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Bermuda's History from June 16th to 30th 2007

A summary of news and significant events for the second part of the sixth month of that year

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

Admiral Sir George Somers, Bermuda 1609 Artists who painted Bermuda Bermuda, Britain & Commonwealth
Bermuda & Canada Bermuda & France Bermuda & USA
Bermuda's postage stamps Historic Houses History 1500 to 1699
History 1700 to 1799 History 1800 to 1899 History 1900 to 1939 pre-war
History 1939 to 1951 History 1952 to 1999 History  2000 to 2005
History 2006 Part 1 History 2006 Part 2 History 2007 Jan and Feb
History 2007 March History 2007 April History 2007 May
History 2007 June 1-15th History 2007 June 16 to 30th History 2007 July 1-15
History 2007 July 16th to 31st History 2007 August 1 to 7 History 2007 August 8 to 14
History 2007 August 15 to 21 History 2007 August 22-31 History 2007 September 1 to 10
History 2007 September 11 to December 31 History 2008 to 2010 History 2011 through 2012
History 2013 History 2014 part 1 History 2014 part 2
History 2015 January History 2015 February History 2015 March
History 2015 April History 2015 May History 2015 June
History 2015 July History 2015 August History 2015 September
History 2015 October History 2015 November History 2015 December
History 2016 January History 2016 February History 2016 March
History 2016 April History 2016 May History 2016 June
History 2016 July History 2016 August History 2016 September
History 2016 October History 2016 November History 2016 December
History 2017 January History 2017 February History 2017 March

2007. June 16. An updated Parliamentary Register has been published and the public is being urged to double check that the information is correct. The Parliamentary Registers can be seen at the Parliamentary Registry Office, all Government Post Offices, all Police Stations, the Bermuda Library, Magistrates' Court and the Department of Communication and Information. The public can also check their details online at elections.gov.bm. If changes need to be made forms can be downloaded and either mailed, faxed or hand delivered to the Parliamentary Registry Office at the Valerie T. Scott building on 60 Reid Street. Parliamentary Registrar Randy Scott said: "As with all age groups, we are reminding them that their opinion doesn't count unless they are registered to vote. However, we consider 18 and 19-year-olds to be a very important voting segment and we are challenging them to do their part and get registered." For more information call the Parliamentary Registry Office at 297 -7738 or 293-8683 or elections.gov.bm.

June 16. Premier Ewart Brown was yesterday named as one of 23 physicians who will take on patients from the doomed Medical Clinic. Dr. Brown — medical director of Bermuda Healthcare — has repeatedly faced accusations of a conflict of interest since announcing the closure of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital facility in his Throne Speech last November. In the House of Assembly yesterday, new Health Minister Michael Scott made a Ministerial statement announcing his early plans for a string of issues he aims to tackle. Talking about the controversial closure of the clinic, scheduled before the end of the month, Mr. Scott revealed the Premier was among a list of private physicians to whom patients will now be assigned. The list also contains a number of doctors who have worked at the Medical Clinic, including Dr. Stanley James, Dr. Ronald Lightbourne and Dr. Samantha Price. The Medical Clinic provides care to vulnerable people including the homeless, elderly and mentally ill. However, Dr. Brown claims its patients suffer from a lack of dignity. In March this year, his motivations for closing the clinic were called into question by Opposition MP Trevor Moniz, who pointed to the Premier’s plans to convert the historic Winterhaven building, in Smith’s, into a healthcare clinic. Last night, Shadow Health Minister Louise Jackson said: “It’s a conflict of interest, which is what people have been saying from the beginning.” She added: “He’s not even a practicing physician any more, so that’s one you can strike off the list anyway.” The Shadow Minister said there were serious issues with disabled access on many of the surgeries on the list. Mr. Scott said private physicians would get $47 per visit, of which $42 would come from the Government Health Insurance Plan (HIP) and $5 from the patient. The new Minister also spoke about the opening of the new Child and Adolescent Services facility at Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. He said it was a “dream come true” facility which would provide mental health assessments and treatment to young people with emotional, behavioral, developmental, psychiatric or family issues. Youngsters will be able to receive help.

June 16. Form filling at the Airport will be slashed while authorities will be better able to keep out undesirables when a new passenger monitoring system goes live in December. Yesterday MPs passed an act allowing passenger lists to be e-mailed to Bermuda once a plane or boat begins its journey here. Labour and Immigration Minister Derrick Burgess said it would give Customs, Police and Immigration more time to prepare to deal with people on the high risk list, stop list or look out list. And he said the mailed lists would help to speed the processing of inbound and outward bound passengers. From December, returning Bermudians will not have to fill in an arrival cards while no one will have to fill out a departure card however non-Bermudians will still have to fill in an arrival card. Under international law the change required a special act which prompted yesterday's passing of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act (No. 2) 2007. Mr. Burgess said the confidentiality of the information, obtained by swiping a passport, would be kept by Immigration. He said: "Currently employers from time to time call Immigration and ask whether a staff member who's called in sick has left the Island. We don't release that information, neither will we in future." He said all information acquired by Immigration was kept confidential.

June 16. A bill to merge Bermuda’s fire services was passed yesterday with all-party support. Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Wayne Perinchief said a review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate and by Government’s own Management Services had recommended it would improve efficiency by having everything under one command structure, to be known as the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service. He said all airport firefighters had signed up to the amalgamated service, which also brings in the St. George’s volunteer service, and that the new structure had begun earlier this year. While expressing support for the general concept, United Bermuda Party leader Michael Dunkley said the proper procedure was to pass legislation then make changes rather than the other way around. He urged Government to exercise fiscal restraint with the newly enlarged service. Opposition Labour and Immigration Minister Trevor Moniz voiced fears about St. George’s coverage, given the reoccurring mechanical problems on Longbird Bridge and the Swing Bridge — a situation all the more worrying given that both Shell and Esso had fuel storage in the East End. He also raised concerns about an airport fire truck worth nearly $400,000 which was wrecked in a training exercise and called for the new fire service to release annual reports to Parliament, just like the Police. Mr. Perinchief said the insurance company had picked up the cost for the wrecked truck. Under the Fire Services Amendment Act 2007, the Chief Fire Officer will be able to delegate to other fire officers “any of the powers, duties and functions of the Chief Fire Officer”. This excludes the power to make Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service General Orders. Under the Act, any fire engines, assets or firefighting equipment belonging to the Corporation of St. George’s will be transferred to the Government. The St. George’s Fire Brigade is now incorporated into the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service. The Fire Services Amendment Act 2007 establishes the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service as a Government Department — replacing the Fire Services Department. As well as the new name, the Service gains more responsibility. The purpose of the Bill is stated as: “to make the Service responsible for the provision of fire and rescue services for the whole of Bermuda, including the Airport and St. George’s, where services are presently provided separately”. The General Manager of Bermuda’s airport is also represented on the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service Advisory Board. 

June 16. A local drug addiction counselor wants to see more drug recovery programmes designed specifically with Bermuda in mind. Ken Matthew, who runs the Trust Recovery Centre, said that living in Bermuda presents its own unique challenges for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. "There are drug recovery programmes here, but we need a drug programme put together specifically for Bermuda," he said. "I think we can do that. I think we can be very effective in doing that." He said that one difference for someone recovering in the United States, and recovering in Bermuda was the ability to get away from old haunts and cronies. "In the United States, someone in one county can move to another county, or to another town. It is not that easy in Bermuda. Most recovery programmes teach things like not hanging around the same places, people and things, but how do you do that in Bermuda? You can move from Somerset to St. George's and people still know you. So we have to teach and empower people to get around situations like that. Being straight with people in recovery helps a lot." One of Mr. Matthew's concerns has always been housing for recovering drug addicts. He said not all people with addictions have somewhere to stay once they come out of treatment, and many return to dysfunctional families. When Trust Recovery first opened in 2003, Mr. Matthew looked at opening a recovery house, but found it very difficult because of the real estate situation in Bermuda. Mr. Matthew himself is a recovering drug addict. He said his own recovery process did not necessarily start in Bermuda, but overseas. He returned to Bermuda in 1999, and started Trust Recovery a few years later. Then Trust Recovery took a brief hiatus when Mr. Matthew went back to school in the United States. In Pennsylvania he became a certified allied addictions practitioner, a prevention specialist and certified by the Pennsylvania Certification Board. Trust Recovery offers classes every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. for people in drug recovery of all ages. They are located in the Physical Abuse Centre off of Underhill Crescent in Pembroke across from Arnold's Supermarket. For more information about Trust Recovery, telephone 292-7692 or 336-5155.

June 18. Chief Justice Richard Ground has ruled that the media should not be gagged from reporting further revelations from a leaked Police dossier on the Bermuda Housing Corporation scandal. Making his ruling this morning, Mr. Justice Ground said that having weighed up the balance between the media's constitutional right to inform the public about serious allegations concerning important public figures and the need to protect the confidentiality of the Police investigation, the balance comes down firmly against restraining the media. However, he granted an application from the plaintiffs for his judgment to be appealed tomorrow morning in the Court of Appeal. In the interim period, Bermuda's broadcasting organizations and the Bermuda Sun have been ordered by the Chief Justice not to report any further revelations from the dossier. The Mid-Ocean News and The Royal Gazette have agreed to extend a previous undertaking made not to publish further material until the legal proceedings are resolved. Police Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief launched Supreme Court action after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean news published extracts of the documents. Their lawyer, Delroy Duncan, argued in court last week that the dossier was stolen and therefore a breach of confidence was committed when the news reports were aired and published. He said the court action was launched because the Police fear further disclosure of sensitive material from the documents although the nature of the un-reported sections of the file was not revealed in court. Mr. Justice Ground also heard that the whereabouts of the original documents is unknown, although copies have been recovered. Two arrests have been made by Police investigating how the media obtained the file. The leaked dossier reportedly revealed that Premier Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith and former Ministers Renee Webb and Arthur Hodgson were all investigated by Police looking into the BHC allegations. Construction boss Zane DeSilva was another prominent person investigated as part of the probe into allegations of corruption at the BHC, the documents reportedly showed. When the investigation finished in 2004, then acting Director of Public Prosecutions Kulandra Ratneser said many of those investigated could only be accused of bad ethics. Mr. Ratneser also said some of the people investigated escaped prosecution due to Bermuda's antiquated corruption laws. Since the BHC scandal which is believed to have cost the taxpayer $8 million one person has been convicted. Terrence Smith, a BHC officer, was found guilty and jailed last year on 41 counts of fraud. Mr. Duncan argued that the media should be gagged from publishing further information from the dossier not already in the public domain as it could undermine public confidence in the Police. He further argued that those figures put in the spotlight by the media reports have not had chance to respond to comments made about them in the Police file, it is alleged that at least two of the defendants have handled stolen goods in receiving the documents, and publication cannot be justified with the reason that it is in the public interest. Saul Froomkin QC, acting for the publishers of this newspaper and its sister paper the Mid-Ocean News, said there is no evidence the report was stolen, and that even if the file was confidential the public have a right to know its contents under the Bermuda Constitution which protects freedom of expression. "There is confidential information which the public may have a right to receive and others, in particular the press, may have a right and even a duty to publish even if the information has been unlawfully obtained in flagrant breach of confidence and irrespective of the motive of the informer" he said last week. In addition to Bermuda Press Holdings, the Bermuda Broadcasting Company, DeFontes Broadcasting and the Bermuda Sun were also named as defendants in the court case and contested the injunction.

June 18. Premier Ewart Brown could have been forgiven for throwing things at the television in frustration last night as Tiger Woods once again lost out for the second major running to a much lower-profile golfer. Argentine Angel Cabrera qualified for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf — to be held in Bermuda in October — by winning the US Open at the notoriously treacherous Oakmont Country Club yesterday, winning by a mere shot from the world number one and fellow American Jim Furyk. In both major championships so far this year — the Masters and now the US Open — Woods has finished second. At the Masters in April, the most famous player in golf lost out in the race for the green jacket to the relatively unknown Zach Johnson. He now has two more opportunities — at the British Open in July and the PGA Championship in August — to qualify for the Grand Slam, a two-day strokeplay tournament held at the end of the season featuring the year’s four major winners. The Grand Slam is being used by the Department of Tourism primarily as a marketing tool, with the benefits of Woods’ presence obvious to all involved with event, which is to be staged at the Mid-Ocean Club. “Obviously, I’m pleased to see such a talented golfer win his first ever major championship, but it’s no secret that I was pulling for Tiger Woods at the Masters and I was pulling for him again at the US Open,” Brown said yesterday. “So I’m a little disappointed, yet still optimistic because there are two tournaments down, two to go. I got an e-mail from (Opposition Leader and golf enthusiast) Michael Dunkley saying that he was watching all afternoon, and like me, he had his fingers crossed for Tiger. We both understand that adding Tiger to the scorecard would put Bermuda’s tourism product on the international stage in way like we’ve never seen before.” 

June 18. A charity who was ‘named and shamed’ in a Senate report last week, has hit back at claims they have failed to keep their accounts in order. Age Concern, which is an organization working for the rights of the elderly, was listed as one of the 149 charities that filed their accounts six months late. But yesterday, Claudette Fleming, executive director of Age Concern explained that any delay in the filing of their accounts was due to the added measure of having it approved by their Annual General Meeting (AGM). She said: “It is important for the Bermuda public and the Government to know that Age Concern is in compliance with the Charities Act 1978. “Age Concern’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) had been scheduled to be held on Tuesday, June 5 the same day that Bermuda observed a national holiday to honour Dame Lois Browne Evans. As corporate Bermuda will be aware, the AGM is the organization's opportunity to approve the audited financial statements.” The list of ‘delinquent’ organizations was provided by Sen. Wayne Caines, Junior Minister for Labour and Immigration, in response to a Parliamentary Question by Sen. Gina Spence Farmer, Shadow Minister for Community and Cultural Affairs. Sen. Spence Farmer had asked for the names of registered charities which had failed to submit accounts to the Registrar General within six months and one year of their last financial year, as required by The Charities Act 1978. And the report revealed that 98 organizations failed to submit their accounts within a year, with 149 failing to do so within six months of the fiscal year end. Under Government moves, those charities who now fail to submit their annual accounts on time could have their status revoked. However, Mrs. Fleming feels Age Concern should not be penalized for the added measures they take to ensure proper accounting. She added: “Age Concern has taken this additional step in the interest of good corporate governance a measure which we believe donors and supporters will value. Without this additional step, Age Concern’s financials would have been submitted to the Government well before now. The 2006 accounts have been prepared and approved by our board. They will be adopted at our July 5 annual general meeting and immediately thereafter, will be on their way to the Register General.” 

June 18. A Special Development Order was granted for a 220-suite hotel to be built — very close to the proposed Southlands development. The Grand Atlantic Resort and Residences will be built in Warwick on the plot of land which currently holds derelict buildings, green space and an area zoned ‘woodlands’. The SDO was made public last week and the Opposition spokesman for Environment, Cole Simons, said it was another example of the Government’s “fast-tack decision-making” and branded it “anti-democratic”. He added that it showed the Government was not able to work within its own framework, the Bermuda Development Plan. The hotel built on the 13.1 acre Warwick site on South Road. To the east of its border is Astwood Walk and the Warwick gas station, the plot stretches westward just beyond the bend in South Road where it junctions with Dunscombe Road. According to the plans, the hotel will rise nine storeys with 220 rooms offering a maximum total of 706 beds, including a six-bedroom penthouse suite. There will also be two five-storey high blocks of 20 two-bedroom fractional ownership apartments, five three-bedroom villas, 20 three-bedroom units in two-storey blocks and 22 two-bedroom and ten one-bedroom units. Also foreseen is a twin two-storey retail area on an approach road to the hotel and resort. There will also be terrace and dining room restaurants, a beach bar and grill terrace, lounge bar, ballroom, swimming pool, spa, fitness centre and roof top tennis courts. The SDO, which was in Thursday’s official Gazette, said that the owners — Atlantic Development — would have to provide training for three years to at least 50 percent of its Bermudian employees. It also stipulates that before a building permit is granted the Development Applications Board have to approve the external appearance and landscaping. The Chief Environmental Health Officer will also have to sign off on all sewage treatment and disposal as well as plans for the collection and distribution of rainwater. But Opposition MP Cole Simons said he was concerned that another SDO was being granted for hotel development. He said: “Its decision to grant an SDO to Grand Atlantic Resort and Residences owes more to its push to project a ‘can do’ image than to sound, people-based planning and respect for public input. “The go-ahead for the development of the 13-acre Golden Hind site, along with the impending SDO for the nearby Southland’s, will effectively wipe out the last large green space in Warwick. The PLP Government’s reliance on SDOs is anti-democratic, and an admission that it is unable to work within a system that was designed to ensure people have a role in decisions about the future of the island.” He added that there does not appear to be an overall plan for development in Bermuda. “There is, moreover, a frightening lack of foresight at work - a lack of overall planning discipline - that prevents the country from making smart decisions about how our disappearing open spaces should be best used. The most glaring breakdown in the system is the PLP failure to update the Bermuda Development Plan, leaving us to face the current wave of hyper-development with a plan that was put together more than 15 years ago. A spokeswoman for the Bermuda National Trust said it applauded the discussion to build on a site which has previously been used as opposed to untouched land. But, she added: “It would have been an additional benefit if the SDO had clearly delineated and protected the Conservation Areas (an area that contains important natural features within which development is precluded or controlled), within this parcel of land, so that the development does not encroach onto them.”

In the last decade 16 Special Development Orders have been made

June 18.  A National Policy on Disabilities was applauded by members of Parliament on Friday, but the Opposition now wants words put into action. Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, Wayne Perinchief, presented the National Policy to the House of Assembly to cross-party support. He said it aimed “to ensure that disabled persons have every opportunity to reach their individual potential and to see the removal of barriers that prevent their full participation in Bermudian society”. Mr. Perinchief classed a disability as a long-term health condition lasting more than six months, which can include physical, emotional or learning difficulties. According to the 2000 Census, disability affects 3,000 residents on the Island — five percent of the population. Almost a quarter — 23 percent — of 16 to 64-year-olds reported back or spine problems, while 33 percent of seniors suffered from arthritis. Among 200 people with a learning disability, 118 were cared for by relatives — many of whom were over 60-years-old. Mr. Perinchief said: “These statistics speak volumes about the magnitude and impact of disability on people in our community — from disabled persons themselves, to their friends, family and support networks.” He said the National Policy was the result of action by then Minister of Health and Family Services Patrice Minors, who appointed a Committee to address the issue in January 2005. The committee was formed to develop a National Policy, by setting down guiding principles; objectives in access, housing, health, education, transport, communication and training; overall goals and objectives. Technical officers from the National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged assisted in drafting policy, and the team reviewed legislation not only from Bermuda, but from other countries around the world. Mr. Perinchief said: “The report indicates that, in Bermuda, people with disabilities are subject to violations of their human rights, a lack of understanding of their abilities and incomplete or non-existent accommodations required to participate fully in everyday life.” He said parents of disabled children felt their children’s needs were not being “accurately identified and consistently met” within the education system, while qualified people remained unemployed through discrimination. Mr. Perinchief added: “Existing planning legislation is violated when inaccessible buildings exist and inaccessible renovations and new construction continue to occur across Bermuda. As a result, people with disabilities have to change healthcare providers, transportation routes to work, and have limited access to buildings in general and recreational and sporting events.” The report also concluded that “stigma regarding mental illness continues to inhibit people from getting necessary medical intervention, educational or employment accommodations, and housing and financial assistance that would promote success at home, work and in the community”. People with hearing problems also had no access to local television news, due to a lack of closed captioning. For these reasons, he said, the National Policy on Disability would look to effect changes across all aspects of society. Mr. Perinchief said the committee identified 155 objectives based on the principles of equal opportunity, accountability, and mutual respect. He stressed the need for more public awareness; greater access to buildings and transport; and more inclusion by employers. “Bermuda must aim to become a barrier-free community,” he said. “Each and everyone of us could become disabled tomorrow, and each and every one of us will age. It is extremely likely that many of us will experience a disabling condition in our lives, particularly as we get older. Therefore, this policy is personal to each of us. Government can provide a framework for action, but we will still need the community to embrace it and commit to it.” The need now was for a plan, said Mr. Perinchief, and so Government would set up a National Accessibility Advisory Council to implement policy and strategy. This body will also review legislation and advise Government on best practice. Mr. Perinchief said: “The Policy lays the foundation, which enables us to achieve a vision of ‘inclusion for all’ and we all have a responsibility for making this vision real.”  

June 18. A letter claiming to detail allegations about the Bermuda Housing Corporation affair has been removed from online encyclopedia Wikipedia's entry for Premier Ewart Brown. Wikipedia has followed popular youth online community Facebook in deleting the document from the person claiming to be responsible for the dissemination of leaked documents relating to allegations of corruption at BHC. The letter, by someone dubbing himself "Son of the Soil", hit the web after being e-mailed to news groups including The Royal Gazette. It has also been running on a number of blogs originating on the Island, including Bermudasucks.com. Commentators have claimed it shows how attempts to gag the media over the BHC issue cannot stop millions of people reading about it on the Internet.

June 18. Bermuda could be the site of a new stem cell research facility within three months. An Internet website has exposed the link between the Island and Stemedica Cell Technologies, a California-based biotech company. “Stemedica is a prominent Russian company that will soon open clinics in ‘neutral’ countries like Bahamas, Bermuda, Caymans,” a commentator wrote on the Motley Fool Caps investment website in March this year. Stemedica’s website states it researches adult stem cell technology rather than the embryonic version which has attracted opposition from church groups across the world because it involves the destruction of embryos. Yesterday, Bishop of Bermuda Ewen Ratteray and Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Kurtz both welcomed the move — as long as Stemedica steers clear of embryonic stem cells. Stemedica chief executive and vice chairman Dr. Maynard Howe said the company’s plans for Bermuda were still in the discovery phase. “We are in the preliminary stages of discussions regarding opening a treatment centre in Bermuda,” he said. Plans will hopefully be finalized within three months, he added. Stemedica, a private company which employs up to 100 people and records revenues of up to $10 million, was formed in 2004-2005. Its team is largely spread between California and Eastern Europe. The company’s website proclaims it is “dedicated to harnessing and commercializing adult stem cell technology and therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases in an effort to save, restore and improve lives”. In the US, President George Bush and other social conservatives have long opposed human embryonic stem cell research because the cells can be obtained only by destroying embryos. However, adult stem cell research such as that conducted by Stemedica is less controversial. Reacting yesterday, Anglican Bishop Ewen Ratteray — who stressed his views were personal and not on behalf of the Church — said: “If it involves the use of adult stem cells, that would be acceptable — as long as it’s being used in terms of not creating another being or anything like that, but in terms of dealing with illnesses like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. We accept scientific research in other areas. Why not this? I’m a little uncertain about how they are doing it, but as long as it’s ethical, I think that’s acceptable. Let’s see what happens.” The Catholic Church across the world has campaigned against embryonic stem cell research, but Bishop Kurtz said the Church was not against stem cell research full stop. “I would certainly hope that using some form of legitimate research that you can find some cures for diseases,” he said. In May, the California Supreme Court gave dramatic clearance to California’s landmark $3-billion stem cell research effort, declining to hear appeals from lower courts. The decision was especially controversial as the money is slated for embryonic stem cell research rather than adult stem cell research. US federal government funding of such research is a top political issue in Washington, where Congress last week approved easing restrictions on federal financing of embryonic stem cell research. Some of the adult stem cell research that Stemedica hopes to conduct in Bermuda would revolve around treatment for bone regeneration, and for scar and burn tissue. Stemedica also has facilities in other countries and cities around the world, including Moscow, Seoul, Paris, Mexico and Switzerland. 

June 18. Courtland Boyle has been elected unopposed to the position of Alderman of the Corporation of Hamilton.  Mr. Boyle, who has been a Common Councillor of the Corporation for the last four and a half years, is vice president of W. J. Boyle & Son Ltd., which operates four shoe stores in Hamilton. Bill Black, Deputy Mayor of Hamilton, said: “On behalf of the Corporation of Hamilton, I would like to congratulate Courtland on his appointment as Alderman. Courtland has done a wonderful job as a Common Councillor and I look forward to a continued relationship with him as a fellow Alderman.” Additionally, four candidates — Peter Aldrich, Irving Hendrickson, Kathryn Cole Gibbons and David Sullivan — have been nominated for the position of Common Councillor. An election will be held at City Hall on June 21 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the post of Common Councillor.

June 18. With a northwesterly breeze of 15 to 18 knots giving momentum to a fleet of 72 yachts racing in the 30th Marion to Bermuda Race on Friday, Governor of Bermuda Sir John Vereker was spotted grinding winches in full offshore sailing gear aboard the yacht “Babe” while Bermuda boat “Morgan’s Ghost” was leading the fleet in Class A as the biennial regatta got underway. The fleet is expected to arrive sometime tomorrow. Five monohull classes and one multi-hull class set sail in the 16th running of the Marion to Bermuda race led in Class A by Preston Hutchings of Paget while in Class B, Colin Couper’s yacht “Babe” was in strong position. With a spinnaker start it wasn’t long before the fleet began to settle into the 645-nautical mile race yesterday — with predictions that the Gulf Stream will be smooth and boats will try and pick the straightest course through it towards Bermuda. “The vast majority of people from Bermuda who are sailors understand the vagaries of the Gulf Stream,” said J. H. Thompson who is the skipper aboard Bermudian Jonathan Baxter’s yacht “Pond Prowler.” “Getting through the Gulf Stream is the most nerve-wracking thing.” Thompson is the former commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and is a member of the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club. This is his ninth Marion to Bermuda race.

