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Bermuda's 2016 December History and Newspaper Reports

Events that made the newspaper headlines in the twelfth month of this calendar year

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

1921 Bermuda postage stamps

Set of 1921 Bermuda postage stamps.

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    

Bermuda's Royal Gazette newspaper is not published on Sundays or Public Holidays.  

With its huge possible implications for Bermuda in President-elect Donald J. Trump's planned new US corporate tax changes beginning in late January 2017, it was deemed both appropriate and necessary to give detailed coverage below to relevant British and US media reports.

December 31. The month’s crime report makes for sobering reading as a spate of shootings, stabbings and robberies reminds us all that violence is still very much a part of our lives. A shooting on Happy Valley Road nine days into the New Year leaves residents “traumatised and frightened” and sends a 37-year-old man to the intensive care unit of the hospital. On January 22, a 20-year-old motorcyclist is shot by a gunman on a bike as he turns from North Shore Road, Pembroke on to Overview Hill at approximately 11.30am. The man is later flown off the island for medical treatment. Two suspects flee the scene at high speed on a motorcycle. Shortly after 7pm on the same day, a man is chased up Court Street by two men and fired upon near the junction with Angle Street. No one is harmed. Police believe the two shootings on the same day are gang-related. Meanwhile, a 24-year-old Devonshire woman suffers stab wounds to the face in an attack in the Cedar Park neighborhood, a 21-year-old St George’s man is stabbed in his own home, RoseAnn Edwards, the City of Hamilton councilor, is hospitalized after being stabbed at her Angle Street residence, and an 18-year-old Pembroke woman requires hospital treatment after two women are said to have set upon her at a residence on Curving Avenue. Armed robberies are prevalent, too, with a hold-up taking place at RUBiS gas station in Flatts, and an attempted robbery at Empire Grocery on North Shore Road, Devonshire. A masked thief also slips through the back door of KFC on Queen Street, Hamilton, and makes off with cash. Meanwhile, a 49-year-old man is robbed on Brunswick Street, Hamilton, a taxi driver is robbed at knife-point on South Road, Southampton, and a 65-year-old man is forced to the ground and robbed near his home in the area of North Hill, Pembroke. A 50-year-old man pleads guilty and is sentenced to three years in prison for the attempted robbery at Empire Grocery.

Timeline: of 2016's family events and reports:

December 31. Cole Simons expressed support last night for the decision to refuse the Reverend Nicholas Tweed’s work permit. While Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Minister for Home Affairs, has come under heavy fire from the Progressive Labour Party, the People’s Campaign and others in the wake of the announcement, Mr Simons, the Acting Minister of Home Affairs, said the decision was the right one. “It would have been easy to roll over and sweep the lack of compliance with immigration rules and regulations under the rug,” he said last night. “But as the minister rightly said in her statement, the decision was anchored to a principle that all Bermudians can support and uphold, and that is one set of rules for everyone. To do otherwise would open the gates to the inequities and injustices that so many Bermudians across decades fought to end once and for all. The minister’s decision protects Bermudians in the workplace and the integrity of an immigration system that is designed to uphold principles of fairness, equal treatment and transparency. In effect, she is saying no to one set of rules for some and another set of rules for the rest.” Announcing the decision on Thursday, Ms Gordon-Pamplin explained that Mr Tweed’s job had not been advertised and the application was incomplete and contained inaccuracies. However, Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, dismissed her statement as “four pages of garbage”, alleging that the decision was made because the One Bermuda Alliance government does not like Mr Tweed’s activism. Responding, Mr Simons said: “It is my understanding the applicant did not advertise the position as required and that the application itself was incomplete and contained inaccuracies — despite Immigration Department efforts to sort things out. I would humbly suggest that if this were another application, Mr Furbert would be supporting the Government’s handling of the matter. But on this one he wants the Government to bend the rules. There’s no future in it. It’s a position that opens the door to favoritism, friends and family. Don’t we want to get away from that? Bermuda must be about fair play and building that level playing field wherever and whenever the opportunity arises.”

December 31. The People’s Campaign has called a meeting to discuss issues including the work permit for the Reverend Nicholas Tweed. The gathering will take place at St Paul AME Centennial Hall on Tuesday at noon, with attendees urged to wear red. In a statement, the People’s Campaign encouraged residents to attend if they are concerned about Bermudians being pepper sprayed, the airport redevelopment deal, or the Bermuda Government’s rejection of Mr Tweed’s work permit.

December 31. RG Editorial. "Ever since union leader Chris Furbert let slip on Labour Day that someone “very dear to us” had his work permit expire and was waiting to learn if it would be renewed, the saga of the Reverend Nicholas Tweed has been played out like a highly predictable soap opera. For the bog-standard soap opera, you see, you can take a week, two weeks or maybe a month or more off, yet return still to feel that you haven’t missed a thing. Twenty years later, who knew that Victor Newman would still be running things on The Young and the Restless, with an ultra-suspicious Jack Abbott lurking and questioning his every motive? Who knew that Patricia Gordon-Pamplin would hold a hastily arranged press conference on Thursday in her capacity as Minister of Home Affairs, speak for the best part of ten minutes, yet tell us precious little more than what we already knew when the story first broke officially on October 17 — more than two months ago? This was more akin to Tiger Woods press conferences in the legendary golfer’s pomp: saying much without really saying anything at all. Then a fire hydrant rewrote history. Can we spot the fire hydrant in Ministry of Home Affairs v Tweed? And since July 19 and then October 17, how far has this saga really moved on, other than to acknowledge that the next “seventeenth” we need to be mindful of — and which was not mentioned on Thursday, significantly — is what has been preordained as moving day for Tweed? Seventeen days from today. The clergyman himself, whose voice was heard above all others during those five days in March when Bermuda came to a standstill over emotive policy involving the very same ministry, has kept his counsel — allowing a sizeable following to plead his case, albeit in the face of irrefutable evidence that the t’s have not been crossed and the i’s have not been dotted. As per “new” policy. But can the Bermuda Government, with the airport redevelopment deal still a highly sensitive issue and “pathways to status” lurking in the shadows waiting to re-engage, really afford to take on “a man of God” and not come away mortally wounded if all it has in its favour is a pernickety stipulation? Does the One Bermuda Alliance need this at a juncture when the Progressive Labour Party has sneaked ahead in the opinion polls for the first time in more than a year? Is Tweed that divisive a figure that “letter of the law” is used as the chief defence mechanism against criticisms of political interference? And if he is — if he truly is a threat to national security — someone, somewhere, should produce evidence of such, and there should be complaints to back this up. There has to be more than what we have been given to work with. If the Government is unwilling to be fully transparent on this issue, it cannot bemoan all the flak that comes its way — and it is coming from many directions. There can be no denying that Tweed, regardless of his immigration status, has been a royal pain in the backside to the Government. But as a social activist, is that not part of his mandate? To hold authorities accountable? That he does so from the platform provided by this People’s Campaign pressure group is perhaps the most objectionable of his “crimes” and, equally, exposes the weakness of our politics and politicians — that opposition spin-offs the like of this and the fledgling Move Bermuda faction can have any significant credibility or say-so in a jurisdiction that is only 65,000 strong. What happened in March was embarrassing, plain and simple — making demonstrably clear, for those of a Sir John Swan or Walton Brown persuasion, that Bermuda is not remotely prepared for independence. In Tweed, the People’s Campaign possesses, unsurprisingly, comfortably the most impressive and accomplished orator to be found anywhere in the vicinity of the Hill — on either side of the fence. But his expired work permit includes nothing of his sociopolitical activism in the job description to fill the post as pastor for St Paul AME Church. Still, he came, he saw and he conquered, for there has not been much by dint of personality to stand in his way. Now he has a problem, and legitimately so. Whether someone was asleep at the wheel in the AME Church in mid-April when the 90-day countdown began to signal time to renew Tweed’s work permit or whether the Church, Tweed or both stuck two fingers up at the Department of Immigration and its not-so new regulations, this entire situation was totally avoidable. Nevertheless, once all was out in the open, what has happened in the three months since the AME Church was found to be clerically challenged — most definitely not a play on words — and since it was reiterated that the Government’s public relations machinery is squeakier than an old barn door? Not much, it seems. What we expected to hear on Thursday was many of the ins and outs of a situation that has resulted in Tweed’s claim for remaining as an employed non-Bermudian becoming untenable. Gordon-Pamplin, in a game of truth or dare, is keeping her cards close to her chest in the hope that the Church or Tweed blink first. The latter is refusing to play ball so what we got instead was much of the same as in October, with the addition of the odd trinket, the most significant being the name “Nicholas Genevieve-Tweed”. Who is that? Why was that name shared with the media? Did that name have anything to do with the mess we have now? How poor were immigration practices before regulations were revamped in 2014? Give examples. Simply saying that there must be a level playing field with one set of rules for all smacks of convenience, with the existing case in mind, and is not good enough when stacked against historical governmental incompetence that has so readily accepted “D” as a passing grade on such matters. Kudos to the OBA and its Cabinet ministers in government for wanting to do better, and for determining to respect due process with regard to confidentiality, but surely it could have navigated its way around the fire hydrant so that we could be spared a rerun episode of All My Children."

December 31. A shrunken workforce, growing insecurity over jobs and major changes in the United States and Europe add up to an uncertain 12 months ahead for Bermuda, according to economist Craig Simmons. But Mr Simmons also pointed to reasons to be cheerful, with many hopeful the impact of debt is finally starting to clear, and aspects of quality of life improving across the board. Your view on the island’s prospects for 2017 depends on whether your glass is half-empty or half-full, the Bermuda College economist told The Royal Gazette in his end-of-year assessment of the economy. “If, for example, you believe that the recession was caused by a foreign and then a local financial crisis, then you probably believe that the impact of the debt overhang is waning and will be over soon,” Mr Simmons said. “In other words, you place considerable faith in the notion that the banking sector is steadily recovering from its 2004 sojourn into insanity. Or maybe, GDP is not capturing that people are, in fact, happier today because of quality improvements in the goods and services they buy as well as new products entering the market. For example, smartphones have replaced the camera, GPS and music systems put people in constant contact with their loved ones and the world at large. If you accept this line of reasoning, then the problem is not the economy, it is the way in which we count the goods and services we enjoy. If, however, you believe our malaise is a result of a loss of prime-aged individuals — about 7,000 — then the future doesn’t look bright. It will take years before we can create the conditions for a 40,000 person labour force. And equally depressing, if you believe that financial innovation is leading to the replacement of brick-and-mortar reinsurance with more nimble insurance-linked securities, then many high-paying reinsurance jobs are gone forever. ILS are creating space at the intersection of the reinsurance and investment sectors. And as was the case with Edison’s light bulb, it put a lot of people out of work.” Bermuda’s economic risks as a result of Britain leaving the European Union and Donald Trump becoming president are “unequivocally elevated”, Mr Simmons said. He said: “Brexit will make it harder for Bermuda to have its views on tax avoidance, reinsurance and financial services in general heard by Europeans. US reluctance to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership and promises to revisit the North American Free Trade Agreement are creating headwinds to US medium-term growth. Trumponomics misses the point that the problem in the US is not the size of the trade deficit, or more technically the current account deficit.” He noted the trade deficit of $500 billion today is smaller than it has been for some time, and compares with $800 billion in 2007. “The president-elect would be better served concentrating effort to raising US productivity, reducing involuntary unemployment and inequality, and improving the US economy’s ability to handle external shocks,” Mr Simmons said. “The imposition of tariffs and other trade restrictions promises to drive the value of the US dollar higher and as a consequence its exports lower. Tariffs will cause Americans to import less and so supply fewer dollars to foreign-exchange markets. This reduced supply of dollars will cause the dollar to appreciate, making US exports less attractive to the rest of the world. One desired effect of the US Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programme between 2008 and 2015 was that it caused the dollar to depreciate. The depreciation lead to the subsequent boost in US exports, which in turn is what lifted the US economy out of its 18-month recession that started in late 2007.” Locally, Mr Simmons pointed to signs of recovery in air arrivals, with a year-to-date increase of 9.3 per cent reported in October. He also identified a “turnaround of sorts” in the banking sector, although he did note that non-performing loans remained a concern. “Not since 2009 have customer deposits, a nominal indicator, grown. But they did at the start of this year,” he said. “Deposits are a leading indicator of consumer and business spending. An increase in deposits suggests that people are saving more because they are earning more.” He said inflation-adjusted savings have increased by 3 per cent year-on-year to $1.9 billion for a savings rate of 33 per cent of GDP; US and UK savings rates are 18 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. However, while non-performing loans as a percentage of total loans have decreased steadily to 7.2 per cent, he noted non-performing loans as a percentage of bank capital remain stubbornly high at 42 per cent. Before the recession, the figures were 2 per cent and 7 per cent respectively. By comparison, non-performing loans to total loans in other countries are: Singapore 0.9 per cent; the US 1.5 per cent, Britain 1.4 per cent; Iceland 2 per cent; Malta 9.4 per cent; Ireland 14.9 per cent; Italy 18 per cent; and Greece 34.7 per cent. Another monetary indicator, the loan-to-deposit ratio, has declined to 110 per cent after reaching its peak of 151 per cent in 2011. Mr Simmons predicted it will take another 12 months for that ratio to fall below 100 per cent, which would prompt lending to start rising.

December 31. This year stood as a milestone for Barbados, which marked 50 prosperous years of independence in 2016 — but could Bermuda learn from its example? A leading tourist destination with a background in sugar production, Barbados has developed an impressively diverse economy and a largely high standard of living in the five decades since it ceased being a British colony. For Carl Neblett, president of the Barbados Association of Bermuda, all countries that have opted to leave colonial rule are relevant if Bermuda were to examine the old question of whether or not to embrace independence. “Bermuda can learn from every country’s example, not just Barbados — you can look at all the Caribbean countries that have gone independent and look at what it has done for them,” he told The Royal Gazette. “Not every country has been as successful as Barbados, but you can take the good and the bad out of what independence has bought.” Barbados has enjoyed sovereignty since 1966, and its November 30 anniversary of independence is “by far one of the most important days” for its people, he said. The island nicknamed “Little England” has “hung onto the British system of running their country”, as well as the British educational system, which flourished in Barbados. Mr Neblett knew “nothing” about Bermuda when he moved here in 1987 on a whim: working back home as a policeman, he spotted an opportunity here and took the plunge out of “sheer curiosity”. Thus he was well placed to observe the 1995 referendum on independence — when Bermudians decisively rejected severing ties with Britain. “I don’t know if it was the perfect time for it or the worst, but the people spoke,” he said, noting the island was “very divided” on the issue — with opponents significantly outnumbering the pro-independence camp. “Since then the stats haven’t changed that much as to who wants to maintain dependency and who wants to break away. Something drastic would have to happen for those who want to maintain to change their minds.” Asked if 1966 had been empowering for Barbadians, Mr Neblett said: “It had to. You’re talking about a freedom — being in control of your autonomy, your destiny, and no longer relying on the mother country for assistance. Barbados took that leap and never looked back.” In an open letter to the people of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, the Prime Minister, called the country’s Golden Jubilee “a signature moment in our nation’s history” — and said the island “must continue to make the transition to real independence. The contrasts between the two countries are considerable. Unlike Barbados, Bermuda does not have the resources,” Mr Neblett pointed out. "Barbados still has sugar that it can fall back on as an industry, and not everything is imported. Outside of international business, which is the number one sustaining factor, what does Bermuda really have? Can a country of 60,000 people become totally independent? People should be having this conversation if they want to run their own country.” As it is, Bermuda’s self-governing system makes the island “semi-independent” to begin with. “Bermuda has close ties to the UK but you have a close relationship with the United States. Bermuda has a lot going for it — it’s a non-American country that has a US gateway in it, which allows Bermudians to travel freely back and forth.” Asked if he believed that Bermuda’s continued status as a British territory had an effect on the national psyche, Mr Neblett said: “That’s a question for the local population. Coming from someone who is considered a non-national — that would be very hard to say.”

December 31. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is set to resume discussions with the World Match Racing Tour over the future of the Argo Group Gold Cup early in the new year. The match race spectacle was cancelled this year after discussions over the new Tour format between the RBYC, the hosts, title sponsor Argo Group Limited and the WMRT ended without agreement. However, Andy Cox, the Gold Cup chairman, confirmed that the RBYC “will be speaking to the WMRT” as early as next month. The King Edward VII Gold Cup is the oldest match racing trophy in the world for competition involving one-design yachts, while the RBYC is a founding member of the World Match Racing Association. The future of the event has been hanging in the balance ever since the World Match Racing Tour switched to M32 catamarans from the International One-Design racing sloop last year. Organizers had been hoping to find a way to hold the regatta, with Peter Shrubb, the RBYC rear commodore, saying in April that he was “hopeful the Gold Cup will carry on”. Hakan Svensson, the Tour’s owner, also visited the island to “thrash things out”, but even then there were too many questions that had yet to be answered. In the interim, Argo has committed to sponsoring Artemis Racing in their challenge to win the America’s Cup next year, and Cox said that was where the sponsor’s priorities presently lay. New Zealander Adam Minoprio, helmsman of America’s Cup challenger Groupama Team France, won the last Gold Cup event staged in Hamilton in 2015 after edging Australian rival Keith Swinton 3-2 to lift the prestigious trophy, whose origins date back to 1907.

December 31. Chris Estwanik has ruled himself out of next month’s Marathon Weekend, but is hoping to defend his Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton road race title a week tomorrow. Injuries have disrupted Estwanik’s running over the past few years, although he has won a couple of races this season after recovering from an Achilles injury. “I am currently running around three days per week with plans to hopefully increase to four days in the new year,” Estwanik said. “The acute injury is healed up but unfortunately the last four years of four different injuries and the lingering effects of those are all working together to keep me from being back to full strength. I am opting for the approach of taking what the body will give me as opposed to just training through injury as I have done in the past. I am tentatively looking to run the Gosling’s to Fairmont but have to see how the body holds up over the coming weeks. I will not be participating in Race Weekend this year, unfortunately.” Estwanik and Deon Breary won last year’s first Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton race after it was renamed from Fairmont to Fairmont, which started as the Princess to Princess race in 1978. Estwanik cruised to victory in 37min 11sec, while Breary finished three minutes ahead of the second female in 47.04. Estwanik became the first winner of the Peter Lever Trophy, which was awarded last year in memory of the former runner and race official who died in March 2015. Breary was presented the Jim and Debbie Butterfield Trophy, named after two top distance runners from the past, whose son, Spencer, was second to Estwanik last year in 42.32. The Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton race will be the final race before the Bermuda Marathon Weekend and the top local runners will use it as a warm-up. The distance is the same, 7.2 miles, although the start of the course has been altered, starting outside Gosling’s on Dundonald Street instead of the Hamilton Princess and taking the runners over Washington Street and Cedar Avenue and onto Burnaby Street and Front Street before following the old course to Fairmont Southampton via Harbour Road and Middle Road. The Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton race also includes a three-member team relay, a competitive walking category and a junior 3K race. Last year’s junior winners were Quincy Kuzyk and Lynsey Palmer. The first leg of the relay will be 2.8 miles from the start to Newstead on Harbour Road, before the second-leg runner carries the baton for 2.6 miles up to the former White and Sons store on Middle Road. The last leg is 1.8 miles to the finish at the Fairmont Southampton Ocean Club. The main draw prize is a four-night stay at the Fairmont San Francisco in California with round trip JetBlue tickets also a part of the prize. The Gosling’s to Fairmont Southampton race is organised by Mid Atlantic Athletic Club and sanctioned by the Bermuda National Athletics Association. This year the event will benefit Meals on Wheels with $10 from every entry fee going towards the charity.

December 31. Family members, friends and colleagues paid tribute to a loving mother, an inspirational teacher and a dedicated friend who would do anything for others after the passing of Brenda Mattingly. She was 62. Mother of two and teacher for 30 years at Bermuda High School, Ms Mattingly, formerly Chandler, passed away following a brave battle with cancer on Thursday, December 22. Her daughters Samantha Morrell and Ashley Kreuzer remembered their mother as someone who loved nature and who used her expertise as a geography teacher to nurture a deep love and understanding of the natural world. Ms Morrell said: “She was a very outdoorsy person and Bermuda was the perfect place to grow up. Being a teacher she could leave work early and she would always dedicate that time to me and my sister. She would teach us how to swim, she would teach us the names of the animals and plants, we used to play on the rocks. Because she was a geographer we were in all the parks — it always amazes me how many people have not been to Bermuda’s national parks. We explored them all because of her — she really inspired us that way. She was also inspiring to her students and took time out of school if they needed help. She didn’t push people and she was able to see into them if they were having trouble at home — she was quite maternal like that. She was really genuine and if anybody asked her to help out she would do everything that she could, she would do her best. She used to say to us ‘you are going to be strong women, you are not going to be wimpy women — you don’t need a man to do anything — you can do anything you put your mind to’.” Ms Kreuzer described many life lessons she learnt from her mother, including caring for others, the importance of family and being independent. She recalled: “Through her example my mum taught me about sacrificial love — putting others first. Whenever she visited us in Canada she came ready to help and serve … all the rooms of our home have been painted by her. She would always send my husband and I out on date nights because she valued our marriage and encouraged us as a couple. She would also encourage us as parents with advice and giving her grandkids her undivided attention. I was blessed to grow up under the care of a mother who reserved judgment and sought to understand other people’s journeys and decisions.” Later in life, Ms Mattingly married Jamie Sapsford who she was with for 11 years until her death. He said that while her main legacy was as an educator, she was an excellent matriarch to her own children and his own. He said: “She was beautiful and was a very loving mother and grandmother both to her children, her grandchildren and my children as well. She made a positive impact in the lives of many students, not only nurturing a love for and a greater knowledge of geography, but also instilling a sense of self-worth, compassion, and confidence in all those she taught. I am receiving many tributes from teachers past and present, plus many ex-students saying she was their ‘favourite’ teacher at BHS. Brenda also touched the lives of many people outside the classroom, with her beauty, her support, and her friendship.” Ms Mattingly, of St George’s, was born in Sydney, Australia, and raised in Singapore and Britain, graduating from the University of Sussex. Moving to Bermuda she was a geography teacher at Prospect Secondary School for Girls for nine years before moving over to BHS. Her colleagues and friends at the school paid tribute to her professionalism and no-nonsense attitude. BHS principal Linda Parker said: “Ms Mattingly was a loyal, hard-working and dedicated teacher who set high standards for herself and for her students. Although she had a great love for geography and the environment she had a greater love for each child in her class. She was student-centred, believed that every child had strengths and weaknesses and that it was her responsibility to celebrate these strengths and help to bolster up the areas that needed improving. Ms Mattingly, a strong and courageous female role model, was much loved and respected by all BHS stakeholders. Her death has left a large void in the BHS family but her legacy will continue to live on through the positive impact that she had on the lives of her students and colleagues.” Her friend and colleague Kate Ross described Ms Mattingly as “a class act”. She said: “The kids loved her, she was a fabulous teacher. Geography is not an easy subject but we had tremendous success with our results — she raised the bar. She would put her hand to everything yet was very elegant — you wouldn’t expect to see an elegant lady on a roof painting. They [Jamie and Brenda] started [renovating] their house in St George’s and she would come in with great stories about how she almost got hit with a joist. She would just get on with it, knuckle down and do it. She was very down-to-earth and had a great sense of humour. We will miss her enormously.” Ms Mattingly was wife to a husband Jamie; mother to Samantha Morrell and Ashley Kreuzer; a stepmother to Harley and Fae Sapsford; a beloved grandmother “Gigi” to Matthew, Emma, Isla and Adelaide; and sister to Sandie.

December 31. Bermudian actor Jason Eddy is excited to return to the island to perform for the first time in almost 20 years. Mr Eddy, who has made a name for himself acting across Europe, is set to take to the stage in a production of William Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night as part of the 2017 Bermuda Festival. The island is the third stop for the production, which has already earned glowing reviews in both Croatia and Vienna with Mr Eddy in the role of Duke Orsino. “We started in Dubrovnik originally last summer. The producer of the show runs a Shakespeare festival once a year in Croatia called Midsummer Scene, and it is open air in a fort by the ocean in the summer. It’s a good job. It was received really well, and we wanted to see if the show had a longer life, so he was pitching it to other theatres and Vienna’s English Theatre was interested in a run. We literally just finished a two month run there. We have been really amazed — well, not too amazed because it’s a great show — but it has been received really well.” While he said the team were a little concerned about performing Shakespeare in a country where the first language is not English, but the crowds came out, leading to largely full houses throughout the run. “Everyone loved it,” he said. “The German speakers thought it was really clear and easy to understand, the reviews were fantastic, and we had a wonderful time in Vienna, so I’m really excited being able to bring it to Bermuda.” While Mr Eddy has not performed on the island since he was a teenager, he has remained busy. Last year alone he starred as the Beast in a London production of Beauty and the Beast, and claimed the leading part in a short film before travelling to Vienna for the latest run of Twelfth Night. “To come back and perform in my home country as a professional actor, at the Bermuda Festival, is a big deal for me,” he said. “I have often thought it would be wonderful to come back, and whenever I have been in something I think is really good I see if the Bermuda Festival are interested. The rest of the cast are also very excited about coming down to Bermuda. They are very, very excited. None of them have been to Bermuda before. They are all back in the UK at the moment in quite cold conditions and looking forward to the warmer weather. For them, I think it will be really interesting to perform before a Bermudian audience, to see the difference between the audiences that we have had. I have told them that we will get a warm welcome, and a lot of people will love a lot of the comedy elements.” The show surrounds a twin brother and sister who are shipwrecked and washed ashore in different places. Each believing the other is dead, the female twin dresses as a man to ensure her safety and finds herself working in Duke Orsino’s court. “Consequently everyone falls in love with the wrong person, there are lots of mistaken identities, lots of funny jokes about people not knowing who is who,” Mr Eddy said with a laugh. “It’s a really great show. The thing that’s interesting about my character Orsino is he’s a really important character. He’s larger than life. He’s someone in love with being in love. The play starts with him expressing his love for the Countess Olivia, who is rejecting all his advances. It’s great playing a character that has that high status, and his journey is quite interesting. His ideas about women are challenged by Viola, dressed as a boy, and it’s interesting that Shakespeare was writing these themes 400 years ago, and you have these things about gender and how women and men feel and what men and women are capable of feeling. Shakespeare at that time is pointing out the attitudes towards how women should behave and feel about love are ridiculous.” Twelfth Night will be performed on January 24 and 25 at the Earl Cameron Theatre in City Hall. Tickets are available now at bdatix.bm.

December 31.Leading police officers Michael DeSilva and Nicholas Pedro have received awards for their service. Mr DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, gets the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service, and Mr Pedro, the Chief Inspector, gets the award of the Overseas Territories Police Medal. In a press statement, Government House said Mr DeSilva has led the Bermuda Police Service with “authority, sensitivity and skill” since 2009. “Under his leadership there has been a steady reduction in gang and gun violence, reflecting efficient and intelligent policing in service to the community,” the statement said. Mr Pedro is described as an accomplished detective who has made a significant contribution to policing “in particular through his leadership of the Serious Crime Unit and by leading organizational change in demanding circumstances”. Governor John Rankin congratulated both officers on their achievements.

December 31. The recently reported October 2016 decline in retail sales figures demonstrates the strength of the Louis Vuitton World series. Mike Winfield, the America’s Cup Bermuda chief executive officer, highlights that the figures showing a 4.9 per cent decline from last October to this year, are in fact better explained as the 4.9 per cent boost in retail spending during the one month when the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series was held in Bermuda in 2015. The Department of Statistics report shows October 2014 retail sales at about the same level as this year, which demonstrates 2015 was the unusual and welcomed boost for local business. “October 2015 was a three-day event that had a proven positive impact on Bermuda’s economy; one that local businesses are keen to repeat in 2017 and to a greater magnitude with more visitors over a longer time,” Mr Winfield said. The Bermuda Retail Sales Index identifies the sectors that were positively impacted by the World Series event. They are apparel stores, all other store types, marine and boat suppliers, sale of furniture, appliances and electronics. An economic impact assessment released after the World Series showed $8.6 million economic activity created by the event, with 70 per cent, or $6.1 million, having come from overseas visitors, at a net cost to Bermuda estimated at $635,000. $1.5 million was recorded in retail sales and Event Village vendors generated approximately $320,000 in revenue. “The economic benefit to Bermuda is obviously not limited only to the months of the events,” Mr Winfield said. “This spending continues in the preparation for America’s Cup 2017 as support staff and crew living in Bermuda are renting homes, paying for fuel, food, entertainment, school supplies, utilities, furniture, vehicles and everything else that we all must buy to live here. This is an undeniable boost to Bermuda businesses, landlords and the like.”

December 30. Retired Puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller has topped the list of 11 Bermudians to be recognized in the New Year’s Honours List. Mrs Justice Wade-Miller was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her decades of service to the island’s legal community and the judiciary. The judge, who retired this year, was not only the first female Supreme Court justice in Bermuda, but also the first woman to be appointed as a permanent magistrate on the island and the first female Acting Chief Justice. She served as a Puisne judge for 25 years after periods as a magistrate and as the Registrar of the Supreme Court. She is also one of the founders of Project 100 — the leading charity in Bermuda, promoting mental health awareness and raising funds to combat mental disabilities — and set up Spelldown Bermuda, a programme designed to promote spelling in schools, based on a programme operating in Jamaica. Ten other Bermudian figures were recognized for their contributions through the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour. The Right Reverend Ewen Ratteray, the first Bermudian to be appointed Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, was honored for his service to the Church as well as to the wider community. While Bishop Ratteray has since retired, he still dedicates his time and energy to the Church, providing mentoring and counseling services for those in need. He is also involved in the Pastoral Services Committee of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, Heydon Trust and the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association. Debi Ray-Rivers and Jon Brunson, the founder and board chairman respectively of Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, were recognized for their work helping the island’s children through the charity. Scars is dedicated to raising awareness of child sexual abuse while offering free prevention training, awareness programmes and campaigning to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place to protect Bermudian children. Mrs Ray-Rivers is also a Scars-trained facilitator with the Darkness to Light Organisation, whose mission it is to empower adults to prevent child sexual abuse, while Mr Brunson serves on numerous boards, including the Bermuda Housing Corporation and the Bermuda Education Council. Also recognized was Sandra Butterfield, who was honored for her more than 25 years in treatment services. Mrs Butterfield not only serves as the executive director for Focus Counseling Services, but has worked tirelessly to create treatment programmes such as Camp Spirit, a relapse prevention programme that she started for men in 1999. She has also worked to establish effective recovery environments, including residency and transitional housing on the island. Patrina O’Connor-Paynter, the managing director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda and popular radio personality, was honored for her contributions to the community. In addition to working with the mentorship organisation for the past nine years, Mrs O’Connor, also known as “PowerGirl Trina”, has been praised for her work in the wider community as a speaker, singer, blogger and a role model to younger Bermudians. Larry Ebbin was also recognized for his services to the community, specifically for his work promoting and organising chess on the island and off — bringing the Bermuda chess team to the Philippines, Armenia, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Norway, Germany and Italy. He is still continuing that work, and is now preparing to send a team of eight youngsters between the ages of 5 and 15 to the 2017 Carifta Chess Championships in April. Judie Clee, the founding member of the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce, was honored for her service in the field of environmental conservation. From tracking the giant humpback whale as it migrates past Bermuda every year to the tiniest plastic trash that washes up on Bermuda’s shores, Ms Clee has dedicated enormous amounts of time and passion to the sea and sea creatures. Roger Sherratt was recognized for his work to support retired and former police officers. Himself a retired officer, Mr Sherratt and others have been credited with reviving the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association. Mr Sherratt launched the organisation’s website in 2012 and uses it to chronicle biographies of its members. He also works to involve members with full-time police staff so that serving officers can benefit from a relationship with older and more experienced colleagues. Longstanding magistrate Randolph Ratteray was honored for his work with the Family Courts of Bermuda, where he presided over thousands of cases in more than 40 years of service. Mr Ratteray was described as someone who has demonstrated integrity, sensitivity, sound judgment, wisdom, discretion and compassion during his career. In doing so, he has earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues, peers and those families he has helped. Completing the list is 27-year-old Rodney Smith Jr, who founded Raising Men Lawn Care Services to offer seniors, single mothers and veterans free lawn care services in Alabama. The RMLS also serves as a mentorship programme for young men and women to teach them about the value of helping others. Since launching the service in 2015 with the goal of cutting 40 lawns, it has grown to include chapters across the United States and Bermuda, with his efforts recognized by both University of Alabama A&M University and President George H.W. Bush.

December 30. A decades-long rum war between the Communist Cuban government and Bermuda-based drinks giant Bacardi is to feature on a top US TV news show. CBS current affairs flagship 60 Minutes will on Sunday examine the fight for control of the Havana Club brand name — which has been running since Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1959 — in a segment called “The Rum War”. The show’s Sharyn Alfonsi visited Cuba to examine the roots of the row, which is still the subject of long-running legal battles in the US. In a trailer for the segment, Ms Alfonsi said: “It’s complicated — you need to pull up a seat and make yourself comfortable to try and figure it out.” The Havana Club trademark originally belonged to Cuban rum-makers Jose Arechabala, whose family company was seized and nationalized after the revolution that deposed hated dictator Fulgencio Batista. The family left Cuba, stopped producing rum and allowed the US trade mark to lapse in 1973. The Cuban government registered the trade mark in the US in 1976 and assigned it to French partners Pernod-Ricard in 1993. Since 1994, Havana Club has been sold around the world, but not in the US. Bacardi, however, obtained the Arechabala family’s remaining rights to the brand in 1994 and began selling limited amounts of Havana Club in the US, which sparked a legal battle with Pernod Ricard, which was successful in two of the first three court decisions in the matter. After further legal battles, the Cuban government’s US trademark registration expired in 2006 — but in January, amid a thaw in relations between the US and Cuba, the American government gave Cuba rights to the Havana Club name, a decision Bacardi insists should be reversed. Bacardi also mounted a major marketing campaign for its version of the brand and maintains that the renewal for Cuba breaches a 1998 Act of the US Congress designed to protect trademarks taken over in the wake of the country’s revolution. The Bacardi Havana Club, made in Puerto Rico, includes a new bottle and packaging and the introduction of a dark rum variant, Havana Club Anejo Clasico, launched in Florida in the summer. The brand was launched with a new campaign “The Golden Age, Aged Well” and, in a sideswipe at Cuba, still Communist and now led by Fidel Castro’s brother Raoul, “Even A Revolution Couldn’t Topple the Rum”. A spokeswoman for Bacardi yesterday confirmed that representatives of the Bacardi and Arechabala families had been interviewed for 60 Minutes. She added: “Bacardi is the legitimate owner of the brand. No company or government should be able to profit from stolen property.” The Bacardi family, whose distillery company was founded in Santiago de Cuba in 1862, were also forced to flee Cuba after their assets were also seized and nationalized without compensation. The company set up its world headquarters in Bermuda a few years later and has become the largest privately held and family owned spirits company in the world. The 60 Minutes investigation will air on Sunday night. The show starts at 8.30pm Bermuda time.

December 30. Butterfield Bank today quashed social media rumours its ATM network had been hacked. A spokesman for the banks said: “We can assure our customers that this statement is false and that it is safe to conduct banking transactions using Butterfield ATMs.” He added: “We would like to take this opportunity to remind our customers that they should never divulge their personal identification numbers used for ATM banking or debit card transactions to anyone. In addition, PINs should be memorized rather than written down, and certainly never written down and kept in close proximity to their cards.” The spokesman added that Butterfield staff would never ask for PINs or passwords used in internet banking and that the bank never contacted customers asking them to visit a website to update or unlock their online banking details. And he said: “Provided customers do not divulge their banking credentials to third parties, they are not liable for any unauthorised transactions in their accounts.”

December 30. Investors in many Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed stocks saw their wealth grow in 2016 as The Royal Gazette/BSX Index soared to gains of almost 50 per cent. Much of the spike came in the latter stages of the year and was driven by the index’s largest component, Butterfield Bank. But the bank was by no means the only big winner on the BSX, as five other companies on the exchange’s domestic board recorded double-digit percentage gains during the year against a backdrop of a return to growth in the economy. The index closed yesterday at 1,927.79, up more than 623 points, or 47.8 per cent, since the start of 2016. However, the recovery still has a long way to go to reach pre-crisis levels — the index ended 2007 at 4,909.92. Butterfield’s increase of more than 60 per cent was driven by its initial public offering of shares on the New York Stock Exchange in mid-September with a target price of $23.50. The offering drew a vote of confidence from the market, with a broad range of institutional investors snapping up Butterfield shares. Since then, the stock has rocketed to $31.71 in New York, with the BSX-listed shares scaling similar heights, propelled by bullish sentiment for the banking sector as a whole after the election of Donald Trump as the next US president and expectations for rising interest rates. Butterfield started the year with a market capitalisation of just over $930 million, which had risen to almost $1.7 billion by the close of trading yesterday. For the bank, 2016 was the culmination of seven years of recovery since it was brought to its knees by hundreds of millions of dollars of losses from soured investments linked to the US housing market. As if to draw a line under that episode, the bank repaid the principal early on the $200 million of government-guaranteed preference shares issued in 2009, plus all dividends due. And its IPO also gave the rescuers who injected $550 million of capital into the bank in 2010 the opportunity to exit at a handsome profit. The second-largest component of the index, insurer BF&M Ltd, also had a strong year, gaining 21.7 per cent. Its shares closed at $20.50 yesterday and investors also received 88 cents per share in dividends during the year, adding up to a total return of 26.9 per cent. In April, with the share price lagging at $16.30, the insurer announced the first share buyback in its history, authorizing the repurchase of 500,000 shares representing 5.7 per cent of BF&M common shares outstanding. The buyback process has added liquidity to trading of BF&M shares and supported the share price by reducing the number of shares outstanding. BF&M was not the only BSX-listed company to buy back shares in 2016 on the basis that they were undervalued. Just last month, Ascendant Group, owner of power utility Belco announced it had repurchased 710,000 of its own shares — amounting to 6.6 per cent of shares listed — most of them for cancellation. Like BF&M, Ascendant has also seen its stock price gain significantly during the year, by an impressive 40.6 per cent. It ended yesterday with a share price of $6.75 and a market capitalisation of $72 million, making it the sixth-largest company on the BSX domestic board. The 32 cents per share paid out in dividends during the year boosted the full-year return on Ascendant to a handsome 47.3 per cent. Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, the parent company of this newspaper, is also looking to buy back its own shares under a $1 million buyback programme announced in 2015. This year, its stock has risen 9.2 per cent to $7.10 and with the 20 cents paid out in dividends, the total return for the year amounted to 12.3 per cent. Investors in Bermuda Aviation Services Ltd should also be satisfied with their 2016. Starting the year at $2.25, BAS shares rose 42.2 per cent to $3.20 by yesterday. Another 20 cents per share in dividends racked up a total return of 48.9 per cent. Polaris was another company to reward investors in spectacular style. The owner of Stevedoring Services, which operates Hamilton docks, returned to profit in 2016 after a comprehensive restructuring. Its stock rose 30.2 per cent during the year to close yesterday on $4.05. Add on the 23 cents per share Polaris paid out in dividends this year and the total return is 37.6 per cent. KeyTech Ltd shares had perhaps the most volatile trading year on the BSX. In a year of complex restructuring around the deal which gave US firm ATN a 51 per cent stake in KeyTech, the company ended the year with 42.3 million shares listed, nearly three times the 15.5 million listed at the start of 2016. When that considerable dilution is considered, the share price, which had fallen from $3 to $2.95 by yesterday, held up very well, while the company’s market capitalisation has almost tripled to just shy of $125 million. Insurer Argus Group had a positive year, its stock climbing 13.9 per cent to close on $4.60 yesterday. Add on the 17 cents per share of dividend payments and Argus shareholders can celebrate a total 2016 return of just over 18 per cent. The shares of LOM Financial Ltd and Watlington Waterworks ended the year where they started it, while West Hamilton Holdings Ltd, down 5.8 per cent, and Devonshire Industries Ltd, down 4.2 per cent, saw modest declines.

December 30. Church and union leaders have reacted furiously to the refusal of a work permit for the Reverend Nicholas Tweed — but union members are yet to decide what action they will take. A general meeting of Bermuda Industrial Union members will take place on Tuesday at 9am, when members will discuss home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin’s decision to uphold the rejection of Mr Tweed’s application, announced on Thursday. It is understood Mr Tweed has some support across the union membership, but one member who declined to attend yesterday’s meeting said that politics should not mix with the church — and said Mr Tweed did not have unanimous backing. BIU president Chris Furbert, who announced next Tuesday’s gathering after a meeting of the special general council meeting yesterday, declined to speculate about its outcome, saying it was up for members to decide. Yesterday, Mr Furbert and St Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church joined the People’s Campaign and the Progressive Labour Party in condemning Ms Gordon-Pamplin for upholding the Department of Immigration’s decision not to renew Mr Tweed’s permit. St Paul AME Church appeared resigned to his departure, with sources suggesting Tuesday, January 17, is his deadline to leave the island. Announcing her decision, Ms Gordon-Pamplin had said the pastor’s application had been turned down because it was incomplete and contained inaccuracies. She said she was not prepared to make further details public without permission from the AME Church or Mr Tweed. Since then, St Paul AME Church has repeatedly failed to reply when asked by The Royal Gazette for any information over its application. It has not been possible to speak with Mr Tweed. Addressing the media at the close of a general council meeting yesterday, Mr Furbert fired a broadside at Ms Gordon-Pamplin, who he said had declared “I’m not the one” when she accused Mr Furbert of maligning her over the issue in September. “Well, let me say to the minister, you are the one, and I’m coming after you,” Mr Furbert said, to applause from supporters at BIU headquarters. Mr Furbert also accused the minister of going against the principles of her father, the activist and civil rights figure Dr E.F. Gordon, adding: “She is putting up a fraud, and it’s time for it to be stopped.” He called Ms Gordon-Pamplin’s announcement “a dark day in Bermuda’s history”, and dismissed the minister’s statement as “four pages of garbage. The Government wants you to believe they made the decision because the church violated some policy,” Mr Furbert said. Referring to Mr Tweed’s activism and leading protests against government policy, Mr Furbert said: “The Government has made it personal because they don’t like the way the man speaks. He’s seen as a threat. That’s why they want him ostracized, like they ostracized his father over 60 years ago. Not going to happen.” This was in reference to the pastor’s father, Kingsley Tweed, a former general secretary of the BIU. “We are not talking about someone who just dropped off a plane. We are talking about a son of the soil. His father’s a son of the soil. He has family ties to Bermuda.” The Royal Gazette queried why Mr Tweed had not obtained status through his Bermuda links, to which Mr Furbert would only say that large amounts of the applicant’s details had been shared with the Department of Immigration. Mr Furbert added that the minister should have recused herself from the matter, since she had stated in Parliament that she had stopped attending St Paul AME Church over Mr Tweed’s views. Ms Gordon-Pamplin’s decision had been made “because they want him out before February 3, when the airport will be coming back to the table”, Mr Furbert said. On Friday, February 3, Parliament will reconvene to debate legislation for the airport redevelopment that has been staunchly opposed by Mr Tweed and other members of the People’s Campaign group. Responding to Mr Furbert’s comments last night, Cole Simons, the Acting Minister of Home Affairs, said: “I would humbly suggest that if this were another application, Mr Furbert would be supporting the Government’s handling of the matter. But on this one he wants the Government to bend the rules. There’s no future in it. It’s a position that opens the door to favoritism, friends and family. Don’t we want to get away from that?” Mr Tweed’s three-year work permit was due to expire on July 19 this year, and Ms Gordon-Pamplin said she received the application on July 13. Ministry policy indicates applications must be made no less than one month before expiry. The application was rejected in October. According to a government spokeswoman, approximately 54 work permit applications have been refused in 2016, as of December 29. In a statement yesterday, St Paul AME Church declared itself profoundly disappointed as it approaches a new year “without our beloved servant leader and pastor”. The People’s Campaign has described the move as “another example of a tactic in the One Bermuda Alliance Government’s war against the People’s Campaign”, with shadow home affairs minister Walton Brown claiming Mr Tweed had been treated unfairly and colleague Rolfe Commissiong branding it “a political vendetta”.

