggie Day Care' play sets, various 'Polly Pocket' dolls and accessories, 'Batman and One Piece' magnetic action figures, are products that should be immediately taken away from children and returned to their place of purchase with the receipt. The recalls fall under the Consumer Protection Act 1999 in conjunction with the US CPSC. As with all of these recalled items, no reports of injuries have been reported locally, although there have been incidents where children have put these items in their mouths. The OCA contacted the majority of toy retailers in Bermuda and advised them of the recall. An enforcement officer visited the toy stores and the inventory was inspected. It was then discovered a total of 33 of the recalled 'Polly Pocket' toys have been removed from the shelves at the major toy stores and will be sent back to Mattel.

August 17. Millionaire technology guru and Tucker's Town home owner John J. Donovan Sr. was convicted today of falsely claiming to police that he was shot in an attack arranged by his son. Judge Kenneth Fishman found Donovan, 65, guilty of filing a false police report, a misdemeanor, in the bench trial. Donovan was immediately sentenced to two years probation and a $625 fine. He also must complete 200 hours of community service. The judge at the Middlesex Superior Court, in Massachusetts, called Donovan's behavior bizarre and premeditated. Donovan showed no emotion when a clerk read the decision, but smiled during sentencing. He hugged and kissed a friend after the hearing ended. Donovan, who owns Winsor House, in Tucker's Town, claimed he was attacked and shot by two strangers in the parking lot of his Cambridge office on the night of December 16, 2005. He told a police dispatcher then that his son had laundered $180 million and had threatened to kill him. But prosecutors argued he made up the story to get revenge against his son and gain the upper hand in a bitter family battle over trusts that may be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Donovan has battled his five children in court for years over the money. The judge ordered Donovan to stay away from his oldest son and three daughters, their spouses and their children. The four siblings said in a statement that they were grateful their father was found guilty. During the trial, prosecutors said a surveillance video showing Donovan adjusting the camera away from the parking lot days before the shooting proved premeditation. They also said they found a to-do list in the front pocket of Donovan's sports jacket that seemed to outline details for the shooting. But Donovan's defence attorney said prosecutors mistakenly read a normal chores list, and the state's investigation was incomplete. Donovan was a business professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1969 to 1997. He commanded big fees as a sought-after speaker to Fortune 500 companies, started more than a dozen companies and published 11 books. He is a founder of Cambridge Technology Partners, a computer services consulting company that was once valued at more than $1 billion. He also was a clinical professor of pediatrics at Tufts University for 10 years, doing research to track birth defects.

August 18. A monument to slaves who died crossing the Middle Passage could be installed in Bermuda in time for the Grand Slam of Golf. The move would give millions of people all over the world the chance to see how the Island is coming together to recognize the horrors of slavery past and present, according to organizers. The 15-foot statue, currently being stored in St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, will be shipped to Bermuda in September or October if all goes according to plan. It is designed to commemorate millions of slaves who died on ships crossing the ocean during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, serving as a permanent reminder of the mistakes of history while highlighting the need to fight against modern day slavery. Corin Smith, who has been helping lead the project, said he hoped the monument could be erected before the Island takes centre stage in the sporting world with October's Grand Slam at the Mid Ocean Club. Viewers from more than 100 countries are expected to tune in to watch Tiger Woods and three other top golfers compete at the showpiece event. Mr. Smith is planning to speak to Mid Ocean Club and PGA officials to see if the monument can be displayed somewhere that can capture the attention of media covering the contest. "The PGA momentum could be a useful showcase for the project. Bermuda is going to be in the spotlight and we can capitalize on this media frenzy," said Mr. Smith. "Everything we do is going to be seen by millions of people. So why not do something positive? Put our heritage on display. It gives us a chance to make this a global campaign. This is not a local, parochial campaign. We need it to cross borders." Plans for a Middle Passage monument in Bermuda have been in the pipeline since an identical statue was lowered to the bottom of the Atlantic in a ceremony which attracted international media coverage eight years ago. Organisers say this year's celebrations of the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, including a memorial service at the Cathedral, have helped paved the way for a lasting tribute to be brought to the Island. Mr. Smith said he was pleased with the public's reaction since the scheme was highlighted in a Royal Gazette article earlier this month. This newspaper reported how Premier Ewart Brown described the plan as "truly a success for our community". Responding yesterday, Mr. Smith said: "The feedback has been positive. Now we need to keep the momentum going." In September, he will be heading to St. Croix with other members of the Emperial Group of Companies, which is organizing the project from Bermuda. He has also been in discussions with international group Homeward Bound Foundation, which is overseeing the initiative from the US and plans to set up similar monuments in a host of other countries affected by slavery. Mr. Smith is also calling for businesses from across the Island to help raise $20,000 needed to ship the monument over. "Anything anyone can contribute to help this project would be much appreciated," he said. The Royal Gazette's Break The Chains campaign is fighting to help free more than 12 million slaves across the world. We are urging readers to sign Anti-Slavery International's on-line Fight For Freedom declaration demanding governments take action to end all forms of modern day slavery, including human trafficking, child labour, bonded labour and forced marriage. The campaign in Bermuda has been given extra impetus after Charlotte Wilberforce, a descendant of slave emancipator William Wilberforce, began organizing a Run For Freedom on the Island to raise awareness and cash in the fight against modern day slavery. It will take place in March to mark the anniversary of the Slave Trade Act.

August 18. Almost $1 million was given to 224 students hoping to study the trades both in Bermuda and overseas by Government. In a news conference yesterday, Labour and Immigration Minister, Derrick Burgess and Premier Dr. Ewart Brown congratulated 28 of the award recipients. Mr. Burgess said their courses of study would provide Bermuda with a wealth of skilled workers to fill all industries on the Island. "As Labour and Immigration Minister, I am perhaps more aware then most of the large number of tradesmen and other skilled workers who have work permits because of the unavailability of suitably qualified Bermudians," he said. "By way of example, there are more than 500 work permit holders as masons in the construction industry. Whilst the booming economy makes it necessary for us to bring in workers in this area, we must do everything we can to prepare more Bermudians for jobs in these areas." One hundred and twenty-four of the 224 recipients who will be studying abroad have received $616,000 towards their education, while the 100 students attending Bermuda College received $350,000. Some of the technical colleges the NTB funded recipients will be attending include Atlanta Technical College, Compu College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, J.F. Drake State Technical College, Huntsville, Alabama, the New England Institute of Technology, Warwick, Rhode Island and the Samuel Jackson Prescod Polytechnic in Barbados. These 124 students will be studying subjects that range from Accounting and Auto body Repair to Computer Information Systems and Early Childhood Education. Another 38 students were awarded a total of $500,000 towards Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) scholarships to attend both schools abroad and the Bermuda College. Mr. Burgess said this was four times more people who received such awards in 2006 and 2007 and will provide funding for Bermudians in acquiring job-entry technical and vocational skills and qualifications. A range of programmers including fashion design, facility management of golf courses operation and graphic artists will be pursued by students. Dr. Brown said the distribution of education awards represented the Government's commitment to its students. "I look in your faces and I see the future of Bermuda," he said. "I say that because Minister Burgess is getting older and we need someone to replace him. Sometimes the Government is said to do nothing for young people, but those standing behind me would counter that notion. I would like to commend you and your families, because don't forget you got support from them too, and I urge you to get involved in the major development that will be taking place in the country."

August 18. Families, friends and businesses in Bermuda watched Hurricane Dean closely yesterday. The category three hurricane is racing across the eastern Caribbean and at press time had already claimed three lives. The National Hurricane Centre predicted that Dean could be upgraded to a category four by today. Over the weekend Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cuba and eventually Cancun, Mexico are expected to feel the impact of the hurricane. With winds up to 125 miles per hour Dean, the first hurricane of the season, is packing quite a punch. It has already blown past St. Lucia and Martinique causing worry for Matthew Henry, a banquet coordinator at the Hamilton Princess, who is a native of St. Lucia. "They knew of it at the last minute," he said speaking of his family. "They thought it was headed to Barbados but it came to St. Lucia. None of them have been evacuated. There is still a lot of rain and wind but it's better than it was on Thursday night, none of their homes were damaged." Meanwhile former Bermuda resident Daniel Moller, who now lives in the Cayman Islands, said people there are prepared for the worst. "Many businesses closed at noon and people have been boarding up their homes," he said. "I have a house guest and we are going to try and evacuate, possibly to Miami. Extra flights have been put on tomorrow so hopefully we will be on one of those. People are being really cautious because they remember Ivan [ a hurricane that devastated Cayman in 2004]. People are definitely getting ready for it but the funny thing is today is beautiful. There isn't even a cloud in the sky." Meanwhile Brad Kading, president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, said: "The Class 4 insurers in the ABIR membership are very well capitalized. They are well positioned to handle hurricane claims. That is what they are in business for. Storms such as this are expected." He added that any estimation of the financial impact of a hurricane this size would be purely speculative. And Flagstone Re, which just took over Island Heritage in the Cayman Islands, said the company was prepared for Dean. David Brown, CEO of Flagstone, said: "We and our colleagues at Island Heritage our monitoring this storm closely. Island Heritage is well prepared for such a storm given their experience in Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Operationally, they have a disaster management programme in place and will be ready to serve clients if needed. Financially they have significant catastrophic reinsurance in addition to their solid capital base." Some hurricane sites have predicted that Dean could become a category four hurricane by Thursday.

August 19. The Southampton Princess Hotel will host a British Commonwealth's judges and magistrates conference lasting to August 23. It will be a regional meeting of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA) and entitled 'Equality and the Courts — Exploring the Commonwealth Experience.' Among the topics to be discussed will be family and gender-based violence, human rights and economic development, and perspectives on equality and the courts. Members of the Bermuda Bar Association who attend the conference will be able to meet and network with CMJA members from the UK, Channel Islands, Cayman Islands, the Caribbean and Africa. The event will be hosted by Chief Justice Richard Ground.

August 20, Monday. Four new Portuguese TV channels are coming to Bermuda. Bermuda CableVision has struck a deal to add the extra complement to its existing Portuguese channel RTP and will air Portuguese language versions of Turner Network Television, Turner Classic Movies, The Cartoon Channel and Boomerang, which are currently only available in English in Bermuda. The expansion of the available programming for Bermuda's sizeable Portuguese community came about by a fortunate conversation between Bermuda CableVision general manager Terry Roberson and executives of the TimeWarner entertainment company Turner. He told the Royal Gazette: "We have such a melting pot of people and communities here (in Bermuda) and we are always looking for opportunities to expand what we can offer them. Turner came along and by accident we heard they had these extra feeds. I realised the demography for such programmes would be high in Bermuda with our Portuguese community and it brought a little bit more value to everything." The four new channels will be available to subscribers of the digital Variety Tier and, to add convenience, Bermuda CableVision has duplicated its current Portuguese channel 32 onto channel 164 so that Variety Tier subscribers will have all five channels next to each other for ease when switching between them. Portuguese is not the only non-English language the cable provider looks to deliver. Mr. Roberson said: "We are also always looking to have Spanish, Italian, French programmes to provide a better service to all the people we represent. The world is getting smaller and smaller and there are greater opportunities." Requests for programming to be made available on the Island often refer to sporting events beamed from Europe. While Bermuda CableVision works hard to access what it can, it is limited if a sporting event is being carried by a satellite with a 'beam-print' that does not stretch far enough to be picked up in Bermuda. The company is currently rolling out its Broadband Link system for faster Internet connectivity. The project started in St. George's and has gradually moved westwards, a parish at a time, and has now been completed in Paget. Ongoing work continues to link up Warwick now. Mr. Roberson said the uptake and interest in the broadband internet option was good. "We are very happy and pleased with how it is going," he said. And when asked if he thinks the Internet might one day supersede traditional television and video, replied: "The whole world will eventually be streaming videos and movies (via the Internet) and it will be important to be the person who can provide that. There are lots of opportunities to deliver to contact and at different speeds." The new Portuguese channels will be on channels 160 - 163 from September 1. Channel 160 will be TNT with serial drama and movies such as The Closer, Saving Grace, Heartland, The Company, Without a Trace, Law & Order, and ER. It will also feature sports including NASCAR racing and the NBA. Channel 161 will be 24-hour classic movies from the 1920 to the 1990s, all without commercials. It will also have original documentaries and specials relating to the movie industry. Channel 162 is The Cartoon Network and Channel 163 will be Boomerang with classic animated entertainment.

August 20, Monday. Workers in the disability field met Premier Ewart Brown on Thursday as part of the Brown Bag Lunch initiative. Brown Bag Lunch is part of the Premier's Thursday open door policy. Members of the public are allowed to meet with him to discuss issues they feel are important. On Thursday, Dr. Brown hosted people whose work improves the way of life for the visually impaired, learning disabled and others with disabilities. The other group was Bermudians who utilize Government services in the area. Topics included wheelchair accessibility on public transportation and taxis. Dr. Brown said: "There is a lot to do in this area to make sure all people who need assistance have access to the information necessary to get assistance. Wheelchair accessibility is a challenging issue in public transport, but we can't tackle the problem until we fully understand what's required and what's possible. I can tell you I understand the issues facing this part of our community a lot more now having been a part of this lunch." Thea Furbert, of the Bermuda Autism Support and Education Society, said she enjoyed meeting the Premier and appreciated the support. Lisa Currin, chairperson of the Committee for a National Policy on Disabilities, also appreciated the support and awareness of Dr. Brown.

August 20, Monday. Young Senator Davida Morris was today unveiled as one of three Progressive Labour Party candidates in traditional United Bermuda Party strong-hold constituencies. Sen. Morris, 26, is to battle for the Constituency 22 seat in Paget East, where she will be up against former Opposition Leader Grant Gibbons. It comes less than a year after she burst onto the political scene when Premier Ewart Brown appointed her as one of Bermuda's youngest ever Senators shortly after ousting former Premier Alex Scott. At an unveiling ceremony at the Botanical Gardens, Dr. Brown's race relations consultant Rolfe Commissiong was announced as the PLP's candidate for Constituency 23 in Paget West, where he faces the tough task of ousting Deputy Leader of the Opposition Patricia Gordon-Pamplin. PLP Secretary General Linda Merritt was put forward to fight the seat for Constituency 12 Devonshire South Central. She will be up against the UBP's House Leader John Barritt.

August 20. A carriage tour operator has repeated her call for city bosses not to pull the plug on her 40-year business by banishing horses from the city. Dee Charles, who has operated from Front Street with her husband Hobby since the 1960s, hit out after the Corporation of Hamilton passed a resolution giving it the power to restrict horses and carriages on the capital's streets. She said accidents during her four decades of service have been minimal and her business faces being unfairly punished because of a stampede involving somebody else's runaway horses in April. That incident, which left 19 people injured during the first Harbour Nights tourist event of the year, led to calls for animals to be kept out of Hamilton. But Mrs. Charles, of Shilo stables, who has previously warned her 16 horses will have to be put down if a ban is introduced, said yesterday: "Oh goodness, this is nothing to do with my company. I just feel we are being very unfairly treated. "This step forward is to ensure if there's another accident on Front Street we are off completely. You don't know how much pressure that puts on our drivers. My husband is very hurt. It's a constant taunt to him and it's very stressful to him. This is what we built our business on. We spent $200,000 on a stable in Hamilton five years ago. We live in a rented apartment. Who is going to compensate us? Are we supposed to take this lot? I am hoping to speak to the Corporation but what good is that going to do? I feel they have already decided." She said the only accidents involving her horses in 40 years have been a small handful caused by cars crashing into them, while horses not being used are tethered to a bar by the stand to ensure they don't run amok. "Accidents happen, but nothing like the stampede has happened with our horses," she said. "This is silly; it is crazy. How many tourists do you see on bikes getting into accidents? They allow that to happen on Front Street. We have a couple of accidents, whoever it is, and it's a big thing." Mrs. Charles said she had received support from the public since a temporary ban was placed on horses on Wednesday evenings. "A heck of a lot of people call me up and ask about Wednesday nights. That's when most Bermudians go for a ride," she said. "I have had so many people stop and shout to me: 'Good luck, they can't do this to you! This is part of our heritage!' We have had so much support." Trouble erupted on April 25 when two horses owned by Dockyard-based operator Ray Bean broke loose and tore through a barrier and down Front Street with their carriage. Three weeks later, a second unmanned horse and carriage bolted along Front Street onto Bermudiana Road before a member of the public grabbed the carriage and brought it to a halt on Par-la-Ville Road. The owner of this vehicle was never made public. The Corporation of Hamilton said yesterday that the resolution was due to be published as an official order or ordinance on Wednesday next week. Its members are set to meet in the near future to decide whether there should be a ban on horses and carriages. Mayor Sutherland Madeiros said earlier this week: "There are people in the public who think it's the worst thing we could do, to ban horses, and there are people who think it's the worst thing we could do not to ban horses." Mr. Madeiros said the Corporation was hoping to meet Mrs. Charles on the issue and has urged the public to make their views known by visiting City Hall or calling the Corporation on 292-1234. 

August 20. Families with loved ones in Jamaica could only hope and pray last night as Hurricane Dean ripped through the island leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. As the Category Four storm raged across the western Caribbean with winds of 145 mph, there were reports of roofs being blown off houses in Kingston, felled trees, torrential rain, flooding and mudslides. Described by some meteorologists as one of the most destructive storms in recent history, Dean was expected to unleash 20 inches of rain on Jamaica with "potentially catastrophic" results. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami yesterday warned that a direct hit could bring flash floods and mudslides, to lethal effect. As Jamaica reels from the aftermath today, the low-lying Cayman Islands are next on Dean's hit list. The hurricane is expected to intensify into a Category Five storm, reaching the British Overseas Territory this evening before tearing across Mexico's Yucatan peninsula tomorrow. In Jamaica, the Bermuda national squash team were among those stranded in the darkness. Nick Kyme, Richard Van Liendon, Patrick Foster, Melrindo Caines and Michael Shrubb arrived on the Island nine days ago for the Senior CASA Squash Championships and had reached the semi-finals before nature vented her full fury. The team turned up at the courts on Friday to find their opponents Trinidad and Tobago had been flown home by their government the previous evening. The players headed to the airport where they spent the next two days trying to get a flight home. Last night they were holed up in the Liguanea Club hotel in New Kingston with four or five other guests and a cook. The team were reported to be in "good spirits" but have no money, due to ATM machines on the island being switched off to prevent looting. They are, however, in touch with British High Commissioner Gill Binnie, herself a member of the Jamaican squash team. One of the Jamaican players, Warren Burrowes, also helped them by picking them up at the airport when it closed up on Saturday. Mr. Kyme's mother Denise said last night: "The final flight was last (Saturday) night with Air Jamaica and then they closed down the airport. They were 59th on the standby list. "The important thing is they are sticking together and there are some very nice families keeping an eye on them. The Liguanea Club is also a very solid, old colonial building and is away from the water." Mrs. Kyme, 54, of North Shore, said the players' families and girlfriends were keeping each other updated whenever they received a text message. "If anyone gets a text message we contact each other and so try to prevent the boys from wasting their cell batteries," she said. Mr. Kyme, a 26-year-old trainee broker with Marsh, is Mrs. Kyme's only son. Last night she said the families were confident about their sons' safety but there were concerns about looting. "I don't think anyone is too worried as they are all sensible young men, but we are concerned about their safety afterwards, as Jamaica can be not a particularly safe place. We are concerned about looting, but hopefully they will stay together and be careful." She said the team had a confirmed flight home on Friday, but even that might not happen. "The airport is right on the water at the worst possible spot for the hurricane to hit so we just don't know whether there will be flooding and widespread damage," said Mrs. Kyme. Last night her son texted her to say that a window had blown in at the hotel and his teammates were preparing for the full onslaught of the hurricane, with heavy winds and rain. Dean is the second traumatic event of the last few days for Mrs. Kyme - on Friday a burglar broke into her home, stealing a camera and jumping out of a window to escape from Police. "It's not been a very good week," she admitted. "However we've all been through hurricanes so know what to expect. I'm certainly concerned, but I don't think they will put themselves in danger. They are in a safe building and when I last contacted Nick they were all in good spirits." Mr. Kyme's girlfriend Samantha Adams, a 29-year-old lawyer from Pembroke, added: "I'm a little worried, but Nick and the others have been through storms before so I am confident they will be alright." Eve Paterson, the fiancιe of Patrick Foster, said: "We were told yesterday that it could end up being a Category Five storm, which is terrifying, so it's been quite stressful the last few days." Miss Paterson, 27, of Warwick, said: "They have felt frustrated and abandoned at not being able to get a flight but now they just have to get through it. Patrick is worried because it's such a huge storm but he is philosophical about it all." Roger Sherratt, spokesman for the Bermuda Squash Raquets Association, said: "The team are having a few problems because all the power has been turned off, but we are confident they are in good hands. The Jamaican players are looking after them and the Liguanea Club is a very old, sturdy building. They are as safe as they can be, however they are going to have to bunker down and ride out the storm for a few days. "We wish them the very best."

August 20. Hurricane Dean skirted the Cayman Islands today and raced toward Mexico's resort-dotted Caribbean coast, where tens of thousands of tourists fled what could become a mammoth Category 5 storm. The airport at Mexico's biggest resort, Cancun, was packed with departing tourists today and the usually crowded hotel strip was nearly empty. Mexico's state oil company evacuated workers from rigs in the oil-rich Gulf of Campeche, in the storm's path. But there was relief in the Cayman Islands. The government announced the territory "has been spared the brunt of Hurricane Dean." Hours earlier, it looked like disaster was descending on the islands as the Category 4 storm with winds of 150 mph (240 kph) -- bore down late Sunday after battering Jamaica.  Dean's eye passed some 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the Caymans and the government said the strongest gusts here were measured at 57 mph (92 kph). The storm has killed at least eight people as it has moved across the Caribbean. The storm could reach the highest level, Category 5, with maximum winds greater than 155 mph (249 kph) later Monday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Stuart Jack, governor of the British territory, said Cayman Islands authorities had evacuated all but 1,500 tourists and set up 19 storm shelters that housed some 2,200 people. Jamaica avoided a direct hit when the storm passed to the south Sunday night. There were no deaths reported in Jamaica, but the storm uprooted trees, flooded roads and tore the roofs off many homes, businesses and a prison block. No prisoners escaped. Police said officers got into a shootout with looters at a shopping center in the central parish of Clarendon, but nobody was hurt. Curfews were in effect until Monday evening. Authorities also cut power on the island to prevent damage to the power grid, leaving more than 125,000 customers without power. As of 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) Monday, Dean was centered about 440 miles (710 kilometers) east of Belize City and traveling west at about 21 mph (33 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Many tourists who did not get flights out took shelter at places like Sandals Whitehouse, a resort that has buildings capable of withstanding a powerful storm. Fishermen hauled their skiffs inland and cruise ships changed their course to avoid the storm on Sunday. The National Hurricane Center said the first hurricane of the Atlantic season was projected to have sustained winds of 160 mph (260 kph) before plowing into Mexico's Yucatan peninsula on Tuesday. The Mexican mainland or Texas could be hit later. There was also a hurricane warning in effect for Belize's coast. Twelve empty planes arrived Sunday to move travelers out, said airport spokesman Eduardo Rivadeneira. The state government also set up 530 shelters with a capacity of 73,000 people. The hurricane created massive waves and surges up to 20 feet (6 meters) high as it passed the Dominican Republic on Saturday, flooding roads and drowning a boy. At least two people were killed and about 150 homes were destroyed in Haiti, emergency officials said.

August 20. Government is on stand-by to assist our island neighbours in the event of wide scale death and destruction in the Caribbean. Hurricane Dean pummeled Jamaica last night with winds of up to 145mph and is expected to intensify as it approaches the Cayman Islands later today. The Category Four storm has already claimed more than six lives and experts fear more extensive loss of life as it tears across the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico. Dean has been classed as one of the deadliest storms to hit the region in recent years and Bermuda's Government is now poised to offer humanitarian and commercial assistance. Over the weekend, Ministers have held a series of meetings to facilitate emergency action if needed. The Ministry of Finance also wants to extend a safe haven for business to ensure continuity in commerce and financial services  Minister of Public Safety and Housing, Senator David Burch, has contacted the Jamaican authorities and said the Bermuda Regiment will assist in any recovery efforts in either Jamaica or the Cayman Islands. A Government spokeswoman said: "We are looking at pulling together whatever manpower resources we have in Bermuda, should these countries need assistance. In the past when we have had powerful storms, Jamaica and other islands have been great at coming to our assistance so we are trying to repay the favour." Sen. Burch, who is Bermuda's Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) chairman, said: "Bermuda has strong ties with both these Island nations, particularly with Jamaica, as we have a strong Jamaican population in Bermuda and our Regiment has trained there for several decades. "I want to assure the people of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands that we stand ready to do whatever is requested of us to ensure that both our neighbours return to normal as soon as possible." He added that Bermuda's residents should also stay vigilant during this "critical time of the hurricane season" and ensure households are equipped with the necessary supplies. Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Paula Cox, said Government would help companies in the Cayman Islands wishing to transfer operations to Bermuda. Working with the Department of Immigration and the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the Ministry of Finance wants to ensure continuity in commerce and financial services. Ms Cox said: "Bermuda again stands ready to assist any Cayman Island-based entities seeking to relocate to Bermuda for the duration of any possible disruption." The Registrar of Companies will provide information on permits required under the Companies Act 1981 for organizations with no affiliation in Bermuda. Firms with affiliates already licensed by the BMA will be able to transfer staff and activities without further licensing, and the Department of Immigration will attempt to issue work permits efficiently. Ms Cox said: "The Bermuda Monetary Authority will aim to expedite the relevant licensing process. "The Department of Immigration I am informed has also alerted their officers at the L.F. Wade International Airport and will facilitate the expediting of work permits should the need arise. "Ms Rozy Azhar has alerted the airport of the possibility of persons arriving from Cayman Islands and that such persons should be allowed through the airport. Such persons needing temporary work permits will have their work permit applications processed on an expedited basis." Ms Cox said the authorities had already received "a few preliminary calls" from local firms, both law and audit companies. "It should be remembered that as in 2004, Bermuda seeks no gain from the possible misfortune of our neighbours and that companies and persons relocating under the above conditions will be expected to return to the Cayman Islands as soon as conditions allow," she said. LOM Asset Management has evacuated its employees with LOM Securities Ltd. from the Cayman Islands. Jon Heckscher, vice president and general manager, said: "LOM has made contingency plans in the event that Hurricane Dean causes a disruption to our operation in Cayman. In advance of the storm, all employees (and families), with the exception of one, have flown off the island. "In the event that the office needs to be closed for an extended period of time, these families will be temporarily moved to either our Bahamas office or here in Bermuda. We will continue to monitor the situation." Calls from clients are also being redirected to the company's Bermuda offices.

August 20. Budget airline Zoom has received permission to use a shorter route while crossing the Atlantic. A Department of Tourism spokeswoman confirmed that the airline had been granted its ETOPS (extended-range twin operations) licence, which means it is no longer required to stay within an hour and half distance from land. Zoom began its service from Gatwick Airport in London, UK, in June. Though their tickets were often cheaper than those offered by the other UK carrier, British Airways, customers complained of the nine hour flight. Because Zoom did not have the ETOPS licence it was forced to fly to the US east coast, across Greenland, past Iceland and then down through Scotland in order to get from Bermuda to London. The twice weekly flight ended up being two hours longer than the British Airways flights. But now thanks to the licence it should only take six hours and 45 minutes to complete the flight.

August 20. Hamilton's construction boom shows no signs of letting up as another application for a multi-storey office block was last week submitted to Planning. Developers have applied for Planning permission on behalf of In Motion School of Dance — owner of the existing building to be demolished. The new six-storey block, proposed for 71 Reid Street, will cover 5,735 sq ft and has been designed by Botelho Wood Architects. The building consists of four floors of office space with an upper storey allocated for residential use. The ground floor will contain a lobby and shops, while two underground levels offer space for maintenance and a garage. It is the latest multi-storey commercial premises proposed in Hamilton, which has seen an influx of Planning applications in recent months. Just this week, Stonehaven Development Co. Ltd. submitted plans to turn the former New Canadian Hotel at 79 Court Street into a ten-storey condominium hotel. St. Paul AME Church has also applied for permission to construct a seven-storey office building at 59 Court Street. In June, chairman of the Sustainable Development Roundtable Arthur Hodgson was given the go-ahead to build a six-storey office block in Court Street. Planning officials are also considering ZoCoLo Studios, a five-storey office and apartment building by Zoom Properties at the corner with Angle Street. While it seems developers and new businesses are eager to capitalize on the renaissance of the Court Street area, the construction boom is evidently having a knock-on effect on other parts of Hamilton. City Mayor Sutherland Madeiros said Bermuda's growing banking and reinsurance industries were creating more demand for office space. "There appears to be no let-up in business in Bermuda, provided we have a stable political environment," he said. "I suspect that all of the current and future developers have done their homework and are making a wise investment, and have clients to suit their needs."

August 20. Police know who the key drug lords are but are powerless to convict without evidence, Assistant Police Commissioner Bryan Bell has admitted. But he said new laws to seize the dealers' assets without securing a criminal conviction could curb a trade which some estimate to be worth around $200 million per annum. Sources say there are around a dozen key players in Bermuda's booming drugs market controlling about 80 percent of the market but Mr. Bell would not be drawn. He told The Royal Gazette: "There is a significant problem which clearly outstrips the resources Police and other agencies have to combat it effectively. People I am convinced have no involvement with drug dealing but who have lived in Bermuda all their lives are able to identify names of people they know have made their livelihood from drug dealing over many years. One of the problems is people continue to see these people with the trappings of success created by the misery they have brought to other families. Every mother who sees their son coming home with a drug problem and stealing from their home has to deal with how these drug dealers manufacture that. A lot of the names passed to me are people I am satisfied have made their money and success from drugs as their main business. Many of those named were brought in by Police many times. But the reality is the criminal process requires you to have evidence. A lot of these people have become well organized. They will manipulate other people. One particular drug dealer quite clearly charms a number of women, makes them 'special' and then uses them. They will take money overseas, buy drugs, bring them back into the country." Asked if new technology couldn't help crack cases he said: "Still one of the most important aspects of evidence is having witnesses, people who are prepared to come forward." Probed on how people could hide their money in a tiny jurisdiction which boasts about its counter money-laundering measures Mr. Bell said: "Unfortunately there are many ways. We still have a cash-rich economy. A lot of drug dealers' activities are run on cash. They have numerous ways of developing their wealth and attempting to legitimize their assets. One of the areas of discussion we are having at the moment is looking at a change in the legislation to provide for what is known as civil forfeiture of criminal assets. It basically means you can go after someone who you can show to the courts of having gained their money from criminal means without having to necessarily convict them of a criminal offence. It's done in the UK at the moment with the asset confiscation agency." He said Police were in talks with Government on the issue. "It is early days yet but we have raised these as issues to perhaps assist us in tackling some of the people who are of most concern." There were a significant number of key players in the drug business said Mr. Bell. "Some of them find ways of opening businesses to assist them in giving them a degree of respectability but also as a front for their criminal enterprise. I think we have a very good intelligence picture of who the main criminals are." Mr. Bell painted a picture of outwardly 'respectable' figures able to order employees to carry out violent attacks in defence of drug turf. We certainly have intelligence in a number of cases which will say they have specifically given instructions for these activities to take place. But that is not evidence, unfortunately. We are clearly seeing an increase in machete attacks involving groups. Clearly a number of these are in support of drug dealing groups. Quite a number of them are involved in territory disputes involving drug dealers." He said there was often a rough demarcation of drug territory but the machetes came out when the carve-up broke down.

August 20. Bermuda is an island. Very little of the drugs are grown here. the vast majority is smuggled in." That statement, unprompted, from Assistant Police Commissioner Bryan Bell goes to the nub of what many people find so troubling about Bermuda's massive drug problem which has gone on seemingly unabated for decades. Critics fail to fathom how with only two routes into a tiny land mass, sea and air, the island is unable to stem a ceaseless flow of deadly narcotics. It's not for lack of effort on behalf of Police and Customs said Mr. Bell who said interdiction teams at the airport and docks unearthed drugs on "almost daily basis". He said seizures went up at Cup Match as dealers cranked up imports to cope with increased demand. "There's been a number of significantly good seizures at the airport and others where one would almost suspect there's an element of desperation by some of the drug dealers to get hold of some of the drugs judging by some of their attempts to smuggle it in." People had been caught with crude attempts to smuggle in drugs in such things as suitcases said Mr. Bell. But those pondering the never-ending supply needed to look at the incessant demand. "One has to recognize just how far drugs have pervaded society." He said virtually everybody in Bermuda knew at least one or two people involved in drugs while hundreds of people were arrested every year, indicating the scale of the problem. Last year Police made 812 drug seizures and 526 people were arrested for drug related offences. In the first six months of this year there have been 265 seizures and 147 arrests. However Mr. Bell refused to reveal the street level worth of the drugs seized after indicating such figures are misleading. Sources within the drug counseling world have said heroin is now the hard drug of choice with users smoking it rather than shooting up. But Mr. Bell said crack was particularly prevalent. "The reality is the criminal will deal in any commodity they can smuggle in and sell for a profit. If you are a heroin addict and they have no heroin they will try to sell you crack cocaine. If you are a crack addict and there's no crack they will try to push you on to heroin. That is why a lot of drug users who end up in prison present themselves as poly-drug users. There's a ready acceptance here of the use of marijuana. But any involvement with marijuana is to encourage a serious organized criminality on the island. You cannot smoke weed on a Saturday night and turn a blind eye to the fact you are responsible for someone being chopped with a machete on a Sunday morning." He said it was wrong to say only hard drugs fuelled hardcore crime. "We can prove that those who are selling the hard drugs also sell marijuana. The reality is a lot of the violence going on is associated with trying to protect their territory for their drug dealing criminal enterprises." Mr. Bell said the vast majority of drugs came to Bermuda via the US with the original source often being further south although some drugs still came from the UK. "It is of concern there are particular links to the Southern New York and New Jersey area. And we know from colleagues in the US some of these are clearly extremely dangerous people." Once on Bermuda the drugs are often consumed at crack houses. Former National Drugs Control Minister Wayne Perinchief suggested copying Britain's ASBO laws to enable a speedy crackdown on homes used as drug hangouts. Government currently uses a housing act which allows it to close homes unfit for habitation. But that act has little use for tackling drug runners operating out of ordinary houses in respectable neighbourhoods Mr. Perinchief said Bermuda could follow the UK's Anti-Social Behavior Act 2003 which gave new powers to control properties or locations where drug sales were causing serious nuisance or disorder. Police in Britain can issue a closure notice which must be considered by magistrates within 48 hours regardless of weekends or bank holidays. But Mr. Bell said Police had suggested numerous law change proposals but the ASBO law is extremely bureaucratic and involved hours of work before they could be put in place. "The idea that you just wheel someone into the court and get an ASBO is not what happens in reality. Many councils have to employ lawyers just to maintain ASBOs and the actual number taken out are still relatively small. While politicians in the UK and elsewhere portray it as a panacea, the reality is from the Policing point of view is yes, it is an extra tool you can use sometimes but there are a lot of occasions it doesn't really give you much leverage." He said other civil remedies in planning law might prove just as effective in curbing problem houses. In the meantime he said Police had expanded their community action teams to tackle open street level drug dealing. He said a focus on St. Monica's and the north Hamilton area had netted a lot of abandoned drugs by dealers. "Clearly it's having an effect and making it more difficult for them to operate." He urged neighbourhoods to work with the Police. "There are people who have come forward and assisted the police without any repercussions. People have to make choices, they can't live in an area being run down by drug abuse and not want to be part of trying to make it better. We want to turn those communities around."–He said if neighbours did nothing their areas were bound to decline but if they tried to stop the rot most likely things would improve. Police would like to do more said Mr. Bell. "To do what needs to be done, we don't have the resources. You see on TV two detectives busting 'Mr. Big' and it's all over in 40 minutes but it is not the reality of Policing drug enforcement. It requires large numbers of dedicated officers who can work cases quite often for long periods of time with financial, forensic, surveillance and investigative expertise." But he said officers were doing a stalwart job in tackling the problem with what they had. But if you were to talk to them they would feel like Peter in the dike. They have one success and no sooner do they think they are making progress when somewhere else something similar pops up. It is a little bit like fighting fires, moving from one threat to another." He said Police and Customs want to upgrade detection technology to allow mass X-rays of containers to give quicker and more accurate data on what was stashed. Even with new high tech kit Police know they are in for a long haul to reverse the flood of drugs, with success often hinging on the support of the public. Mr. Bell said: "Those who people believe locally have been involved for a long time. Why are we not getting them before the courts? "We continue to work on all those cases and will do so and there will be no let up until hopefully they will be put behind bars. "In many cases that will require the public staying supportive to assist the Police and help take some of those people down."

August 20. Bermuda Under 19s will march triumphantly to their first ever Cricket World Cup next year after being crowned ICC Americas champions in Toronto. The unprecedented success marks the second World Cup the Island has qualified in two years with the senior team competing in the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year. Canada, hosts of the regional qualifiers, had been hotly tipped to secure a coveted World Cup berth but a unbeaten half-century by Stefan Kelly saw Bermuda post 194 for eight wickets for their 50-overs. In reply the North Americans managed 181 for nine with star Malachi Jones, who starred for the senior team at the 2007 World Cup, picking up three wickets in yesterday's clash. As well as putting Bermuda back on the sporting map, the Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) will reap financial rewards, receiving a cash windfall from the International Cricket Council (ICC). Minister of Sports and Cultural Affairs, Wayne Perinchief, who greeted the team back, said: "I thought it was a fantastic effort to win the tournament in Canada. This team will be the replacement for the national team in due course." He added the win justified investment in the team.