June 19. News that another Special Development Order has been granted for a hotel on South Road has caused concern among residents. Yesterday The Royal Gazette spoke with members of the public in Hamilton about the recent announcement that the Minister of the Environment granted a SDO for the Grand Atlantic Resort in Warwick. The hotel will be nine-storeys high and is situated on a 13.1 acre plot, some of which was zoned as woodlands. It is also near the proposed Southlands development, which has already been granted an SDO. The Royal Gazette asked nine people what they thought of the recent use of SDOs for hotel development — seven said they were against it. Dee Williams, who is an accounts manager, said: “I don’t think it is a good idea we are overdeveloped as it is and we are taking up a lot of the open space left on the Island. There are too many buildings going up.” While Geoffrey Frith, the president of Container Ship Management, thought it was wrong to supersede current Planning laws. “Why do we have a Planning Board and a Development Act if we do not use it?” he asked. “I am against the way it is being done. It seems to be going over the procedures that are in place.”  

June 19. Shock and sadness were expressed yesterday over the death of former Deputy Governor Peter Lloyd, described as "one of the finest men" to serve Bermuda. Married to a Bermudian, Margaret Harvey after they met during a cruise off of Africa, it was Mr. Lloyd's work in the Foreign Service that brought him to Bermuda's shores in 1974. He served under three Governors until 1981 when he left for the Cayman Islands to be Governor in his final post for the British Government. And though he spent many years travelling for the Foreign Service, his son Charles said his parents never dreamed of retiring anywhere but Bermuda. He said: "My mom is Bermudian and they had traveled our whole lives so when he retired it was to go back to Bermuda. My uncle lives in Bermuda and we have a lot of family so it was an obvious place to retire to." Diagnosed only a month ago with a brain tumor, he was in London, England for treatment and, though his son said he was recovering well from his surgery on Friday, Sunday night he took a turn for the worse. However, his death leaves a legacy that not only survives from his diplomacy days, but also for his time spent in retirement in Bermuda. His first posting was as a District Officer in Kenya in 1951 until 1960. He became second in rank in the Colonial Service from 1960 to 1961 in Kenya before leaving to be the Colonial Secretary in the Seychelles until 1966. Other appointments before Bermuda included Fiji from 1966 to 1970 and Hong Kong from 1971 to 1974.

June 19. The Auditor General was arrested last night as the investigation into leaked documents alleging corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation took a new twist. Larry Dennis spent the night in custody at Prospect Police Station following a raid by detectives on the Office of the Auditor General. Flanked by four plain-clothed detectives and three uniformed officers, Mr. Dennis was escorted out of Victoria Hall at 7.15 p.m. and into the back of an unmarked Police car. Three boxes — one sealed with orange tape marked ‘Evidence’ — were placed in the boot of the vehicle. A source said last night that the raid was carried out in connection with the BHC investigation. Police descended on the offices of the Government fiscal watchdog at 3.45 p.m. yesterday. Uniformed officers stood guard in Reception while detectives carried out a search of documents in offices to the rear. Even the cleaner was turned away as detectives — one wearing forensic latex gloves — carried out a three-and-a-half hour investigation. Bemused staff refused to comment as they left the offices at 5.30 p.m. Then at 6.45 p.m. a young man dressed in blue T-shirt, khaki shorts and white trainers carried a white sealed cardboard box from the City Hall car park into the building, accompanied by Mr. Dennis’s wife, Nancy. The young man — a family relative — handed the box to waiting detectives and left immediately, as Police took the box into offices at the rear. Last night another source claiming to be “a friend of the family” said that Mr. Dennis had been threatened with imprisonment unless he produced documents connected with the BHC inquiry. The anonymous caller said: “Mr. Dennis asked his wife to bring the papers in as the threat was used that the Police would put him in jail unless he released the papers. He called and asked her to bring them to the office.” The source claimed: “They’re just getting at him to get at the Governor.” At 7.15 p.m. Mr. Dennis was escorted out of his Victoria Street offices by detectives. They carried the cardboard box plus a similar box sealed with orange tape and a black plastic crate. A Police spokesman said last night: “There is no comment at this time.” However, Mr. Dennis’s wife confirmed her husband was under arrest. She told The Royal Gazette: “He is spending the night at Prospect Police Station but I really don’t know anything more.” Mrs. Dennis said it was only after 10 p.m. that she learned of her husband’s arrest. “I didn’t know what was going on, it was a shock,” she said. The Office of Auditor General oversees the Government’s fiscal conduct. His position is guaranteed under the Constitution and he reports directly to the Governor. Last night a Police spokesman said two men arrested on Thursday in connection with the leaked BHC files have been released on Police bail. He would not comment further. The documents — leaked to the Mid Ocean News — claimed that Premier Dr. Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith and former Ministers Renée Webb and Arthur Hodgson were investigated by Police during inquiries into allegations of corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation. When the investigation ended in 2004, then acting Director of Public Prosecutions Kulandra Ratneser said some of those investigated could only be accused of bad ethics and that some escaped prosecution due to Bermuda’s antiquated corruption laws. Since the BHC scandal — which has cost taxpayers $8 million — one person has been convicted. Terrence Smith, a BHC officer, was jailed last year on 41 counts of fraud.

June 19. The media should not be gagged from reporting further revelations from a leaked Police dossier on the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) scandal, Chief Justice Richard Ground has ruled. However, the public should not expect more from the file which makes serious allegations against public figures including the Premier yet — the ruling will be challenged at the Court of Appeal today. Delivering his judgment at Supreme Court yesterday, Mr. Justice Ground said the balance between protecting the confidential Police file and upholding the constitutional right of the press to report serious allegations concerning important public figures favored the media in this case. “The (BHC) allegations are not gratuitous, in that there is some evidence to support them, as set out in the material so far reported. Nor do the allegations concern the private personal life of those concerned. They touch upon their conduct in office. In those circumstances, I think that the public interest is genuinely engaged, and this is not a case of the public being officiously interested in matters which do not concern them. I think, therefore, that the balance comes down firmly against restraining the media’s freedom (of) expression,” he said. Police Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief launched court action against the Island’s media outlets after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean News published extracts from the documents on May 23 and June 1 respectively. The leaked dossier — said to run to thousands of pages — reportedly revealed that Premier Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, former Ministers Renée Webb and Arthur Hodgson and construction boss Zane DeSilva were investigated by Police looking into allegations of corruption at the BHC. When the probe concluded in 2004, then acting Director of Public Prosecutions Kulandra Ratneser said some of those investigated escaped prosecution due to Bermuda’s antiquated corruption laws. Only one person has been convicted since the BHC scandal, which is believed to have cost the taxpayer $8 million. Terrence Smith, a former BHC officer, was jailed last year on 41 counts of fraud. The Island’s media outlets united in opposing the bid to gag them from publishing more on the BHC probe, citing their right to freedom of expression. A hearing last week before Mr. Justice Ground heard how the Mid-Ocean News report prompted the Police to convert existing inquiries into the leak into a full-scale criminal investigation. Two arrests were made last week in connection with this. Mr. Justice Ground also heard that the whereabouts of the original documents are unknown, although copies have been recovered. The Commissioner and Attorney General asked for a ban on the so-far unpublished sections being reported, although the contents of these were not outlined during the hearing. Their lawyer Delroy Duncan, argued that the ban should be granted on grounds including that the documents are confidential. He also cited a fear of what Deputy Commissioner Roseanda Young called “more confidential, and possibly unsubstantiated information” being released. Mr. Duncan further submitted that future investigations could be harmed if Police officers and informers feared publication of such documents in future. Saul Froomkin QC, representing the publishers of this newspaper and sister paper the Mid-Ocean News, argued that the right of the media to freedom of expression should be given more weight than the concern that the documents are confidential. Mr. Justice Ground noted in his judgment backing this view that while Mr. Jackson and Mrs. Young refer to the documents as being stolen, it remains unclear whether they have been stolen or simply copied and distributed to the media. He said he had no reason to doubt the denials of the media organizations that they have the documents in their possession, and there is nothing to suggest any of them stole documents or trespassed on Police premises. “The likelihood is that they were the recipients of a leak by some person as yet unknown on the inside,” he said. Mr. Justice Ground also noted the legal proceedings were not brought by the individuals named in the newspaper report and it was not his function to decide whether the allegations were true. Although he was only asked for an interim injunction against the media, pending a full trial, Mr. Justice Ground said it was hard to envisage what a trial could add to the considerations already before the court. He ordered that the costs of the case incurred by the media organizations — which are likely to be substantial — be paid by the Commissioner and Attorney General. In allowing the application from Mr. Duncan to argue against his judgment in the higher court today, Mr. Justice Ground ordered that Bermuda’s broadcasting organizations and the Bermuda Sun should not report further revelations from the dossier in the interim. The Mid-Ocean News and The Royal Gazette agreed to extend a previous undertaking made not to do. Despite the further obstacle posed by the pending appeal, editor of The Royal Gazette>Bill Zuill yesterday welcomed Mr. Justice Ground’s judgment. “We are very happy that the Chief Justice recognized the vital role of a free press in a democracy. This is an important day for freedom of speech in Bermuda,” he said. Read full coverage of the appeal in tomorrow’s edition of The Royal Gazette, and watch our website at www.theroyalgazette.bm for breaking news today.

June 20. The Court of Appeal will rule next week on whether the Chief Justice was right not to stop the media reporting further revelations from a leaked Police dossier on the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) scandal. Mr. Justice Richard Ground ruled on Monday that the right of the public to know about the probe into serious allegations about public figures including Premier Ewart Brown outweighed concern that the file was a confidential Police document. Police Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief launched the action against the Island's media outlets after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean News published extracts from the documents on May 23 and June 1 respectively. The leaked dossier, said to run to thousands of pages, reportedly revealed that Dr. Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, former Ministers Renee Webb and Arthur Hodgson and construction boss Zane DeSilva were investigated by Police looking into allegations of corruption at the BHC. The Commissioner and Attorney General asked for a ban on the so-far unpublished sections being reported, although the contents of these were not outlined during the hearing. Less than 24 hours after Mr. Justice Ground ruled against this, the pair took their fight to the Court of Appeal. The panel of three judges, President Justice Edward Zacca, Sir Austin Ward and Gerald Nazareth heard legal arguments yesterday and this morning. During submissions, there was a strongly-worded exchange between Saul Froomkin QC, for this newspaper and sister the Mid-Ocean News and Delroy Duncan for the appellants about the latest developments in the Police hunt for the source of the leak. This saw two men arrested and released last week, and Auditor General Larry Dennis arrested and released after 24 hours in custody in a move criticised by Mr. Froomkin. The appeals justices announced at the end of proceedings that they will rule at 10 am on Monday. In the interim period, they have ordered that Bermuda's broadcasting organizations and the Bermuda Sun should not report further material from the dossier until the appeal concludes. The Mid-Ocean News and The Royal Gazette have agreed to extend a previous undertaking made not to do.

June 20. The authorities mounted a challenge yesterday to the Chief Justice’s decision not to stop the media airing further material from a leaked Police dossier on the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) scandal. Mr. Justice Ground ruled on Monday that the right of the public to know about the high-profile probe into serious allegations about public figures including Premier Ewart Brown outweighed concern that the file was a confidential Police document. “The (BHC) allegations are not gratuitous, in that there is some evidence to support them, as set out in the material so far reported. Nor do the allegations concern the private personal life of those concerned. They touch upon their conduct in office,” he said at the time. “In those circumstances I think that the public interest is genuinely engaged, and this is not a case of the public being officiously interested in matters which do not concern them. I think, therefore, that the balance comes down firmly against restraining the media’s freedom (of) expression.” Police Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief launched the action against the Island’s media outlets after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean News published extracts from the documents on May 23 and June 1 respectively. The leaked dossier — said to run to thousands of pages—- reportedly revealed that Premier Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, former Ministers Renée Webb and Arthur Hodgson and construction boss Zane DeSilva were investigated by Police looking into allegations of corruption at the BHC. The Commissioner and Attorney General asked for a ban on the so-far unpublished sections being reported, although the contents of these were not outlined during the hearing. Less than 24 hours after Mr. Justice Ground ruled against this, they took their fight to the Court of Appeal. Their lawyer, Delroy Duncan, repeated arguments made in front of Mr. Justice Ground last week, asking the appeals justices to find that the Chief Justice did not weigh the balance correctly. Mr. Duncan argued that the publication ban should be granted on grounds including that the documents are confidential. He also cited a fear of what Deputy Commissioner Roseanda Young called “more confidential, and possibly unsubstantiated information” being released. Mr. Duncan further submitted that future investigations could be harmed if Police officers and informers fear publication of such documents in future. And, he argued, it is for the media outlets to tell the court about the unused portions of the confidential documents in order to prove publication would be in the public interest. Mr. Justice Ground had taken the view that it was for the Commissioner and the Attorney General to put the material before him. They did not do so. Saul Froomkin QC, representing the publishers of this newspaper and its sister paper the Mid-Ocean News, successfully argued in the Supreme Court that the press had a constitutional right to use more material from the file, in the public interest. Yesterday afternoon, he asked the appeals justices to consider overnight whether they needed to hear him make the same arguments again. Mr. Froomkin submitted that this was not necessary, and the appeal should be thrown out, because they have no power to interfere with the discretion of Mr. Justice Ground in this case. The appeal continues. Meanwhile, the justices have ordered that Bermuda’s broadcasting organizations and the Bermuda Sun should not report further revelations from the dossier until the appeal concludes. The Mid-Ocean News and The Royal Gazette have agreed to extend a previous undertaking made not to do.

June 20. A 23-year-old Bermuda icon is being dismantled over the next ten weeks to make way for newer and more efficient technology. The Cable and Wireless satellite Standard A Earth Station antenna, which has been a landmark since its construction in April, 1984 was the largest commercial satellite dish in the world measuring 30 meters wide and 300 metres in diameter. However, having to relay a signal to a satellite 24,000 miles away and then wait for the signal to return to Bermuda caused a second delay, which, is too long for the high speed modems so prevalent today. New fibre optic cable called Gemini Bermuda will increase communications capacity said Eddie Saints, Chief Executive of Cable and Wireless Bermuda, yesterday. "The fibre optic cables we will be introducing to replace the earth station will provide data communication at the speed of light. Much faster than what the satellite was doing, which will help with the broadband data. This will satisfy the growing demand for diverse, reliable high-speed data and broadband services, which cannot be provided by the smaller capacity of the current cable," he said. "It will also enable us to provide direct international access to all three diverse fibre optic cable systems serving Bermuda from our Teleport facility in Devonshire parish, benefiting Bermuda's International business and residential community." And introducing the cable is only one of a list of updates on the Cable and Wireless location. Other plans for the site are a new power plant with a data centre to support the company. The cost will be about $22 million for the updates and the 800-mile-long cable Gemini Bermuda, which will be operational by October 2007. Dismantling the satellite will take close to ten weeks and the contract, which was won by M.R. Construction, will be close to $750,000. And as of yesterday, one panel of the 400-tonne satellite dish had come down to make way for the Gemini Bermuda fibre optic cables, which will have 700 times more capacity than the previous cables attached to the satellite dish. It will run to Manasquawa, New Jersey where terminal equipment will be based. Cable and Wireless already runs two other fibre optic cables to Tortola and then onto the United States and from St. David's to Tuckertown, New Jersey. A third line with Gemini Bermuda, however, will help give the company back-up should one of the lines fail, according to Mr. Saints.

June 20. Members of the legal community said Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and former Minister Nelson Bascome have the right to sue the Island’s media organizations for libel and slander over allegations from a leaked Police dossier on the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) scandal. Two writs were filed at the Supreme Court Register shortly before 10 a.m. yesterday as the Police Commissioner and Attorney General began an appeal to overturn Monday’s ruling by the Chief Justice that the media should not be gagged from reporting more from the leaked file. The first writ, the 159th to be filed in 2007, stated: “Ewart F. Brown vs. 1) Bermuda Broadcasting Company 2) Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd. 3) DeFontes Broadcasting Company Ltd. 4) Bermuda Sun Limited.” Lawyer Charles Richardson is representing the Premier. The second writ stated: Nelson Blake Bascome vs. 1) Bermuda Broadcasting Company 2) Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd. 3) DeFontes Broadcasting Company Ltd. 4) Bermuda Sun Limited.” Mr. Bascome was formerly the Health Minister and he is being represented by Victoria Pearman. Mr. Richardson said neither he nor Ms Pearman would comment on the writs. Yesterday, lawyers said the Premier and former Minister should be allowed to pursue their legal options like anyone else, but some commented that a libel trial could prove to be very interesting because the politicians could have to take the stand. Prominent lawyer Timothy Marshall said: “I don’t have any recollection of a politician doing this before in Bermuda but the case law permits any individual, regardless of their position, to vindicate their reputation. The Premier has all the rights as any other citizen. I am all for people using the institutions that are there to serve the public to explore their rights. That includes people that feel their reputation has been damaged and the press who feel the public has a right to know.” Mr. Marshall said as long as the questions were relevant to the libel issue the Premier and Minster could be asked a wide range of questions if the issue reached trial. While defence lawyer Mark Pettingill, who is also standing for Parliament for the United Bermuda Party, said he believed the move was “unprecedented” in Bermuda. He explained that to libel someone was to “cause someone to be lowered in the minds of right thinking people” and said lawyers in libel cases would be able to question the Premier about different aspects of the allegations from the leaked dossier. He too agreed that the Premier should be able to exercise his legal rights: “This has been issued by him as a private citizen not as the Premier and if he feels he has been libeled he should be able to take action like anyone else.’’ The writs come after The Royal Gazette’s sister paper The Mid-Ocean News ran a story from a leaked Police dossier centering on allegations of corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation. The documents reportedly revealed that Premier Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith and former Ministers Nelson Bascome, Renée Webb and Arthur Hodgson were all investigated by fraud squad officers looking into the BHC allegations. Since the investigation into the BHC corruption — which is believed to have cost the taxpayer $8 million — one person has been jailed. Terence Smith, a BHC officer, was found guilty and jailed last year on 41 counts of fraud. 

June 20. Rival jurisdictions in the Caribbean are poised to capitalize if the Island's reputation becomes undermined by the Bermuda Housing Corporation affair, an international finance expert warned last night. David Marchant believes the arrest of Auditor General Larry Dennis was the latest in a string of events which are jeopardizing Bermuda's name as a reinsurance paradise. Mr. Dennis' detention at the Hamilton Police Station was reported to a worldwide audience yesterday by industry publication Global Reinsurance, which described the whole investigation as a "scandal that is rocking the island". Mr. Marchant said the arrest of Mr. Dennis — the sole independent watchdog over Government's financial affairs — would contribute to a "gradual erosion of confidence" in Bermuda. Places such as Cayman Islands, where international business has grown significantly in recent months, are now well placed to take advantage, he said. Some major companies based in Bermuda already have strong ties with the Caymans. "If Bermuda continues to be driven to the edge of the cliff, the Cayman Islands is going to be rubbing its hands in glee in anticipation of picking up Bermuda's reinsurance companies," he said. Mr. Marchant said four decades ago Bermuda itself began building its blue chip reputation as a financial jurisdiction by capitalizing on controversy in the Bahamas, which had previously led the field. He said he could see "remarkable parallels" with the situation facing the Island today. Mr. Marchant, a former Royal Gazette journalist, is now based in Miami as an investigative reporter and publisher of Inside Bermuda, which sells in more than 100 countries all over the world. In his May 31 edition, he wrote that Bermuda's portrayal as the "clean" face of offshore finance was rocked by the corruption allegations. Global Reinsurance's website reported on Mr. Dennis' arrest yesterday: "This is the latest in a series of political issues threatening the reinsurance paradise. New time limits on work permits, which could force out 10,000 guest workers, unpopular policies governing car ownership and concerns over freedom of speech have plagued the island over the past year." Earlier this month, The Mid-Ocean News ran a story from a leaked Police dossier centering on allegations of corruption at BHC. The documents reportedly revealed that Premier Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith and former Ministers Renee Webb and Arthur Hodgson were all investigated by Police looking into the BHC allegations. When the investigation finished in 2004, then Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Kulandra Ratneser, said many of those investigated could only be accused of bad ethics. 

June 20. As the Government’s fiscal watchdog, the Office of Auditor General monitors public accounts for any signs of mismanagement or fraud. Under the Bermuda Constitution Order, it is independent of any authority — being answerable only to the Governor. The 1968 Constitution states: “The accounts of the Legislative Council, the House of Assembly, all Government departments and offices (including the Public Service Commission) and all courts of Bermuda shall be audited and reported on annually by the Auditor, and for that purpose the Auditor or any person authorized by him in that behalf shall have access to all books, records, returns and other documents relating to such accounts. In the exercise of his functions under the provisions of this section, the Auditor shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.” His mission is described today as: “The Office of the Auditor General, derived from its legislative mandate, is to add credibility to Government’s financial reporting and to promote improvement in the financial administration of all Government departments and controlled entities for which the Government is accountable to Parliament.” Government’s relationship with Mr. Dennis, however, has been marked with friction. Last month, Mr. Dennis used his annual report to call for more financial independence. He called for legislators to establish his Office as an independent body and that he be allowed to operate its bank accounts and payroll, plus negotiate and arrange office space for his staff. The Minster of Finance presented a nine-page response to the annual report, but did not broach the subject of greater independence. In his annual report last month, Mr. Dennis described how in May of last year, the Ministry of Works and Engineering relocated the Office of Auditor General with less than 24 hours notice. Although the move was necessitated by an expiring lease, the abrupt action rendered his department virtually inoperable for three weeks. The office move was announced between 4-5p.m. on Friday, May 26, 2006, and that it would take place over the weekend. Mr. Dennis was in Canada at the time and later commented: “I think it is an outright plan to get at the Auditor General and attack his ability to audit.” The relocation — to a smaller office — came three weeks after his 2006 annual report in which he criticised the Government, stating that $800 million of public funds could not be readily audited because the amount was unaccounted for. Last month’s annual report reported $523 million unaccounted for, and Mr. Dennis pointed out that delays in accounting and bookkeeping leave the Government open to fraud and misallocation of funds, either by public servants or by the public, notably tax avoiders. Describing the relocation row last year, Mr. Dennis said in his 2007 report: “Audit organizations operate independent of the Government apparatus, similar to QUANGOs. The drafters of the Bermuda Constitution and the Audit Act 1990 presumably supposed, as I did, that such extensive safeguards to auditor independence were unnecessary because the Executive and Government administrators would respect the independence of the Auditor General. The events of May 2006 expose the naivety of that assumption.”

June 20. How the BHC saga developed — day by day

June 20. The Bermuda Housing Corporation affair could bring the issue of whistleblower legislation back to the fore. More than a year ago, then Public Safety Minister Randy Horton pledged that a law to protect staff who highlight allegations of fraud and corruption would definitely be introduced to the Island. Mr. Horton was speaking amid clamor for an overhaul in the law in the wake of the BHC fraud trial which saw Terrence Smith jailed for eight years. He told the House of Assembly in May 2006: "The Government is pleased to state that there will be public and private sector whistleblower legislation on the agenda as part of our criminal law reforms." Since then, the Opposition United Bermuda Party has called for whistleblower legislation on a number of occasions, and has recently stated it will bring the law in if it gets into power. Countries operating whistleblower legislation include the UK, where individuals who disclose information to expose malpractice are protected from victimization and dismissal, and the US, where employees who call attention to violations are protected by a wide variety of federal and state laws.

June 20. Employees at the Bermuda Broadcasting Company walked out yesterday alleging poor working conditions and will return today on a “work to rule” basis, refusing to do overtime or other non-contractual requests. ZBM’s 7 p.m. news broadcast was scrapped as around 35 staff were locked in talks with elements of the board last night with a shop steward voicing disgruntlement over the lack of a pay rise for four years, poor working conditions and equipment which is always breaking down. One source said: “We always get promises they are going to address things but nothing ever happens.” Another meeting with management is planned for 8.30 this morning. At lunchtime yesterday workers formed a picket line outside the ZBM/ZFB Radio and Television Studios in Prospect, Devonshire. Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) president Chris Furbert said: “They are not happy with the way management is treating them. They have had enough of the working conditions, lack of conditions, and the work environment. They said they will not be doing any work until they meet with the board to put issues on the table. It was supposed to be cleared up some time ago. Hopefully the issues will be addressed at a board meeting.” The board meeting took place late yesterday afternoon but BIU could not say how it went. A BIU representative said more industrial action today was likely with staff operating a work to rule until their grievances have been addressed. Both of the company’s radio stations, 1340 AM and Power 95, were also not in operation during the day and the board meeting with staff did not conclude until 8 p.m. The Royal Gazette believes 11 staff have left the station in the past few months, including news presenter Gary Moreno. Rick Richardson, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Broadcasting Company, would not comment. This newspaper understands about four years ago, workers walked out because of an air conditioning problem.