December 30. The officers of St Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church have said they are “profoundly disheartened” by the refusal of a work permit for its pastor, the Reverend Nicholas Tweed. A statement released yesterday outlined Mr Tweed’s achievements and described the decision as “an injustice”. It made no mention of assertions that his work permit application was incomplete or inaccurate — reasons cited by the Department of Immigration for the refusal. The statement, which said Mr Tweed had “rejuvenated the church ministry”, said it was now anticipating a new year “without our beloved servant leader and pastor. We feel utterly betrayed by the Government. Since his appointment, Pastor Tweed has rejuvenated the church ministry. He has led our church with enthusiasm, compassion and most of all sound Biblical teaching. He has been a committed servant to his congregation and to the wider community. Pastor Tweed has led the congregation in prayer, Bible study, discipleship and ministering to the needs of members of the church and the community. Our Wednesday feeding programme and student scholarship awards have all increased under his leadership. He has been a true servant leader. He has carried out all his duties of ministering to his congregation with great care, to grieving families, to the sick and shut in, performing weddings and baptisms. He was appointed by the Bishop as deputy chair to manage Matilda Smith Williams Seniors’ Residence and his leadership has served to stabilize and improve the operation of the residence. Our youth ministry has grown under his leadership, young people are serving and more visible in ministry at St Paul. They are devastated by this decision. The message that the Government sent will resonate for years to come. But we as a congregation will remain steadfast in our conviction and our faith.” The statement went on to quote Martin Luther King in his letter from Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” The statement went on to describe the work permit refusal as “an attack on the faith community”, adding: “The Government has stated that the Church has been a place of refuge, safety and renewal, their words are hollow to us as we close out 2016 and enter a new year without our beloved servant leader and Pastor, Reverend Nicholas Genevieve Tweed.”

December 30. The decision to refuse an extension of the Reverend Nicholas Tweed’s work permit has been branded a political attack by the People’s Campaign. Additionally, the Progressive Labour Party has said that it is “abundantly clear” that Mr Tweed has been treated unfairly by Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Minister of Home Affairs. Ms Gordon-Pamplin announced yesterday that she had upheld the refusal of the work permit on the grounds that the post was not advertised and that the application was incomplete and contained inaccuracies. Responding, a spokeswoman for the People’s Campaign claimed the move was meant to be an attack on the group by the Bermuda Government. “The People’s Campaign has stood boldly with Bermudians against the oppressive One Bermuda Alliance Government and their horrid policies, which many times are not in the best interest of the Bermudian people,” the spokeswoman said. “To this end, it is no secret that the Government views the People’s Campaign and its leadership as an enemy and a threat, as they often refer to the People’s Campaign as part of a fictional combined opposition. Every leader of the People’s Campaign has been directly targeted by the OBA Government and their agents. The denial of Mr Tweed’s work permit is another example of a tactic in the OBA Government’s war against the People’s Campaign. The people of Bermuda should not be fooled or confused into believing that the denial of Mr Tweed’s work permit is about an administrative process not being followed or Mr Tweed displacing a Bermudian pastor. It is clear that the denial of Mr Tweed’s work permit is political. The people of Bermuda are clear that the OBA Government and their supporters would like nothing more than to see Mr Tweed placed on a plane and shipped out of the country. The People’s Campaign will remain steadfast in fighting for the people of this country and we stand 100 per cent in solidarity with our brother, Nicholas Tweed.” Meanwhile, Walton Brown, the Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, said the PLP was “profoundly disappointed” by the decision. “While successive governments have always worked closely with the critical sectors of our community, including international business, tourism and the social sector to ensure the critical leadership they require is in place, the handling of Mr Tweed’s application has not been given the same weight of consideration,” Mr Brown said via a party release. “The AME Church was informed that the work permit application for Mr Tweed was being carefully reviewed by immigration. Ongoing correspondence between the Church and immigration suggested that, once issues were resolved, the permit would be approved. For the minister to now simply revert to the formal position taken at the beginning of the application process ‘that the rules are the rules’ suggests an insincere review process.” He said that, historically, for cases involving key personnel — both in the Church and in international business — the approach has been for ministers to work through the challenges with the parties involved. “Moreover, considering the extreme flexibility and responsiveness granted to work permit applications for America’s Cup staff, where ‘the rules were made flexible’, it seems abundantly clear Mr Tweed has been treated unfairly by the minister and her decision,” Mr Brown said. “One conclusion that can be drawn is that the denial of Mr Tweed’s work permit renewal is directly related to him being a firm and outspoken advocate for social justice; so much so that the OBA Government views him as a threat to them. It seems impossible that the OBA Government could make a convincing argument that the decision regarding Mr Tweed is devoid of political considerations. I urge the minister and the OBA Government to urgently reconsider this provocative decision at such a delicate time for Bermuda.” Dale Butler, the former PLP MP, called for Ms Gordon-Pamplin to resign, writing in a letter to this newspaper: “As a member of St Paul AME, I am appalled at her action and she should resign forthwith because she told us why she was conflicted with his presence. Her statement made her biased and therefore unable to look at it objectively.”

December 30. Belco customers will see lower overall electricity rates from January 1. A surcharge that was implemented in June this year will be removed after Saturday. As a result, tariffs applied to energy charges for residential users, small commercial users and demand services, will be scaled back between 3.9 per cent and 18.4 per cent. In June 2015, Belco asked for permission to set its rates at a point where it would “receive a reasonable return on equity in order to fund the ongoing infrastructure investment required to deliver highly reliable electricity to Bermuda”. The rate increases proposed were to provide a return on equity of 7 per cent in 2016, and 8 per cent in 2017. In May, the Energy Commission issued a directive in response to the rate proposals. But as the directive was made five months into the year, a surcharge needed to be applied to base rates for Belco to achieve its required return on equity for the entire year. That additional surcharge will no longer apply after Saturday. Separately, Belco has advised customers that due to a software issue, it is temporarily unable to accept payments with Mastercard credit cards. Should customers have any questions or concerns, they are asked to contact Belco’s customer care department on 299-2800.

December 30. Former Progressive Labour Party MP Dale Butler has applied to run for Parliament. Mr Butler cited the use of pepper spray against citizens during the December 2 protests as a reason to return to politics, as well as the decision by the Bermuda Government not to renew the work permit of his pastor, the Reverend Nicholas Tweed. Mr Butler said today: “Since 2012, I have been encouraged by former constituents and members of the public to return. I have tried to stay out of the limelight while encouraging many others who have great ideas and are critical of everyone, to step up. This has not happened. At the same time, I had to witness pepper spraying of our citizens, and just yesterday the decision not to renew my pastor’s work permit was what pushed me in this direction. At 5am this morning, I submitted my application to be considered by the PLP to be a candidate.” Mr Butler joined the PLP at the age of 16 and was first elected in the party’s historic win in 1998. He served in a number of Cabinet roles, including youth, sports, social rehabilitation and culture. He quit Cabinet over the handling of the Uighur issue by Ewart Brown, the former Premier, in 2009. Mr Butler served Warwick North East for 14 years until he was voted out in favour of the One Bermuda Alliance’s Mark Pettingill in 2012.

December 30. Gombey dancing is in Teresa Warner’s blood. She is descended from founders of both Warner’s and Place’s Gombey troupes. When she started dancing with Warner’s at the age of 6, it came naturally. However, her father, Gregory Place, a former captain of Place’s Gombeys, disapproved. “My mother, Noelette Warner, was for it, but my father wasn’t keen on his daughter dancing Gombeys,” she said. “I stopped after about a year. But every event, every holiday and function, I was right there with them.” In her teens she found another way to connect with the Gombeys — helping her grandmother, Janice Warner Tucker, make replicas of them. The 75-year-old has been sewing the dolls for 60 years. “At first I was into helping her sew, but as you grow older you don’t want to be bothered with some things,” Ms Warner said. She got back into it about five years ago. The line of Gombey dolls that she created made her grandmother very happy. “I am glad that she is alive today to see what I am doing,” said Ms Warner. “She gives me lots of advice.” It took her about six weeks to get the process down. “When I first started making the dolls, it was kind of hard because I hadn’t really done any work on them for a while,” she said. “Now I get six to eight of them done in a week. The dolls are all hand-stitched.” Her 18-year-old daughter, Joelsha´, helps decorate the capes and masks; her 17-year-old daughter, Janae, helps with the tassels. Marketing was initially a challenge. “It was a slow start, but they are getting recognized now,” she said. Ms Warner has sold about 100 of her dolls, including one to the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs. Her Gombeys come in different sizes, with the largest priced at $200. At the moment, their costumes are a mix of those traditionally worn by Warner’s and Place’s Gombeys, but she plans to start making them using each troupe’s specific designs. She is also about to bring out a line of coloring and cut-out books to promote Gombey appreciation even further. She has partnered with illustrator Gladwin Daniels for Resa’s Gombey Dolls. “The history of the Gombeys is not taught island-wide, and it should be,” Ms Warner said. “I don’t want the Gombeys to die out. I created the coloring books because I want the younger children to get the education of Gombeys and what they represent. I want them to see how far we have come and for them to recognise that this is our culture. The Gombeys are a mixture of African, Egyptian and Native American dance traditions.” Ms Warner makes the dolls in her spare time as she is a part-time caregiver. She said growing up between two Gombey troupes was wonderful. “There is some rivalry between all the Gombey troupes,” she said. “But when the costumes come off, everyone is friends. The Gombeys are about unity. They are something that brings people together. I was basically born in the middle of it all. I can’t run from it. I was always with the Gombeys. Wherever they were, I was bound.”

December 29. Bermuda’s capital has topped the list of most expensive cities to live, by crowd sourced global database numbeo.com. The website thecrazytourist.com, founded by a former Google software engineer, ranked the top 20 most expensive cities with Hamilton’s cost of living listed as $4,769 — $157 more expensive than the second most expensive San Francisco [$4,612]. Next came New York [$4,207], Geneva [$3,314] and Hong Kong [$3,244]. Tokyo was at number 20 at $2,208. Bermuda towered above the other cities in terms of the price paid for high speed internet access at $140 compared to the next most expensive — Geneva at $57.10. According to the data, collected through user submissions, rent swallowed up the lion’s share of costs at 61.6 per cent, restaurant food took up 12.7 per cent while eating at home took up 10.7 per cent. Breaking down the costs of goods, Hamilton sold the most expensive beer at $9 with the next most expensive hailing from Geneva at $6.86. There was no specification on how much beer that would buy as was the case with milk where in Hamilton it was listed as being $16.40 for the same amount for $4.49 in San Francisco. Accompanying the figures, an article on thecrazytourist.com read: “Luckily, almost anywhere you go, the cost of a beer hovers around $6, so if you’re left reeling after spending all that money, you can take the edge off with a pint. Hamilton is the exception; at $9 a beer, you’ll need a few more to forget about the damage to your wallet."

December 29. Retailers were yesterday upbeat after festive sales were up on last Christmas — while shippers bringing in online purchases also reported gains on last year. Paula Clarke, chief executive officer of Gibbons Company, said: “Christmas was very good. December, all in all, was very good. The retailers in Bermuda and especially the Gibbons Company, work very hard to keep the dollars circulating in Bermuda. I think it’s slightly ahead of last year.” Ms Clarke added that Gibbons, a full-scale department store selling everything from clothing and cosmetics to housewares, had seen good sales “across the board. We really are a one-stop shop for our customers and they really like that. There wasn’t one area we could definitely say was down.” Ms Clarke, also retail spokesman for the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said the trade generally was “a little slow to start with, then it got momentum. I am hoping that the overall results for everybody will be positive.” Ms Clarke said she was unable to say how much a worldwide trend of online shopping had affected bricks-and-mortar businesses in Bermuda due to a lack of statistics. She added: “Unfortunately, we have been trying to get numbers out of the government about how much is spent on online shopping, but we haven’t had much luck getting the numbers. We’ve been asking for these numbers for many, many years now. It would be helpful to see the categories people are spending on overseas because then we could address that, but it’s not available to us in a timely manner.” Ms Clarke added, however, that she estimated the threat of online shopping remained the same as in previous years. She said: “It’s the same — shopping habits are changing and we address that as best we can. I don’t think there are any more threats I’ve been able to identify, but a lot of it gets down to customer sentiment and how they’re feeling. If people aren’t feeling confident, they won’t spend. I think people are fairly confident because the America’s Cup is coming up next year. People are optimistic about that and they can see there will be some real benefits with more people in Bermuda. Anyone in transportation or the service industries must realize this will be a huge advantage and change for Bermuda.” Stephen Thomson, president and CEO of shipping firm Mailboxes Unlimited, said business had tripled in the run-up to Christmas compared to the rest of the year. He added that for the last four or five years, volumes in the run-up to the festive season had gone up five per cent annually. Mr Thomson said: “We grew this Christmas and we’re happy with that.” Mr Thomson, who is also chairman of Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, the parent company of The Royal Gazette, added: “Internet shopping has gone up four or five per cent, so our business has grown four or five per cent. That’s tracking the US trend.” Mr Thomson said that increasing use of hi-tech meant that parcels ordered from a major online retailer like Amazon could be in customers’ hands in as little as five days. And he added: “We have done some creative things that helped growth — like the rewards programme, which attracted some level of attention, which has also helped customer retention. There is a lot of competition in what we do. It’s competitive, but we feel we’ve had a good Christmas and a good year.” Dawn Zuill, owner of Island Shippers, based in Hamilton’s Cedar Avenue, said the Christmas period was “tremendous”. She added: “I’d say, happily, we surpassed even our greatest wishes and we had a remarkable December and we’re still processing into January.” Ms Zuill said that final figures had yet to be tallied. But she added: “I would say we added at least 40 per cent to our volumes over last year, in both private and commercial shipping.” Ms Zuill said: “Business really should double or go up three or four times more than in previous months, the last quarter being the season. It’s not necessarily just December. The last quarter should be the busiest and it certainly was for us.”

December 29. The Bermuda Police Service has said it is continuing to investigate an incident at a local hotel that left two Canadian visitors in hospital. The two visitors — a 25-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man — were taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital on December 20 after a “reported medical emergency” at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. Last week a police spokesman said that inquiries were under way by the Drug Unit and that the two visitors still remained at the hospital in stable condition. Asked for an update on the incident, the spokesman confirmed that the investigation was ongoing, adding: “It would be inappropriate to provide any further details at this time.” A representative from the hotel said they are co-operating fully with police.

December 29. In anticipation of increased demand for a variety of products during the America’s Cup, one of the island’s leading wholesalers is to assist with the distribution of two famous brands, Coca Cola and Heineken. Butterfield and Vallis is also looking for temporary permission to bring fresh milk to Bermuda to meet expected orders from mega yachts attending the sailing competition in May and June. Logistical planning is being fine tuned in the countdown to the international event that is expected to brings tens of thousands of extra visitors to the island. John Barritt and Sons Ltd is the island distributor of Coca Cola, while Burrows Lightbourn Ltd handles Heineken. Both continue to be the official distributors of the products in Bermuda. However, with a big upswing in demand expected during the America’s Cup, Butterfield and Vallis is lending a hand with distribution. Such co-operation between distributors happens on an ad hoc basis as required, explained Alun Hughes, general manager at Butterfield and Vallis. “It’s something that we do when there are large ships visiting. It suits the customers,” he said. During a five or six-week period around the America’s Cup, the company will assist with distributing Coca Cola and Heineken to visiting mega yachts. The arrangement will streamline deliveries to the yachts, reducing the need for multiple distributors to visit the same customer. Mr Hughes said: “In our discussions with the guys doing the provisioning for the mega yachts, it is clear it is going to be quite a demand for the distributors in Bermuda. With the yachts we will do our regular distribution deliveries and also Coca Cola and Heineken. In addition, Butterfield and Vallis is in discussions with the Bermuda Government to secure temporary permission for the importation of fresh milk during the America’s Cup, when demand is expected to exceed the usual availability of milk. The island has a limited supply during the summer months, and doing this will allow the limited milk on the island to be used by islanders.”

December 29. The Bermuda Police Service has said officers have discovered the controlled drug Fentanyl on the island. The drug — a synthetic opioid — is associated with the misuse of heroin and has been linked to multiple fatal overdoses. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Fentanyl is a dangerous, powerful Schedule II narcotic responsible for an epidemic of overdose deaths within the United States. Detective Superintendent Sean Field-Lament said: “The BPS Drug Unit is conducting an investigation and we have informed our public safety and healthcare partners of the associated risks. We will work with our partners to formulate a more detailed response in the coming days, but in the meantime we would like to draw the DEA’s safety precautions regarding Fentanyl to the public’s attention: exercise extreme caution, be aware of any signs of exposure and seek immediate medical attention.”

December 29. A family was left “heartbroken” and separated this Christmas after the Department of Immigration refused to allow a grandmother and her granddaughter to land in Bermuda on two occasions, despite apparently granting them approval. Veronica Mullings was on her way to Bermuda from Jamaica via Toronto to visit her son David Buchanan and his family with Mr Buchanan’s 12-year-old daughter Davine in tow. On arrival at L.F. Wade International Airport, they were told that, due to a 2014 change in law, their VH1 visitors’ visas were required to be valid for 45 days after their departure date from Bermuda. According to Mr Buchanan’s wife, Manaie, she was not informed of this when she called immigration to inquire about landing requirements for Bermuda. The visas they did have were due to expire a few days short of what was required. Ms Mullings and Davine were put on a return flight to Toronto while their family in Bermuda tried to rectify the problem with immigration. According to Ms Buchanan, an immigration officer apologized that his colleague had not informed them of the requirement and told them that he had managed to get approval for her family members to return, which they attempted to do on Friday, December 23. However, on their return, just a few minutes before landing, the Buchanan's in Bermuda were told that the pair would not be permitted to land for a second time, again due to the visa issue. Despite their pleas and explanation that they had been granted approval, Ms Mullings and Davine were put on a plane back to Toronto. They are now staying with a family of strangers they met on a flight coming from Kingston to Toronto who offered to put them up over the holiday period. Ms Buchanan told The Royal Gazette: “My husband had to go deep back into his pockets and get another two tickets for them to come back. We didn’t want to let them down on — it was their first trip to Bermuda. We bought them presents and they are all still here wrapped up for them. It is only because they told us we were approved that we did that and they came back. We were really excited going to the airport on the Friday to pick them up. But just before the plane landed I was told they were going to refuse them to land again — we had all been in such good spirits. What really hurts my heart is they approved it the second time and ten minutes before they land they decide to tell us they are sending them back. What hardship you have caused our family near and far. Mostly it hurts. The girl just wants to see her daddy; she speaks to him and says, ‘I just want to spend Christmas with you.’ “It’s the same for all of us — we haven’t seen them for a long time and we made so many arrangements for them so they would have a happy Christmas in Bermuda, and this is what Bermuda did to them. I am not the sort of person who pursues stuff but this seemed so unjust. My ten-year-old grandson [in Bermuda] was crying. And only through the grace of a stranger do they have somewhere to stay. They are still there now in Toronto. They said they would have to deport them back to the US as deportees. They are not criminals. You [immigration] made the mistake when you approved the second time for this to happen and then change it ten minutes before the plane lands? You think people have money to throw away? We are brokenhearted — how can you do that to people?” The Buchanan's paid about $3,000 for their first two round-trip tickets as well as $1,600 for their return journey. The family is waiting on immigration, which says it is aware of the case, to give a response. A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration said: “The Department of Immigration will not be issuing a public statement regarding this case. It is the Department’s policy not to comment on individual cases.”

December 29. Minister of Home Affairs Patricia Gordon-Pamplin has upheld the decision to reject a work permit application by the Reverend Nicholas Tweed. Asked how long Mr Tweed would be permitted to continue working on the island, the Minister told a press conference: “His work permit will come to an end as of this decision being handed down, however I will have conversations with his employer to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible in the transition process.” Reacting this afternoon, Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert urged all special general council members and shop stewards to attend a meeting to discuss the matter at noon tomorrow, at BIU headquarters. A spokeswoman for the People’s Campaign said the move was political, describing it as “another example of a tactic in the One Bermuda Alliance Government’s war against the People’s Campaign”. And Walton Brown, the Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, said the Progressive Labour Party was “profoundly disappointed” by the decision, claiming that Mr Tweed had been treated unfairly. Speaking at the press conference, Ms Gordon-Pamplin denied that the move was based on Mr Tweed’s political activism, saying his application was “incomplete” and contained “inaccuracies”, although she declined to give details. “Rules, regulations and oversights within the provisions of the act must apply consistently across the board,” she told the media. “There is one set of rules for everyone, otherwise the system breaks down.” Mr Tweed, pastor at St Paul AME Church, is a vocal critic of the Bermuda Government and prominent member of the People’s Campaign. His three-year work permit was due to expire on July 19 this year, and Ms Gordon-Pamplin says she received the application on July 13. Ministry policy indicates applications must be made no less than one month before the expiry. The application was rejected in October, prompting an outcry from supporters. Today, Ms Gordon-Pamplin added that all work permits must meet two basic requirements for a permit to be issued — the employer must advertise the post and the applicant must submit accurate and complete information. “The applicant failed to comply with these two basic requirements,” she said. “The position was not advertised despite repeated requests by the Department to do so, and the actual application was incomplete and contained inaccuracies. On the basis of these failures to fulfil the requirements of the immigration policy, the work permit application was rejected. And on the basis of the continuing failure to fulfil the requirements of the policy within the timelines set out by instruction of the Department, I confirmed the decision. The details of my decision have been communicated to the parties involved. I do not intend to make that information public unless the parties themselves make a public call for clarity of the relevant facts.” Describing herself as a person of faith who has spent almost 60 years in the AME Church, she said she is well aware of its historical struggle, saying the Government has had many communications with the church about this matter. However she added that Bermuda’s immigration rules exist to protect Bermudians in the workplace, noting that every other denomination has complied with requirements established in 2014. “It is critically important that the intent and spirit of these rules and regulations are upheld. Anything less would invite an ‘anything goes’ policy, calling into question the island’s integrity and its commitment to protect the interests of the Bermudian workers. In this particular instance, the applicant failed to comply with the rules that were put in place for everyone. As a result, I had no choice but to uphold the previous decision to refuse the new application.” The post of pastor at St Paul AME Church was not advertised in The Royal Gazette, and the church has not responded when asked whether it requested a waiver from the Department of Immigration allowing it not to advertise. St Paul AME Church has previously complained the rejection amounted to a “total disrespect and disregard for the doctrine and discipline of the AME Church, and the rejection of the longstanding custom and practice surrounding appointments of pastors in the AME Church in Bermuda”. Today, Ms Gordon-Pamplin reiterated that until 2014 different policies were in place for churches, but that since then they must abide by the same rules as companies and charities. “In 2014, everyone started with the same level playing field,” she said. “I think that it’s natural to push back, to say ‘I didn’t have to do this before’, but the older system and procedures have been superseded,” she said. Asked if she was concerned about the possibility of public backlash, she said she can only operate the department according to the rules that have been laid out. “I cannot speak to how people might possibly respond to it. I would certainly hope that people will look at the information that has been provided, the policies and procedures that exist, and accept and appreciated that it is the way that we must operate in order to be fair to everybody. The one thing that you cannot do as a government, certainly as a minister, is to manage and control a department based on what you think might happen. You can look at the rules, you can look at the application of the rules, and you can ensure that there is constant and fair application of these rules. That is all you can do.” Mr Tweed was born in London but has close family links to Bermuda, and his biography on the St Paul AME Church website describes the island as his “ancestral homeland”. He has pointed to his father Kingsley Tweed’s contributions towards desegregation and previously said: “I don’t come to this island as a foreigner.”

December 29. Derrick Burgess and Winters Burgess have declared themselves long-standing friends, but say they are not sure if they are directly related. Speaking to The Royal Gazette, the pair gave details about their connections, which were the centre of attention when the Commission of Inquiry investigated the Dame Lois Browne-Evans police and court building project. The inquiry heard how Winters Burgess owned a 22 per cent equity stake in Landmark Lisgar, the company awarded the $70 million contract to construct the building in 2007, and was paid $11,000 a month; Derrick Burgess was the public works minister a year later, when a second contract was negotiated with the firm now called LLC. The panel questioned why Landmark Lisgar was chosen for the contract despite not being the choice of the Government’s technical officers. Challenged on his relationship with Winters Burgess during the hearing, Derrick Burgess had said he called him “uncle” but later explained that is a term he uses for people older than him. Clarifying their relationship when contacted by this newspaper, Winters Burgess said: “We have been friends for a long time, but I don’t think I am related to him — if it is, it’s way down the street. He is definitely not a first cousin or second cousin, or a cousin that I know of. If he is related to me, I don’t know how. We have been friends for years — as a matter of fact, I was the one who influenced him to run for Parliament; that is how close we were. I saw him speaking at Leopard’s Club — he was a spokesman there — and I said to him, ‘why don’t you run for Parliament’ and we talked about it. We were friends long before that — 20 or 30 years. Maybe that’s why everyone thinks we are related because we are both Burgesses and we are so close.” Derrick Burgess said he, too, was unsure whether the pair were related and questioned why it would be relevant that they were close friends. He told this newspaper: “Why is my friendship under scrutiny? Everybody would be suspect in that case because we all know each other [in Bermuda]. If it is your brother, you should recuse yourself from the decision-making. Family comes into it — we can define that — but what about if it is a fifth cousin? Where do you draw the line? There are many definitions for close friends.” Asked to clarify a report on ZBM News in 2009, when he was said to have called Winters Burgess a close friend and relative, Derrick Burgess said: “I never said that. They are using that in a sinister way now. I am proud to say I have many relatives in Bermuda, whether they are blood or not. I call everybody cousin. In the Commission of Inquiry, I was asked, is Winters related to me and I said he’s my uncle. Then I went on to explain it: it is a sign of respect for an elder. To me it was not an issue; it is only an issue when you try to use what it is in a sinister way.” The commission was launched by the Bermuda Government to look into potential misuse of public funds between 2009 and 2012 while the Progressive Labour Party formed the government, including any conflicts of interest in the granting of contracts for capital projects. As well as Winters Burgess, Vincent Hollinsid, a half-brother of Ewart Brown, the former premier, owned a 20-per cent equity share in Landmark Lisgar and picked up a $6,000-a-month salary.

December 29. A campaign group challenging the construction of a maintenance yard in Botanical Gardens has said the Bermuda Government did not comply with legislation on the project. In a statement this afternoon, a spokesman for Take Back Our Park said that Chief Justice Ian Kawaley had ruled in a civil case that Government failed to comply to Section 4 of the Bermuda National Parks Act, which requires that the public be notified of any construction in respect to any “protected area”. The section also states that Government “shall give opportunity for and shall take into account public comments before acting on any proposal”. The spokesman said: “Even though this ruling is part of a private civil case, it is very significant for us because it confirms that the public were not made aware of the proposed maintenance yard nor of its magnitude compared to what was there previously nor was there any opportunity for the public to voice their objections. In addition to this serious oversight, the planning application for the proposed maintenance yard was advertised as only 169 South Road with no mention that the site was in the Botanical Gardens nor that the site was zoned as protected park land. Given that over 3,750 people signed our petition, which was delivered personally to Craig Cannonier, Minister of Public Works, in January, it seems clear that had the public been made aware of this plan, it would not have been approved given the large amount of people who are against it.” The spokesman said the Government is now holding public consultations on the project as a result of the ruling, and said the group has launched a “call to action”, urging those who are against the proposal to submit their objections to Marcus Wade at marwade@gov.bm. For more than three years Government has sought to develop the old maintenance yard at the Gardens into a centre for 120 Parks staff, new staff parking, two new buildings, a water tower and a throughway. However the project has been the subject of scorn, with groups describing the proposed maintenance yard as an industrial site within the national park.

December 28. Arch Capital Group’s $3.4 billion acquisition of United Guaranty Group has been approved by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. It was announced in August that the Bermuda-based company would buy the mortgage unit from American International Group in a cash and securities deal. United Guaranty is the leading private mortgage insurance company in the US. It is based in Greenboro, North Carolina. In a statement, the North Carolina Department of Insurance said: “After the acquisition, Arch Capital Group, will be the largest mortgage insurance company in the country and will relocate their headquarters to Greensboro.” The headquarters referred to are those of Arch Mortgage Insurance Company, currently based in Walnut Creek, California. Constantine “Dinos” Iordanou, CEO of Arch, in August said: “We expect to quickly integrate Arch’s existing California-based mortgage insurance operations and the North Carolina-based operations of United Guaranty while maintaining a strong presence in both locations, thereby further developing our superior customer service with nationwide and worldwide coverage.” Announcing the approval, Wayne Goodwin, North Carolina’s insurance commissioner, said: “I always strive to recruit companies to North Carolina that will encourage growth and I believe Arch Capital Group’s choice to invest in the Tar Heel state will benefit everybody. This acquisition is great for North Carolina business and I am excited for what promises to be an enormous economic impact.”

December 28. Retail sales in October fell 3.8 per cent compared with the same month in the previous year. In 2015, retailers received a boost during October from the island’s hosting of a Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event, while this year the month was marked by disruption caused by Hurricane Nicole, which was a factor in the drop in sales. Retail sales were 3.2 per cent lower, year-on-year, at $92 million. Five of the seven sectors experienced decreases in sales revenue. Apparel stores registered the largest drop in sales receipts of 22.8 per cent, sales volume was down by a similar percentage. Liquor stores recorded a gain in sales of 5.2 per cent. Returning residents declared overseas purchases valued at $4.2 million, unchanged from October 2015. This contributed to a combined local and overseas spending of $96.2 million. After adjusting for the annual retail sales rate of inflation, measured at 1.2 per cent in October, the volume of retail sales decreased 4.9 per cent. Motor vehicle stores saw a 20.1 per cent drop in the value of sales, with a 19.8 per cent decrease in vehicles sold. All other store types recorded sales receipts down 2.4 per cent, year-on-year. Receipts from food sales were up 1.2 per cent. However, the sales volume of food and liquor stores were down 0.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively. The Retail Sales Index data was released by the Bermuda Government Department of Statistics.

December 28. Recently released documents have revealed details of the 1979 Constitutional Conference, which eventually led to the abolition of the expatriate vote in Bermuda. The conference, held at Warwick Camp, came as a result of the 1977 riots and the subsequent Pitt Report, which called for major reforms of the legislative landscape on the island. The Commonwealth Residential Vote — a measure first enacted in 1963, which allowed Commonwealth citizens who had been resident in Bermuda for three years to vote in Bermuda’s elections — was one of several key issues of discussion at the conference, with the opposition Progressive Labour Party calling for its abolition and the ruling United Bermuda Party seeking to extend the qualifying period to ten years. While initially classified, a series of telegrams about the discussions sent by Richard Rand, then US Consul General, have been made declassified and were last month published on WikiLeaks. In a message sent on January 29, 1979, Mr Rand wrote that the Constitutional Conference would be held the following month, adding that he had discussed the possibility of further civil disturbances to “support PLP demands” with the Governor, Sir Peter Ramsbotham. While the conference was scheduled to take place in Bermuda, the Governor reportedly told the US Consul that the PLP had been pressing for it to be held in London, where they hoped to receive support from the British Labour Party. Mr Rand wrote that he later discussed the main points to be tackled during the conference, including the expatriate vote, noting that the United Bermuda Party had proposed the three-year qualification period be extended to ten years. “We both agreed that the expatriate vote would present no problem, and that the ten-year qualification period is an acceptably generous concession,” he wrote. Weeks later, on February 17, Mr Rand wrote that Richard Posnett, representing the Foreign Commonwealth Office in the discussions, along with the Governor had become resigned to the fact that no significant reforms would emerge on the principal issues. “They both considered that the conference was a success simply because it had lasted the whole week,” he added. “Today’s final session will be critical. Governor and Posnett are committed to emerge from conference with an agreement that both parties will sign. The mechanics at this point are unclear as the final positions of GOB and PLP delegations will be tabled today.” On February 21, Mr Rand wrote that the conference had yielded “unexpected results”, although substantive resolution of the main issues had been deferred. “In a surprise move, both parties agreed to delegate to the FCO authority to rule on the controversial issue of expatriate vote. The Premier and Opposition leader will both be travelling to London the last week in March to present their cases on expatriate vote to FCO Ted Rowlands, who is then to decide on the issue,” he wrote. “The 12th-hour compromise, reached late on Saturday afternoon, does not have enthusiastic support of either political party. Conservative faction of UBP is unhappy with the Premier for digressing from party caucus’s firm stand on expatriate vote. PLP finds itself formally committed to going into next General Election under present electoral system.” He noted that the expatriate vote — which was considered at the time the easiest point to resolve — had proven to be the issue that would threaten to finally deadlock the conference. “PLP was reportedly unbending on its position that expatriate vote be abolished altogether,” Mr Rand wrote. “Reportedly, governor and FCO’s Posnett passed most of Saturday morning and early afternoon alternately cajoling and threatening PLP delegation to accept a ten-year qualifying period for the expatriate vote. Governor was reportedly very agitated and visibly trembling when it appeared that conference would terminate with no issues being resolved.” On February 28, Mr Rand wrote that he had again spoken with the Governor about discussions, and the Governor made it clear that he was frustrated with the PLP delegation. “He repeated several times that he had informed the Opposition leader that he would get her 80 per cent of what she demanded, but if she pressed for more she risked getting nothing at all. He said that towards the close of the final session he almost had her agreement to permit FCO delegation to, then and there, decide the final issue ie the expatriate vote. Had that been accomplished, agreement documents could have been signed and conference could have been closed rather than temporarily adjourned.” The Governor reportedly expressed confidence that his recommendation would be taken up by the FCO, with Mr Rand adding: “The governor’s proposed formula, as he described it, would be retroactive and, in addition, would provide the mechanics for eventually phasing out the expatriate vote altogether. Recommendations will not sit well with the UBP delegation, and may provide internal problems to premier. Governor, on the other hand, was more concerned about PLP reaction to such a decision which falls short of its demand for abolition.” The expatriate vote was eliminated later that year by Lord Carrington following talks in London. However, those who were previously able to vote retained that right.

December 28. Actress and former Bermuda International Film Festival judge Carrie Fisher died yesterday at the age of 60. Ms Fisher, daughter of Debbie Reynolds when she was married to Eddie Fisher, who rose to stardom for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series, suffered a heart attack on an aeroplane last week. In addition to her leading role in the Star Wars series, Ms Fisher appeared in hit films including The Blues Brothers and When Harry Met Sally. She transitioned her success in film to writing, penning eight books and memoirs, one of which she later adapted into her one-woman show Wishful Drinking. In 2007, Ms Fisher joined friend and fellow actor Richard Dreyfuss at the Bermuda International Film Festival. She also spoke at BIFF Talk Back, discussing her career and personal challenges. She remarked that the island offered her an escape, telling attendees: “It doesn’t seem that you guys bother that much. Who cares about celebrities? You live in Bermuda.” Bermudian filmmaker Lucinda Spurling, who also served as a judge at the 2007 festival, said yesterday: “My impression of Carrie Fisher when we were on the jury together was that, like many great actresses she seemed a contradiction, at once quiet or uncomfortable in small groups, but at the same time confident on a stage. We had a jury dinner and one of the film journalists put her on the spot asking her to do a monologue from Star Wars; without hesitation she stood up and regaled the dinner, but at our jury lunch she preferred to read a book. It was only later when I watched Wishful Drinking that I realized how hilariously irreverent and funny she was. That kind of fearless sense of humour is what I will miss from a world without Carrie Fisher.” Meanwhile, Sheelagh Cooper said during the festival she hosted a party at her home, which Ms Fisher attended. While she said she was not able to speak to the actress long, she left a positive impression. “I only got to know her a little, but it was really fun having her here,” she said. “She was very pleasant. It was lovely for her to come down here for the festival, and it was a real thrill to have her in my house.”

December 28. Peter Cooper, one of Bermuda’s best-known retailers and the head of A. S. Cooper and Sons, has died, aged 82. Mr Cooper was regarded as the last man standing of Front Street, when his department store fought on despite the demise of Trimingham’s and Smith’s in 2005. But for all his business expertise, and many years of service on boards throughout the community, it was the grandfather’s dedication to his family and his friendliness that were the hallmarks of his character, according to his son Somers Cooper. Mr Cooper Jr, who took over the reins at A. S. Cooper nine years ago, last night paid tribute to his father, who passed on Friday, last week, after a battle with lung cancer. “I have never met a person that disliked my father,” he told The Royal Gazette. “His non-judgmental, friendly and engaging disposition made him someone you wanted to be around. He treated everyone the same no matter what their age, background or situation happened to be. He was a complete gentleman.” His outgoing personality, Mr Cooper said, made him the perfect fit as a retailer. “People just enjoyed doing business with him,” he said. “He was also so loyal throughout his personal and business life. His word was his bond and you could bank on that. He was like that until the day he died.” During his time as head of the business, Peter Cooper grew it to 18 stores island-wide, with as many as 125 employees, and oversaw its development as a leader and pacesetter in branded fashion. According to Somers Cooper, it was another element of his personality — his natural cautiousness — that stood the firm in good stead when times grew tough. “He ran the business very conservatively and cautiously. That helped stop us from going the same way as some of our competitors,” Mr Cooper said. “When opportunity would present itself to the business, he would think very carefully before taking it up. He was reluctant to do something he wasn’t experienced in.” For that reason, Mr Cooper said, it took A. S. Cooper some time to expand into the perfume and jewellery businesses. “Once we had people around us who could take us in that direction, he would take us down that road,” he added. “While my dad was generally conservative, mainly risk adverse, in his approach to business, he was progressive in the way he thought.” Born to Edmund and Mary Cooper in Orange, New Jersey, on August 31, 1934, Mr Cooper’s early childhood was spent mainly in New Jersey, Chicago and Philadelphia, while his father furthered his retail training and served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. They moved back to Pitts Bay Road in Pembroke in 1947. He studied at New York University before marrying his beloved Barbara Hutchings in 1955. That same year, Mr Cooper began working for the family business and moved to Britain, to learn the china business at Wedgwood and other potteries in the Staffordshire area. On returning to Pitts Bay Road a year later, and under the watchful eyes of his grandfather, father and four uncles, Mr Cooper continued developing a career at A. S. Cooper that would last 52 years, taking over the business in the late 1970s after the retirement of his father Edmund Cooper. His area of expertise was the china and glass merchandise category, which has been the main focus of the A. S. Cooper business for most of its 119-year history. For years he was the “go to” expert in Bermuda for information and opinions of modern and antique British pottery, while he is also credited with establishing long and friendly relationships throughout the industry, around the world. During his career he held positions on the boards of many local companies including The Royal Gazette, Bank of Bermuda, BF&M and Warwick Academy, where he went against many traditionalists by supporting racial integration. His personal life revolved around family and the water. He had three children, Elizabeth, Christina and Peter Somers, as well as nine grandchildren, Ashley Dunn, Peter and Adrienne Miller, Katie and Cooper Stevenson, and Mackenzie, Julia, Chase and Ellis Cooper. He grew up sailing and rowing the waters of Pitts Bay with his brother Kirk off the dock of their grandparents’ house. He later crewed for Kirk in a number of local and international events and assisted in his preparation for the 1972 Olympics in the Soling Class. Boating became the recreation of choice for his young family; he competitively sailed as well as enjoyed time on the water fishing and exploring. He was Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in 1980 and 1981 and remained on the board of governors until his death. Mr Cooper also loved shooting, and was active for many years with the Bermuda Trap and Skeet Club. His service takes place at St Paul’s Church, Paget, on Friday at 3.30pm. Reacting today, John Wight, president of the Chamber of Commerce, stated: “Mr Cooper was a strong supporter over many years of the Chamber and on behalf of the Chamber I would like to express my sadness on learning of this news. Our sympathies go out to the Cooper family and we wish them well during this difficult time.”

December 28. The Bermuda Police Service is warning the public to be on the lookout for counterfeit US $100 bills in circulation. According to a police spokesman, all of the forged bills have the serial number H1413713. “Employees are once again advised that if counterfeit cash is detected during a transaction, the member of staff receiving the fake money should hold on to it, note the description of the individual who tendered it and contact police immediately,” the spokesman said. "Similarly, members of the public should take a few seconds to examine any money they may receive, especially the larger denominations. Persons who may have unknowingly received counterfeit currency are encouraged to contact the nearest police station at the earliest opportunity to report the matter.” The spokesman added that it is a criminal offence to pass on, possess or reproduce any counterfeit currency, with the charges carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Any incidents involving suspected counterfeit currency should be reported to the Criminal Investigation Unit at 247-1744 or the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline, 800-8477.

December 28. The Summerhaven residential home’s woes will continue until controversial chairman John Powell is removed from the board, according to residents and staff. This newspaper understands that Mr Powell, whom a senior magistrate ruled used scare tactics against residents, has continued to visit the home for the physically disabled since the Ministry of Health and Seniors took over on December 8. At one stage, it is understood Mr Powell removed a computer hard drive containing records from its office. Sources said the ministry had contemplated seeking a restraining order against Mr Powell as he repeatedly returned to Summerhaven, but were frustrated in their efforts because he remains chairman of the board. One of Mr Powell’s keenest critics, former MP Glenn Blakeney, who has a physically challenged son, told The Royal Gazette: “It appears to me that he may still be intricately involved in operations from behind the scenes.” Mr Blakeney also expressed dismay the Government had taken so long to take action against the Summerhaven management. Juan Wolffe, the senior magistrate, authorised the appointment of government administrators after accepting as fact a swathe of complaints against Mr Powell and staff, ranging from intimidation and harassment to bullying and the denial of access to transportation — all charges laid by Mr Blakeney in scathing remarks to MPs in November 2015. “For this amount of time to have lapsed is inexcusable,” Mr Blakeney said, calling it “incredible” that Mr Powell and trustees remained in office. “The board has some level of culpability. They must have known what was going on, particularly with the public dissemination of information. Why will the board not subject Mr Powell to answering fundamental questions, unless they were complicit by turning a blind eye and dismissing complaints that were incredibly worrying? There are still residents who feel such a level of intimidation that they will refuse to say anything that would subject them to be reprimanded, as they have in the past. It’s baffling to know there has not been any investigation. I called for an independent investigation, not for Caesar to be looking at Caesar. The ministry may have intervened to a degree, but we have seen no peeling of the layers to get to the bottom of the situation. “I am sure they will find things more serious than anyone thought. I would have thought there would be some level of forensic investigation.” Mr Blakeney and other residents told this newspaper that bus driver Albert Carter, who Mr Wolffe found put residents’ “lives, health and well-being at risk”, had been retained by Summerhaven, despite the senior magistrate accepting that Mr Carter had injured a resident by shoving them, and driving the bus for his own personal use. Jeanne Atherden, the Minister for Health and Seniors, said two weeks ago that the Government has been actively investigating complaints at the facility. While she said the situation appeared to be improving, complaints began to rise again in October, leading to this month’s takeover. Residents had planned to celebrate Christmas Eve with a party at Summerhaven, but called it off, with staff saying many were unhappy with the lack of change. Another objection has been the dismissal of Ricardo Wynn, a popular administrator who was abruptly fired by Mr Powell on September 28, resulting in a wrongful dismissal case. Residents staged a protest on October 2 calling for his return, but Mr Wynn, who was hired by Mr Powell earlier in the year, said he had “decided to move on” since nothing had happened. Saying he had been “dismissed inexplicably”, Mr Wynn added: “I am well aware that, ever since their unprecedented protest, many of the residents have kept faith that I would be reinstated, and I have decided that I no longer want that to be the case. The residents need to know from me now, in retrospect that reinstatement was never an option as far as John Powell and the board were concerned, so they can have some closure about that issue. I have made some really great relationships with the residents at Summerhaven, which I will continue to enjoy, I’m sure. I wish them luck with their continuing struggle to be treated as significant contributors to our community and culture, and I’ll always be just a phone call away.” A Summerhaven resident of three years, who requested to remain anonymous, confirmed to this newspaper that Mr Powell had called numerous times on the facility, even after the ministry appointed two of its own administrators. He described an uncomfortable atmosphere prior to the takeover, especially during lunches, as the chairman paced up and down. “I strongly feel that he has an ace in the hole since the ministry came in,” the resident said. “His stuff was taken out of the office, but it wasn’t removed from the property. It’s in storage. And he can come and go as much as he wants. I just don’t see what the Government’s doing. They are dragging their feet. As long as the board is here, he’s here. And as long as he can come and go from the property, he has a psychological effect on the residents. He has threatened us, and he has told me that ‘you talk to the press, you’re out the door’. I am actually afraid of him.”