August 21. A senior Police officer said a Mid Ocean News article on the Bermuda Police Force failed to show the full picture of changes taking place in the force. Superintendent Michael DeSilva, who was responsible for implementing the changes to the force, said: "The article is indeed a skewed account of what has otherwise been a positive change made by the Bermuda Police Service." The article, which appeared in last Friday's edition of the paper, stated that officers were demoralized by changes which have seen the narcotics and criminal investigations departments reduced to half their size and removed community officers from its roster completely. Supt. DeSilva said the changes started mid-June and the aim was to better use the limited resources the BPS has at its disposal. "In short, we are trying to do more with less in a way that does not compromise community safety, operational effectiveness or public confidence," he said. "We believe that we have found a formula that will work, in the form of the Service Realignment and the new uniform shift pattern." He said the new system has nearly 70 percent of the Island's officers working in the Community Policing Division and added that Community Action Teams (CAT) have been formed in each of the three Police stations. "CAT teams have responsibility for tackling long-term community issues including the street level drugs trade," he said. "By transferring the role of the former Narcotics Street Enforcement Team to CAT, the current Narcotics Unit, working with its Customs partners, is able to focus more sharply on significant drug importation, trafficking and the confiscation of illegal assets." Supt. DeSilva said the realignment of the service coincided with a new shift system which will allow there to be overlaps of two watches at various times of the day. This means more officers will be available at key locations and times such as in Hamilton on Friday and Saturday evenings when there is increased activities around bars and nightclubs. He added that he was discouraged by the article because it appeared to be the views of a minority of officers. "It is still early days, and the Commissioner and his command team recognize that there is more work to be done," he said. "Much of the feedback to date from our officers centres around operational logistical issues, including the need for more vehicles. The perennial staff shortage in the BPS is also an issue. Like most agencies, we are constantly balancing competing demands and priorities against a limited number of officers to deploy." Human Resources Manager Michael Trott also commented on the article which stated that the BPS was terminating good Bermudian officers because they failed an exam. He said: "The BPS is committed to attracting, training, and retaining suitably qualified Bermudian applicants against an ever expanding global employment market. However, given the shrinking resource pool, the BPS does not — and should not — deviate from its training standards. Where officers fall below the required standard, the BPS provides additional training support in the form of extra tuition and closer monitoring over a period of months." And he added that any termination is based on recommendations from Divisional Commanders and the Training Centre.

August 21. Bermuda's insurance and reinsurance market could be hit by bills of billions of dollars in payouts for the devastation wreaked in the Caribbean by Hurricane Dean. The storm battered Jamaica with winds of up to 150mph tearing off roofs, uprooting trees and downing power lines on the island and it is expected to strike Mexico next, with hurricane warnings in the coast of Belize and the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, from Belize City to Cancun. Martinique and St Lucia also reported sever damage to their banana crop, on which they are heavily dependent, with Martinique losses in destroyed banana and sugar can plantations as well as damages to infrastructure, predicted to cost more than $270 million. Meanwhile the Cayman Islands have been spared the brunt of the hurricane. EQECAT Inc, a top authority on extreme risk modeling, said initial estimates for insured losses from Hurricane Dean from the Lesser Antilles islands to Jamaica could range between $1.5bn to $3bn, with the majority of losses in Jamaica. The losses include everything from wind damage to commercial and residential buildings such as offices, factories, warehouses and homes to business interruption as a result of destroyed property and a surge in demand for products and services to repair the initial damage outstripping supply locally and leading to higher costs of importing the resources from further afield. Excluded from the California-based company's estimates are losses related to flooding, private and commercial vehicles and marine assets including boats. But the true cost of the damage will not be known for some time. Insurers and reinsurers, such as Flagstone Re who are known to have a exposure risk to the Caribbean market having recently taken over Caymans' Island Heritage insurance operation, are bracing themselves for insured losses payouts.

August 21. Relief swept over Bermuda yesterday as Hurricane Dean crossed over Jamaica without extensive loss of life. Families with relatives on the Caribbean island said their worst fears had now subsided with the passing of the Category Four storm. Dean has claimed six lives in the eastern Caribbean and last night pummeled Jamaica with 145 mph winds, tearing roofs from houses, uprooting trees and unleashing torrential rain. The eye of the storm passed just south of the island but Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has declared a month-long state of emergency. Bermuda's Government has offered humanitarian aid to the country and the Bermuda Regiment is also on stand-by to assist in any recovery efforts. Hazel Christopher of the Jamaican Association in Bermuda said last night: "We've had a few phone calls this afternoon from people on the island and most places seem to have the power coming back on. People are relieved but there's still a lot of damage with roofs gone from houses and landslides. Some roads are also cut off and there's one person missing. "Some families still haven't been in touch with people in Bermuda but those who have are relieved to know everyone is still alive so far. It was a really horrible storm but there's no loss of life so far that we know of." Eve Paterson, whose fiancι Patrick Foster was stranded on the island with the Bermuda national squash team, said: "I feel very relieved. We've heard that they're all fine and are just waiting for a flight home now." Miss Paterson, 27, of Warwick, said: "I'll just be glad when it's all over, but it is such a relief. I don't think it was as bad as they thought it was going to be so that's great news." The team had reached the semi-finals of the Senior CASA Squash Championships when the tournament was cancelled on Friday. They spent the next two days trying to get a flight home but were forced to bunker down in the Liguanea Club hotel after the airport closed on Saturday. Last night there was also relief among families with loved ones in the low-lying Cayman Islands, which also escaped a direct hit. LOM Asset Management had evacuated its Cayman employees to Miami but they will now be allowed to return. Vice president and general manager Jon Heckscher said yesterday: "It looks like Cayman will be spared a direct hit, hence those that are now in Miami will return at the earliest moment." Hurricane Dean is now bearing down on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula where it is expected to hit with the full force of a Category Five storm. Meteorologists said it should serve as a wake-up call against complacency in Bermuda. Geoffrey Saville, meteorological forecaster with the Bermuda Weather Service, said: "This was the first major hurricane of the season. Even though it's been a quiet season so far, there's still half a season left and the chance of a hurricane coming near Bermuda. We are really reaching the height of the season so it's a case of being on your toes. Dean has brought back the awareness that we do have to stay alert. This is the time of year to really be aware of these things."

August 21. Bermuda is making headlines across the world as the international sporting community takes note of preparations for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. The Mid Ocean Club is expected to play host to golfing supremo Tiger Woods when the showpiece contest comes to the Island for the first time in October. News, sports and travel websites have been building up hype over the past few days for what has been described as golf's most exclusive tournament. The Union Tribune, in San Diego, asks: "Think the folks in Bermuda are thrilled at Woods' victory? In October, they are hosting their first PGA Grand Slam of Golf . . . Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington are all nice to have, but Woods certainly takes it to another level." It reports Premier and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown as saying: "For our island, this will not be a country club tournament, it will be a country tournament." Alabama news site al.com states it will be the first time in the 25-year history of the event that it will be played outside of the US. "It will be an excellent opportunity to showcase Bermuda, which is witnessing substantial rebirth of tourism industry tied to Premier Brown's pursuit of lower airfares to the island paradise," says the report. Golf website cybergolf.com reports PGA of America president Brian Whitcomb as saying: "The PGA Grand Slam of Golf marks a new chapter in its history by visiting the beautiful island of Bermuda, which is no stranger to hosting the finest players in the game." It claims the Mid Ocean Club has previously hosted leading names such as George Bush Senior, Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, the Duke of Windsor and Babe Ruth. Meanwhile, English-based travel companies including Opodo and Easier Travel are both using the Grand Slam to encourage holiday-makers to plump for Bermuda. Easier Travel's website includes a comment from the Premier, who says: "Bermuda has long been known as a golfer's paradise, worthy of the best players in the world."

August 21. Legislation to outlaw discrimination against women is set to be tabled in the next session of Parliament, Attorney General Philip Perinchief has revealed. He is working on Bermuda signing up to the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Adopted in 1979 by the UN, it is described as an international bill of rights for women, defining what constitutes discrimination against them and setting up an agenda for national action to end it. Senator Perinchief announced the news at a prestigious conference of some of the Commonwealth's most distinguished judges and magistrates which opened at the Fairmont Southampton resort yesterday. "I believe that the world is at a critical crossroads for general equality and empowerment — 180 countries have ratified the convention against all forms of discrimination against women and 120 countries have a national gender action plan in place. This country is considering legislation, and I have been tasked with delivering such legislation on behalf of the Minister of Cultural Affairs," he said. CEDAW defines discrimination against women as encompassing the political, economic, social and cultural realms. By accepting the convention, states commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including abolishing discriminatory laws and adopting new ones prohibiting discrimination against women. The convention also provides for tribunals to be established to ensure the effective protection of women against gender-based discrimination. Minister for Community and Cultural Affairs Wayne Perinchief told The Royal Gazette that adhering to the convention will mean changing the wording of many of Bermuda's laws — often simply by changing the word "he" to "he or she". Some of the issues the Attorney General will come up against while examining Bermuda's existing legislation could prove to be controversial ones, according to Mr. Perinchief. He highlighted the example of the Bermuda Defence Act — currently the focus of legal action by Bermudians Against the Draft. The campaign group claims the application of the act is discriminatory because only young men are selected through random ballot for compulsory service with the Regiment, not women. Mr. Perinchief said since it will be necessary to re-draft the legislation in the light of the convention, it would be for Cabinet to decide whether there should be a policy shift in relation to women and the draft. "It could have an impact on that — of course it could. Do we want to be drafting women into the Regiment? Or if we then change the wording to "males and females" for instance, should there be a caveat for women?" he remarked. Having already publicly signaled his support for adopting measures to protect gay people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, Mr. Perinchief added that the move to abolish gender discrimination is just one part of a wide-ranging review of the Human Rights Act to ensure no group is discriminated against in Bermuda. The news about CEDAW was welcomed by Kathy Harriott, executive director of the Women's Resource Centre. "I'm sure this is needed here in many ways, because it is around the world and Bermuda is no different," she said. "I hear from women that in business the 'glass ceiling' is still there in terms of promotion and pay, so they may have some recourse with this convention. I think that in general women are not equal citizens." Ms Harriott said at present, when women complain of harassment in the workplace the Women's Resource Centre would refer them to the Human Rights Commission. She explained that this, and discrimination in landlord-tenant disputes, is already outlawed in Bermuda but more general forms of discrimination are harder to address. She expressed hope that CEDAW may help in this respect. The Regional and Gender Conference of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association at which Senator Perinchief revealed the news has attracted 167 delegates from 33 Commonwealth nations. Among the topics on the agenda for the event, which concludes tomorrow, are equality and the courts, gender and human rights and family and gender-based violence. It has been organized by Bermuda's Puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller who is Regional Vice-President of the CMJA..

August 21. Companies which refuse to change discriminatory hiring and promotion habits could be hit with fines as Government puts teeth in laws recording race in workplaces. The move comes after years of statistics showing blacks are still a minority in executive positions, down from 29 percent to 27 percent last year. Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Wayne Perinchief said the legislation, which is likely in the next House of Assembly session, had been drawn up after consultation with major employer bodies. And racial quotas have been ruled out said Mr. Perinchief who explained Government wasn't trying to be punitive. In an exclusive interview with The Royal Gazette he said: "We recognize the dynamic make-up of the workforce. Quotas are unnecessary targets. They don't really work. We prefer other measures." But he added: "We can no longer leave the issue of imbalance and under-representation of blacks in the workplace to good will. The Government has now shifted to legislating those same principles of workforce empowerment." Currently employers of more than ten people fill out an annual survey on the racial, gender and nationality breakdown of their workforce, detailing the salary and promotion hierarchy. If companies were doing badly they might get interviewed by the Commission for Unity and Racial Equality (CURE) but only if the company agreed. But under the new law, affecting companies with 40 or more employees, bosses will have to root out areas which could have contributed to institutionalized racism and put forward programmes to iron out disparities. Companies will not be sanctioned if their demographics stay the same but failure to prove they have even changed their human resource policies could lead to fines or even a board of enquiry. CURE will make recommendations to companies having no success in changing their hiring and firing culture. The new policy will be policed by a team of compliance officers who will also educate companies on improving employment practice. "This gives CURE teeth," said Mr. Perinchief. "CURE has transitioned from being a policy making entity to one that includes enforcement." However he added: "By the time this legislation comes into force companies should be compliant. So this won't bite you at all." Asked about why the workplace demographics had not changed Mr. Perinchief said: "I believe there's an element of racism in the maintenance of the white male in middle and upper management." He said companies formed habits by hiring white males in their own jurisdictions. And when they moved to Bermuda it caused tension, particularly as companies often stayed for decades, despite the perception they were always on the move. "It is no more than correct that they should have an influx of employees from the local population." Government said a voluntary code of practice brought in ten years urged companies to have a diverse panel of recruiters but with no significant change in evidence, more needed to be done. Employers often blamed Bermuda's education system on why they didn't hire more local blacks, claiming they lacked the skills sets, said Mr. Perinchief. "That's partly true. We recognize our education system in the public school for the last 20 years has been somewhat deficient." But he said that didn't explain why more blacks weren't hired after graduating from private schools. There were more blacks entering accountancy said Mr. Perinchief but blacks also needed to think of international business as a career. The Minister also said firms were hiring blacks from abroad, which at least helped changed the mindset within companies. Human resources people were privately also complaining that there was residual racism in promotions, bonuses and pay for employees in similar jobs said Mr. Perinchief. "These occurrences will be documented and subject to redress once we put this employment legislation in place. At the moment all we can do is ask for redress." Sometimes unfairly treated employees were too frightened of possible sanctions to complain said Mr. Perinchief who said CURE could also help foreigners who were discriminated on the job. "At the end of the day we will just have a healthier workplace." Companies will be forced to communicate their plans to their employees but Government is not yet sure whether companies will be required to submit policies annually or upon request. Government is also helping companies by putting a graduate registry online to make them aware of qualified Bermudians about to enter the job market said Mr. Perinchief who added that next month CURE will run race in the workforce workshops.

August 21. Norwegian Cruise Line has been named the official cruise line of the PGA Tour which visits Bermuda in October. The three-year agreement will also allow NCL the right to use the Tour marks in advertising, as well as promotional and tournament hospitality opportunities built around both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour. The PGA Tour and NCL will promote the line's current Golf Hawaii and Golf Bermuda programs, as well as expanding the all round 'golf experience'. "The PGA Tour is a very well-respected organisation with more than 105 million fans and the demographic of these fans aligns well with NCL's target audience," said Scott Rogers, NCL's senior vice-president of sales and marketing. "In our continuing effort to embrace new and innovative marketing programmes, we expect that this partnership with the PGA Tour will let golfers around the world know that you can combine a great cruise vacation with top golf experiences at the best courses in the world on NCL." The Tour's chief marketing officer, Tom Wade said: "We are extremely pleased to welcome Norwegian Cruise Line as an official marketing partner of the PGA Tour. We look forward to working with NCL on developing unique platforms to drive awareness at the top courses around the world, especially in Hawaii and Bermuda."

August 21. An AME elder is to help run Government's faith-based tourism initiative from the Bermuda Department of Tourism's New York office. Emily-Gail Dill has been transferred to the US from the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts for the scheme, because of her connections within the American religious community. She will also be working on projects including the Bermuda Music Festival and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which organizers hope will bring golf superstar Tiger Woods in the same month. It comes after Government has faced weeks of questioning over its faith-based tourism scheme, in which Andre Curtis is contracted to receive $400,000 taxpayers' money by bringing 2,200 tourists to the Island over a 12-month period. The Opposition United Bermuda Party has claimed Premier Ewart Brown has used the initiative as a means of getting cash to Mr. Curtis as a thank you gesture for being his political campaign manager in Warwick South Central — a suggestion both deny. Mr. Curtis hit back at his critics by advertising a list of ten events he has set up in The Royal Gazette last week, including a Gospel Concert with multi-award winning singer CeCe Winans at the Fairmont Southampton in November. A Department of Tourism spokeswoman said Mrs. Dill's appointment did not mean the budget for faith-based tourism would be increased. "Mrs. Dill will execute her many talents in this new role, not least of which is her ordained elder status within the AME Church," said the spokeswoman. "It is expected that she will bring to bear considerable experience and contacts in the US religious community and will no doubt assist in advancing the faith-based initiative. However, her duties will stretch far beyond faith-based tourism. There has been no increase in the budget for faith-based tourism, but the goal remains the same — increase the number of visitors to Bermuda." She insisted there were no plans to privatize the New York office, adding: "The Ministry is constantly seeking ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department so that it can deliver on its mandate of driving visitors to Bermuda's shores." Former Opposition Leader Wayne Furbert, who has led the questioning of Mr. Curtis' handling of faith-based tourism, has also accused the Premier of using the initiative to gain political brownie points from the church community. Dr. Brown dismissed the claims when they were first aired last month, and has declined to comment further outside of the Parliamentary process.

August 21. Southlands was once described as "one of the loveliest places on the colorful island of Bermuda". The woodland estate had "an air of ease and gracious living" and featured in American society magazine 'Country Life'. In the January 1936 edition, writer Marni Davis Wood depicts a charming era of days gone by, accompanied by the colorful sketches of Harrie Wood. Ms Wood writes: "The driveway to Southlands, on the south shore of Warwick, is so typically Bermudian that it could hardly be any other place in the world. It is moreover, exactly what the approach to one's house should be — a promise of charming things to come. From the moment that you turn in the great stone gates, you are in a tunnel of shade cast by cedars and the green bay trees on the hillside. At the top of the ridge the drive goes through a huge cut in the limestone, between great walls, green with ferns and mosses, and festooned with swags of the Heavenly-blue morning glories that grow wild and rampant in Bermuda. It goes over the hill and winds down through a perfect carpet of freesias to the house, so amazingly white through the dark of the enormous overhanging cedars." Dr. J. Douglas Morgan's father James, having bought the estate 25 years previously in 1911, apparently once overheard himself being described as "some Canadian with more money than sense", as Southlands was considered a "bedraggled old place". But Ms Wood praises the late Mr. Morgan's imaginative vision and transformation of the estate, saying "every native plant or shrub has been beautifully used". She describes the "beautiful arrangements of the sub-tropical plants" in the quarry gardens, and is delighted at the fresh water interconnecting pools. "In one of the pools there are water hyacinths, umbrella plants, and papyrus from the Nile growing luxuriantly, quite at home in the shade of an overhanging acacia tree laden with yellow flowers. In another, little gold and silver fish dart about among the water lilies, and maidenhair fern grow to giant size along the edge," she writes. Describing the "spacious and inviting country house" she says "all the Bermudian traditions have been maintained, the little butteries, the many white roofs, shuttered windows, a long one-story house rambling on and on. From the front terrace, bordered with geraniums, begonias, and red roses, where peacocks strut in vain rivalry with the colors of Bermuda waters, the view is perfectly superb — across rolling meadows where, most surprisingly, cows graze quietly, to a shining white beach and the ocean. In the summer, when the prevailing wind is from the south, the beach is ideal for long swimming parties and the superior picnics that are an integral part of Bermuda life. In what Bermudians are pleased to call winter the hill behind the house protects it from the winds that so often whip the north shore, and the high sides of the quarries shelter the gardens so that the most delicate things grow with amazing fecundity at Southlands. From the whippet and the wire-haired fox terrier who greet you at the terrace of the main house, and the monkey with his white bantam playmates, the peaceful cows, the many, many gardens, and the long rambling house, the little farmer's cottage tucked away behind one of the quarries, to the larger cottage The Periwinkle, with its garden stretching out to the gate like a friendly hand, the entire estate has an air of ease and gracious living which reflects a sensitive guiding hand."

August 22. In the 1980s, when Tom Butterfield was an ad hoc member of the Bermuda Heritage Advisory Committee, he put together two small, separate exhibitions during Heritage Month. Held under the auspices of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, key elements of each were a painting by US artists Andrew Wyeth, and a pencil drawing by Georgia O'Keeffe, which thousands of locals and visitors flocked to see. Seeing this response, Mr. Butterfield wondered how many more Bermuda paintings by well-known overseas artists were out there in the world. He also realised the importance of a 1979 Act of Parliament waiving duty on paintings done before 1970 — a huge "plus" in repatriating Bermuda art. In 1987, he approached the then-Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, Robert Barritt, with the concept of forming the 'Masterworks Heritage Fund' to repatriate such art, and received the Minister's blessing. "He encouraged our independence, but we had to look at money-saving ways to make the scheme work, so the 1979 Act was of huge benefit." director Mr. Butterfield remembers. He also brought to the Minister's attention the issue of a ten percent Government tariff on the purchase of foreign currency, which was also waived. The final hurdle was the cost of insurance, for which Colonial Insurance became — and remains — a willing corporate sponsor. Thus, was the way was paved for the founding of Masterworks in 1987 — the same year in which the first 12 paintings, including a pencil drawing by George Ault, were purchased and repatriated. Exhibitions were held wherever anyone was willing to lend wall space. The first significant exhibition took place in 1994 at the Windjammer Gallery, with others following wherever "homes" could be maintained, including the Crisson & Hind Gallery, 41 Front Street (above Smith's), and Bermuda House Lane. At one stage, it also shared space at the Bermuda National Gallery. Meanwhile, a variety of educational and other programmes were created and nurtured, and as exhibitions of art created by established, budding and visiting artists were often packed to overflowing on opening nights. Among the most notable was a joint exhibition by then-Premier Jennifer Smith and Lady Waddington, wife of then-Governor Lord Waddington, the opening of which was attended by record crowds. For approximately nine years, openings of the popular 'Artists Up Front... Street' series, featuring the work of young and budding artists, were Friday night fixtures on the social calendar. They still are — in the renamed 'Artist in the Garden' programme in the Botanical Gardens, which are held in conjunction with live music aimed at attracting a wider audience to the world of art. Meanwhile, the Bermudiana Collection has continued to grow, but without a proper facility in which to display it, the Foundation elected to take it overseas. For the past eight years, the travelling exhibition has been seen in Britain, the US and Canada, and now awaits its home in the new Museum. Today, there are over 1000 pieces in the Collection, including three Homers, the first of which arrived in 1992. No finite number has been set for future purchases, not least because artists will never stop visiting Bermuda to make art. The Artist-in-Residence programme, begun in Dockyard in 1997 to bring overseas artists to the Island for inspiration and the introduction of fresh ideas, continues today at its new location at 'Buckingham' in St. George's. During their stay, artists conduct workshops, and end their stay with an exhibition of their work. 1997 also saw the beginning of a working partnership with the Bank of Butterfield, which includes the popular Artfest in the Garden (formerly known as the Festival by the Sea, along Front Street). This event gives the public an opportunity to enjoy an open air art exhibition with entertainment and refreshments in a safe environment, as artists of all ages and levels of ability display their work, and participate for Quick Art and People's Choice awards. From the beginning, art education has been a key component in the growth of Masterworks. Despite having no permanent home, one of its earliest projects was 'Artists' Encounters' — art classes for children conducted by well-known local artists such as Bruce Stuart and Chesley Trott — at the former Admiralty House in Spanish Point. Another was the summer programme, 'Art on the Gogh', with children being bussed around the Island to create art en plein air. Today, Masterworks' juvenile art classes are oversubscribed months in advance, with plans afoot to expand them once the new museum, with a special classroom, is opened next year. 2002 marked the final move to the 35-acre Botanical Gardens, where the Foundation is now headquartered in the historic, 19th Century Arrowroot Factory, to which the new state-of-the-art museum is being added. Thanks to then-Premier Jennifer Smith, the Government graciously granted Masterworks a 21-year plus 21-year lease for a peppercorn rent of $1 per year. From 2003 HRH the Prince of Wales, a keen watercolorist, has honored the registered charity with his patronage — something he does only when he can maintain an active interest — and he also wrote the forward to the Bermudiana Collection travelling exhibition catalogue. Just as there is no limit to the imagination and drive of the Masterworks Foundation, of which the above are only some of the highlights in its 20-year history, so too is the public's support and belief in its aims and objectives — and indeed its passion for the upcoming museum. "People understand what we are doing. They are attached to the concept and want to be part of it," Mrs. Outerbridge, assistant to the director, says.

August 22. A new, purpose-built museum, the 1000-strong Bermudiana Collection of repatriated Bermuda art by such internationally artists as Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keefe, Albert Gleizes and George Ault; the Eliot O'Hara Collection; established programmes such as 'Artists in the Gardens' and artist-in-residence; calendars; the hogge and onion projects, a CD; the beautiful 'The Masterworks Bermudiana Collection' book by Patricia Calnan; special edition china; capital projects and imaginative fund-raisers, and even a commemorative wine label. These are just some of the many highlights in the proud, 20-year history of the Masterworks Foundation — and certainly cause for celebration, for what started out as nothing more than a concept in director Tom Butterfield's head has now become a Royally-recognized entity which has successfully raised millions of dollars to repatriate and acquire its still-growing collection of Bermuda-related art for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Public appreciation of the Foundation's aims and objectives, however, took time, as Mr. Butterfield admits. "Twenty years ago when we repatriated our first 12 works and put them on a wall, questions were asked, so we had to set about encouraging the general public's participation. You can't just hang a painting on a wall and hope that people will come. You have to generate some enthusiasm and interest in the process," he says. Thus began what could be termed 'a voyage of limitless imagination' to do just that, and today the director believes the mission has been successful, with turnout at exhibitions, workshops and more, as well as financial backing and support, showing no signs of slowing down, and increasingly reflecting a complete cross section of the community. "Through the art, and the understanding of our environment, we are able to open different receptors a little bit better, and be more welcoming to others, and at the same time be better world travelers when visiting other cultures. It is a wonderful symbiosis," Mr. Butterfield says. As with any art collection, the Foundation has always faced the issue of quantity versus quality with every purchase it has made, but the director credits his mother with steering him right at the outset. "In 1987 we had a choice. We had borrowed some money to acquire either one of Georgia O'Keefe's pieces, or 12 works by mostly known artists which covered a fuller spectrum — oils, watercolour, pencil drawings — spanning 70 years of artists who had visited Bermuda," Mr. Butterfield recalls. "I was wrestling with the idea of buying one piece by a well known individual and hanging my reputation on that, but my mother said, 'You have to have a broader impression'. It was good advice." And also fortuitous, for among those 12 works was a pencil drawing by George Ault. Last year, thanks to a generous Bermudian donor, the Foundation was able to purchase the large oil painting for which the sketch was made. "However, the painting is not just a large oil. It is also the finest example of Precisionist of Bermuda available that we will ever be able to find. It is a true masterpiece," Mr. Butterfield says. Art finds its way into the Masterworks Foundation Collection via several routes, all of it vetted by a Collections committee, which then makes recommendations to the Board. The routes include: a gift from an estate; individual donation; group donation; gift of the artist, particularly an artist-in-residence; matching donations, where the Foundation raises half the cost and the artist donates the other half; donated gifts of collections. Of the latter, Mr. Butterfield mentions the Eliot O'Hara Trust which so approved of what the Foundation was doing that in 1990 its trustees decided the organisation was the correct repository for seven of the artist's ten Bermuda paintings. Like all registered charities, funding for everything from administration, to maintenance, building and purchases of art is an ever-present concern, and while Masterworks has done well to go beyond merely staying afloat to make its dream reality, fund-raising in today's world is a constant challenge — particularly in a small island like Bermuda, where competition for the donor dollar is getting stiffer, and capital campaigns are on the increase. No longer can an organisation afford to be complacent, or assume that the one-time donor will become a "regular". Some, of course, will question the importance of supporting art versus a multitude of worthy health and social causes, and even among art supporters there are those who prefer donating to bricks and mortar rather than to art itself. "It is important to understand, and what is somewhat misunderstood by many of us, including myself until recently, is that the Museum has had four to five campaigns going simultaneously, and we have to accept that the individual has the opportunity to choose the campaign to which he or she wants to donate: Is it education? Bricks and mortar? The collection? Administration? A new campaign? These are all facets required to run a museum, but it is the individual who decides to which area he or she is most comfortable making a donation." Certainly, no one could accuse the Foundation, and particularly Mr. Butterfield, of a lack of imagination, initiative or entrepreneurship in devising new ways to attract present and future donors to its cause. Everything from gala dinners to the director personally running first marathons and now cycling thousands of sponsored miles, have become part of the yearly calendar. Special events which had modest beginnings, like Art in the Gardens (formerly Artists Up... Front Street) have blossomed. Exhibitions, competitions, art camps, workshops, auctions, including the hugely popular hand-decorated fiberglass hogges and Bermuda onions, calendars, 'Art Smart'- a book for schools — and cruises are just a few of the fun ways participants of all ages and from all walks of life have contributed financially and benefited educationally. Then there are the corporate sponsors, like the Bank of Butterfield, with whom the Foundation has joined forces on various art-related projects, and whose support has been consistent and invaluable. Making all of this tick, of course, involves a great deal of unglamorous backroom work performed by a dedicated and loyal staff (Elizabeth Walker-Sobhani, Yvona Vujacic, Kate Waters, Barbara Imboden, Judy Howells, Julie Butler and Carrie Zenti) who have also "caught the vision", and for whom Mr. Butterfield and assistant to the director Elise Outerbridge, who first joined Masterworks as a volunteer in 1987 before signing on permanently in 1990, have the highest praise. From its initial, nomadic existence to its permanent home in the Botanical Gardens, Masterworks has hewn an inspiring path through dogged persistence, patience and passion against sometimes difficult odds and the inevitable naysayers, which is why there is such joy surrounding the 20-year milestone. "Make no mistake, it has taken a lot of hard work, and a lot of ridicule, but despite the criticism and being called 'neophytes', the most gratifying thing is that we have stuck to our mission and our guns," Mrs. Outerbridge says. "Believing so strongly that what we are doing will eventually be a legacy for all of Bermuda is what allows us to continue." Of course, the 'Big Present' marking two decades of progress will be the opening next March of the Museum of Bermuda Art, a purpose-built gallery adjoining the present space in the historic old Arrowroot Factory. Designed by The Studio, it is being constructed to the highest standards, with special, state-of-the-art lighting, temperature control and storage facilities. The building will also include a members' lounge, classroom, bathrooms, a kitchen, library and more. It will also incorporate a large, preserved former water tank whose graceful internal arches are an intriguing feature, and which will doubtless be the scene of interesting uses and events. "Whether you have a museum, a gallery or a theatre, you are in the hospitality business," Mr. Butterfield says. "Some have a high-end accent, while others are to enthrall. Our ambition for the new museum is to be all of that. We will have some unbelievable exhibitions, and continue our 'Art in the Gardens' series in the Richard Faries Gallery." Asked what he felt were the Foundation's most outstanding achievements in a long history of experiment, innovation and success, the director did not hesitate. "The willingness to risk, and the sense that future generations will have something to look forward to, that they can identify with and inherit. That refreshes the spirit."

August 22. International business chiefs have said "punitive legislation" mooted by Government is not the way to achieve the desired promotion of black Bermudian executives. The Association of Bermuda International Companies (ABIC) was responding to Monday's announcement that Government may impose fines and create an enforcement agency to educate international companies that do not promote black Bermudians to top jobs. The move will transform the Commission for Unity and Racial Equality (CURE) from a policy-making entity to one with powers of enforcement, in the light of statistics showing black people are still a minority in executive positions — down from 29 percent to 27 percent last year. ABIC Vice Chairman Harry Wilken said: "We understand and support the CURE's aims and the objective of workplace equality, and strongly believe that the promotion of Bermudians is in the best interest of Bermuda business. However, our preference is not for a legislated or punitive approach, but a solution where Government and employers partner to deliver improvements that are measurable and maintain the competitiveness of the workforce and business." Announcing the plans, Minister for Community and Cultural Affairs Wayne Perinchief claimed: "I believe there's an element of racism in the maintenance of the white male in middle and upper management." However, Mr. Wilken said ABIC, along with other employer organizations, has been working with the Ministry of Community Affairs and technical officers at CURE to better understand the existing and potential middle and senior management pool in Bermuda. "Our members act properly and aggressively to train and promote Bermudians, and as an organisation, we operate the largest university scholarship programme in Bermuda," he said. "A critical element in converting the CURE agenda into tangible results is to have a sustained flow of adequately educated and trained Bermudians available for middle and top management jobs across all industry sectors." However, he claimed ABICs efforts are "hamstrung by a lack of clear data," explaining: "It is impossible to identify existing and potential pools of qualified employees — and to properly measure progress in hiring particular groups — without having meaningful data. Workplace surveys conducted by CURE do not include information on educational levels attained. The prevailing success rate in education is also such a serious challenge that all parties must continue to work to establish effective programmes that will best serve Bermuda's interests. ABIC and its fellow employer organizations continue to believe that CURE's desired outcome will not be achieved through punitive legislation." Mr. Perinchief said the legislation had been drawn up after consultation with major employer bodies, that racial quotas have been ruled out and it is not intended to be punitive. He told this newspaper: "We can no longer leave the issue of imbalance and under-representation of blacks in the workplace to good will." Currently employers of more than ten people fill out an annual survey on the racial, gender and nationality breakdown of their workforce, detailing the salary and promotion hierarchy. If companies were doing badly they might get interviewed by the Commission for Unity and Racial Equality (CURE), said the Minister, but only if the company agreed. Under the new law, affecting companies with 40 or more employees, bosses will have to root out areas which could have contributed to institutionalized racism and put forward programmes to iron out disparities. Companies will not be sanctioned if their demographics stay the same, but failure to prove they have changed their human resource policies could lead to fines or even a board of enquiry. CURE will make recommendations to companies having no success in changing their hiring and firing culture and the new policy will be policed by a team of compliance officers who will also educate companies on improving employment practice. Mr. Perinchief also said Government is helping companies by putting a graduate registry online to make them aware of qualified Bermudians about to enter the job market.

August 22. Insurance companies are likely to face claims of between $750 million and $1.5 billion as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Dean in the Caribbean and Mexico. As the storm moved across the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and quickly lost power, being downgraded from a category 5 hurricane to a category 2 within 12 hours of striking land, analysts were beginning to predict lower insured loss figures than had at first been proposed. A slight shift in the direction of the powerful storm meant it avoided a direct hit on Jamaica and spared the Cayman Islands. It then hit the Yucatan Peninsula in a less densely populated area, steering away from the tourist destinations of Cancun and Cozumel. On Sunday, California-based extreme risk modeler EQECAT estimated damage in the Lesser Antilles islands and Jamaica to be between $1.5bn and $3bn. However, more recent estimates reflecting the fact the hurricane missed directly hitting heavily populated places, are lower. Boston-based catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide said it did not expect insured losses for Jamaica to be any more than $1.5m as the most destructive part of the storm, the eye of the hurricane, had spared Jamaica's capital Kingston. Late yesterday AIR estimated that insured losses in Mexico would not exceed $400m. According to catastrophe risk management company Risk Management Solutions, the likely range of insured losses is between $750m and $1.5bn. Of this, only up to $300m is expected to be from damage to the Mexican coast, with most of the remainder resulting from the storm's destruction in Jamaica, according to a PR Newswire report. "Dean has taken an extraordinarily fortunate track, slipping between St Lucia and Martinique and striking a scarcely populated area of the Mexican coast. Given its intensity, the Caribbean and Windward Islands have faired relatively well," said Dr. Claire Souch, senior director of model management at RMS. The first category 5 storm since 2005 was packing winds of 160 miles per hour as it struck the southeastern Yucatan Peninsular coast in a relatively sparsely populated area. If Hurricane Dean had come ashore 150 miles further north it could have been a different story as it would have hit the tourist cities of Cancun and Cozumel and likely caused three times the amount of damage to insured property. "Though Jamaica has taken a large hit, the track for a category 5 storm could hardly have been better planned to minimize the damage," said Dr. Souch. "Dean's impact in Mexico will be similar to Hurricane Emily's in 2005, which was a category 4 storm and caused around $250m of insured loss. If Dean had made landfall in the north of the Yucatan Peninsular coast, we could have been looking at a near repeat of Hurricane Wilma, which devastated the area and resulted in insured losses of some $1.8 billion." Bermuda insurer Hiscox said this week that the storm should not cost the firm too much, providing it steers clear of Florida and oil production areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Dean has remained a fairly small, although fast-moving storm. It originated as a vigorous tropical wave off Africa's west coast on August 11. The storm is expected to continue decreasing in intensity as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula it will decrease in intensity, but will likely maintain a category 1 to 2 hurricane status before emerging into the Bay of Campeche where it is not expected to cause much damage, despite being the location of much of Mexico's oil production.

August 22. Parliamentary Registry staff have seen an upsurge of older people signing up to vote for the first time, leading to probes on whether they are genuine new cases or Bermudians living abroad wanting to cheat the system. Strict voting laws bar people from voting if they have lived away for more than six months. Parliamentary Registrar Randy Scott said staff had dealt with more than 100 people of all races in their 50s and beyond wanting to register for the first time in the last year. He said: "Our antennae go up when we see a first-time application to register from a person in their twilight years. We wonder whether this person has been away for a long time and has decided to come home to vote. "However, it's hard — it's nice if people are getting excited who have never participated before. We are seeing quite a bit of it. We are hoping it's because they are reconnecting with the process." Mr. Scott said checks were made to see voters were still resident or just flying in. "We receive emails from people who want to come home and vote and they have lived abroad for 20 years. We try to correct the register as much as we are able to where people no longer live here but they have a Bermudian connection but they are no longer entitled to vote. We have seen things like that up 100 percent. It's hard to prove unless a person just walks and then we would ask them questions. Over the past year, there's numerous cases like that. It's nothing unmanageable." Shadow Attorney General John Barritt said Bermuda's strict laws barring votes from those who had spent a relatively short time away needed to be changed. British voters can be gone for up to 15 years before they lose the right to vote back home in UK national elections and European Union elections. Mr. Barritt said the six month limit was far too short and was one of several aspects of electoral law which needs to modernized. "What about people on work secondment — why should they be deprived of their right to vote because work requires they have to be away for longer than six months a year?" The United Bermuda Party want to introduce absentee ballots to allow all registered voters to vote if they are off the Island at the time of an election or the day of the advance poll — which is just a week or so before the election. 