June 20. Plummeting popularity levels and mounting controversy could cost Premier Ewart Brown his job, a Government MP predicted last night. The parliamentarian said the furor surrounding the Premier just eight months into his leadership was causing even former supporters to question his worth. Recently Dr. Brown risked a constitutional crisis after threatening to suspend relations with the Governor who he blamed for not protecting leaked Police files from the probe into the Bermuda Housing Corporation. The fall-out has seen media gags, the arrest of the Auditor General and the Premier announcing his intention to sue the media. The MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed people in the Premier’s own party and even within Cabinet, were voicing concern. “The people lobbying to get him in last time are the people most upset now whereas the people who didn’t support him are saying: ‘We told you so’. People gave him the benefit of the doubt and hoped he would pull his socks up. There’s disquiet. It reflects badly on the party. I don’t know what is going to happen. I know some of the MPs are definitely upset and some Cabinet members are definitely upset with respect to what’s going on. It tarnishes the Cabinet as well as other MPs in parliament and members of the party.”  

June 20. Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and former Government Minister Nelson Bascome are suing the Island’s media organizations for libel and slander over revelations from a leaked Police dossier on the Bermuda Housing Corporation scandal. The writs were filed at Supreme Court yesterday morning, minutes before the Police Commissioner and Attorney General mounted an appeal against Monday’s ruling by the Chief Justice that the media should not be gagged from further reports on the leaked file. Lawyers Charles Richardson, representing Dr. Brown, and Victoria Pearman, representing Mr. Bascome, asked the Court of Appeal at 10 am to halt the appeal until their clients’ libel action — launched at 9.52 am according to Ms Pearman — was heard at Supreme Court. The Premier and Mr. Bascome are suing the same media organizations subjected to attempts by the Police Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief to stop them publishing further extracts. They are the Bermuda Broadcasting Corporation, Bermuda Press Holdings — publishers of this newspaper and sister paper the Mid-Ocean News — DeFontes Broadcasting Company and the Bermuda Sun. Mr. Jackson and Mr. Perinchief launched court action against the media after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean News published extracts from the documents on May 23 and June 1 respectively. They sought to halt publication of fresh material from the file, although it was not outlined what this was during the court proceedings. Mr. Justice Ground turned down the application on Monday, saying that the freedom of the media to publish the material should be given greater weight than the concern that it came from confidential Police files. Mr. Richardson and Ms Pearman argued that further potentially damaging allegations against their clients could emerge if the appeals justices uphold the Chief Justice’s ruling. Mr. Bascome appeared at Magistrates’ Court last week charged with stealing more than $75,000 through business dealings. He also faces a separate charge of corruption involving securing public housing for a business associate during his spell as Minister with responsibility for housing. He denies both accusations and will face trial at a later date. Ms Pearman submitted to the appeals justices that it could be impossible for her client to have a fair trial “if scurrilous and inflammatory and defamatory material” is leaked in relation to him, should Mr. Justice Ground’s ruling be upheld. Mr. Richardson also expressed fear on behalf of Dr. Brown that media organizations are in possession of further material from the Police probe. President Justice Edward Zacca ordered the appeal should continue despite the arguments from Ms Pearman and Mr. Richardson. The Royal Gazette approached Ms Pearman and Mr. Richardson outside court in a bid to clarify the grounds upon which the writs were filed; when papers are likely to be served on the media organizations; when the libel hearing is likely to be heard; and why they chose to file the writs at the time they did.

June 20. The Auditor General was yesterday released from Police custody 24 hours after detectives investigating the leaking of documents over allegations of corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation raided his offices. Police executed a search of the home of Auditor General Larry Dennis before releasing him on bail. No charges have been filed and Mr. Dennis was told he was bailed to report back to Hamilton Police Station on August 22. Politicians last night branded his arrest a “witch hunt”, with the United Bermuda Party saying “things have gone too far”. As detectives accompanied the Auditor General in a search of his home yesterday, this reporter and a Royal Gazette photographer were pulled over by Police officers and warned not to continue our observations. All of this happened on a momentous day for press freedom and free speech in Bermuda — when an appeal by the Attorney General and the Police for an injunction against further media reporting of the leaked dossier was briefly stalled, the reason being that Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and Government MP Nelson Bascome have filed writs against the Island’s media for libel and slander. Lawyers for Dr. Brown and Mr. Bascome argued the injunction should stay in place — effectively silencing the media from reporting any further information from the file — until the libel hearing. The bid was rejected by the court. Mr. Dennis was arrested and placed in custody on Monday following a raid on his Hamilton offices. Detectives removed three boxes — one marked “evidence” — believed to contain copies of the documents leaked to the media. The Auditor General was taken to Prospect Police Station and then transferred to Hamilton Police Station for interview at 11a.m. yesterday. At 2.45 p.m. Mr. Dennis left with three detectives in an unmarked car to accompany them on a search of his home in Smith’s parish. The Royal Gazette followed but at 2.55 p.m. our vehicle was stopped in Middle Road near Tee Street by two Police officers on motorbikes. Despite being on a public road, we were asked for a driving licence and proof of insurance, then asked: “Why are you following that car? We have to ask you to desist. You are interfering with an investigation.” On returning the vehicle documents, the officer then said: “Stay away from that.” The Police returned Mr. Dennis to Hamilton Police Station at 3.40 p.m. and were not seen to take any evidence into the building. At 4.15 p.m. the Auditor General was released and walked out of the station accompanied by his lawyer, Alan Dunch. Mr. Dennis, who was unshaven and wore the same clothes as on his arrest on Monday evening, appeared drained but relieved. He told The Royal Gazette : “I am fine. Thank you for being here. I do not want to make any comment at this time, I think I really need to think about what’s happened. I have to return here on August 22.” Mr. Dennis would not say why he had been arrested, but that “no charges” were brought against him and he had been bailed “on my own recognizance”. Recognizance is a legal term defined as: ‘a security entered into before a court with a condition to perform some act required by law, on failure of which a sum is forfeited’. Asked whether the Constitution gave him protection against Police intrusion into his offices, Mr. Dennis said: “I will comment on that some time in the future.” The Office of Auditor General oversees the Government’s fiscal conduct. His position is protected under the Constitution and he reports directly to the Governor. Yesterday Deputy Governor Mark Capes said: “The Auditor General operates independently and does not have to account to anybody else.” However, he would not comment on the arrest. “I have got nothing to say on that beyond saying I am aware of the Press reports that he has been arrested,” said Mr. Capes. A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK said: “We are aware of the reports he has been arrested, allegedly into the Police investigation into missing documents, and we are unable to comment further at this time.” She defined the role of Bermuda’s Auditor General as to “audit the accounts of the Senate and House of Assembly, and all the Government departments and officers”.  The Bermuda Constitution allows him to operate independently of any authority,” she added. The extraordinary events of the last few days come after The Royal Gazette’s sister paper The Mid-Ocean News ran a story from a leaked Police dossier centering on allegations of corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation. The documents reportedly revealed that Dr. Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, and former Ministers Renee Webb and Arthur Hodgson, were all investigated by Police looking into the BHC allegations. Construction boss Zane DeSilva was another prominent person investigated as part of the probe into corruption at BHC, the leaked files reportedly showed. Last night Michael Dunkley, Leader of the United Bermuda Party, said: “We are alarmed and deeply concerned at the latest developments stemming from the Bermuda Housing Corporation scandal. “The detention of the Auditor General — the man who holds constitutional responsibility for investigating Government’s financial activities — must cause all right-thinking Bermudians to ask whether things have gone too far, and whether this could not have been handled in a more appropriate manner. While we recognize that the Police have a job to do, the search for the person or persons who leaked documents has become an overriding witch-hunt.” Mr. Dunkley accused the Government of trying to detract attention from allegations that several of its representatives were investigated by Police. “There are much more serious issues at play here, and those relate to the roles of senior members of Government and the part that they are alleged to have played in the original BHC scandal,” he said. He reiterated the call for an independent inquiry into the affair. “Our call for a Royal Commission into the BHC scandal was made to protect the national interest,” said Mr. Dunkley. “A Royal Commission can provide a formal, independent, open and comprehensive inquiry to produce recommendations to get us back on track as a country. Right now, energies, time and resources are being channeled down a track — the wrong track — and away from issues that, if left unaddressed, will damage our system of governance and our worldwide reputation for integrity, fair play and trustworthiness. A Royal Commission will demonstrate to the world that we as a people are serious about doing the right thing and preserving our reputation for good governance.”  

June 21. The death has occurred at age 85 of well-known businessman Malcolm Lloyd Gosling, former president and chief executive officer of Gosling Brothers, who retired two years ago as its chairman. Born on May 1, 1922, Mr. Gosling was educated at Saltus Grammar School, Ridley College in Canada, and Pennsylvania University. In 1942, during the Second World War, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, and was trained in Quebec before being posted to England, where he served as a Pilot Officer. At the end of hostilities, Mr. Gosling returned to Bermuda before proceeding to Toronto University, where he gained a business degree, and then joined the family business, with which he remained until his retirement in 2005. His business acumen was held in high esteem throughout the firm. In addition to being a successful businessman, Malcolm Gosling was also an avid sportsman whose name was synonymous with tennis and golf. For many years he was one of Bermuda’s best tennis players, and achieved a similar standing when later he switched to golf. A former president of the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association, Mr. Gosling was also a member of the Coral Beach Club, the Riddell’s Bay Golf Club, the Mid-Ocean Club, and for many years was president of the Bermuda Golf Association. In 1994 the Bermuda Government honored him with a Special Achievement Award for his distinguished and sustained contributions to tennis and golf. Mr. Gosling retained many connections with Second World War-related organizations. A life member of the Royal Air Force Association and Royal Canadian Air Force 407 Squadron, he was also treasurer of the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps Overseas Association, a former president of the Bermuda War Veterans Association, and trustee of its Poppy Appeal Fund. A lifelong member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, as were his ancestors for generations before him, Mr. Gosling served as a church warden for 27 years, and was also on the vestry for many years. His hobbies were stamp collecting and woodworking. A member of the Stamp Design Advisory Committee for some years, he was a keen collector who specialized in West Indian and King George VI high value stamps. He enjoyed woodworking, and used Bermuda cedar to craft many pieces of occasional furniture for his wife and Paget home, “Bloomfield”. Mourning Mr. Gosling’s loss are his wife Mary, whom he married in Vancouver in 1950, daughters Nancy, Nea and Penny, son Edmund Malcolm, sister Nea Willits, and nine grandchildren. Predeceasing him were brothers Edmund (Teddy) and Francis (Goose). Funeral arrangements are pending.

June 21. The Auditor General was arrested for alleged possession of stolen documents and not revealing his source, according to reports last night. Larry Dennis was arrested on Monday and detained in Police custody for 24 hours before being released at 4.15 p.m. on Tuesday. Detectives searched his Hamilton offices and his home in Smith’s in the hunt for the source of a Police dossier leaked to the media which claimed Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and members of the Government were investigated over alleged corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation. On his release, Mr. Dennis would not say why he was arrested but that “no charges” were filed and that he was bailed to return to Hamilton Police Station on August 22. A source, however, told The Royal Gazette last night: “He was arrested because he would not reveal the source of his information. The official charge was that he was handling stolen goods and not revealing the source. The Police have the copies, but the Supreme Court said a few weeks ago that copies are not stolen documents.” A Police spokesman refused to comment on Mr. Dennis’s arrest, saying: “The Bermuda Police Service reserves its comment for the appropriate place and time.” The whereabouts of the original Police dossier into the BHC allegations is unknown. In the legal wrangle over the media’s publication of the file’s contents, Chief Justice Richard Ground said in the Supreme Court that it was unclear whether the documents had been stolen or whether they had simply been copied and distributed to the media. Last night Mr. Dennis would not comment, but said he was shocked to become the subject of a Police investigation. “I was horrified and angered by what was happening,” he said. “However, I can’t complain about how it was done and the treatment by the investigating team.” Mr. Dennis — the Government’s fiscal watchdog — has continually called for more legislative protection for ‘whistleblowers’. In his 2006 Annual Report, which stated $800 million of public funds were unaccounted for, Mr. Dennis said: “One recommendation (in Appendix Two) requires special mention this year. In my 2003, 2004 and 2005 annual reports I expressed concern at the number of frauds and misappropriations that were detected in recent years in Government entities. “In my 2004 report I recommended that the Ministry of Finance consider seeking ‘whistleblower’ legislation to encourage public employees to report apparent malpractice or other wrongdoings, and to protect employees who do so. “The legislation should be supported by practices that demonstrate that reported malpractices are investigated fully without fear or favour, that whistleblowers are protected, and that perpetrators of misappropriations and fraud are dealt with firmly.”

June 21. Details of a writ filed against the media by Premier Ewart Brown and former Government Minister Nelson Bascome had not been received by this newspaper yesterday. This meant the nature of the allegations made by the pair — who have launched libel and slander action over reports from a leaked Police dossier on allegations of corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) — remain unclear. Lawyers who filed the papers at the Supreme Court Registry on Tuesday have up to a year from that date to serve papers on the media organizations named in them. According to Saul Froomkin QC, if and when the case comes to court the leaked BHC file — the subject of current action in the Appeal Court by the Police and Attorney General to who wish to block further disclosures — could be revealed in full. Mr. Froomkin said if the court hearing the libel case deemed it relevant and necessary to prove either side's case, it could compel the disclosure of the full dossier. He is representing this newspaper group against the Attorney General and Police Commissioner, who are seeking to get the Court of Appeal to overturn a ruling by the Chief Justice that the press should not be banned from reporting more of the file. The pair launched the action against the Island's media outlets after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean News published extracts from the documents on May 23 and June 1 respectively. The leaked dossier — said to run to thousands of pages — reportedly revealed that Dr. Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, former Ministers Renée Webb and Arthur Hodgson and construction boss Zane DeSilva were investigated by Police looking into allegations of corruption at the BHC. It also reportedly makes allegations about Mr. Bascome. Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief asked for a ban on the so-far unpublished sections being reported, although the contents of these were not outlined during the hearing. Less than 24 hours after Mr. Justice Ground ruled against this, the pair took their fight to the Court of Appeal, which is set to announce its decision on Monday morning. The action by the Commissioner and Attorney General is against the same media organizations named by Dr. Brown and Mr. Bascome in their writs — the Bermuda Broadcasting Company, Bermuda Press Holdings, DeFontes Broadcasting Company and the Bermuda Sun. Neither Charles Richardson, the lawyer representing the Premier, and Victoria Pearman, representing Mr. Bascome, have commented on the details of the action. According to lawyer Timothy Marshall, the fact that the writ has been served means that both Dr. Brown and Mr. Bascome can cite it as a reason for refusing to speak about the BHC saga.  

June 21. Social Rehabilitation Minister Dale Butler denies there is a whispering campaign within the PLP against Premier Ewart Brown. Two PLP MPs told yesterday’s Royal Gazette that supporters were turning on Dr. Brown after recent controversies which has seen him threaten to suspend relations with the Governor and launch a libel action against the press. The hunt for the missing Bermuda Housing Corporation documents has also seen Auditor General spend 24 hours in a Police cell and Government launching legal action to stop the media from publishing more revelations. One MP claimed the dissent had reached Cabinet level with some believing Dr. Brown had become a liability.  

June 21. A 22-year-old holidaymaker plunged four decks of a cruise ship and later died in hospital after apparently trying to slide down a banister after a night out in St. George’s. Richard Mulloy, from Boston, Massachusetts, was pronounced dead at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital just after 3 a.m. yesterday after the accident on board the Norwegian Majesty, which is berthed at Ordnance Island. Police confirmed last night that they received a report of the fall onboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ship at about 1.15 am and were investigating the death. “It appears that Mr. Mulloy had returned to the ship with his cousin after they had a few drinks together at a nearby St. George’s establishment,” said a Police spokesman. “Around 12.25 a.m. the men were on the fifth deck of the ship intending to go to the disco on the seventh deck when the 22-year-old American man fell from the fifth deck to the first deck. “Two nurses on board attended the scene and discovered the victim in an unresponsive state. They immediately gave him CPR and tended to a head wound sustained from the fall. Mr. Mulloy was then rushed to KEMH via ambulance where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries at 3.11 a.m. and was pronounced dead by an on-call physician.”  

June 22. Mistakes have been revealed in Government documents which classed up to 150 charities as ‘delinquent’ for failing to get their accounts in order. The Registrar General admitted there were errors in a Senate report which listed 98 non-profit organizations as failing to submit their accounts within a year of the fiscal year end, and 149 failing to do so within six months. The Bank of Bermuda Foundation and Women’s Resource Centre “were listed in error” according to the department. Registrar General Marlene Christopher told The Royal Gazette: “The Registrar General wishes to apologize to the Bank of Bermuda Foundation and the Women’s Resource Centre for inadvertently including their organizations in the list of delinquent charities provided to the Senate last week.” She added that during the past week financial returns have been received from: Bermuda Olympic Association, The Bermuda Regiment Charitable Trust, The Coalition for the Protection of Children, Bermuda Bible Society and Hamilton Rotary. More than a third of Bermuda’s charities were listed as ‘delinquent’ in the Senate report, presented by Sen. Wayne Caines, Junior Minister for Labour and Immigration, in response to a Parliamentary Question by Sen. Gina Spence Farmer, Shadow Minister for Community and Cultural Affairs. Sen. Spence Farmer asked for the names of registered charities which had failed to submit accounts to the Registrar General within six months and one year of their last financial year, as required by The Charities Act 1978. Mrs. Farmer found her own organisation, Gina Spence Productions in Christ, listed for failing to hand in its accounts one year later. The names of other non-profit organizations associated with members of Parliament also appeared. Mrs. Farmer is president of the production group, which stages free shows for the elderly, sick, and prison inmates. Yesterday she said her organisation had also been listed by the Registrar General in error. “We had asked to be taken off the list four years ago as we’re no longer an active charity, so we should never have been on the list,” said Mrs. Farmer. “When I did call the Registrar’s office they were quite accommodating. We provide free services to prisons and senior citizens and we’ve been doing this for 25 years so I believe our track record speaks for itself.” Penny Dill, executive director of the Women’s Resource Centre — formerly the Rape Crisis Centre, said her organisation had been listed as failing to file its fiscal records after six months. Miss Dill said: “We were upset to find ourselves on this list, because we had filed our statements. We did call the Registrar General’s office and check, and they had in fact not updated their computer to say we had updated the documents. It is really annoying to be named as ‘delinquent’ when we got our accounts in on time. We have asked them to send a letter to us saying they received the accounts and that we had completed everything in the right time. They said they’re going to send us a letter to say the error was on their part. I think they should just notify the charities which haven’t submitted their accounts to let them know, so they don’t then end up in the paper like this, as I think it can be quite detrimental.” The Royal Gazette has received several telephone calls from representatives of non-profit organizations wanting to ‘clear’ their name. Cindy Swan, chairperson of Project Action, said: “Project Action’s financials are accurate and up to date, however we are awaiting our final audited reports — which are not required by the Charity Commission. Project Action has taken this additional step to ensure all pertinent information and funds solicited from the community are utilized for our mandated purpose of providing free transportation for seniors and the physically-challenged island-wide.” Age Concern was listed failing to file its accounts six months later, but the charity said any delay was a result of the rescheduling of its annual general meeting — due to be held on June 5, which then became a public holiday in honour Dame Lois Browne Evans. The AGM has been rescheduled to July 5. Under Government moves, those charities who now fail to submit their annual accounts on time could have their status revoked. Chairwoman of the Charity Commission, Sheryl Harney, said: “I think any organisation that doesn’t comply with the Act is an issue, but I wasn’t aware of the numbers as the Registrar General compiles that.”

June 22. Communications consultant Kathryn Gibbons has been elected as a Common Councillor, the Corporation of Hamilton announced yesterday. Mrs. Gibbons — the wife of United Bermuda Party education spokesman Grant Gibbons — fought off competition from rival candidates Peter Aldrich, Irvin Hendrickson and David Sullivan. She will share responsibility for managing the City of Hamilton with Mayor Sutherland Madeiros, three Aldermen and four other Common Councillors. Mrs. Gibbons, who also works as a freelance writer and editor, previously spent five years as director of marketing and communications for six Gibbons Group companies. Before moving to Bermuda 25 years ago, she held managerial positions in marketing and communications for a number group of companies in the US. Mrs. Gibbons said: “I am delighted to have been elected. I look forward to serving the City of Hamilton and the people who live, work and play in it every day.” Mr. Madeiros said: “On behalf of the Corporation of Hamilton, I would like to congratulate Kathryn on being elected as a Common Councillor. I was particularly pleased that we had such a diverse group of candidates competing for the position and I would like to thank them for their interest and participation. Kathryn has a strong communications background and I think she will bring a great deal of talent and energy to the Corporation.” A second election for the post of Common Councillor, to replace newly appointed Alderman Courtland Boyle, will be set in due course.

June 23. Bermuda is planning to bury its 550 containers of asbestos at the Government quarry, Works and Engineering Minister Dennis Lister has revealed. He said the asbestos was stored in shipping containers at two locations — with 420 at the Government quarry and 130 at the former US Baselands in Southside. Responding in written answers to parliamentary questions from Shadow Works and Engineering Minister Jon Brunson, Mr Lister said Government had approved a report by Atkins Consulting of the UK that recommended disposal of the stored asbestos through burial at the Government quarry.  

June 23. Developers are advertising for hotel staff for Southlands despite the resort still awaiting the go-ahead of a Special Development Order. More than 40 applicants — mainly Bermudians — have already registered their interest, although developers Southlands Ltd. say there is no official advertisement as yet. Controversial plans for the 300-suite Jumeirah Southlands resort are currently awaiting the final decision of Environment Minister Neletha Butterfield. The five-star cliff side resort would be operated by the Jumeirah Group and offer tourist accommodation in a variety of suites and condominiums. Situated along Warwick's South Shore it will feature 300 balcony suites, five restaurants and bars, a nightclub, spa, pools, equestrian centre and a conference centre. Jumeirah Southlands would be the first 'luxury resort' to be constructed in Bermuda for 35 years. Environmentalists and residents campaigning against the 37-acre resort want to protect the land as open space. They say the development will destroy the shore line and natural habitats, as well as increasing congestion on surrounding roads. The Dubai-based Jumeirah Group aims to open the 497-bed resort by the summer of 2008, pending the SDO and approval of building permits. The advertisement for jobs on the Southlands Ltd. website reads: "Imagine yourself as a valuable member of the Jumeirah Southlands team. Thank you for your interest in Jumeirah Southlands. We are searching for unique people to help us create a different kind of resort in Bermuda. We value diversity, equal opportunity, integrity and sincerity and will be offering a world-class environment for a select team of innovative and people-focused individuals. Please supply us with the following information pertinent to employment consideration." Those interested are then asked for: contact details; whether they are a Bermuda citizen or their work permit status; the position they are interested in; and their relevant experience. Southlands Ltd. said yesterday that the “unofficial” advertisement was something being drawn up in preparation for the SDO decision. Non-profit organisation Greenrock is calling for tighter regulations for SDOs and Environmental Impact Studies under the Planning Act. Vice president Andrew Vaucrosson said the fast-tracking of SDOs was a symptom the law needed to be changed.

June 25. Bermuda has been likened to a “Police state” by Cayman Islands commentators reflecting on the arresting of Auditor General Larry Dennis. Cayman Net News has urged its own Government not to “dare follow the Bermuda model” should events similar to the Bermuda Housing Corporation affair happen there. They add that the Caymans stands to benefit by attracting new and existing international businesses put off by any damage to the Island’s reputation as an offshore financial centre. In an editorial on Friday last week, Cayman Net News stated: “Our sister British Dependent Territory, Bermuda, is often held up as an example for the Cayman Islands . . . but recent events there have cast great doubt on the wisdom of such a proposition, and should serve as a lesson for the government and the voters here.” The article refers to “bluster and threats” from Premier Ewart Brown towards Governor Sir John Vereker, before adding: “The Bermuda government has also reacted to the publication of embarrassing reports by raiding the offices of local media organizations and the offices of the auditor general. Even more astonishingly, in a move typical of a police state, the auditor general himself, whose office (as in the Cayman Islands) oversees the Government’s fiscal conduct, has been arrested. We hope that none of our own government officials would dare to follow the Bermuda model should similar events occur here.” Police Commissioner George Jackson stated last week how Police have operational independence and the command and control of the service was his responsibility. Premier Ewart Brown’s Press Secretary Glenn Jones echoed that point last night, saying: “It’s clear to most people that when the Cayman Islands speaks on this issue, it does so with a vested and biased interest. It would appear to me that the writer is not familiar with our constitutional order, which states it’s the Governor who is responsible for Police and not the Government.” Last week, Bermuda International Business Association CEO Cheryl Packwood urged the Island’s leaders to find closure to the current events as quickly as possible to avoid any damage to Bermuda’s international reputation. International finance expert David Marchant also warned the situation could lead to a gradual erosion of confidence in the Island and the Caymans was ready to capitalize. He said international business had grown significantly in the Caymans in recent months, while some major companies based on the Island have strong ties there. On this point, Cayman Net News said: “The dispute could damage its (Bermuda’s) reputation as an offshore financial centre and, typically, whenever this happens in the region, we stand to benefit from the subsequent flight of new and existing business. Mr. Dennis’ arrest and detention was reported to a worldwide audience by industry publication Global Reinsurance, which described the whole investigation as a “scandal that is rocking the island.” “This is the latest in a series of political issues threatening the reinsurance paradise,” said the report.