December 27. Public Holiday as Christmas Day fell on a Sunday.

December 27. Senator Michael Fahy has claimed Opposition leader David Burt is attempting to “deceive the community” over the controversial airport redevelopment project. Mr Burt has called on the Bermuda Government to publicly release the “lease, master assignment and consent agreement, and the domestic contract” in advance of the February 3 debate. However, a spokeswoman for the Airport Redevelopment Project Team said today that the master assignment and consent agreement contemplated at the airport development agreement stage had been dispensed with early in the process in favour of a more streamlined contractual structure. The spokeswoman added that the lease had not yet been finalized and remained in draft form. “In any event, the lease is a fairly mechanical document by which the project company obtains access to the airport lands as required to operate and maintain it,” the spokeswoman added. Mr Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and the Municipalities said this afternoon: “It is hard to imagine why Mr Burt would even suggest that the absence of these particular two documents should be cause to launch a protest aimed at thwarting Bermuda’s democratic process. It is clear that Mr Burt is attempting to deceive the community with his absurd stance to push his own narrow political agenda. It is frankly dangerous and unacceptable.” Mr Burt said: “The Government’s criticism regarding the PLP’s insistence for the disclosure of the project agreement and applicable contract details is a poor attempt to distract from the fact that Bermudians remain in the dark about the details of the OBA’s Airport privatization. Our reasonable and consistent view remains that MPs must be aware of the commitments of the Government of Bermuda over the next 30 years prior to any debate. We reiterate our position that the Auditor General should review this project in advance to provide MPs and the public with an independent assessment of the total impact that this 30-year airport privatization will have on the public purse.”

December 27, pm. An American Airlines flight made an emergency landing at LF Wade International Airport at about 11.45am today. The diverted flight was en route from San Juan in Puerto Rico to New York before heading to the island. Emergency landing protocols were put in place, but normal traffic flow has since resumed. At about 12.15pm, further details had not been released.

December 26. Boxing Day Public Holiday. The familiar drums and whistles of Bermuda’s iconic Gombeys echoed across the island today as Bermudians celebrated Boxing Day. Continuing a longstanding tradition, the various troupes visited hotels and neighborhoods from St George’s to Sandys. While the Gombey Warriors danced at Grotto Bay and around Bailey’s Bay this morning, H & H Gombeys entertained crowds in the Crawl Hill area before coming to Hamilton. Meanwhile Gombey Evolution took to the streets on Ord Road and the Cobbs Hill area among others and Places Gombeys toured Pembroke. Stephen Lee, a regular spectator, said: “I love the tradition of it. There’s not much that is as uniquely Bermudian as Gombeys. “It’s something that comes from a dark part of our past, but when a tourist sees them for the first time, hears the music and sees the dancing, the reaction is amazing.”

December 25. Christmas Day. Bermuda’s biggest Christmas party is in full swing on Elbow Beach, where the day is almost too hot for Santa hats. “I can’t take it off now; I’ll ruin everyone’s dreams.” said Cazzie, a visitor from Michigan dressed in full Santa regalia and mightily enjoying her first trip to the island. “What I’ve learnt is that if you want to make kids happy or make kids cry, wear a Santa costume. One girl said she wants a pony. I’m going to do my best.” Temperatures are around freezing back home in Michigan. Cazzie, whose brother-in-law is working on the island for the 2017 America’s Cup, was contemplating taking a swim. “It’s pretty warm in this thing,” she admitted. “But come on. What better place to be Santa than on the beach?” Nearby was Valerie, from Santa Rosa, California, enjoying her first visit to the Christmas beach bash and happy to be holidaying with all five of her children. Later today the family will indulge in their usual Christmas pastime of decorating a gingerbread house — although the warm and humid conditions aren’t ideal for gingerbread. The colorful tradition of champagne and Christmas costumes at Elbow Beach is especially popular among expatriates, but draws its share of locals as well — families in particular. “This is probably our sixth year doing this,” said Dennie O’Connor, serving drinks to revelers alongside Gussie Godwin of Beach Boys, the Tobacco Bay concession. “All you need is a top sound system and everybody ends up coming together. You’re going to see 3,000 people down here by this afternoon. I love it for the passion. It’s great to see everybody coming together. The majority of the people are expatriates who are away from their families but you get a lot of Bermudians and there’s just a great synergy.” Added Mr Godwin: “This is their Christmas. Everybody’s cool. I love it for the unity, and there’s a lot of families, a lot of people bringing their kids.” Their drinks stand, sponsored by WKD, will be kept busy fuelling the merriment until 5pm, with the majority of the proceeds going to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda, a cause dear to both men. Elbow Beach will be an all-day affair for Aniela, a restaurant worker from Romania who has been on the island for three years. “It’s a very beautiful island and the people are very nice — for us this is a time to meet all the others from Romania here.” There were easily 1,000 people on the beach by noon when The Royal Gazette dropped by. “This is my fourth time in Bermuda but my first time here for Christmas — it’s gorgeous,” said Jessica, a Londoner living in Manchester and enjoying a Dark and Stormy. She said she was on the island visiting family and friends and had decided to check out the beach festivities. “It’s really different,” she said. “In England families are at home and probably around the fire because it’s so cold. This is beautiful; I love it.”

December 24. From Mike Winfield, CEO. America's Cup Bermuda. "A heartfelt thank you to everyone in Bermuda who has done their part so far to making Bermuda’s America’s Cup experience incredible for all. The 16 committees with about 150 people serving them have been instrumental in ensuring that Bermuda will measure up and indeed exceed expectations for hosting the largest international sporting experience ever seen on our shores. Success in planning and executing a project of this magnitude, from the high level concept to the finest details could only have been possible with the dedication and effort of all involved. This is true of thousands of people in Bermuda, much more than the core group who think, sleep and breathe America’s Cup every day. We thank the Bermuda’s wider community of suppliers, trades people, truck drivers, crane operators, government workers, food vendors and caterers, retailers, America’s Cup licensees, taxi drivers, teachers, media personnel and every person whose work, school or life contributes to the America’s Cup experience. Whether you’re a part of constructing infrastructure for the event to take place or the daily operations that keeps the teams and support staff up and running, we appreciate you and we look forward to 2017 — Bermuda’s year of the America’s Cup. From America’s Cup Bermuda we wish a very happy and safe Christmas to you, your friends and family."

December 24. Christmas Eve. February 6 is a very special date that every member of the Land Rover BAR team have marked on their calendars. That’s the day when the British challengers will launch the new wing-sailed, foiling America’s Cup Class catamaran they will bid to win the ‘Auld Mug’ in Bermuda’s Great Sound next June. The team have partnered with British car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover to develop the AC50, which should have a top speed of around 55 miles per hour — speeds once thought unimaginable for a sailboat. The British challengers, led by skipper and team principal Sir Ben Ainslie, have spent the past several weeks training in their AC45S, which serves as a test platform for the AC50, in the Great Sound. They have even had the opportunity to line up against their America’s Cup rivals — Oracle Team USA, the defenders, Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan — during the brief time they have been on island. Ainslie is encouraged by the progress he and his colleagues have made but acknowledges there’s still room for growth as they try to “close the gap” between themselves and the more established America’s Cup teams such as Oracle Team USA. “As a new team that is going to be our biggest challenge, going up against some of the teams out here we do have some catching up to do,” Ainslie said. “That’s a motivator for us for the next five or six months. We know we’ve got to really knuckle down to catch up with the likes of Oracle and some of the others that are so well established. The existing teams just roll on from one year to the next; they’re already designing next year’s boat while they’re going through a season. Look at Artemis and Oracle and Team Japan by their association with Oracle; they’ve all taken all that learning from the last Cup. And not just on the technical side, but also how these really complex systems can be engineered to gain performance. Yes, we’ve had 2½ years now getting the group together and learning but there’s always an element of catch-up. But we’re confident we can close that gap. The intensity has gone up a notch for us as a team now that we’re out on the water and sailing against the other teams. That really does help in getting everyone’s minds focused on the competition ahead.” Land Rover BAR will face Artemis Racing, the Swedish challengers, in their opening match of the America’s Cup Qualifiers in May. Ainslie and his colleagues earned two bonus points after winning the America’s Cup World Series, which they will carry into the Qualifiers as competition shifts from fleet racing in the AC45F to the AC50s. “We wanted to perform well as a new team to show that we could compete at this level, so it’s a big boost across the whole team to have won it,” Ainslie said. “At the same time we’ve been open about the challenge of being a new team. We’ve done some sailing against the opposition and we might be a little bit behind right now, but the expectations? We’ve got a great team, we’ve come a long way, and we’re working incredibly hard to win this thing.”

December 24. Today on Christmas Eve, many of us look forward to gathering with family and beginning to celebrate the holiday. We asked the skippers of the six America’s Cup teams what they want for Christmas. We are not sure if they believe in Santa Claus but they all know what they want, so we will see if they have all been good this year! Nathan Outteridge, Artemis Racing: “I’m hoping Father Christmas brings me a very fast AC50.” Franck Cammas, Groupama Team France: “For Christmas this year, I want to have a holiday with my family because it’s a long time without them. So it’s my wish.” Sir Ben Ainslie, Land Rover BAR: “I’m hoping Father Christmas will bring us a lot of luck to Bermuda. It’s going to be our first Christmas away from home. We have a baby daughter so hopefully she has a good time.” Glenn Ashby, Emirates Team New Zealand: “I’ve always been really looking forward to getting a new sailboat for next year after Bermuda, planning a bit of a wind-surfing mission so getting rid of the old 2010 gear and hopefully Santa can bring me a nice new Tabou Pocket Rocket underneath the Christmas tree.” Dean Barker, SoftBank Team Japan: “Well, hopefully a fast AC50 but we still have a lot of work to do there.” Jimmy Spithill, Oracle Team USA: “Probably too early to ask for the Cup, right? Each of the skippers also wishes everyone in Bermuda and around the world a very Merry Christmas. So with the tree decorated as you spend time with family and friends this holiday we have a lot to celebrate this season. We’re on the eve of an event bigger than Bermuda has ever imagined, and we can celebrate that we’ve come together for the common good of our island home, hundreds of people working and volunteering towards a successful outcome that sets up Bermuda for a long bright future. Merry Christmas Bermuda from everyone involved with your 2017 America’s Cup."

December 24. Christmas Message from Governor of Bermuda John Rankin. "Having arrived in Bermuda just a short time ago, I am delighted that one of my first responsibilities is to deliver a Christmas message to the people of Bermuda. Since my arrival I have been fortunate to meet a number of people — both residents and visitors alike — from all walks of life. This is something which I plan to continue during my time here, both on an official and unofficial basis. 2016 has been a year of important anniversaries and commemorations, some global, some specific to Bermuda. Her Majesty The Queen attended many varied celebrations to mark her 90th birthday; a birthday party involving 900 horses and 1,500 participants, a street party in the mall complete with real British rain, as well as the traditional trooping of the colour and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. It was a fitting series of events for our longest-serving monarch. And I know that Bermuda marked the anniversary with the traditional Queen’s Birthday Parade on Front Street and the Queen’s Birthday Party which saw many of you at Government House for the first time. I plan to continue to ensure that people from across the Bermudian community feel welcome at Government House. Two important global commemorations this year were the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, whose literature still has a far-reaching influence across the world today, and of course the centenary of First World War events including the Battle of the Somme which included representatives from Bermuda families whose members died during that terrible battle. At the beginning of the year, Bermuda saw the 400th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s first sitting in Bermuda. We should be proud of the long and distinguished history of our judicial system — not all jurisdictions can boast such well-developed and robust processes as ours. There have been many highlights in the world of sports too. I understand that Bermuda’s clubs and bars were buzzing when Portugal played France in the Euro 2016 finals. And of course all were cheering on the Bermudian athletes who did us proud during the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio. It is fitting that in the year of the 80th anniversary of the Bermuda Olympic Association, Bermuda was so well-represented in the number of athletes who qualified and the range of disciplines in which they participated. Their impressive performances were testament to their dedication as athletes and to the support they receive from the community as a whole. I look forward to experiencing that community spirit personally throughout the many events which take place in the Bermuda calendar and not least when Bermuda hosts the 35th America’s Cup in May and June 2017. I hope to meet members of the America’s Cup teams in the lead up to the main event — the spectacular racing to take place in the Great Sound — and will try to remain neutral in my support. As Aristotle once said: “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Bermuda’s parts — its people, businesses and government — all have their own important role to play in the island’s future. In times of potential crisis, such as the onset of Hurricane Nicole, the community pulls together like no other, taking care of each other and working to get Bermuda back on its feet. That collective spirit, if applied more generally, can achieve great things. If we all work together collectively in a spirit of friendship and fellowship, we can certainly accomplish more than working individually. I promise to do my part to ensure that Bermuda’s future is secure and bright. I look forward to meeting many more of you over the coming years and to serving Bermuda as best as I am able. I wish you all a very happy Christmas."

December 24. Christmas Message from Premier Michael Dunkley. "I hope this special day finds you with family and friends, in goodwill and good health. It’s an honour as Premier to have the opportunity to speak to you on this day because Christmas touches so much that is important and good in our lives. With Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus and all that his teachings mean for the good of mankind. And with Christmas we gather with our loved ones, to share in companionship and good cheer appreciating our lives together. The family is the core of our society; at the centre of all that we build. It needs care and attention, as we all do from time to time. The hustle and bustle of our daily lives can make us forget what’s important. Christmas is the one day when those daily preoccupations fade just enough to help us see the most important things more clearly. Remembering Jesus and the significance of his birth and life provides guidance for our own lives. Through him we learn service, charity, selflessness and compassion. These are lessons that can bring people together in harmony, and these are lessons that Bermuda, with all its differences, can benefit from, benefits that can be best achieved through individuals bridging differences to realize the identity and destiny we all share as Bermudians. Look around, and you can see the possibilities, you can see what we can do. Think of Nicholas Christopher starring in the Broadway hit musical Hamilton, Flora Duffy winning three world titles, and 14-year-old Jacari Renfroe winning this year’s top tech award. These and other Bermudians reflect not just outstanding individual achievement, but also the potential in all of us. Bermuda deserves the best we can do because it’s worth it — our home — the most beautiful place in the world, with its best days still to come. And the best way to get there is by caring for each other, living by the values and truth Jesus gave to the world. I hope this day brings you joy and appreciation, family and friends, and may we all carry forward the all-embracing message of Peace on Earth, goodwill to men. Merry Christmas Bermuda, be safe and God Bless."

December 24. Christmas Message from David Burt, Leader of the Opposition. "The Bermudian spirit is one of kindness, compassion and generosity. During the holiday season, we see that more strongly than ever. As the year’s end approaches, many of us will reflect on times past and prepare for what awaits us in the new year. We take the opportunity to draw our families and friends closer and express our gratitude for what mercies we have been given. We open our hearts and homes to share our blessings and our cassava pie. As we do that, we should remember that far too many of us do not have those same gifts. There are countless people in today’s Bermuda that are struggling and suffering, financially and otherwise. We have a responsibility to consider not only how we can improve ourselves in the year ahead, but how to improve the lives of those close to us. On our small island, that means everyone. Let us try to carry this loving spirit through the remainder of the year. Times are tough for many and it is far too easy to let that spirit wane when the days are harder. For some, the days are always hard. For the unemployed man who is turned down for job after job that he’s qualified for. For the senior who feels they have been left behind by a society that no longer wants them or cares for them and their health. For the child living in poverty, whose studies are left behind while his mother struggles to feed him. We must do better for the unemployed, those living in desperation and poverty. It has been said that a rising tide lifts all ships, but in Bermuda many do not even have a little punt to ride the rough economic waters. We cannot rise together if we are leaving Bermudians behind. I believe that it is the responsibility of leaders to fight for those who are struggling and have lost hope. It is not enough to claim to listen, we must hear what is being said, and we must act. My colleagues in the Opposition will fight for increased opportunities, fight for greater inclusion and fight for a Bermuda that truly works for Bermudians. But we cannot do it alone. You can help right now, today and every day ahead. You can do your part to ensure that the prosperity of some, no matter how small, can benefit all. I encourage every Bermudian to again become your brother’s keeper, by feeding those who are without food, by helping the unemployed to find work. So many of you already do this, and we support your efforts, because no matter how little you can do, you are doing right by your neighbours, your friends, your families. Because no one is a stranger in Bermuda. It is now the time to fully restore this aspect of Bermudian culture. With your help, the next chapter in our history will be one where our country truly grows, truly evolves and truly commits to leaving no one behind. On behalf of the Opposition, and on behalf of my family, I wish the whole of Bermuda a Merry Christmas and a new year that brings joy, peace and blessings to our beautiful island home."

December 24. Christmas Message from Bishop Nick Dill, Anglican Bishop of Bermuda. "At the Cathedral’s nativity service this year, the children open with a song: “It’s coming, it’s coming, that special time of year. It’s coming, it’s coming I know it’s almost here. Yes, Christmas day is coming soon with gifts and lots of fun, but I know that it all began with the birthday of God’s Son.” For many children in our community, this aspiration of gifts and fun overshadows everything else — but for some these things never materialize. Others would say that it is just a time for family, to get together, a time for generosity — at best — or stress and family bickering at worst. Then there are those who would argue that nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus was born on December 25, and that the midwinter is the least likely time for shepherds to be out watching their flocks at night. Despite not knowing the actual date of Jesus' birth, the medieval church chose the date as the official birthday to Christianize or redeem a pagan festival held on the darkest and shortest day of the year, to signify the coming in of light into darkness and the dawn of a new era. Throughout the history of the last 2,000 years and across the globe, Christmas has meant different things. Its current Western manifestation with the overlay of tinsel and Santa Claus is arguably just a legacy of Charles Dickens meeting up with a rampant consumerism. Now much of this is true, and for many there is no need for a religious component at all to make the season special. But, despite all of this it did begin with the birthday of God’s son, which is an event in history worthy of celebration and bringing with it a joy that should suffuse not only this one day of the year but every day. And surely joy is needed in this crazy world of political tensions, here and abroad — with the destruction of lives and cities in such places as Aleppo, Mogul — terrorist attacks in Berlin and wide scale persecution of religious minorities, a world where children are starving in Northern Nigeria, where the drought conditions in the Horn of Africa threaten the same in Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan and the refugee situation from Syria continues. Here in Bermuda there are still many without jobs, needing help with food. Anger, frustration, hopelessness is the experience, rather than joy. But to know that God is not detached from all of this but entered our world, at a time of political Middle Eastern turmoil, where his parents and he had to flee for their lives in fear of persecution, gives us an assurance that, despite the complexities and fears of life, God sees and knows and understands. That God should take human flesh, live our life, weep with us and ultimately suffer and die for us is part of the story. Jesus touched lives with joy from the first day of his conception and gave them significance, dignity and value; he loved, healed and forgave and offers eternal life to any who would come to him. And today he still does. Today in the city of Quaraqosh, Iraq, 6,000 children will be reminded of that as in the ruins of a church used by Isis as a torture chamber for the Christian residents of that city over the past two years as they will have a party in celebration of Jesus’s coming into the world — receiving a hot meal and a gift — sponsored by the charity Christmas for Refugees. Jesus’s birth assures us that God has not abandoned us to our crazy and messed up lives. Through his life death and resurrection, he has brought forgiveness, a relationship with God himself, the possibility of transformation of our relationships with one another, and the hope of everlasting life and peace, and with all of that — joy! We are entering a new year. It is my prayer and hope that all of us will once again experience a joy that will transform not only Christmas Day but every day. That you will know peace in your families, and we would all work together in this divided microcosm of the world, this beautiful yet fragile home we call Bermuda, to allow joy and thankfulness to replace the anger, fear and division that can so quickly seep in. May God bless you and your families this Christmas and into this next year."

December 24. Christmas Message from Wes Spiewak, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton. "Christmas is the feast of man. A human being is born in Bethlehem. He is one of the millions and millions of people who have been born, are being born and will be born on earth. A human being, one item in the vast range of statistics. It is not without reason that Jesus came into the world when a census “was being held”; when a Roman emperor wanted to know the number of subjects in his territory. A human being is an object to be counted, something considered under the aspect of quantity, one of many millions. Yet, at the same time he is a single being, unique and unrepeatable. If we celebrate with such solemnity the birth of Jesus, it is to bear witness that every human being is somebody unique and unrepeatable. If our human statistics, human categories, human political, economic and social systems, and mere human possibilities fail to ensure that man can be born, live and act as one who is unique and unrepeatable, then all this is ensured by God. For God and before God, the human being is unique, someone thought of and chosen from eternity; someone called and identified by his own name. At this time in our human history in which the original temptation of “becoming like God” in various areas of our reality has become so evident to the point of eliminating or replacing God, may this Christmas help us to rediscover the beauty of “becoming more human” and to find in this a continuous inspiration and motivation for undertaking efforts and initiatives to make our world more united and more beautiful through the uniqueness, as well as, the variety of those who are components of this world. Blessed Christmas to each one of you, my dear friends, living in this beautiful island of Bermuda! My good wishes, full of heartfelt affection and sincere respect, are addressed to you in the various situations of your life, many of which are marked by tension, struggle, stress and challenge. May this festive occasion inspire peace, hope, reconciliation, forgiveness and openness in each one of us, within our families, within our Bermudian society, within our world. There is an incredible load of positive energy in what happened in Bethlehem. Let’s allow ourselves to be charged with it! Please forward my best wishes and fervent prayers to your loved ones. God’s blessing and grace be upon you daily in 2017!"

December 24. A number of popular beers on the island, including Beck’s, are in short supply, according to some retailers who have run out of stock. Bermuda Import and Export Company Ltd, the distributor of Beck’s on the island, was yesterday tight-lipped about the reported shortages. On Thursday, Graham Fowle, managing director, was twice contacted by The Royal Gazette but declined to discuss the issue before putting the phone down. He again refused to discuss the reported shortages when approached at his office on Dundonald Street yesterday. Some retailers have said that Beck’s beer, together with a number of other brands normally distributed by wholesaler Bermuda Import and Export Company, have been in short supply and they do not expect the situation to change until next month. The manager of one liquor store said: “We’ve got one case of cans left. Normally we would have a few crates and bottles. Something has happened. You’ll have to hunt around to find any Beck’s.” Pamela Douglas, manager of Buds Wines and Spirits, in Somerset, said her store ran out of Beck’s about 2½ weeks ago. “It is a very popular beer and we have none at all at the moment. We would normally have plenty,” she said, adding that customers were switching to other brands until Beck’s was available again. However, Flanagan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant on Front Street, said it still had supplies.

December 23. More than half a billion dollars of insurance-linked securities and cat bonds have been admitted for listing on the Bermuda Stock Exchange this week. Leo Re Ltd has issued $200 million of Class A participating notes, with a due date of March 2021. The nature of Leo Re and its securities is not known, however the listing sponsor is Clarien BSX Services Ltd. On Tuesday, Liberty Mutual Insurance announced the creation of its new Limestone Capital Markets platform. The following day the newly formed Bermudian-domiciled segregated account company Limestone Re Ltd listed $72 million of Class A participating voting notes, and a further $13 million of Class A participating non-voting notes, on the local exchange. Both sets of notes are due in August 2021. Also on Wednesday, Hannover Re’s Kaith Re Ltd, acting in respect of its segregated account LI Re, had a $9.99 million cat bond admitted to the exchange. The Series 2016-2 bond is due on April 2018. Meanwhile, the week started with a 255 million euros ($265 million) ILS listing by Horse Capital I DAC for Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali. The principal at-risk variable rate notes are due in June 2020. There are three equal tranches of notes, representing lower to higher risk levels. Willis Capital Markets & Advisory, the investment banking business of Willis Towers Watson, acted as sole structuring agent and joint bookrunner for securities, which is designed to allow Generali to better manage the volatility of its loss ratio and solvency ratio on one of its core lines of business. Commenting on the innovative ILS, Bill Dubinsky, head of ILS at Willis Capital Markets and Advisory, said: “From the onset, we believed that capital markets investors were well placed to support this type of risk. By structuring the transaction to meet the requirements of investors for transparency as well as the robustness of payment mechanics, we achieved an efficient and effective hedge for Generali supported by a broad panel of investors. “Through this transaction, Generali opens the door to substantial opportunities with innovative ILS risks for both investors and potential sponsors going forward.” Tony Melia, CEO of Willis Re International, said the transaction “demonstrates Generali’s ability to optimize its usage of reinsurance and other risk mitigation techniques to support the achievement of key financial objectives. With the implementation of Solvency II we are seeing increasing interest from leading insurance groups to work with Willis Towers Watson to structure innovative covers that meet their specific needs.” Meanwhile, Rafal Walkiewicz, CEO of Willis Capital Markets and Advisory, said: “In recent years we have faced unprecedented growth in natural catastrophe cat bonds issuance but innovation outside of nat-cat risk has been slow. Willis Capital Markets and Advisory prides itself on structuring innovative solutions to offer capital market investors the opportunity to buy directly into a full spectrum of insurance risk. Working side by side with our Willis Re colleagues we deliver new products that help our clients benefit from capital markets disruption of the traditional reinsurance market.”

December 23. Opposition leader David Burt said last night his party had “not advocated for people to impede access to Parliament” on February 3, when the controversial airport deal is again up for debate. Mr Burt was asked by The Royal Gazette if the Progressive Labour Party was planning or involved in organising a fresh protest to prevent parliamentarians from discussing two pieces of legislation key to the airport redevelopment plan. We also asked if he advocated protesters barring MPs from entering Parliament, as they did on December 2, during a demonstration he encouraged supporters to participate in. Mr Burt said the conditions that led to the December 2 protest would still exist on February 3, unless the Government released “crucial contract details” about the deal with the Canadian Commercial Corporation and contractor Aecon. Specifically, he said the “lease, master assignment and consent agreement, and the domestic contract” should be released to give the public and MPs enough understanding to be able to accept or reject the deal. I cannot predict how the Government will act before that time [February 3], but it is clearly their responsibility to provide the country with the facts needed to support this deal. The PLP has made no plans to call for the presence of concerned citizens on February 3, 2017, yet it should always be within the public’s right to vocalize their positions. Additionally, we have not advocated for people to impede access to Parliament on that date.” The PLP leader also discussed the events of December 2, reiterating an allegation by his party that Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and “some” Cabinet ministers “knew in advance of the deployment of police support units” to the scene. Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, told this newspaper on December 6 that no one outside of the Bermuda Police Service was informed of the plan to send officers in riot helmets to the scene. On December 14, he said the officers deployed to deal with the demonstration outside Parliament were not a police support unit (PSU) and did not have shields. The officers were carrying pepper spray, which they used on the crowd. Mr Dunkley, when asked what he knew in advance of the police’s plan for dealing with protesters, told a press conference on December 8: “I was not informed of police operations.” Mr Burt said last night: “Information has come to us, as is often the case in Bermuda’s small community, that indicates that the Premier and some ministers knew in advance of the deployment of police support units (PSUs).” This newspaper asked the Opposition leader for evidence to support his claim. He provided none, but said the information which had come to the PLP was “one of the primary reasons behind our insistence for a full and independent public inquiry” into the events of December 2. He said the Speaker of the House of Assembly had called for the same and noted that this newspaper had made a Pati request to try to determine whether anyone outside of the BPS knew of the plan. Mr Burt added: “The PLP’s position is that there must be full disclosure of the sequence of events leading up to the deployment of PSUs, including who had prior knowledge and when it was obtained. It is vital that public confidence in the police and the Government is restored and that can only be obtained via a full, independent public inquiry. This inquiry must include the complete disclosure of phone records and e-mails sent and received between the Police, Government House and Government during those critical times.” Referring to the Premier’s December 8 press conference, Mr Burt said Mr Dunkley was “twice asked the question as to whether he knew about the PSUs or pepper spray” and “viewers should note that the Premier’s broadcast comments did not include a denial of advance knowledge of the tactical option that included pepper spray use”. A recording of the press conference is on this newspaper’s website and includes Mr Dunkley’s comment that he was “not informed of police operations”. The BPS’s policy on pepper spray says it can be deployed by any officer trained in its use and officers must use their judgment to decide when it is necessary. We asked Mr Dunkley for comment, via his spokeswoman, but did not hear back by press time.

December 23. New Governor John Rankin yesterday backed same-sex civil unions in Bermuda. “Civil unions have been recognized in the UK and in many other jurisdictions around the world,” he said. “I hope that any differing views on this issue in Bermuda can be resolved so any discrimination in this area can be ended.” Mr Rankin — in his first major interview since taking up the job two weeks ago — was speaking at his home for the next three or four years, Government House. Mr Rankin. who was British Ambassador to the Himalayan nation of Nepal before taking up the Governor’s post in Bermuda, added: “My first impressions are certainly that I’ve arrived in interesting times, but my impressions are, firstly, how incredibly friendly people are. They have been very welcoming. Secondly, I have been impressed by the energy of people here. I have met people from all backgrounds here who strike me as very skilled in what they do.” Mr Rankin, who arrived on the island only a few days after a protest against the proposed public/private redevelopment of the airport turned ugly, with police using pepper spray against a crowd that blocked the entrance to the House of Assembly, said that he hoped that the issue would be resolved. “I hope that calm will prevail and a constructive way is found to deal with issues on which there are currently disagreements,” he added. “People have the right to peaceful protest, but it’s also important that Parliament can go about its business. I also support the police in upholding the law.” Scottish-born Mr Rankin, 59, who graduated with a first-class honours degree in Scots law from Glasgow University, one of the oldest seats of learning in the UK, later completed a master’s degree in international law at McGill University in Montreal. He returned to Scotland and practised as a solicitor before becoming a lecturer in international law and public law at the University of Aberdeen. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1998, originally as a specialist in international law before moving into a diplomatic role. Mr Rankin has worked at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, the British Embassy in Dublin, where he worked on aspects of the Northern Ireland peace process, and was Consul-General in Boston, a position once held by his predecessor George Fergusson. Among other posts, he was also British High Commissioner to the Maldives and director of the Americas in the FCO, which includes the Caribbean region. “I was posted to Geneva at the UK mission to the UN,” he said. “I was engaged in legal work, but got increasingly engaged in policy work and wanted more opportunities to do that general diplomacy.” He added: “In terms of Bermuda, the work in Boston was particularly helpful. There are close ties between Boston and Bermuda.” Mr Rankin said: “This is a job I very much wanted to do. I wanted to come here because I thought it was a new challenge and I thought Bermuda was an exciting place to come to. I look forward to working with the Government, legislature, the business community and civil society during my tenure of office here. I take my responsibility very seriously — the responsibility to be the representative of the Queen here and responsibilities under the constitution to be responsible for the safety and security of Bermuda. I hope, in addition to that, I will be a listening Governor. I want to meet people from across the community. In my first two weeks here, I’ve been pleased to meet young people, members of the Government and Opposition and church leaders. I would like to continue that, be a Governor who is engaged and is involved in the local community.” The father of three grown-up children added that his personal areas of interest included child protection — and praised the courage of Bermuda football coach Andrew Bascome and his brother David in revealing they had been abused as youngsters. Mr Rankin said: “Young people represent the future of Bermuda. One area I attach particular importance to is a safe environment. I welcome the work being done by the parliamentary committee in this area and I look forward to seeing their report. I also recognise the bravery of those who have come forward recently to speak about the abuse they have experienced as children. I hope effective action can be taken to prevent such actions in the future. It’s important the relevant agencies work together in cutting risks. Hospitals, schools, social workers, the police, working together in a collegiate fashion to ensure children at risk are identified and protected. Tough checks on volunteers in youth work should be introduced as well as adequate protection against those who are sex offenders and may be at risk of offending again in the future”. Mr Rankin said he was also interested in supporting the business community, describing it as very important for Bermuda’s future prosperity. He added that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union — dubbed Brexit — presented opportunities as well as problems. “Britain will be more active, more outward- focused and more energetic than ever before on the world stage. The same is true for Bermuda — challenges, but also opportunities. I am confident that Bermuda, with its skills, its excellent regulatory framework and its determination to continue to meet the highest possible international business standards, will continue to succeed. Bermuda will continue to adapt, continue to diversify the economy and continue to look for new opportunities as they arise. It’s also my job as Governor to ensure that colleagues in London and others internationally are fully aware of Bermuda’s position in these areas.”

December 23. RG Editorial. " It would be equally naive and disingenuous to proclaim that this is a time for healing in Bermuda. With Christmas falling so soon after the “Pepper Spray Protests”, and our police and politicians in government walking on eggshells, it would take some wishful thinking to believe that we would let bygones be bygones and wish peace to all mankind in the spirit of the season. Nothing of the sort can happen before February 3, 2017, when the One Bermuda Alliance government resumes plans to see the airport legislation through — and one or two other important pieces of legislation. Apart from the Bermuda Airport Authority Act 2016 and the Airport Redevelopment Concession Act 2016, the delivery of which will further test the powers of persuasion of finance minister Bob Richards, there are 15 other first and second readings of Acts and amendments that our elected leaders have to tackle when belatedly they return to the Hill. That is how far behind they are in their work. Now that we have had so many opinions and definitions of what is “peaceful protest”, we should finally be able to get it right so that the inevitable protesters on that Friday can have their say, but not at the expense of the country’s business being moved forward. It would be wrong to suggest that pepper spray, “riot gear”, injured police officers and “there are people with ammunition; they may come here; they will shoot” should be consigned to the past. “No, no, no,” as the dearly departed editor of this parish would say. They should be a part of our present until a full and thorough investigation is completed. There is no hiding from that. But in the fullness of time and, it must be added, not to the detriment of Members of Parliament doing the jobs for which they are paid handsomely — from $56,000 annually for backbenchers in the House to a smidgin south of $157,000 for full-time ministers. Good work when you can get it; or, in this case, when you can force your way through the gates to be put officially on the clock. So the honest conversation for this holiday season starts by accepting the upcoming four-day break for what it is:

So while we must wait to make the country whole again, maybe we can use this time to recover some of the lost virtues of family, discipline and responsibility. It is with that in mind that we should look to bring in 2017 fully loaded with those who got us there. In ritual fashion, the Bermuda Police Service, the Road Safety Council and Cada trotted out their annual joint message yesterday about the perils of overindulgence during the holiday season. These messages often go unheeded, and it is no secret that our roads are a right mess — literally and figuratively. Driving habits are deplorable and not enough is being done to dissuade such practices as madcap speeding in and out of Hamilton, driving with one hand on the wheel and the other on the phone, texting and driving, looking down between your legs when what is more pertinent is ahead through the windscreen or in the rear-view mirror. And the latest fad, texting while hanging off the back of a bike as pillion passenger, carelessly oblivious to the rider making reckless and dangerous decisions on your behalf — and that of your unsuspecting family. Eleven road deaths is nothing to be proud of for a supposedly civilized society. In fact, it is beyond careless. Too many motorists with a Superman complex and a willful disregard for history — 128 road deaths in 11 years, knock on wood, is a staggering number for a place this size, given the composition of our road network. The frequency of blind corners alone invites a thought process to give pause to any sensible motorist; accent on “sensible”. Rather, the rising fatality count, not to mention the revolving door that is the hospital’s intensive care unit and the minute-by-minute close calls for which there are no statistics, speaks to a collective intelligence deficit that stops blood flowing to the brain long before the embalmer is called into action, as inevitably he must be. If indeed we are to heal, then please let this be the starting point. Let’s keep our citizens safe by respecting the roads and their propensity for causing grave harm when skin and bones intrude on their premises. The rest will have to wait until after February 3, 2017, when Parliament Street again takes on amphitheatre status. Merry Christmas.

December 23. Ciguatera, an elusive food poisoning carried by fish, has been confirmed in 16 cases from November 22 to December 20, according to the Ministry of Health and Seniors. A further three people fell ill with ciguatera in January 2016 by eating portions of one fish, a ministry spokeswoman added, while the recent spate was traced back to seven separate fish exposures. Ciguatera is rare in Bermuda, and there have been no other cases reported in the last five years, although the condition occurs in tropical fisheries worldwide. The nerve toxin, which is not affected by cooking and cannot be readily detected, causes symptoms ranging from prickling sensations to muscle pains. A local woman who fell ill last month along with several family members yesterday reported her symptoms abating — but said she was still subject to itches along with “hot and cold burning hands”. Children and the elderly are often the most sensitive. The poisons, which do not affect fish, come from reef plankton, and are concentrated as predatory fish feed on smaller species. The local cases have been confined to amber jacks bigger than 20lb, and large yellow jacks. Since jacks are migratory, research is required to determine if the ciguatera is local, or carried by fish from elsewhere. “Common symptoms experienced in this outbreak include numbness, itching, burning and tingling in fingers, toes and around the mouth, joint and muscle pain, weakness and the reversal of hot and cold sensations,” the spokeswoman said — the last symptoms being highly indicative of ciguatera. Additional symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. Symptoms may begin as little as one hour after consuming toxic fish and can persist for an extended period of time. Symptoms may recur with greater severity if additional toxic fish is eaten. Most affected persons recover completely.” Anyone suspecting ciguatera is advised see a doctor, and keep a frozen sample of the suspect fish. “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Health are collaborating to develop a plan for broader testing of the local fish species that form the mainstay of our commercial and recreational fisheries,” the spokeswoman added. Previous studies have found only one ciguatera-carrying plankton species in Bermuda, and the variety carries little to no toxin. More extensive field sampling is planned for the summer of 2017.

December 22. Inflation edged up to 2.1 per cent in October, 0.1 of a percentage point higher than the month before. For the second consecutive month, the education, recreation, entertainment and reading sector was the largest contributor to the year-over-year change. The sector increased 4.2 per cent, compared to 4.3 per cent the previous month. The health and personal care sector and the rent sector also impacted the year-over-year increase, rising 3.3 and 1.3 per cent, respectively. Consumers paid 2.1 per cent more in October 2016 than they did a year ago for the basket of goods and services included in the Consumer Price Index. Between September and October, the average cost of goods and services in the CPI was unchanged. The all-items index remained at 102.7 in October. This means that the basket of goods and services that cost $100 in April 2015 now costs $102.70. The food sector saw a 0.1 per cent increase for a third consecutive month. Among items that cost more in October were roasting chickens, up 7.5 per cent, eggs, which were up 4.5 per cent, and salad dressing, up 3.5 per cent. Small increases in the cost of men’s and children’s clothing, contributed to a 0.3 per cent increase in the clothing and footwear sector in October. There was no monthly change in the rent sector or in tobacco and liquor sales. A 2.6 per cent increase in the average cost of gasoline was offset by a 3.3 per cent decrease in the average cost of air fares, which mean there was no change to the transport and foreign travel sector during October. During October, the fuel adjustment rate decreased by 2.9 per cent, which was a factor in the fuel and power sector falling 0.9 per cent. For comparison, the inflation rate during October in Britain was 2 per cent, in the US it was 1.7 per cent, and in Canada it was 1.5 per cent. The data was released by the Department of Statistics.

December 22. BBC London. Planned strikes by British Airways cabin crew on Christmas Day and Boxing Day have been suspended, the British UK Unite union has said. Employees were due to walk out in a row over pay and conditions. The union said 4,500 workers employed on so-called "Mixed Fleet" contracts - who have joined since 2010 - and whose flight schedules include Bermuda, were on lower pay than other staff. Talks at conciliation service Acas have led to a revised offer which will be put to a ballot of union members. The airline said it welcomed the move. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "We now have a new offer from the company which we will put to our members. The two day strike over Christmas and Boxing Day is now suspended. It will be for our members now to decide if British Airways has done enough to meet their concerns." Also in the UK, with strikes called this week involving railways, the post office, airlines and baggage handlers, unions have been accused of coordinating industrial action. Len McCluskey of the Unite union denies this. But there's little doubt that the threat of disruption during the key Christmas getaway period brought long running disputes involving British Airways and Swissport to a head. On Tuesday Swissport upped its pay offer rather than face strikes on Friday and Saturday this week. But BA always insisted it would run a full service despite the strikes. And it's revised offer was not deemed good enough for Unite's reps to recommend it to members. Four days of strike action have now been averted. But with inflation expected to pick up next year, expect many more pay disputes in 2017. Mr McCluskey told the BBC that "Innocent members of the public always suffer when there's a dispute. Any dispute is only brought about because there is a failure between management and the industrial relations within that company." The union had said earnings for Mixed Fleet staff were advertised between £21,000 and £25,000 but, in reality, started at just over £12,000 plus £3 an hour flying pay. Unite had earlier said that half of Mixed Fleet staff had taken second jobs to make ends meet. Some had even said they had to sleep in cars between flights, because they could not afford the petrol to get home.

December 22. A Bermuda-based reinsurance and wealth-management firm has been linked to a $1 billion fraud case in the US. The Beechwood group, which includes Beechwood Bermuda International and Caymanian-based Beechwood Re, has been impacted after top executives at New York-based hedge fund Platinum Partners were arrested and charged with running a fraud that US federal prosecutors have described as “like a Ponzi scheme” as its largest investments slumped. Now Beechwood is in talks to sell all or most of itself off after a backlash from some of its clients. Beechwood, with offices in Bermuda, the Caymans and New York, has been working to sever its links with Platinum after the one time $1.35 billion hedge fund manager became the focus of probes by US federal authorities and put its funds in liquidation in July. Beechwood, which had been a fast-growing reinsurer, was founded in 2013 with some indirect funding from Platinum and some crossover in personnel, is understood to be in talks with large insurance and private-equity firms, Reuters reported. A spokesman for Beechwood said: “Beechwood has a successful business model that is attractive to investors. Beechwood’s unfortunate historical relationships with individuals from Platinum are causing substantial reputation issues for the firm separate from its performance. Beechwood’s confidential discussions with strategic investors continue to move forward.” One of Beechwood’s major clients, Indiana insurers CHO Financial Group, pulled business from the firm after the scale of problems at Platinum became clear and sued three current and former Beechwood executives seeking damages. Another client, Senior Health Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, is liquidating its Platinum-related holdings, invested for them by Beechwood. Beechwood Bermuda opened up offices in Hamilton two years ago. The company bought Bermuda-based insurance and investment firm Old Mutual in January this year. Old Mutual, which had more than $1 billion in assets, closed for new business in 2009. The indictment in a New York court against Platinum chief Mark Nordlicht and six other current or former executives connected to the firm alleges that the firm took part in a pair of schemes aimed at defrauding investors. It is alleged that Mr Nordlicht and four other defendants since 2012 defrauded investors by overvaluing illiquid assets held by its Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage funds, mostly troubled energy-related investments. This caused “a severe liquidity crisis” at Platinum, which tried to fix the problem through high-interest loans between its funds before selectively paying some investors ahead of others. Robert Capers, US Attorney in Brooklyn, New York, said: “The charges highlight the brazenness and the breadth of the defendants’ lies and deceit.” Mr Capers said that the case involved one of the largest alleged investment frauds ever and that Platinum was exposed as having “no more value than a tarnished piece of cheap metal”. Prosecutors claim that Mr Nordlicht, David Levy, Platinum’s co-chief investment officer and Jeffrey Shulse, former CEO of Texas energy firm Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, majority owned by Platinum, plotted to defraud bondholders of the energy firm, now closed, out of $50 million. The indictment also alleges that Platinum executives used the Beechwood group of reinsurance companies, partially controlled by Platinum’s principals, to rig a bond vote and pay the hedge fund managers ahead of creditors of Black Elk. Platinum and Beechwood associate Murray Huberfeld was arrested on criminal corruption charges in June and Platinum’s New York headquarters were raided by Federal agents two weeks later in a separate fraud investigation, which ended in Mr Nordlicht and other Platinum executives being indicted. It is alleged that Mr Huberfeld orchestrated a bribe to the head of the New York City prison guards’ union, Norman Seabrook, to secure a $20 million investment in Platinum. Mr Huberfeld, who provided cash to help launch Platinum in 2003, with the firm later taking over separate hedge funds he managed, and Mr Seabrook deny the allegations. The US Securities and Exchange Commission said it was seeking a court-appointed receiver for funds managed by Platinum Credit Management, the firm’s second-largest vehicle after Value Arbitrage. Mr Nordlicht pleaded not guilty to charges including securities fraud and was granted bail on a $5 million bond, secured by $500,000 in cash. Mr Levy and Uri Landesman, former president of the firm’s signature fund, Joseph SanFilippo, Value Arbitrage’s former chief financial officer, Joseph Mann, a former Platinum marketing executive and Daniel Small, a Platinum managing director, also pleaded not guilty.

