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Bermuda flag flying

Bermuda's 2015 October History and News

Events that made the headlines in the tenth month of that calendar year

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

Bermuda beach

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
History 2017 April    

America's Cup 2015

America's Cup 2015. Dominating the headlines in October 2015. Royal Gazette photo

October 31. Fresh off their victory at Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, the Artemis Racing sailing team have returned to San Francisco, but work is under way in earnest at their new home at Morgan’s Point. Bermudians are playing a significant role in supporting the team’s efforts to be fully operational by the beginning of next year. “The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda regatta was incredible and I’d like to thank everyone who supported us and congratulate everyone who helped to make the event such a success,” Iain Percy, the team manager, said. “I’m now back in San Francisco helping with our final preparations ahead of the move, but I was lucky to visit Morgan’s Point last week and see all the progress that has been made.” Artemis Racing’s early move to the Island will create a host of opportunities for Bermudians. “To get the opportunity to help the team during their training camp in Bermuda this summer, and then get a job working at the base in San Francisco, has been a dream come true,” said Tristan Desilva, from Sandys, who began working for the team this year. My background is in Tall Ships and classic yachts, so working on the modern AC45s has been quite a challenge. I’m so fortunate to be working alongside Olympic sailors and champion boat builders; they’re great role models and I’m learning so much. The work is really hard, but every time I see the boat come in, I just think, ‘Wow, that’s why I’m here. It’s so cool to see these guys in action.” Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, said: “I am delighted that the establishment of Artemis Racing’s new base in Bermuda is well under way and I would like to commend them for their significant efforts to include Bermudians and Bermuda businesses in both the construction phase and ongoing operations.” Craig Christensen, the president and chief executive officer of Morgan’s Point, added: “We are thrilled to have the Artemis Racing base located here at Morgan’s Point. This move from San Francisco is a huge undertaking and demonstrates Artemis Racing’s commitment to Bermuda and providing opportunities for my fellow Bermudians.” There will be more than 50 locals from 18 Bermudian businesses working on the erection and fit-out of the new base. 

October 31. American eels have for the first time been tracked migrating to the Sargasso Sea, off the coast of Bermuda. According to a recent scientific article published in Nature Communications this week, Canadian researchers tagged a number of endangered American eels and released them off the coast of Nova Scotia, tracking their movements by satellite. Of the 38 tagged eels, eight were successfully tracked leaving the North American continental shelf, with one travelling 2,400km in 45 days to reach the northern limit of their believed spawning site in the Sargasso Sea. At least two eels were thought to have been eaten by predators en route — one likely by a shark and another by a Bluefin tuna. Researchers also discovered the eels appear to have a two-stage migration path, first travelling northeast up the coast of Canada, past the Laurentian Channel, and then turning south. While it has been long suspected that both European and American eels migrate to the Sargasso Sea to breed as larvae are found in the region, no adult eels have ever been recorded in the Sargasso Sea or migrating over the open ocean in more than a century of research. In the report, researcher Mélanie Béguer-Pon states: “Our results represent the first direct evidence of adult Anguilla migrating to the Sargasso Sea. The similarity of trajectories and behavior of migrating eels indicate a degree of consistency in the orientation/navigation mechanism employed throughout the migration.” A separate team studying the European eel visited the Island earlier this year in a bid to better understand their migration and breeding patterns.

October 31. An environmental group has raised serious concerns about the implications of a sediment plume that has formed in the South Basin. The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) claims the plume could have more serious consequences than the ACBDA and its environmental advisories initially made out earlier this week. In a statement released yesterday Stuart Hayward, BEST chairman, said: “This plume event is a self-evident indicator that declarations that ‘we know what we’re doing and have everything under control’ are misguided, somewhat arrogant and fall far short of reality.” But last night Mike Winfield, CEO of the ACBDA, maintained there were series of “containment and monitoring systems” in the South Basin to manage the dredge material that is being deposited there. Dredging work on the North Channel, which has been undertaken so Bermuda can accommodate the latest model of cruise ships, began at the beginning of the week. The material collected from the dredging project has been moved to the South Basin in Dockyard where it will be used in the America’s Cup village project. On Wednesday, Jack Ward from ACBDA advisory group Bermuda Environmental Consulting (BEC) said: “Just like we experience similar conditions after a period of high wind or waves, short-term spikes in turbidity are not highly threatening to marine communities. As long as these plumes are not allowed to persist it is unlikely that detectable harm will occur. “Over the short term this is more of a ‘visual insult’ than a real environmental concern. This milky water is caused by very fine particulates that are slow to settle to the bottom.” However, Mr Hayward said that turbidity was just one facet of a myriad of possible impacts. He added: “What if, instead of a visible plume of fine sediment, the fugitive plume was comprised of paint solvents, or exotic and toxic boat-bottom paints, or the numerous hydrocarbons and other chemicals associated with commercial boatyards and marinas? Not only would the effects of such a plume be biohazardous to benthic life, the plume itself would be well-nigh invisible and therefore unnoticeable until the damage was done and irreversible. The lesson to be learnt here is that we are severely taxed to predict and cope with a visible plume. Invisible plumes of effluents from a boatyard and other industrial marine activities ultimately slated for this site will be impossible to trace, track or remedy.” Nearly 600 corals have already been relocated from the North Channel to adjacent reefs and are being monitored as part of the dredging project. Calling for a credible Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and public consultation exercise Mr Hayward added: “Part of the reason they were able to anticipate plume formation and escape is because of the Environmental Impact Assessment addendum done at the very last minute by BEC. “What the public needs to realize is that the emergency EIA was done solely for the landfill, not for the interim America’s Cup Event Village, and not for the end-use plans that include a commercial and maintenance boatyard and a luxury marina. This plume event reinforces, however unintentionally, our point that the scale and location of landfill would never have got the green light had it not been for the pressure of the America’s Cup. Mr Winfield told The Royal Gazette that the containment and monitoring systems in the South Basin were part of a larger plan to mitigate the environmental impact of the infill project. “BEST raises certain hypothetical concerns in its release that cannot be reliably applied to the present situation in the South Basin. BEST has also previously complimented the work done on the EIA for the South Basin infill by the ACBDA’s environmental consultants, BEC. The ACBDA will continue to work with BEC to minimize the impact of the infill project on the environment. With regards to an EIA for the end-use of the infill, in September this year, the Minister of Home Affairs called for further environmental study and public consultation to be done before final ‘end-use’ permission is granted.”

October 31. Age Concern remains “deeply concerned” that seniors in Bermuda will not be able to afford health insurance in the future due to the rising cost of premiums. The charity hosted a second public meeting this week, following on from its Annual General Meeting, to allow seniors to question Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health, about healthcare in Bermuda. Dozens attended the emotive forum at the Evangelical Church Hall in Paget during which one senior broke down as she explained that she could not cover the cost of her insurance payments. Claudette Fleming, executive director of Age Concern, said she was pleased the Minister had attended the meeting, but maintained the present situation was “deeply troubling” to the charity. “We remain deeply concerned for those persons whose health insurance premiums exceed their pensions. One of our members who spoke of the frustration and humiliation of not being able to make insurance payments became overwhelmed with emotion and left the meeting. While others indicated that due to the rise in health insurance premiums they cannot afford to be insured. This is deeply troubling to us at Age Concern, we want to help these people right now and we will continue to engage the ministry and the Government until something is done for them.” Ms Atherden, who answered questions for over an hour, said: “I was extremely pleased to join the 50 or so seniors at the Age Concern event to hear their concerns and respond to their questions directly. I took several technical officers with me to provide answers on more detailed aspects of HIP and FutureCare; and they provided a further Q&A session to answer individual questions. We do this because we are here to help seniors get the most out of their coverage and get the healthcare they need. I understand fully that the premiums are a considerable challenge for some; and for those on a fixed income the increases are especially difficult. We are extremely conscious of this and doing all we can to contain health costs so that premiums can stabilize and gradually reduce. I want to feel optimistic because the recent National Health Accounts reported that health costs went down, which provides some green shoots indicating that we may be getting a hold on how much healthcare we use. This is great news because if we use health resources prudently and appropriately, this will reduce costs and we will gradually be able to reduce premiums. We remind the public that the Government does all it can to keep seniors’ premiums as low as possible, committing in excess of $100 million annually so that the premiums are not higher. We will continue to do everything in our power with the funds available to ensure coverage can be affordable.” Ms Fleming said she believed that the Minister would act on the concerns raised during the meeting. She added: “Overall our members got to see a softer more empathetic side of the Minister this time around and I believe that she heard what they said and will do something about their concerns. We look forward to finding out exactly what will be done about expensive insurance premium costs, in particular.”

October 30. The Bermuda Government has recognized the need for airports and airlines to minimize the overall travel costs faced by passengers. It was responding to remarks from an airline boss who warned about the impact high airport charges and taxes can have on passengers’ choice of destination, and therefore the willingness of airlines to serve those routes. However, a spokesman for the Tourism Development and Transport Ministry said it was also important to recognise that airports need to raise revenue to pay for operating costs and infrastructure. “Airports recover their costs by charging user fees to help pay for the capital-intensive infrastructure they need to have in place, such as terminal facilities, runways and taxiways, computer processing and baggage systems, navigational aids, airfield lighting, parking lots, and the like,” said the spokesman. The comments were in response to a warning by Robin Hayes, chief executive officer of JetBlue Airways, about the tax burden faced by passengers and how this can influence where the airline allocates airlift capacity. Mr Hayes highlighted the issue at the Caribbean Tourism Organization's State of the Industry Conference, in Curaçao, where he was a keynote speaker. Bermuda raised its airport departure tax from $35 to $50 in March, and increased it again in August, taking the maximum total departure tax to $78, including a $16 airport improvement fee. The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) created a graph showing Caribbean region destinations and listed them in order of ticket taxes and charges faced by passengers. Bermuda was the second highest, beaten only by Jamaica. The data was compiled from a sample of rates on the JetBlue.com website in relation to flights from New York’s JFK International Airport. Mr Hayes said: “At JetBlue, we are very much thinking about the relative tax burden on our customers as we allocate capacity.” JetBlue services link the Island with New York and Boston. The Tourism Development and Transport Ministry spokesman said: “We are quite sensitive to any fee that passengers have to incur. Like airlines, airports have to recover their costs. Airlines do so by not only setting the price of their tickets up front, but also by charging ancillary fees for things like checked bags and ticket changes which last year, accounted for $38 billion in revenue. Whether it’s a small island nation with one or two million passengers per year, or a large city with 30 or 40 million passengers per year, an airport still requires the same basic infrastructure items that also happen to be the most expensive, such as the runway, taxiway, airfield lighting and the navigational aids. The smaller, island-nation airports unfortunately, have a smaller passenger base from which to recoup these costs. Hence, part of the reason why the per passenger cost might be higher than it would be at a major airport. But it is important that both airlines and airports continue efforts to minimize the overall cost of travel as much as possible.” The CHTA said it was publishing the chart showing Caribbean region airports’ relative positions in relation to taxes and charges, in order to inform governments. The organization also highlighted the “open secret” that in the region airlines often request revenue guarantees from destinations before committing flights. Bermuda has offered such guarantees for many years, and in the most recently published consolidated fund financial statement, dated March 31, 2014, reported it had signed agreements with three commercial airlines whereby it was committed to paying out an agreed sum if the airlines did not achieve either a certain level of revenue or specific profit on a particular route. As of March 2014, the Government had an estimated liability of $2.7 million in relation to such guarantees. The CHTA said: “Hayes’ revelations are prompting some countries to re-examine their air transportation policies as it would appear to be counterproductive to add taxes to airline tickets making the destination less competitive then paying those taxes out again in revenue guarantees to attract airlines.” Regarding Bermuda’s position on minimum revenue guarantees, a spokesman for the Tourism Development and Transport Ministry said: “It is becoming more of a prerequisite for island destinations to have to engage in minimum revenue guarantee agreements to secure and maintain air services. Fortunately for Bermuda however, we have reduced the minimal number of such arrangements and have instead, focused resources toward marketing and promotional efforts to support our air services. That is the more sustainable approach to take.”

October 31. Race relations group Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda has described the police’s intention to use stop-and-search powers over the Halloween period as “excessive and unreasonable.". The Bermuda Police Service announced that they would be enforce section 315F of the Criminal Code Act to stop and search people without reasonable suspicion. “It will no doubt result in unintended consequences, as happened in 2011 when BPS statistics showed that racial profiling was occurring under section 315F with people of colour being stopped and searched at much higher rates than whites, in particular young, black males,” a Curb spokesman said in a release today. “Curb has been advocating since 2011 for section 315F to be repealed, as we believe this piece of legislation is in violation of Bermuda’s Constitution, and this is supported by separate legal opinions commissioned by the Centre for Justice. Targeted stop-and-search without reasonable suspicion results in an alienation of the black community and young people, violation of civil liberties and human rights, economic and potential social costs, and is a social and moral price that our community cannot afford to pay. Curb calls on the Bermuda Police Service to rethink their decision to use section 315F during the Halloween period and instead work within the 2006 PACE Act, which requires reasonable suspicion for any member of the public being stopped and searched, ie, the police must have a reason or reasons that they suspect an individual is committing an arrestable offence.”

October 30. The Ministry of Public Works is working to address complaints about overgrown roadsides. While the ministry has come under fire in recent months over overgrown grass and trees on the Island’s roadsides, a spokeswoman said efforts were being made to improve conditions. “We are continually looking at how to be more efficient and cover more ground,” the spokeswoman said. “More should and will be done in this regard. Unseasonable periods of rain over the past few months have meant that crews have had to operate somewhat differently to normal. Health and safety is always a priority.” Asked about rumours that there have been changes within the office, she acknowledged that there had been “some reassignments” recently, adding: “Change is a part of any organization which is trying to enhance its operations.” Several members of the public have written complaints to The Royal Gazette about the condition of the Island’s roadsides, with former MP Quinton Edness stating that the Island was beginning to look like a third-world country.

October 30. An airline boss has warned that high airport taxes and charges can dissuade passengers from flying to certain destinations, and in turn be a disincentive for airlines to serve those routes. Robin Hayes, chief executive officer of JetBlue Airways, made his remarks at a Caribbean tourism event in Curaçao. This year the Bermuda Government has increased airport taxes and charges faced by passengers. In March, the departure tax was raised from $35 to $50. This was followed in August by a further hike that has taken the maximum total departure tax to $78, including a $16 airport improvement fee. On a list of the highest ticket taxes and charges faced by JetBlue passengers flying from New York’s JFK International Airport to a selection of Caribbean region destinations, Bermuda is ranked second behind Jamaica. The list was compiled using sample rates on JetBlue’s website, and is included in a statement from the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA). “At JetBlue, we are very much thinking about the relative tax burden on our customers as we allocate capacity,” said Mr Hayes, who was a keynote speaker at the Caribbean Tourism Organization's State of the Industry Conference. Between US and foreign (Caribbean) taxes and fees, travelers can easily be hit with an extra $150 on top of their airfare,” he said. Bermuda has JetBlue services to and from New York and Boston. The average federal tax on a $300 airline ticket in the US is $63, meaning the airline receives only $237 from the ticket price, according to figures by trade association Airlines For America. The portion of revenue an airline receives per ticket diminishes further when Caribbean region taxes and fees are also added. Depending on the destination this can mean an airline yield as high as $245 or as low as $145 per ticket. In its statement, the CHTA said: “If a passenger has a budget of $300 per ticket, according to Hayes’ reasoning and other factors being equal, the airline would be more inclined to serve those destinations that deliver far better yields for a given airfare.” The organization noted that it was an “open secret” that in the region airlines often requested revenue guarantees from destinations before committing flights. For many years Bermuda offered such guarantees. In the most recently published consolidated fund financial statement, dated March 31, 2014, the Government had signed agreements with three commercial airlines, guaranteeing the airlines either a certain level of revenue or specific profit on a particular route. If there was a shortfall, Government was committed to paying out an agreed sum. As of March 2014, the estimated liability was $2.7 million. The Royal Gazette was last night seeking to establish whether such guarantees still exist. The CHTA said: “Hayes’ revelations are prompting some countries to re-examine their air transportation policies as it would appear to be counterproductive to add taxes to airline tickets making the destination less competitive then paying those taxes out again in revenue guarantees to attract airlines. “The matter is compounded in the region by a broad range of landing, ground handling and fuel costs that vary widely from country to country. Some conclude that it would be more productive to lower ticket prices and airline handling charges to make their destination more attractive and retain promotional funds to promote those more attractive airfares.” Emil Lee, president of the CHTA, noted that Airlines for America was working with some jurisdictions in the US to hold airline taxes, pointing out airline ticket taxes in the country had increased thirty fold since 1972, and were a threat to millions of jobs that support commercial aviation. Mr Lee said that, while there was no federal government of the Caribbean, his organization would play its part to inform governments in the region about their relative position concerning airline ticket taxes and fees by publishing the chart showing the relative sampling of destinations together with the taxes and charges that are added to airline tickets. “We now know why there is no correlation between ticket prices and distances flown to and within the Caribbean. The CHTA was not a proponent of reducing government income, but aimed to find ways for governments to increase revenue through increased visitors and visitor spending. There is now strong evidence that reducing taxes on airline tickets increases the inclination of airlines to serve the destination, increases demand for the destination, increases funds available for promotion, increases taxes collected and most importantly leads to increases in employment. That should be very good news for the Caribbean, the world’s most travel and tourism dependent region.   Given that Airlines For America has had such success in making their case in the US, we will work with them, JetBlue and other carriers, and public and private stakeholders to make the same case for our region.” The Royal Gazette contacted the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) and the Ministry of Tourism and Transport seeking responses to Mr Hayes’ comments and the possible impact of airport taxes and fees. The BTA said it felt the matter was best directed to the Government. As of press time this newspaper was awaiting a reply from the Ministry.

October 30. The owners of Coconut Rock are confident the sushi bar will be open as usual from today after yesterday’s fire. However, co-owner Christian Herzog told The Royal Gazette it was too early to say when the main restaurant would be back in business. “The sushi bar should be up and running but the kitchen we don’t know until they remove the equipment and have it checked,” he said. “Once they do that they will know what the damage is and what it will take to get it up and running again.” Mr Herzog said none of the staff at the Reid Street venue had been in any danger, and that the small fire was quickly extinguished by the sprinkler system. The basement bar was flooded due to the sprinkler system, coating the floor in a mixture of water and grease from the kitchen. Though the system quelled the flames, they are now faced with potentially costly repairs from the resulting water damage. Mr Herzog was having breakfast with his daughter when he received a call from the building supervisor notifying him of the fire just before 7am. He said the blaze had been extinguished by the time he arrived, but he was met with “a lot of water and a bunch of smoke”. The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service gave generators to the business to provide light to the dark dining room that would allow a professional team of cleaners to prepare the venue for investigation. Cleaning was still under way later in the afternoon, with co-owner Shane Desilva saying: “It’s not pretty.” Only once cleaning operations were completed could electricity be restored to assess the full extent of the damage. Sergeant Russann Francis, of the fire service, said: “On our arrival there was thick smoke seen emitting from the rear doorway of the restaurant. Initially two firefighters dressed in breathing apparatus made entry through the front of the restaurant to locate the source of the smoke. It was discovered that the fire had been extinguished by the sprinkler system. With this discovery, we then initiated salvage by removing the water, which had been released by the fire alarm system. We responded to this incident with four vehicles and ten personnel and can confirm there were no injuries at this incident. There was minor fire damage and the fire is currently under investigation.”

October 30. While adversarial politics is the inevitable nature of Bermuda’s system of government, developing a code of conduct for MPs is a high priority. The remarks came from Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, as delegates for the area branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association prepared to return home from their four-day meeting in Bermuda. Mr Horton said the main aim of the event had been to get Speakers of the region together to pool their intelligence — to get Speakers, clerks and presidents of the Senate to talk about their challenges. “It’s about professional development,” Mr Horton added, noting that a major theme of the biennial conference had been the importance of the impartiality of the Speakership — of “being consistent, no matter what the outcome is." Acknowledging that recent sessions of Parliament had at times been rancorous, Mr Horton said: “Most people tend to agree that Parliament is a place that is set up for an adversarial situation. What’s important is the respect that members show each other. That points to the importance of a code of conduct. You’re not going to stop adversarial politics; it’s the nature of politics. If there are differences, it’s about how the differences are handled.” The Speaker said parliamentarians “have a responsibility, when handling differences, to handle them in a proper manner and not in a manner which is demeaning to the credibility of other members. We want young people to be looking at the House and feeling good about the people who are there. It’s important to question; that’s what we’re there for. Parliament is there to hold the executive to account. It should always be done within the rules of the House.” A critical point raised during the conference was the lack of resources hampering the ability of parliaments to act efficiently. “There is so much work for the clerk and assistant to do, it makes it very difficult to provide the level of service to committees that is needed,” Mr Horton said. A practical concern was the maintenance of the ageing Sessions House: although visitors were taken with its appearance, Mr Horton said: “It’s beautiful, but in some places it’s falling to pieces.” Carol Ann Bassett, the president of the Senate, said the feedback from attendees about the Island’s handling of the conference had been “wonderful — they had nothing but good things to say.”

October 30. Police will step up their patrols over Halloween weekend in the wake of a recent fatal shooting and a failed armed robbery. Detectives confirmed that no arrests had yet been made in connection with either of the two incidents at a press conference yesterday. But Superintendent Darrin Simons said officers were continuing to trawl through CCTV from outside Southampton Rangers as well as the HSBC bank in Somerset. “Our outreach to the community for information about the shooting was particularly positive and yielded results.  Together with CCTV footage there are numerous lines of inquiry that are actively being pursued. We have not made any arrests as yet but there are several people that we are looking to speak with in connection with this tragic murder. We are relieved that no one was injured in the attempted robbery and that no money was stolen. Eyewitnesses have provided useful descriptions and again CCTV is being reviewed.” Superintendent Simons said that police expect a busy weekend as Halloween falls on a Saturday night. “The public can expect to see us out in significant numbers,” he added. “We will be conducting stop and searches. We will also exercise our powers to require persons to remove items that obscure their identity. Please be aware that failure to comply with a police officer’s instructions to remove items that obscure identity, or to obstruct a stop and search, are arrestable offences. I would like to encourage anyone who usually celebrates Halloween to do so freely again this year. The best thing our community can do is to stick together, go about our normal business and have a safe and enjoyable weekend.” Anyone with any information about the shooting outside Southampton Rangers or yesterday’s attempted armed robbery should call police on 295 0011 or Crimestoppers on 800 8477.

October 30. On this date in 1978, the British Government intended to push Bermuda towards independence, according to recently declassified documents. A cable sent from the London Embassy to the US Secretary of State and US Consulate, dated October 30, 1978, detailed conversations between Ted Rowlands, then Minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Lord Pitt, who headed the commission that wrote the Pitt Report. Noting the 1977 riots, the cable writer states: “Both believe, with varying degrees of intensity, that Bermuda should move towards independence, social and political reforms must be carried out before independence can be granted, the current Bermuda Government cannot be relied upon to carry out the needed reforms on its own, and that the failure to carry them out will destine Bermuda to continued and probably escalating levels of civil disorder and violence. HMG, accordingly, will keep pressure on the Bermuda Government to implement the Pitt Report recommendations and nudge it towards independence.” The document, declassified last year and republished on WikiLeaks this year, states that the British Government believed that Bermuda was economically ready for independence, but the comprehensive social and political reform described in the Pitt Report must first be put in place. “The Bermuda Government committed itself to implementing the social policy recommendations, but is reluctant to proceed with the special conference to deal with the political reform recommendations: elimination of the ‘emigrant’ franchise, extension of the franchise downward to age 18 and revision of the current two-seat constituency arrangement,” the cable states. “The history of Bermuda shows that island governments have failed notably in implementing reform measures, whether social or political, recommended by previous bodies such as the Pitt Commission. The current government’s reluctance to proceed quickly with the political reforms may in part be due to its belief that a conservative government might come to power in the UK and be more sympathetic, but is due principally to the government’s unwillingness to disturb significantly the institutional status quo.” The report also states that the British Government was not prepared to send in troops should civil unrest on the Island return, adding that they intended to bill the Bermuda Government for the troops sent to the Island the previous year. The report claims offering troops in the future would “encourage the Bermuda Government to behave irresponsibly.” It also criticised Premier David Gibbons, calling him a “well-intentioned man, but not an effective politician”, and the right-leaning members of his Cabinet, who were compared with Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith. “His commissioning of opinion research and then using the results to formulate government policy reveals that he thinks like a businessman trying to satisfy a market rather than a political leader,” the document states. “His inability to dominate his own Cabinet and party — graphically illustrated during Mr Rowlands’s visit — shows that he is not in control.” A separate cable, dated October 18, 1978, describes the 22-hour whirlwind visit as “humiliating” to both Mr Rowlands and Britain. The writer states Mr Rowlands traveled to the Island on the urging of the Governor, Sir Peter Ramsbotham, to push Bermuda towards constitutional reform, but the effort backfired. During an evening meeting on October 9, the Premier agreed to set a date for a constitutional conference before Mr Rowlands left the Island the next day. This message was conveyed to the Progressive Labour Party on October 10 and relayed to the press. However, that afternoon, Mr Rowlands and the Governor were “castigated” by the UBP Cabinet for their perceived push for reform, with Mr Gibbons stating that he had miscalculated the feelings of his Cabinet and that other issues in the Pitt Report should be addressed before a date for the conference was set. “The atmosphere was reportedly tense and the Governor and Mr Rowlands outwardly shocked and embarrassed,” the report writer states. “After making his introductory remarks to the Cabinet group that he had come as an emissary to assist the Government of Bermuda, one Cabinet minister stood and quoted Trinculo’s statement to another emissary in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, ‘Monster, I do smell all horse-piss at which my nose is in great indignation." Later, in explaining that he had come to discuss the constitutional conference on electoral reform and not the constitutional conference on independence, Mr Rowlands reportedly analogized the conferences mentioned in the Pitt Report as a two-part meal; the early constitutional conference to address bread and butter issues and secondly the eventual substantive constitutional conference on independence. A Cabinet minister reportedly interjected, “yes, but you are here to serve the dessert before the hors d’oeuvres’.”

October 30. Hospital chiefs will seek legal costs from a quadriplegic who was paralyzed after an accident at Bermuda’s only mental hospital. Thomas Hofer, 52, recently lost an 18-year legal battle to sue the Bermuda Hospitals Board for massive damages for injuries he sustained while a patient at St Brendan’s in 1994. His lawyer, Larry Mussenden, told The Royal Gazette that BHB had made clear it would pursue costs against Mr Hofer, whose personal injury suit was filed in 1997 but never came to trial. The board would not comment on that yesterday but this newspaper understands it intends to draw up a bill of costs to finally bring closure to the case. The Chief Justice, in striking out the action in August, made no order in relation to costs. Mr Hofer has been a ward of the German state since he returned to his home country in 1994 and is represented by a government lawyer there, who has been instructing Mr Mussenden since early 2010. The former chef, who was 30 when the accident happened, is unlikely to be able to pay the other side’s costs, as he has not worked since the accident and has sought legal aid throughout the long-running proceedings. But the question of who will end up paying for the lengthy litigation has yet to be answered. BHB’s claim for costs may be aimed at the German government or, potentially, at Bermuda’s own legal aid office, which partially funded Mr Hofer’s civil action, until it withdrew financing this year. Both BHB and the legal aid office are publicly funded bodies. The hospitals board has been represented by Allan Doughty, senior litigation counsel at BeesMont Law, and his bill is likely to be substantial. In September 2004, Mr Doughty asked Mr Hofer’s lawyer at the time, Michael Scott, to propose a settlement figure. Another letter repeating the request was sent in October 2006 but did not receive a reply, according to a 2008 judgment. The judgment from Puisne Judge Geoffrey Bell revealed that Mr Scott represented Mr Hofer at a time when his own political activity was increasing, as he served in the Cabinet from 2003. He was made the Minister of Health in June 2007 but resumed his law practice when he lost the portfolio at the end of that year. Mr Justice Bell wrote: “It appears that the last five years of delay were occasioned only by reason of Mr Scott’s political involvement and, with all respect, I have to say that such a reason for a substantial delay is ... regrettably, inexcusable.” In March 2010, Court of Appeal judge Sir Murray Stuart-Smith blamed the “entire delay in this case” — save for an 18-month period between February 1998 and July 1999 — on Mr Scott. Mr Scott said last night he would be happy to discuss the case in more detail once he had time to review the paperwork. Since January 2010, Mr Hofer has been represented by Mr Mussenden. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley, in his ruling of August 15 this year, said a timetable fixed by the court to bring the case to trial in 2010 was “simply ignored and no attempt was made to come back before the court to seek the court’s indulgence with fixing a new timetable." Mr Justice Kawaley added that his “objective analysis” of whether to allow the case to proceed did “not involve any criticism of the plaintiff’s present or past attorneys.” Mr Mussenden said: “The judgment also says repeated attempts were made by us to get legal aid to change its mind and give a full certificate. We wrote several opinions to legal aid on the merits of the case, also sought out UK experts on three mental illness care disciplines and worked on case preparation. We couldn’t do much without a full legal aid certificate, for example, we couldn’t retain experts.” The lawsuit, which if successful was expected to result in a payout of at least $5 million to Mr Hofer, was described by one source yesterday as a “colossal screw-up.” “There are no victors here at all,” said the source, who asked not to be named. “It’s just very unfortunate. The true victim here really, from every perspective, is Mr Hofer, because Mr Hofer has not been well served by his counsel.” A second source said: “This really should have gone to trial by 2000.” The Royal Gazette asked the legal aid office how much it had spent on Mr Hofer’s case. Rosemary Tyrrell, the legal affairs permanent secretary, replied: “We are unable to provide the information requested since it relates to an individual client and is therefore privileged.” How lawsuit got mired in legal system

October 29. The 360 passengers on board the Silver Whisper received a wet and windy welcome to Bermuda yesterday as the cruise liner made her way into Hamilton under grey skies. The ship arrived in the capital just after 2pm from New York for a two-day stop on her way to St Martin in the Caribbean. The Silver Whisper is the first of three cruise liners that will be calling on Hamilton in the next few days as the 2015 season draws to a close. Tomorrow the Regatta will come along side on Front Street before heading out towards Charleston on Saturday afternoon. Then on Sunday she will be replaced in the city by the Adonia, which is due to arrive from the Azores at 9am. The liner is only scheduled to be in Hamilton for the day before she sets sail for Charleston in the afternoon.

October 29. Reuters. Europe's largest hotel group Accor SA (ACCP.PA) is planning to buy Canada-based FRHI Hotels & Resorts for about $3 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing sources. The deal, which could be announced as early as next month, could still fall apart as the hotel giants did not reach any agreement yet, the newspaper said. FRHI, which operates luxury hotel brands like Fairmont (owns the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel in Bermuda and continued to manage the once-Fairmont Hamilton Princess), Raffles and Swisshotel, hired Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley to estimate the market value of the company, The WSJ said. Accor Hotels, which competes with InterContinental (IHG.L), Marriott (MAR.O) and Starwood (HOT.N) is undergoing a reorganization under CEO Sebastien Bazin who took the top post two years ago. The hotel is also regarded as the "preferred bidder" of four finalists for FRHI, the newspaper said. 

October 29. The pair of Billy Walsh and Danny King opened a sizeable gap between themselves and the rest of the field at the Nike Golf PGA Team Championship of Canada yesterday at Mid Ocean Club. Walsh and King, who are ranked No 1 and No 4 in the PGA of Canada player rankings presented by RBC, sit at 12-under par after two rounds after a second round score of two-under par 69 in the foursomes format. The team of Ed Maunder and Ian Doig matched the low round of the day and sit alone in second place at seven-under for the championship. They will be paired with the lead team of Walsh and King in today’s final group. The inaugural Nike Golf PGA Team Championship of Canada features different team formats for each day — four ball, foursomes and scramble — with the eventual winners taking home $12,000 of the $90,000 total prize purse. Players faced stiff ocean breezes as well as periods of heavy rains yesterday, completely different to Tuesday’s first-round conditions which made for good scoring. However, many players said they enjoyed playing championship golf in challenging conditions. “This golf course is just so much fun to play,” said King, who won this year’s PGA Championship of Canada. “With the team formats we’re playing this week, Mid Ocean is really the perfect venue for this national championship because there’s so many holes where you’re presented with varying options to make birdie.” Thomas Keddy and Conrad Riley, who were tied for the lead after the first round on Tuesday, are third at six-under, with Max Gilbert and Jean-Pierre Morin at five-under in fourth place. The teams of Luc Boisvert and Louis-Pierre Godin and, Keir Smith and Gordon Burns round out the top five. Today’s final round features a scramble format, which is expected to produce plenty of movement on the leader board. 

October 29. NEW YORK (Bloomberg) — Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor known for picking fights with corporate boards, disclosed a stake in American International Group - which has dozens of Bermuda-registered companies - and said it should split into three companies, one offering property-casualty coverage, another selling life insurance and a third backing mortgages. The stock rallied in New York trading. “There is no more need for procrastination,” Icahn said in a letter posted on his website Wednesday and addressed to AIG chief executive officer Peter Hancock." The time to act is now.” Icahn said on Twitter that he holds a “large stake” in AIG. While AIG climbed about 8.8 per cent this year through Tuesday’s close, the insurer still trades for less than 80 per cent of book value, a measure of assets minus liabilities. Travelers Cos, the lone property-casualty insurer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, trades for more than 1.4 times book value. AIG jumped 3.2 per cent to $62.88, the most intraday since August. Icahn, 79, said a split would help AIG limit regulation. The insurer has been deemed a non-bank systemically important financial institution by a US panel because of its size. The designation brings increased Federal Reserve oversight. “You must acknowledge that enhanced regulation is intended to be a tax on size,” Icahn wrote in the letter. Hancock, 57, who took over as CEO last year, reorganized AIG into two main divisions with one focusing on commercial clients and the other on individual consumers. He said the arrangement responds to customer demand and makes more sense than the previous split, which had a life unit and a property-casualty operation. AIG also has been shedding assets to boost capital, exiting its stake in aircraft-lessor AerCap Holdings NV and selling shares of consumer-finance company Springleaf Holdings Inc. The insurer has “taken important and significant steps to reposition AIG by both simplifying and de-risking the company,” Hancock said in a separate statement. “We remain on course and are determined to continue and accelerate these efforts.” John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager who is also an AIG investor, is quoted in the letter saying that the insurer could trade for $100 a share if it split into three, reduced expenses, repurchased stock and matched average industry returns. Paulson in 2012 urged Liam McGee, then the CEO of Hartford Financial Services Group, to separate its life insurer from the property-casualty operation. McGee subsequently sold assets to simplify his company and won praise from Paulson. Travelers and life insurer Prudential Financial are among AIG rivals that sold units in prior years to narrow their focus. “AIG is frankly overdue in following in the footsteps of all other major multi-lines in breaking up life and P&C,” Paulson is quoted as saying in the letter. Hancock’s predecessor at AIG, Robert Benmosche, resisted calls in 2011 for a break-up, saying the insurer benefits from having a variety of businesses. Harvey Golub, the former AIG chairman, said that year that the company should be broken up eventually because its two main businesses have “no strategic fit between them.”

October 29. JLT Specialty USA has appointed Andrew Hersh as senior vice-president. Mr Hersh previously worked at The Newman Team at Aon as a senior vice-president with account executive responsibilities. In this capacity, he served as the outsourced risk manager for Warner Music Group and managed a diversified client base. “We could not be more thrilled to welcome Andrew to the JLT Specialty USA family,” said Mike Rice, chief executive officer of JLT Specialty USA. “Andrew’s 20 years of experience in risk consulting will prove to be invaluable to our clients and prospects.” Mr Hersh will be based in JLT’s New York office where his primary focus will be supporting the financial and operational objectives of clients, providing risk financing and risk consulting solutions that mitigate and transfer risk. JLT Specialty USA is a subsidiary of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group, a specialty-focused provider of insurance, reinsurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services.

October 29. Arch Capital last night reported operating profits of $125.8 million for the third quarter of the year, surpassing analysts’ expectations. After-tax earnings per share were $1.01, compared to the 98 cents consensus of analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research. The figure is $1.3 million down on the amount recorded for the third quarter last year, which was equal to $1.05 a share. Net income for the quarter was $74.5 million, or 60 cents per share, compared to $223.2 million and $1.64 a share in the third quarter of 2014. Gross premiums written for the third quarter totaled $1,158,451 compared to $1,138,398 for the same period last year — a 1.8 per cent increase. The company said net investment income for the quarter fell to $67.3 million, equal to 54 cents a share, compared to $72.2 million and 53 cents a share in quarter three last year. Arch’s report on the company’s performance said: “Total return in the 2015 third quarter reflected the impact of the strengthening US dollar against the British pound sterling, Canadian dollar and other major currencies on non-US denominated investments. “Excluding the effects of foreign exchange, total return was 0.04 per cent for the 2015 third quarter as investment grade fixed income returns were substantially offset by negative returns on equities, high yield and alternative strategies.” Arch added it had also bought up “a small number” of its own shares during the quarter. The company report said: “Since the inception of the share repurchase programme through September 30, 2015, Arch Capital Group Ltd has repurchased 124.1 million common shares for an aggregate purchase price of $3.61 billion. At September 30, 2015, $521.8 million of repurchases were available under the share repurchase programme.”

October 29. Willis Group Holdings made a profit of $117 million during the third quarter, helped by rising commissions and fees. The Willis Capital, Wholesale and Reinsurance segment of the business, which includes Willis Re Bermuda, achieved an 8.8 per cent jump in organic commissions and fees year-on-year. This growth was primarily driven by new business at Willis Capital Markets and Advisory and low single-digit growth at its global Willis Re operations. The global risk advisory and insurance and reinsurance brokerage firm reported underlying net income of $25 million, or 14 cents per share, up 55.6 per cent from the same period in 2014. “We had another quarter of successful execution and solid performance, generating mid-single digit organic growth and expanding positive spread between organic commissions and fee growth and organic expense growth to 230 basis points,” said Dominic Casserley, Willis Group chief executive officer. “This was the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in operating margin on both an underlying and organic basis, demonstrating that our initiatives, including the Operational Improvement Program, are gaining traction. “Despite the continued uncertain global economic and insurance market outlook, our strategy and execution have allowed us to generate consistently positive results. We believe we remain on course to achieve mid-single digit organic growth and stronger underlying revenue growth this year. Given our continued success in re-engineering costs and improving margins, we remain confident that we will deliver at least 200 basis points of positive spread between organic commission and fees and expense growth. Willis is in very good shape, and we look forward to the successful completion of the Gras Savoye acquisition and proposed Willis Towers Watson merger, which we believe will accelerate our strategy and create further value for all shareholders.” Willis Capital, Wholesale and Reinsurance achieved commissions and fees of $183 million, compared with $144 million for the same three months last year. Underlying commissions and fees grew 32.6 per cent, while acquisitions and disposals were reported at 23.8 per cent, leaving organic commissions and fees growth at 8.8 per cent.

October 29. Bermuda global law firm Appleby shut its London office because of a “rationalisation of resources” ahead of a management buyout of its fiduciary business. Appleby said it had examined the need for a London presence for some time due to the closeness of Appleby offices in Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. London-based partners Stephen James and David Clark have relocated to the Caymans and British Virgin Islands respectively, while a third lawyer, Deborah Poole has “retired to pursue other interests.” An Appleby spokeswoman said: “The background to this is that we have grown our Crown Dependencies teams significantly in recent years — we are in fact the only offshore law firm that has a presence in all of three Crown Dependencies. We have been providing a comprehensive and seamless service to a significant percentage of our clients and contacts in the London time zone through these offices for some time. Due to their immediate proximity, communications/travel between Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man and London is very simple. The need for a London office in light of this was being thought through before the management buyout of the fiduciary business was considered. However, alongside a comprehensive review of our logistics as part of the preparation for the management buyout, we reached a natural point at which to implement a rationalization of our resources in London simply because it made no difference to our ability to deal with our clients and intermediaries, and it has enabled us to refocus our resources into other offices within the group.” The London office shut up shop in late summer. Appleby announced earlier this year that its fiduciary and administration business, which has 320 staff, some Bermuda-based, was to be spun off in a deal backed by London-based international private equity firm Bridgepoint. Farah Ballands, an Appleby partner and global group head of fiduciary, who is based in the firm’s Jersey office, will become chief executive of the independent fiduciary business, which provides a range of professional services. And the new independent arm said it had plans to expand the business and the workforce. In Bermuda, the fiduciary arm is made up of Appleby Services (Bermuda) Ltd, Appleby Management (Bermuda) Ltd and Appleby Securities Ltd. Neither side was prepared to disclose the cost of the buyout, but the deal has been estimated to be worth around $370 million. The fiduciary business covers corporate administration services, private client and trust business, back-office services for Bermuda-registered companies and trusts and the Bermuda Stock Exchange listing services. The unit is also a significant player in the Island’s booming insurance-linked securities (ILS) business. Appleby is the second major offshore legal firm to pull out of London in the last two years. Jersey-based Ogier relocated two lawyers back to the Channel Islands in 2013, but maintained a trust and administration office in London. Ogier, like Appleby, completed a management buyout of its fiduciary business shortly afterwards. 

October 29. A significant boost to the number of flights coming to the Island this winter is being welcomed by the Bermuda Tourism Authority. The 14 per cent increase in airline capacity between January and March 2016 means 14,000 more available seats than the same period last year. The move follows a major drive to boost air arrivals that has seen BTA representatives meet with all the major airlines in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. Bill Hanbury, the BTA’s chief executive, told The Royal Gazette the increase could provide new opportunities in the coming months, but required everyone to buy into making the Island a winter destination. “We have taken a lot of heat because air arrivals are not going in the right direction,” he said. “In December 2014 and January, February and March of this year we lost in the region of 21,000 seats in air capacity. We have done everything we can to get that capacity back up. This issue affects everyone on the Island, not just tourists, but residents and also international business. We cannot be successful from a tourism perspective if we have reduced airlift capacity. This increase is good news but we have to ensure we are offering affordable accommodation with proper amenities in these winter months, and make sure there are entertainment options, too. If we don’t do a good job the airlines will take these extra services back.” This winter United Airlines will fly from Newark three times a week, after canceling its winter service last year. Additional American Airlines airlift means the airline will fly twice daily from JFK, six days per week. The airline’s Philadelphia flight will fly more often than last year and on a daily basis in December. Delta has also bolstered its Boston service and will provide an extra flight per week. Since May BTA representatives have had several meetings with stakeholders in international business and airlines. They have also conducted surveys within the industry. This month they met with officials from American Airlines in Dallas, JetBlue and British Airways. Mr Hanbury added: “We have tried to reach out to all the airlines to see how we can boost capacity not just in the US and Canada, but also the UK. We have spoken with Virgin and Thomas Cook and also held meetings with British Airways about the quality and affordability of service. We have had a very positive response so far.” Aaron Adderley, the manager at LF Wade International Airport, said that if the new flights did well it could prompt additional flights in the future. Airlines look to align capacity with demand by putting their planes where people want to go,” he added. “They have responded to Bermuda’s reduced passenger numbers over the past few winters by redeploying aircraft to more profitable, peak-season routes in the Caribbean. Though the number of flights reduced year over year, the number of passengers remained stable, which meant that load factors were stronger — there were more passengers per flight. So that improvement in overall performance has helped bring about the additional American flight from JFK while, of course, securing the return of the Newark service was critical for both business and leisure. However, even with the reduced flights last winter and the stronger overall performance, we still had over 50,000 seats that remained unfilled, so there is plenty of capacity available for our tourism partners to grow visitor traffic.”

October 29. An attempt by four men to rob security personnel at the Somerset branch of HSBC ended with no injuries yesterday. One of the suspects brandished what appeared to be a firearm during the 2pm confrontation, before the four fled on foot. Bank personnel remained at the scene afterwards as a police forensics team went over a security van. Area MP Michael Scott expressed relief that no one had been hurt, encouraging the public to help in the police investigation in any way possible. Inspector Paul Simons said the first man, believed to have been holding the firearm, was about 5ft 3in and wearing a blue and red ski mask with a maroon helmet. The second man was 5ft 3in and dressed in dark clothing, while a third man was 5ft 9in and was wearing a white helmet with beige pants. The fourth man was 5ft 11in and dressed in dark clothing and was also wearing a black helmet. Anyone with any information is urged to call the police on 295-0011 or the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477. 

October 29. Nursing students at the Bermuda College are getting opportunities to work with specialists from the Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre through a new partnership. According to a college spokeswoman, representatives from Lahey collaborated with the College’s Nursing Education Team recently to seek educational opportunities for students in the Associate of Science in Nursing programme. Director of Nursing Education Kathy-Ann Swan said: “We all recognized that there were opportunities to advance our interest in healthcare. Bermuda College, from the nursing education perspective and Lahey from the clinical practice and research. “Sharing best practices and utilizing subject experts is mutually beneficial as our students are able to get access to some of the very best in specialized medicine and practice as an integral part of their curriculum.” Students and nursing lecturers will be assisting with blood sugar and blood pressure screenings at the health fair focusing on diabetes at Bermuda College on November 7, while Lahey will partner with another top quality Boston-based hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, to broadly address these difficult chronic disease issues. The goal of the fair is twofold, with the public receiving the opportunity to learn about maintaining healthy habits to avoid and deal with chronic conditions, while medical professions will be urged to continue their medical education and maintain their credentials. Linda Moulton of Lahey said: “We hope this is the first of many collaborations between Lahey and the Bermuda College Nursing Programme. We are honored to work with the College and the great group of students with whom we share a passion for great heath care in Bermuda.”

October 29. The Bermuda College board of governors has rejected a faculty vote of no confidence in the president of the institution. The college’s Faculty Association sent a letter in May to the chairwoman of the board of governors, Jill Husbands, notifying her of a vote of no confidence in Duranda Greene. But the board announced yesterday it had given its backing to Dr Greene and had rejected the faculty’s motion. “Having investigated the key concerns that led to the faculty vote, the board does not believe them to be of the nature or scope to warrant the actions demanded by the Faculty Association,” the board said. “We are disappointed that the FA did not bring their concerns to the board and allow us the opportunity to address them before raising these issues in the public domain. Notwithstanding, the board is committed to working with the FA and all staff at the Bermuda College with full transparency for the betterment of the college as a whole. The office of the president takes direction from, and reports to, the board of governors. The board continues to support Dr Greene in her role and looks forward to working with all parties to ensure the college fulfills its mandate for the people of Bermuda.” The May letter stated that the faculty had carried out a secret ballot in which more than 93 per cent of members voted in favour of the no-confidence motion. The letter said: “The reasons supporting the decision include, but are not limited to, lack of leadership, diversion of resources away from the mission of the institution, a sense of entitlement of the president, lack of awareness of the realities of the classroom, failure to engage in meaningful communication, and failure to take responsibility for the dismal institutional climate. These results quantify faculty’s grave concern regarding the leadership of the president to meet the mission of the college.” A former lecturer claimed the dispute revolved around the college requiring faculty to teach one additional class a year, but a faculty member said that matter had been resolved. Both Dr Greene and Ms Husbands expressed surprise about the letter, while education minister Wayne Scott voiced his support for the president. The board carried out a “thorough review process” to determine the reason for the faculty vote and requested documentation outlining the reasons. The board added: “Throughout the summer, the board met to review, discuss and define the key issues raised by the faculty. Immediately after the faculty returned from the summer break, meetings were requested and held with the FA executive and the faculty board representative, culminating with a meeting with the entire faculty on October 1. The board chairwoman, vice-chairman and two other members met with the faculty and an open and frank dialogue took place. A second letter was received from the FA requesting a resolution be put to the board to begin an immediate search for a replacement for the president to take over at the end of her contract.” Dr Greene was unavailable for comment as of press time last night. Neither the FA nor the Ministry of Education issued a response.

October 29. Bermuda’s poor and vulnerable will be impacted the most if the Bermuda Government decides to cut resources across the Island’s three remaining community centres. This is the view of the founder and chairwoman of the Coalition for the Protection of Children, Sheelagh Cooper, who was reacting to news that Sandys Community Centre, The Centre in Pembroke and St George’s Community Centre were “under review” in light of the government’s hiring freeze. Others in the community have agreed that community centres are no place to cut resources, especially given Bermuda’s climate of gang-related and other forms of crime. The Government released a statement when contacted by this newspaper last week emphasizing that no decision had yet been made over cuts. However, sources, including the Progressive Labour Party’s Renee Ming, said that up to 15 contract posts could not be guaranteed. Ms Cooper told The Royal Gazette: “The most vulnerable people in our community are the ones who use these centres the most because they are free. Those who have money can afford to send their children to other more expensive programmes. This is the front line for children who are the most vulnerable, so it is a big concern. I want to have this conversation now rather than when it is a ‘fait accompli’. It is a terrifying thought, especially in the wake of the continued gang activity and most recent shooting. It is appalling that I can read in the same newspaper a story about a shooting and another about the potential cuts in the community centres. If we need to make cuts, this is not where to do it.” Ms Cooper cited her charity’s 2014 Forty Point Plan report, which concluded that “front line” resources for the most vulnerable should be prioritized. “There isn’t a report out there that hasn’t drawn that conclusion,” she said. “The Government is spending money on the Team Street Safe Programme, which has potential, yet are still questioning the front line resources that already exist.” No indication has been given as to whether any of the centres will be closed. Government cut back its funding for the Sandys 360 community centre, which is now out of operation. For the fiscal year 2013/14, budget figures showed government grants to the facility topped $500,000, well short of the $2 million originally estimated. No funds were allocated for the following year. Dr Mervyn Bassett was managing director for that facility and is now on the committee for the Endeavour Community Sailing Programme. He echoed Ms Cooper’s concerns about the effects any reduction in resources could have on crime in Bermuda. He said: “It will come as no surprise to see an escalation in gangs and antisocial behavior when a community doesn’t invest in its youth through these facilities. Government should be investing heavily not cutting funding from youth programmes. “They have spent a lot on the America’s Cup which is good but it should not be at the expense of youth development. Endeavour is a fantastic programme and it is being supported by the America’s Cup not by Government. But not everybody is into sailing and it is mainly only going to attract children aged from nine to 12. We need programmes particularly for the preteen and teenage area that is generally where they go off the rails. Government cut our funding [Sandys 360] and we disappeared off the map. That was after a study was done that demonstrated that there was a real need for intervention in the West End. Our youth represent our future. It is disturbing if that is going to be a position of government.” When asked for comment a government spokeswoman said that no further information would be provided at this stage. Jeff Baron, Junior Minister for National Security, said he would be willing to comment once Government had issued more definitive information over its plans. Charles Jeffers, director of Age Concern, said he was worried about the seniors his charity represents. He said: “These things are often thrown out there and then, of course, when they get the public’s reaction they say, ‘oh we haven’t decided yet’. Any move that is being made to take away the low-cost services from seniors to me is a tragedy. They are having a tough time as it is in so many areas. Government should instead save money by reducing the size of Parliament. We are the most over governed country in the world — 36 MPs looking after 60,000 people? In my view we are living way beyond our means and it’s from the top down,” he said.

October 28. Axis Capital Holdings yesterday reported net income of $248 million for the third quarter — down $31 million on the same quarter last year. The figure represents net income available to shareholders of $2.50 a share, compared to the $279 million and $2.68 a share recorded for the same period in 2014. Operating income for the third quarter amounted to $51 million (51 cents per share) compared to $103 million ($1.27 per share) recorded in the third quarter last year. That missed expectations, with three analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research having earlier estimated earning of 93 cents per share. Axis CEO Albert Benchimol said that the firm had been hit by volatility in its investment portfolio and “unusually high” offshore energy losses. Mr Benchimol added: “We are confident that our actions to accelerate attractive new initiatives. optimize our portfolio, prune business challenged over the long term and enhance the efficiency of our platform, position us to continue to deliver shareholder value against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive market. Our results in the quarter include the benefits of targeted portfolio enhancements, particularly in the insurance property and professional lines which were commenced prior to this year. The firm’s investment performance and losses in the offshore sector were well understood and not unexpected given the performance of the equity markets and the high level of marine market losses this year.” Gross premiums written by Axis increased by four per cent, equivalent to six per cent on a constant currency basis, to $937 million. The insurance segment saw growth of nine per cent — 11 per cent on a constant currency basis — but was partially offset by a decrease of three per cent, two per cent in constant currency terms, in Axis’ reinsurance segment. Estimated catastrophe and weather-related pre-tax net losses of $43 million included the Tianjin port explosion in China in August, which cost the firm $30 million, and losses related to US weather claims. That compares to losses of $22 million for the same quarter last year. During the quarter, Axis received a total fee of $315 million following the termination of the merger agreement with Bermuda-based PartnerRe. 

October 28. Bermuda-based American oil drilling rig operators Nabors yesterday posted a loss of $250.9 million for the third quarter of the year. The firm said the net income figure included the impairment of Nabors’ holdings in C&J Energy Services, which totaled $180.6 million. Third quarter operating revenues were $848 million, compared to $1.81 billion in the same quarter of 2014. Anthony Petrello, Nabors’ chairman and CEO, said: “Our third quarter results were essentially in line as increased revenue and cash flow internationally were offset by lower results in North America due to lower activity and increased exposure to spot marketing pricing. We expect more moderate sequential decreases throughout the seasonally weak second quarter of next year with gradual declines in rig activity and more rigs converting to spot pricing both in North America and internationally. Our view of the timing and shape of the recovery remains unchanged, with an expectation of a protracted trough followed by a more gradual recovery than recent cycles. Accordingly, we continue to exercise stringent control over our operating, support and capital spending in order to meet our minimum goal of break-even free cash flow. Our solid financial position and sizeable liquidity allow us to remain opportunistic should attractive long term strategic opportunities arise.”

October 28. Bermuda business has launched a campaign to water down proposed tough US legislation aimed at cracking down on hedge fund reinsurers. The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (Abir), led by president and executive officer Bradley Kading, petitioned the US Senate this month to head off pending legislation sponsored by Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden. Sen Wyden has proposed an Offshore Reinsurance Tax Fairness Act, a bill designed to counter what he called abuses by new offshore companies. The senator claimed that hedge fund managers can lower the tax rate they pay on profits and postpone bills by channeling investments through reinsurers in offshore locations like Bermuda. Sen Wyden said it is a form of tax evasion, and claimed these firms carry out minimal reinsurance activity. Under his bill, a company could not qualify as a bona fide insurer for tax purposes if insurance liabilities are less than ten per cent of assets and when the ratio is ten per cent to 25 per cent a decision would be made on “facts and circumstances.” Insurance firms managing liabilities of more than 25 per cent of assets would be regarded as legitimate under the Wyden bill. But Abir and Mr Kading lobbied congressional staff and argued that the Wyden provisions would damage the commercial insurance and reinsurance markets — and proposed amendments. Abir has written to the US Treasury proposing that if the US goes down a ratio-based route for tax it should adopt a “bright line harbour test” of a 15 per cent reserves to assets ratio. Mr Kading said: “We had some useful meetings. The work is ongoing. The staff were open to comment — they understand that they are not tactical experts on reinsurance. They have a very clear idea of what they want to do. They want to be able to target an entity where the predominant amount of its income is from the investment side with only a marginal side from insurance underwriting.” The US Internal Revenue Service in April announced a proposed rule called “Exception from Passive Income for Certain Foreign Insurance Companies.” The proposals aim to separate active insurance companies from those it is claimed exist only as vehicles for US hedge fund investors to shelter investment income from taxation. The passive foreign investment company (PFIC) rules are designed to prevent American taxpayers from delaying US tax on investment income by holding investments through offshore companies. But the PFIC rules do provide an exception for income generated from the active conduct of an insurance business. It has been predicted that, if an international tax bill passes through Congress, the PFIC rules will be incorporated into that legislation. Mr Kading said: “We think that’s what the advocates, particularly Senator Wyden, want to do with it. Our goal is to have the current proposals amended to narrowly target those entities the staff have identified that they want to target.”

October 28. The Bank of Butterfield has agreed to buy the multibillion dollar private banking trust and investment arm of rivals HSBC Bermuda. The move means Butterfield will acquire the Bermuda Trust Company Ltd as well as the trust and investment business of HSBC. At the end of last year, HSBC’s trust and investment arm had about $24 billion of assets under administration and $1.5 billion in assets under management. The banking portfolio had around $12 billion of assets under management. Butterfield has also entered into a referral agreement with HSBC Bermuda to take on select private banking clients. Butterfield will take on a number of HSBC Bermuda’s trust and investment business staff with a view to continued relationships between clients and bank staff. A Butterfield spokesman said: “Butterfield will be increasing headcount in our private banking, trust and asset management areas as a result of this transaction. We will offer employment to a number of HSBC Bermuda trust and investment business employees to address increased business volumes and ensure that transferring clients enjoy continuity of service. The final number of employees we welcome to Butterfield will depend on how many of the HSBC Bermuda employees who are offered employment accept those offers.” Michael Collins, the Butterfield CEO, said: “Our goal is to achieve a seamless transfer of the business and ensure that clients enjoy continuity of service and access to a equivalent range of wealth management products and solutions to that which they have become accustomed to at HSBC. Butterfield’s growth strategy is centred on development of our core business in existing markets. The acquisition of these businesses in Bermuda is very much in keeping with that strategy. It allows us to add scale to our franchise and bench strength to our teams of professional wealth managers and fiduciary specialists in a market where we have a significant presence and long history. We are well positioned to take on the HSBC business and we are working closely with HSBC to ensure we do so in a way that is minimally disruptive to clients.” HSBC Bermuda CEO Richard Moseley said: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Butterfield. It marks further progress in delivering against the HSBC Group’s strategy to simplify its business. Following the completion of the transaction, HSBC Bank Bermuda Limited will continue to focus on customers in our three core business lines — retail banking & wealth management, including HSBC Premier and asset management, commercial banking and global banking and markets. Until the transaction is complete, we will continue to provide the same level of service to our private banking clients whilst working with Butterfield towards a smooth transition of the business.” The 157-year-old Bank of Butterfield has offered trust services for more than 70 years and brokerage and asset management for nearly half a century. Mr Collins said: “We understand the needs of high net worth individuals and their families and we look forward to working closely with our new clients to ensure their needs continue to be met effectively, efficiently and with a highly personal touch.” The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the first half of next year. The Bank of Butterfield in the last few years has bought HSBC’s corporate and retail banking arm in the Caymans, as well as Guernsey-based trust and corporate services firm Legis Group Holdings. While the HSBC group has previously reacted to the changing regulatory landscape for American private wealth clients. In 2011, shortly before the US made effective FACTA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) as a federal law, HSBC was the first major firm to say it would no longer offer wealth management services to US-resident private clients from locations outside the US.

October 28. Boosted sales were not restricted to official sponsors and vendors during the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda weekend this month. The three-day Front Street party brought smiles and extra business to a number of stores on Front Street, some of them making the most of the welcome fillip by staying open longer than usual to serve many of the thousands of customers who thronged to the Hamilton Harbour waterfront. Shalina Johnstone, one of the owners of Dangelini’s Cafe, next to the ferry terminal, said the event gave her business its busiest weekend in six years of business. “We weren’t officially connected with the event, but we are right on Front Street and everything was taking place right in front of us. I’d say we had more than a thousand customers over the weekend. We were open late on Friday and Saturday. We’re not usually open on Sundays, but we opened on Sunday as well. Our hours were triple what we usually do. We were right in the middle of the Kid’s Zone, so people were coming in for ice cream for their children and things like that. We’re looking forward to the rest of the America’s Cup.” At tobacconist Chatham House, on the corner of Front Street and Burnaby Street, manager Toni Smith said the tills were smoking hot. The store also opened later than usual on Friday and Saturday and was open on Sunday, a day when it is normally closed. Ms Smith said: “We were very busy. We had a lot of traffic and we did very well. Sunday was our busiest day for spending. I don’t know if it was the luck of the draw, but we made two individual sales of cigars worth $1,500 and $1,800 on Sunday. We are definitely looking forward to the rest of the America’s Cup. It will definitely bring more business.” Chewstick’s Hub, also on Front Street, held its own music event on Saturday, coinciding with the event, which ran between October 16-18. The Hub also hosted America’s Cup concert star Maxi Priest for a workshop on the Monday after the weekend races.