June 25. The United Bermuda Party is in London this week to discuss its call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Bermuda Housing Corporation investigation. Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley and Deputy Leader Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, along with Cole Simons and Dr. Grant Gibbons, will meet with members of the British government and Parliamentary officials. Today they will meet with Sir Philip Mawer, who is the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, as well as members of the House of Commons Committee for Standards in Public Life. Tomorrow they plan to meet senior officers at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office with responsibilities for Bermuda. A spokesman said: “Their meetings will also be used to underscore United Bermuda Party concerns about recent events related to the BHC investigation and their call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry. They believe that the people of Bermuda have a right to know what happened with the BHC investigation and the handling of that investigation as it has a direct bearing on their confidence and trust in government and the criminal justice system." The call for the Commission came after The Royal Gazette’s sister paper The Mid-Ocean News ran a story from a leaked Police dossier centering on allegations of corruption at the BHC. The documents reportedly revealed that Premier Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith and former Ministers Nelson Bascome and Renée Webb were all investigated by fraud squad officers looking into the BHC allegations. Since the investigation into the BHC corruption — which is believed to have cost the taxpayer $8m — one person has been jailed. Terence Smith, a junior BHC officer, was found guilty and jailed last year on 41 counts of fraud. The Opposition would like the Commission to look into some of the issues such as why Ministers were allegedly protected from police questioning. It also hoped the Commission would recommend what changes should be made to Bermuda’s criminal code. The spokesman also said: “Mr. Dunkley and his colleagues will further express their concerns over the Bermuda Government’s reaction to press reports of the BHC scandal, including Police raids of the offices of media organizations, the office of the Auditor General as well as the arrest of the Auditor General himself.” While in London they will also host a cocktail party this evening for Bermudian students living in London.

June 25. Vast amounts of lethal defoliant Agent Orange were dumped in the ground at Kindley Air Force Base during the 1960s, an American veteran who was there (See US Military Personnel in Bermuda for 1960 to 1963) has claimed. Numerous barrels of the toxin — now said to cause horrific disfigurements and severe long-term illness to those exposed to it — were poured into deep pits before being burned for days, sending poisonous fumes over St. David’s homes, ex-US Air Force serviceman Ronald Slater, who also  wrote he was married to a Bermudian, says. It is feared dioxins in the herbicide, much of which soaked into the earth when the containers were emptied, remain a serious environmental risk today because they are so chemically stable they will not degrade over decades. Mr. Slater, who says around 200 barrels of toxic waste was burned between 1965 and 1967, before he bulldozed it into the sea wearing little protection, now has Type Two diabetes, a tumor on his right arm and a large growth on his kidney. He believes his poor health was brought on by exposure to Agent Orange and has been lobbying the US Government for compensation without success for months. The area in question — thought to be a piece of land about 100 feet long off Annie’s Bay, St. David’s — is now owned by the Bermuda Land Development Company (BLDC) and is currently fenced off to the public. BLDC says it has no plans to develop the land. Following contact from The Royal Gazette, Government has pledged an urgent investigation into Mr. Slater’s claims. Mr. Slater, 64, of Washington State, says Agent Orange was brought to the base so its perimeter fences could be painted to prevent foliage growing and creating a security risk. He also believes many barrels were imported to the Island from elsewhere so they could be dumped and burned. He said he would watch as they were emptied into the pits and the liquid was set on fire before he bulldozed the remains, including the metal containers, into the sea. “Every week, there was at least five, six, eight or ten barrels imported. Some of them were a half or third full,” said Mr. Slater. “They poured it into the pit. I was told bury everything, smash it, incinerate it. Let it burn for two or three days and bulldoze it into the ocean. After six months, I said I was feeling so ill, I was given something to put over my head — an old fireman’s hood. I wore that for the next 12 months. Today, you have to go through decontamination, you have special respiration and protection.” The condition of the site — as well as Southampton Naval Annex, now known as Morgan’s Point — has long been a bone of contention following nearly 50 years as an American base where military waste was allegedly continuously dumped and burned. Government received $11 million from the US to pay to clean up asbestos, excess oil and other waste materials a few years after the land was handed back to Bermuda in 1995. During the 1960s, millions of gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed across parts of Vietnam by the US military. Many war veterans who have suffered ill health after being exposed to its chemical clouds have since claimed compensation from the US Government. Agent Orange expert Dr. Mark Brown, of the US Department of Veteran Affairs, said any Vietnam veteran suffering Type Two diabetes could automatically attribute his illness to exposure to the defoliant. However, Mr. Slater says he has been unable to claim compensation because the US does not recognize that Agent Orange was used anywhere other than Vietnam. His case will be heard before a veterans’ board in the coming months. He said: “It makes me very angry that I wasn’t protected and very embarrassed that I have had to contact a foreign country to tell them what I was ordered to do on their land.” Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday night after being contacted by this newspaper, Works and Engineering Minister Dennis Lister said: “Concern has been expressed that if the allegations are true the surrounding soil might now be contaminated. “The issues raised are serious enough that I have asked my technical officers to urgently research the claims and report their findings to me within two weeks. I would add that early discussions with the Ministry of Health indicate that no trend towards illness as a result of such contaminants has been observed. But to be safe, we will fully examine these claims and keep the public generally, and the people of St. David’s in particular, fully informed of our progress.” Last night, Premier Ewart Brown’s Press Secretary Glenn Jones said the early signs of in the investigation were encouraging. “After a review of historical records at BLDC archives, leaders are feeling greater comfort that the site is free of Agent Orange. However, the review continues. Lab tests reviewed thus far show immeasurable levels of herbicides and pesticides and documented findings of dioxins.” United Bermuda Party MP Grant Gibbons was Management and Technology Minister when toxicology tests were carried out on the land in the mid 1990s. Dr. Gibbons said the probes did not show the presence of Agent Orange — but said that may mean the substance was simply missed by bore holes which were drilled into the ground. He said another investigation in the light of Mr. Slater’s claims was vital. “Now we are told Agent Orange is dumped there, it would be sensible to do some further investigations and perhaps drill some further bore holes, and try to get a sense of what is under there. We know that’s all landfill down there, and sooner or later it’s going to leach out. It’s also in a close proximity to Clearwater Beach, a popular bathing area.” BLDC spokesman Richard Calderon confirmed waste material was dumped in the area in question. He said: “It is important to note that the United States completed a rather exhaustive and expensive clean up of this area as a part of and prior to the turnover of the base lands to the Government of Bermuda. It is the BLDC’s practice to perform environmental testing on all sites earmarked for residential or commercial development. The BLDC has no current plans to develop the secured area in question.” A spokesman for the US Air Force declined to comment on Friday but said a response could be forthcoming this week.

June 25. Forty years ago he was just doing his job — but the devastating effects of the role he played in the disposal of Agent Orange at Kindley Air Force Base will haunt Ronald Slater forever. Not only does he believe his own severe health problems were induced by exposure to the toxic chemical, Mr. Slater also has to live with the guilt of the damage it could have caused to Bermuda’s environment. Every couple of weeks from 1965 to 1967, the ex-US Air Force serviceman says empty barrels of Agent Orange and other poisonous substances were poured into huge pits at the base, before he watched as they were set alight and thick fumes drifted over nearby homes in St. David’s. The waste would usually continue burning for two or three days before Mr. Slater was ordered to bulldoze the remains into the sea at Annie’s Bay, perilously close to where some people would swim. When he first started carrying out the work, Mr. Slater says he did not even wear any protective clothing. After six months, he complained his activities frequently made him sick and for the next year and a half was given what he describes as an old fireman’s hood. It’s hardly surprising that some four decades later the 64-year-old is retired through ill health — suffering Type Two diabetes, a small tumor on his arm and a large growth on his kidney. Type Two diabetes has been strongly linked to Agent Orange exposure, while experts say it cannot be ruled out that Mr. Slater’s other conditions are a result of the same thing; although scientists have identified no links to date. Speaking to The Royal Gazette, Mr. Slater recalled the events at the base as if they happened yesterday. “They would pour the Agent Orange and other stuff down the bank into the pits before lighting it on fire. It would take a couple of days for it to burn,” he said. “After it was burnt down, it would have a red hot glow. I would take a bulldozer and go down the hill into the pits and bulldoze anything and everything left over right into the ocean. I did this about every other week. A great amount of it would sink immediately. A lot of it would float, but as it got more saturated, that would sink as well.” Hundreds of barrels of Agent Orange, as well as other waste including the toxic Agent Blue, were brought into Bermuda during the 1960s, says Mr. Slater. He says Agent Orange, a powerful defoliant, was sprayed on perimeter fences of the base to stop the growth of foliage which could act as a hiding place for anybody wanting to break in. He also believes many barrels were brought in from elsewhere as the Island was effectively used as a dumping ground. “There were so many barrels over a six to eight month period, I’m sure that was what happened,” he said. Aged in his early 20s when he was first instructed to bulldoze waste, Mr. Slater said he did not immediately comprehend the consequences — not least because Agent Orange’s notoriety was not yet established. “At the time I felt like I was thrilled to have a job,” he said, “but as I got older I realised I was a party to creating a toxic environment that I believe is still there. I identified it as Agent Orange by the types of the barrels. I wasn’t that naive or stupid not to at least look at the numbers on the barrels. But at the time I gave no thought to the band or the colour of the liquid.” The dangers of Agent Orange may not have been widely known, but Mr. Slater said his colleagues regularly aired worries about what was going on. “My only concern became if I didn’t get protection no matter what I was breathing it would eventually do me harm. Other people working there were concerned about their health. My fellow worker, he would come out of those pits filthy dirty. I was falling ill after six months, I was flu-ish all the time. I asked if I could have hooded protection and they gave me an old fireman’s hood, but I still had the same unprotected clothes. The damage was already done.” His deteriorating health has prompted a battle for compensation from the US Government which, he says, has failed to recognize that Agent Orange was used anywhere other than Vietnam. “I have always been an athlete. You can be an athlete all your life, but to have Type Two diabetes and a growth it makes you realize you are no longer the healthy specimen that you were. And it’s because of something you were ordered to do,” he said. “As I have got much older, now I’m in my 60s, I have got a level of anger that my own country will not acknowledge me.” Mr. Slater’s illnesses could also be partly attributed to spells he spent dealing with toxic substances, including Agent Orange which he says he worked with in Puerto Rico. He also has fears for the future of the land at the site, adding: “They would take a barrel and dump it. The liquid would run out of them and into the ground and that would still be there now. If I had to bet, I would guess someone filled the pits with dirt. I can trust to one thing: whatever was poured out into the ground needs to be very systematically excavated. If there was to be any development there in the form of human occupancy, there would be a serious threat. What if kids were playing on the ground there? There needs to be a massive excavation first.”

June 25. No evidence suggests Agent Orange was used at Bermuda's Baselands, Works and Engineering Minister Dennis Lister told a press conference today. Mr. Lister was reacting to former US Air Force serviceman Ronald Slater's claims that vast amounts of the lethal defoliant were dumped at Kindley Air Force Base during the 1960s. The Minister downplayed Mr. Slater's allegations that numerous barrels of the toxin now said to cause horrific disfigurements and severe long-term illness to those exposed to it were poured into deep pits before being burned for days, sending poisonous fumes over St. David's homes. The claims made by the US veteran are without foundation, said Mr. Lister today. "Mr. Slater believes his condition has been caused by Agent Orange but he has not presented any evidence to support his claims that have been reported in the local media. Mr. Slater also believes Agent Orange was used in Bermuda. There is no evidence presented to support this. In fact, our evidence indicates that Agent Orange was not here." However, Mr. Lister said technical officers were urgently researching the claims and would report their findings to him in two weeks. He said soil samples taken at the time the US left the site showed no signs of contaminants, while more tests taken at the time of any land transaction have also returned negative. For the full story and reaction, see tomorrow's Royal Gazette.

June 25. Agent Orange — so-called because of the colour of the stripes on the drums in which it was imported — is a defoliant which was extensively used during the Vietnam War to clear jungles. It contained one of the most virulent poisons known to man, a strain of dioxin called TCCD. It killed the rainforest before spreading to the food chain and, according to some, leading to a proliferation of birth deformities. Vietnamese Red Cross records trace birth defects in 150,000 “Agent Orange babies” back to their parents’ exposure to the chemical during the war or the consumption of dioxin contaminated food since the war ended in 1975. It has also been linked to a string of health problems among veterans, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, Type Two diabetes, prostate cancer and chloracne. Dr. Mark Brown, director of environmental agency services at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, has studied its effects. He said former US Air Force serviceman Ronald Slater, who claims to have been involved in its disposal at Kindley Air Force Base during the 1960s, could have suffered health difficulties as a result. Mr. Slater currently has Type Two diabetes, a large growth on his kidney and a small tumor on his arm. “If a Vietnam veteran was diagnosed with Type Two diabetes they would have the benefit of the presumption that it was caused by exposure to Agent Orange,” said Dr. Brown. “There’s no evidence today to tie any form of skin cancer to Agent Orange exposure, but new information can change that at any time.” Dr. Brown said of toxic smoke sent over St. David’s when the substance was burned: “That could be dangerous. You sure couldn’t get away with that type of disposal today. Dioxins from incineration has been a big concern.” However, he said it would be practically impossible to test the effects on residents’ health because the source of dioxins in the blood cannot be proved, especially if they have been there many years. “There’s no real measurement now to verify what happened. When veterans ask about testing like that we discourage them. It can be very expensive and you can’t prove anything much from it.” On the condition of land at the base 40 years later, he said: “Once there’s a question about any kind of site like that, you have to look at historical records, or do some soil sampling. If the site is derelict, that’s saying something. The larger concern would be the dioxin. Herbicide may have degenerated by now, but dioxins compared to other chemicals are very stable and do not degrade so easily. You could have soil contamination with dioxins.”

June 25.  It remains unknown exactly what American military activities took place for close to 40 years at Kindley Air Force Base, but one thing is no secret: huge question marks hung over the state of the land handed back to Bermuda 12 years ago. The condition of the site — as well as another US base at Southampton Naval Annex, now known as Morgan’s Point — formed major discussions between the two countries’ Governments. At one stage it was estimated it would cost anything up to $65 million to clean up materials such as asbestos, hazardous waste including paint, batteries and oil, PCB chemicals, underground storage tanks and solid wastes. That figure was later downplayed, but some have argued the $11 million eventually paid by the US to Bermuda in compensation was never enough. When the land, which the US had occupied since 1941, was given back to Bermuda in 1995, toxicology specialists Cantox of Canada and environmental contractor RT Environmental Services of Pennsylvania were brought in to carry out studies. They drilled more than 2,000 holes and took samples from both bases before filing reports to the US Navy, which had been responsible for the sites in the latter years of the American occupation. The Department of Environmental Protection Hydro geologist in Bermuda says thorough investigations were carried out at all known dump sites and potential sources of leaks. It says if dumping of pesticides such as Agent Orange had been observed or reported at the time, this would have been taken into account during the investigation. Over the past 12 years, Bermuda Land Development Company has spent millions of dollars on environmental remediation work at the former Baselands. One of the biggest talking points has been the presence of more than 500,000 gallons of viscous oil and sludge which seeped into Bassett’s cave at Morgan’s Point, and an adjacent Jet Fuel Plume comprising 55,000 gallons of fuel. United Bermuda Party MP Grant Gibbons, who was Management and Technology Minister in the mid 1990s, said Government should have held out for more cash from the US. “We were so upset when the PLP settled for $11 million, which was only the cost of repairing Longbird Bridge,” said Dr. Gibbons. “Efforts to get the US Navy to clean up the mess they have left us with were never resolved satisfactorily.”

June 25. Work on the Land Title Regulation Bill is expected to start in the autumn. The bill will change the way in which deeds and documents are dealt with following the completion of certain property transactions. It will also mean that all deeds will be held at the office of the Land Title Registry Office — instead of at people’s homes or at the Registry General. Minister of Works and Engineering Dennis Lister told the House of Assembly: “The process of the Land Title Registration will then involve the legal authentication of rights or interests in a parcel of land and the creation of a definitive record of ownership in the form of the Land Title Register following which it will no longer be necessary to undertake lengthy investigation of title each time a property is sold or mortgaged.” He added that it will reduce the likelihood of disputes concerning ownership. Already a Project Team has been established and includes land registration professionals, lawyers and surveyors. They have been holding public meetings as well as other stakeholders. The team have also created a Public Consultation Document which has been published on the Government website, gov.bm.

June 25. After serving 12 years as the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, Bishop Ewan Ratteray has announced his retirement, which will take place next year. Bishop Ratteray has served the second longest stint in office after that of Bishop Arthur Heber Browne who was in this position for 24 years. Sixty-six years-old when he relinquishes his post on March 30 next year, Bishop Ratteray said he gave notice now so that the church had plenty of time to think and pray for a suitable successor. Bishop Ratteray said: 'It is my hope that the life of the Diocese will continue to prosper and grow in the years to come under a new Father in God." The Archbishop of Canterbury, who has authority over Bishops of the Diocese of Bermuda, has been informed and the Synod of the Anglican Church of Bermuda was told in a meeting on Saturday.

June 25. Pressure on doctors has been eased by a new on-call system at the Maternity Ward at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Health Minister Michael Scott told fellow MPs. An obstetrician — childbirth specialist — is now available at weekends, thus giving a break to medics who would otherwise be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Minister said the new system was one of the most significant new initiatives of the year as he tabled Bermuda Hospitals Board’s annual report for 2005-06. Other projects throughout the year included the changing of the name of St. Brendan’s mental health facility to the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute to break the stigma associated with the institution. The hospital also launched an Ethics Consultation Service, to help patients and families deal with the often complex decisions related to care and the impact those decisions have on their lives. Experts at the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation praised the move, according to Mr. Scott. Meanwhile, BHB supported a total of 14 post-secondary students and staff with scholarships, giving them the chance to pursue academic studies in areas of healthcare including nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, physical therapy, pharmacy, social work and diagnostic imaging. Mr. Scott pledged the hospitals would become “truly centres of excellence” under the new leadership of BHB chairman Herman Tucker and CEO David Hill, with outside help from American consultants Kurron Shares. He said the Johns Hopkins review, due for completion in the coming weeks, would help this.

June 25. The Court of Appeal this morning upheld the decision of the Chief Justice not to gag the media from reporting further revelations from a leaked Police dossier on the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) scandal. However, the ruling does not mean full details of the top-secret file are likely to become public just yet. The Police Commissioner and Attorney General, who have been seeking the injunction against the media, are now seeking permission to take their fight to the Privy Council in London,  the highest court of appeal in the UK. It was revealed in court this morning that the Privy Council was poised to hear legal arguments about this at 10.30 a.m. this morning, just 30 minutes after the Court of Appeal delivered its ruling. However, President Justice Edward Zacca said this was not necessary. Instead, he and fellow judges Gerald Nazareth and Sir Austin Ward will hear lawyer Delroy Duncan, representing Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief, argue in favour of going to the Privy Council tomorrow morning. Saul Froomkin QC, representing this newspaper and sister paper the Mid-Ocean News told the court he would oppose this. In the meantime, the judges ordered that Bermuda's broadcasting organizations and the Bermuda Sun should not report further material from the dossier until the matter is decided. The Mid-Ocean News and The Royal Gazette have agreed to extend a previous undertaking made not to do. The judges also ordered the Police Commissioner and Attorney General to pay the legal costs of the media organizations relating to the appeal. The ruling came after Chief Justice Richard Ground ruled a week ago that the right of the public to know about the probe into serious allegations about public figures including Premier Ewart Brown outweighed concern that the file was a confidential Police document. Police Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief launched the action against the Island's media outlets after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean News published extracts from the documents on May 23 and June 1 respectively. The leaked dossier, said to run to thousands of pages, reportedly revealed that Dr. Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, former Minister Renee Webb and construction boss Zane DeSilva were investigated by Police looking into allegations of corruption at the BHC. The Commissioner and Attorney General asked for a ban on the so-far unpublished sections being reported, although the contents have not been revealed during the court hearings. After Mr. Justice Ground ruled against them, the pair took their fight to the Court of Appeal. The Police investigation into the source of the leak to the media has seen three arrests, but no charges. Two men were detained and released earlier this month. Auditor General Larry Dennis - the Government's fiscal watchdog -- was arrested and released after 24 hours in custody last week.

June 26. Premier Ewart Brown launched a stinging attack on the justice system after the Court of Appeal refused to gag the media over a leaked Police dossier on the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) corruption allegations. The Police and Attorney General — who pressed for the reporting blackout — will today make a last ditch attempt to appeal the decision before the Privy Council, the highest possible court. Dr. Brown has accused the Opposition of engineering the leak in a pre-election bid to destabilize his Government, and has initiated libel action against the media over published extracts from the dossier. According to a statement from Dr. Brown’s spokesman Glenn Jones, if the Privy Council bid fails to gag further publications: “Bermuda’s long standing supremacist oligarchy would be vested with legal license to intensify the ongoing UBP/media tyranny.” The statement conveys the Premier’s anger at yesterday’s Court of Appeal verdict, which cemented a ruling by Chief Justice Richard Ground that freedom of the press to report on the BHC probe outweighs concern that the documents are confidential. “This is a disappointing day for all Bermuda’s innocent citizens. Our judiciary has taught us confidential documents related to Police investigations are fit to print - even if the subjects of the investigation have been fully exonerated of criminal wrongdoing,” he said. “The ruling seems grossly unfair and is a devastating blow to public confidence in the Police. Nonetheless the jurists have spoken and their determination, or the determination of a higher court, must be honored because Bermuda is a country of laws and good order.” According to Mr. Jones: “The Premier is convinced the publication of information from stolen confidential Police files, of an investigation that had concluded and closed five years ago, was conceived and executed by perpetrators as a public lynching of prominent targets in the current and past PLP administrations. The plotters patently set out to do a political hatchet job on the PLP leadership as the Party’s support was cresting with the celebration of Dame Lois Browne Evans’ life - at a time when UBP sources had predicted that a General Election would be called. The court was asked to adjudicate on the prevention of public access to stolen official documents in a despicable political plot in which lies, half truth and innuendoes had been thoroughly investigated. The Chief Justice’s ruling and the ruling today legitimates the publication of any and all allegations lodged with law enforcement agencies, whether factual or not, whether in execution of conspiracies to commit public mischief or not.” Police Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief launched the legal action against the Island’s media outlets after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean News published extracts from the documents on May 23 and June 1 respectively. The leaked dossier - said to run to thousands of pages - reportedly revealed that Dr. Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, former Minister Renée Webb and construction boss Zane DeSilva were investigated by Police looking into allegations of corruption at the BHC. The Commissioner and Attorney General asked for a ban on the so-far unpublished sections being reported, although the contents were not revealed during the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal hearings. The Commissioner and Attorney General alleged during those proceedings that the dossier was stolen from Police custody, as has Dr. Brown in comments to the media. However, the Chief Justice noted in his judgment that it is “not at all clear” whether documents have been removed from the possession of the Police with the intention of permanently depriving them, which could amount to theft, or whether the documents have simply been copied and released, which may not. The Police investigation into the source of the leak has seen three arrests, but no charges. Two men were detained and released earlier this month. Auditor General Larry Dennis - the Government’s fiscal watchdog - was arrested and released after 24 hours in custody last week. The Premier’s spokesman said in his statement yesterday: “As Premier Brown has stated publicly, he is not overly concerned with protecting the information relating to him because he has been exhaustively investigated and fully exonerated in a probe conducted by the Bermuda Police Service, Scotland Yard and US Homeland Security. “The Premier is more concerned about what it means for others who are persecuted in the press even though they were never prosecuted in court.” Reacting to yesterday’s events, lawyer and PLP supporter Julian Hall said: “I would be stunned, absolutely surprised, if this matter doesn’t in due course end up before the Privy Council.” Mr. Hall said the test for that decision is whether or not the case raises matters of law of substantial public importance, and he believes no-one can suggest otherwise. He estimated that if permission is granted for a Privy Council appeal, it could take a minimum of six months to be heard. John Barritt, the United Bermuda Party’s spokesman on justice, said he felt the Premier’s comments “bordered on contempt of court bearing in mind the strong, intemperate language used to criticize both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal”. He said the public should bear in mind comments made by the Chief Justice in his ruling about how freedom of the press is particularly important on matters concerning conduct in public office. “The United Bermuda Party would like the people to take note of the extraordinary lengths Government is going to in this matter, at extraordinary costs. Whose interests are they advancing now?” he asked, estimating the legal fees will head into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Prominent lawyer Timothy Marshall dismissed the Premier’s comments as “nothing more than political propaganda designed to confuse Bermudians into believing that somehow the Court of Appeal judgment has hurt this country”. Mr. Marshall said last night: “Access to information and freedom of the press are two of the greatest protections all Bermudians have against the potential excesses of whatever party happens to be in power. The public interest has been greatly protected by this judgment because it ensures that all Bermudians have the right to examine, ask questions about and debate the conduct, alleged or actual, of those individuals we elect to represent us.” Editor of The Royal Gazette Bill Zuill said: “We are very pleased that the Court of Appeal has today upheld the Chief Justice’s ruling in a case that is of great public importance. Two courts consisting of four eminent judges have now upheld our position and we are disappointed, although not surprised, that the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police are now seeking to extend this process further by taking this matter to the Privy Council. I would add that there appears to be a fundamental, and I hope not deliberate, misunderstanding on the part of some concerning this case. In the initial hearing of this case, Chief Justice Richard Ground had to balance whether the right to freedom of expression over a matter of public interest concerning allegations against public officials overrode the right to confidentiality held, in this case, by the Police. He ruled in our favour on that point and we assume the Court of Appeal has now upheld that. The Chief Justice did not, and could not, rule on whether the documents had in fact been stolen, and it is wrong to keep stating that they were as if it was a matter of proven fact. It would also be quite wrong to suggest, as the Premier seems to today, that the recent decisions give rise to the inference that any and all other and all other Police investigations can now be made public as a matter of course. I do not believe this to be the case and I can only assume the Premier was not briefed by the Attorney General before he made that statement.”