December 22. Former deputy Premier Derrick Burgess has reiterated to the Commission of Inquiry that he did not know that “friends and family” of his and Ewart Brown had acquired interests in a company awarded a $70 million government contract. Mr Burgess has submitted a further sworn witness statement to the independent tribunal after the last public hearing was told by commission lawyer Narinder Hargun that fresh evidence showed answers he previously gave under oath could not have been honest. The evidence referred to was documents from HSBC relating to the company LLC, formerly called Landmark Lisgar, which built the Dame Lois Browne-Evans police and court building. The bank records showed that lawyer Julian Hall was present, on behalf of public works minister Mr Burgess, at a meeting with HSBC on November 21, 2008 when arrangements were finalized for Winters Burgess and Vincent Hollinsid to acquire an interest in LLC. Mr Burgess has described Winters Burgess as a close friend and relative, while Mr Hollinsid is the half-brother of former Premier Dr Brown. Mr Hargun told the commission on December 1 that Mr Hall’s presence at the meeting suggested that Derrick Burgess did know about Winters Burgess and Vincent Hollinsid acquiring interests in the company and should have told Cabinet. “Mr Burgess never advised the Cabinet of this and these men were not complete strangers; they were friends and family of the minister and the Premier,” said the lawyer. “In these circumstances, we say that the evidence that Mr Burgess gave when he was here last time has to be looked at very carefully in light of these documents. The evidence he gave on October 6 is not consistent with these documents.” Landmark Lisgar was awarded the Dame Lois Browne-Evans contract when Dennis Lister was Public Works Minister at the end of 2007. A second contract was negotiated a year later, with LLC, when Derrick Burgess had taken over the portfolio. In his latest statement, Mr Burgess said it was “highly unlikely” that he knew about the November 21, 2008 meeting. “I would have left all this to the PS [permanent secretary] Bob Horton, in whom I had complete trust,” he said. He said neither he nor Mr Horton attended the meeting and Mr Hall was likely there to “give some comfort to the bank as to the arrangements for the new contract before they were about to extend further financial facilities to LLC”. Mr Burgess said: “I reiterate this was none of my business; I was only interested in the continued viability of the company to carry out its obligations under the terms of the contract.” In reference to a separate document, recommending that LLC be awarded a later contract to fit-out Veritas Place on Court Street for police high command, Mr Burgess noted that Winters Burgess was named as a principal in the company. “I am not entirely sure what ‘principal’ actually means,” he states. “But I can say that from 2009 whenever I visited the site at the new court building he was always there in a managerial role.” Mr Burgess said he “remained wholly unaware” of Mr Hollinsid’s “apparent arrangements” with business partners Edmund Lee Matvey and Arthur Bryan McLeod, who set up Landmark Lisgar. The PLP MP said he was still unaware of those arrangements — in respect of Mr Hollinsid and Winters Burgess — until he was questioned at a commission hearing in October. He said there came a point when he discovered that Mr Hollinsid had an interest, though he could not say when that was. The commission — tasked by Michael Dunkley, the Premier, with investigating the misuse of public funds from 2009 to 2012 — has until the end of the year to deliver its findings.

December 22. Popularity with voters trumped party politics in Neville Tyrrell’s Warwick South Central triumph, according to seasoned political observer Charles Jeffers. The new Progressive Labour Party MP reaped 79 per cent of the by-election votes on Tuesday night, well over the 65 per cent and 67 per cent taken by Marc Bean in 2012 and 2010, and Ewart Brown’s 68 per cent and 65 per cent in 2007 and 2003. “If Mr Tyrrell had run for any other party, he would still probably have won,” Mr Jeffers said — calling it “folly” to read the victory as an indicator for the General Election, or a sign that voters were “fed up by what the governing party is doing. It sounds nice to those that want to believe, but give the candidate credit. Without downplaying the others, he was superior. He is a first-class guy who has done, as Dale Butler says, his apprenticeship. As far as I’m concerned, his day has come.” The 52 per cent voter turnout trailed behind the 64 per cent who voted in Devonshire North Central this February, when Diallo Rabain won — or the 59 per cent for Sandys South in November 2014, when Jamahl Simmons was returned to Parliament. But Mr Jeffers said this week’s numbers were not necessarily indicative of full Opposition support, adding that Bermuda did not have “the same party loyalties that there used to be. How many of Mr Tyrrell’s voters were staunchly PLP, and how many were One Bermuda Alliance supporters or sympathetic to the OBA who still thought Mr Tyrrell was the best candidate?” Mr Jeffers asked, noting the candidate’s wealth of political and business experience. Robyn Swan, the One Bermuda Alliance contender, garnered 17 per cent of the vote — down from Ras Mykkal’s 35 per cent in 2012 for the fledgling OBA, and up slightly from the 15 per cent taken by Sylvan Richards in 2010 for the Bermuda Democratic Alliance. “From my own experience as a young man getting involved in politics, I don’t recommend it,” Mr Jeffers said. “Get involved, but not in frontline politics.” A more experienced candidate, better known in the constituency, might have closed the gap — but Mr Jeffers said the 36-year-old Ms Swan had been “thrown into the lion’s den”. Regardless of Constituency 26’s status as an Opposition stronghold, this week’s victory was Warwick South Central’s most decisive PLP win in recent history — and Diallo Rabain’s 110-vote lead in Devonshire North Central substantially outdid the narrow nine-vote lead taken there by former PLP MP Glenn Blakeney in 2012, suggesting a relative marginal had been drawn farther into the PLP fold. Asked if the PLP might angle towards taking back narrow OBA wins in constituencies such as St George’s North and Warwick North Central, Mr Jeffers said: “I would think they would be out there working hard.” He noted that Mr Tyrrell had “done the work canvassing” aside from being well known in his home constituency — but still maintained that “nobody should read too much into this”. In a pre-election interview, The Royal Gazette questioned Mr Tyrrell on whether a divide existed between the old guard and younger candidates in the PLP — and if, at age 67, he fell into the former. While Mr Tyrrell said it might appear so from the outside, he had not seen age as a factor in his case, adding: “I believe the leader and new executive are going to take us in new directions.” Asked for his verdict, Mr Jeffers said: “He will be a voice of reason. Whether or not he will be listened to is another matter. But as far as I’m concerned, he has leadership quality.”

December 22. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley has launched a scathing condemnation of the way the Ministry of Education conducted its case against a CedarBridge teacher who claimed she had been unfairly treated. Mr Justice Kawaley said “the conduct of the defendant’s case at trial crossed far over the reasonableness line” as he awarded Karen Clemons 90 per cent of the costs she incurred taking the case to court. He added that it was “stunningly unreasonable” for the ministry’s legal team, which was represented by Norman MacDonald, to question Ms Clemons on her sexual orientation “when this had no conceivable relevance to the facts in issue”. Previously, in the first case of its kind in the Bermuda Supreme Court, Mr Justice Kawaley had ruled that the ministry had breached its duty of care to Ms Clemons that resulted in her suffering high blood pressure. In the latest ruling relating to costs, the Chief Justice said: “I find that the plaintiff should be awarded her costs from the commencement of the trial until the present ruling on an indemnity basis to reflect the strong disapproval of the court. The plaintiff is awarded 90 per cent of her costs of the action to date, which encompasses the trial on liability which she has won overall to be taxed, if not agreed, and paid forthwith. The 10 per cent deduction is to take into account the fact that the defendant succeeded in defeating the largely overlapping intentional infliction of harm claim and had success in rebuffing a variety of allegations advanced by the plaintiff including her psychological injury claim. The costs from the commencement of the trial until the date of the present ruling are awarded to the plaintiff on an indemnity basis because of the improper way in which the defendant conducted significant aspects of his unsuccessful defence.” Ms Clemons welcomed the ruling on costs. She told The Royal Gazette: “I understand that it is rare for such a determination at this stage of the proceedings. I was worried that I would be unable to maintain the proper demeanor during the course of the trial, given the circumstances. I didn’t dream that I would be subjected to random attacks on my character and personality that caused me to feel as though I was being victimized all over again. You can call me anything you wish, you can even call me late for Christmas dinner, but I take issue with being called a bad teacher. When all else fails, it should not be an acceptable practice for a party to ‘blame the victim’ under any circumstances.” Mr Justice Kawaley also stated in his ruling that it was unreasonable for the ministry to advance a case that Ms Clemons was a “malingerer and had invented her psychological problems” particularly because “the defendant himself had served and filed an expert report which agreed that the plaintiff probably had psychological problems and merely disagreed on the label to attach to the relevant injury. It was unreasonable to advance a positive case that the plaintiff was an incompetent teacher when this did not form part of the defendant’s pleaded case and the defendant’s own evidence made it clear that the plaintiff’s main clashes with the CedarBridge administration related to alleged non-compliance with administrative policies rather than pedagogical shortcomings.” The Chief Justice also chastised the ministry’s legal team for failing to recognise that Ms Clemons was at least a potentially vulnerable witness and cross-examine her accordingly. Ms Clemons looks set to be awarded damages after winning her ground-breaking legal battle against the ministry for the way she was treated while working at CedarBridge, although the figure has not been set. After the initial trial Mr Justice Kawaley dismissed Ms Clemons claim for damages for “intentional infliction of harm” by the ministry as well as her submission that she developed post-traumatic stress disorder from her treatment. But her claim for negligence succeeded because she proved she suffered “an exacerbation of an existing hypertension condition” because the ministry breached its duty to exercise reasonable care “to provide a safe system of work”. Ms Clemons embarked on her personal injury action in 2009, claiming the ministry was responsible for a hostile working environment while she taught at CedarBridge Academy between 2000 and 2006.

December 22. Butterfield Bank gained some massive new shareholders — including some of the biggest names on Wall Street — as a result of its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September. Regulatory filings show an impressive breadth of institutional support for the offering, with 12 asset managers having holdings of more than $10 million in Butterfield, as of the end of September — and the value of those shares has risen more than 31 per cent since then. Butterfield’s IPO proved to be well timed. Expectations of higher interest rates, raised further by Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, have resulted in the market turning bullish on the banking sector as a whole. A basket of mainly bank stocks, known as the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF, which trades as XLF, rose 21 per cent from the close of trading on September 15, the day before Butterfield’s NYSE debut, through yesterday. Butterfield’s shares have outperformed even this remarkable rally. Yesterday, the bank’s New York-listed shares closed on $32.76, more than 38 per cent above the IPO price of $23.50. Most of that increase has come since the end of September, when Butterfield’s share price closed at $24.76. Holders of the bank’s Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed shares, which closed on $31 yesterday, have enjoyed the ride too. US regulatory filings show that Carlyle Group, which originally invested about $150 million in Butterfield as part of a recapitalisation of the bank in 2010, remains the largest shareholder with 7.63 million shares, valued at $189 million as of the end of September. The private-equity firm planned to offload 17.5 per cent of its shareholding during the IPO. However, the second-largest shareholder was a newcomer — Wellington Management Group LLP, whose holding of 5.27 million shares was worth $130.5 million. Though this comprises a major shareholding in the bank it’s a small investment for Wellington, an 88-year-old Philadelphia-based global asset manager with nearly $1 trillion under management. Another new shareholder is Rovida Advisors Inc, now the bank’s third-largest owner with two million shares that were worth $49.6 million. The investment is Rovida’s second largest holding and represents just shy of a quarter of the firm’s total $201 million portfolio. The Wellcome Trust — another firm to invest in the 2010 recapitalisation — continued to hold the fourth largest stake of 1.8 million shares worth nearly $46 million. But then come a string of new investors, the biggest being Alyeska Investment Group, led by Anand Parekh, which bought a $39.6 million position in the stock, comprising 0.4 per cent of its portfolio. FMR LLC, the US investment arm of fund management giant Fidelity Investments, loaded up with 1.29 million Butterfield shares that were worth $32 million at the end of September. Asset managers Southpoint Capital Advisors ($16.3 million), Millennium Management ($15.3 million), Hotchkis & Wiley Capital management ($14.5 million), NWQ Investment Management ($13.5 million), Philadelphia Financial Management ($12.2 million) and Citadel Advisors ($11.6 million) all had stakes with eight-figure valuations at the end of the third quarter. Some better known names also partook in the offering, including Goldman Sachs ($6.1 million), Bank of New York Mellon ($1.1 million), Morgan Stanley ($1.1 million) and Bank of America ($348,000).

December 22. NEW YORK (Bloomberg) — Google saved $3.6 billion in worldwide taxes in 2015 by moving 14.9 billion euros ($15.5 billion) to a Bermuda shell company, new regulatory filings in the Netherlands reveal. The amount the company shifted through its Dutch subsidiary, Google Netherlands Holdings, and then on to a Bermuda mailbox was 40 per cent greater than in 2014, according to filings the company made with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce on December 12 and which were made available online on Tuesday. News of the filings was first reported by the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad. Alphabet moves the bulk of its non-US profits through this Dutch subsidiary, which has no employees. The company has used the Netherlands company since 2004 as part of a tax structure dubbed a “Double Irish” and a “Dutch sandwich.” By moving most of its international profits to Bermuda, the company was able to reduce its effective tax rate outside the US to 6.4 per cent in 2015, according to Alphabet’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Google complies with the tax laws in every country where we operate,” a Google spokesman said in a statement. In February, Google also said such calculations of an effective tax rate do not reflect the methods actually used to determine its international taxes in any jurisdiction. Some 12 billion euros of the money funneled through the Dutch company in 2015 came from Google Ireland Limited, which collects most of Google’s international advertising revenues. The rest came from a Google subsidiary in Singapore that serves a similar role. The Dutch company then transfers this money on to Google Ireland Holdings Unlimited, which has the right to license Google’s intellectual property outside the US. That company is based in Bermuda, which has no corporate income tax. The use of the two Irish entities is what gives the structure its “Double Irish” moniker. The total amount of profit Google had sheltered from US taxation, most of which passes through its Dutch subsidiary en route to Bermuda, grew to $58.3 billion in 2015, according to Alphabet’s SEC filings. The Irish government closed the tax loophole that permitted “Double Irish” tax arrangements in 2015. Companies already using the structure, however, are allowed to continue employing it until the end of 2020. Google is under pressure from regulators and tax authorities around the world for not paying enough tax. On Tuesday, Indonesia set a December 31 deadline for Google to resolve a tax dispute there, including a possible $223 million fine. The company’s offices in Spain and France have also been raided by tax investigators in the past year. US President-elect Donald Trump has discussed possible changes to US tax laws in order to allow American companies to repatriate foreign profits at a one-time tax rate of 10 per cent. That would eliminate some of the incentive US companies currently have to hold foreign profits outside the US. Tech firms have some of the largest such stockpiles, with Apple holding $181 billion outside the US and Microsoft holding $94.4 billion, according to their 2015 annual SEC filings.

December 22. A Bermudian firm has won a bid to run two ferries between Dockyard and St George for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Cruiseport Ferry Management, owned by experienced mariner Beau Evans, will operate the two 85-foot catamarans from next July. The boats, built by NCL and thought to be worth between $3 million and $4 million each, will carry up to 250 passengers each and run regularly between the two destinations. The service, to be entirely staffed by Bermudians, will provide a massive boost in transport capacity to St George. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, said the service would “more than double” the service to the island’s former capital. Mr Evans holds Department of Marine & Ports class C pilot’s licence, as well as having a Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping for Seafarers qualification, which includes proficiency in marine safety, security, firefighting and first aid. Mr Fahy said: “Mr Evans has an in-depth knowledge of the Bermuda marine industry, possessing a long history in the field of marine operations and services as well as experience in cruise ship operations. I am also very pleased to announce that the captains, crews and all of the associated support staff for this venture will be Bermudian.” NCL submitted a request for proposal to run their boats in August. Kenny Bascome, Junior Minister of Tourism, a St George’s MP, said: “This increase in business will provide an important boost to the number of visitors to the Olde Towne. It is anticipated that the catamarans will be based in St George’s during the winter months for repairs and maintenance, providing a further boost to the St George’s economy. This is yet another step forward in improving tourism in St George’s — the jewel in the crown of Bermuda’s tourism product.” Bill Hanbury, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said earlier this year that the ferries, which will create up to ten jobs, are expected to run on the island until 2022. Mr Hanbury added that the new service would augment to public ferry system rather than supplant it and the investment was not one Bermuda could have afforded on its own. NCL ships from its Regent Seven Seas and Oceania premium lines will also make a dozen calls to St George next year.

December 22. Flora Duffy has thrown her support behind Bermuda hosting the ITU Continental Cup Triathlon next year. The multiple world champion said having such an event on the island will bode well for the development of young triathletes. “I think hosting a Continental Cup is great for triathlon development in Bermuda,” Duffy said. “I wish there had been a Continental Cup in Bermuda when I was 18 years old. More Bermudian junior and under-23 athletes will be exposed to Continental Cup level racing, which is great. A home event removes any barriers for entry, like having to travel, the cost of travel and taking time off school. Hosting an event should allow more Bermudians to race and get a taste of high-level triathlon.” Aaron Smith, the Bermuda Triathlon Association director, revealed at a press conference at the Bermuda Tourism Authority last week that Bermuda will host the ITU Continental Cup Triathlon in April, 2017. It will be the first time the island has hosted an ITU event since three World Cup competitions were held between 1995 and 1997. “It is a very exciting time for triathlon in Bermuda,” added Duffy, who was voted athlete of the year by TriathlonWorld.com this week. "I hope holding the event in Bermuda inspires others to take part in triathlon at any level and any stage of life. It is not just limited to young up-and-coming athletes. The triathlon community is great in Bermuda and there are many local events on throughout the year, so I would encourage anyone who is on the edge of whether to do a triathlon, to go for it.” Duffy has ruled herself out of the competing, though. “I’ll leave the Continental Cups to the juniors and under-23 racers — they don’t want me in the race,” she said. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, announced during last week’s press conference that Bermuda lost its bid to host the 2020 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final and were instead awarded three ITU World Series events in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Duffy, the reining ITU women’s world champion, is looking forward to competing in the ITU World Series on home turf. “The events in 2019 and 2020 will be during the Olympic qualification period so those two races, in particular, will be crucial to my build-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

December 21. Police and politicians may face another protest on February 3 when the controversial airport redevelopment plan comes up for debate in the House of Assembly. Comments posted on social media yesterday suggest a second demonstration is in the pipeline, with the same aim as the one held on December 2: to prevent Parliament from sitting and MPs debating and approving legislation on the airport. Former Progressive Labour Party senator and union activist LaVerne Furbert wrote on Facebook: “I’m hoping that the debate will not be held, by any means necessary.” Ms Furbert posted her comment as part of a thread discussing the Government’s plan to bring two Bills key to the airport deal to the House when it reconvenes for the first time in the new year. She added: “The outcome of the debate will be that the OBA can go ahead with their plan to give the airport away. That’s why we need to stop the debate. That’s my opinion.” On a different thread, discussing criticism of the airport plan by political commentators Larry Burchall and Craig Mayor, Ms Furbert wrote: “The upcoming debate, if it’s held, it’s not a high school debating contest where one team will be declared the winner. If the Bill goes to Parliament, it will be passed by the OBA, simply because they have the numbers. Most of us understand that, hence the protest on December 2, 2016. Trust me, there are those of us who are willing to put our feet in the street again in February. By any means necessary, the airport development project should be put on hold.” Ms Furbert works for the Bermuda Industrial Union and is a member of the People’s Campaign, a vocal protest group which managed to derail the Government’s plans for immigration reform earlier this year and has been vehemently opposed to the airport deal. The December 2 protest against the airport, which saw police in riot helmets pepper-spraying the crowd as protesters blocked entry to the House, was promoted by the PLP. Opposition leader David Burt urged supporters in an e-mail the day before to “stand strong for Bermuda’s future and join us at the House of Assembly ... at 9am to let the OBA know that they cannot move forward with this secret deal without having an independent review by the Auditor-General”. The PLP’s press secretary did not respond to an e-mail yesterday asking if the party was involved in the planning of a protest for February 3 or whether Mr Burt advocated barring entry to Parliament. It was not possible to reach Ms Furbert by telephone. Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, did not respond to questions about the Bermuda Police Service’s plan for February 3 by press time, nor did Michael Dunkley, the Premier. Jeff Baron, Minister of National Security, said: “The right to lawful assembly and peaceful protest is protected by the Constitution. Where offences are committed, however, the Bermuda Police Service is responsible for enforcing the laws of the land. Planning for any action when the House resumes is among the many operational responsibilities of the Commissioner of Police and his senior command and that process does not involve the Ministry of National Security.”

December 21. Allied World Assurance Company operations will not be changed as a result of Fairfax Financial Holdings proposed $4.9 billion acquisition. Prem Watsa, the chief executive officer of Fairfax Financial, has praised the performance of the insurer and reinsurer since its formation 15 years ago, and the guidance of CEO Scott Carmilani. During a conference call featuring executives from both companies, Mr Watsa said: “AWAC will be run by Scott on a decentralized basis with no cost synergies. I emphasise no cost synergies. “No change in operations other than what Scott sees fit to do. AWAC will continue to be built under Scott’s vision.” There are about 125 staff at Allied World’s offices in Richmond Road, Pembroke. The company was formed in Bermuda in 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the US. It moved its headquarters to Switzerland in 2010, and globally has about 1,040 employees. Fairfax Financial, a Canadian investment and insurance company, has a track record of buying companies and allowing them to continue to operate in the manner that made them prized acquisitions in the first place. This was highlighted by Andy Barnard, president of the Fairfax Insurance Group, during the conference call with analysts. He listed insurers and reinsurers that have previously been acquired by Fairfax, including OdysseyRe, Crum & Forster and Brit Plc, and said: “The point is in Fairfax all of these companies are run by their CEOs. They all enjoy the autonomy that comes with our decentralized operating philosophy. We have a fantastic group of CEOs running all of these companies.” Mr Barnard pointed to strong results achieved by the individual companies as a result of “that system of operating”. Meanwhile, Mr Carmilani noted: “Allied World’s business is highly complementary to the Fairfax franchises, and truly creates a world-class specialty insurance and reinsurance franchise, with leading positions in North America and Bermuda, and having a global territorial reach.” It was announced on Monday that Fairfax Financial is to acquire Allied World in a cash-and-stock deal. The transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholders’ approval, and is expected to conclude in the second quarter of 2017. The move is in line with a trend by smaller insurers to seek merger partners, due to the preference of commercial coverage clients and their brokers to place business with larger insurers and reinsurers. As a combined entity, Fairfax Financial and Allied World will become the seventh largest North American insurer, excluding Berkshire Hathaway. It will have a market capitalisation of $15 billion. We’ll have enhanced size and capabilities in an industry in which scale increasingly confers significant competitive advantage.” S&P Global Ratings yesterday placed all its ratings for Allied World and its operating companies on credit watch with negative implications. One of S&P’s concerns is the potential departure of Allied World key executives following the transaction, as they have not entered into any long-term contracts to remain employed with the company after the deal. This topic was mentioned during the conference call on Monday, when Mr Watsa said: “Because of our decentralized operations, we have had many presidents who’ve retired in the past, but no president has ever left our company for another job in the industry. They retired and that’s happened over the years, we’ve been in business now for 31 years but we’ve never lost a president.” None of our companies have contracts, and we haven’t had anyone leave. One of the reasons is we have 35 people in our head office, and we’ve got 22,000 people in our companies, and we really do believe in a decentralized operation, and that’s been a major plus for our company over the years.” S&P also has concerns about possible implications to Allied World’s enterprise risk management, which it presently states as “strong”, once the company comes under Fairfax’s ownership. The agency views Fairfax’s enterprise risk management as “adequate” and has concerns that Allied World will likely shift its investment strategy to align with Fairfax’s. The ratings agency said its credit watch action will be resolved and updated within the next three months after it has discussed the transaction with the management teams of Fairfax Financial and Allied World. This year has been a busy one for mergers and acquisitions in the insurance sector. In October, Fairfax Financial bought a number of American International Group’s commercial and consumer operations, including those in Argentina, Chile and Turkey. Deals with a Bermuda connection have included the $3 billion sale of Bermudian-based Ironshore to Liberty Mutual Holding Company, a transaction announced earlier this month. Meanwhile, Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd is being taken over by Tokyo-based Sompo in a $6.34 billion deal expected to close by the end of March next year.

December 21. Bermuda took top spot in a competition to find the world’s best digital jurisdiction. The island won the prize from UK magazine World Commerce Review — regarded as the principal awards for professional conduct and excellence. Grant Gibbons, Minister of Economic Development, congratulated the island’s ICT sector who he said were “instrumental” in picking up the distinction. Dr Gibbons added: “Bermuda’s first-class telecommunications infrastructure and ICT sector complement each other in supporting our jurisdiction.” The selection panel took into account product innovation, customer support and best practice criteria, as well as continuing commitment to using the best technology and practice to increase productivity. In addition, forward planning and corporate social responsibility were seen as key areas. Bermuda has won the same award twice before, in 2013 and 2014. A government spokeswoman said Bermuda had been known as “the Wired Island” for more than a decade, with the country consistently ranked in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s top 22 jurisdictions in the world for e-readiness.

December 21. Bermuda’s roof-catchment system will be the focus of a radio documentary, set to air on the BBC World Service this week. Tomorrow’s episode of My Perfect Country, which examines political, economic and social issues around the world, will look at Bermuda’s unique water system and if it could be implemented elsewhere. Previous episodes of the programme have tackled Estonia’s digital state, Costa Rica’s green energy policy, Portugal’s drug policy, India’s sanitation policy, Michigan’s suicide prevention policy and Uganda’s revolutionary law-and-order apps. Bermuda resident Brooke Burfitt, who produced and recorded the radio documentary, said she was inspired by her own experience since moving to the island. “When I moved here, I initially dreaded the idea of using water from a tank. I’ve only ever had to turn on the tap and use what I want, so I didn’t think I would cope too well with conserving water,” she said. “Surprisingly, my habits changed quickly and the water tastes so pure and fresh. I soon completely changed my mind and wondered why no other country had adopted this simple system. Speaking to local experts on this was really eye-opening, because all the interviewees were refreshingly open about the benefits, but also the limitations, so I think it will instigate an interesting discussion and inform worldwide listeners about our water conversation policies which have been refined over the last 400 years.” The documentary will include several Bermudian voices, including representatives from Bermuda Waterworks, the Department of Planning, the Department of Health, Tim James of James Water Service, Stuart Hayward of BEST and Ed Christopher, the Hamilton Town Crier. “I really wanted to capture the colour and vibrancy of the island in the radio piece and use as many different voices as possible. Whilst it is informative, I also want the episode to be fun, so I taped a guided tour of the capital with Mr Christopher, a ride along in a water truck with Mr James and a stroll on the beach with Mr Hayward. I can’t wait to hear how the programme turns out and hope Bermuda enjoys it.” The episode is set to be broadcast on BBC World Service at 4pm on December 22, and will subsequently be made available on iPlayer as a podcast.

December 21. The AG Show Ltd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bermuda Government to run the Annual Exhibition for the next three years. And the group has further agreed to help finance the revitalization of buildings at the Botanical Gardens over the coming years using proceeds from the event. According to ASL chair David Lopes, the first target for work will be the Education Building, with ASL donating $75,000 to restore the building. “The building is not in very good condition,” Mr Lopes told a press conference today. “It is one of, if not the oldest buildings at Botanical Gardens. During the exhibition, the building is used to display the primary school aged students entries. The building is in need of repair and ASL has agreed to donate the proceeds from the 2016 gate admissions for the repairs to ensure that the building can continue to be used for future shows.” Antwan Albuoy, ASL president, added that the building’s roof would be the main focus of work, with Cole Simons, Minister of the Environment, saying: “This is a community event and these buildings are for the community. For the event to be successful, we need proper facilities and ASL have come up to the wicket, fundraising for us.” Mr Simons said that ASL had requested a five-year MOI, but staff at the ministry felt confident that within three years it would in an economic position to host the annual event to the same standard as has been achieved by ASL. While the Annual Exhibition was cancelled in 2015 due to financial constraints, it returned this year with ASL at the helm. Detailing the 2017 show, scheduled to run from April 20 to 22, Mr Albouy said that plans for a bigger and better show by reintroducing crowd favourite events like the tug-of-war competition are under way, and ASL is already accepting proposals for the provision of goods and services from registered charities. He also noted that the 2016 show had proven to be a major success for the vendor charities with about $45,000 raised during the event. A meeting for potential vendors is set to be held on Thursday next week in the Horticultural Hall at 5.30pm.

December 21. Local police officers — or anyone who looks like one — could be in for 15 minutes of fame when the new thriller Babymoon is shot in Bermuda. But, according to director Lucinda Spurling, the memories could last a lifetime for those Bermudians who land roles in the movie to be shot next year. Ms Spurling, who will be directing her first feature film on the island, is also excited about the opportunities it will bring by showcasing Bermuda’s beauty to an international audience. She is hoping a wide variety of local talent turns up to next week’s casting call. “We want to see Bermudians, adults, of all kinds,” she told The Royal Gazette. “We need a lot of police officers, so anyone who could fit or who is a police officer, would be great. As the film is a thriller we have a lot of twists and turns and plenty of small speaking roles. I think this is a great opportunity for an actor. It is a relatively small amount of time commitment-wise but will be an experience they can remember for many years to come. Although it is not a huge amount of time, we need the actors to be flexible with their schedules as we cannot cater the filming around our minor actors’ work schedule. They need to be able to drop everything and film their scenes for a few hours.” Ms Spurling described the film “a new frontier” for Bermuda. “I don’t believe there have been many films made here since the 70s except for a few TV series episodes and reality TV,” she said. “We wanted to do something for Bermuda that would be a visual calling card for the island. We engineered the story to play to Bermuda’s strengths as the main characters are tourists and all of our locations are hotels and tourist spots. We aren’t filming a movie in Bermuda that is anonymously set here. In many ways the film is about Bermuda. We are taking all of Bermuda’s strengths, telling an entertaining story and then releasing our Bermuda film on international media platforms, which are avenues that have not been tapped in terms of putting Bermuda as a tourist destination into a wider consciousness. It is a thriller, but it has a happy ending, I promise. We also hope to prove that this is possible in Bermuda! Maybe one day it will be a reality that we have films shooting here all the time, that walking by a film set will be as commonplace as it is on a street in NY. Most of all, we can never forget, film is a business, and it might be a good business for Bermuda down the road.” As well as local actors, the thriller will employ a number of Bermudian crew and caterers, helping to spread the economic impact further. In addition to Bermudian actors, the film will star Kelly McGillis — the star of films including Top Gun — and Kate Mansi of Days of our Lives in leading roles. “As we all know stars make the movie,” Ms Spurling said. “Kelly is an incredible actress, and has done many thrillers including one of my favorites, Witness. Kate is an up-and-coming actress with a huge following and lots of potential. The combination of the two actresses will give the film two very key things — name recognition and an older audience who will never forget Kelly in Top Gun, and Kate will bring in that younger audience. They are both beautiful and talented; what director could ask for more?” Asked what she wanted to accomplish with the film, she said: “Make a profit for our investors, and make a great film that people are still watching 20 years from now. Make a film that will afford the entire crew the opportunity to work on another one. Make a film that will intrigue people about our tiny island in the Atlantic.” The casting call will take place on Wednesday and Thursday next week, between 4pm and 8pm, at the Into Bermuda office at Somers Building, 2nd Floor, 15 Front Street.

December 21. JetBlue is “increasing its commitment to Bermuda” with additional direct flights from New York and Boston boosting the number of available seats by about 70,000 per year. The airline yesterday announced two additional year-round daily flights and a third summer seasonal round-trip flight between its northeast “focus cities”. JetBlue will operate all Bermuda routes using its 150-seat Airbus A320, which will replace the 100-seat craft. Senator Michael Fahy, the tourism minister, told a press conference yesterday: “This announcement will provide further opportunities for our east coast guests to visit our shores and help meet the increasing demand for aeroplane seats. This has been a very positive year for tourism in Bermuda and I am thrilled for 2016 to conclude on such an encouraging note. This announcement has been made possible through the efforts of a joint working team consisting of persons from the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities. The ministry and the BTA have been working closely together to approach airlines collectively with the common goal of expanding Bermuda’s airlift. That relationship is bearing fruit.” From May 18, JetBlue will operate daily year-round flights between New York’s JFK International Airport and Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport with an evening departure from New York and a morning departure from Bermuda. Additionally, the airline will operate a second daily round-trip during the summer peak with a morning departure from New York and an afternoon departure from Bermuda. The move will expand JetBlue’s present once daily year-round service and offer more options for customers on both sides of the route. Flights between New York and Bermuda are now on sale with introductory fares starting at $49 one way. Also from May 18, the airline will increase its seasonal summer service between Boston Logan International Airport and Bermuda to a year-round daily service. Flights with a morning departure from Boston and an afternoon departure from Bermuda, are also on sale with introductory fares of $79 one way. The flights will also benefit connecting customers in Bermuda who can now connect to an additional nine JetBlue cities including Houston and Jacksonville while increasing connecting options for destinations such as San Francisco, Chicago and Orlando. Dave Clark, vice-president of network planning for JetBlue, addressed the media to express his gratitude to BTA CEO Bill Hanbury, the airport team and the Bermuda Government, saying that the deal equates to JetBlue more than doubling its capacity in Bermuda. “This will provide even more low fares and more consistent and reliable schedule and operation for our customers,” he said. “We are not just committing more aircraft to Bermuda we are committing to Bermuda itself. We are committing with the help of our partners here to more advertising in the US to bring more visitors to Bermuda. We are committing to being even bigger partners here in your community. We view this as a partnership and we will work hard to win the loyalty of customers in Bermuda.” Director of public and stakeholder relations at the BTA, Glenn Jones, added: “We are properly positioned for growth out of Boston that is likely to be better than modest. The BTA is excited about these developments for additional reasons. More flights and more seats from our gateway markets typically lead to more competitive pricing making airfare more affordable for all travelers, we have already experienced this out of JFK. Increased inventory on a year-round basis will help us to break the back of seasonality — it means next winter we will have an even better chance to keep hotel workers on the job, taxi drivers on the road and attractions across the island open to welcome visitors in the shoulder season.”

December 21. Bermudian businessman Mike Swan is a driving force behind green transport. Now Mr Swan, who owns the Lighthouse LED lighting specialist, has moved into electric scooters and power-assisted bicycles with his Veelr E-motion venture. And he plans to add electric cars to the range of green machines on offer. Mr Swan said: “For the longest while, I have been into the whole green thing and I was probably the first person in Bermuda to do LED lighting — that was probably about nine years ago. At that time, my plan was to get into electric vehicles, but the options available then weren’t that good — but now you get decent range, decent speed and also decent charge times.” Mr Swan has just brought in Italian-designed mini-scooter the Velocifero Mad — small bikes with a stylish design and a skateboard-inspired footboard that pack a punch and are licensed the same as 50cc bikes. He said: “They have various power options between the top of the line 1.6kw motor. It has a top speed of about 28mph and a range, with the lithium batteries, of 20-25 miles per charge. It’s a really innovative transportation solution. The battery takes three to five hours to charge from empty — it’s perfect for going short distances or just nipping around the neighborhood. And it’s a lot of fun to ride.” Mr Swan, whose two businesses operate from the existing Lighthouse store on Pembroke’s Happy Valley Road, added that the Velocifero can also be customized to give it a personal touch. “There are lots of areas you can put whatever you want on it.” Veelr also stocks US-produced Prodecotech electric-assisted bicycles, which use batteries to give added oomph to pedal power. Mr Swan said: “They’ve got off-road electric bikes, foldable bikes and general transportation electric bikes. They typically have a range of between 20 and 25 miles per charge and the motors range from 300w up to 600w, with a top speed of between 20 and 25 miles an hour on electric alone. If you pedal as well, they can get more speed. Typically we special order, but we do carry a small inventory of bikes. It only takes between one to three weeks to get it here, though. We’re breaking new ground here. We’ve sold some of the electric-assisted pedal bikes, which we’ve had for about three weeks. The Velocifero is brand new and we’ve had a lot of interest in that — we’ve an order coming in January and part of that order is already spoken for.” Mr Swan said that he had already brought in one electric vehicle, a small truck-style car with design cues similar to the heavyweight US four-wheel-drive Hummer. In addition, Veelr stocks small foldable electric ET bikes and the larger Jayray Special, named after the US rapper who popularized the model in America. Mr Swan said: “They fold and can be put in the car. They’re perfect for popping downtown to do some shopping.” The store also stocks a unique electric unicycle.

December 20. Bermuda today slammed a bid by a group of British MPs to enforce a public register of company ownership. Around 80 MPs from a cross-section of UK political parties want an amendment to a British parliament criminal finances bill to include a stipulation that all UK Overseas Territories have a public register by 2020. Michael Fahy, acting Minister of Finance, said: “The Government of Bermuda notes reports that a group of British MPs is seeking to press for Amendments to the Criminal Finances Bill, requiring British Overseas Territories to publicly disclose the beneficial ownership of enterprises which they host. Bermuda notes that it has maintained a register of such information since 1947, to which all proper international tax, criminal, and regulatory authorities have access, while preserving proper respect for the privacy of individuals and corporations. “This position is recognized by the UK government and the OECD as world-leading.” Mr Fahy spoke out after back bench MPs including members of the Green Party, Liberal Democrats, the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party, the Northern Irish Social Democratic & Labour Party, as well as Conservatives and Labour and the Northern Irish Unionist DUP members called for an addition to the law. The proposal was tabled in the House of Commons on the last day of sitting before the Christmas break. The amendment is to be tabled by Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge, a former chairman of the public accounts committee, but it will need to gain approval from a majority of MPs to become part of the new Bill. An article in The Guardian newspaper predicted the move could spark “angry reaction” from many Overseas Territories — and could even provoke a move towards independence by British possessions around the world. The Guardian added that the amendment did not include UK Crown Dependencies, like Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The UK could implement the rarely used order in council method to impose laws directly on its Overseas Territories if they fail to co-operate. Dame Margaret said: “Of course, political parties have shied away from using these powers. They can seem somewhat colonial. But I think there are overwhelming moral arguments at stake here.” Earlier this year, some Overseas Territories refused to buckle under pressure from then-Prime Minister David Cameron to introduce registers and it is expected offshore jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands and Anguilla will again dig in their heels.

December 20. The catchphrase “Above and Beyond” on the wing-sail of Land Rover BAR’s AC45F perhaps best encapsulates the British team’s remarkable showing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Led by Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper and team principal, the team won the series and with it two vital bonus points that gives them a head start in the America’s Cup Qualifiers to start next May in the Great Sound. “It’s been a real boost for the team, there’s no question,” Matt Cornwell, the Land Rover BAR grinder and bowman, said. “It certainly lifts the team and I think helps with the focus, the drive and the push. And not just for the five guys on the boat, but for everyone else on the team, who is working so hard.” The British challenger won four of the nine events on the world series circuit spread across two years, including the two they hosted at their home port in Portsmouth. With the world series now behind them, the team’s focus has shifted solely on its primary objective of becoming the first British team to win the Auld Mug. “It’s so nice to get that victory but the really important thing is to quickly put it behind us,” Cornwell said. “You have to realize that that’s just one of the highs you get in the sporting calendar. It was certainly a high for the team but the real goal is next year and the most important thing now is to completely refocus and put everything into the Cup now. The World Series is brilliant. But that’s behind us and despite the advantage of having those two points we still need to have the fastest boat or else we are not going to make it through to the final, that’s for sure.” Cornwell and his colleagues are presently training in the Great Sound on the team’s AC45S foiling catamaran, which serves as a test platform for the America’s Cup Class boat that they will compete in next year. They have even had the opportunity to line up against their America’s Cup rivals — Oracle Team USA, the defender, Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan — during the short time they have been on the island. “That’s one of the big benefits of being here and something we are enjoying; having the other boats around and seeing how they are performing and sailing the boats,” Cornwell said. “It’s been great to be on home waters but obviously after a while you do want to have some of the other teams around, and it’s certainly a big step being here and being able to see those other teams on the water too and checking with them. We did two winters in a row back in Portsmouth and it was fine but definitely very testing. I think we have earned ourselves a nice winter in Bermuda where it’s much milder and we’re walking around in shorts and T-shirts, which we wouldn’t be doing in Portsmouth right now.” Cornwell said the team’s transition from the UK to their Bermuda base at the Royal Naval Dockyard has gone fairly smoothly “Obviously there’s been some chaotic days,” he added. “A couple of weeks ago everything was in transition and the logistics of moving it all, the people and families, and relocating out here has obviously been a big deal. It’s a great little facility and we are so close to the race area. There’s still plenty of work to be done. But it’s going to have a lovely VIP area and the shed which we’ve got for the boats is a great little area.” And Bermuda’s Campbell Patton and siblings Cecilia and Michael Wollmann will look to sign off at the Aon Youth Sailing World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, on a good note today. Patton enters the final races 37th in the 57-boat boys Laser Radial while the Wollmanns are tenth in the 20-boat Nacra 15 fleet.