August 22. An American doctor has been appointed chief of staff to Bermuda Hospitals Board. Donald Thomas III will be chief medical advisor to the board and will be responsible for physician relations, reporting to CEO David Hill. He arrives on an initial one-year contract and will be expected to pave the way for a Bermudian to take over the position in the long-term. The role has been performed in recent months by local physicians on a rotation basis. His appointment is in keeping with the trend of BHB recruiting from overseas as it tackles challenges including the rebuilding of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Englishman Mr. Hill was brought in last year from the James Paget Healthcare Trust in Norfolk, UK; American consultants Kurron were drafted as support for management three months ago; Johns Hopkins Medicine International, of Baltimore, was asked to carry out a review of the Island's healthcare needs earlier this year; and specialist overseas doctors are due in Bermuda as part of a link-up with three American hospitals. Dr. Thomas, who has more than three decades' experience as a healthcare practitioner, was picked with the backing of Bermuda's physician community, according to BHB chairman Herman Tucker. "The board is extremely pleased to appoint Dr. Thomas to this critical medical leadership position," said Mr. Tucker. "Dr. Thomas will be responsible for BHB and private physicians who work at the hospitals, and therefore have a vital role in the quality of patient care in both hospitals. He will be a valued medical leader and an extremely well qualified mentor for a Bermudian to train under." A statement from BHB said Dr. Thomas would be required to establish fair and consistent policies and processes. His 12-month contract contains a clause to extend his tenure, if required. Dr. Thomas joins BHB from Greeley Company, a consulting, training and education company advising healthcare organizations. BHB says he will have the backing of the company's international resources in his new job. He was previously CEO and chief medical officer for Mentat Systems Inc. and also worked with Wellspring Partners, the Los Angeles County Health Department among other health organizations. Mr. Hill said: "We welcome Dr. Thomas to BHB. This is a critical position for the hospital in its drive to deliver consistent, quality patient care to the Bermuda community." Wesley Miller, chairman of the Active Staff Committee, a group of leading physicians at the hospitals, said: "We believe Dr. Thomas' appointment will provide us with strong and consistent leadership within the physician group." Health Minister Michael Scott said: "Dr. Thomas brings a wealth of experience from highly respected healthcare institutions and this bodes well for the patients and staff of our hospitals."

August 22. A cruise ship headed for Bermuda played the good Samaritan by offering assistance to a stranded vessel on the weekend. The Empress of the Seas, departing from Philadelphia, was 200 miles east of Cape Henry, Virginia, exactly halfway to Bermuda, when a boat came into sight around 10.30 a.m. on Sunday morning. The vessel, Cindy, had just one person on board who refused assistance. The man was headed to the Azores and had nothing on board to alert anyone that he was in danger. The cruise ship put an alert on the boat just in case he ran into more trouble and continued to Bermuda early that afternoon.

August 22. A man originally accused of the manslaughter of the two sons of a retired Bermuda Police officer and teacher will now stand trial on a double murder charge. Yuri Fidel Agard is accused of deliberately slaughtering Justin and William Greene outside a Barbados nightclub in March last year after prosecutors decided to upgrade the charges against him. A preliminary hearing on the case will be heard on Monday, September 3 in District A Magistrates' Court in Bridgetown, followed by a trial before a Supreme Court jury. The Greene brothers — whose parents are former Bermuda Police narcotics officer Detective Constable Ronald Greene and CedarBridge Academy teacher Margo Greene — died from stab wounds after a dispute with a group of men in the early hours of March 26, 2006. Agard, of Hutson Alley, Reed Street, St. Michael, Barbados, was charged with the manslaughter of Justin, 21, and William, 25, two days later. The accused was 18 at the time. Five other men — Jody Omar Farnum, Kelvin A. Squires, Chad Carlton Worrell, Jason Stevenson Hurley and Jamal Marlow Mayers — were charged with violent disorder in connection with the incident and are understood to be awaiting trial. The Greene brothers lived in St. Joseph's parish in Barbados and are believed to have spent some of their childhood in Bermuda. Det. Con. Greene and Ms Greene divorced in 1992. Station Sergeant David Welch, from the Royal Barbados Police Force, told The Royal Gazette: "Yuri Agard's charges for the deaths of brothers Justin and William Greene have been upgraded...(to) one count of murder for each of the victims." He said the decision to amend the charges was taken by the office of the director of public prosecutions.

August 22. Customers are set to enjoy a whole new experience and level of service when Esso City, in the centre of Hamilton's financial district, reopens its doors to the public next Monday. There will be wireless Internet access for laptop computer users, a mighty selection of 30 types of coffees, an expanded ready to eat food selection, additional seating and fuel discounts for Taxi Association members. The gas station at the junction of Par-La-Ville Road, Church Street and Richmond Road, closed about seven weeks ago after Esso decided not to renew the former dealer's contract. But now the Tigermarket store and station under its new dealers Craig and Antoinette Cannonier is looking forward to a bright future. Mr. and Mrs. Cannonier were approached by Esso a month ago to take over the station and get it back up and running. The Cannoniers are also the business owners of the Esso gas station on South Road near Collector's Hill, where they have been in charge for the past four and a half years. Esso are also putting an emphasis on training and retraining new and existing staff in the day-to-day running of the station, including food preparation and cooking.

August 22. Premier Ewart Brown yesterday personally congratulated scores of volunteers who are the driving force behind a scheme to transform Bermudian lives. Making the statement at yesterday's open house event for the Mirrors Programme, which centres on youth intervention for at risk young people, Dr. Brown spotlighted how it can procure change on Bermudian lives. And Dr. Brown said that the only way the current adversities affecting those youth between the ages of 18 to 24, is to change perceptions. Dr. Brown stated: "Many years ago while in the United States, I witnessed something called Uncommon Results. I watched dedicated people, much like ourselves, transform misguided lives into hopeful vessels of opportunities. From the first moment I saw Uncommon Results in action I knew it was exactly the tonic needed for the ills affecting Bermuda's youth. It took a decade, but today, Uncommon Results is here. There's a new name for it. Mirrors, as we've titled it, will transform Bermudian lives so that all of our citizens can enjoy an unimpeded pursuit of success and happiness." Speaking to The Royal Gazette, Dr. Brown said that some young people are simply not able to manage their circumstances effectively. He elaborated: "What some youngsters are able to swim through, others get stuck in. And when they get off-track, there must be forthcoming help from the community. And, this programme is an example of the community coming to the aid of its least able members." During the past few weeks, the media, this paper included, has reported on the widely perceived disconnect the Island's youth has with the ruling PLP Government, especially since Dr. Brown came to power. Not so, responded the Premier, who described the recent coverage by the media, as merely someone's attempt at swaying public opinion on his personality. "I think that's apart of an orchestrated attempt to indicate that there's no interest or support from young people," he explained. "I think it's far from true, especially by the number of young people here in this room today. Everywhere I go I meet and talk with young people and they don't seem to be disaffected to me. There are some, but they're in the distinct minority and for those that feel otherwise, that's what makes a democracy." Dr. Brown concurred with the criticism by the Progressive Minds group the youth wing of the PLP — that questioned the motivations of scores of young people, almost entirely from private schools that held a demonstration on Parliament a few months ago. Some counter-protestors from the Progressive Minds were at the march on Parliament and were heard questioning the expressive pupils on where they were getting their information. "I think a lot of those people came there as a result of listening to people, who had already made up their minds about the Government," Dr. Brown articulated. "When I see some consistency from a group, then I pay more attention to them." The Premier, under the Ministry of Social Rehabilitation, spearheaded the scheme in 2007 and when functional, it will be an intensive programme for youth believed to be falling through the cracks. The goal of Mirrors is to develop human potential by assisting participants to better understand themselves. Giving youth a new context in which to mould their lives is the grand idea, according to the Ministry. Comprised of 182 professional volunteers and at least 116 referred young people, the Mirrors Programme will be delivered in two phases. The first phase, is a six to nine day residential programme. It will provide a challenging intensive course, where those enlisted must confront the choices they have made. Additionally, it will highlight the consequences of those choices and how they have limited the possibilities available to them in the process of making them. The second phase of the scheme is to be implemented in the community over a period of 12 months. In this phase the participants must implement changes to their lives, such as potential recognition. Nataki Smith, 31, an educator by profession, was one of the trained volunteers present at yesterday's official unveiling of the programme, which saw a ten-minute video presentation on the US version of it. "The reason I volunteered for this opportunity is to help youth at risk, get their life on track, regain self-esteem and find out from them what they want to get out of life," Ms Smith said. "Since I work in the education system and I see lots of troubled youths, I thought it would be a good experience to transition to the next level. By troubled youths, I mean some that have behavioral problems, emotional problems, as well as those that come from dysfunctional families." In Bermuda, one cannot talk about the depressing plight of youth, without pointing the blame finger. However, Ms Smith admitted that no one in particular is to blame for the current inclinations. "I don't think that you can blame one particular person," she added. "I think that everyone as a whole has a part in contributing to the way in which a person feels. From family members, parents, community members, teachers and peers — these are all influential elements that we must consider." Also present at yesterday's gathering at the Ace Ltd. Headquarters on Woodbourne Avenue, was Acting Minister for Social Rehabilitation, Dennis Lister, representing the off-Island Minister Dale Butler. Mr. Lister described the Ministry's scope as comprehensive and has the goal of improving the lives of all Bermuda residents from their first breath to their last.

August 22. Crime Stoppers is pulling out all the stops in preparation for the Island's first crime fighting conference. Delegates from around the world will descend on Bermuda from November 4 to 8 to discuss 'Global issues, community solutions'. Organisers on the Island have now moved into high gear ready to welcome the 500-strong international delegation. The 28th Annual Crime Stoppers International Training Conference will feature notable delegates such as Lord Michael Ashcroft, KCMG — the man who founded Crime Stoppers UK in 1988, and Sir Ronnie Flanagan, GBE MA — the former Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (now the Police Service of Northern Ireland). Also in attendance at the Southampton Fairmont event will be representatives from Interpol, the United Nations and New Scotland Yard. Joanne MacPhee, Crime Stoppers chairwoman and deputy conference chair, said: "The only other country to ever host this prestigious event outside of the US and Canada was Australia, so we have very big shoes to fill. "We have four days of training scheduled, but in true Bermuda fashion we have also set aside time for our guests to enjoy all the beauty and hospitality our Island home has to offer. Residents should be very proud of the fact that this tiny Island is going to host some of the world's most pre-eminent authorities on crime detection and prevention. Crime is a huge social issue affecting all of us, and aptly enough our conference theme is Global issues, community solutions." Organisers are now hoping to bring the Department of Tourism on board to assist in funding for the event. US retail giant Target is one of the sponsors, together with the Bermuda Police Service. Target is also sending three representatives from its Assets Protection team, while director Tony Heredia will be a Fraud and Theft panelist. The committee has invited Bermuda-born motivational speaker Dennis Rahiim Watson as a guest speaker. Mr. Watson is much sought after in the US and was recently commended by Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for winning the 'Youth Leadership Award' from the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mr. Watson's presentation will be 'Winning strategies for combating crime in our community'.

August 22. Guests will be able to stay at the $70 million dollar Tucker's Point Hotel next year. The resort plans to have a "soft opening" with guest rooms available as soon as October 2008, however the official opening will not be until April 2009. Yesterday, the Premier, Minister of Works and Engineering and Minister of Environment got a sneak peak of the luxury on offer when a model guest room was unveiled. The president of Tucker's Point Club, Ed Trippe, said: "The hotel will recreate the romance of early 20th century travel for the 21st century through its inspired design, superior services and distinctive amenities. "It brings back a time when guests did not check in, rather, they arrived, by horse-drawn carriage from the ferry dock, accompanied by steamer trunks filled with formal gowns and white dinner jackets. At the same time, today's guests will find every modern comfort here, including the most sophisticated technology, which will be discreetly tucked away to preserve the ambience." At a cost of more than $800,000 per room Tucker's Point Hotel is Bermuda's first luxury hotel to be built in more than 35 years. Situated on 200 acres of waterfront land the high end resort will boast a spa, croquet lawn, two pools with private pool side cabanas and a variety of dining options. The 88 guestrooms range in size from 520-square-foot to 1,800-square-foot, while the Governor's Suite is 2,300-square-foot. The resort will be decorated in a classic British style and General Manager Alan Paris said he wanted guests to feel as though they were staying at a manor house. Each room has a spacious balcony with a view of Castle Harbour, a flat screen panel TV, Wi-fi, fireplace, wet bar and walk in closets. They also have a luxury five-fixture bathroom with a stand alone deep bathtub. The rooms also come with amenities such as portable phones and I-pod/Mp3 docks and 24-hour room service. Premier Ewart Brown, who is also the Tourism Minister, took a tour of the model room and commended the group on the plush interior and added that they were the first to realize that Bermuda needs a high-end hotel to offer tourists. Along with the amenities at the hotel guests will be able to use the facilities at the Tucker's Point Golf, Beach and Tennis Club. The Tucker's Point Club which includes the golf and tennis facilities, fractional residential units and hotel have been popular with customers. Its Ship's Hill Town Homes, Estate Homes and Waterfront Homes, which range in price from $1.98 million to $4.6 million, have already sold out. While 95 percent of its Golf Villas have also been sold. The hotel will be affiliated with the Preferred Hotel Group, an exclusive marketer of independently owned and operated hotels around the world. To view the model guest room go to the Gazette Video link at www.theroyalgazette.com.

August 22. A Republican candidate for the 2008 US Presidential election met with Premier Ewart Brown during a visit to Bermuda yesterday. Arizona Senator John McCain is on vacation and staying with friend Gregory Slayton, the US Consul. According to Mr. Slayton, the politician's interest in Bermuda was sparked by his meeting with former Premier Alex Scott during his official visit to Washington DC in 2006. "Senator McCain is fascinated by the growth of Bermuda. He and his wife Cindy are meeting with the Premier and the Governor and leaders of business. It's very much a vacation for them, a few days of rest. Bermuda is a very, very successful country and leaders from the US are very interested in finding out more about the country. I'm honored to have them," said Mr. Slayton. Senator McCain suffered a setback in his campaign to reach the White House earlier this summer when two top aides on his team quit. "He has been trailing in polls to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The son and grandson of US Navy admirals, John McCain spent six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam and retired as a Captain before first being elected to Congress in 1982.

August 22. A Bermudian drug trafficker who was given a probation order here five years ago after admitting importing $1.7 million worth of cocaine, heroin and ecstasy could be facing a life sentence in the States. Anthony Quinton Beach pleaded guilty last Friday in Georgia to three counts of conspiracy to possess drugs with intent to supply. He can expect to get at least ten years in prison when he is sentenced in November but may be jailed for life for the most serious offence involving crack cocaine. He is understood to be in custody in Union City, Georgia. Beach, from Devonshire, walked out of Supreme Court in Bermuda in September 2002 with a two-year probation order despite pleading guilty to importing $1.7 million of drugs to the Island the previous March. A change in the law here meant he could not be sentenced for the entire stash of drugs because they were intercepted and substituted for smaller amounts before they got here by US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in New York. The 45-year-old, himself a crack cocaine and heroin addict, was also given an 18-month jail term already served on remand. He took an overdose the day after the sentence, was found in an incoherent state in his car and later returned to court for breaching his probation order and taking illegal drugs. The charges he admitted in the US last week relate to at least 500 grams of cocaine, 100 grams of heroin and 50 grams of crack which he intended to distribute in the northern district of Georgia and elsewhere between November 1997 and March 2001. The latter charge carries a minimum ten-year jail term and a maximum sentence of life. Eight other allegations will be dismissed when he is sentenced by Judge Richard Story in the US District Court in Atlanta in the autumn. DEA agents arrested Beach, 45, last September as he tried to return to Bermuda from Jamaica via Miami. He had been thrown out of Jamaica for overstaying his visa and was wanted in the US for drugs offences. The Jamaica Observer reported that he was originally indicted in America in February 2003 but fled to the Caribbean island in July 2006 after failing to attend a court hearing. The newspaper said he was wanted by the US for allegedly operating a drug smuggling ring between Atlanta, Georgia, Bermuda and Jamaica. Beach, previously of Ariel View Road, Devonshire, gave Jamaican Police his address as Alexandra Road in the same parish and told them he was a painter and decorator. Back in 2001, the father-of-five was accused by Bermudian prosecutors of 20 counts of importing, handling and possessing heroin. He eventually pleaded guilty to importation of cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons said he could not be sentenced for bringing $1.7 million worth of drugs to the Island, since it was DEA agents who brought most of the narcotics in after a sting operation. They intercepted the drugs Beach intended to be sent here in golf bags and replaced them with smaller controlled samples. Ms Justice Simmons sentenced Beach for importing just 6.95 grams of cocaine. A bid by the Crown to seize almost $350,000 worth of his assets had earlier failed in the Supreme Court. The same judge said prosecutors failed to prove his assets were derived from drug trafficking. The court heard that Beach had been sending money out of the country to the mothers of his children in the US and Jamaica and that he had given around $10,000 to his father to take care of bills.

August 23. Auditor General Larry Dennis was interviewed again by Police yesterday in connection with their probe into missing Police documents relating to the Bermuda Housing Corporation corruption investigation. Mr. Dennis had his Police bail extended and will return to Hamilton Police Station on October 12. He refused to comment about the matter yesterday. He was arrested in June for alleged possession of stolen documents and not revealing his source but was released uncharged after officers had raided both his home and office. Media reports based on the missing documents had claimed Premier Ewart Brown and members of the Government had been investigated over alleged corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC). Sources later claimed Mr. Dennis had been authorised by former Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith to hold those documents and that a member of the Auditor General's staff worked side-by-side with Police for most of the inquiry in what was labeled as the largest ever investigation into the disappearance of public funds. Two other men were also arrested in the early stages of the Police probe into the missing BHC documents but neither were charged. Mr. Dennis — who heads the Government's fiscal watchdog — has continually called for more legislative protection for whistleblowers as he has hit out at the number of frauds and misappropriations that were detected in recent years in Government entities. In the legal wrangle over the media's publication of the file's contents, Chief Justice Richard Ground said it was unclear whether the documents had been stolen or whether they had simply been copied and distributed to the media. In October the Privy Council will decide whether to uphold or overturn a press gag preventing further revelations from the files. 

August 23. Police uncovered a stash of Molotov cocktails, swords, machetes as well as black clothing and bandanas in two incidents, it emerged today. The discoveries were made in the central parishes - the Police declined to say where - two Sundays ago but were made public today as officers warned of a rise in the number of bladed weapons being used in violent incidents. They were stashed in two locations and were found after a member of the public told Police they had seen two armed men. It is not clear if the armed men sightings are related to the uncovering of the weapons stash. Officers say one person has been arrested in connection with the incidents - where machetes, swords, metal pipes, petrol bombs and metal rebars were found - and inquiries are continuing. The findings were revealed at a news conference today where Police put on show some of the bladed weapons they have seized in the past. Officers say the use of bladed weapons is on the rise in Bermuda. Sergeant Alex Rollin also said that often Police arriving at the scene are finding suspects still carrying weapons or discovering that suspects have tried to hide them nearby. Sgt. Rollin said: "The public are reminded that recent amendments to section 315 of the Criminal Code now give the Police and the courts new powers when it comes to dealing with weapons offences. The public were also reminded, especially those travelling, for while certain items may be legal and easily acquired in other countries, many are prohibited in Bermuda. These include flick knives, brass knuckles, crossbows, slingshots and blowguns." 

August 23. An opposing claim about the impact of Government's work-permit policy, its effect on international companies and knock-on consequences for Bermudian jobs, has been made by Labour Minister Derrick Burgess. He refutes a suggestion by business leader David Ezekiel that companies are looking to set up offices overseas to outsource work because of difficulties related to the six-year work term limit for ex-pats which, as an unforeseen consequence, will lead to administrative and processing jobs normally done by Bermudians also shifting to these new locations. Minister Burgess yesterday said he has no evidence of that happening and no-one has approached him or his Ministry with such concerns. Bizarrely the Labour Minister and Mr. Ezekiel, who is chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies (ABIC), have not spoken to one another since The Royal Gazette broke the original story on August 9. Using unequivocal language, Mr. Burgess dismissed the ABIC leader's concerns as being without evidence but also revealed he had not felt it necessary to call Mr. Ezekiel during the past two weeks to speak about the matter. "I feel that people will be confused due to misinformation, as subjective and uninformed statements lead to anxiety and uncertainty in the minds of those affected by the term limits policy," said Mr. Burgess. "I am not aware of any company that has experienced significant difficulty since the term limits policy was introduced." He said Government recognized that nothing must be done to jeopardize the continuing success of business in Bermuda. Mr. Ezekiel, who is currently in the UK, has warned that Bermuda-based international companies seeking to outsource jobs overseas that were previously filled by ex-pats on the limited work permits will end up also taking jobs usually filled here by Bermudians — such as cashiers and processing — overseas because of the economic logic. He said his own company International Advisory Services, the largest captive management firm on the Island, was already looking to outsource because of difficulties having to constantly replace work permit staff, and added: "We are not the only ones. Everyone is." But Mr. Burgess said there was no evidence. The Royal Gazette asked the Labour Minister if he had spoken to Mr. Ezekiel about his comments. He replied: "No" Royal Gazette then asked: "So how can you be sure what he has said isn't what's happening?" Mr. Burgess: "We are in charge. We know what is happening. And if Mr. Ezekiel had a concern like that, with all the communications and dialogue that we have I would have thought he would have called us." Royal Gazette: "He represents such a large body of companies, that is significant." Mr. Burgess: "We represent the entire Bermuda, everyone." Royal Gazette: "Haven't you contacted him?" Mr. Burgess: "Why should I? Mr. Ezekiel has my phone number, he has my permanent secretary's number. If he has got concerns he can call us. We have said to him and anyone who meets us — we are not off limits to anyone. Easy access." Royal Gazette: "I find it surprising that he has not contacted you and you have not contacted him." Mr. Burgess: "There's no need for me to contact him. If anyone has a concern or problem, call us. I do not take my agenda from the newspaper as far as calling anyone, because if they had concerns they would have called us." A representative of ABIC said it was considering Mr. Burgess statement but did not expect to issue a response until sometime next week.

August 23. Bermuda's six-year work permit term policy can be altered if it starts to cause a problem for domestic and international companies, but there is no evidence at present that it needs to be changed. That was Labour and Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess' message to the business community as he responded to a story in the Royal Gazette two weeks ago in which David Ezekiel, chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies, warned of unforeseen consequences of the policy that would impact Bermudian jobs. Mr. Ezekiel said his own company, International Advisory Services, which is the largest captive management firm in Bermuda, was already looking at outsourcing jobs overseas that were previously done by ex-pats because of difficulties caused by having to find new staff when an ex-pat's work permit expired. "We are not the only ones. Everyone is," said Mr. Ezekiel. He said a consequence would be that as work permit jobs relocate overseas so would administrative, cashier and processing jobs normally done by Bermudians, because of economics. "Industry jobs that would be filled by locals will be exported in the future," he warned. But Mr. Burgess said yesterday he had seen no evidence of this and had heard nothing from companies or individuals to substantiate what the ABIC chairman claimed. Mr. Burgess also said that he and Mr. Ezekiel have not been in contact since the story was published on August 9, but that if Mr. Ezekiel had some genuine concerns he would have expected him to call. He said: "This policy has not caused anyone any problems. If you manage it right you will succeed. No-one who has come to the Ministry for extensions has been denied. There is no way this Government will tell a company that if they can't find a Bermudian, but so-and-so has to go, that's not common sense." Mr. Ezekiel said his company was looking to outsource, but Mr. Burgess responded: "No evidence is provided to support this claim." He went on: "Just last week I met with the heads of two reinsurance companies based in Bermuda. They shared with me the tremendous successes that they have enjoyed since setting up shop in Bermuda, one making the observation that his company's growth in terms of employee numbers and revenue greatly exceeded expectations. Neither questioned the term limits policy, although they emphasized the need for quicker and more efficient processing of work permits." The Labour Minister said the delays in work permits being processed was being sorted out. "We have made ourselves available, we have told companies and the head of ABIC, if you are experiencing any undue delay call me directly, call the permanent secretary directly. We won't allow a company to have a person on standby, and they may lose them because of us not processing the work permit fast enough. We realize we have some problems with efficiency and we are working on that." He added: "No one has been penalized because of the delay. We have made the necessary ad Because you did not get your exemptions or your waiver say by June and your seven years is up in July, we are not saying that you've got to go. We have made the allowances for that." Mr. Burgess said Government had worked with the business community to identify "key persons" within organizations that would qualify for exemptions to the term limits, and these went beyond chief executive officers and other senior managers. "They can be technical, professional, clerical or service as well as managerial staff. It is up to the employer to make the case to the Minister," he said. The work permit limits regime is policy, not law. Therefore, the Government is able to modify the policy as required in order to ensure there is no negative outcomes for any principal segment of the community." Mr. Burgess said it was accepted that, on occasion, some businesses would decide to outsource beyond Bermuda's shores, but he added: "It is our submission that decisions to outsource to locations outside of Bermuda - on the rare occasions that they occur - are based upon fiscal prudence and the wish for improved organizational and operational efficiency, not Government's work permit term limits policy." Asked about apparent anecdotal evidence of companies outsourcing as a result of term limit difficulties, the Labour Minister said he had no evidence and therefore no reason to investigate such claims. Mr. Ezekiel was in the UK this week. A representative of ABIC said the organisation, which represents more than 400 international businesses with a physical presence in Bermuda, would be considering Mr. Burgess' statement and expected to make a reply next week.

August 23. The sub prime mortgage crisis could trigger more claims on Directors and Officers policies, according to one of the world's largest insurance brokers. D&O policies protect executives and members of a company's board from liability in the event of a lawsuit against them claiming wrongdoing connected to their business, with the coverage usually paying for the cost of defending lawsuits after a deductible and a portion of any settlement. Insurers including Bermuda's XL Capital, offer such policies and slightly different coverage known as errors and omissions (E&O). Marsh & McLennan warned that higher interest rates and falling property prices contributing to rising delinquencies on sub prime mortgages offered to less creditworthy borrowers allied with an increased relaxation of underwriting standards has resulted in bankruptcy of more than 50 mortgage lenders, the collapse of hedge funds, increased regulatory scrutiny and ratings downgrades. The problems have also increased fears about the potentially large exposure insurance companies and pension funds may have to large securities backed by sub prime mortgages, such as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and collaterised loan obligations (CLOs), the insurance broker added. And they reckon a raft of litigation could arise from these issues with mortgage lenders able to file lawsuits against banks after being forced into bankruptcy when they were asked to buy back loans. These suits could claim that the banks imposed improper margin calls and valued the lender's underlying collateral incorrectly, said Marsh. Equally shareholders may sue sub prime lenders that have gone bankrupt, claiming that the companies, their accountants, trustees and underwriters, misrepresented or omitted details when accounting for residuals, while large insurance claims on failed sub prime collateral could spark lawsuits from bond insurers claiming the originators of the mortgages underwrote the loans poorly, they went on to say. "Although the D&O and E&O insurance market has been largely stable, if there are a high number of costly claims under these insurance policies, this trend may reverse and costs may begin to rise," said Jill Sulkes, a managing director in Marsh's Financial Institutions Practice. XL declined to comment on the subject.

August 23. Former Progressive Labour Party MP El James will run again in the coming election in Warwick North Central after being praised as "Cabinet material" by Premier Ewart Brown. Mr. James, 58, did one term as Dr. Brown's running mate in Warwick West and then retired in 2003. Amid rumors that Mr. James would be fast tracked to the top upon his return, Premier Brown told The Royal Gazette: "I don't have a job in mind — we will cross that bridge when we come to it. But of course I consider him Cabinet material. He has the ability, the time, the energy and the experience." The seat is currently held by George Scott who has been moved by party bosses to the neighboring virtually no-hope UBP seat of Warwick West. Premier Brown denied the PLP's Warwick North Central seat was now vulnerable and said Mr. Scott had been moved from the seat because "we thought he could win a seat somewhere else". But he declined to explain why late PLP leader Fredrick Wade's widow Ianthia had been dumped by party bosses after originally getting the backing of Warwick West branch members in the opening round of the selection merry-go-round. Mr. James was elected alongside Dr. Brown in Warwick West at the 1998 election which was fought under the old dual-MP system. But he languished on the backbenches and was a vocal critic of then Premier Jennifer Smith. Mr. James was also known to be opposed to the Register of Interests which lists MPs financial assets and he stood down after just one term four years ago. Yesterday he told a press conference he had never stopped working for the area since retiring from Parliament. He said: "I have assisted people with housing, assisted young men with getting employment and we have had a few enter rehabilitation." Mr. James, who will defend a 134-vote majority against United Bermuda Party candidate Wayne Scott, said voters on the doorstep had voiced most concern over the education system. They backed Purvis Primary but they had worries over the middle and senior schools, said Mr. James. "Being a product of Purvis myself I share their belief as well as their concern." But he said Government was tackling the education system which he said was the only true way to empower people of all colours and would reduce other social problems such as crime, drugs and unemployment. A former international cricketer, Mr. James said he was already working on a plan to revive community spirit including a car care workshop planned next month. "This will be especially designed for women. It will give participants a chance to learn how to change the oil, change the tyres and wiper blades etc." Other events planned include cast net throwing, plant propagation, a block party and Christmas cooking workshops. Premier Brown said he came to view Mr. James as the unofficial mayor of Warwick after the two were paired together in Warwick West in 1998. "He would take me to places in Warwick West that I didn't know existed. This man knows Warwick and Warwick knows this man and I have no doubt he comes back into politics with the life and energy that only he can muster." One PLP insider said Premier Brown wanted to bring in allies to promote to Cabinet. The source said: "Right now he is Premier and running three ministries — Transport, Tourism and, effectively, Health. "Whoever he has must be 190 percent loyal to him. He doesn't want to find himself out-voted in Cabinet on anything he does." As a golfing buddy of the Premier and successful entrepreneur, Mr. James, is seen as a more comfortable fit in the Brown government than current MP George Scott who, although quiet in Parliament just as Mr. James was, created waves when he got involved in an ugly spat on a worksite with Canadian construction worker Curtis Macleod. Mr. Macleod lost his work permit as a result — only for the Supreme Court to overturn Government's decision.

August 23. More than 100 people last night packed out the first meeting of a pressure group fighting a new housing law which penalizes Bermudians married to foreigners. Couples of a variety of ages, politicians and lawyers were among those formulating a plan to protest at the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007, which became law in June. They are angry that the law means Islanders and their expatriate spouses must obtain permission to buy property and can only own one home if the foreign partner does not have Bermudian status. A committee was formed last night, with group leaders proposing a meeting with Labour and Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess to air their concerns. Those present also discussed how they could go about challenging the law. Ronnie Viera, who is married to a Canadian, organized last night's get-together at the Chamber of Commerce. "Most people didn't even know that this law had passed," Mr. Viera told the meeting. "Those that knew they were affected — nobody was doing anything about it. Not being one of those people who could afford to do that, I wanted to get a group together. There was no public consultation with this. It was slipped through the House and it affects a broad cross-section of the community." After Mr. Viera threw the floor open to questions and discussions, numerous people told how the law affected them and offered their own suggestions for the way forward. Lawyer Saul Froomkin said Government could not be criticised for attempting to crack down on the practice of fronting, in which non-Bermudians gain property or land, using Bermudians as a front. However, he argued: "They have taken a nuclear bomb to destroy an outhouse." One woman drew laughs from the crowd by observing: "It looks as if Bermudians should not get married. Have children out of wedlock and go and buy as many homes as you want." Another woman, who said she was getting married soon, said: "If I get married, I lose my house." One woman suggested: "Can we not look at this from a human rights perspective?" But a quick reply was called out from the back of the room: "No, because we don't have any human rights in Bermuda." When the hour-long meeting finished, Mr. Viera said he was delighted with the way it had gone. "It was very, very good," he told The Royal Gazette. "It shows how much it's affecting people by the various questions that were asked. "The suggestion to approach the Ministry is a good one. It's one I always had in mind anyway. It's not in our interest to butt heads."

August 23. The Ministry of Education last night dismissed claims new appointments could push its media team's combined salary to around $250,000 taxpayers' money. Acting Permanent Secretary Ellen-Kate Horton said new Communications Consultant Scott Simmons would only be in the job until December 31, during which time he would be paid about $30,000.Ms Horton also rejected media reports which suggested Mr. Simmons and Communications Officer Carla Zuill would soon be joined full-time on the Ministry's press desk by a third PR officer. She said Mr. Simmons was merely "filling an immediate gap" caused by the resignation of PR officer Gary Moreno earlier this month. On Tuesday night, Mr. Moreno now a ZBM news reporter filed a report saying the combined salaries of Ms Zuill, Mr. Simmons and his own replacement, currently being recruited, would be around $225,000 to $250,000. Ms Horton replied in a statement last night: "Mr. Simmons is working on a contractual basis for the Ministry from the period August 20 to December 31, 2007. The cost of his services will be around $30,000, not between $80,000 and $102,000 as speculated by the media." Mr. Simmons is being paid at that same rate which a communications officer who serves and ministry is paid. Thus, claims that this Ministry is paying between $225,000 and $250,000 for its communications are erroneous and mischievous." Last night, Bermuda Union of Teachers general secretary Mike Charles questioned why more than one press officer was needed in the Ministry in any case, saying the money would be better spent on increasing the number of teachers. Mr. Charles said: "If you are looking to spend on education, I would like it spent on education." I feel if you are going to spend the money, it could be spent on the students, on getting resources for the students in the form of teachers or supplies. It could be money that could be spent on something much more important for Bermuda's children. We need lots of music teachers." Regarding Mr. Simmons, Mr. Charles said: "It doesn't affect education in any way. He's come in as a PR person. I thought they already had one in Carla Zuill. It begs the question: why another one? Maybe the Ministry is using them for different purposes." I know Ms Zuill works closely in the Ministry itself. I don't know what Mr. Simmons is going to add. "Responding, Ms Horton said Mr. Simmons would be primarily responsible for handling all communications pertaining to the Hopkins Report." In light of the staff shortages at the Department of Communication and Information with the recent resignation of public affairs officer Gary Moreno, it would be extremely difficult for Ms Zuill to properly service the Ministry's over 10,000 stakeholders," she said." As a result of DCI currently undergoing a staff shortage, resources are stretched in light of existing officers already managing several ministries each under their portfolios." Education Minister Randolph Horton also responded to claims from the Opposition that three people in the communications team seemed to be excessive and that former Progressive Labour Party spokesman Mr. Simmons was a political appointment." We are not being excessive at all," said Mr. Horton. "The Department of Communications and Information is stretched and our existing officer cannot do it all by herself. Mr. Simmons' appointment is not a political one."

August 23. Former Bermuda prosecutor Lloyd Rayney is not a suspect in the murder of his estranged wife, according to reports in Australia. Newspapers in Perth — where mother-of-two Corryn Rayney was slaughtered earlier this month after failing to return home from a line dancing class — say detectives hunting her killer have ruled out her husband. Detective Senior Sergeant Jack Lee told media gathered outside the property that the search was a "process of elimination" and a normal line of inquiry. "Mr. Rayney has fully cooperated with the Police in this investigation," he said. "I wish to emphasize Mr. Rayney is not a suspect and any further speculation regarding his involvement in this offence may be detrimental to this investigation." Mr. Rayney worked as a senior crown counsel in Bermuda's Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for just over a year from 2003 to 2004. His wife, a registrar in the West Australian Supreme Court with whom he has two young daughters, was here for part of his stay. Her body was found in a grave in Perth's Kings Park on August 16, nine days after she went missing. Mr. Rayney told reporters in the city yesterday he "welcomed" the Police search. "All I really want is to put out the same message that the police and Corryn's family have been for a long time, that is, if anyone has any information, could they please come forward, anything that might be helpful," he said. Press reports down under say the couple were estranged but still lived together. Mr. Rayney, described as a top Perth lawyer, is said to have been minding the children while his wife was at the dance class. Perth Police Commissioner Karl told a press conference that the killer was "probably some sort of person who's known to Mrs. Rayney, but that's all I am prepared to say at this time".

August 23. US Republican Presidential candidate John McCain has pledged to protect Bermuda's international businesses if he is successful in his White House bid. The Arizona Senator, who spent three days on the Island this week meeting business and political leaders, said he understood the concerns of the insurance and reinsurance sectors about draft legislation proposing a clampdown on US business operations in so-called tax havens. He told The Royal Gazette: "The industry, the re-insurance that's had such phenomenal success has been good for both nations. I would oppose any measures that would upset that." He also pledged to back Bermuda as a tourist destination, describing the warm welcome the Island extends to thousands of US visitors each year as "frankly, the greatest aspect of Bermuda-US relations." Earlier this year, Premier Ewart Brown and Premier Paula Cox discussed the tax haven legislation in Washington with influential Democrat politician, Congressman Charles Rangel, chairman of the powerful financial House Ways and Means Committee. He told the Government delegation that Bermuda was not on the list of jurisdictions that could suffer from the proposed clampdown on offshore US business operations. The views of Republican presidential candidate Senator McCain are sure to provide further re-assurance to Bermuda's business leaders. Senator McCain arrived on the Island on Monday, having had his interest in Bermuda sparked by talks with former Premier Alex Scott during the latter's official visit to Washington DC in 2006. He and wife Cindy stayed with family friend Gregory Slayton, US Consul to Bermuda, at Mr. Slayton's official residence. During the trip, he met with Premier Ewart Brown, Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley and former Premier Sir John Swan. He also had talks with business leaders Brian Duperreault; chairman of the Bank of Butterfield, Ralph Richardson; executive director of the ACE Foundation, Philip Butterfield; Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Bermuda, and Endurance Specialty Holdings CEO Kenneth LeStrange. "Our conversation was about the war in Iraq, about the economy, taxes and what we might expect and strong economic bonds between Bermuda and the US. Also, the good news about the increase in airlines," said Senator McCain. A former Naval aviator, he spent plenty of time at sea during his trip, enjoying a sight-seeing tour hosted by prominent Bermudian lawyer Justin Williams on his 43-foot motor yacht Justified. Speaking as he prepared to fly home yesterday, Senator McCain said: "We've had a wonderful trip, and will come back as soon as we can." Reflecting on the trip, Mr. Slayton said: "Senator McCain has a real deep understanding of Bermuda and all the success Bermuda has — its commitment to free trade and the rule of law and democracy." Senator McCain suffered a setback in his campaign to reach the White House earlier this summer when two top aides on his team quit. He has been trailing in polls to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

August 23. Public school teachers will today learn what pay rise they are to get after two years without an increase. The decision by an arbitration panel called in to resolve a long-running dispute between Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Ministry of Education will be revealed this morning. Teachers are asked to attend the Berkeley Institute at 11 a.m. to find out if they will receive the 4.5 percent rise for two years that union leaders claim they were promised. Pay talks broke down earlier this year when the BUT rejected a final offer from government for 4.5 percent for the first year and four percent for the second. Union president Lisa Trott told The Royal Gazette last night: "We have received our (pay) award and teachers will be told what it is tomorrow." She said the meeting would be closed but the union would release the panel's decision immediately afterwards. Lawyer Larry Scott, who chaired the tribunal panel, said: "I have submitted my report to the Minister and it is now up to the Minister to do with the report as he wishes. I wouldn't comment on the contents of it. My panel has signed off and the Minister has the document in his possession." Mr. Scott said the panel's decision was binding as both parties had agreed to the arbitration. The Ministry of Education did not respond to a request for information by press time last night.