June 26. Hours after the Mid-Ocean News published revelations from the leaked BHC Police files the Premier was on national TV threatening to withdraw cooperation with the Governor unless he helped to catch the leakers. That statement alone, made before Government stoked up the pressure further by attempting to gag the media from using more from the files, prompted viewers throughout Bermuda to ask themselves 'What is he so afraid of?' In the same public address the Premier said the BHC investigation had exonerated him from any unlawful act. Yet rather than leave it there Dr. Brown went on the offensive claiming a "politically linked conspiracy involving high offices" was behind the leak. The Premier's handling of the whole affair has been questioned by numerous commentators including critics within his own party. One PLP MP, speaking on condition of anonymity last week, told The Royal Gazette: "It is not so much what has been reported. Are there other things coming? No one has anyway of knowing. They don't know, that's the point. "People are very concerned, they want to see what else is there, they want the gag lifted." Last week the Premier indicated he wasn't afraid of further revelations. He told Hott 107.5 radio: "I want to repeat — they can reveal anything they have in the file about me personally. I know that we are totally in the clear and have been exonerated after an investigation that apparently included Scotland Yard, the FBI and Homeland Security, so there was no issue there." However he dismissed calls for him to answer specific allegations leveled at him in the leaked Police dossier. He said: "Where do I start? Am I supposed to start answering allegations just because they're included in a Police investigation? 'When did you stop beating your wife?' and then it becomes ridiculous and I think it's demeaning, it's embarrassing, it's insulting." Dr. Brown has also issued a writ in conjunction with Nelson Bascome for libel and slander against the Island's media organizations over reports of material from the Police file. The writ has not yet been served and the specific details of the allegations against the media are not known. Assessing the aftermath of a tumultuous month for Bermuda, former Independent MP Stuart Hayward said: "I am inclined to wonder why the big spike in reaction? "If this is old news then the thing it seems to me to do is to is to say we have looked at this before and say 'I denied it then and I am denying it again. But looking back I don't think there has been a point by point denial so I do have grave concerns given the Premier's habitual style that he's not answering questions that have been asked and he's using other issues to divert attention. I think his skill is that he knows many of his audience, he knows that they will respond emotionally rather than necessarily to the logical and he's pushing the emotional buttons of the people who he wants to continue to support him. Unfortunately for him I think not all of us are distracted from what to me is an issue that was never resolved." Mr. Hayward said when the BHC case first came about there seemed to be so many people involved but ultimately only one person, who was low on the totem poll, was charged. The call for a Royal Commission was not about repeating the investigation but to get an understanding of why others weren't called in for questioning, said Mr. Hayward. "Why was $8 million written off? That's public funds. There's been no satisfactory answers to these types of questions despite the protestations and red herrings. These concerns and these questions still need to be answered." Opposition leader Michael Dunkley said: "I was surprised at the reaction from the Premier of the country — that kind of reaction is like you are trying to cover things up when the opposite reaction should be it's about time we had full and frank open discussions on the subject." He said the Premier should have acknowledged concern was in the community and assured people that things were on the mend. "But it has manifested into something quite different from that so the questions remain." Asked if the Premier had used the Mid-Ocean story as a device to take on perceived enemies including the press, the Governor and the Auditor General, Mr. Dunkley said: "If that is the case then it doesn't show the type of leadership we need in Bermuda in this day and age. If you are elected in Bermuda, especially at the highest level of Premier or Cabinet you have the responsibility to be open and straightforward. You need to make sure you are beyond reproach." But he said the Premier's handling of the matter did Bermuda's reputation no good on the international stage. Former Bermuda Sun editor Tom Vesey said he too was perturbed by the Premier's handling of the BHC fall-out. He said: "If I was him I would have yawned and kept quiet about it but he drew attention to it which raises obvious questions of why he is so scared or upset by this which makes you think what does he have to hide? You always have to be really, really suspicious of any activity by Government which it is so keen to keep quiet. I cannot think of anything that a Premier or Cabinet minister could or should do that he should be ashamed of or unwilling to have in the open." Some apologists for the Premier have said publishing accusations from Police files sets a dangerous precedent — that anyone so named could have their reputation shredded by someone keen to divert blame while they were being grilled by Police. But Mr. Vesey said: "That's completely ridiculous. I cannot think of any other incident where this has happened. It isn't a trend or a problem we have with missing Police records." He said the leaked documents raised strong questions about the behavior of the nation's leader and needed to be examined no matter how they reached the public. Of the Premier's protestations that he had been exonerated, Mr. Vesey said: "That's completely untrue, all that happened is the acting Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to prosecute. That's not the way to judge our political leaders — whether or not they are convicted criminals. Our standards are far higher than that. "He said in life plenty of illegal things were not prosecuted. And just because something is not illegal or prosecuted doesn't mean it is the right or good that our leaders should be doing it." He said there were so many unanswered questions from the allegations which had just been vaguely dismissed. "That's not good enough. Like it or not these allegations are out there." And if some make the case that the allegations pale into insignificance compared to the good that the Premier is doing in other areas Mr. Vesey said: "He might have done amazing things for tourism but that is completely separate from BHC. It doesn't give him the freedom to do whatever he wants with BHC." In taking on the Governor, Auditor General and press, the Premier tackled in one fell swoop three of his perceived enemies. Mr. Vesey said it was no coincidence. "If he's done anything wrong, these are the people who are going to expose it." He said only the Police were left to expose potential wrongdoing.

June 26. Attempts by the Attorney General and Police Commissioner to gag the media over a leaked Police dossier over the Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC) corruption allegations will be heard in the UK. Their lawyer, Delroy Duncan, was this morning successful in persuading Bermuda's Court of Appeal to refer the matter to the Privy Council in London as a matter of "major public importance". However, the media remains temporarily gagged until the appeal is heard which could take months. Mr. Duncan argued this morning that the appeal would be rendered pointless if the media is not barred from making further revelations in the meantime. Bermuda's broadcasting organizations and the Bermuda Sun have been banned by first the Supreme Court and later the Court of Appeal from reporting further material since the injunction proceedings were launched by the AG and Commissioner earlier this month. The Court of Appeal panel - President Justice Edward Zacca, Sir Austin Ward and Gerald Nazareth - said they had no power to extend the order. Meanwhile, the Mid-Ocean News and The Royal Gazette have on a number of occasions agreed to extend a voluntary undertaking not to publish further extracts from the dossier. However, Saul Froomkin QC, representing those newspapers, told the court this morning: "They are now in a position where they say they are not able or prepared to give an undertaking and if they are going to be prevented from publishing in the public interest, they want some court to tell them that." However, Mr. Duncan then revealed that the Privy Council was in fact sitting in London simultaneously with this morning's Bermuda court hearing. Preliminary reports reaching The Royal Gazette are that it has banned all Bermuda's media organizations from publishing further material at this stage. The court action was first initiated by Police Commissioner George Jackson and Attorney General Philip Perinchief earlier this month after ZBM and the Mid-Ocean News published extracts from the leaked Police file May 23 and June 1 respectively. The leaked dossier - said to run to thousands of pages - reportedly revealed that Dr. Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, former Minister Renee Webb and construction boss Zane DeSilva were investigated by Police looking into allegations of corruption at the BHC. The court arguments which have gone in favour of the media in both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal have been between the need to protect confidential documents and the right of the media in democratic societies to report on serious allegations against public figures. Dr. Brown has accused the Opposition of engineering the leak in a pre-election bid to destabilize his Government, and has initiated libel action against the media over published extracts from the dossier. The Police investigation into the source of the leak has seen three arrests, but no charges. Two men were detained and released earlier this month. Auditor General Larry Dennis - the Government's fiscal watchdog - was arrested and released after 24 hours in custody last week. * Read more on this story and further reports on the BHC issue in tomorrow's edition of The Royal Gazette.

June 26. "Bring it on." That was Michael Dunkley’s response after Premier Ewart Brown claimed re-opening a Police probe into illegal drugs involving Dunkley’s Dairy staff could prove embarrassing for the Opposition leader. And Mr. Dunkley said the Premier was seeking to shift the emphasis from embarrassing allegations coming out of the leaked BHC files. Yesterday Dr. Brown voiced his dismay at the Supreme Court ruling which he said meant all confidential Police files were fit to print. That decision meant other people could be persecuted even though they were never prosecuted said Dr. Brown. He added: “The Opposition Leader comes to mind because we all know a former employee at his company was prosecuted for smuggling drugs while on the job. “It’s my understanding Police questioned Mr. Dunkley. If those Dunkley Police files were stolen from the confines of the Police Department and splashed in the newspapers, it would be grossly unfair; I expect there would be a lot of embarrassing, if not suspicious, information about the Opposition Leader in those old Police files. It would be wrong for those unproven investigative findings to become media fodder.” And the Premier continued that the Opposition Party Chairman Shawn Crockwell also came to mind. He said Mr. Crockwell was: “An ex-con who infamously stole $600,000 worth of drugs from the courts. Only about $100,000 of the stolen drugs was ever recovered, according to published reports. But the UBP Chairman served his time and as far as the community is concerned he repaid his debt. If someone conspired to sensationalize his 10-year-old Police files in the press, I would be eager to help him fight off the conspirators - even though much of what he took is still missing. This legal fight is not only about protecting the innocent, but the rehabilitated as well. It is about protecting the good names and good reputations of all citizens.” Speaking from London where he has been meeting British politicians and diplomats, Mr. Dunkley said the Premier was “desperate and irrational. The fact of the matter is with the drug case two individuals were tried and convicted.  I am happy to have that case opened up. I have nothing to hide and would be pleased to let it be in the public domain. If he wants to be rehashing it then fine — I doubt he wants to take that challenge. He said I was questioned — I was never questioned as a suspect, I was questioned as a witness and I went on the stand.” Two years ago two former Dunkley’s Dairy employees were convicted of conspiracy to import close to $3 million worth of marijuana in October 2003 in a Dunkley’s Dairy container. Michael Madeiros, 41 and Steven Flood, 39, were sentenced to ten year’s imprisonment. During the trial Mr. Dunkley took the witness stand and said the pair had confessed their guilt to him and he later told Parliament that he had picked up the tab for setting up surveillance cameras after Police said they could only afford an officer to monitor it. Mr. Dunkley said yesterday: “I don’t have anything to hide — that’s the difference between myself and my colleague — and the Premier. “It is a sad day for Bermuda when the Premier has to resort to these type of tactics. I stand by my reputation and integrity and will match that with the Premier any time. As far as the party chairman is concerned I am very disappointed he is attacking a colleague. Everyone is well aware this case was dealt with in the courts and a proper sentence was meted out. That matter is gone now and I stand by my colleague. I find it absolutely ridiculous the Premier of the island would now try to take the focus off his very real problems and shift it to other issues.” And Mr. Crockwell said he too had nothing to hide. “I have exhaustively detailed my story in the press, my story has been an open book. However for clarification I pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, I gave full restitution of any profits. I paid my debt, overcame my struggle and have attained success. I have always been contrite for what I did.” Mr. Crockwell said he agreed with the Premier that private Police files should remain confidential but he claimed the United Bermuda Party had not been involved in the dissemination of the BHC files. “Why the Premier feels it necessary to attack me is something he has to answer for. The fact is there are unanswered questions concerning BHC.”

June 26. The leader of the Opposition condemned the Premier for leading the Island down a path that will lead to “no good”. Michael Dunkley spoke after Premier Dr. Ewart Brown claimed a UBP victory would mean a return of the 40 Thieves, a small white oligarchy that once ran the country. Mr. Dunkley said: “The Bermuda public has in the last 24 hours watched Dr. Ewart Brown lash out at people in a manner that demeans the Office of the Premier and insults people. “The Premier’s comment that a UBP victory at the polls would mean a return of the 40 Thieves to power is almost beneath comment, but not quite. Beyond the fact that it is hugely insulting to the good men and women of the UBP team, who have come together from all walks of life to build a better Bermuda, Dr. Brown is once again resorting to his “back to the plantation” rhetoric, which is very much about manufacturing bogeymen and conspiracies and very little about Bermuda today.” One must keep in mind that the Premier’s comments were made before and after the Court of Appeal judgment on matters related to the BHC scandal. It is clear he is trying to stir up enough controversy to cloud the hard realities of the BHC reports, which indicated widespread corruption at the highest levels of our government.” Mr. Dunkley also said Dr. Brown’s suggestion that the UBP leaked the allegedly stolen police dossier was incorrect, and a “red herring”. He reiterated that the UBP has condemned the leak and supported a Police investigation into the matter. He added that the author - ‘Son of Soil’ - of an email sent across the Island airing many of the allegations which the press have been barred from reporting claimed to be a disillusioned PLP supporter. Mr. Dunkley said: “The fact is that the Premier is not dealing with the allegations revealed in the BHC reports, and this must be a concern for everyone who wants Bermuda to do the right thing. Right now, people are wondering where his regime is taking the country. Everyday international press coverage is calling into question our commitment to open, democratic government, with some media even invoking the specter of Bermuda as a Police state. It is all hugely disappointing and disturbing. “We think the Premier would do well to explain himself fully. Right now, this Government is doing everything in its power to prevent people from knowing the truth.” He added that his party felt the Island could benefit, now more than ever, from a Royal Commission into the scandal.

June 26. Premier Ewart Brown is being urged by advisors to refuse to answer detailed questions about his BHC involvement because it would open the floodgates to further probing. That was the conclusion to an internal document given to The Royal Gazette by the Premier’s Press Secretary Glenn Jones in a damage limitation exercise after it was accidentally released. The document also surfaced on Facebook.com and blog politics.bm yesterday. Mr. Jones did not divulge the author, but said: “It was intended as an internal document but I accidentally sent it to some people in my address book and instead of trying to recall it I thought why not send it to everybody. In my view, it’s better out there in the public domain than in my desk drawer.” The memo claims the BHC probe had exonerated targeted members of the PLP Government but had then been leaked to the press to scupper a summer election. The document reads: “ "Five years later, as predictions for a July election by UBP spokespersons, newspaper editorial writers and columnists had hit high decibel levels, and precisely when the passing of Dame Lois Browne Evans had ignited black consciousness and PLP solidarity to an unprecedented level, two adversaries of the PLP Administration conspired with ZBM and The Royal Gazette/Mid Ocean News to use stolen Police files to sensationalize allegations of illegality in a calculated hatchet job against PLP targets.” The Premier’s simulcast statement on the publication of the stolen material elicited immediate and requested action by the Governor, who promptly invited Scotland Yard to investigate the theft of the Police files.

June 26. An American veteran is prepared to fly out to Bermuda to help the investigation into his claims lethal defoliant Agent Orange was dumped and burned at Kindley Air Force Base in the 1960s. Ronald Slater, 64, of Washington State, wants to work with Government officials testing for poisonous dioxins he believes could still be in the ground at the former base today. Yesterday, Works and Engineering Minister Dennis Lister downplayed the ex-US Air Force serviceman’s allegations that numerous barrels of the toxin were poured into deep pits before being burned for several days, sending thick smoke over St. David’s homes. In a press conference, Mr. Lister said no evidence suggested Agent Orange was used on the Island. However, Mr. Slater remains adamant that he played a role in the disposal of the chemical, along with other toxic wastes, by bulldozing the charred remains into the sea. “If need be I will return to Bermuda and show locations and give testimony,” said Mr. Slater, who suspects his Type Two diabetes is attributable to exposure to Agent Orange. “If Mr. Lister’s downplaying it, all I can say is this is what I understand I contributed to. All I can do is offer my honesty and integrity. I believe those photographs (which ran in The Royal Gazette yesterday) speak a thousand words. There was no way in hell the stuff they put in those pits was nothing but cardboard and wood.” Mr. Slater said he would need someone to foot the bill for his 5,000-mile flight to the Island and reassurance that he would not face action over his part in the Baselands activities. Works and Engineering Permanent Secretary Derrick Binns said he would be happy for Mr. Slater to get in touch. “The most important thing is to go through his own Government, but we are not going to turn away someone who wants to talk to us,” said Dr. Binns. Speaking at the press conference, Mr. Lister said: “The claims made by the US veteran are without foundation. Mr. Slater believes his condition has been caused by Agent Orange but he has not presented any evidence to support his claims that have been reported in the local media. Mr. Slater also believes Agent Orange was used in Bermuda. There is no evidence presented to support this. In fact, our evidence indicates that Agent Orange was not here.” Mr. Slater says much of the herbicide soaked into the earth when the containers were emptied. Experts say if this happened it would remain a serious environmental risk today because the dioxins are so chemically stable they will not degrade over decades. Mr. Lister said technical officers were urgently researching Mr. Slater’s claims and would report their findings to him in two weeks. He said soil samples taken when the US left the site showed no signs of contamination, while more tests at the time of any land transaction have also been negative. Discussions with the Ministry of Health indicate no trend towards illness as a result of Agent Orange, he added. During the 1960s, millions of gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed across parts of Vietnam by the US military. Many war veterans who have suffered ill health after being exposed to its chemical clouds have since claimed compensation from the US Government. US Consul Gregory Slayton said America did not recognize Agent Orange had ever been used outside Vietnam. “The Department of Defence has consistently said for the past 25 years that Agent Orange was not used anywhere except in South East Asia in the Vietnam War. They are absolutely standing by that position,” he said. “Let me salute the Minister and his colleagues for getting it right on this. It’s important to test and see what’s there.” Mr. Slayton added that he had contacted the Department of Defence to request more information. Bermuda is the latest in a string of countries where the US has denied using Agent Orange, including Panama and Puerto Rico, and parts of America including Hawaii.

June 26. A representative of the Post Office’s Philatelic Bureau will be travelling to the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. this week. Stanley Taylor, will take part in the festival themed “Roots of Virginia Culture” in keeping with the 400th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia. As part of the celebration, the bureau will present Senator John Warner (Rep. Virginia) a complimentary First Day Cover and full set of philatelic items from the Bermuda to Jamestown commemorative series that was released last week. The presentation will take place on June 27 in the Russell Senate Building. According to a press release, Recently, Bermuda has been acknowledging the historical ties between Jamestown, Virginia. In April, the Bermuda Regiment Band and other local bands travelled to the US to perform at the Virginia Tattoo. And again on June 21 when the Philatelic Bureau released its latest commemorative stamp series honoring Jamestown.

Bermuda Stamps - Jamestown 1 Bermuda Stamps - Jamestown 2

June 26. Friday marks the closure of the Medical Clinic and Government admits not all of the patients have been transferred to doctors. The impending closure was announced in the Premier’s Throne Speech in November, last year and the Ministry of Health along with the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) have been coordinating the transfer of patients. In one last attempt to speak to patients the BHB announced a final closed meeting for tomorrow at 3.30 p.m. in the first floor conference room of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. However, last week Permanent Secretary of Health Warren Jones conceded there was no way all patients will be transferred before the clinic doors close on Friday. “We recognize that some of the clients will not have been into the clinic before it ceases to provide clinical services,” he said. “Although it will no longer provide clinical services, there will be assistance available after June 30 for those patients to transfer to a physician. We encourage those who have not, to go to the clinic to receive assistance to transfer to a physician.” Mr. Jones further stated that if patients or participating physicians have questions they can contact the Chief Medical officer Dr. John Cann, the director of clinical services at BHB Kathy Lewis or himself at the Ministry of Health. The clinic, which will close on Friday, has been at the centre of controversy after Premier Ewart Brown announced its termination in the Throne Speech last November. In his speech, the Premier explained the clinic must be closed because of the assault on the patients dignity having to go to one clinic due to their financial situation. However, those opposed to the plan and some clinic patients demanded answers by collecting thousands of signatures and organizing two protest marches. At the end of May, the Ministry of Health mailed a pamphlet detailing the transition plan for the Medical Clinic patients to every resident on the Island. And on June 15, the newly appointed Minister of Health, Michael Scott read out the names of 23 doctors who will be available to patients of the closing clinic. However, Jenny Brookes, who campaigned against the closure, said months after the announcement and days before the clinic closes, there remained a lot of confusion. “The pamphlet that many citizens received in the mail outlining the so-called plan of the clinics closure may have put to rest some concerns the general public had about the clinic,” she said. “Think about the group of people this closure will affect. The reality is that a large percentage of the clinic patients do not have a fixed abode or mailing address so they did not receive the pamphlet and it was not available in the clinic for the patients to read.” And Ms. Brookes contends there are questions still for patients who need the services of the clinic such as medical supplies like dressings. A daughter of a medical clinic patient contacted The Royal Gazette along these lines, saying she was unsure how she will be able to afford the dressings, which will cost her $250 to $300 a month. She said: “I tried to buy the supplies for my mother on my own for a while, but I just can’t afford it. She doesn’t see a doctor there because she needs someone to visit her at home. I’ve asked the people at the medical clinic but none of them know what to tell me.” In response to her questions, Mr. Jones said: “Without dealing with the specific case you have raised, it is important to note that where individuals meet the criteria, and they have gone through the process that has been established, they will get assistance. Individuals such as the one you highlight should ensure that they have been to the clinic to be transferred. The clinic is aware of the services they require and can assist to address those matters.” The meeting for clinic patients tomorrow is closed to the public and the BHB has encouraged all patients with questions to attend.

June 26. Members of the Anglican Church of Bermuda yesterday expressed surprise but not shock over the retirement of Bishop Ewen Ratteray. On Saturday at a meeting of the Synod of the Anglican Church of Bermuda, Bishop Ratteray announced he will be stepping down from his position on March 30 next year. Bishop Ratteray will be 66-years-old when he retires as the first Bermudian and first black person to hold that position. And yesterday, Archdeacon Andrew Doughty said he was surprised at the announcement, but certainly not shocked as Bishop Ratteray has held the position for 12 years. He said: “He has done an excellent job in providing stability and unity for the Diocese of Bermuda. He has done a wonderful job of offering prayerful discipline for all of the people in the Diocese. He has been a good friend to many people.” Bishop Ratteray began his career studying at Codrington College in Barbados and was ordained Deacon in Bermuda in 1965 before moving to Yorkshire, England, to learn the ministry. While in Yorkshire he served in three positions starting as a Curacy in South Kirkby, then as a priest in charge in St. George’s, Sowerby and finally as the Vicar of Airedale for nine years before returning to Bermuda. In 1980 he moved back to the Island to serve as the Rector of Pembroke where he served for just under 16 years before he became the Bishop of Bermuda in 1996. On May 19 of that year, the Archbishop came to Bermuda to consecrate the first Bermudian and black Anglican Bishop to serve on the Island. And Thomas Nisbett, a retired Reverend who was at the meeting of the Synod, had hoped the Anglican Church may have been served a few more years before Bishop Ratteray retired. Rev. Nisbett said: “I am very sorry to hear about his departure. Bishops in the past, though, usually stayed five to six years and I suppose he has now served almost 12 years.” The next Bishop will be elected following the departure of Bishop Ratteray, after Easter next year. The Archbishop must first issue a mandate for the election of a new leader and according to Archdeacon Doughty that usually happens after a celebration and thanksgiving for all that Bishop Ratteray has done. Reverend Patrick White of St. Paul’s Church added: “We’re a little bit saddened by his departure. At this point we have reached a good period for the church. He has been through a number of frustrations, but he has carried them off with grace. He has been a pioneer.”