December 20. Progressive Labour Party candidate Neville Tyrrell stormed to a resounding victory in the Warwick South Central by-election last night. Mr Tyrrell claimed 477 votes, against 103 for Robyn Swan of the One Bermuda Alliance and 12 for Independent candidate David W. Burch, as residents of Constituency 26 elected him to replace former Opposition leader Marc Bean in the House of Assembly. It means the PLP convincingly increased its lead in one of its traditional strongholds, with Mr Tyrrell taking 79 per cent of the vote, up from the 64 per cent enjoyed by Mr Bean at the 2012 General Election. The turnout was a comparatively healthy 52 per cent, with 597 of the 1,139 registered voters in the constituency taking part. By comparison, the Warwick South Central by-election won by Mr Bean in December 2010 had a turnout of 40 per cent. Shortly after 10pm at St Mary’s Church, an emotionally overwhelmed Mr Tyrrell emerged to cheers from jubilant PLP supporters. Declaring himself “almost speechless”, Mr Tyrrell told the media: “This is really a victory for the Progressive Labour Party. Not for Neville Tyrrell, for the Progressive Labour Party. We did our work. This is really an early Christmas present for me.” David Burt, the PLP leader, told Mr Tyrrell the win had been a long time coming and was a testament to the new MP’s work. “The message sent by the voters of Constituency 26 means they want a Government that listens to them,” he said. Asked what would be his first order of business, Mr Tyrrell said he would be helping his wife prepare for Christmas. He added that he had congratulated Mr Burch, and then hugged Ms Swan, who he said had “fought a good fight — it’s as simple as that”. Conceding defeat, Ms Swan said: “I will continue to support the decriminalization of marijuana, and support the party in any way I can.” Michael Dunkley, the Premier, said: “I’m proud of this young lady. She stepped right into a very difficult constituency and she worked very hard.” Mr Dunkley said the OBA had known it would be “an uphill battle” in a constituency that had been held by the Leader of the Opposition. Asked if voters had sent the OBA a message with the night’s landslide, Mr Dunkley said: “People can read whatever they want into this election.. We live in very difficult times and politics operates in very strange ways.” Mr Tyrrell, a former Bermuda Football Association and PLP veteran, had unsuccessfully campaigned three times in the past; Ms Swan was a relative newcomer for the OBA, whose political stance is influenced by her eight years as a prison officer; and Mr Burch, a “grassroots” candidate, has a background as a music promoter who has persistently run as an independent without joy. Throughout the day, Mr Tyrrell and Ms Swan had both been flanked by party colleagues. Speaking in the morning, Mr Tyrrell said: “I have knocked on 85 per cent of doors and followed up with phone calls. People are hurting in this constituency and we have to help those people.” Ms Swan said she had been impressed by the day’s turnout, adding: “People are exercising their democratic right. It’s a healthy thing.” Mr Burch said he had no plans of quitting his long career as an independent, explaining: “I can’t stop. Until they stop with party politics, I’m in the game.” The PLP noted it was its third by-election victory in two years, with Mr Burt pointing to the upcoming General Election. “The people of this country are speaking loud and clear that they do not like the direction the OBA Government is taking. Bermuda has a government that does not listen to the people that put them in power. The only time the public get the chance to express themselves is at the ballot box, and tonight we have seen just that.”

December 20. Legislators are expected to debate two Acts key to the airport development plans on February 3 — the first day of Parliament after protesters against the project blocked the House of Assembly on December 2. Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, confirmed yesterday that the Airport Authority Act and the Airport Redevelopment Concession Act would go up for debate when Parliament resumes in 2017. “We will continue to reach out to the Bermudian public and further inform them of the specifics of this project,” Mr Richards told The Royal Gazette. "Many people still feel that they don’t have enough information. The truth is there has been an information overload, and people are having trouble combing through all the data. We are going to assist them in that regard.” Mr Richards was speaking in the wake of a rebuttal to the latest critique of the proposal, issued on December 19 by commentator Larry Burchall with chartered accountant Craig Mayor. “Their commentary and analysis is reverse engineered to lead to a predetermined conclusion,” said Mr Richards, saying the report was “replete with errors and presents a flawed analysis of the project”. The two had issued a summary on December 15 of an 11-page document sent to all MPs, along with the Auditor-General and the Acting Governor, ahead of December 2. Mr Richards said he had responded personally to their concerns and offered to provide further information, adding: “They have chosen, instead, to make public pronouncements on the project that totally ignore information already provided to them by the Government.” A 27-page response has been posted on the government portal, the minister said, rebutting each point raised.

December 20. A top police officer has warned that parents worried about sexual abuse should be wary of those who are close to their children rather than strangers. Acting Detective Chief Inspector Mark Clarke, one of those investigating cases of sexual abuse on the island, said: “It is not so much the stranger you should be worried about but the person you know”. He was speaking in light of the revelation that footballers Andrew and David Bascome were sexually molested as children by adults associated with the sport. Former football player Myron Brangman later spoke out on radio about his own experience of being abused as a child, saying it was not uncommon in Bermuda’s football fraternity. Mr Clarke, who is a facilitator for child abuse awareness charity Scars, warned that, as is the case with football, most child sex abuse is perpetrated by those who already know the child so it is not just strangers parents and guardians should be wary of. “I have said 93 per cent of all sexual abuse is committed by someone you know,” he said. “Could it be the family, friends, churches, the school, sporting bodies, teachers? Yes. Football is not unique. It could be anyone with unstructured access to a child. Know where your child is — that is the easiest thing and make sure your child is not afraid to speak to you.” As a Joint Select Committee report is put in motion to recommend measures to better safeguard children against sex offenders, the police officer stressed the need for penalties for failures to carry out police checks on those working with children and better provision for child victims to give evidence via video link. According to lawyer and MP Mark Pettingill, chairman of the bipartisan six-person JSC, the report will recommend the formation of a central “hub” for all the agencies dealing with complaints of abuse; that certain sex offenders be placed on a publicly available list; and better use of legislation to manage sex offenders. Mr Clarke made some recommendations of his own when he spoke to The Royal Gazette about some of the items on his “Christmas wish list”. Speaking on the need for better use by the courts on the provision of video link, he said: “The technology is there and, of course, it can be beneficial. I would support any legislation that further protects the child from revisiting the events or looking at the suspect. “We could review legislation that makes it mandatory up to a certain age. We have the legislation and we need to work out the kinks. It is now time to thoroughly explore how we are going to deal with that and yes, I believe it would result in better evidence.” Mr Clarke said he would also support any legislation that made it mandatory for anyone working with children to be subject to police checks. He said: “We want to make sure that we have done our best. Child safeguarding and the protection of our vulnerable should be a hallmark of our society. If an employer doesn’t do a police check they could be committing an offence themselves. It should be a deterrent for anyone who tries to circumvent that responsibility — it is that important.” Mr Clarke described the creation of a publicly available sex offenders’ register as “problematic” but believed that those responsible for hiring people who work with children should be allowed to know whether a candidate is included in such a registry. In a very small jurisdiction it can do a lot of harm in the wrong hands for the wrong reasons. If you own a nursery and you want to hire somebody and want to make sure they are not a person on a registry, I think that we should have a way in which they can be told ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” Social media plays a much greater role in how child sex offenders make contact with children and as such parents must be “extra vigilant” in their child’s internet use, Mr Clarke stressed. “Monitor their internet use. Social media has become a favourite means to interact with children. Social media is a gateway — you don’t know who you are speaking to on the other side. Bermuda has one of the highest internet users in the world. You see the type of mobile devices they have There are a host of tools to prevent them accessing certain websites, including cybertips.bm, specific to Bermuda. When making my recommendations to the parliamentary committee I was very passionate about management of high-risk sex offenders once they are released back into the community. I was very adamant that as far as online I think that we can improve the area of an offence called Revenge Porn legislation. It helps us out because we are putting high technology in the hands of children.” While he said he supported a central hub for all relevant agencies to deal with sex abuse complaints, similar to an approach in Iceland where all agencies function under one roof, he said Bermuda worked under a highly effective system where agencies work in tandem. “I support a central hub but we already have a multi-agency, interdisciplinary approach. When we interview in relation to a report that is made, there is always Child and Family Services in that interview and there is never a variance from that. We would not speak to them without them present. You have to be fair to the investigation. We are pretty good. Our response includes the Bermuda Police Service, the Department of Public Prosecutions, the Centre Against Abuse, Women’s Resource Centre, Department of Children and Family Services, in a nutshell, not including the Sex Assault Response team and child protection team out of the hospital.” Mr Clarke said that it would take a joint effort including partners overseas to tackle the problem of child sex abuse in Bermuda. “It is not as straightforward. Bermuda will not be able to tackle the issue by itself. Bermuda will need its international partners IWF, Interpol, National Crime Agency, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security. No one can tackle it by themselves. But I want to make this message very clear, we are unafraid to investigate so don’t be afraid to contact us.” For further information or to report any matter please contact acting detective chief inspector Mark Clarke of the Serious Crime Unit on 717-0282, e-mail mclarke@bps.bm, or contact the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline 800-8477.

December 20.  Opinion, by Bryan Dooley, CFA a senior portfolio manager at LOM Asset Management Ltd in Bermuda. "Opinions about the direction of economy after Donald Trump takes residence in the White House next month have lately been almost as divided as the contentious election itself. On the one hand, an increasing number of market pundits are predicting a new era of greater US growth. This camp postulates Trump will successfully spearhead a massive federal stimulus programme providing around $1 trillion in federal spending aimed at rebuilding roads, railways, airports and other infrastructure. Government infrastructure spending coupled with large personal and corporate income tax cuts are expected to fuel the US economy well above its present ‘muddle through’ level of around 2 per cent real annual GDP growth to as much as 4 per cent for the remainder of the President’s first term in office. The new world order under this paradigm stands in stark contrast to the previous two decades which were characterized by relatively innocuous fiscal policies, sluggish domestic growth, low inflation and falling bond yields. Another group of economists is less sanguine. This camp believes the structural headwinds of a progressively ageing and over indebted America will ultimately be too much to overcome despite the best intentions of the new administration. The non-believers opine that fiscal initiatives will be challenged by still relatively poor productivity and the irreversible headwind of an ageing population. For these reasons, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has forecasted America’s GDP growth potential at just 2 per cent for the foreseeable future. A fiscal stimulus plan may temporarily boost GDP but the long-term growth potential of the economy is unlikely to change. Others have noted growth-restraining immigration and trade policies would likely be invoked faster than the stimulus measures which are not expected to produce results until at least 2018. Given the relatively high importance of the US consumer to rest of the global economy, making America great again is absolutely great for the world. However, America’s citizens are rapidly ageing. Baby boomers, a disproportionately large slice of the country’s population, are hitting their retirement years en masse. Older persons are generally less productive and tend to be savers rather than spenders. Furthermore, retirees have been promised substantial benefits through Medicare and Social Security — two massively underfunded budgetary black holes. Plans to tackle the problem have been conveniently pushed to the back burner by all of Washington’s leaders. On the liability side of the general ledger, fiscal spending might boost growth in the short run, but adding to the billowing US debt pile essentially just kicks the can down the road. Studies have shown that over-leveraged economies ultimately tire of their own weight. By definition, debt represents a reduction of future net disposable income. A car buyer taking a loan enjoys the benefit of driving a (perhaps otherwise unaffordable) car today by sacrificing future earnings in the form of car payments later on. But paying away future earnings eventually crimps the household budget and the same is true for the economy as a whole. Trump’s plan of lower taxes and bigger spending is said to add an additional $5 trillion onto the approximately $20 trillion existing debt. Kenneth Rogoff, an economist at Harvard University argued in a 2010 research paper that GDP growth slows to a snail’s pace once a government’s debt level exceed 90 per cent of GDP. The US economy is fast approaching this level and Trump’s plans would get us there very quickly. Unrestrained, the Trump plan would take America’s public debt, presently at about 75 per cent of GDP, to approximately 105 per cent. That’s well above the danger area, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, an independent agency. Possible offsets may include infrastructure investment which could help improve productivity and reducing regulations which have been a significant drag on key sectors such as banking a healthcare. Of course, the notion that government can improve efficiencies runs a bit counter to what we have actually witnessed over many decades of malfeasance. Remember, Republican party leader Ronald Reagan’s famous statement: “Government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem!” At the moment, financial markets are anticipating the reflation scenario. Bond prices have been falling as longer term interest rates have steadily climbed since election day. At the same time, US equity markets are up sharply, hitting new all-time highs across the board. More ‘cyclical’ industries, or those closely tied to the performance of the economy, such as industrial, basic materials and financial companies have led the rally. Interestingly, stock markets outside of the US have not quite joined the “risk on” party. Two possible outcomes are possible for 2017 and beyond. The first (and more likely in my opinion) is a less aggressive political agenda where tax cuts and increased fiscal spending end up being below expectations as conservative congressmen block the most extreme, debt-increasing measures. The second possibility involves Trump getting his way for the most part. In this case, aggressive tax cuts and a large fiscal spending plan would stoke the economy in the short run, but would also incur much higher debt levels and weaken the federal balance sheet considerably. For the second scenario, the outcome may be similar to Warren Buffett’s famous discarded cigar butt story. In his early days, Buffett would sometimes encounter an investment which, like a used cigar stub found on the ground was short and soggy but good for one more puff. Similarly, an over indebted American economy, driven by populist demand for higher wages and growth in the number of unskilled labour jobs, lower taxes and protectionism at any cost could be good for a last puff. However, ultimately the borrowed funds must be paid back either through future fiscal austerity, less public entitlements, higher taxes or simply larger price inflation. Under either scenario, investors should be at least somewhat wary of the current Trump stock market rally. Elevated political expectations leave little room for error. On pullbacks, considering adding to those sectors blessed by the GOP’s magic wand, but I recommend staying diversified which means also owning some presently unpopular sectors such as bonds, cash and defensive stocks. In the intermediate to longer term, these more defensive assets could be quite important for the rainy day when Government has a very small umbrella.  Please contact LOM at 441-292-5000 for further information. This communication is for information purposes only. It is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument, investment product or service. Readers should consult with their brokers if such information and or opinions would be in their best interest when making investment decisions. LOM is licensed to conduct investment business by the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

December 20. A 15-year labour of love by educator and folklorist Shirley Pearman has resulted in Bermuda’s first definitive compendium of the island’s traditional arts and crafts. “I hope teachers and parents will not look at it as a how-to-do book, but as a vehicle that can open minds,” said Ms Pearman of her book, backed by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, which she has researched since the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC, back in 2001. Hands On! documents “the art of traditional craft and play in Bermuda” and is aimed at stimulating “storytelling, sharing of values, conversing and listening” through the experience of crafting. From palmetto fishing nets to bottle dolls, Bermudians have been making their own products for centuries, and their techniques evolved and changed with the times. “As my mother Rosalind Robinson would say, ‘we were the original recyclers’,” recalled Ms Pearman. “My Christening gown was made out of her wedding gown.” Pulling together the 160-page book took years of research, as well as acquiring the stories from their source, to which Ms Pearman has added historical narratives mixed with photographs, illustrations and quotations. “I had a healthy recollection of my own childhood, but I knew that if I was going to give this substance, I had to have the input of others,” she said. Sections are divided into the seasons by which traditional crafting was carried out. With many Bermudians unaware of the scope of their history, Ms Pearman believes that sharing the activities that once sustained daily island life is “the gem, the secret to a lot of our challenges as a community. It provides a community with a certain amount of sanity. The end product is not the primary value. You’re doing something to enrich and express yourself.” Hands On! The art of traditional crafts and play in Bermuda is on sale now at Brown & Co for $29.95.

December 19. British Airways has said it is working to ensure Christmas flights go ahead on schedule in advance of threatened industrial action. While more than 2,000 BA staff are expected to go on strike as soon as tomorrow, Alex Cruz, British Airways CEO and chairman, said: “We are making sure that this attempt to ruin Christmas for thousands of our customers fails. “Over the weekend we have been working on detailed contingency plans to ensure that we are able to operate our normal flight programme from all our airports on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.” British Airways cabin crew last week announced a strike at Heathrow, while check-in staff, baggage handlers and cargo crew at Gatwick also voted to move forward with industrial action. Both disputes are over pay and involve members from the Unite Union.

December 19. Political fallout and antigovernment demonstrations are among the range of security scenarios envisaged by organizers preparing for the 35th America’s Cup. “You have to facilitate peaceful protest, but you also have to facilitate the rights of others to go about their regular duties and movements,” Steve Cosham, planning co-ordinator for the event, told The Royal Gazette. In the wake of a bitter protest over the Government’s proposed airport redevelopment, with demonstrators blocking Parliament and a subsequent police crackdown that was unprecedented in recent history, many wondered if the 35th America’s Cup risked ending up a political target. The event has been hailed as a game-changer for the island, and “no surprises” is Mr Cosham’s motto as the security committee oversees preparations. In a task that has not stopped since the Louis Vuitton World Series in October 2015, the team has drawn up “a comprehensive contingency plan for anything that may go wrong”, from hurricanes to hitches in transport. “Protest action is just one of the contingencies,” said Lieutenant-Colonel William White, the former Commanding Officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment who chairs the ACBDA security committee. Bermuda’s successful bid to host the biggest sailing event in the world, officially announced in December 2014, was cause for a national celebration that included fireworks and a three-cannon salute. Many selling points factored into securing the America’s Cup over rival contender San Diego — prime sailing waters, along with a location ideal for live global broadcasting. But financial incentives also loomed large — and, with an election impending, the price tag has fuelled scepticism over an event unfamiliar to many Bermudians. While the figure of $77 million is often cited, the Bermuda Government’s actual spending is $52 million between 2014 and 2017 — and the island has committed to a further $25 million as a guarantee against commercial sponsorship. An economic impact assessment projected that the Cup would bring $242 million into the island. Asked how protest action might be handled, Mr Cosham said there had been “serious discussions” that would include live exercises before the event, but encompassing a host of other possible mishaps: severe storms, oil spills on a main road, major transportation accidents or a viral outbreak on a visiting cruise ship. “This is not as big as the Olympics, but the Olympic Games goes on for two weeks, and this is five weeks.” Under the host agreement, Bermuda takes responsibility for delivering security for the America’s Cup, and the committee’s scope includes accommodating numerous other large-scale events coming in May and June of 2017, from tall ships to the Bermuda Heroes Weekend. “Every agency you could think of is involved,” Colonel White said — police and fire services, Customs, the Regiment, Marine and Ports along with Maritime Operations, the Department of Corrections, and the National Police Coordination Centre in the UK, which has been drafting a security strategy since June. Around 10,000 are anticipated in the event village at Dockyard, with the committee’s primary focus being the big weekends. “Think of two cruise ships coming in at Dockyard,” Mr Cosham added. “We’re not expecting everybody to come to the America’s Cup, but we’re planning for several thousand people from the cruise ships wanting to go to Horseshoe Beach or Tobacco Bay, and they will all need to go straight through the road past the America’s Cup.” Colonel White noted that “everything we have to do during tourist season is going to continue — we’re cognizant of the fact that the America’s Cup is not the only game in town. But because of the Cup, we may well get visits from internationally recognized VIPs. It is not outside the bounds of expectation that we could get a royal visit.” With just one route into Dockyard, traffic congestion is one of the security committee’s top concerns. “That piece of infrastructure from Barnes Corner to the National Museum is going to be key to a successful delivery,” Colonel White said. There is also planning for non-events. A low-wind or a no-wind day would be “just as disruptive as high winds”, he added, requiring an element of flexibility in the schedule. The “no surprises” principle will include informing the public well in advance. For example, while there will “obviously” be screening for weapons coming into the event village. Mr Cosham said visitors should know that they will not be able to bring in alcohol. "With possibly a billion people watching worldwide, Bermuda’s stakes are higher than financial commitments. What a great opportunity it is for us to succeed. But if we don’t have it right, what an awful opportunity to fail.”

December 19. Canadian investment and insurance company Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd has agreed to buy Allied World Assurance Company in a $4.9 billion cash and stock deal. The proposed transaction has been unanimously approved by the directors of both companies. Allied World was among a number of insurers and reinsurers formed in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks in the US. The company was set up in Bermuda as a joint venture between American Insurance Group, Chubb Corporation and an investment fund managed by Goldman Sachs & Co. In 2010, Allied World redomiciled from Bermuda to Switzerland, however it maintains an office in Bermuda. Globally, the company has 1,040 employees, according to a Forbes report. Two years ago, it expanded its North American insurance operations by opening a branch in Toronto. In the proposed deal, Toronto-based Fairfax will pay $54 for each Allied World share, which is about 18 per cent higher than their closing price on Friday. Allied World shareholders will receive about $10 cash and $44 of Fairfax’s stock for each share they own. Fairfax has an option to increase the cash portion up to $30 per share. Prem Watsa, chief executive officer of Fairfax, said: “We are excited to have Allied World join the Fairfax group. Allied World is a high-quality company with an excellent long-term track record and an outstanding management team led by Scott Carmilani. Allied World will operate within the Fairfax group on a decentralized basis after closing, and we are looking forward to supporting Scott and the entire team at Allied World in growing their business over the long-term.” Mr Carmilani will continue as chief executive officer of Allied World, according to a report by The Washington Post, which quoted Mr Watsa as saying Allied World “will be the largest and the best company that Fairfax has purchased in 31 years”. Meanwhile, Mr Carmilani called it a tremendous opportunity. He said: “Our shareholders are being rewarded for the strong performance of Allied World over the last ten years since going public. We are strategically aligning ourselves with Fairfax, one of the premier companies in the insurance industry which has a great track record of supporting their operating companies and creating value for shareholders. We are excited to be joining the Fairfax organisation — we share their passion for underwriting excellence and their entrepreneurial approach to growing the business with a long-term orientation. Our shareholders will benefit from Fairfax’s tremendous investment capabilities as demonstrated by its superior long-term investment track record.” He added: “The success of Fairfax’s decentralized approach in empowering their management teams to drive profitable underwriting and combining Fairfax’s investment philosophy will position us to create long-term value for shareholders. Fairfax provides a great home for Allied World to continue to build a strong business for our customers, business partners and employees.” It is intended that the transaction will be effected by way of an exchange offer, followed by a squeeze-out merger, and conclude in the second quarter of 2017. The acquisition deal is subject to a sufficient number of the outstanding Allied World shares having been tendered in the offer, approval by Allied World shareholders and, to the extent required by applicable regulations, Fairfax shareholders, approvals from applicable regulators and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. In a statement, Allied World said its position “as a market-leading global property, casualty and specialty insurer and reinsurer, its major worldwide presence and its disciplined approach to underwriting make it a natural candidate to join Fairfax’s expanding worldwide operations”. The company said its “growing international reach is highly complementary to Fairfax’s existing worldwide operations and the acquisition further diversifies Fairfax’s group risk portfolio. In addition, Allied World will be able to leverage Fairfax’s expertise in Canada, the US and international insurance and reinsurance markets, thus enhancing Allied World’s global product offering and providing it with expanded underwriting opportunities and support”. Last year, Fairfax Financial acquired insurance and reinsurance group Brit Plc.

December 19. Technological innovation is already decreasing back-office and distribution costs in the insurance industry — but its biggest financial impact could come in underwriting. Michael Coles, chief executive officer of Cedent, told delegates at a reinsurance conference in Hamilton last week that tech advances had already helped insurers to improve their expense structures and cut the cost of customer acquisition. But Mr Coles, whose company specializes in bringing technology-driven change to the insurance industry, said technology’s application is now turning to underwriting — with a huge potential impact. Mr Coles gave the example of a New York-based sensor wearables company, whose products include a “smart vest” that could be used, for example, by construction workers. The information it records includes how much weight someone is carrying on their shoulders and whether they are bending their knees when they pick up something heavy. Such data would be valuable and relevant for workers’ compensation insurance, for example, Mr Coles said. It could also lead to improved risk mitigation in the workplace, he added. “It works like the bleeping seatbelt sensor in your car,” Mr Coles said. “When it bleeps does it change your behavior?” Citing the sharing economy, Mr Coles said that the industry must “take risks” by working with emerging companies engaging new business models. The more sophisticated carriers would embrace “real-time underwriting” as customers “produce more data in the past five minutes than in the past year”, he added. Mr Coles, who was speaking at the EY (Re) Insurance Outlook conference, staged in association with The Insurance Insider, spoke about how the modern consumer seeks convenience in purchasing everything — and insurance was no different. Insurers meeting such a demand are already making inroads into the market. “An Asia-based online-only insurer has sold 5 billion policies to 3.5 billion people in the last two years,” Mr Coles said. This is an ongoing area of interest to investors, given that “18 of the 20 biggest funding deals have been focused on alternative distribution”. “Insurtech” — the name given to financial technology advances in the insurance industry — was expected to reach funding levels close to $6 billion by the end of 2016, Mr Coles said. Fintech for the banking industry was being funded at double that rate, so insurtech had plenty of room to grow, he suggested. For Bermuda, the proliferation of technology would have implications, he said. While the island had been home to much of the innovation in the industry over the past 50 years — through the advent of captives, property catastrophe reinsurance and insurance-linked securities — Mr Coles said that unlike the past, “moving forward, technology innovation will be coming from outside Bermuda, from the Silicon Valleys of the world”.

December 19. The Bermuda National Trust has welcomed the idea of proposals to transform the old Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club in Warwick into a 50-acre nature reserve. But the charity, whose objective is preserving many of the island’s open spaces, has urged investors behind the scheme to consult with the Trust as plans progress. A group of local investors has purchased the property. It hopes to use the majority of the land as a conservation zone, although the deal has not been finalized. The group has said only a “minimal amount of land on the outer fringes of the property” would be kept for “very low-impact, restricted, residential lots” and not condominiums. Bill Zuill, the Trust’s executive director, told The Royal Gazette: “We have not seen any of the plans as yet, but we would hope to have some discussions with the proposed buyers soon. In principle, the Trust naturally welcomes the idea of establishing nature reserves but we would need to know much more about the proposal, especially how much of the land would be rezoned and set aside for sale and development and where it is located, before we can take a position for or against the idea. We do not know enough about it at the moment, but we would certainly hope that the investors would talk to us and consult with us. That has not happened, but we would welcome it. We would like to be part of the conversation.” The new plans also call for the planting of more than 500 endemics and “stunning natural gardens”, significantly larger than the 36-acre Botanical Gardens. Riddell’s Bay, Bermuda’s oldest course, closed abruptly on March 31 after nearly a century because the club could not meet operational costs. The group of investors, the majority of whom are Bermudian, met with residents in October to outline their vision. They maintain that the majority of local residents are in favour of the project.

December 19. The voters of Warwick South Central head to the polls tomorrow to select their new MP, in the year’s second by-election for a constituency seen as a strong seat for the Opposition. Three contenders have thrown their hats in the ring for Constituency 26: David Burch as an independent, Robyn Swan for the One Bermuda Alliance and Neville Tyrrell for the Progressive Labour Party. On advanced polling day last week, we spoke with the candidates to hear why they should represent Warwick South Central — the constituency formerly held by retired PLP leader Marc Bean, who stepped down on November 4. The successful contender will be chosen at St Mary’s Church, the polling station that could give us the first taste of the General Election likely to come in the new year. Robyn Swan’s eight years as a prison officer have had a deep influence on her political views — but her goals for Constituency 26 reflect the concerns she has heard on the doorstep. Medical costs for seniors are a top issue. “People are deciding between their medicine and their food — that’s insane,” Ms Swan said. “Our seniors are a gold mine that we’re not tapping into. We must protect them.” Having witnessed the impact of the law for minor cannabis offences, which have “a dramatic, unjust effect on black males”, Ms Swan supports decriminalization, although she is “not for recreational use”. She also saw the toll taken by jailing people for debt offences — “another thing we must tackle, to become more rehabilitative”. She recalled pooling money with other officers to help out a lady in her 80s who “got locked up because she could not pay her bills”. “I lived it. I understand the Prisons Act. There are things we can do right now.” At 36, Ms Swan is new to the electoral fray, but has a “proud” background with the cannabis reform collective, and joined the OBA as chairwoman of its youth wing, the Future Bermuda Alliance. “I’ve always been fascinated with the political process. Living in the United States, I always watched the debates, the Senate.” Ms Swan divided her upbringing between Warwick South Central and overseas, while her mother went to medical school: Portland and Bangor in Maine, North Carolina, and Halifax. She has a background as a boxer with a “three win, zero loss record”, as well as a DJ and radio host, and is a proud member of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Canvassing in Warwick South Central has left her appreciating “that Bermudians are gracious — PLP supporters still invite me into their homes, and I have been very grateful for their input. Area voters tend to feel that they only see MPs around election time, and want MPs to be more involved." They should be seeing you consistently.” Issues range from speeding and poor roads to dumping and the deficiencies of public education. Regardless of tomorrow’s outcome, Ms Swan said she was “trying to reach out to people, to address our race issues in a progressive manner. Bermuda historically has not had people able to vent or address these issues. As a society, we have to do it.” 

December 19. The voters of Warwick South Central head to the polls tomorrow to select their new MP, in the year’s second by-election for a constituency seen as a strong seat for the Opposition. Three contenders have thrown their hats in the ring for Constituency 26: David Burch as an independent, Robyn Swan for the One Bermuda Alliance and Neville Tyrrell for the Progressive Labour Party. On advanced polling day last week, we spoke with the candidates to hear why they should represent Warwick South Central — the constituency formerly held by retired PLP leader Marc Bean, who stepped down on November 4. The successful contender will be chosen at St Mary’s Church, the polling station that could give us the first taste of the General Election likely to come in the new year. Neville Tyrrell, the Progressive Labour Party’s candidate is a “service person”: a Rotary president and lodge master for his fraternal association, he has “worked in the background for all sorts of charitable organisations”. The former president of the Bermuda Football Association has a lengthy PLP history: he ran the party’s campaign in 1998 for Warwick East, later serving as PLP secretary general, then chairman, as well as a senator appointed by former Premier Alex Scott. Mr Tyrrell chaired the Taxi Authority Review Committee in 2011, charged with bringing some centralization to the industry. “I also ran three times in Devonshire East, unsuccessfully,” Mr Tyrrell added. Michael Dunkley won it for the United Bermuda Party in 2003, and Bob Richards won in 2007 and 2012. “Now here I am,” Mr Tyrrell said. “The good Lord above has a sense of humour, because 20 years ago I really wanted this seat. God isn’t finished with me yet.” Mr Tyrrell, 67, has lived in the constituency’s Rockland's estate for 40 years, and believes that Warwick South Central has been neglected. “The Railway Trail runs right across it and has really gone down in upkeep. The roads need attention. There’s a playground between Swansville and Jones Village, which up until the other day was totally neglected. If they can see to it just before an election, they can continue. The kids have nowhere to play. Beyond neighborhood concerns, a lot of people here don’t have jobs — and they are all worried about education. There’s an array of issues here, not uncommon to other areas.” Mr Tyrrell is well known in the constituency as a long-term resident. He said there had been “no push back from people; the welcome has been very warm — we may have different views but people have been very accommodating.  "I’d like to think I can bring a sense of maturity. I have a lot of varied experience, which gives me the opportunity speak to the issues based on experience. We as a party have the interests of the people very much at heart. I’m grass roots; I ran football for a long time, and football is grass roots. I understand what people feel.” Mr Tyrrell dismissed any idea of a split between old guard and young within the Opposition. “I can’t speak to that,” he said. “We’re all going together hand-in-hand right now.”

December 19. The voters of Warwick South Central head to the polls tomorrow to select their new MP, in the year’s second by-election for a constituency seen as a strong seat for the Opposition. Three contenders have thrown their hats in the ring for Constituency 26: David Burch as an independent, Robyn Swan for the One Bermuda Alliance and Neville Tyrrell for the Progressive Labour Party. On advanced polling day last week, we spoke with the candidates to hear why they should represent Warwick South Central — the constituency formerly held by retired PLP leader Marc Bean, who stepped down on November 4. The successful contender will be chosen at St Mary’s Church, the polling station that could give us the first taste of the General Election likely to come in the new year. Declaring himself “an agent for change”, independent candidate David W. Burch sees himself as a champion for people fed up with the status quo. “I’ve always been an independent-minded person, and I can’t see party politics doing anything for this country,” said Mr Burch, who calls Warwick “my territory, where I was born and raised”. As a “grass-roots promoter of concerts and events”, Mr Burch said he would deliver the voters of Constituency 26 “common sense” in Parliament, and a chance to be heard on key issues. Mr Burch cited the airport development, calling it “a disaster waiting to happen” that should have been put to the people. Healthcare, especially for seniors, is a more worthy investment in his view. “I’ve had heart attacks myself,” he said. “We have all that wasted space at King Edward VII Hospital, where we could put in a cath lab. They’re designed with the best equipment in the world to look at the heart. A cath lab is much more important than an airport we could put off for 12 years and build ourselves.” At 71, Mr Burch recalls a time “when Bermuda was Bermuda”, when the community fabric was stronger and “children were being taught trades within their own neighborhoods”. He is a veteran undaunted by past losses, having run unsuccessfully as an independent in Warwick West in 1993 and in Warwick South East in 2012. “I once voted United Bermuda Party for Quinton Edness, who I came up with. What got me involved was changing from party politics. The fact that people refuse to change to vote independent is why I continue to drive for that. It’s the only way forward. Party politics is business as usual. They have a conflict of interests.” Mr Burch thinks seniors are "neglected by the Government and stymied by insurance companies that get you when you’re young and then, when you need them, they cut you off. Young people are beset by gun violence, crime and drugs because they need good examples, much better than we have for them now. The funny thing about independents, when we meet, is we’re all on the same page. When we start talking, we all agree. That’s why, if we come to a situation where we can’t agree, we need a town hall meeting. Take it to the people.”

December 19. Opinion, by Nathan Kowalski CPA, CA, CFA, CIM, Chief Financial Officer of Anchor Investment Management Ltd.  Written in verse. The wonders of the invisible hand, allocates goods best throughout the land. The profit motive balances supply and demand, this is one major job of the invisible hand. Less government is a lot more, let’s limit their size and power some more. Private property rights are just and fair, Those who wish to limit this, beware. Competition is the best foundation, monopolies are an abomination. Price agreed by buyers and sellers is the best, other forms of allocation should be laid to rest. Economic freedom gives one the right to choose, if you chose unwisely you deserve to lose. If you don’t like it you don’t need to buy, price and value matter, that’s why. Laissez Faire is the best way to go, governments are inefficient and way too slow. Inequality is natural over periods of time, but unequal “opportunity” is the true crime. Large corporations love regulatory creep, but more rules just cut small companies deep. Economic transactions should be voluntary, doing so makes all involved more the merry. Fixing exchange rates is very silly, they should be free to go willy-nilly. Price controls and quotas on production, will lead to much economic reduction. Governments enforce the rules and should not give and take, the voluntary choices consumers have are not governments' to make. The Tragedy of the Commons should be prevented, this is one reason why capitalism was invented. The higher the value of the good or service that is done, the more profit that is amassed by those who won. If you fail to use capital efficiently in your construction, you will suffer creative destruction. Capitalism has raised the standard of living for many this season, efficient mass production of cheap goods for all is one reason. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thanks for reading."

December 19. Flora Duffy has been recognized for her outstanding season after being voted athlete of the year by TriathlonWorld.com. Duffy was named ahead of Daniela Ryf, of Switzerland, who won a successive Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, setting a new course record, and Gwen Jorgensen, of the United States, who claimed gold at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It has certainly been a year to remember for Duffy whose career-best season included three world championship titles — the ITU World Triathlon Series, the Xterra World Championship and the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships. The only slight disappointment for Duffy was her eighth-place finish in Rio having been tipped as a potential medal contender. Duffy also produced an impressive performance at the Island House Triathlon in Bahamas in October, finishing second behind Jorgensen. “Duffy’s performances in 2016 have been huge for Bermuda, too. With a population of 65,000, it’s not too often the country enjoys a world championship, let alone three in the same year,” read an article in TriathlonWorld.com, crowning Duffy’s latest achievement. “All of which, no doubt, inspired our readers to name Flora Duffy our female athlete of the year. An amazing accomplishment considering the two women behind her either set a new course record in Kona or won an Olympic gold medal (amongst other accomplishments). Congratulations Flora Duffy!” Duffy acknowledged her award yesterday, tweeting: “Whoa, thanks! 2016 was one to remember!”

December 19. Cecilia and Michael Wollmann are continuing to hold their own in the Aon Youth Sailing World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. The local sailing siblings are eighth among the 20-boat Nacra 15 catamaran fleet after nine races and one drop. French duo Tim Mourniac and Charles Dorange are the leaders, followed by Gianluigi and Maria Giubilei, of Italy, in second, and Romain Screeve and Ian Brill, of the United States, in third. The Wollmanns got their campaign off to a flyer, posting a bullet in the second race, their best finish to date, to top the leaderboard after Friday’s opening day of racing in gusty and shifty breezes on the Hauraki Gulf. However, the local pair fell off the pace in the lighter breezes that followed on Saturday and yesterday. The teenage brother and sister, the first siblings to represent Bermuda at a leading regatta since brothers Jesse and Zander Kirkland competed in the 49er at the London 2012 Olympics, will now look to make a final push heading into the two race days remaining. Skipper Cecilia, 18, who is competing with her 16-year-old brother, has enjoyed a stellar year having made her Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro in August, competing in the Laser Radial. She is the only local athlete to have represented Bermuda at senior and junior Olympic levels having also competed in the Byte CII class at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China in 2014 and is a member of Bermuda’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team. The Wollmann siblings are no stranger to this event having both competed in the Laser Radial at last year’s Youth Sailing World Championships in Malaysia. Also representing Bermuda at this year’s championships in New Zealand is Campbell Patton in the boys Laser Radial. After six races Patton, who is making his debut at this level, is 42nd among the 57-boat fleet. Finnian Alexander, of Australia, leads the boys’ Laser Radial fleet. Denmark’s Patrick Doepping sits in second followed closely in third by George Gautrey, of New Zealand. Nearly 400 sailors from 65 countries in nine separate classes are competing at the Youth Sailing World Championships, which conclude tomorrow.

December 19. In Bermuda, all it takes is one embarrassing encounter and you’re forever dubbed “Bong-Goat”. But at least you’re not the guy called “Merry Mice”, “Belgium-Buck” or “Eagertoes”. Dale Butler’s The Book of Bermuda Nicknames, celebrates this colorful part of our heritage. “People said they couldn’t find me because I was a Mohawk Indian from St David’s,” recalled Frederick McCallan. “That’s why they called me ‘Indian’.” Albert Dyer got the name “80-Fishcakes” after eating that many fishcakes after a golf tournament. Ruth Cassidy was dubbed “Little Bit” because she weighed only 3 1/2lbs at birth. “I started writing the book in 2009,” said Mr Butler. “I noticed that more and more people were including nicknames in obituaries. Some people are so well known by their nicknames that people wouldn’t know who was dead if the nickname wasn’t included.” He signed the book with his own nicknames: “Fishcakes”, “Mayonnaise” and “Bong-Goat”. “At three years old I was sent across the road to get some potatoes,” said Mr Butler, the author of 50 books. “When I went to the counter there was a goat bonging his head against the door. I started to cry and Sinclair O’Brien took me home. When my mother asked me what happened, I said, ‘Bong, bong, goat!’” Mr McCallan praised him for preserving an important part of Bermuda’s heritage. “A lot of the traditions of Bermuda and the culture has been destroyed,” he said. “When I was a child nobody knew what each other’s real names were; everyone had a nickname. There was ‘Pop’ Simmons and ‘John’ Mills — John wasn’t his real name. ‘Crazy Horse’ should be in the book. Nobody messed with ‘Crazy Horse’ down in St David’s. He didn’t care who you were, he’d fight you. I was once writing a book about Bermuda football teams. Every single player had a nickname. Maybe it was a tactic so that the opponent would not know to whom they were kicking the ball.” He finally got help from Leroy “Lofty” Burns. “He knew them all,” said Mr Butler. The late Arthur “Weatherbird” Mills got his name because he’d sleep outside no matter what the weather. “Once when asked about his home by a magistrate, he said he was like a bird flying from place to place looking for an ideal place to stay,” said Mr Butler. “The magistrate said: ‘So you are a weather bird’. He said ‘Yes, and you know my whole family." “I used to sit with Weather bird outside of my house and pet his 20-odd dogs. He rescued dogs that people had left at the dump. He was quite a character.” His research turned up only a few women with nicknames, mainly they were given to men. “Sometimes it was a term of endearment. Sometimes it is something that is repetitive. A guy who was always seen with one beer in his hand might be called One Beer. “There was a guy called ‘Pineapple’ because his head was shaped like a pineapple; there was a guy called ‘Scientist’ because he was always trying to mix up some new type of alcoholic drink.” Mr Butler started his search in 2009. He placed ads in The Royal Gazette and contacted schools and churches, asking for nicknames. And then he let work on the book slip. In July, he made the decision to finally see the project through. “I was cleaning out some things and came across my notes.  I thought, ‘Should I throw this out or keep going with it?’ The book is selling extremely well. I had to replenish stocks in stores yesterday.” The Book of Bermuda Nicknames is available in bookstores for $20.

December 18. Sunday.

December 17. Premier Michael Dunkley last night defended himself against comments by the Bermuda Police Association accusing him of “unjustifiably” criticizing officers carrying out their “lawful duties” during the protests on December 2. Sergeant Andrew Harewood released a statement on behalf of the association yesterday, staunchly defending of the actions taken by officers — and calling their use of force “justified, reasonable and necessary”. Sergeant Harewood also claimed that the Premier, as well as Opposition leader David Burt and union leaders, gave “premature” responses to the events that unfolded with no mention of the injuries inflicted on officers on the day. Mr Dunkley said he had gone over the comments he made during his first address and while he said he could not see any reason he was unjustified in what he said, he did say that when he made the comments he had “very few particulars” to go by. He told The Royal Gazette: “My colleagues and I in government value the dedicated service of all the hard-working men and women in the Bermuda Police Service and we appreciate all that they do to safeguard and protect the citizens of Bermuda. As I have said previously the events of December 2 were most concerning and unfortunate and it was also unfortunate the injuries that were suffered by residents and police officers. They were all regrettable. As the public and the media and BPA are aware, I have called for an investigation into the full events of December 2 and I look forward to the results to bring some understanding and help us to more forward from that very difficult day. So my comments will be guarded until the events on the investigation are completed. I saw the two words ‘unjustifiably criticised’ and I have gone back over my comments and do not see where that is the case.” Asked to comment on the omission of any reference to police injuries, Mr Dunkley added: “At that point I had very few particulars of the event so later that night and through the weekend when the events were unfolding I was disturbed to learn of injuries to members of the public and members of the Bermuda Police Association. I support the investigation and people who need to be helped accountable for their actions should be held accountable for the actions.” Contacted by this newspaper, Mr Burt was brief in his response highlighting that an active investigation was under way. “The Progressive Labour Party reiterates our call for a full and independent investigation into the events of December 2, 2016. Until such an investigation is complete and the findings of accountability are made public, this matter cannot be resolved.” By press time last night, Mr Burt did not respond to the question of why he made no mention of police injuries. The Royal Gazette was unable to reach Jason Hayward, president of the Bermuda Public Services Union. However, Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, called the BPA statement “very unfortunate. I said it before and I’ll say it again. I still think it’s excessive, especially the people that sprayed the protesters. Police were not in any danger. Look at the 30-odd men that made up the riot squad. They were outnumbered more than three to one and nothing happened to them. What kind of assaults are they talking about? They initiated the contact with people. When police pushed, they pushed back.” Mr Furbert said he accepted that police were trying to move a crowd, adding: “I won’t accept any person taking a stick or whatever and hitting a police officer. There’s no way I can condone that. But this guy standing behind the wall like he’s in a wild west movie with two cans, spraying people? Now they’re coming out and saying they support these four that were spraying people? What are police coming to?” Mr Furbert also stood by the Bermuda Trade Union Congress call for an independent commission to look into the confrontation, with officers who used Captor spray suspended pending an outcome. Sergeant Harewood’s statement extended the BPA’s thanks to “brave officers who carried out their duties on December 2 at the House of Assembly to uphold the rule of law”, saying the association stood “firmly behind our members in this regard”. The statement branded the criticism from the various leaders as “very unfortunate” and inflicting “a great disservice to the hard-working men and women of the Bermuda Police Service who put their health and safety on the line each day without fear or favour”. Fourteen police officers were allegedly assaulted during the protest outside, according to the latest figures obtained by The Royal Gazette. Meanwhile, as of Wednesday, 26 members of the public had made complaints to the Police Complaints Authority about the behavior of police during the demonstration. Sergeant Harewood added: “The events of the day in question clearly highlight the unique dangers of the job of a police officer and the reasons why our health benefits should remain as they are. The BPA firmly believes that the use of force on the day in question was justified, reasonable and necessary in order to allow officers to execute their lawful duty. The officers faced a very difficult situation, and they performed their duties according to their training. “ The BPA has the legal responsibility to look after its members welfare and will do everything in its power to defend and represent its members against any unfair political interference or other unfair practices against any of our members. The BPA is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Bermudians and residents of Bermuda. Its members will continue to uphold the laws firmly and fairly. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those many members of the public who have shown their support for the police in relation to this matter.”