August 23. Bermuda Red Cross is reaching out to aid Hurricane Dean victims by launching an appeal for donations while the Salvation Army has plans to repair buildings in Kingston. Ann Spencer-Arscott, director of the Red Cross, said the appeal was launched yesterday. She said they sent the information to all the media and advised the banks. Mrs. Spencer-Arscott explained how appeals normally work. "Generally with appeals, we tend to keep them open for up to three months. But it depends on the severity of the disaster and numbers of people affected and length of time." She said the Tsunami appeal was open for a year but the normal time is three to six months. The director said an appeal is launched when a disaster hits close to home. "We are so fortunate to have a very generous community who want to help our sister societies and islands", she said. When asked what she would say to encourage people to donate, Mrs. Spencer-Arscott said: "It's always nice to know that if we were ever hit by a devastating hurricane or other natural disaster, there would be people who could offer assistance to us. Like the saying goes, what goes around comes around. The homes and structures in those countries that were affected aren't built like ours. So if we lose part of our roofs, it's one thing. But for some of them, they lose their homes. The sooner people donate, the sooner they can get the money out and the sooner people can be helped." Major Doug Lewis of the Salvation Army explained his group will be sending a work team between eight and ten to Kingston, Jamaica. The team will be repairing the children's village orphanage and a school for the blind. Major Lewis said the Salvation Army in Jamaica is presently serving 500 meals a day at the shelter and have also handed out food packages to over 1000 people so far. They are working with the office of disaster preparedness and emergency management in Jamaica. He said: "We're committed to sending a team to help look after the facilities in the children's village and school for the blind". Major Lewis said if people want to help, the best way is to give financial donations so they can purchase goods in Jamaica. He also said the response has been positive from the public. "People have already responded even though we haven't started publicly. We certainly want to help out and we're going to do what we can to alleviate whatever the need is." The team will leave sometime next week. The plan is to stay for two weeks depending on how much they are able to accomplish. Donations for the Red Cross can be deposited into Bank of Bermuda account number 010-18747-011, Bank of NT Butterfield account number 20-006-060-663859-200 or Capital G Bank account number 35760. Donations can also be mailed to: Bermuda Red Cross Hurricane Dean Appeal Fund Charleswood 9 Berry Hill Road Paget DV 03. Salvation Army donations can be mailed to: Salvation Army PO Box 2259 Hamilton, HMJX. Hurricane Dean left Jamaica and headed straight for Mexico. With top winds of 100 mph, Dean's centre hit the tourism and fishing town of Tecolutla shortly after civil defence workers loaded the last evacuees onto army trucks headed to inland shelters. But there was no escaping the sprawling storm's hurricane-force winds, which lashed at least 60 miles, of the Vera Cruz coast.

August 23. The imposing black vessel in the harbour just finished an 11,500 mile voyage to save marine wildlife around the world. The Farley Mowat's voyage began in Melbourne with stops at Pitcairn Island and the Galapagos before travelling through the Panama Canal before arriving in Bermuda on August 18. The ship is owned by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) and run by a dedicated and friendly crew of environmentalists. The SSCS was started in 1979 by Paul Watson, who was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace, and now holds the position of Captain on the Society's vessels. This month it is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Since then it has completed 160 voyages and sunk eight whaling ships. And they have managed to do all this without harming anyone. The SSCS is known for its stance of taking action against people breaking international conservation laws, instead of bearing witness to animal slaughters like other environmental groups. It has made international headlines for ramming into whaling vessels in the Antarctic, blocking ships from harming seals off of Canada and destroying long line fishing equipment off of Galapagos Islands — among other things. And the ship itself means business. Painted an intimidating black and flying a flag which looks eerily like the Jolly Roger the Farley Mowat has a steel reinforced hull and water cannons pointing off its bow and the aft helicopter pad. While at sea the ship's crew has also been known to erect a seven-foot long "can opener" off its bow out of steal beams. Capt. Watson said: "I know that Sea Shepherd is sometimes called radical although we are actually a very conservative organisation. We are not a protest group. We intervene against illegal activities. Presently we are in a working partnership with the Ecuadorian National Police and the Galapagos National Park. Last month we arrested a dozen shark fin smugglers, exposed the names and connections of the shark fin mafia in Ecuador and seized more than 40,000 illegal shark fins." The Farley Mowat is currently berthed in Hamilton Harbour while it awaits a place in Dockyard. While it is here it will prepare for campaigns in the North Atlantic to oppose illegal bottom trawling in the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap and to intervene against the Canadian seal hunt. Capt. Watson said he was glad to be back on the Island: " We have been visiting Bermuda since March 1979 when our first ship Sea Shepherd departed from Bermuda to hunt down the pirate whaling ship Sierra. Our ship Whales Forever stopped in Bermuda in 1994 and this ship the Farley Mowat was last in Bermuda in December 2004 and again in May and June 2005." The organisation is based in Washington and does not spend any money on fundraising, instead it relies on donations. Some of its celebrity supporters include Pierce Brosnan and Christian Bale. The ship will be in Bermuda until February, anyone interested in donating money, time or equipment to the Farley Mowat should visit the website seashepherd.org.

August 24. National footballer Shaki Crockwell, 25, was shot in the back of the neck on the Railway Trail in Devonshire. He was wearing a protective vest at the time. He left behind two young children.

August 24. A prestigious conference of senior legal figures hosted in Bermuda provided food for thought as the Island strives to improve its justice system, said the local judge who organized it. The Regional and Gender Conference of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA) attracted 167 delegates from 33 Commonwealth nations. Among the topics on the agenda for the three-day event were equality and the courts, gender and human rights and family and gender-based violence. It was organized by Bermuda's Puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller, who is Regional Vice-President of the CMJA, and hosted by Chief Justice Richard Ground. Speaking as the event at the Fairmont Southampton resort wrapped up earlier this week, Mrs. Justice Wade-Miller told The Royal Gazette: "Bermuda is a prosperous, vibrant economy, with a strong legal presence. Yet we too have our well-advertised problems. Our system of justice is in need of improvement in many areas, and the country has its own dark sides, just as do all other countries represented here this week. This conference... provides much food for thought to us as well, as we seek to improve our own legal processes and face up to areas in which we too might be deficient in the areas of equality and gender." Mrs. Justice Wade-Miller said topics relevant to Bermuda discussed at length in the international context included outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — the topic of an ongoing campaign on the Island. The Bermudian delegation, she said, learned more about the ways other countries have handled this issue. "The conference has shown that the issues of equality and gender are hugely important in different ways to the countries represented here. In advanced democracies with strong economies we have learned the importance of ensuring that legal processes are structured to ensure fairness in situations where there is a risk of discrimination on grounds of gender, culture, disability, sexual orientation or age. In nations emerging from conflict, we have learned that legal systems have to create structures which modify cultural customs which are often contrary to international conventions on human rights," she said. At the start of the conference on Monday, Attorney General Philip Perinchief announced that legislation to outlaw discrimination against women is set to be tabled in the next session of Parliament. He is working on Bermuda signing up to the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Adopted in 1979 by the UN, it is described as an international bill of rights for women, defining what constitutes discrimination against them and setting up an agenda for national action to end it. CEDAW defines discrimination against women as encompassing the political, economic, social and cultural realms. By accepting the convention, states commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including abolishing discriminatory laws and adopting new ones prohibiting discrimination against women. The convention also provides for tribunals to be established to ensure the effective protection of women against gender-based discrimination. Mrs. Justice Wade-Miller said of the news: "Until I see the details I can't really comment fully, but any discrimination against women or any entity should be looked at and the legislators should tackle it."

August 24. The Governor says he provides a "steady heartbeat" for our Constitution, but it must have been racing when he saw the state of his car this week. This was the scene after Sir John Vereker's Rover 75 collided with a wall after heavy rain on Wednesday. If the Governor has been accused of stonewalling on certain controversial issues, then this picture would certainly seem to provide evidence. The crash happened at 11.30 a.m. as the Governor's driver was travelling with Kevin De Silva, aide-de-camp to Sir John. He said: "The car slid out on the wet surface on the corner nearing Devonshire Dock. Responding to the slide, the driver corrected the spin, yet was unable to keep the car from hitting the wall." The Rover is a four-year-old "runabout" — one of two official cars belonging to Government House. "We are still awaiting estimates of the damage from the insurance company," said Capt. De Silva. He added that no one was hurt and there were no other vehicles involved. The Governor has spoken of his role in ensuring stability in Bermuda. At the Queen's Birthday Parade in June, Sir John said he aimed to provide "a steady heartbeat for the Constitution, a heartbeat unperturbed by short-term politics, a heartbeat that provides an assurance of stability and integrity in an uncertain world". Unfortunately this Bermuda Stone wall proved not so stable.

August 24. Only one of four beaches that are usually monitored by lifeguards will have coverage from Monday due to staff shortages. The Department of Parks only has seven staff available at present, compared to the 20 ideally needed to provide coverage at Horseshoe Bay, John Smith's Bay, Clearwater Beach and Turtle Bay. According to a spokesman, the key problem is that many of the guards have started returning to school. There had been 13 available earlier in the summer. The shortage was compounded yesterday by the fact that two of the lifeguards were out sick, meaning Clearwater Beach and Turtle Bay were without cover. "With reserves available to work this weekend the towers at Clearwater Beach and Turtle Bay will be opened this Saturday, August 25, and Sunday, August 26," said the spokesman. "Starting Monday August 27 only the lifeguard tower at Horseshoe Bay will be opened for duty. In addition, the surf on the South Shore has been a bit rough during the last few days so the Department of Parks has erected surf warning signs at the south beaches to alert the general public to use caution when swimming or snorkeling."

August 24. Slave Sally Bassett has proved the inspiration for one of Dolphin Quest's newborn calves. The baby dolphin born on June 6 has been named Bermudiana after the tiny purple iris found growing in the ashes of the slave girl. Sally was sentenced to death on June 6, 1730, and then burned at the stake. She always maintained her innocence and said God would send a sign to prove it. People then found the Bermudiana flowering out of her ashes and Sally became a focus of the anti-slavery movement. Katie Page submitted the winning name for Bermudiana, who is Caliban's calf. From May 23 to June 6, dolphins Cirrus, Bailey and Caliban gave birth to three female calves, and last month Dolphin Quest ran a competition to name the newborns. The contest attracted more than 550 entries, presenting the crew with the difficult task of choosing the winners. Cirrus's calf is now to be called Luna, from a suggestion by Alex Jenkins. Luna is the name of the Bermuda Moongate — a national symbol. Legend has it that people who walk through a Moongate are blessed with good luck, especially young lovers and honeymooners. Bailey's baby has been named Nea. Jane Downing chose the winning entry, which was inspired by a Bermuda-designed and built racing yacht in the late nineteenth century, christened after a member of the Gosling family. Katie, Alex and Jane will each receive photographs of their named dolphins and will also get to meet the mothers and calves at the Bermuda Maritime Museum facility. A spokeswoman for Dolphin Quest said: "We would like to thank the public for helping to name the three dolphin babies. We invite everyone to stop by and say hello to the new babies at Dolphin Quest Bermuda." For more information, telephone 234 4464. 

August 24. Government has began an initiative to tear down dangerous walls across the Island. Speaking at a press conference at Loyal Hill Pass, Devonshire, Minister of Works and Engineering, Dennis Lister, addressed concerns residents had about a wall so decayed, the road was forced to shut down more than three years ago. As a result of the road closing, the top road has been used for traffic and is suffering from wear and tear. Along with Mr. Lister, Junior Minister of Health, Patrice Minors, spoke on behalf of the residents. Mr. Lister explained that along with the usual wear and tear, the decay of the wall was exacerbated by Hurricane Fabian in 2003. Works and Engineering employees starting tearing it down on Wednesday. Mr. Lister said: "We're here to highlight Government's initiative in areas where there are dangerous walls. This is a situation that has been out of hand for a long time." He said thanks to assistance from Ms Minors, his ministry stayed on top of the situation in order to find a solution. Ms Minors explained while she was on the canvassing trail, Loyal Hill Pass was a common complaint. "The residents are truly excited that a new wall will be erected and the road re-opened. With the road closed, it has become a nuisance to the residents," she said. A few of the residents thanked the Government for starting the project. Mrs. Kathleen Trott said: 'I'm thankful the wall is getting fixed. It's been a nuisance. We have so much traffic which is unbearable sometimes. I'm just thankful and happy." Mrs. Ida Spenser said she was also thankful the wall was being fixed because children would use it as a shortcut to get to school instead of going the long way around. Another resident, Shirley Richardson said: "We still have a number of issues to be worked out but I think we're on our way to getting some improvement." Mr. Lister also said there are many other areas Island-wide with dangerous walls but was unable to give a number or specific examples. He said they could fall down at any moment as a result of rain, winds and hurricanes. The Minister couldn't say when the walls would be fixed, but said the most important thing was to tear them down to avoid any accidents.

August 24. Poor staffing, pay and conditions are causing morale within the Bermuda Police Service to plummet and Government must shoulder responsibility, according to the Opposition United Bermuda Party. Party leader Michael Dunkley spoke out in response to recent claims by Public Safety Minister David Burch that, because the Governor is the head of the Police Service, Government should not be blamed for poor performance within the service. The claim was later rubbished by Deputy Police Commissioner Roseanda Young, who said that policing was "a shared partnership" between the Governor, Government and the Police Commissioner. Yesterday, Mr. Dunkley also went on the attack, accusing Government of "passing the buck" after neglecting the service for years. "It is about time that Minister Burch and his Cabinet colleagues, instead of sitting on their hands, pretending it's nothing to do with them, get on with helping the police and people make our island home a better and safer place for all," Mr. Dunkley said. "We have serious problems in our Police Service that are preventing them from doing the good job they're capable of doing. I have suggested before that a good deal of their frustration stems from Government's failure to take their deteriorating conditions of service seriously. Minister Burch has contradicted me, saying, in effect, that the Government is powerless to do much more than provide funding for their equipment. Blame for any failings belongs, he says, up at Government House. I don't think many people are taken in by that sort of passing the buck. Under the Constitution the Governor retains the formal power to control the police operationally. What that means is that he oversees the way they carry out their policing, and has control of them in emergencies. It doesn't mean that he and the Police Commissioner aren't prepared to work closely with the Government to address the problems at hand as has taken place in the past with former United Bermuda Party Governments. Nor does it mean that he has a magic wand that he can wave and solve problems caused by years of Government neglect of the administration of their working conditions." Mr. Dunkley listed three areas of concern, manpower shortages, pay, and working conditions which were all controlled by Government. "Under the Constitution the police budget, training and manpower has been delegated to the Government," he said. "The Government doesn't like to talk about just how far down the police are in terms of staff numbers, but it is no secret that shortages are severe, and adversely affect the performance of every unit in the service. The numbers get worse with every month that passes. We have to expect second best from traffic officers, from narcotics officers, from community policemen from every police department because they just don't have the bodies to be able to do the kind of job they're capable of doing. I realize that it's difficult these days, to recruit policemen locally or from abroad, but it's not impossible. Government foot-dragging and the Government's preference for non-Bermudian recruits from the Caribbean, as opposed to non-Bermudian recruits in total if needed, makes the situation much worse than it should be." Mr. Dunkley also slammed the "disgraceful state" of contract negotiations between Government and police. A pay agreement for 2005-2007 is still being thrashed out by the two parties. "Any Government that allows its negotiating team to fall so far behind with its work on a new contract that it hasn't been able to reach agreement before it expires, is being careless and inefficient to the point of being contemptuous of those with whom they are negotiating," Mr. Dunkley said. "This has almost nothing to do with the Governor, I'm sure he takes an interest, but constitutionally, he is not involved. This is something that lies smack on Government's doorstep. Government negotiators have failed to get a contract after three years of trying, and that must adversely affect the performance of the Police Service. Our police men and women are affected by these delays, their morale is bound to be depressed by the fact that their income is falling so far behind the cost of living." Mr. Dunkley also ridiculed Government's repeated failure to begin construction of a new police station, a promise it has made every year since 1999. "This story has been told too many times for me to need to repeat it. The police stations in Hamilton and Somerset and the complex at Prospect are in a dreadful state. They are so bad they are probably causing health problems. But the Government makes no bones about the fact that improvements are somewhere between the back burner and the back of beyond. These are three big, sprawling sets of problems for a small organisation that is under great pressure to do what it does for the community. They aren't the only problems, by any means. "How do you think a policeman reacts to being taken away from his real work to escort the Premier's entourage to and from the airport? How do you think a policeman who hasn't been able to take his vacation this year reacts to being bounced around in the service as a result of pressure from the Government to put more manpower on to traffic patrols one week, onto narcotics the next and into community policing the week after that?"

August 24. Planning officers have turned down a seven-storey office and apartment block on the outskirts of Hamilton. They ruled the height excessive and its appearance at odds with the 'Bermuda Image', but another reason against the building was its windows would have disorientated migratory birds. In a report to the Assistant Director of Planning Anna Eatherley, assistant enforcement officer Claudette Baisden said: "Bermuda is a well known destination to our visiting migratory birds, however a seven-storey building will be a danger to these species. "The lighting from the offices will blind and redirect the birds from their intended course." Yesterday, conservationist Dr. David Wingate said: "I'm glad that they're thinking about these kinds of issues. The height is not a threat but the reflection of glass can be a hazard with birds flying into it. We get reports every year of birds hitting windows in Hamilton or getting trapped in them during their migration." Plans for the building, at 5 Crow Lane, were submitted by Villa Development Co. Ltd. The application included two underground parking levels, three storeys of office space, and three upper floors of apartments and penthouses. Ms Baisden however, said in her report: "A seven-storey building at the above stated location does not amalgamate with the surrounding architectural design." The Development Applications Board rejected the application because it conflicted with the Bermuda Plan 1992. The board report said the mixed-use building "does not exhibit a massing, scale and appearance of development compatible with the Bermuda Image when viewed from public roads". Members said it exceeded the number of permitted storeys (three above the level of a public road) and that they were "not satisfied" with "the overall appearance and visual impact of the development". It was also ruled that "the infrastructure at this site can not accommodate a seven-storey building". Planning officers said there were only two rights of way for the 6,619 sq. ft development, proposed for the Cavendish Road side of Crow Lane. 

August 24. Bermuda is already seeing a return on its $1.5-million investment into the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which is scheduled for the Mid Ocean Club in October. Hoteliers yesterday spoke enthusiastically of increased bookings over that period, which they claimed was due in no small part, to the fact that legendary golfer Tiger Woods is now eligible to compete. The world's number one ranked player won the final spot in the 25th annual competition open to the winners of golf's four majors the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship. He joins fellow American Zach Johnson, Argentina's Angel Cabrera and Irishman Padraig Harrington on the Bermuda invite list. Participation is not compulsory but Transport and Tourism Minister, Premier Ewart Brown (pictured), has said that signs are positive that the 31-year-old superstar will take part. Bermuda Hotel Association president Michael Winfield, who is also president of Cambridge Beaches, described the event as a "win-win" situation for the island. "It's a bit difficult to quantify specific reservations, but certainly the major hotels are reporting a surge in business," he said. "And the fact that Tiger is hopefully going to play. I'm not a golfer, but the name that everybody knows is Tiger Woods. " All signs indicate that October 15-17 will be a wonderful time for Bermuda, he stated. "Ticket sales have gone extremely well. I think there are very few left. I think it's a very successful idea and will do a lot of good for Bermuda. We have it for two years which is very important and all the after-play coverage is going to be tremendous. It's going to be brilliant. It's all good news." Mr. Winfield said the timing of the event is also fortunate, as it falls at the beginning of the slower season for tourists to the island. "It's perfectly timed. The hotels are delighted with it. One, it brings immediate business and two, it provides great long-term coverage on the island. It's a win-win situation all round." His comments were supported by various hoteliers. Assistant general manager of Ariel Sands Aaron Medeiros said the hotel will be operating at "nearly 100 per cent occupancy" at that time. "There maybe one or two bookings that are not related to the PGA but most of our guests will be here for that," he said. "We're thrilled about it." General manager of Grotto Bay, Johannes Martens, said the 201-room property was solidly booked. "We're sold out over that period," he said. "We're absolutely thrilled." He said the reservations were actually made before Woods won the 89th PGA Golf Championship at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his 13th major title and became eligible to compete in Bermuda. "We were sold out prior to his win (on August 12)," he said, agreeing that the fact that the hotel was the second closest to the course, gave it an advantage. Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for the Fairmont Bermuda Shelley Meszoly said bookings at the two properties were also brisk. "Rooms at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess sold out shortly after the announcement was made that the PGA Grand Slam would be held in Bermuda, when quite a few companies reserved blocks of rooms for their clients," she said. "As host hotel for the tournament, The Fairmont Southampton is sold out on Wednesday and Thursday during the tournament. After Tiger won the PGA Championship we had a surge of bookings and now have only 50-60 rooms remaining on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday."

August 24. Government's healthy eating message is being extended to October's Bermuda Music Festival. The Department of Tourism yesterday called for the Island's health food providers to set up shop at the event which is bringing Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson and other music icons to Bermuda. They want the festival's 17,000-plus visitors to eat snacks like salads instead of munching their way through fatty hot dogs and burgers. It comes after Health Minister Michael Scott announced a new Healthy Weight Action Plan aiming to cut Bermuda's growing obesity problem. Premier and Tourism Minister Ewart Brown said in a statement yesterday: "The Ministry of Health has just embarked on an extensive awareness campaign encouraging Bermudians to make healthier lifestyle changes. The potential attendance at this year's festival is upwards of 17,000 people, and we saw the Bermuda Music Festival as an excellent way to assist in promoting this initiative; so we are encouraging all health food vendors to join us this year." The Tourism Department says it expects the twelfth Bermuda Music Festival to be the biggest and best to date and says ticket sales have been brisk so far. People are urged to buy them quickly to avoid disappointment. It takes place from October 3 to October 7 at the Fairmont Southampton Beach Club and the National Stadium. All vendors interested in operating at this year's Bermuda Music Festival can contact 292-0282. 

August 24. Residents who spoke out against a multi-storey car park have been granted a judicial review of the Government's planning approval. More than 70 people objected to plans by First Church of God to construct a two-storey car park off North Shore Road in Pembroke. The parking lot was refused by the Development Applications Board but then approved by the Minister of the Environment on appeal in February. Despite letters of opposition and the formation of a neighbourhood committee, angry residents say Minister Neletha Butterfield approved church leader Bishop Vernon Lambe's appeal without any consultation. They are now questioning the legality of her decision through a judicial review. Residents Lauretta Lorna Stoneham, Claudette Fleming and Janet Francis named the Environment Minister, the Attorney General and the Development Applications Board as respondents in their application for leave to file for judicial review on July 31. Yesterday this was approved by the Supreme Court. It means any building work must now be suspended. Legal representative Darrell Clarke said last night he was "very pleased" by the decision. He said residents had questioned the planning approval on the basis of illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety. Despite only three residents being named on the appeal, Mr. Clarke says he has been contacted by more than 70 people protesting Ms Butterfield's decision. Mr. Clarke, of Darrell Clarke Barristers and Associates confirmed the judicial review of the parking lot and added: "In addition to this, the church has in effect been prohibited from taking any further steps towards development of the parking lot. The order was granted in favour of the 70 objectors to the application which was made by the church. I can also confirm that there are somewhere in the region of ten grounds of objection filed in our Notice of Motion and that we intend to vigorously oppose the Minister's decision." The First Church of God says it only has 100 parking spaces to cater for up to 1,000 worshippers. Overflow parking has been provided at Pig's Field but the recreation area is now due to undergo a revamp. Last night a Government spokesman said Ms Butterfield could not comment on the planning decision. "It would not be proper for the Minister to make any comment as this is an outstanding court case that is being addressed by the Attorney General's chambers," he said. 

August 24. Public school teachers were handed pay rises yesterday after two years without an increase. The award they got — 4.5 percent for last year, which will be paid in back pay, and four percent for the forthcoming academic year — was rejected by the Bermuda Union of Teachers during long-running talks with the Ministry of Education. The final figures were agreed by an arbitration panel after those talks broke down, and are binding as both parties agreed to arbitration. No one from the union was available for comment yesterday. However, the news sparked mixed reaction from teachers. One who works at CedarBridge Academy told The Royal Gazette: "It's not like the money isn't there. We've already seen evidence of money that really has been squandered in less useful ways such as the top-heavy management and the top-heavy Government organisation right now." The woman, who asked that her name not be printed, claimed many teachers dig into their own pockets to help out students whose families cannot afford to buy them basic equipment, and also to supplement classroom supplies such as text books. "I challenge anyone who is on the other side of the table, who's making the decision, to walk in our shoes even for a week and truly understand what we deal with and how we earn every dime of that money," she said. She added that she could not rule out the possibility of a strike, although she was not in a position to gauge the wider mood within the profession. Another teacher said of the pay settlement: "I don't think it's bad at all. Think about it — we are getting four percent on top of that 4.5 percent. The Government is not a bank. I don't have a problem with it. I would rather see them improve working conditions and the educational system itself than for teachers to be fighting over blasted money." Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Ellen-Kate Horton, said: "We are happy that the decision has been made and that we can enter the classroom in September with an agreement."

August 24. Social Rehabilitation Minister Dale Butler was flying the flag for the region as the International Slavery Museum opened in the UK. The museum, in Liverpool — a port city which played a huge role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade — has been created to mark the bicentenary of the Slave Trade Act. Mr. Butler was invited to yesterday's opening through links he forged with Organisers during his spell as Cultural Affairs Minister. After offering the invitation to current Cultural Affairs Minister Wayne Perinchief — who was unable to attend — Mr. Butler went himself, paying for his own transport and accommodation as the four-day trip fell outside his Ministry. Mr. Butler, who said he appeared to be the only Minister from the Caribbean region present yesterday, reflected on how the slavery museum has been built from humble beginnings around a decade ago. "It was an excellent experience," he told The Royal Gazette. "I had attempted to establish a relationship with the museum in 2003 when I became Cultural Minister. They were interested in Bermuda, that we had slavery here, and kept in touch. In 1994 the museum had in its possession a very small slavery section. It was very controversial because it was in its basement. But through the years, they decided to build something proper." Liverpool's ships and merchants dominated the Transatlantic Slave Trade in the second half of the 18th Century. Its inhabitants gained great civic and personal wealth from the trade, paving the way for the development of the port into one of the UK's leading cities. At the trade's peak in the two decades leading up to its abolition in 1807, up to 130 ships left the port for Africa every year — representing three quarters of all European slaving ships. In total, Liverpool ships transported half of the three million Africans carried across the Atlantic by British slavers. Mr. Butler, who studied in Liverpool during the 1970s, said he was pleased to see the city was now acknowledging its role in the trade. "I got the feeling for years there was a sense of denial," he said. "There's a small group here who feels it's a waste of time, and say: 'why bring up the past?' But you can't eliminate certain parts of history." The Minister praised the museum's use of interactive technology to show how groups such as banks and churches benefited from slavery, while he was also impressed with a replica of a sugar-mill factory. A section on racism — highlighting the achievements of outstanding blacks such as Nelson Mandela and Jesse Owens — also caught his attention. He said he would like to see some of the museum's ideas taken to the Island's own slavery exhibition at Bermuda Maritime Museum, particularly the emphasis on using modern technology. Mr. Butler is a historian who has studied Bermuda's slavery past. Earlier this year, he backed this newspaper's Break The Chains campaign by signing Anti-Slavery International's on-line petition which calls for world leaders to take action to help free more than 12 million modern-day slaves. The International Slavery Museum was officially opened to mark the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade yesterday.

August 24. People who continue to litter the streets with cigarette butts could soon end up before the courts. But the Corporation of Hamilton (COH) hopes it does not get to that stage — and has bought new cigarette receptacles to place around the city in the hope smokers will use them instead of the street to get rid of their butts. Deputy Mayor William Black said: "We have had a real problem with people throwing their cigarettes on the streets and sidewalks in the city. During the May in Bloom campaign we put out new plant holders which are now full of cigarette butts. The problem has become worse since smoking was banned from restaurants, bars and offices because people congregate in one area and then drop their cigarettes." However, the Corporation has already started exploring its legal options. Officials are working with the Attorney General's chambers and Police so that people can be ticketed for throwing butts on the streets. Mr. Black added: "Instead of a fine, though, we want them to be sentenced to community service, to clean up the city streets." In the meantime the COH hopes the public will take advantage of the new cigarette receptacles that will be placed around the city. It is also hoped that businesses who have customers or employees who frequently smoke will purchase one too to place outside the offices. A receptacle costs $500 and companies that buy the bins will not be responsible for maintaining or emptying them. Staff from the Corporation will be in charge of the maintenance and the bins can be purchased by contacting the Corporation at 292-1234.

August 25. Bermuda already has the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the world, but a team of explorers and scientists say there is evidence of a treasure trove beneath us capable of enriching the lives of everyone. Exploration of the seabed has unearthed evidence of rare metals which could challenge China's monopoly in the high technology market. These REEs (Rare Earth Elements) are needed for 21st century products such as cell phones, computers, navigation systems and hydrogen storage. There is also the possibility of diamonds, gold, platinum, uranium and other precious minerals beneath our waters. Nick Hutchings, chairman of Ocean Projects Ltd., says research has revealed lava deposits in the seamount of Bermuda's volcano which point to their presence. One of the lavas - 'Bermudite', was originally discovered in the 'Deep Drill' experiments of 1972 when scientists drilled 800m into Bermuda's earth. In May 2006 however, Ocean Projects Ltd. and a team of scientists also discovered the rare lava carbonatite 3,600 ft down on the ocean floor. Scientists Dr. Wolfgang Sterrer, a research associate at the Bermuda Natural History Museum, and Dr. Fabrizio Aumento, a marine environmental scientist from La Tuscia University, Italy, teamed up with Mr. Hutchings to explore the seabed aided by a Global Marine Systems ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle). They retrieved samples of Bermudites, unique alkaline intrusive sheets similar to the Meimechites found in Siberia, South Africa, and China. Dr. Aumento, speaking at a BUEI lecture this week, said: "There are indications that on the north west slope of Bermuda there are very bright gold seams in the rock. Whenever we find these Bermudite rocks they are often associated with very rich mineral deposits." Mr. Hutchings, 54, told The Royal Gazette: "The geology is promising because we have this important sequence of lavas - we have the basalt, the Bermudites and now the carbonatites." He said that one carbonatite plate in South Africa - the Palabora copper mine, had proven reserves (an estimated value) of $25 billion. In Siberia, at Meimecha, the presence of Bermudites (called Meimechites) and carbonatites have yielded a wealth of platinum. Mr. Hutchings said: "Our geology warrants further investigation as we have a particular combination of three lavas which make it very interesting. I must stress at this point we have not discovered any mineral deposits, only the potential for them. This is just the first step in a very long investigation." In 1996 Bermuda gained sovereignty over its Exclusive Economic Zone, extending the country's borders from 21 square miles to 256,000 square miles. Mr. Hutchings said: "Our country now stretches 200 miles in all directions, although 99.9 per cent of it is underwater. We know very little about it at present but there are signs there may be valuable natural resources." He told the audience at the BUEI lecture: "The resources belong to the people of Bermuda and at the end of the day that is going to decide what is going to happen to them. Impartial accurate scientific data will ensure that when the time comes, an informed decision will be made." Mr. Hutchings said yesterday that the Government would be responsible for managing these resources. "The people of Bermuda could benefit in several ways," he said. "The first is through Government-funded infrastructure such as schools, roads and hospitals, which are paid for by the royalties and taxes. The second is the direct benefits to shareholders, through dividends, and thirdly, the benefit to the economy in Bermuda." The challenge now is to conduct a comprehensive survey of our waters, drawing up a detailed map, and then to sit down with geologists to identify any interesting topographical features. The next step would be further exploration with an ROV, running video footage and collecting samples to identify what the rock is made from. Mr. Hutchings, of Paget, said: "We have an exploration licence with the Bermuda Government and that means we have exclusive rights to negotiate with the Government for mining lease should we discover a mineral deposit. We could be lucky and find one on the next dive or it could take many years of exploration." Ocean Projects Ltd. is privately owned and is restricted to 20 shareholders per share offer, but Mr. Hutchings said: "We are thinking very carefully about how to get a broad base of ownership in the company when the time is right. At some point next year there will be some kind of share offer where shares will be available and at that point we will be looking for at least $1 million in funding. The question then will be, do we go after a few big investors or lots of smaller investors or a combination of both." He said each mapping exploration needs $100,000-$120,000 of funding.

August 25. One of Bermuda's most luxurious hotels will open its doors to the public for historical tours next week. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess was hand-picked by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts as one of nine hotels to be featured as part of their centennial celebration. The Royal Gazette sat down with hotel manager, Allan Trew, to talk about what people can expect in the tours and why they should come. Mr. Trew explained this a company wide initiative. Fairmont has chosen nine historic properties to invite the public to show them historic parts of these hotels. He said Hamilton Princess was opened in 1883, a few years before the first Fairmont hotel, San Francisco, opened in 1907. Hamilton Princess was later bought by Fairmont. During the tour, expected to last between 30 and 45 minutes, guests will be able to see the Gold Lounge which Mr. Trew said played a very significant part during World War Two when it served as an intelligence headquarters for the British Government. He said the Gold Lounge is a Fairmont brand and is in all their hotels. Another area is the Gazebo Lounge which was previously a bar. Mr. Trew said the bar inspired writers such as Mark Twain and Ian Fleming. Another historic part of the hotel is wall adorned with pictures of the hotel from its development stage to what it looks like today. There will also be stories of guests who have made the hotel famous. According to Mr. Trew, the best part of the tour will be the tea. "After the tour, this is perhaps the highlight, we are inviting guests and visitors to join us for a special tea for $19.07. The company has created a limited commemorative tea which we are serving at the Heritage Court. There are also special commemorative drinks at the bar", he said. Although reservations are not required, Mr. Trew suggested people make reservations because the afternoon tea is quite popular. According to Mr. Trew, Mark Twain is the most well-known guest to have stayed at the hotel even though the hotel has entertained presidents, royalty, dignitaries and other celebrities. He told a story of when Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin stayed in the hotel at the same time. "The guests were sitting out in the courtyard trying to catch a glimpse of Michael Jackson when the two of them threw big water balloons down at them", he laughed. When asked why people should come out for the tours, Mr. Trew said: "I think they would find out something very interesting that they never knew. This hotel has always been a focal point of Bermuda. It is important we share history with the Bermuda public". Rehanna Palumbo, director of Sales and Marketing at Hamilton Princess said: "We want to invite everyone to join us for these historical tours. We've been honored to have history unfold at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess from the time the hotel opened in 1885 until today, and this is our chance to share the most fascinating aspects of the hotel's history, indeed Bermuda's history, with the community." In addition to Hamilton Princess, the eight other hotels featured around the world are the Savoy in London, Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, Fairmont Empress in Victoria, British Columbia, Fairmont San Francisco, Fairmont Copley Square in Boston, Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff Springs, Canada, Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg and the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. The tours will take place on Sunday, September 2 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations for the free tours are not required and are appropriate for all ages.

August 25. A hotel set on Hamilton Harbour served as headquarters for intense intelligence operations for the British Government during the Second World War. Fairmont Hamilton Princess housed twelve hundred secret agents, experts, scientists and linguist in the former Adam Lounge, dubbed Room 99, from 1940 to 1945. It was chosen because of because of it's strategic geographic location. The story says because Bermuda had a stable Government, a long shipping tradition, first class harbours, a British Naval base and a base for flying boats at Darrell's Island, it was the best place to operate out of. Working out of a two-storey wooden building, the Gazebo Lounge and the Adam Lounge, the Gold Lounge today, the men intercepted all postal, telegraph and radio traffic between the Western Hemisphere and Europe. Flying boats to Darrell's island would drop off packages which were delivered by launch to the Princess dock. The mail was sorted in the present-day Gazebo Lounge area before being sent over to the Adam Lounge to check all the details. The parcels were then searched by the Imperial Censorship staff for microdot messages that could have been sent by German spies. The men would decode the secret correspondence, extract the letters from the tightly sealed envelopes and put them back without anyone knowing. They were led by Senior Representative of British Intelligence, Sir William Stephenson or code name "Intrepid", who helped to trap German spies and agents in the US. Stephenson was the wartime British security coordinator for the Western Hemisphere. He received the Medal for Merit, highest honour the United States can grant a non-citizen, in a New York ceremony on November 30, 1946. Major-General William J. Donovan presented the medal, with Col. G. Edward Buxton, wartime assistant OSS director, background, Mary Simmons, or Lady Stephenson as she became later. Sir William eventually settled in Bermuda. Sir William retired in 1964 and moved into a suite at The Princess with his wife. They eventually moved into a home in Paget were he lived until he died at the age of 93 in 1989. The hotel was closed at the start of the war. It was re-opened by the British Government with the nickname, "Bletchley in the Tropics" after Bletchley Park, the English country house where the "Enigma" code was broken.