June 26. A Bermuda hotel has started work on a multi-million dollar new development, expected to be complete by the 2009 tourist season. The Reefs’ new project, a Private Residence Club (PRC) expected to cost “north of $50 million”, will be comprised of 19 two-and-three bedroom residences and will feature a spa on the patio of every unit. Residents will also have access to an infinity pool, whirlpool, club lounge and state-of-the-art fitness centre. The PRC will be located immediately west of The Reefs property and owner and Shadow Tourism Minister David Dodwell admits that he began looking at developing the area more than 25 years ago. He didn’t obtain the land until 2004 but calls the endeavor a “dream come true”. The units have been on sale for the past three weeks — $345,000 for a two-bedroom unit and $370,000 for three bedrooms - and have been selling well according to Mr. Dodwell, who said: “The response has been overwhelming and very positive.” He believes the units will take the hotel to the “next level” and allow The Reefs to compete with top hotels in the world, not just others on the Island. He said: “The world is our next level, not just our hotels down the street.” In addition to the PRC, the hotel will also be upgrading its spa from a two-room facility to one with seven luxury treatment rooms, create a larger kitchen with better ventilation and newer equipment and an ocean-edge dining room, extending to the cliff and overlooking the ocean. Mr. Dodwell explained that the PRC’s have the same concept as Tuckers Point and will be fractionally owned, meaning there will be ten owners per unit. When a unit is purchased the owners get to select the dates they will be residing there, but also have the right to use the unit whenever it is free, allowing more flexibility than with timeshares. Mr. Dodwell said: “We are extremely excited to break ground today. The Reefs is an international award-winning resort and widely recognized as one of the top hotels on the Island. Together with our project management team, Bermuda Project Managers Ltd., and our architectural team, Linberg & Simmons, we will now be able to provide the ultimate in luxury residential living and will upgrade our current hotel kitchen and spa facilities to further enhance our guests’ holiday experience.” Mr. Dodwell expects the new Private Residence Club to uphold The Reefs’ standards and said: “It will be a high-class, high-end luxury development. It will be a five star development”.

June 27. The most senior law lords in the UK will determine whether Bermuda’s media can report on a leaked Police dossier containing allegations about the Premier and other politicians — but their decision could be up to a year away. The Court of Appeal yesterday agreed to an application from the Attorney General and Police Commissioner to have the Privy Council in London decide whether Chief Justice Richard Ground was right to rule that the freedom of the press to report the allegations outweighed concern about the confidentiality of the file. Shadow Justice Minister John Barritt warned last night that the decision to take the case to the highest possible court for a British overseas territory could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars — but legal consultant and Progressive Labour Party supporter Julian Hall claimed it was the only way to get a “pure legal decision”. In the meantime, the Island’s media remains temporarily gagged from reporting on the Police file, which concerns an investigation into corruption at Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC). Saul Froomkin QC, representing The Royal Gazette and its sister paper the Mid-Ocean News, told the Court of Appeal yesterday morning that the Government’s appeal against Mr. Justice Ground’s decision could take between eight and 12 months to be heard. He said the media would be prevented from publishing anything until then, despite winning two previous court hearings on the matter. AG Sen. Philip Perinchief and Police Commissioner George Jackson first applied for an injunction against all media after the Mid-Ocean News published stories on June 1 containing details from the BHC file. ZBM television news broadcast extracts on May 23. Mr. Justice Ground refused the application on June 18 and the Court of Appeal upheld his decision on Monday. Their judgment said: “We are unable to say that the learned Chief Justice wrongly exercised his discretion and we dismiss the appeal with costs.” Yesterday, the Privy Council’s judicial committee — sitting in Downing Street, London at the same time as the Court of Appeal on the Island — ordered that a ban on all media from publishing further material from the BHC file remain in place. Mr. Froomkin had earlier said that The Royal Gazette>and the Mid-Ocean News were no longer able or prepared to stick to a voluntary undertaking not to publish. “If they are going to be prevented from publishing in the public interest, they want some court to tell them that,” he said. Lawyer Delroy Duncan, for the AG and Mr. Jackson, told the Court of Appeal that the issue of whether a permanent injunction was granted was of “major public importance”. He said that appeal would be rendered pointless if the media was not barred from making further revelations in the meantime. The leaked dossier — said to run to thousands of pages — reportedly reveals that Premier Ewart Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith, former Minister Renee Webb, construction boss Zane DeSilva and others were investigated by Police looking into allegations of corruption at BHC. The court arguments which have gone in favour of the media in both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal have been between the need to protect confidential documents and the right of the media in democratic societies to report on serious allegations against public figures. Mr. Hall said he expected the Privy Council to give far more weight to the rights of the people named in the dossier than had Mr. Justice Ground. “He gave short shrift and paid no more than lip service to that,” said Mr. Hall. “I’m sure the Privy Council will find that curious.” He added: ‘When you get to the Privy Council, that’s when you get pure legal decisions unaffected by race or politics. The higher up the chain you go the more pure, I think, becomes the legal decisions made. They know how to factor out completely political considerations. None of this is a criticism of any judge.” Mr. Barritt said he was not surprised that the matter was going to the Privy Council or that the temporary ban remained in place. But he argued that the public had the right to know now what else was contained in the BHC file yet October was the earliest the Privy Council was likely to hear the matter. “This is going to keep a lid on goodness knows what else,” he said. “I think the public’s right to know is one that’s contemporaneous rather than historical.” Mr. Barritt added that an independent commission into the BHC case would have proved less costly than this legal route. “It will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly if the costs are awarded against Government, which has been the case so far,” he said. “The people of the country will have to decide whether or not this has been pursued in their interest.” Dr. Brown has accused the Opposition of engineering the leak in a pre-election bid to destabilize his Government and has initiated libel action against the media over published extracts from the dossier. The Police investigation into the source of the leak has seen three arrests but no charges. Two men were detained and released earlier this month. Auditor General Larry Dennis - the Government’s fiscal watchdog - was arrested and released after 24 hours in custody last week. Bill Zuill, editor of The Royal Gazette, said: “We are pleased that the Court of Appeal accepted Saul Froomkin’s arguments that the Chief Justice exercised his discretion reasonably and correctly in making his initial decision. “We naturally accept the decision of the Court of Appeal to allow the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police leave to appeal to the Privy Council. In those circumstances, whilst unfortunate, it is understandable that the Privy Council decided to grant a stay of the Court of Appeal’s judgment pending the hearing of the further appeal before it. “Having said that, the likely substantive effect of this may be to extend the ‘gag’ for at least three months and it goes without saying that we hope and will endeavor to appear before the Privy Council as soon as possible in the hope of bringing this process to an early close.” He added that the Gazette and the Mid-Ocean had opted not to continue their voluntary undertaking for two reasons. “One was that we did not believe that the Court of Appeal had the jurisdiction to grant a stay - and the Court of Appeal agreed - and therefore it would have been wrong to give an undertaking when our fellow defendants would have been under no such obligation. “Secondly, as Mr. Froomkin noted, we have given a series of undertakings since this began and we were concerned that giving another could be open-ended and we thought it preferable to be subject to a formal order of the court.”

June 27. Five teenagers have planned a protest against the political path they feel the Island is heading down. And they hope to show that Bermuda’s young adults are not apathetic when it comes to politics. The girls plan to greet MPs as they emerge from the House of Assembly for their lunch break on Friday with a peaceful protest over allegations of corruption and their belief that Bermuda is being pushed down the road towards independence. They stressed that they are bi-partisan but were compelled to protest after reading about recent events revolving around the claims made in an allegedly stolen police dossier into allegations of corruption. While only 16 and 17, Luisa Olander, Erin Jackson, Steph Hollis-Smith, Christie O’Doherty and Annefa Burke said they felt they had to do something because they were concerned about their future and the future of the Island. Their protest evolved from a Facebook group, a popular online community among the Island’s youth. The group was created on June 7 after Premier Ewart Brown threatened to suspend dealings with the Governor if he did not act to catch the people who leaked the police file to the media. Since then, as the BHC saga has continued, more than 400 people have joined the group - though some of the members are against the premise. Ms Jackson explained that the group formed because: “We will not accept ‘unethical behavior’ from any political party. “We’re not directly protesting against any specific events, although recent developments pertaining to the BHC report, including gagging the press and the arrest of the Auditor General have ignited our passion and impelled us to protest.” Ms O’Doherty, said: “What we are concerned about is having an accountable Government and the future of Bermuda. We want to inherit an Island that is stable and prosperous. But we want to make one thing clear, we are not anti-PLP. This has nothing to do with people’s political persuasion. If the UBP were saying and doing what the Government are currently doing we would be protesting as well.” Ms Burke said: “We want students and young adults and anyone else interested to come out and show politicians that we are paying attention to what is happening and are very worried about what we are hearing.” While Ms Olander said: “It’s scary to hear that the Cayman Islands are calling us a police state. We are the ones that will be coming back to the Island looking for jobs so we care about what is happening. It is also interesting because a lot of our friends will speak out on Facebook but may not actually show up. The passion is there but the motivation to act does not seem to be. And that is something we need to change. We need people to see that our generation is serious.” Ms O’Doherty added: “It’s important for people to realize that 18 is an important age, yes you get to drink in bars but you also get to vote. We want our peers to show that we should be taken seriously as voters.” The protest will begin at 12 p.m. at the Cenotaph in front of the Cabinet Building on Front Street and make its way to the House of Assembly on Court Street. It will last an hour and has been timed to coincide with the MP’s lunch hour. The girls obtained a permit for the protest because they have high hopes that many people from all ages, races and political groups, will be compelled to join them. The students also hope that the leaders of both parties will address them. The girls’ protest could also decide another thing - if the popularity of people debating politics on Facebook transcends to political action. There are 3,400 people on Facebook’s Bermuda network and invites to social and political events pop up everyday, along with groups formed for political parties and debate forums. Currently the girls’ group is the largest political one on the Island with more than 400 members, and debates take place daily on their forum. One would expect, with the popularity of the group, a large number of people will show up on Friday - but the girls said they have yet to gauge whether their online support will equal people actually turning up. The reach of Facebook on the Island has prompted politicians to join as well. The Premier was the first and Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley wasn’t far behind him. Groups supporting both men and parties have also sprung up. Facebook has also afforded the youth another opportunity to engage politicians. On Friday, Dr. Brown is hosting an “Open Mic with the Premier” at Greg’s Steak House from 6.15 pm until 8.15 p.m. Dr. Brown said he decided to hold the event after a 21-year-old Yale University student asked him on Facebook if he would be holding a town hall meeting this summer, for students who missed him on the his North American university tour. 

June 27. Britain has sounded the warning bells to corrupt and politically backward colonies — shape up or the Governor will sort you out. In a paper being circulated to Premiers and Chief Ministers of all the Overseas Territories, Lord Triesman, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said some jurisdictions were better managed than Britain. But he said others had governance issues. The paper, an updated version of a 2003, document said: "In certain Territories there are governance issues which need to be addressed — including corruption, financial management and regulation of financial services. In some cases, the lack of developed civil society, strong legislature and/or vibrant press mean there are few checks on the executive. The geographical location and size of some of the Overseas Territories make them vulnerable to drug-trafficking and associated crime." Lord Triesman has asked Governors to make it widely available locally and it has now been placed on the Bermuda Government House website and the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. But it was unclear last night what lay behind the reissuing of the paper which had only tiny amendments from the one issued four years ago, although it was thought allegations about the sale of Crown lands in Turks and Caicos might have been a factor. Asked if any of the memo was a directed at Bermuda, Deputy Governor Mark Capes said: "The document reflects the reports and views of all the overseas territories." The document says Britain's remaining territories vary considerably. It goes on: "Many of the Overseas Territories have made great strides in their own development. In some, standards of governance and implementation of international standards are equal to, or in some cases exceed, the standards in the UK. In others governance and implementation issues have given rise to concern. If not addressed, as well as having serious implications for the well-being of Overseas Territories citizens, they could give rise to significant contingent liabilities for the UK." The paper urged Governors to keep a close watch to ensure, among other things:

Lord Triesman said some territories might think those issues are beyond the bounds of Governors. But he said: "As long as the UK bears ultimate responsibility for the territories, and has a contingent liability if things go seriously wrong, UK Ministers see an important role for Governors in monitoring developments, and reporting to them areas of concern. In territories which are well-managed, this may mean that Governors may simply need to sustain full and productive dialogue. In territories giving rise to greater concern, Governors may need to play a more proactive role in these areas than hitherto. The aim throughout will be to deliver high standards of governance to the benefit of all Overseas Territories citizens." He said Governors would not be given new powers but should work with Governments to improve standards. Glenn Jones, the Premier's press secretary said last night: "The Premier has previously seen the document you asked about, but has no comment."

June 27.  American public affairs experts were called in as a favour to advise Premier Ewart Brown’s Press Secretary over his handling of the Bermuda Housing Corporation affair. Glenn Jones held an e-mail discussion with the boss of Park Row Campaign Management in which it was suggested Dr. Brown should refuse to answer detailed questions about his BHC involvement because it would open the floodgates to further probing. Earlier this week, Mr. Jones accidentally released the e-mail to groups in his address book before giving a copy to The Royal Gazette in a damage limitation exercise. Yesterday, Park Row president Joseph Romanelli insisted he had not received any payment from any group for his services — and that he was merely helping out Mr. Jones. “Park Row Campaigns has no relationship with the Premier, the Government or the PLP. Glenn Jones is an old friend and he asked for my input as our expertise is in public affairs and political communication,” said Mr. Romanelli. Asked whether any payment had been made, he replied: “I totally understand your concerns, but it was simply two friends chatting. Nothing more. And absolutely, not a penny or pound was exchanged. I have never worked for any of the people, parties or governments involved.” Ironically, in a move that would be interpreted in some quarters as pro-Dr. Brown spin, Mr. Romanelli added: “But he really didn’t need my input — the document struck me as strong and based entirely in fact. I firmly believe that truth is on the side of the Premier and that truth is hopefully being distributed to the people.” Park Row’s website states it has carried out public relations work for a host of American politicians, including Congressman Sherwood Boerlert, Oneida County Clerk Sandy Caruso and New York State Supreme Court’s Robert Julian. It also did publicity work for a number of projects including the Empire State Games in 2001. The e-mail between Mr. Jones and Mr. Romanelli later appeared on Facebook.com and blog politics.bm. It claimed the BHC probe had exonerated targeted members of the PLP Government but had then been leaked to the press to scupper a summer election. It contained a string of statements under the headline FACT, including a reference to “flagrantly malicious” motives by whoever leaked the dossier; and a suggestion that PLP voices “should be coordinated and massed like thunder” to condemn its release as “raining on the celebration of Dame Lois’ life”. Earlier this month, The Mid-Ocean News ran a story from a leaked Police dossier centering on allegations of corruption at BHC. The documents reportedly revealed that Dr. Brown, former Premier Jennifer Smith and former Minister Renee Webb were all investigated by Police looking into the BHC allegations.

June 27. Principals, teachers and others working in the Island’s public schools will meet tomorrow to air fears that they are being left out of plans for crucial educational reform. The leaders of Bermuda Union of Teachers, the Association of School Principals and Bermuda Public Services Union claim Government is failing to involve or inform their organizations about changes planned for September. Mike Charles, general secretary of the BUT, told The Royal Gazette last night that an interim executive board set up in the wake of last month’s damning Hopkins Report - which concluded that the public school system was “on the brink of meltdown” - was meeting in secret to decide how to implement recommendations for improvement and excluding teachers from discussions. The board - chaired by Bank of Butterfield chief executive officer Philip Butterfield - has been tasked with pushing through improvements recommended by UK professor David Hopkins and his team, who carried out a review into the failing public school system earlier this year. “We don’t even know what’s happening; no one is talking to us,” said Mr. Charles. “Everything seems to be in secret. One would have thought that something would be said to at least one of the major stakeholders.” He questioned why teachers had not yet been told of changes planned for the start of the next school term - despite the summer term ending on Friday. “People have anxieties about the whole thing,” he said. “When people start meeting in secret, it gives people an uneasy feeling.” His comments echoed remarks made by Shadow Education Minister Grant Gibbons in the House of Assembly last Friday. Dr. Gibbons said he had heard of interim board members being called to chairman Philip Butterfield’s office at the Bank of Bermuda and being asked to keep quiet about plans for change. Dr. Gibbons said last night that it made no sense to leave key stakeholders out of the talks, particularly when Government was criticised for secrecy and a failure to communicate with educators in the Hopkins Report. “To have people secretly invited down to meet with the chairman at his office at the bank and be sworn to secrecy just leads to further fear and concern in all the groups involved,” he said. “What you want is to get buy-in and co-operation.” A Ministry of Education spokeswoman said that the interim board was meeting on a weekly basis and appointing members to its six working groups: principal leadership, teaching and learning, ministry reform, accountability, parent partnerships and medium term development. “Each of these working groups will be led by an interim board member and will include teacher representation,” she said. “The composition of these teams will be made public in due course.” Tomorrow’s meeting is at the Berkeley Institute at 5.30 p.m.

June 27. Opposition leaders hammered home their concerns over the plight of Auditor General Larry Dennis to Foreign Office officials in London yesterday. Opposition leader Michael Dunkley and party colleagues met Helen Nellthrop, the deputy head of the Overseas Territories Directorate, and her staff. Mr. Dunkley told The Royal Gazette: "The Premier's recent behavior and the Bermuda Housing Corporation scenario got an airing — and the arrest of the Auditor General. We spent a lot of time talking about that — talking about accountability and the independence of the Auditor General." The UBP quartet, which includes Deputy Leader Patricia Gordon-Pamplin and MPs Cole Simons and Grant Gibbons had planned to push for a Royal Commission into the Bermuda Housing Corporation investigation during their trip. Mr. Dunkley said London was already aware of that initiative. "It's something they would consider but until all the legal hurdles are cleared I told them it was premature to move forward and they agreed with that. But it's definitely on the table." And the team also pressed for assurances that the Independence issue would only be decided by referendum. Mr. Dunkley said the meetings were just a starting point while he also said he had fruitful talks with other figures including the Shadow Trade and Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.

June 27. Sources close to Auditor General Larry Dennis claimed last night that he had been authorized by former Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith to hold Police documents relating to the Bermuda Housing Corporation corruption investigation. Last week, Police hunting the documents raided both Mr. Dennis’ home and office for the papers and Mr. Dennis was arrested and held in Police custody for 24 hours before being released uncharged. However the source said: “He had permission to have those Police files — anything to do with the BHC investigation.” The Royal Gazette understands 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. It was also claimed both Government and Government House were aware of the arrangement. The Auditor General was arrested for alleged possession of stolen documents and not revealing his source as Police hunted a dossier leaked to the media which claimed Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and members of the Government were investigated over alleged corruption at the Bermuda Housing Corporation. He has been bailed to return to Hamilton Police Station on August 22. Mr. Dennis — 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. The whereabouts of the original Police dossier into the BHC allegations is unknown. In the legal wrangle over the media’s publication of the file’s contents, Chief Justice Richard Ground said in the Supreme Court that it was unclear whether the documents had been stolen or whether they had simply been copied and distributed to the media. However, earlier this month, the Premier’s Office sought to characterize the documents as “stolen”, attacking the media for using the word “leak” in a press release. The statement added: “That word choice is clearly inaccurate. The accurate characterization would be ‘theft’. In this criminal case, the BHC documents were stolen — taken by a thief (or thieves) who should be tracked down for breaking the law.” Lawyer Tim Marshall said the use of the word theft could be prejudicial if anyone arrested in the hunt for the missing files ended up in a jury trial. “If it is a jury trial that may be an issue,” he said. However he said the courts could boot out the case before it got going on the basis that those arrested did not have stolen documents but merely photocopies. Two other people were arrested and then released in connection with the leaked Bermuda Housing Corporation files while Police also raided ZBM news and visited the Mid-Ocean News office after those organizations ran stories based on the documents. The portions already printed by the Mid-Ocean News reportedly revealed that Premier Ewart Brown, former Premier Dame Jennifer Smith and former Minister Renee Webb were all investigated by Police looking into the BHC allegations. Construction boss Zane DeSilva was another prominent person investigated as part of the probe into allegations of corruption at the BHC, the documents reportedly showed. When the investigation finished in 2004, then acting Director of Public Prosecutions Kulandra Ratneser said many of those investigated could only be accused of bad ethics. Mr. Ratneser also said some of the people investigated escaped prosecution due to Bermuda’s antiquated corruption laws. Since the BHC scandal — which is believed to have cost the taxpayer $8 million — one person has been convicted. Terrence Smith, a BHC officer, was found guilty and jailed last year on 41 counts of fraud. 

June 27. Construction work on Bermuda’s sixth fast ferry is on course to be completed by mid-September, Government announced yesterday. The catamaran — currently being built in Bridgeport, Connecticut, by Direktor Shipyard — will be similar in structure to the Warbaby Fox which was officially launched for the East End of the Island last year. It will accommodate 350 passengers. The Director of Marine and Ports Services, Francis Richardson, said he was pleased with the building progress of the ferry so far. He said significant hull construction will be completed this week. Once constructed, and following sea trials, the new ferry will join sister catamarans Resolute, Serenity, Venturilla, Tempest and Warbaby Fox in full commuter service to the public. Premier Ewart Brown, who is also Ministry of Transport, has stated he is keen to step up the number of options available to people seeking to find alternative ways to get around. Earlier this year, Bermuda’s fast ferry project was held up as a model to be considered for use across the region at a meeting of Caribbean leaders in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

June 27. Thick blankets of black smoke regularly drifted over nearby homes while the US occupied Kindley Air Force Base, St. David’s residents recalled yesterday. Some said they were not surprised to hear former US Army veteran Ronald Slater’s allegations that huge amounts of toxic waste including lethal defoliant Agent Orange were dumped and burned at the base in the 1960s. People claimed they often had to shut tight all windows and doors to keep out poisonous fumes, while clothes hanging out to dry would become coated in filthy residue. Meanwhile, one former military man backed up Mr. Slater’s comments about the disposal of hazardous waste by saying he also witnessed the dumping of substances including mercury and hydrochloric acid at Bermuda’s bases. However, one ex-US Air Force Sergeant at the base in the late 1960s said he found it difficult to believe Agent Orange — now said to cause horrific disfigurements and severe long-term injury to those exposed to it — was ever used. Earlier this week, The Royal Gazette reported how Mr. Slater, 64, of Washington State, said numerous barrels of the defoliant were poured into deep pits before being burned for days, sending poisonous fumes over St. David’s homes. Gregory Fox, 50, of St. David’s, said he grew up in a house about 50 yards away from the base and would regularly play in the area as a child. “I recognize the photographs in the newspaper,” said Mr. Fox. “As a youngster, about eight or ten, I used to play in that area. I lived on the hill. I used to venture down that way. It was nothing but blanket smoke from those pits. My mom used to close one side of the house because of it. We had to wash clothes on the line again because of the smoke. We always wondered what the heck they were burning there. Mr. Slater is right. It was definitely not cardboard boxes. It wasn’t ordinary trash. Those pits are now filled in and they need to do some serious looking because we have been exposed to whatever they burned. I’m worried about it. Mr. Slater is ill. I might end up with health problems in the future.” A 63-year-old Hamilton Parish resident said: “As a young man I played there and there were big clouds of black smoke. It was regular — I recall seeing lots of clouds. We thought it was a product of something, but we just accepted it as smoke from the base and didn’t think any more.” Lee Estis, of Arizona, who served in Bermuda from 1958 to 1995, said: “They dumped and burned everything you could imagine down there. I even dumped mercury.” Fred Beyersdorfer, a US Air Force Sergeant at Kindley from 1967 to 1969, cast doubt over Mr. Slater’s story by questioning why the burning of Agent Orange had not now rendered the area barren. “I was in the area of the site in the first few days of June this year. It still looks as beautiful to me as it did back in 1967,” he said. Mr. Beyersdorfer, 60, of Houston, Texas, also said it was unlikely the defoliant would have been dumped in great amounts in the period claimed by Mr. Slater because it was still being used in Vietnam then. But he added: “But then, the US Government has done many things out of sorts and incongruent over the years.” Mr. Slater said his role in the disposal of waste was to bulldoze the remains into the sea after burning. He believes his poor health — including Type2 diabetes — is attributable to exposure to Agent Orange. Fears have been raised that, if the defoliant was dumped in the ground, its dioxins would remain a serious environmental risk today because they are so chemically stable they will not degrade over decades. Government has been investigating the claims over the past few days. Yesterday, Works and Engineering Permanent Secretary Derrick Binns said past records of testing completed in the area are being examined, while the land is to be re-tested specifically for the presence or absence of Agent Orange and the similar toxin Agent Blue. The tests will be carried out be a qualified organisation. Minister Dennis Lister has previously stated Mr. Slater’s claims are without foundation and that no evidence has shown Agent Orange was ever in Bermuda. Maintaining that line yesterday, Dr. Binns said: “We do not anticipate that the current testing will yield results significantly different to those already obtained.”  