December 17. Christmas commuters to Britain face potential disruption after Gatwick airport staff voted for a 48-hour strike from Friday. The action involving check-in staff, baggage handlers and cargo crew comes on top of a British Airways cabin crew strike planned for Heathrow next Wednesday. Both disputes are over pay and involve members from the Unite Union. The airport staff strike will involve a walkout of more than 1,500 workers at Swissport, the world’s largest ground and cargo handler, at 18 British airports, including Gatwick. According to the BBC, Unite, which has called on management to take part in constructive talks, has said the action was a last resort. Unite says its members voted by 62.5 per cent to reject a three-year pay deal for 2015 to 2017, which the union argues barely keeps pace with inflation. It said workers were also angry that detrimental changes to terms and conditions had been linked to the pay deal. These changes include freezing overtime payments for the foreseeable future and restructuring pay. Unite’s national officer for civil air transport, Oliver Richardson, was quoted: “Our members are only taking this industrial action as a last resort in a bid to reach a fair settlement — our members have not had a pay rise since 2014. When you break down the headline figures — 1 per cent in 2015, 1.25 per cent in 2016 and 2.4 per cent in 2017 — they are barely keeping up with inflation.” Earlier this week, more than 2,000 BA cabin crew members rejected a 2 per cent pay rise and voted in favour of a strike at Heathrow, from Wednesday. A BA spokeswoman said of that news: “We are extremely disappointed that the union is creating uncertainty for our customers.”

December 17. Just under half of people approve of Senator Jeff Baron’s performance, according to a poll commissioned by himself. The Minister of National Security personally paid for the survey by Global Research last month, which asked registered voters their impressions of him and advice for how he could better serve the public. His performance approval rating was 49 per cent — comparing favorably with all four political party leaders and deputies on the island — with 17 per cent of people disapproving and 34 per cent unsure. A breakdown by race showed he was approved by 76 per cent of whites and 37 per cent of blacks. The poll also found 55 per cent of people were aware of Mr Baron, including 68 per cent of whites and 48 per cent of blacks. Some 51 per cent of people said they had a favorable impression of him, including 77 per cent of whites and 39 per cent of blacks, with 17 per cent having an unfavorable impression and 32 per cent unsure. Asked how the One Bermuda Alliance politician could better serve people, the most popular answer, from 26 per cent, was to reduce violence and guns. Next came “keep doing what you are doing” from 22 per cent, with 7 per cent each for “be transparent”, “listen to the people” and “ensure equality for all”. Other answers included:

Mr Baron took over as Minister of National Security in May when the previous incumbent, Michael Dunkley, opted to concentrate on his job as Premier. The telephone poll of 400 registered voters took place between November 18 to 25, a week before the major protest outside the House of Assembly that led to intense criticism of police actions. It has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level. A poll commissioned by The Royal Gazette during the same week found Mr Dunkley had a performance approval rating of 36 per cent, with Progressive Labour Party leader David Burt scoring 30 per cent, deputy OBA leader Bob Richards 19 per cent and deputy PLP leader Walter Roban 15 per cent.

December 17. World champion Flora Duffy said that it will be “an absolute blast” to compete in front of her home crowd after Bermuda was chosen to host three International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series events. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, announced that the island will host three ITU world series events in 2018, 2019 and 2020, although the 2020 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final went to Edmonton, Canada. Duffy, who was a part of Bermuda’s bid team, was inspired to become a professional triathlete as a youngster when Bermuda hosted three ITU World Cup events between 1995 and 1997 and said her world has “come full circle”. The reigning women’s ITU world champion said: “It’s going to be incredible. “I grew up watching the race that Bermuda hosted in the Nineties, the ITU World Cup. Seeing that first hand inspired me to be a professional triathlete. For it to come full circle and me to be racing on the roads of Bermuda in a couple of years time is just really incredible. I did the Front Street Mile every year as a kid and now I am going to be running on it as a professional and multiple world champion. I really hope Bermuda gets behind it and I’m excited to race in front of my friends and family. I think it’s going to be an absolute blast. For me it will be a really special moment in my career, especially in 2020, it will be one of the key races in the build to the Tokyo Olympics. It’s really, really special and I am so thankful and grateful that Phil [Bermuda bid team chairman Philipp Schmidt] had this idea and everyone in Bermuda has been so supportive. It’s really special.” As many as 1,200 triathletes will travel to Bermuda to compete in each of the three world series events that the island plays host to, with the anticipated economic impact of about $20 million a year in return. The events will take place in Hamilton. “The course really excites me and I think everyone is going to be so intrigued and excited to race here in Bermuda on our roads and our beautiful water,” Duffy said. “It’s just such a unique place and I think, given the amount of years I’ve raced on the world circuit, a lot of people know about Bermuda but don’t know that much. They know it’s a pretty place. But I think once they get to Bermuda and do the course and meet all the people they are just going to really, really enjoy it.”

December 17. Hotels have hailed the news that Bermuda will host three international triathlon events. The island will welcome thousands of race competitors, back room staff, international media as well as spectators for the events in April 2018, 2019 and 2020. The global competitions are expected to boost occupancy hotel numbers as well as bring in significant revenue to the island. Stephen Todd, chief executive of the Hotel Association, told The Royal Gazette that the events would allow Bermuda to showcase itself to a wide audience. “The Bermuda Hotel Association members are very excited to hear that Bermuda will be hosting the series of triathlon events as it will boost our overall occupancy numbers as we head into the traditionally busier months. It will also afford us the opportunity to showcase our destination in terms of our natural beauty and the many amenities, activities and services which our visitors can enjoy. As it is anticipated that the events will attract international journalists and press coverage this will be a significant added benefit to the island. Our members stand ready to do our part in ensuring our visitors and guests have a very enjoyable time and experience as we work in conjunction with our industry partners who have brought this exciting series of sports activities to Bermuda.” Bermuda has secured three stops on the International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series, although the 2020 Grand Final has gone to Edmonton in Canada. The announcement was made on Thursday by Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, who was part of a bid team that was headed by Flora Duffy, Bermuda’s very own world champion. The minister said the cost to host ITU events is in the region of $2 million and $2.5 million, and will be money well spent in terms of the revenue it will generate.

December 17. Bermudians Cecilia and Michael Wollmann are in the lead after the first round of their event at the Aon Youth Sailing World Championships. The siblings were the most consistent team on a gusty and shifty Hauraki Gulf, in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday. They posted a record of 8-1-6 in the opening three races, to carve out a two-point advantage at the top of the leaderboard in the 20-boat Nacra 15 fleet. “Still a long regatta so anything can happen,” Cecilia, 18, said. “Conditions were mid-teens, low twenties wind which made for some challenging conditions. “If you look, also, most teams are two boys.” The Bermudians warmed up for the regatta by training in a Nacra 17 owned by the Bermuda Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team, of whom Cecilia is a member. They also trained on a Nacra 15 during clinics in Weymouth, England and Newport, Rhode Island in the lead-up to this year’s Youth Sailing World Championships. The Wollmanns are the first siblings to represent Bermuda at a leading regatta since brothers Jesse and Zander Kirkland competed in the 49er at the London 2012 Olympics. Cecilia, who is competing with her 16-year-old brother, has enjoyed a stellar year having made her Olympic debut in Rio de Janeiro in August, competing in the Laser Radial. She is the only local athlete to have represented Bermuda at senior and junior Olympic levels having also competed in the Byte CII class at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China in 2014. In second, behind the Bermudian pair, are Romain Screve and Ian Brill, of the United States, with Jackson Keon and Tom Fyfe, of the host nation, a further nine points adrift in third. The Nacra 15 is a semi-foiling catamaran which is making its debut at the championships this year. Also representing Bermuda in New Zealand is Campbell Patton, who is making his debut at the event competing in the Laser Radial boys fleet. As one of the lightest sailors in a fleet of 57, Patton found the going tough in the 18-25 knot breezes, posting a 45th and 46th in the two races contested to finish day one in 47th. Patrick Doepping, of Denmark, leads in the Laser Radial boys followed by New Zealand’s George Gautrey in second and Poland’s Jakub Rodziewicz in third. The Youth Sailing World Championships and involve nearly 400 sailors from 65 countries competing in nine separate classes off the waters of Waiake Beach in Auckland.

December 17. War veterans at Westmeath received a delivery of Christmas spirit yesterday as the Bermuda Legion continued its drive to hand out hampers to the island’s heroes. Major Warren Furbert, a member of the Bermuda Legion executive committee and soldier in the Royal Bermuda Regiment, said: “I have been in the Regiment for 30- plus years, and to help persons that have served, been to war, and even the spouses of those persons who have fought for our freedom, it’s excellent. It’s a good feeling. I am always happy to do so.” He noted that this year the Legion is aiming to distribute holiday hampers to more than 100 of the island’s veterans and widows — almost double the number of people who were assisted in last year’s campaign. “Last year we were able to donate to 66 seniors who have ties with the war vets,” Major Furbert said. “This year we have upped that significantly. We went from 66 to 104 this year. We have been delivering gift baskets this week throughout the island. We are now on the last bit, and we’re hoping to deliver the last this week and certainly before Christmas. The response has been just excellent. We found with Remembrance Day fundraising period, we managed to top our previous fundraising efforts. This year I believe we broke the $20,000 mark and donations are still slowly coming in. We are hoping to set a new standard and move forward for years to come.” The campaign has also drawn the support of the corporate community. For the fourth year, the PwC Staff Donation Committee has stepped forward to help with the effort, donating $2,000 towards the cost of the hampers. Representatives from PwC’s “Team Santa” joined the Legion at yesterday’s presentation to personally thank the veterans and widows for their sacrifices. Anyone wishing to get involved is asked to contact the Legion at nosoldierleftbehind@hotmail.com or 293-3975.

December 16. Cuts in the corporate tax rate in the US in the wake of Donald Trump’s White House victory could hit Bermuda, experts warned yesterday. Michelle Seymour Smith, CEO of Arch Re, said: “This is one that’s coming to us sooner rather than later. I believe in the first 100 days of the presidency, we will see something. What that is remains to be seen.” Ms Seymour Smith was speaking as part of a panel discussion on how to chart a course through a volatile economic landscape at the EY Global (Re)Insurance Outlook conference yesterday. She said that US companies faced being penalized if they shift business outside of America. She predicted: “We will see a huge influx of capital into the US, detracting from the Bermuda market.” But Ms Seymour Smith stressed that “the need for the Bermuda market doesn’t go away” and if it was severely damaged, US consumers would have to face higher prices for insurance products. And she added: “The Bermuda market is good for US risk.” Panelist Laura Taylor, managing partner at Nephila, said that lower corporate tax and penalties designed to keep business in the US would erode some of Bermuda’s advantages. And she added: “We will all have to up our game here on what we can deliver here because we won’t have that easy win.” Jonathan Reiss, chief financial officer at the Hamilton Group, said: “We offer a much greater efficiency to the insurance markets and I do believe if that goes away from the offshore world or it gets damaged, the price to the insured will go up.” He added: “Frankly, I don’t think we know what will happen, but the possibility of change is as great as it’s been in my career.” The panelists identified the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, dubbed Brexit, allied to possible changes to the Solvency II rules designed to give countries outside the EU a level playing field doing business inside it, which would leave the UK without a voice at the negotiating table, as a potential risk for the island, while mergers and acquisitions were likely to continue. Ms Seymour Smith said: “If you look at it purely from the insurance and reinsurance industry, most companies are multi-jurisdictional. The big challenge is for companies which are on one side of the Atlantic or the other.” She added the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority was one of the leading advocates for Solvency II rules, but that Britain may lose its seat at the table, even though it might acquire, as Bermuda has, Solvency II equivalence with the EU. There is going to be a long period of volatility which, as we have said, is not the best thing for the industry.” April Galda, co-CEO, reinsurance at Global Atlantic Re, said that Solvency II was generally a positive because it ensured that policy holders would be sure of payment in the event of a claim. Ms Galda added: “We will continue to see some pretty good drivers from property and casualty in mergers and acquisitions.” Mr Reiss said: “I definitely expect to see more mergers and acquisitions in the Bermuda market.” He explained that, under market stresses, continued activity in the area would be driven by shareholders. And Mr Reiss added: “At the end of the day, the UK having no voice in the EU is of concern to us. We are a British territory here. The EU is due to revisit Solvency II at the end of 2018 — how that plays out remains to be seen.” Mr Reiss, who said he would have preferred the UK to remain in the EU, added: “It’s hard to predict what will happen, but there is a lot of change going on in the EU.”

December 16. Disruption is coming to the Bermuda and world insurance industry — and for those who fail to adapt and innovate, it will be disastrous. That was the consensus among a panel of experts who spoke at a conference in Hamilton yesterday. They described how a transformation of the industry is already under way, driven by cutting-edge technology including blockchain, robotics and big data. Delegates at the EY Global (Re)Insurance Outlook in association with The Insurance Insider heard how modern consumers want to buy their insurance online with minimal complication and how many companies were offering such services. However, Jed Rhoads, president and chief underwriting officer of global reinsurance for Markel Re, said the more complex the policy or contract, the more difficult it would be to “disrupt” — although all parts of the industry could expect to be disrupted eventually. “Direct consumer products will be disrupted quicker because they’re simpler,” Mr Rhoads said. “Then it will be small commercial, large commercial, industrial and then reinsurance — it will flow up the complexity levels of the products we are selling.” The complexity was the reason that reinsurance, in particular, would be more complicated to simplify to the kind of straightforward online transactions being seen in other financial services. “We are not selling a rental home, a car, or a mortgage,” Mr Rhoads said.” Our product is complex. We are in the claims-paying business — people have losses and we are expected to cover those losses. We employ legions of claims people and legions of attorneys, because of the question, is this claim covered or not?” Kathleen Faries, who heads Tokio Millennium Re’s Bermuda operations, posed the question of whether the complexity within some insurance products was “self-serving. How do we differentiate ourselves? It’s in this area of complexity. Maybe if there were less complexity — and buyers were willing to give up some of that complexity in exchange for a cheaper product and quicker claims payments — then maybe we could get to something that’s easier to distribute. Maybe blockchain will lead us there.” She added that reinsurance was largely a syndicated product and so broad buy-in would be needed for blockchain to have a meaningful impact. The panel also touched on millennials and their likely impact on the industry, both as employees and customers. Ryan Mather, CEO of Ariel Re, said the industry was attracting more talented people than it used to. “These days we have Oxbridge and Ivy League mathematicians coming in,” he said. “They understand things better and quicker. The industry has more brainpower than ever.” Ms Faries said that as more millennials became embedded within the industry, they would question the old way of doing things and the duplication of tasks by reinsurers, brokers and cedants. They would help to bring about greater efficiency and an improved experience for customers, she added. Mr Rhoads said that while millennials were comfortable dealing with large amounts of data that were becoming increasingly available to the industry, he said they would still need to learn about the qualitative side of the business. “It’s not all numbers,” Mr Rhoads said. “You’re still going to need a few grizzled reinsurance executives who’ve stepped in a few puddles during their career and learned from it. Attracting millennial talent was not proving to be as difficult as the industry had feared after surveys suggested young people considered the insurance industry “boring” and lacking in purpose. We are flooded with resumes of graduates right out of college. Perhaps we are attractive because we’re dealing with big numbers and we fit into their comfort zone of using a piece of electronic equipment.” Chris Maiato, principal with EY, said millennials were now becoming buyers of commercial insurance and tended to buy policies tailored to very specific items — and they wanted convenience in purchasing. Mr Maiato said: “They are thinking, ‘I want to insure my commercial premises online in ten minutes and I don’t want to speak with a broker. And if I can’t do that with you, I’ll go somewhere else’.” All panellists agreed that disruption was happening, whether the industry liked it or not — and that it was a positive thing for the industry. “It’s brilliant for the consumer and a complete disaster for those who don’t innovate,” Mr Mather said.

December 16.  Enstar Group Ltd and its investment partners have launched a new Bermudian reinsurer with capital of $620 million. KaylaRe will offer “a diversified range of specialty reinsurance to the global insurance market”, according to a statement from Enstar last night. Enstar is also a Bermuda company with its head office in Queen Street, which specializes in buying and managing companies and portfolios in run-off. It trades on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of $3.2 billion. KaylaRe will be backed by a $300 million investment from Enstar, as well as $270 million from funds managed by Hillhouse Capital Management, Ltd, a global investment manager with more than $25 billion in assets under management. Another $50 million will come from funds managed by Stone Point Capital LLC, a private-equity firm with aggregate committed capital of some $13 billion. KaylaRe will be led by Nick Packer, a co-founder of Enstar, who will be the new company’s chief executive officer. Mr Packer has served as Enstar’s executive vice-president and joint chief operating officer since 2001 He has also served StarStone, Enstar’s global underwriting subsidiary, as executive chairman and CEO since 2014. Mr Packer will remain on the StarStone board as a non-executive director. “KaylaRe aims to deliver superior risk-adjusted returns over market cycles through a diversified asset allocation and selective underwriting,” Enstar said in a statement. “KaylaRe has entered into a 35 per cent quota share agreement with StarStone, Enstar’s global underwriting subsidiary, and loss portfolio transfer agreements with Enstar for certain legacy business. Over time, KaylaRe expects to develop and opportunistically write third-party premium, and to participate in certain future Enstar legacy transactions.” Enstar will act as KaylaRe’s exclusive reinsurance manager, while Hillhouse will be its primary investment manager. Dominic Silvester, Enstar’s CEO, said: “KaylaRe brings Enstar together with partners Hillhouse and Stone Point to create a unique global reinsurer. “KaylaRe has great performance potential, and a dynamic and proven leader in Nick Packer, who has been a core contributor to Enstar’s growth and success.” Mr Packer said: “KaylaRe is a differentiated total return reinsurer, and it is an honour to lead this company from its inception. Through Enstar, we have long-term access to a high-quality, diversified portfolio of low volatility specialty insurance risks and supporting infrastructure. Further, the additional investment and support of Hillhouse and Stone Point provide KaylaRe with the capability to create substantial incremental value for shareholders through market cycles.” With the launch of KaylaRe, Enstar also announcing several management changes. Paul O’Shea has been named as president of Enstar and executive chairman of StarStone. Orla Gregory, a 13-year veteran of Enstar, has been appointed the firm’s chief operating officer. Paul Brockman and David Atkins will take on broader responsibility for Enstar’s core insurance and legacy activity, including oversight of claims, commutations, and ceded reinsurance. Demian Smith has been named group CEO of StarStone, while David Message has been named the company’s chief underwriting officer.

December 16. A former economist with the Bank of England has been made group chief operating officer at insurer and reinsurer Aspen Insurance Holdings. Richard Thornton will add the newly-created role to the job of group head of strategy, but will give up his role as group chief risk officer. Chris O’Kane, group chief executive officer, said: “In this new role, Richard will be responsible for leading our operational strategy across our business segments, platforms and our corporate functions." Richard will bring strategic vision, new ideas and strong momentum to ensure that our operational activities are developed further and are even more effectively aligned to support our underwriting teams globally. I am delighted that we have someone of Richard’s considerable ability and experience to take on this important role.” Mr Thornton joined Aspen as group head of strategy early in 2014 and was appointed group chief risk officer six months later. Aspen plans to appoint a new group chief risk officer within the next few months. Mr Thornton, who worked in the Bank of England’s monetary analysis division, later joined Oliver Wyman in London as a partner, leading the firm’s development of its general insurance business in the UK and Europe. He worked on projects encompassing life and general insurance, ranging from retail to global corporate and from strategy to operations, risk and finance.

December 16. Biopharmaceutical firm Sellas has appointed financial management veteran Bill Pollett as its chief financial officer. Sellas, which develops immuno-therapeutic products to treat a variety of cancers, said they were pleased to attract a CFO with Mr Pollett’s experience. Dr Angelos Stergiou, CEO of Sellas, added that Mr Pollett’s appointment would assist the company in becoming a leader in its field. Mr Pollett added: “Having the opportunity to work for an innovative biopharmaceutical company that is on the verge of final-stage clinical testing is an exciting professional opportunity and especially unique in Bermuda. “I look forward to helping the company grow in the new headquarters in Bermuda.” Mr Pollett was formerly president and CEO of Blue Capital.

December 16. The biggest threat to Bermuda’s resurgent tourism industry is the island’s political environment, according to Bill Hanbury. The outgoing Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO was speaking as the latest November figures showed an 11th month of consecutive growth in the industry as well as a 52 per cent increase in air arrivals compared to last year. Mr Hanbury told The Royal Gazette there was no room for politics in tourism, and lamented the growing politicizing of the airport project. “There should be no politics in tourism; and it’s of great consternation to me that tourism has been so politicized in Bermuda,” he said. “It causes real damage and does not help anyone. Take the airport as an example; the politicizing of the airport is really a poor move across the board. The tourism economy needs a new airport; it is embarrassing to the country to have that airport. I am not here to say how it should get done, but whether or not it is labour unions, politicians, Government, the Opposition, people need to sit down and figure out how to build a new airport. We desperately need a new airport: we have no money to build it and someone is willing to build it for us; end of conversation; just build it. If someone else has a better idea, bring it on, but I don’t see anyone with a better idea. Until the politicians and the unions sit down and figure it out the only people they are hurting are their constituents by not building an airport.” The BTA boss maintained that the successful execution of next year’s America’s Cup would also be vital to the revival of the tourism industry. “We need to take full advantage of this. The Bermuda tourism product has places it could never of got to, with the America’s Cup. We need to make sure that when it is here, it’s all hands on deck to make it a stellar event. It will tax the country and people will be stressed out, but everyone has to step up and people will have to deal with the inconvenience to keep moving this economy in the right direction. It’s given us gravitas and it’s one of the reasons we have attracted other sporting events like regattas and triathlons. November marked the 11th month of consecutive growth in the tourism industry with an additional 3,600 air visitors, compared to November 2015. Air arrivals for the year-to-date are also up 16 per cent, or 21,800, compared to the first 11 months of 2015. Mr Hanbury described the latest figures as a “magnificent result.  When I first saw the numbers, I had to look at them twice,” he said. “We are no longer cautiously optimistic, we are firmly optimistic about tourism prospects in Bermuda. This is the new normal, and we are not going back again. We must continue to build on this and the passing of legislation to allow rental minicars in Bermuda is a really positive development.” Over the course of his three years at the helm of the BTA, Mr Hanbury as well as his salary have come in for harsh criticism from Opposition MPs. But, he insists he did not take any of the insults personally. “I am not vindictive,” he said. “It’s always been about getting the job done for me. I did not lose a second’s sleep over the criticism, I knew we were going in the right direction.” Asked if he felt it was “mission accomplished” as he prepared to leave the BTA, he replied: “Not yet. We still need to get more done; we need to focus on continuing to grow this product and improve air arrivals and hotel occupancy. We cannot be satisfied with where we are.” Mr Hanbury’s last day in the CEO’s chair will be January 6, while his Bermudian successor Kevin Dallas, will start work officially on January 9. After helping to oversee the transition, Mr Hanbury will return home to upstate New York with his wife, Valerie. “I’m going to be doing some consulting work for a couple of destinations; none of them competitors to Bermuda,” he said. “I’m not looking forward to shoveling snow, but I am looking forward to sleeping in, once in a while. I will miss the BTA and Bermuda; it’s been a real honour and I have been blessed to wake up every morning and put people to work knowing it will have an effect on the island.” He added: “I have no regrets at all. We have accomplished great things. There is no destination in the world that has grown faster than us recently.”

December 16. As noted yesterday, update, political commentators Craig Mayor and Larry Burchall have published an 11-page report/analysis outlining the reasons why the Government should not go ahead with their controversial airport project. The pair provided facts and figures to suggest that the Government had misinformed the public about the financial implications of the project. “The terminal that Government says will cost $540 million to build and operate over 30 years will, in fact, cost just under $1.4 billion or 2.5 times Government’s estimated cost,” they said. “Therefore, with a cost understatement of $810 million, all of Government’s financial analysis to justify the cost, business case, and economics is totally invalid. It makes no financial sense to pay $1.4 billion to build, finance, operate and maintain an AT, which Government purports will cost $267 million to construct. Under this scenario, Project Co will receive $1,083 million for financing, operating and maintaining the terminal, which is four times the construction cost of $267 million.” Mr Mayor and Mr Burchall believe the project “must be stopped immediately pending an independent investigation of the true costs and economic viability. Given the enormity of the error in Government’s costing of the project and the substantial demonstrations on Friday, December 2, it is in the best interests of the country for the Auditor-General to give an opinion on the $810 million cost understatement, and to do so as soon as possible. If confirmed, this should prevent further and continued waste of Government expenditure, suspend social unrest, and allow Government to focus on other issues. At $1.4 billion, and with only a short and small 40-month economic stimulus impact on Bermuda’s GDP and small and vague promises of employment for Bermudians, it is difficult to imagine how this project, as currently planned, can ever be justified.” The report has already been presented to all MPs, the Auditor-General, and Acting Governor.

December 16. Telecommunications group KeyTech Ltd posted an $8 million operating profit in its latest six-month earnings results, as revenue shot up by nearly a third. The company attributed the improvement to its transaction with US firm ATN International, which took a 51 per cent interest in KeyTech earlier this year. KeyTech, which owns the One Communications brand comprising the operations including those formerly known as Logic Communications, CellOne and Bermuda CableVision, said subscriber growth in Bermuda and Cayman helped to boost data revenues by $1.9 million. The company also reported television revenues that were down by $1.6 million — evidence of “cord cutting” by subscribers, who opted for online video content instead of TV, KeyTech said. Operating profit of $8 million for the six months ended September 30 this year compared to a loss of $1.7 million in the corresponding period last year. KeyTech’s revenue surged to $61.1 million, up from $46 million in the same period in 2015. KeyTech’s deal with ATN resulted in the company acquiring full ownership of Bermuda Digital Communications Ltd, or CellOne, and $41.6 million in cash. “As a result of this transaction, the company has recorded an estimated $22 million gain on the resulting full consolidation of the company’s wireless business, measured at a provisional amount based on management’s preliminary estimate of fair value,” KeyTech stated. “Our six months results already start to highlight for shareholders the benefits we expect to see from our strategic transaction with ATN,” Frank Amaral, chief executive officer of KeyTech, said. “The operational efficiencies and stronger balance sheet gained from the transaction put us in a great position to invest in and expand our networks to improve value both for customers and shareholders as a streamlined fixed and mobile provider. To highlight our new position and strategy heading into the next year, we launched a new, unified brand for all of businesses operating under the ‘One Communications’ name in November. We look forward to putting the new investment in the company to work revamping our operations under this new name to better serve our residential and business clients.” Operating expenses rose to $53.1 million, up from $47.7 million in the prior-year period. KeyTech said the increase in expenses was “related to the increased support needed for the full consolidation of the company’s wireless business”. The company added that it retired all of its subordinated debt of $24.7 million as part of the transaction with ATN and reduced its remaining long-term debt by $3.2 million during the period. A one-time dividend of $11.4 million, or 75 cents per share, was paid during the period, as part of the ATN transaction. Earnings per share for continuing operations for the half-year were 64 cents compared to 3 cents in the same period last year. KeyTech will be changing its reporting year end from March 31 to December 31, effective December 31, 2016, the statement added.

December 16. Premier Michael Dunkley has been in New York on personal travel where he promoted Bermuda in a lengthy radio interview. The interview took place with 1010 WINS Radio Station with topics including Bermuda’s welcoming hospitality and tourism product, next year’s America’s Cup and the island’s international business reputation. 1010 WINS is a CBS-affiliated radio station which has one of the largest listening audiences in the US featuring information on current events and general news. It broadcasts to a listening audience in the New York metropolitan area. The Premier also attended the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton, where he watched Bermuda’s own, Nicholas Christopher, in the critically acclaimed production. Following the production, Mr Dunkley had an opportunity to meet Mr Christopher and some of the cast and personally commended “their powerful performances”. The Premier’s 1010 WINS Radio interview and associated links will be provided once scheduled.

December 16. More than 30 objections were made about Preserve Marriage’s application to become a charity, but the island’s charity commissioners won’t release the details. The statutory board which decides on applications for charitable status denied a public access to information request from The Royal Gazette for the content of the objections. The refusal was upheld by Richard Ambrosio, the chairman of the Charity Commissioners for Bermuda, and has since been appealed by this newspaper to the information commissioner. Preserve Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, registered as a company in December last year and applied for charitable status soon after. It was successful and charity #983 was allowed to register for an initial one-year period in early April. This newspaper made a Pati request a few days later to the charity commissioners for the content of any objections received in relation to the application and the minutes of any meetings held by the commissioners in which the application was discussed and decided upon. We asked for the same information regarding OUTBermuda, an organisation which promotes equality for the island’s LGBT community, and which had also applied for charitable status. The board’s information officer responded on May 19 by providing heavily redacted minutes from the commissioners’ meetings on March 8 and 22 and April 5 and 19. The records did not reveal the number of objections and shed little light on how the commissioners came to their decision to grant charitable status to both organisations, so this newspaper applied to Mr Ambrosio for a review. The chairman shared his decision on July 18, concluding that providing the content of the objections would have “imposed a substantial and unreasonable interference” with the work of Registry-General staff. Mr Ambrosio said civil servants would have either had to contact each objector to give notice of disclosure or gone through each objection and removed identifying material before releasing the information. He said Registry-General staff told him either scenario would disrupt their work and he “had no reason to depart from the assessment of frontline public servants in this regard”. He added: “My experience in working with the Registry-General has taught me that this is an under-resourced Department of Government which tries valiantly to adhere to the requirements imposed on it.” Mr Ambrosio said he did not believe the public interest was met in disclosing those records, but was prepared to share the number of objections. “The provision of this aggregate data would, to my mind, protect the confidence of the individuals who submitted objections, while meeting the public interest in gauging community interest pertaining to two charitable organisations linked in the public’s mind to an issue of national importance,” he said. Despite his July 18 ruling, information on the number of objections was not provided to this newspaper until November 30, when Mr Ambrosio apologized for the delay and revealed there were 31 in relation to Preserve Marriage and none for OUTBermuda. In Mr Ambrosio’s ruling, he dealt with this newspaper’s complaint that the minutes of the meetings were heavily redacted and concluded that the “starting presumption” should be that “all minutes of the charity commissioners should be disclosed under Pati”. However, he noted: “The minutes rarely set out in detail any discussions underpinning an approval.” A set of minutes for each of the four meetings was provided to this newspaper on November 7, after we twice asked for them again. The minutes of the board’s March 8 meeting reveal that “the commissioners query the public benefit” of Preserve Marriage. The April 5 minutes record a “robust discussion” among the commissioners about whether the group had political purposes or “simply pursued political activities in aid of charitable purposes”, as a source previously revealed to this newspaper. “Ultimately, the commissioners took the view that the organisation meets all the statutory requirements for registration,” the minutes record, adding that not all seven members were present, but the recommendation for approval was circulated via e-mail to all and the “commissioners agreed to this recommendation”. The April 19 minutes state: “When the decision was so circulated, certain commissioners did raise whether or not the matter should be deferred for a budget and business plan to be produced. In the end, the commissioners decided against that and agreed to the recommendation for approval.” Preserve Marriage did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment yesterday. The charity paid for a full-page advert in The Royal Gazette on Wednesday which accused the Human Rights Commission of being “at odds with the European Court of Human Rights” for supporting same-sex marriage. It also — in a repeat of an ad which appeared on November 30 — quoted remarks made in Parliament by Mark Pettingill, the former Attorney-General who is now representing a same-sex couple in their ongoing legal bid to wed here. Mr Pettingill said: “This just reflects well-funded discrimination at its best. I think it’s now become a matter I will consider raising with the courts.” HRC chairwoman Tawana Tannock did not respond to an e-mail by press time.

December 16. The Bermuda Police Association has asked for a meeting with Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, to discuss a continuing dispute over their terms and conditions of employment. But it has so far failed to contribute to a report about the issues at stake, according to the Ministry of National Security, and so the document will not yet be made public. “As it stands, the report is currently incomplete,” said a Ministry spokeswoman. “Once it is complete, there shouldn’t be any impediment as to why the Government could not release it. There is no indication on the timeline of its completion at this stage.” The association and the Ministry have been at loggerheads over terms and conditions of employment since last year, as the Government has tried to cut spending in the Bermuda Police Service. The row resulted in about 100 police officers gathering on Cabinet grounds last December to present complaints to Michael Dunkley, the Premier. After the demonstration, a working group was tasked with producing a report exploring the issues surrounding government employees’ health insurance. The Government’s Public Sector Negotiating Team, comprised of Gary Phillips, John Harvey and Martin Law, was part of the working group, along with the BPA. In June 2015 it was revealed, in response to parliamentary questions, that about $3 million annually had been paid by the Government for health insurance premiums covering the Bermuda Police Service in recent years. The BPA agreed to be part of the working group involved in producing the report, but it has “not been very co-operative in this joint process”, according to a source. The source said the report looked at “whether police should continue to not pay any health insurance”. The Ministry spokeswoman said: “The Public Sector Negotiating Team has delivered a report, as mandated by their terms of engagement. That report has been reviewed by the Ministry of National Security. To date, we have not had the benefit of the Bermuda Police Association’s contribution to the process. Whilst the BPA has requested a meeting with the Minister of National Security, that meeting has not yet been scheduled. It is still hoped that the Ministry will receive a substantive view from the BPA to complete this process.” It was not possible to reach anyone from the BPA by press time.

December 16. Gregory Grimes, a man who enforced the rules as both a police officer and a football referee, has died at the age of 55. His passing early yesterday, which will be marked with a moment of silence at matches this weekend, came after a medical emergency on Wednesday in which several police colleagues came to his aid. Along with achieving the rank of sergeant in the Bermuda Police Service, Sergeant Grimes was a former president of the Bermuda Referees Association This year, Sergeant Grimes was awarded the Overseas Territories Police Medal in the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Senator Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, hailed him last night as a friend and early mentor in his police career as a detective, who would “live on through the legacy he left within the BPS”. “Yesterday, a cherished member of the Bermuda police family put on his uniform to serve and protect the community he loved,” Mr Baron said. “Sadly, he never did start his shift. And early this morning, he left us. Sergeant Gregory Grimes personified our best, most decent instincts as people — to serve our neighbors, to help others despite the risks regardless of who they were, what they looked like or where they were from. He served Bermuda for many years and did so professionally, effectively and with his trademarked quiet confidence.” Calling Sergeant Grimes “highly respected and admired”, Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva said he had “touched the hearts of so many of our officers and support staff. He was regarded as an exemplary and compassionate supervisor who cared deeply about his colleagues, and he had a passion about policing and his community. We are all stunned by the loss of Greg and we have activated welfare and support services for any of our staff that might need them. On behalf of the officers and staff of the Bermuda Police Service and the Bermuda Reserve Police, I offer our sincere condolences to Greg’s family and friends who are in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time. He will be intensely missed.” Sergeant Grimes joined the BPS as a cadet in August 1978, and was promoted to sergeant in April 1991. During his career he served in a variety of posts, ranging from uniform, CID, and Special Branch. Most recently he held the post of lead custody sergeant. A police spokesman said that Sergeant Grimes managed the custody facility at Hamilton Police Station, and had direct leadership of new police recruits and probationary constables. “His professional commitment and high performance earned him the award of Officer of the Year twice in the last five years. Sergeant Grimes was also awarded the Overseas Territories police medal for meritorious service in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year. “Outside of policing, he served as a board member and former chair of the BFA as well as a Fifa referee. He was actively involved in all aspects of football in Bermuda for over 20 years, including youth football, coaching and refereeing. He has represented Bermuda internationally as part of the BFA’s delegations to matches held by the Caribbean Football Union and Concacaf.” Walter Roban, the Shadow Minister of National Security, said the island had lost a “treasure”, and offered condolences on behalf of the Progressive Labour Party. Mark Wade, president of the Bermuda Football Association, told The Royal Gazette that the loss had left the group with heavy hearts — calling Sergeant Grimes “a servant of the game. Even though retired from our executive council, he continued to serve football on our referee committee, youth committee and as a match commissioner. His frequent visits to the BFA office to work on his days off to assist wherever he could will be sorely missed. Through our tears we take time to send condolences to his family and our friends in the Bermuda Police Service. We encourage everyone to remember the good times, the mentorship, the quiet guidance and the confident assurance his presence has brought us all.”

December 16. Bermuda got more than they bargained for, according to tourism minister Senator Michael Fahy, after being awarded three International Triathlon Union world series events yesterday. “That is a lot more, frankly, than we would have anticipated for our investment,” Fahy told The Royal Gazette. “The fact it’s our first bid and we are given three events one after the other is actually a huge feat for us and for the triathlon association here and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.” The island lost their original bid to host the 2020 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final to Edmonton, Canada, and instead were awarded three series events to be held in April of 2018, 2019 and 2020. The minister said the cost to host ITU events is in the region of $2 million and $2.5 million, and will be money well spent in terms of the revenue it will generate. “We are looking at about between $2 and $2.5 million per year as the costs, with the anticipated economic impact of about $20 million a year in return — and that’s based on the tourism arrival numbers we have been looking at,” Fahy said. “As well we have taken into account the media exposure that we get. What you normally pay for the type of media exposure is in the millions, so you are looking at a 10 to 1 ratio. It’s that media piece that gives us quite a distinctive edge going forward when you look at NBC Sports. One of the reasons why we thought we would do very well was because of our location, in terms of television, so we can actually get that broadcast across the world. It’s not sometimes just about making sure you’re beautiful; it’s also about the timing for television rights, and we are well placed for that. This is a first for Bermuda and a huge win for all of us. These world series events bring with them 1,200 competitors to each event, which includes 150 elite athletes, not to mention their friends, family members and supporters. These weeklong World Triathlon Series events will be broadcast around the globe, including the United States where NBC Sports is the broadcast partner. This will ensure coverage of Bermuda on televisions around the world. The proposed courses for the triathlon will highlight Bermuda’s natural beauty on both land and sea. Also, from a tourism perspective, April is a month where we have room for growth, so these events will offer a huge boost for the island in that month and will result in significant visitor spending on-island.” The tourism minister also confirmed that Bermuda will bid for the 2021 Grand Final. “We will definitely be bidding for 2021 and given the fact [the ITU] were so impressed with our bid that they turned around and said ‘we really thought you did an impressive job’,” Fahy said. “Bermuda’s blessings of a temperate climate, seaside beauty and iconic geographic location have certainly made us a coveted playing field for some of the world’s greatest contests. This will set us up very nicely to be, hopefully, the hot favourite for 2021.” Bermuda’s delegation that traveled to Madrid for the bid presentation was headed by Fahy and world champion Flora Duffy. It also comprised Pat Phillip-Fairn, the BTA chief product and experiences development officer, and Philipp Schmidt, the bid committee chairman. “We walked away feeling like we did a great job, and having Flora there, of course, was a huge deal that she was able to stand up in front of a committee of 16 or 17 people and show the passion for Bermuda and the passion for the sport, saying, ‘I’m the world champion and I would love to compete in my home town’, which was very persuasive as well,” Fahy said. “Getting to this point has been a cross-ministry partnership between the ministries of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, Economic Development, and Social Development and Sports, who all assisted in preparing Bermuda’s bid for these events. I want to thank all those involved for making this possible. The intent here is to create a legacy of having that sport be something that the young people of this country say ‘I want to participate in it’ because when you look at it, the biggest expense for you is your bike. You can swim, you can run and so you don’t have to make this huge investment if you want to get involved in the sport. It is across ages and race, and it’s something that is very positive and actually helps bring Bermuda together as well. Sport brings people together and this type of event brings people together, and we will keep making the effort with the BTA in bringing this sports tourism product.” Aaron Smith, speaking on behalf of the Bermuda Triathlon Association, revealed that the island will host the Continental Cup Triathlon in April. “We are going to be hosting the Continental Cup Triathlon, which is considered, maybe, more of a minor league of triathlon, but it’s still elite athletes,” Smith said. “Based on the events of the last 24 hours here, we are going to try and see if we can work a lot closer with the BTA [Bermuda Tourism Authority] and the ITU to see if we can make that event a bit of a precursor to what’s to come.”

December 15. NEW YORK (Bloomberg) — The US Supreme Court turned away an appeal by Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, refusing to derail a fraud lawsuit by New York state against the former American International Group chairman (many companies of which are Bermuda-incorporated). Three months after a trial in the case began in state court in Manhattan, the justices said they wouldn’t hear contentions by Greenberg and former AIG chief financial officer Howard Smith that federal securities law bars the case from going forward. Greenberg and Smith are fighting allegations that they used two sham transactions to hide the insurer’s true financial condition. The trial began in September, more than 11 years after former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed suit. The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, let the trial go forward in June, rejecting arguments by the two former executives. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal. Greenberg, 91, stepped down as chief executive officer of AIG in 2005 after building it into the world’s largest insurer over four decades. Shortly thereafter, company officials said one of its transactions was improper, restated its earnings by $3.4 billion, and paid $1.6 billion to settle claims by regulators.

December 15. London insurance insiders yesterday admitted that the City lagged far behind Bermuda in its bid to carve out a slice of the lucrative insurance-linked securities business. Draft UK regulations on ILS were issued last month, and the Prudential Regulation Authority, the UK’s insurance regulator, released details of its proposed approval process, which, after it approves the company issuing the securities, wants ten days to approve each new vehicle. Katherine Coates, a partner in London law firm Clifford Chance, told the Financial Times: “It is not as fast as Bermuda. Bermuda allows post-transaction notification. If the London market could get that it would be fantastic. We want to demonstrate that we have a rigorous regulatory system, but need flexibility to get the market up and running.” Malcolm Newman, of industry association the London Market Group, added: “You can’t tell a client in this market that a deal is subject to regulatory approval. Some clients would go to other jurisdictions.” With London-based insurers already looking at domiciles in the EU, ILS is regarded as a way to ensure that the city remains a major hub for the industry. Michael Wade, a senior adviser to the Cabinet Office, told the FT: “What London did not have was the legal structure for ILS vehicles nor, then, for the tax and regulatory framework to domicile vehicles in the UK. It is so important for London to re-establish its lead position in this area of risk transfer. ILS is a game-changer if we can get it right.” Greg Wojciechowski, CEO of the Bermuda Stock Exchange, said Bermuda, which has 162 listed ILS issues with a market capitalisation of nearly $20 billion, remained vigilant over potential competition to its market and continued to work to grow its share. He said: “This is a very interesting asset class to the capital markets. The interest continues to develop, so it’s not surprising that jurisdictions that have experience in insurance and financial services would be looking at this space. Anybody that has a prominent position in the industry in which they deal must always be cognizant to any threats, potential or otherwise, and any opportunities. In order to be able to continue to develop your industry and your platform, you have to aware of these things. What Bermuda has and, over its many decades of being involved in the insurance and reinsurance industry, is that it has worked very closely with the industry, the service providers in Bermuda and the regulators to create a fit-for-purpose commercial platform including the regulatory framework which meets international standards and the requirements of our international clientele. In the Financial Times article, people are pointing to our ability to get things to the market quickly. It’s here, it’s tested, we have doing this for nearly a decade and we’ve done it based on a very measured and commercial approach, which not only provides the necessary regulatory oversight, but takes into account the commercial needs of our international clients. Competition is competition — the market has to decide — if someone creates a better product the market values, that’s more important to them, the business will go there, but the market globally doesn’t like uncertainty and what Bermuda does offer is complete certainty.”