August 25. The Jamaican Association of Bermuda (JAB) is appealing for cash donations and other items after the country suffered a pounding by Hurricane Dean last Sunday, which brought around 145 mile-per-hour wind gusts. JAB, responding directly to the tremendous outpouring of concerns for Jamaicans back at home, held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to help co-ordinate relief efforts. And, JAB's annual picnic planned for the Labor Day weekend at the Shelly Bay Field has been cancelled in order to focus attention on the current relief efforts. The association has set up a special relief fund account to facilitate urgent needs. Monetary donations may be made as follows: cheques and money orders may be made payable to The Jamaican Association (Bermuda) and either deposited directly to Relief — Fund account number: 010-407146-012, HSBC Bank of Bermuda or mail to: Jamaican Association (Bermuda) P.O. Box HM 2890 Hamilton HM LX. Cash deposits can also be made directly to this account. The collection of items is also encouraged. However, the problem of storing, sorting and shipping items to Jamaica in a timely manner remains an issue, according to JAB. Anyone interested in coordinating a shipping effort should contact: Ralston Wright, President, at 537-2511; Traddie Simpson, Vice President, at 505-6882; Lisa Bailey, Treasurer, at 524-1049; Dave Medley, Secretary, at 524-1288; Joan Richardson, Assistant Secretary, at 238-1933. It's understood the Jamaican Government and all relevant agencies are in the process of making a final assessment of the full damage sustained to the island. According to the Jamaica Observer, a local paper there, 107 public schools were damaged, in varying degrees, by Hurricane Dean on Sunday, according to the latest estimate from the Ministry of Education. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) office in Jamaica has mobilized US$100,000 from the agency's national committee in France and was expecting another £50,000 from the counterpart committee in the United Kingdom. And according to the US National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, Hurricane Dean was the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall since record-keeping began in the 1850s, based on its central atmospheric pressure.

August 25. Police are investigating what is believed to have been the shooting and killing of a 25-year-old Hamilton Parish man in Devonshire last night. He was named yesterday as Shaki Crockwell, a former Bermuda Hogges player. It is understood the popular footballer was shot once in the neck on the Railway Trail near Loyal Hill after 10 p.m on Friday. Police arrived on the scene around 10.22 p.m. to find him unresponsive and a doctor later pronounced him dead. A Police spokesman has confirmed that foul play is suspected. Detectives from the Serious and Organized Crime Division have launched a probe and would like to speak to the person who placed an emergency call to 911 to report the incident. Anyone with information into the death of the man is asked to call 295-0011 or they can call the confidential Crimestoppers hotline of 1 800 623 8477. See Monday's edition of The Royal Gazette for the full story and photos.

August 25. Questions were raised about the daunting task of applying for Financial Assistance now that former Medical Clinic patients must apply to be placed on the Government's Health Insurance Plan (HIP). For those who take the step to apply for financial assistance the decision is no laughing matter as a box of tissues sitting on the pre-screening desk will attest. Chantel Smith, a manager in the Department of Financial Assistance said the process can be quite humiliating and distressing for many. However, the staff try as hard as possible to be helpful — filling out applications for those who cannot read or write, even visiting seniors and the disabled in their homes for ease. "Family members can apply for them or we can even go to them to do the assessment," Ms Smith said, "We are very sensitive to the needs of seniors and disabled. We try to assist as much as possible." Concerns about applying for Financial Assistance were raised by former medical clinic patients who expressed their dismay over how intrusive the process can be. One patient even said she may not bother with applying because she is so distraught at the form which requires a signature from her landlord therefore letting him know she may be on financial assistance. While Dianna Taylor, the Director of Financial Assistance, is sympathetic to these concerns she is also a realist and makes no excuse for delving into people's personal affairs. "These services (free medical care) were being abused by those going to the clinic, she said, "Most who apply for financial assistance are honest and fair, but we have to be sure. A worker will have to make one mandatory visit to see who is living at the residence and make sure you are at the address you said you were and it has the number of rooms you stated." To that end, the Department requires anyone applying to sign a Client Declaration Form, which then binds the applicant to all of their statements. Should the person have lied on one of the seven required forms they are subject to suspension of assistance, according to Ms Taylor. The Director, however, does not want to give the impression the department is heartless. While there are stringent procedures to get financial assistance, it is meant to give the case worker a better picture of who the potential client is and what help they might need. And for the former medical clinic patients this could actually help- as Ms Taylor points out many of the patients have actually been eligible for other benefits without realizing it. "I have had quite a few who have said 'Wow I wish I had known about this before'. Many of those had been going up in age, but now they know what is possible," she said. Before a member of the public can receive any financial assistance they must visit the Department's offices on the first floor of Global House for their pre-screening. A very medical and perhaps intimidating term for what is basically an information-gathering process for the applicant. The meeting is also a chance for former medical clinic patients to receive their temporary health insurance card, which identifies them for their doctors. Temporary because after three months, the process for applying for financial assistance should be completed with the client either receiving help or not. During the pre-screening former patient will also receive a list of 18 mandatory items which, after speaking to the counselor, will be whittled down to the individual's necessary documents. And the sooner these documents are collected the sooner the applicant can make an appointment and return to the Department for their interview and the results. This process has come under scrutiny after Premier Dr. Ewart Brown's announced the closure of the clinic in his November Throne speech and the Ministry of Health later revealed these patients would be place on the Government's Health Insurance Plan (HIP). The closure according to Premier Brown would protect the patients dignity, however in a news conference in April he also said the salaries for staff at the clinic had ballooned to half a million dollars a year and 30 patients were taking up acute care beds to the tune of $6 million for the tax payer. Streamlining the process and having everyone apply for financial assistance would help ensure that there was no abuse of the process. And that is exactly what Ms Taylor with her staff of seven case workers, three managers, one investigative officer and one social worker are trying to do in the most sensitive manner. The process has started for more than 300 former medical clinic patients bringing the case load of the department to 1,100. Ms Taylor stressed, however, that these medical clinic patients, while they may receive extra services through HIP, would be going through the financial assistance process the same way everyone else did. "They are going to get assessed by us just like everyone else. If they can't qualify for financial assistance, if you have the means to pay for medical assistance then you should." To qualify the person must be Bermudian, a guardian for a Bermudian child and must not have more than $5,000 in any of their bank accounts. Should a senior or someone applying for financial assistance have more than $5,000 they must spend down to that amount in order to qualify. Ms Taylor, however, made it clear that their pensions would not be touched and all of this was just to ensure the process was fair for everyone. "When they come back for the intake they will leave knowing if they got it and how much they are going to get," she said. "It is hard to know what a case looks like though because every case is different and every situation is assessed on its own merits."

August 27. A local drama group was able to give back to their community in a big way, after writing and acting in a Christian production. Drama group Mosaic Too raised $2,000 from ticket sales and used a majority of the money to provide five needy families with grocery vouchers from the Market Place. In addition, the group donated books to the Bermuda Institute (BI) Library and gave $500 to help a student in need pay for their education. The members of Mosaic Too have found that giving back to the less fortunate has also been rewarding for them. Group member, Lalisha Simmons, 24, said: "We get absolutely nothing tentatively, but we get everything mentally. It has helped me a lot, made me not be so materialistic and able to recognize other people's needs and not my wants. " Mosaic Too are a drama group comprised of fifteen people, ranging in age from 15 to over 30, coming from different religious denominations throughout the Island. Though all of the members have their different talents, personalities and backgrounds they are united in their goals to give back to the community and share the gospel, explained Miss Simmons. The group was started in 2004 by Miss Simmons, 24, and Kyron Hill, 23, who were inspired after getting involved with the 'Apocalypse' drama group at Atlantic Union College. Mr. Hill said: "I had a desire to start my own drama group to put together plays on the Island. I thought it would be a good idea to get young people involved with positive activities and give back to the community." This year's play, Justice, took place on July 21 at the City Hall, and was as a "thought-provoking" play about a young man being tried for various "unethical and illegal" offences against the community. It forced the audience to ask the question: 'What is justice?' Is it up for other people to judge our mistakes or only for Jesus Christ to decide. In the past, Mosaic Too have put on three other local productions as well as one in Massachusetts, which raised money for non-perishable foods for flood victims in Haiti.

August 27. Budget Carrier Zoom Airlines cancelled its London Gatwick to Bermuda flight yesterday due to mechanical problems. Last night, The Royal Gazette received a tip saying the weekly flight was hours late. It was due to arrive in Bermuda around 2.15 p.m. yesterday. A check with airport officials revealed that the plane's mechanical problems caused the company to scrap the flight after trying to repair it. Instead, Zoom is expected to arrive at the same time tomorrow afternoon, before a 3.15 p.m. turnaround, when it will then head to New York's JFK Airport. Airport officials were unable to specify the exact cause of the mechanical setback. Zoom launched its twice-weekly service between London and Bermuda in mid-April, before later adding a route between Bermuda and New York's JFK airport. The carrier broke a long-held monopoly by British Airways when it unveiled its ultra-cheap ticket prices between the Island and London, with some round-trip tickets costing just under $500, depending on date of travel and seating. The Boeing 767-300ER aircraft it uses has 266 seats, of which 84 are premium economy and 182 economy.

August 27. On a day of music that included a performance by Bermuda's international recording artist Heather Nova, it was an eight-year-old schoolgirl who went on stage but neither sang nor played an instrument who summed up what Saturday's Picnic in the Park event was all about. Hundreds of people from across Bermuda's communities mingled and relaxed at Astwood Park on South Shore, enjoying spectacular sea views, sunshine and a diverse range of music from Island performers. But it was Kayla Travers, eight, who delivered the most poignant message when she joined Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce's Stuart Hayward on stage and read a short letter she had written to explain a 500-signature petition to save Southlands from development, signed by other children, that she had gathered. "My school would not allow me to bring the petition in to school, so I worked hard to obtain these signatures where ever I could," she told Mr. Hayward and the audience. When I spoke to kids they were all concerned about our green spaces and wanted to help protect Bermuda. Just because we can't vote doesn't mean that our voices shouldn't be heard as well. I wish the Government would stop playing around with our futures, after all we are Bermuda's future. After all our land is destroyed we can never get it back and it will be way too late for our voices to make a difference. So, please Mr. Hayward, will you help us kids save Bermuda?" Kayla was applauded and, as she left the stage, told The Royal Gazette that it had taken about a month to collect the signatures. Her school did not want to be caught up in any political row so it asked her not to collect signatures at school. Kayla, accompanied by her mother Karen, said she used her own time to gather support from youngsters who want to see the 37 acres of wilderness at Southlands preserved rather than built on to create a hotel, as is currently planned. Mr. Hayward, who accepted the petition, said: "It is extremely encouraging when we talk about saving open spaces for the future to see children, for whom we are doing this, wanting to get involved. It is inspiring and encouraging and reminds us adults that we should really kick in and help. To have a youngster lead the way like this does a lot for this particular cause." The concert and picnic to promote the work of BEST and the importance of preserving open spaces was hailed a success by Mr. Hayward, who also briefly performed, providing recorder accompaniment to Heather Nova. He said: "People really appreciate the parklands. They have come to share the park, listen to good music and enjoy some food. But we take much of our open spaces for granted. Bermuda does not have enough protected open space and most of what we have is just an application away from being developed." As well as Heather Nova, Picnic in the Park featured musical performances by Val Sherwood, Jackie Ayers and her band, Undread, Flookie, an acoustic Olybhosh, Ras Georgis and Joy Barnum.

August 27. Six postal stamps have been unveiled by the Bermuda Philatelic Bureau to commemorate 100 years of Scouting as well as the one-hundred-and-fiftieth birthday of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of Scouting. It was officially announced on Thursday, as the 'Scouting 2007 commemorative stamps,' and represents the fourth commemorative stamp issue for the year. This collection continues the Bermuda Post Office's efforts to portray all facets of Bermuda's heritage, culture and history, Government said. The stamps represent the following: 35c stamp, Bishop's Own Cubs at Government House; 70c stamp, Lord Baden Powell inspecting Cubs, Front Street Hamilton; 85c stamp, Scouts on parade, Front Street Hamilton; $1.10 stamp, Dance of Kaa, Government House Souvenir Sheet; $1.25 stamp, Bermuda Scout Badge; $2.00 stamp, Lord Baden Powell inspecting Cubs, Front Street Hamilton. Orders may be prepaid for collection or mailing on the day of issue at the General Post Office in Hamilton or any sub-Post Office.

Lord Baden Powell inspecting Cubs in Bermuda 1930Lord Baden Powell inspecting Scouts in Bermuda  in 1930

August 27. White, female and with an English accent, Jane Correia is not your typical Progressive Labour Party candidate. But breaking down the social barriers has been a theme of her life. She was the first woman Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and is now a contracts administrator in the male-dominated world of construction. Indeed both those experiences have armed her for the political fight which at first blush seems an odd choice for the shy and unassuming 44-year-old mother of two. She might not seem like someone likely to thrive in the hurly-burly of political debate. She disagrees: "I think it is something I will be able to deal with given the experience from the yacht club. "There were times when there were contracts that got sticky, my philosophy is if you tell the truth and stick to the truth you will never go wrong. That would be the way I would conduct myself in the House." And she has already been embroiled in controversy. Three years ago the Opposition attacked Government for awarding her husband's firm Correia Construction a contract to repair the Dockyard foreshore damaged in Hurricane Fabian without putting it out to open tender. Then Works and Engineering Minister Ashfield DeVent had said no other bids had been sought because other marine building contractors had been tied up or had lacked the resources to do the job. And earlier this year the Mid-Ocean News ran an article claiming that Government had given Correia Construction the bulk of the building work for the new multi-million pound cruise ship pier in Dockyard. At that time, her husband, company boss Dennis Correia, had insisted the tendering process for the cruise ship pier had been carried out correctly and that his friendship with the Premier had not been a factor in any decision, despite claims other people had not been given sufficient time to put together rival bids. Correia Construction has also been given the Government contract to build a new vehicle emissions test centre but Mrs. Correia said it had tendered for that contract. She said of the Fabian repairs: "We had done an awful lot of work for Dockyard. We built the cruise ship dock and terminal there and it was felt we had the most knowledge of how it had been constructed to repair it. We tender any Government contract just like anyone else — but this was an emergency situation, there had been a hurricane." But the scrutiny continues. "There is nothing to find. We are a reputable company and we are reputable people." Earlier this month she was announced as PLP candidate to fight the United Bermuda Party stronghold of Smith's South. She said: "I have been involved in the labour force throughout my life. My grandfather was a plumber, my father in the UK was involved in the roofing business and I ended up married to a construction worker. They are blue collar jobs. It seems just like a natural fit." Despite this the firm is not unionized. "None of the men have asked to be unionized," she said. "We feel we treat them very fairly. If they asked to be unionized we would have to follow the law." She said she had only stepped forward to join the PLP after a lot of soul searching. "I joined the PLP because I felt very welcome at any meeting. There are some very, very bright young minds and I felt that their philosophy was along the lines of my own." Some have argued the parties differ little in their ideological approach. Probed on what UBP policies she disagreed with, she said: "It would not be fair for me to comment because I haven't been to any of their meetings." Of the PLP's policies which attracted her, she said: "They are keen to see international business continue here." She is excited by the Southlands project. "The PLP are keen to see the racial barriers broken down. Education is key." She said the PLP was keen on Bermudianisation but if posts couldn't be filled then work permit holders would be employed. "I think it was a tremendous thing they did in introducing long-term residency because they recognized the plight of those who had been here for a long time and were left in no man's land." Indeed Mrs. Correia herself was left in no man's land for a long time. Despite moving to Bermuda from England with her mother when she was seven, she only got status and the right to vote three years ago through her marriage to Dennis. Educated at Gilbert Institute and Bermuda High School for girls, Mrs. Correia did a secretarial course in London and came back and joined Appleby, Spurling and Kempe where she started in the typing pool, before becoming a paralegal and then moving into marketing. In her spare time she did volunteer work at both hospitals but she said her work with Meals on Wheels as a teen was an eye-opener to the poverty which existed in Bermuda. "I really didn't realize people lived in such poor conditions in Bermuda. It is only when you see it for yourself you realize just how bad it is. We were going all through the back of town. People were living in squalor. It was mind-blowing. I couldn't believe in a country such as Bermuda people were living in such dreadful conditions." But the experience did not cause her to get politically involved. It's only within the last four to five years has she become interested in party politics. Asked why, she said: "People complain and just don't do anything about it. I have to confess I was one of those. So, instead of complaining, I decided to get involved." She signed up to the party last October and told Premier Ewart Brown she wanted to stand as a candidate. The Premier is a personal friend of the family — she says she met him and a host of Government ministers after inviting them to events at the RBYC where she was Commodore from 2004-2006. "I respected them and felt comfortable with them. One of my goals when I set out to become Commodore was to make the club more representative of the community, to make people feel welcome. I believe in this day and age there really shouldn't be anywhere where people feel they are not able to go in and feel welcome." She said the Yacht club supported that concept and welcomed the slave ship replica Amistad when it came to Bermuda. Some have questioned how someone can become a candidate so soon after joining a party when other loyal party workers have been forced out despite years of services. She said: "I wouldn't say I have been fast-tracked. My husband and I have been involved quietly with the PLP for many years. We did the Jones' Village playground at cost when one of their candidates approached us." Some suspect her speedy elevation smacks of racial tokenism as the PLP seeks to broaden its appeal. But she said: "Just because I am white isn't the reason I am joining the PLP. I would like to encourage other whites to join the PLP. Only because I think it would be more representative of our community which I believe is basically 60/40 and I would like to eventually see the PLP platform become that. But that is my opinion and my vision." Former Cabinet Minister Renee Webb has lamented there has been behind-the-scenes resentment about the PLP's new high-flying white recruits because of their race. But Mrs. Correia has yet to experience it. Indeed she produces a pile of printed emails of support from PLP stalwarts backing her candidacy. And if hostility comes about she will meet it head-on by talking it through with her critics. Talking things through seems to be another key strand to her philosophy. She backs the Premier's Big Conversation on race and has been hosting small groups of women to chew over race topics along with PLP campaign chairperson Dawn Simmons. "Everyone felt extremely comfortable — what we thought would last maybe an hour lasted six hours. So the next session was a barbecue." Visitors would have marveled at her sumptuous home which boasts a swimming pool, a tree house and plenty of room for her large dogs to run off excess energy. But, speaking amid barrage of noise from her chirruping caged birds, she indicates the surroundings are the result of effort rather than privilege. The home has been hugely renovated in the last few years. "Because my husband's name is Portuguese my mother-in-law had to purchase it in her name — McGregor — in the 1970s." In the early days the furniture was boxes and crates as the family made do on Mrs. Correia's salary as a paralegal while her husband successfully fought off cancer. Her husband's background also plays a part in the list of issues she wants to tackle. "The Portuguese have been marginalized and it is part of my political platform." She conceded few Portuguese had been drawn to the PLP despite often being overlooked under the previous administration. I don't understand why that is and I would hope to encourage them to join." Asked about the issues that matter to her most she said she is interested in youth and boosting technical education which has been lagging. "We are losing fine craftsman by not offering what was offered — such as the woodwork class, or the metal shop or the cooking class and sewing class. When I was at school this was all offered in the senior years. We don't have enough good tradesmen anymore — we have an excellent programme in the National Training Board but if you could at least start people in their younger years." But to make a real difference she will need to get elected and she concedes winning it will be an uphill battle to overturn Cole Simons' 400-plus majority in Smith's South. So far she has been canvassing by phone because she suffers from chronic back pain which has led to a spinal stimulator, complete with battery, being inserted in her body to determine which nerves are causing the trouble. Recently one of the wires was disconnected and had to be fixed. The pain has eased somewhat but she still shakes during spasms. She is building her strength up in preparation to hit the pavements during the campaign. But she is used to hard-work, putting in up to 80 hours a week at Correia Construction which is a half-minute walk from her Devonshire home. She enjoys the tendering process, despite the massive pressure, knowing failure will result in work drying up and eventual layoffs while getting too much work will put a strain on manpower. The firm has grown from a dozen employees to around 60 in little over a decade making it one of Bermuda's biggest companies. The firm is truly a family affair with her daughter Danielle, 25, employed as a truck driver there. She might not win her political battle but will be shocked if the PLP lose. Either way she says she is in it for the long haul and is not just there for Dr. Brown. "I have a great deal of respect for the Premier — I think he is a man who gets things done. But I have a great deal of respect for other members of the PLP — like Paula Cox. I am very excited about it, I have had a lot of support from PLP members. I don't just plan to make it a one-off and drop out."

August 27. Consumer Affairs is to hire extra staff as it struggles to cope with a soaring caseload. Complaints rose seven percent in 2006 to just under 1,000 and are already on the up this year. Gripes against the auto industry again topped the list in 2006 with a 19 percent hike while complaints also poured in over other trades. Recurring themes were:

Consumer Affairs Executive Officer Karen Marshall said the main areas behind the 985 complaints were over automotive, construction, retail and landlord/tenant disputes. Currently Consumer Affairs has three staff but is now hiring another enforcement officer and an education officer. "Statistics clearly show there's a need," said Mrs. Marshall who said there were hours of work behind sorting out each complaint. And Government is also planning to beef up the law although some of the legislation has been a long time in the works. In Bermuda any individuals can declare themselves to be a tradesperson without taking the time to learn all the necessary skills. Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Wayne Perinchief said a task force would licence all types of trades with new entrants needing courses while long-serving reputable trades people would be grandfathered or given an oral test. Measures to tighten up procedures on quotes are still at the Attorney General chambers as Government lawyers assessed what piece of legislation to put it under. People often chose an estimate at the middle or lower end, said Ms Marshall. "But by the time the work is over the bill is triple the cost of what the estimate was - causing a debt for the consumer which is un-planned for. It caused havoc in building work  They are in the middle of the construction and the money runs out." Full disclosure measures are also in the pipeline so people would know if they were buying a 'new' car which had sat on a lot for five years or had been returned by a previous customer and was not sold as second-hand but as new. Ms Marshall said the Transport Control Department had tightened up that loophole. Consumer Affairs report that two in five car windshields are shattered en route to Bermuda. Disclosure is about if an item gets dropped on the docks and is repaired before it gets sold - those sort of things the consumer is entitled to know."

August 27. Listening to people complain all day — it's not a job for the faint-hearted. The better they do, the more people complain. That's the odd reality for the hard-pressed staff of Consumer Affairs who have to traverse a potential minefield of angry customers and resentful retailers on a daily basis. Executive Director Karen Marshall said: "Sometimes it can be overwhelming in the end. There are days I have to tell my staff to talk a walk — people are becoming violent. Sometimes you can take it really personally. But if we weren't doing a good job we wouldn't be growing and people would stop ringing." And the work doesn't cease when staff are on a break. "We get stopped in the street. You could be having dinner and they come up to your table and tell you their problems. I have even had people figure out where I live and come to my home." Enforcement Officer Rhonda Daniels pointed out that Consumer Affairs wasn't there to beat up retailers but to ensure both buyers and sellers behaved properly. "You can have unethical business practices but also unethical consumers as well." People in the middle of a dispute have impersonated Consumer Affairs in a bid to hoodwink businesses into refunding money. Switching is another scourge practiced by shameless shoppers. "With ladies our tops don't always match our bottoms so they switch the pants from a size eight to go with the top of a size ten." Some have taken price labels from cheaper goods and put them on more expensive items. Some deliberately tamper with a faulty product and say it is faulty or defective. But for everyone who lies there's 20 who really need our help." Ms Marshall added: "Consumers are very lazy. They don't like to do their homework. They see something and buy it. They see it cheaper somewhere else and automatically think they are entitled to get their money back from the other store. People don't compare pricing or products." In the US shoppers who habitually demand refunds end up on a blacklist said Ms Daniels. The 'serial returners' phenomenon has yet to hit Bermuda. "But we do have the problem where consumers repeatedly make the same mistake." Consumer Affairs said householders needed to find out if a tradesmen was going to charge for travelling time, or the extra person who comes with them, or to dispose of the old item they were replacing — before they got a nasty shock when the bill came. Consumers are urged to get their terminology right as it could save them cash. An estimate is a rough ball-park figure on what something might cost. A quote is where some serious consideration of costs and time scales has been done. A law currently being worked on will stipulate how much a vendor can reasonably exceed their quote by. Another consumer-generated problem is young people signing up for cell phones without reading their contracts. When they defaulted on payment their name was sent to a collection agency who took an additional cut, pushing the debt up further. "We have an increase of calls on that. Teenagers talk on the phone all the time and then have a phenomenal cell phone bill they have to pay," said Ms Daniels. "People want us to assist and complain the fees are too high. If your bill is a $100 you get a bill from the collection agency saying you now owe $130." She urged those in the red to contact their cell provider and work out a repayment plan. Once it reaches the debt collection agency there was little that can be done. Consumer Affairs has also run campaigns for younger people warning them about the dangers of identity theft, falling behind on their rent and modifying their cars in a way which would compromise with the warranty. Car complaints are legion. Flashy autos built for belting down European motorways are a nightmare to maintain after months of chugging along Bermuda's gridlocked roads. Ms Marshall said: "The problem we have is Bermuda consumers are demanding so much more. High end cars which are really not suitable for Bermuda because of our stop and go. It is just a nightmare. "There is going to have to come a point when Bermuda retailers are going to have to stop meeting the demand. You go in five o'clock traffic at a snail's pace. Those things are just not good for the car." Replacement parts are exorbitant and services are needed more regularly. "People are just floored when they get their bills — even for just a service its $1,000. It's craziness." Peddlers can be another problem. Consumer Affairs are concerned some are getting their goods from middlemen rather than manufacturers, meaning warrantees don't hold. It's an important point when you are buying expensive mopeds or washing machines from a container. Consumers still have a right of refund if they buy poor quality goods from peddlers. But the consumer will have to take the peddler to court under the Sales of Good Act — and the difficulty is finding them again. Purchasers should buy items in their original packaging because it will often have important instructions, urged Consumer Affairs. Street sellers have brought in electrical items without ground wires from countries without safety standards. "They can harm people — we saw electrical saws without safety guards or ground wires," said Ms Marshall. Such dangerous kit was turning up on building sites where damp conditions could turn it lethal. Ms Marshall said: "Everyone has a right to earn a living and we don't want to disenfranchise anybody but there is a due diligence that needs to be done. If we have a recall it's very hard to find who sold what." And Ms Daniels added: "We are not being punitive. We are trying to ensure the products being sold to Bermuda residents are of a high standard." Now there are moves afoot — via the Small Business Development Corporation — to have designated 'peddlers areas' which will allow easier enforcement but also give the street traders themselves protection by giving them safety in numbers against any criminals looking to take advantage. People buying stuff at yard sales and on websites take their chances but it's not a case of 'anything goes' if the stakes are high. "But if you bought a second-hand boat for $100,000 and (there is a problem) with it you have recourse in court," said Ms Marshall. Consumers Affairs take a lot of complaints about Cablevision but have to refer them to the Telecommunications ministry. Ms Marshall points out: "Under their licensing all their channels have to be off for 24 hours, not just the one." Consumer Affairs sits on boards of ministries to press the case of the consumer and has amended numerous acts to make them more consumer friendly. "A lot of laws were really one-sided toward the retailers," said Ms Marshall. Landlord/tenant disputes are another large source of complaints. Consumers Affairs see it all — from tenants determined not to pay to landlords who enter their tenants apartments to watch TV and help themselves to the contents of the 'fridge. Handling recalls is another important function. Last year there were 122 such cases. Earlier this month there was a recall on Chinese toys and toothpaste. Ms Marshall said: "We have been saying for almost two years now we have a big problem with China — there really isn't the quality control, it's not the same standard as the rest of the world. "That's why you had Mattel with around 800 products which had to be recalled." But retailers are keen to buy Chinese products because they are cheaper. At the heart of the work of the Consumer Affairs is sorting out disputes. Everything from customers wanting to know if they can get a refund because they have changed their mind (the answer is no), to people who have had builders do a shoddy job and flee with their money. Complainers are urged to be truthful and allow reasonable time to get the problem fixed. "Consumers need to understand that every complaint takes hours and hours of investigation," said Ms Marshall who reports her team gets up to 15 complaints a day. And the caseload has also increased with customers wanting advice pre-purchase. Consumer Affairs promise to return calls within two business days but the hope is to improve on that with more staff. Dispute resolution requires the patience of a saint and the deduction skills of a detective said Ms Marshall. "You are going to get three different versions of the same story from everybody. You have got to somehow be able to identify the key issue. You are going to get a lot of anger and emotion. People not sticking to the facts but giving you everything under the sun which is not necessary. You try to get a win-win. A compromise where both parties are happy with the outcome. It takes a special type of person to keep going amid the daily flak but it has its own rewards. My desk is piled high with cases. If you didn't make a difference it would be the most depressing job in the world. A lot of people couldn't handle a job like this. But when you get it right people are really grateful. That makes it all worthwhile." 

August 27. Bermuda could have its own celebrity chef soon. Island resident Ian Friedman, who was an executive chef at Cafe Cairo and Barracuda Grill, is currently in the final stage of interviews for Gordon Ramsay's FOX TV reality show "Hell's Kitchen". But he is also working on his own cooking show aimed at men. He has already shot the pilot of "Bachelor Pad" with business partner Scott Krol and they are shopping it to TV channels such as Bravo, Fox, Food Network and Spike TV. 

August 27. Police urged the community to come forward with any information about the murder of national footballer Shaki Crockwell. Mr. Crockwell was found dead at 10.22 p.m. on the railway tracks near Loyal Hill, Devonshire, on Friday. He was shot in the neck. Police were tipped off by a mysterious phone call from an individual who did not leave his or her name. Police are urging that person to contact them and they are also asking anyone who spoke with the Mr. Crockwell in the days leading up to his death to contact them. Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley echoed the Police's call and urged the community to pull together and provide the police force with any information they have about the shooting. Mr. Crockwell worked at Dunkley's Dairy for a few years as a merchandising salesperson and Mr. Dunkley extended his condolences to the Crockwell family and his friends. "It has been a shock, the tragic way that he died," Mr. Dunkley said. "It is disappointing that we have lost another young person to violence. "I am appealing for people to work with the Police. It seems young people don't go to the Police with information in these circumstances. But we need to, as a community, work with the police. It does not benefit anybody if justice does not take the proper course. We have seen a rise in violent crime on this Island and its not good for tourism or international business but it is also bad for our young people who are growing up in a society where this is going on."

August 27. Detectives have today urged witnesses to break their silence and come forward to help after a 25-year-old man was shot dead on Friday. Shaki Crockwell was found lying in a pool of blood along the Railway Trail near Loyal Hill in Devonshire. He had received a single bullet wound to the neck. It emerged today that Mr. Crockwell, who was wearing a bullet proof vest when he died, was due to appear in Magistrates' Court this morning on charges of grievous bodily harm and having a bladed weapon. Police say they were alerted to his body by a 911 call from a member of the public but officers have been unable to trace the caller. They are appealing for witnesses to come forward with information. At a press conference today Det. Supt. Randy Liverpool said: It is important for members of the community to take an active role in assisting the Police, bearing in mind we can only act on matters with their assistance. Witnesses need to do their civic duty and come forward so this level of violence in our community can be arrested. Mr. Crockwell, who lived in Hamilton Parish, was wearing jeans, a green hooded top and a protective vest, when he was gunned down at 10.23 p.m. The father-of-two was a former striker with the National football team and the Bermuda Hogges, and also played for the Boulevard Blazers. Anyone with information is urged to call the Police on 299 4239 or the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 1 800 623 8477. 

August 27. Police arrested six people in the early hours of Saturday morning for swimming naked and trespassing on the property of the Bacardi International headquarters on Pitts Bay Road. At around 4 a.m., officers arrived on scene only to discover a group of 20 people swimming in the company's landmark fountains — some only had on underwear while others were nude. The suspects' charges will include indecent exposure. Officers were not able to apprehend the other 14 people, as they managed to escape. Inquiries are ongoing.

August 27. Guns have been around in Bermuda for many years. According to the Bermuda Police Service, from 2003 to the present, there have been 37 incidents of firearms offences. But there have also been two gun-related murders on the Island during the past three years. Jason Lightbourne, 18, was the last victim of a gun shooting, on July 23 last year. He was shot and killed while behind the wheel of a car on Ord Road, in Paget. To date his killers have never been brought to justice, two people were arrested in connection with the crime, but they were eventually released. Police have poured many resources into the investigation, but claim to be road blocked by a lack of participation from potential witnesses. Chief Inspector Tracey Adams said at the time: "We are significantly hindered from progressing as a result of information that is being withheld, despite our persistence to seek the truth." It's been speculated that Mr. Lightbourne's murder was gang related. In another case, on April 27, 2003, college student Shaundae Jones, 20, was shot in the chest at point blank range in Dockyard. The motive behind his killing is unclear, but Mr. Jones was a witness in the murder trial of Tekle Zion Mallory and his best friend. At the time of the shooting Mr. Jones and his friends had just left Club Malabar when someone rushed up to the car he was in and shot. Mr. Jones' mother, Marsha Jones had stated previously: "I just can't see any more children die. "I feel like all of these children are mine, and I'm not talking about children from Warwick, Southampton or Somerset. I'm talking about everywhere." In June this year, an American couple, staying at a guest property, was robbed and beaten by gun-touting masked men. Police have since remained tight-lipped about that investigation. It is understood they were staying at an east end guesthouse, though Police refuse to say where exactly. In the early hours of the morning, the thugs struck, threatening and beating the man and his wife before making off with cash, jewellery and a digital camera. The husband suffered fractured ribs and his wife suffered bruising to her face. Both were treated at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and flew home later that day. In a special report a year ago, this paper had reported the going rate for guns on the streets was around $3,000 in what was described a seller's market with owners more keen to rent them out than permanently lose valuable protection. One well-placed source told The Royal Gazette: "Some people have guns and won't let them go but some who have them see it as a business. The guns usually come in with drug shipments. There are 101 different ways. "People monitor, if they see a lot of Police activity at the Airport they use the ports, if they see a lot of activity on the docks they use the Airport. A lot of them use it for protection," the source added, "not necessarily to have gun fights. The thinking is if the other guy has got one, I want one."

August 28. Amid the red and black graffiti paying tribute to slain Shaki Crockwell, one word said it all - why? The 25-year-old was gunned down on Friday with a single bullet wound to the back of the neck. Police discovered his body in a pool of blood on a remote stretch of the Railway Trail. At the time of his death Mr. Crockwell was unarmed but wore a bulletproof vest, suggesting that in his final days he feared a violent attempt on his life. Yesterday, detectives could not rule on a motive and refused to comment whether his murder was related to an alleged assault with a machete earlier this month. Mr. Crockwell was due to appear in Magistrates' Court yesterday on charges of grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed weapon. His father Danny Crockwell last night hit out at the machete allegations, saying his son was putting his difficult times behind him. His lawyer Charles Richardson said he had denied the charges. Speaking at a press conference, Detective Superintendent Randy Liverpool said: "At this point in this inquiry we cannot connect his death to any appearance in court." Police added that rumors of gang or drug-related activity were "speculation". "We do not have information to that effect. We cannot speculate and will pursue all lines of inquiry," said Police Commissioner George Jackson. As a former striker for the national team, the Bermuda Hogges, and captain of the Boulevard Blazers, Mr. Crockwell was renowned for his talents on the football pitch. Yesterday the Crockwell family home in Middletown was surrounded by graffiti emblazoned on the roads and walls of buildings. The tributes said 'RIP Shak', 'Blaze' and 'Stay hard and kick it', but also featured the 'Superman' sign - Mr. Crockwell's symbol after his goal-scoring victory practice of pulling up his shirt and running around the pitch, arms extended. Among the messages from family and friends were the words 'One Shaq, gone in body, here in spirit, always in our hearts' - testament to the outpouring of respect and affection in his neighbourhood. Police Commissioner Jackson said yesterday: "On behalf of the Bermuda Police Service I would like to express our condolences to the family of Shaki Crockwell in light of their recent loss. Another young Bermudian has been murdered in what appears to be part of the growing prevalence of growing violence in our community." Det. Supt. Liverpool of the Serious and Organized Crime Division outlined the facts behind the killing, saying: "At approximately 10.23 p.m. on the evening of August 24, Police received a 911 call from a member of the public notifying us that a body was lying on the Railway Trail at the Loyal Hill area of Devonshire. Within minutes Police responded to that call and discovered the body of Shaki Eugene Crockwell, 25-years-old, from Hamilton Parish, lying in an unresponsive state in a pool of blood. At that time it was noted that Mr. Crockwell was wearing a protective vest of some sort. He was ruled dead by a doctor shortly thereafter. Several lines of inquiry are being pursued at this moment," he said. "At this time we would like to appeal to anyone who has been in contact with the deceased during the days leading up to his untimely death, and especially anyone to whom he might have expressed some kind of concern for his safety, taking into consideration at the time the body was found he was wearing some sort of protective vest." Police are particularly anxious to trace the 911 caller who alerted them to Mr. Crockwell's body. "We are very keen to speak to that person and ask that he comes forward to speak to us," said Det. Supt. Liverpool. They also want to hear from anyone who was in the Loyal Hill area between 8.35 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. on Friday. "We would like to appeal to anyone with any information of any vehicle seen going into or leaving that area during that time," said Det. Supt. Liverpool. "I would like to thank the members of the community who have assisted us so far. We've had several people who've cooperated with the Police and provided information. We have a few lines of inquiry and they will be pursued with tenacity until we can identify who is the perpetrator of this heinous crime." Police Commissioner Jackson said: "It is important for members of the community to take an active role in assisting the Police, bearing in mind we can only act on matters with their assistance. Witnesses need to do their civic duty and come forward so this level of violence in our community can be arrested." Last night Mr. Crockwell's father Danny said: "I'm still shaken up, it's like a dream and I haven't woken up yet. Twenty-five years I had him and it's just gone like that." Shawn Crockwell, United Bermuda Party chairman who is a second cousin to Shaki, said: "We were quite close. He was a fun guy and was the love of his father's life. The underlying issue here is the growing trend of violent crime in Bermuda and use of firearms. What we have to do now is ensure that his loss isn't in vain and that we can use it in some way to resolve conflicts without the use of violence." Anglican Bishop of Bermuda the Rt. Red. Ewen Ratteray said: "I am deeply shocked and saddened by the death of this young man. And I assure his family and friends of my prayers for them at this sad time. Those who know about this and other similar incidents know what they ought to do, that is, have the courage to speak. Concerted efforts need to be made to eliminate guns from our society. The community has to make it clear by all means possible that it abhors such violence and will not tolerate it any longer." Mr. Crockwell, who lived in Hamilton Parish, was wearing jeans and a green hooded top at the time of his death. Anyone with information is urged to call the Police on 299 4239 or the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 1 800 623 8477.