June 27. Plans have been submitted to transform a derelict hotel site into a new resort and marina. The Eden Group aims to create a mixed development resort at the former Lantana site in Sandys. Covering 9.70 acres, it will feature both hotel accommodation and residential leasehold properties. The land is already zoned as tourism but will also cover 0.48 acres of agricultural land and 0.40 acres of ‘green space’ along its north-east edge. The Eden Group is an international company based in London. Situated between the Railway Trail and the coastline north-west of Somerset Bridge, the resort will include 18 hotel suites in a main ‘Manor House’ complex, plus 20 residential units with driveways and 33 shared-ownership villas. Amenities include a spa, restaurants and bars, plus beachside and poolside facilities. In a letter to the Department of Planning, agents Conyers and Associates state: “Until 1998, Lantana was a successful tourism resort which has since been disused and over the subsequent years, fallen into a state of disrepair. “The proposal includes the provision of various shoreline amenities arranged around and adjacent to the existing beach which would be enhanced and protected through the addition of one new breakwater and the refurbishment of the existing breakwater. The primary purpose of this breakwater is to protect this vital beach amenity.” The resort — covering a total 95,703 sq ft — will also operate a water taxi service. The supporting letter to the application says: “The new dock is seen by the developer as a fundamental part of the resort’s strategy for transportation, with links to Hamilton and other areas of the island, and is intended to become a major gateway into the resort. “The provision of such marine facilities will take pressure off the roads and is viewed as a highly desirable transport solution for the resort as well as being consistent with the Government’s stated goal of providing inter-modal transport services. “Our client’s reputation as an international developer will ensure that the scenic quality and visual amenity of this part of Bermuda will be greatly enhanced.” The Lantana land was put up for sale for $18.5 million last August after plans to develop it into a luxury spa resort failed to materialize. A ‘breaking ground’ ceremony took place in February 2005 with the resort planned for 2007. It was described as a 40-suite hotel complex with 17 beachfront villas and marina, spa and conference centre. However, when backers Tanner and Haley pulled out and then  applied for bankruptcy in the US, the remaining investors decided not to pursue the project. The original Lantana Resort was developed by the late John Young and was one of the first ‘cottage colony’ resorts in Bermuda. Opened in the 1950s, it built up a reputation for friendliness and excellent service, but closed in 1998. Premier Dr. Ewart Brown, Minister of Tourism, last night said: “Tourism has reached such an incredible surge that anyone looking for a hotel room this summer is going to find it very difficult. Hotels are full. “While that’s a nice problem to have, we must act. So whenever I hear of plans for new hotel development I am thrilled because it means our tourism product will have the space it needs to grow." Shadow Tourism Minister David Dodwell also welcomed the application by The Eden Group. “I think it’s a positive move and will be good for Bermuda,” said Mr. Dodwell. “It’s been closed since 1998, nearly ten years, so it’s good to see plans for an existing hotel to be upgraded and reopened. I also think it fits the type of hotel that will be successful. It’s medium-sized and a mixed-use development, and that’s the way the hotel business is going these days. I think this resort has real chances of getting up and running, and a marina is perfect for that location as it’s a protected bay.”

June 27. Drivers are reminded to use designated lots and to observe posted signs at beaches after chaos at Shelly Bay park this weekend. The Department of Parks removed the main access gate, which leads to the playground at Shelly Bay Park in order to repair it and over the weekend found drivers parking there. Until the repairs are complete a chain has been erected to keep cars out and the Department of Parks has also asked drivers not to park in front of the chained entrance so maintenance crews have unobstructed access. A spokesman for the department said: "We ask that in the interest of safety, particularly for the children playing within the playground area, park users must refrain from parking in this area and use the designated car park. We also ask that vehicles do not park in front of this entrance chain as emergency vehicles must have access at all times. While the parking problem is a recent one at Shelly Bay Park, the Department of Parks would also like to remind drivers of rules at other beaches. At Clearwater Beach drivers should not park their vehicles so that cars cannot turn around on the open lawn next to Gombey's Restaurant and on Elbow Beach's Tribe Road the lower section is designated no parking to allow room for turning. Visitors of West Whale Bay Park are warned to leave access for residents of Landmark Condos because any vehicle parked illegally at beaches will be ticketed and may be towed at the owner's expense. However, the spokesman added: "The 2007 summer season promises a very busy, active and exciting time at the parks and beaches and the Department of Parks appreciates the cooperation of the general public in helping to make this a safe and enjoyable summer at the parks and beaches." For further information contact the Department of Parks Park, Ranger Office at 236-5902 or 239-2355.

June 27. KeyTech Ltd., the parent company of the Bermuda Telephone Company, yesterday announced 2006/07 net income of $9.1 million — a fall of $2.6 million from the previous year. In a statement yesterday, the company said costs relating to accounting changes after securing control of Caymans-based telecom company WestTel impacted on the results. And KeyTech added that a Government decision to reduce BTC's local access charge — the per minute fee paid by international carriers to BTC for originating and terminating long distance calls — reduced net income by $1.8m. BTC is preparing a legal appeal of this reduction. KeyTech also made a $21m investment in capital assets — up $4.3m on the previous year — to maintain existing plant and improve its networks, and also support provision of new services. The Bermudian company now has a controlling interest in WestTel, meaning that KeyTech now accounts for losses of WestTel in excess of its percentage equity holding. This accounting change resulted in a $1.3m negative impact on net income. Under the same accounting treatment KeyTech will report future profits in excess of its percentage equity holding. KeyTech chief executive officer Sheila Lines was upbeat about the acquisition of WestTel as the company's fifth subsidiary. "We are excited by both the revenue growth to date and the potential future for WestTel," Ms Lines said. "The controlling interest will enable fast implementation of synergies between WestTel and our Bermuda based operations." In its statement, the company explained that a $1.5m increase in expenses came about as a result of the launch of M3 Wireless's easyConnect service and the development of technical and business plans to build a new submarine cable to Bermuda. "Wireless technology is evolving rapidly, and both business and residential customers increasingly rely on fixed and mobile wireless services to meet their communications requirements," Ms Lines said. "Our investment in new wireless services is essential to the medium and long term competitive positioning of KeyTech. We also know that robust and affordable international connectivity is critical to Bermuda's business and residential customers. Thus, when the government announced a tender process to award licenses to build an additional cable in Bermuda, we pursued, and continue to purse, that opportunity aggressively." Ms Lines added that the $9.1m in net earnings after the impact of the outlays indicated the "diversity and strategic health of our operations". Income from continuing operations for the prior year was $13.3m. Income from continuing operations for the current year on a comparable basis after adjusting for the accounting treatment change for WestTel, the investments in easyConnect and the international cable project, and the reduction in the local access charge, was $13.7m. KeyTech total operating revenues for fiscal year 2006/07 were up $6.5m over 2005/06 to $105.4m. Of the increase, $5.3m is due to WestTel's inclusion as a subsidiary in the current year and $1.2m is driven by growth in wireless and directory revenues. An increased focus on customer services had resulted in a 90 percent satisfaction rate among BTC users in the last quarter, according to the CEO. Total expenses grew $11.2m to $97.4m, with the consolidation of WestTel accounting for $8.1m of the growth. In addition to expenses associated with easyConnect and the international cable project, increased operational costs resulted from increased volumes of long distance voice and data traffic on Logic's network and rising maintenance costs tied to higher fuel prices for electricity. Contribution to net income from affiliates improved by $1.7m in 2006/07 primarily as a result of consolidating WestTel's results in the current year. Bermuda CableVision settled a long-running copyright dispute with the Performing Rights Society which resulted in a one-time charge to earnings from affiliates of $0.3m in the year. Excluding the one-time charge, both Bermuda CableVision and QuoVadis results improved significantly compared to the prior year. Total cash dividends paid to common shareholders for the year was $0.60 per common share, the same level as in the prior year. Investment income for the year was $739,841. Investment income for the prior year was $629,355. The dividend for the common shareholders of KeyTech Limited for the quarter ending June 30 2007 will be 15 cents per share. 

June 27. Plans to bring the inaugural World Amateur Stroke-play Championships to the Island this November have been temporarily scrapped, it was announced yesterday. Bermuda Golf Association president Bob Legere revealed in January that he was planning to bring 40 of the world’s best male and female amateur players — many of who will eventually go on to become household names when they join the professional ranks — to Bermuda to vie for the title of world amateur champion. The announcement was significant because while a World Amateur Team Championships already exists, there has never been an individual strokeplay event on offer to the leading amateur players, with the prestigious British and US Amateur championships both being matchplay competitions. With rumors circulating that Port Royal would be closing for nine months starting at the end of last year, the BGA originally planned to run the event on three different courses — the Mid-Ocean Club, Tucker’s Point and Belmont Hills. The project was first conceived and brought to the attention of Government by Legere as far back as the middle of 2006. But when Premier Ewart Brown announced a few months later that the Grand Slam of Golf would be hosted by the Mid-Ocean in the same month, the World Amateur Championships were essentially blown out of the water. While stressing he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Grand Slam, Legere admitted to The Royal Gazette back in January he was worried about his event’s proximity to it and the fact that the BGA and the Department of Tourism could end up competing against each other in the hunt for corporate sponsorship. It now appears as if his anxiety was fully justified. Yesterday Legere said his idea had received the “enthusiastic endorsement” of the 114 golf associations that make up the International Golf Federation (IGF). Yet despite the BGA’s best efforts, he said it was simply not going to be logistically possible to host “two major golf events in such a small place at more or less the same time.” And in an a further development, Legere revealed that members of the Dubai Golf Association were on the Island last week and have expressed an interest in hosting the event themselves — though Legere made it clear he would much prefer it to take place in Bermuda. “The people from Dubai definitely want it, though at this stage I would say there is less than a 50 percent chance,” he said. “We’ve have done our very best to work around the Grand Slam, but the problem for us has been the limited access we would have been given to the Mid-Ocean Club in the weeks before the Grand Slam as they prepared the course for that event. At one stage I thought the World Amateur and the Grand Slam could co-exist, though as time has gone on I’ve realised that we’re fighting a losing battle. To have them both in November would have been like two big buses colliding and I cannot take on the Government. Our access to the kind of corporate support and hospitality that we require was also being severely restricted because of the Grand Slam and it got to the point where we knew it wasn’t going to be possible to host our event at that time (November) in a small place like Bermuda. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter about anything or towards anyone. In fact I’m a big supporter of the Grand Slam in general and am hoping like everyone else that either a Tiger Woods or a Phil Mickelson or an Ernie Els will win one of the year’s two remaining majors — because without a high-profile name, it's going to be a much quieter tournament." While he has trademarked the World Amateur Strokeplay Championships logo in the US and UK, Legere is well aware that there’s now a slight possibility that another ambitious national golf association could steal plan and host a similar event themselves — though he doesn’t think that’s very likely at this stage. We did go to the trouble of trade marking the logo in a couple of different jurisdictions, but the laws are complicated and very different in every country so there is a chance that somebody else could steal it I suppose — in which case I might have a legal battle on my hands,” he said. “But the IGF is aware of what has happened in Bermuda, they’re aware that the idea for a World Amateur Strokeplay Championships originated with me and that BGA has been working very hard on it. Many of the other national associations who are all members of the IGF are aware of that as well and it is unlikely they would accept such a move. So I’m comfortable things won’t head in that direction. But I am convinced this event will eventually be a huge success and a fantastic boost to both the Island’s golf and tourism product. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with the Grand Slam and see if we can come up with a scheduling plan next year which works for all concerned.”

June 28. The significant role Bermuda played in the settling of the US is becoming clearer as a result of archaeological discoveries at Jamestown in Virginia. And the link between the two countries was underscored when St. George’s mayor Mariea Caisey joined the likes of US president George W. Bush in placing an item in a time capsule marking the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. An archaeological dig at the US city has uncovered bones of cahows, turtles and hogs, alongside Bermuda stone that may have been used as ballast on the Deliverance and Patience — in 1610. A delegation of 25 from Bermuda was invited to the 400th anniversary celebrations at Jamestown. Ms Caisey placed a Bermuda Cedar friendship cup in a time capsule, a significant recognition for Bermuda as others invited to place objects in the capsule to mark the city’s historic anniversary included the US president himself. Dr. George Cook, of the St. George’s Foundation, said: “Bermuda was chosen to be in this significant group. Mariea placed a friendship cup in the capsule and it really is a story of a friendship that spans four centuries.” Jamestown was settled by English colonists in 1607, but they were left struggling for survival after a nine-ship relief fleet was reduced to seven when an Atlantic hurricane struck. One of that fleet, the Sea Venture, was shipwrecked on Bermuda and its survivors eventually built two ships to sail to Jamestown the following year. It is from these two ships, the Deliverance and Patience, that the cahow, turtle bones and the Bermuda stone discovered in an archaeological dig at Jamestown are thought to have come. The arrival of the Bermuda ships, together with fresh supplies from the Island, are seen as a critical turning point in the survival of the struggling Jamestown community. The recognition that Bermuda has received from Jamestown and Virginia could help develop more links with the US in terms of tourist visitors wishing to come to the Island to learn more about those historic links. In the Jamestown visitor centre there is even a “Bermuda room” with artifacts and information about the Island and the role it played in the establishing of a community on the fringe of the newly discovered country even before the famous Plymouth Rock landings many years later. A cruise ship boarding terminal at Norfolk also contains a Bermuda room that allows passengers boarding their ships to learn about the Island. “Passengers are immersed in Bermuda’s history while they are waiting for their ship,” said Sharon Jacobs, executive director of the St. George’s Foundation. The recent links between Jamestown and Bermuda go back ten years with one of the foundation’s founders and chairman Henry Hayward helping to forge the friendships that have continued and brought about the invite to play a part in the town’s 400th anniversary celebration. In past months, Bermuda has also played a role in the Virginia International Tattoo, and the Spirit of Bermuda was involved in a gathering of tall ships off the coast of the State. The 400th anniversary celebrations in Jamestown were attended by an estimated 100,000 people. Historical Bermuda-linked artifacts discovered in and around the city are to go on display. Jamestown also intends to have a six-month exhibition on Bermuda in 2009. “That is indicative of the recognition of Bermuda in Jamestown’s story,” said Dr. Cook. The state of Virginia is also seeking Bermuda’s assistance in re-designing its school history curriculum to include more on Bermuda’s important role in the establishment of the earliest colony. Dr. Cook said it was important that Bermuda continues to nurture its friendship links with Virginia and Jamestown. Mr. Hayward feels the direct connection to St. George’s is significant and the new World Heritage Centre in the town could tie in with historic events that link to Bermuda and are of interest to US and Canadian visitors. There are a number of significant “400th anniversary” dates approaching for Bermuda such as its own 400th anniversary (1609), the first permanent settlement (1612), the arrival of the first African in Bermuda (1616) and the first Government in Bermuda (1620).

June 28. Public transport and garbage collection will be disrupted this morning due to a union meeting by Government workers. Residents have been warned to expect cancelled bus services and delays in trash pick-ups as the Bermuda Industrial Union presents its arbitration award to members. A Government spokeswoman said last night: “The Government is advising the public today that tomorrow, at 10 a.m. the Bermuda Industrial Union will be holding an important meeting for all of its union members within the employ of the Bermuda Government. As such, residents can expect an interruption in the following Government services between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. All bus routes will be affected, however the Department of Public Transportation will provide a supplementary shuttle service for visitors. All ferry service between Hamilton, Dockyard and St. George’s is expected to run per normal. However, there will be no Rockaway (Southampton) service as of 9.15 a.m. and no Paget/Warwick service as of 9.45 a.m.” She added: “The Parks Department services will be interrupted, and it is expected that Works and Engineering (garbage collection, Quarry and Tyne’s Bay) services will be interrupted. The public will be notified as soon as all services have resumed.” Chris Furbert, BIU President, said last night: “This is not industrial action, it is to present the arbitration award for the Government’s blue collar workers. The process started in March of this year and concluded on May 14. The decision has now been made and the pay award is to be presented to the workers tomorrow. We asked the Government for permission to have this meeting.”

June 29. Senators passed a bill to cut Airport queues and boost border security on Wednesday. It will require airlines to supply lists of arriving and departing passengers. Public Safety Minister David Burch said the information would alert authorities for people on the stop list before they arrive. And passengers can be cleared through the Immigration arrivals hall much more quickly and efficiently. Government is also working on a new method to speed up processing of passengers. The electronic manifests will eliminate the requirement to collect landing cards on departure from Bermuda while the elimination of departure cards would bring Bermuda in line with countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, who receive electronic manifests and do not require travelers to complete a departure card. It will also simplify the processing and storage of landing cards as there will only be a single card which will be collected on arrival into Bermuda. Once the new border control system is in place there will be no requirement for Bermudians who have the stamp: "Holder is registered as Bermudian" in their passport and/or possess a "Fast Pass" card to have to complete an arrival card. Therefore, the only document that a Bermudian will need to complete, when returning home, is a Customs card.

June 29. A damming picture has been painted of Bermuda’s human rights complaints process by the previous head of the body charged to deal with such grievances. Former executive officer of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), David Wilson, said Government Ministers and civil servants intervened in at least one high-profile case, and both he and his predecessor, Opposition MP Neville Darrell, were sacked because they refused to play ball. The ousted head’s allegations are supported by a host of court affidavits and e-mail records. His claim is that a cadre of Government Ministers and senior civil servants attempted to bully both him and the United Bermuda Party MP into a course of action which would have affected the outcome of a discrimination complaint local businessman Harold Darrell had initiated against the Bank of Bermuda. That case is still ongoing seven years after it was first filed. According to Mr. Wilson, Neville Darrell’s dismissal was preceded by a heated meeting with former Human Affairs Minister Terry Lister. That tirade, which allegedly brought Mr. Darrell close to tears, apparently saw Mr. Lister scold him “for entertaining the Harold Darrell complaint against the Bank of Bermuda” and warn there were certain cases he would have to ignore in his tenure at the Human Rights Commission, that at times he “would have to tear down the temple, and that on other occasions, (Mr. Darrell) would simply do nothing”. Mr. Wilson believes his own fall from the civil service was brought about by a targeted conspiracy involving former Human Affairs director Brenda Dale, former chairman of the Human Rights Commission Rod Attride Stirling, current Human Affairs director Myra Virgil and former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Community Affairs and Sport, Derrick Binns. He further alleges that former Community Affairs and Sport Minister Dale Butler was aware of what was happening but showed no support, despite unfair comments in the media from Mr. Attride Stirling which led to Mr. Wilson’s professional disgrace. “I am now looking at the full picture, the way Neville Darrell was pushed out of the office when we had that first ministerial interference from Terry Lister. I’m looking at my situation — I was not dismissed for annual reports or the managing of any cases, I was dismissed for upholding the law with respect to how the Harold Darrell matter was handled. My demise wasn’t about late annual reports, it was because I stood my ground and resisted intrusions into my office, which enjoys independence in cases.” Mr. Wilson claims his problems initiated with Mrs. Virgil, who had unsuccessfully applied for the role of executive officer in 2002 and was instead hired as an investigation officer for the Commission.  “Mrs. Virgil was disgruntled and never wanted to come under my authority,” he said. “Because she was a PhD candidate, she wanted me to unilaterally put her on a higher pay scale than the other investigation officer. She wanted me to unilaterally create a position for her as assistant executive officer and became rancid when I told her this could not be done. In short, she had an inflated ego and wanted to be catapulted to higher heights before doing her time.” Mrs. Virgil left to run the Commission for Unity and Racial Equality (CURE). Around the same time, Mrs. Dale was appointed director of the Department of Human Affairs. Effectively Mr. Wilson’s boss, the post was at times filled by Mrs. Virgil when Mrs. Dale was on leave. A backlog of work in his office led Mr. Wilson to ask for additional administrative support. As proof of need, he cited evidence from several temps that the demands were too much for one person. His request was denied. “The relationship between me and (Mrs. Dale) was bad, but only because I resisted her micro-management and bullying in my office. The relationship became worse when I found it necessary to seek help from her superior, Dr. Binns.” The former HRC head said he received no support, only a pair of poor performance appraisals — “the first in my tenure” since assuming the responsibility of acting executive officer in 1999 and being made permanent head of the Commission in 2002 and the first in his entire “service with Government, which goes back to 1975 when I was a teacher”. In a November 2005 letter to the Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr. Wilson made a formal complaint against Mrs. Dale’s behavior. “At this time, all I wish to say about these matters is that they are a kind which, in my view, amount to disrespect for me and my office and an attempt to discredit me before my staff — but all of which, I might add, seems to only take place when I am not in office,” he wrote. “Recently, I was off the island on vacation leave. I learned that the Director had been in my office the first day of my leave. It is my information that the Director was inspecting or otherwise moving around my office, helping herself to information. I have repeatedly indicated to Mrs. Dale and the Permanent Secretary that, by Section 30 of the Human Rights Act 1981, I and all officers of the Commission are required by law to maintain confidentiality of the business of the Commission. There is a strict prohibition on this. Whilst I recognize that Mrs. Dale is my director, all of her predecessors have recognized and respected the fact that the director is not an officer of the Commission and does not have free (i.e., unescorted) and unfettered access to my office.” Section 30 of the Act states: “Any person who hinders, obstructs, molests or interferes with the Commission or an officer of the Commission in the lawful exercise of a power or the lawful performance of a duty under this Act shall be guilty of an offence.” Compounding his problems was his relationship with Mr. Attride Stirling. “The chairman functioned differently to those I’d worked with before. Aside from the fact that he was very dictatorial, he had no rapport with my staff and was very offensive to my staff. Every day I was getting complaints from my staff about his approach, the fact that he was very rude.” He addressed his concerns to Mr. Butler, under whose portfolio the HRC fell, and who happened to be a longstanding friend. “I said, ‘I’ve been here a long time. I know my job. Things are not working between the chairman and me and the director and me’. I didn’t expect him to do anything about the director, because that’s a civil service position, but the chairman of the Commission is a political appointment. I told him that (Mr. Attride Stirling) was making my life a hell, that he didn’t have the respect for my staff and that he didn’t have my respect. I left him feeling quite encouraged. I expected him to do his due diligence and check.” What happened, said Mr. Wilson, is that “Mr. Rod Attride-Stirling was re-appointed” and subsequently complained in the press that the annual reports were years’ behind. My office prepared 2002, 2003 and 2004 annual reports in the usual way with the usual format, which had been accepted by Cabinet for years before Mrs. Dale or Mr. Attride Stirling arrived. There were some statistical problems in the reporting which required auditing. I had no problem with that. To this day, the Minister has been fed untruths that the reports were not done. The truth is that the reports were done. The chairman has said that the reports were garbage. And I say if they were garbage then he insults the scrutiny and vetting of his own deputy (Mary Ann Scott), who was charged with approving these reports. The whole issue of reports is so insane when I have it on authority that other departments in Government are eight to ten years behind in reports.” Mr. Wilson added that, according to a recent report by the Auditor General, the Bermuda College had failed to file annual reports since 1985. “But I didn’t see anybody from the College being fired,” he said. He reserved his greatest criticism for Mrs. Dale, who he said conducted herself in a manner that was “unprofessional, unlawful and certainly not becoming of a senior civil servant”. “One, she ordered me not to attend boards of inquiry proceedings and it began with the Harold Darrell case,” he said. “The second thing that she did was during the preliminary proceedings of the Harold Darrell board of inquiry.” According to Mr. Wilson, there was confusion as to whether Mr. Darrell’s complaint was against the Bank of Bermuda or its board of directors or both. “She was very angry that I put this matter before the Commission. During the meetings we had with the Commission to try and sort this out, Mary Ann said, ‘Listen, Mr. Harold Darrell was always including the bank as a respondent, not just the directors.' “I knew that was true. But Mrs. Dale didn’t want that evidence and she didn’t want that to be communicated to Harold Darrell because this would have made it easy for Mr. Darrell to proceed at the hearing as he wanted to. She forced me to put selected transcript evidence before the Commission — she said I was to only put forward evidence that she approved. That had the effect of derailing the Commission. The third thing that she did was forbid me to have contact with Mr. Harold Darrell. This is a member of the public. He has a right to come to my office. But I still did not connect the dots and then, subsequently, I came to the conclusion that Mrs. Dale was attempting to effect a particular result in this case. She was forcing me to continually look over my shoulder.” Mr. Wilson eventually faced an internal tribunal. “I ran a credible defence to all of the charges laid against me, but even I did not realize that nothing I said was going to make a difference because the Minister was at the centre of it,” he said. The matter came to a head last July when Mr. Wilson was eventually faced with two options — resign or be dismissed. “I told them that the only way I would take resignation is if they gave me a letter of recommendation going forward. I wanted to get my job back on track. I wanted to get back into employment.” Three months after resigning, Mr. Wilson had failed to receive any letter of recommendation, and subsequently called the deal off. “Forget it. You can call it dismissal or whatever you want but the deal now is off because you haven’t shown me good faith at all,” he said. “I’ve done all I’ve had to do and every door has been shut in my face in terms of trying to get employment. Whenever I sent my dossier out the recommendation from Government was missing. There’s no reason for me to not tell the truth now. And if the truth be told, I believe that someone got to Mrs. Dale and caused her to interfere with this case in the three ways I’ve outlined. And I think that’s very serious. The public needs to know.” Mr. Wilson added that one of the conditions of his resignation was that he not go to the Public Service Commission or take his employers to court. And he said his superiors were shocked to learn that, because of an oversight, he had never signed the Official Secrets Act, and is therefore free to talk about his work as a civil servant. Mr. Wilson’s concerns were backed up by Harold Darrell, who believes that officials are using delaying tactics to block his case from moving forward. Referring to “protracted legal arguments”, Mr. Darrell said: “They’re just trying to confuse people with smoke and mirrors.” 