October 28. The resounding success of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda weekend has sparked fresh optimism for the potential rebirth of the City of Hamilton. The sailing spectacle, which attracted huge crowds to Front Street and provided a major boost to local businesses, could pave the way for future pedestrianisation, al fresco dining, market stalls and outdoor entertainment. Businessman and former premier Sir John Swan hailed the weekend’s popularity as surpassing the success of events held in Hamilton during the Island’s tourism heyday. He told ‘The Royal Gazette’ it also re-enforced the need for a “people’s park” or communal space in the city. “Nothing in Bermuda has ever occurred like this past weekend. We’ve never experienced anything like it. Bermudians conducted themselves in the most superb manner and the sailing fraternity was beyond pleased with the result. We should take it as a wake-up call of opportunity and treat it as something that can continue. It’s not a one-off that Bermuda has no control over. We must control our destiny and think, ‘what is for the greater good of the country?’.” Sir John urged Bermudians to participate in the establishment of a “people’s park” that would be owned by the people, adding: “This would be the most significant change Hamilton would see. It would be the beginning of a new phase of Bermuda, to show where we should be heading.” Kendaree Burgess, the executive director of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said the organization was looking at new ways of promoting the city after the America’s Cup World Series. “The Chamber is thrilled with the way Bermuda and Bermudians showcased themselves over the Louis Vuitton World Series event. We are a strong supporter and proponent of changing the legislation with regards to al fresco food and beverage operations and of pedestrianised streets, especially during holidays and at large events. The weekend was flawlessly executed, proving that we can meet the world’s expectations for world-class sporting events.” Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said the Corporation’s priority remained solving its significant financial challenges. “It was really nice to see the city streets absolutely full of people,” he added. “I’m hoping that in 2017 and possibly even in 2016, depending on how things develop with the America’s Cup, the city is really enabled to have another chance at this and it’s going to be by showing everybody what’s possible. Whether it be with the open-air vendors or open-air dining, whatever it is that can be done in a way where we possibly can let go of the over-restrictive laws that we already have in place.”

October 28. Morale within the Bermuda Police Service has been “seriously affected” by confidential data detailing the performance of contracted officers being circulated within the organization. The five pages of documents provide extensive information about policemen and policewomen’s performance on the job and rated them from “very high value” through to “not high value.” Commissioner Michael DeSilva told The Royal Gazette he had met with the Bermuda Police Association (BPA) to apologize for any offence that may have been inadvertently caused to staff. He added: “It is regrettable that this incident added unnecessary strain to a challenging set of circumstances. But I have reminded the BPA that more contracts will likely be allowed to expire in order to reach the budget reduction targets that are continuing into the next financial year. The BPA seems to have accepted this fact and I have had the document amended with more suitable language so that it can assist me with the difficult decisions that lie ahead.” The information, that was leaked to The Royal Gazette, also outlines how many uncertified and certified sick days each officer has taken, what disciplinary action has been taken against the officer and when their contract expires. This newspaper has chosen not to name officers who were given a particularly low rating, however, one who was deemed as “not high value” had taken more than 90 days certified sick leave between 2013 and 2015. A senior police source told The Royal Gazette: “It’s pretty disgusting. It’s discriminating against officers based on national origin and it’s seriously affected morale. Many of the officers on the list are from the Caribbean. It’s very subjective and not in line with individual officers’ appraisals.” The source added that because officers in sensitive positions were identified, the document should have been highly classified, adding: “The document has been circulating around officers — it should have been a controlled document with the kind of information that’s in it.” The data sets out in spreadsheet form the “value of contribution” each officer provides the service. While most officers are described as productive and reliable and many achieve the status of “extremely high performer”, others attract less complimentary comments such as “low workload and does not add significant contribution”, and “has been subject to discipline investigations (ongoing). Not high value”. Other officers are described as “not a standout” and “presents some supervisory challenges — lost motivation and drive”. Mr DeSilva said the document had been prepared leading up to the “very difficult decision to allow ten police officers’ contracts to expire” in July, adding: “In preparing for that decision, a document was created that summarized the general performance of every police officer that is currently on an employment contract. The document provided each officer’s posting, specialized skills, sick record, discipline record and other performance data. The terms ‘high value’ and ‘low value’ appear in the document with reference to some of the officers. This was meant to convey the degree of impact the officer’s abstraction would have on the operations of the BPS if they were released. Firearms officers, level three investigators, family liaison officers and traffic collision experts are a few examples of specialized posts that receive significant training investments and they would be difficult to replace all at once. The reference to ‘value’ was never intended to reflect the worth of officers as individual people, or to diminish the important work they all do. In hindsight, I recognise that the language caused offence to some officers and it should not have been used. The document was the subject of a Pati request and it has been released.”

October 28. Electoral concerns should not sway the Bermuda Government from pressing ahead with same-sex marriage, according to former Progressive Labour Party MP Renee Webb. Ms Webb, who struggled unsuccessfully under the PLP Government to bring human rights protection for homosexuals before Parliament, said she “absolutely” supported legalizing same-sex marriage. “I do not adhere to cherry-picking human rights issues,” she told ‘The Royal Gazette’. “I support equality for all within the context of the law. It is a government’s job to assure that laws recognise equality in all forms. Marriage is no different.” She said this week’s ‘Royal Gazette’ survey of voters, showing a narrow majority supporting the unions and 59 per cent saying society should accept homosexuals, signified that more people saw it as a human rights issue. Ms Webb also conceded that the fear of losing votes had impeded politicians from taking a stand. “This was the case in 2006, when I brought the amendment to the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation, and is the case now.” However, she remained firm that the matter should be decided by Bermuda’s legislators, rather than having to be challenged in court. Ms Webb said she hoped to see the One Bermuda Alliance announce a motion for same-sex marriage to go before Parliament, calling it “the courageous thing to do. There will be a few PLP members who will support the motion. The PLP would make it a conscience vote for their members. Personally, I think the wise thing for them to do is to have the courage, as they did in the case of the sexual orientation amendment, to make same-sex marriage into human rights law. They have the time between now and the next election for it not to be a win or lose issue. I do not think it is a political gamble on their part. Their main supporters will stay with them, and I can assure you they will not vote for the PLP over this issue, no matter how much you hear the ‘Christians’ stating otherwise. I am more concerned about Bermudians being treated fairly and equally, not how religious people think they should be treated. Any government of the day should be the same. Bermuda is a secular state — not a theocracy like Saudi Arabia, where the Koran rules.” Same-sex marriage is now legal in the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, and Ms Webb said she believed the British Government, via the Governor’s office, would encourage “the Government of the day to amend their laws accordingly.  The British Government will be doing this throughout its territories — not just in Bermuda,” she said. She congratulated campaigner Tony Brannon for his petition in favour this year, along with community and culture minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin for “getting the ball rolling in the public domain." This month’s survey shows opposition to same-sex marriage as overwhelmingly religious. Asked to articulate his views, one member of the community commented on condition of anonymity, citing the aggressive tone of some comments online. “It starts and ends with the Bible,” he said. “My beliefs start with the spiritual foundation that was embedded in me. The Creator wanted us to multiply and be fruitful. Having that preached throughout your life, there is only one way and side you can be on.” He maintained that marriage was by definition the institution of “a man and woman together in holy matrimony. Anything else in the Creator’s eyes is not a marriage. Now knowing and believing these facts as my strength and spirit, I can never agree to same-sex marriages.” Meanwhile, Mr Brannon has reactivated his petition, as a rival petition by the group Preserve Marriage in Bermuda broke the 4,000 signature mark yesterday. “From what I hear, from politicians on either side of the fence, it’s all about the votes,” said Mr Brannon, adding that his rebooted site had reached 3,000 signatures. “The challenge now is to find a same-sex couple that is willing to get married in Bermuda, have them go to the Registrar, get denied, and then we take it to court. There are some who feel it would not fail. That would get the politicians off the hook. I don’t care how we get there, as long as we get there.”

October 28. Facilitators of the South Basin infill project have said the plumes of sediment caused by the dredging of the North Channel were anticipated and are not a threat to the marine environment. The ACBDA said that members of the public had expressed concerns about the impact of the plumes could have on marine life. Bermuda Environmental Consulting, the environmental advisers for the ACBDA, have been on site from the start of the deposition as part of the monitoring plan. BEC president Jack Ward said: “Just like we experience similar conditions after a period of high wind or waves, short-term spikes in turbidity are not highly threatening to marine communities. “As long as these plumes are not allowed to persist it is unlikely that detectable harm will occur. Over the short term this is more of a ‘visual insult’ than a real environmental concern. This milky water is caused by very fine particulates that are slow to settle to the bottom.” He said that as a result of leakage, caused by unexpected high winds and moon tides, additional protection around the new bridge has been added and will be further reinforced as the winds ease. It should also be pointed out that we had previously relocated 130 coral colonies from the landfill footprint within the South Basin as well as a number of fish of various species.” Steps taken to mitigate the environmental impact of the project include a “sophisticated” monitoring system in the waters around the South Basin. Mike Winfield, chief executive officer for ACBDA, said: “We’ve been monitoring turbidity in the area for some time now and see higher levels of turbidity when the cruise ships arrive or depart Dockyard than those recorded today. But we are obviously committed to minimizing the impact.” Turbidity curtains have also been installed around the area where the dredged material is being deposited, including both “silt curtains” and a “bubble curtain” that allow the scows to access the area and deposit the dredged material. “This is a situation we anticipated,” says Mr Winfield. “Now that the dredged material has started arriving we are making further refinements to the containment system and will continue to do so throughout the process, as necessary.”

October 27. The Dr. Stanley Ratteray Memorial Christmas Short Story Contest is under way. The competition deadline is Tuesday, December 1, at 5pm. The contest is open to Bermudians or residents of Bermuda and stories may be fiction or non-fiction. Cash prizes will be presented in each of three categories, 13 and under, 18 and under, and Adults. The winner in each section will receive $400 and the runner-up will receive $250. Third place will receive $125. Stories should have a Bermuda focus. Judges look for vivid Christmas themes and local references, and consider originality, content, punctuation, correct spelling and grammar. Judges prefer entries from students to be free of violence, as Christmas is a time of peace. Entries must be in Microsoft Word or in the body of an e-mail. They should not exceed 1,500 words and must be e-mailed to shortstory@royalgazette.com. Entries should be clearly marked “Christmas Short Story Contest” and include the writer’s name, age, address and contact phone numbers. Teachers: please make sure the name, age of the student and contact number of their parents is included on every entry. Judges may contact the winners during the evening when schools are closed. Contact details will be kept confidential. Pen names will not be accepted. Please, no poetry. Stories received after the deadline will not be considered. A panel of judges will decide the winning entries that will appear in The Royal Gazette’s Christmas Greetings supplement which will be published on Friday, December 18. Because of the high volume of submissions, Royal Gazette staff cannot respond to telephone or e-mail inquiries once an entry is submitted. The Royal Gazette reserves the right to publish any or all of the stories submitted.

October 27. Telecoms firm LinkBermuda has joined forces with BT Ireland to provide data centre and connectivity services on a global scale. David Caldwell, chief executive officer of LinkBermuda, said the deal would increase the range of services offered by his own firm as well as BT Ireland. He explained it was an opportunity for Bermuda customers to access data centre services in other parts of the world, while BT Ireland, which does not have presence in Bermuda, could refer clients who needed a data centre in Bermuda to LinkBermuda. “It adds convenience for our customers and similarly for BT Ireland’s customers,” he said. Mr Caldwell was speaking after BT Ireland today announced that it has signed a major new partnership agreement with LinkBermuda, a leading provider of data centre, networking and internet provider services on the Island. The deal means both firms will be able to provide extra data centre, network and infrastructure services to their global customers, initially from BT’s Dublin data centre and LinkBermuda’s facility in Bermuda. The agreement was reached after LinkBermuda carried out a comprehensive market review and selected BT on the strength of its global capability, local expertise and its range of ICT services. In addition to the provision of direct BT services, the agreement also facilitates the provision of connectivity to Microsoft Azure and Amazon cloud services via the BT global network. Mr Caldwell said: “As Bermuda’s leading data centre, networking and IP solutions provider, LinkBermuda strives to continuously build on this base to provide Bermuda with world-class global services. Partnerships like this demonstrate LinkBermuda’s global reach and further enhance our ability to offer end-to-end services to our global customers based in Bermuda, a number of whom have operations in both Bermuda and Ireland. By teaming up with BT Ireland we are able to offer very competitive data centre and network products in several markets while maintaining central billing here in Bermuda.” Shay Walsh, BT Ireland’s managing director of business, added: “As a global leader in networked IT services, we can provide global connectivity to 197 other countries and territories and connect our customers to our 48 data centres around the world. “It’s this end-to-end global capability, coupled with our local skills and partnerships with other leading technology brands, which will help us support LinkBermuda in delivering for its customers. We look forward to building on this capability in the coming years.” The partnership enables BT Ireland and LinkBermuda to extend their combined capabilities worldwide to their existing customers for the end-to-end provision of data centre, computing, infrastructure and telecom services. BT, once part of the British government’s general post office, was formed as British Telecommunication in 1980 and became independent of the post office the following year. British Telecommunications, which trades at BT, was privatized in 1984, becoming British Telecommunications plc, with about 50 per cent of its shares sold to investors. The British government sold its remaining stake in further share sales in 1991 and 1993. BT is now one of the world’s biggest suppliers of communications and operates in more than 170 countries.

October 27. Age Concern is inviting seniors to a follow up session of its Annual General Meeting to give them an opportunity to question the Minister of Health Jeanne Atherden about the state of ageing and healthcare in Bermuda. The meeting is due to take place at the Evangelical Church Hall in Paget on Thursday from 10am. The minister will be available for the first hour of the session. Ms Atherden provided the keynote address for the charity’s AGM held on September 15 but time ran out and seniors did not get the opportunity for a lengthy question and answer session with her. “We have asked the Minister to come back and she has graciously agreed,” said Charles Jeffers, Age Concern’s, advocacy committee chairperson. “We have also invited the Health Insurance Department of the Bermuda Government to provide a presentation on the recent changes and increases to HIP and FutureCare. The Health Insurance session will commence at 1pm in the afternoon at the same venue. We were fully subscribed at the September meeting and had to turn some members away, we are therefore providing a second opportunity for this important information to be shared,” Mr Jeffers explained. The event will take place from 10am to 3pm and will include a documentary presentation by Age Concern on the state of ageing in Bermuda at 11:15am, in addition to the morning and afternoon presentations by government officials. Claudette Fleming, executive director of Age Concern, added: “We invite our members and interested members of the public to attend. Knowledge is power and we want to empower as many people as possible to share their concerns and receive the feedback they require. If seniors want to spend the entire day with us, we do not mind that either. Refreshments and a light lunch will be provided.” . Persons wishing to register can call Age Concern on 238-7525 or e-mail at ageconcernpa@northrock.bm.

October 27. A Bermuda company has teamed up with Sky News, working in partnership to bring the 24-hour news channel to audiences in Bermuda, the Caribbean and Canada. Hamilton-registered Riverhead Investments, owned and operated by Ann Petley-Jones, is acting as the distribution agent for Sky News as it looks to expand its audience in 15 countries and jurisdictions. Ms Petley-Jones, who was formerly chief executive officer of LinkBermuda, said: “We are excited at this great opportunity to bring Sky News to a wider audience. “Sky News is famous for the quality of its news service. It is a wonderful international brand backed by a news team with a track record of innovation and success. Riverhead is delighted to be partnered with such a group. ” When it was launched in 1989, Sky News was Britain’s first 24-hour international breaking news channel. It is now available in 127 countries. Figures from the European Media and Marketing Survey show that in Europe, Sky News has almost twice the daily audience of rival non-terrestrial news channels, including CNN and BBC World News. Ms Petley-Jones said Riverhead had secured the licence for Sky News in Canada and the Caribbean, including Bermuda. It is now negotiating sub-licensing deals with television platforms in those territories. “Sky News will be new to these territories,” she said. “It’s an exciting new market. We are impressed with the quality and impartiality of the news coverage. Sky News has bureaus in many locations around the world.” She said both Riverhead Investments and Sky News believe the partnership is an attractive one. John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: “This is a terrific opportunity to bring our award-winning news service and outstanding original journalism to a new audience. We are currently available in 127 countries and under this agreement with Riverhead, we will deliver Sky News to the important Canadian and Caribbean markets.” Ms Petley-Jones said she expects to announce broadcast arrangements with carriers in some of the targeted territories within the next few months.

October 27. Body cameras are to be in widespread use by the Bermuda Police Service before the Halloween weekend, it was announced yesterday. Acting assistant commissioner Darrin Simons said 117 AXON body cameras had been bought and would be rolled out from Friday. “The use of body-worn cameras by police in many jurisdictions has grown significantly in recent years and has been credited with improving the quality of evidence presented at court as well as reducing the number of complaints against police. Our own experience with body-worn cameras has been a positive one. The presence of a camera has provided additional evidence towards solving a crime or has validated an officer’s account of an incident. We believe that cameras increase transparency, accountability and public confidence, and ultimately help to make the community safer.” The cameras, which are worn on the front of body armor, are designed to capture a wide image of what the officer sees. “Once turned on, the cameras record a constant 30-second video loop until the officer presses a button,” Mr Simons said. “At that point, the camera saves the previous 30 seconds of video and begins to record video and audio until deactivated. That footage is uploaded to a secure online server. The video automatically uploads via a docking station to a cloud-based storage and management system. The system secures the video evidence so that it cannot be tampered with and preserves the data for use at court or for other enquiries. By expanding the programme to include all operational patrol officers, we will increase the opportunities to gather video evidence of the daily incidents we deal with.” The cost, including cameras, docking stations, licence fees, warranty and evidence management of the initiative, is $58,000 — however, the cameras are about $100 cheaper than the Taser cameras that had been used. Pc Brian MacNab said that while the cameras had been in use in a limited capacity, they were set to be sent out to all police stations tomorrow, with the goal of deploying them Island-wide on Friday morning. “What we tried to do is get it out before Halloween,” he said. “There’s a Halloween operational order and a lot of police officers working, so we thought the best thing was to get it out before that.” Pc McNab said officers had reacted positively to the cameras because they could be used to de-escalate situations. “A lot of the officers during training thought it was a very good idea,” he said. “They’re looking at their interactions with members of the public when they become a little irate. By telling that person they are being audio and video recorded, that brings their attitude down and allows the officer to do their job without having to get physical. It’s a win-win for the whole community. Not only can we be accountable for our own actions on the street, but people have to take responsibility because we have a video of how they treated us. The cameras had similar capacity for night vision as a person’s eyes — a deliberate decision to ensure they capture what the officer sees. They are solid state, so provided that the officer doesn’t bounce it on the floor they should last some time,” he said. Officers will not be able to delete or change footage — as soon as they are plugged in they automatically upload recorded footage, which only a handful of officers will have access to.

October 27. Canon Thomas Nisbett described having his newly ordained son deliver a special sermon for him on his 90th birthday as “beautiful.” Junior Thomas Nisbett is now a deacon at the Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Reverend Nisbett was invited to give the sermon at Sunday’s service of thanksgiving at the Anglican Cathedral. His father said: “Everything went very well, everything was beautiful. It was a very good congregation. I am very pleased.” Rev Nisbett, who was ordained in July and received the ceremonial red sash from his father for the occasion, said: “It was a privilege to bring a message there at the cathedral. I told the congregation that, in essence, we are here to celebrate the lives of the folks in the guild and celebrate my dad’s birthday, but that was just the beginning. We thanked God and it was established that we have a lot more work to do and we must celebrate and take examples from the work of Jesus Christ.” Canon Nisbett’s birthday was celebrated with an evensong at the cathedral, in conjunction with the annual harvest thanksgiving service. 

October 27. Governor George Fergusson and Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, joined delegates from 14 Caribbean countries at the House yesterday to attend the official opening of the 17th Biennial Conference of Presiding Officers and Clerks. This year’s theme focuses on the relevance of Parliament in today’s society and includes sessions on politics on small islands and strategies in managing contentious House debates.

October 27. RG Opinion. "It has been a little more than a week since the America’s Cup (AC) celebrations raised the roof. Not in their wildest dreams could those who organized the myriad of events accompanying the actual competition have envisaged such a response. Front Street rocked. It crumbled under the weight of thousands of partygoers ... and for some, perhaps, the weight of expectation. Clearly, a lot of positives emerged. Sailing should have taken centre stage. But, given Bermuda’s maritime history, that didn’t come as a surprise. What may have impressed some — and shocked others — was the efficiency and handling of an event of such magnitude. But this wasn’t solely about sailing; it was about Bermuda. People of all colour and creed invaded Front Street. A conservative estimate would have been more than 5,000 at any one time. That party didn’t abate until the Sunday night. One vendor described it as “Harbour Nights on steroids”. She and other vendors filled their pockets, as did the various watering holes and restaurants. They will be licking their lips as they prepare for 2017. Most importantly, it showed the rest of the world that Bermuda is equipped to host a major sporting event, complete with all the trimmings. It showed we can stage an event with precision as well as panache. It showed San Diego, San Francisco and the Auckland that, despite our size, we can match them. It showed why we shouldn’t be labeled a sleepy British colony, reserved only for the up market tourist. It might have silenced the naysayers who questioned why Bermuda was preferred to California as America’s Cup hosts. Yes, this was only a dress rehearsal for what lies ahead, but all the ingredients were there. A sense of unification pervaded; a brief escape from reality; a feeling of ownership and pride. Hopefully, that was what impressed the sailors and tourists most. For the locals, curiosity might have been a factor as to why so many flooded into town and a why such a large flotilla encircled the racecourse. But now the euphoria has subsided, it’s time to take stock. How will the Island kick on? Will it kick on? Certainly the AC will not be a panacea for all our problems, as much as it impressed those overseas. Is there a faint hope that civility could replace hostility and animosity, of which Bermuda has become accustomed? Friday’s shooting hasn’t helped our cause. Thankfully, it didn’t occur a week earlier, but, apparently, the gun culture is alive and well. Will the bickering that consumes our leaders, who continue to turn a blind eye to the issues that really matter, fade? Personal feuds have become old hat, yet some publicly persist. Could the racial divide rear its ugly head again or will the harmony that seems to blossom every time we partake in a big sports event strengthen? It seemed at the mid-October party, the mixture of black and white helped in a small way to dilute the suspicion that bubbles under the surface among some sections of the community. The unions, People’s Campaign, the Opposition and environmentalists will continue to pick holes with government policies, as they should. But couldn’t they do it with less venom? Couldn’t those in the House learn and not to teach; listen rather than preach? The Louis Vuitton weekend might not have marked a turnabout in our fortunes, but may be, in a small way, a catalyst for economic and social change. History has shown that sport unites a country more than anything else. There’s no better example of the excitement generated after Bermuda progressed to cricket’s World Cup in 2007. It was unprecedented. We were the smallest country to have played in the globe’s cricket showpiece. It created unity. Bermuda was on the world’s stage for the first time and black and white were immensely proud. The same applied when Bermuda hosted the Island Games a couple of years ago. But one critic with political and union affiliations described America’s Cup sailing as a “white elitist” sport and, as such, questioned why we should support it. More than a few will agree. However, international sailing events such as the America’s Cup can foster integration, if allowed to, and attract all races into a sport that historically hasn’t been as welcoming as it should. That’s slowly changing. We see it in various children’s and youth programmes. Let’s embrace that change, not dismiss it. What concerns the shakers and movers of international sailing is Bermuda’s sophistication and maturity as we approach 2017. We’ve passed the initial test with flying colours. The next examination is whether we can maintain it."

October 27.  PartnerRe Ltd has reported a third quarter net loss of $243.3 million, or $5.08 per share. Its results were hit hard by the paying of a termination fee and reimbursement of expenses to Axis Capital, in relation to the failed merger deal with the Bermuda reinsurer. PartnerRe also incurred $60 million of insured losses as a result of the Tianjin explosion in China, together with realized and unrealized investment losses of $121.8 million. Interim chief executive officer, David Zwiener, said: “Our results this quarter reflect a number of factors, most notably the amalgamation termination fee paid to Axis Capital, and continued difficult financial and investment markets, both of which had a negative impact on our book value. “Despite the noise, and the impact of the Chinese Tianjin loss in August, our underlying results remain strong. All in, we posted a 1.4 point improvement in our non-life combined ratio to 82.8 per cent when compared to the third quarter of 2014.” He said the company’s life and health portfolio remained strong and its operating return on equity for the quarter was 14 per cent. Italian investment company Exor agreed in August to buy PartnerRe in a $6.9 billion deal. As a result, Partner Re was obliged to pay $315 million to Axis Capital, with whom it had made an earlier amalgamation agreement. That payment covered an agreed termination fee and reimbursement of expenses incurred by Axis. PartnerRe’s net premiums written were $1.2 billion for the quarter, down 11 per cent. The book value of $120.67 per share was down 5.2 per cent for the quarter. Emmanuel Clarke, PartnerRe’s president, said: “As we look ahead to the important January renewal season, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of our non-life treaty premium, reinsurance markets remain competitive across the board. In addition, M&A activity is continuing to be a distraction for some market participants. At PartnerRe, however, we continue to distinguish ourselves with our clients as a stable and focused partner with long-term financial flexibility, and a proven track record of reliability.” The company announced a quarterly dividend of 70 cents per common share.

October 27.  Profits at Qatar Insurance Company fell $24 million to $196 million during the first nine months of this year. However, the parent company of Bermuda-based Antares Reinsurance Ltd has reported strong underwriting results. New written premiums jumped by one-third to $1.2 billion between January and the end of September. That is up from the $933 million reported during the same period last year. Net underwriting totaled $175 million, a rise of 25 per cent. The company said its international reinsurance operations with Qatar Re and Antares were key drivers in the improved figures. Gross written premiums were up 20 per cent at $1.48 billion, while return on equity was 16.2 per cent. Qatar Insurance Company’s investments took a hit, dipping from the $218 million achieved in the first nine months of 2014, to $161 million during the same period this year. This was attributed to a “softening” of global trading conditions, coupled with the effect of lower oil prices on investments and regional economics. Khalifa Al Subaey, president and chief executive officer of Qatar Insurance Company, said: “The group’s financial results reflect increasingly competitive global (re)insurance market conditions, compounded by increased financial market volatility and the impact of falling oil prices on the Middle Eastern economies. “Despite prevailing volatility, our domestic, regional and global insurance operations have continued to perform in line with expectations. In particular, we have witnessed increased buoyancy in our personal lines business in the region. The outlook for personal lines including motor, medical and life insurance business seems to be positive and is an area for further focused growth.” In a statement, Mr Al Subaey noted that Qatar Re is now ranked among the global top 50 reinsurers. “In accordance with our business plans and our continued focus on niche and specialty opportunities, we will further grow and expand its global franchise through capital injections and efficient capital management. Our Lloyd’s platform Antares also demonstrated sustained premium growth whilst remaining committed to prudent underwriting and risk selection.” Qatar Re, which already has an office in Bermuda, is in the process of redomiciling to the Island, a move that is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Antares is to be merged with Qatar Re, creating a Class 4 reinsurer with a capital base of approximately $500 million. Last month Qatar Re reported half-year profits of $13.4 million, down $1.5 million year-on-year.

October 27. An earthquake in Chile and the Tianjin explosion in China resulted in $100 million of insured losses for Everest Re Group in the third quarter. The company made a profit of $88.6 million, down from the $274.9 million achieved during the same three months in 2014. Everest’s after-tax operating income available to share holders was $200.2 million, or $4.53 per common share, down from $280.5 million year-on-year. Dominic Addesso, president and chief executive officer, said: “We are pleased with the results that Everest has achieved thus far this year considering the challenging market dynamics — both on the underwriting and investment fronts. After-tax operating income totaled $755 million through the first nine months of the year, despite a number of industry events, leading to a 14 per cent annualized operating return on equity and a 4 per cent growth in book value per share. Premium, on a constant dollar basis, was up 4 per cent for the year, as we continue to seek out opportunities for profitable growth.” Everest’s gross written premiums for the quarter were $1.7 billion, up 3 per cent. Insurance premiums were up 34 per cent, quarter over quarter. The Tianjin explosion in August resulted in $60 million of insured losses incurred by Everest, while last month’s Illapel earthquake in Chile resulted in a further $40 million of losses. Net investment income was down $115.5 million, however shareholders’ equity stood at $7.5 billion at the end of the quarter, with book value per share up 4 per cent since the start of the year at $173.76. Everest repurchased 1.1 million of its common shares during the quarter, at a total cost of $200 million. Since the start the company has repurchased 1.8 million of its shares, at a total cost of $325 million.

October 27. Insurance and reinsurance firm Fidelis has announced three new appointments designed to boost its underwriting capability. Nick Burkinshaw has joined the firm from Catlin in London and is the new chairman of specialty at the firm. Ben Savill is Bermuda chief executive officer, while Richard Holden will head North American underwriting. Fidelis set up earlier this year with initial capitalization of $2 billion. Fidelis group CEO Richard Brindle said: “Fidelis has made exceptional strides since launch. However, the realization of our strategy and ambitions depend on the continual enhancement of our team the appointment of exceptional underwriters who understand the cycle. “Success in today’s specialist insurance market requires innovation, a clear direction and the provision of targeted bespoke solutions. Nick, Ben and Richard have consistently marked themselves out as some of the market’s leading underwriters. They have built their reputations on challenging outdated practices and working to forge lasting relationships by providing better solutions for clients. They share our vision and aspirations for Fidelis and provide us with additional expertise to strengthen our offering and target further sectors in which we see unrealized potential. I am very pleased to welcome them to our team.” Mr Savill, formerly of Amlin Bermuda, where he led the North American unit, has more than 18 years of experience in the industry, while Mr Holden is a 14-year industry veteran and also joins Fidelis from Amlin, where he was a leading class underwriter. 

October 27. The Bermuda Government would lose support from potential voters if it spearheaded legalizing same-sex marriage, according to a new poll commissioned by The Royal Gazette. In the Global Research survey, carried out this month, 28 per cent of registered voters said their opinion of the Government would decline if it pushed for such a move, with 19 per cent saying their opinion would improve. The largest proportion, 48 per cent, said their that view of the Government would not change, with the rest either unsure or refusing to answer. It comes as a new political poll, carried out simultaneously by Global Research, shows the One Bermuda Alliance and the Progressive Labour Party are neck-and-neck, both attracting 35 per cent of the vote. A breakdown of the results suggests that by pursuing same-sex marriage the Government would face its biggest vote losses among men, blacks, PLP supporters and the highly religious: 

The poll was carried out after the Government received a petition calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage, and held public information sessions on the issue. As reported in 'The Royal Gazette' yesterday, our poll found 48 per cent of people were in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage, with 44 per cent against; and 59 per cent said society should accept homosexuality, with 26 per cent saying it should oppose it. Wide-ranging questions on the subject also showed that Bermuda residents had some different beliefs to those expressed in a similar survey in the United States. In a study carried out by the Pew Research Centre in June, 60 per cent of Americans said it was not possible for a person to change their sexual orientation. However, in Bermuda, the new survey found 39 per cent of residents believe somebody's sexual orientation could not be changed. In the US, 47 per cent of people believed that people are born homosexual, with 40 per cent believing it is a lifestyle choice; in Bermuda 37 per cent said they believe people are born homosexual, with 40 per cent believing it is a lifestyle choice. The telephone survey commissioned by this newspaper polled 410 residents from a variety of backgrounds between October 6 and October 13. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 per cent. Overall, 66 per cent of residents polled said they believed the issue of same-sex marriage should be important to the Government, while 27 per cent felt it should not be very important. The great majority of those who ranked the issue unimportant, 74 per cent, felt that more pressing issues, such as the economy and unemployment, were of higher priority. Human rights came top on the list of reasons for believing it was an important issue for the Government to address. The poll also explored residents' attitudes to children and homosexuality. Asked how they would react if their child said they were gay, 53 per cent said they would be upset, with the top reasons being homosexuality is at odds with their religion, that they do not believe it is right, and that they would worry about the challenges the child would face from society. At 59 per cent, the majority of those who said they would not be upset told pollsters that they loved and accepted their children unconditionally and wanted them to be happy. Others said it was their children's right, or that people were born gay or lesbian and did not have a choice. Asked if they would allow a homosexual person to baby-sit their child, 52 per cent indicated that they would. Women, the non-religious and college graduates were more likely to say yes, while a breakdown by race shows 78 per cent of whites said yes compared with 37 per cent of blacks. Less than half, or 47 per cent, supported allowing gays or lesbians to adopt, while 36 per cent opposed it. The top reasons given for objecting were that it would cause confusion for children, and that they should have parents of both genders. Friday marks the deadline for residents to make their views on same-sex marriage heard: opinions are being solicited by the Ministry of Community, Culture and Sport. E-mail mccssubmissions@gov.bm.

October 27. Close to 60 dogs competed in the Bermuda Kennel Club’s October 2015 Dog Show over the weekend. There were four International All Breed Championship Dog Shows held at Somersfield Academy on Saturday and Sunday. Dogs from Bermuda competed with dogs from the United States and Canada. The Breed Shows have been nominated as qualifiers for Crufts 2016, with the qualifying dogs from each of the four shows held as the winners of the All Group Winners, Best Puppy in Show, and Best Veteran in Show classes. Bermuda Kennel Club co chairwoman Carol Havercroft said: “With huge thanks to the show committee and the volunteers, I believe the shows this weekend were a great success. We had 56 dogs entered in the shows including four overseas entries and about a dozen visiting people with about half of those as returning visitors. The shows were very well received with the two of the judges telling us that the Bermuda Shows are always their favourite. The admittance for spectators was free and we had a good many local people and families come and enjoy the dogs strutting their stuff.”  The winners were:

October 26. The latest phase of renovation work at the Hamilton Princess is expected to create 100 new jobs, according to a statement released this morning. The third stage of the $100 million project will begin early next month and will generate nearly 100 construction jobs over a six-month period. “We are eager to continue work on our major renovation project this November,” said General Manager Allan Federer. “Guests love the changes that we have made to the property so far and the additional work that is planned for the third phase will continue to bring dramatic changes to the property. Similar to the two previous phases, our guests will not only be able to continue to stay at the hotel with minimal disruption, but also to enjoy the world-class amenities that earlier renovations have provided.” This third and final phase of the project will incorporate a new spa with indoor and outdoor space, a gym with updated lap pool, a new retail corridor, a large outdoor terrace for the Trudeau Ballroom, a new Gold Lounge and the remodeling of the gold wing suites. Three new retail zones covering 7,000 square feet will mean an increased space for additional shops, improved store frontage and a wider corridor. The roof of the new retail space will become a 2,000 square foot terrace with views of the harbour. The 11 gold wing suites will also receive floor to ceiling upgrades, including furniture, fixtures, equipment, wireless internet, audio/visual features, modern decor and new bathrooms. The Hamilton Princess statement added: “Additional upgrades throughout the hotel include fresh new furniture in the lobby, AC unit upgrades in various areas throughout the property, additional guest room enhancements and a new bathroom block near the Trudeau Ballroom.” The renovations are scheduled for completion in time for the summer 2016 tourist season.

October 26. The Duchess of Gloucester has completed her whirlwind tour of Bermuda, during which she took in official military engagements and tours of the Island’s various charities and organisations. The Duchess is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Bermuda Regiment and has been on the Island to take part in the weekend events marking its 50th anniversary. She appeared relaxed and content during the last formal engagement of her three-day visit yesterday afternoon as she was given a tour of WindReach Recreational Village by the organization's executive director, Erica Fulton. Ms Fulton said the Duchess was “incredibly interested” in all aspects of the facility and asked a wide variety of questions. After being introduced to Ms Fulton, along with WindReach’s chairman Stewart Ritchie and trustee Dudley Cottingham, she spoke to members of staff and service users at the facility. The tour began with the art classes and the Duchess talked with instructor Kendra Burgess before learning about the dog training, gardening, boccia and horse-riding programmes on offer. On Saturday afternoon, the Duchess paid a visit to Charities House to recognise the good work of Family Centre and Scars. She spent a couple of minutes greeting and talking with charity staff, including Family Centre executive director Martha Dismont and Scars chairman Jon Brunson, before being given a tour of the Point Finger Road facility. Perhaps the grandest function during her visit was the spectacle of the Bermuda Tattoo on Saturday evening at the Royal Naval Dockyard, which demonstrated the musical and military precision of the Regiment. Other highlights of her busy schedule included her visit to Westgate Correctional Facility, the Royal Salute Watch Demonstration at Warwick Camp and her visit to Oracle Team USA’s America’s Cup base. Throughout her visit she has been accompanied by Governor George Fergusson and his wife Margaret. The Duchess left the Island last night on the British Airways flight.

October 26.  The sold-out final night of the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s 50th anniversary tattoo was yesterday hailed a huge success. More than 4,500 people attended the colorful three-night pageant of music, which featured top military bands from around the world. The final performance on Saturday night was attended by the Duchess of Gloucester, the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Bermuda Regiment. In her official greeting, she said: “As Colonel-in-Chief, it gives me great pleasure to visit the men and women of the Regiment during their anniversary year and to celebrate this milestone through the magnificent Bermuda Tattoo.” Former major Stephen Caton, chairman of the 50th anniversary committee, said: “We had three great shows and not even the rain on Friday night could dampen the spirits of the performers or the spectators. Through the Regiment, the volunteers and performers, it was a massive effort. If we add in the suppliers, the technical crew and everybody else, it was literally a cast of a thousand people and the committee is very proud of everybody who came together to make it work.” Private Adrien Lewis, a piccolo player who has been with the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band and Corps of Drums for two years, said: “This was my first Tattoo and it’s been great. I’ve got to meet a lot of intriguing people and I was surprised by the warmth of the reception we got, but we are the Royal Bermuda Regiment, so I wouldn’t expect anything else.” The 21-year-old, from Sandys, who works at Port Royal Golf Course, said a highlight was watching the different musical cultures on display. Private Jason Lowe, 24, a drummer, said: “It’s been really fine watching the different bands and seeing how the sound comes together. It’s been beautiful.” The director of photography from Sandys added: “I wasn’t surprised at the reception we got — the band gets a cheer wherever we go.” The Tattoo, at the Keep Yard at the Royal Naval Dockyard from Thursday until Saturday, featured 411 performers — 308 of them from overseas — and all three nights ended with a massed bands finale and fireworks display, backed by the Regiment’s ceremonial gun troop. Performers included pipes and drums from Scotland’s famous Black Watch, the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, alongside pipers and drummers from Bermuda and Canada. They were joined by the Jamaica Defence Force combined bands, a US Marines Corps band from North Carolina and brass bands from the Rifles regiment and Royal Logistics Corps of the British Army and other bands from the Canadian Army, as well as by the Shiehallion Highland dance group from Canada and Bermuda Highland dancers. Veteran band member Sergeant Aidan Stones, 43, an engineer from Sandys who plays the clarinet, said after the final performance: “The crowds have certainly been enthusiastic and the camaraderie with the other bands has been great. “We’ve had a good, loyal crowd, especially with this being the last night.” N’dera Smith, 10, from Paget, said: “It was really great. I liked the ending when it was the fireworks and I liked the music — I was clapping along the whole time.” Jason Simons, 34, a field manager with Belco, attended with girlfriend Laverity Davis. He said: “We liked the precision of the United States Marines Corps band and the Jamaica Defence Force, and I love the bagpipes.” Ms Davis added: “I thought the Scottish dancers were really great.” Carolyn Tankard, from Sandys, said: “I enjoyed it immensely — I’d like to join one of the bands myself. The US Marines in particular were great. It was well done and well-organized – really a great night.”

October 26. Cyber risks, healthcare and risks associated with medical marijuana were among the insurance issues discussed at the Bermuda Insurance Institute’s (BII) Bermuda Insurance Market Conference. Experts from the Island and overseas gave presentations and participated in panel discussions in front of about 100 attendees at O’Hara House earlier this month. A ‘big data’ analytics panel included presenters from Praedicat (Los Angeles), Arium (London) Advera Health (Boston) and Pharm3r (New York). Attorneys from the US firm of Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry were among those on the panels that focused on cyber and medical/legalized marijuana risks. Local experts also shared their knowledge of professional lines with emphasis on the rise of the derivative lawsuit. This panel included individuals from Allied World Assurance Company and Aon Financial Services group. Also included in this year’s conference were panels on railroad liability with professionals from Price, Forbes, & Partners (Bermuda), Aon, and Endurance. Additionally, XL Catlin led a panel highlighting unconventional healthcare risks with panelists from XL Catlin, Hiscox, and Integro. XL Catlin also led a legal panel with experts from Bermuda and the US. The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) gave a presentation on Bermuda’s navigation of international regulatory developments and the Bermuda Business Development Agency encouraged those present to be ambassadors for Bermuda and our role as a key off shore destination for insurance practice. Sir Russell Coutts, chief executive officer of the America’s Cup Event Authority, gave the keynote address. Conference chairman Shannon Totten said: “We have embraced the changing needs of the industry’s intellectual capital in recent years by vastly broadening our offerings to address all career stages; from the introductory level up to executive leadership courses from institutions such as Wharton and Harvard.”

October 26. Disbarred lawyer Llewellyn Peniston has been ordered to pay more than $30,000 in back rent after a legal battle in which he claimed his son owned the property. Patrick Bean launched a legal action against Mr Peniston seeking $64,070 in rental arrears, and Mr Peniston launched a counterclaim asking for $820,000 that he claimed he paid to fund Mr Bean’s apartment complex. According to a Supreme Court judgment by Assistant Justice John Riihiluoma, dated October 2, Mr Peniston had initially filed a strikeout application, arguing that the property was legally owned by his son. However, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley dismissed the application, stating the claim was without substance. Mr Peniston added an additional counterclaim in respect of “damages for the construction costs, provisions of all materials, labour, loans and cash advances provided to the plaintiff by the defendant for units 4, 5 and 6 of the development and to all other common interests to the estate development.” During the hearing, the court heard that Mr Bean and another man bought the Sandys property in 2000 with a view to build condominiums but after a falling out, Mr Bean moved forward with the project alone, taking out a loan from Capital G Bank. Mr Peniston, who was a practising lawyer at that time, was hired to draw up documents related to the project. In 2004, there were talks about Mr Peniston’s son purchasing the unit, but the court ruled that the sale was never completed. In 2006, Mr Peniston reportedly moved into one of the units on an verbal agreement that he would pay $4,040 per month in rent to cover Mr Bean’s obligation to the bank. Mr Bean said that Mr Peniston kept up-to-date on the rent until November 2011, but failed to pay between then and January 2013, when legal proceedings began. Mr Peniston, however, told the court he had managed the construction costs of much of the condominium project, approving and making payments in connection with the development. To support his case, he presented a series of withdrawal slips and construction vendor receipts. While several of the slips contained written annotations, which Mr Peniston said demonstrated their association with the project, Mr Justice Riihiluoma wrote in his judgment that some of the annotations on the same documents were written with different inks and in different styles, leading Mr Bean to suggest that some of the notes were added after the fact to bolster Mr Peniston’s case. “The defendant maintained throughout his evidence that added annotations were contemporaneous,” the judgment states. “In cross-examination, the defendant denied the allegation that the additional annotations were made in preparation for this case. The defendant did not have an explanation as to why some withdrawal slips were annotated in different-colored inks, save that his pen may have run out of ink.” In his decision, Mr Justice Riihiluoma rejected Mr Peniston’s claim that Mr Bean owed him $820,000 for the development of the property, saying that it was “inherently unbelievable” that he would not mention it until so late in proceedings. “The defendant did not raise the payment of $820,000 in respect of development costs in his initial defence, nor in the three affidavits he filed in opposition to the plaintiff’s strikeout application, nor was it mentioned, I am told, in the hearing of the strikeout application,” he wrote. “No correspondence has been produced to show that the defendant communicated with the plaintiff regarding the loan or its repayment. “The first time the defendant contends he is owed $820,000 by the plaintiff is in his amended defence and counterclaim, dated September 2, 2014.” Mr Justice Riihiluoma did note that Mr Peniston paid Mr Bean $34,000 in respect to the return of the deposit on the sale agreement for the property. “There was no explanation of this transaction, but I believe it is safe to conclude that it was not a gift,” he wrote. He ruled in favour of Mr Bean for the full amount of his claim, $64,070, while ruling in Mr Peniston’s favour to the extent of $34,000 for the return of the deposit. 

October 26. More Bermudians support same-sex marriage than oppose it, according to a survey commissioned by The Royal Gazette. The poll by Global Research this month found 48 per cent were in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage, with 44 per cent against. By comparison, 57 per cent of Americans have said they are in favour, with 39 per cent against. Among those in support in Bermuda, 80 per cent said homosexuals ought to be afforded equal rights or the freedom to choose who they love. When asked for a reason for their opposition to same-sex marriage, 51 per cent said that it goes against their religion, and a further 27 per cent responded that they just did not support it. Non-religious people, women, whites and college graduates were all more likely to be in favour of same-sex marriage, according to the poll. The telephone survey asked more than 400 registered voters a wide range of questions on the topic, which was thrust into the spotlight once more when the Bermuda Government launched a series of public information sessions about legalizing same-sex marriage last month. In May, the Government was presented with a petition calling for such unions to be recognized. According to the new research, 59 per cent believed society should accept homosexuality, with 26 per cent saying society should oppose it. The top reasons for accepting homosexuality were accepting people for who they are and equal rights; the top reasons for opposing it were the Bible and the belief that homosexuality is wrong or unnatural. To compare Bermuda’s results with trends in the United States, many of the questions were adapted from an American poll conducted in June by the Pew Research Centre. Americans polled by the Pew Centre were 63 per cent in favour of tolerance for homosexuality. More than half of people polled in Bermuda — 60 per cent — said they personally knew “some” people who were gay or lesbian. Nine out of ten knew at least one person residing in Bermuda who was homosexual. Civil unions, which are generally understood to be analogous with same-sex marriage but with fewer legally sanctioned benefits, had the backing of 50 per cent of those polled, versus 37 per cent against. When asked which locations they would support as venues for same-sex marriage ceremonies, 48 per cent said private halls and venues, 47 per cent agreed with public parks and beaches, and 30 per cent agreed with churches. However, the largest proportion, 51 per cent, responded that they just do not support gay marriage ceremonies. Overall, 52 per cent said that the issue of same-sex marriage was important to them — similar to the 54 per cent of Americans who responded to the Pew survey. Consistent with earlier surveys was Bermuda’s sharp racial divide on the issue: 75 per cent of whites favored same-sex marriages, against 31 per cent of blacks; 81 per cent of whites felt homosexuality ought to be accepted, versus 46 per cent of blacks. Women were more likely than men to support same-sex marriage, with 51 per cent in favour compared with 43 per cent of men. Of those describing themselves as “highly religious”, 24 per cent were in favour of same-sex marriage, with 71 per cent against. Among the “moderately religious”, 57 per cent were in favour, with 29 per cent against; among the “not very religious”, 71 per cent were in favour, with 24 per cent against. Education emerged as another determining factor: 37 per cent of people with an education level of high school or less were in favour of same-sex marriage, compared with 44 per cent of people who described themselves as having “some college” background, and 56 per cent of those who graduated from college. Global Research’s poll of 410 voters across a range of ages, education levels, race and gender took place between October 6 and October 13. It has a margin of error of plus or minor 5 per cent.

October 25. The Progressive Labour Party has sent its congratulations to Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Canada’s Liberal Party won the country’s General Election last week ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule. The centrist Liberals, led by Mr Trudeau started the campaign in third place but in a remarkable turnaround now command a majority. A PLP statement released today stated: “The Progressive Labour Party would like to send warm Congratulations to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the recent Canadian Election victory. We send our best wishes as you and your Party begin the work ahead for your country of Canada. Bermuda and Canada have historically enjoyed a positive relationship and we look forward to the continuation of this.”

October 24. New decisions by the Immigration Appeal Tribunal are expected to be published online soon, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Home Affairs, had previously said that several decisions would be released last month, but a ministry spokeswoman said the decisions were now expected to appear on the Bermuda Government website this month or early next month. Sen Fahy said: “These judgments are important to share with the Bermuda public and I look forward to doing so in the spirit of openness and transparency. We experienced a tremendous backlog of cases which we have now cleared. I would like to commend the tribunal members for all of their hard work in dealing with all the cases, many of which were outstanding from the previous administration.”

October 24. A group staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage has organized an online petition against it. Describing themselves as concerned citizens from a wide cross-section of Bermuda, Preserve Marriage in Bermuda cited a poll from May of this year by Profiles of Bermuda that showed 58 per cent of voters were against same-sex marriage. The group seeks to ensure that “marriage remains defined and upheld as a special union between a man and a woman.” The issue has been in the public eye throughout the month, with the Ministry of Community, Culture and Sports hosting two well-attended town hall meetings. The public’s opinions are being solicited until the month’s end. Acknowledging at an October 1 meeting that the Island was “split” on an emotive issue, minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said the Bermuda Government would announce its next step on the issue after the deadline for submissions. The petition is not the first of its kind: the Government resolved to explore the issue, with “frank and honest dialogue”, after a petition calling for same-sex marriage to be legalized was presented with more than 1,800 signatures. As of yesterday, the opposing petition had garnered several hundred signatures

October 24. The Mexican Consulate in Bermuda has sent his best wishes to compatriots at home as the country braces itself for the impact of a potentially devastating Category 5 hurricane. Rod Attride-Stirling, Bermuda’s honorary consul of Mexico, told ‘The Royal Gazette’ that the thoughts of the Mexican community in Bermuda were with those in the path of the storm. “Hurricane Patricia is said to be a Category 5 hurricane and capable of massive destruction,” he said. “We in Bermuda know from personal experience what a hurricane of this intensity and severity can do. The Honorary Mexican Consulate in Bermuda would like to take this opportunity to express our best wishes to those in the affected areas.  The thoughts of the Mexican community in Bermuda and, of course, the broader Bermudian community will be with those people exposed to the storm.” The storm has been compared with Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 6,300 people in the Philippines in 2013, by the World Meteorological Organisation. A state of emergency has been declared in three states. The Category 5 hurricane was due to make landfall last night. Mr Attride-Stirling added: “It is our hope that they will stay safe during the storm and come through this in good shape. We wish to thank everyone in Bermuda who has expressed concern for Mexico during this period.”

October 24. A 26-year-old man has died after being shot outside Southampton Rangers Sports Club. Another male has been injured in the incident. The grounds have been cordoned off and police are on the scene. Police were alerted to the violence at 10.40pm after reports of gunshots in the area. A police spokesman said: “Police officers responded to a report of gunshots at Southampton Rangers Sports Club. “It appears that two men were shot outside the club — one, a 26-year-old man, was taken to hospital via ambulance and later pronounced dead. The other male was apparently taken to hospital via taxi for treatment. His injury is not believed to be serious at this time. No further information regarding the deceased will be given until his next of kin has been notified. The scene has been cordoned off and a full investigation into this fatal shooting is under way. Witnesses are urged to contact the Serious Crime Unit on 247-1739 or the Crime Stoppers Confidential hotline on 800-8477.

October 24. Up to 15 contracted members of staff at the Island’s three community centres could lose their jobs amid fears over cuts to services. A source close to The Centre in Pembroke said staff had been informed verbally by the Bermuda Government that any job cuts would have to be made by December 31, with a possible extension to March. It is understood that a meeting between the Government and community workers is due to take place. Progressive Labour Party senator Renee Ming this week described the potential job cuts across the three centres — St George’s Community Centre, The Centre in Pembroke and Sandys Community Centre — as “beyond concerning.” The Ministry of Community, Culture and Sports would not confirm or deny whether it intended to cut all contract staff and told ‘The Royal Gazette’: “The ministry has made no decision on closing any community centres. The community centres are under review to ascertain the most efficient and effective mode of operation in light of the current hiring freeze that Government is under. The ministry is assessing all of the human resources at the community centres to ensure that they all remain operational in a safe and effective manner. The ministry is fully cognizant of the many services that are provided to different segments of the society who come to use the facility.” Our source said: “I have been told that all six staff in Sandys will be affected. They haven’t been given any number at The Centre but there are eight contracted staff there, and I have heard more will be cut from St George’s. It was suggested not to let staff know until December 1, but the department has obliged and is doing everything it can to get staff abreast of events early. The Government is looking at ways of reducing the debt and one thing they are looking at, which is sad, is cutting employees. They are putting a proposal together: it is just a process that keeps going on for contract workers. From January they secured the jobs for community workers for one year. The update though came last week about what is going to happen come December. They are taking it to the House of Assembly to see if there can be an extension to March and, if not, they won’t have their jobs come December 31.” Shirley Rogers has two young grandchildren who use several services at The Centre in Pembroke. She told ‘The Royal Gazette’: “The Centre means everything to our family — they go over their homework with them, it is a secure place for children to be. It is an environment where they can learn and thrive with the activities. It is a safe haven for us as parents. I don’t think they should be cutting anything here they should be looking to cut in other areas. “They look forward to communicating with the other children. They would be disappointed if they knew but I haven’t told them. I hope the Government will reconsider. If they are thinking about the children in general in Bermuda I hope they can think of some other area they can cut back. There are no home facilities for them in Pembroke. I am not pleased with it because you are displacing children to another area where they don’t live.” A number of social programmes have faced cuts as the Government has tried to tackle its growing debt problems in recent years. Sen Ming said she was privy to some of the plans at St George’s Community Centre, which she uses regularly. She told ‘The Royal Gazette’: “There will be a serious void within our community. I can speak specifically to the St George’s centre because I utilise it. There is a broad demographic that uses it, from children to seniors. You have community groups there, you have community enterprises, you have after-school programmes, Christmas camps, summer day camps. If you cut the staff and have a skeleton staff then some of the services are going to be reduced. If you no longer have people to run it, while it may remain open, it is closed to the services that were offered. It is definitely of concern to us.”

Angle Street community centre

Angle Street, Hamilton, place of worship and community centre, see above story

October 24. The deadline is looming for the submission of a business plan for the multimillion-dollar renovation of Dockyard’s Victualling Yard. The original plan, submitted by local company Wilson Allen Architecture and Interior Design, included an indoor amusement venue covered with an ambitious overarching glass roof. A memorandum of understanding was extended and is due to expire at the end of the month. Andrew Dias, Wedco general manager, said he was still awaiting a complete business package and proof of adequate financing for the project. He told ‘The Royal Gazette’: “They have until the end of the month to provide us with the details. “They have called us intermittently in between but ultimately they need to finalise any details that they have in their business plan as well as confirm the availability of financing. “If that is the case and they submit their final application then great, we are all going to be most welcome to look at it. If they don’t then I guess the Wedco board will have to re-evaluate it and have another discussion and we will move on.” ‘The Royal Gazette’ could not reach Wilson Allen Architecture and Interior Design via its company e-mail or phone number. Their plans included a new facility that would offer year-round alfresco dining and a large venue for functions and events. Wedco asked for expressions of interest for potential development last August. Three other proposals were received, which could be revisited if the original plan fails to materialize, Mr Dias said. “This isn’t something, unfortunately, that is a slam dunk,” he said. “Nor is it something we are going to give up on.”

October 24. The dredger ‘Niccolo Machiavelli’, named after the famous 15th-century Italian politician and writer, drew attention when it docked in Hamilton early yesterday morning, ready for dredging work that will be carried out on the North Channel. The vessel is 452ft long and 85ft wide, with an average speed of 13 knots. Its unique design means the craft performs dredging by simultaneously cutting, drilling and pumping sand, hard clay, rock and other seabed sediments. Work is expected to begin on the channel by the end of the month.

October 23. The Duchess of Gloucester arrived in Bermuda last night to take part in the weekend events marking the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s 50th anniversary. The Duchess, whose husband, Prince Richard of Gloucester, is the Queen’s first cousin, has been the Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment since 2006 and was last in Bermuda five years ago. During this three-day trip, the Duchess will attend the Bermuda Tattoo tonight at the Keep Yard in the Royal Naval Dockyard, and will visit Charities House and Windreach Bermuda. This morning she will head west to Dockyard to visit the Glassworks, Commissioner’s House and Oracle Team USA’s wing shed. Tomorrow she will attend Warwick Camp for a royal salute and dedication service for the new cannon positioned at the entrance to the Regiment’s headquarters. Yesterday evening, Governor George Fergusson and Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and their wives, Margaret and Pamela, welcomed the Duchess to Bermuda as she stepped down from the British Airways aircraft that arrived just before 7pm. Cabinet secretary Derrick Binns, his wife, Nicola O’Leary, and Regiment Commanding Officer Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown also greeted the Duchess on the runway before she was driven to Government House under police escort. 

October 23. Bermuda will host a conference for presiding Legislature officers and clerks from across the region next week. Delegates from 14 Caribbean countries will arrive on the Island on Monday for the 17th Biennial Conference of Presiding Officers and Clerks of the Caribbean, the Americas and the North Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. This year’s theme focuses on the relevance of Parliament in today’s society and includes sessions on politics in small islands and strategies in managing contentious House debates. The sessions will be conducted in the Blue Room at the Bermuda College. In addition to Bermuda, delegates will represent Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis Island, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos Islands. Speaker of the House Randy Horton said in a statement: “Bermuda is very pleased to host this year’s conference.” Acting Senate President Senator Joan Dillas-Wright said: “In the weeks leading up to the start of the conference, the Speaker and I have visited Bermuda’s senior secondary schools and shared with students the role of the Speaker and clerk and provided details of the role of the House of Assembly and the Senate. We encouraged students to participate in Youth Parliament which provides an avenue to our young people to understand and experience the parliamentary process.” Mr Horton added: “This is the first time Bermuda’s legislature will host this particular conference. We have, in the past, hosted other regional parliamentary conferences and meetings. I anticipate the delegates will have meaningful discussions, exchange ideas and leave with a renewed commitment to ensuring that the parliamentary process in each of our jurisdictions remains rigorous.”

October 23. A stunning fireworks display was the finale last night to an international all-star pageant of military music. The Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) was joined by military bands from the UK, Canada, Jamaica and the United States for the opening night of the RBR’s 50th anniversary tattoo. The audience lapped up the different musical styles on offer, from the Combined Bands of the Jamaica Defence Force and their Caribbean flavour to the US Marine Corps 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band from North Carolina, who had a Hollywood-themed ‘Star Wars’ medley. The RBR got one of the biggest cheers of the night as they continued the silver screen theme with a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ set. The show also featured pipes and drums from Scotland’s famous Black Watch, the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and pipers from Bermuda and Canada. Michael Smith, 41, a software developer from Warwick, attended the Tattoo at the Keep Yard with his father, a retired Major in the Regiment. “It was great — I enjoyed it. I’d probably say I liked the US Marines with Jamaica second. I had a great time." Teacher Siani Nester, from Paget, watched her husband Matthew perform with the specially formed Bermuda Tattoo Choir. Ms Nester, 39, said: “It was a lot better than I expected. I’m a ‘Star Wars’ fan, so probably the US Marines were my favourite. There were children behind me and they were absolutely enthralled. There were people older than me in front of us and they really enjoyed it as well.” Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Michael Foster-Brown said: “It was spectacular. I am very proud of the band and all the other performers. This is a great venue and people have been coming up to tell me how much they enjoyed it.” Jane Brett, the acting director of the Department of Human Affairs, from St David’s, said: “It was excellent — I love the pipes. My mother was Scottish, so it’s very emotional.” A highlight for her was watching goddaughter Robin Selley, 7, who was part of the Highland dancing display. “I’m very proud of her and she performed very well,” she said. “The Jamaica Defence Force was great, but there were all good.” Major General Richard Cripwell, the British defence attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, jetted into Bermuda specially for the show. He said: “The way they brought all the variety and the talent together was remarkable and to do so in such a short space of time was impressive. All the performers should be very proud of themselves.” Private Nicassa Megeit, 26, a trombone player with the Jamaica Defence Force, said: “I enjoyed the whole thing. Going out there with an audience really motivates me. I look forward to representing Jamaica in Bermuda.” Sergeant Tammy Shaw, who sang a solo of the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ as part of the band of the Governor General’s Foot Guards, who performed with the pipes and drums of Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, said: “It was a great show. It had international musicians and we’ve told all the people we have met in Bermuda to come to the show. There was a lot of talent and a lot of fun today.”

October 23. Senator Renee Ming has branded proposed cuts to Bermuda’s three community centres as “beyond concerning.” The Progressive Labour Party senator said that she has been made aware of job cuts across the St George’s Community Centre, The Centre in Pembroke and Sandys Community Centre, by members of the community and said she believed that many of their services will need to be cut as a result. A Bermuda Government spokesperson said: “The Ministry has made no decision on closing any community centres. The community centres are under review to ascertain the most efficient and effective mode of operation in light of the current hiring freeze that Government is under. The Ministry is assessing all of the human resources at the community centres to ensure that they all remain operational in a safe and effective manner. The Ministry is fully cognisant of the many services that are provided to different segments the society who come to use the facility.” In a statement, Ms Ming said: “News that the three community centres will likely see job losses and important social outlets for our youth closed is beyond concerning. The St George’s Community Centre, known as the Youth Centre to my fellow St Georgians, has been a staple community vessel for many many years. Many of us have happy memories of the Youth Centre from our childhood and today it remains a safe haven for the children of our community. Patrons of The St George’s Community Centre range from the very young at heart to our perky seniors. Whenever I hear sounds of activity coming from the Community Centre I, like many St Georgians, am comforted knowing that the capable, trustworthy staff are there ensuring that the facility is maintained and safe for all to use. Yesterday, the OBA announced a possible hotel for St George’s. Yet today, we hear that the local Community Centre will see reduced services resulting in several Bermudians losing their jobs.” Ms Ming questioned what would become of the numerous services to the community whether it be children’s camps and programmes or seniors groups. She added: “The people of St George’s and Bermuda deserve better. I implore the OBA to think about the community and rethink this decision.”