August 28. He is the man in charge of the biggest Bermuda-owned life insurance company in the domestic market, which also happens to be the second largest local company in terms of capitalization on the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Argus Group chief Gerald Simons has headed the organisation since 1998. Although he did not join the ever-growing life insurance, pensions and investments company until 1971, the Bermudian's route to the top started back in 1966. At that time he was the first black teller to work for Butterfield Bank in St. George's. The bank even took the unusual step of providing him with a Mobylette scooter so he could make his daily commute from Warwick to the East End. His grandmother one day took a call from someone called Stewart who asked if Mr. Simons would get in touch with him at his office. "I did not have a friend called Stewart who worked in an office, but I called and it turned out to be JEP Stewart, who was founder and managing director of Argus Group," recalled Mr. Simons. The Argus boss had been alerted to the young Mr. Simons by a mutual friend, Colonel Tucker at Bermuda Regiment. The Colonel had been asked if he knew of any bright Bermudian recruits with potential to reach management level in the local company. Mr. Simons had not only secured the runner-up best Regiment Recruit award of 1966, but had notably required leave of service to take his A-level Chemistry and Maths exams. He was already heading for the University of Manitoba on a Government teacher-training scholarship, but Mr. Stewart made a counter offer of a scholarship on the proviso that he would return to Bermuda to work with Argus. "He said if I came back to Bermuda and passed the relevant insurance exams I could become a manager and possibly CEO," said Mr. Simons. He studied economics at the University of Western Ontario and worked at Argus as a summer student, moving around the health, life and general insurance areas, this was to prove useful in later years as it meant he was one of the few managers with experience across the board at Argus. While a student he was involved in the university's campus newspaper, where he pursued one of his life-long hobbies photography, and he was also a member of the debating group and the choir. In 1971 Mr. Simons became a full-time employee with Argus, working as a clerk and then as a salesman and supervisor. His photographic skills came in useful when a re-shoot of pictures for the 1973 company report was needed. When Peter Parker, who had acted as Mr. Simons' mentor at the company, resigned in 1977, it was Mr. Simons who moved up to the role of manager of Bermuda Life Insurance Company. He had by this stage completed the Life Office Management Association (LOMA) programme and been made a Fellow. Life became very busy for Mr. Simons from 1982 onwards as he assumed the role of group sales manager and chaired a number of internal committees. At the same time he entered politics, first as an appointed senator and later elected as a MP in 1985. He returned to the Senate in 1993 and finally retired from politics in 1995 when Premier John Swan stepped down. During his years in Government he had been, amongst other responsibilities, Education Minister, Minister for Community and Cultural Affairs and Minister for the Environment. Juggling a leading company position with a political life seems a tall order, but it was one Mr. Simons was willing to fulfill - and with the blessing of Argus, which had, and continues to have, a supportive culture towards it and its staff serving the community. "Bermuda suffers from a shortage of people, so there is a requirement to double-up. It is typical of a small island," said Mr. Simons. "Argus recognizes the duty of each of us to serve the community and we are encouraged to do so. For me it was a demanding combination, especially when holding down ministerial responsibilities. Around Budget time I was spending four-and-a-half days a week in Government." Leaving politics in the mid-1990s, at a time when he had added the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) initials to his qualifications, also put him in pole position to become CEO of the company. In 1996 he was awarded the OBE by the Queen and the following year was named Argus' CEO designate, taking on the full role in 1998. "Being the head of the organisation gives an opportunity to put a stamp on things. One of the things I try to do is create an environment in which every employee can give of his or her best," said Mr. Simons. He meets every new employee and encourages them to share their positive past work experiences with their new team members. "We have recruited people who have worked in fast food and they've become junior clerks and then moved into the international business sector. One of the concerns is losing good employees to the international sector, but that sector has grown so large that we can hire from them so it works both ways." When he took over as CEO Argus was made a profit of $11 million and had 94 employees, today it has around 175 employees and made a profit in the past year of $37m. Mr. Simons is enjoying his stint as head of company and has no retirement plans as yet. 

August 28. Two incidents caused Gerald Simons to take his health and fitness seriously as he reached his 40s. Keen to take his two young sons out on the water Gerald Simons bought an outboard motor to fit to his boat but, unlike the character on the publicity material for the motor who seemed capable of carrying it with ease, Mr. Simons struggled to lift the thing. Around the same time, aged 40, he had set out to play tennis with a friend and within 10 minutes was sitting on a bench trying to catch his breath. "I wondered what I would be like at 50 - if I made it. So I joined a gym and started working on my fitness," he said. The health drive eventually led him to compete in the May 24 Marathon Derby race, not once, but four times during the 1990s. Healthy living is something that Argus Group promotes for its employers and its customers. CEO Mr. Simons lives that philosophy. "Nowadays I do a walking and I have taken up golf in anticipation of my retirement. We are going to defend our TB & Cancer tournament trophy at Belmont Hills next month. Over the past eight years (as CEO) I have received these invitations to play golf and I'd look around to see who could make a team, then it occurred to me that they really like it when the head of the company shows up. So I took it up, my wife plays it much more seriously however." His other main pastimes are photography and choral singing. In the early 1970s he worked closely with the National Trust taking pictures of the early Palm Sunday walks and promoting its work. His choral singing has been a lifelong pursuit, including the church chorus at St. Mary's Church, Berkeley Institute choir, president of the choir of University of Western Ontario and today as a member of the Wesleyan Methodists' Ambassadors of Harmony. He also enjoys snorkeling, gardening and cooking and is married to Sheilagh Robertson. The couple have two sons, Duncan and Andrew, both of whom are now in their 20s.

August 28. Bermuda Hogges president Shaun Goater yesterday said the death of former Hogges and national team striker Shaki Crockwell had left the football community in shock. Goater and coach Kyle Lightbourne contacted all Mr. Crockwell's Hogges team-mates to break the news and offer words of comfort over the weekend. He said all the Hogges players had indicated they would show up for his funeral to show support for his devastated family. Former Manchester City star Goater learned about Mr. Crockwell's death when a friend telephoned him at 8 a.m. on Saturday. "I was like: 'Are you serious?' I got on the phone and called Kyle, who hadn't even known, and we both started calling the team," said Goater. "We said that we wanted all the boys to attend his funeral because he was part of our inaugural season. We will support his family in any way we can. It's a shock to the football community. He was so into his football; dedicated to his football. He was bubbly: that was his character. When the team was not playing so well, he would get everyone else going. He was the life and soul of the dressing room. That was some of his attributes. That's why we got him involved with the Hogges." Police say Mr. Crockwell was shot in the neck and killed on the Railway Trail in Devonshire on Friday night. His friends and family say the tragedy happened as Mr. Crockwell was trying to put a difficult past behind him. Yesterday, Goater echoed Lightbourne's call for other young sportsmen on the Island to learn the lesson to steer clear of confrontation. "I have no idea why somebody might have done what they have done," he said. "I just try to pass on to these players: you have the opportunity, whatever you do, to be involved in something positive. This is what we are able to offer our players. You get to do what you love. Because we are playing football everyday, everyday, you are staying fit so you can't go out. I just hope that if there's anyone in any situation like that, that they see it and think of Shaki. I think he was trying to move away from the crowd. I hope the younger ones can learn from this and hopefully make good decisions." Sammy DeGraff played football with Mr. Crockwell since the pair were youngsters and was his team-mate for both the national side and Bermuda Hogges. "I just came back on the Island and a friend of mine called me and said he had been shot. I couldn't believe it," said DeGraff. "People have been calling everyone, shocked. It's just kind of like: 'Man, why did that have to happen?' That's life I guess. He was trying to get himself together and starting to come into his own. He was a joker, a very sociable kind of guy, easy to get along with. It's just unfortunate." Referring to Mr. Crockwell's progress on the football field, where he had begun to fulfill his early promise, DeGraff said: "He had a good domestic season and he started to become a regular in the national team. "He's going to be missed, not just by Boulevard (Blazers), but by Bermuda." 

August 28. The murder of Shaki Crockwell has pushed the lack of a witness protection programme on the Island back to the forefront. Yesterday detectives appealed for witnesses to break their silence, reminding them of their "civic duty" to report information. A culture of silence envelopes Bermuda, and for the families of those murdered, they can spend years waiting for justice. The parents of Shaundae Jones, 20, and Jason Lightbourne, 18, are still waiting for witnesses to come forward. Mr. Jones was shot in the chest leaving a nightclub at Dockyard on April 27, 2003. Mr. Lightbourne was gunned down in Ord Road, Paget, just over a year ago, on July 23, 2006. Despite a $50,000 reward and guarantee of anonymity, no one has yet come forward with information leading to Mr. Lightbourne's killer. Detectives in Bermuda say they are constantly frustrated at the community's silence towards violent crime. Yesterday Detective Superintendent Randy Liverpool encouraged the Government to further their efforts towards establishing a witness protection scheme. Det. Supt. Liverpool said: "It is well known that we have been having difficulties with witnesses wanting to come forward in an inquiry. The Police Service would love to find a way to change that and a lot of consultation is being looked at the moment. A witness protection scheme is one of the things being considered and that is something we would welcome if it would encourage people to come forward." Shawn Crockwell, United Bermuda Party chairman and a second cousin of Shaki Crockwell, said: "In a small community it's always difficult and people can't be relocated so easily on Bermuda. "If the Government does have a proposal that could provide better protection, I would certainly welcome it, but it has to be protection that is tangible and real." In May, the Ministry of Justice organized a conference aimed at 'Modernizing the Criminal Justice system in Bermuda'. It discussed implementing a 'No Witness, No Justice' victim and witness care programme on the Island, following a similar initiative in the UK in 2003. At the time Justice Minister and Attorney General Philip Perinchief said vulnerable witnesses and victims of crime could be moved abroad prior to trials to prevent intimidation. Continued protection may also be considered under legislative measures to improve the Island's criminal justice system. A Government spokeswoman said last night that a national victim and witness care programme was under review. She said: "A committee has been formed to look at establishing a 'No Witness, No Justice' programme and a victim and witness care unit." 

August 28. The lawyer of slain national footballer Shaki Crockwell has hit out at the reprisal culture which has led to a recent spate of gun killings which he said often had the marks of planned executions. And Charles Richardson said pressure was on the Police to crack the latest case after failing to solve the last two shooting murders — the slaying of 18-year-old Jason Lightbourne in Paget last July and the murder of college student Shaundae Jones in Dockyard in 2003. Mr. Richardson appeared in court yesterday as the Department of Public Prosecutions went through the formality of dropping charges against Mr. Crockwell for possessing a bladed article and wounding. Charges which he had denied, and which the victim's father last night also denied. Mr. Richardson said he only knew Mr. Crockwell briefly and added: "I didn't get the impression from him anyone was out to get him." But he warned Bermuda was on the slide into a culture of gun violence and revenge. He told The Royal Gazette: "There seems to be a propensity to carry out what appears to be planned executions with impunity. That should be of real concern to all people. "This island is way too small for this type of — and I use the word reservedly — psychotic mindset. "This gangsterism is not uniquely American or uniquely Caribbean but it is reminiscent of the type of things you see regularly in those jurisdictions. It concerns me a culture appears to be developing in Bermuda's underworld with planned executions — a standard operating procedure where people among us consider it proper to carry out these executions." He urged people not to allow such violent bloodlust to flourish and take root. While such incidents had nothing to do with the vast majority of the country everyone felt less safe as a result. A failure to tackle serious social issues such as single parenthood, the disenfranchisement and disillusionment of young black men was partly to blame said Mr. Richardson and the problem would go on unless society got a grip. But he said young black men both here and abroad were taking the attitude that if they were disrespected in any way then they would retaliate extremely violently. Getting rid of the reprisal mentality was difficult said Mr. Richardson who said he was once of the same mindset. Mr. Richardson was given a 15-year jail sentence in 1995 for his part in the infamous Spinning Wheel nightclub shooting before earning a law degree while in prison. He said he realised some would brand him a hypocrite for speaking out against guns in the light of his violent past. "Every time something like this happens I feel a sense of responsibility and guilt. I cannot help but question whether or not the incident I was responsible for back in 1994 in any way contributed to anybody at anytime every considering doing something like this. The possibility is yes. It causes me to reflect." He said no person should have the power to decide whether another lived or died.

August 28. MTV is planning to broadcast Bermuda's first Run For Freedom — creating potentially hundreds of millions of viewers for the historic event. A boss at the global entertainment network told The Royal Gazette it hopes to film the run — designed to raise awareness about modern day slavery — as part of its campaign against human trafficking. MTV Europe executive director Tom Ehr said he hoped a slot could be found on the company's Europe-wide news section, which hits about 180 million homes with 360 million potential viewers. It comes after run organizer Charlotte Wilberforce, a great-great-great granddaughter of slave emancipator William Wilberforce, got in touch with Mr. Ehr. MTV hopes to link its coverage of Bermuda's Run For Freedom with a simultaneous run in London, also organized by Ms Wilberforce. "We hope to get a news team to cover things at both ends of the run," said Mr. Ehr. "I'm hoping to support it in whatever way we can. It's right up our alley. I had met Charlotte's sister, who is a photographer and was doing something around the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. Then I spoke to Charlotte and it sounded like something we would like to cover. If we get a piece on MTV's Europe-wide news, that's potentially 180 million households and you can double that for the potential viewers. I don't want to guarantee it's going to happen, but it's what I would like to happen. I'm sure we can do things on-line in the run-up to the event as well." The three or four mile run takes place in or around Hamilton on March 23, the nearest Sunday to March 25, the anniversary of William Wilberforce's 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, which paved the way for the end of slavery in Bermuda 27 years later. It intends to put pressure on global leaders to end the captivity of more than 12 million men, women and children across the world, while raising cash for anti-slavery coalition Stop The Traffik. Ms Wilberforce set up a Run For Freedom in London in March this year to mark the bicentenary of her ancestor's law. She launched a plan for a similar project on the Island after arriving in Pembroke for work reasons. Mr. Ehr said a three or four team crew would probably spend a day or so filming, with footage likely to be aired the day afterwards. He said MTV's anti-trafficking campaign aims to increase prevention of the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation in Europe. "Our campaign is mainly directed at young people who are often the targets of traffickers," said Mr. Ehr. "That's what we are about: trying to raise awareness and making sure young people know what is happening. Our focus is mainly sex trafficking in Europe. We direct a lot of stuff at young people in the former Soviet Union. We want to provide them with information and encourage young people to watch out for each other as well. We also want to get the message across to young men who may be thinking of paying for sex." Ms Wilberforce yesterday explained that she had learned about MTV's campaign, Exit, while at a Stop The Traffik concert earlier this year. "Their approach and thought that goes into their research and help for others was quite commendable," said Ms Wilberforce. "I think that because they genuinely care, to come on board with Bermuda proves that our voices can be heard across the globe. I am thrilled that they have agreed to be involved and again with many community members and organizations being involved in Bermuda the sense of unity is very strong." The Royal Gazette has been marking the Slave Trade Act's bicentenary with its Break The Chains campaign, which calls for governments across the world to stamp out modern day slavery. We are urging readers to sign Anti-Slavery International's on-line petition on the subject. So far, more than 36,700 have put their names to the list.

 August 28. The mother of 2003 shooting victim Shaundae Jones today urged Shaki Crockwell's devastated family to fight for justice for their slain loved one. Marsha Jones is dismayed that nobody has ever been convicted of gunning down her own 20-year-old son at point blank range in Dockyard four years ago. Today she passed a message of support to Mr. Crockwell's grief stricken family and urged them never to give up until his murderer is held to account for Friday night's fatal shooting. Ms Jones, who has worked tirelessly to try to get to the bottom of her son's killing, told The Royal Gazette: "Right away, I start thinking about the pain the family go through. It's a long, drawn out, painful process. I hope they have some kind of satisfaction and they get the culprits. I'm so, so sorry, but they have to keep on top of things. They have to keep fighting. Until I get my justice, I will continue to speak out. You can't bring him back, but at least find who was responsible and let him stand in a court of law. Get up, open your eyes and fight for your children. They are not here to fight for themselves, so you have to do their fighting for them. Somebody does. They need to try to get the information they can because not everyone talks to the Police. See what they can find out and pass on to the authorities. Don't give up. Don't sit around and do nothing." Mr. Crockwell, a 25-year-old national footballer, was shot in the neck and killed on the Railway Trail, Devonshire, before 10.20 p.m. Detectives, who say the victim was unarmed but was wearing a bulletproof vest, have not yet revealed a motive. Police said they had received a very encouraging response to calls for help from the public with their murder investigation, but declined to reveal information about any fresh leads. Ms Jones was off the Island when news spread over the weekend and learned of the killing on her return. "I just feel so bad for the family. When I heard, I just cried," she said. "They have got to look at his clothes and belongings. One day you are here, the next you are gone and you don't understand why. I will pray for them, they really need it." Bermuda College student Mr. Jones was shot after he left Club Malabar with friends in a car on April 27, 2003. The Island suffered one more shooting murder since then, when 18-year-old Jason Lightbourne was killed in Paget last July.

August 28. Muscle-flexing and empire building rather than imminent attack was the motive behind the stockpile of weapons unearthed in the central parishes recently, a street source has said. Police uncovered a stash of Molotov cocktails, swords, machetes and metal pipes as well as black clothing and bandanas in two locations after a tip-off about two armed men. One person has been arrested in connection with the caches but Police have stayed tight-lipped where they were found this month but warned of a rise in bladed weapon violence. However one person with a knowledge of Bermuda's underworld said the stash had been acquired as a show of strength as two central gangs pooled their resources to control more drug turf. "It is a case of individual making themselves more important within their own turf. It has nothing to do with the average citizen." Asked how the secret stash could build a gang leader's image the source said: "Within these groups nothing is secret in Bermuda. People are boasting." And as the gangs got a bigger slice of the drug action they needed more weaponry said the source. "It's like any business - the stronger it becomes, the more they want to protect it. Guns put the gang members further ahead in the race to get street kudos. They will do anything to get one - whether they have bullets is another thing. Gang members who had lived in the States were copying those lifestyles when they returned. These weapons are the easiest to make - the Molotov cocktail is some gas in a bottle with a chord - rap videos show them regularly." 

August 28. An opposition Senator called on Government to reveal the programming schedule and content for its new TV service due to be launched within a few days. Despite The Royal Gazette consistently asking questions on the nature of the content, programme scheduling, exact budget and staffing of the new TV station details are unknown. Last year, Government allotted $840,000 for the project and in this year's Budget set aside $690,000 and five full-time staff. In the past Government has hinted that Bermudian history and other public educational initiatives would be included in the station's programming lineup. Opposition spokesperson for Telecommunications, Senator E.T. (Bob) Richards, said that since the Island already has a functioning media, which is privately owned, with the purpose of being independent and objective, the TV station proposal was "unheard of". Sen. Richards was particularly interested to know the exact content of the station, the number of staff it has now and the amount of staff the channel will require in future. Also, the terms of governance of the channel and a clearly defined purpose. He also questioned the exact motivation for the station and said the UBP was interested to know the level of access the Opposition would have to it, as well as alternative viewpoints, once it goes live. Sen. Richards added: "To spend the taxpayers money on a Government TV station, in a first-world country as Bermuda, is just unheard of. Government has proposed that the station will be something like the BBC in the UK, which is government owned. But the BBC has total editorial independence from the Government there. The BBC has flogged past Governments and the current one, royally, in the past and have taken delight in doing so. It does not appear that this TV station will be of that nature. Then they (Government) gave the example of Barbados, where they have the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which is government owned as well. I shot that down because that particular TV station was put in place when there was no TV stations at all in Barbados, in other words, the CBC brought TV to Barbados, there were no private sector TV stations at all when that came.'' Sen. Richards said the entire project was a waste of money that could be better spent on other issues in Bermuda such as crime-fighting and housing. He added: "In Bermuda we have about 65,000 people, three TV stations, four when you count Fresh TV and it seems to me that there's no need for another TV station other than to propagate Government propaganda, it's a total waste of money. We could be building houses, improving education and fighting crime. "By the time it's all said and done, it's going to be a fair chunk of change and that money can be better used elsewhere for Bermuda." In the House of Assembly former Premier Scott described the project this way: "The Government feels it prudent and necessary to speak on a regular basis directly to the people of this country, in an unmediated and unedited fashion.'' Yesterday, when contacted by The Royal Gazette, Beverley Lottimore, the head of DCI said: "At the moment we are pleased with the progress we are making but there are still things to be completed." The station was initially due to go live in June but that time frame was pushed back to September. 

August 28. Work has begun on the new Safety and Emissions Testing Station in North Street, Transport Control Department (TCD) announced yesterday. Traffic and parking restrictions will be in place while construction takes place at the property. These include:

TCD says ongoing construction is not expected to disrupt normal day to day operations and apologizes to any inconvenience caused by the restrictions.

August 29. C Travel CEO Carl Paiva defended Zoom from the criticism it has received in recent weeks. The low cost airline has come under fire for delays and a cancelled flight this week due to mechanical problems. But Mr. Paiva believes Zoom has turned the corner and is backing it to deliver a reliable service in the future. He pointed to the fact that the flights are 90 percent full as an indicator that things are going in the right direction. "I talk to them almost daily via email and I am most impressed with the way they have dealt with these issues," he said. "They have exceeded my expectation and I think they have exceeded their own expectations and that is reflected in the numbers of passengers they have had." Although Zoom has been operating for less than three months, it has already flown 3,000 customers, but only received 70 complaints, according to Mr. Paiva. "Seventy complaints may not seem high, but when you look at the ratio it is not low," he said. "But, equally, I think they have had bad press when they had delays in the past because a new product such as Zoom is always going to be focused on closely as opposed to the legacy carriers who have been around for a long time and have similar problems, because it is the norm." And he reckons that people should focus on the positives rather than dwell on the previous problems. "I have been concerned about that, but we need to focus on what they have done for Bermuda," he said. "And this is in terms of people coming to Bermuda, eating in our restaurants and staying in our hotels." Most importantly, Mr. Paiva said, Zoom are now sitting up and taking notice of what their customers and travel agents such as C Travel are saying. "They really do listen to us," he said. "We had about 25 people that have travelled on Zoom from here and they have been most impressed with the carriers. People have got to realize that this is a carrier that is focused on leisure travel - what costs you, maybe, $7,000 for premium class on another carrier may cost $1,000 on Zoom - you have got to keep in mind that they are a low cost carrier. They have only been around since 2002 and they have been most successful in that short space of time and we have had some good feedback from our customers about them."

August 29. Proposed legislative changes to the way charities are governed will be the subject of a public meeting tonight. According to Minister of Social Rehabilitation Dale Butler, a "full and frank discussion of the impact of the proposed changes" will take place at the event, which kicks off at 6 p.m at the Cathedral Hall in Hamilton. The discussion is the final round of public consultation on proposed changes to administration of charities. Mr. Butler said: "I encourage everyone with an interest in charities in Bermuda to attend this important meeting. Whether members of a charity, contributors to charity or beneficiaries of charity, this discussion is part of the public consultation the Ministry of Social Rehabilitation is committed to in our desire to ensure Bermuda is well served by the more than 400 charities currently registered on the Island." Earlier this month, Mr. Butler warned charities about failing to file their annual accounts. He told a press conference that almost a hundred of Bermuda's 408 registered charities have failed to disclose their finances to Government - despite a Senate report in June declaring them delinquent, and the risk of losing their registered status. The Minister said he is keen to get feedback before he makes recommendations to Cabinet on topics including financial reporting and reporting methods. 

August 29. Rude retailers are a constant source of complaints say Consumer Affairs staff but they also say customers need to know their rights and not be so willing to be trampled on. The watchdog body spoke out after statistics show complaints across the board are on the rise, jumping seven percent to 985 last year. Enforcement officer Rhonda Daniels said: "We get a lot of calls about customer service retailers being rude. But the majority want to work it out." She said complaining customers thought they had addressed their problem just by taking it up with the sales person but dealing with the manager was vital. "The salesperson probably doesn't have the authority to resolve a complaint. They will just tell you what the store policy is. We feel customers want us to do the work for them." Her colleague Karen Marshall said: "Bermudians don't like confrontation, we don't like to deal with issues. If we can get someone else to deal with them that's great. We see a little bit more aggression but we don't speak up for what's right. If they get shot down a couple of times then that's the end." However, sometimes customers go too far the other way which is equally unhelpful. "Instead of going in a calm but forceful manner they yell and scream and throw something at people. That's not doing it right." But the pair agree some stores need to brush up on their understanding of how shoppers might feel if they are sold an unsatisfactory item. Ms Daniels said: "Retailers may have an idea customer service is 'Good morning, how are you? Here is our product, goodbye.' Their only idea of customer service is to ensure the product doesn't come back, it is off their shelf. Customer services is not just prior to you buying the product. It is the after-sales service. How is that treated when they come back with an issue?" And Ms Marshall adds: "Retailers are very poor with that. Some of them are getting better. But the poorest really don't want to know you when something has gone wrong." Sometimes frontline staff weren't told store policies, others were told all about good customer service but refused to take note. But the CAB believes it has made inroads with retailers because they will now call for advice when dealing with difficult customers. "For us that's a key of success, they want us to come in on training and talk to them," said Ms Marshall. "I think retailers are hurting. I think they are trying to make sure they keep customers. But I do think they need to pull up their socks with customer service. But the other problem is the type of people they can hire for that wage." Customers are often perplexed about why guarantees aren't always honored. Ms Marshall explained: "A lot of retailers aren't buying into the manufacturers warranty because their customs duty doubles. They pay duty when they ship it in and they pay duty when they ship it out. "Any warranty ceases to exist when it travels overseas so you have to buy in to it. Some companies do buy into the warranty to a point. They don't buy the full coverage. You are not going to find a retailer with clothing is going to buy into a manufacturers warranty." That was why retailers often did their own repairs. A 15 percent 'restocking fee' deducted from refunds has become common in the computer industry and was now filtering down to various other retail arms. Ms Daniels said people were angry with the deduction. "But businesses spend more money to re-sell a product. Either because it is out of the packaging or it's now an old product so will now have to be sold at a discount." Ms Marshall said store policies which might only give you a few days to return a defective item didn't override the law. Under the Sale of Goods Act 2002 goods must of satisfactory quality, be safe and free from defect. The goods must be as described and be fit for their purpose and they should work for a reasonable amount of time. "The Sale of Goods Act is there to help them. A lot of people don't know the law, which is sad because you should actually know the laws in your own country. It is not that difficult." Bermudians are often shocked about the prices they pay in stores here. The Consumer Protection Act protects against gouging, but it requires significant overcharging, a $25 item when everyone else is charging $1 for something very similar. Not surprisingly no can remember it ever being enforced.

August 29. Governor Sir John Vereker today called for murder victim Shaki Crockwell's family and friends to do everything they can to help Police find his killer. Sir John spoke of his shock at Mr. Crockwell's shooting and pledged Government House's willingness to provide outside assistance in the murder investigation. However, he stressed the only way to crack the case was for people with information about the death to come forward. Mr. Crockwell's body was found by Police on the Railway Trail, Devonshire, on Friday night. He had been shot in the neck. Witnesses' reluctance to speak has been partly blamed for the failure to convict anyone for Bermuda's two previous shooting murders, Shaundae Jones in 2003 and Jason Lightbourne last year. Speaking at the swearing in of new Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field at Government House yesterday, Sir John said: "The Police cannot bring to justice those responsible for this and other violent crimes without help from the public. Successful prosecutions require more than well-founded suspicion; they require hard evidence. The assistance the Commissioner needs most at this time is not assistance from outside Bermuda; it is assistance from those within the circle of family, friends and associates surrounding those such as Shaundae Jones, Jason Lightbourne and now Shaki Crockwell, who have met tragically early deaths." 

August 29. The Telecommunications Ministry is investigating CableVision after complaints from viewers over the continual loss of channels. Fed-up TV fans have become sick of flicking to their favorite channel only to be greeted by a notice saying there is a service interruption. Consumer Affairs reported this week that the problem had been raised for years by frustrated viewers. And Acting Telecommunications Director Patricia DeShields said: "Yes, we have got complaints and we are investigating." But she denied rumors that CableVision didn't have the rights to some channels. She said: "CableVision does have the licence to operate as they do." However she said she was unable to reveal how many complaints had been relieved and she added that only CableVision and not satellite channel company WOW was being investigated. Bermuda CableVision general manager Terry Roberson said: "We experience reception difficulties with certain channels from time to time because of Bermuda's remote location. However, we address these concerns immediately as they happen." He said following the first part of CableVision's satellite refurbishment earlier this year the company was about to begin phase two. Satellite specialists will be brought in to assist local technicians to fine tune satellite dishes for higher quality signals. Mr. Roberson added: "Our goal continues to be to improve channel availability for our customers, and we apologies to our customers for any inconvenience." However there was no word on when the work would be completed. Consumer Affairs staff said CableVision viewers are unable to claim a refund unless all the channels are out for at least 24 hours.

August 29. Cheeky youngsters who hit the headlines after skinny dipping in the Bacardi fountains have posted pictures of their escapade on an internet forum. According to the Police, six people were arrested for indecent exposure in the early hours of Saturday for swimming naked and trespassing on the property of the Bacardi International headquarters on Pitts Bay Road. They said around 20 people were seen swimming in the company's landmark fountains - some only had on underwear while others were nude. The other 14 managed to escape. Now the group has posted pictures of the daring mass dip on the popular internet social site Facebook, calling their group "I have swam/been arrested in the Bacardi fountain!" and claiming far more people were involved than the Police said. Boasting 31 members as of yesterday, the page is listed as being for those with a common interest in "sexuality," appears to be mainly comprised of college-age locals, and greets members with the words: "Welcome fellow criminals and swimmers of the fountain!" It explains: "Around 40 people attended the pool party at the fountain on Friday 24th August, many escaped the clutches of the popo, an unlucky six got booked." It describes the mischievous episode as: "Running full speed to the Bacardi fountain after a complete mash up in town with a brigade of troops following you." Along with pictures of the young people reveling in the water dressed in very little, messages paying tribute to the skinny dippers are popping up on the site. "Congrats. You all made it to the second page of The Royal Gazette. They tried to tone down your numbers to 20 though. Too bad I showed up 10 minutes late...just in time to catch you being taken away in the back of the cruisers," said one, in reference to our original story on Monday. Another simply comments: "We're celebrities!" It was unclear yesterday whether the young people involved will find themselves in hot water over their cold water adventure - with a Police spokesman saying charges may be pressed, depending on how seriously Bacardi views the incident. A spokeswoman for the company said: "Bacardi Limited has not made up its mind. They are just now assessing any damage that may have occurred during the incident. Once we assess the situation, we will determine the next steps."

August 29. Herbert Tatem was just 16 years old when he found himself manning a machine gun at St. David's, guarding Bermuda against the Nazis. Now 85, he is still waiting for the benefits to which he is entitled for six years of service on the home front during World War Two. For decades, veterans who defended the Island rather than serving overseas were not recognized for their efforts, a situation addressed earlier this year when Government announced they would be entitled to newly-increased pension payments along with those who served abroad. The announcement placed heavy emphasis on the fact that black war veterans, some of whom were denied payments because of their race and others because they served at home, would finally be paid what they are due. Mr. Tatem,  from Paget, said that as a white veteran who served with the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps, the Bermuda Volunteer Engineers, the Royal Navy at HMS Malabar and at Admiralty House, he did not initially realize that he too was now entitled to a veteran's pension. When he finally became aware of his rights, he submitted a claim "a few months ago" but has heard nothing since. He continues to hope he will get his money soon. "It's a big deal as far as I'm concerned. All I wanted was to be recognized as a volunteer in my six years. We've not had anything. We weren't recognized. One of the chaps who went overseas was a good buddy of mine. He's an overseas volunteer and I'm a landlubber but I think we probably did as much good as he did," he said. "We've not had anything all these years and I'm reaching a point now where I might not be needing it much longer. I'm gone 85 and it's a bit annoying mainly because we've not been recognized. It's been a bit of an annoying undercurrent for me." Mr. Tatem explained that the pension payment doubled in the same announcement by Government to $800 would make a difference. "If I got payments of $800 per month that would do me quite well. I have savings but four years ago I had a stroke and an aneurysm and the medical bill was $118,000. That left a great hole, and every month my savings are down a bit further. Every month the little savings I have reduce. All I need is some other sickness and it will be gone," he said.

August 29.  Bermuda's resources on the history of slavery have received some welcome additions from the new International Slavery Museum in the UK. Social Rehabilitation Minister Dale Butler bought a series of books and documents on the subject on his visit to the venue for its official opening last week. He donated them to Bermuda National Library and the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs so that they can be used to help educate people of all ages about how the scars of slavery have blighted the world. Publications include the Atlas of Slavery, by James Walvin; Slavery, Atlantic Trade and the British Economy 1660 to 1800, by Kenneth Morgan; The African Slave Trade, by Basil Davidson; and The Great Slave Emporium, by Williams St. Clair. They will complement the library's existing stock, which has been depleted in recent years after books on slavery were loaned out but not returned. Mr. Butler, a historian and former school teacher, said hard copies stored in the library would give people a better chance of carrying out their own research. "While there's a tremendous amount of information on the Internet, sometimes you can only find one chapter of the book that you are trying to research, such as Basil Davidson's. Now, people can go to the library, and they can take out the book and read it all," he said. Mr. Butler said Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Wayne Perinchief was organizing promotions ahead of the 400th anniversary of the beginning of habitation in Bermuda in 2009. "The Ministry encouraged me to do as much as I could to help them and their planning for 2009 when I went on this trip," said Mr. Butler. For two centuries from the early 1600s, slavery was an integral part of the Bermudian way of life, with generations of slaves forced to work on the land, aboard ships and in homes. The Island's 4,200 slaves — almost half the population — were finally freed on Emancipation Day, August 1, 1834, 27 years after the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act banned Britain's part in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Joanne Brangman, head librarian at Bermuda National Library and Acting Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs, said Mr. Butler's contribution to the library was vital. She said: "It's very important to get literature like this into our library. Many people think that because Bermuda didn't have plantations we didn't have slavery. But we had our own form of slavery. It's very important that people have a look and learn about our history. These books will make a very nice addition to our stock." Mr. Butler was invited to the opening of the new museum, in Liverpool, through links he established during his time as Cultural Affairs Minister. He paid for his own accommodation and transport because the four-day trip fell outside his Ministry. It is thought he was the only Minister from the Caribbean region at the event.

August 29. An award-winning activist in non-violence has called for zero tolerance on gun crime in Bermuda. The work of Dennis Rahiim Watson has earned praise from Democratic Presidential frontrunners, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Over the past 30 years, he has campaigned against gun crime and gang violence in the US through his motivational speaking and work in conflict resolution. Mr. Watson is originally from Ord Road in Paget but last night said he felt "ashamed" to be Bermudian. Mr. Watson said the death of Shaki Crockwell, 25, was "a stain on Bermuda's reputation". He is now calling for politicians to defeat gun violence on the Island. "This gun violence is non-negotiable," he said. "The Bermuda Government must have a zero tolerance for guns and for the machete. No young person in Bermuda should feel empowered to play God, judge and jury. We are a civilized society of laws and enjoy a global reputation for our stability and friendliness. We used to be a model country for the world and so we ought to be on the cutting edge of conflict resolution, leading a 21st century lifestyle without violence." Mr. Watson, who now lives in New York, is chairman of the National Youth and Gang Violence Task Force and President of the National Black Youth Leadership Council in the US. He says providing jobs, mentors and self-esteem are essential in leading young men away from violence and "self-destructive" behavior. Now he is calling on Bermuda's Government to act. "I would like to work with the Premier and the churches, and am volunteering to organize workshops in conflict resolution in Bermuda," said Mr. Watson. "We need to have a series of summits from Somerset to St. Georges, to sit down and bring men together. We have got to focus away from the folly of guns. No young person ought to die before their mother and father. My condolences go out to Mr. Crockwell's family and his two children. This is a stain on Bermuda's reputation, to think guns can resolve issues. A cold-blooded thug mentality is being brought into this country, but Bermuda is not New York or Jamaica. This is not a part of our peaceful culture. We need to quash this and stamp it out. I am asking Bermudians to call Crimestoppers and turn in whoever is responsible for this murder." Mr. Watson has received more than 300 awards for his work and is the keynote speaker at the international Crimewatch conference, to be held at the Hamilton Princess in November. His most recent award - the 2007 Distinguished Youth Leadership Award from the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, earned him high praise from both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Senator Clinton said in a letter: "This honor recognizes your tireless efforts to encourage and inspire young black people to be responsible citizens by promoting peaceful solutions to conflicts". Senator Obama wrote: "For over three decades you have been a strong voice for good in our communities and I wish you continued success in your work with the next generation of African Americans."