June 29. Governor Sir John Vereker is refusing to comment on recently revealed allegations of corruption within Government. The allegations, revealed in this newspaper four weeks ago, were made during a two-year fraud squad investigation into the disappearance of millions of dollars at the publicly-funded Bermuda Housing Corporation. Premier Ewart Brown, along with former Housing Minister Nelson Bascome and prospective Progressive Labour Party candidate Zane DeSilva, were at the centre of the police probe, although no charges have ever brought against any of the men. Kulendra Ratneser, the island’s top prosecutor at the time, said that unethical behavior involving elected officials had been unearthed but that there was little that could be deemed criminal under the law. Sir John was kept fully briefed in the progress of the investigation and, once it wrapped up in August 2004, declared: “I hope that lessons are being learned in the appropriate places.” This week the Mid-Ocean News e-mailed Deputy Governor Mark Capes, asking if Sir John could expand on his comments. We asked what lessons and which places he was referring to specifically. We also asked if he was referring to the behavior of Government Ministers, including Ewart Brown and Nelson Bascome. We also asked if Sir John believes that the full contents of the police investigations should be made available to the public, if he was satisfied the investigation reached a satisfactory conclusion, and what impact the events of the past four weeks have had on Bermuda’s international reputation. In an e-mailed response, Mr. Capes replied: “I have to advise that the Governor is not available for comment.”

June 29. Government has rejected the Bermuda Industrial Union's bid to get a 35-hour week. Bus services and trash pick-ups were disrupted yesterday as hundreds of workers gathered at the union's headquarters to hear the results of an arbitration hearing into the request. Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert declined to comment. He will hold a press conference on Monday to outline the union's position but it is thought the union has accepted Government's position for now. The union voted last year to reduce hours for members from 37 to 35. The plans however, were criticised by Bermuda Employers' Council president William DeSilva Jr., who warned that cutting hours would either hit services or land the taxpayer with a hefty overtime bill. Then Shadow Finance Minister Grant Gibbons also criticised the plans, citing concerns that it could make Bermuda less economically competitive. But Mr. Furbert argued statistics showed that a 35 to 36 hour working week was not uncommon in Bermuda and the move would have a limited impact. Citing figures from the Government on the working week in sectors ranging from the fishing industry to retail, education, and international business, he said that the average in 2004 was 35.9 hours. It is also understood workers were given a 3.8 percent pay raise for this year. Last night Shadow Labour and Immigration Minister Trevor Moniz said: "I'm not convinced at this stage that a shorter working week is called for. Without some convincing arguments I would not be in support of it. Countries which have adopted a shorter working week, such as France, are now starting to roll it back because it has made them less efficient and competitive. I think that would happen here. It would reduce the efficiency of the Government workforce and cost the taxpayer." A Government spokesman said transport stoppages and disruption of other services ended at around noon yesterday. 

June 29. Bermuda Aviation Services Ltd. is suing the Government over what the company says is a breach of its exclusive rights to provide private jet services at L.F. Wade International Airport. The company, together with its subsidiary Aircraft Services, has filed a writ against Premier Ewart Brown, in his capacity as Minister of Transport, as well as Attorney General Phil Perinchief, in a case to be heard in commercial court. BAS chief executive officer Kenneth Joaquin said yesterday that the company's exclusivity deal extended to 2014, but new competitor the Sovereign Group was being given permission to offer a rival private jet service. Sovereign is in the process of converting a former US Air Force building on Southside into a private jet passenger terminal. BAS believes Sovereign has not had to compete in a tender process for the right 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, BAS claims. "Presently we are not aware who the principals are behind the Sovereign Group," Mr. Joaquin said yesterday. "But it is our understanding that they are currently involved in constructing a facility for the purpose of providing private jet services. We have also been made to understand that they were not required, as BAS was, to compete in an open tender to be able to provide this service. Additionally, we are aware that technical advisors to the Ministry of Transport (the Air Advisory Committee) had recommended that no other service provider should be allowed to operate a private jet facility at the airport." Mr. Joaquin said BAS had won an exclusive right to offer private jet services through an open tender in tender in 1997. The deal was extended through to 2014 four years ago, he added. He added that BAS had to pay for the right to operate at the airport and had additionally invested nearly $800,000 to improve ramp surfaces and facilities. Mr. Joaquin said BAS had made its concerns known to the Transport Ministry, though there had been no direct dealings with Dr. Brown. "The Ministry has taken the position that our lease to occupy the building does not grant us an exclusive right to operate a private jet facility. However, we were awarded a concession that provided for the operator of the private jet facility to have an exclusive right of service; the lease was entered into as a consequence of being awarded the concession. Having dealt with the Ministry of Transport in good faith, we simply want the Ministry to honour that agreement that was made to provide BAS with the sole right to operate until 2014 and longer on the basis that we continue to do a good job." We were unable to get comment on the matter from the Transport Ministry by press time yesterday. And we were also unable to contact representatives of the Sovereign Group. Sovereign Group's plans involve turning the disused building, which is near to the Southside Cinema and Pizza House on Southside Road. Known as "Carter House", the building is on the outer perimeter of the airfield and has its own 275,000 sq ft apron area where private jets can be parked. There will be space for 13 cars to park next to the new terminal and an entrance canvas canopy is envisaged.

June 29. A tourism industry expert said it was important not to overplay increased arrival figures - in case it put people off coming to Bermuda. Mike Winfield, chairman of Bermuda Hotel Association and President of Cambridge Beaches, said overplaying such figures could drive away potential visitors. The comments come in the wake of statistics released by Premier Ewart Brown showing that during the first quarter of this year, arrivals figures increased by 24.8 percent in January, 12.6 percent in February and 17.9 percent in March. Dr. Brown said the figures pointed to a need for “hotel development as many of the Island’s hotels are filled to capacity with guests”. But Mr. Winfield, who is also the co-chairman of Bermuda Alliance of Tourism, said yesterday it was important not to scare away potential visitors and said there were still many rooms available in July and August. He said: “Yes there are times in June when Bermuda’s hotels are full and that is a cause for celebration but there are many days when there are rooms available as well. We do not want to send the wrong message, that there is no room, and scare off airlines and visitors.” Earlier this week, in a press release Dr. Brown said the growth was “stellar” when compared to other Islands. His press secretary commented that during the same period most of the Caribbean region was struggling to attract new business. In particular they pointed to Islands declining arrivals figures in the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and Montserrat and said “only” the Cayman Islands was showing a similar increase in arrivals. They attributed the figures to the Caribbean Tourism Organization's latest statistics report. But further inspection of the report reveals that 66 percent of the destinations listed saw a percentage increase in arrivals during the same period and while the Cayman’s figure is close to Bermuda’s, Cozumel trumped Bermuda with arrivals increasing by 35.1 percent over the period. Mr. Winfield said the reason some of the Island’s competitors were having issues raising their arrivals figures was due to new US immigrations laws, which require all US citizens to have a passport when travelling outside the country. But the law is not hurting Bermuda because its visitors are “well heeled and already have passports” he said. Another reason is that the tourism industry as a whole was working together to improve the overall product, including customer service, and generate fresh ideas to attract visitors. “It may have taken a while to increase standards,” he said. “But now visitors are getting an experience that is worth the high price they are paying. From our ferries to taxis and new restaurants, everything has improved.” And he said so far it looked like the 2007 beach and sizzle season would be better than last year’s but said it was important to increase arrivals during the November - March spa and golf season in order to have a health tourism industry. The Ministry is already hard at work wooing European airlines in the hopes that the new market would help the Island during the ‘off season’ months, he said. In-depth statistics of the first quarter released today reveal:

Sixty-three percent of people working in hotels and other visitor accommodations are Bermudian.

June 29. More than 6,000 people will head to the West End tomorrow to celebrate US Independence Day. Although July 4 isn't until the middle of next week the US Consulate will be holding the biggest Independence Day celebrations outside America this weekend. And they are in the process of trying to get the event recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. The theme is "Giving Back to Bermuda", and with more than 60 charities involved in the event as well as dozens of corporate sponsors the day should raise approximately $100,000 for the various philanthropy groups attending. The event is hosted by the American Society, a Bermuda-registered charity founded in 1953, with the aim of fostering friendly relations between Bermuda and the US and the US Consulate. It will take place on June 30, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Moresby Plain, Ireland Island North. US Consul General Gregory Slayton said: "We really want to celebrate the things that Bermuda and America have in common such as a respect for democracy. The event used to be just for Americans on the Island but for the last two years we have tried to make it more inclusive and have a broad cross-section of society involved. "With 6,000 attending that is almost ten percent of Bermuda's population. It should be a great day filled with entertainment and good fun." There will be games and activities on hand to keep kids and teens occupied, such as volleyball, a dunking stool, face painting, jumping castles and basketball. The Bermuda Hogges will also be there to show football (soccer) fans a trick or two. The event is also the first time two US Congress members will join in the festivities. GK Butterfield, whose father was born in St. George's, and Diane Watson, a friend of Premier Ewart Brown since his days in Los Angeles, will be co-chairing the festivities. Volunteers from 50-plus charities will also be on hand to make sure the day goes smoothly, helping with food, entertainment and activities. There will also be a philanthropy tent with information about the various charities and Mr. Slayton hopes that people attending the event will take time out to learn more about each of the charities involved and sign up to assist them. "I've lived all over the world but I have never seen a country with as much corporate sponsorship or philanthropic organizations," he said. "We hope people will get into the spirit on Saturday and learn more about the charities." With so many people attending the event, Mr. Slayton stressed that, without a wristband, no one would gain entry: "We already have 6,000 people coming, and unfortunately if you don't have the band, we won't be able to let you in. But if you are interested in it then join the American Society so that you can get tickets to next year's event." He also urged people to avail of the free public transport available on Saturday so as to avoid any traffic jams and prevent drinking and driving. Anyone with the wristband will be able to use regular buses and ferries as well as ones that have been added to the schedule to cater to the event. The event would not be possible without the generosity of Bermuda's corporate sponsors and Mr. Slayton thanked their premium sponsors The Ace Foundation, Bacardi, RenRe and the XL Foundation. For more information on the event visit the website americansociety.bm.

June 29. Former Environment Minister and chairman of the Sustainable Development Roundtable Arthur Hodgson has been granted permission to build a six-storey office block. The Development Applications Board has approved Planning application for the building in Court Street, Hamilton. Although the maximum storeys specified for Court Street is four, the fifth and sixth floors of Mr. Hodgson's block will be set back with a terrace, enabling the development to comply with height regulations under the 2001 City of Hamilton Plan. An existing building between St. Andrews Church and the Recorder Building will be demolished to make way for the construction, which consists of a basement for storage and service rooms, plus an office at lower ground level. The ground floor will contain a retail store and a pergola — a feature also planned for the fifth floor. There is no proposed on-site parking for the development, which will cover 23,036 square feet. Last night Mr. Hodgson, Environment Minister from 1998 to 2000, said he was part of a team of developers named Abbot Holdings Ltd. It was still not decided which businesses would occupy the building, but Mr. Hodgson said they would be primarily the legal profession. "I'm just one of the people involved with the application," said Mr. Hodgson. "I'm an attorney so I am hoping to relocate my practice Richmond Law to the building." Asked whether there was any conflicting interest with regards to his role as chair of the Sustainable Development Roundtable, Mr. Hodgson said there was "no connection". "I was not aware of, and am not expecting any controversy," he said. 

June 30. A review of healthcare in Bermuda is underway as the Medical Clinic prepares to close in two weeks. Responding to questions over the apparent change in position by the dental organisation on the Island, Minister of Health Michael Scott said: “It is important to note that the decision to close the Medical Clinic has provided us with an opportunity to look at the services that we should provide and the method of delivery of those services. “This exercise will continue in an effort to improve the overall care provided to the community.” Yesterday marked the target-day for the Medical Clinic, formerly the “Indigent clinic” to close with the transferal of 512 of the patients to private doctors. After a meeting with the patients on Thursday, however, Dr. Stanley James, attending physician at the clinic, comforted patients telling them the clinic would remain open. But also urged them to call or visit the clinic to make sure they had a private physician once the clinic at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital closes. And echoing his encouragement, Minister of Health Michael Scott, yesterday in the House of Assembly thanked those involved in the closure and urged patients to go before it closes. He said: “I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage those clients of the Medical Clinic who have not been in to be placed with a physician to please visit the clinic over the next week to ensure that this happens. I also want to thank the members of the joint team that has been working to ensure that the transition of patients to private practice occurs that all the issues that need to be, are addressed. It is important to note that this team will continue to meet throughout the coming months to address issues that arise following the closure of the Clinic. Of equal importance, the team will evaluate the plan and, where necessary, amend it to ensure that the needs of the clients are met.” However, yesterday Shadow Health Minster Louise Jackson said the needs of the patients were not being met by putting them on the Government’s Health Insurance Plan (HIP). She said: “HIP only allows for four visits a year. Most of the seniors can use this up in one month. Many patients have not been notified and many do not have transportation or know about the last meeting they had.” The other problem she sees arising is the fact that there is no dental care offered on HIP nor are the supplies many patients need, provided for once it closes. In response to questions put by The Royal Gazette, Dr. John Cann, Chief Medical Officer, said: “There have been ongoing concerns about dental services for the general population of Bermuda. “This is not only an issue for indigent patients. It is a matter under active consideration by the Ministry of Health. It is important to also understand that dental service was not a service provided by the clinic. There were, however, dentists who had agreed to provide service to indigent patients pro bono. We will advise when resolution has been reached.”

June 30. An education boss from overseas is likely to be appointed to help implement recommendations from a damning report into why so many of Bermuda’s students are failing. Education Minister Randy Horton last night told the House of Assembly about seven people “of the highest caliber” had already been in contact with Government for the position, which he described as a CEO. He said it would be a consultative role and would last for a maximum of two years. “The person selected to be the CEO will be one who is well versed in being able to galvanize all stakeholders, in moving initiatives forward.” Mr. Horton was speaking as a motion was moved to appoint a joint select committee — comprising Progressive Labour Party and United Bermuda Party members — to consider, review and report on the suggestions in Professor David Hopkins’ review into the state of education on the Island. “The most important person is going to be this CEO that we bring in,” said Mr. Horton. “Already, we have been in contact with something like seven or so people. All are of the highest caliber, people who are world-renowned in education reform. We are not going to settle for anything but the best.” Earlier in the debate, Opposition MPs Grant Gibbons — the Shadow Education Minister — and John Barritt, had called for the public to be given access to the meetings of the joint select committee. They both questioned what role such a committee could play when there is an interim executive board has already been implementing Prof. Hopkins’ recommendations for several weeks. Dr. Gibbons and Mr. Barritt both backed the principle of the move to set up a joint select committee. The motion was passed.

June 30. The number of black executives has fallen while white males hold nearly half of the top jobs, according to the latest figures. A workforce survey by the Commission for Unity and Racial Equality (CURE) shows the number of black executives fell from 29 percent to 27 percent while white males are at 49 percent. Releasing the figures, collected from 587 companies in the year ending August, 2006, Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Wayne Perinchief told The House of Assembly that laws were on the way to make things fairer. He said: “CURE has developed legislative proposals for workforce empowerment which will make it mandatory for industry to develop and implement equality of opportunity strategies. This proposed legislation will require Bermuda employers to review their policies and procedures to ensure that all racial barriers to opportunity are removed. Additionally the legislation will require that employers provide evidence of this review and also evidence that plans and programmes are being implemented to effect race equity in their work environments.” The latest statistics showed black women, at 39 percent, were the biggest group in those earning less than $24,000 while white males, at 54 percent, were the largest group among those earning more than $96,000. Mr. Perinchief said: “Regardless of a small labour pool and the limited availability of a trained and/or professional Bermudian workforce, regardless of skin colour, there is still much room for improvement on the part of companies in ensuring that their workforces are increasingly diverse and representative.” He said CURE used the data to work out how to tackle the problem. “Workforce inequities and systems of discrimination, regardless of intent, are indefensible and demonstrate a total disregard for corporate social responsibility,” he said. “Commitments to ensuring equal opportunities in employment for all must become evident in their execution.” Mr. Perinchief said race in the workforce workshops were planned for employers and human resources managers at the National Workforce Empowerment Conference scheduled for late September. And in October CURE will hold a meeting for all race relations stakeholders such as Citizens Uprooting Racism (CURB), Amnesty and the National Association for Reconciliation with the objective of coordinating efforts for race reform.

June 30. The Premier has told reporters in the Cayman Islands that Independence is his goal for Bermuda, but timing is essential in order to successfully realize it. Dr. Ewart Brown spoke on his stance on Independence following the Caribbean Overseas Territories meeting this week. According to the Caymanian Compass newspaper, Dr. Brown said: “It is a matter of timing and political sense as to when that issue is put before the electorate. It is my personal belief that all living things should seek to be independent. Those people who would like to see such a vote (for Independence) or other method lose, would like to rush into it tomorrow. Those of us who would like to see it succeed, will take our time and try to choose the correct time.” Dr. Brown made no mention of his remarks in his address to the House of Assembly yesterday, and did not respond to a request for comment by The Royal Gazette. However, he told yesterday’s protest by young Bermudians — organizers of which said they were anti-Independence — over the Bermuda Housing Corporation scandal: “I am a supporter of Independence but on that we will have to agree to disagree.” There were fears Dr. Brown would push for Independence after he threatened to “suspend further business” with Governor Sir John Vereker over the leaked Police dossier which claimed he was among several ministers questioned over allegations of corruption at the BHC. Dr. Brown accused Sir John of failing to protect the file and said he should be responsible for finding the source of the leak. Although the potential crisis subsided, the row left many unsure of his intentions. Before assuming the role of Premier last October, Dr. Brown stated that Independence was a key objective, but he has also indicated it would not be an initial focus of his leadership. Speaking to the Caribbean Media Corporation in Trinidad in March, Dr. Brown said: “You might know that in 1995 there was a referendum in Bermuda that actually failed — people voted against Independence. “Of course, my party abstained, but when we go again we will win and we cannot risk the chance that we would lose the vote for Independence. Undoubtedly for me, Independence is inevitable. Bermuda will not be isolated in that regard. Our political development says that one day our country will be politically independent.” Independence was first reviewed in a discussion paper to the House of Assembly in 1977. It was later taken up by United Bermuda Party Premier John Swan, whose bid for Independence was lost in a referendum in 1995. An independent survey for The Royal Gazette in March revealed two-thirds of people oppose the idea. Up to 65 percent were against breaking ties with the UK, 22 percent were in favour, and 13 percent were unsure. In his summary of this week’s Caribbean Overseas Territories conference to the House yesterday, Dr. Brown described it as a “successful and productive” meeting. He said leaders drew up plans for a mutual witness protection programme and forensic investigation. The meeting was held as a preliminary for the annual Overseas Territories conference, to be held in London in December. At last year’s event, representatives agreed to hold sessions ahead of the conference to determine agenda items and joint positions on issues of mutual concern. Dr. Brown met last week with leaders of the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, the Cayman Islands and Montserrat. He told the House that Bermuda’s Ferry Project had been “hailed as a regional success story” and that “it was most interesting to note how similar our issues as Overseas Territories are”. The Premier said: “Honourable members may be interested to know that the reluctance of witnesses to testify in criminal cases is not unique to Bermuda. I have returned from Cayman with a draft bill for the consideration of Cabinet on some mutual criminal justice issues of which witness protection is just one. The meeting also considered the development of first-class, regional forensic capability. Presently, many cases are prejudiced in their speedy disposition by the significant delays in waiting for results for crime labs as far afield as Canada, Australia and the UK. We committed to furthering the development of a regional forensics facility to which we would all have access and to ensure a swifter turnaround in the return of results.” Dr. Brown said “the sensitive issue of immigration, work permits and term limits” was also discussed by those present, in terms of striking a balance between “the need for expatriate labour and the rights of their own citizens”. I was also pleased to submit for the consideration of the meeting the development of certain healthcare linkages for the Overseas Territories,” said Dr. Brown. “I urged thorough examination of the regional system of healthcare to determine how best the linkages might benefit them.” Other topics discussed included waste management and enhancing sea and air travel.

June 30. Bermuda has sent the largest ever squad to the Island Games with around 250 athletes set to compete in Rhodes, Greece. The showpiece event starts today and will be the biggest Island Games ever staged with over 5,000 athletes from 25 Islands taking part. Athletes competing in archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, football, golf, sailing, swimming, tennis, triathlon and volleyball will represent Bermuda. They finished in fourth place in the Shetland Islands in 2005. The Member islands competing are: Aland, Alderney, Bermuda, Cayman, Falklands, Faroe Islands, Froya, Gilbraltar, Gotland, Greenland, Guernsey, Hitra, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Minorca, Orkney, Prince Edward Island, Rhodes, Saaremaa, Sark, Shetland, St Helena, Western Islands, Ynyns Mon. All member islands have to have populations of under 125,000. It will be Minorca’s first appearance.

Bermuda Squad

Archery — Jeane Butterfield, Paul Harshaw

Athletics — Victoria Fiddick, Melissa Clarke, Shianne Smith,Dawn Richardson, Jennifer Alen, Jarita Dill, Allan Bean, Anthony DeRosa (therapist), Daniel Tucker, Oren Smith, Keimar Clarke, Xavier James, Chloe Kempe, Jay Fiddick (trainer), Albert Donawa, Ricky Sousa, Terrance Armstrong

Basketball — Johnathan Minors, Vance Lamont, Sullivan Phillips, Graham Robinson, Dean Jones, John Lee, Steven Simons, Greg Todd, Jason Lowe, Chris Crumpler, Phil Davis, Dale Jackso, Brian Purvey (coach), Gavin Mackenzie (coach), Roderick Spencer (coach), Tim Trott (coach), Diane Laird, Denice Burgess, Erica Woods, Jamila Godwin, Jenaya Wade-Fray, Lindsay Garrett, Marissa Wainwright, Susan Ross, Onika Holder, Teshae Thompson, Danielle Watson, Jamela Simons, Richard North (coach), Ralph Scott (coach), Eric Woods (coach), Craig Behan (physio)

Cycling — Ricky Sousa, Wayne Scott, Geri Mewett, Garth Thomson, Mark Hatherley, Ashley Robinson, Kim McMullen, Deanna McMullen, Glen Robinson (therapist), Dannielle Bezant (manager), Peter Dunne (manager)

Football — Kimmisha Perinchief, Ebonie Burgess, Waynesha Bean, Shonte Campbell, Arketia Smith, Jenay Edness, Ashley Wall, Vinze Zuill, Juanita Smith, Jessica Furtado, Whitnae Duerr, Nyisha Saunders, Dominique Richardson, Chloe Martin, Akilah Bremar, Shabena Crockwell, Jasmin Johansen, Cheyra Bell, Tiffany Swann, Raneika Bean, Daniel Johnson, Clyde Darrell, Cud-Joe Matthews, McQuinn Burch, Antonio Lowe, Devrae Tankard, Jacqui Simons, Robert Richardson, Marquel Waldron, Randy Spence, Seion Darrell, Keishan Bean, Shayne Hollis, Cecoy Robinson, Jason Davis, Nahki Wells, Tumani Steede, Tyrell Burgess, Angelo Simmons, Ajani Gibbons, Vance Brown (coach), Jeremy Salaam (coach), Kenny Thompson (coach), Albert Smith (coach), George Hayward (coach), Maureen Ryan (coach), Felicia DeRosa (coach), Andre Griffith (HOD)

Sailing — John Gardner, Rockal Evans, Stevie Dickenson, Campbell Duffy.

Golf — Yana Ballantyne, Laura Robinson, Katyna Rabain, Katrin Burnie, G.Leroy Burch, Nick Mansell, Blair Marshall, William Haddrell, Richard Bartlett (coach), Bob Legere (coach)

Swimming — Ashley Aitken, Eleanor Gardner, Nicloe Yearwood, Lara Loescher, Rebecca Sharpe, Nick Thomson, Richard Goodwin (coach), Sue Sharpe (coach), Julian Fletcher.

Tennis — Zarah DeSilva, Ashley Brooks, Caitlin Gordon, Jacklyn Lambert, Cayla Cross, Andrew Bray, Jensome Bascome, David Thomas, Gavine Manders, Jacob Trott, Ricky Malloy (coach), Steve Bean (coach)

Triathlon — Karen Bordage, Andrew Davis (coach)

Volleyball — Bruce Sinclair, Bill Bailey, Juanita Blee, Shauna Burns, Kim Burns, Wendy Gazzard, Eric Haller, Alex Hunter (trainer), Lisa LeBlanc, Gary LeBlanc (coach), Lori Morbey, Denise Somerville, Cora Lee Starzomski, Alvin Bell, Katarina Carnicka, Dorush Stacey (coach), Joanie Harper, Allyson Nicol, Elisabeth Rae, Kelly Ross, Raina Steer (trainer), Rebecca White, Geoffrey Blee, Tristum Cunningham (coach), Adam Fowler, Mike Gazzard, Ihab Khalil, John Martin, Adam Wong (coach), Yves Charbonneau, Bill Bucci (coach/referee), Jon Gazzard, Andrew Soares.

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