October 23. Auditor-General Heather Jacobs Matthews has pledged to complete four years’ worth of outstanding annual reports from her office by the time she retires next month. The law requires that the reports are released each year by November 30 or soon after but the last one to be published was in 2010. Yesterday, Mrs Matthews told The Royal Gazette she would issue a combined annual report and a special report — her fourth in six years — when the House of Assembly reconvenes on November 13. And Governor George Fergusson, to whom the Auditor-General reports, suggested the fault for the delay lay outside her office. He said: “I have kept in close touch with the Auditor-General about the difficulties she has faced in obtaining timely information relevant to reports. But I understand that a compilation report will issue very shortly.” Mrs Matthews is due to leave her role as the Island’s independent fiscal watchdog on November 15. She told this newspaper: “I can advise that we will release a special report and a combined annual report once the House is in session. I also expect that a number of financial statements will be tabled by the respective ministers in the upcoming session.” Mrs Matthews, who audits the finances of publicly-funded bodies, said on October 1 last year: “We do acknowledge the delays in publishing the annual report on the work of the Auditor-General due to staffing challenges. “As a result, we have primarily concentrated on finalizing the audits of the various government entities including the [Government’s] consolidated fund. The outstanding annual reports will be published by the end of this calendar year.” The reports were not released by the end of 2014 and on September 27 this year, Mrs Matthews said: “It was expected we would issue reports at the end of last year. However, there were delays for various reasons, as we must follow professional standards and protocols. Nevertheless, we expect them to be published very shortly.” The Audit Act 1990 requires the Auditor-General to make a report every financial year which includes information on any concerns they have with the use of public funds or accounting irregularities. Mrs Matthews has been Auditor-General since September 2009. The missing annual reports are for the financial years 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14. Also outstanding for the same four fiscal years are audited financial statements for Bermuda Hospitals Board. The lack of audited financials, according to BHB, explains why it also has not released an annual report since 2010. A BHB spokeswoman said last month: “With regards to our audited financial statements, we look forward to the Auditor-General’s department finalizing our outstanding financial information. We are required to wait for the Auditor-General and her staff to complete their process before we can produce our public annual reports.” Asked about BHB’s statements, Mrs Matthews said she “cannot comment on individual auditees outside of my normal reporting in accordance with the Audit Act”. She launched a review into BHB’s finances in February 2013, the results of which have yet to be made public. During her six years in office, the auditor has released three special reports: in 2010 on the new TCD building and emissions testing programme, in 2011 on the misuse of public funds at Bermuda Land Development Corporation and the Attorney-General’s Chamber and in 2014 on Port Royal Golf Course. She has also probed other issues involving the spending of public funds, including asking the Supreme Court in 2010 to determine if government was right to have given Coco Reef Resort a 125-year lease. In July 2010, she accused the finance ministry of denying her full access to government’s computerized financial system. And in February 2011, Mrs Matthews was reported as saying her office would finish 60 outstanding reports within the next ten months, starting 2012 with a clean slate.

October 23. NEW YORK (Bloomberg) — Shares of Bermuda-based Lazard Ltd, the largest independent mergers-and-acquisitions adviser by market value, shot up yesterday after it reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as fees from advising on M&A climbed. Net income rose to $399 million, or $2.99 a share, from $89 million, or 67 cents, a year earlier, the firm said yesterday in a statement. Earnings adjusted for one-time items were 93 cents a share, surpassing the 90-cent estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. After the morning announcement, Lazard shares rose 5.3 per cent to close on $47.66 in New York. Lazard ranks seventh among merger advisers this year, a market that’s on pace to reach a record globally. The firm’s restructuring work may pick up if companies have a harder time finding access to financing amid market volatility, according to Devin Ryan, an analyst at JMP Securities. Lazard also derives about half its revenue from asset management, and may have been hurt by the 6.9 percent decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in the third quarter. “The current momentum has been quite strong, and Lazard’s backlog has been building at a pace we haven’t seen since the financial crisis,” Ryan said by phone before earnings were released. “There’s still some questions around whether the volatility that we saw in the middle and late summer will reverberate or have any impact on activity levels moving forward.”

October 22. Dredging work on the North Channel will begin before the end of the month so Bermuda’s shipping ways can accommodate the latest generation of cruise ship next year. The dredging and widening of the channel that runs from off St George’s towards Dockyard is expected to take a month to complete, but will not affect cruise liners calling in the West End. Specialized equipment that will complete the operation has already begun to arrive in Bermuda, with more vessels arriving today and tomorrow in Dockyard and Hamilton. The material collected from the dredging project will be moved to the South Basin in Dockyard where it will be used in the America’s Cup village project. Nearly 600 corals have already been relocated from the North Channel to adjacent reefs and are being monitored. Joe Simas, vice-president of marine operations for the Meyer group of companies, told The Royal Gazette: “Jan de Nul Group will be conducting the North Channel dredge. Suction dredger Niccolo Machiavelli along with two Splithopper barges Astrolabe and Boussole will be working in North Channel and The Narrows widening the channels. This will be a 24-7 operation and weather depending should be completed by end of November. The material from the dredge operation will be landed at South Basin for the America’s Cup Village project. Jan de Nul Group are experts in this field of work.” A statement released by the Cabinet Office last night confirmed that the dredging work was being done to accommodate Royal Caribbean International’s quantum class of ship that are expected to call in Bermuda in 2016. The beginning of the project comes after the Government held a series of town-hall meetings to gauge the public’s opinions on the dredging options. The Ministry of Public Works also commissioned an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to explore the positive and negative impacts of each option. The latest October update on the Bermuda Channel Study website states: “Dredging will commence in late October to avoid main coral and fish spawning season. A turbidity monitoring plan developed by the Department of Environmental Protection is being implemented with stringent action thresholds for turbidity excellencies. Deployment mobilization of the buoys has commenced.” The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) last night applauded the work completed by Bermuda Environmental Consulting (BEC) in the run-up to the project. Stuart Hayward, the group’s chairman, said: “BEST applauds the process engaged by BEC of involving stakeholders. BEST and other environmental non-Governmental organisations were consulted early in the process. “BEC conducted an EIA, starting with a scoping exercise, in addition to setting standards for the what and how of environmental protection during the project. Because of the work done on the EIA it was discovered that far less actual dredging or excavation was needed than was first anticipated. Furthermore a team led by BEC successfully moved over 500 corals, which has provided an opportunity to monitor that methodology for future benefit to coral life, not just in Bermuda.”

October 22. Sunday’s victory by Artemis Racing to bring to a climax the first round of America’s Cup races in Bermuda waters was a special moment for Matthew Barzun, the visiting American ambassador to Britain. “I was around Swedes, British people and Americans,” the former ambassador to Sweden said of the Swedish contingent’s celebrations. “I had connections to at least half.” Mr Barzun has held his latest position since it was confirmed by the US Senate in August 2013. His latest trip to Bermuda, his sixth, was Mr Barzun’s first on official business. His area of responsibility has been reconfigured to cover US consulates in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Bermuda, which keep in regular touch. “I wanted to meet the team,” he said. “There’s no face-to-face meeting; everything is virtual these days. Face-to-face counts.” Aside from meeting the Bermuda staff, now in their sixth week under the leadership of Mary Ellen Koenig, the new US Consul General, Mr Barzun spoke with Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and government ministers, and held a workshop with CedarBridge Academy and Berkeley Institute students. Enclosed by his four-day trip, which ended with Mr Barzun’s departure, the races and festivities of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda were a chance for the Island to “show the world its generosity, hospitality, vibrancy and diversity — all coming together in a really powerful way”. He added: “Bermuda is a jewel. It has so many different facets. You turn a corner and see a whole different side. 

October 22. A massive explosion in a Chinese port helped propel insurance firm Allied World to a loss of $51.6 million in the third quarter. The Switzerland-based firm, which maintains a Bermuda operation, said the explosion in Tianjin in August cost it nearly $30 million in claims. And Allied World also reported net realized investment losses of $113.6 million. The $51.6 million loss amounts to 57 cents per share and compares to the net income of $30.9 million, or 31 cents per share, for the same quarter last year. Allied World president and CEO Scott Carmilani said: “Despite a challenging investment environment and a large event loss, we believe that we are well positioned to create shareholder value. We continue to be excited about the attractive platform we have built over the last few years.” The firm also reported operating income of $51.4 million — 56 cents per share — for the third quarter of 2015, compared to operating income of $606 million (61 cents per share) for the same quarter the previous year. The firm’s gross premiums written rose by more than $46 million (6.5 per cent) for the third quarter compared to the same period last year. The global markets insurance segment wrote 100 per cent more business, driven by the inclusion of the acquired Asian operations. Premiums at the North American insurance segment dropped slightly — 1.4 per cent — led by decreases in various lines of business including healthcare and property. The firm’s reinsurance segment dropped 9 per cent, driven by the non-renewal of several casualty and property treaties. 

October 22. A loosening of reinsurance regulations in Brazil could provide a boost for Bermuda business, the president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (Abir) said yesterday. Bradley Kading told an international relations meeting in Rio de Janeiro that the Brazilian government’s decision to phase out mandates on local reinsurance operations would end the limited availability of affiliate reinsurance in the country and ease cross-border trade with unaffiliated reinsurers. Mr Kading said: “Abir’s property and casualty reinsurance members are well regarded global providers of commercial insurance and reinsurance with major underwriting operations in Bermuda.” And he added that the removal of barriers had been backed by Brazilian risk managers, who believe that the plan would lead to increased reinsurance capacity and access to more innovative products. The Brazilian authorities acted after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised the Brazilian Centre for International Relations that protectionist reinsurance policies hindered market development. The IMF also said that liberalization of the market would also allow smaller companies to compete and reduce concentration risk, while international best practice called for a risk-based supervisory regime, which required the removal of limits on reinsurance placed abroad. Mr Kading said: “Such conformance with international regulatory standards is a necessary ingredient to positioning Rio de Janeiro as a reinsurance hub for South America.” He added afterwards that the majority of Abir members have operations or representatives in Brazil — which is viewed as a major developing market. “The removal of the protectionist regulations in Brazil is very good news. The phase out begins in 2017 and is a five-year programme The impact of the phase-out is that more cross-border reinsurance trade can take place.” But Mr Kading added: “However, Brazil still has in place a restriction on cross border trade with low-tax jurisdictions like Bermuda. So that will limit the impact on direct placements into Bermuda although it does not necessarily limit the impact on cross-border trade with Abir members that have multiple platforms.” Mr Kading said that an increased reinsurance market in Rio de Janeiro would be unlikely to be competition for Bermuda. "As to development of a Rio commercial insurance hub. It will take time to design and implement. It’s probably more of a competitive threat with existing Miami operations than with Bermuda operations. If it expands market opportunities into South America then it is likely a net positive.”

October 22. Ascendant Group Ltd, which owns Belco, saw its profits fall 15 per cent, to $970,000, in the first six months of this year. The closure of Bermuda Gas & Utility Company’s residential appliance and service business acted as a major drag on the group’s operating income. For the first six months of the year electricity sales volume was up, driven by an increase in demand for residential use. The 1.4 million kilowatt hour (kWh) sales volume increase, represented a 0.5 per cent rise year-on-year, and has been attributed to higher early summer temperatures, which resulted in greater use of appliances such as air conditioning units. An audit of electricity meters also improved billing, the company said. Although residential sales of electricity improved 2.1 per cent, there was a 2.8 per cent decrease in the volume of commercial sales, which the company said reflected “the continuing decline in certain sectors of the economy, combined with energy efficiency and conservation measures”. Electricity sales volume for the six months totaled 267 million kWh. Excluding the impact of discontinued operations and non-recurring charges associated with the restructuring and closure of Bermuda Gas’ residential appliance and service business, the group reported operating income of $3.2 million, an improvement of $1.5 million on the same period in 2014. This was achieved through higher electricity sales revenue and lower operating costs. Closing the residential appliances and service side of Bermuda Gas resulted in a one-time restructuring charge of $1.4 million. “The decision to close these business lines was difficult, but reflected a realistic recognition that continuing operating losses associated with these segments could not be turned around in a reasonable time frame,” the company stated in its six-month report to shareholders. Excluding the restructuring charges, Bermuda Gas made an operating profit of $656,000 during the first six months of this year, down 16 per cent year on year. However, Ascendant noted: “With a more focused business and the potential for lower propane commodity pricing, Bermuda Gas is much better positioned for the future.” Between the start of the year and June 30, losses from all discontinued operations across the group totaled $2.3 million. Depressed sales in the commercial market, which were noted in the electricity revenue figures, were also a factor in the 38 per cent reduction in net income of Air Care Ltd, which is wholly-owned by Ascendant. Air Care’s net income was $818,000. In its report, Ascendant stated: “The reductions in gross sales and earnings reflect continuing challenges in the commercial sector of the Bermuda economy, resulting in cancellations and/or reductions in scope in Air Care’s maintenance agreements.” The impact of cheaper global oil prices was evident, with Belco’s fuel adjustment sales falling $9.3 million, or 22.8 per cent. Belco paid an average cost of $107.02 for a barrel of fuel in the first half of this year, which included a variety of costs associated with transport, storage, taxes and duty. This compares with the $129.24 per barrel it paid during the corresponding period in 2014. At the start of June, Belco submitted a request for a tariff adjustment to the Energy Commission and is awaiting a determination. The deadline for the response is the end of this month. Ascendant’s operating and administrative expenses decreased $3.7 million, or 8.9 per cent, primarily due to lower operations and maintenance expenses at Belco, according to the report. Belco is currently involved in replacing approximately 4,400 street lights across the Island with LED (light emitting diode) fixtures, which the group said are long-lasting and energy efficient. Belco, in conjunction with LED Roadway Lightning, was awarded the contract in June from the Bermuda Government. The company expects the project to be completed in 2017. In his note to shareholders, Ascendant’s president Walter Higgins, wrote: “We expect to take many innovative steps to enhance Bermuda’s energy future and will do so within the context of the new Electricity Act, which will provide both opportunities and challenges for Ascendant Group, as the industry structure and regulatory environment goes through fundamental change. “At the same time, we will continue to adjust our business model as we address Bermuda’s changing economic landscape, which we are confident will recover with stimulus, including the 35th America’s Cup. Ascendant Group’s ultimate success is directly linked to the Island’s growth, stability and prosperity, and what is good for Bermuda will inevitably be good for our shareholders, employees, consumers and the community at large.” Ascendant Group prepared its 2015 consolidated interim financial statements for the first time in accordance and compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards.

October 22. Bermuda Hospitals Board has gone public on its use of a contrast dye which is being investigated in the United States for potential harmful effects (see below). The board, which recently apologized and paid compensation to widower Allan DeSilva for administering the gadolinium-based substance to his wife Sylvia for an MRI scan in March 2008, said yesterday it introduced a formal policy on how the dye should be used a month after it was given to Mrs DeSilva. A spokeswoman said King Edward VII Memorial Hospital followed recognized best practice and now only ever used gadolinium when clinically necessary, screening every patient beforehand for potential kidney issues which could react badly with the dye. Mrs DeSilva, a diabetic, developed the rare and debilitating illness nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) after having four doses of gadolinium — two at KEMH and two at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She died aged 72 in August 2012, leaving her husband and daughter Donna bereft. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned doctors in 2006 and 2007 to carefully assess the need for performing MRI scans with gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) in patients with advanced renal failure. Mrs DeSilva, who had a history of kidney problems, was given the drug at KEMH the following year, which the BHB spokeswoman admitted yesterday should not have happened. She would not comment on why the patient was given gadolinium after the warnings were issued, as she said it would breach patient confidentiality. The spokeswoman said: “BHB has already agreed with Mr DeSilva that his wife should not have had the test in March 2008. BHB has apologized to Mr DeSilva and his family for this and entered into an agreement as reported in detail in The Royal Gazette last week. “In March 2008, BHB was aware of gadolinium concerns for a small group of patients and, while it was in the process of finalizing its formal policy, which was signed in April 2008, patients with kidney disease who had increased risks for MRI tests using gadolinium should not have had the test. Given that another US hospital also gave Mrs DeSilva the same test twice the year before, however, it is not possible to know at what point Mrs DeSilva developed NSF.” The BHB spokeswoman said she could not comment on who was responsible for sharing FDA warnings with KEMH staff at the time the drug was administered to Mrs DeSilva. “This is a constant and ongoing process,” she said. “There is no one person responsible for all advisories, but managers and clinical educators in different areas have to constantly inform staff of updates. “Certain advisories come from vendors, others through professional associations. Healthcare advisories and best practices constantly change.” In 2010, the FDA advised medics not to use three branded GBCA drugs in patients with chronic, severe kidney disease and in July this year it announced it was investigating the risk of brain deposits following repeated use of GBCAs for MRIs. The BHB spokeswoman said the board was assisted by Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in developing a formal gadolinium policy, which was in place by April 2008. “This was not a simple response,” she said. “Gadolinium is still a standard for many MRI tests and so the guidance had to help physicians and diagnostic imaging staff assess patients and balance the clinical urgency of the test against the risks. The warning can only advise of potential adverse reactions. A clinical assessment has to balance whether a patient could be more adversely impacted by not being tested and so not receiving appropriate treatment based on the results, or the risk of the test itself. This is true of all diagnostic tests.” BHB’s formal policy now ensures patients take a kidney function test and sign a consent form before gadolinium is administered. MRI scans using contrast agents are only conducted with a physician’s referral. The spokeswoman said BHB followed the FDA’s July 2015 advice to limit the number of tests using gadolinium to only those that are clinically required. “We are the only diagnostic imaging provider in Bermuda who, over the last two years, has implemented clinical guidance around tests specifically to address over use and repetitive exposure to either radiation or contrasts,” she added. BHB conducted 3,019 MRI scans in 2014 and 15, compared to 5,137 in 2010 and 11. The board attributes the reduction in part to stricter guidelines on carrying out scans only when clinically necessary and on competition on the Island. Last week, gadolinium was used in 33 of the 108 scans conducted at KEMH. Kidney disease is rising in Bermuda — in March this year KEMH had 166 dialysis patients, compared to 54 in 2002 and 2003. Mr DeSilva, 80, who founded Bermuda Healthcare Advocacy Group to press for more accountability for the Island’s only hospital, urged patients to find out the facts about gadolinium before consenting to an injection. Recalling his wife’s last days, he said he couldn’t forget how she held his arm and told him: “I don’t want to die alone”. He added: “It’s just the sadness of losing someone before they should die. The last words she said to me, the day before her death, were ‘don’t let me die’.”

October 22. Committed trade unionist and former Progressive Labour Party MP Eugene Blakeney Senior has died at the age of 82. Mr Blakeney dedicated much of his life to the trade union movement serving 14 years as the Bermuda Industrial Union’s general secretary. Between 1979 and 1997 he served as the Bermuda Public Services Association’s (BPSA) first full-time general secretary. Last night the Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU) — the successor to the BPSA — hailed Mr Blakeney as an ‘icon’ of the Island’s trade union movement. “Brother Blakeney’s guidance, temperament, global vision and understanding of people were critical to both the development of the BPSU and, to a wider degree the stability of management-worker relationship in Bermuda,” said a statement released by the BPSU last night. “Brother Blakeney’s involvement spanned the 1960s through to the 1990s, a period deemed to be some of the most tumultuous ties in Bermuda’s trade union movement. It was at the BPSU that he excelled; he took a group of labour neophytes and provided them with mentorship, leadership and global perspective on progressive unionism. It was because of Brother Blakeney’s vision that the BPSU evolved to become one of the leading trade unions not only in Bermuda but also throughout the Caribbean trade union movement.” Mr Blakeney began as a shop steward with the Bermuda Government bus garage and in 1958, while working as a bus driver, he brought bus drivers into the BIU. It was the beginning of a union career that lasted more than four decades. Mr Blakeney was also a Progressive Labour Party (PLP) MP and senator as well as the chairman of the Visitor Industry Partnership from 1998 to 2004. In 2008, he was honored with an award marking International Workers’ Day at City Hall. A statement released by the PLP described Mr Blakeney as a giant of the labour movement. The statement added: “A former Progressive Labour Party MP for Hamilton West, Mr Blakeney is the brother of PLP MP Glenn Blakeney and served for over 20 years on the executive of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Bermuda owes a tremendous debt to Mr Blakeney for his contribution towards building a fairer, more inclusive, more just Bermuda. We mourn his passing, celebrate his life and extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.” Last night Michael Dunkley also praised Mr Blakeney’s contribution to the Island. “Mr Blakeney is recognized as a pioneer of the modern union movement in Bermuda,” the Premier said. “He was a consummate gentleman, who brought a sharp mind and unending commitment to the development of trade unionism generally and of the BPSU and its forerunner the BPSA in particular. In his role of general secretary he served the public service admirably and the strength of the BPSU today is a testament to his legacy. On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda and as the Minister responsible for the Public Service, I extend to his family and friends heartfelt condolences and salute his tremendous and exemplary life’s work.” Mr Blakeney was also awarded the MBE for his contribution to Bermudian society. Asked recently what he would like to be remembered for, he said: “A fighter for the workers.”

Eugene Blakeney, RIP

Eugene Blakeney, RIP, see above story

October 22. Airport managers have vowed to address concerns over noise levels at the new private jet facility in St David’s. The terminal was relocated in June from just off Kindley Field Road further east towards Clearwater Beach, just off the main runway near Chapel of Ease Road. The move has sparked concerns from some nearby residents who claim the sound of the engine generators on the planes around the new facility is causing a noise nuisance. But Aaron Adderley, LF Wade International’s general manager, has said the concerns are being taken seriously and that authorities were looking at noise mitigation options. On Tuesday night at a public information session about the airport redevelopment plans Cheryl Hayward-Chew raised concerns about the level of noise when dozens of planes were parked at the facility. She asked the panel of Government ministers and their partners what would be done about the problem under the proposals for redevelopment of LF Wade. “The private jet facility moved down to our area quite recently,” she said. “It’s not the planes coming and going, it’s the sound of the generators on the planes while they are on the ground that causes extensive noise for the nearby residents. There is supposed to be an Environmental Impact Assessment done on the noise level at the airport during take-off and landing but we are asking for a sound study on the impact of the terminal.” Up until this summer private jet operations were based out of Apron II along Kindley Field Road adjacent to Ferry Reach. However, the airport decided to discontinue the use of the substandard facility to use the modern, superior facilities at Apron IV. Mr Adderley, who was also attending the public meeting organized by Government responded to Ms Hayward-Chew’s question. He said: “The old facility was not the kind of facility that we wanted to portray to our high- net-worth travelers. We wanted to have a modern, purpose-built facility that Bermuda could be proud of instead. We recognise there have been complaints raised for the first time about noise at the airport. This is not, however, uncommon for airports around the world. We are committed to addressing the issue and are very sensitive to the concerns raised by area residents. We are committed to carrying out a noise study and identifying any noise mitigation options that are open to us. We hope to make things more comfortable for those residents who have raised concerns. We are going into our slower season now and will look to put in place new measures to try and address those concerns.” A spokesperson from Cedar Aviation Services, which operates the new terminal, added: “As soon as we were directly notified about the complaints, we asked for a meeting. The meeting was subsequently hosted on site the next day because Cedar wanted to be proactive and ensure it understood the specific nature of the complaints. Since the meeting, pilots have asked to be as mindful as possible in running engines and ancillary systems to mitigate any noise and exhaust pollution. In addition both Cedar and the Department of Civil Aviation are working closely to identify any other solutions to minimize any inconvenience to its neighbors.”

October 22. Entrepreneurs who present the best seven-minute pitch for a business idea could secure up to $5,000 in venture funding and support services. That is what is on offer in the 8th Annual Rocket Pitch competition, being run by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). Judges will be looking for the best new business ideas, or business idea that has been launched within a year. The competition is being run in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, which runs from November 16 to 22. There are three industry categories. The first is PitchPINK, which is looking for new tourism/hospitality products or services. PitchTECH aims to find new innovative technology or eBusiness ideas, while PitchTOWN for new business ideas focused on local customers. Following the initial presentations the competition committee will invite the top entrepreneurs in each category to pitch publicly November 13. The competition is sponsored by the Department of E-Commerce. Dr Marisa Stones, director of E-Commerce, said: “We believe the Global Entrepreneurship Week initiatives provide a wealth of opportunity to our community. “Increasingly, businesses must innovate to set themselves apart from others in the marketplace and PitchTech provides the right platform to propose technology-based ideas.” While Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said: “Having more Bermudians involved directly in tourism, and benefiting from their own home grown ideas that reflect what today’s visitor wants, is a top priority for the BTA. We look forward to seeing the new pitches for 2015.” Lucrecia Ming, BEDC’s small business director, said: “This year participants will have the opportunity to work with coaches to refine their pitches. Based on feedback we received from previous years, it was determined that the access to coaching prior to the public presentation can assist the participant immeasurably and we are happy to be able to provide this layer of assistance.” The entrepreneur chosen number one in each category by the panel of judges will receive a combination of venture funds and business start-up services valued at up to $5,000. Michael Fahy, Minister of Home Affairs said: “The BEDC, for the last eight years, has used this competition to encourage and inspire the next local entrepreneurs to come forward and move from the idea stage to implementation. Over this time period the Rocket Pitch competition has aided in the development of 15 new businesses in Bermuda.” Submissions are due by 5pm on November 5, and can be e-mailed to lming@bedc.bm. To provide further support to participants, the BEDC has uploaded a tutorial to its website www.bedc.bm on how to put together a Rocket Pitch. The BEDC can also be contacted at 292-5570.

October 22. A man caught with cannabis and cocaine in the lining of his suitcase has been jailed for six years. His girlfriend was discharged. Shomari Virgil had pleaded guilty to charges of illegally importing the controlled drugs on a flight from Miami, while Precious Cooper maintained her innocence. During a sentencing hearing in the Supreme Court, prosecutor Takiyah Burgess told the court that on, January 6, both Vigil and Ms Cooper arrived at LF Wade International Airport. The pair passed through immigration, collected their checked luggage, and were pulled aside for a secondary inspection. The court heard that when the first bag was x-rayed, customs officers noticed something unusual within the lining. A further search revealed a duct tape-wrapped package. When the package was found, Ms Cooper reportedly yelled angrily before breaking down in tears. Both Ms Cooper and Virgil were arrested and, while Ms Cooper said she knew nothing about the package, Virgil admitted he had brought it to Bermuda without her knowledge to make money. Packages found in the bags were found to contain a total of 3,380.9 grams of cannabis and 492.7g of cocaine. The court heard that if sold on the streets of Bermuda, the cannabis could fetch more than $169,000, and the cocaine another $154,000. Ms Burgess argued that an appropriate sentence for Virgil was between six and eight years behind bars, taking into account his early guilty plea. Defence lawyer Charles Richardson said he could not disagree with the suggested range of penalties, but emphasized that his client was a father of four trying to support his family. Virgil himself apologized to his family, Ms Cooper, the court and the community at large. Delivering his sentence, Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves found that a sentence of six years for each offence would be appropriate given all of the circumstances, ordering that both sentences run concurrently. Immediately after the sentence, prosecutors presented a “nolle prosequi” before the courts, indicating that they did not wish to seek prosecution against Ms Cooper at this time. Mr Justice Greaves subsequently discharged her, but warned her that prosecutors could potentially press charges against her on the same information in the future.

October 22. Iain Percy, the Artemis Racing team manager and tactician, said that winning the first America’s Cup race in Bermuda has reinvigorated the team’s bid to win the “Auld Mug” in 2017. The Swedish challenger won last weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in the Great Sound by a two-point margin over overall series leaders Emirates Team New Zealand. “We’re a big team and for every one of the sailors to go out and perform is a real boost going into the winter,” Percy, the Olympic gold medallist, said. “Everyone will be working that little bit harder, and we’re going to have that little spring in our step through the whole winter. It’s going to project us towards winning in 2017.” Artemis’ victory was much needed after disappointing showings at the first two World Series legs in Portsmouth and Gothenburg, which were plagued by damaged rigging, a capsize and a charred daggerboard foil after running aground. “I know perfectly well that we have a talented enough team to win these events, but things haven’t gone our way,” Percy added. “We’ve hit the odd rock and capsized, and suddenly everyone was questioning us. I’m very proud of the team." Artemis’ victory did not come without drama as the Swedish challenger’s foiling AC45F catamaran was involved in a collision with an umpire boat with Bermudian official Peter Shrubb on board. Just moments before the starting gun fired for the second race, Artemis ducked behind rivals SoftBank Team Japan and when they turned up towards the line were confronted with an umpire boat heading directly towards them. “My first thought was for the safety of the umpires on the boat,” Percy said. “We were all pretty shaken up.” The collision left Artemis’ boat badly damaged. But the team were able to soldier on after stripping off the broken bowsprit and genneker in quick time and against considerable odds went on to claim victory in the second race. “There really was no time for pep talks, and we were frantically ripping carbon and rope off the boat trying to clear it,” Percy said. “Before we had a moment to breath, it was 1.30 to the start.” Artemis still had some work to do in the third and final race with the regatta still wide open. But on this occasion Percy and his team-mates would not be denied their moment in the spotlight, passing Oracle Team USA on the final leg to secure the points needed to win the regatta.

October 21. When the world’s media turned their attention towards the Island for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, it offered a rare glimpse of how our tiny archipelago is perceived by the outside world. An event of such magnitude being hosted on such a little Island was not lost to the international media and those quoted in it — the fact has been met with both humour and annoyance. There was definitely a strong focus on the spectacular racing and breath-stopping collision between Swedish catamaran Artemis and an umpire’s boat, but the locals’ love of fish sandwiches and strange fashion choice of Bermuda shorts with long socks did not go unnoticed.

New York Times, October 15

Artemis Racing’s Iain Percy gave an interview to the ‘New York Times’ about his late friend and sailing mate Andrew Simpson, who died in San Fransisco Bay. He shared his impressions of Bermuda. “I find it so completely halfway between the US and the UK that it’s hilarious,” he said. “There are some real quirky British things, like where we are sitting right now in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. And I’m sure they even wore Bermuda shorts and long socks at some point in the UK a hundred years ago. But at the same time obviously there is a big US influence, through tourism really, and I think through the business community. Sometimes you feel you’re in a country town in the UK and the next time you feel like you’re in the US in one of the cities. So it sits in the middle and it’s culturally in the middle.”

New York Times, October 15

The ‘New York Times’ opened its preview piece by introducing the world to one of the most Bermudian products on the market — the fish sandwich. “Fish sandwich in hand, Lorne Bean, a pastor with a mellifluous voice and a maritime past, talked last week about what the America’s Cup might mean to his tiny, isolated country in the North Atlantic Ocean,” the paper reported. The writer Christopher Clarey described the initial idea of Bermuda as host as a “stretch” due to the big hitters it was up against including San Diego and Chicago. “You’ve been hit in the head by the boom too many times. What are you talking about, man?” was apparently ACBDA chairman Peter Durhager’s reaction to Sir Russell Coutts’s original suggestion of Bermuda as host. Even when we secured it, lawyers scoured through the two-paragraph acceptance letter sure they would find a loophole.” The businessman leading the San Diego bid was a tad bitter, claiming the America’s Cup had been “prostituted” for the first time.

Sail-World, October 15

A touch of scepticism was apparent from regatta director Iain Murray in www.sailworld.com. “The AC seems to work well when it is a big fish in a small pond — Newport, Perth, Bermuda … but when it has to compete with the Golden Gate Bridge it’s different.” The article also states that “it [Bermuda] is just starting to wake up to the fact that there’s something big happening this weekend”.

Yachting World, October 15

‘Yachting World’s’ Matthew Sheahan created a video in the run-up to the World Series that focused on some of the challenges Bermuda’s confining waters might pose for the racers but once he took a trip up to the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, he said it was easy to see why Bermuda’s America’s Cup would be “a knockout”. He questioned our little roads though, writing: “The only road that leads to the venue is the width of a country lane. It’s like holding the America’s Cup at the end of your street.”

The Telegraph, October 17

In ‘The Telegraph’s’ Luxury section, Michael Harvey wrote about joining the Land Rover BAR team in Bermuda and how he was impressed with the speed with which their plan came together. “It’s hard to process just how quickly this plan to win — for the very first time — the America’s Cup for Great Britain has come together.”

Scuttlebutt Sailing News, October 17

“Skunked in Bermuda” was Sailing Scuttlebutt’s lighthearted description of Saturday’s lack of racing. The story was accompanied by a picture of a skunk saying “Go home, no racing today”. Land Rover BAR sailor Giles Scott was still impressed with the day, saying: “When we finally went out to race this huge spectator fleet came in — very impressive.”

The Daily Express, October 18

It began its round-up with the well-trodden angle of novelist Mark Twain once saying: “You can go to Heaven if you want, I’d rather stay in Bermuda.” The report barely made reference to the America’s Cup and was more of a travel feature which ended with the fact that the journalist, having enjoyed his stay here, was nearly there [Heaven].

Maxim, October 20

Introducing the America’s Cup as the “billionaire death race”, the international men’s magazine wrote about commentary from “lifelong Bermudian” Nick Jones, the former coach for the Bermuda National Sailing Team. “Jones, whose stocky frame and creased features recall a more menacing Gordon Ramsay, says he’s a ‘traditionalist’ when it comes to sailing, and prefers the slower, pre-catamaran days. But like everyone else, he attributes the racier design to a renewed interest in the genteel sport, as hazardous as that transformation may be. ‘You’re on the course, you take the risk,’ Jones says with a Bermudian twang as we cruise past a cluster of boats crowding Hamilton Harbour. ‘It’s the same as being a Formula 1 driver. That’s part of sports, and that’s just how it works, unfortunately’.” 

October 21. Hundreds of musicians from around the world are tuning up for Bermuda’s biggest showcase of military music to celebrate the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s golden anniversary. Bands from Bermuda, Britain, Canada, Jamaica and the United States will join forces for a glittering display in the historic Keep Yard at Dockyard from tomorrow night until Saturday. The climax of the pageant of music will be the massed bands with a stunning fireworks display backed by artillery fire. The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s director of music, Major Dwight Robinson, said: “It’s been a very busy couple of days but it’s been lots of fun hosting the different bands and meeting with familiar faces from all the jurisdictions. The Keep Yard is one of Bermuda’s most historical venues and it lends itself very well to a performance of this size. It will be a spectacular show and the scope adds an extra dynamic to this celebration of the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s 50th anniversary.” Maj Robinson was speaking as the massed bands, involving nearly 400 musicians, practised at Warwick Camp in preparation for the opening night. Drum Major Christopher Gillespie, of the pipes and drums of the British Army’s Scottish Gunners — 19 Regiment, Royal Artillery — said: “The audience will love it. Any country we go to in the world loves the culture pipe bands bring. You don’t need to be Scottish to love the pipes, as this Tattoo proves.” The 12-year veteran, originally from Edinburgh, added: “We’re going to do the massed pipes and drums with all the other guys. The sound you produce is so much better when a lot of bands come together.” Major Dionne Smalling is with the combined bands of the Jamaica Defence Force. Maj Smalling said: “It’s my first time in Bermuda, although I’ve met the Royal Bermuda Regiment in Jamaica. Our soldiers are very happy — it’s like a reunion for them. It’s people they have met in Jamaica or trained with in the UK and it’s not just Bermuda, it’s the other bands as well. Bermuda is very nice — it’s beautiful and I’ve done quite a bit of touring. I’m sure people will enjoy the shows. At the rehearsal we did in the Keep Yard, there were a few people who came in to watch and they seemed to enjoy it.” Sergeant Teresa Bulmer, who plays with the Waterloo Band of the Rifles, the regiment of Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Michael Foster-Brown, said: “Dockyard is a magnificent setting. “In a way, it’s a bit like the dockyard in Plymouth in Devon and I’m sure Bermuda will enjoy this incredible mix of different types of music.” Peter Allen, Pipe Major of the 36th Halifax Pipes and Drums, part of a Canadian Army reserve regiment, added: “I’ve seen the beach across the road from Warwick Camp and it was beautiful, but once we get into the shows we will have some time to do some sightseeing. “The Tattoo is coming together nicely, especially considering how many people are here from around the world. This is definitely going to be one of the better Tattoos I’ve been involved in.” From the US, the United States Marine Corps has sent the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band from Cherry Point in North Carolina, the airport used by the Regiment when en route to training at the USMC base at Camp Lejeune. Staff Sergeant Anna Cole, who plays the piccolo, said: “We’ve been to Dockyard to do one of our run throughs and it was absolutely beautiful. We were all tripping about the water being so clear — and the people are so friendly. Anyone who goes to the Tattoo will enjoy it.” Lance Corporal Jonathan Sproule, who plays the euphonium in the Band of the Royal Logistic Corps, said: “Bermuda is beautiful — a proper paradise. This is my idea of heaven — pink sand and the light green water. The Tattoo is sounding really good. We’ve done the Edinburgh Military Tattoo but this is a different setting, a different place and different groups. It’s going to be brilliant.” Major Stephen Caton (Ret’d), chairman of the Royal Bermuda Regiment 50th anniversary and Tattoo Committee, said: “It’s been fantastic — 300-plus performers from overseas working well with their 100 Bermuda counterparts and the sound of sweet music is beginning to flow.” Maj Caton added that there were still some tickets available for all three performances, which start at 7.30pm each night. He said extra ferries from Hamilton to Dockyard had been scheduled to help people to get to the shows. Tickets, which cost between $40 and $100, are available online at bdatix.com, at Pulp and Circumstance in Hamilton and Fabulous Fashions at Heron Bay Plaza, Southampton.

October 21. The firm tasked with building the new airport under the Bermuda Government’s redevelopment plans has pledged to retain all staff from the Department of Airport Operations. Steve Nackan, president of Aecon Concessions, said his firm had been extremely impressed by the airport’s workforce and insisted the $250 million project would provide hundreds of jobs. However Mr Nackan, together with those behind the public private partnership (PPP) that will be guaranteed by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, came under fire from opponents of the project during a public information session at Penno’s Wharf last night. Lawrence Scott, the shadow minister for transport, questioned why the proposed new airport was smaller and maintained that all revenue from the airport should go back into the facility rather than end up as profits for Aecon. Mr Nackan responded that the new terminal would be bigger with more gates — although a final design was yet to be finalized — and there was provision under international regulations whereby Aecon could make a reasonable return on investment in the project. Jason Hayward, president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, said the union was fundamentally opposed to PPPs and asked about Aecon’s investment return. Mr Nackan replied: “Unions around the world express the same concerns, but there is a tremendous body of evidence to support the fact that PPPs work. We are in the early stages of design, but the notion that money is leaving the country is not true, all of the money generated by the airport will be ring fenced in this project.” During an increasingly heated question and answer session at the end of the presentation Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, confirmed that the Government had passed the point where they could pull out of the deal without incurring penalties. He said that Aecon had initially spent $2.5 million on the project and had incurred more expenses that the Government would be liable for it was to withdraw from the arrangement. “The idea that we can just cut and run is no longer on the table. When we are doing a project like this we have to make a commitment if there is to be progress.” Last night’s Government information session attracted more than 200 people including politicians from both sides of the divide as well as leaders of the People’s Campaign including Chris Furbert, the Bermuda Industrial Union president, and Reverend Nicholas Tweed, who asked what percentage on top of the $2.5 million Bermuda would have to pay Aecon. Reverend Tweed claimed the whole process behind the redevelopment plans undermined freedom of speech and dialogue. Earlier in the night Shawn Crockwell, the Minister of Tourism Development and Transport, and Mr Richards outlined the benefits of the PPP agreement for Bermuda. Mr Richards said the project was the best deal for the country insisting it would be paid for by the users of the airport and not the Government and would not add to Bermuda’s debt. While Mr Crockwell maintained a new airport would be a “game changer” for the Island that would have an economic impact everyone would benefit from. Grant Gibbons, the Minister for Economic Development, revealed that Government would be issuing a Request for Proposals for a solar farm on The Finger peninsula in the near future “to compliment the airport project”. “We are hopeful that this solar voltaic farm will be of use in terms of providing the peak energy needs of the airport during the day, at a good cost and supply some of Bermuda’s electricity as well.” Meanwhile Jacques Greffe, vice-president of contract management at CCC, said it was CCC’s job to guarantee the performance of the contract as well as ensure it was done on time and on budget. He said CCC was fully behind the project and also confirmed Aecon had initially brought the project to CCC’s attention “to see if we were interested.” Mr Richards later suggested that opponents of the project had drawn “incorrect inferences” from this fact, and maintained that Government had not approached and did not even know who Aecon were when the construction firm approached CCC about the potential of the project. He said: “Aecon brought the idea to CCC but it was not done with the knowledge of the Bermuda Government.” Mr Nackan told the meeting that extremely stringent procedures were in place to ensure Bermuda would receive value for money and maintained the deal was not privatization. He added: “We have met with over 200 organisations, agencies and people so far. We believe a new airport will serve as a beacon to other investors and boost their confidence to bring investment into the country.”

October 21. Expressing cautious optimism while welcoming the signing of a closing agreement for a resort in St George’s, the Progressive Labour Party has reserved detailed comment until its master development agreement is revealed. Zane DeSilva, the Shadow Minister of Tourism, promised a thorough review of concessions offered to the Desarrollos Group, the developers for the site. “While we agree and understand that concessions are often necessary to attract business, we must be fiscally prudent when we are signing agreements of this nature,” Mr DeSilva said. Mr DeSilva said questions remained to be answered about the project, including the precise meaning of “reasonable” public access to Fort St Catherine Beach. He also described the dealings behind yesterday’s announcement that negotiations had been completed as “beyond questionable — involving serious breaches of good governance practices — displaying the worst examples of politics in Bermuda’s history.” The Opposition has repeatedly taken the governing One Bermuda Alliance to task for falling short in transparency, and Mr DeSilva continued the refrain, saying Bermudians should remain concerned. "With jobs and air arrivals at a low, local construction workers needed jobs on the site that could support their families. We especially look forward to seeing Bermudians taking prominent roles in the success of the finished hotel product.”

October 21. The Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Tourism Authority have completed negotiations for the highly anticipated St George’s resort development. Minister of tourism development Shawn Crockwell declared in a press conference today that he was “thrilled” with the partnership. Mr Crockwell signed papers with the developers, Desarrollos Hotelco Group, in the Senate before other members of the One Bermuda Alliance and the press. “All of the I’s have been dotted and all of the T’s have been crossed,” Mr Crockwell said. “It is full speed ahead from here and I am sure the residents of St George’s and indeed everyone in Bermuda is just as excited as the OBA Government to see this project reach this critical milestone.” Mr Crockwell said he was pleased to announce that they had finalized the master development agreement, calling it a “very significant day for Bermuda and in particular for St George’s, our World Heritage Site. The Desarrollos Hotelco Group has a proven ability to deliver world class resorts. We are very confident that they will continue that reputation as they construct and operate a world class luxury resort development on the 124-acre St George’s tourism development site. As previously stated, this development has the potential to spur other developments and provide exponential employment opportunities for Bermudians. It is crucial to Bermuda and it will have a positive impact on tourism and therefore our entire Island. As a tourism destination Bermuda is up against the world. There are things we must continue to do to compete and to create an environment that encourages and incentivises developers to invest in Bermuda. This resort facility will be managed by the St Regis, Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand. This is a brand that is synonymous with elegance, sophisticated comfort and premiere destinations. This resort development will attract potential visitors who like exceptional experiences and who like to stay at resorts whose names they recognise and trust.” Michael Dunkley called it “a great Tuesday in Bermuda. Certainly this past weekend has been a great weekend for Bermuda with the holding of the Louis Vuitton World Series. We had a tremendous buzz throughout the weekend. And that buzz now is carried over to this Tuesday with this historic announcement over the property in St George’s. We realized that we had tremendous challenges to face. We knew that we had some real issues with government finances and with our economy and it was our number one effort to turn those around. This government is doing all we can to create opportunity, to create jobs, to create a better future for all of Bermudians tomorrow.” Mr Dunkley thanked MP Kenneth Bascome for keeping him “in touch” with the East End. “Bermuda needs to appreciate just what an exciting time this is. That property has been vacant for decades and now there’s a new beginning. There’s a fresh start. There’s a better tomorrow.” Also present were four representatives from the group. Roberto Stipa, one of the principals said: “We feel that this is the island we need to be on right now. You guys have an amazing island and this project is going to take this island to the next level. We’re really excited to start this as soon as possible.” Chief advisor to the group Mito Martis said: “We don’t have to sugarcoat what this hotel is all about. Our track record speaks for itself. Whatever we touch and say we’re going to develop. we will do it. There is no project that we’ve started and didn’t finish.” Minister of Public Works Craig Cannonier said: “I share my colleague’s excitement in the signing of the master development agreement and the ground leases for the St George’s tourism development site. This is a crucial development for Bermuda. This is a project that will enhance our product, create jobs, and have an overall positive impact for the entire island and our visitors.” Mr Bascome said he had faith in Mr Crockwell “from day one”, adding: “As they say St George’s is the jewel in the crown. We’ll help you to create that jewel.” The Premier said they would be moving forward “as soon as possible.  As we work through he planning stages you’ll probably see some clearing through the end of this year and you’ll probably see some developments starting early next year,” he said.

October 21. Attracting group travel to Bermuda is being actively promoted by the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) — and it’s easy to see why. Three examples of recent and soon-to-happen group travel initiatives show they will pump an estimated $1 million into the economy. That represents a financial boost not only for hotels, but a multitude of other sections of the economy, such as restaurants, visitor attractions, shops and entertainment venues. Now the BTA has launched a call-to-action programme to encourage anyone with a link to Bermuda to help attract future group travel opportunities to the Island. Examples of possibilities include businesses bringing board meetings, retreat groups, or reward trips for staff to the Island. Beyond business-related groups, there is scope for group travel among speciality associations, professional groups and bodies and organisations. Destination weddings, bachelor parties, family reunions, alumni gatherings are examples of social group travel opportunities, while a fourth segment identified by the BTA is golf and sport group travel, such as golfing tournaments and trips, football camps and other sporting clinics. The BTA has set up a structure to streamline the process, providing support for groups seeking to come to the Island, and the authority is also working to develop rewards for people who bring new groups to Bermuda. “In Bermuda we are incredibly well-connected internationally so we see an opportunity to leverage those connections to positively impact the Island’s economy,” said Glenn Jones, director of public and stakeholder relations for the BTA. A lot of Bermuda residents who belong to a professional association, a sports club or a church group travel overseas to convene with their counterparts around the world. We want to empower those folks to walk into their next meeting and say: why not Bermuda? I know how to make it happen.” Bermuda has a long history of group travel success, however, the global economic downturn of the late 2000s closed down much of that market. The BTA is now placing a renewed focus on the sector. It is estimated that this year 80 per cent of travel to Bermuda will be from individuals on vacation or doing business, with group travel accounting for the remaining 20 per cent. Mr Jones said: “We did research on group travel and it was troubling. It was a number that we could not bring back quickly because of the long lead-in time.” It can take anywhere between one to three years for a group travel proposal to manifest into an actual trip. But when it happens, it has a notable impact on the economy. The BTA’s campaign is named Bring It Home, and it has the associated hashtag #LoveMyBermuda. The campaign has launched with three case studies illustrating the economic impact of group travel. At the start of this month American Todd Boren, a frequent visitor to Bermuda, brought a regional conference of the Young Presidents’ Organisation and World President’s Organisation to the Island. It is estimated that conference impacted the local economy to the tune of $251,000. The three-day Bermuda Tattoo, which starts tomorrow, will involve more than 300 performers and is likely to attract “at least that number in additional visitors”, according to organizer Stephen Caton. The value of the event to the economy is estimated at $748,059. Next spring, the Kappa Alpha Psi group is bringing the Kappa Classic youth event to the Island. The event attracted 90 visitors this year, and organizers expect that figure to be higher in 2016. The economic impact of the event is thought to be $107,000. The BTA plans to roll out further case study stories in the coming months. Mr Jones said the authority was asking the public to help identify group travel prospects, and use their influence to suggest to a group, organization or association they belong to that they consider Bermuda as a destination for a meeting, gathering or event. “Bermuda delivers an experience that almost everyone who comes here is happy with,” he said, adding that someone who suggests a group travel to Bermuda will likely become “a star” within the organization as a result of the positive experience the group will have. David Thomas, who works on special projects with the BTA, said: “This campaign is galvanizing the pride that everyone has for Bermuda.” The Bring It Home programme has a website, which includes an informative animated video and an explanation of four steps to follow to present a group travel proposal to the BTA. the authority will then assist the group with planning, such as finding hotel accommodation, advising on availability of flights and dealing with other logistics. That support comes from the BTA’s business development managers in New York City. The four-step online programme takes about 15 minutes to complete, the authority said. It is broken down as follows:

Step 1: Watch an online video of less than five minutes which explains the impact of group travel to Bermuda’s economy.

Step 2: Read a short information paper on the BTA’s strategy for capturing group travel.

Step 3: Submit an online form that details the size, dates and needs of the Bring It Home business.

Step 4: Bring It Home.

“As you go through the four steps it is very clear group travel has an enormously positive impact on the local economy. So when we profile Bring It Home heroes we show everyone just how important these influencers are to our community,” said Mr Jones. In a statement, the authority said: “To further incentivise new Bring It Home heroes, the BTA is working with the local tourism industry to develop special experiences and rewards for people who successfully bring new group travel to the Island. Additionally, BTA officials will provide proposals or presentations on group travel to any organization that wants to explore bringing it home with a group travel event.” The Bring It Home campaign is live on the BTA’s corporate website: www.gotobermuda.com/bermudatourism.

October 21. Business leaders believe the economy is moving in the right direction and consumer confidence has hit an eight-year high, according to a snapshot of results from a Bermuda survey. The HSBC Business Confidence Index, based on a survey carried out in June and July this year, rose to 105.5 from the baseline score of 100 established in the first such survey carried out last year. Most of the 98 business leaders who participated believe the economy has improved over the last 12 months and will continue to improve over the next year. Total Research Associates, which undertook the survey, added that consumer confidence was 97.2 after the second quarter — the highest score since before the global financial crisis. TRA added: “Despite this optimism, company leaders show greater optimism in the country’s financial situation than with their own business’ state of affairs. Indeed, Bermuda’s future economic direction is now largely embraced by business leaders who believe that the country’s economy will improve in the short-term. At the same time, business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about the financial well-being of their own organization over the next year, anticipating that capital expenditures and revenues will either increase or remain the same. Capital expenditures are expected to increase by about 26 per cent on average over the next 12 months among those able to provide an estimation.” Despite perceptions having marginally improved compared to one year ago, the cost of doing business remains a key concern, and this year, there is a greater level of apprehension with respect to Bermuda’s governance. To improve the business climate, there is a desire for enhanced political stability and government leadership. In addition, a more concerted national effort on economic growth, through business development and increased foreign investments, is needed. The leading change to positively impact the Bermuda business environment was better Government leadership/political stability (38 per cent), while business development/increased foreign investment was close behind (37 per cent). The survey found that many employers had frozen salaries or wages, leaving vacant positions unfilled and were conducting internal restructuring or staff transfers as workforce-related means to address the current state of the economy. “Despite these measures, the data suggests that the job market in the private sector is stabilising, with early signs of improvement in employment levels beginning to be apparent,” TRA added. "This suggests that the economy may have bottomed out and is now beginning the slow process of rebuilding for the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis.” Sponsored by HSBC, the Bermuda Business Confidence Index is conducted online with members of an exclusive panel of Bermuda’s senior executives, with representation of both international and domestic companies from all major sectors of the economy. A total of 398 individuals were sent an invitation to take part from HSBC’s CEO directly. Among them, 98 surveys were completed. The online survey was conducted between June 16 and July 26, 2015.

October 21. New experiences brought to Bermuda because of the America’s Cup should become a permanent fixture, according to Chamber of Commerce executive director Kendaree Burgess. Ms Burgess and other seniors members of the Chamber told The Royal Gazette of their optimism generated by the weekend’s festivities. “The atmosphere was electric, there was ample opportunity to sell and showcase services,” said Ms Burgess. “My hope is that we can take some of the experiences previously unavailable in Bermuda and make them a permanent part of our landscape: things like alfresco food and beverage, pedestrianised streets and concerts. Bermuda and Bermudian business worked together with a sense of camaraderie and real Island pride, and it came through in a big way.” Chris Garland, head of the restaurant division said: “The impact was felt in the village and out. Restaurants were sold out with group bookings, corporate events, sponsor activations and endless turnover of Bermudians and visitors. On a personal business note we did almost double normal sales, with a record three days for the weekend. The bigger picture is that we are up 30 per cent over the past two weeks so the AC was felt in the lead up as much as the event itself.” Phil Barnett of the restaurant division said: “Our legendary hospitality was everywhere and to see so many hardworking Bermudians doing what made us so great in the first place, was marvelous. From a catering side, we had new clients come to us with new venues and opportunities, and we would like to hope that the work we did for this past weekend leverages into new opportunities come 2017. On a personal note I would like to personally thank all my hardworking staff and managers, who worked tirelessly to care for the thousands of beautiful customers that utilized all our services this weekend.” Paula Clarke, chairwoman of the retail division said: “Retail definitely benefited from all the activity surrounding the Americas Cup. The feedback from the overseas vendors was very positive as they commented on the incredible response from the local community.”

October 21. The head of PartnerRe Global yesterday said that European buyers had welcomed takeover by Italian investment giants Exor. Charles Goldie, CEO of PartnerRe Global, said that the deal gave the company security over its long-term future. He added it had also removed the integration problems and likely redundancies if a rival bid from Axis Capital had been successful and that a European parent would help boost business on the continent. Mr Goldie said: “It means we are out of the mergers and acquisitions game and we can instead simply focus on what we do well. Any distractions are completely removed and, because we have not been acquired by another reinsurer, there are no integration issues to contend with. Our clients know they will be dealing with the same underwriters and leaders they have always done. That is a great position to be in.” Mr Goldie was speaking to Intelligent Insurer at a conference in Baden-Baden in Germany. He said that clients understood that Exor, the investment arm of the billionaire Agnelli family, which controls car maker Fiat Chrysler, wanted to enter the reinsurance market. Mr Goldie explained: “It is not interested in going into the primary side and potentially competing with them, which is what you are seeing with some other deals.  Under private ownership the firm would also be freed of the pressure of quarterly earnings targets and conference calls with analysts. It means we can take more of a long-term approach. That constant pressure to set and hit targets will be removed. The Exor name would open doors to more business in Europe. We are a Bermuda company, but we diversified from an early stage. We became multi-line and global very early on through acquisitions and have pioneered in some areas in our industry, such as enterprise risk management. We will remain a global, diversified company but having a European parent will certainly not hurt our case in Europe. The pace of rate reductions and the extent to which clients were changing their programmes had slowed. We have been seeing more structured deals and aggregate covers but many buyers are thinking more long-term now. Some have been very vocal about having smaller panels and long-term relationships. Some have cut it down to five or six players. We certainly like the idea of working long-term and we don’t have to worry about quarterly earnings targets any more, but equally we will work in the way our cedants want to work. We are adaptable to their needs.”

October 21. For Jamaicans in Bermuda, the awarding of the 2015 Man Booker Prize to the author Marlon James stands as a testament to the resourcefulness and resilience of their people. The October 13 presentation also marks the first occasion in the 47-year history of the literary prize that a Jamaican artist has won. The third novel from Mr James, ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’, is plotted around the December 1976 attempt by gunmen to murder Bob Marley against a backdrop of intense political tension and violence in Jamaica. “While personally I am yet to read the piece that afforded Mr James his winning, it is nonetheless an honour and a sense of national pride for the Jamaican Association of Bermuda whenever any Jamaican does well nationally or internationally,” said Orville Campbell, the group’s president. “We believe it speaks loudly to the creativity and resiliency of our people to fight on, even in the face of rejection on the road towards their dreams. Indeed, we have a shining example of resiliency and determination in Mr James’s story, in that he was turned down some 78 times by various publishers before getting his break. Today, having seen his success and the recognition bestowed upon him for his hard work, we as an association are truly encouraged and proud of his strides.” The latest award was just the second time that a Caribbean author has won the Man Booker, after Trinidadian author VS Naipaul took the prize in 1971 for his novel ‘In a Free State’. Offering congratulations on behalf of the West Indian Association (WIA) of Bermuda, president Chandra Persaud added: “It is indeed a proud time for Jamaicans and West Indians alike to see such an honour bestowed on a person of Caribbean descent.” The WIA has been a keen champion of Caribbean literature: in 1998 the group supported a Bermudian performance of the play ‘Remembrance’, by the St Lucian author Derek Walcott, which was attended by Mr Walcott. 

October 21. Alex Scott thought he knew all there was to be known about the riots that saw a State of Emergency declared in Bermuda. Having read Jonathan Smith’s book, Island Flames, the former Premier is no longer so sure. According to Mr Scott, many more Bermudians — until now restricted by limited access to information about those historic few weeks — will now have to reassess what they thought they knew. “I believe anyone and everyone who thought they understood the events that led to the riots here would have to rethink their whole position because Island Flames puts a whole new light on that point of history,” he said. Island Flames examines the political murders, executions and chronic race problems that lead up to the riots and, according to Mr Smith, the book has seen unprecedented interest. “I think the reason that it is enjoying unprecedented interest is because Bermudians are hungry for answers,” said Mr Scott, who was also interviewed for the book. “They have in the past had limited historic references, books, essays, to provide them with the data they need to understand where we are and where we are going. Now comes an accomplished person, a former senator, a former police commissioner, and obviously accomplished author, who has put it all in 360 pages in a neat package for us to revisit history and come to our own conclusions.” After the 1977 riots, in which three people were killed in a fire at The Fairmont Southampton, the Pitt Commission was established to investigate the underlying social causes of the disturbances and recommended sweeping and significant reforms to Bermuda’s social and political structure. Mr Scott was part of the commission along with Lord David Pitt, Walter Robinson, John Pearman, Reginald Cooper and Michael Banton. “If you listen to the talk shows, there are folks going on about what should happen and why this didn’t happen but generally there is an absence of facts,” he said. According to Mr Scott, Island Flames provides the facts, but also sheds light on the issue of race. “In Bermuda, race is very much like a quagmire — if you touch it, if you even start to discuss it, you can get bogged down in it. You need to have an informed and intellectual appreciation and understanding of the racial dynamics and divide here in Bermuda to be able to put historic events in perspective. Referring to the racial component but also understanding the political and economic circumstances that contributed to that event in addition to our racial divide. There is no argument we had one but it does not explain everything.” Mr Scott described Island Flames as “a brilliant exercise in discovery” and “modern-day whodunit” that he would recommend as a reference book for the Bermuda College and schools Island-wide because it highlights a period in Bermuda’s history that proved to be crucial in redirecting governance. Mr Scott said he grew up in a Bermuda that was rigidly segregated, where it was accepted that blacks could not go to certain hotels, schools or get jobs and the newspaper would have advertisements stating “whites only need apply”. But he said those who came after the Pitt Commission would have experienced a different set of parliamentary conditions. “My children, who are 30 and 40 years old, have never seen anything like that. There is no place they can’t go, there’s no job within reason they can’t have. Their father has been the Premier of the country — couldn’t have happened in the earlier years. That’s why Jonathan makes the point that the younger generation need to know about this.” Mr Scott also applauded Mr Smith for having the courage to speak to the issue of race in Bermuda. “My first thoughts when I sat and talked with Jonathan about Island Flames was that he was certainly a candidate for what had been the late John F Kennedy’s, president of the US, Profiles in Courage because president Kennedy had said at some point, ‘those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.’ When I said it took a lot of courage, I was speaking to the issue of race here in Bermuda. Jonathan has been forthright, Jonathan is outspoken, Jonathan is circumspect, Jonathan is not reckless with language, in actual fact he is very precise and concise with language and he will take on any discussion without fear or favour.” Mr Scott said this has not been the practice, especially of the white community in Bermuda. “I am certain that there are those who will have said, maybe some black but probably very definitely white, that said, ‘Why did you write this book? Why did you bring these issues up? This has been settled, this will just stir people up’. “No, this will make people think, this will make people aware, this will say ‘I may happen to be white, but I am conscious of the importance of our historic successes and failings. And only when we can have a sit-down and discuss and debate objectively our history and our successes and our failures, only then will Bermuda be able to move forward.” A book launch for Island Flames will be held today at Brown & Co at 6.30pm

October 20. The historic site of the Black Watch Well by North Shore will be rededicated in a short ceremony on Thursday, Government House announced this afternoon. The new roundabout at the junction of Black Watch Pass and North Shore Road will improve pedestrian access to the well, which has been restored and its surroundings landscaped. At 9.45am on Thursday, the visiting Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch, as participants in this week’s Bermuda Tattoo marking the 50th anniversary of the Royal Bermuda Regiment will march from Black Watch Pass to the place where a well dug by members of their military unit to provide help during a disastrous 1848 fever outbreak. The Black Watch Regiment, now part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland as its 3rd Battalion, was based in Bermuda when a Yellow Fever epidemic broke out. Members of the Regiment, among other fever relief activities, dug a well by today’s Ducking Stool Park on the North Shore. It became known as the Black Watch Well and the nearby Pass through Mount Langton took its name from the Well and its military builders, when it was constructed in the 1930s. The Well has not been in use for many years and its later status as a historic site also fell away as traffic flows made it difficult to visit and the Well’s remains began to show signs of neglect. The ceremony offers a chance for the Regiment to reconnect with its Bermuda past and for the work done to restore a small but historic site to be marked with some dramatic pageantry.