December 15. HSBC Bermuda has decided to leave its lending rates unchanged in the wake of the US Federal Reserve’s rate hike yesterday. The bank’s announcement means that monthly repayments and terms for variable-rate loans and mortgages will not change for HSBC Bermuda customers. Yesterday, Butterfield announced that it would increase its base Bermuda dollar lending rates for loans and mortgages by a quarter of a percentage point, in line with the increase in the US Federal Reserve’s federal funds rate. However, Butterfield added that monthly repayments would not change — instead the bank would automatically lengthen the duration of mortgage and loan periods to account for the higher interest rate being paid. In a statement this morning, HSBC Bermuda said: “HSBC Bermuda assesses a range of macroeconomic and other factors in determining the bank’s base lending rates. The US Federal Funds Rate is an important one of those factors. Following the 25 basis-point increase announced yesterday, HSBC has determined at this time to leave its base lending rates for customers unchanged. We will continue to monitor the US Fed Funds Rate and other factors and respond as appropriate.”

December 15. Fourteen police officers were allegedly assaulted during the December 2 protest outside Parliament, according to the latest figures obtained by The Royal Gazette. Meanwhile, as of yesterday afternoon, 26 members of the public had made complaints to the Police Complaints Authority about the behavior of police during the demonstration. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman, in response to questions, said three of the 14 officers who were allegedly assaulted were treated in hospital for their injuries and released the same day. Eight of the attacks on police amounted to common assault, he said, and six constituted actual bodily harm. So far, only one person has been charged in relation to the demonstration. Edmund Smith appeared at Magistrates’ Court on December 5, when he was charged with assaulting Inspector Scott Devine, causing the officer bodily harm and possessing a wooden walking staff. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf by the magistrate. Asked if any further arrests had been made, the police spokesman said: “No.” He added: “The rest will be dealt with by summons.” Jeffrey Elkinson, the chairman of the PCA, said the authority would meet to decide whether to look at the “bigger picture” regarding December 2, as well as investigating the 26 individual complaints. “Those are complaints from individuals about the police officers — that’s one aspect,” he said. “The other aspect is the bigger picture of what went on on the day. We could look to see if there was anything that went wrong with the police service on that day. That’s within the remit of the PCA. That’s still to be decided.” The PCA provides independent oversight of complaints against the police and independently conducts investigations. New Governor John Rankin said last week he had spoken to the Commissioner and Acting Commissioner of Police about the protest and the police response and they had assured him they were “conducting investigations into what took place”. He added: “The Commissioner has also undertaken to provide me with a briefing note about police public order response capabilities more generally, including where appropriate any resource or training needs which will assist the Bermuda Police Service in responding to any similar incidents in the future.” The December 2 protest was aimed at preventing MPs from debating a controversial airport redevelopment bill in the House of Assembly. Police in riot helmets were deployed to the scene and used pepper spray on demonstrators, prompting accusations of a heavy-handed response to a peaceful protest. In answers to questions from this newspaper yesterday, Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva gave more details about the police’s actions as the incident unfolded. Asked when he first knew that a protest against the airport bill was planned, when he became aware that it would happen on December 2 and when preparations for policing it began, Mr DeSilva stated: “Information regarding potential protests at the House of Assembly was circulating via social media a few days before the event. Accordingly, the Bermuda Police Service started to make plans at that time for policing the event. The details of what the protestors were planning did not become known until the day. On Friday morning, uniformed police officers advised those protestors blocking the gates that they were committing an offence, and the officers encouraged them to desist from obstructing the entrances. These conversations continued throughout the morning, and many were captured on video. Officers reminded protestors and organizers that their actions must be lawful, and they must not intrude on the rights of others or impede the rule of law. The difference between peaceful protest and unlawful actions was clearly explained. Police initiated positive action to open a path at about 1pm when it had been announced that the House would sit, at which point the confrontation intensified." Senator Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, reiterated that he had not been informed of the police’s tactical plans in advance, and that he became aware that a police support unit was being deployed to the scene “the same time the public was made aware”. Mr Baron said that he was at the funeral of his colleague and friend, Colour Sergeant Keith Whorms, from 11am. Asked about his experience and knowledge about how officers are trained to make decisions regarding the use of pepper spray, and the suggestion that he was responsible for training them about it in 2006, Mr Baron replied: “I can confirm that I was a Public Order Tactical Advisor in the Bermuda Police Service. As I have reminded, operational control of the Bermuda Police Service is a matter for the Commissioner and currently it would be inappropriate to comment extensively on operational matters.”

December 15. Political commentators Craig Mayor and Larry Burchall have published 11-page report/analysis which outlines the reasons why Government should not go ahead with their controversial airport project. It has already been presented to all MPs, the Auditor-General, and Acting Governor. The full statement, broken into various categories, reads as follows:  Financial Analysis. Public and private sector capital projects are evaluated by comparing the amounts of cash invested with the amounts of cash returned. This simply answers the question “How much do I put in and what do I get back” This analysis is achieved by identifying cash expenditures and cash receipts over the life of the project. In the P3 with Project Co, it is clear that at the end of the concession Government will take back a 30-year-old Terminal. But what isn’t so clear to Government is how much Government will pay Project Co to design, duild, finance, operate and maintain [DBFOM] the Terminal over 30 years. There are two broad categories of cash expenditure that Government will incur for the project. Using 2016/17 estimates, they are: (i) Payments to operate the AT. These include annual expenses for the new quango, electricity subsidy, and retained airport services, such as security, fire & rescue, air traffic control, and meteorology. For Government these operating expenses are assumed to total $18m/year (as in the overview prepared for MPs.) (ii) Amounts paid to Project Co to DBFOM the AT. In this case Government will hand over all airport revenues, currently $37m/year and Project Co will assume approximately $10m/year of Government’s airport expenses. (iii On an aggregate basis Government will therefore hand over net revenues of $37m/year less $10m/year or $27m/year. In summary, over the 30 year concession the AT will cost: (i) Operating expenses: $18m per year, $540m over 30 years (ii) Net revenue payments to Project Co: $27m per year; $810m over 30 years. Total cost: $45m per year; $1,350m over 30 years. Government has properly included operating expenses of $18m/year but has erroneously omitted the payments to Project Co which total $27m/year or $810m over 30 years. It is important to note that the net revenues ($27m/year) will be adjusted for any payments under the revenue guarantee or any receipts under the Revenue Sharing agreement. Thus the actual net revenue payments of $27m/year could turn out to be higher or lower. Because these amounts cannot be ascertained with reasonable certainty they have rightly been excluded from Government’s cash flow analysis. By omitting the net revenue transfers to Project Co totalling $810m, Government is by definition saying Project Co will build and operate the AT for 30 years at no cost to Government. Clearly Project Co will not build and operate the AT for free and by omitting $810m in net revenues transferred to Project Co, Government’s cost analysis makes no economic sense. The terminal that Government says will cost $540m to build and operate over 30 years will, in fact, cost just under $1.4bn or 2.5 times Government’s estimated cost. Therefore, with a cost understatement of $810m, all of Government’s financial analysis to justify the cost, business case, and economics is totally invalid. It makes no financial sense to pay $1.4bn to build, finance, operate and maintain an AT which Government purports will cost $267m to construct. Under this scenario Project Co will receive $1,083m for financing, operating and maintaining the terminal, which is four times the construction cost of $267m.

December 15. A report by Bermuda parliamentarians on how to protect children from sex predators will recommend creating a central “hub” for all the agencies dealing with complaints of abuse. And, while it will stop short of recommending a complete public sex offenders’ register, it will propose a co-ordinated system to ensure the community is made aware when dangerous convicts are released from prison. It will recommend that sex offenders in the following categories are placed on a publicly-available list:

The report will be released early in 2017, according to Mark Pettingill, the chairman of the joint select committee which was tasked with examining existing legislation regarding sex offenders in November 2014. He told The Royal Gazette it would be timely in light of Bermuda coach Andrew Bascome’s revelation this week that he was molested as a child. “Andrew Bascome is the hero,” said the government backbencher and former Attorney-General. “I sent him a text saying ‘you are my hero’ and I meant it. Somebody of that significance in the community speaking out gives courage to others to come forward.” Mr Pettingill said his bipartisan six-person committee had gathered and reviewed a “mountain of information” from overseas on how best to tackle child sex abuse and was particularly impressed with an approach from Iceland known as “Barnahus” or “Children’s House”. According to a report by the UK's Children’s Commissioner, the approach introduced in Iceland in 1998 has led a trebling of the number of perpetrators charged there, a doubling of the number of convictions and better therapeutic outcomes for children and their families. It has centralized multiple agencies who were handling cases of suspected sexual abuse, meaning child victims no longer have to give multiple interviews to each agency, leading to better evidence, and there is improved information-sharing and co-ordination. Mr Pettingill said the report would point out that Bermuda already had some legislation in place which could be used to better manage sex offenders, such as section 329H of the Criminal Code, which allows for public notification. That provision of the law was not used when pedophile and former policeman John “Chalkie” White left prison after serving 12 years of an 18-year sentence in October, prompting criticism from Mr Pettingill and others. He said: “It could have been used promptly and effectively but what we didn’t have was a ‘hub’ between organisations to ensure the left-hand knows what the right-hand is doing. We need a hub where we put everything under one roof, under one unit. It’s that type of co-ordinated effort that makes a difference.” Another provision in the law allows child victims to give evidence by video link but Mr Pettingill said it was not being used by the courts. He said the committee began its work by exploring the issue of a public sex offenders’ register but it soon became clear it needed to widen its scope and consider how else children could be safeguarded. “We see [that] as a bigger, more important issue.  The he report would cover effective prevention measures, management of offenders and support and counseling of victims. It will recommend some changes to the law, as well as proposing changes in the way we think as a society. People have to get that where we think our children are the safest is statistically where they are the least safe. They get abused at school, in social clubs, in churches, at home. Until we start to wrap our heads around that, we won’t deal with this. John ‘Chalkie’ White is a perfect example of that. He was all the things you trust and he preyed on young black males with single mothers who needed help, who needed guidance, who needed father figures in their lives. That’s where these types of monsters go. The access is in the places where the children are and where they are left. The cover becomes a trusted cloak for the sociopath pedophile.” The committee will suggest anyone working or volunteering in schools, churches or clubs be rigorously screened. Mr Pettingill said: “People who are legitimate are going to understand that.” It will propose using child psychologists to obtain evidence from children and for those professionals to be able to give evidence on whether they consider abuse to have taken place.

December 15. Child advocates have demanded that minors involved in court proceedings be given greater legal protection. Lawyer Saul Dismont claims thousands of children have been deprived of their right under the Children’s Act 1998 to be represented by an independent social worker or litigation guardian as well as lawyer in Family Court. But government agencies have dismissed Mr Dismont’s assertion and maintain that they ensure the best interests of children are represented in proceedings. Director of Child and Family Service, Alfred Maybury, told The Royal Gazette, that the appointment of a litigation guardian and a lawyer for a child was not mandatory under the Act, and was at the discretion of the court, not his department. “The court has got it right,” Mr Maybury said. “They look at each case on its own merits and make a decision. We believe that the best interests of the child have been represented in every case.” Mr Dismont, whose firm Marshall, Diel and Myers has backed his campaign to provide children with greater representation in court, has branded the failure to appoint children with litigation guardians and lawyers “appalling. Everyone will agree that children are our most valuable asset and deserve the greatest protection; particularly those that are vulnerable. But clearly for the last 18 years they have been getting the very least in the system. What is happening in the court and what we see by the practice of children not having representation reflects a bigger problem; the general institutional ambivalence towards these vulnerable children.” Bermuda’s Children’s Act, which is based on similar UK legislation, states that a court “shall” appoint a litigation guardian for a child in specified proceedings unless “it is satisfied it is not necessary to safeguard [the child’s] interests”. Mr Dismont said: “The scheme has been in force in England for nearly 30 years and consequently approximately 90 per cent of all those hundreds of thousands of children coming through the court system have been represented. On their behalf litigation guardians and attorneys have discovered and ended malpractice, abuse and systematic failures, and this has developed an envied system of protection for children. Children in Bermuda have exactly the same protection on paper, yet there are only eight cases that have benefited from it. This is despite there being approximately 25 applicable cases in Family Court per week. So that is approximately 1,200 hearings per year where children have not had any representation at all, even though the law requires it for each and every one of them. That is approximately 21,600 hearings in the past 18 years. Of course there may have been less hearings in previous years, or more, but many hearings involve more than one child. The point is that thousands of children have had their legal rights abused.” Child and Family Services senior social worker Kennette Robinson refuted the claims as “totally inaccurate”, adding: “They should be challenging the court if they feel that every child should have a litigation guardian. The courts have made a determination it is not necessary. Ultimately, it is the court’s discretion.” She said that in some cases the appointment of a litigation guardian would “duplicate” work already being done, while Mr Maybury said an independent court social worker could also fulfil the role. The Royal Gazette understands that the first official litigation guardian was appointed in 2014. Since then Mr Dismont and litigation guardian Tiffanie Thomas have taken on a further eight cases involving 15 children between them. Ms Thomas said: “We have seen that when parents find themselves in court relating to their children they don’t know their rights or their children’s rights. They don’t even know about litigation guardians. So not only are they going through the system without proper guidance, but also without any information. In the cases we have been involved in we have seen the benefits of the process set out in the legislation; orders are discharged quickly, while the interests of the child remain paramount because we can advocate on their behalf. The importance of the role of a litigation guardian is also that it provides accountability and a magnifying glass on the whole system.”

December 15. Triathlon's world champions will be crowned, not in Bermuda as hoped, but in Edmonton in 2020. Edmonton has won the right to host the 2020 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. The event was previously held here in 2014, as were the 2001 ITU Triathlon World Championships. The decision was made last week in Madrid, Spain, during the International Triathlon Union Congress. Edmonton is also a regular stop on the annual ITU World Triathlon Series tour, which leads up to the Grand Final each year. The 2017 race has been set for Harelip Park and environs from July 28 to 30. Elite competitors will again swim 750 metres, bike 20 kilometers and run five kilometers. With 3,000 competing triathletes and a budget of about $8 million, the Grand Final is a much larger show than the regular tour stop, which runs on a budget of about $3 million. In addition to the elite races for men and women, the Grand Final includes world championship events for U23 competitors, juniors, para-triathletes and age-groupers. In 2014, Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain won the men's elite race at the Grand Final in Edmonton, while American Gwen Jorgensen took the women's elite event. In 2001, Australian Peter Robertson and American Siri Lindley were crowned world champs in Edmonton. When asked for comment on Wednesday, ITU World Triathlon Edmonton president Sheila O'Kelly said only that the Thursday media conference would offer "exciting news." The 2017 Grand Final will be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, while the 2018 event goes to Australia's Gold Coast and the 2019 edition to Lausanne, Switzerland.

December 15. Bermuda will discover today whether it has won the right to host the 2020 International Triathlon Union World Grand Final. Should Bermuda be successful, the island would also be guaranteed to host two World Series races in 2018 and 2019. Edmonton is known to be one of the other two bidders. A Bermuda delegation presented the island’s bid to host the Grand Final — an event which Bermuda’s Flora Duffy won in Cozumel, Mexico, in September to become world champion — before the ITU Executive Board in Madrid last weekend.

December 15. The past caught up with the present at West Ham United’s London Stadium yesterday. Clyde Best, the former Bermudian West Ham striker, was on hand before the club’s Premier League match with Burnley to sign copies of his new autobiography, The Acid Test. The cult hero has traveled to London for the launch of the book, which explores the trials and tribulations he faced as one of the first black players to make an impact on English football. Best was one of the first black stars in English football, despite having to endure vile abuse in an era where racism was rife on the terraces. In the book he details how he overcame such discrimination to become one of the most influential figures in English football. The book also chronicles the relationship Best had with legendary manager Ron Greenwood, and his rapport with West Ham greats of that era, such as World Cup winners Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst. Best scored 47 goals in 186 appearances between 1969 and 1976 and also developed a special bond with the West Ham supporters. Then 17, he arrived in London for a weeklong trial with West Ham in August 1968 — his first time away from home. After overcoming a bout with homesickness, the powerful striker made a quick impression on the coaches at the club, with future England manager Greenwood becoming a mentor for Best, who he described as the “best 17-year-old I have ever seen”. A groundbreaking figure, Best overcame intolerance and bigotry at a time when racism was rife on football’s terraces to inspire other young black footballers, including the likes of former England and West Bromwich striker Cyrille Regis and compatriots Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne. “There was a lot I had to go through, but when you embark on something like that, you can’t think of yourself — you have to think of people coming after you,” Best said. “When I look and see what is happening in English football today, it gives me great satisfaction.” Best, who launched his long-awaited autobiography at a signing at Brown and Co on Front Street last month, hopes the book will inspire young Bermudians to pursue their dreams. Harry Redknapp, Best’s former West Ham team-mate, wrote the foreword for the book. As well as West Ham, Best played in the North American Soccer League with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Portland Timbers and Toronto Blizzard, in the Major Indoor Soccer League with the Los Angeles Lazers, as well as in Holland with Feyenoord.

December 14. Bermudians believe Brexit will restrict their opportunities to live and work overseas, according to a survey commissioned by The Royal Gazette. In a Global Research poll, 39 per cent of registered voters said Britain’s departure from the European Union will be negative to the island, with 12 per cent optimistic, 6 per cent believing it will have no impact and 43 per cent unsure. Some 57 per cent of people said they opposed Brexit, with 15 per cent in favour and 28 per cent saying they do not know. Among those who believe Bermuda will be adversely affected, 69 per cent identified their reason as passports and the ability to travel, work and live abroad. A further 6 per cent said the move would generally hurt the global economy, 5 per cent said it was a removal of freedom and 5 per cent said it would reduce tourists to the island. The main reason to be positive about Brexit, cited by 52 per cent of supporters, was that it could increase international business, and that EU countries could now deal independently with Bermuda. Another 21 per cent said it could generate jobs and tourists for Bermuda, and 15 per cent simply said it would be beneficial for Britain. The telephone poll of 400 registered voters took place between November 18 and 25, and has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level. British people voted to leave the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent at a referendum in June. Since then, Michael Dunkley has claimed the split will make Bermuda’s relationship with Britain “stronger than ever”. Following talks with the Joint Ministerial Council in London last month, the Premier reported that the UK would not change its relationship with the Overseas Territories and that the Bermuda Government was working to ensure Bermudians could retain free movement throughout the Schengen area. Business figures in Bermuda have also expressed optimism, noting that Bermuda has been given third-country equivalence by the EU with the bloc’s Solvency II regulatory regime for the insurance industry, meaning firms can compete on a level playing field in the EU marketplace. However, passporting rights, which allow British insurers to trade unhindered throughout the EU, are likely to be lost and entry to these markets will need to be negotiated with individual countries. A breakdown of the local results shows that, mirroring the results in Britain, the younger generation was collectively more opposed to Brexit. Among the 18 to 34 age group, 65 per cent were against, with 10 per cent in favour and 25 per cent unsure. Among the over 65s, 39 per cent were against, with 33 per cent in favour and 28 per cent unsure. Whites were much more likely to have an opinion on Brexit, with 63 per cent against, 21 per cent in favour and 16 per cent unsure. Among blacks, 54 per cent were against, 13 per cent in favour and 33 per cent unsure. Among men, 60 per cent were against, 17 per cent in favour and 23 per cent unsure. Among women, 55 per cent were against, 14 per cent in favour and 31 per cent unsure.

December 14. Two new reinsurance firms were last month registered in Bermuda. The Bermuda Monetary Authority said Bonanza Re, a special purpose insurer, and Transportation Reinsurance Underwriting Company of Kentucky, a Class 3 insurer, were the new November additions. Bonanza Re is a $200 million special purpose vehicle sponsored by American Strategic Insurance Group and listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange. The aim is to provide American Strategic with coverage against US named storms, for all tropical storm- and hurricane-exposed states and severe thunderstorm risk for the 48 continental states and the District of Columbia. The pair bring the registrations for the year to date to a total of 44 insurance companies and associated intermediaries like agents, managers and brokers. The BMA said seven insurance applications had been reviewed by the assessment and licensing committee in November, with five applications approved and two deferred.

December 14. The Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies aims to raise more than $2 million next year to help fund its programmes. The charity said its endowment fund at present stood at just under $5 million. But David Souter, BFIS treasurer, said that the organisation’s finances were “in good order. However, fundraising continues to be challenging and in order to remain sustainable the fund needs to increase to $7 million and the board will be working towards that goal in 2017.” Mr Souter was speaking at the BFIS annual general meeting, which celebrated the organisation’s 20th birthday. More than 100 insurance professionals with close links to the foundation, from founding member and industry veteran Brian O’Hara to this year’s graduates who are just starting their careers, attended a lunch held after the meeting. Gail Martin, chairman of BFIS, said that it had moved into a bigger office, which allowed the foundation to expand its programmes offering Bermudian students get the education needed to enter the industry. Ms Martin added: “Although BFIS is noted for its scholarships, it does so much more — spending time in our senior schools, both public and private, giving career guidance presentations, helping students understand more about insurance and careers in the industry, organising several networking events every year for both high school and college students, arranging one-on-one mentoring, running summer internships for college students, another highly successful programme, and giving job search assistance benefiting hundreds of Bermudians.” Mr O’Hara said that industry guru Brian Hall, a founder and trustee of BFIS, had galvanised support for its establishment in 1996. He added that he was pleased that the organisation had grown to become a major contributor to the island’s insurance market. 

Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies

Pictured above are members of BFIS Board and BFIS Advisory Trustees: Brian O’Hara, Konrad Rentrup, Stephen Jones, Joe Rego, Mark Berry, Robin Spencer-Arscott, Terry Pimentel, chairwoman Gail Martin, David Soutter, Shelle Hendrickson, Michael Fisher, Rees Fletcher, chairman of Advisory Trustees, Cathy Lapsley and Allan Fox

December 14. Rating agency AM Best said yesterday the outlook for the reinsurance industry next year remained gloomy. AM Best said it would hold its outlook at “negative” and blamed continuing market challenges which will hit positive rating actions — which could translate into negative rating pressures. Agency senior director Robert DeRose said: “Recent indications of a market bottoming are slowly emerging, but the overall operating environment remains negative, which is concerning.” The Best’s briefing said that the strain on profitability is evident in reduced risk-adjusted returns with “market headwinds” — which presented significant longer-term challenges. AM Best said that negative factors such as low rates, broader terms and conditions, the unsustainable flow of net favorable loss development and low investment yields would continue to hit risk-adjusted returns over the longer term. And it added that alternative capital was as an additional pressure-bearing front and now comprises approximately 20 per cent of the dedicated global reinsurance market capacity. This percentage has been steadily growing year over year, underscoring why cycle management has been a key strategy for organisations possessing the capability to move between primary and reinsurance platforms. The agency added that, while rated balance sheets were well-capitalized and able to cope with various stress scenarios, this strength could erode over time for some carriers as earnings come under increased pressure, favorable reserve development wanes, earnings grow more volatile, and the ability to earn back losses following events was prolonged by the inflow of alternative capacity. Mr DeRose said: “These issues have placed unrelenting pressure on underwriting discipline, forcing insurers to exercise restraint or risk long-term viability.” The review added that companies with diverse business portfolios, advanced distribution capabilities and broad geographic scope are better positioned to withstand the pressures in this difficult operating environment and would have greater ability to target profitable opportunities. And it said that the spate of mergers and acquisitions would continue as “an important strategic option to gain greater scale and diversification as companies navigate the market cycle. But the review said: “However, M&A activity does have potential hazards and can have either a positive or negative rating consequence depending on the quality of the partners, earnings accretion and execution risk.” The review added: ”Given current weaknesses in rate adequacy, it will take optimal conditions, including benign or near-benign catastrophe years, a continued flow of net favorable loss reserve development and stable financial markets to produce even low double-digit returns. Such return measures would have been considered average or perhaps mediocre just a few years ago. The reality of the present situation is that a major catastrophe will occur at some point and the mask of redundant reserves will eventually be removed to reveal the true ramifications of current market conditions. If history is a guide, it may be more ominous than some believe.”

December 14. Borrowers in Bermuda are set to pay more interest on their mortgages and loans after the central bank of the US declared an interest-rate rise of a quarter of a percentage point. The increase in the US Federal Reserve’s federal funds rate, which was widely anticipated, was announced at 3pm yesterday. Butterfield Bank was the first local lender to respond, stating that it would adjust its base rates on Bermuda dollar loans and mortgages by 25 basis points. HSBC Bermuda said it would review the impact of the Fed’s decision. Clarien Bank did not respond to a request for comment by press time last night. Butterfield’s increase will take effect immediately on consumer and corporate loans and from March 6 next year on residential mortgages. However, Butterfield’s borrowers will not see their monthly repayments rise — instead the durations of their loans and mortgages will instead be lengthened. “The dollar amount of borrowers’ monthly loan and mortgage payments will not increase, as Butterfield is automatically extending the terms of loans and mortgages to assist customers with the rate adjustment,” the bank stated. “Customers who wish to increase monthly payments to maintain the current term of their loans or mortgages should contact the bank.” Savers will not benefit from the Fed’s actions. Butterfield said its deposit rates would remain unchanged. Butterfield said its Bermuda dollar base rate for residential mortgages and consumer loans would increase from 3.75 per cent to 4 per cent. The bank added that this was its first rate increase on mortgages and consumer loans in more than eight years. The Bermuda dollar base rate for corporate loans will increase from 4 per cent to 4.25 per cent. In response to this newspaper’s request for comment, a spokeswoman for HSBC Bermuda said: “HSBC is actively reviewing the impact of the Fed’s decision. Any impact on the bank’s lending and savings rates will be communicated through our usual channels.” Bermuda financial institutions are under no obligation to follow the lead of the Fed. However, the federal funds rate is one of the factors they consider when setting their own rates. And there could be further interest-rate rises in the pipeline. The Fed signaled yesterday that it expects to make three more quarter-point increases during the course of 2017, as US economic growth picks up speed and inflation rises. However, its forecasts are not always accurate — a year ago the Fed was indicating four rate hikes in 2016 and there turned out to be only one. Wall Street had been expecting only two hikes next year and the indication of faster rate of tightening provoked a sell-off. Bermuda insurers were down across the board, with XL shares falling more than 2.1 per cent, while several others were down more than 1 per cent, including Arch Capital, Aspen Insurance Holdings, Chubb, Maiden Holdings and White Mountains.

December 14. Juan Wolffe, the senior magistrate, has ruled that staff at the Summerhaven home subjected residents to “intimidation, harassment, threats and verbal abuse”, along with unfairly imposing financial strain and blocking efforts to remedy the facility’s shortcomings. In a document seen by The Royal Gazette, Mr Wolffe ruled that it was “patently obvious to me that the trustees and staff of Summerhaven have fallen woefully short of the noble and compassionate intentions and expectations of the original trustees”. Writing out his reasons for approving government intervention at the home for the physically disabled, Mr Wolffe accepted a damning range of statements brought by Cheryl Peek-Ball, the chief medical officer, including:

Mr Wolffe noted that the ministry had made no move to cancel Summerhaven’s registration, which would have required tenants to be relocated.. Nor was there any wish to permanently “take over” the facility — with the ministry to work with the present staff and keeping trustees informed. In addition, there had been no bid for prosecutions, and the ministry aimed to revert Summerhaven’s administration to trustees “once matters are normalized in accordance with the Act and the Regulations” — leading Mr Wolffe to conclude that the application to take charge was not a “punitive measure”. The court heard that concerns over Summerhaven predated 2015, with a complaint made to the Ombudsman in December of that year. An administrator was appointed in February 2016, resulting in improvements, but he was then dismissed “inexplicably”, with conditions deteriorating since October. Alleged threats by Mr Powell left residents “in fear of retaliation” and resorting to “retreating to their rooms”, with a sense of little transparency or recourse to outside authorities. A formal complaint went to Ageing and Disability Services last month, when a nurse interviewed 12 residents and heard their concerns. Among complaints heard was that Mr Carter had pushed a wheelchair-bound resident causing him to fall and strike his head; reckless driving, including an accident, was also alleged, with residents also being made to pay for transport, laundry, and basics such as toilet paper and detergent. Mr Wolffe concluded that there would be “a real likelihood” of jeopardy to residents’ “life, health or well-being” without a court order transferring administration. Ministry officials took charge last Thursday, with Mr Wolffe issuing his reasons for ruling the following day in a closed court session. PLP questions response time.  Government intervention at the Summerhaven home for the physically disabled comes more than a year after graphic concerns over the facility’s management were shared with this newspaper in June 2015. Yesterday, Kim Wilson, the Shadow Minister of Health, questioned why action had not been taken sooner — adding that a Progressive Labour Party government would pass legislation requiring the minister to investigate “all complaints of abuse”. “I am deeply disturbed to see that the matters raised in June 2015 by the very residents of Summerhaven, matters again raised in November 2015 by former MP Glenn Blakeney surrounding the grave concerns and poor treatment of those persons residing in the island’s only care facility for physically challenged persons, were not acted upon sooner,” Ms Wilson said. Adding that “alarm bells were rung over a year-and-a-half ago”, she queried how many patients had “suffered unnecessarily” during the delay. “We need to address any and all issues of abuse, intimidation and harassment occurring within care facilities. We acknowledge that the majority of care facilities are conducting their services with the welfare of the patients being paramount. However, this cannot be said of the residents of Summerhaven.” Ms Wilson said the PLP would pass a Protection of Persons in Care Act, placing “further responsibilities on the administrators and service providers of care facilities. Such responsibilities would include a duty to protect the patients or residents of the facility from abuse, as well as a duty to report a belief of, or information that a patient or resident is likely to be abused. Of equal importance, such an Act would require that the Minister must inquire and investigate any and all reports of abuse received. “We believe that further protections are warranted for those most vulnerable in our society and a PLP government would take additional steps to ensure their protection.”

December 14. British Airways passengers face disruption over the Christmas and New Year period after cabin crew voted in favour of strikes. Action could begin as early as next Wednesday, according to reports in the British media, after Unite members backed walkouts by 4-1. The BBC reported that more than 2,000 workers were balloted about the plan to strike at Heathrow Airport, after cabin crew rejected a 2 per cent pay rise. A British Airways spokesman was quoted: “We are extremely disappointed that the union is creating uncertainty for our customers.” The union said that 1,519 staff had voted in the ballot, of whom 1,206, or 80 per cent, voted in favour of strike action. It claimed earnings were advertised between £21,000 and £25,000 but in reality started at just over £12,000 plus £3 an hour flying pay. Unite regional officer Matt Smith was quoted: “Our members have overwhelmingly voted for strike action because British Airways’ pay rates are indefensible and the crew are at breaking point. Mixed Fleet crew earn just over the minimum wage and below the national average. Significant numbers of crew are taking on second jobs, many go to work unfit to fly because they can’t afford to be sick. British Airways bosses need to wake up to the anger and the injustice here. Not only are the pay rates indefensible but, in aviation, low pay is a safety issue. Thirty per cent of the Mixed Fleet crew have been with the company for just under a year. Crew simply can’t afford to stay. Inexperience, fatigue, and the fact that BA recently cut the length of crew training courses means Unite is genuinely concerned about the potential repercussions. We urge British Airways to avoid this dispute and do the right thing by both the frontline staff and the travelling public, by engaging with Unite to negotiate a genuinely meaningful way forward.” The BA spokesman added: “Mixed Fleet Unite represents about 15 per cent of our cabin crew. We remain focused on resolving this issue as quickly as possible without any disruption to customers. We have proposed a fair and reasonable pay increase to Mixed Fleet cabin crew which is in line with that accepted by other British Airways colleagues and which will ensure their reward levels remain in line with cabin crew at our airline competitors.”

December 14. Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva has expressed sadness over the passing of retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Alex Forbes. Mr Forbes joined the then Bermuda Police Force in September 1963 from Scotland. He served in the uniform branch before joining the Special Branch. In his senior ranks, Mr Forbes was in charge of the administration and finance departments. An avid sportsman, he played for many years on the police rugby team and was also involved with the cricket team and the boxing section. He retired as Deputy Commissioner in November 1995. Commissioner DeSilva said: “Mr Forbes was known for his skill on the rugby field, his professional bearing, and his good sense of humour. He is fondly remembered by those of us who served with him, and our most sincere condolences go out to his entire family at this sad time.” Mr Forbes was the husband of Valerie Forbes, father of Amanda and Grant (Alexandra) and grandfather of Justin, Kayla, Sofia and Eva. He died in his 77th year.

December 14. A gay couple who are fighting a legal battle to be allowed to wed in Bermuda will have to wait until 2017 to have their day in court. Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche have brought a civil case against the Registrar-General for rejecting their application to marry. The judicial review proceedings were due to begin on December 8, but the matter was delisted by Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons, with a new date to be set, because of an ongoing criminal trial she is presiding over. Mrs Justice Simmons ruled in October that the charity Preserve Marriage, which is opposed to same-sex marriage, could join the Human Rights Commission, which supports same-sex marriage, as an “intervener” in the proceedings. Mr Godwin and Mr DeRoche are represented by former Attorney-General Mark Pettingill, with the Attorney-General’s Chambers for the defendant. Mr Pettingill said yesterday: “I’m extremely disappointed that the matter is taking as long as it is.”

December 13. Global charity Oxfam should correct the report that ranks Bermuda as “the world’s worst corporate tax haven” as it is strewn with errors. That is the view of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, which represents many of the island’s largest international insurance companies. Bradley Kading, president of Abir, said he concurred with the view of Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, who said there “serial errors” in Oxfam’s report in its assessment of Bermuda. Among the characteristics Oxfam attributes to Bermuda is a “lack of participation in multilateral anti-abuse, exchange and transparency initiatives”. Mr Kading said this was well wide of the mark. “The writers seemed to have simply either looked at old assessments or failed to contact the Bermuda Government for updates on standards compliance,” he said. “The report is in error and should be corrected. The report made mistakes in judging Bermuda’s actions on complying with international tax co-operation and transparency standards. The government is legally bound to assist other jurisdictions with taxpayer information that will assist them in collecting taxes they believe are due.” Bermuda topped the list of Oxfam’s 15 “worst corporate tax havens”, ahead of the Cayman Islands and the Netherlands. The charity found that US multinational companies reported $80 billion in profits in Bermuda in 2012 — more than their profits reported in Japan, China, Germany and France combined. Bermuda has signed tax information exchange agreements with 43 jurisdictions. The TIEAs form a legal framework for transparency on taxation issues. And as a signatory of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, Bermuda has tax information exchange relationships with more than 106 jurisdictions, including all members of the G20 and the European Union. The island has also signed an intergovernmental agreement with the US on its Fatca legislation that enables the US to keep track of its citizens’ financial holdings in Bermuda, as well as a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US. Oxfam believes that an unusually low corporate tax rate should be one of the definitions of a tax haven. But neither the EU, nor the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development share this view. Mr Kading said: “Bermuda has: an excellent track record in complying with individual requests for tax information; is party to the agreement for automatic exchanges of information; collects beneficial ownership information and shares it with UK law enforcement on 24 hours notice; and has joined the multilateral enforcement treaties. Finally, Bermuda is implementing the BEPS [Base Erosion and Profit Shifting] Country by Country reporting regime for 2016, reporting in 2017.” BEPS is the OECD initiative that is aimed at multinationals being taxed in the places where their profits are made, rather than in low-tax jurisdictions elsewhere. Oxfam believes the multinationals’ tax avoidance hurts the world’s poor, the people the charity works to help. Mr Kading said Oxfam’s approach had taken an unusual approach in focusing on American multinationals. “The Oxfam report is unusual because it focuses so heavily on the money held outside of the US by US multinational corporations.  This yet-to-be ‘repatriated’ income is of course a result of the unique US approach of taxing the global income of its multinational corporations. US tax will be paid on this income when it is returned to the US and incentives to force this action is a likely feature of the 2017 US tax reform legislation. The report also heavily focuses on several other elements of corporate tax regimes, something Bermuda does not have. Both the G20 and the EU will be working on lists of jurisdictions that are deemed to be ‘non-co-operative’ on tax law disclosure and enforcement. The Bermuda Government is working diligently on meeting those tests. The Bermuda community should assist the government in moving ahead in meeting these ever-changing tests on tax transparency, anti-money laundering and beneficial ownership registries. Abir members are committed to doing so.”

December 13. Bermuda-based Oil Insurance is to pay a $200 million dividend to its members. The cash, to be paid out at the end of the month, is in addition to the $200 million it gave back to members at the end of March. The mutual insurer for the energy industry said the cash returns were “based on Oil’s strong capital position and the company’s robust capital management plan”. Roberto Benzan, chairman of Oil, said: “The $200 million dividend demonstrates the board’s commitment to return value to Oil’s shareholders when it is prudent to do so.” A statement by Oil said: “In addition to the dividend decision, the board authorised management to proceed with the implementation of its 2016 strategic plan that encompasses the following key areas of its operations — product offering, member services and marketing and distribution.” The final plan will be shared with Oil membership at its March 2017 annual general meeting. Mr Benzan said: “The newly authorised strategic plan is designed to further advance and accentuate Oil’s unique value proposition for our shareholders and I look forward to its implementation.” Oil insures more than $2.9 trillion of global energy assets for more than 50 members with property limits up to $400 million totaling more than $19 billion in total A-rated property capacity. Members are medium to large-sized public and private energy firms with at least $1 billion in physical property assets and an investment grade rating or equivalent.

December 13. A new fibre network will boost internet and TV services, telecoms firm One Communications said today. Work has started on the new network, first in Hamilton then spreading across the island, as part of a $20 million investment by the company to improve services. Frank Amaral, One Communications CEO said: “We made a public commitment to making this investment and we are following through on that promise. “Our newly laid fibre network, branded Fibre Wire, is the first of its kind in Bermuda. The infrastructure will vastly improve internet service, providing more bandwidth as well as a significant increase in speeds. One is also continuing with the roll-out of its 4G LTE mobile coverage to the rest of the Island, giving customers much faster data speeds. This is a very exciting time for One Communications and for our customers as we usher in a new era of super fast home internet and smartphone speeds. We know our customers want improved network service. The work we are doing aims to address this. We have listened to what our customers have been saying and are working hard to make improvements.” One Communications recently added 24/7 customer care service along with the addition of auto debit as a payment option, to support cable customers. The company aims to ensure people are informed where work is going to happen through a series of posts in the newspaper, e-mails, and social media.

December 13. The telecommunications industry regulator has launched an investigation into billing errors by phone firm BTC that led to business customers being hit with extra charges for services dating back a year. The Regulatory Authority stepped in after members of the public complained about back charges due to a billing error by BTC dating to last October. Thousands of businesses were hit by the unexpected extra charges. A RAB spokesman said: “The authority is currently investigating the matter and is advising customers who dispute the charges to do so in writing to BTC at request@btc.bm. In accordance with BTC’s terms and conditions, customers are not liable for disputed charges until the dispute is rectified. However, customers do remain liable to pay all undisputed charges to avoid disconnection of service.” The RAB will announce the results of its findings at a later date. Customers who do not receive a response from BTC can notify the Authority via its website at www.rab.bm. The billing error comes after BTC earlier this month hit some business users with an $800 extra charge on their November bills to cover a “usage billing error back charge”. A spokesman for the firm said then there had been “an issue” with a third-party system, which meant some bills were worked out on the basis they had 100 inclusive calls instead of 50. But the spokesman said that the problem had been “fully rectified”.

December 13. Child sex abuse remains a Bermuda Police Service priority, according to a top officer. In a statement this morning, Detective Superintendent Sean Field-Lament said the protection of vulnerable persons — in particular child safeguarding — was high on their priority list. His comments come following the revelations of brothers Andrew and David Bascome, who spoke yesterday about the sexual abuse they endured as young footballers. “We strongly urge that victims can and should come forward to report incidents of child sexual abuse,” he said. “As previously stated, there is no time limit to reporting these matters and we have highly trained detectives who work in partnership with other agencies to ensure child safeguarding. If you have been a victim or know of incidents of child sexual abuse, report them so that we can investigate to the fullest of our ability. While we commend persons coming forward and raising community awareness in brave public statements, we would advise that such statements should be carefully considered to avoid compromising potential investigations and/or future prosecutions. The Bermuda Police Service acknowledges that in such a small community the impact of these incidents can be highly emotional and devastating. We therefore continue to encourage persons that feel comfortable to come forward to make contact with our detectives, who are qualified to deal with these sensitive matters. These dedicated officers can also assist in identifying options available to victims, including directing them to appropriate supportive community agencies. However, we must seek to balance the need for recognizing and providing support to victims with the need to ensure the integrity of the investigative, and ultimately, prosecution process. I remind the public and, in particular sporting bodies, that child protection awareness training and staff vetting is available on request from our partner agencies. The Bermuda Police Service is intent on stopping the cycle of child sexual abuse and with the community’s assistance we will be in a much better position to do so. As always, any information received will be treated with the strictest confidence.” For further information or to report any matter, contact Detective Inspector Mark Clarke of the Serious Crime Unit on 717-0282, e-mail mclarke@bps.bm, or contact the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline 800-8477.

December 13. Shadow sports minister Michael Weeks has praised the Bascome brothers for giving a voice to “the many victims who are afraid to speak out”. Mr Weeks said issues of sexual abuse have been swept away for generations, resulting in trauma for many in the community as they get older. Yesterday, Andrew and David Bascome broke a silence lasting several decades when they told how they had been molested early in their football careers. Mr Weeks said he hoped their bravery would help other victims to understand there is no shame in their abuse. “Yesterday, Bermuda bore witness to great courage when coach Andrew Bascome and David Bascome publicly revealed that they are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. By doing this they have given a voice to the many victims who are afraid to speak out. I hope their words will show others that there is no shame in this, that they deserve to be protected, and that they have been failed in this regard and that is a great tragedy. Bermuda has many social problems and community divisions. Dangerously, these issues of sexual abuse have been concealed beneath the surface for generations. This is an old affliction, one that results in untold emotional hardship and shattered lives. Many in our community are suffering the ramifications of sexual abuse at a young age. We recognise that this childhood trauma is often a root cause of alcohol and drug abuse, depression, anxiety, social isolation and poor academic achievement and we must provide proper support for these individuals who have suffered. Prevention and protection of children should be an utmost priority for our society. We in the PLP support the Bascome's and hope that, in coming out in this way, the service they have done for others who are struggling in secret will help them heal. We cannot predict how any individual will recover from these injustices, but we can make a dedication to do better. Local clubs, churches, charities, summer camps and schools have taken the mantle and proactively incorporated procedures to protect the children under their care. We, as legislators, must follow their example. Scars Bermuda has outlined the many deficits in our system and offered solutions, which we should act upon, including requirements that those imprisoned for these crimes complete mandatory counseling before release. Although we stand with these victims, until we have done this and other recommended actions, we cannot provide them with the justice and assistance that will enable them a peaceful and happy future and protect future generations from these same ordeals. We must do better. We again admire the Bascome's for their bravery and their efforts to provide a safe space through a football programme for all children. They are to be commended for their work.”

December 13. Two Canadian women this morning denied a plot to import more that 10kg of cannabis to the island. Amanda Huggins, 29, from Brampton, Ontario, and Mekeela Lye, 28, from Mississauga, Ontario, both pleaded not guilty to conspiring with others to import the controlled drug, worth an estimated $544,825. The pair also denied possessing the drugs with intent to supply in St George’s on December 1. In total, prosecutors allege that the offences involve 10,896.8g of cannabis. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo released both defendants on $15,000 bail with a like surety, and were ordered to surrender travel documents and appear at the Southside Police Station three times a week. The matter is set to return to Magistrates’ Court in March for trial.