August 29. The Railway Trail offers a peaceful retreat for walkers, cyclists and horse riders a world away from the hustle and bustle of Hamilton. Running the length of the Island, it provides 22 miles of serenity. With its rural views and seascapes, many consider it one of Bermuda's hidden gems and the Department of Tourism is keen to develop its eco-tourism potential. That solitary nature however, was used to screen fatal violence on Friday when a 25-year-old man was shot dead on its pathway. Yesterday, the trail from Loyal Hill to Palmetto House in Devonshire looked no different as it bathed peacefully in the sunshine among the birdsong and occasional butterfly. The only sign of something unusual taking place was the yellow Police cordon. Further down, just out of sight, detectives searched for clues in the hunt for Shaki Crockwell's killer. Mr. Crockwell, a father-of-two and footballer for the Boulevard Blazers, Bermuda Hogges and national team, was gunned down with a single bullet to the back of the neck at 10.23 p.m. Such is the secluded nature of the trail, neighbors in the surrounding houses did not hear a thing. Dorothy Williams, 68, of Northridge Close, said: "It was a shock. It is so quiet and peaceful around here, it's beautiful. I used to take my grandchildren along the tracks to the playground but it's kind of scary that this has happened. I don't think I would even go there now. It is awful, very sad, to think of this happening to such a young man still in his prime. I just thank God it wasn't one of my children or grandchildren." Another neighbor however, said the remoteness of the trail made it an ideal place to commit crime. "We have been broken into about five times since last August, so nothing really shocks me," she said. The 50-year-old, who did not wish to be named, said: "It is quite secluded here, there's not many houses and very few people around. There's no lights on the trail so I really wouldn't walk up there by myself at night."

August 29. Former Senator Walter Roban was unveiled as the Progressive Labour Party candidate for Pembroke East today. Mr. Roban, 41, a trust review officer for the Bank of Bermuda, has been a member of the party for 20 years and helped mastermind the PLP's 1998 election victory. He takes over from PLP stalwart Ottiwell Simmons who took 82 percent of the votes in the 2003 election. Mr. Roban will face the United Bermuda Party's Sean Pitcher in an election which must be called by January 2009. Mr. Roban told a press conference there was a need to identify more green space in the densely-populated seat and he called for a greater Police presence because of worries over drug crime. Premier Ewart Brown said: "Walter Roban arrived at this point in his political life the old fashioned way - he earned it."

Cenotaph on Front treetAugust 29. War veterans entitled to benefits for their service have still not received them despite new legislation passed earlier this year, Government has admitted. Many of those who served during the World Wars have never been paid a veteran's pension. Some who served overseas were never informed by the Bermuda War Veterans Association or Government of the day that they were entitled to payments. This situation mainly affected black soldiers who served in the black branch of Bermuda's armed forces, the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA), Bermuda Militia Infantry, Bermuda Militia Engineers and the Caribbean Contingent of the BMA. Others of both races who defended Bermuda on the home front during World War Two were never recognized for their service. An announcement by Government and subsequent legislation passed earlier this summer was supposed to redress the balance. The news that six decades of inequality was at an end was warmly welcomed at the time by veterans and their families. However, according to Shadow Minister for Seniors Louise Jackson the benefits have not been forthcoming. "They've not received a penny. It seems unconscionable to my mind," she told The Royal Gazette. In response to inquiries about her claim, Calvin White Sr. Assistant Director, Pensions, in the Department of Social Insurance, said the newly-entitled veterans have not been paid due to challenges with verifying who is qualified, but they should be forthcoming within weeks. In April, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier Paula Cox announced that amendments to the Pensions and Gratuities Act would mean that soldiers who served both at home and overseas but did not receive assistance would now be eligible to receive veteran's benefits. In addition, these benefits were doubled from $400 to $800 per month and means-testing as a method for determining qualification would be eliminated, she said. She also announced that medical and dental benefits would be enhanced for veterans. The legislation was approved by MPs and the Senate between June and July. One of those still awaiting benefits is John DeShield, 99. Having served in Africa and Italy with the Caribbean Contingent (BMA), gaining five medals in World War Two, he is the oldest surviving war veteran in Bermuda. Currently in poor health and bedridden, Mr. DeShield has recently spent time in the Continuing Care Unit at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital which has cost $121 a day. "He is in his hundredth year and he still hasn't been remunerated for his contribution to his country," said his daughter Elizabeth Isaac, 75, from Pembroke, who said her father was never informed of his right to benefits. She hoped the recent moves by Government would lead to him getting them at last along with help with his medical bills, but this has not been forthcoming. "It's a known fact that not only my father but others too in that Regiment are entitled, but as far as I know and understand they have not been informed how to go about getting it," said Mrs. Isaac. "So many of them have died, but their widows and families should even at this late stage get something. We care for him at home but right at the moment he's in the Continuing Care Unit, and we've had no help with the medical expenses. I don't feel he should have to pay, being a war veteran. I get very upset. All of them served and they should be recognized." Another veteran, aged 83, who served abroad with a British force during World War Two told The Royal Gazette he has not received benefits either. The man did not know he was entitled to benefits but the publicity prompted him to inquire about this. "I think it would make a big difference to me (although) I'm not pushed the way I was. One time I didn't have any money to buy a bag of cement to renovate my house. I'd never heard anything from Government until this past Friday when they said they wanted a record of my service and they copied it this morning," said the man on Monday. Mr. White said: "No, the newly-entitled veterans have not received their payments but we anticipate that they will begin to receive the payments within the next two weeks and all payments will be made retroactive to April 1, 2007. One of the challenges we have experienced is being able to independently verify persons as members of the qualifying units. We have not been able to obtain a comprehensive list from the Bermuda Regiment or other sources and some of those applying as veterans may not have produced a discharge certificate, a service record or other proof of service such as a photograph but we are working with those who do not have the required documentation to expedite payment to those who are legitimate war veterans. We are also considering assisting war veterans without proper documentation by having them to sign an affidavit that can be attested to by a third party to prove their identity as war veterans." Veterans can apply for benefits through the Department of Social Services.

August 30. Opposition MP Maxwell Burgess walked out of court yesterday a free man. The United Bermuda Party MP denied that he assaulted William Sinclair Smith at Bailey's Bay Cricket Club on July 20 last year. And yesterday the Crown offered no evidence against him. Mr. Burgess did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. However, Mr. Burgess claimed in this newspaper days after the alleged incident that he hit Mr. Smith in self defence. He said: "What happened was he said to me that I was 'f**ked up'. I asked him what he meant by that and the next thing I knew he was firing a blow at me and I indeed fired one back. I acted in self defence, without question." But Mr. Smith alleged at the time that the MP launched an unprovoked attack, telling The Royal Gazette: "He grabbed me and said I f**king well got you' and then he struck me from behind. I don't know why he did it. We didn't have a verbal dispute or anything. I don't know if he was drunk or what." Mr. Smith alleged he suffered swelling around his eye and had to go to hospital to get a cut 'taped up'.

August 30. The top ten squash players in the world — barring injured Australian Anthony Ricketts — have already signed up for the sport's world championships which will come to Bermuda for the first time later this year. The Endurance World Open is being billed as the biggest tournament on the squash calendar and will take place in a specially constructed glass court to be placed at the Fairmont Southampton, offering spectacular South Shore views. Among the favorites to win the November 25-December 1 tournament will be world number one Amr Shabana of Egypt and the current World Open champion, third-ranked David Palmer, an Australian who lives in Bermuda. Shabana won an epic final at last year's PSA Masters in Bermuda against one of the greatest names in squash, Peter Nicol. And the brilliant young Egyptian has held the coveted number one ranking every month since his last appearance in Bermuda. Palmer is considered by many to be one of the fittest players on the pro circuit and he has a strong local following and will no doubt be keen to impress his fans. Gregory Gaultier, currently ranked fourth in the world, has confirmed his entry and is excited about returning to Bermuda. Gaultier said: "The World Open title is the most important goal I've been thinking of since I started squash. Bermuda is a magic place and having this tournament there makes it even more special." He has steadily climbed the world rankings since last year and also has the distinction of having beaten Shabana twice in recent months, at the US Open and at the World Open. Meanwhile Fellow Frenchman, Thierry Lincou, ranked fifth in the world, also loves Bermuda, having played here on five previous occasions. He has also confirmed, along with Scotland's John White, ranked ninth in the World and is another popular player among Bermuda squash fans. White recorded an impressive win against Shabana during the British Open last September. The Scot said: "The Organisers in Bermuda put on great events. And I always look forward to tournaments in Bermuda as the players are treated very well from start to finish... I am sure this year's World Open will be even more spectacular." Entries close on October 2. Those listed in the world's top 23 as of the October 1 rankings, will be automatically eligible for the main draw along with one wild-card entry from Bermuda. The next 24 players in the world rankings go into a qualifying tournament, together with four local players, plus four World Squash Federation wild-cards, for a total of 32 vying for eight places in the main draw. The four wild-cards are available to players who are ranked number one in their respective countries if those countries do not have representation in the top 47 on the world rankings. Bermuda Squash and Raquets Association (BSRA) spokesman, Roger Sherratt explained: "Anyone can enter the World Open but some players automatically go into the main draw, while others will be seeking to enter through the qualifying rounds." It provides an opportunity for the best players from those countries who are beginning to develop their squash programmes to compete at the very highest level, according to Organisers. At the beginning of August 2008, there were 18 countries in the top 50 rankings from far as Australia, Brazil, England, France, India, Mexico, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Scotland and Spain. But with squash now being played around the globe, countries such as Colombia, Greece, the Czech Republic, the US, Germany and Hungary, have players in the number 50 to number 100 rankings and may be eligible for one of the four wild-card spots. "We anticipate that literally all of the world's top players will be entering the tournament," Sherratt said. "And it would be a good idea to bear in mind that sensational young Egyptian player Ramy Ashour, who did not even qualify for last year's PSA Masters in Bermuda, is now the second-ranked player in the world. Watch out for this 19-year-old sensation in November." For more information about the Endurance World Open Bermuda 2007 Squash Championships, log onto squashworldopen.com.

August 30. Boxing champion Teresa Perozzi has declared her title bout against "Swedish Sensation" Asa Sandell as the most consequential of her career — with victory set to lead to big prize purse fights in Europe. Perozzi returned home from a grueling training regime in New York yesterday ahead of her clash with highly rated and highly funded middleweight champion Asa Sandell in Sweden. Next month's sell-out will be screened live on Swedish TV with former heavyweight champion of the world Riddick Bowe's battle with Daniil Peretyatko scheduled as the main event at the Lofberg Arenais, Karlstad. Perozzi, the North American Boxing Council world champion, needs no reminding of the career-defining opportunities on the horizon with a duel against undefeated Russian boxer Natascha Ragosina in the pipeline should she prevail. "I know this fight is my big chance to make serious bucks by breaking into the European market. Boxing is huge in Europe and although I'll never be full-time, that's where the money and exposure is," she said. "When I beat Sandell people will stand up and take notice of me and say 'Who's this Bermudian girl?' I've already been lined up to fight Natascha Ragosina who is undefeated - that's the direction I want to take my career. With all the possibilities which could arise, there's no doubt this fight is the biggest of my career." An intense ten-day training programme in Albany, New York, with trainer Rick Sweeney has seen Perozzi achieve the best condition of her career with the 42-year-old just a few pounds over the weigh-in limit. Costs of the trip were covered by Ministry of Sport funding, with Perozzi able to completely devote herself to training and take two weeks off work as a masseuse. "It was so much more intense than I've experienced before as I could devote all my time to training — it's taken me to a whole new level," said Perozzi, who is ranked sixth in the world. I trained for eight hours every day and I feel in the best shape of my career. I've never had that kind of one-on-one attention before. I've gone through the pain barrier and I'm ready to go the full six rounds." Professional boxing had been forbidden in Sweden until last year with Sandell, a trained journalist, having had to fight many of her fights, including a defeat to Laila Ali, in the US. But the 6ft tall boxer has built up an extensive and loyal support and has been described by Perozzi as the female version of Vitali Klitschko. "She (Sandell) is very popular fighter in Sweden but I like going into someone else's backyard and beating them," said Perozzi. "No one can say you've won because of home advantage then. I've had that a lot in Bermuda and I'm sick and tired of the girls I beat using that as an excuse. She stands tall and I suppose she's a female Vitali Klitchko as she adopts a very European style of fighting. But I know how to beat her and will try and get inside her so she can't extend her reach. I'm a southpaw whereas as she is orthodox and I'm not sure how many unorthodox fighters she has fought. She doesn't intimidate me and to be honest I think she has been built up to be more than she actually is." In her last fight Perozzi beat Yvonne Reis in a non-title bout at Berkeley school gymnasium in June.

August 30. A $1.4 billion-valued Bermuda-registered mining company could soon be combined with Central African Mining and Exploration Company to form a company with the potential to be the world's largest cobalt producer and one of the largest copper producers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An offer has been made by the Central African Mining and Exploration Company (CAMEC) to buy all the shares of Katanga Mining Limited. Katanga is a Bermuda company which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The share buying offer would be made on the basis of 17 common shares of CAMEC for one of Katanga. Last Monday the closing trading price of Katanga shares on the TSX was C$22.50, while the following day the closing trading price on the UK's AIM exchange of CAMEC shares was 52p (C$1.05), implying a value for the CAMEC Offer of C$17.80 per Katanga share at that date and giving Katanga an offer value of C$1.518bn ($1.43bn). The average Katanga share price for the 30 days prior to CAMEC's announcement on May 4 that it had acquired a 22 percent stake in Katanga was $13.30. Based on publicly announced production targets for both CAMEC and Katanga, the combined entity will have a targeted production capacity of approximately 250,000 tonnes of copper and 20,000 tonnes of cobalt per year. At full production, CAMEC would produce approximately 60 percent of the cobalt and Katanga 60 percent of the copper for the combined entity Upon completion of the proposed deal CAMEC will maintain its current listing on AIM and will apply for a listing on a Canadian Stock Exchange. CAMEC management intends to meet with as many Katanga shareholders as possible in the coming weeks, the company said. Phil Edmonds, chairman of CAMEC, said: "We believe that the combination of CAMEC with Katanga will benefit both sets of shareholders and position the enlarged business to take an active role in any further consolidation of the sector in the DRC. Together with the shares we hold, the offer has the support of shareholders representing approximately 54 percent of Katanga's shares. I encourage the remaining Katanga shareholders to accept our offer and participate in the creation of a leading international copper and cobalt company." Katanga is engaged in the acquisition and development of mineral properties and is currently focused on the refurbishment and rehabilitation of the Kamoto/Dima mining complex in the DRC. The first copper from this property is due to be shipped in December 2007, with full production to be reached in 2011 following completion of the four-phase rehabilitation of the brownfield site. In February 2004, Katanga entered into a joint venture agreement with Gecamines, a state-owned and operated mining enterprise of the DRC, to rehabilitate certain assets which include exploration and mining properties, the Kamoto concentrator, the Luilu metallurgical plant, the Kamoto underground mine and various oxide open pit resources in the Kolwezi district of the DRC.

August 30. The key to bringing massive future economic success to Bermuda by attracting emerging global giant companies from China to incorporate on the Island has been identified by Bermuda-based lawyer John Milligan-Whyte, and he is getting Chinese business leaders to sit up and take note. Currently, Bermuda is in danger of being overtaken by rival Cayman Islands to attract Chinese companies incorporating despite this Island's past innovation and success and arguably greater reputation. But Mr. Milligan-Whyte is now banging the Bermuda drum, pointing out the advantages that sophisticated Chinese globalizing companies can benefit from if they opt for Bermuda as their incorporation domicile of choice rather than rivals such as Cayman or the British Virgin Islands. The message is being absorbed. Two related, newly-written business strategy books co-authored by Mr. Milligan-Whyte and translated into Mandarin language translated versions are proving to be major sellers in China. He and co-author Dai Min have already been made honorary professors of Peking University in recognition of their work in researching and promoting economic business strategies for China. The impact of their latest book could prove to be of major significance to the future prosperity of Bermuda and its leading reputation as the preferred offshore jurisdiction for major incorporations. Presently Cayman and BVI are viewed as more attractive to Chinese companies seeking to incorporate, due to their lower fees. However, this is a short-sighted economy argues Mr. Milligan-Whyte in the book. He says an incorporating company seeking to take the next step and list on a major stock exchange will find the ease of doing so much greater in the mature and respected regulatory environment of Bermuda, not to mention the associated credibility worldwide that comes from having a Bermuda-link. Chinese business leaders reading 'New China Business Strategies: Chinese and American Companies as Global Partners' will find the Bermuda is better message spelled out. "A lot of companies being incorporated are being positioned to go public. But you can't list a BVI incorporated company on the Hong Kong or Singapore stock exchanges because of BVI's looser regulation," he explained. It is possible to list if incorporated in Cayman, but as Mr. Milligan-Whyte points out in the book: "Bermuda companies are, and have enjoyed, a high degree of acceptance and confidence in the international capital markets. Although sophisticated Chinese companies, such as China Netcom, are using Bermuda companies 'to go global,' other mainland Chinese are not yet aware of the competitive advantages, superior reputation, and success Bermuda enjoys in capital markets." Mr. Milligan-Whyte, who is a partner at law firm Milligan-Whyte & Smith, is embarking on his latest trip to China to attend the World Economic Forum's inaugural annual meeting of its 'New Champions' - an impressive gathering of CEOs and other top business executives and country leaders. He hopes the book will send the message to the immense Chinese companies seeking to go global that basing the location choice for an incorporation purely on the difference in the initial fee is a nonsense if they are seeking to eventually go public and list on a world stock exchange. "At the moment Bermuda is not being chosen most of the time. There is a massive process going on and Bermuda could be seriously overtaken by Cayman. These companies are going to be mega multi-nationals, unlike anything we have today. The book will popularize that Bermuda is the better choice. The Chinese are loving the book." Mr. Milligan-Whyte also views the book as the most efficient way to get the message out to the world's most populous country, with its 1.3 billion people. Trying to meet with individual groups of CEOs in such a vast economy would be a endless and time-consuming route. He recognizes that the Bermuda Government cannot cut its incorporation fee just to accommodate Chinese companies, but there is scope for management companies that facilitate incorporations in Bermuda to change their approach when they are aware of a Chinese company seeking to incorporate with the intention of later going public. Management companies could, for instance, re-structure their fees so the initial incorporation cost is a closer match to rival jurisdictions. Mr. Milligan-Whyte is also chairman of Core Capital, a company that "commercializes genius." It is in this role that he has been invited, along with partner Orlando Smith, to the high-powered World Economic Forum "New Champions" meeting in Dalian, China.

August 30. Investigators looking into the sale of two oil tankers by Indonesia's state-owned oil company Pertamina, which resulted in a claimed $50 million loss for the country, are to visit Bermuda to speak with company bosses of Frontline Shipping. Their visit will be part of a worldwide investigation that will also include carrying out inquiries at South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industry, Goldman Sachs in the US and partially Indonesia-owned Equinox Sailing. Bermuda's exempted company Frontline Shipping bought two tankers for $184m while they were under construction at Hyundai in South Korea, but the sale was allegedly not endorsed by Indonesia's finance minister. The Attorney General's Office in Indonesia announced the wide-reaching investigation on Tuesday, according to a report in The Jakarta Post, newspaper. A team of Indonesian prosecutors will travel to question companies allegedly involved in the sale after three of the four ignored a summons from the AGO, said the newspaper, which stated that Equinox Sailing was the only one of the companies to send a representative for questioning. The schedule for the prosecution team's visit to Bermuda, the US and South Korea, has not been finalized. The team is to be headed by prosecutor Slamet Wahyudi. According to the Jakarta Post report: "Pertamina sold two of its tankers for $184 million while they were still under construction at Hyundai in South Korea. The tender-winner was Bermuda-based Frontline Shipping Ltd. "AGO investigators found the sale had been made without endorsement from Indonesia's finance minister. The sale price was allegedly below the standard price for this type of tanker, which ranges between $204 million and $240 million each." Hyundai built the tankers, Frontline bought them, Goldman Sachs acted as a financial consultant for the sale and Equinox Sailing as a mediator for Frontline. Criminal law expert from the University of Indonesia, Indriyanto Seno Aji said the AGO should conduct the investigation with legal assistance and cooperation from the countries involved. The Jakarta Post newspaper said: "Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission started its investigation into the alleged graft case in 2004, but could find no proof the tanker sales had inflicted state losses. The AGO has continued to pursue the case regardless."

August 30. An appeal has been launched to raise almost $2.5 million to help pay off outstanding debts surrounding the Spirit of Bermuda. The Bermuda Sloop Foundation wants $2.25 million to pay off the outstanding debt from the building of the ship after costs overran. But it also wants another $3 million in a longer-term project to set up an endowment fund to help pay for future programmes. The vessel sailed into Bermuda on September 30 last year and so far 270 Bermudians have experienced at least a five-day voyage on board. The Foundation has plans to raise $2.6 million to pay for the mortgage of the ship and grow an endowment fund to $3 million over the next five years. The endowment fund will pay for future programmers. According to the chairman's report, the final cost of the boat was $6 million, an increase of $300,000 from March 2006 and $1.9 million since 2003. The increases were due to the complex electronic, technical and safety mechanical systems. The final $2.6 million will pay the $1.7 million mortgage, the $260,000 private loan on the renovations and $600,000 for the endowment fund to reach $1 million. Speaking on behalf of the foundation, executive director Malcolm Kirkland said the price for the boat skyrocketed 40 per cent from when they saw it in 2003 until it arrived in Bermuda. "Our whole business model didn't contemplate that. We didn't plan on still having to do capital fundraising", he said. He said the current interest payments were $9,000 a month. Mr. Kirkland said the opening income was "pretty good" with half the operating expenses being produced by the operating revenue. They have raised about $900,000 from donations. He said the Foundation would like to be self-sufficient in three years and said they know there is proof in the concept they have been working with. Mr. Kirkland said they have collaborated with Wedco for a long term facility at number seven and eight Dockyard Terrace, but costly renovations had to take place first. "This project is definitely Bermudian led. Ninety-six percent of the donors are local with 85 percent of the dollars being Bermudian", he added. He said the Foundation was very appreciative for all its donors over the years. "We are pleased the role of the ship has taken. There are kids who graduated from Adult Education when the public system failed them who exchanged onto German and Dutch naval ships and we had the Germans and Dutch on the Spirit", he said smiling. The Spirit has conducted 13 coastal five day voyages including nine schools teams with Sandys Middle School, Spice Valley Middle School, Dellwood Middle School, Bermuda Institute, CedarBridge Academy and Adult Education School. She also has participated in the ASTA Tall Ships Challenge in the US and Canada. For more information about the foundation or to give donations, contact 737-5667 or e-mail info@ bermudasloop.org. 

August 30. British Airways (BA) is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first flight to Bermuda in 1937 with a limited-time special club class airfare of $1,937. Following hot on the heels of the '70 percent off' World Traveller and World Traveller Plus airfare deals, BA has announced a seat sale for passengers looking for additional space and comfort in Club World, which features the 180-degree flatbed seat, on their way to London. The price marks 1937, the year when BA started flights to Bermuda, and the sale lasts until September 3. It can be used on trips between August 30 and December 18. Coupled with the Club World offer are the four-star London hotels at $99 per person per night based on double occupancy. The hotels include the Shaftesbury Kensington, Kensington Park and Hilton Olympia and the offer must be booked with a round-trip flight originating in Bermuda and is open to Bermudian residents paying in Bermuda dollars or US dollars. Meanwhile, the 70 percent off seat sale for World Traveller and World Traveller Plus which was extended, will close at the end of today. To book visit the website at ba.com.

August 30. Witnesses need to "stand up and be counted" in the absence of a witness protection programme on the Island, Governor Sir John Vereker insisted yesterday. Talks have been ongoing for months regarding setting up a witness initiative which could see vulnerable individuals sent abroad to prevent intimidation. It is hoped the move will help reverse the trend of people not speaking out after serious crimes, which has been partly blamed for the failure to convict anybody for the shooting murders of Shaundae Jones in 2003 and Jason Lightbourne last year. Friday night's murder of 25-year-old Shaki Crockwell, at the Railway Trail, Devonshire, has brought the subject back to the forefront. Yesterday, Sir John said it would be very difficult to set up an effective witness protection system on a small island like Bermuda, although he confirmed the plan was still under consideration. He said the immediate need was for people to have the courage to share crucial information with the authorities, or to take advantage of the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline, manned by staff in Miami. "A witness protection programme is difficult in a small island," said Sir John. "The witnesses we need are witnesses who are prepared to stand up and give evidence in court. If anybody isn't prepared to do that, it's already possible for them to call the private line (Crimestoppers) so they don't have to reveal their identity. We are looking at it (a witness protection programme) but frankly we want people to come forward and stand up and be counted." In May, Attorney General Philip Perinchief said Government was looking at sending witnesses abroad before trial, with continued protection provided after they have given evidence in court. Mr. Perinchief also pointed to witnesses' reluctance to tell tales on offenders who may be their friend. "In a small country such as Bermuda there arises, I suppose, a culture of protectionism for the accused who very often is somebody's ace boy," he said three months ago. It is understood a taskforce has been discussing the issue at a series of meetings since May. Former United Bermuda Party Minister Quinton Edness yesterday added his voice to those calling for witnesses to come forward, but said a protection programme would be a big help in serious cases. "I would urge people who may have information about this murder to come forward and either call Crimestoppers or call the Police. It is people's duty to help the Police and help solve this murder," said Mr. Edness. "It affects us all in Bermuda. It is almost like a watershed. If this is not solved we could be looking at retaliatory actions taking place. We should have had a witness protection programme years ago. We need to have witness protection. The Government needs to put up some funds to protect people, even if this means being sent to another jurisdiction. But there are some very courageous people in Bermuda and they must be courageous to come forward with information."

August 30. Bermuda's growing code of silence which stops people informing on murderers risks tipping the country into mayhem if it is not reversed, Public Safety Minister David Burch has warned. He said Police knew the likely killer of Shaki Crockwell but were powerless because the public were not helping. He told The Royal Gazette: "Families in their homes have to take up the mantle and decide it is their responsibility to raise their children and save this country from anarchy." Senator Burch was asked if he was disappointed about the response to appeals for witnesses to the murder of the 25-year-old national footballer who was shot in the neck on the Railway Trail, Devonshire on Friday night. He said: "It falls to us in the way we raise young people why they won't come forward and participate in this society and recognize that by their silence they are contributing to not being in a positive place." Parents needed to do far more to encourage youngsters to face up to their responsibilities. It is not something that can be legislated or that I can stand up and pronounce as a minister and have it happen. Police are reasonably confident they know who it is. They cannot get anyone to confirm that so it is anecdotal." The gun killing is the third in the last four years - Shaundae Jones was shot dead in Dockyard in 2003 and Jason Lightbourne was slain in Paget just over a year ago. Asked if the Police were now under massive pressure to crack the case after two previous unsolved gun murders Sen. Burch said: "I think people understand quite clearly what the challenges with the Police are. "Police are actually doing their job, they are able and capable of solving the crimes. They just can't prosecute because that is not something they can do on their own. I believe all three of these murders can easily be solved if people are prepared to come forward and provide information to the Police so they can secure a conviction. It has very little to do with the vast majority of people in this country who don't know anything about these matters. But there are people in this country who do know. We have tried offering money - rewards. They can give information to Crimestoppers anonymously, nothing seems to work - there seems to be a code of silence amongst a certain element of the community. We all have to work at how we break that code if we want to live in a country which is peaceful and without murders." Sen. Burch said he was surprised people still didn't understand that when you called Crimestoppers you spoke to an agency in Miami - not a policeman in Bermuda - to ensure complete confidentiality. "They certainly don't pass on any phone numbers or anything like that. We are testing at the moment the ability to text message into that number, but it's an 0800 number so we are not sure of the technical challenges. That may raise the level of comfort that it is a text message not someone's voice being recorded." More needed to be done to break the code of silence said Sen. Burch. We will try whatever we can to break that cycle but it is going to require far greater efforts outside this ministry - health and family services, the schools, parents - everyone. We either want to live in peace or we don't - and if we do then we all need to do something to try and fix it. We see it on an almost daily basis - people get beat up, people get chopped and they won't prosecute. I don't understand it." He said people's fears over retaliatory violence were real. "But until someone stands up and takes a stand - 'I am not going to be chopped and keep silent - I want justice for being assaulted. This generation doesn't have a real sense of the value of life. I am old so it is something I have great difficulty trying to process and understand. But it must start in the home - a lot earlier than when they become teenagers." He said faith as a foundation for values had been lost which had aided the decline. Lack of witnesses has also hampered Police efforts to tackle Bermuda's huge drug trade. Recently Police Assistant Commissioner Bryan Bell said Police knew who the major drug dealers were but were unable to convict them. Asked about that situation Sen. Burch said: "As much as Government and Police forces try to counter this certainly the drug dealers have far more resources than we do, they are constantly looking at ways to counter the measures we put in place." 

August 30. New Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field hopes Bermudians can be given specialist training to help tackle sophisticated crime. Speaking after being sworn in by Governor Sir John Vereker yesterday, Mr. Field said in a previous role in Serbia he arranged for the UK's Crown Prosecution Service technology-based crime experts to pass on tips to local lawyers. He told The Royal Gazette he hopes to do something similar in Bermuda. "The crime in Bermuda has a potential to be much more sophisticated," said Mr. Field. "I have some background in dealing with money-related crime and highly-skilled crime. I instigated looking at high-technology crime in Serbia. I set up training programmes with the CPS, bringing their experts to Serbia and taking people from Serbia to the UK. I would like to give Bermudians the same kind of opportunity to get some skills." Earlier, Mr. Field had given a brief speech at the swearing in ceremony at Government House, describing his new role as very serious and important. "I'm going to be taking over and benefiting from the good work which has been done before me," he said. His previous experience includes serving as DPP in Belize from 1999 to 2001, and working as legal adviser on organized crime for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, with a focus on reforming the criminal justice system in Serbia. He contrasted his role in Belize to his new task in Bermuda, saying: "Belize had a very high percentage of murders per capita. There were serious problems with violent crime, including murder. Although there's been tragic cases here in the last few years, the murders were much lower. Bermuda is a much safer place." Performing the swearing in, Sir John said: "The Department of Public Prosecutions is an important part of the effort to keep Bermuda lawful. And they have been successful, both in eliminating the backlog of cases that had built up over the years, and in securing convictions. I am delighted to be welcoming Mr. Rory Field as substantive director. He has a distinguished track record and valuable experience." Sir John also paid tribute to Juan Wolffe, who served as Acting DPP following the departure of Vinette Graham-Allen earlier this year. Members of the legal community have warned Mr. Field faces a tough job due to a history of discontent within the Public Prosecutions department and the need to reform the justice system. Premier Ewart Brown and Attorney General Philip Perinchief were both absent from the ceremony due to other commitments. The Premier's Press Secretary Glenn Jones said Dr. Brown expects to meet with Mr. Field and wish him well in his new role very soon. Mr. Perinchief, who has already met Mr. Field in both official and social capacities earlier this year, said: "We intend to see a great deal of each other over the coming months."

August 30. The Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute should not be viewed as a "lunatic asylum", but rather the well-respected mental health service organization. Chief operating officer Patrice Dill told members of the Hamilton Rotary Club this week about the need to break stigmas surrounding mental illness. "I believe that one's mental health is just as important as one's physical health and must not be taken for granted," she explained. "Your brain is a very important organ in your body and if it is not functioning properly it will affect the way the other organs function." Many people who lack knowledge believe the myths surrounding mental health, but in reality anyone can become vulnerable to illnesses, including: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and dementia. "Mental health can affect anybody no matter what their religious, ethnic or racial background. It doesn't just happen to the poor, it can happen if you have a lot of money, it can happen to anybody," said Ms Dill. MWI has been in existence since 1875 - in it's original name - and is "well-respected" both locally and internationally for it's work in areas, such as mental health, learning disabilities, substance abuse and child and adolescent services. The institution has maintained its accreditation from the Canadian Council of Accreditation since 1970 and has also been accredited by The Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom, to serve as a teaching hospital for junior doctors training to become Consultant Psychiatrists. "Bermuda is way ahead of the game in terms of service delivery. We are not behind at all, we are very much in the cutting edge when it comes to our service," she said. According to Ms Dill, the institution changed its name from St. Brendan's Hospital to Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute in 2005 for several reasons, namely "to truly represent the services (they) do". She said: "We are not just a hospital we do a lot of community programmes, we run group homes and clinics, do a lot of outreach and educational presentations. We are not just an in-patient treatment centre." "We needed to offer a new beginning to help destigmatise the issues surrounding mental illness for the Island of Bermuda. "We no longer wanted to be considered the asylum or a lunatic asylum." Instead Ms Dill describes MWI as a "therapeutic institution that has clinical programmes to address different specialties of mental health services". Though the institution has come a long way, Ms Dill admitted they still face challenges, for instance, trying to get Bermudians to work in fields like psychiatry or nursing. Currently at MWI, there are four psychiatrists on staff, all of whom are non-Bermudian, in addition 70 percent of the in-patient nursing staff are also foreigners. Right now, there are two Bermudians who have finished their schooling and plan to go into psychiatry, and it is expected there will be another four graduates by 2010 or 2011, but there is still a need. She urged Rotarians to "become mental health advocates" and asked them to advocate not only for their own health, but also for the mental health of others, "to ensure that Bermuda can remain the paradise that we have come to know".

August 30. Bermuda insurance and pensions company BF&M Limited today announced record profits of just over $12 million for the first six months of the year. The total of $12,068,828 compares to $9,611,932 for the same period a year ago, and for shareholders represents a 20 percent return on equity. Group contributions from general insurance, health and life insurance, real estate, asset management, pension administration, and BF&M's interest in the operations of the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited were strong. In addition, our life and health reinsurance activities in the Caribbean and Latin America have commenced which over time we anticipate contributing to our earnings. Mr. Wight added that while underwriting results were very positive investment performance was poor due to the weak US bond markets in the second quarter. This had a negative effect on half year earnings. 

August 30. International businesses should not be expected to pick up the slack when the Government cuts funding to charitable organizations, according to a leading donor. A member of The XL Foundation, one of Bermuda's largest charitable donors, said many international business were already heavily investing in the Island and should not be expected to fund everything at a packed public meeting on the administration of charities last night. The XL Foundation member said that although 90 percent of the company's workforce lived elsewhere in the world The XL Foundation gives two-thirds of its charitable budget to organizations in Bermuda. He added that the Island needed to prioritize pointing to the $11 million earmarked by Government to be spent on cricket in the next few years. "I am all for supporting development in sports but when you take it away from the charities, many that provide basic services that make the Government look good, and assume that international business will pick up the slack, I think it is an unfair burden to put on businesses already being charitable. He added that the Foundation has already earmarked most of the funds and would not be able to help many charities left in the cold this financial year after the Government cut or did not renew grants usually received. And he said that the Island's charities could benefit from streamlining instead of duplicating services because an Island of 65,000 people did not need 400 charities. The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Social Rehabilitation to allow charities and donors to discuss proposed changes to the Charities Act. Some of the changes include greater accountability, better registration, a definition of what a charitable organisation is and more transparency of charities' goals and mission statement. Minister of Social Rehabilitation Dale Butler said: " Almost 90 percent of households donate to charity with the average household donating more than $1,200 in a year. This is more than the average household donates in the US and far more than in the UK. Together we can ensure that 'Giving in Partnership' is more than just a slogan — it is our modus operandi and our best avenue in securing a brighter future for all people in Bermuda."

August 30. An election for the post of Common Councillor is set to be held by the City of Hamilton on October 11 — if more than one candidate is nominated. The vacancy has arisen due to former occupant Courtland Boyle being appointed Alderman earlier this year. Announcing the election, Mayor Sutherland Madeiros said: "Candidates interested in running in the election and eligible voters must be registered before September 19. It is anticipated that Nomination Day will be on October 4 and that the election will be on October 11 if more than one candidate is nominated. "I welcome and support participation in the management of this dynamic City. Anyone who is interested in helping to run the City of Hamilton should consider standing for election as a Councillor. Prospective candidates must be on the Municipal Register and have some flexibility in their schedule to attend meetings. I would be happy to discuss any questions that a prospective candidate may have."

August 31. The Hustle Truck was yesterday re-launched two weeks after it was suspended due to anti-social behavior from its workers. Earlier this month, Housing Minister David Burch called off the scheme when staff hurled abuse and vandalized Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) property in a row over pay. Yesterday, the Minister announced the return of a "new and improved" version of the project, which involves bussing unemployed people around the Island to carry out manual labour. The 87 workers previously employed on the Hustle Truck is being whittled down to 63, so that each of the three supervisors only has to take care of about 20 individuals when it officially resumes on Monday, September 10. "You will be aware that as a result of disruptive behavior three weeks ago, the programme was suspended so that a complete review could be carried out and an improved management plan implemented," Sen. Burch told a press conference. "I am pleased to announce that over the past few weeks that process was concluded." Since the initiative's launch in April, 270 people have participated by carrying out tasks such as landscaping, general cleaning or painting, with 26 graduating to full-time employment. They arrive at work at 8 a.m. and undergo a seven-hour day, returning consistently throughout the week. However, it was suspended after the incident at BHC, which Sen. Burch said involved employees repeatedly shouting abuse and damaging pictures on the wall. Yesterday, he suggested critics of the Hustle Truck had hoped the incident would lead to its permanent demise. "The openness of the programme was specifically designed to decrease bureaucracy and allow persons to have an opportunity at employment despite past problems," he said. "There are some who wished for the programme to die a natural death and others who criticize the absence of a plan in initiating this programme. I am not moved by either of these views as the positive impact of the Hustle Truck, in spite of the challenges, has been impressive. To date, 26 Hustle Truck workers have graduated to full-time employment. I believe they would not have done so were it not for the existence of this initiative." In an attempt to prevent any repeats of the BHC incident, the Hustle Truck team has also been boosted by the appointment of Shane Watson as an alcohol and drugs counselor. "We recognize the need for this type of support at Bermuda Housing Corporation, not just Hustle Truck workers but also for some of our tenants," said Sen. Burch. He said the 87 people workers would be cut to 63 following an interview process. As each person graduates to full-time employment, others will be invited to participate in the programme. Sen. Burch also paid tribute to Major Barrett Dill, BHC's deputy general manager who has overseen the programme.