October 20. Bermuda’s charities are under “unprecedented” financial pressure and some will not survive, according to the head of an umbrella organization for the third sector. Elaine Butterfield, executive director of the Centre on Philanthropy, told The Royal Gazette that a recent survey of the centre’s 200-plus members revealed that 65 per cent were experiencing an increase in demand for their services and the same number were having difficulty providing ongoing operations. She said:  "Charities were receiving less in grants from the government, and an exodus of companies from Bermuda meant there was less to go around in corporate donations. The current economic situation is having a ripple effect in our community. As services are cut, non-profits have to provide increased support to those in need. But without the financial support as a result of budget cuts across the board, coupled with the recent mergers [of companies] — this more than likely translates to a decrease in donor dollars — and the escalation in the social needs of our population, we must look at things differently if we hope to survive as a country. Our non-profits are under unprecedented pressure and some will not survive. Some non-profits are facing literally closing down because of the economy, with less staff doing more work for less pay. A number of charities had already downsized owing to lack of funding, making it even harder to meet the increased demand for their services."  Some are being advised by the Centre on how to consolidate or merge their services because of the current economic situation. The Centre continues to put a high priority on monthly workshops and training sessions. A threshold of 600 total participants was surpassed in April of this year, reaching 760 by June, when the organization also went beyond its goal of 40 total training sessions. Aside from boosting overall training, the initiative is aimed at developing partnerships and collaboration in the third sector. Its online volunteer resource, volunteer.bm, met its goals for the 2014 fiscal year, ending June 30: it grew the number of visitors to the site by 18 per cent over the 2013 fiscal year, got 526 volunteers signed up and brought in five new non-profit profiled on the site. Half the participants ranked the site as “good”. Volunteer.bm was used a few times a week by 21.4 per cent of participants, 44 per cent of whom contributed one to five hours each month to charity. Earlier this year, the Centre also commissioned Global Research and Strategy Group to survey the employment structure of 55 registered charities. Among them, the charities supported 356 full-time staff, 113 part-time and 1,350 volunteers. On average, each had nine paid members of staff. Charity staff tend to have a higher education: 44 out of 52 had an employee with a college or university degree or higher. At least three quarters of the workforce was Bermudian for 94 per cent of survey participants. Salaries increases were found to be on the decline: 31 participants had no increase this year, compared with 29 in 2013. Only one charity offered a bonus or incentive plan for non-professionals, offering 1 per cent to 5 per cent. The plan had been cut in the past year. Out of the survey pool, 21 per cent were primarily focused on arts, culture and the humanities; 19 per cent on education, and 19 per cent on health.

October 20. Peter Shrubb yesterday relived the moment he was nearly crushed to death during the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series races in the Great Sound. Shrubb, who was officiating at the regatta, was on the umpire boat that ploughed into Artemis Racing's catamaran during the pre-start of the second race on Sunday. While the Artemis boat suffered extensive damage, the collision propelled Shrubb between the two boats, and only his helmet, and the quick-thinking of the Artemis crew, saved his life. “I got caught in-between the umpire boat and the race boat,” Shrubb said. “Luckily I had my helmet on because it was preventing my head from being squeezed in-between the two boats. I got jammed in there and could not get my head out because the boats were still moving at that point. Artemis was still going forward, which was applying more pressure and thankfully the Artemis crew was quick to respond.” Shrubb was quick to praise the Artemis crew for attending to his plight before their own, especially considering the damage that was done to the catamaran could have ended their regatta prematurely. “They came running up and saw the problem, and my fellow umpire Alfredo [Ricci] and the other guys grabbed me, and pulled me out from between the two boats. It was amazing that their boat was not their primary concern. Their primary concern was helping Alfredo and I because they could see were in a bit of trouble there. Their whole crew came running forward and I am thankful that they did, because things could have got a lot worst if they hadn't come up and helped us as quickly as they did.” As it was, Shrubb, and Ricci, who was driving at the time of the crash, escaped with minor injuries. The Artemis boat was not quite so lucky, and the Swedish team had to cut away their code zero sail as part of the running repairs that enabled them to remain in the race. Whether anyone was to blame for what could have been a fatal accident is not something that has been publicly discussed. For his part Shrubb said it was part of the accepted risk of the sport. “It was just part of the game we play,” Shrubb said. “You have big, fast boats in a confined area, and the umpires boats have to be right in the mix, and sometimes these things happen.” Shrubb said that by the time he knew the two boats were going to collide, there was nothing anybody could have done to prevent it from happening. “We were coming around the outside of the spectator fleet to get into position to see the boats entering into their final tack into the start,” he said. “It was a narrow corridor between the spectator boats, and the pin end of the start line. We got in there and were moving up into position, and Artemis came around from the other side of the boats we were watching into the same corridor we were in. They were kind of aiming at us, and we were aiming at them, and there was not a whole lot of room to go anywhere. We slammed the boat into reverse but the collision was inevitable at that point. Things move pretty quickly in this kind of event and we just got caught off guard.” Shrubb said that once he was pulled free, crew on both boats went into survival mode, desperate to ensure they could continue. “We suffered a few bangs and bruises,” Shrubb said.

October 20. The America’s Cup World Series put wind in the sails of Bermuda business over the weekend. And the following wind generated by the event has eased the recession doldrums the Island has suffered for several years. Charles Gosling, managing director and vice-president of marketing at Gosling’s Rum, said the firm’s Moet & Chandon bar on Front Street shifted more than 210 bottles of champagne on Friday night alone. Other sponsors also reported increased business as a result of the World Series races. And restaurant group IRG, which is not an official sponsor, said the event had smashed previous weekend sales records. Mr Gosling said: “The whole weekend went very well and there were lots of corporate events going on throughout the Island. And I’m sure a lot of the restaurants throughout Hamilton, particularly along Front Street, would have been totally booked out by companies.” Gosling’s made an “extremely significant investment” together with its US partners to become the official rum and ginger suppliers to the America’s Cup and was also appointed by the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) to run the bars along Front Street over the weekend. Mr Gosling said: “We’re in the process of doing all the calculations — but it looks like it was incredibly good. It’s a boost for us — this is just one piece of a big picture. We were there in Portsmouth and the crash barriers and signage we had was exactly the same. We had the rum bar above the America’s Cup clothing store as well. The impact here really wasn’t limited to over the weekend — we saw it for a good ten days prior to the event. In terms of international exposure, it’s priceless. Even prior to the sailing in Gothenburg in Sweden, it had an impact on sales in that country we expect that to grow exponentially. We expect that everywhere we go, the response will be exceptional.” Mr Gosling said that, although the investment was large, Gosling’s expected it would be “worth every penny.  Certainly Black Seal Rum is doing extremely well in the States, but what is doing amazingly well is our Stormy ginger beer. That’s a brand we are seeing sell very well around the world. We’re expecting to see the investment being repaid time and time again.”

October 20. One of the most successful businessmen in the world, Larry Ellison, was among the corporate big hitters and decision-makers who attended the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda event. Mr Ellison was last year listed by Forbes magazine as the fifth wealthiest man in the world. As the founder and executive chairman of Oracle, and the owner of Oracle Team USA, his presence at the event was not unexpected. Many other high-level business executives were in Bermuda to watch the weekend of racing, and that is likely to help the Island position itself as a favorable destination of choice for future business propositions. “The America’s Cup World Series event brought many powerful business decision-makers to the Island, including the likes of Larry Ellison,” explained Ross Webber, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Business Development Agency. “Seeing and experiencing the people, infrastructure and sophistication of Bermuda first-hand is a massive selling point. This event provided the impetus to get people physically here. This is a positive business generator — both directly, from individuals who visited the Island, attended the many associated corporate social events, met Bermudians, liked what they saw on the Island — and, indirectly, for those for whom the television coverage will be a catalyst for future visits or inquiries.” He said the agency is working with the ACBDA legacy team to get the most out of the event “for the benefit of as many Bermudians as possible.”

October 20. A group economic post-mortem examination is to be conducted to assess the impact of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda. The Bermuda Government, along with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the America’s Cup Event Authority and ACBDA are working on a joint review of how businesses, vendors, visitor numbers and hotel occupancy were affected. Economic development minister Grant Gibbons added that the most comprehensive economic impact study would not be held until after the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. He told The Royal Gazette: “The main event for us is 2017 so we are probably not going to do an overall economic assessment until after then but in the meantime we will get feedback. Anecdotally the vendors out on Front Street seemed to be doing a bustling business. I have heard lots of good reports. Both the local and overseas sponsors are absolutely delighted and I also hear that the TV coverage was one of the best because there were so many boats out there and they did a nice job of framing the course. It worked a lot better in that respect than Gothenburg and Portsmouth.” Dr Gibbons said that the World Series provided the opportunity for organizers to work on any issues that needed to be addressed ahead of the finals including internet bandwidth limitations that saw some lose connection over the weekend. There was a slight increase in private jets arriving on the Island in the run-up to the race weekend. Airport general manager Aaron Adderley said: “In the days leading up to the race weekend we had about just over 30 private jets on the ground at any one time and that is considered slightly higher than average than it would be during our peak period in the summer. A peak day during the summer period you can expect around 25 aircraft or thereabouts. From a commercial side in the couple of days prior to the weekend we had the arriving flights coming in at load factors just under 80 per cent. There was certainly a bit of activity in the lead up to the weekend.” On water operations chairman Ralph Richardson said that close to 1,200 boats registered as spectators and that he had never seen so many boats together at one event in Bermuda. Mr Richardson, who is also chairman of the Bermuda Water Safety Council, estimated that there were 10,000 people on the water. “There were twice as many boats as you see at Non Mariners but there will be multiple more numbers of people due to all the tour boats out. We have been around on boats for decades and I have never seen that many boats in one place in Bermuda — in the Great Sound or anywhere.” He said that aside from the collision between Swedish AC45F catamaran Artemis and a nearby judge boat there were no significant incidents — only a few who infringed on the course and were dispatched by the marshals and police. Premier Tickets sold out the America’s Cup Jam Presented By Fidelity International on Saturday night featuring Maxi Priest and Shaggy. Some 2,500 tickets were sold but it has not yet been calculated how many actually turned up and had their tickets scanned. BTA chief executive Bill Hanbury said: “Overall anecdotally we were very happy with the way the event played out. I know hotels had a good weekend and many restaurants and special event companies had a spectacular weekend and a lot of revenue was generated. It was a great week for Bermuda tourism and when the figures come back we will see a weekend that was well worth the investment we have made in the event.” Meanwhile, police thanked the community along with their security partners for a quiet weekend. A single minor marine incident occurred on Sunday at about 1.35pm, when a 52-year-old Pembroke man had to be detained and escorted out of the race area after speeding erratically on a jet ski.

October 20. Major event partners and restaurants yesterday hailed the America’s Cup as a major boost for business. Insurance firm BF&M is the official health insurance provider for the America’s Cup for Oracle Team USA and the ACEA. John Wight, BF&M’s chief executive officer, said the sponsorship decision was taken to boost business for the firm and support Bermuda. He added: “Since that decision many months ago, the other racing teams and families that have since moved to Bermuda have also started to insure with BF&M.” And Mr Wight said the opportunities had just begun, as the World Series was a taster for the big event in 2017. He added the finals “will be without question the biggest event that Bermuda has ever hosted and may ever host. This is a huge opportunity for Bermuda to relaunch its tourism industry and from the announcement in late 2014 that Bermuda had been selected, we at BF&M felt that there would be great benefits not just for BF&M but for virtually every sector of the community.” And he said the challenge would be to translate success in 2017 into “a sustainable and improved economy” when the races are over. The revamped Hamilton Princess and Beach Club is the official America’s Cup hotel. Hotel general manager Allan Federer said: “The event provided additional international exposure for the hotel and for Bermuda and our October numbers are much improved as a result. We believe AC35 will put Bermuda back on the map and encourage more travelers to consider Bermuda when selecting their vacation destination. From a business perspective, we certainly saw our first sign of green shoots this weekend.” And he added that he hoped Cup organizers would consider the Island for further races next year. Professional services firm PwC, the official audit and assurance company to the event and Oracle Team USA, said the glamour of the event rubbed on sponsors. PwC Bermuda leader Arthur Wightman added: “PwC Bermuda is extremely proud to be part of this exciting event for Bermuda. Clearly, the weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series was a huge success for Bermuda. It was not just a spectacular sporting event, but it also showcased the Island on a global stage and delivered wide-ranging economic benefit to Bermuda. At PwC, we are delighted to have connected our brand with an event that shares PwC’s core values of excellence, teamwork and leadership. This was certainly an excellent event and provided us and our clients with unique hospitality and thrilling viewing opportunities on the water for which we are all extremely grateful. There is intrinsic value to our brand through the fantastic coverage, positive press and global recognition. PwC was also a direct supporter of the event’s youth sailing programme Endeavour, which featured prominently over the weekend. We are unreservedly committed to playing our part in ensuring that there is a real legacy benefit from the 35th America’s Cup that will be felt by the Bermuda community for many years to come.” But is not only official sponsors that are seeing the benefits flow from the Cup. Philip Barnett, head of restaurant group IRG, who also represents his sector on the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said his staff had worked flat out, with many working double shifts to cater to the demand. He added: “From the various teams using us all year long for their meal provisioning through our various restaurants and catering arm, to their visiting friends and relatives coming into Bermuda and spending money in our establishments, to the big weekend just passed, it has been better than expected. I have also anecdotally talked to other restaurateurs and business owners and they too are generally telling similar stories. Businesses from supermarkets to pharmacies had also recorded an America’s Cup spike in sales as crews and support staff spend cash. The best part is, as we get busier, we have to reach out to all our on Island support companies and re-spend the income back on the island to purchase goods and services to support the increased demand we are getting. From wholesalers, to printers, to car-selling automotive dealers it is a wonderful virtuous cycle of dollars flowing in and around the Island for the benefit of many.”

October 20. The United States Consulate will sponsor a public meeting to discuss US social security benefits and related issues. The meeting will begin at 12.30pm on Tuesday, November 3, in the Bermudez Room at XL Catlin, Bermudiana Road. Speakers will include US Consul General Mary Ellen Koenig, US Consul Mila Millman and Vivian Adebayo, the regional federal benefits officer for the San Jose region of the US Social Security Administration. Ms Adebayo administers programmes that pay approximately $450 million to nearly 67,000 beneficiaries throughout the Western Hemisphere, with the exclusion of beneficiaries residing in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Those wishing to attend the meeting should provide their names by e-mail to hamiltonconsulate@state.gov or call 278-7504 no later than Friday this week.

2015 US Consul General in Bermuda

US Consul General in Bermuda Mary Ellen Koenig, see above item

October 19. Three Cabinet ministers will be in attendance at an information session on the Bermuda Government’s airport redevelopment plan tomorrow evening. Finance minister Bob Richards, transport minister Shawn Crockwell and economic development minister Grant Gibbons will be at the meeting at Penno’s Wharf, St George’s, from 6pm. There will also be presentations from representatives of prime contractor CCC and construction firm Aecon. The Government stated in a press release: “This is an opportunity to learn more about the plan to provide a more efficient airport terminal and create much needed jobs before and after the project’s delivery.” Short presentations will be made followed by a panel discussion and a question-and-answer period. A second public meeting is being organized in the City of Hamilton in November. The Government intends to keep the public informed through other initiatives in the future.

October 19. Ross Webber, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA), has reported on progress in the agency’s “four pillars” of business, during his first year in charge. He said that in collaboration with the risk solutions’ focus groups the BDA has concentrated more of its attention on Latin America, notably Mexico and Colombia, and Canada. It has attended conferences, held road shows targeted at chief financial officers, and made direct approaches to companies and advisory firms in those jurisdictions. “We are not preaching to the converted [about the Bermuda brand], we are protecting what we have got and growing more. That is what it has been about. We are talking about real businesses coming here and opening up,” said Mr Webber. "Making the Island more attractive to outside investors was the reason the BDA was involved in a collaborative effort to amend the Investment Business Act, aiding the Island in meeting the criteria to be considered for “third party” non-European Union passport rights for alternative fund managers. That would not have happened if we had not lobbied.” The BDA’s trust law reform committee team reviews the Island’s laws with an eye on keeping them as competitive as possible. “This is something that we are proud of,” said Mr Webber, explaining that the agency collaborates with trust lawyers, chambers, its trust focus group and others to prioritize suggested legislation changes. The “pillar” of international commerce is overseen by Mr Webber. He has been looking at Canadian commerce, particularly companies with international sales that could set up a physical presence in Bermuda. “It’s a niche we do not think anyone else is exploring. We have a couple of prospects in the pipeline.” Explaining part of the methodology he uses when seeking opportunities of the Island, Mr Webber said: “It’s important to know where not to spend time and effort.” Following analysis a number of suggested avenues have been eliminated as impractical for the Island. The BDA is now focusing on the most promising prospects, such as biotech and life sciences. The agency helped biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences establish its presence in Bermuda, and soon after the privately-held company’s Bermuda-based spin-off Axovant Science raised $315 million from its initial public offering in June. The BDA is looking to see if it can assist more companies to go public from the Bermuda platform. A number of internationally known law firms have decided to set up operations in Bermuda, most recently Walkers and Harneys, with the latter now advertising to fill on-Island vacancies. “Expanding the number of law firms in Bermuda is something that the stakeholders, by and large, see as positive,” said Mr Webber. Other areas the BDA has identified as offering business expansion opportunities for Bermuda are banking operations and shipping management companies, including more ships being listed on the Bermuda Ship Registry. Mr Webber said the agency is also researching the feasibility of bringing international arbitration work to the Island. “It would attract a lot of high-spending individuals, which will have spin offs, for example to investment and law firms.” And the BDA has its eye on the Far East. “We are looking at China to see what opportunities we have to bring more investment here,” said Mr Webber. “We have done the sensible thing by waiting. We can home in and find the sweet spot. One of our local service providers is working to bring us a feasibility study.”

October 19. The Island rose to the challenge in exquisite style as host to the official opening of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda. Despite the disappointing lack of wind and resulting postponement of any racing on Saturday, Bermuda took its chance to shine on the world stage and the atmosphere was electric. People were excited for many different reasons: whether it was to see the AC45Fs coursing across the Great Sound, to hear the words of wisdom from some of the world’s greatest athletes or merely to enjoy the raft of top-drawer entertainment on offer. Bermuda was as vibrant as it was during the heyday of tourism in the 1980s, according to one vendor at the event. Pamela Quarterly, of Rosa’s, who was able to advertise her sandwiches as Bermuda’s best, having won the Bermuda Tourism Authority competition recently, said: “I have lived here for 35 years and I haven’t felt this buzz and excitement and pride and coming together — this time to shine — since Bermuda’s tourism heyday.” She added, pointing to the throngs of people in the street: “I came here in 1980 and this would be normal. Business has been going extremely well. I would say we are selling multiple times as many fish sandwiches down here than we would in the restaurant on a Saturday afternoon. We’ve sold hundreds today and last night we sold over 600.” Other businesses and vendors said they had experienced a big boost in sales, thanks to the thousands who came out to see the spectacle. Allison Smith, from Confections, said: “Last night there were more people than I think I have ever seen on Front Street. It’s been good vibes.” Mark O’Connor, the manager at the Beach Bistro, said there had been “a lot more foot traffic” since the road had been closed off. “It has added to what our normal day has been,” he said. “We have a food court down the road and that has been doing really well. I would definitely say it has boosted our business and not just today, but the whole week running up to today.” Some were describing the event on Front Street as if it were “Harbour Nights on steroids”, but regular Harbour Nights vendors said that it was much more than that. Rebecca Little was selling her sailing-themed jewellery collection and said her business experienced a significant boost. “It’s been going great,” she said. “It is much bigger than Harbour Nights. I like the high-end feel of the event with the organization and uniformity of the vendors. There has been a real buzz and positivity, and business has been going very well.” For one man at the America’s Cup, sailing has played a significant part in his life and being here for this event was particularly gratifying. Nick Bushaway lost his leg in a bike accident in 2010 and found strength and inspiration through sailing on the tall ship Tenacious. With sailing being such a big part of his journey to recovery, he said he was overwhelmed to be in Bermuda during the biggest race that the sport hosts. “When I am sailing, I don’t feel disabled at all,” he said. “It is like a freedom. I love the rough waters the most and you get thrown around a little bit — it’s like you are fighting against nature. Sailing built up my confidence. I used to think, ‘I am disabled; what can I do’ but sailing made me realize you can do anything you want. It’s fantastic to be here; it is a bonus. I am most looking forward to seeing Team GB [Land Rover BAR] to come in first. We haven’t won it for a century, but I think we are in with a good chance.” Two older Bermudian women, Devana Hart and Violet Tucker, looked like they were having a ball with their Dark ’N’ Stormies in hand. “I have lived in Bermuda all my life and I have never seen anything like this before,” Ms Tucker said. “This is a first. Last night was great as well. There is great camaraderie and we got to see people we haven’t seen for a while — everyone has been coming out — old and young.” Ms Hart added: “I liked the mixture of the crowd; there are people from all backgrounds.” Michael Soares is from Boston but has Bermudian-Portuguese family. Wearing Home Worx socks decorated with the Bermuda flag, he said he has visited the Island more than 50 times. “My ties to Bermuda are strong,” he said. “I love everything about this place. I came especially for the America’s Cup; it has been awesome. We are hoping for wind today because I am leaving tomorrow. This is a lot more vibrant than ever before and I think it’s going to be great for your economy and great for your country. I can’t wait to see the big event in 2017.” Ashton Easton was manning the Endeavour tent, giving out information about the fully funded community sailing project that was brought about by Sir Russell Coutts, the chief executive officer of the America’s Cup Event Authority, whose vision it was to bring sailing’s biggest event to Bermuda. Children had the opportunity to go out on taster sessions and Mr Easton said they were “completely overbooked” with 150 pre-bookings for the weekend. Close to 1,000 students have signed up to the Endeavour programmes, which teach sailing through the Steam curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). “We are getting kids out on the water, teaching them to sail on O’Pen Bics, RS Fevas and Hobie Cats,” Mr Easton said. “We are getting them to make boats with play dough and fill them with marbles to teach them about buoyancy. They can also write letters to the America’s Cup team members so they can get encouragement back from them. All in all, the day seemed like a success, although there was a noticeable lull for the few hours we were waiting to hear about the racing. There had been plenty to keep us entertained for the most part, including the spectacular Red Bull skydiving show and the question-and-answer session with the America’s Cup team members earlier in the day.” Jimmy Spithill, the skipper of the America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA, said: “There is a great energy here in Bermuda. It’s been great to get to know a lot of Bermudians and we want to get a good result here as a thank you for accepting us as the home team and being so hospitable.” Asked if he felt as though there was a target on his back as the Cup defender, the Australian responded: “Bring it on, mate.” Saturday was brought to a climax by a high-energy concert, which, despite the persistent rain, delivered first-class performances by local artist Live Wires and The Kings, as well as international stars Maxi Priest and Shaggy. See photographs on page 9 Everyone sucked it up and danced the night away in the puddles and then at the end of the night, the question on everybody’s lips was “will there be any wind tomorrow?” The answer proved to be resounding — in more ways than one.

October 19. Bermuda is set to be highlighted with an 11-page spread in the November issue of ‘Climbing Magazine’, detailing rock climbing opportunities on the Island. The article by Jeff Achey, entitled ‘The Bermuda Short: How to have big fun on small crags during a short visit to a faraway island’, features several full-page pictures of climbers in action over Bermuda’s blue waters. The story notes several ideal climbing spots, particularly Clarence Cove and Hogfish Bay, along with detailing the writer’s three-day visit to Bermuda. In the article he writes about Bermuda’s history, weather and Bermuda shorts in addition to deep water soloing (DWS). Describing one climb at Clarence Cove, he wrote: “Its sandy texture is a limestone climber’s dream: When you grab a fingertip edge, you feel like you can really pull. Which is a good thing. “Even when DWS isn’t scary, it’s committing. There’s no going back. You’ll either cruise the route, or, if you get in trouble, give everything you have or plunge into water. “There’s no such thing as ‘take’. If you fail, your shoes get wet, your chalkbag too. Yet with no crash pad to hit, no rope to catch a leg, and the warm Sargasso Sea a comfortable distance below, deep down in your heart you know that you are completely, magically safe.” Mr Achey advises readers to plan their visit during the winter months when conditions in the caves are best adding that the best conditions for roped climbing in Bermuda stretch between December and April. Glenn Jones, BTA’s director of public and stakeholder relations, said: “This ‘Climbing Magazine’ feature is consistent with our marketing team’s outreach to adventure-seekers and explorers who want a thrilling vacation experience. “More importantly, this article proves some of Bermuda’s most unique adventures are available to travelers between November and March — a time of year we are working to grow vacationer demand.”

October 19. Robert Blake Whitehill has tackled dirty bombs and human trafficking, now he is ready to take on Bermuda. The popular author was inspired by a trip to the Island — he found the class tensions intriguing. “It’s a bastion enclave of the wealthy who meld with a dynamic, entrepreneurial middle class, as well as with a stratum that struggles to make headway,” the award-winning screenwriter said. “The inevitable tensions at the fringes where these demographics meet is all grist for a writer’s mill. This, along with Bermuda’s rich and varied history, makes it is a perfect setting for a Ben Blackshaw mission.” Ben Blackshaw is the fictional hero of the 53-year-old’s four novels. His work has been compared with Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum; three of his books are being optioned for films. The majority of the novels are set on Smith Island, Maryland, in Chesapeake Bay. The area is sinking into the ocean due to geology and climate change and may be completely gone 50 years from now. Its 200 inhabitants are determined to hold on to their way of life. Mr Whitehill believes they have a lot in common with Bermudians. Some Smith islanders are descended from 16th-century settlers from Cornwall and still retain an Elizabethan accent despite being only 120 miles from Washington, DC. “Islanders share a rugged sense of individualism,” he said. “Smith islanders are Smith islanders first before anything else. People in Bermuda have that same sense of identity.” He is not yet sure what will happen in his next book, but knows there will probably be a Category 4 hurricane. “Both islands are subject to the vicissitudes of weather,” he said. “On Smith Island, when storms come, everyone just battens down the hatches and holds on. Same as in Bermuda.” Mr Whitehill signed novels at the Bermuda Book Store when he visited on a cruise ship for a day last week. He signed copies of his novels and bought every book he could find about Bermuda and its history. “For this first visit, my wife Mary, my son Beau, 6, and I split up to absorb as much culture and beauty as possible, and then compared notes in the evening,” he said. “Now I will study all the books I acquired at the Bermuda Book Store, learning in greater detail about the people, the history, the flora, fauna, climate, topography, and how these unique elements can be woven together into a Blackshaw adventure. Once a storyline begins forming, I will return to Bermuda and dig even deeper through conversations with as many as will take the time talk to me about this marvelous place. Then the writing can begin.” He started writing while volunteering as an emergency medical technician. “There have been some extremely difficult calls that have left deep scars in my psyche,’ he said. “I work out my post traumatic stress disorder issues through the writing, handing them off to my character Ben Blackshaw to address, or fail to address, whichever is more interesting.” Mr Whitehill said he was also inspired to write by his father, Joseph Whitehill, an award-winning short story author and novelist.

October 18. Bermuda’s first chance to host America’s Cup racing was hailed an “outstanding success” last night as a stunning sunset over Hamilton Harbour signaled the end of an action-packed World Series. The thousands that had made Front Street their new home away from home for the event rose to acclaim the six sailing crews at the end of a fast and frenetic series of races on the Great Sound.  Premier Michael Dunkley saluted the Bermuda public for their contribution to the spectacle saying: “I am bursting with pride — I said it was our time to shine, and we have shone as bright as the brightest star. If you think this was exciting, then just wait for 2017 — it’s going to be even bigger and better,” the Premier told The Royal Gazette. “Any questions there were about Bermuda hosting this event have been answered. I could not be more proud of the way people here have rallied together, stepped up to the plate and made this happen. The racing conditions on Sunday were just perfect and the Island looked amazing. Those images will continue to be shown for some time on televisions around the world.” Hundreds of boats headed into the Great Sound yesterday afternoon to get a front-row seat on the sailing drama that ultimately saw Artemis Racing overcome a high-speed crash with the umpire’s boat to claim the regatta spoils. The Swedish team may have topped the table in heroic fashion in Bermuda, but Emirates Team New Zealand still hold a slender lead in the overall standings going into the next round of World Series races in Chicago in 2016. As the curtain came down on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in a flurry of champagne spray, Gombey dancing and cheering crowds those responsible for bringing the America’s Cup to the Island reflected on why it had been the right decision. Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority, said the World Series had worked out “exactly how we imagined it Bermuda has just come out and put their arms around this event. They are absolutely loving it and enjoying it and it shows this is going to be a really cool event in 2017. A lot of people that did not know all the reasons why we selected Bermuda perhaps could not understand the selection. But I am sure when you look at the event now anyone that was here in Bermuda, for this week in particular, really gets why we put the America’s Cup here for 2017 and frankly I think a lot of people are now realizing that.” Mr Dunkley added: “This event has shown what we are capable of doing when everyone pulls together. We are in a great position now to move forward and speaking with people who are visiting the Island for the first time it has been fantastic to hear how much they have enjoyed their time here. I am delighted at how it has gone and excited to now look forward to the potential of what lies ahead for 2017. There are always things you can learn and we will make sure we are prepared for that next challenge.” The World Series event brought unprecedented numbers of locals and visitors on to Front Street and into Hamilton for three days of live music, entertainment and gripping sport. The city’s retail stores saw a welcome uptake in business, while restaurants and bars also received a major economic boost. Bill Hanbury, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, described the success of the event as “powerful medicine” for tourism and great economic news for the country. “It has shown Bermuda is very capable of staging and successfully holding a huge event like this — the logistics were flawless. Millions of television viewers saw us for the first time on global television. To have the kind of coverage is really powerful medicine for tourism. It will not solve the problem over night but it will help us. America’s Cup takes us to a place we could never go by ourselves and brings with it huge opportunities.”

October 18. Artemis Racing overcame a collision with an umpire boat to win the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in dramatic fashion today in the Great Sound. The catamaran and boat collided at the start of the second race, forcing the race to be delayed and Artemis to cut away their code zero sail. If anything the setback only served to inspire Artemis, and the Swedish team flew out to a big lead at the re-start as they won the second race ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand, with Oracle Team USA in third. “We owned that start,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, said immediately afterwards. “I’ve never seen the guys so pumped up.” Artemis had the best day overall yesterday, and were only denied a win in the opening race by some excellent sailing from Oracle, who pipped them on the line with a dramatic last turn. Still, the Swedish challenger needed to finish ahead of Oracle in the final race to win the overall regatta and did just that, rolling the American team on the final run to the finish line. Emirates Team New Zealand dominated that race, winning to maintain their lead at the top of the overall standings Meanwhile, a second and first today saw Emirates Team New Zealand maintain the overall lead on the World Series leader board. The win represented something of a comeback for the New Zealand team, who finished fifth in a first race that Oracle won, with Land Rover BAR third. The British team’s hopes of winning the regatta were all but ended in the second race when a mistake saw them slip from first to fifth, a position they never recovered from, and even a second place in the final race was not enough to lift them on to the podium. Artemis won the regatta, finishing just two points ahead of New Zealand, with Oracle two points further back.

October 18. For several tense minutes it seemed as though Artemis Racing’s bid for Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World glory would sink to the bottom of the Great Sound. A collision with an umpire boat at the start of yesterday’s second race left the Swedish challenger’s AC45F foiling catamaran without its bowsprit and genneker, and looking in very bad shape. However, when all seemed lost, Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis skipper, and his team pulled off an improbable victory that was the final act of a spectacular regatta, one which included plenty of lead changes, three different winners, close racing, and the fleet flying downwind at more than 30 knots up on their foils. After the first day’s racing was abandoned because of a lack of breezes, organizers scheduled three races in more suitable northwesterlies yesterday, and to make things even more interesting there were double points up for grabs in all of them. Artemis looked to have done enough in the first race, leading the fleet over the first five legs only to be passed by Oracle Team USA, the defender and regatta host, on the final run to the line. It was a cruel twist for the Swedish team, but pure delight for Oracle, whose gamble to split gates on the last beat ultimately paid off, as it allowed them to stay in the fresher breeze which gave them just enough momentum to squeak past the leaders. Land Rover BAR, the British challenger, took third. If Artemis thought that the worst was behind them, they were in for a rude awakening as they were dealt a heavy blow at the start of the second race, when they collided with the umpire boat. “At that point we couldn’t go anywhere,” Outteridge said. Fortunately, there were no injuries. The same, however, could not be said for Artemis’s boat. “Thankfully nobody was hurt,” Outteridge said. “There was a serious amount of damage to our boat though.” The mishap delayed proceedings as Artemis’s shore team stripped off the broken bow sprit and the genneker. Having suffered extensive damage, few could have predicted what was to follow, as Artemis exploded off the start and won the second race to snatch the overall lead of the regatta away from Oracle. “It was huge payback for all the hard work from the guys who stripped the gear off, checked the boat, and got us ready just in time,” Outteridge said. Land Rover BAR led briefly, but completely lost the plot after making a tactical error approaching the first windward marker, and then lost control of their starboard daggerboard. Emirates Team New Zealand, the overall World Series leaders, rebounded from a poor first race to take second behind Artemis, with Oracle completing the podium. The regatta remained wide open heading into the third and final race as the winds continued to build, with Artemis clinging to a two-point lead over Oracle, and Emirates Team New Zealand a further six points adrift. The Kiwis dominated the last race which they won from start to finish. At one stage it appeared as though Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis would finish tied on points. However, a well-executed gybe on the final run gave Artemis good momentum, and enabled them to pass Oracle near the finish and secure the regatta victory — the team’s first of the series — by the skin of their teeth. SoftBank Team Japan and Groupama Team France had largely forgettable days, with the French team’s highest finish the fifth-place they managed in the second race. Japan at least finished on a high, grabbing third place in the final race to go alongside two fourth-place finishes.

October 17. Light and fickle breezes forced organizers to abandon the opening day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda today. After more than a two hour delay the race committee tried to stage a race on a short course in Hamilton Harbor to entertain the throngs of spectators on the water and dotting the shoreline. However, it wasn’t to be as what little breeze there was died out, and the decision was made to abandon racing till tomorrow. The breeze is forecast to blow over 20 knots tomorrow, which promises some exciting racing with potentially as many as three races scheduled. Emirates Team New Zealand are the overall World Series leaders, followed by Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA. There will be three races tomorrow, although they will be shorter to accommodate the extra race. With racing due to start at 2.10pm, and all races will be for double points. Nathan Outteridge, the helmsman for Artemis, said: “It was a frustrating day sitting around waiting for some wind. “We’re looking forward to tomorrow. The weather is meant to be a lot better and hopefully we can get some racing in. “I think heavier winds will suit Jimmy [Spithill] and the [Oracle] boys. They’re pretty aggressive with their foiling.”

October 17. It is the moment Bermuda has been waiting for — and it may not happen at all. With light winds bringing a premature end to yesterday’s pedestrian practice races, there is a strong possibility that today’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda racing could be cancelled as well. Forecasters are predicting winds of five knots for today, less than the minimum six knots required to power the AC45F racing catamarans across the water. Last night organizers were making arrangements in the event that the wind is as light as predicted, with several options being discussed. Teams may try to get in one race today, with three tomorrow. Alternatively, one of the two races scheduled for today could be scrapped, with the other carried over to tomorrow, reducing the regatta to three races. The forecast for tomorrow is just as changeable, with the Bermuda Weather Service predicting anything from five to 18-knot winds, accompanied by the possibility of thunderstorms and poor visibility. “We could have anything between light and heavy conditions,” Glenn Ashby, the Emirates Team New Zealand team director, said. “All the meteorologists are unsure of what we are going to get, depending on a small system spinning off the coast of Bermuda. So we just need to be prepared for whatever comes.” Watching Formula 1 racing yachts virtually stand still with their parking brakes on was not the start organizers and spectators alike had hoped for, still SoftBank Team Japan were happy enough with their performance yesterday. The team will go into today’s America’s Cup World Series with team morale high after coming out on top in a less than dramatic practice session. “Despite the light winds and how delicate the sailing was on the Great Sound, this was a key day for the team,” said Matt Knighton, the Softbank Team Japan spokesman at the team’s Dockyard base. “To notch the first wins on the race course of the eventual Cup in 2017 is a great feeling. However, the real racing starts tomorrow [today] and if it’s light winds again, anything can happen.” Central to the challenger’s dominant display was an improvement in both communication and team cohesiveness. “The biggest take-away from today was that the teamwork felt solid onboard and the guys were communicating well which has been our goal and focus for the past few months,” Knighton said.

October 17. Ben Ainslie, the Land Rover BAR skipper, chose his words very carefully when asked about his thoughts on Oracle Team USA being labeled as the home team on an Island that flies the same Union flag as the one on the wing-sail of his team’s AC45F racing catamaran. “Obviously Jimmy [Spithill], Russell [Coutts] and Oracle brought the America’s Cup to Bermuda, and so they definitely have the rights to claim to be the home team,” said Ainslie, who won the “Auld Mug” with Oracle at the previous America’s Cup. We certainly have great ties with Bermuda with its British heritage. They have been incredibly supportive of us. I think Bermuda is as proud of its British heritage as we are from our side.” It was probably not the response many expected, but perhaps a wise one to avoid adding more fuel to Oracle’s burning desire to break their Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series duck at the venue they have chosen to call home. Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, seemed completely unfazed over which team has the right to call Bermuda home. His thoughts, perhaps, were focused solely upon rewarding the local community, who have embraced the Oracle team, with the victory that has so far eluded the defender. “Bermuda has been so welcoming to the team and to the America’s Cup, trust me, we’d love nothing better than to reward them with a great result,” Spithill said. The locals are behind us. We’re responsible for bringing it here. They’re getting behind us.” Oracle finished third at the first leg of the World Series n Portsmouth, and were second at the second leg in Gothenburg, a first on home waters would seem to be a natural progression. However, while Spithill is pumped up for the challenge, even he admits that his team have their work cut out among a formidable fleet boasting the best sailors and the fastest boats in the world. “With the levels of the teams, it’s completely open,” he said. “It will come down to the best team.” Before being put on the spot, Ainslie spoke fondly of sailing in Bermuda’s turquoise waters. The four-times Olympic gold medallist won a gold medal in the Laser when the Island hosted the 1995 World Youth Sailing Championships, and is also a two-times Argo Group Gold Cup winner, having won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. “It’s been fun racing here and we’ve had some great results,” Ainslie said. “We just love being here. It’s a great Island, fantastic sailing and great people."  Glenn Ashby, the Emirates Team New Zealand skipper and sailing director, said: "Emirates Team New Zealand are the overall World Series leaders heading into the third and final event of 2015, and are the only team that has finished no lower than third in every race so far. There’s a saying it’s better to be lucky than good, and we’ve been fortunate to have a couple of nice regattas. We haven’t sailed together as a team since Gothenburg so yesterday’s training session we important for us. The conditions on the Great Sound were perfect and we utilized it to full advantage to practice getting the boat around the course as best we can. We’ve seen any team here can win any race, so we’re looking forward to getting out and racing.” Further down the pecking order are the likes of Softbank Team Japan, Artemis Racing and Groupama Team France who will be looking to make inroads on the leaders. “We’ve had a couple of shockers,” Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis Racing helmsman, acknowledged. “We’ve been sailing well at times, but we haven’t been able to string it together. In Portsmouth and Gothenburg we made some big errors and if we can avoid them this week, we’ll be in much better shape.” The World Series is the first stage of competition of the 35th America’s Cup and will feature all six teams. At stake at the conclusion of the series are points that teams will carry through to the America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017. Two races are scheduled for today in the Great Sound, starting at 2.10pm. Racing continues tomorrow on “Super Sunday”, when the points for positions on the leader board will be doubled.

October 17. Today’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda races will take place in the Great Sound to the west of Two Rock Passage. With light winds expected for much of the day, the exact location of the racecourse will not be decided until between 12pm and 1pm. However, organizers said that the conditions do mean that it is “very unlikely that the finish of the last race will be in Hamilton Harbour as previously indicated.” Officials have also said that if there is not enough wind to start the first race at 2.10pm, the start time will be postponed in short increments until a race can be started or the race committee decides that racing should be cancelled for the day. If there is no racing or only one race today, the teams have agreed on a provision to allow for three races tomorrow, with the same scheduled start time. With the racecourse yet to be set, organizers are asking boaters heading out to watch the races not to drop anchor until the course has been formed. Iain Murray, the race director for this weekend’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Bermuda event, has announced that today’s racecourse will be located to the west of Two Rock Passage in the Great Sound. Boaters should monitor VHF Channel 72 for up-to-date information about the racecourse and races. The official stake boats that form the outer edges of the racecourse will be flying a red stake boat flag, while the course marshals will be flying green flags. Boaters are also reminded to observe the five-knot, no wake zone which is in place for the whole of Hamilton Harbour and the area surrounding the racecourse. “With the lighter wind conditions today it is particularly important to limit the wake of the boats,” Ralph Richardson, ACBDA Water Operations Committee chairman, said. “It can quickly become a ‘washing machine’ out there, so boaters must respect the five-knot, no wake policy.”

October 17. Front Street burst into life with an explosion of colour, noise and excitement last night as the Island celebrated the arrival of Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series racing to Bermuda. Thousands descended on the capital to witness the opening ceremony of the third leg of World Series races that are due to begin on the Great Sound today — as long as the wind also makes an appearance. The shops were full, the balconies packed, and the bars buzzing as locals and visitors took to the streets to take in the party atmosphere and sample the first taste of America’s Cup action. Youngsters sped down waterfront zip lines and learnt the sailing art of grinding as the immaculate forms of the AC45F racing catamarans bobbed gently in Hamilton Harbour. Town crier Ed Christopher kicked off the evening’s festivities in front of a crowd of several hundred before the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band filed along Front Street and joined him on stage to perform a snappy little version of Pharrell Williams’s Happy. Mayor of Hamilton, Charles Gosling led the dignitaries in thanking Sir Russell Coutts, the America’s Cup Event Authority and Larry Ellison, owner of Oracle Team USA, for putting their confidence in Bermuda to host the event. He also thanked the Corporation of Hamilton crews for their tireless work in the build up to the World Series and urged residents to “embrace Bermuda’s role, embrace the event and have a great time. This is our moment to make sure Bermuda is not a paradise lost, but a paradise found. We must take up the challenge and showcase just what makes us special.” Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, hailed Bermuda’s achievement in becoming only the fifth country to host the America’s Cup. He also commended the success of the Endeavour Programme for young sailors that was launched in St George earlier in the week saying: “This was a great opportunity for young Bermudians. “I would not be surprised to see a young Bermudian sailing on an America’s Cup team in the future, and who knows we may have a Bermuda America’s Cup boat — wouldn’t that be special?” The six team’s skippers were then introduced to the crowd in a blaze of smoke and music — with the loudest cheers being reserved for Sir Ben Ainslie of Land Rover BAR and Jimmy Spithill of Oracle. The final honour of officially opening the World Series event fell to Michael Dunkley, the Premier. He thanked Coutts and Mr Ellison for bringing the cup to Bermuda and pledged: “We will make you proud”. He told the crowd: “Let’s go get it Bermuda, it’s our time to shine,” before a spectacular fireworks display light up the night sky over Hamilton Harbour. 

October 17. Falling fuel and power prices have helped drive down inflation to 1.4 per cent. Although prices in the sector were static during August, a year-on-year drop of 10.5 per cent, with cheaper electricity a major factor, impacted the headline rate. Between July and August, inflation fell 0.5 per cent, while the average cost of goods and services was down 0.2 per cent. The consumer price index stood at 100.4 in August. It showed food prices continued a slow upward trend, rising 0.3 per cent since July. According to the Department of Statistics, there were notably higher prices for frozen spare ribs, carrots and evaporated milk in August. In the rent sector there was a monthly rise of 0.1 per cent in rental costs, and the same fractional price increase in the tobacco and liquor, and health and personal care sectors. However, prices in the transport and foreign travel sector fell 1.6 per cent, with less expensive overseas vehicle rental costs cited as a factor in the year-on-year drop, which was also measured at 1.6 per cent. Prices in the education, recreation, entertainment and reading sector fell 0.2 per cent.

October 17. Visitor spending on tourism showed a marked decline in 2014, while resident spending on foreign travel showed its first growth in years, according to industry statistics. The latest Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) showed that tourism contributed a gross value of $583 million to Bermuda’s economy in 2014, and 22 per cent of government revenue — one third of it in customs duties. However, visitor spending dropped from $402 million for 2013 to $362 million for the year ending 2014, a drop of $40 million, and the total number of tourism related jobs fell from 3,218 to 2,796, dropping by 1 per cent to represent 8.4 per cent of jobs in the Island. Direct tourism brought in $260 million, a drop of $25 million from 2013. The gross value added dropped for all tourism products except travel agencies, tour operators and tourist guide services, which increased by $1 million. Last year there were 2,043 Bermudians working in tourism, and 753 expatriates. Overall, public administration stood as the Island’s biggest employer, followed by hotels and restaurants. Resident spending on foreign travel stood at a high of $417 million in 2010 but slumped dramatically between 2011 and 2012, bottoming out at $322 million in 2013. It rose to $374 million last year.

October 17. In 1833 Johnson Savage disembarked from a sail boat in the port of St George to take up a three-year posting as surgeon for the Royal Artillery. Over the ensuing months Dr Savage, a talented artist, went on to paint a series of spectacular watercolours that would provide a unique glimpse of a bygone era of Bermuda’s history. The album was passed down through the generations, and despite almost being lost during London’s blitz in the Second World War, was donated to the National Museum last year by Dr Savage’s great-great-grandchildren Jennifer Hancock and Peter and William Savage. Next week, 182 years after their great-great-grandfather set foot on the Island, Peter and William Savage along with their wives, Rosemary and Jacqueline, will return to Bermuda to see the launch of a new book; Dr Savage’s Bermuda, which features the watercolours and a host of other Savage memorabilia. The book reproduces his paintings alongside present-day photographs by Allan Davidson, and includes other drawings and works of three generations of Dr Savage’s family on the Island. It also includes the story of one of his sons, a midshipman in the Royal Navy based in Bermuda in the early 1860s, and of a grandson, who was 23 when he did the 1901 Ordnance Survey map of the Island, known as the Savage Survey. The book’s editor and museum director Edward Harris said: “While at Bermuda, Johnson Savage painted 39 images of the Island and they are among the finest watercolours of Bermuda in the 19th century. Totally unknown in Bermuda until they were brought here in late 2013, the pictures are arranged in an album as a sort of travelogue of the place, starting in St George’s and progressing westward to the Royal Naval Dockyard at Ireland Island. The collection of paintings is unique, not only for their imagery for an early period before photography, but because it survived in the family as a discrete unit over almost two centuries. It is one of the finest gifts of art ever made to Bermuda and his great-great-grandchildren are to be congratulated for their generosity of spirit that led them to donate Dr Johnson Savage’s album of watercolours to the Island.” Dr Savage’s Bermuda also includes a series of watercolours by the artistic surgeon depicting human organs that he and another doctor at Edinburgh University, Robert Carswell, worked on as part of a project to create an encyclopedia of the human body. The book has been published by the National Museum of Bermuda Press and is dedicated to the late Government archivist, Helen Elizabeth Rowe.

October 16. Three quarters of general admittance tickets for tomorrow night’s America’s Cup Jam have sold out. Almost all the VIP tickets have also gone for the event headlined by Maxi Priest and Shaggy, organizers announced this morning. A spokesman for Premier Tickets said in a statement: “Everyone has worked tremendously hard to get this event together and it is going to be an amazing night. With the acts that we have and the world-class sound and light system by Great Sound, I think it will be the party of the year.” An AC Jam spokesman stated: “There is limited capacity and without tickets you will not get to see the concert — a mariner’s exclusion zone extending 100 metres from the concert dock will be enforced by the police in order to protect the race boats which will be moored close by, so the best place to see the concert is at the venue.” Two charter boats will be docked at the concert and will act as floating private lounges for ticket holders. The UberVida will be available as a VIP option and will be docked in the VIP section; Calico Jack will be available as a general admittance option, docked in the general admittance area. Boat ticket holders can come on and off their boat throughout the concert. Gates will open at 7pm tomorrow and the concert, at No 1 car park, on Front Street, presented by Fidelity International, will be MCd by Nadanja and Uzimon and opened by Bermudian act The Kings at 7.30pm. Maxi Priest will come on stage at 8.15pm, Spice & Co Soca at 9.30pm and Shaggy at 11.15pm. The venue will close at 1am at the latest. The spokesman added: “We have made sure that the concert is as accessible as possible and a wheelchair viewing area will be available at the border between GA and VIP. However, because of space, we will not be able to allow people to take coolers inside and there will be standing only and no seats. Anyone wanting seating for the concert is encouraged to purchase a VIP ticket or a ticket on UberVida or Calico Jack. We are also taking security very seriously and there will be security checks at all the gates including random bag checks.” The general admittance entrance is at the east end of No 1 car park and the VIP entrance is by the Bird Cage. The VIP area will be open from 7pm and guests will have private bars, private food concession with VIP menus, tables, private bathrooms, beanbag chairs and a chill area. The MEF group will provide food within the VIP area and VIP dinners can be purchased online in advance. Gosling’s will be running several bars inside the secured concert venue and MEF will also provide food within the GA area. The GA area will also include several large TV screens to ensure a great view of the concert at all times. As well as today’s flash sale, tickets can be bought online, the Premier Tickets office in Sofia House, Church Street, next to the General Post Office, and from information booths at the event village on Front Street.

October 16. The initiative to nurture Bermuda’s next generation of sailors was launched yesterday, perhaps fittingly, from the Olde Towne that started the Island’s rich maritime history some four centuries ago. Hundreds turned out in St George’s to celebrate the official opening of the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme, which is anticipated to leave a lasting legacy. Gombey Dancers opened the day’s events with an impressive performance in King’s Square before part of the crowd made its way to the TS Admiral Somers Building — home to the St George’s unit of the Bermuda Sea Cadets Corps as well as the new official home of the America’s Cup Endeavour Community Sailing Programme. New Zealand sailor Sir Russell Coutts, whose vision it was to introduce the programme to Bermuda, looked particularly buoyed as people began gathering for the opening ceremony. He told The Royal Gazette: “When we first started talking about this project we didn’t know what it would become but it has turned out better than any of us had hoped already. It is amazing how many organisations have come out and partnered with it and how far they have come in such a short period of time in terms of getting all the boats together, revamping, getting the course modules set, hiring the staff and so forth. It has been a big undertaking and they are already up and operating. It is one thing to have an idea but it’s a credit to the operational people who have taken an idea and made it happen. This is just the start and I think the Endeavour Programme will grow significantly from here and the objective is to allow all these kids a different experience and a different way of learning. Some of them wouldn’t get this opportunity otherwise.” Dressed to impress in their sailors’ uniforms, the Sea Cadets welcomed dignitaries and race officials with a special drill and ceremony. St George’s mayor Quinell Francis opened the speeches to thank the America’s Cup and say: “As we feel the buzz and excitement surrounding this event, it is great to have the town participating in the festivities.” Michael Dunkley took to the podium to thank Sir Russell for having the confidence in Bermuda to host America’s Cup and then addressed Minister for Economic Development Grant Gibbons whose vision helped secure the Island as host. “Minister Gibbons — when we were sat around the Cabinet table months ago and you said there was an opportunity, some of us looked at you with scepticism, some of us looked at you with enthusiasm. We are here today because of the vision and leadership of Minister Gibbons and [ACBDA chairman] Peter Durhager. This is truly a remarkable event. I believe this programme will have a much longer legacy after that.” After the official business was complete, bright sunshine and favorable winds presented the perfect conditions for the first ever Endeavour races which were launched from the beach at Convict’s Bay. Young participants had the opportunity to sail with world class America’s Cup sailors. As the young Endeavour students returned to the finishing line they gathered on the beach for photos and interviews. Zakai Wolffe, 12, of Dellwood Middle School, who has previously sailed with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, said: “I decided to get involved because there are not many things to do in Bermuda and I love the water. I am following my daddy’s footsteps because he really loves boats. I would love to do sailing professionally and to sail with America’s Cup. Sailing is a great opportunity for you to get a scholarship to go to college and go for it.” Berkeley Institute student Tre Maxwell, 16, got to sail with Oracle sailor Rome Kirby during his race. He said: “This is a big opportunity — you get to see the America’s Cup people and it is a lot of fun. You learn new skills, there is lots of physical work and it’s a really good experience with your friends.” Gabrielle Brackstone, 12, sailed with Artemis sailor Ayden Menzies and came first in the RS Feva class. She has been sailing for about six years with the St George’s Mini Yacht Club. She said: “It’s great because I got to sail with a professional sailor. He told to tighten the main sheet before you go so you get a bigger head start.” Another race saw America’s Cup sailors competing with Bermudians in Bermuda-fitted dinghies. Sadly, the Bermudians capsized and the AC sailors beat them at their own game. The day’s festivities continued back at King’s Square with music, vendors and the grand arrival of the America’s Cup itself — also known as the Auld Mug.

October 16. Bermuda will be thrust into the worldwide media spotlight as festivities surrounding the America’s Cup kick off in Hamilton today. This weekend, the planet’s most prestigious sailing event will take place in Bermuda’s waters for the first time, with thousands set to join in celebrations across the Island. After months of negotiations followed by intensive preparation for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, economic development minister Grant Gibbons urged Bermuda to take its chance to “shine on the world stage. It is very exciting and you can feel the community’s sense of anticipation. It is a great opportunity for Bermuda. We have already had World Series races in Portsmouth, England and Gothenburg, Sweden, but now to have the first one in Bermuda is terrific. Now we’ll start to see what this event is really about.” The event village on Front Street, featuring entertainment and an extended happy hour, will be open from 5pm to 11pm today, with the opening ceremony starting at 8pm. A raft of activities for the weekend includes performances by international artists Maxi Priest and Shaggy, local entertainment, exhibition sailing, vendors, fireworks and world-class racing featuring magnificent AC45 catamarans. Many are pinning hopes on the fact the occasion — and in particular the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 — will provide a huge boost to Bermuda’s economy, especially for the tourism and construction industries, while the Endeavour Community Sailing Programme, launched yesterday, is one legacy that is likely to continue for years to come. Bill Hanbury, chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said: “So far, the America’s Cup is certainly living up to all expectations and already we can see a good result economically. The most exciting part for us is really around the long-term impact of having Bermuda on a global stage, not just this weekend, but for the next year and a half as we roll out this event.” New Zealand sailor Sir Russell Coutts would not be drawn on who he thought might be in with a chance of winning the next race but did say: “All of the teams have got incredible talent but you have got to think that Jimmy Spithill is going to be pretty determined to win this one. People are getting really psyched for this and it is going to be a great party. Bermuda should be very proud.”

October 16. Maxi Priest has described his upcoming performance during the America’s Cup in Bermuda as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” The reggae, soul and pop artist has followed previous America’s Cup races and looks forward to taking in some of the events and sailing action when he is offstage. He is due to perform tomorrow night with his old stage mate Shaggy as part of the America’s Cup Jam at number one car park along with a handful of local artists. The singer, whose real name is Max Elliott, told The Royal Gazette: “I had heard of the America’s Cup before and watched quite a few of these events on TV. It is amazing really when you see these guys operate these boats ... it’s like, wow! It’s magnificent. And to get the opportunity to see it from the inside is also amazing — I got to go to the headquarters to see how they are running everything and saw the amount of people involved; it’s fabulous. I am staying for the next couple of days to be able to experience the event. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so take it.” Maxi, a British-born artist with Jamaican roots, is best known for his hit song, Close to You, which reached number one on the American Billboard charts, making him the first British reggae act to do so. He is also known for Wild World and That Girl which he released with Shaggy in 1996. Maxi has been visiting Bermuda for years — he once performed at the wedding of Bermuda national team cricketer Janeiro Tucker — and has spent the past couple of days catching up with old friends around the Island. I have a lot of friends and beautiful people here. I have been coming here for many, many years — they are like family.” He was last on the Island in 2012 when he performed at the John Lennon Concert organized by Tony Brannon. He performed a song especially for the concert — a cover of The Beatles’ All My Loving. His Bermuda gig comes close to the end of a year of touring, including dates in the UK and US. Asked what we can look forward to during the America’s Cup Jam, Maxi said: “We are going to have a ball. When you come to a Maxi Priest concert it’s about letting your hair down, enjoying yourself and partying. We always try to have the audience participate. We are blessed to have songs that are familiar to folks so they may sing along, shout or scream. That’s the beauty of live — you give of yourself and hopefully you get a good response.” He said he will be performing music from throughout his career including songs from his most recent album Easy To Love. The concert opens at the number one car park with The Kings at 7.30pm followed by Maxi Priest, Spice and Company and Shaggy. The evening will be co-hosted by Nadanja and Uzimon. Tickets to the concert are $100 and there are VIP tickets available for $300. Gates open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

October 16. The Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment has issued a list of points for boaters to follow to have a safe and clean America’s Cup weekend. In a statement released this afternoon, the ministry calls on the boating public to be careful where they anchor, choosing suitable sites like sand holes and avoiding sea grass or coral. “Do not anchor in sea grass or coral and do not let your anchor drag across the bottom as it will cause more damage to the sea bottom communities,” the statement said. “Remember, the bigger the anchor the bigger the potential to damage marine life. Raft up in moderation, by taking the number of anchors set to boats ratio into consideration, so that the whole ‘raft up’ doesn’t overload and drag one anchor. When retrieving the anchor do not haul on the anchor line, steam towards the anchor and pull in the slack line as you move, once the boat is directly over the anchor, haul it up. If you have two anchors out, let slack out on one line while moving towards the other anchor.” Boaters are also warned to be careful when motoring over shallow sea grass beds to prevent leaving propeller scars, obey the “five knot no wake rule” rule when within 100m of the shore and to be on the lookout for turtles. “In the last few years the number of sea turtles killed and injured through jet ski and boat collision has increased,” the statement continued. “Sea turtles must come to the surface every few minutes to breathe. This is when most collisions occur, as the turtles are unable to move out of the way of fast moving vessels. Pay attention — keep a careful watch for sea turtles. If you find an injured sea turtle, please report it to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, telephone 293-2727.” The boating public are also advised to despise of trash responsibly, to use oil absorbent pads to collect oil sheens in bilge water and to avoid discharging wastewater within Hamilton Harbour and Anyone who spots a small oil spill is urged to contact the Department of Environmental Protection at 747-2302, 505-3286 or environmentalengineering@gov.bm. For larger spills, the public are urged to contact Bermuda Radio at Marine VHF #27 or #16, phone number 297-1010 or e-mail dutyofficer@marops.bm.

October 16. A busy racing weekend lies ahead for taxi drivers and other providers of transport, with Hamilton’s hotels sold out and others running at near capacity. Individual dispatch companies and 1609 VIP Executive Transportation are set to collaborate, fielding crowds for the first major round of America’s Cup events on the Island. “It is fair to say there are a lot of people coming to the Island who need transportation via taxis,” an America’s Cup Event Authority spokesman said. “We are looking forward to a busy weekend, for the taxis and also hotels, bars, restaurants and, of course, the vendors in the Event Village.” Last-minute concerns loomed with some drivers expressing confusion at VIP’s role, and sources within the Department of Marine and Ports saying that low-grade industrial action could have an impact on ferry services over the weekend. Marine and Ports workers yesterday renewed a call on Government for the department’s director Lieutenant Commander Richard Russell to be terminated. Bermuda Industrial Union president, Chris Furbert, made the revelation as he announced that staff had decided to lift a “work-to-rule” action yesterday morning. The overtime ban had been imposed this week over concerns about the behavior of Mr Russell that had been raised over a month ago, Mr Furbert told a press conference. Mr Furbert added: “Since Mr Russell arrived here, there have been occasions when he has seen fit to speak to our members in a completely disrespectful way. We went to Cabinet so we could report that we were not satisfied with Mr Russell’s behavior. It has taken some time for Cabinet to look at the concerns we raised and we received a letter from Dr Derrick Binns on October 13. He has looked at our concerns, now Mr Russell has to bring his representation and clearly he has to put his position on these issues. We are very concerned about this situation.” Mr Furbert told the press conference that the original complaint against him had been lodged on September 9, and the timing of the “work-to-rule” action had nothing to do with this weekend’s America’s Cup World Series. “This has absolutely nothing to do with the America’s Cup,” he said. “We made that crystal clear from the start and no services were interrupted. It should not take industrial action for us to get the results we want. I understand timeframes are important. We represent the rights of workers and we understand that Mr Russell has rights too. If he is going to be represented by the BPSU then fine, the process will be followed. However, this process seems to drag its feet.” Mr Furbert said he was not sure how long the “next phase” of the complaint process against Mr Russell would take. Attempts to contact Mr Russell for a response to the union’s claims were unsuccessful.

October 16. Motorists have been urged by the City of Hamilton to move any motorcycles parked on Front Street. Vehicles that remain on Front Street will be moved to Bermudiana Road, the Corporation advised. “The City of Hamilton wishes to inform the public that bike owners should move their vehicles from Front Street immediately,” a spokeswoman stated. “Parking on Front Street was prohibited as of last night due to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda event. However, there are numerous bikes and mopeds currently on Front Street that must be moved immediately. If your vehicle remains on Front Street, it will be moved to Bermudiana Road.”

October 16. Settled and mainly fair weather appears likely for tomorrow, with high pressure bringing moderately strong northerly winds later on Sunday. As of last night, the Bermuda Weather Service predicted showers and possible thunder for late tomorrow, with a chance of wet conditions lingering into early Sunday morning. Meanwhile, a weak cold front sweeping into the area last night is expected to bring slightly cooler temperatures for the race weekend.

October 16. Tiny Heydon Chapel in Somerset, which dates back to the early 1600s, is to mark its refurbishment with a special ceremony at 11.30am tomorrow. The 43-acre Heydon Estate, a largely undeveloped tract of land, is managed by a trust that keeps the chapel open every day for prayer and contemplation. The rough-hewn stone and open beam interior of the chapel reflect its origins as an early Bermudian dwelling, overlooking the Great Sound. Converted to a non-denominational chapel in the 1940s, it displays a simple wooden cross on its exterior. A service of rededication will be held there to celebrate its renovation, with special thanks going to Georgia Benevides of architects Benevides and Associates, Jose Silva and Jose Valadao of JMS General Contractors, and Mark Pacheco of MP Electrics.

October 16. A Walter Mitty character who was known to British authorities under 23 aliases has been jailed for two years. The man, whose real name remains a mystery, was found with a bogus British passport and a bag full of cash when he was detained by police in Bermuda. Officers descended on his home in Hamilton on July 16 and discovered the passport in the name of Alfred Alva Thompson in a suitcase, as well as a bag in the closet containing $63,700. He at first refused to tell police his name, then claimed to be Mr Thompson but remained mute during a formal interview. Further inquiries revealed that he had 23 aliases in the UK. Appearing in Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, he gave the name Billy Odoch and claimed to be a Uganda national. He was due to stand trial for a number of charges alleging possession of false passports and money laundering. Odoch had denied the offences at previous court appearances, but changed his plea at the last minute and admitted possessing a false British passport with intent to induce others to accept it as genuine between December 22, 2013 and July 16, and dishonestly obtaining a Bermuda passport between August 2, 2010 and June 14, 2013. The Crown accepted his plea and did not proceed on the other charges, which included having custody or control of a false British passport without lawful authority between December 22, 2013 and July 16, tendering a false declaration to obtain a Bermuda passport on August 2, 2010, using an irregular Bermuda passport between August 7, 2010, and June 14, 2013 and possessing $63,700, which represented in whole or in part the proceeds of illegal activity, on July 16 this year. Although the Crown dropped the money laundering charge, prosecutor Alan Richards said this will proceed in a civil matter. The conviction brought to an end a bizarre chronology of events that began on July 20, when the defendant first appeared in court and answered to the name Alfred Alva Thompson. Mr Richards said at the time that the man’s identity was not known, with the courts only being sure that he was not Mr Thompson because there was only one Mr Thompson with that name living in Bermuda and he had never traveled abroad or applied for a passport. At his second court appearance on July 29, Odoch’s identity was still uncertain, with alternate names William Gates and Watson Ogon listed on the charge sheet. It was also revealed that he was known to British authorities under 23 different aliases. On Wednesday, the court heard that when the police officers attended Odoch’s residence with a search warrant, he did not give his name and refused to answer questions without a lawyer present. However, during the search he said: “Boss, if you want my name it’s in my suitcase.” The officers recovered the British passport and Odoch told them that he was a Bermudian citizen. But he said he didn’t have a driver’s licence on him and that his Bermuda passport was in the UK. When he was asked to confirm his date of birth, he said: “Why are you asking me if you have my passport right there. I was born in ‘68. You are asking me silly questions.” After being taken to Hamilton Police Station, however, he told officers that he was 45 years old and born in 1976. And when he appeared before magistrate Archibald Warner, he said he was born in 1974. Mr Richards told the court that his true identity still remains unclear. Mr Warner sentenced Odoch to two years in prison on each count, with the sentences to run concurrently. Time already served will not be taken into account.

October 15. A cruise ship worker has been sentenced to two years in prison for conspiring to import cannabis. Appearing in Magistrates’ Court this morning, Lindel Primus pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to import 1,898.5 grams of the controlled drug to Bermuda between a date unknown and September 16. The 30-year-old had denied the offence, as well as possessing the drugs with intent to supply, at a previous court appearance. The Crown today accepted his plea and offered no evidence on the possession charge. Prosecutor Cindy Clarke told the court that Primus — a utility galley worker on board the Norwegian Breakaway — had the drugs in his possession when he attempted to leave the ship on September 16. During a routine pat-down, four packages were found concealed under blue spandex bike shorts and secured with rubber bands. The packages were removed and the police were called. Together with the ship’s security team they searched Primus’ room and recovered a piece of paper containing an e-mail address and password. Ms Clarke said the drugs would have been worth $94,925 if sold on the streets of Bermuda. She added that Primus had admitted to bringing in cannabis successfully twice before. Defence lawyer Susan Moore-Williams told the court that Primus, who resides in Grenada, committed the offence because he “was driven by the desire to assist his family as best as he could”. Primus, who the court heard takes care of five children and his grandmother, also apologized to the courts, saying he had been a fool. “Unfortunately you realized you were a fool when it was too late,” magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said. “You gambled and you lost.” Mr Tokunbo sentenced Primus to two years’ imprisonment with time already served taken into account.

October 15. Airport security authorities have refused to comment on how an aircraft passenger was able to travel across the United States and on to Bermuda with a loaded gun in his baggage. Terry Jasper flew from Salt Lake City to Orlando, and then to Boston, and finally to Bermuda with the .38 Colt revolver in the external compartment of his checked baggage. The Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for security at all US airports, would not say why the weapon remained undetected until Mr Jasper left Bermuda last Sunday. The Royal Gazette asked the TSA whether an investigation had been launched into how the gun remained undiscovered and whether it was concerned that safety procedures had failed to detect it. Instead of answering our questions, TSA spokesman Mike England forwarded this newspaper a link to the body’s website outlining its policies on travelling with firearms, and declined to comment. Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Security also refused to say whether an internal review would take place at the airport to prevent a similar incident happening in the future. A spokeswoman said: “The airport has responsibility for screening outbound passengers and luggage on commercial flights and that process proved successful in this instance in that it did what it was designed to do. Security matters such as the specifics of these procedures are not properly the subject of public comment. Similarly, no comment will be made on the security policies and procedures of other entities involved in other screening programmes.” The spokeswoman would not comment on whether sniffer dogs at LF Wade International were still deployed at the airport or whether they were trained to detect firearms. Mr Jasper, who traveled to Bermuda from Boston on JetBlue last Tuesday to celebrate his wedding anniversary with his wife, was jailed for ten days at court this week after airport security staff discovered the loaded gun as he tried to leave the country. As he was arrested the 52-year-old told police: “It was a stupid mistake. I did not realize it was there.” He went on to tell police that he had put the gun in his bag after a hunting trip and had forgotten it was there. US regulations allow for firearms to be transported on an aircraft around the country so long as the gun is in a hard sided lockable container, ammunition is packed separately and the firearm is declared at check-in. Lawrence Scott, the shadow transport minister, said: “Officially in the US the onus is on the traveller to ensure their baggage does not contain any contraband. If the reports are correct, this individual was transporting a firearm in a manner that is outside of the current regulations, and would generally have been detected by the US Transportation Security Administration at the departure airport. It appears in this case that the fire arm was not detected by the scanning procedures prior to his arrival in Bermuda. Therefore it was most significant and praise worthy that the Bermuda Security Group (BSG) staff at the LF Wade International Airport detected the illegal transportation of a fire arm and reported it. This is a clear signal to all who travel through our airport — Bermudian and visitor alike — that everyone must be personally aware and responsible for all items which they are either carrying or having placed in their personal luggage.”

October 15. By lawyer Ashley Fife is a Senior Associate and a member of the Private Client and Trusts Practice Group at Appleby.  "Thirteen years is a long time in the sphere of offshore legal developments, but the regime introduced by Bermuda’s Trusts (Regulation of Trust Business) Exemption Order during 2002 may remain the most cost effective and flexible framework for private trust companies (PTCs) in the offshore world today. However, the Bermudian government cannot rest on its laurels. Other offshore jurisdictions, which may have less experience with PTCs, are introducing attractive features into their PTC offerings. An express trust is established when a person transfers assets to a trustee to hold for application for one or more beneficiaries or purposes in accordance with specified terms. A PTC is essentially a company that does not solicit trust business from the public and acts as trustee of a trust or trusts that are connected in some way. PTCs are often utilized as part of an international family office structure. A number of international families and businesses may not wish to engage an independent licensed administrator to act as trustee of the trusts they establish. Reasons for this include perceptions that such independent trustees may: not readily appreciate the family’s business objectives or dynamics; be reluctant to implement higher risk investment strategies; or receive information that the family may prefer only to share with existing advisers. Once a PTC is appointed as trustee, the potentially significant costs and inconvenience involved with appointing, and transferring trust assets to, new trustees is thereafter avoided. A PTC typically enables clients to appoint members of the family, business and trusted advisers as directors of the PTC. Consequently, decisions of the PTC are controlled by those who truly understand the client’s family or business. It also enables families the opportunity to structure the involvement of younger generations in decisions relating to the management of family assets, businesses and philanthropic activities. Bermuda’s PTC regime provides flexible planning alternatives and enables clients to determine the extent to which licensed administrators are involved in the PTC’s administration. Many offshore jurisdictions other than Bermuda require that a licensed administrator in the particular jurisdiction provide certain services to the PTC and impose duties on such administrator to monitor the PTC for compliance with the licensing exemption. This may frustrate clients’ objectives and result in additional costs that are passed on to clients. Bermuda PTCs can be established as limited liability companies or companies limited by guarantee. The PTC need not be administered in Bermuda. A minimum of one director is required who need not be resident or licensed to carry on trust business in Bermuda. Meetings of the PTC directors need not take place in Bermuda and decisions may be made by written resolution. If desirable, the Bermuda PTC director may be an unlicensed corporate director situated in Bermuda or elsewhere. All trustees, including PTCs, owe fiduciary and other duties and may consequently be exposed to claims from beneficiaries and other claimants for breaches of those duties. Bermuda PTCs are also required to comply with Bermuda’s anti-money laundering requirements. The use of corporate directors further minimizes the exposure of individual decision-makers who may sit on the board of the corporate director rather than the PTC itself. Reducing the exposure in this way may reduce costs and increase the likelihood that family members or other trusted advisers may be willing to participate in the management of the PTC and the trusts. However, directors of the PTC or its corporate directors remain liable for loss caused to the PTC or the trusts that results from their own dishonesty. Unlike certain other jurisdictions, including several states in the United States, Bermuda PTCs require no minimum level of capital or insurance. Asset protection, confidentiality or other concerns often make it unattractive for clients to directly own shares in a PTC. Historically, this has been managed by a PTC’s shares being owned by the trustee of a purpose trust that has no beneficiaries. Unlike most other jurisdictions, Bermuda purpose trusts do not require the appointment of a person to enforce the purpose trust, thus minimizing complexity and cost. A PTC may be established as a company limited by guarantee if clients do not wish to utilise a purpose trust in a PTC structure. A company limited by guarantee is a non-profit company that does not have shareholders. It has members, which guarantee payment of a certain sum to the company in order to discharge the company’s liabilities upon liquidation. The amount guaranteed may be nominal. Where a client’s planning objectives permit, the directors of the guarantee company may be its only members. Other jurisdictions, such as Guernsey and Jersey, permit private trust foundations (PTFs) to perform the same functions of a PTC. Such foundations do not have owners. However, unlike Bermuda PTCs, such PTFs require licensed administrators to perform certain functions in respect of the PTFs. It is anticipated that Bermuda will introduce PTFs in the near future that do not have this requirement. Bahamian law now permits the creation of executive entities (BEEs). Unlike most foundations, BEEs may only hold assets incidental to their purposes. BEEs do not have beneficial owners or shareholders and may themselves be the shareholders or members of a PTC. However, BEEs may not be designed to act as PTCs and it appears they are not being used for this purpose. Bermuda law does not prohibit BEEs or foundations established in other jurisdictions from owning shares or being members of Bermuda PTCs. Bermuda’s experience and its flexible, cost-effective regime for PTCs remains a key component of an international family office notwithstanding some innovative developments in other offshore jurisdictions." This column should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice. Before proceeding with any matters discussed here, persons are advised to consult with a lawyer.

October 15. Top executives of global giants are to jet in to Bermuda for the first Island America’s Cup races this weekend, America’s Cup supremo Sir Russell Coutts said yesterday. Sir Russell said top executives from America’s Cup sponsors Louis Vuitton, luxury car maker BMW and US TV station NBC would be visiting the Island for the first time for the World Series races — which would help put the Island on the map, not just for tourism, but for business as well. He added: “There are going to be a lot of important guests coming in this weekend, many of them seeing Bermuda for the first time. There’s a long list and it’s a fantastic thing. People think of Bermuda as an island in the Caribbean but it’s very different from the Caribbean and in a very nice way.” And Sir Russell said: “I think the trickle-down effect won’t be recognized instantly, but by the close of 2017 everyone will see it. There are so many things this event will bring — it will be a fantastic thing for the Island.” Sir Russell was speaking as he opened wholesaler Butterfield & Vallis’ trade show yesterday. He said: “This is about the America’s Cup too, whether it’s the importer bringing in goods or people on press trips, all of that forms part of the America’s Cup. Everybody focuses on the racing, but there is all the other activity around it as well. There will be lots of things happening around the Cup that will make it a festival of the sport and this event is in keeping with the America’s Cup programme. We set out with the objective from day to put back into the community and, step by step, that’s happening.” Sir Russell said this weekend’s World Series races would give dozens of Bermuda businesses a showcase and a chance to boost income. He added: “There are so many other spin-offs and people are starting to recognise it, although they won’t see it until the event unfolds and they start to see the scale of the event.” The Butterfield & Vallis trade show at the Hamilton Princess showcased nearly 50 suppliers of foodstuffs to Butterfield & Vallis from North America and Europe. Minister for Economic Development Dr Grant Gibbons said: “Their timing was great — it’s a good weekend to bring suppliers in. Hopefully, they will go back and say what an exciting weekend they have had in Bermuda. It’s the kind of thing we need from a business perspective. The America’s Cup is providing greater visibility — people are talking about Bermuda and taking about Bermuda in a very positive way. There were very few major sporting events Bermuda could host due to the Island’s size. To have something which is as well-known as the America’s Cup, to have it based here and Bermuda called the home of the 2017 America’s Cup is great across a whole range of sectors. It’s already having an impact across various sectors of business. People tended to think of the event as tourism-related — but that the demand from sponsors and teams for a wide range of services would benefit the Island economy. This trade show is just another example of how local businesses working with suppliers and others will increase confidence and revenue opportunities over the next couple of years. Nearly 60 small Bermudian businesses would be involved in the weekend’s racing as vendors in the hospitality area. They will get visibility and get customer traffic as well. As it works through the community, it will provide the knock-on effect we are looking for.” American Chris Rider was on his first visit to Bermuda to promote food company Rich Products, based in Buffalo, New York State, which produces whipped toppings, cakes doughnuts, flatbreads and pizza. He said: “I got here two days ago and I’m staying at Coco Reef and having a phenomenal time so far. I’m staying for the weekend to see some of the festivities and all Bermuda has to offer.”

October 15. Taxi drivers, some of whom felt “left out of the loop” in advance of this weekend’s America’s Cup activities, held a standing-room only meeting this evening to discuss how to participate. The Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators Association (BTOA) gathered at Warwick Workman’s Club to discuss how their members would coordinate the transportation of special guests with 1609 VIP Executive Transportation. VIP, a corporate concierge company, was said to have been given a contract in connection with the events of the weekend. “They have not really included the taxi industry with this award,” one driver told The Royal Gazette. The Bermuda Tourism Authority, America’s Cup Event Authority held taxi industry briefings last week ahead of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda. The driver described these as “last-minute presentations to appease the public”. However, this evening one of the drivers said that the meeting had “all worked out well.” A spokeswoman for VIP said that while she did not attend the meeting itself, the company had worked with local taxi operators and dispatchers to ensure that drivers are given opportunities. “We collaborated with the taxi companies and the dispatch companies,” she said. “We have registered taxis from all of the taxi services, and fees were waived in good faith for this event, but taxis did have to register. We have our taxis registered and we are good to go. We are happy to come together to make this event a success.” According to VIP’s website, a variety of services ranging from airport trips to sightseeing are on offer, “to ensure that you do not spend unnecessary time in the morning, afternoon or evening making arrangements to do routine chores.” The website also has a section which allows taxi operators to register with the company.

October 15. The enthusiasm of children looking to participate in the America’s Cup legacy sailing programme Endeavour is palpable, according to Minister for Economic Development Grant Gibbons. The free community initiative, aimed predominantly at local children between the ages of 9 and 12, is being marked by an Endeavour Day ceremony in St George’s today along with a raft races, events and entertainment. The America’s Cup has invited more than 500 children to mark the official opening of the America’s Cup Endeavour Community Sailing Programme, and each child will have the opportunity to go out on taster sessions on the allocated boats throughout the day. While all eyes are on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda due to take place this weekend, a historic event for the Island, Dr Gibbons is excited about the legacy the youth programme will have for years to come. He told The Royal Gazette: “I think we are going to have a terrific legacy programme here. I think about New Zealand after the couple of America’s Cups they have had. Winning the Cup and having the events there really took sailing to another level in New Zealand. Hopefully at some point Bermuda will have some young sailors coming out of this who will participate in some of these teams. I have seen the enthusiasm in the younger sailors who are perhaps experiencing this for the first time and they are so excited. The programme is absolutely fantastic and is the vision of Sir Russell Coutts. He is very passionate about it and this is the most extensive youth programme the America’s Cup has ever done.” St George’s officially opens to Endeavour Day at 12pm with a full raft of events to take place, culminating in a performance by Gombey Dancers at 7.20pm. Following the official opening of the TS Admiral Somers Building, the home of the Sea Cadets and the official home of the Endeavour programme, there will be a number of races that can be viewed from Ordnance Island. These include the Endeavour race on RS Feva boats, hobies and bics, a Bermuda pilot gig exhibition race and a race in traditional Bermuda fitted dinghies with America’s Cup teams competing against Bermudian sailors. 

October 15. One-way traffic will temporarily be in effect on Harbour Road between Manse Road and Stowe Hill for vehicles travelling toward Hamilton this weekend. The closure for the America’s Cup World Series Races is effective from 1pm to 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday. One-way traffic will also be in effect on The Lane between Stowe Hill and North Roundabout for traffic travelling toward Hamilton. No traffic therefore will be permitted to travel away from Hamilton on Harbour Road and The Lane between North Roundabout and Manse Road. According to the Ministry of Public Works, parking will be permitted on the northern side (water side) of Harbour Road between Manse Road and Lovers Lane. Parking will not be permitted on Manse Road and either side of Chapel Road. Drivers are also reminded that it is prohibited to park on sidewalks.

October 15. If the loss of vital funding, the right to host next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and a team shake up is having a detrimental impact on Emirates Team New Zealand, then they are certainly not showing it. Team New Zealand have endured their fair share of setbacks off the water which, at one stage, left their 35th America’s Cup campaign teetering on the brink. On the water, however, a completely different story has been unfolding with Emirates Team New Zealand leading the overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series pecking order heading into this week’s Bermuda leg. “Things have not been that easy for the last couple of years but if it was easy then everybody would do it and be involved in the America’s Cup,” Glenn Ashby, the Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman/sailing team director, said. “It’s not an easy game and it’s a hard one to win but hopefully we are putting the pieces together now, particularly in the last few months that can help us go ahead and be successful in 2017.” The Kiwis, the only team to have been in the top three in every race so far, knocked Land Rover BAR off the top with victory at the previous World Series event in Gothenburg. They will now be looking to build on that momentum when America’s Cup racing takes place in Bermuda for the first time with a star-studded sailing team backed by tremendous support staff back at the boatshed. “We need to have the best guys to sail the yacht and on the actual America’s Cup side of things you have to have a good design team that can provide a good yacht,” Ashby said. “I think we are very fortunate that we have a great group of guys on and off the water.” In 24-year-old Peter Burling the Kiwis have unearthed a gem. The youngest helmsman on the cup circuit helped guide the Kiwis to second and first in the first two legs of the World Series and along with Emirates Team New Zealand team-mate Blair Tuke has won 20 consecutive regattas in the 49er. It is a phenomenal streak stretching back to the pair’s silver medal display at the 2012 London Olympics which went some way towards them being nominated this week for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year for the second successive time. Ashby has also been in the limelight lately, capturing a ninth A-Class World Championships title in Punta Ala, Italy, last month, his sixteenth world title overall. “We’ve got some excellent guys on the team and it does rub off on everyone,” Ray Davies, the Emirates Team New Zealand tactician, said. “It just picks everyone up and creates a really good atmosphere to be working in. It’s infectious.” Although the results of late have been encouraging, Davies said there is always room for improvement as the Kiwis bid to regain the “Auld Mug” which they surrendered to Swiss Challenger Alinghi in 2003. “We’re in great shape at the moment and we want to keep that momentum going,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of good regattas but we are still learning a lot, so we have been analyzing everything we’ve done so far and we’ve still got a lot to improve on. We are just going to try and keep chipping away and make sure we are diligent in our debriefs and always have an attitude of learning.” Ashby, who won the 33rd America’s Cup with Oracle Team USA’s forerunner BMW Oracle Racing, is champing at the bit for World Series Bermuda racing to get under way. “I was here in May for a few days to have a look around,” he said. “But coming here this time to race with the guys on the AC45F for the World Series is a real pleasure and we’re looking forward to getting out on the course and sailing on the waters of Bermuda.”

Emirates Team New Zealand

America's Cup Emirates Team New Zealand

October 15. Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves is to be reappointed to the Supreme Court on a part-time basis for two years, effective January 1, 2016, Government House announced this afternoon. Earlier in the summer Mr Justice Greaves, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in January 2005, had announced plans to step down this month. Governor George Fergusson declared himself “delighted” to have Mr Justice Greaves remain on a half-time basis. “He has served with distinction in this role over the past ten and a half years, and I know that his experience will continue to be a great asset to the judiciary,” Mr Fergusson added. The appointment came with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Services Committee, which was set up by the Governor in 2013 to advise him on constitutional responsibilities relating to the Island’s judiciary. Before his 2005 appointment, Mr Justice Greaves was the Acting Senior Magistrate of Bermuda from 2001 to 2004, and a magistrate of the Family Court from 1998 to 2001. During his time in Barbados he served as a Criminal Court Magistrate from 1992 to 1998, Crown counsel in the office of the Solicitor General from 1988 to 1989, and as a prosecutor in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions from 1989 to 1992.

October 15. Consumers are demanding cleaner and greener food, one of the Island’s major wholesalers said yesterday. Alun Hughes, general manager of Butterfield & Vallis, said: “There is definitely a trend towards no pesticides, non-genetically modified and as organic as possible and that’s also now transferring into packaging. “We have 100 per cent compostable coffee cups and covers, for example. Whatever it might be, the cleaner and greener the better.” Mr Hughes was speaking at the end of the Butterfield & Vallis trade show, held at the Hamilton Princess. More than 250 customers of the firm toured exhibits by nearly 50 suppliers to the firm, from Europe and North America. And Butterfield & Vallis, an official supplier to the America’s Cup, got a touch of sporting glamour as the famous trophy was on display and America’s Cup Event Authority chief Sir Russell Coutts opened the show. Mr Hughes said: “The suppliers represent the most popular items that the Island regularly uses. “We are very excited that we’re official suppliers to the America’s Cup — we think it’s great for the Island and the hotel and restaurant industry. For us to play a small part in that is spectacular — we’re delighted.” Mr Hughes predicted that the America’s Cup, which will stage the World Series races this weekend, would be a shot in the arm for the economy. He said: “I think there are encouraging signs. We have a very positive outlook generally and we’re encouraged — the America’s Cup is potentially very exciting for the Island.” Butterfield & Vallis used the show to launch its new loyalty initiative, called “a sporting chance.” Hosted on its storefront online ordering service, the scheme offers customers the chance to take part in a monthly raffle draw, with sports-themed prizes on offer for achieving the required number of reward points.

October 15. A book about the deadly 1977 riots that is set to go on sale later this month has received an “unprecedented amount” of interest. The book launch of Island Flames, which delves into the murders, executions, chronic race problems and UK foreign policy that surrounded the riots, is expected to be the biggest for several years. “We have received an unprecedented amount of customer interest for this title and it promises to be the largest book launch here in Bermuda for several years,” said Nicole Warren, general manager at Brown & Co, where the book launch will take place. “Brown & Co is delighted to once again be working with author Jonathan Smith on the release of his second book, Island Flames.” Mr Smith said: “On the eve of the launch, it seems clear that this book has struck a chord among many here and overseas. The calls, messages and online feedback have leaned heavily favorable. It is clear to those who were involved in getting this book to market, that the subject matter is of immense interest. It is clear that when Bermudians collaborated on Island Flames to produce a web presence, an active Facebook identity, combined with online serialization and a promotional video they broke some new ground for the marketing of a local book.” Mr Smith also announced that part of the proceeds raised from sales will be donated to programmes that promote reading among the school-aged population in Bermuda. “If we encourage reading, we promote the assimilation of knowledge, enquiry and critical thinking,” he added. A book launch will be held at The Bookmart in Brown & Co at 6.30pm on October 21.

October 15. The bygone Bermuda of 1907 has returned to life in the pages of a new work of historical fiction, Twain’s End, by the United States author Lynn Cullen. The novel imagines the romantic life between celebrated American scribe Mark Twain and Isabel Lyon, his secretary, drawing on Twain’s writings and letters as well as Lyon’s diary. A keen traveller, Twain first came to the Island in 1867 and returned several times thereafter — lingering for months at a time up until his death in 1910. Making eight trips here, Twain once famously quipped: “You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay right here in Bermuda.” Thus, readers of Ms Cullen’s latest book are taken to The Princess Hotel of January 1907, in a Bermuda of horse-drawn transportation on roads of crushed limestone, in which many of the businesses lining Front Street are wooden. Twain reminisces how the Island recalls his birthplace of Florida, Missouri. The chapter closes with a trip to Devil’s Hole, where the author exhorts locals in the shade of a cedar tree to “never, ever regret anything that makes you smile.”. Out this month from Gallery Books, an imprint of publishers Simon and Schuster, the novel is available at the Bermuda Book Store on Queen Street.

October 15. Bermuda Hospitals Board has apologized and paid compensation to a widower whose late wife was given a substance which was the subject of public health warnings and may have contributed to her death. Allan DeSilva has battled BHB for three years to get it to accept responsibility for injecting his wife Sylvia, a diabetic who had kidney disease, with a contrast dye containing gadolinium in 2008 at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital — despite warnings issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 and 2007. Mrs DeSilva died on August 7, 2012, after developing nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), which the FDA says can occur in patients with kidney disease who have an MRI scan with a gadolinium-based contrast agent and can cause death. “I want my story to be told so that this will never ever happen again to another person,” Mr DeSilva, 80, told The Royal Gazette. “My main aim is not to sue the hospital, not to take aim. It’s to make this hospital more accountable and responsible for their patients. Even three years after her death, I feel the effect. I still think she’s there. When I go home at night I dream about her. I think she’s calling me.” Mrs DeSilva was given gadolinium-based dye four times for a series of MRI scans — once at KEMH in 2005 before the FDA’s warnings, twice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and finally at KEMH on March 26, 2008. The substance is administered to give a clear view inside veins and arteries. She was diagnosed with NSF after becoming largely bedridden and finding it painful to move her joints. The tissue beneath her arms and legs tightened and the disease attacked her eyes. The couple went public about her debilitating illness in 2010, accusing both hospitals of ignoring the FDA warnings and urging them to pay for the best treatments possible. There is no cure or consistently successful treatment for NSF. Mrs DeSilva’s condition worsened and she died three years ago, aged 72, leaving her husband and daughter Donna bereft. Mr DeSilva continued to press BHB to admit it had failed his wife, asking for compensation for his loss. “To go through what we did with my family, the pain was unbearable,” he said. “To watch my wife die in the way she did, it’s unimaginable that anyone should go through that.” The board insisted Mr DeSilva prove gadolinium played a part in his wife’s death, prompting him to find a pathologist in the US to review the autopsy carried out on her by KEMH. That doctor analyzed tissue samples and found gadolinium deposits in her heart, skin, diaphragm, stomach, liver, lung and kidney. Jerrold Abraham, professor of pathology at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, concluded: “Gadolinium is known to be a toxic material and it has been shown experimentally to enhance fibrosis and calcification. Thus I am confident that Mrs DeSilva’s gadolinium exposure and NSF contributed to some extent to the worsening of her [kidney] disease and to her death.” BHB — which insisted in 2010 that its “treatments and scans at the hospital follow best practice, evidence-based medicine” — has admitted that Mrs DeSilva appears to have developed NSF through the administration of a gadolinium-based dye, which she could not excrete because she suffered from kidney failure, and that a symptom of the NSF was calcification of her heart. Her death certificate gives NSF as one of the causes of death, as well as calcification. BHB’s lawyer Allan Doughty said in a letter to Mr DeSilva’s lawyer Alan Dunch in July last year: “The BHB does confirm that the advanced state of calcification in and around Mrs DeSilva’s heart significantly contributed to her death.” He said the alleged breach of BHB’s duty of care towards Mrs DeSilva was confined to March 26, 2008, accounting for 25 per cent of her overall exposure to the dye. In March this year, Mr Doughty wrote that though BHB did not formally admit liability, it apologized and was willing to make an offer of full and final settlement. An amount was agreed upon in May, though Mr DeSilva can’t disclose the figure due to a confidentiality agreement. It is understood to be a low six-figure sum. “The amount of money they offered me was, to me, an insult as to what we should have gotten if we were overseas. They offered me a minuscule amount — it’s crazy. The way that the hospital treated me for three years, they sort of held me to ransom to say ‘you have to have the burden of proof’. That’s what hurt me the most, after what I had to endure with my wife.” The widower, who was married for 52 years, set up Bermuda Healthcare Advocacy Group in 2012 in an attempt to hold the Island’s only hospital to account. The pressure group aims to raise awareness about the use of unnecessary medications and highlight cases of medical negligence. “Because of the way the hospital treated me, it made me think does this happen all of the time,” said Mr DeSilva. “How many other people in Bermuda go through the suffering that I went through in order to get them to admit their wrongdoing?” A BHB spokeswoman said last night: “BHB can confirm it has a policy in place regarding the use of gadolinium and it was implemented in 2008, after the FDA warning. We have worked with Mr DeSilva regarding his wife’s experience and on the use of gadolinium, and we continue to review our policy and processes to reflect the latest evidence. Details around Mrs DeSilva’s experience cannot be disclosed to the media by BHB as they relate to the individual, but this information has been discussed with Mr DeSilva. We certainly feel great compassion for Mrs Sylvia DeSilva and her family, and we are sorry for the DeSilva family’s loss.” Brigham and Women’s Hospital agreed a settlement with Mr DeSilva two years ago.

October 14. Firearms officers will join a full complement of marine craft and Regiment soldiers to police the waters of the Great Sound for this weekend’s America’s Cup World Series Bermuda. More than 20 policemen and women, including armed officers and doctors, will be on patrol in the five Marine Unit power craft around the racecourse to ensure the spectacle goes smoothly. Police have also warned drone owners to respect the no-fly zone around the Great Sound and the west of the Island during the race or face being hauled before the courts. “At present there are five licensed drone operators in Bermuda, but we believe there are hundreds of people with drones,” said Inspector Robert Cardwell, who is responsible for roads policing and marine units. “It’s very important that everyone who owns a drone understands that they are absolutely prohibited over and around the Great Sound for obvious safety reasons. There will be a helicopter flying in the area for the duration of the event and our priority is the crew’s safety as well as those on the water. If we locate a drone we will deploy land assets to locate the controller and they can expect to be put before Magistrates’ Court and face substantial penalties. Given the popularity of this pursuit, I imagine we will see more legislation regulating drone activity in the future.” The no-fly zone over the Great Sound and the west of the Island came into operation on Monday and will remain in force until sunset on Sunday evening. Meanwhile, preparations continued in Hamilton this week for the World Series races that begin on Saturday in the Great Sound. Inspector Cardwell told The Royal Gazette: “It is a huge operation. A lot of people will take to the water and we must ensure people enjoy it safely. We will be supporting the Royal Bermuda Regiment and racecourse marshals with a total of 21 officers. Hamilton Harbour will have a five-knot limit at all times and boats are prohibited from following the racing catamarans at any time. We will have firearms officers on hand as part of our team as well as a scuba capacity on the water. There will also be a medical capacity of two doctors and EMTs.”

October 14. Two of the Island’s leading real estate agents have seen a “huge uptake” in business on the back of the America’s Cup. Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty has seen a 32 per cent increase in the number of properties in the first nine months of 2015 compared to last year, while Rego Sotheby’s International Realty enjoyed a boost of about 25 per cent according to its baseline figures. Both companies have created special web portals to deal specifically with America’s Cup-related business. Coldwell is actively seeking new short-term rental inventory to meet demand as interest is already being expressed for rentals for the 35th America’s Cup 2017, while Rego said that some 30 homes it has rented could likely be attributed to Oracle USA and associated parties alone. Penny MacIntyre, executive vice-president at Rego Sotheby’s International Realty, told The Royal Gazette: “It is a wonderful time for real estate in Bermuda. This uptake is partly being spawned by people’s confidence in hotel tourism ­— hotel tourism is very vibrant now with international brands and developers taking interest. “World Series are great as smaller events but the 35th America’s Cup is expected to be the pinnacle of activity for sailing. All the hotels are sold out now so you can anticipate that for 2017 certainly that demand will spill into private residences. I think if we execute this well people will want to stay on land before they stay on a cruise ship.” Kendra Mello, general manager for Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty, said that the company had seen a particular growth in demand for its three-bedroom family homes priced between $5,000 and $8,000 per month; waterfront properties; one bedroom units in central locations; and city living. While she believes that the real estate industry is clearly riding the wave of the America’s Cup, much of the increase can be attributed to a general growing confidence in Bermuda’s economy. She said: “The broader impact that the event has brought to Bermuda centres around a renewed confidence in the Island economy and has reinvigorated external interest in Bermuda and what it has to offer. As an indirect result, we have seen an increase in the number of real estate transactions, both rental and sales, taking place over recent years. Comparatively, for instance, we saw a 32 per cent increase in the number of properties rented between January and September 2015 over the same period in 2014. The average days on market for well-priced rental inventory is currently less than 90 days indicating that leasing activity remains strong. It has created a ripple effect that has had a positive effect on real estate. People are looking to book ahead for 2017 and we are actively seeking short-term rental inventory for that very reason.” An initial surge in interest in the Dockyard area, where the 2017 event village will be located, was followed by interest in the central parishes, said Ms MacIntyre. “You can certainly see Dockyard has been buzzing. You also have people looking more centrally such as Warwick and Paget as they may have families. Southampton was a high request location being just a 15 to 20-minute drive out to Dockyard. There has been no real movement in St George’s because of the location. We have had an increase in interest from Hamilton west: still not all the way to Dockyard. Those coming to work with the teams still want to be somewhere central where they have children and families. I think that the impact on the market is broad-ranging.” Ms MacIntyre said that homeowners should waste no time if they plan to improve their properties to make them more attractive to potential tenants. “If people didn’t know Bermuda existed, it is certainly good in that sense both in terms of tourism and most definitely for exposure for real estate. Now is a good time to pay attention to what you own. Get advice on appropriate pricing; don’t price yourself out of the market; be realistic. Balance it knowing you are in a competitive market and there are people who are going to be doing the same as you are doing. Time it right. Understand contractors and architects are already getting booked up.”

October 14. Unlicensed advertising that would unfairly exploit the America’s Cup is restricted by a protective order issued by economic development minister Grant Gibbons. Dr Gibbons said in a statement: “The order is tailored and necessary to prevent unauthorized commercial exploitation of the Louis Vuitton World Series event and the 35th America’s Cup, particularly since the event village and certain on-the-water areas around the race course will be open to the public. Restrictions are required in order to protect the commercial interests of the America’s Cup Event Authority and any of its designated commercial partners from “ambush marketing” — an issue that has arisen in previous America’s Cup events and other international sporting events. An example of ambush marketing would include actively promoting brands that are not official sponsors of the event. The order is also necessary to protect the interest of the 59 local individuals and small businesses who have paid to exhibit their goods and/or provide goods and services in connection with the staging of the event.“ The special order prohibits the exhibition or distribution of any advertisement in any public place within a defined area along the waterfront, unless authorized in writing by the America’s Cup Event Authority. The Order also covers business proprietors and operators working from a permanent structure within the restricted area, who will be prohibited from exhibiting, on or attached to the permanent structure, any advertisement that is clearly visible from anywhere within the restricted area or the race course area — and which is outside the scope of that person’s normal course of business; or appears to be an attempt to associate with the event, unless authorized in writing by the America’s Cup Event Authority. The Order also covers advertisements on watercraft that are clearly visible from the restricted area or race course area unless authorized in writing by the America’s Cup Event Authority.

October 14. Bermuda-based insurer Ironshore has been named the official insurer for Oracle Team USA for the 35th America’s Cup. Ironshore will provide comprehensive insurance coverage for the team, from the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda regatta, taking place this weekend, through the America’s Cup finals in Hamilton, Bermuda in June 2017. “Ironshore is pleased to be a sponsor and the official insurer of Oracle Team USA, defender of the 35th America’s Cup,” Mitch Blaser, chief operating officer of Ironshore and chief executive officer of Ironshore’s Bermuda office. “Hosting the America’s Cup in 2017 will be a fantastic achievement for Bermuda with legacy benefits for years to come. We are proud to support Bermuda and Oracle Team USA during this extraordinary chapter in Bermuda’s history.” Ironshore, a Bermuda-based specialty insurance firm established on the Island in 2006, provides specialty property and casualty insurance products. As the official insurer for the Oracle team, Ironshore’s coverage includes marine, cargo, travel, umbrella liability, property, casualty and personal accident insurance. The Oracle team’s operations are based in Dockyard and its team of sailors, designers, shore crew and support personnel live and train in Bermuda in preparation for the finals in 2017. “We’re happy to partner with Ironshore, a company that knows Bermuda and understands the industry we work in,” Grant Simmer, general manager and chief operating officer for Oracle Team USA, said. “Ironshore has tailored its coverage to protect our risks both on and off the Island, giving us peace of mind as we continue our preparations to defend the America’s Cup in 2017.”

October 14. A bird’s-eye view of the first Bermuda America’s Cup races is on offer this weekend. For new company Blue Sky Flights is offering aerial packages and the best seats in the house as the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda races get under way. Blue Sky Flights pilot Heather Nicholds said: “We have really just started for this weekend and we will be offering this when they have races on the Island. “It’s a really great way to see the races because you can the whole thing as it goes past you.” Blue Sky Flights also offers a series of tourism packages, including specialized tours — but expects a spike in clients with the lure of the America’s Cup, with flights available from Friday to Sunday. Ms Nicholds, 33, who has been flying since she was a teenager, said: “We are definitely hoping people will be interested in going up to see the races from overhead. “We offer lots of different tours and packages, but this is one way to have a very special experience of the America’s Cup.” The firm’s four-seater Cessna 172 has recently come back into service after passing the tough annual air operating certificate in May. Ms Nicholds said: “We have a few different pricing packages available for the America’s Cup — we’re working on custom packages for this weekend.” The Canadian-born pilot said she had already been stunned by the beauty of the Island on previous flights. Ms Nicholds added: “Bermuda is beautiful — it’s amazing to see the crystal clear water from overhead. It’s just amazing. You can see a bit of it landing at the airport, but only briefly then you’ve landed. To be able to fly around the Island and to see it that way, it gives you a really good perspective on how everything fits together and how beautiful it is here.” For more information and packages and prices, contact Ms Nicholds on 516 3305 or visit blueskyflights.bm or islandtourcentre.com.

October 14. A US Army captain who came to Bermuda at the beginning of the Second World War with his units has died at the age of 104. Fred Clipper was posted to the Island to protect the country as well as the shipping supply convoys from enemy submarines lurking in the Atlantic. Within a year of his deployment he married Bermudian Rosemary Champness and went on to start a family and call the Island home. Mr Clipper was born in Baltimore, Maryland and was 32 when he arrived in Bermuda on May 7, 1942 as part of the US Army artillery division. He went on to work at the airport initially for Bermuda Aviation Services and then became the operations manager for Air Canada before retiring at 65. He was renowned for three decades of work with the Red Cross that continued well beyond his 100th birthday — their headquarters on Point Finger Road is named after him. Mr Clipper also volunteered for Bermuda Physically Handicapped Association, Meals on Wheels and the Centenarian Transport programme. He passed away on Sunday at his Paget home. 

October 14.  The recreational drug MDMA — known as ecstasy or molly — has undergone a resurgence in use on the Island, according to sources. Despite its old associations with nightclubs and concerts, the drug, which runs the risk of containing any number of other drugs or fillers, may have caught on as a cheap high. “Traditionally, people in Bermuda took weed and smoked cocaine, but MDMA is becoming popular because it’s cheaper,” one source told The Royal Gazette. Tablets purporting to contain the drug were selling for $15 to $20 each, the source said, although its price varies according to the usual laws of supply and demand — the size of shipments coming in, and how many people were seeking it at a particular time. Sandy Butterfield, the director of the addiction service Focus Counseling, confirmed that MDMA had risen in use. “I’m seeing clients now that are testing positive for MDMA — I’ve been seeing this change in the past two or three years,” she said. The drug was one ordinarily linked more with “one culture than another”, she said: “Younger people, maybe those that have a bit more money.” Another source said the trade in MDMA, which has taken place largely under the police radar, had proven lucrative for dealers able to import the drug. However, part of their profit came from the fact that the product being sold was highly adulterated. “Drugs are dangerous — you never know what you’re getting, and you can’t see what’s going on inside your body when you take whatever,” Ms Butterfield said. “It’s becoming more predominant. I guess children are seeing what they want to see and not the danger.” A third person who spoke with this newspaper said the drug “comes in rock form.” Some are ground up and placed in capsules; in other cases, users swallow pieces wrapped in cigarette papers, or wash it back with alcohol. “It’s been big the last couple of years,” the source added. The health effects of MDMA, especially its long-term abuse, have been disputed, but the synthetic drug has amphetamine-like effects that can be harmful for anyone with heart or circulatory problems. “You can overdose on it — there’s the potential for high blood pressure, anxiousness, panic attacks or seizure,” Ms Butterfield said. Combining the drug with other drugs, particularly alcohol, is unwise and potentially dangerous, according to the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse.

October 14.  RG Editorial. "All too often Bermuda’s politicians and their surrogates like to style themselves as the shark-oil barometers of the public mood. But, just as often, they are actually attempting to manipulate popular sentiment rather than simply measure and mirror it. The threatening conditions that they now claim endanger the lives and livelihoods of Bermudians on an almost daily basis are routinely exaggerated for dramatic effect and perceived political leverage. The occasional apocalyptic forecasts of socioeconomic hurricanes poised to visit imminent devastation on the community have proved to be only about as reliable as Chicken Little’s weather reports. As the poet said, most of the shadows in this life are caused by us deliberately manufacturing excuses to block our own sunshine. Too many of Bermuda’s politicians have taken this line of reasoning to its logical, and most destructive, extreme: they now attempt to permanently eclipse the sun with never-ending parades of dark clouds they contend are marching across the sky. Consequently, the genuine issues confronting us — and there are no shortage of them — are too often overshadowed by the passing hoopla and hysteria surrounding the fabricated ones. Having politicians attempt to goad and guide public opinion to further their own electoral ends is an unavoidable by-product of living in an overly politicized culture. And permanent campaigning is now a permanent feature of the Bermudian scene. In Bermudian politics, there has always been a degree of jockeying for position, of putting party political interests ahead of the public interest — certainly since the introduction of the Westminster system in the 1960s. But, given the advent of a 24/7 news cycle on an Island where it is all too easy to pass trivia off as an attention-grabbing sensation, the concurrent rise of social media and the growing popularity of politics as a spectator sport (and a blood sport), it is increasingly evident that politicians are more interested in manipulating public opinion than in heeding it. More’s the pity. Simplistic slogans, simple-minded dogmas and an endless series of contrived standoffs between the Island’s two political parties are not substitutes for good governance and public accountability. The parties can still fool — and mislead — some of the people some of the time. However, a growing number of Bermudians have had their fill of political floorshows and empty-headed grandstanding. Increasingly, Bermuda’s electorate is looking to the Island’s politicians to come up with pragmatic measures for addressing the raft of urgent practical matters to hand: a stalled economy, stubborn pockets of unemployment and underemployment, the affordability and very sustainability of many of our public services. Statesmanship rather than cheap showmanship and gamesmanship is what is being called for. There are few disagreements among serious-minded Bermudians, regardless of party affiliation, when it comes to what our priorities should be. Most everybody wants to see economic retrenchment and recovery, and the greatest possible opportunity for all Bermudians to fulfill their potential. Most everybody wants a compassionate and tolerant society, one dedicated to guaranteeing individual rights and dismantling the racial and cultural barriers separating Bermudians. And everybody without exception cherishes our children’s futures and wants them to inherit a well-ordered, harmonious and vibrant Island. But too often our parties are being used as a delivery system for what have rightly been called “Weapons of Mass Distraction”: malicious misrepresentations and serial distortions, divisive rhetoric and cynical obstructionism, all intended to enhance the parties’ own electability rather than advance the public interest. The reality is that the selfish partisan interests of Bermuda’s political parties are not ends in themselves. Rather, our parties are supposed to provide the means for intelligent, committed and socially responsible men and women to serve their community in turbulent and uncertain times. Our parties are supposed to provide the means for ensuring Bermuda’s people enjoy better lives and brighter, more secure futures. And, ultimately, our parties are supposed to be instruments of the popular will, not vehicles for coaxing and corralling it. Just as barometers sometimes need a sharp tap before they will provide a proper reading, it’s now up to Bermudians to give their elected officials the occasional swift kick to the intellect so they will do what’s required of them."

October 14. Bermudian students are being offered scholarships by Pittsburgh Technical Institute thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Workforce Development. A $5,000 scholarship is being offered for all students pursuing a 12-month certificate programme and a $10,000 scholarship to those pursuing an associate degree in any one of the disciplines offered at the college. PTI is accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, offering academic programmes that prepare students for careers by delivering employer-directed curriculum. It will provide education and training for Bermudian students. Instructors will also offer short technical training sessions in Bermuda. And Bermudian senior high school students will be able to participate in familiarization visits to PTI. Pandora Glasford, training manager at the Department of Workforce Development, said in a statement: “The National Apprenticeship System is a vital component of the Island’s workforce development strategy. “A need for training in the following areas of occupation has been identified: air conditioning technology, auto collision repair, automotive technology, carpentry, marine mechanics, electrical technology, construction, electronics, and plumbing technology.”

October 14. Marine and Ports staff are to meet tomorrow at 10am at the Bermuda Industrial Union, according to union president Chris Furbert. The Department of Marine and Ports this afternoon confirmed that staff would be meeting, adding: “The meeting is expected to last approximately one hour and a minimum disruption of service is anticipated.” According to sources at the department, tomorrow’s meeting is linked to a long simmering issue with the director, Richard Russell. In recent years, unionized workers have voiced concerns over a disconnect with management at the service. The news came after the department advised the public that the Pink Route ferry service to Paget and Warwick would be suspended from 4pm today. The Blue Route 10pm service from Hamilton to Dockyard will also be suspended tonight. All other services are running according to the published schedule. The department, which did not state the cause behind tonight’s service suspensions, apologized for the inconvenience.

October 14. The Bermuda Industrial Union is preparing to release details on an ongoing rift with management at the Department of Marine and Ports, citing “concerns” about its director, Lieutenant Commander Richard Russell. Speaking with The Royal Gazette after an announcement yesterday was postponed, Chris Furbert, the BIU president, said the union was still compiling information that would clarify the matter. “If anything is going to happen, it’s not going to be over something that happened overnight,” Mr Furbert added. A senior source within the department confirmed that unionized staff had “a couple of significant issues” with Lt Cdr Russell, who was appointed director in July 2014.  Those issues escalated about a month ago after a sharply worded exchange between the director and a ferry boat operator, the source added, calling it something that “really could have been handled differently.” Contacted yesterday, Lt Cdr Russell said he was “totally unaware” of the nature of the grievance, and had written to Mr Furbert in an effort to find out. “I have just been getting rumours of it — I have not been informed of anything, in writing or verbally,” he said. Timekeeping has been an issue for the service, according to an interview Lt Cdr Russell gave this newspaper in July. The department has also been affected by staff shortages caused by budget constraints. Sinclair Samuels, the head of the union’s Marine and Ports division, could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, at previous meetings Mr Samuels has spoken repeatedly of a disconnect between management and rank-and-file staff at the department. Equipment maintenance has been a long-standing concern, while the department’s management has been described as relying on short-term measures.

October 14.  The members of the Boundaries Commission have been announced by Governor George Fergusson. It will be chaired by Francis Alexis, QC, the former Attorney General of Grenada, who is at present finishing his role as chairman of that jurisdiction’s constitutional reform advisory committee. David Jenkins, the Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island in Canada, is the new judicial member. He is also Chief Justice of its Court of Appeal. Mr Jenkins performed the role of Judicial Member on the 2009 Bermuda Parliamentary Boundaries Commission. Government appointees are Sylvan Richards and Mark Pettingill, while Opposition members Wayne Furbert and Walton Brown have also been appointed. Mr Fergusson, who is bound under the constitution to appoint members before the end of 2017, said he was pleased to have secured the services of Dr Alexis and Mr Jenkins. “Each will bring highly relevant knowledge and experience from distinguished careers,” he said. “I am also grateful for the commitment of the members from Bermuda.” The commission will report to Parliament on whether changes in constituency boundaries are required, and to specify changes if so required.

October 13. Hundreds of people attended a rally this afternoon at Hamilton’s City Hall in advance of this weekend’s America’s Cup races. Speaking to the crowd, Premier Michael Dunkley said the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event this weekend is really about Bermuda, urging the public to take part and show the world what makes the Island great. “This weekend, I want everyone on the racecourse, everyone down in Hamilton having a good time and watching the competition,” he said. “I was blessed to be in Portsmouth this summer, and the racing is exciting.” Bermuda Tourism Authority spokesman Glenn Jones said the event is drawing international visitors, saying that hotel occupancy Island-wide is around 80 per cent, with many hotels filled. He also noted that this weekend’s races will be broadcast in more than 100 territories around the world, potentially introducing Bermuda to a new generation of visitors. Hamilton mayor Charles Gosling said it was an honour for the city to host the international event, but it was also fitting given Bermuda’s rich nautical history. “Now is our time to shine,” he said. “Now it is time for all our city businesses, residents and workforce to embrace this opportunity, to showcase and share with the world and overseas guests our island home. It’s also time, once we get our breath back, to plan for 2017. It’s also our job to ensure that what happens in Dockyard does not stay in Dockyard.” Meanwhile St George’s mayor Quinell Francis said the focus will turn to the old town on Thursday, when a series of events will be held in connection with the Endeavour programme. “We will have races in our harbour, the biggest harbour in Bermuda,” she said. “The America’s Cup is not there, but we will make the best of it in St George’s. We are going to see America’s Cup sailors against our Bermudian sailors in fitted dinghy races, so come out and cheer for our Bermudians in a race they have probably never done before.” Erika Smith of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation said that a number of small businesses are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the event. "We have people, businesses, entrepreneurs who have been made redundant, who lost their jobs but saw an opportunity and took advantage of the opportunity, put themselves out there and managed to negotiate licence agreements with a world powerhouse like the America’s Cup. These are our own Bermudian businesses who can not only perform excellently here on our small Island but excellently overseas and on a bigger stage.”

October 13. Sailing can be cruel at times — just ask Artemis Racing. The Swedish challengers have certainly endured their share of misfortune at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Damaged rigging in Portsmouth and then capsizing and running aground in Gothenburg have perhaps resulted in sleepless nights for the Artemis sailors, who are now hoping their fortunes take a turn for the better when the series rolls into Bermuda this week. “We are really looking forward to it,” Iain Percy, the Artemis sailing team manager, said. “I think we need to put out a marker and we certainly have the talent within our group. We’ve had a couple of disappointing results at the last two events. We came back from our turbo programme [AC45S] and pretty much forgot how to sail boats like these [one-design AC45F]. We were pretty pleased how we were performing in Gothenburg but a couple of own goals, like hitting the bottom, stopped a good result. The performance was actually there in Gothenburg, but just not the result, because of those silly incidents. So, the performance needs to be there for this team this week and over time I think the results will follow.” One of the positives that Percy and his colleagues can take away from the previous World Series event were their reaching starts. “Nathan [Outerbridge, the team helmsman], I think, was starting the best of all the helms at the last event, and in the long run that’s the tough bit, so I was pleased with that,” Percy said. The other positive was getting a victory under their belt in the third race in Gothenburg, something that should have done the team’s confidence some good. “That was just one race and that in itself isn’t enough,” Percy, the Olympic gold medallist, said. “It’s just about momentum and getting it going.” This week’s World Series Bermuda event will be held in the Great Sound where Percy and his team-mates trained extensively this summer along with Oracle Team USA, the cup defenders. “I guess we’ve done as much sailing at the venue as Oracle, but actually they are predicting a northerly wind which not many of us have seen much of at all for the weekend, and it’s quite a strong one,” Percy said. “It will be a little bit different to what we are used to.”

October 13. Herbert Eldridge Marshall, one of the Island’s last surviving war veterans, has died at the age of 92. Like many veterans who saw combat, Mr Marshall spoke little of his uglier experiences in the Second World War, preferring to tell only “cheerful, happy little stories”, his family said. Deeply proud of his Island heritage through his father Horace Marshall and mother Sarah, née Benevides, Mr Marshall was also loyal to Britain, volunteering to serve in the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps at the age of 17½. On August 28, 1940, with Europe overrun by Nazi Germany, Mr Marshall became Rifleman 1086 in the BVRC and served until November 1, 1943, when he left, enlisting the next day at the age of 20 in the Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm. After five days at HMS Malabar, he was sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia and his first encounter with snow, before boarding a convoy to Britain. German U-boats were still prowling the North Atlantic, but the ships crossed safely. Mr Marshall served at HMS Daedalus at Lee-on-Solent, one of Britain’s primary naval air stations, until March, 1944. Along with a stint on North Atlantic convoy duty, he served at airbases across England until the end of 1945: HMS Gosling in Warrington, Lancashire, RAF Hednesford in Staffordshire, and HMS Dipper in Dorset. He was trained as an air mechanic, primarily for Hawker Sea Hurricane fighters, starting as Air Mechanic Second Class and progressing to Air Mechanic First Class. Mr Marshall would later recall the simple pleasure of sleeping in hammocks aboard ships, as well as the ordeal of seasickness before he got his sea legs, and the chill of keeping watch on deck in blinding spray. Demobbed on April 23, 1946, Mr Marshall had a long wait getting back home, passing the wait in England by trying without success to obtain a part on the film Great Expectations. The journey home ended with a seaplane landing at Darrell’s Island. With the Island’s economy slow to recover after the war, Mr Marshall worked hard at various jobs, including Pan American Airways, Masters Limited and, for the last 25 years before he fully retired, at JS Vallis & Company Limited. He kept involved in shipping. According to his family, Mr Marshall’s greatest love aside from his wife Sylvia and daughters Patrice and Lisa, was spending time on his cherished boat, Mussel. “Herbert was never far from water and, like many Bermudians, never happier than when on it with his family,” said his son-in-law Peter Bubenzer. Mr Marshall served on the BVRC Overseas Association’s committee, appearing at many of the BVRC Overseas Association reunions until illness and age made it impossible for him to attend. He died on September 17. Bill Adams attended his funeral on behalf of the surviving members of the Bermuda War Veterans Association. 

October 13. Hotelier John Jefferis started his career in hospitality as a schoolboy working in a fish-and-chip restaurant in London’s tough east end — but now he’s become only the second member of the Tourism Hall of Fame in Trinidad & Tobago. Mr Jefferis, who numbers the Coco Reef Resorts in Bermuda and Tobago among his interests, said: “It was a fish-and-chip restaurant because it had three tables.” He added: “Having devoted my career to the hospitality and tourism industry it’s an honour to be inducted into the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association Hall of Fame.” Mr Jefferis, 64, started out in hospitality in London, aged just 15 in the Stepney fish-and-chip shop. But he graduated from Birmingham University with a national award for the top final year management student, which led to an internship at the exclusive Savoy Hotel in London. From there he moved to Bermuda, ending a stint at the landmark Belmont Hotel as general manager before becoming managing director at the Elbow Beach Hotel. But he also branched out into business on his own, acquiring Edgehill Manor, Roxy’s Nightclub and the Palm Reef Hotel, all of which he later sold. But his biggest venture was the 1992 start $82 million Coco Reef in Tobago, a multiple award winner that became one of the region’s most successful resorts, followed by 2003’s acquisition of the Stonington Beach Hotel in Paget, which underwent a $14.3 million revamp before it reopened under the Coco Reef banner a year later. Mr Jefferis said: “I wanted to have my own hotel and started working towards that and built the one in Tobago — after borrowing a lot of money. It worked out well in Tobago, particularly with regards to getting the airlines, which was important. I was able to travel with the Trinidad & Tobago government to London to get British Airways to fly direct. I’ve mostly always enjoyed the hotel business — although I’m now interested in construction upgrading and designing, things of that nature.” Mr Jefferis said that the Bermuda outpost of his business empire had seen an upswing in trade this month compared to the same time last year — and that it was not all attributable to the upcoming Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda races. The lifelong hospitality industry expert, who was Bermuda’s first hotelier of the year in 1989 among other major regional awards, explained: “There is some America’s Cup, but it’s a general increase.” And Mr Jefferis added that Bermuda needed a major TV advertising campaign in key cities to further promote the Island. “What I would like to see is a creative and attractive TV ad to attract interest in Bermuda — that’s what we used to do and they should be placed in gateway markets. But it has to be really creative. We have to spend a lot of time and money getting a really remarkable TV advertisement — it’s important to have something really outstanding, something people will talk about.” And Mr Jefferis predicted: “Tourism will improve, particularly if we can get the ads out there.”

October 13. Small businesses are being urged to thrive on the unprecedented opportunities afforded by the America’s Cup. While big budgets may be required to become major official sponsors of the sailing spectacle, business leaders are encouraging groups such as traders and potential party hosts to find a way of getting involved. The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation has been working with small businesses to help them capitalize both on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda, which takes place this weekend, and the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. Providing goods and services for the racing teams, vending at events villages and hosting parties are among the ideas put forward. Companies are also able to negotiate licensing agreements to use official America’s Cup branding that would usually be restricted under the America’s Cup Act. Rebecca Hanson, for example, gained permission to use official branding on her TABs Bermuda shorts designs, while Flanagan’s negotiated using an America’s Cup banner for one night only during the recent Harbour Nights event. Erica Smith, executive director for BEDC, said a wealth of support and information is available locally. “We advise that the first step is to go to the America’s Cup Business Connect website and register with them,” she said. “We have businesses who have taken advantage of that from retail all the way through to services. Earlier this year we negotiated a communal partnership agreement between BEDC, the Chamber of Commerce, America’s Cup, the America’s Cup Events Authority, ACBDA and the Bermuda Tourism Authority. They can register with us and then we become a hub of information. If there is a business opportunity, we send it out to our register and they are able to find out information about what opportunities come up. There have been hundreds of businesses who have registered their interest.” Ms Smith said that all goods and services are welcome in order to make the best of the America’s Cup event for the team members, organizers, residents and visitors. “Anything that will help to make the teams’ lives easier will be of help.  The teams and their families are starting to move to the Island and they are going to need access to residential accommodation, services, transportation, laundry, housekeeping, education. There will also be opportunities in 2017 for applying for vendor ships especially in the events village in Dockyard. I would encourage anyone interested in being involved in 2017 to go to the event village on Front Street this weekend to see what is on offer, to see what it will look like and feel like. Front Street will be a mini version of Dockyard in 2017. People who have an interest in the water or sailing. There will always be a need for the industry.” The BEDC provides information and support for any businesses interested in getting involved. We help businesses to refine their submissions, advise on how to access financing, provide a listening ear and offer some tangible support and resources to help people bring business ideas to life.” Jack Griffin, editor of independent newsletter Cup Experience, will be giving a breakfast presentation tomorrow morning to explain some options for small to medium-sized businesses. Mr Griffin, who is not affiliated with the America’s Cup in any way, will describe ways for “leverage of the Cup” through the likes of media exposure; hospitality and business entertainment; licensing or co-branding; and customer and stakeholder engagement. He says that businesses can “ride the slipstream” of the event without becoming a sponsor or licensee by using words such as “The Cup” or “The World Series” in its branding that are not one of the nine forbidden words outlined in the AC Act. Mr Griffin told The Royal Gazette: “For all budgets there is a way to do something very attractive that picks up on the America’s Cup theme. You can associate yourself with the event without infringing the rights of the official sponsors. One opportunity is for businesses to be a source of America’s Cup information for their employees, customers and stakeholders helping to drive traffic." He has published a free report which is available online at website cupexperience.com. His talk is at 8.30am in the Gardenia Room of The Fairmont Southampton Resort. Tickets are $50 and include breakfast. There will be a one-hour presentation followed by a Q&A session.