August 31. Berkeley Institute kicked off its annual family week with Chairman of the Berkeley Institute Board of Governors, Calvin White Sr., addressing students and parents on the history of the school. The event is an orientation for incoming senior one(S1) students and their parents. Mr. White spoke about the school's "illustrious history" saying: "The Berkeley Institute had enjoyed more than 100 years of educational excellence and it was amongst the first of Bermuda's schools to offer academic programmes irrespective of gender or race." He said the alumni of the school are part of Bermuda's academic, business and Government leaders. Mr. White explained teachers are " the key component in the delivery of quality education". He went on to discuss the controversial graduation rate at the end of last school year. The chairman said: "The Berkeley Institute has always calculated its graduation rate in the same way. The administration divides the number of students who meet the requirements by the number of students in S4, in the BSC programme, at the start of the S4 year. This method has been consistently used at the school." Mr. White added a student will not graduate if he or she hasn't met the required credits. If a student has not met those requirement, he or she will have to attend summer school. He added: "Within the framework of the School's Core Values, The Board of Governors remains steadfast in its mission to provide a standard of excellence in education at our school. This can only be achieved with the professional and committed efforts of strong teachers who are devoted to the total development of the students at The Berkeley Institute."

August 31. Two female tourists were robbed of a digital camera and personal belongings on Wednesday. Police attended the scene on Malabar Road, Sandy's. The victims told officers they were riding rental cycles east on Malabar Road when three unknown men rode up next to them. One of the men grabbed a pink plastic bag that was in the rental cycle's basket containing the camera and personal items. A struggle between one of the suspects and victim began with the suspect punching her in the face before escaping. Officers located the suspects on Scott's Hill Road. A short chase began with one of the men being arrested. Police are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to contact the Somerset Criminal Investigation Unit of 234-1010.

August 31. A cruise ship worker was robbed and attacked yesterday morning. Police attended the robbery on Front Street where the 38-year old Azamara Journey employee said he left the ship at 3.45 a.m. and was walking along Front Street. He said he was approached by a man who called over four other men. The men attacked the victim and stole money from him before making their escape. The victim sustained a head injury but refused local medical treatment. He was treated on board the ship. The main suspect is described as a 6ft dark skin male in his 30s with a bald head. Police are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to contact 295-0011 as they are investigating the matter. 

August 31. A law passed three years ago to hit counterfeiters with huge fines and prison sentences is still not in effect because of red tape. Instead of being able to impose jail terms of up to ten years and dole out penalties of $250,000 courts can only fine the fakers $240 under laws dating back to the early part of the last century. The Copyrights and Designs Act 2004, which is actually featured on the Government's laws website, was signed off by the Governor in March of that year. But it is still not operational as the regulations which go with it have yet to be drafted by Government. The only pieces of legislation Police and Consumer Affairs have to work off are the Patents and Designs Act 1930 which has a maximum fine of $240 and The Merchandise Marks Act 1889 which is even softer. Last October Police raided a Hamilton shop and netted $1,000 of fake DVDs while they warned supermarkets were in contravention of the Act for selling fake designer handbags, clothing and perfume but no prosecution was launched. The law delay was raised in the Consumer Affairs Report of 2006. And this week Inspector Charlene Thompson, of the Fraud Squad, said: "Our only hope is that it is gazetted soon because the legislation which has been passed would give us, the Police, the power to go on and do what we have to do in terms of enforcing the law. But we want to put out the warning to people doing this that once the legislation is in place they run the risks of complaints." Pirating operations have been linked to gangsters and even al Qaeda say authorities. We want to let people know who are purchasing these counterfeit goods that ever since 9/11 you are looking at possibly helping fund terrorism," said Inspector Thompson. The old Act lacks punch on punishment, seizure and search powers but the new act legislates the Consumer Affairs department to be the investigative body for such offences. Labour and Immigration Permanent Secretary Robert Horton said: "The delay in bringing the Copyright and Design Act 2004 into operation is regrettable, but has been caused by the unanticipated amount of time that it has taken to draft the 21 copyright Regulations that will supplement the Act. However, I am pleased to advise that most of the work on the Regulations has been completed and we very much hope that the Act and the Regulations will be brought into force by the end of the year."

August 31. Entrepreneurs chewed over commerce with the Premier yesterday at his 'Brown Bag Lunch on the Lawn'. Dr. Ewart Brown welcomed small business owners to the Cabinet Office grounds to discuss issues and opportunities. Representatives of 15 companies attended, joined by the Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation and the Ministry of Finance. The Premier said: "I can really relate to this group because I am a small business owner. I know the challenges they face first-hand, but I also know the self-fulfillment that comes with owning your own business." Leroy Turini, owner of Winky Dinky Dog, said the Brown Bag Lunch had been the perfect opportunity to network. "It helps to know there are other people going through the same struggle," he said. Ivan Outerbridge, of technology company Eye Designz, proposed a smart card idea to Dr. Brown, who is Minister of Transport. "I've presented it before to PTB, but it was ahead of its time back then. Now might be a better time," he said. "I've been trying to meet with the Premier face to face for a while. So this was a good opportunity for me." And it seemed the entrepreneurs' ideas were welcomed. Dr. Brown said: "A few of the people here today had some very good ideas about strengthening small businesses in Bermuda. I wouldn't be surprised if their ideas became legislation."

August 31. Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley last night reiterated the need for witnesses to the murder of Shaki Crockwell to come forward. Mr. Dunkley, who is Shadow Public Safety Minister, said in a press statement: "I would like to endorse the comments by the Governor, the Premier and Colonel Burch urging the public to pass on to the Police any useful information they might have about the murder of Shaki Crockwell, and about other serious crimes committed recently. "We in the United Bermuda Party have also warned of the threat posed to this fragile community by members of the public who sign on to a code of silence about criminals and their behavior." However, he added: "But in a small community like Bermuda, leadership plays an important role. It must come from the top and right now we do not have it. How credible is a government that on the one hand imposes a code of silence on their involvement in the Bermuda Housing Corporation scandal and a gag order on the Press and then endorses the arrest of whistleblowers, while on the other hand admonishes members of the public for not coming forward with information about the tragic murder of Mr. Crockwell and other crimes. I am concerned that this Government's behavior contributes to the very code of silence they are now urging people to step away from. People nowadays are less willing to speak freely on public issues because of the level of intimidation stirred up by this Government. The Government itself has always been reluctant to come forward with information about issues of public concern, always reluctant to stand in the sunshine of public scrutiny as it once pledged to do. Our political leaders can't have it both ways. It's not good enough anymore to talk the talk and not walk the walk. You can't say: 'Do what I say, not what I do'. We have serious trust issues at play in Bermuda. One way to make progress on them is to make sure we have a government that practices what it preaches." The Government chose not to comment on Mr. Dunkley's views last night.

August 31. Murder victim Shaki Crockwell's former football team-mates are to raise money for his devastated family by staging a fund-raising match. Boulevard Blazers players are still reeling from the killing of their captain and star striker Mr. Crockwell, 25, whose body was found in a pool of blood on the Railway Trail, Devonshire, at about 10.20 p.m. last Friday. He had been shot in the neck. Club secretary Saidha Wainwright told The Royal Gazette they were planning a memorial game in September or October to generate cash for the victim's two young sons, eight-year-old Qwezi Savory and Santiago Crockwell, aged just six or seven months. It is hoped a trust fund can be set up so they can go to college when they are older. Ms Wainwright said players were planning to attend next Tuesday's funeral wearing T-shirts carrying photographs of national team footballer Mr. Crockwell, while this week's training sessions had been cancelled. "We are trying to help the family with the arrangements as much as we can," she said. "Everyone is still in shock at the fact he's not going to be here any more." Also yesterday, Shaun Goater, the president of another of Mr. Crockwell's teams Bermuda Hogges, called for witnesses to come forward to help Police with their investigation. The former Manchester City striker is the latest in a long line of names, including Governor Sir John Vereker, Premier Ewart Brown, Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley and Public Safety Minister David Burch, to urge people to break Bermuda's "code of silence" which stops the public informing on murderers. People's reluctance to speak to Police has been partly blamed for the failure to secure any convictions in the Island's previous two shooting murders, Shaundae Crockwell in 2003 and Jason Lightbourne last year. "It's a life and a life is important. You want people to speak out. You want anyone who has heard anything or knows something to pass the information on," said Mr. Goater. "People feel threatened, which is why they won't come forward. It takes courage." Anonymous hotline Crimestoppers issued a statement yesterday stressing that its calls are answered through a centre in Miami, Florida, and that they are not recorded or monitored. "There is a safe, secure and totally anonymous hotline set up expressly to receive calls from those persons who might otherwise by cautious or concerned about sharing information directly about the Police service," said the statement. "Information received is written down and relayed back to Crimestoppers' local coordinator and, when appropriate, forwarded on to local law enforcement agencies. In most instances, Police officers are not even made aware of the fact that they are acting on a Crimestoppers' tip. Callers using the Crimestoppers hotline will never be asked to give their name or reveal any other personal information, even when a reward is sought. Crimestoppers urges the public to end the silence, stop the violence." A week after the incident, Police refused to provide any information on how their investigation was going. Since a brief press conference on Monday in which detectives revealed details about the murder and issued a plea for witnesses, Bermuda Police Service has declined many requests for updates from this newspaper. Yesterday, Police said they had a "media strategy" in place, meaning they would only speak to the press "at the appropriate times". Force spokesman Dwayne Caines told The Royal Gazette it would not be prudent to disseminate information, including how many witnesses had responded to calls for help so far, whether they were close to an arrest and whether Sen. Burch was right to claim Police were confident they knew who the killer was. On Tuesday, Police described the initial response to their appeal as "very, very, very encouraging" but stressed the need for more people to come forward. Mr. Crockwell was wearing jeans and a green hooded top. Anyone with information should telephone Police on 299-4239 or the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 1-800-623-8477.

August 31. Public Safety Minister David Burch has been blocked after calling for Police to farm out guard duties to the Regiment to help free up more officers for active patrols. The news comes as it emerged Police are 33 officers short of the full complement of 469 while Bermuda Reserve Police, which has around 100 officers and puts at least 30 on the street each week, have had operations suspended. A brief Police press release yesterday said anomalies over insurance coverage had meant reserve duties are limited to training only while Government, insurers and Police hammer out a solution. Several Police sources said the Reserve Police played a full part in keeping law and order. One said: "At the weekend they are putting out quite a number of people. They are very, very useful." The Reserve officers also police Harbour Nights on Front Street on Wednesdays. Asked if next week's festivities were in jeopardy Acting Mayor Bill Black said: "If they are not going to be there it is going to have an effect on us. I am hoping the regular Police will step in and assist." This week Public Safety Minister David Burch told The Royal Gazette that his suggestion to claw back Policemen occupied in non-Policing duties - such as court duty and guard duty - had been shot down. "That would help us greatly. I don't know what the numbers are but they are significant. "If we were able claw them back and deploy them in operational policing then perhaps we would not hear the cry that the Police are undermanned.. If one employed the Regiment in some of those roles which are traditionally carried out by militaries in most civilized countries you would release policemen from those sorts of duties. But from where I sit there is no real appetite on the part of the Police or the Governor to do that. I am extremely frustrated about that - all I can do about that, because it is operational policing, is talk about it. As much as people calling it whining, it's a reality of life. I asked I said to people 'I can fix this, let me' and we had a constitutional crisis just for asking. You cannot have it both ways." A Government House spokesman said last night: "We consider it would not be appropriate to change the current arrangement." Recently Sen. Burch called for Government to have operational control of Policing but that was rejected by the Governor - to whom the Police Commissioner reports directly.  But Government controls the purse strings. Sen. Burch said training was "frozen" temporarily three months ago but has now been freed up. He said "I had concerns about overspending last year." He said the budget had been overspent by 40 to 50 percent and he added: "Now they are under-budget as far as they have indicated." Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley agreed with Sen. Burch's call to get Police off static guard duties and back into active Policing. But he criticised Government for not doing more to keep force numbers up, after claiming the force had lost 40 officers between January and July this year. And he said Government's excuse that the traditional recruiting grounds in Britain and the Caribbean weren't so receptive was no reason for letting numbers dwindle as he urged Government to look at other countries for experienced officers and to reassess the benefits package being offered. Mr. Dunkley said officers were becoming disillusioned partly due to the fact Police had not had a pay rise for two years and were working out of contract. A source close to the Police told The Royal Gazette: "It is two years now and people wonder why morale is an issue - this is not a way to recruit Bermudians to an organisation, I can tell you." However this paper understands from a variety of sources that foot-dragging on the part of the Bermuda Police Association could be to blame for the stalled pay talks. Mr. Dunkley also questioned how the axing of Community Beat Officers would help the Police build bridges at a time when they were finding it difficult to get witnesses to come forward for gun murders. He said the Community Beat Officers had been employed to get to know communities at a grass roots level and had been very successful in the Prospect area in particular. "They had a number of challenges but cleaned it up before it got out of hand." But he said the move to Community Action Teams would see Police reacting to incidents rather than preventing them as they go along.

August 31. Tourism's Pop and Sizzle ambassadors, left without pay for weeks, have been reimbursed. On Wednesday, nine students employed as meeters and greeters at tourism hot-spots had not been paid since late July leaving them fearing they would not get their money before college started. One angry parent said thousands of dollars was owing - with employees getting around $900 every two weeks - but promises to get it sorted had not been honored as the problem was passed from one person to another. She said the whole operation seemed haphazard with one manager turning up at her home to pay her daughter $900 in cash after a previous delay in payment. Then money stopped coming altogether. But hours after this a Tourism spokesperson said the delay in salary payment to the Pop and Sizzle Ambassadors has been rectified. An internal administrative matter was the cause of the delay. The Bermuda Department of Tourism apologized for any inconvenience caused to the Pop and Sizzle Ambassadors and thanked all nine dedicated workers for their stellar service on behalf of the Tourism Department.

August 31. Controversial education chief Ellen-Kate Horton slammed the public school system as chaotic and "a disaster in the making", according to documents obtained by the Mid-Ocean News. In a politically-laced, racially-charged memorandum to members of the Cabinet, the top civil servant, sister of Education Minister Randy Horton, warned that poor decisions "will undoubtedly assist in handing the government back to the UBP". And Ms Horton also argued that, by adopting a school curriculum devised in the US, "it is as if we are buying ourselves back into slavery" and implied that Government was spending taxpayer dollars unwisely. Her missive also took a swipe at education professionals, accusing school principals of meddling in the curriculum rather than focusing on what goes on in the classroom, while individual teachers were too busy "doing his or her own thing because no one is accountable to do the right thing". Former Education Minister Terry Lister came under fire for failing to meet with education officers while one public school head was attacked for sending his child to a private school. And Ms Horton also declared that Bermudians were still living under the yoke of colonialism which instilled an inferiority complex among islanders. The three-page e-mail, written in 2005 when Ms Horton was a member of the Curriculum and Instructional Leadership team (CIL), provoked an angry response from head teachers, who claimed they would "find it impossible to work with a group of people or a single person who can pen such vitriolic remarks". Chief Education Officer Joseph Christopher later confirmed that the Ministry had "dealt with Ms Horton with respect to the matter of this inappropriate e-mail". Ms Horton's e-mail reads in part: "Dear Sirs and Madams: How can the Government justify spending approximately $1.2 million of the taxpayers' money each year employing 13 education officers of the CIL team if there has obviously been a vote of no confidence? Shouldn't the Minister of Education ensure that the Government spends money allotted to education wisely? Recently we learned, quite by accident, that the middle school programme for Mathematics and English Language Arts will be the programme written in Plano, Texas, for THEIR students. Plano is a rich, majority white suburb of Dallas. We will spend megabucks for this online curriculum without seeing if the pilot (in place at Whitney Institute) is working. At no point has the Minister met with the five officers of the core areas to discuss this situation. We have asked for an audience with the Minister but have been denied. In an attempt to ameliorate these circumstances, the current Minister should seek assistance from those Ministers who successfully led our schools in the past (Horton, Butler). Do we really want independence? This must be some kind of JOKE, a country that cannot (or will not) adequately educate its people is not worthy of becoming independent. If we truly wish independence, one of the most important aspects en route to that destination is definitely a solid ability to educate the populace. The decision has been made to use a programme brought to Bermuda (and bought BY Bermuda) by an American principal of the Whitney Institute. Principals are not curriculum experts; a good number of them are not even good instructional leaders! While we 'try' the programme on Bermuda's public school system, the very principal of whom I have spoken, sends his son to private school. What is wrong with this picture? The Plano curriculum is clearly not good enough for his child!!! The decision to use the Plano curriculum has been made by five school principals who themselves (the majority of them anyway) were put into place using yet another imported tool (an interviewing tool). Fifty per cent of Bermuda's children are enrolled in private schools. This demonstrates an utter lack of confidence in public education. This has happened since the introduction of the American Middle School system, which occurred under the UBP watch. Was this by design?" Ms Horton went on to point out that the CIL team had spent a year reviewing the Middle School curriculum with teacher leaders, had written quarterly planners, had set standards and had taken teachers out of the classroom for "professional development" yet the CIL team had essentially been ignored by the Ministry. "The entire year of COSTLY work, preparation and research has gone to waste!" Ms Horton wrote. "Wake up and smell the roses before it is too late! Such decisions will undoubtedly assist in handing the government back to the UBP!" Ms Horton also questioned the financial cost of buying a curriculum model in from the US, adding: "We are clearly not THINKING independence as through this system, it is as if we are BUYING ourselves BACK into slavery! It is as if we are saying, 'Here Uncle Sam, teach our Bermudians to be little Americans . . . in fact WE'LL PAY YOU FOR IT!' "Colonialism systematically determines the manner in which we think and the reasons for which we think that way. This mindset is SO influential that we actually believe that our behavior is 'normal'. We have been socialized to feel and act as if we are inferior and incapable. We are ashamed of OUR culture hence we look to the USA and Britain (where blacks are the minority) to educate our kids rather than look towards the Caribbean isles where there are obviously similar racial demographics. Adopting exams and curricula devised for other incomparable jurisdictions will not solve our problems." In an attack on teachers, Ms Horton said: "Downloading lesson plans developed by someone else does not make teachers good instructors. The missing element is accountability. Everyone is doing his or her own thing because no one is held accountable to do the right thing. This has led to chaos. Persons with the least understanding of what this country needs to educate the leaders of tomorrow are being allowed to make important decisions that we will live to regret for decades to come." Calling for Bermudian educators to develop a curriculum model specifically for the island, Ms Horton concluded: "Gone are the days when we need 'massa' to tell us how to think. Creating our own standards, curriculum, assessment and units of study is the way forward. Principals, concern yourselves with ensuring that your teachers TEACH the curriculum well. Leave the written curriculum (which is mandated) to your curriculum leaders."  

August 31. Ellen-Kate Horton was appointed Acting Education Permanent Secretary earlier this month, three months after the sacking of predecessor Rosemary Tyrell.  Ms Tyrell's dismissal came about following an assessment by an independent team of UK inspectors which concluded that the public school system needed a complete overhaul. Ms Horton's position is probationary until it comes under review in December. The appointment sparked outrage among teacher representatives, who claimed that Ms Horton lacked experience and, as the sister of Education Minister Randy Horton, would be continually confronted with a conflict of interest. Although those allegations were later denied by the Bermuda Public Service Union, which staged a press conference to defend Ms Horton, the Mid-Ocean News has obtained documents which show the Education chief was reprimanded for her correspondence to Cabinet. Although she signed the letter 'Ellen-Kate Horton for the CIL team', she later acknowledged that she acted independently. When school leaders saw the memo, they demanded that Ms Horton face disciplinary action. In a letter to Chief Education Officer Joseph Christopher, Alan Leigh of the Association of School Principals wrote: "First of all, it must be verified that Ellen-Kate Horton did in fact write the letter on behalf of the CIL team or did she in fact write it for herself. "As I pointed out to you, principals will find it impossible to work with a group of people or a single person who can pen such vitriolic remarks. The least the ASP would expect would be a verbal apology given by Ellen-Kate Horton to the principals as a body. If it is verified that the CIL team were in fact responsible, then we would expect the Ministry to take the necessary action. A statement like 'a good number of them are not even good instructional leaders' does not create the harmony necessary to create a winning team. The way the principal of Whitney has been castigated is totally lacking in respect and has to be dealt with severely." Responding to the letter the same day, Dr. Christopher said: "The matter of that e-mail has been raised with Ms Horton and she has stated that the e-mail was of her own crafting and was not written on behalf of the CIL team. The Ministry has worked, over the past week or so, to solve the matter of the online curriculum and had come to a satisfactory conclusion for all participants. The Ministry has dealt with Ms Horton with respect to the matter of this inappropriate e-mail and would hope that the principals would not allow this to derail our ongoing collaboration." When told about the letter yesterday, Bermuda Union of Teachers President Lisa Trott said it demonstrated why so many teachers had opposed Ms Horton's appointment. And she also defended the principal of Whitney Institute Middle School, saying it was unfair for Ms Horton to single him out for attack. "There is a procedure in place for people to discuss their concerns, and for a civil servant to write such a letter to the Cabinet is totally out of the realm of normalcy," Mrs. Trott said. "Any other civil servant would never have gotten away with penning such a letter to the Cabinet and the fact that the letter was sent to Cabinet speaks for the free-for-all rein that some people are given if they have the right connections. It was very antagonistic and didn't help in any way. The whole tone spoke of the encounters that the union has had with Ms Horton. We objected to her appointment and the letter shows why." Referring to Ms Horton's condemnation of the Whitney Institute Middle head for sending his child to a private school, Mrs. Trott said: " It's very unfair to criticize anyone for where they send their children to school as there are many factors that have to be taken into account in that decision. Of course Ms Horton's own child never set foot in a public school in Bermuda,  she did go to a public school but I understand that it was a very elite public school in Canada. I guess this is typical of the type of personal attack that we get from this person. But if you are looking at the system as a whole and want to change the whole system for the better, such personal attacks should not be necessary, there's no need to single out individuals. I know of the positive influence that the principal at Whitney has had and it was so unfair to single him out. The point is, a good idea is a good idea and if a person has a good idea it shouldn't matter where they come from, be it Canada, America or the Caribbean. We admit that we need to change some things but we are not getting the maximum out of everybody if we're fighting amongst ourselves."

August 31. The Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU) is investigating a string of complaints that career civil servants are being overlooked while plum posts are allegedly given to political appointees. Secretary Ed Ball yesterday confirmed the Union is addressing "a number of concerns" expressed by Government workers who believe traditional hiring and promotion practices have been bypassed. Although he refused to state what specific placements are under question, Mr. Ball said the issue was compounded by an anxiety that senior civil servants would have to report to persons with less experience. "A number of concerns have been voiced to the Union which are being investigated," he said. "And if there are violations, someone will have to answer. The Bermuda Public Services Commission is there to stop political interference. It checks to see if the proper steps have been followed. I can state that no contract worker can give direction to a civil servant, period. A consultant is hired for a specific job and has no vested powers greater than a civil servant especially a senior civil servant." The hiring of Premier Ewart Brown's former press secretary Scott Simmons as a consultant to the Ministry of Education was criticised as a political appointment earlier this month as was the decision to make Education Minister Randy's Horton's sister Ellen-Kate his permanent secretary. Teacher representatives were particularly outraged by Ms Horton's appointment, claiming she lacked experience and, as Mr. Horton's sister, would likely continually be confronted with a conflict of interest. Questions have also been raised over posts within the Department of Tourism, Government was interrogated over its faith-based tourism scheme headed by Dr. Brown's political campaign manager Andre Curtis. As part of that initiative, Mr. Curtis was paid $400,000 and brought 2,200 tourists to the island over a 12-month period. Although the assertion has been denied the Opposition has claimed the scheme is a way of getting cash to Mr. Curtis as a thank you for his campaign assistance. More recently, Emily-Gail Dill was transferred from the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts to help run the faith-based initiative out of the Department of Tourism's New York office and assist with the Bermuda Music Festival and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. While he did not comment directly on any of the mentioned appointments, Mr. Ball said: "There are issues the Union will be addressing shortly. There is a process in place for secondments, contract officers and the like. We like to operate with transparency. One of the biggest criticisms I have is of people who only tell one side of the story, people who are not open enough to tell the truth. This is a principled matter and there are certain principles we like to work to. If (an appointment) doesn't satisfy that criteria, then something is wrong. The Bermuda Government is supposed to be the employer of choice. It must do things above board and follow (standards set by) the Bermuda Public Services Commission."

August 31. Electricity costs are set to soar after the Fuel Adjustment Rate peaked above ten cents for the first time today. Residents face a two percent increase in their bills for September after the Fuel Adjustment Charge reached 30 percent - up from 28 percent in August. But alternative energy sources are now on their way, according to Belco. The company has applied for planning permission to install a wind turbine and solar panels at a house in Warwick in an experiment into the feasibility of introducing renewable energy into homes on the Island. Belco says in order to make Bermuda more sustainable, traditional energy must be combined with large and smaller renewable energy sources. In terms of large sources, the Current to Current project, which aims to harness the power of the ocean, is still in the pipeline, with work on an underwater power generator scheduled for 2009. Research into currents around the Island last year concluded there were too many eddies to generate power successfully. As a consistent current is needed, the Gulf Coast is now being looked at as a possible location. A cable on the seabed would run power to Bermuda. Belco spokeswoman Linda Smith said: "Our agreement is in place with Current to Current to purchase power from them when it's available. The agreement is to purchase between ten and 20 mega watts in the initial stages." She said: "We need to add 40 mega watts of new capacity by 2010 to meet increased demand and to replace older plant. We have been taking a look at how we will meet these needs and we envisage a combination of small scale renewable power for individual homes, and large scale renewable (ie. Current to Current). The capacity needs to be a combination of small scale, large scale and traditional plant." Belco this week made advances towards renewable energy sources in the home with its planning application for a 'micro windmill' and solar/thermal panels at a company-owned property in Middle Road, Warwick. While wind turbines generate power, solar panels transfer heat and can be used to warm water. Ms Smith said a Belco employee will volunteer to live at the cottage to assess their practicality and the costs involved. The company hopes to have its 'beta site' - experiment, in place by the end of the year and then take the public on tours to gauge their reaction. "We are looking to showcase a 'beta site' at the end of year to provide examples of various kinds of small scale renewables. We aim to assess the value of them to the consumer," said Ms Smith. "Until there is a large scale renewable (ie. Current to Current) we feel the community should be looking to incorporate some level of small scale energy in new construction and larger renovations. We want to work with the community to find a comfort level and so find ways to incorporate these new strategies to meet Bermuda's overall energy needs." Ms Smith said: "At the moment Belco is paying between $89.17 and $109.85 per barrel and as a result, the Fuel Adjustment Charge is at its highest level ever of 10.2 cents per kilowatt hour, which currently accounts for approximately 30 percent of the total bill." She added that this charge is used by utility companies around the world to adjust bills according to fluctuations in fuel prices, and that Belco does not profit from it. The charge is reviewed by the Price Control Commission. Since June 2005, it has almost doubled, from 5.3 cents per kilowatt hour. Ms Smith urged residents to stamp out "phantom power" loses by unplugging their computers and electrical goods when not in use. "Just make sure you're not paying for something you're not getting any benefit from, for example when your television is turned off but still plugged in," she said. For more energy saving tips, visit the company's website at: belco.bm.

August 31. It's the newest eatery on the Island at Collectors Hill. When Mr Chicken decided to relocate to Queen's Street in Hamilton, ready and waiting to take over the vacated premises on South Road were Mr. Simmons, his wife Emma and his brother Wilmont. Their latest business venture the Rotisserie Grill is now up and running. From March to July the restaurant was redesigned and fitted out with equipment and fittings from the US and Italy. Although there are a few final fittings to be added, and the complement of staff is not quite full, the rotisserie opened four weeks ago and so far has been building up its customer base through word of mouth. There are already regulars who visit a number of times each week to enjoy the wholesome comfort foods on offer.  

August 31. A former officer has rejected claims that the recent restructuring of the Police Service will improve its operation or effectiveness. And he contends that the Community Action Teams (CAT) developed under the realignment will have little impact on major problems facing the island such as drugs and gang violence. His comments followed a report by this newspaper that officers were left demoralized by a decision to reduce the Narcotics and Criminal Investigations Departments by half, and get rid of community officers. That staff was drafted to the CAT initiative, with a team established in each of the island's three police stations. The Police Service issued a press release in response to the story in which Superintendent Michael DeSilva insisted the realignment would not compromise "community safety, operational effectiveness or public confidence". He argued that the CAT initiative, combined with a new shift system, would place more officers in places such as Hamilton, at times when bars and nightclubs are busy. And he dismissed the comments of officers interviewed by the Mid-Ocean News account, saying their views were in the minority. Countered a former officer in a letter to the editor this week: "I think it is fair to say that the major problems facing the police today are drugs, burglary/theft, gang violence (and) anti-social behavior, all of which are drug related, major disregard for the rules of the road by certain road users and the list goes on. I cannot see what impact the CAT patrols will have on the crime/drug problems. Will groups of police officers patrolling in vans be in a position to solve burglaries or thefts or the cutting down of on major drug importation through our ports and open shoreline? Supt. DeSilva goes at length to say the low morale issue is from a minority of officers. I would suggest that if a properly conducted survey were to be carried out within the Police Department on the problems which affect morale, Supt. DeSilva would be in for a shock." The man agreed that officers should be on hand to make arrests for "possession of minor amounts of drugs, drinking in public places, etc.," in Hamilton, but questioned how the Service intended to efficiently police the rest of the island. "I am sure all the victims of crime in Bermuda, from Somerset to St. George's, who have been burgled, robbed or assaulted, most of the culprits are drug users, will be happy to know that the pool of detectives, both CID and Narcotics, has been reduced in order to help fill CAT patrols to make things safe around bars and nightclubs. I would say it is ridiculous to reduce the manpower of two of the most important departments in the Police Service. These are officers who carry out all the major investigations, inquiries and interviews, complete the files and normally end up with their case in Supreme Court. Most of them have received overseas training and have many years of experience behind them. To stick this type of officer in a van for 12 hours whilst the crime rate soars is farcical." A police spokesman yesterday gave this response: "As you know the realignment took place on June 16, 2007 and is designed to shape the organisation so that it best develops community-focused partnership policing. On September 16 it will have undergone a three-month initial trial period where the Bermuda Police Service can fully ascertain the effectiveness of the new realignment. It is much too early to deal with specifics as levied by a former police officer, particularly when the criticisms are out of context with the overall purpose of the realignment. We remain focused and committed to ensuring that we provide the best policing strategies for Bermuda."

August 31. A collection of artifacts found in Bermuda's waters is now on exhibit at Sydney's Hyde Park Barracks Museum, one of the convict heritage sites. The display is the culmination of decades of research by local divers Michael Davis and Chris Addams, who together retrieved more than 2,500 convict-related items from waters off Dockyard including military buttons, badges, regimental pieces and items carved by hand out of Bermuda flowstone. Australia's Historic Houses Trust (HHT), which operates the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, offered to hold a two-year exhibit of the collection after Mr. Addams' daughter Rhiannon gave a presentation hosted by the University of Tasmania and the International Centre for Convict Studies a few years ago. A Bermudian living in Perth, she spoke before representatives of historical and archaeological institutions around the world. Convict Hulks: Life on the Prison Ships had its official opening early in August. A few snags along the way might have prevented that, however, were it not for the intervention of Premier Ewart Brown. "I have to give big thanks to the Premier," said Mr. Addams. "Back in January I applied directly to him and his secretary came back to me within two weeks, saying it was okay for the exhibit to go ahead." Although protected by the Dromedary Trust, its name taken from one of the "vermin-ridden, rat-infested" hulks that housed hordes of convicts here, Mr. Addams said he felt it appropriate official sanction was given before the artifacts were moved off the island as they belong to all of Bermuda. The troubles didn't end once he received the go-ahead, however. Less than a week before the exhibit's planned opening in Australia, the artifacts remained in Bermuda, mired in bureaucratic red tape. "The customs people in Australia are probably the strictest in the world," Mr. Addams said. "And when it comes to items made of wood, of bone, etc., they (really) go over them. We wanted to go early in anticipation that everything would have to be quarantined." The diver postponed two flights waiting to see the collection ready for travel. "We were in utter panic," he recalled. "But again I have to thank Carla Hayward in Government Archives and Dr. Brown. He gave the okay for the exhibition to go to Sydney on a Wednesday. It went straight on a freight plane to London and from there, on an express freight to Sydney, where it arrived Friday evening." Passage went equally smoothly at the other end. According to Mr. Addams, Australian customs officers and representatives from the HHT worked from midnight until 10 a.m. the following morning to ensure the date set for the collection's official opening would be met, "because they knew it was incredibly important". It was a view his daughter had taken in an interview with the Mid-Ocean News earlier this year as she explained why Australia would be interested in a collection culled from the Atlantic. "In my opinion, one of the significant things that the Bermuda collection brings, is that in Australia the physical items of the convict heritage are things that the convicts made because they were convicts, the buildings they were instructed to make, the paintings they were instructed to paint, the furniture they were instructed to do. They were all created because they were convict slaves. The Dromedary convict collection is significant because these are the things the convict made because he was still a man, because he was still a person, because he still had that spirit, rather than as a sign of their indenture." The British Government established convict hulks at many of its colonies including Bermuda, New South Wales and Tasmania. The Dromedary was sent to Bermuda as a convict hulk in 1826. The vessel, which had formerly been used as convict transport to Australia's colonies, remained moored here for nearly 40 years. Of the 9,000 convicts sent here, close to 2,000 died. In 1982, Mr. Addams and Mr. Davis received permission to excavate the hulk's anchorage area, finding scores of items reflecting convict life in that period. "For me and Mike (the exhibit) is the culmination of 25 years of fighting for recognition of what these people put into Bermuda's history. It's a forgotten aspect of our past," Mr. Addams stated. "They built the Dockyard, they built all the forts. They were a totally expendable force. Twenty or 30 died, they said, we'll send over more, no problem. They're all buried outside sanctified ground, on Watford Island where they sit outside the walls of the main graveyard." Mr. Addams said he felt Bermudians would be proud of the exhibit, which includes a sidebar on the island itself. "It was just downright incredible, they have really done Bermuda well. The Dromedary material was the main exhibit in the old Convict Barracks, which are kept in a pristine condition by the (HHT). On the opening night they laid on actors and actresses in period costume complete with redcoats in uniform. And to walk into the exhibit was stunning for on one wall you had the satellite image of Bermuda on its lonely underwater mountain pedestal and on the other wall, a six-foot-by-two image of the old Dockyard circa 1848, depicting the hulks in place. I was shown four prints of convicts in situ and then asked what I thought about them, it took me a few seconds to realize they were taken in Bermuda. The backdrop of a Bermuda sailing craft is very recognizable." Once the exhibit has run its course at the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Mr. Addams said there was hope it would travel to other parts of the world. "They want to set up exhibits in Perth, in Tasmania. What we're hoping is it will become a truly travelling showpiece for Bermuda and its underwater maritime history. So it doesn't stop there." The exhibit runs through July 26, 2009. For more information visit hht.net.au or, for details on the Dromedary Trust, convicthulks.com.

August 31. Hundreds are expected to participate in the Labour Day celebrations. The joint Labour Day planning committee (JLPC) representing all the registered trade unions in Bermuda have revamped the agenda that will climax at Bernard Park, following the traditional march from Union Square outside the BIU Headquarters building. It will get under way at 11.30 a.m. on Monday In the past many people who did not march tended to gather at the park, some as early as 8.30 a.m. They had little or nothing in particular to engage their attention until the marchers reached there and the speech-making began. The programme has been revamped to cater to those early birds. It should be interesting, according to a JLPC spokesman who urged churches, workers' groups and other organizations to support the Labour Day events. The social highlight of the weekend will be the 26th annual banquet of the Bermuda Industrial Union. It will be a gala event, as usual, at the Fairmont Southampton Resort. Nearly all 600 seats have been sold out. As we reported last week, guest speaker will be US Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, who is serving his eighth term as the Democratic Congressman for Mississippi's Second District and is currently chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. He is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the state of Mississippi. He served as alderman and mayor in his hometown for years. His reputation as a no-nonsense problem solver has earned him the trust of his constituents and the respect of his colleagues in Washington. Another US Congressman will be among the local and visiting dignitaries the BIU will be hosting. He is Rep. George Kenneth Butterfield, Jr. known to have no hesitation in claiming Bermuda as his ancestral home. Born in Wilson, North Carolina and commonly known as G.K. Butterfield, he is an American Democratic Party politician who currently represents North Carolina's 1st congressional district in Congress Rep. Butterfield's father was a Bermudian, Dr. G.K. Butterfield, who migrated to the US to further his education. He became a dentist, married an American and practiced in Wilson for 50 years. Dr. Butterfield became engrossed in politics and was elected to the Wilson City Council in 1953, making him one of the first African- American elected officials in North Carolina since Reconstruction (1862-77). Rep. Butterfield obtained his higher education at North Carolina Central University, earning an undergraduate degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctor law degree. Before his election to Congress, he was an attorney and an elected judge. He serves on the House committee on Energy and Commerce. He also serves as one of the nine chief deputy whips on the Democratic side. He is an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Rep. Butterfield's closest kin in Bermuda are members of the Pearman clan who own and operate the People's Pharmacy in Hamilton. Among the other dignitaries at the BIU gala will be Premier Ewart Brown and US Consul General Gregory Slayton.

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