October 13. The America’s Cup could be a short cut to international business success for designer Rebecca Hanson. For Ms Hanson’s The Authentic Bermuda Shorts (TABS) firm has been made an official licensee of the America’s Cup, which allows her to embellish her range of men’s and women’s shorts and swimwear with the event logo. Ms Hanson said: “I’m hoping it will be big business — I’ve already noticed an uptick in business on the east coast of the United States, which is encouraging. But for us it’s literally just the beginning — day two. Potentially, this is huge over the next two years and to be associated with such a huge global brand, for a local company that’s incredible.” She added that the firm has to go through an application process, which took some time, before approval was granted to use the coveted AC35 logo. Ms Hanson, a former advertising executive with Ogilvy & Mather in London, who worked on car giant Ford’s European account, founded the firm just two years ago after returning home. She launched her men’s range on Bermuda Day 2013 and has since added women’s shorts and swimwear, as well as accessories like socks and belts to the range, sold online and in stores in Bermuda and overseas. Ms Hanson said the America’s Cup tie-up would be good, not just for TABS but for Island business as a whole. “Now when I speak to retailers overseas, I have a bit more cachet — I say ‘the America’s Cup is in Bermuda’ and they say ‘yes, Bermuda’ and they immediately make the connection. Everyone knows the America’s Cup is happening — the process of people coming down here, spreading the word and the synergy between Bermuda shorts and the Island is connecting all the dots. The America’s Cup team have been incredibly supportive of the brand and what we have been working on.” And she said that more products were in the pipeline as the competition builds to the climax of the finals in 2017 — although she declined to go into specifics. Ms Hanson added: “It will take time, but for this series of events, the America’s Cup has been great at approving things quickly and giving me feedback. I know there are more licensees in the pipeline — but I’m first off the blocks and that’s the way I like to be.” Since the launch date, Ms Hanson has expanded from an online sales presence to a physical presence in AS Cooper stores in Bermuda and as far afield as the Chillax Market in Singapore. The shorts have also been promoted in top publications like the New York Times, Conde Nast magazines, Delta’s Sky magazine and on Travel+Leisure. The shorts have also featured in men’s style magazine GQ. Ms Hanson got the idea for TABS when she browsed markets in Morocco offering lanterns and carpets — which got her thinking about unique Bermuda offerings. And she decided to create the “quintessential” Bermuda shorts, not only as a viable business venture, but a way to market Bermuda culture to the world after further research and courses at the famous Central St Martin’s art school.

October 13. Work must be done to rebalance the Civil Service to better help the public, according to statistician Cordell Riley. Speaking at an open forum organized by the Progressive Labour Party, Mr Riley argued that while less civil servants might be required in some areas, changes in the Bermuda population will require the creation of more jobs in other areas. He told a packed Sweeting-Ball Memorial Hall that while the civil service has grown since 2000, it has already begun to shrink. While he said that some have called for broad cuts, he argued that the Civil Service should be guided by the changing needs of the Island’s declining and ageing population. “In 2017, we will see a major event take place in Bermuda,” Mr Riley said. “The senior population will overtake the youth population in Bermuda. The senior population being 65 and over, the youth population being under 18. According to government forecasts, that will take place in 2017. So as a result of that, there will be shifts in what the Civil Service has to do.” Mr Riley said that in order to better focus the civil service to help the community, more information should be collected. He noted the lack of real data on people leaving the country, making it difficult to calculate the net migration of people. He also said that there has not been a study done on the Civil Service itself since 2005, adding: “The reality is we don’t know. Nobody knows if it’s too big or too small. That sort of study is what needs to be done now. A study that looks at each department, looking at what it is that they do, whether their services are being required and, if not how to go about scaling down, and then in other departments you might find a need to be increased, such as a department that deals with seniors which might have to provide more services.” Mr Riley was just one of several speakers who addressed the crowd on a range of topics, particularly the challenges facing the Island’s seniors and the need to get young people more involved politically.

October 13. Bermuda’s competitive trust laws are attracting clients from other jurisdictions seeking a particular streamlined restructuring avenue. In the Cayman Islands alarm has been expressed at the “flight to Bermuda” of trusts seeking a more competitive solution for clients. Other jurisdictions with sizeable trust sectors are seeing a similar trend as trusts recognise the advantages offered through Bermuda’s trust laws. The development has been hailed as good news for Bermuda. “This is a prime example of the competitiveness of Bermuda’s trust law,” said Sean Moran, of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA). The “flight to Bermuda” issue was highlighted at the Mourant Ozannes’ International Trusts & Private Clients Conference in Grand Cayman. Lawyer Shân Warnock-Smith QC, of ICT Chambers (Cayman), said she had dealt with a number of trusts changing governing law to Bermuda. At the crux of the matter is the ability for beneficial interests under a trust to be varied, something for which a more straightforward path exists under Bermuda trust law. Bermuda’s advantage comes from an apparent amalgam of sections from two separate 1925 Acts passed in England. Randall Krebs, general counsel for Meritus Trust Company Limited in Bermuda, said: “Shân is referring to section 47 of the Trustee Act 1975. This is a unique provision of the Bermuda legislation that the courts have interpreted to allow the variation of trusts where it is expedient.” He said Ms Warnock-Smith had observed that the Bermuda legislation permits variations that can impact beneficial interests. “Cayman is not the only jurisdiction that has seen migration of trusts to Bermuda, it occurs with other jurisdictions such as Jersey and Guernsey. These other jurisdictions are looking at enacting legislation that will allow their courts to handle similar applications,” said Mr Krebs. Meanwhile, Mr Moran, a business development manager for the BDA, whose remit includes trusts, said: “Trustees of vehicles set up in other locations are increasingly looking to change the administration of trusts to Bermuda so they can avail themselves of the flexibility of our laws — in this case, the ability of our courts to vary the beneficial interests under a trust. Our trust practitioners and lawyers, in partnership with the BDA and government, are continually looking for ways to keep our legislation modern and commercially sensible. Bermuda has a great track record and reputation for this.” The subject of trusts, and how Bermuda sells itself to the sector as a preferred destination, will be the topic of a discussion session at the 2015 STEP Bermuda Conference on Thursday. Mr Moran will chair the session, with a panel of guests that includes Mr Krebs. It will be the final session of the daylong event, which is being held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. 

October 12. A blistering attack on major countries who brand offshore financial centres as tax havens has been launched by Bob Richards. The Minister of Finance warned that pressure on the offshore sector from abroad will continue into the foreseeable future. Mr Richards, speaking at the launch of a British Virgin Islands drive to promote the country’s financial services sector, said that he had been shocked by the “vitriolic and hyperbolic rhetoric” directed at the offshore sector from non-governmental organisations in the UK when he first visited Britain as Minister of Finance. Mr Richards told the BVI audience that previous tax regimes elsewhere obliged people and corporations to pay the taxes they were legally required to pay. But he added: “That was pretty cut and dried — now paying taxes has morphed into the blurry and slippery world of the moral imperative.  Judgments are being made about multinationals paying their ‘fair share’ to taxes in a particular jurisdiction ... one thing it means to me is that having failed by means of laws and tax treaties to collect the tax revenue they want, major industrialized countries are turning to moral justifications that are replete with inconsistencies, double standards and contradictions.” Mr Richards said that member states of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had moved from law-based criteria on tax evasion, which is illegal, to “aggressive tax avoidance” — which has no definition in law. And he added that — rather than tackle their own tax systems — major nations were “shifting the goalposts” to make offshore jurisdictions comply with increasingly stringent requirements or face being blacklisted. Mr Richards said: “The truth is you can’t prosecute somebody for aggressive tax avoidance so instead offshore financial centres are continuously harassed with blacklists and other such threats.” But he added that “double standards” in the international community meant that Bermuda and other places had to meet higher standards that there were not applied to many of the industrialized nations group G7. “There are more billionaires resident in the UK per capita than anywhere else in the world. There are more French-speaking people in London than virtually any French city except Paris. I suspect it is not the climate that is the attraction, but rather the tax climate,” said Mr Richards at last month’s event. “Yet the UK continues to pressure Overseas Territories.” Mr Richards added that the UK was to draw up a central register of beneficial owners of companies registered in Britain and asked Overseas Territories to the same. He said: “They were surprised and somewhat skeptical when I first advised them that Bermuda has had such a register for about 70 years.” The Bermuda register is not available to the public, as the British one will be, but has been freely available to international law enforcement agencies since the 1980s and to tax information treaty partners who have a legitimate reason to check on a Bermuda corporate client. Bermuda’s register is mandatory, while the UK’s will be voluntary and Bermuda insists on knowing who is behind a trust arrangement, while the UK will accept trustees, who could be a bank, law firm or trust company. Mr Richards said it had been suggested Bermuda could deflect criticism by introducing corporate income tax, even if it was at a low rate. But he added: “The Republic of Ireland has been severely criticised and labeled a tax haven even though they have a corporate income tax — a relatively low income tax, but corporate income tax nonetheless.” And he pointed out that the value of Bermuda’s financial sector was proved when its reinsurance sector paid up multibillion dollar claims on time for liabilities like the 9/11 attacks on the US while onshore companies struggled. And Mr Richards told the BVI meeting: “Once you can show that the activities that take place in your jurisdiction actually add value to the global economy you put yourself in a position to change attitudes.”

October 12. A visitor from Utah in the United States who was caught with a loaded revolver in his baggage has been jailed for ten days. Terry Jasper came to the Island last Tuesday to celebrate his 35th anniversary. He was detained as he tried to leave Bermuda yesterday when an X-ray scanner at LF Wade International Airport revealed a .38 revolver in the front part of his luggage. As he was arrested the 52-year-old told police: “It was a stupid mistake. I did not realize it was there.” The court heard that Jasper owned between 35 and 50 firearms in the US where he worked as a plumbing contractor and was a keen hunter. Today at Magistrates’ Court Jasper was jailed for ten days after admitting possessing a prohibited weapon. He said: “I just want to say I’m sorry. I did not realize this was going on. It was an innocent mistake. I did not mean to break the law.” His lawyer Marc Daniels said his client was “petrified” of going to jail and that he had forgotten the gun was in his bag. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said there was no reason to deviate from the Supreme Court’s guidance that firearms offences should result in immediate imprisonment. He added: “The law applies to both residents and visitors alike.”

October 12. The British copyrights authority PRS for Music is offering the Island’s hospitality sector a break on tariffs to be paid on background music in restaurants, bars and cafés. The effort to get Bermuda’s establishments to pay for their music has met with some local opposition, but PRS announced the deal had been reached in tandem with the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce’s restaurant division. PRS is offering a waiver of any fees that would normally be backdated, with a 50 per cent discount for non-ticketed featured live music for the license's first year. The offer applies to establishments that obtain their licence this month. In accordance with the Copyright and Designs Act 2004, PRS maintains that in order to play music to customers or staff, all premises must seek permission from the copyright holder by getting a licence. “This has been a long time coming and I am pleased that we are finally able to put this to bed,” Chris Garland of the Chamber’s restaurant sector said in a statement. “We have agreed to rates that more adequately represent the state of the industry and the value the licences bring to our businesses. I encourage all members and restaurant owners to take advantage of the offer and sign up before October 31.”

October 12. A $30,000 mobile cell tower has been brought to Bermuda to boost coverage during the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. It is part of a strategy by Digicel Bermuda to enhance its network in preparation for the 35th America’s Cup in 2017. The equipment is known as Cell on Wheels (COW), and expands coverage and capacity to meet short term needs. It also assists in ensuring the quality and consistency of the Island’s data network during times of increased volume, as is expected to happen during the World Series, which takes place in Bermuda this weekend. In a statement, the company said its network will handle the demands from data users under anything other than exceptional conditions. “When large numbers of people are congregated for major events, any mobile network can struggle to meet the localized peak in demand. The COW provides a solution to handle such spiked activity without degradation of service either for people at the event or elsewhere,” the company said in its statement. The equipment will be deployed for the America’s Cup World Series event and for future events of such scale in Bermuda. Digicel Bermuda CEO Robin Seale said: “We are expecting 5,000 to 10,000 people on Front Street enjoying the America’s Cup festivities and we are seeking to make sure they can all do so while getting online, sharing pictures and generally letting the world know how extraordinary Bermuda is.” Digicel is set to trial the COW at the World Series event and said it would “use it moving forward at key events where capacity is required”. Digicel staff will be testing the equipment throughout the week to ensure it works and is optimally configured.

October 12. Post-hurricane repairs to windows, doors and roof slate will not require permission from the Department of Planning if damage is limited to “non-structural issues”, the department’s spokeswoman announced. Repairs to structural damage in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin will require a building permit but will be given priority. The same applies for work on listed buildings, or buildings within designated historic protection areas. Listed buildings that sustained non-structural damage may be prepared using like-for-like materials without permission, while repairs to damaged seawalls and docks will require a building permit, to ensure the replacements meet with the building code and are structurally sound. Planning permission may also be required. Queries should be directed to the Department of Planning at 297-7756.

October 12. A rally in preparation for this week’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series is being launched today from the steps of City Hall. Music, prizes and a gathering of vendors taking part in the event village will take place in Hamilton from 4pm to 4.30pm, with announcements to be given on the October 16 to 18 races. The “prep rally” has been organized through a collaboration between the Corporation of Hamilton and the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA). The World Series will put Bermuda on the world stage, with the sailing to show globally on NBC sports network. According to Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton, the rally will inform residents of what is going on during the races and encourage the public to attend. Residents, including schoolchildren, are invited to come to tonight’s event, in which local performers from the America’s Cup Jam have also been asked to take part.

October 11. An American visitor has been arrested at LF Wade International Airport for possessing a firearm. The 52-year-old Utah man was found to be holding a gun at noon today, and has been taken into custody. According to a police spokesman, the weapon was not wielded at any point, and an investigation is now under way.

October 10. The Olde Towne welcomed its second cruise liner of the 2015 season yesterday, but unfortunately also its last. Balmoral, which arrived at Penno’s Wharf at 8am from Nassau in the Bahamas, was given a special escort into the harbour by one of the three rowing gigs that make up the Bermuda Pilot Gig Club’s fleet. The liner was only in St George for the day, but provided a welcome boost to the local economy. The ship left Bermuda yesterday evening at 6pm bound for the Azores.

October 10. A world-class painter and “fountaineer” is to come to Bermuda to propose the creation of a momentous, 82-foot America’s Cup-themed water sculpture to be erected on the Island in time for the 2017 event. Ranulf Rayner and his son Giles, who are currently working on a 40-foot sculpture for the Sultanate of Oman opposite the Royal Opera House in Muscat, have already designed a three-foot model (see front page) which they will bring to the Island next week and which will remain on display at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. The only thing missing is the funding — the full size version, said to withstand hurricane force winds, would need to attract some $1.5 million in sponsorship. It is possible that a smaller version could be designed but Mr Rayner hopes to replicate a life-size wing sail of one of the 48-foot catamarans that will be racing here in 2017. Mr Rayner, who has written a book, ‘The Story of the America’s Cup’, and who has painted several works depicting America’s Cup races, will be giving a presentation about the proposed water sculpture, and more generally, a brief history of the America’s Cup and its influence on technology illustrated by paintings and drawings, at BUEI on Wednesday, October 14 at 7.30pm. He told The Royal Gazette: “I had been invited to Bermuda to give a presentation and I thought it would be a good time to introduce one of our water sculptures in the hope that somebody might sponsor it. We have designed a wing sail that will turn in the wind and act as a weather cock. It has been designed with one of our top mast designers in Southampton. It will be magnificent, it will be iconic and will have Bermuda written up the height of it on both sides and as it turns it will flash in the sunlight. It will be an iconic sign post for Bermuda and for yachtsmen.” Mr Rayner has already written a letter to Larry Ellison, chief executive officer of the software company Oracle Corporation, with regards to sponsorship and hopes that his lecture will attract investment. Mr Rayner has been to Bermuda on vacation several times and said that Morgan’s Point would be a good location for the sculpture or Dockyard where the America’s Cup village is being built. The finished result would be made out of a marine quality steel combined with duplex and would rotate in a circular “lagoon” decorated with the four points of the compass. Describing the vision he explained: “It will be magnificent — as it turns it will flash in the sunlight and you will see exactly which way the wind is blowing. The water is pumped up the ‘mast’ and exits in the form of the jib. We use the water to fairly astonishing effect. The whole fountain would be lit at night by very powerful underwater flood lights which point up the mast and also by exterior flood lights which lights up the wing sail itself around the whole of the lagoon. The lagoon is about 50-feet across in diameter. We try to make things look rather magical.” During his visit, Mr Rayner will be auctioning off one of his previous paintings as well as a future painting he will create of Bermuda’s America’s Cup. Fifty per cent of proceeds from the sales will go towards the America’s Cup Endeavour community sailing programme along with ten per cent of sales of prints. Mr Rayner studied at the prestigious Eton College, UK where he won a top art prize. The Americas Cup has been one of his greatest interests throughout his life and as a result of meeting yachtsman Ted Turner in 1977 he commissioned a young artist to paint a scene from every single America’s Cup since 1851. The works are forming part of an America’s Cup collection in Connecticut. He will be joined on stage at BUEI by AC TV host Tucker Thompson.

October 10. A major influx of multimillion dollar motor yachts, BMW super cars and flying machines has already begun to arrive in the build-up to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda. Yesterday, two mega yachts, Mushasi and Illiquid, arrived in the East End in time for the sailing spectacle, while a further six motor yachts are expected to arrive on the Island in the coming days. Meanwhile, a batch of state-of-the-art BMW super cars arrived at Hamilton Docks on board the Oleander at the beginning of the week. The fleet of ten BMW i8s and an i3, which have been brought into Bermuda specifically for the World Series, are already turning heads on the Island’s roads. The Oleander’s next arrival on Sunday will signal the arrival of the helicopter that will film the races next weekend in the Great Sound as well as three high-speed RHIB boats. “The America’s Cup appears to be a valuable catalyst to help change the mood of potential Bermuda investors,” said Barry Brewer, president and CEO of the Neptune Group, which runs the Oleander. “What has resulted is the announcement of several major projects in the foreseeable future that will require shipping services.” Next weekend’s World Series event has provided a welcome boost to importation volumes, and has meant Hamilton Docks has been a flurry of activity in the past few weeks. Stevedoring Services CEO Warren Jones told The Royal Gazette that shrinking the size of the docks by a third to help accommodate the America’s Cup village in Hamilton had been a challenge but all parties had worked together to make it successful. He said: “Since April we have seen a steady increase in cargo volumes, although how much ran be related to the America’s Cup is hard to say. We are looking at approximately a three per cent increase year on year, which is good news, and we have certainly been very busy these last few weeks. I want to thank everyone from HM Customs, the shipping agents, the truckers, the importer community and also the staff at Stevedoring Services for the work that has been done already. It’s been challenging, especially with the hurricane putting us back, but we are getting there with everyone working together.” The Royal Gazette understands that there have been around 150 America’s Cup related moves so far this year George Butterfield, manager of Meyer Freight said: “BISL and SISL have seen a slight increase in cargo this year. Both lines have carried some of America’s Cup related cargo, however, it’s impossible to say how much of this growth is related to the World Cup Series or the recovery of the local economy. Overall, next week’s event will have had a positive impact, but it’s impossible for us to put number on.”

October 10. A new Argo Group Gold Cup champion will be crowned this year. Johnie Berntsson and Stena Sailing, the defending champions, were among the teams knocked out of the $100,000 regatta at the end of yesterday’s repechage, contested in gentle breezes in Hamilton Harbour. The Swede had been bidding to become only the third skipper behind Sir Russell Coutts, the Oracle Team USA chief executive, and Peter Gilmour to capture at least three titles since the Gold Cup was revamped in 1985. However, in the end, it was not to be as an “unnecessary penalty” against Eric Monnin and Team Sailbox, and Phil Robertson’s narrow come-from-behind victory against Joachim Aschenbrenner during the group qualifying stage, ultimately took their toll on Berntsson and his crew. Despite falling short of their objective Berntsson said there were plenty of positives to take away from the experience “Overall, I’m happy that all of the guys on board are fighting to do their best and we actually had some really good races,” said the 2008 and 2014 Gold Cup winner. “It was so close, which goes to show how tight the fleet is. We always love sailing in Bermuda. We have been sailing here for eight years and we still enjoy it a lot.” Also bowing out was local hopeful Blythe Walker and Team RenRe. “It was great to be back racing in the Gold Cup,” Walker said. “I love match racing and the excitement of it. The rustiness definitely showed but it was fun. We had three days of great racing and the team did a great job. They were more up to speed than I was. I was the one making the silly mistakes.” America’s Cup teams Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan, Chris Poole, and Riptide Racing, and Reuben Corbett, and Corbett Racing, were the remaining teams eliminated in the repechage. Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan will now turn their focus on preparing for next week’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Meanwhile, advancing from the repechage to the quarter-finals were Keith Swinton and Black Swan Racing and Chris Steele and 36 Below Racing. Swinton won the repechage with a 6-1 record while Steele was second at 5-2. “We felt like we were sailing well in the first round but had some bad luck that put us in the repechage, so we’re happy to go through,” Swinton said. Yesterday’s repechage was held up for several hours due to a lack of breeze. “It was a challenging day for everyone,” Swinton said. Swinton and Steele will now join Taylor Canfield (US One), Robertson (Waka Racing), Eric Monnin (Team Sail Box), Ian Williams (Team GAC Pindar), Bjorn Hansen (Nautiska Racing) and Adam Minoprio (BlackMatch) in the last eight. Canfield, the 2012 Gold Cup winner, finished as the top qualifier with an unblemished 7-0 record to earn the right to pick Steele as his quarter-final opponent. “We’re not surprised,” Steele said. “We were the last qualifier and he was the first.” Today’s remaining quarter-final matches will pit Robertson against Minoprio, Monnin against Hansen while Williams will face Swinton. The semi-finals will also be held today with racing in the International One Design sloop to commence at 9am. Nacho Davilia leads the 2015 RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup fleet after eight races. The Spaniard holds a 13-point advantage over second placed Ryane Duff, of the British Virgin Islands, with Mathias Berthet, of Norway, a further point adrift of the lead pace. Christian Spodsberg, the defending champion, is further down the leader board in tenth. Jordan Etemadi leads the local fleet in twelfth overall followed closely by Micah Raynor in thirteenth and Campbell Patton in fifteenth.

October 9. A no-fly zone over the western half of Bermuda will be invoked for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series later this month. The order, which comes into effect on October 12 until sunset on October 18, has been imposed to allow the helicopter crew tasked with filming the racing event to do so safely. “We understand the public is excited about this event and may wish to capture images of it. However, safety must come first,” said William White, chairman of ACBDA security committee. “The helicopter will be providing dramatic overhead images of the racing and Bermuda, which is something we can all look forward to seeing. We appreciate the public adhering to the Air Restriction Order from October 12 through to October 18 at sunset.” An ACBDA statement said the helicopter would be operated by production company, ACTV, and that the Air Space Restriction order had been put in place “in the interests of the safety of the helicopter crew, the racing teams and the general public. The public should also be aware that the helicopter may be flying at heights much lower than normally allowed in Bermuda and also making rapid maneuvers as it follow the high-speed racing boats.” 

October 9. Taylor Canfield and US One earned the right to choose their quarter-final opponent after finishing as the overall top qualifier during day two of the Argo Group Gold Cup in Hamilton Harbour yesterday. The 2012 Gold Cup winners picked up where they had left off the day before, chalking up three additional points to finish atop Group Two with an unblemished 7-0 record that speaks volumes about the team’s present form. “We are thrilled with the result so far but we’ve definitely had some tight racing and the field is only getting better from here,” Canfield, the 2013 world match racing champion, said. “The more time everyone spends in the boat throughout the week the harder it’s going to get. The goal is to make it through to the quarter-finals and we have achieved that first goal and now we have to see how it all plays out on Saturday.” It now remains to be seen which opponent among the remaining quarter-finalists Canfield will choose to tango with. One skipper he may want to avoid is Ian Williams, the five-times world match racing champion and 2006 Gold Cup winner. A loss to defending World Match Racing Tour champion and present leader Williams in the quarter-finals would see Canfield lose precious ground in his bid for a second world match racing title in three-years. “It will be interesting to see what Taylor chooses to do,” Williams said. “He’s often threatened to pick us but he never has and so we’ll see if he comes up with it this time.” Also advancing straight through to the quarter-finals from group two were Bjorn Hansen and Nautiska Racing and Adam Minoprio and Team Blackwatch. Chris Steele (36 Below Racing), Keith Swinton (BlackSwan Racing), Francesco Bruni (Artemis Racing) and Reuben Corbett (Corbett Racing) advanced to the repechage, while Nicolai Sehested (Trefor Match Racing) was eliminated. Phil Robertson and Waka Racing topped group one on a tiebreaker after finishing the qualifying stage tied with Eric Monnin, of Switzerland, whom he beat in the fourth flight the previous day. Williams, fresh from competing on the M32 Scandinavian Series in Europe, claimed the third and final quarter-final spot in group one. Advancing from group one to the repechage were Johnie Berntsson and Stena Sailing, the defending Gold Cup champions, Dean Barker and SoftBank Team Japan, Chris Poole and Riptide Racing, and local hopeful Blythe Walker and Team RenRe. Eliminated was Joachim Aschenbrenner and Aschenbrenner Racing Team. After the group qualifying had concluded the race committee decided to start the repechage earlier than originally planned. After three of seven flights in the repechage, Steele and Swinton are both on two points, Berntsson, Barker, Bruni and Corbett have one, while Walker and Poole have yet to get off the mark. The remaining flights of the repechage will be held today to determine the final two teams that will join the other six quarter-finalists. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be held tomorrow, while the Petite final and final will take place on Sunday. The eventual winning team will pocket $35,000, second $16,000 and third $12,000.

October 9.  A $275 million catastrophe bond providing insurance protection to US train company Amtrak illustrates a growing trend of corporations going directly to the capital markets to cover some of their risks, according to an insurance-linked securities (ILS) expert. PennUnion Re Ltd is a Bermudian special purpose insurer created by Amtrak. Its variable rate notes have been admitted for listing on the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Andre Perez, chief executive officer of Horseshoe Group, which specializes in ILS services, believes the latest issuance is further evidence that the demand for cat bonds and ILS is a trend set to continue. “Particularly so, for large corporations with substantial risk.  It makes sense for these large corporate entities to directly access the market. They can form a captive and have an SPV [special purpose vehicle]. Doing so was more efficient from a cost perspective, giving access to fresh capacity and also helping with risk diversification. I know there are large corporations out there that are thinking about it, and I would not be surprised if we see more and more of these,” he said. “It also means investors are getting closer and closer to the risk.” The perils covered by PennUnion Re are storm surge in New York City and Delaware, named storm wind protection across eight northeast US states, and earthquake protection in five of those states. The Series 2015-1 notes will become due in December 2018. The issuance comes after a traditionally quiet third quarter for the cat bond and ILS market, when a fraction over $1 billion worth of bonds and notes were issued. When asked if the ILS market might be altered in the wake of a major disaster triggering payouts, Mr Perez said: “Cat bonds in general are at a high level of loss. If they are triggered, the chances are there will have been a massive, market-changing event. Most investors know the risk they are taking, and if there is a market-changing event, then rates will go up and investors will see that as a new opportunity.” In its third quarter report on the cat bond and ILS market, Artemis.bm estimated the total outstanding cat bond and ILS market was $25.02 billion, which is higher than at the corresponding point in 2014.

October 9. Small island countries are looking to public-private partnerships to fund major projects, a top lawyer said yesterday. Duncan Card, managing principal of Bennett Jones Bermuda, was speaking after he sat on a panel at the KPMG-sponsored Island Infrastructure Summit in Miami. “There are currently dozens of excellent public sector transformation and infrastructure projects being undertaken across the Caribbean region, each one bringing tremendous economic benefits, increased employment and increased operating efficiencies,” he said. Mr Card added that smaller countries could build in safeguards to public-private partnerships, also known as P3, thereby protecting the public interest and workers in contracted-out projects. “There are several unique aspects that should be considered. For example, none of these projects should be built on the back of, or at the expense of, labour in smaller jurisdictions like Bermuda.  There are many commercially accepted ways to ensure that full employment is protected. As well, there are a vast number of creative and progressive ways to financing these projects off the public balance sheet that have been adopted in smaller jurisdictions across the globe, including in the Caribbean.” Also at the summit was Michael Dunkley, who delivered a keynote address, Public Works Minister Craig Cannonier and Cabinet Secretary Derek Binns. Afterwards, Mr Card said the mood of the conference was towards backing new ways to finance and run major projects. He said: “Absolutely — no question. The projects I referred to definitely include P3 projects, outsourcing transactions and privatization because in every case the government still remains in control through regulatory mechanisms. In these cases, government and the public interest remain fully protected when these operations are performed. In other jurisdictions, many airlines around the world have been privatized and other aspects of public infrastructure have been privatized, but they always remain under very tight control.” Mr Card added that even countries with left-leaning socialist-style governments had embraced public-private partnerships to replace ageing infrastructure. “These are countries that know how to protect the interests of the public and labour and these transactions can be structured to do that.” Mr Card, who returned to Bermuda last year after 25 years working in commercial law in Canada, where for 17 years he was included in the prestige international ranking of both Lexpert magazine and American Lawyer Media’s ranking of the top 500 lawyers, said the US and Canada had both benefited from new ways of providing services in a number of areas. And he pointed to Canadian banks who outsourced IT services, transferring their own staff to new specialist operators. “The employees who go over to these new companies are in companies which carry on business in their specialist field.” He said that meant, in many cases, better training and opportunities to work elsewhere in firms with an international base.

1977 riotsOctober 9. A new book dedicated to providing a factual account of the events surrounding the Island’s deadly riots of 1977 is set to go on sale this month. Drawing on already published works, as well as never before seen documents and first-hand accounts of what took place at the time, Island Flames delves into the political murders, executions and Bermuda’s chronic race problems that provided the backdrop to the riots. “I was interested, in particular, in looking at the social, the political and the economic aspects of why Bermuda ended up in 1977 where it was,” author Jonathan Smith told The Royal Gazette. “I hope that readers in Bermuda, the Caribbean and all over the world, can reflect on this volatile period when race, economics, politics, the death penalty, murders, executions, UK policy and the justice system collided with deadly results. My hope is that Bermudians will reflect on the past, understand why institutionalized racism was exercised and tolerated for so long, and forge a new path ahead which rips this legacy to pieces.” The former Commissioner of Police said he started working on the project in 2012, when he realized that no one had ever written a book on the topic. “In literally one minute I realized that nobody had ever written on the 1977 riots and all these events are interconnected: the political assassinations, the murders, the trial, the black power movement and the death penalty,” Mr Smith said. “All that collided in 1977. It was a very, very stressful time for many Bermudians and it was a very divisive time, and it’s the only time when people have been killed in civil disturbance in Bermuda, so it was hugely significant.” The riots of 1977 were the most extensive and deadly riots ever experienced on the Island — Bermuda was on the brink of public order meltdown when US Marines, 250 UK troops and more than 1,500 other police, regiment, reserves, firemen and others were deployed to restore order. Two tourists and a Bermudian hotel worker were killed at The Fairmont Southampton fire and extensive damage was caused to mostly establishment-owned businesses. Mr Smith said the riots occurred against the backdrop of the murders of Governor Richard Sharples, Captain Hugh Sayers, Police Commissioner George Duckett and two shopkeepers, Victor Rego and Mark Doe, between 1972 and 1973. Two men, Erskine Durrant ‘Buck’ Burrows and Larry Tacklyn were convicted of the murders and hung on December 2, 1977 — the last hangings to occur on British Soil. “One of the real critical issues was the hanging decision,” Mr Smith said, adding that he was able to get to the bottom of the complex story behind it. Mr Smith, who drew extensively on both the Wooding Commission of 1968 and the Pitt Commission of 1977 for his second book, added: “The real gold mine of information, as far as I was concerned as a researcher and a writer, was the information in the UK National Archives — the files of correspondences, the telexes, the telegrams, letters, the correspondence that went between the UK and Bermuda in those same years — all that had been under seal for 30 years.” The 360-page book draws on close to 200 sources, including already published accounts and new material provided by critical players of the day. These include David Owen, the British foreign secretary at the time, former Governor Peter Ramsbotham, former premiers Sir John Swan, Sir David Gibbons and Alex Scott, the last surviving Bermudian member of the Pitt Commission, social scientist Michael Banton and Dame Lois Browne-Evans. “I’ve used their own words from 1977, their own telexes, letters, and I’ve tried to bring the whole thing back to life, quoting them extensively,” Mr Smith said. Mr Smith, who was a teenager when the riots took place, said it took him less than 60 seconds to decide he would write the book. He explained that he was reading a book about the political murders that took place in the early seventies when he realized that the underlying story was that this period was the closest Bermuda ever came to a revolution. “It really forced me to go back and, for the reader I guess the book really chronicles the 1960s and the 1970s, because Bermuda was hit by four sets of riots in 14 years and two Royal Commissions — it was a really difficult time. Recognizing that this is 1977, recognizing that for many Bermudians this will either be a distant memory, or they’ll know very little about it, it was important for me to make some sort connectivity as to why Bermuda was that way in 1977 and are there any parallels now,” Mr Smith said. While the book provides a factual account, Mr Smith invited former government statistician Cordell Riley to write an opinion chapter on how the riots have shaped modern-day Bermuda. “I want an 18-year-old to be able to pick up this book and be able to say at the end of it, ‘OK, I can understand better now because some of these issues are still prevalent today’,” Mr Smith added. Mr Smith said he had already received a “phenomenal response” to the book, which he said has been accepted into the Oxford University Library system as a textbook on the topic of race and resistance in the Caribbean and Bermuda. The book will be launched at a special event to be held at Brown & Co on October 21. Island Flames will be available exclusively at the Bookmart from that date.

October 9. Armed robbers assaulted a man as they snatched his chain after breaking into his home in Hamilton Parish today. The offenders brandished a bladed article during the incident in Rocky Lane West, at about 2.10pm. The pair, who were dressed all in black, also stole jewellery before escaping on foot. According to police, the victim did not suffer serious injuries, but was left “extremely unnerved.” A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said: “It appears that a male was in his dwelling when two males forcefully entered the residence brandishing what appeared to be a bladed article. The suspects then snatched the victim’s chain and helped themselves to other jewellery before making good their escape. The victim did not sustain any noticeable injures but he was extremely unnerved by the incident. He was examined on scene by EMT’s but he was not conveyed to the hospital." Anyone with information is urged to call 295-0011 or the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.

October 9. Pathways Bermuda, St John Ambulance and the Sunshine League are to benefit from a $5,000 donation by Marsh and Guy Carpenter. Pathways Bermuda is dedicated to providing paths to recovery for individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by drug and alcohol addiction, St John Ambulance has been attending to the first aid needs of the Bermuda community since 1894, making it one of the first charities on the Island while the Sunshine League is the Island’s first social service organization committed to the development of Bermuda’s young people into healthy, productive and independent citizens. “Giving back to the community is a high priority for Marsh and Guy Carpenter and we are proud to donate to these three valuable organisations,” said David Ezekiel, Country Corporate Officer of Marsh and McLennan Companies, Bermuda, and chairman of Marsh’s Bermuda Charity Committee. “On behalf of the companies, I thank Pathways, St John Ambulance and the Sunshine League for their tireless efforts to keep our community safe, healthy and productive.”

October 9. A court date is likely to be set this year for the ongoing legal dispute between the Bermuda Public Services Union and four other public sector trade unions, and the Bermuda Government, which is seeking an injunction against walkouts. The detail emerged in the BPSU’s annual report, presented at last night’s annual general meeting, which included updates on the salary of the BPSU president and treasurer, Jason Hayward. It also covered the controversy over furlough days, which brought thousands on to the streets in January after a letter from Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, said that salaries could be cut if furloughs were not continued. Mr Hayward’s pay dominated an anonymous e-mail widely circulated in recent days that raised questions about his salary increase and dual role in the organization. Although Mr Hayward declined to comment in advance of the meeting, the report shed some light on his role: his promotion to full-time paid president was a decision of the BPSU’s general council on February 2. It was supported at a February 13 general meeting by a vote of 274 for and 69 against. A president’s post review committee was also created. After the committee’s reviews in conjunction with work by an unspecified human relations firm, the president’s salary was set by the general council at $119,478 on September 9. The committee had recommended setting annual pay for the job at $141,458, while the firm proposed salaries of $110,000 for entry level, $131,000 for mid-level and a maximum of $154,000. There were no nominations for the post of treasurer at a by-election in May, the report said. Mr Hayward was subsequently elected to the job by the general council. The report detailed the BPSU’s creation of a 2014-17 strategic plan, covering training, a new division in response to the BPSU’s growth, and the creation of a political action committee reflecting its role as an independent voice for workers and a watchdog to hold political figures accountable. A community outreach and cultural activities committee promotes the BPSU’s profile in the community. According to the report, the BPSU has been subject to anti-union tactics. Stating that legislation does not protect workers who are waiting to vote on union recognition, it referred to an unnamed company where many staff believed to be seeking representation were terminated.

October 9. A former Bermuda health worker who was struck down with Ebola early last year has been readmitted to hospital in a serious condition due to an “unusual late complication”, according to a Sky News report. Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey had seemingly made a recovery following the infection that she picked up while working in Sierra Leone with Save The Children. According to the news report she was transferred from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow to the Royal Free London hospital this morning in a military aircraft under supervision. It said the Royal Free released a statement saying: “She will now be treated in isolation in the hospital’s high-level isolation unit under nationally agreed guidelines. “The Ebola virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person while they are symptomatic so the risk to the general public remains low and the NHS has well established and practised infection control procedures in place.” Ms Cafferkey worked as a nurse in King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s Cooper Ward from September 2005 to February 2007. Ms Cafferkey also played for the Mariners rugby team. A friend of Ms Cafferkey said at the time of news of the original infection: “I first met Pauline way back in 2006 through rugby and she was one of the first friends I made in Bermuda. I remember her to be loads of fun and very happy go lucky.” Ebola is a dangerous virus spread by direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, or by contact with a recently contaminated surface. A variety of factors have hampered international efforts to contain the epidemic, which has hit the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea worst of all.

October 8. Bermuda’s IT sector contributed more than $220 million to the Island’s economy last year. Information technology made up 3.9 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) — a total of $222 million — according to a report from the Department of Statistics. That was down from $229 million in 2013. Capital investment in information and communications technology (ICT) grew by 5.7 per cent to $81 million in 2014, compared to $70 million the year before. The increase reflected a 38.3 per cent increase in the purchase of computer software. But the number of people working as IT professionals fell by more than a quarter last year compared to 2013 — down 78 jobs. And the number of IT-related jobs also fell, down 130 posts (15.5 per cent). IT-related posts accounted for 2.1 per cent of jobs in 2014 compared to 2.4 per cent the year before. The report stated: “The majority of companies surveyed (62.5 per cent) did not outsource their ICT needs in 2014. Nearly three out of 10 companies (28.8 per cent) outsourced their IT needs to other local companies and approximately one in every ten companies (8.7 per cent) outsourced their ICT needs overseas.” Steve Bull, managing director of IT firm Independent Consulting Solutions (ICS), said there had been a steady decline in in-house IT departments over several years. “IT departments in Bermuda might have been as high as 20 or 30 people, but many jobs have been relocated elsewhere, especially programmers and higher-end support people. I know of one company that gone from more than 30 IT people to none as roles had steadily been transferred overseas over a number of years. The nature of business we are seeing in Bermuda is changing — we’re not seeing the Ace and XL type of numbers. We’re seeing two to 10 people starting a reinsurance company or a new idea. It doesn’t make sense for them to hire an IT person, so they are outsourcing. The increase in investment in IT equipment could be put down to companies not replacing systems and equipment during the recession. It’s a refresh — we went through a period where people weren’t spending money on technology because they were unsure of where things were going. It just came to a point where it became a risk for companies to continue running on ageing equipment. But I am optimistic about the future of the IT industry and ICS on the Island. We are excited — we’re growing and we’re looking forward to the future.” The survey also revealed that the ICT trade deficit increased by $19.7 million — almost two thirds — in 2014. The report said the wider deficit reflected an increase in imports of 9.9 per cent or $11.1 million combined with a decrease in exports of 10.6 per cent or $8.6 million. And it added that businesses with a higher number of employees invariably used ICT in greater proportions and across a wider spectrum of activities than companies with fewer employees. Graham Pearson, CEO of the Ignition Group of technology companies, agreed with Mr Bull that companies were moving “back office” roles to cheaper locations and also consolidating IT skills to head offices, usually in North America and Europe. He added: “The biggest employers of IT staff have typically been the reinsurance giants — as the consolidations in that sector continue, so will the reduction in staff. Outsourcing is an attractive option — that can eliminate full-time roles with all those attendant costs, human resources and work permit challenges. In real terms, we will see a continuing decline in the need for local full-time tech staff, outsourcing becoming more prevalent, which is an opportunity but at the same time a challenge as the access to global tech skills and services become more readily available and at lower prices than local companies can provide. Local companies need to differentiate themselves with high levels of service but balance that with demand from the client base to pay less.”

October 8. Reserve police officer Sandra Beach last night became the first woman to take up the post of commandant of the Bermuda Reserve Police. Ms Beach was sworn in at a change of command ceremony held at the police headquarters in Prospect. “Throughout history women have been discriminated against in many aspects of life including employment,” Ms Beach told an audience of more than 300. “There has been some progress, however, the work field today is still harsh towards women and many organisations are fighting to change this. That is why this change of command ceremony and my new role as the commandant of the Bermuda Reserve Police is to honour women who have broken down barriers and who have helped to lead the way for other women through service in a non-traditional career.” Ms Beach said her vision for the Bermuda Reserve Police (BRP) would be to support the Bermuda Police Service in all its endeavors, to increase the number of constables, provide training for all reserve officers and to keep that training up to date. Ms Beach succeeded Commandant Cannoth Roberts, who was appointed deputy commandant in 2012 and became the eighth commandant of the BRP in March last year. After joining the BRP in 1995, at first spending her time between central and traffic divisions. She was promoted to sergeant in 1998, and inspector in 1999. During this time, she served in almost every division of the BRP. In 2001, Ms Beach was promoted to chief inspector and superintendent in 2004, when she assumed responsibility for the administration section and the BRP budget. Ms Beach is also known for organising community policing events such as the Bermuda Girl Guide Association’s Annual Thinking Day Service, Harbour Nights and the Annual Christmas Parade.

October 8. The Bermuda Government’s revenues climbed $8.4 million, or 3.9 per cent, to $221.2 million during the second quarter of this year. However, government spending also increased by 1.4 per cent for the period of April through to June, to $269.8 million. Current expenditures accounted for $257 million, due mainly to a rise in pension payments, while government capital expenditure stood at $12.8 million. The increase was in keeping with patterns observed for the first quarter of the 2015-16 fiscal year by Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance. In that instance, Mr Richards ascribed the rise in takings to higher payroll tax collections, higher collections in customs duty and higher stamp duty collections. The government’s revenue target for the present fiscal year was set in February’s Budget at $931 million. Meanwhile, the Island’s overall employment revenue declined 0.7 per cent, or $5.5 million, to $772 million. Construction was hit hardest, dropping 11.9 per cent. Residents declared 3.3 per cent more on overseas purchases, an additional $14.8 million, with jewellery and watches contributing the greatest increase. The value of imported foods contracted 9.5 per cent, to $233.7 million.

October 8. Hotels are fully booked ahead of this month’s America’s Cup races — with hoteliers optimistic the event is already helping the ailing tourism industry to turn a corner. Six hotels and guesthouses across Hamilton and Paget told The Royal Gazette of very positive take-up for the three-day Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, which begins next Friday. They said it gave them great hope for 2017, when Bermuda will host the 35th America’s Cup, and added that next weekend’s festivities would help to show the Island in a new light to many visitors, who would potentially return in future. The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, the Royal Palms, the Rosedon Hotel, the Rosemont, the Oxford House and Coco Reef all said they were at full occupancy or very close to this. Vince Angelo, general manager at Coco Reef, said all 60 rooms had been sold out from next Thursday to Saturday, half of which could be accounted for by the America’s Cup. “Without that group here, a lot of hotels would have less on the books, without a doubt. We at Coco Reef are extremely excited. It’s awesome.” Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, the official worldwide host hotel for the 2017 America’s Cup, said 410 rooms were fully booked more than a month ago. “While October typically is busy for us, the hotel has seen a great boost as a result of America’s Cup. As we look ahead to 2017, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club is excited to be a part of all social activities outside of Dockyard for events leading up to and during the 2017 America’s Cup. We look forward to showcasing to the world our newly renovated hotel.” Ann Smith, owner of Oxford House, whose 12 rooms are at full occupancy, said that her phones have been ringing “a little more than normal” with enquiries focusing on the week of racing. She said her guests were booking longer stays because of the America’s Cup. Stephen Todd, chief executive of Bermuda Hotel Association, told this newspaper: “We’re very optimistic this is going to bring positive results because visitors will see Bermuda in a completely different light. Travellers tend to think more of other destinations only because our marketing strategy hasn’t been focused on Bermuda being a year-round destination. We’re especially pleased that visitors have taken the opportunity to book into some of the smaller properties as well. That’s also a very positive sign for our association.” The qualifying event is scheduled to take place on the Great Sound on Saturday, October 17, and Sunday, October 18, with festivities formally starting in Hamilton the previous Friday. Mr Todd continued: “The closer we get to 2017, the higher the interest will be. It will also bring a different kind of visitor than we’re used to. They’ll also take in some of the other activities and amenities that we have available. Some people tend to think more in terms of other destinations only because our marketing strategy hasn’t been focused on Bermuda being a year-round destination. We may not be able to offer the warmest temperatures for swimming in, say, January, but we have other attractions and other activities that I believe are very appealing to the visitor.” Meanwhile, Pompano Beach Club, Southampton, which is slated to host Oracle Team USA in 2017, said about half of its 75 rooms had been booked for the World Series. However owner Larry Lamb remained upbeat, telling The Royal Gazette: “America’s Cup, for the Island, is great. It’s put a ton of kids in schools. Car sales are way up. Supermarkets are fuller. A tremendous amount of good has come from this event. Originally they predicted hotels would benefit, but it’s more apartment rentals. These are just average folks doing a job. They’ve rented the heck out of the apartments, which is still filling a void in Bermuda’s economy. Economically, it’s great.”

America's Cup Team USA

America's Cup Oracle Team USA

October 8. Bermuda-based Axis Capital Holdings Ltd is to cut “a small number” of jobs at its Bermuda office as part of a global streamlining. But Albert Benchimol, the company’s chief executive officer, stressed yesterday that the insurer and reinsurer remains committed to the Island and has renewed the lease on its Hamilton waterfront headquarters for another ten years. The company plans to reduce its global headcount of 1,254 staff by about 100 — with the brunt of the cuts being borne by the Australia retail insurance operation, which is to be wound down. In an interview with The Royal Gazette, Mr Benchimol declined to reveal how many employees would be let go in Bermuda, but he said it was a small number. Those affected work in business and support functions. “This is a very competitive market,” Mr Benchimol said. “We are aligning our resources with the best growth opportunities we have and we must make sure we are delivering our products in the most efficient way possible. Unfortunately, sometimes that will lead to a reduction of personnel. It was a very difficult decision to make. I’m saddened that good and dedicated employees will be losing their jobs through no fault of their own. We have 68 employees in Bermuda and the vast majority are Bermudians, spouses of Bermudians and PRCs. We are committed to Bermuda, it’s where our head office is. It’s where we have our board and executive meetings. We bring a lot of people here.” The company had donated more than $5 million to charitable causes in Bermuda over the last five years alone, he added. And the decade-long lease renewal for Axis House, which is in the Waterfront complex on Pitts Bay Road, was testimony to the company’s belief that Bermuda remains the best place from which to run an international insurance and reinsurance company. In a memo sent to staff yesterday, Mr Benchimol wrote: “All affected employees will be provided with severance packages commensurate with their time with the company, along with outplacement services. It is extremely important to me personally that each and every departing Axis employee be treated with fairness and sensitivity.” Worldwide, Axis said it expected “a workforce reduction of approximately 100 positions, primarily in its corporate and select insurance operations”. It is understood that around half of the positions to go will be in Australia. As well as Bermuda, Axis has offices in Bermuda, the US, Europe, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Latin America. The company is aiming to achieve cost cuts of $30 million a year, from next year. Axis said it would first take a one-off charge of around $51 million, related to staff severance costs, the write-off of some information technology assets and lease cancellation costs. Axis stated: “These reductions are consistent with the company’s previously announced effort to reduce its expense level and position itself to more effectively deliver greater value for its customers, brokers, and shareholders.” Last month, Axis announced an accelerated share repurchase plan, aimed at buying back $300 million of the company’s equity by the end of this year. Earlier this year, Axis’ agreement to merge with Bermuda rival PartnerRe was derailed by Italian investment firm Exor, which eventually struck a $6.9 billion deal to buy the reinsurer. Mr Benchimol said PartnerRe had come to Axis with a merger offer that was initially attractive. But as the terms changed, it had become “less interesting to us”, he added. The focus since then had been on seizing growth opportunities while maximizing efficiency. “We continue to be absolutely convinced of our ability to generate profitable growth on a stand-alone basis,” Mr Benchimol said. “Most of that growth will be organic, but if there is an interesting inorganic growth opportunity, we will certainly consider it.”

October 8. A delegation from Bermuda aims to steer business towards the Island when it attends the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) conference in Indianapolis this month. Changes in healthcare policies in the US in the past few years, particularly under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which is widely referred to as ObamaCare, has led to amalgamation of hospitals and other healthcare providers, and expanded Medicaid coverage to millions who previously did not have the health insurance. In a statement, the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA) said: “That trend has created greater demand for healthcare captives to offset the upsurge in potential risks.” The ability of Bermuda captive insurers to provide support to US healthcare organisations, will be promoted by the BDA at the conference. The agency will lead a team of ten brokers, captive managers and insurance, regulatory and associated representatives at the conference. The BDA will also have an exhibition booth and, in partnership with the Bermuda Society for Healthcare Risk Management, will sponsor a lunch time conference event featuring Butch Agnew, vice-president of Dyna Management Services, and Kimberley Morgan, of Endurance. The pair will speak about the future of healthcare risk management. Cyber-risk expert Theresa Payton will be the keynote speaker at the lunch event. In preparation for the conference, the BDA hosted an hour-long webinar at the end of September detailing changes to the healthcare risk management landscape in the US. “Our recent webinar highlighted the high level of international interest in the area of healthcare risk management, and provided a great launch pad for our upcoming attendance at ASHRM,” said Jereme Ramsay, a business development manager at the BDA. “Bermuda is a trusted, innovative partner in the healthcare insurance space, with an active reinsurance market that’s able to offer many professional liability excess of loss programmes. It makes our market a one-stop shop for those seeking solutions.” In its statement, the BDA noted that Bermuda has about 40 professionals writing healthcare insurance and reinsurance for “a full spectrum of entities”. Mr Agnew, of Dyna, who was a panelist on the webinar, said the upcoming conference was an important showcase for the Island’s healthcare market. “It’s only second to Rims as an annual insurance industry conference that brings together key risk managers, in this case, from major healthcare organisations looking for insurance solutions. Bermuda has a lot to offer and, going forward, its attraction in this sector is only going to grow.” The conference takes place from October 18 to 21.

October 8. Radio station Mix 106FM is back on the air permanently, according to Bryan Darby. The station closed on September 30, when broadcaster DeFontes ceased operations. Mr Darby and others in the community mourned the loss “of a balancing voice in the world of journalism”. However, Mr Darby, acting as a spokesman for the station, said yesterday: “We are back and Shirley [Dill] is back. “Negotiations over the survival of the VSB radio news network have reportedly been successful and the radio station 106FM is back on the air permanently, although 1450AM radio and online TV have been closed down for the time being. As part of the new schedule, Shirley Dill, the popular talk show host, will be resuming her Sunday morning broadcast but on 106FM.” Mr Darby, a veteran news reporter, said the decision meant that six staff members have been taken back to run the boutique station. He said there had been an outpouring of support for the station, which “has had the right effect." Although the station closed last month, enough supporters of VSB radio rallied together for it to keep running its weather update fixture, Storm Watch. Mr Darby said Hurricane Joaquin “did not do any harm because we were duty-bound to stay on the air and provide the storm watch”. For 30 hours, VSB’s Chris Lodge provided updates for the community after most radio channels went off the air. According to Mr Darby, 1450AM was the only channel in operation at the height of the storm on Sunday evening. “All of the FM stations were blown off the air, including our own 106FM, and the Government radio station at 101FM broke down three times,” he said.

October 8. Shadow Minister of Immigration Walton Brown has called on Michael Fahy to apologize for comments he made about the Ombudsman. However, Sylvan Richards, the Junior Minister of Home Affairs, said in a statement today that the One Bermuda Alliance rejects the suggestion that Sen Fahy was contemptuous of the Ombudsman. Earlier this year, Sen Fahy called a critical report concerning an immigration complaint a “farce”. The comments provoked concern from two overseas bodies, the Ombudsman Association and the International Ombudsman Institute. In a statement this afternoon, Mr Brown said: “The simple fact is the attack by Sen Fahy on the office of the Ombudsman is unacceptable in a democratic society. We stand with the Ombudsman Association and the International Ombudsman Institute in support of the Bermuda Office of the Ombudsman. Our concern is not that Minister Fahy disagreed with the findings but rather the contemptuous dismissal of the work of the Ombudsman as ‘a farce’. We are further concerned that Premier Michael Dunkley has endorsed this sentiment by stating the Minister has his full support. As an office enshrined in the Bermuda Constitution, the Ombudsman has a fundamentally important role in helping to maintain good governance and holding public authorities to account. Sen Fahy’s emotional dismissal not only lacks political maturity; it also sends the unfortunate message that the OBA government does not respect the role of the Ombudsman. To comment earlier this week on the details of the specific case that raised the Minister’s ire misses the point entirely. As a lawyer, Sen Fahy will certainly know that there will be rulings made by Supreme Court judges he will not agree with, even vehemently. But he would never publicly dismiss the Supreme Court as ‘a farce.’ Why do it in this case? The appropriate next step for Sen Fahy is not retrenchment into an indefensible and intransigent position, but rather an unqualified apology for the tenor and tone of his comments. The appropriate step for Premier Dunkley is not a pat on the back for Minister Fahy. Rather, he needs to demonstrate such conduct is not acceptable for any minister in his cabinet.” Mr Richards, however, responded to the statement by saying that the OBA rejects the suggestion that Sen Fahy “was contemptuous of the Ombudsman when he rejected some of her findings in a work permit case involving a Bermudian veterinarian some months ago. Minister Fahy had strong objections to the Ombudsman’s report, and he expressed them forcefully, as is his right,” Mr Richards said. “He gave perfectly sound reasons for his disagreement.” Mr Richards suggested Mr Brown read the Hansard report of the House of Assembly proceedings dated March 17, 2014, where “the leader of his party, MP Marc Bean, is discussing an Ombudsman’s report that criticised him, as the then Minister of the Environment, for failing to live up to an international treaty to which Bermuda is a signatory, in allowing development of Tucker’s Point to go ahead.” Mr Richards added that Mr Bean, on the floor of the House of Assembly, accused the Ombudsman of the day, Arlene Brock, of “intellectual dishonesty and bias, getting her facts wrong and living in an ivory tower. The Ombudsman also complained publicly that she was put under a great deal of pressure by three unnamed ‘high level’ officials to drop her investigation of the Tucker’s Point development,” Mr Richards said.

October 8. RG Editorial. The news that Atlantic Tele-Networks (ATN), the American telecommunications company, has agreed a deal to take a controlling interest in KeyTech represents something of a vote of confidence in the Island’s economy. The Nasdaq stock exchange-listed company paid out $42 million and transferred its large stake in CellOne to KeyTech as part of the deal to acquire a 51 per cent stake in the Bermuda telecommunications group. Time will tell whether this turns out to be a positive development for Bermuda, but one would expect it to be so for consumers. The liberalization of the telecoms sector was set in motion by the previous Progressive Labour Party government with the aim of improving the Island’s telecommunications infrastructure, improving service to consumers and generating competition to ensure fairer prices. Bermuda has made progress but there remains room for improvement on all counts. The KeyTech deal will hopefully be another step in the right direction toward achieving those objectives. The Bermuda telecoms market is close to being a duopoly. If the deal gets the approval of regulators, then the duopoly will comprise two foreign-controlled participants, with KeyTech majority-owned by ATN and privately held Digicel owned by its Irish billionaire founder Denis O’Brien. There will be unease among those opposed to seeing key segments of the Island’s economy under foreign ownership. Fears of ruthless efficiency drives dictated from far away by numbers-focused executives with little understanding of Bermuda may be the scenario haunting some. But in this case, it should be stressed that ATN has a better appreciation of the Island than the average foreign investor, especially since it has been a stakeholder in Bermuda Digital Communications since the late 1990s. In other words, they know the market in which they are investing, which lends weight to the idea that this is truly a vote of confidence in the Bermuda economy. Also, realistically speaking, if Bermuda wants its telecommunications services to befit those of the modern international business centre we purport to be, then the scale of investment necessary to continually update our networks to keep up with technological advance requires owners with deep pockets. ATN and Digicel fit the bill. The hope for the future must be that these two companies compete vigorously on quality and price. In order to survive, the remaining stand-alone operators like TeleBermuda International, LinkBermuda and World on Wireless will need to match or better the duopoly’s offerings on quality, price, or both. This would produce a favorable outcome for Bermuda consumers. The weakness of a market with only two dominant players is that competition may wane over time, but the Regulatory Authority will be charged with keeping a close eye on things to ensure no semblance of even tacit collusion. Bermuda has a need for foreign capital in other areas of the domestic economy, in both the public and private sectors. The Electricity Act envisions a future in which we will have a utility-scale solar power project and, potentially, a change of principal generating fuel from oil to natural gas. Whatever options the country chooses, the infrastructure costs will run well into the hundreds of millions of dollars and Ascendant Group, the owner of the energy utility Belco, will have little choice but to tap the overseas capital markets. If the Island wants a new airport terminal, it cannot afford to fund it from the debt-burdened public purse, as the Government has made clear. The option it has chosen will give the foreign investors rights to run the airport for an extended time period in return for building it. While the Island has been relatively comfortable living with huge-scale overseas investment in exempt international companies, Bermudians are far less accustomed to seeing areas of the domestic economy open up to foreign participants. Protectionist instincts remain strong. However, in today’s interconnected and globalized world, protectionism is both less relevant and increasingly difficult to enforce. The rise of e-commerce means consumers can quite easily access goods and some services from overseas, meaning many Bermuda businesses already have overseas competitors, even if the 60-40 rule prevents them from being in the building next door. Bermuda should not dread the prospect of seeing more foreign equity in the domestic economy, especially in capital-intensive sectors like telecommunications and energy, where it is needed. It is indicative of a gradually modernizing Bermuda economy and heartening to see that outsiders have confidence our economic future."

October 7. A strengthening of the KeyTech and Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN) grouping alters the telecommunications landscape in Bermuda. It is a healthy development, believes Graham Pearson, chief executive of Bermuda-based Ignition Group of Technology Companies. “With the ongoing contraction in the market place, primarily driven by the insurance sector, it was inevitable that consolidations in the services sectors would occur,” he said. Mr Pearson said it was better to have “well-funded competition of the few rather than underfunded and struggling smaller players.” He noted that telecommunications is a capital-heavy industry. US-based ATN, which is seeking to acquire a controlling interest in KeyTech, has a market capitalization of $1.2 billion. Mr Pearson’s company Ignition provides a range of services, including IT solutions, cloud hosting, network monitoring and hosting. He said: “We need the funds coming in to keep Bermuda competitive from an infrastructure standpoint. “Our experience of the service levels and ageing infrastructure over the past 12-18 months have been cause for serious concern with reliability of the current infrastructure at its worst for years. Hopefully, this new injection of funds and the consolidation will address those issues. We do however have to rely even more on the telecoms oversight commissions to ensure there is fair play and the consumer gets competitive rates and service levels.” The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda is the watchdog organization that oversees the Island’s telecommunications sector. It will review the proposed deal. Kyle Masters, the authority’s interim chief executive, said: “The public can be assured that the authority will be working to discharge its duty to ensure that sustainable competition in the electronic communications sector is promoted and that the public interest is protected.” Mr Masters said he had been in contact with both KeyTech and ATN, and expected to receive formal notification shortly to enable the review process to begin. In a statement, the authority noted that the proposed move would allow KeyTech to provide mobile, fixed and international telecommunications services under one banner. Grant Gibbons, Minister for Economic Development, whose portfolio includes telecommunications, was unable to comment on the matter yesterday due to statutory obligations. The proposed deal is the latest shake-up for the domestic market, which could once have been likened to a spaghetti plate of intertwined licensing. Until a few years ago, Bermuda operated with three different licences for telecommunications providers; one for international service providers, one for domestic telephone providers and another for internet service providers (ISPs). Moves to end the licensing regime and simplify the market by allowing providers to bundle services, in line with other countries, began three years ago. In July 2012, the 60-40 ownership rule that restricted foreign ownership of Bermuda telecommunications companies to 40 per cent, also came to an end. As a result of those changes the Island’s telecommunications landscape has been greatly altered. Today, KeyTech and Digicel are the overwhelming heavyweights in terms of market share when it comes to providing internet, cellphone and telephone landline services. And while it is difficult to establish definitive figures on market share, statistics gathered from annual consumer surveys suggest KeyTech has the upper hand. In its most recent sector survey, published in January, the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda found that KeyTech-owned Logic was the dominant ISP accounting for 65 per cent of survey respondents. The survey was from a limited sampling of 403 residents. In order of popularity, the next four ISPs were Bermuda CableVision with 12 per cent, Digicel with 9 per cent, TeleBermuda International with 8 per cent, and CellOne with four per cent. Since that survey was released there have been further changes within the sector. Logic already owned the majority of Bermuda CableVision, but in July it assumed 100 per cent ownership when the two companies merged. Likewise, KeyTech has an approximate 42 per cent ownership of CellOne. If the proposed deal with ATN goes ahead, KeyTech will gain the US company’s 43 per cent stake in CellOne, and the minority shareholders will receive the right to have their shares converted to KeyTech ordinary shares. In the mobile services sector, CellOne had the largest slice of the domestic market, according to the 2013 and 2014 market surveys conducted on behalf of the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda. The 2014 report, based on a limited survey of 400 residents, showed CellOne had 59 per cent market share, compared to Digicel’s 41 per cent. Digicel bought the Bermuda Telephone Company in June, expanding its share of the Island’s telecommunications infrastructure and gaining a significant number of telephone and internet access customers. However, the telephone company was not an ISP at the time, therefore Digicel did not immediately boost its number of internet service customers as a result of the deal.

October 7. A legal battle between Bermuda Hospitals Board and a patient who suffered an agonizing wait for surgery has attracted the attention of lawyers for Britain’s national health service. The NHS Litigation Authority has applied to intervene in the case involving Kamal Williams and BHB when it goes before the Privy Council in November because of the impact the outcome could have on medical malpractice cases there. It fears that if BHB loses its appeal it could set a legal precedent and pave the way for a flood of claims of a similar nature against NHS hospitals. Mr Williams successfully sued BHB for damages after he suffered a burst appendix followed by life-threatening septic shock at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in 2011. Publicly funded BHB has opted to go to Bermuda’s highest court of appeal, in London, to avoid the $58,000 payout and Mr Williams is defending the action, despite his mounting legal costs. “I knew it was going to be a tough ride but I didn’t think I was going to have to get this far,” he told The Royal Gazette, of his decision to sue BHB. “It’s been four years at this point. I have to see it through. People in Bermuda need to pay attention. We want good healthcare and we are not trying to bankrupt the hospital but you need to take a stand if something is wrong and see it through. Right now, it’s just about the law. It’s not about me any more.” Mr Williams, a father of two from Southampton, was admitted to KEMH’s emergency room on May 30, 2011, with serious stomach pains. Screaming in agony by 11.44am, he did not have a scan to check for possible appendicitis until after 5pm, and the results of the scan were not received from an overseas agency — in Australia — until after 7pm. His operation began three hours later when surgeons discovered his appendix had ruptured, causing complications including sepsis. Mr Williams was on a respirator for the next seven days. The Privy Council will consider whether the lower courts applied the correct legal test to the injuries he suffered. The Supreme Court judge who heard the patient’s original claim for $100,000 against BHB considered whether “but for” the hospital’s negligence, he would have suffered those injuries. Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman initially awarded limited damages for pain and suffering, finding that while KEMH negligently breached its duty of care to Mr Williams, he failed to prove that the complications during and after his operation were probably caused by the failure to diagnose his illness and treat him swiftly. Mr Williams appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal, which ruled that the correct test to apply was whether the hospital “materially contributed” to his injuries. It sent the case back to the Supreme Court, where the patient was awarded $58,000 by Mr Justice Hellman, who said: “Mr Williams has undergone one of the most unpleasant experiences that a human can undergo. That experience was life-threatening.” It is understood the case before the Privy Council could set a precedent because the “material contribution” argument has previously only been allowed in very limited circumstances and not those involving hospitals. Mr Williams’s QC, Benjamin Browne, will argue that his case justifies a departure from the “but for” test and responsibility should be attributed to BHB, because of its breach of duty. BHB is likely to counter that the usual limitations should apply and it would be overly onerous on hospitals to attribute responsibility to them in such cases. The same argument is expected to be made by the NHS Litigation Authority, if it is given permission to intervene. Nick Rigg, from the NHS Litigation Authority, told The Royal Gazette: “The NHS Litigation Authority can confirm that we have applied to intervene in the case of Kamal Williams vs Bermuda Hospitals Board and that we are awaiting the Privy Council’s decision on this.” Mr Williams said the case had cost him thousands of dollars but he had no choice but to defend BHB’s action. “If it goes south for me, I’ll be in debt for a long time,” added the risk analyst. “But it’s common sense to me. I almost died.” BHB has previously said it could not comment on the legal case, which is due to be heard on November 18.

October 7. Health spending dropped 1.7 per cent over the previous year for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, the Bermuda Health Council has reported. That decline coincided with a 0.7 per cent drop in the Island’s population, and an 8.5 per cent rise in healthcare administration expenses. Announcing the release of the National Health Accounts Report 2015, the BHeC said total spending for that year had dropped marginally to $693 million, or 12.4 per cent of gross domestic product. Financing was 70 per cent private and 29 per cent public, with health insurance representing 60 per cent of financing sources — and individual out-of-pocket payments representing 10 per cent. Health spending between the private sector and public sector was split at about half each. However, jurisdictions ranging from Canada, Britain and Portugal still show a higher life expectancy, despite spending less per capita on health than Bermuda. Responding in a statement today, the Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment said it welcomes the report. “The finding that costs declined slightly from the previous year provides encouragement that some of the control measures implemented are having a positive impact,” stated the ministry. “Nevertheless, there is still more work to be done and the ministry is working with the Health Council, the Bermuda Hospitals Board and with private and public insurers and providers to continue to find ways to control health costs. In 2015, the Standard Health Benefit (SHB) premium was adjusted to modernize the basic benefits package and improve the health of some of the most vulnerable. The goal is to create better access to quality care by ensuring people can get the right care, in the right setting, at the right time. Evidence from health systems of other advanced economies has shown that quality, timely care is the most cost effective healthcare and focusing on quality will lead to a more affordable health system. This year, several programmes were introduced under the Standard Health Benefit (SHB) premium that should yield further reductions in health expenditure in future years.”

These are:

• an enhanced care pilot to better manage select chronic non-communicable diseases in uninsured and underinsured patients, as a result decreasing the probability of preventable, costly visits to the hospital;

• diversification of Health Insurance Department programmes for HIP and FutureCare that will allow more critical benefits that improve health and reduce costs (such as home healthcare, smoking cessation);

• progression of a modernization plan of services at the hospital;

Health minister Jeanne Atherden stated: “The green shoots demonstrated in the 2015 National Health Accounts indicate that measures to control utilization and right-size our health system may be yielding positive results. We continue to work hard to identify every possible measure that will control health costs for individuals, families and employers, and we are grateful for the collaboration of private and public healthcare providers, insurers and the public to realize this. For now, I believe we are on a better track and many stakeholders are working hard to control costs. We continue to encourage the public to do their part by practicing healthy lifestyles, eating a balanced diet, doing regular physical activity and avoiding smoking, as these simple steps help to keep health costs down for everyone. Unhealthy populations create greater costs for the economy, so it’s more important than ever that Bermuda become as healthy as possible.”  A full copy of the report is available via the BHeC website, www.bhec.bm.

October 7. The president and treasurer of the Bermuda Public Services Union declined to comment last night on an unattributed e-mail circulating ahead of tomorrow’s annual general meeting, questioning the union’s use of members’ dues. Jason Hayward said that any matters of concern would be discussed at that gathering, which is set for 5.30pm at St Paul Centennial Hall. The anonymous e-mail was acknowledged by Mr Hayward in an October 2 message to BPSU members, in which he encouraged dialogue on the issues raised along with “the many accomplishments and objectives of your union. This is the first general meeting that the BPSU will have had in decades, and it exemplifies the executive and the general council’s commitment to bottom-up leadership,” Mr Hayward wrote, describing it as an example of the union’s good governance and transparency. The meeting would give members insight into the union’s decisions, Mr Hayward said, as well as a venue to give their views and opinions on the union. It would also provide an occasion to present the BPSU’s 2014-15 annual report. Among other issues, the e-mail accused Mr Hayward of taking extra pay for acting as treasurer and alleged that he had received a substantial salary increase within six months of assuming the role.

October 7. Michael Dunkley is to meet with Bermuda Ombudsman Victoria Pearman in the “near future” to discuss concerns expressed over “dismissive language” used by Michael Fahy, the Minister of Home Affairs, towards her office. It comes after letters sent in August by the Ombudsman Association in Britain, followed by the International Ombudsman Institute based in Austria, to Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House. A 2014 annual report by the Ombudsman was tabled on June 26 detailing a complaint by a woman identified only as a Bermudian professional, against the Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Immigration, on the failure of an employer to contact her after she applied for a job that had ultimately gone to a work permit holder. Citing “maladministration”, Ms Pearman’s report found that the ministry had failed to act on the complaint, adding that her office’s recommendations had not been followed. Three days later, senator Fahy branded her report a “farce”, saying the department had found no record of a Bermudian applying for the job. Sen Fahy agreed with the Ombudsman that the employer’s mailbox had closed a day earlier than advertised, but said that the department found it had been accidental — and that the Bermudian candidate had lacked the required qualifications. The complaint was more than two years old, the minister added, and “significant” progress had been made at the department since. John Walters, president of the International Ombudsman Institute, wrote that “damaging and dismissive remarks” made by the minister had the potential to seriously undermine the Ombudsman’s work. The remarks were seen internationally as evidence of a lack of respect for both the office and the rights of Bermuda citizens to use its services, Mr Walters continued. Similarly, Lewis Shand Smith, of the Ombudsman Association, expressed concern at “dismissive language”, particularly Sen Fahy’s assertion that it was “entirely our prerogative” whether or not to accept the recommendations. Mr Smith called on Parliament to support the constitutional role of the Ombudsman and help to restore its good working relationship with the Bermuda Government. Rather than wait for Parliament to reconvene next month, Mr Horton forwarded the correspondence to all members of the legislature. Last night, the Premier told The Royal Gazette he intended to meet with Ms Pearman, adding: “Out of courtesy and respect, I will not say anything else at this time. Sen Fahy, had kept me in the loop on this matter from the very beginning.” He said he had spoken to Mr Horton about two weeks ago, and had written back to both organisations voicing the Government’s support for the Ombudsman — adding that the Government held “the utmost respect” for the office. 

October 7. Michael Fahy, the Minister of Home Affairs, has issued a statement maintaining that Victoria Pearman, the Bermuda Ombudsman, was in error when a report cited maladministration on his ministry’s behalf. Senator Fahy spoke after his dismissal of the report earlier in the year provoked concern from two overseas bodies, the Ombudsman Association and the International Ombudsman Institute. Responding to the letters sent by the groups to Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House, Sen Fahy said the ministry supported the Ombudsman’s freedom to conduct her investigations. “The Ombudsman plays a crucial role in providing an independent and objective consideration of complaints, as well as ensuring that any injustices or systematic failings are put right based on his or her findings. However, if in our opinion those findings are simply not correct, then there is nothing in law that prevents any Minister from putting across another point of view,” he said. His remarks on June 29, which addressed a complaint made against the Department of Immigration, criticised the report as “a farce” that related to “matters that happened over two years ago”. Sen Fahy said the statement had included “a factual and clear counterview to that of the Ombudsman’s, notwithstanding the concerns which have since been raised by the International Ombudsman Institute and the Ombudsman Association.  These organisations are entitled to their own view, which sadly have clearly come from only one source and is representative of only one view. It should be noted, however, that in the Department’s letter to the Ombudsman dated September 11, 2014, they committed to address several recommendations proposed by the Ombudsman. As one example, the Ombudsman suggested the Department amend the Advertising and Recruitment Criteria so that changes to job closing dates or changes to application addresses would render the advertisement invalid. This was in fact a very good suggestion and was included in the Work Permit Policy as at 1st March 2015. Additionally, the Ombudsman’s Report relates to matters that happened over two years ago. Significant strides have been made in the department since then, including a new work permit policy and a civil penalty regime — with literally dozens of cases being investigated and dealt with by the Chief Immigration Officer and her team. We will continue to support the work of the Ombudsman but in this particular case she has overreached especially as regards to the fine line between her role to investigate maladministration and that of ministerial policy and ministerial discretion. The minister stands by this view, notwithstanding the apparent pressure being made by outside organisations of which the Ombudsman is a member.”

October 7. The Causeway is to open from one-way to two-way traffic by 2.30pm today, the Ministry of Public Works has announced. Traffic lights and barriers directing traffic in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin are to come down by about 2pm. The ministry thanked the public for their patience, as the bridge was assessed after the storm.

October 6. Four major rating agencies have a negative outlook for the reinsurance sector. Significant declines in pricing during 2014, and the continuing pressure on pricing this year is one of the factors noted by agency AM Best. It also noted the effect of intensifying competition between companies, which has resulted in thinner underwriting margins. AM Best, along with fellow rating agencies Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, have placed a negative outlook on the reinsurance sector. Merger and acquisition trends that started last year will continue with global companies getting larger, believes AM Best, something that has been evident this year with the likes of XL and Catlin, Endurance and Montpelier, and Ace and Chubb among those involved in M&A activities. Smaller profits and tighter margins is also the rationale behind S&P’s negative outlook on the sector. The agency feels that reinsurers’ capital and earnings positions could be reassessed in view of the downward pressure on pricing. Those are among the insights included in an industry outlook report by Aon Benfield. Across US commercial and personal insurance lines, all four agency’s have a stable outlook, with the single exception of AM Best’s negative outlook for commercial lines. “This is driven by a combination of insurers’ commitment to underwriting discipline and profitability, very strong capitalization, and conservative investment portfolios despite the low interest rate environment,” notes the Aon report, Evolving Criteria. Last year both AM Best and S&P issued more upgrades than downgrades, but that trend has reversed this year for AM Best. An area is coming in for higher scrutiny for AM Best is cyber security. “It has increased its focus on the emerging trends surrounding cyber security and views it as an essential element of enterprise risk management,” Aon reports. “Companies are now asked to complete a new section of the SRQ [supplemental rating questionnaire] reflecting what each company is offering and the amount of protection purchased.” The agency is requesting information on policies, including policy limits and expected losses.

October 6. NEW YORK (Bloomberg) — The world’s top body for economic coordination unveiled its blueprint yesterday for cracking down on international tax avoidance, an opening salvo in what promises to be a prolonged battle between countries and companies over who gets taxed and where. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a research institute funded by 34 countries including the US, is seeking to curb tax haven use and other strategies by companies such as Google, Starbucks and Apple, which the group says costs the world as much as $240 billion a year in lost revenue. “This is the most important development in international tax in quite a few decades,” said H David Rosenbloom, an attorney at Caplin & Drysdale in Washington and director of the international tax programme at New York University’s School of Law. “It will definitely make a difference. Exactly what that difference will be is hard to predict.” The new guidelines include a series of highly technical plans to limit strategies with nicknames like the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich”. It’s the result of a three-year process initiated in 2012 by the Group of 20 Nations, which asked the Paris-based OECD to develop a plan. “The problem we had is that you could easily shift risk or capital without any tax risk,” said Pascal Saint-Amans, who heads the effort as director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration. “You could have a cash box in a tax haven where there is nobody. This is over.” For years, big multinational companies have cut their tax bills using strategies now coming under public criticism: assigning valuable patent rights to shell companies based in offshore countries such as Bermuda, considered tax havens; getting interest deductions for payments made to their own subsidiaries; or cutting deals with countries like Luxembourg to tax profits at low single digit rates. The OECD plan will be discussed at a meeting of G-20 finance ministers in Lima on Thursday. If they approve it, it will then be presented to the group’s leaders in Turkey in November for a vote on adoption. Countries aren’t required to follow the OECD’s recommendations, but many adopt the group’s guidelines as their own international tax rules. Tax regulations in the 34 member countries are required to conform to OECD standards, putting pressure on those nations to adopt some version of the organization's action plan. Although the US is the OECD’s biggest funder, Congressional Republicans have criticised the OECD work on tax loopholes, calling it a way for other countries to increase taxes on American companies. Many of the multinational companies whose tax avoidance techniques have received publicity are based in the US. Rosenbloom said he expects the new plan — known by the acronym BEPS, for “base erosion and profit shifting” – to trigger increased disputes between regulators and multinationals around the world. “Countries are going to do all sorts of things in the name of BEPS,” he said. In places like India, Brazil, China, Mexico and Canada, “you are going to see renewed aggressiveness in auditing of the multinationals,” he said. “There’s a lot of money involved here.” Some critics say the OECD project hasn’t gone far enough, and that the international corporate tax system should be replaced with one that allocates profits according to real world factors like where employees are located or sales are made. Instead, the OECD plan builds on a system which relies on paper transactions between different subsidiaries of the same company. They are trying to patch up this system which is doomed from the beginning,” said Tove Ryding, tax justice coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development, a Brussels-based watchdog organization. Michael Durst, a veteran international tax lawyer in Washington and longtime critic of the current system, said a better approach would be to allocate income according to things like the location of sales. He also supports imposing a minimum tax on companies, similar to a proposal by president Barack Obama’s administration. However, many of the OECD’s recommendations, if adopted, “could have a significant positive effect”, Durst said. One of those: the OECD seeking to restrict transactions between subsidiaries of the same company that generate an interest tax deduction in one country without generating taxable income in another. Another action would restrict a company’s ability to take advantage of the tax treaty benefits of countries like the Netherlands simply by funneling profits through paper subsidiaries there. The OECD plan also calls for companies to disclose to regulators detailed geographic breakdowns of sales, profits and taxes paid around the world, known as country-by-country reporting.

October 6. Oracle Team USA’s Dockyard base and racing equipment came through Hurricane Joaquin relatively unscathed. The hurricane swept past the Island on Sunday night, little more than two weeks before the start of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. “We came through Hurricane Joaquin relatively well,” the team said in a statement. “The base at Dockyard is in good shape and all our personnel on Bermuda are safe. We hope the same applies to all of our new friends in Bermuda. The wind is still very strong today [Monday], but the sun is starting to break through the clouds. We’ll be back at work tomorrow preparing to resume sailing later in the week.” As the hurricane approached the Island, the Oracle team staff put their plan for such scenarios into action. The roof of the tent had to be removed from the canteen area, all the containers closed up and the large glass panels covered in plywood. “Our logistics manager Ian Stewart has always had a plan for hurricane preparation,” Grant Simmer, the Oracle Team USA general manager, said. “That’s something that comes with living here. The forecast was a bit more severe so we took the decision to secure the base to the limit of what Ian had planned.” Oracle restarted their test programme prior to Hurricane Joaquin’s visit with the relaunch of their foiling AC45 prototype catamaran, which is expected to resume sailing in the Great Sound this week. Oracle’s second AC45 test boat is expected to be launched soon which will enable the defender of the oldest trophy in international sport to shift into two-boat testing mode. “We see the two-boat programme as a big competitive advantage for us in our development,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. “For me the most important was being the first team to set up here in Bermuda and getting a summer under our belt. We’ve achieved that and now we’re about to enter the next phase — getting two boats on the water.” Oracle officials do not expect the storm to have any impact on the World Series races, and Simmer said: “Bermudians are accustomed to dealing with these storms and recovering quickly.” Additional reporting by Sarah Lagan.

October 6. Organizers are hoping to refloat one of the spare International One Design sloops for this week’s Argo Group Gold Cup which sank during Hurricane Joaquin. The Privateer, owned by Michael Richold, sank on its Pitts Bay mooring during the hurricane on Sunday, leaving race organizers with only one spare boat on the eve of tomorrow’s official start to the penultimate event on the annual World Match Racing Tour circuit. “We have two spare boats but we are now down to one,” said Peter Shrubb, the rear commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club responsible for international events. “It was a privately owned boat that was being worked on and readied for the Gold Cup, and unfortunately during Hurricane Joaquin she ended up on the bottom.” Yesterday’s rough conditions ruled out any attempts to refloat the boat. “We are making efforts to have her refloated which is difficult at the moment because of the conditions,” Shrubb said. “The seas and wind are still quite high but the plan is to get her up as soon as possible and find out what condition she is in and hopefully there’s not much damage. It’s probably unlikely she will be able to sail in the Gold Cup unless we are very lucky and she can be put back in proper condition pretty quickly.” Most of the overseas teams were scheduled to arrive on Island yesterday ahead of today’s scheduled preparation sessions in Hamilton Harbour while regatta hosts RBYC came through the hurricane unscathed. “The yacht club [RBYC] didn’t sustain any damage, so the plan is to get the boats in the marina into their slips as soon as we can because tomorrow [today] is the practice day,” Shrubb said. Tomorrow’s scheduled start of the regatta will go ahead as planned. “Some of the crews have had to change their travel plans and won’t arrive until Tuesday night,” Andy Cox, the Gold Cup chairman, said. “But we’re still planning to start racing on Wednesday and we’ll adjust the schedule to accommodate any late arrivals.” The Gold Cup will include 16 teams divided into two qualifying groups of eight. The top three teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals while the teams that place fourth to seventh will face off against each other in another round robin to determine the remaining two quarter-finalists. Ian Williams and Team GAC Pindar, the world match racing champions, are the top ranked team in group one which also includes Johnie Berntsson and Stena Sailing, the defending Gold Cup champions, as well as local hopeful Blythe Walker and Team RenRe. Bjorn Hansen and Nautiska Racing are the top-ranked team in group two, which also features past Gold Cup winner Taylor Canfield and US Sail One. Also competing are America’s Cup Challengers Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan. The Gold Cup will be held from October 6 to 11 in Hamilton Harbour.

October 6. The US company due to take over support operations at Bermuda’s airport yesterday pledged to retain all 40 staff from outgoing contractor BAS Serco. Atlanta-based CI² beat BAS Serco, which has held the contract for 20 years and will take over at the end of March next year. The firm will run air traffic control, weather services, ground electronics and airport maintenance. CI² founder and president Andrella Kenner, who made a flying visit to Bermuda last week, said: “In our industry, risks are inherent in everything we do. It involves understanding, managing and critical thinking to ensure we meet objectives and maintain quality. To accomplish this, it takes a dedicated professional workforce which is what defines the CI² Aviation culture. I am confident that we already have that team in place in Bermuda.” The Royal Gazette revealed last week that BAS Serco had lost the contract it had held since 1995. Airport general manager Aaron Adderley paid tribute to BAS Serco’s work — but said the bid from CI² was “extremely competitive.” He added that CI² also held offshore air traffic control contacts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and had longstanding relationships with the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). And Mr Adderley said that CI²’s management of airspace bordering US national airspace was a “strong advantage” because Bermuda’s airspace also runs into US air territory and is at present managed by the FAA. He added that CI²’s US and international operations also offered extra training and career development opportunities for Bermudian employees. Ms Kenner said that her company would provide safe and efficient aviation and air navigation to passengers passing through the LF Wade International and to travelers travelling through Bermuda airspace. She added: “CI² Aviation’s commitment will be to the continued evolution of LF Wade International Airport as it moves into the next generation of airport operations and maintenance services. The company feels that professionals who have dedicated their careers as air traffic controllers, meteorologists, weather forecasters, ground electronic maintenance providers and airport maintenance services providers play an essential role in the airport’s past as well as its future.” The award-winning firm, which also has an office in Washington DC, is the only African-American owned company that provides air traffic control services to the Federal government. CI² also supplies air traffic control and weather observation to a total of 20 air traffic control towers in the US. And the company said its “most outstanding accomplishment” was more than 20 million aircraft operations and more than 18 years with no fatalities attributed to controller error.

October 6. The Island’s historic properties escaped largely unscathed despite the 100 miles per hour winds and torrential rain that lashed us as Hurricane Joaquin passed to the west. Jennifer Gray, executive director of the Bermuda National Trust, said the old buildings had again withstood the test of time with a “few minor leaks and damaged shutters”. Meanwhile, farmer Tom Wadson acknowledged that the after-effects of the powerful system could have been a lot worse for the farming community. “These kind of things are never good news for us, but we managed to hold on to most of our stuff,” he told The Royal Gazette. “There are a few crops that are touch and go, some peppers and other produce, but we’ll have a clearer idea of how bad the damage is in the coming days. All the animals were fine this year, we did a lot of preparation to make sure they would be safe, as well as regular check ups and that paid off. We lost a greenhouse cover but that is pretty much par for the course. There are certainly a few more challenges we’ll need to deal with, but it could have been a lot worse. We will keep our head down and keep working.” The National Trust will embark on a thorough inspection of its open spaces and nature reserves in the coming days. Ms Gray urged the public to report any felled trees or blocked trails that need immediate attention to palmetto@bnt.bm. “We are relieved to find our collection of historical homes unscathed after the close encounter from Hurricane Joaquin,” she said. “The rattling and shaking of wooden timbers frames and roof structures loosened a lot of dust and debris leaving us with countless hours of cleaning ahead in our museums. We reach out to anyone who can spare an hour or two this Thursday between 10am and 2pm to join us at the Globe Museum in St George for a dusting and cleaning social. We ducked another missile, tested our Hurricane Plan and are pleased that the dedicated team at the Trust worked well into the night on Saturday and managed to prepare all of our most important buildings and that the damage in the aftermath was minimal.”

October 6. The Island’s first hurricane of the season has been ranked a lucky miss, with relatively few reports of property damage taken by insurers. Joaquin had moved 185 miles north of the Island by noon yesterday, leaving Bermuda battered but spared the devastation suffered in the Bahamas when it was a Category 4 storm. It was also milder than either Hurricanes Fay or Gonzalo, which struck a year ago — Belco reported “considerably less” damage, and crews were hard at work on the remaining blackouts. The day began with more than 15,000 homes without power. There were 2,089 customers still in the dark at 9pm last night. Joaquin was a Category 3 storm as it approached on Sunday, falling to Category 2 as it passed 85 miles to the west at 9pm. The Island weathered hurricane-force winds: 50 knots gusting to 60 knots (58mph to 69mph) were clocked at the airport, while the Bermuda Weather Service received reports of 80-knot winds gusting to 100 knots (92mph to 115mph) in elevated areas. Between five and six inches of rain fell. Tropical storm winds continued yesterday as the Category 1 storm headed away from the Island. Roads were cleared of debris and public transport was gradually restored throughout yesterday. Buses are due to resume full service this morning. The West End bore the brunt of Joaquin’s passing, with one casualty being Dockyard’s historic Commissioner’s House. A year after its roof suffered extensive damage from Fay and Gonzalo, the last of the building’s old roof was torn away during the storm and a chimney was destroyed. “It was another big blow to us when we were just getting back on our feet — it looks really bad, but we will rebuild,” said Elena Strong, the curator for the National Museum of Bermuda. There was some water damage to the interior, but no exhibits or artifacts were damaged. Meanwhile, the Causeway, which closed shortly before 8pm on Sunday, reopened to a single lane just before 10am yesterday. Hurricane Joaquin forced two cruise ships to abandon their trips to Bermuda and put a significant dent in the Island’s container ship schedules. Bill Hanbury, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said the Island had “proven the power of preparation once again in the face of a hurricane”. “We’re getting the word out: the LF Wade International Airport is open, the Causeway is handling traffic once again and public buses and ferries have restarted operations on the main routes. We have checked in with most hotel properties and while some are operating temporarily on generator power, we have no reports of major damage. Our team is working with the Bermuda Hotel Association to get a handle on whether there is any notable volume of cancellations as a result of Hurricane Joaquin.” This month is a busy one for tourism, he noted: the Argo Gold Cup begins this week, with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series next week, and the Bermuda Tattoo and Nike Golf PGA of Canada Team Championship following afterwards. Oracle Team USA in Dockyard said they came through the hurricane unscathed. The storm also disrupted communications. Bryan Darby, the news editor at VSB, said the broadcaster’s station 1450AM was the only radio channel in operation with its storm watch programme at the height of the hurricane on Sunday evening. “All of the FM stations were blown off the air, including our own 106FM, and the Government radio station at 101FM broke down three times when it had generator problems,” Mr Darby said. VSB had been off the air when its broadcasting company, DeFontes, shut down last week — but storm watch was spared when backers stepped in. Mr Darby said 106FM would be returning to the public airwaves “for the foreseeable future.” The care of patients at both the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute and King Edward VII Memorial Hospital was uninterrupted, the Bermuda Hospitals Board reported. Small leaks at both hospitals were taken care of swiftly by maintenance staff. There were 65 patients treated in the Emergency Department, seven of whom arrived between midnight and 8am yesterday. The Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre treated four people between noon and midnight and four up until 8am yesterday. Weathering the storm well again was the Settlers House, a replica of the rudimentary homes first built on the Island, along with historic Carter House. As Joaquin headed slowly towards Europe, the Atlantic last night looked relatively clear. The National Hurricane Centre showed a tropical wave around 1,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, but its chances of turning into a storm were ranked as low. The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on November 30.

October 6. Hurricane Joaquin forced two cruise ships to abandon their trips to Bermuda and put a significant dent in the Island’s container ship schedules. The ‘Liberty of the Seas’ and ‘Carnival Sunshine’ and their 7,000 passengers were both due at Dockyard yesterday. But both liners diverted away from the Island before the Category 2 hurricane passed by the Island on Sunday evening. The ‘Norwegian Breakaway’, which is due to sail into the West End tomorrow, is still expected to arrived on schedule despite the after-effects of the storm. Meanwhile, all three of the container ships that service the Island suffered significant delays as Joaquin passed to the west of Bermuda and then tailed to the north east. The ‘Oleander’ was held back by 24 hours to avoid the powerful weather system and arrived in Hamilton yesterday evening at just after 7pm. The ‘Somers Isles’ is expected to arrive at 2pm tomorrow from Fernandina Beach in Florida, six hours behind schedule. The ‘Bermuda Islander’s’ return to Hamilton has been put back by a full day as a result of Joaquin and is now predicted to dock in the capital at 8am on Friday.

October 6. Owners of the Pier 6 tent structure on Front Street are confident it will be quickly repaired and operational ahead of this month’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. The tent was damaged on Sunday night as Hurricane Joaquin brushed the Island, delivering maximum gusts of up to 100mph. Arch areas on the Front Street side of the structure were severely ripped. However, replacement arches are ready to be installed as soon as the winds subside. “We are waiting until the wind has died down,” said Suzie Pewter, president of event management company The Whitfield Group. “The damage to the tent is confined to the arches, and they come off very easily. It’s not a big deal to replace them.” Pier 6 was in use on Saturday night, hosting an event for a visiting group from the Young Presidents’ Organisation. The tent structure, first erected in 2013, is built to withstand winds up to 150mph. Last year it was destroyed by tornadoes associated with Hurricane Fay. It was replaced with assistance from the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which granted a $180,000 loan. Damage caused at the weekend is on a smaller scale. Ms Pewter said photographs of the damage will be forwarded to the tent manufacturers. “We will chat with them,” she said. The structure can be taken down ahead of a strong hurricane, providing there is sufficient warning and time to do so. Hurricane Joaquin’s predicted path quickly shifted more than 100 miles eastward towards Bermuda at the end of last week. Ms Pewter said the waterside of the structure, which will be used during the World Series this month, was undamaged.

October 5. Bermudian businesses are reopening today as Hurricane Joaquin travels further away from the Island. As of this afternoon, the vast majority of stores and restaurants in Hamilton have opened their doors to customers, returning to business as usual. A spokesman for Washington Properties said this morning that the Washington Mall is open, as well as several businesses inside. Meanwhile the Fairmont Southampton Resort is up and running with staff working to restore full service at the hotel. A spokeswoman said: “While there are some non structural issues to address, clean up is well under way, and Fairmont Southampton did not sustain significant damage as a result of Hurricane Joaquin. To ensure the safety and security of its guests and colleagues, the hotel team followed a comprehensive hurricane preparedness plan, and the property was well equipped to handle the storm.” While the hotel is not accepting new reservations for today, it will be accepting new guests starting tomorrow. The Elbow Beach Resort meanwhile escaped damage in the storm and is already taking reservations. Ed Burns, who represents the owners of the resort, said this afternoon: “The safety of our guests and employees was our number one priority in the lead up to and during Hurricane Joaquin. The hotel remained open during the storm and we continue to be fully operational.”

October 5. Legal action is now under way over the lease and development agreement for the long-defunct 9 Beaches resort at the West End, which has been unused since 2010. The Bermuda Land Development Corporation (BLDC) is taking developer IRC Sandys Ltd to court over the matter. Hotelier David Dodwell is president of the company and a minority shareholder, holding less than 1 per cent of shares. The majority of shareholders are said to be citizens of the United States. Mr Dodwell is president of The Reefs Hotel and chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA). IRC Sandys, which has no connection to the BTA, has been previously reported as running into financial difficulties, including running into arrears on its rent to the government quango. An $80 million renovation has been repeatedly delayed for the complex of waterside cabanas at Daniel’s Head in Sandys, some of which are showing signs of their age. 9 Beaches is still being maintained, however, with the resort’s website now saying that a $55 million upgrade is expected to have it open again in 2017. IRC Sandys acquired the lease in 2004, picking up from Destination Villages, which in 1999 set about transforming the old Canadian Naval Base into an “eco-village” resort. Asked if it was seeking merely to reclaim the lease or was also intent on getting back arrears, the BLDC said there would be no comment on the case before its conclusion. According to the Ministry of Public Works, the corporation’s board is acting in its capacity to pursue legal action, filed in a writ last month through the law firm Marshall Diel & Myers. 

October 5. Hurricane Joaquin will have only a fraction of the financial impact of last year’s hurricanes, according to BF&M insurance. “The assessment of potential insured losses as a result of the effects of Joaquin at this stage indicates that the number of claims and severity of claims is going to be very low,” said John Wight, the company’s chief executive officer. BF&M received only 12 claims during the first business day after the storm, he said, adding: “By comparison, we were flooded with claims soon after Fay and Gonzalo struck Bermuda last October. “Thus, the financial impact to Bermuda as a result of Joaquin will only be a fraction of what Fay or Gonzalo was. We have surveyed a good portion of the Island and spoken with certain boatyards, and Bermuda was very fortunate that the severity of the winds was downgraded as it approached and moved past the Island, and that the path of the storm didn’t drift any further east towards the Island.”

October 5. The Causeway is now open with a one-way system in place, the Emergency Measures Organisation has announced. The road was closed at 8.30pm last night and remained shut this morning until a full assessment had been completed. According to Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva, the Causeway is expected to remain single lane on the Blue Hole Hill side for at least two days so that divers can examine the condition of the bridge. Meanwhile, a break-in hit the Rubis gas station by the mainland end of the bridge. Manager Viv Redford described it as a smash-and-grab, with the main door broken and cigarettes scattered on the floor. “It’s not a major situation — we thought it was storm damage at first,” Mr Redford said. Mr DeSilva confirmed that three burglaries have been reported in the last 24-hours, including one at a store and two at residences, however he could not attribute all three incidents to the period in which the Island was impacted by the storm.

October 5. Commissioner’s House at Dockyard, which was dealt extensive roof damage by last year’s back-to-back hurricanes, lost another section of its roof during last night’s storm. An official statement is to come later today from the National Museum of Bermuda, but early reports are that the last remaining piece of the historic building’s old roof was lost to Hurricane Joaquin. The building at the tip of Ireland Island sits at a particularly exposed point, and the West End was forecast to receive the worst of the storm as it passed just west of the Island last night.

October 5. Belco has now restored all its mainline circuits, with the total number of customers still without power down to 2,089. Priority is now being given to circuits affecting schools, in preparation for tomorrow morning, according to a spokeswoman. Earlier today, more than 15,000 people were without power. At 9pm the breakdown of numbers left in the dark were: Devonshire, 917; Hamilton, 65; Paget, 131; Pembroke, 27; Sandys, 67; Smith’s, 621; Southampton, 102; St George’s, 13; Warwick, 146. “Crews are continuing restoration efforts tonight with a focus on restoring branch line and small pocket outages. They will be stood down by midnight in order to get some rest overnight and return refreshed for continued restoration first thing in the morning. Belco has been asked on Facebook to provide ETA’s for restoration in specific areas. We obviously would very much like to do so, but unfortunately this is not possible. We will, however, continue to provide regular updates through the media and on our Facebook page and Twitter. We would like to thank our customers for all of the positive messages of support for our team that are being sent through and more so for the continued patience of those customers still without power. We will continue to work diligently to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”

October 5. Insurance firms will open their doors this morning to help clients who may have suffered hurricane damage. Colonial and Argus will both be open for business from 8.30am. A spokesman for Colonial said: “As long as the Emergency Measures Organisation deems it safe to be on our roads, Colonial will open on Monday as normal.” He added that, if clients are unable to get into Hamilton, they should call 296-3700 or the special hurricane emergency numbers, 747-3700 or 707-3700. A spokeswoman for Argus said that its number for filing a hurricane damage report or queries was 298-0888. She added: “Once a damage report is filed, Argus will send adjusters as quickly as possible and as soon as it is safe to do so. Clients should take photos of damaged property to create an inventory for claims.” Banks have also signaled their intention to get back to business. The Bank of Butterfield said it planned to open its banking centres and offices at 11am today “providing roads are safely passable and that its premises are safe for customers and employees.” Clarien Bank said it expected to be open by noon, subject to checks of its premises and system assessments. A spokeswoman added: “Updates regarding the resumption of normal business operations will be communicated once all assessments are complete to ensure the safety and security of Clarien customers and employees.” The Bermuda Commercial Bank said it would resume operations at 12 noon AST today, depending on an assessment of its buildings and systems. Insurance firm ACE said it planned to open its offices on Woodbourne Avenue in Hamilton at noon and advised staff to call the company emergency hotline for further updates.

October 5. Organizers of the Argo Group Gold Cup remained confident yesterday that next week’s event will be held as planned as Hurricane Joaquin closed in on the Island. It is the second straight year that last-minute preparations for the Gold Cup have been impacted by a hurricane after Faye and Gonzalo swept through Bermuda in the build-up to the 2014 event. Despite being hit by two hurricanes in the space of five days, last year’s Gold Cup went off without a hitch and Peter Shrubb, the rear commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, is adamant that there will be no exception in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin. “I am sure things will go ahead as planned,” Shrubb said. “The volunteers and support crew here in Bermuda work so hard to get everything done and all of the preparations made, and I’m sure everyone put in their usual Herculean effort.” The majority of the 16 teams that make up this year’s Gold Cup fleet are scheduled to start arriving in Bermuda today as Hurricane Joaquin continues its north-northeasterly track farther away from the Island. “Most of the teams are arriving Monday night because a lot of the sailors were competing at events in Europe like the RC44,” Shrubb said. "Most of them were scheduled to come in Monday night along with umpires and race officials. That’s still the plan and we’re hoping all of the teams get here on time.” Organizers took steps at the weekend to safeguard the International One Design sloops to be used for the Gold Cup as Hurricane Joaquin closed in. “As far as I know, the boats are going to be ready and the schedule is to still to go ahead as planned,” Shrubb said. Like the rest of the Island, Oracle Team USA, took steps to minimize structural damage to their team base in Dockyard and fleet of foiling catamarans and single-handed dinghies. “The forecast was a bit more severe, so we’ve taken the decision to secure the base to the limit of what Ian [Stewart, the team logistics manager] had planned,” said Grant Simmer, the Oracle Team USA general manager. “All the boats are inside sheds, the tent roof has been taken off the canteen area, all the containers are closed up and the large glass panels have been covered in plywood. We’re in pretty good shape. We’re prepared to lose power and communication for a couple of days if the storm is worse than forecast. We’ve prepared for the worst and we are hoping we’re being overcautious.” Simmer was optimistic that the hurricane would not have any impact on the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda. “Bermudians are accustomed to dealing with these storms and recovering quickly. For most of us, it’s our first time, so we are probably anticipating something more severe than what we’ll see. Hopefully, we’ll be out sailing again in a few days.” Although the sailing is likely to escape largely unscathed, several sporting events did fall victim to the storm this weekend. The Bermuda Football Association postponed yesterday’s round of Premier Division and First Division matches. “The BFA encourages all residents to prepare early for Joaquin, be safe, tune into EMO updates and look out for vulnerable residents,” the statement said. Yesterday’s PartnerRe Women’s 5K and Girls 2K race was also postponed. “While we cannot confirm a new race date at this time we would like to try to reschedule if we are able,” organizers said in an e-mail to participants. “The race directors appreciate your interest in this fantastic event and hope you and your families remain safe in the storm.” Other sporting events postponed or cancelled because of the approaching hurricane were Saturday’s harness racing at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre at Vesey Street, the Governor’s Cup golf tournament at Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club and cycling’s Independent Victoria Park Criterium in Hamilton.

October 5.  The Island and its role in the dark years of the Second World War feature in a current best-seller 1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History. As the United States and president Franklin Roosevelt grappled with arguments over how to intervene in the Nazi campaign of genocide against Europe’s Jews, Bermuda provided an ideal location to hold secret talks. The question of whether to attack Nazi concentration camps was complicated by the Allies’ overstretched war capabilities, but their humanitarian failings, juxtaposed with the peaceful island scenery, are explored by US author Jay Winik. Mr Winik, a New York Times best-selling author, has been hailed by The Baltimore Sun as “one of the nation’s leading public historians.” His 2001 best-seller April 1865 inspired a genre of history books. It was made into a History Channel documentary in which Mr Winik narrated; it also helped inspire the Robert Redford film The Conspirators. His latest best-seller explores 1944 as the year of exceptional pressure on Roosevelt, as well as being the one that determined the war’s outcome. Roosevelt knew Bermuda’s geographical significance, having observed in 1941, before the United States even entered the war, that if the Island fell into hostile hands, it would be “a matter of less than three hours for hostile bombers to reach our shores.”. Three years later, it was Bermuda’s relative obscurity that made the location ideal for the 1944 Anglo-American conference on refugees. Bermuda was conveniently removed from the press and the humanitarian groups pushing for the attack on the camps to take higher priority. The delegates stayed for 12 days at Horizons, “a luxurious plantation built in 1760”, Mr Winik writes. “Breathtaking views of shimmering turquoise water” accompanied the faltering talks, which struggled to balance the burden on the American war machine with the massacres in Europe. Roosevelt was familiar with the Island’s delights: Associate Justice Owen J Roberts was unable to attend as chairman of the American delegation, for example, prompting the president to respond that he was “truly sorry that you cannot go to Bermuda — especially at the time of the Easter lilies.” However, as the Bermuda delegates were mired in disagreement, and Nazi forces closed in on the Jews of Warsaw, the “ill-fated” conference ended in silence. Mr Winik’s book has received extensive news coverage, including an appearance at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC.

October 5. An effort to restore the health of the one of the Island’s ponds has been successful, according to researchers. Jamie Bacon, principal investigator of the Bermuda Amphibian Project, has said that efforts to remove dangerous hydrocarbons from one half of Cloverdale Pond have been successful, and the effort is now being extended to other areas. “We seen that 96 to 100 per cent of the hydrocarbons are gone.  That side of the pond at this stage is healthy. The other side is the same, but it works. We have now started work at Evan’s Pond and it’s full speed ahead.” Earlier this year, Dr Bacon told the Hamilton Rotary Club that a recent study had found an alarming number of deformities in the Island’s toads, terrapins and killifish, which had been linked to petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals in pond sediment. In an effort to combat the issue, researchers with the assistance of HSBC’s Global Water Programme attempted two different strategies at Cloverdale Pond, aerating the sediment and installing OpFlex foam — which absorbs many forms of hydrocarbons and heavy metals — in slipways which carry water from the road to the pond. “What we are doing is gently aerating the sediment,” Dr Bacon said. “This is providing oxygen to the bacteria that consume hydrocarbons that reside in the sediment. Our earlier tests showed that hydrocarbon consuming bacteria were living in the sediments, but that there was too little oxygen for them to work effectively. In the lab, aerating the sediment enabled them to reproduce and work much more quickly so we tried it on half of the pond at Cloverdale to see how it would work in the field. It is known to work elsewhere. Solar panels powering a compressor with two air lines connecting to two manifolds that distributed the air located at the surface of the sediment were installed last December and we began aerating the north side of the pond.” She said that tests of sediment collected in August showed that 96 to 100 per cent of the toxic hydrocarbons were degraded, and the fish population of the pond had already begun to recover. Before we started aeration, the fish exposed to the Cloverdale pond sediment laid markedly fewer eggs than those exposed to safe lab sediment.  We repeated the same test using pond sediment collected in August and the fish exposed to the pond sediment laid even slightly more eggs than those exposed to the safe lab sediment showing us that not only were the hydrocarbons essentially ‘gone’ but that the sediment was now much healthier for fish and other wildlife.” Dr Bacon said the preliminary analyses regarding the use of OpFlex have been promising, but the results have not yet been confirmed because of the recent wet weather. “We need to confirm this by removing the OpFlex and sediment from the soakaways for further tests. The problem is that we keep getting rain and the soakaways are flooded. Once they aren’t full of water, we can collect our samples.”

October 5.  An award has been bestowed on former Premier Ewart Brown by Jamaica’s St Jago High School, an institution that he has credited for playing a “pivotal” role in his school days. Dr Brown was expected to be presented with the school’s OR Bell Laureate Award at St Jago’s 271st Anniversary Reunion Banquet yesterday in New York. “I am grateful to be honored by St. Jago; a school that holds a special place in my heart,” Dr Brown said. He attended the school from 1959 to 1964. Dr Brown added that there had been a time in his childhood when he had thought that “maybe school was not in my future. I came to St. Jago and actually got a new lease on life. That’s why I think I have this deep love and affection for Jamaica and St. Jago,” Senior military officers have graduated from the school, along with globally recognized cricketers, academic scholars, performing artists and Olympic athletes.

October 4. All government offices will open at noon tomorrow but the courts will only be handling emergency matters. A government spokeswoman said: “All government offices will open at noon on Monday. Courts will only be handling emergency matters tomorrow. Any jurors scheduled for cases are to report to court on Tuesday morning.  The Supreme Court Registry will be closed as well and is set to open for business on Tuesday morning. Tomorrow the Magistrates’ Court will handle the scheduled remands only. All other matters that were scheduled for tomorrow will have to have new dates allocated. All other Magistrates’ Court cases and business will happen on Tuesday.”

October 4. Belco crews have been stood down for the night but will begin working again first thing in the morning, according to a spokeswoman for the utility. Crews have been working throughout the day and evening and made good progress earlier today, she added. As of 8.30pm, 7,503 customers were without power — 3,252 in the central parishes, 2,236 in the eastern parishes and 2,015 in the west. “Restoration efforts will begin again in the morning,” the spokeswoman said. “We thank our customers for their patience and as we are still in storm conditions urge everyone to continue to take precautions and remain safe.” At 6pm, the total number of customers without power was down from 2754 to 2011. “While the east experienced an increase from 24 to 1456, and west numbers are down to 516 from 2091 at 5pm,” the spokeswoman said. Residents are asked not to post outage reports on Facebook and Twitter, unless it is an emergency, as engineers are aware of the large areas. “By calling 955, your call generates a work order. However, if you cannot get through, please be patient, chances are engineers are already aware.” Once the storm has passed, restoration will continue with essential services being given priority, followed by large areas, and the utility will keep customers posted on activities. If you can not get through, know that we are aware of major outages and will respond as the weather permits and as per priorities.” Belco announced this morning that it has implemented its emergency preparations for response to Hurricane Joaquin with equipment and crews ready in the eastern, western and central locations. In the event of widespread power outages after Hurricane Joaquin brushes by Bermuda today, Belco said restoration work will begin in the immediate aftermath of the storm. “Restoration will begin with essential services being restored followed by largest affected areas,” the spokeswoman said. “We ask that, where possible, motorists stay off the roads during and immediately following the storm so that restoration crews can move easily.”

October 4, 1232 hrs. Hurricane Joaquin, which has weakened to a Category 1 storm, has passed its closest point of approach to the Island. However, elevated locations are still experiencing hurricane force winds, according to the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO). The Hurricane Warning will therefore remain in effect beyond the midnight advisory. “The projected track and wind radii have altered the winds, keeping us in heightened conditions until 1am,” a spokesman said. “However, the structure is expected to change tomorrow morning allowing cessation of tropical storm force winds a little earlier (by about 2 hours).” With a peak strength yesterday of 155mph, Joaquin became the strongest Atlantic storm since Hurricane Igor in 2010. Similarly to Igor, however, it has diminished in strength with its trek north. Hurricane Joaquin was located about 69 miles northwest of Bermuda at 12am. Earlier today, the Bermuda Weather Service warned of the possibility of tornadoes being spawned by the hurricane. By 7pm, however, the BWS announced that the band of heavy rainfall primed for tornadic activity had passed. A BWS spokesman said this evening: “Joaquin is slowing down, shrinking the core strongest winds closer to the centre and away with an overall decrease of winds.” In its latest update at 11.30pm, the BWS reported that storm force winds and hurricane force winds will gradually ease to tropical storm force early tomorrow morning. Showers with thunderstorms are expected to continue tonight before easing tomorrow. According to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC), the Joaquin is still producing tropical storm conditions while passing the Island. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to about 85mph with higher gusts. The storm is moving towards the north-northeast at about 13mph, and gradual weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. The hurricane’s progress has attracted international attention, with cities on the United States East Coast initially fearing the system would make landfall. With Joaquin set to boomerang northwest after passing Bermuda, gale force winds are a possibility for Scotland later in the coming week. There have been intermittent reports of outages — the majority now being in the East End — and Belco crews were working until about 9.30pm to restore power. They will resume work at first light, according to a spokeswoman. The Bermuda Police Service is advising the motoring public to slow down as there are large amounts of water and debris on the roads. “If you must be on the roads please switch on your headlights to increase your visibility,” a spokesman said. Government announced earlier that all government schools will be closed tomorrow. Mount Saint Agnes Academy, Warwick Academy, Saltus Grammar School, Bermuda High School for Girls, Bermuda Institute and Somersfield Academy will also be shut — as is Bermuda College. Preschools across the Island will also be closed. All flights to and from the Island were cancelled today and the airport was scheduled to close at 2pm. The facility fared poorly in the Island’s last round of hurricanes a year ago, with widespread flooding. Ferry services were also cancelled and buses were suspended 10am.

October 4. 1130 hrs. The Emergency Measures Organization is reminding residents that a Hurricane Warning has been issued for Bermuda. All Government schools will be closed on Monday, the EMO has advised, and all remaining flights today have been cancelled. LF Wade International Airport will close for operation at 2pm and is expected to reopen tomorrow morning. A decision regarding Government Offices will be made later today, as well as the resumption of public transportation services for Monday. The latest Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) reports indicate that Hurricane Joaquin is a Category 3 storm and its closest point of approach to Bermuda will be about 70 miles to the west-northwest at 9pm this evening. Tropical storm force winds will continue throughout the day into tomorrow morning. Some elevated and western areas can expect to experience hurricane force wind gusts. Out of an abundance of safety and caution, the EMO is urging the public to stay off the roads today unless absolutely necessary. The EMO continues to monitor Hurricane Joaquin very closely and advises residents to stay abreast of the latest BWS updates throughout the day. Bob Richards, the Acting Premier, and Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, also convened a meeting of the EMO yesterday to get the latest updates regarding the storm. The EMO confirmed that all emergency services, including the Bermuda Regiment, the Bermuda Police Service, the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, Belco, the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Department of Public Works, have positioned their resources and are prepared. And the EMO advised that as of yesterday evening, residents should have completed their storm preparations. Ferries will not run today because of rough seas and all bus services were suspended as of 10am. The Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport this morning confirmed that all flights have been cancelled. The EMO further advised that the government shelter at CedarBridge Academy will be open from 10am. The Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre will also be open for residents in the East End and a full complement of clinical, support and administrative staff will be on site at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute and associated group homes to ensure inpatients and residents are fully supported throughout the storm. Throughout today, the Emergency Broadcast System will provide storm related information every half-hour. The EBS can be found at 100.1FM. Helpful information:

Additional preparation tips from the Bermuda Government:

Owing to technical issues, The Royal Gazette’s website was unavailable for parts of yesterday. From today, we aim to provide coverage throughout the storm on our website, as well as continuing our Facebook and Twitter updates.

October 4, 1050 hrs. Schools and preschools across the Island will be closed tomorrow as damage caused by Hurricane Joaquin is assessed. All government schools and the Bermuda College will be shut, as well as Warwick Academy, Somersfield Academy, Saltus Grammar School, Mount Saint Agnes Academy, Bermuda Institute and Bermuda High School for Girls (BHS). The following preschools have also been closed: Adventureland Nursery and Preschool, Teeter Tots Nursery, Blossoming Tots Daycare, Aneesah’s Nursery and Preschool, Onionpatch Academy, Heavenly Blessings Nursery, First Church of God Daycare and Preschool, Aeries Adventure Nursery and Preschool, Little Learners Preschool, First Friends Nursery and Preschool, and Heritage Nursery and Preschool. Teachers in public schools are to report to their respective schools on Tuesday morning, the Emergency Measures Organization announced earlier today. Ted Staunton, the Head of Saltus Grammar School, said that because the storm will occur in the hours of darkness, “best practice determines that road crews and Belco will need the early daylight hours to assess the damage and make repairs. “We do not want to hinder this vital effort, nor do we want to put any of you at risk,” he added. “We will also need to assess any potential damage to the school.” Provided it is safe and has power, the school will be open on Tuesday. This will be confirmed on local radio and social media at about 12pm tomorrow. A BHS spokesman said: “Since Joaquin will be passing Bermuda at night, we will be unable to assess damage to the School until Monday morning. Furthermore, the school network system will be shut down shortly as a precaution, therefore student and staff e-mail will be inaccessible. Once Hurricane Joaquin has passed and we have assessed the damage to the school, we will be in contact about reopening.” Warwick Academy also sent out a Facebook message and updated their Twitter account this morning. “Warwick Academy will be closed tomorrow, Monday, as we check the school for damage and manage whatever repairs and clean-up are needed,” the school said. Community Education and Development Programme classes due to be held today were also cancelled.

October 4. The Bermuda Tourism Authority yesterday afternoon activated its emergency management plan to prepare operationally for Hurricane Joaquin — not only on-Island but off-Island as well. “This has put us in a position for timely communications with visitors and the international media over the weekend, and more importantly, positions us well to let the world know when Bermuda is open for business following the storm,” the BTA stated. “The forecast track of Hurricane Joaquin has been ever-changing. We urge all stakeholders to pay close attention to future advisories from the Bermuda Weather Service and the Emergency Measures Organization. This is the best way to prepare your tourism industry colleagues and the visitors we serve.”

October 4. The Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s sail training vessel Spirit of Bermuda is battening down in preparation to ride out Hurricane Joaquin at its Dockyard berth. “We have 17 lines out on the starboard side, and two on the port, and seem to be sitting well,” a spokesman said on social media. “Everything loose has been removed from the deck and all hatches secured down, and ventilator plugs in. We can’t do any more for Spirit of Bermuda: she is as well secured as we can make her.” The Sloop Foundation spokesman added: “Here’s hoping for everyone in Bermuda that Joaquin doesn’t treat us too badly. Stay safe, all.”

October 3. For more than four decades Joseph “Paddy” Woolf was the first port of call for thousands of patients, from sick children to pregnant mothers. He delivered scores of children and tended to hundreds during the course of his distinguished medical career, but even after retirement he remembered every one of them. The popular and widely respected general practitioner, who arrived in Bermuda in the mid-1950s, passed away at the end of last month at the age of 87. Colleagues and friends were quick to praise Dr Woolf’s caring disposition and exceptional ability. Dr Robbie Martin, who took over Dr Woolf’s practice on Point Finger Road in 1998, described him as an “incredibly popular man”. “His patients loved him and his demeanor was always caring and considerate,” he said. “He must have delivered half the babies on the Island at one point, and even after he retired he was able to remember every one of them. Many of my patients would say they had bumped into Dr Woolf after his retirement in the shops or in town, and they were always surprised to see that he remembered who they were. Paddy was a private person; quiet, but a lot of fun. He loved golf and had a passion for orchids. He will be sorely missed by all the mothers whose children he delivered, as well as the children themselves who are now having children. His work spanned more than three generations.” Dr Woolf came to Bermuda in the mid-1950s with the Royal Army Medical Corps after graduating from university in Northern Ireland having studied medicine. He completed his two-year national service and went on to work for the public health department before starting a family and setting up his own practice. Gordon Black, a fellow doctor, first met Dr Woolf when he arrived in Bermuda in 1957 to work at the hospital. “A good GP needs what are called the three As; he needs to be available, affable and able,” Dr Black said. “Paddy had all three of these virtues in good measure. He went into general practice in the days before all the medical specialists we have today. He worked as a GP from 7am to 7pm, and then would deliver babies during the night. He was always extremely busy. He was very able and well qualified. His pleasant, friendly personality made him very popular with his patients.” Bill Cook, another doctor who also worked with Dr Woolf for many years, added: “Paddy was a very genuine and sincere man. In the workplace he was always pleasant, quiet and unassuming.”

October 3. A meeting of the Emergency Measures Organization was convened today to discuss Hurricane Joaquin and assess the Bermuda Government’s and other relevant agencies’ preparedness. The storm, which has weakened to a Category 3 hurricane, is classed as a threat to the Island by the Bermuda Weather Service. According to Michael Dunkley, the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) is closely monitoring the hurricane’s progress and he “strongly encouraged” the public to make sure that they are adequately prepared in the event of a storm. Those living in low lying and coastal areas are encouraged to make the necessary residential storm preparations. As a precaution, those who own boats and other watercraft are also encouraged to secure their vessels in advance of the inclement weather. “We are certainly no strangers to serious storms,” the Premier said. “But Mother Nature can be very unpredictable. So it is critically important that residents be prepared. Government agencies are at the ready and we are paying close attention to the developments with Hurricane Joaquin. As a timely reminder, I am strongly encouraging residents to ensure that their homes are secure and that their storm provisions, supplies and emergency kits are up to date. This includes an ample supply of batteries, fuel for your car, your bike and your generator. Additional preparation tips include blocking gutters with clean rags or other devices to prevent any leaves, salt and other contamination from entering water tanks. Members of the public are also advised to bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools, and to anchor objects that cannot be brought inside but that could be wind-tossed. Additionally, installing storm shutters over all exposed windows and other glass surfaces is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your home. Cover all windows, French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights. Plywood shutters, if installed properly, can offer a high level of protection from flying debris during a hurricane. To ensure their clients are up to date with their insurance policies, Freisenbruch-Meyer Group today announced that it will be open on Saturday from 9am to 12pm. “We urge our clients and the community to take this threat seriously and ensure preparations are complete by Saturday evening.  To further assist you with how to prepare, please view or download our Hurricane Kit from our website, fmgroup.bm. If deemed safe, our offices will open as per normal on Monday, October 5, to assist clients with any claims they may have sustained as a result of Hurricane Joaquin.” The container vessel Oleander has changed its scheduled arrival to Monday evening, so that it can come in behind the storm. “We have completed a review of all available weather data with the Captain to determine the safest routing for the Oleander as Hurricane Joaquin passes Bermuda this Sunday and Monday,” Neptune Group said in a statement tonight. “As the hurricane will accelerate and continue to drift east toward Bermuda, the decision has been made to allow the hurricane to pass with the Oleander coming in behind the storm. Trying to outpace an oncoming hurricane is never a good strategy and BCL will never put the crew, the ship and your cargo at risk. As such the current plan is to target a Monday evening arrival and discharge with all containers being dispatched immediately over the road.” The group added that Bermuda Container Line (BCL) has made arrangements for containers to be delivered over the road until 10pm on Monday. Should harbour access not be possible on Monday evening, the Oleander will arrive and be worked with two cranes on Tuesday morning. Customers will be updated on Monday with the latest arrival time and discharge plan. For more information visit www.emobermuda.com, www.weather.bm or www.facebook.com/dciBermuda. Televised weather updates are available on CableVision channel four and WOW channel 100. Government’s Emergency Broadcast station is available on 100.1FM For the public forecast dial 977, for the current observations dial 9771, for the marine forecast dial 9772 and for the latest warnings and tropical information dial 9773. For tracking of the hurricane, you can visit our weather page at www.royalgazette.com/section/weather.

October 3. Bermuda could become a world centre for boat servicing on the back of the America’s Cup if the industry gears up to impress the billionaire yacht owners expected to flock to the Island. The editor of the Cup Experience website, Jack Griffin, explained how the marine industry in Auckland was boosted after it hosted the America’s Cup. It is set to be one of many benefits to the average Bermudian as a result of hosting the world-class sailing event. Mr Griffin, who will be making a presentation at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute about America’s Cup racing and rivalry, told The Royal Gazette: “New Zealand got a huge boost to their maritime business. Boat builders, boat refitting, large sailing and motor yachts, zodiac-style RIBs, all of the makers of those things, a lot of them come from New Zealand. This is an opportunity for Bermuda and if it isn’t then someone is asleep at the switch. In 2017, you are going to have superyachts in Bermuda and their owners spending their money. Among those superyachts will be the J Class, the class that sailed in the America’s Cup in the 1930s and which many believe to be the most beautiful boats to have sailed in the race. When you see them on the sound they are stunning and the people who own them are billionaires. They will see Bermuda and say, ‘We never used to come to Bermuda, this is a nice place. When we move our yacht from the Med to the Caribbean in the winter, why don’t we stop off in Bermuda? And, by the way, the Bermudians have done a great job in terms of upping their yacht servicing so we can get repairs done there. But it needs to be more than just having the capacity to do so, it also needs to be the marketing. Somebody needs to be going to the superyacht regattas that exists now and waving the Bermudian flag — either ACBDA or the Bermuda Tourism Authority. You need some investment in communications and marketing to these superyacht owners to say we welcome you and are ready to take good care of you.” Mr Griffin said that all Bermudian businesses could “ride on the slipstream” of the America’s Cup legacy to promote their goods and services in the run up to 2017. “ACBDA and BTA have talked about direct and indirect marketing activities,” he said. “Direct activities are for official AC sponsors like Goslings or BF&M. Indirect activities are for companies that have no official connection to ACEA or ACBDA. Bermudians should take a deep sense of pride in hosting this global event that is going to get all sorts of broadcast TV coverage.” Other benefits he mentioned included the youth sailing programme called Endeavour which, it is hoped, will encourage a new generation to become professional sailors. “This is a wonderful opportunity to get more Bermudians involved in sailing, which is a great lifetime sport that can be done inter-generationally. The Endeavour programme teaches children to sail and will have a science, technology, engineering, arts and maths educational component. It is a wonderful sport for a family to do together. The curricular elements being developed so that every Bermudian schoolchild will be exposed to that.” Mr Griffin said that former America’s Cup host cities had attracted world-class conferences, bringing thousands of visitors with them. As for the event itself, Mr Griffin said there would be plenty for people to do during the upcoming America’s Cup Louis Vuitton World Class Series this month. “During the event there will Bermudian businesses selling their wares there,” he said. “There will be organisations, sports clubs — not just sailing but any clubs and organisations. There will be a big show around the sailing, there are commentators introducing the sailors and giant screens so you can watch the race from Front Street. There will be a stage for essentially a public press conference where they will have sailors coming out on stage answering questions from commentators Tucker Thompson and Ken Read. People will also want to go to the technical area and see the boats being put in the water — that is a show in itself.” Mr Griffin will speak at BUEI on Monday from 7.30pm. Tickets are available from their gift shop or call 294-0204.

October 3. One of Bermuda’s oldest housing blocks looks set to face the wrecking ball within weeks. Victoria Row in Sandys, near the entrance to the Royal Naval Dockyard, was built in the 1840s to provide low-cost housing for residents. But the three Victoria Row buildings that accommodate more than 30 separate homes have fallen into disrepair and have not been lived in for more than a year. The landowners, West End Development Corporation (Wedco), say they have done everything they could to attract investment and to find a viable solution that would incorporate the old structure, but without luck. Wedco’s general manager Andrew Dias said that demolition was the only viable option. “Over the last year or so we have put out several requests for proposals looking for ways to save Victoria Row and other old buildings in the area. We were hopeful that someone would be willing to invest. Since that time we have had two hurricanes which have caused even more damage to the building, and there are concerns about the asbestos in the building that needs to be removed. We have had ongoing issues with vagrants on a daily basis and other unauthorized use of the property. We have done everything in our power to find a solution, including going to the public and asking if they would invest. Everyone has an opinion but few people have come with a solution.” The idea of leveling Victoria Row was first mooted in 2009, but a final decision over the property’s fate was only made at the beginning of last month once all other avenues had been exhausted. This week, Wedco advertised a request for proposal for tenders to conduct the demolition work as well as dealing with the asbestos. Mr Dias added: “After we weighed up all the pros and cons we decided that our final decision had to be raze the building. Once we have received tenders for the work, and once we have received a demolition permit which we have applied for from planning, work could begin within the next couple of weeks.” Mr Dias said that Wedco was still looking at ways of saving other deteriorating buildings in the West End, including Albert Row. However, he admitted they could go the same way as Victoria Row if investment could not be found. “I want to take this opportunity to say that we have other structures that we are still actively looking for a solution to, like Albert Row, that require more than just ideas. If anyone has the ability or interest to invest in any of these old structures we would like to hear from them. We continue to do our best to restore the old buildings inside Dockyard and have made significant improvements to some structures recently.”

October 3. Bermuda is one of the happiest countries in the world. This is according to a research project that has taken in some of the biggest world surveys and places the jewel of the Atlantic at number 11 out of 150 countries. Martijn Burger, academic director at the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization (EHERO), is to present the findings at the upcoming TEDx Bermuda talk at the Fairmont Southampton next Saturday. The organization is a multidisciplinary research centre at the Erasmus University Rotterdam that has studied subjective enjoyment of one’s life as a conceptual focus. It gathers data from worldwide surveys and gauges levels of happiness through factors including schooling, income, job satisfaction, and family and other social relationships. Mr Burger told The Royal Gazette: “We made an estimate for Bermuda in terms of life expectancy and happiness. You are doing very well. “We measure social progress and quality of life. You can measure it in different ways — we focus on happiness. Most organisations focus on measuring the conditions for a good life. Look at the United Nations, which has a human development index, and they focus, for example, on schooling and GDP. Income and schooling are conditions but not necessarily an outcome. We focus on the outcomes and say a good life is basically a long and happy life, and we try to measure that in one way by means of ‘happy life years’ which is typically in the identification of a long life. It is also used as an indication of health of the population, which is basically the subjective enjoyment of life as a whole. Within our organization or within the field of happiness studies we are looking at why some are more happy than others and there are a number of factors that stand out: income in part — can you satisfy your basic needs in terms of shelter and food? Do you have work or not? Do you have work which you enjoy and freedom at a country level? What is most important is family and friendships — having social relationships is key to people’s happiness.” Mr Burger is making the presentation on behalf of his colleague, Ruut Veenhoven, who provided the initial findings. The research institute used data from surveys across the world to determine people’s levels of happiness on a scale of one to ten. That figure was then multiplied by the life expectancy to find a total of “happy life years”. According to the database, Costa Rica tops the happiness chart, then Iceland, Switzerland and Denmark. Finland and Norway also make the top ten, suggesting Scandinavia is a happy place to be, while Canada is in eighth place. The United States comes 19th, Britain is 23rd, Dominican Republic 34th, with Trinidad and Tobago 50th. The least happy countries are Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Burundi and, in last place, Zimbabwe.

October 2. Google Inc completed the establishment of its new holding company Alphabet Inc. In addition to Google it now also owns Calico, the Bermuda office of Independent research and development biotech company established on September 18, 2013 by Google Inc and Arthur D. Levinson (CEO) with a goal of combating aging and associated diseases. HQ is 1170 Veterans Blvd, South San Francisco, CA, also other corporate entities.

October 2.  In an unexpected reprieve, enough supporters of VSB radio have come out after broadcaster DeFontes went off the air for the station to keep running its weather update fixture Storm Watch. News director Bryan Darby said music would be able to continue on 1450AM and 106FM, with weather news through this weekend. “We have switched back on again. With any luck, the newsroom will be supporting.” Describing the numerous calls of support as “unbelievable” after VSB’s shutdown was announced, Mr Darby said a last-minute deal might yet be possible. “Until it’s signed, sealed and delivered, I can’t say more — but it’s definitely moving forward. Staff felt strongly that Storm Watch could prove crucial for the Island with Hurricane Joaquín brewing to Bermuda’s south. The phone has been ringing off the hook with people asking what they can do. A few important people asked — and we told them.”

October 2. Government notices published under the Public Access to Information Act listed more than $1.2 million in consultancy contracts. According to one of the notices, $544,905 was paid to Castalia Ltd by the Department of Energy for “policy and legislative consultation” for consultancy work between December 15 last year and November 30 this year. Castalia’s website states that the company assisted the Government create the new National Electricity Sector Policy, which was introduced in June. “To develop the policy, the Castalia team set up a high-level electricity sector generation model, and participated in several rounds of public consultations and workshops to gather feedback on policy proposals. The Castalia team also drafted the policy, in close co-ordination with the department and the ministry. Castalia’s advisory now transitions to helping draft the new electricity sector legislation that will give legal effect to the policies articulated in the policy. Castalia will also help the ministry and the electricity regulator develop a licensing regime for generation.” The notices in The Royal Gazette were published by the Department of Energy, the Attorney-General’s chambers and the Department of E-Commerce. They revealed that the Attorney-General’s chambers hired three consultants for a combined total of more than $400,000. Notices stated that Phillip Perinchief was hired to consult for the AG between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015 for $171,893, while Maurice Cottle was contracted for the same amount for consultation between August 23, 2014, and August 23, 2015. Richard Ambrosio was paid $92,096 for consultation between September 2, 2014 and September 3 this year. The Department of E-Commerce, meanwhile, hired two consultants to help with a “Data Privacy and Protection Act”. Notices stated that Nancy Volesky received $178,105 for consulting between January 1 and December 31, 2015, while Graham Wood was contracted between April 1 and December 31, 2015, for $50,000. Draft legislation called the Personal Information Protection Act, which sets out how organisations, businesses and the Bermuda Government may use personal information, was released for the purpose of public consultation this summer. Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, said the legislation is intended to complement PATI legislation.

October 2. As the Island’s public forums on same-sex marriage closed with opponents largely reliant on scripture, the minister in charge promised that the next step in the debate would be announced after the October 30 deadline for submissions. “We are split on this issue,” community and culture minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin told a packed audience of 400 at the Bermuda College, where many in the auditorium stood and dozens more waited outside. Several who spoke in favour of same-sex unions grew emotional as they described their trials in carrying on committed relationships that cannot be enshrined in Bermudian law. “The love my husband and I share is not a mistake,” one man told the gathering. “We are not a mistake — give us equality.” The night’s opening speaker stressed that churches would not be forced to take in same-sex marriages, adding: “If someone’s against gay marriage, that’s OK — I won’t invite them to my wedding.” Maria Seaman, pastor of the Shekinah Worship Centre, stood by marriage as “a pattern sanctioned by God” in the form of Adam and Eve, while Kenneth Manders of the Bermuda Seventh-Day Adventists said: “I am thankful for my momma and daddy — I think that’s how we all got here.” Others read biblical passages from Genesis, Corinthians or Leviticus. Christopher Edwards countered: “I’m Bermudian, I’m a Somerset fan, and I’m gay.” Adding that he had a husband as recognized in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland and South Africa but not in Bermuda, he said: “I am going to be brave, and I demand from this government that I have the same rights as anybody else here.” Mark Anderson, well known for his drag performance as Sybil Barrington, drew laughter by thanking the night’s speakers for “taking a lot of pressure off me.” Saying he had no desire to be married in a church, Mr Anderson told the audience: “I was molested in the church by a minister. Amen.” While emotions ran noticeably higher than at Monday’s forum, with last night’s moderator having to ask attendees to refrain from holding up signs, Ms Gordon-Pamplin expressed pride at its respectful tone. Although the forums have now ended, the ministry is continuing to take submissions from the public until October 30, at the email address mccssubmissions@gov.bm.

October 2. A US-based company has won the contract to provide support services at Bermuda’s airport, The Royal Gazette can reveal. CI² Aviation, based in Atlanta, Georgia, beat BAS Serco to provide support services at the LF Wade International Airport. Its general manager Aaron Adderley said: “We believe that this change in service provider will help bring about even greater career opportunities and will help better position us to pursue some of the strategic air traffic management goals we have in mind for our operation.” The existing contract, which BAS Serco has held for 20 years, is due to expire at the end of March next year. The company employs 40 people at the airport under the Department of Airport Operations — but a spokeswoman for the Bermuda Government said that it was expected they would all be retained by the new operator. BAS Serco currently provides air traffic control, ground electronic and the Bermuda Weather Service. A government spokeswoman said: “In preparation for that, Airport Operations initiated a comprehensive procurement process seeking proposals for the provision of specific aviation services These bids were received and evaluated by Airport Operations management. The bid submitted by CI² Aviation proved to be the preferred bid. As such, Airport Operations has opted not to renew BAS Serco’s contract.” Mr Adderley said: “BAS Serco has been a staple at this airport. They have held this important contract for over 20 years. It has helped to foster the careers of many Bermudians in both aviation and weather forecasting and we’re grateful for the work they have done.” Government added that CI² is an award-winning company and is the only minority-owned firm in the US that provides air traffic control services to the federal government. The company also holds air traffic control contracts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, with Bermuda now its third offshore contract. The Government spokeswoman said: “The company has confirmed its desire to establish roots in Bermuda and to retain, hire and develop Bermudians.” Mr Adderley backed the Government view. He said: “Specifically, their longstanding relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and their air traffic management of airpace bordering US national airspace was viewed as a strong advantage given that our own airspace also neighbors that of the US and, for now, is presently managed by the FAA. Financially, CI² Aviation’s bid was extremely competitive. We were excited that it offered prospects of enhanced training and career development opportunities for local employees that the company could offer through its other contracts.”

October 2. Oracle Team USA have named an unchanged line-up for this month’s World Series race in Bermuda. The American team will again go into battle with Jimmy Spithill as skipper/helmsman and Tom Slingsby, the team manager, calling the shots as tactician. Kyle Langford, the wing trimmer, Joey Newton, trimmer, and Louis Sinclair, bow, make up the remainder of Oracle’s team, who will be keen on improving on their second-place finish in Gothenburg where they were overhauled by Emirates Team New Zealand on the second and final day of racing. “We’re going with the same line-up as last time,” Spithill confirmed. “We had a long list that we’ve worked on with Philippe since Gothenburg, and want to put that into play in Bermuda. We had a third in Portsmouth, a crew change for Sweden with Kinley Fowler’s broken hand and improved to a second, and with the restriction on training time, we decided to stick with the same group. We’ll get into a regular race crew rotation next year. We’re fortunate to have a very strong sailing team with a lot of depth. We have talent across our entire group. The crew on board is a good representation of that. But I’m also confident we can sub in any of our guys if we need to for injury or illness.” Louis Sinclair, Graeme Spence and Ky Hurst are three new additions to Oracle Team USA’s sailing team who bring a physical element that will be necessary on the new America’s Cup Class boats in 2017, as well as the AC45S test boats the team is developing. “All of the new guys fit in very well. Louis, Graeme and Ky are really leading the charge pushing and stepping up the physical side within our group which challenges the rest of us,” Spithill said. The America’s Cup World Series Bermuda is the first official racing at the home venue of the 35th America’s Cup and Oracle Team USA. “For sure we view this as our home event,” Spithill added. “We would love to do well here. We approach every event to win, but this one especially. We’re in front of our family and friends, not to mention all the Bermuda public who have welcomed us to the Island. We want to put on a good show, but it won’t be easy. You only need to look at a top team like Artemis currently at the back of the leader board, so it shows how hard it is. There are no weak links in this group of teams. As always it will come down to the last race on Sunday.” The America’s Cup World Series Bermuda will be held October 17 and 18 with teams allowed just one free training day on October 15, and one day of official practice racing on October 16. Emirates Team New Zealand top the overall leader board after two events, followed by Land Rover BAR, the British challenger, in second and Oracle Team USA in third.

October 2. The developers of Morgan’s Point have suffered a double blow after proposals to create a new access road and a right of way on to the property were rejected by planners. The firm submitted two separate applications concerning a vacant agricultural plot east of the junction of Middle Road and Pompano Beach Road in Southampton to the Development Applications Board (DAB). The first one proposed a new access road on to the development, but the DAB ruled against it even though the owners of the land had signed off on the application. Minutes of the DAB’s latest meeting suggest a traffic impact study was conducted but “its initial findings indicated that an additional roadway was not required at this stage of the Morgan’s Point development”. The board ruled: “The proposed easement to form a secondary access is not necessary as an existing suitable alternative serves the site. Specifically, this alternative access, George’s Bay Road, is a 30ft-wide roadway, and is capable of accommodating the additional traffic to be generated from the approved phase one development scheme for Morgan’s Point.” The second application, which sought to create a right of way across Glebe Lands providing access to Morgan’s Point, was also rejected by the DAB for the same reasons. The Royal Gazette reached out to the developers of Morgan’s Point for a response to the two planning decisions, but the firm said it would not comment.

October 2. A dynamic, global networking and educational organization for young chief executives and high achievers has come to Bermuda for its annual conference. About 160 members and guests of the Young Presidents’ Organisation and World Presidents’ Organisation are on the Island to soak up Bermudian hospitality and history, while mixing with their peers during a multi-day event at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club. The organization, which also goes by the acronym YPO-WPO, has more than 400 chapters worldwide, with 23,000 members. For Bermuda, the decision by the group’s Southeast US and Caribbean Region branch to visit is a welcome boost for the hotel and hospitality sector. It comes only a few weeks ahead of a planned campaign by the Bermuda Tourism Authority to encourage group travel. Todd Boren, conference chairman, said he was only too happy to bring the event to Bermuda as he has a love for the Island that stretches back to his childhood. He explained that in 1979 he came to the Island with his parents and remembers seeing a performance by the famed Talbot Brothers. Then, in the 2000s, he made almost weekly business trips to the Island, working as a venture capitalist. “I probably stayed in Bermuda for five years, but one week at a time,” he said. “I became a semi-local and I fell in love with Bermuda.” Mr Boren is managing partner at Florida-based MacArthur Capital, and he suggested to the YPO-WPO that it host its regional conference in Bermuda. “Many people think that Bermuda is just a bunch of insurance companies. I felt that bringing the conference here was an opportunity to show people that this is a great place to come on vacation.  It has always been a great place to do business. I’ve introduced many people to the Island, and this was a great opportunity to bring more people here for the first time.” Conference delegates have been dining at local restaurants, including the newly opened Marcus’ at the hotel, and will also experience dining out at private homes during their stay. The conference is hosted by the Southeast region, but people have come from around the world.” The event includes guest speakers covering topics from economics and lifestyle to entrepreneurship and even treasure-hunting. Attendees will also have time to explore different aspects of the Island and attend parties. Having such a large group of influential business leaders on the Island was welcomed by Glenn Jones, Bermuda Tourism Authority’s director of public and stakeholder relations. He said the authority is working on a campaign to encourage more group travel, and will tell stories of success, such as Todd’s, to encourage other groups to come to Bermuda for their meetings and events. “Those might be business groups, church groups, sporting groups, or others. A great thing about Todd’s event is that they are making sure their people get the full Bermuda experience, even going into people’s homes. So they get a better feel for Bermuda.” Mr Boren said: “I’m passionate for Bermuda, and since coming back I’ve seen a lot of great differences. Many at the conference had already told me they were pleasantly surprised by what they had seen of the Island. They have told me this is not what they had expected. They are really fired up.”

October 2. Three leading international experts in public policy finance have been appointed to serve as members of the newly created Fiscal Responsibility Panel. According to the Bermuda Government, the panel will increase transparency and international credibility by providing an independent, external report of its actual fiscal conduct against the fiscal rules established. Finance minister Bob Richards said in a statement: “I am pleased to announce that we have put in place a Fiscal Responsibility Panel to help tackle our looming fiscal challenges. This group will publish, on an annual basis, an independent report assessing the Island’s fiscal strategy, focusing on progress in meeting our medium term objectives for public spending, taxation, borrowing and debt reduction.” In his 2015-16 Budget, Mr Richards said that the Government aims to balance the budget within three years. He said at that time: “To increase transparency and international credibility, Government intends to establish an international, independent committee to review, monitor, assess and publicly report on the fiscal progress of the Government. Several other islands have also adopted similar outside assessors and it has helped bolster credibility and confidence. The report prepared by this panel will be an input into the overall work to create a framework for financial stability policy in Bermuda.” The Fiscal Responsibility Panel will be chaired by David Peretz, an independent consultant on international financial issues who has worked in the British Treasury, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, with particular experience in advising on strategic and economic issues affecting small countries. He is joined by Jonathan Portes, the director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, whose expertise covers economic policy issues including labour markets, skills, migration poverty, and international economic and financial issues. The third member, Peter Heller, is a 30-year veteran of the International Monetary Fund, professor and lecturer on public policy finance. The Government’s press release states that its medium-term target is that, by 2019, Bermuda would be paying for the operations and programmes of the Government and not increasing debt relative to the size of the economy. Mr Richards added: “We look forward to the panel beginning its important work for the Bermudian people and for the first report to be published.” Mr Peretz stated: “We are pleased to be asked to take on this important role for Bermuda and look forward to producing our first report later this year.”

October 2.  Bermuda Tourism Authority has linked up with JetBlue to provide special offers for visitors from the East Coast of the United States. Airfare on JetBlue from New York and Boston has been bundled with hotel stays from early October to mid-December. The partnership will involve a two-week rotation of television commercials. BTA chief executive Bill Hanbury said in a statement: “We continue to increase promotions in key markets to raise awareness of Bermuda as a year-round travel destination. “In this case we worked co-operatively with JetBlue to share marketing costs and resources to ensure we get the best possible value out of our collective media buy. A combination of TV, e-mail and social media marketing are in-market now to entice travelers to book and fly to Bermuda between now and the end of the year. In the meantime, we are working with other airline partners to positively impact the winter season. We encourage our hotel and airline partners to provide valuable offers in key periods to maintain volume throughout the year to positively impact Bermuda’s economy.”

October 2. Bermuda-based insurance holding company Athene Holding has completed the acquisition of a German life insurance firm. Athene bought Delta Lloyd Deutschland AG (DLD) and its subsidiaries from Dutch-based Delta Lloyd. Athene Holding CEO James Belardi said: “We are pleased that DLD is now a part of the Athene family. “We look forward to DLD contributing to Athene’s profitability and growth objectives while continuing to focus on policy protection and risk management.” DLD, based in Wiesbaden in the German state of Hesse, provides life insurance products in the German market to around 350,000 customers. The firm will begin to rebrand to the Athene name this year. DLD CEO Christof Goldi said: “We will benefit greatly from Athene’s asset and risk management expertise as well as from its strong capital position. “Together, we will focus on further developing our profitable and growing business.” Athene Holding, through its subsidiaries, is a leading provider in the retirement savings market with assets of $80.6 billion at the end of last year and also owns Bermuda-based reinsurer Athene Re, while DLD has assets of around $6 billion. 

October 2. The decision to allow agricultural land to be built on as part of the Pink Beach redevelopment has been criticised by the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce. Grant Gibbons, as the acting Minister of Home Affairs, granted Sardis Development Ltd planning approval on appeal citing “national interest”, but BEST chairman Stuart Hayward called for a list of criteria by which national interest should be gauged. “It is an unhealthy state of affairs when, as in this case, national interest appears arbitrary and somewhat capricious,” Mr Hayward said. Sardis Development Ltd had sought permission to erect ten residential units, a sewage treatment facility and parking spaces on agriculture reserve land on the Smith’s property, stating the residential units were intended to “support the viability” of its $51.4 million hotel project on the Pink Beach site. The application led to renewed criticism from BEST and neighbors, who had previously expressed concerns about the developers subdividing the tourism-zoned property to create a 5.5 acre residential lot, preventing public access to the largest of the property’s two beaches. The Development Applications Board rejected the application, citing the agricultural zoning, but Dr Gibbons upheld an approval. In his decision, he noted the concerns of BEST and neighbors, but said that there were “additional factors of national importance”, such as efforts to rebuild the Island’s tourism industry. Responding to the decision, Mr Hayward said: “BEST feels strongly that the term ‘national interest’ is becoming overused, and is often empty of any real meaning beyond what is convenient at the time. The minister missed a ready opportunity to look out for Bermuda’s national interest when he permitted the new owners of the Pink Beach property to remove tourism-zoned property, including Bermuda’s iconic Pink Beach, from Bermuda’s stock of publicly accessible beaches. The plan is for this extraordinary beach to be used only by the new owners for their personal use and for their private guests. Not even the hotel guests will be able to trespass on to the owner’s newly carved-off 5.5 acres to enjoy the beach. It has been transformed from a tourist amenity to a private enclave.. The blow to national interest was compounded by the loss of the agricultural reserve land, despite the developer’s early promise to rehabilitate the farm land. It might have been different if the development now slated for the agricultural land was on a plot whose original boundaries limited its revenue potential. But in this case the limits were self-imposed by the owner who himself drew the boundaries when carving off the private 5.5 acres.”

October 2. The Royal Bermuda Regiment is tonight gearing up in case Hurricane Joaquin hits the Island on Sunday. Equipment will be stationed east of the Causeway tomorrow in case the East End is cut off and up to 120 troops are on 12 hours notice to deploy. Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) Commanding Officer Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown said: “We are hoping these preparations and precautions won’t be required — but if they are we will be ready.” Col Foster-Brown added that, if needed, troop deployments would involve Immediate Response Teams on land and on the water, and support soldiers like chefs, drivers and signalers. He said: “We take our hurricane preparedness very seriously. We had the experience of Fay and Gonzalo last October in quick succession and we have refined our response even further as a result of that ten-day deployment. We have been in close contact with the Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) and have now reduced our notice to move from 24 hours to 12 hours. If pre-embodied, it will likely be a partial embodiment initially, focusing on our main role of opening access routes for emergency services. Soldiers should follow the messages on www.bermudaregiment.bm and from their company — particularly if the BWS formally declare a Hurricane Watch. The regiment had been asked to be prepared to provide up to 17 soldiers to help residential care homes ride out the hurricane if it comes. This task is an extension of a similar successful one over Gonzalo.”

October 2. Hurricane Joaquin has weakened to a Category 3 storm but remains a threat to the Island, according to the Bermuda Weather Service. A hurricane watch and small craft warning are in effect as the storm heads northeast after lashing the central islands of the Bahamas with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour. In its midnight update, the National Hurricane Centre said the storm was about 765 miles southwest of Bermuda and moving northeast at 10mph. This motion was expected to continue, with a gradual increase in forward speed over the next 48 hours. The Bermuda Weather Service’s midnight update predicted Joaquin’s closest point to the Island would be within 126 nautical miles to the west at 11pm on Sunday night. “Hurricane Joaquin will begin to make its presence felt with winds beginning to strengthen in the early hours of Saturday morning, with stronger gusts developing Saturday night and an increased possibility of showers in the vicinity,” said a Bermuda Weather Service forecaster, Andrew Read. “At this stage, heavier showers are less likely. Ahead of the hurricane, thunderstorms and more significant showers could develop shortly after midnight on Saturday and intensify over the course of Sunday.” According to the National Hurricane Centre, the storm decreased in strength slightly as the eye passed near San Salvador. Data from a reconnaissance plane indicated that maximum sustained winds last night were 125mph with higher gusts. Hurricane force winds extended outward up to 50 miles from the centre and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 205 miles. See The Royal Gazette on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates throughout the weekend.

October 2. Hurricane Joaquin, which has gained rapidly in strength, is now a Category 4 hurricane lashing the islands of the central Bahamas, with sustained winds at 12pm today of around 132mph. According to the Bermuda Weather Service, the storm is now considered a potential threat to Bermuda. At 12pm today, forecasters said the storm was 860 miles southwest of Bermuda, and its closest point to the Island is now expected to be 193 nautical miles to the west at 10pm on Sunday. Over the past two days it has stalled over the Bahamas and is now moving north at about 5mph; it has brought torrential rain to the United States East Coast. Michael Dunkley yesterday reached out to Perry Christie, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, to offer well wishes and assistance on behalf of Bermuda. The Weather Service is advising residents to regularly check online for updates on the storm’s progress as it turns gradually toward the north. A small craft warning is in place. While many on the East Coast fear Joaquin could make landfall early next week, the storms are notoriously difficult to predict, and its interactions with other weather systems in the area have made forecasts even more difficult. The slow-moving and powerful storm means a hurricane watch is in place over much of the Bahamas, and Joaquin is expected to turn north tomorrow morning. Meteorologists are also watching a weather disturbance located around 850 miles southeast of the Island. The United States-based National Hurricane Centre this morning forecasted that the system, which is travelling north, has an 80 per cent chance of forming a cyclone. The Premier today convened a meeting of the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) to discuss the hurricane and assess Government’s and other relevant agencies’ preparedness. Mr Dunkley said the EMO is closely monitoring the hurricane’s progress and he “strongly encouraged” the public to make sure that they are adequately prepared in the event of a storm. Those living in low lying and coastal areas are encouraged to make the necessary residential storm preparations. As a precaution, those who own boats and other watercraft are also encouraged to secure their vessels in advance of the inclement weather. “We are certainly no strangers to serious storms,” Mr Dunkley said. “But Mother Nature can be very unpredictable. So it is critically important that residents be prepared. Government agencies are at the ready and we are paying close attention to the developments with Hurricane Joaquin. We continue to be in the throes of hurricane season with this year’s season being very active. As a timely reminder, I am strongly encouraging residents to ensure that their homes are secure and that their storm provisions, supplies and emergency kits are up to date, this includes an ample supply of batteries, fuel for your car, your bike and your generator.” Additional preparation tips include blocking gutters with clean rags or other devices to prevent any leaves, salt and other contamination from entering water tanks. Members of the public are also advices to bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools, and to anchor objects that cannot be brought inside but that could be wind-tossed. If possible, remove outdoor antennas. Additionally, installing storm shutters over all exposed windows and other glass surfaces is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your home. Cover all windows, French doors, sliding glass doors and skylights. Plywood shutters, if installed properly, can offer a high level of protection from flying debris during a hurricane. To ensure their clients are up to date with their insurance policies, Freisenbruch-Meyer Group today announced that it will be open on Saturday from 9am to 12pm. “We urge our clients and the community to take this threat seriously and ensure preparations are complete by Saturday evening,” the insurance company said in a statement. To further assist you with how to prepare, please view or download our Hurricane Kit from our website. If deemed safe, our offices will open as per normal on Monday, October 5, to assist clients with any claims they may have sustained as a result of Hurricane Joaquin.” For more information visit www.emobermuda.com, www.weather.bm or www.facebook.com/dciBermuda.

October 2. A “downsized” Police Week will kick off this weekend to mark the force’s 136th birthday. This year the annual week of community events has been shorn of the police ball in a bid to reduce expenditure as the Bermuda Police Service try to meet tough budget targets. Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, said this year’s theme would be “Serving Our Community Together” and would include the traditional seniors’ tea, memorial service and police gymkhana. But he acknowledged that financial challenges and forced redundancies meant there was less to celebrate. “We have seen our budget reduce five per cent this year, and for the first time in a long time I have had to take the very difficult decision of not renewing officers’ contracts to reduce the number of staff on payroll and get inside our budget reduction target.  With these things bearing down on us it would appear that we do not have much to celebrate. We have decided to change focus slightly and not hold a police ball, which normally accounts for a third of our $100,000 events budget. We are looking for all of Police Week to be operated on a cost neutral basis of corporate sponsorship and volunteers. Expenditure will be minimal.” The police ball, which normally serves as the finale to the week’s events, will be replaced by a barbecue and charity crown and anchor event at Police Field on October 10. Money raised by the event — where participants will donate money to play crown and anchor — will go to the Centre Against Abuse and the Coalition for the Protection of Children. Meanwhile, the BPS will also present cheques to the two designated charities from last year; Women’s Resource Centre and Big Brothers, Big Sisters during the evening. “We are downsizing police week in light of the economic climate and austerity measures,” said Mr DeSilva. “It’s the right thing to do, but having said that this is still a very important week for us — it’s a week of highlighting our role within the community and making it stronger and we will be doing everything we can to make it a success.” Sunday’s interfaith service at 10am at CedarBridge Academy will be followed by the Commissioner’s Vision Awards on Monday at 7pm. On Tuesday the seniors’ tea, which often attracts several hundred residents, will be held at the Heritage Worship Centre between 11am and 3pm. Hamilton and Somerset Police Station as well as the Dockyard Marine Police Office will host open houses on Wednesday between 10am and 3pm, while on Thursday at 11am the annual memorial service will take place at Prospect Cemetery. A change of command ceremony for the Reserve Police will be held at 6pm at the BPS headquarters courtyard. The service’s sports and fun day will begin at 9am on Friday at Police Field, while on Saturday the popular gymkhana will run from 10am to 4pm at the same venue. To find out more about Sunday’s charity barbecue and crown and anchor evening contact pmr@bps.bm.

October 2. Staff responsible for distributing supplies at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital took part in unplanned industrial action this week, according to the Bermuda Hospitals Board. A BHB spokeswoman said the Materials Handling Department participated in the “unplanned industrial action at the beginning of this week”. She added that BHB has worked with the team and the union, and staff were back to operating as normal yesterday morning. “There was no major impact to patients during this time, and other services around the hospital continued as usual,” she said. The Bermuda Industrial Union was contacted for comment, but no response was forthcoming by press time.

October 2. A major conference on the trust industry featuring international speakers is due to be held later this month. The Bermuda branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (Step) event will focus on major changes affecting the trust business and emerging trends. Step Bermuda chairman Jonathan Dunlop, who is director of wealth planning at HSBC’s private banking arm, said: “There have been a lot of changes in the industry. For the industry as whole, there has definitely been a contraction over recent years, globally as well as in Bermuda. “There are fewer opportunities for people to set up offshore trusts and if you look at all the different reporting standards and agreements on tax, in some cases it goes too far and in some cases it’s uncompetitive.” Mr Dunlop said that a session held as part of the conference would look at the introduction of common reporting standards. "That’s a big deal because that’s coming out next year and effectively secrecy won’t exist any more — everything will be accounted for and available globally.” Guest speakers include experts in the field from Bermuda, London and New York. Mr Dunlop said: “It’s an international line-up — they are all very good speakers. I haven’t heard all of them before, but I have heard of them. “We have done very well in getting international speakers in — it gives us great content for our members.” The all-day event will be held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) on Thursday, October 15. Topics to be covered include how to deal with requests from trust beneficiaries for information and an update on the implications of the UK budget, which includes the new deemed domicile rule and inheritance tax exposure for non-UK companies which own UK residential property — and how these changes may help boost the international trust industry. Other speakers will discuss succession planning for international business families and the running of family offices. And Sean Moran, of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, will lead a panel discussion on Bermuda’s business environment and how to attract new business to the Island. Mr Dunlop said: “The event is becoming bigger — in the beginning it was very small, but it has grown over the years.” Bookings can still be made for the conference, which runs from 9am to 5pm and includes lunch and ends with a cocktail reception. Prices for tickets are $150 for students, $200 for Step members, $250 for non-members and $300 for a shared ticket. 

October 1. A leading Bermuda law firm will today kick off a conference designed to focus on hot topics in the insurance and reinsurance world. And the Sedgwick Chudleigh-organized seminar will zoom in on major threats like cyber crime, insurance arbitration, insurance risk from fracking, hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas deposits, as well as medical insurance issues and labor law. Sedgwick Chudleigh managing partner said: “The topics are chosen through a collaborative process and an evolving one because very often we don’t know what topics are hot until shortly beforehand. The arbitration presentation I am giving is in response to feedback we have received in prior years that people wanted to hear more about the arbitration process.” Mr Chudleigh added that the seminar series, now in its 13th year, had attracted a record 160 registrations — beating the previous record set last year. “We have had cyber security liability issues on the programme for the last three years and that particular issue is steaming hot this year. In the last 12 months, we have had Sony, the Ashley Madison site hacking among many other cyber attacks. I’m proud we did a good job identifying this before it was a big issue — and now it’s bigger than ever.” Cyber crime and risks will be highlighted by Cinthia Granados Motley, from Sedgwick Chicago. Mr Chudleigh said: “She will discuss cyber liabilities and exposures that all companies and professionals now face, as well as current regulatory trends and steps companies should be taking to prevent, mitigate and promptly manage costs in the event of a security incident. The subject of fracking will be covered by Greg Lahr of Sedgwick New York who will provide an update legislation and litigation surrounding hydraulic fracturing in the US and abroad and address recent pollution concerns and insurance coverage issues.” Mr Chudleigh said seven speakers from Sedgwick lawyers from Bermuda, the UK and the US will cover different topics of interest to the Bermuda business world. “The great majority of the audience are from the Bermuda insurance market and we have some people coming in to Bermuda for it or people who are here for other reasons who are coming along. We’re very pleased at the numbers — last year was our prior record, although we did have some dropouts because it was held between Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo.” Other topics up for discussion at the event, which starts at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) at 2pm, include product liability, director and officer (D&O) liability insurance and current threats to liability insurers of North American risks. Sedgwick Chudleigh is part of the international Sedgwick network, which specializes in litigation and the resolution of complex and high value claims affecting the insurance and reinsurance industry.

October 1. Bermuda’s new Catholic Bishop will be ordained at a special ceremony tonight. Bishop-elect Wieslaw Spiewak, from Poland, will take over as leader of the Island’s Catholic community from Bishop Robert Kurtz, who is retiring after 20 years in Bermuda. A host of senior clerics from the Caribbean and Central America will join the service at St Theresa’s Cathedral, which starts at 5pm, to welcome the new Bishop to his post. In attendance will be Governor George Fergusson; Michael Dunkley; Mary Ellen, the United States Consul General; and Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton. Also expected are the Acting Portuguese Honorary Consul, Andrea Moniz De Sousa, and the Italian Honorary Consul, Gioacchino Di Meglio. The Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, Nicholas Dill, will be represented by Andrew Doughty, Archdeacon of the Anglican Church in Bermuda. Bishop Spiewak, a member of the religious order the Congregation of the Resurrection, was ordained as a priest in his native city of Krakow in 1990. He has worked and studied in both Poland and Italy and takes up his new role after serving as Provincial Superior of his order in Poland. Bishop Spiewak is also a member of the Commission of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for the pastoral care of Polish emigrants and a member of the board of directors of the Conference of Major Superiors of the male religious orders in Poland.

October 1. Breast Cancer Awareness Month was yesterday officially proclaimed by Senator Lynne Woolridge, the Junior Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment. “After lung cancer, breast cancer accounts for the majority of deaths in women worldwide,” Sen Woolridge said at the launch of the 19th annual charity drive at Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre (BCHC). “Today we stand in solidarity with those fighting for their lives, and remember those who have lost their lives to this disease. It affects one in eight women and that 58 cases of breast cancer were reported in 2014, according to the Bermuda National Tumor Registry. “Breast cancer continues to be the principal cause of cancer for women in Bermuda. While the causes of breast cancer are still unknown, we do know that some women are more at risk than others. Understanding these risks, such as family history, are important, in addition to the knowledge that early detection can save lives. As we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge all mothers, sisters, aunts, wives and friends to protect their health and longevity from breast cancer.” BCHC is an American College of Radiology designated Breast Imaging Centre of Excellence that provides more than 9,000 mammograms per year. The registered charity is urging the community to take part in a series of events this month to raise funds and provide women and their families with information about breast health and breast cancer. Each day, Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre is a leading advocate, and partner in the battle against cancer. The Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre is committed to equal opportunity and access, and therefore provides free mammograms, for women who do not have health insurance, not only during the month of October but throughout the year, as part of their Equal Access Fund. The organization continues its commitment to education and the early detection of breast cancer through state-of-the-art digital mammography. Digital mammography is one of the best available methods of detecting most breast cancers long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt. " The proclamation was also attended by Margaret Fergusson, wife of Governor George Fergusson and patron of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BF&M CEO John Wight and BCHC executive director Tara Soares. Mr Wight said: “BF&M is pleased to be supporting Breast Cancer Awareness month and sponsoring the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk for the 19th year. In addition to the walk, BF&M will once again be hosting a preventive health event which will feature health professionals and vendors, providing education about wellness in our community.” He added that residents can sign up for the walk by visiting the BF&M tent at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event village on October 16, 17 or 18. 

October 1. An American jeweler who came under fire for taking 70lbs of sea glass from the Island has defended her actions, saying she did nothing wrong. In an article published by the Erie Times-News, Becky Fox said she visited the Island in January and collected two suitcases of sea glass to make jewellery, which she sells online. The story caused an outcry locally, with Bermudians messaging Mrs Fox and leaving negative comments on her Facebook page. Bermudian users have since been blocked from her Facebook page. In a post on the page, Mrs Fox wrote that she did not feel the comments leveled against her were “positive or justly fair”, saying she would continue to ban or remove comments which did not “reflect the spirit for which this page is intended for. I will not allow myself to be bullied and I will not back down and be made to apologies for breaking laws that absolutely do not exist, nor will I tolerate being made an example of by people who point their arrows in the wrong direction.” Comments also poured in on the original Erie Times-News story with several people calling for a boycott of Mrs Fox’s products. Several users noted a sign, in place at the Island’s best known glass beach on Ireland Island South, warning that it is illegal to take glass from the beach. The sign, posted by Wedco, adds: “If you steal it you are depriving all those who come after you. Persons who choose to remove such items are liable for prosecution.” The Historic Articles (Export Control) Act 1983 prohibits the exportation of historic artifacts — items more than 50 years old which carry national, historic, scientific or artistic importance — cannot be exported without a licence granted by the minister responsible. Among the items Mrs Fox told the Erie Times-News she took from the Island were the remnants of Bermuda Codd bottles, a Patterson soda bottle, sea pottery and uranium glass, which was popular between the late 19th century and early 20th century. The Bermuda National Parks Regulations, meanwhile, prohibits the taking of “any turf, soil, gravel, sand or other substance” from the Island’s parks. Asked if there was a possibility of a prosecution in this case, commissioner of police Michael DeSilva said: “To my knowledge no one has reported this matter to us. What exactly the criminal offence could be and whether this constitutes theft, we would have to take advice on.”

October 1. Bermuda Fire & Marine Insurance Company Ltd (BF&M) has acquired Bermuda-based insurance agency Kitson Insurance Services Ltd. Kitson has been in business since 1947 and BF&M has said it will keep on two of the agency’s leading staff on a full-time basis. The terms of the deal were not disclosed in this morning’s joint statement from the companies. BF&M chief executive officer John Wight said: “BF&M is pleased to assume responsibility for continuing to provide top-tier service to Kitson’s policyholders and to make the transition from Kitson to BF&M seamless for Kitson’s clients. To ensure this seamless transition, we are pleased to inform Kitson’s policyholders that James King and Shannon Bean have joined BF&M and will continue to service the Kitson business.” Kitson Insurance Services Ltd was one of the Kitson Group companies, which also include real estate firm Kiston & Co Ltd, insurance broker Kitson Brokerage Services Ltd and the Rosedon Hotel. In a statement, Scott Kitson, speaking on behalf of the Kitson Group of Companies, said: “While it was an emotionally challenging decision for our family to sell the business after almost 70 years, we are comfortable that this is the right move for our clients and our business partners. “We intentionally sought out the strongest insurance team on island to take over our operations and are pleased to have transitioned the business to BF&M. We look forward to working with John and his team during this period to ensure that Kitson’s clients continue to receive the highest levels of service.” Of the two staff to be retained by BF&M, Mr King is Kitson’s vice-president of insurance operations and has been with the firm since 1989. Before that, he spent 15 years working in the international shipping industry. Ms Bean, assistant vice-president of insurance operations, has been serving as customer service administrator for the Personal and Commercial Lines and Reinsurance departments, according to the Kiston website. Kitson Insurance Services is the managing general agency for American Home Assurance Company and some underwriters in the Lloyd’s of London market. It provides a wide range of commercial and residential insurance coverage, from home and vehicle insurance to professional liability and cargo insurance.

October 1. Aviation services firm BAS Serco has lost the contract to run support services at Bermuda’s airport, it was announced yesterday. BAS Group confirmed that around 40 staff will be affected after the Bermuda Government had terminated the contract, effective from the end of March next year. BAS Serco has run airport services for 20 years. The company said: “BAS Group is working with all stakeholders in relation to the transition of staff to the new operator.” BAS was also empowered to act as agents for airlines and to provide a variety of operational support to carriers. The firm, which now owns or has a controlling interest in a total of nine companies, has diversified into other areas like building management. BAS Group companies provide storage services, infrastructure cabling, fire safety and security systems, elevator installation and maintenance and it also runs courier service IBC. Ian Cook, the CEO of the BAS Group, added: “While we are disappointed that BAS-Serco has been given notice that the Bermuda Government will not be extending its contract to provide aviation operations at the LF Wade International Airport, we are concentrating on growing our other businesses. BAS-Serco will continue to provide facilities management services to a number of well-known buildings such as the Argus building, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, Corner House and HSBC.” Government yesterday did not respond to requests for comment. BAS sold its subsidiary Aircraft Services Bermuda Ltd to Cedar Aviation last year. BAS chairman Michael Darling said at the time it was “a somewhat sad occasion” as the company was divesting the business from which it takes its name. Mr Cook added: “As BAS has developed over the years we have moved further away from our aviation roots to become a full-fledged service company. When we received the unsolicited offer from Cedar Aviation, it just seemed to make sense. The capital injection from the sale will facilitate further development of the Group along its new direction.” The BAS Group annual report for 2014-15 said: “In 2012, the group sold its assets related to the servicing of commercial aircraft and ceased operating in this business sector. The sale allowed the group to focus on its other core service areas while also exiting an industry that was faced with reduced margins and uncertainty due to world fuel prices and declining customer disposable incomes.”

October 1. VSB, a local news source launched in 1981, officially closed yesterday after its broadcaster, DeFontes, ceased operations. “You have lost a balancing voice in the world of journalism — a voice described by United Bermuda Party, Progressive Labour Party and One Bermuda Alliance premiers alike as a very fair station,” said Bryan Darby, news director. VSB had helped “level the playing field”, he said, in a local media pool that lost The Mid-Ocean News in 2009, followed by the Bermuda Sun last year. Calls of support came in to the DeFontes Broadcasting office even as it closed, where former staff also gathered, in a gesture Mr Darby called “stunning, wonderful and very moving.” However, he added, declining advertising revenues concurrent with the explosion of electronic media had been “our death knell.” While VSB 11 went off the air last year, the news switched to online — a move Mr Darby said had been enjoyable. “We’ve discovered that young people don’t watch TV for news, but they do get a kick out of having news online that they can look at when they feel like it.” The proliferation of online news with its emphasis on breaking stories meant there was less investigative journalism, but Mr Darby particularly lamented the Island’s loss of BBC World Service radio that comes with VSB’s demise. The absence of VSB’s storm watch, which could interrupt scheduled broadcasts with breaking news on hurricanes, would be another blow, he said. “With the weekend coming up, there’s a possible hurricane threat. In the old days we were called upon because we were the only radio station running live on the weekends. The weather service people are horrified. We used to have automatic breaking news. It has been an enormous asset to the country.” Jeremy Deacon, the executive officer of the Media Council of Bermuda, extended the group’s sympathies. He added: “In terms of news, the loss of VSB, following on from the loss of the Bermuda Sun, means there are even fewer journalists to hold those in power to account. There are fewer journalists to ask probing questions and to champion the causes of the people — all of which are fundamental roles of the media. There is now increased responsibility on the remaining media outlets and it is vitally important that the relevant boards and CEOs give those outlets the freedom to pursue editorial policy that is wholly independent, where editors and news directors are not beholden to statisticians, where they are allowed to take gut decisions based on experience and where serving the community comes foremost. It is also vital that boards and CEOs give the editorial department the necessary resources and do not demand an impossible profit margin which will inevitably erode editorial competency. We have seen this week a celebration of Public Access to Information. Pati cannot do it all — journalists are still, and will be for some time, the professionals that members of the community will expect to hold those in positions of power and influence to account. The closure, therefore, of VSB is a very sad day indeed.” Gavin Shorto, former editor of The Mid-Ocean News, also expressed sympathy for the journalists and broadcasters who had fought “a losing battle” to keep VSB going. He praised reporter Chris Lodge, well known for his storm coverage during hurricanes when VSB might be the only station on the air. “I don’t mean to suggest that the stars of VSB were all journalists — the station offered Bermudians a choice of people and programming and music which will be greatly missed.” Mr Shorto said he regretted the Island’s loss of choice, calling VSB “a casualty of the relentless assault of the internet and social media” on traditional media. “You can’t depend on blogs and social media for reliable news — you’re at the mercy of a couple of dozen people who have an axe to grind and a boundless imagination,” he said. “The result is a kind of Wild West, where anyone can and regularly does say more or less anything that comes into his or her head. Tracking the truth through that jungle is a nightmare.” PLP MP Jamahl Simmons, one of numerous VSB alumni who went on to other positions in public life, recalled being put on the air by Kenny DeFontes and Don Burgess as a sportscaster when he was “fresh off the plane from university.” His first opportunity in Bermuda led to others, he said, including meeting his future wife, radio journalist Sherri Simmons. Thanking Mr Darby and Mr Lodge, Mr Simmons added: “The closing of VSB narrows not just the opportunity for jobs and experience for Bermudians, but also narrows the media and news options for our people.” Ms Simmons, meanwhile, said that what stood out in her recollection was “the dedication of the staff and network — particularly in the newsroom, but that’s the culture of the company in general”. A small news team working on a shoestring budget managed to produce quality broadcasts that were “on time every day, even when there were only one or two people. Whenever any media outlet closes, it’s a loss for the people — just because it’s one less voice and one less opportunity for voices to be heard. The dialogue is poorer for it.” VSB’s shutdown, announced at the start of the month, means 19 jobs have been lost, although The Royal Gazette understands that at least one, the “Captain” from VSB’s early morning shift, is to switch over to ZBM’s breakfast programming.

October 1. Johnie Berntsson will join an exclusive group of sailors if he claims victory at this year’s Argo Group Gold Cup. The defending champion is bidding to become only the third skipper behind Sir Russell Coutts, the Oracle Team USA CEO, and Peter Gilmour to capture at least three titles since the World Match Racing Tour event was revamped in 1985. Swedish skipper Berntsson and Stena Sailing won a second Gold Cup after beating Eric Monnin and Team Sailbox 3-1 in last year’s final and they will undoubtedly look to pick up where they left off in Hamilton Harbour next week. “Winning the Gold Cup a third time would be a fabulous achievement for us,” Berntsson, the 2015 WMRT Card Holder, said. “I am looking forward to race again in Hamilton Harbour with my excellent team-mates.” This year’s 16-team Gold Cup line-up features the world’s top seven match racers, America’s Cup teams Artemis Racing and Softbank Team Japan, as well as past winners Ian Williams, Taylor Canfield and Berntsson. “The set-up is always challenging and with the America’s Cup teams competing it will not make the event easier to win,” Berntsson said. “Ian Percy from Artemis has won the event before and knows what it takes to grip the Cup. To win means that you really have to be on your top performance.” Berntsson’s crew consists of Robert Skarp, tactician/bow, Jakob Gustavsson, trimmer, Carl-Johan Uckelstam, main, and Martin Berntsson, the team coach. This year’s Gold Cup could be the last featuring the International One Design sloop as there has been a shift in emphasis towards the high-performance M32 catamaran for next year’s WMRT championship. James Pleasance, the executive director of the WMRT, has made clear his ambition to extend use of the M32 across more events on the series, including the Gold Cup. Berntsson said the M32 will add another “fun dimension” to the WMRT racing circuit but would rather have the IOD remain as the class for the Gold Cup. “The IOD’s in Bermuda represent a classic way of match racing and are the oldest boats in the WMRT that still gives the audience some exciting racing to watch. Right now I would prefer to keep the IOD’s at the Argo Group Gold Cup and instead use the M32’s in other events where they get more space on the racecourse and where it is a better opportunity to build new traditions.” The Gold Cup will be held from October 6 to 11. Flying Bermuda’s banner this year is Blythe Walker. Walker secured the Gold Cup spot allocated to the winner of the Bacardi Bermuda National Match Racing Championships as SoftBank Team Japan, who won the national match racing title, had already gained entry to the Gold Cup via a wild card.

October 1. The battle to make Bermuda’s roads safer and change drivers’ attitudes has turned a corner, according to Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police. Mr DeSilva was speaking as the latest traffic data revealed a drop in all types of road collisions in the first eight months of 2015 compared with the same period last year. So far this year there have been six fatalities — compared with the nine between January and August in 2014 — while the number of collisions resulting in damage has dropped by nearly 100. Mr DeSilva told The Royal Gazette that he believed real progress had been made in addressing drivers’ attitudes towards road safety as well as drinking and driving. But he admitted that a great deal of work still needed to be done in this area. “From my own experience, the conversations we have had among our team and comments from the public it feels different out there,” Mr DeSilva said. "We have not arrived, but I feel we have turned a corner. At the start of the year we released the road safety strategy. We wanted to raise awareness in the same way we did when we released the gang and violence strategy. We wanted to get people having a conversation and talking about what we are going to do differently, and that has happened. We have seen the Ministry of Transport do things differently and the Road Safety Council too, while in March police started giving drivers written warnings or ‘Advice to Motorists’ that warned drivers about bad driving behavior.” The latest collision statistics released by the Bermuda Police Service show that in the first eight months of this year there have been 404 collisions resulting in damage, 378 resulting in slight injuries and 78 resulting in serious injuries. In the same period in 2014, there were 493 collisions resulting in damage, 387 resulting in slight injuries and 82 resulting in serious injuries. Mr DeSilva added: “We have made progress this year. This was always going to be changing people’s perception and decision-making. It’s not just about one tool or booking everything that moves — that does not have the right impact. We have enough anecdotal evidence to suggest there has been a real difference on the roads.”

October 1. Today’s fairer weather belies the bluster surrounding Bermuda being caused by Hurricane Joaquín. The storm was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane last night, with the National Hurricane Centre recording maximum winds of 105 miles per hour in their 9pm advisory. With heavy rainfall and strong winds affecting the Island over the past week, a high-pressure system in the northeast is now influencing a brief state of calm. Hurricane Joaquín, the third hurricane of the season, is moving to the southwest of us over some of the warmest waters in the Atlantic Basin. Meteorologist Rob Howlett, of the Bermuda Weather Service, said: “That’s really going to fuel the intensity of the storm over the next couple of days here.” Joaquín was forecast to make a turn towards the north later today. While it does not yet pose a threat, there is some uncertainty over whether it will take a northerly or northeasterly track later in the week. A Bermuda Weather Service advisory at 6pm last night — the latest information available by press time — stated that the hurricane was moving southwesterly at about 8mph. “We’re still seeing moderate to strong winds over us, but as far as precipitation there’s not going to be a lot of activity over the next few days,” Mr Howlett said. “Today will be a fair-weather day with a chance of a light shower or two due to the dominant high pressure in the northeast.” He said there was some indication that the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida to our distant southeast would reform, disturbing our climate. “We’re looking at an 80 per cent chance of that developing over the next five days,” he added. A small craft warning remains in effect.

October 1. The Surf Side Beach Club, a hotel on the South Shore in Warwick, has temporarily closed for refurbishments, according to manager Bryony Harvey. Owner Naval Mehra has set aside an undisclosed period of time for renovations and painting. The hotel has five full-time staff, three of which have remained on site on reduced shifts as of this week. “We don’t want to take too long — hopefully we will be open again in the near future,” Ms Harvey added.

October 1. Former Ombudsman Arlene Brock will be the general counsel for the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, it was announced this morning. Ms Brock served as Ombudsman for more than eight years and as the director and vice-president for the Caribbean and Latin America at the International Ombudsmans Institute. Richard Schuetz, the commission’s executive director, said: “Chairman Alan Dunch and the other members of the Casino Gaming Commission gave me clear instructions to assemble the best and the brightest individuals available to assist in the introduction of regulated casinos in Bermuda. “Having Ms Brock join our team abundantly indicates that we are on target with that goal. Ms Brock will be an integral person in helping to make certain that our activities will operate at the highest standards of integrity and ethics, and to ensure that the casino experience will enhance the tourism profile of the Island, and increase investment and employment for the people of Bermuda.” Ms Brock herself said: “I look forward to working with the commission and commission staff to realize the goal of introducing casino gaming into Bermuda with the highest level of integrity and best practices.”

October 1. When Age Concern’s Claudette Fleming told this newspaper last week that seniors were fed up with being preached to, she was probably expressing a widespread frustration among older people. It seems that seniors are all too frequently viewed as a group dependent on the rest of the community to survive, a drain on resources. As with most stereotypes, this is a warped version of the truth. It overlooks the massive contribution that older people make to their families, employers and charities, and what they still have to offer. Think of the childcare provided by many grandparents and the way so many retired people give up their time to help charities. Older people are the matriarchs and patriarchs of families, a source of guidance and wisdom for younger generations. When longstanding employees retire, years of experience and multiple valuable relationships go with them. Often their value becomes most apparent only after they have gone. Last weekend’s annual seniors awards was a reminder that people do not stop actively contributing to their community when they turn 65. In a ceremony at the Fairmont Southampton, 34 seniors were presented with awards, after they were nominated by various organisations in areas ranging from the armed service to caring for children. Such contributions may not appear in the gross domestic product, but they have a rich social value for our island. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Minister of Community, Culture and Sports, described the award winners as “seasoned saints” and said “our elders continue to demonstrate how we should care and share with our neighbors.” The names of the 34 were listed in the September 29 edition of The Royal Gazette and this newspaper salutes them all. The fact is that our view of old age needs to adapt to the modern world in which people are living much longer than they used to. One side of the coin is that we should not view anyone over 65 as automatically being frail and dependent. The other side of the new reality is that, for all but the wealthy or the exceedingly well prepared, idealistic expectations of retirement as a time of no work and frequent travel will need to be adjusted. In Bermuda, the Government projects that by 2020, about one in five residents — more than 12,000 people — will be over 65. The Island is far from alone in the greying of its population. A report released yesterday by the World Health Organisation illustrates the way demographics are changing in the wider world. The number of people over 60 is on course to double by 2050, according to the report. The Americas region is expected to have 100 million people over 60 by 2025, rising to 200 million, or one in four of the population, by 2050. In the Americas region, average life expectancy has risen by 20 years over the past five decades. Today, a 60-year-old can on average expect to live to the age of 81. Given the power and scale of this trend, in the coming years governments and communities will have to view older people differently. The idea that governments should provide everything for all seniors will no longer be realistic. The retirement age will inevitably rise. The majority of us should expect to work part-time, at least in the early years of retirement, to bolster pensions more often based on contributions and investment performance over time, rather than on defined benefits linked to final salary. The WHO research recognizes the substantial and diverse contributions of older populations in general and offers pointers to how governments can adapt to the impact of ageing. A joint statement by the WHO and the Pan American Health Organisation (Paho) reads: “It [the report] cites research that suggests these contributions far outweigh any investments that might be needed to provide the health services, long-term care and social security that older populations require. And it says policy needs to shift from an emphasis on controlling costs to a greater focus on enabling older people to do the things that matter to them.” A key aspect is a focus on “healthy ageing” as opposed to simply ageing. Dr Carissa Etienne, director of the Paho, said: “This report makes clear that ageing in and of itself is not the problem, nor are older persons the problem. Rather, it is the loss of ten years of healthy living that is the problem, as our health and social systems are not ready to provide independent living and long-term care for those who need it. The report also makes clear that for achieving and maintaining a fully functioning life, older adults need to not merely fight against disease, but to live out their full potential in conducive environments.” In Bermuda and elsewhere in the developed world, politicians will inevitably pay growing attention to seniors’ issues as their influence as a voting bloc grows in an ageing electorate. Our leaders would do well to heed the WHO’s advice and shift their long-term policy focus to realizing the value of seniors, rather than concentrating solely on cost.

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