December 12. Almost half of Bermudians believe Donald Trump will damage the island because of his temperament, radical views and tax policies, according to a poll commissioned by The Royal Gazette. Some 45 per cent of registered voters fear United States President-elect Mr Trump, right, will have a negative impact on Bermuda, with just 8 per cent saying he will have a positive impact, 11 per cent saying no impact and 36 per cent unsure. The overwhelming majority had been hoping Hillary Clinton would win the election on November 8, with Clinton supporters locally outnumbering Trump supporters by 68 per cent to 7 per cent. The poll of 400 registered voters by Global Research took place between November 18 and 25 and has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level. Republican candidate Mr Trump sent shock waves around the world with his victory, following a campaign in which he was accused of capitalizing on voters’ economic anxieties and taking advantage of racial tensions, while also overcoming a string of sexual assault allegations. A breakdown of the Bermuda results on Mr Trump shows race or age have little bearing on the expectation of his impact on the island, but there was more concern among women than men. The top reasons given were his poor temperament and leadership, irrational decision-making and bullying and dangerous nature, which collectively accounted for 30 per cent of the responses. Next was the suggestion that he is anti-foreigner, racist, fascist and sexist, which was put forward by 25 per cent of those who said he will have a negative impact. The potentially damaging impact of his tax policies on international business was cited by 19 per cent, with other reasons including his perceived negative impact on the world in general (6 per cent), he is “not for the common man” (5 per cent) and “he will cause the next world war” (2 per cent). Business leaders in Bermuda have warned the island must be prepared for changes, noting that the Trump administration has identified tax reform as a priority. Reasons to back Mr Trump were chiefly business related, with 26 per cent of local supporters saying he will benefit tourism and business relations, 22 per cent saying he is a businessman and 22 per cent saying he will positively impact offshore business. A breakdown of the results shows that among blacks, 45 per cent expect a negative impact, compared with 43 per cent of whites; 7 per cent of blacks expect a positive impact, compared with 11 per cent of whites. Among women, 50 per cent expect a negative impact, compared with 39 per cent of men; 5 per cent of women expect a positive impact, compared with 12 per cent of men. Among the 18 to 34 age group, 45 per cent expect a negative impact, the same figure as for the over 65 group; 11 per cent of people aged 18 to 34 expect a positive impact, compared with 8 per cent of over 65s. In America, Mr Trump claimed 306 electoral votes compared with 232 for Mrs Clinton — although Mrs Clinton took the popular vote, with 65.4 million against 62.8 million for Mr Trump. In Bermuda, asked who they would have voted for in the US election, 68 per cent said Mrs Clinton, 7 per cent Mr Trump, 2 per cent Bernie Sanders, 1 per cent Independent, 0.5 per cent Gary Johnson and 0.5 per cent Barack Obama. A further 9 per cent would not vote and 12 per cent did not know. Among whites, 62 per cent would have voted for Mrs Clinton and 10 per cent for Mr Trump; 70 per cent of blacks would have voted for Mrs Clinton and 5 per cent for Mr Trump. Among men, 56 per cent would have voted for Mrs Clinton and 10 per cent for Mr Trump; 76 per cent of women would have voted for Mrs Clinton and 5 per cent for Mr Trump. Among the 18 to 34 age group, 62 per cent would have voted for Mrs Clinton and 6 per cent for Mr Trump; among the over 65s, 59 per cent would have voted for Mrs Clinton and 12 per cent for Mr Trump.

December 12. Finance minister Bob Richards has expressed dismay at Oxfam’s claim that Bermuda is the world’s worst corporate tax haven. And the Progressive Labour Party joined him to condemn the report as “extremely disappointing”. Mr Richards pointed to “serial errors” in the global charity’s report on offshore centres, which found that multinational companies reported $80 billion in profits on the island in 2012. He said the report’s ranking system — which showed US multinationals reported higher profits in Bermuda than they did in Japan, China, Germany and France combined — was based wholly on volume of assets, ignoring Bermuda’s good record on transparency and compliance. He argued Bermuda is fully committed to all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and other global initiatives, and scores “extremely well on all internationally recognized tables. Oxfam, directly and indirectly, appears simply to have ignored Bermuda’s internationally recognized role as a centre of corporate and tax transparency and compliance, a key ally in the fight against money laundering and all criminal activities, and a committed partner in the initiatives of the OECD on tax reform under the BEPs initiative,” Mr Richards stated. “We have benefited in recent years from a flight to quality, as companies have begun to respond to global transparency initiatives.” He rebutted a number of assertions made by Oxfam about Bermuda, stating:

Senator Kim Wilkerson, the Shadow Minister of Economic Development, said in a statement: “It is extremely disappointing that Oxfam would release such an alarmingly under-researched report. Nowhere in the 46-page report is there an explanation as to how the researchers applied their ranking criteria to Bermuda. It is evident that it could not have been applied appropriately because one criterion examines the lack of cooperation with international efforts against tax avoidance. Considering this, it is alarming that the 43 Tax Information Exchange Agreements that Bermuda has entered into with other jurisdictions have been completely excluded from the review.” Ms Wilkerson said she would support the efforts of the Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Business Development Agency in protecting the reputation of the island.

December 12. Senator Kim Wilkerson, the Shadow Minister of Economic Development, has described Oxfam’s assertion that Bermuda is the worst corporate tax haven in the world as “extremely disappointing”. The Progressive Labour Party MP said her party supported the Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Business Development Agency’s condemnation of the “inaccurate and misleading report” released by Oxfam, which has been followed up in the international media. Ms Wilkerson said: “It is extremely disappointing that Oxfam would release such an alarmingly under-researched report. Nowhere in the 46-page report is there an explanation as to how the researchers applied their ranking criteria to Bermuda. “It is evident that it could not have been applied appropriately because one criterion examines the lack of co-operation with international efforts against tax avoidance. Considering this, it is alarming that the 43 Tax Information Exchange Agreements that Bermuda has entered with other jurisdictions have been completely excluded from the review. Ensuring Bermuda is viewed globally as a credible jurisdiction was a high priority under the last PLP Government when significant efforts to achieve this were undertaken. The OBA government has also clearly committed to preserving and expanding Bermuda’s excellent reputation. Similarly, the hard work of the Bermuda Monetary Authority in obtaining Solvency II equivalency for Bermuda must not be undermined by a report of this nature.” Finance minister Bob Richards said earlier today that the report’s ranking system, which showed US multinationals reported higher profits in Bermuda than they did in Japan, China, Germany and France combined, was based on volume of assets, ignoring Bermuda’s good record on transparency and compliance.

December 12. Three times as many voters disapprove of public works minister Craig Cannonier’s performance as those who support him, according to a political opinions poll. The Devonshire South Central MP had the backing of 23 per cent of voters, compared with 67 per cent overall who disapproved of his performance and 10 per cent saying they didn’t know. The Global Research survey took place between December 1 and 8, shortly before Mr Cannonier was touted by One Bermuda Alliance sources for a potential return as Premier. On Friday last week, Mr Cannonier insisted he had not challenged Michael Dunkley, the Premier, adding “I do support him” — although a party source maintained he had tried to drum up support among OBA MPs. Mr Cannonier’s tenure as Premier was the shortest in the office’s history, beginning with the OBA’s historic election victory in December 2012 and ending with his resignation in May 2014 in the wake of the so-called Jetgate scandal. He returned to Cabinet the following January. A breakdown of the figures by race shows the former Premier was frowned upon by 71 per cent of black voters and 59 per cent of whites; and appreciated by 20 per cent of blacks and 30 per cent of whites. His support figures were particularly low among seniors, with 15 per cent of voters 65 and over giving their approval, and 68 per cent disapproving. Men were significantly more likely than women to support Mr Cannonier as minister: 28 per cent versus 19 per cent. The poll of 400 voters who declared themselves likely to turn out for an election has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level. It was carried out independently by Global Research, with head Sheeny Syed explaining: “We often poll leaders as well as current social issues, keeping our finger on the pulse of the people at all times.”

December 12. A group of architectural experts have embarked on a groundbreaking project to record and chart all the listed buildings in St George’s. The eight-strong team of students, led by Brent Fortenberry from Clemson University in Charleston and Ed Chappel, the retired director of architecture and archaeological research for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, arrived in Bermuda earlier this month. The project, which will see the team visit more than 50 properties, has been supported by the Bermuda National Trust and is expected to take a decade to complete. Last week the group worked on Tucker House, while this week they will move on to the Globe Hotel. “Building on work completed by previous scholars including myself, this field school aims to undertake exhaustive architectural investigations of the Grade I and II listed buildings within the Preservation Area and the old capital,” Dr Fortenberry said. “At the same time, students will learn about the grandeur of Bermudian architecture and the vital architectural preservation legislation and everyday practices that Bermudians have implemented to protect its built environment. This is all about trying to provide a comprehensive set of architectural drawings and reports for all the most historically important buildings in St George’s.” The team of archaeologists will be in Bermuda until Saturday when they will return to Charleston. They will then collate their drawings and documents over the spring term before sending back interpretative panels detailing their findings to be hung up around the buildings they work on. The results of these architectural investigations and architectural renderings will be held at the Bermuda National Trust’s Old House Survey once completed, while additional copies will also be kept in the National Archives in Hamilton. Dr Fortenberry added: “This year will be the first of what is projected to be a ten-year field study by Clemson students in co-operation with the Trust. Our aim is to study, protect, and document St George’s unique and irreplaceable architectural heritage.” Dr Fortenberry, who has visited Bermuda on numerous occasions to conduct archaeological work, hopes to bring a second group of researchers back to the island next Christmas. Bill Zuill, chief executive of the Bermuda National Trust, told The Royal Gazette the Trust was very pleased to be able to help sponsor the architectural survey. “This will build on the Old House Survey carried out by the Bermuda National Trust in the 1990s and the Bermuda’s Architectural Heritage Series of books which have followed. Dr Fortenberry’s project is very exciting as it will provide Bermuda with an intensely detailed record of the architecture of the town, which in turn will give us a deep insight into how the town developed and how Bermudians lived. We look forward to many more years of collaboration with Dr Fortenberry and look forward to hosting him at his talk at Waterville next week.” Dr Fortenberry is hosting a talk about St George’s urban landscape tomorrow at the Trust’s Paget headquarters, Waterville, starting at 6pm.

December 12. Canada’s new Consul General in New York has visited the island for the first time. Phyllis Yaffe spent two days meeting with members of the local business community, as well as the Governor, the Premier and other politicians. “It was really an introductory trip,” Ms Yaffe, who took up the post in September, told The Royal Gazette. “This is three months since I’ve been in the job and it was my first opportunity to come here and meet some people and get a sense of the place and I think we accomplished that. We met with the Governor, we met with the Premier, some politicians and we certainly met with the business community as well.” Ms Yaffe is responsible for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Bermuda. “It’s unique in that list of places and it has a whole different set of issues because it’s so different than the rest of my area,” she said, adding that she thinks of it as “a jewel in the crown”. Ms Yaffe, who arrived last Tuesday and left on Thursday, noted: “Canada and Bermuda have a long history of a great relationship and we want to continue that.” She said her job was to ensure Canadians on the island understand “we’re here for them”, as well as expanding Canadian businesses in Bermuda and opportunities for Bermudians. “Many Bermudians go to Canada for university or postsecondary education so we want to make sure that they understand that’s still a great opportunity for them. So continuing just to build good relationships between Canada and Bermuda is the job at hand.” Ms Yaffe, who said she thoroughly enjoyed her first visit, plans to return in the New Year. “I intend to come once or twice a year for sure,” she said. “My team is here on a regular basis.” She added that the full services of the Consul General in New York were available to Canadians on the island through the Honorary Consul and directly through the team in New York. “We are on the island if they need us, particularly under the circumstances of emergency services,” she added. Ms Yaffe, who previously served as the chief executive officer of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc, has had a distinguished career in both the private and public sectors, holding positions including chairwoman of the board of Cineplex Entertainment, lead director of Torstar Corporation and as a member of the boards of Lionsgate Entertainment, Blue Ant Media and Astral Media.

December 12. Five men have been arrested and released on police bail in connection with the murder of Deshaun Berkley. Mr Berkley, 30, was shot dead last Thursday outside Western Stars Sports Club at 1.15am, in what police have said could have been a gang-related killing. Yesterday, at a press conference, Acting Detective Inspector Jason Smith confirmed that the murder took place after a party held at the club in memory of Garry “Fingas” Cann, who was shot dead in December of 2009. Close to 100 family members and friends of Mr Cann were said to have been at the party and Mr Smith appealed for anyone who was there with information to come forward. He also called on businesses with CCTV in the area of Serpentine Road, Pitts Bay Road, St John’s Road and Bakery Lane to make contact with police. Mr Smith also made an appeal to anyone who may have information about a previous incident on October 8 on Court Street involving Mr Berkley and “other men” to come forward. Asked whether he thought the murder was gang-related, he responded: “There is the smell that this is gang-related and that the persons who were involved in his murder are members of a gang.” He said he had heard rumours that the shooter may have been someone within Mr Berkley’s own friend group, but did not confirm that was true. “That is the kind of information that we are appealing from the community to make contact with us,” he said. “The investigative team would also like to thank members of the public who have come forward so far with information. So far five men have been arrested in connection with this investigation and all men have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.” He branded Mr Berkley’s killer as “unscrupulous and cowardly” and revealed that Mr Berkley was a father of two. Deshaun leaves behind a two-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter.  A forensic pathologist will be arriving shortly to conduct a post-mortem examination as the family of Deshaun are left grieving and wondering why he was shot and murdered. His two children will never have the benefit of seeing their daddy again or having him at their graduation ceremonies or seeing them grow and mature.” Mr Smith went on to condemn the actions of those who distributed a photograph of Mr Berkley’s lifeless body on social media. “The investigative team is also aware that there is a picture of Deshaun Berkley taken shortly after he was shot and sent around on social media. We condemn this behavior as it is morally reprehensible, grossly offensive and highly insensitive to Deshaun’s family. We as a community have a responsibility to his family to see that justice is served.” Anyone with any information should contact Acting Detective Inspector Jason Smith on 717-0864 or e-mail at jsmith2@bps.bm.

December 12. A female police officer has been suspended following allegations that she took part in the protest outside the House of Assembly earlier this month. It has been alleged that the woman covered her police uniform and joined the protesters, many of whom prevented MPs from entering the House. As the protest escalated, riot police used pepper spray to subdue the crowd. A police spokesman said: “An allegation has been made against a serving female police officer that she breached the standards of professional behavior when she left her assigned duties without permission, covered her police uniform and joined the protest at the House of Assembly on Friday, December 2. A gross misconduct investigation is in progress and the officer has been suspended from duty.”

December 11. Bermuda is “the world’s worst corporate tax haven”, according to a report due to be released today by Oxfam. The global charity found that US multinational companies reported $80 billion in profits in Bermuda in 2012 — more than their profits reported in Japan, China, Germany and France combined. The report met with a sharp rebuttal from Ross Webber, the chief executive officer of Bermuda Business Development Agency, who said Oxfam’s assertions were based on “flawed economics and a lack of understanding”. Oxfam’s report, entitled “Tax Battles: the dangerous race to the bottom on corporate tax”, defines a “tax haven” as a low-tax or no-tax nation with generous tax incentives, according to reports today in the Australian media. Oxfam criticizes the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development for not defining low-tax countries as tax havens. Setting a low tax rate is not illegal, but the world’s biggest economies want to clamp down on tax avoidance by multinational companies channeling profits to low-tax jurisdictions. The OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting plan aims to force multinationals to pay more tax where their profits are made, rather than in other places where tax rates are lower. Oxfam argues that tax revenues avoided through tax havens harm poor countries and their inhabitants — the people the charity aims to help. The charity defends its definition of a tax haven in the report. “Criteria for the European Union blacklist, may not, for example, include whether a country has a zero per cent corporate tax rate. This means countries such as Bermuda, the world’s worst corporate tax haven according to Oxfam’s analysis, may not feature on the list at all.” Oxfam added: “The EU’s decision to only assess and list countries outside of the EU ensures that no European country will feature on their blacklist, despite Oxfam’s analysis indicating that the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland and Cyprus are among the world’s worst corporate tax havens. It is absolutely critical that the world establishes a clear list of which are the worst tax havens, based on objective criteria, and free from political interference.” Mr Webber said Oxfam had got it wrong. “Unfortunately, many of the Oxfam assertions are based on flawed economics and lack of understanding.  We consider it an inaccurate, ill-informed and disturbingly prejudiced attack on a small north-Atlantic archipelago that exerts an enormously positive impact globally — including on the very regions and populations Oxfam wrongly accuses us of threatening.” He added that Bermuda’s economic model was different to any other international financial centre. “We support close to a half-million jobs globally, creating employment not only on the island itself, but also in onshore trading partners. That amounts to an estimated 300,000 jobs in the US and more than 70,000 in the UK through trade, foreign direct investment, and portfolio investment capacity. In this way, our 21-square-mile country facilitates critical economic globalization.” Oxfam’s labeling of Bermuda as a tax haven contradicts the OECD’s, which states that four criteria must be met for a jurisdiction to qualify as a tax haven: a lack of transparency, a lack of information exchange, no substantial activity and no or nominal tax on income. Mr Webber said Bermuda has real business conducted by physical companies on the island, is transparent and compliant, and exchanges information via Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) and the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Bermuda also levies a 15.5 per cent income tax on payroll. The BDA added that the island’s global reinsurance market is also vital to other countries’ economic health and survival. “Bermuda is home to companies that provide 35 per cent of capacity for Lloyd’s of London, and through payment of insurance claims, they are responsible for the rebuilding of cities, coastlines and communities around the world after the worst disasters,” the BDA stated. The organisation cited the African Risk Capacity initiative, created in Bermuda to help African states become more resilient and recover faster from natural disasters, as an example of how the island is helping the world’s vulnerable. It added that Blue Marble Microinsurance, which involves a consortium of eight insurance companies with operations in Bermuda, had joint ventures designed to close the protection gap in the developing world, including its first venture in Zimbabwe. Mr Webber added: “Oxfam’s assertions may make great headlines, but they just don’t reflect economic reality. Cross-border trade via multinational enterprises is the fuel that keeps global financial systems running smoothly.” 

Oxfam’s top 15 tax havens:

December 11. The Bermuda Tourism Authority has highlighted the positive coverage Bermuda has been receiving across the travel industry media. Many world famous magazines are touting the island as one of the best places to visit in 2017, according to a press release. Bermuda appears on the cover of Frommer’s which included the island in its “Best Places to Go in 2017” feature. Frommer’s is one of many publications praising the island in the past few weeks. Travel and Leisure included Bermuda in its “50 Best Places to Travel” in 2017, Afar put the island on its “Where to Go in 2017” list and Lonely Planet did the same on its “Best in Travel 2017” list. “We are thrilled Bermuda is being recognized for the alluring destination it is,” said Bermuda Tourism Authority chief sales and marketing officer Victoria Isley. “While we lead the charge in sharing Bermuda’s story with the world, it’s our industry partners and the Bermudian people out here that deliver genuine hospitality and distinct experiences daily. These travel industry accolades belong to our entire tourism industry. On behalf of the team at the BTA we say, ‘congratulations’ to them. It’s rewarding for all the hard work put in this year and a precursor to what we hope is a stellar 2017.” Vacation air arrivals so far this year are at their highest level since 2008. Frommer’s editorial director Pauline Frommer said: “We’re huge fans of Bermuda at Frommer’s, and think it’s a wonderful place to visit any year. But this year, thanks to all of the recent development, and the America’s Cup, we think it’s going to be a particularly spectacular time to go. That’s why our global team of authors and editors chose Bermuda for this honour.” Meantime, Bermuda is in the running for the Travel and Leisure World’s Best Awards 2017. Readers of the magazine, and travelers in general, are encouraged to vote for their favourite destinations online. Bermuda made the nomination ballot and travelers can vote for Bermuda in the Best Island category. The latest accolades for 2017 come on the heels of similar honours for the island over the past two years from Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report and Outside Magazine, which named Bermuda Best Island for 2015 in acknowledgement of the island’s fit for adventure travelers.

December 11. Two men have been found guilty of shooting and torturing millionaire businessman Timothy Mardon in a raid on his UK countryside mansion. Charlie Simms and Christopher Bergin targeted Mr Mardon, 51, after mistakenly believing he was using his Georgian property in Essex as a large-scale cannabis factory, according to reports in the British press. The Daily Mirror reported that, after the verdict, father of two Mr Mardon — division president at Chubb Tempest Re Bermuda — thanked emergency services for saving his life and his leg. In a statement with his wife Sarah, Mr Mardon said: “Firstly we would like to extend our thanks to all the officers, paramedics and emergency services who responded on the night of the burglary, and medical staff at Colchester and Addenbrooks hospitals who saved both Tim’s life and his leg. “We are satisfied that Simms and Bergin have been found guilty. They directly caused harm to our family, and they will serve appropriate prison terms.” Chelmsford Crown Court had been told how Mr Mardon heard the raiders breaking into The Old Rectory in the leafy village of Sible Hedingham and phoned 999, telling police about his ordeal. Armed officers were scrambled but were unable to reach the scene for more than 40 minutes and the businessman, who locked himself behind a bedroom door, was blasted in the leg with a shotgun. His ordeal was captured on an audio recording, including the moment gunman Simms counted down from 10, telling Mr Mardon he would kill him unless he told them where the safe was. Mr Mardon’s young daughters could be heard on the tape pleading with the crazed gunman who was screaming at him, demanding to know where “the drugs money” was kept. Mr Mardon was left bleeding on the ground and the pair escaped with a watch worth $3,000 and a few hundred pounds in foreign currency. Simms, 23, and Bergin, 27, denied a string of charges but were found guilty following a seven-week trial. A third man, Kalebh Shreeve, 24, was cleared of being involved in the shocking raid. During the trial, it emerged Simms and Berin had been at a house party in the village and drank heavily and smoked drugs before deciding on a whim to raid The Old Rectory. Simms, who wore a stocking mask during the raid, was convicted of attempted murder after the businessman suffered life-changing injuries due to the shotgun wound and now walks with a stick. Mr Mardon took to the witness stand to recount the events from February 6, telling a jury of seven men and five women how he had pleaded for his life. He said: “The person started screaming at me and pointing the gun at my head and threatening me. He was very, very aggressive. He was yelling at me in a very threatening fashion. The first thing he started yelling was, ‘Where is the weed money?’ I think I said, ‘I don’t deal weed, I work for an insurance company. He was pointing the gun directly at my head and threatening me. He basically said he would kill me if I did not talk.” The Daily Mirror quoted DCI Leighton Hammett, of Essex Police: “This was an extremely violent crime which left a man fighting for his life. Charlie Simms and Christopher Bergin are violent, dangerous men and Essex will be a safer place with them off the streets. This was not a premeditated attack but one conjured up on a whim following a night of heavy drinking and smoking drugs. It was an attack based on the fictional notion drugs were being grown at the victim’s house. It is galling that they were prepared to use this level of extreme violence with such little thought and paid such little regard for the welfare of the victim. Mr Mardon was left bleeding to death and if it were not for the quick-thinking of the officers at the scene to use a tourniquet on his injury, doctors say he would have died.” The jury unanimously found Simms, of Great Yeldham, guilty of attempted murder, aggravated burglary, and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Bergin, of Halstead, was guilty of aggravated burglary, wounding with intent and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. They will be sentenced at a later date.

December 10. Former Premier Craig Cannonier categorically denied last night that he planned any leadership bid against Premier Michael Dunkley. This came despite a party source maintaining that the Minister of Public Works had tried to drum up support among One Bermuda Alliance MPs. “I have not challenged the Premier and I do support him,” Mr Cannonier told The Royal Gazette yesterday, after declining to comment when approached by this newspaper on Thursday. It closes a rough week for Mr Dunkley, after many in his political team decried police tactics used on protesters who blocked Parliament on December 2, ending with the House of Assembly being cancelled until next year. The Senate will continue on Monday nonetheless — but the calling off of Parliament until February leaves a raft of legislation on hold. One casualty has been casino legislation: Nandi Outerbridge, party whip for the One Bermuda Alliance, said the resumption of the House will enable debate on two Bills covering their regulations. “In order to maintain Bermuda’s role as a premier business jurisdiction, we will take up Bills relating to corporate service providers and the USA Bermuda Tax Convention,” she said. “The introduction of the Land Title Registry, which has been in the works for several years, will also be brought forward.” The Bermuda Airport Authority and the Bermuda Airport Redevelopment Concession Act, the two pieces of legislation that prompted calls for demonstrations on the House, remain on the order sheet. Although MPs have agreed to return to Parliament on February 3, the airport Bills will not necessarily feature as the first order of business: other items include the Bermuda Health Council Act relating to licensing and high-risk medical technology, and amendments to the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Quarantine Act. However, according to the recently released schedules on the airport agreement, the Bermuda Government’s initial Airport Development Agreement, signed with Canadian Commercial Corporation on August 24, 2015, comes with an expiry date of March 31, 2017 — unless the two parties resolve to extend it. In any event, February is Budget season — meaning an intensely busy session for legislators. In the meantime, the Upper House on Monday will debate the Motor Car Amendment (No. 2) Act 2016, which covers the renting of minicars, and the Proceeds of Crime Amendment (No. 3) Act 2016, which strengthens anti-laundering and antiterrorism financing regulations by covering dealers in various high-value goods.

December 10. John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth and whose space capsule went on display in Bermuda after the mission, has died at the age of 95. The US Air Force veteran and astronaut, who also served as a senator for Ohio, made history in February 1962 when he flew three times around the planet — a mission that nearly wasn’t, after a computer error at the Bermuda station just before blast-off. The island enjoyed a special place in the pioneer days of the space race between the US and USSR, courtesy of the NASA tracking station on Cooper’s Island. The Atlas rocket booster blasted over Bermuda minutes after its launch from Florida — with fellow Mercury astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom talking him through the mission from the local base. Mr Glenn was the fifth person in space when he made the journey in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7, which attained speeds of more than 17,000mph before returning to Earth in a splashdown 800 miles southeast of the island. “We put it on display here, so the first place it went on show to the public was at City Hall,” JR Hendrickson, an official at the old NASA tracking station on Cooper’s Island, told the Mid-Ocean News in 1997 as the facility prepared to close down. Mr Glenn died on Thursday, and is to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Senator John Glenn RIP

Senator John Glenn, RIP

December 10. The Institute of Bermuda Architects and the Ministry of Health and Seniors joined forces to organise an accessibility tour of Hamilton, highlighting challenges faced by people who are differently abled. Held on Friday in honour of UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, members of the Bermuda Government, the Bermuda Society of Interior Designers, architects and other groups were guided around the city by Keith Simmons, the accessibility officer, and were exposed to accessibility challenges first hand. An IBA spokeswoman said: “Tour guests were provided with an informative guided tour of the accessibility features of a number of Hamilton’s most noteworthy buildings and given an insight into how the city feels to navigate for someone who is differently abled. Mr Simmons singled out Vineyard Vines for accessible design in their Front Street store, particularly the installation of a foldaway mechanical lift that allows differently abled people, those with strollers, and persons who just need a little help negotiating risers to move around the entire store without contending with stairs.” However, Mr Simmons also drew attention to several areas where Hamilton lags behind other cities, suggesting how they could be addressed. “It is not only buildings that can present issues, but also city planning, too,” the spokeswoman said. “Some pavements are still poorly designed for those in wheelchairs, with high kerbs or grates preventing clear access at crossings, such as on Par-la-Ville Road.” Vanessa Daniel, chair of the IBA Continuing Professional Development Committee, said the organisation was pleased to work with Mr Simmons as part of an effort to raise awareness of issues faced by differently abled members of the community. “Design is about critical thinking and choices,” she said. “This year we partnered with Keith to give our members the learning opportunity to experience accessibility issues and successes from the point of view of a differently abled person. After all, accessibility is more than just providing access, it involves thoughtful design.” Mr Simmons added: “The accessibility tour of Hamilton provides a unique perspective for Bermuda’s design and construction industry, reminding us of how Hamilton looks to those who are differently abled. Accessible features can be easily added to existing buildings and tour participants saw inventive ways to do so, so that we can make Bermuda accessible for everyone.”

December 10. Purvis Primary School has come under fire from parents over claims children had been made to line up en masse in the parking lot throughout morning recess and eat fruit quietly until class resumes. One parent said she was “shocked” at “the antiquated system of command and control”. She claimed that her son went missing during recess and when she approached a teacher she was told if “she wanted to supervise her own child at school she was welcome”. The mother said that her eight-year-old son had been repeatedly put in detention for talking and being “defiant” during the recess period and that he had lost self esteem, believing he was “a bad boy”. She said when she raised the issue with the principal, Judith Alexander, solutions were not forthcoming. The issue was highlighted in a Facebook post on MAJ’s List page which has so far attracted 135 comments — mostly expressing outrage at the allegations. The Department of Education failed to answer a number of questions put to it by this newspaper including whether it could confirm the practice took place and how long it had been implemented, whether it deemed the practice acceptable and whether it intended to address concerns by the parent and the sentiments expressed online. A spokeswoman responded: “The Department of Education’s policy is that recess is an expectation for primary schoolchildren to enjoy every day. Our principals are juggling schedules and curricular priorities to ensure that expectation is implemented daily. However, there are occasions when a school principal must revise schedules.” The parent, who said it was her understanding that the practice had been going on for two years, told The Royal Gazette: “I went in to meet with the principal and she said they knew that it was my child, what the post was about and that the teachers were very upset. I asked why there would be cause for concern if there was nothing wrong with the process. To me it is just such an antiquated system of command and control and sadly it affects the children. I was shocked by the fact that they looked like they were being punished. They are meant to stand in a line and eat. They can talk as long as it is quiet but if they are too loud they will get detention. My son has had detention after detention this year because of talking. Every week he is telling me about having to sit in at lunch or recess because he was talking or being defiant in morning recess. My son is no angel but he is not boisterous — he is talkative and needs a window to talk before lunch. For me the problem is that my son has developed an understanding that he is a bad boy, he is bad at school, he is not applying himself. I don’t think it is an environment where my child can thrive. There was nothing satisfactory about the answers I got — the principal said the concerns were that they could choke on their fruit when they are running. She didn’t indicate that it would be something they were changing and she said if I had any solutions I could raise them.” According to the mother, the Parent Teacher Association at the school is inactive and so her options are limited but she did say she would be raising her concerns with the department. Unable to afford to send her Bermudian child to a private school, the mother is now considering moving overseas so her son can be educated elsewhere. Chris Crumpler, whose name is noted as a potential future PTA president, told this newspaper: “Any disputes were last year and there isn’t anything that seems alarming to me but I will inquire, for sure.” Another relative of a student attending the school contacted this newspaper to complain students had been told to “shut up, sit down and stay still”. Ms Alexander directed us to the Department of Education. The department did not respond to questions sent by this newspaper relating to the issues.

Purvis Primary School

Purvis Primary School

December 10. The Bermuda Football Association (BFA) is urging those who are aware of sexual abuse in football to report it immediately. The association issued a statement yesterday in response to an article in The Royal Gazette when Maceo Dill, a long-time youth coach, lifted the lid on the problem in the local game. Dill said he is aware of several former players who have suffered sexual abuse by people in positions of trust in football clubs. He said the problem has been going on for years. Yesterday, the BFA, which has an association with the help group Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, assured that policies were in place to deal immediately with situations of abuse within football. “The suggestion that youth football players, involved with local football programmes, have been subject to any form of abuse is alarming and the Bermuda Football Association implores those who are aware of cases of abuse to do their duty and report such abuse to the authorities,” the association said in a statement. “Through the BFA Club Licensing Policy, Scars training is an integral part of being awarded a licence. In fact, some of our clubs are ahead of the curve by ensuring all those working with children and youth are Scars-trained. “In this regard, our clubs have accepted their role in the protection of children and young people under their influence. While it may be difficult or impossible in some cases to undo any past indiscretions, we will certainly do all we can to ensure any such incidents don’t happen in the future. If such an incident does happen, then we have the mechanisms in place to deal with it immediately and not wait years and decades, or sweep it under the carpet. Additionally, while we want and expect that our clubs under the guidance of our club administrators and coaches remain safe havens for youth development, we implore parents and guardians to become, and to remain, active participants in the lives of their children. Parents and guardians should and must also become active members in their children’s club programme.” Recent articles of child sex abuse within English football drew attention to the issue, prompting Dill to speak out after the shocking revelations in England over the past few weeks. He said local clubs have been a breeding ground for sexual predators looking to prey on vulnerable youngsters. “I absolutely know people in Bermuda who have been sexually abused by people directly related to the football clubs,” said Dill, who has served as a youth director and is now a technical assistant at the ABC Football School. “The ages of these people vary and that tells you this problem has been around for decades. I’ve interacted with victims and the horror and hell that they live with is overwhelming. Some of the things that I’ve heard are shocking and I’m not the only one who knows.” In England more than 20 former players have come forward to speak about their ordeals. The Football Association announced an internal review, with about 350 people alleging that they were victims, and 55 amateur and professional clubs were linked to the allegations of abuse. “There is still not enough support with the clubs, within Bermuda as a society, for these people to feel comfortable telling their story,” Dill said.

December 10. Rob Greenhalgh held off the charging Dylan Fletcher-Scott to retain his MS Amlin International Moth Regatta title in the Great Sound yesterday. The regatta remained wide open heading into the 12th and final race with Greenhalgh, the overnight leader and defending champion, desperately clinging to a one-point advantage over nearest rival and compatriot Fletcher-Scott after the second drop came into play. What ensued was another classic match race between the two men for all of the marbles. Both sailors split tacks coming off the start with Greenhalgh opting for the right side of the course and Fletcher-Scott the left. Fletcher -Scott held a slight advantage after the two sailors crossed midway up the first beat. However, Greenhalgh snatched the lead near the top mark after nailing a wind shift and kept clean air on his sail the rest of the way to successfully defend his title and claim the $5,000 winner’s purse. “I was ahead going into the last race and basically either had to make sure he was third or worst or beat him,” Greenhalgh said. “I lost my rudder just at the start so I had a bad start. But I was going quick so I charged through to go ahead of him maybe at the top mark and then kept my eye on him and covered him up the next beat. Luckily, Goody (Moth World Champion Paul Goodison) and Hivey (David Hivey) were away so it was unlikely he was going to do better than third.” Greenhalgh finished third in the final race and Fletcher-Scott fifth, securing the former regatta honours by a three-point margin. “To see the tussle at the top between Rob and Dylan was excellent,” said David Campbell-James, the principal race officer and father of Land Rover Bar wing trimmer Paul Campbell-James. “It was pretty gripping for anyone watching.” Greenhalgh’s victory almost never happened as Fletcher-Scott came agonizingly close to clinching the series. A 1-4 finish in the day’s opening two races put Fletcher-Scott back on top after discarding his two worst scores and he was on the way to extending his lead in the third race before the wind dropped out, forcing the race committee to abandon the race. “I think if that had carried on he’d probably would have had it sealed by then,” Greenhalgh said. “That got canned and the wind got back in, which was good.” Greenhalgh regained the lead of the regatta after finishing two boats ahead of his nearest rival when the third and penultimate race was finally completed and then closed the deal in the regatta finale. “It was awesome fun this week and I pushed Rob,” Fletcher-Scott said. “I’ve never been so hard in the Moth. Rob and I have a huge amount of respect for each other. We are good mates and it was awesome to be hammering that close to each other all the way around the track. Today the results weren’t as good but that was only because we were match racing. The last race we sailed the complete wrong side to everyone else because it was just who beat who. It was basically who beat who and he was just a little quicker than me today.” Hivey rounded off the podium in third while Benn Smith was the top local sailor and 28th in the overall 50-boat fleet. Narrowly missing out on the podium was Ben Paton, a sailing coach at regatta hosts the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, who finished fourth competing for England.

Moth racing

Moth racing result

December 9. A manufacturer of generic drugs has listed around $1.2 billion of debt on the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Endo International, whose corporate base is in Ireland, placed the 6 per cent notes, due in February 2025, through Endo Finance Issuers. Greg Wojciechowski, chief executive officer of the BSX, welcomed the listing which he said was one of largest such issuances the BSX had dealt with. “We at the BSX have worked hard to continue the maturation of the island’s capital markets,” Mr Wojciechowlski said. “We are the only offshore exchange to be a member of the World Federation of Exchanges.” That global recognition had helped the BSX become a viable alternative to Luxembourg and Dublin as a listing jurisdiction. And he expected to see more such business coming to the BSX. A listing on a regulated exchange provided transparency that gave investors comfort, he added. The BSX has seen few issuances of more than $1 billion. One bigger than the Endo listing was the $1.5 billion issuance by Bermudian special purpose insurer Everglades Re in May 2014 — at the time the biggest catastrophe bond deal in history. Endo, whose head office is in Dublin, had global sales of $3.7 billion last year and specializes in the production of generic pain medications.

December 9. Shares of Bermuda-based insurer Athene Holding Ltd this morning began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in an initial public offering that raised around $1.1 billion. Existing shareholders of Athene were looking to sell 27 million shares for a price set last night at $40 per share, at the midpoint of the previously announced $38 to $42 target price range. Athene sells fixed annuity products as well as annuity reinsurance. The company was founded in 2009 by James Belardi, the chief executive officer, formerly president of SunAmerica Life Insurance Company. The firm is based in offices in Chesney House on Pitts Bay Road. Athene, trading under the ticker symbol “ATH”, got off to a strong start and the shares closed at $44.05 in New York — 10.1 per cent over the IPO price — on the trading of more than 14.1 million shares. The offering is the third largest IPO in the US this year, according to Bloomberg News. In the space of less than a decade, Athene has expanded into the seventh-largest provider of annuities in the US, through acquisitions as well as organic growth. It has a $72 billion investment portfolio, about a fifth of which is managed by Apollo Global Management LLC, a major alternative investment manager headed by Leon Black. Athene generated $3.8 billion in sales during the first nine months of the year and the offering’s prospectus shows that the company earned operating income net of tax of $476 million during the January through September period. Athene will not receive proceeds from the sale, the filing shows. Selling shareholders include Apollo, a unit of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and Teacher Retirement System of Texas. The offering follows another Bermuda IPO in September, when Butterfield Bank shares debuted on the NYSE, Michael Dunkley, the Premier, accompanied the bank’s executives in ringing the opening bell and the Gombeys caused a stir by invaded the trading floor. Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Citigroup and Wells Fargo Securities are acting as joint book runners of the offering.

December 9. The millennial generation around the world is set to inherit trillions of dollars over the next few years — and an expert warned yesterday they will want ethical investments. Gina Pereira, of Toronto-based Dana Philanthropy, said: “Younger people, what’s coming through in the research is they don’t want to do things the way their mom and dad did — they want to do it their way.” Ms Pereira, speaking at the annual conference of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners conference, said that younger people focused more on the environment, social and corporate governance of companies than the preceding generation. She said: “What we need to be is be on top of what they are looking for. Bermuda should be getting a grip on what the next generation wants and are looking for and start to tailor some of the products around that. Younger people wanted more socially responsible investments and were more interested in philanthropic ideas. Major companies are incorporating environment, social and corporate governance into their investment strategies. There isn’t a division between being socially responsible and making money any more.” Ms Pereira was part of a panel of experts at the conference, held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, who discussed ways Bermuda could make itself more attractive as a base for trust and estate business from overseas. Andrea Jackson, of Lombard Odier Trust Bermuda, added that investors also now targeted start-ups for investment, rather than the traditional market. The conference also heard that China — which boasts a huge number of wealthy individuals — and South America should be prime targets for Bermudian professionals to drum up more business. Eric Dorsch, a partner in New York law firm Kozusko Harris Duncan, said: “We are seeing our biggest growth in Latin American countries, mostly because of jurisdictional risk in South America.” And he added that wealthy people in the region “did not want their assets and money in South America any more”. Mr Dorsch said that Panama had been used by South Americans — but controversy surrounding the country and the release of the Panama Papers detailing massive tax avoidance had dented its image. He added: “Panama is not a place they want to be any more — the British Virgin Islands are not much better than that. Bermuda still has a better reputation and doesn’t have the same reputational problems in some of the South American countries that Panama and the BVI have.” Keith Robinson, chairman of STEP Bermuda, said after the conference he had just returned from a STEP Asia conference held in Hong Kong, attended by around 470 professionals in the field. He added: “Trusts and estates in the US is a significant growth sector in the Far East, which is a function of the great wealth in China.” Mr Robinson said that STEP was working with the Bermuda Business Development Agency to develop business in both China and South America. He added: “The panelists were almost entirely positive about Bermuda as a jurisdiction. They talked about tweaking legislation or trust law, but doing nothing dramatically different. We basically think of ourselves as the best jurisdiction — if you want to have an offshore trust, we say you should come here. The number of billionaires in China is huge — we want to build business, supporting local jobs and build jobs here by attracting ultra-high wealth individuals here. And not only do we want to bring their wealth here, we want them to set up family offices here and manage their wealth from Bermuda.” New Governor John Rankin, who closed the conference, said that the island’s legal system, based on English common law and upheld by its courts for 400 years was “vital to the continuing prosperity of this country”. And he added that Bermuda was “a centre of excellence in this field to those seeking to establish trusts for the benefit of Bermuda as a whole”.

December 9. Craig Cannonier, the former Premier, has broken his silence on a possible challenge for the leadership of the One Bermuda Alliance by saying that Michael Dunkley has his full support. “I have not challenged the Premier and I do support him,” he said in a brief message to The Royal Gazette. Mr Cannonier had been touted for a potential return as leader of the OBA in the wake of the protests against the airport redevelopment deal that have damaged Mr Dunkley’s ability to govern effectively. Mr Cannonier would not answer questions about whether he was planning to try to unseat the Premier when contacted by The Royal Gazette yesterday. But a party source told this newspaper that the Minister of Public Works was calling members of the OBA’s parliamentary group to try to obtain their support for a leadership challenge. Mr Dunkley was asked directly at a press conference yesterday if he had been “approached” by Mr Cannonier. “No, no,” he said. He denied that anyone in the parliamentary group had asked him to step down as party leader. “There are always challenges to any positions in politics, but I’m not aware of anyone who wants me to move on at this time.” Asked if his leadership was under threat, he said: “Every day is a threat in life.” He said there were always people who would want to sit in the Premier’s chair but jokingly questioned, in an apparent reference to the pressure he is under, why anyone would want to. The party source said there were “leadership rumblings” going on behind the scenes, but Mr Dunkley could cling on to the top job if he caved to pressure to get rid of at least two members of Cabinet, particularly Attorney-General Trevor Moniz, and replace one senator. Mr Moniz declined to comment yesterday. The source said Mr Cannonier was building up support to challenge the Premier, despite having been forced to sensationally resign in May 2014 over the Jetgate scandal, and the OBA replaced him with Mr Dunkley. “He’s getting the numbers,” said the source. “If he got ten [supporters] then there would be real problems. He could make the move internally. Cannonier wants to take [the leadership] back and clean out the old guard. There is a serious move afoot to get rid of Dunkley.” But another source disputed the claim that Mr Cannonier was the one leading a charge to remove Mr Dunkley as party leader. “There are others that are trying to promote him,” said the second source, adding that the Devonshire South Central MP felt he had “had his time, had his turn and paid his dues”. The source said Mr Dunkley’s response to the protest outside Parliament, which prevented MPs from debating the redevelopment of the airport, was being questioned within the party, as it was after the demonstrations against the Pathways to Status immigration Bill in March. After the Pathways protest, tourism minister Shawn Crockwell denounced the Premier’s handling of the controversy and resigned from Cabinet, later leaving the OBA altogether. This weekend, OBA MPs Leah Scott and Mark Pettingill were said to have threatened to resign from the party in disgust at the way protesters were dealt with by police. “There are a lot of machinations going on as we speak,” the second source said. “The fact that the House has now been adjourned after three meetings [this parliamentary session] is very disturbing and would suggest that the Premier is not holding a favorable level of support for his legislative mandate. There is unease because there is the perception that the leadership is being disconnected from the people.” Mr Cannonier became the OBA’s first premier in December 2012, but lasted less than 18 months. This newspaper asked Mr Cannonier if he was planning to challenge Mr Dunkley but he refused to comment. The OBA has 18 MPs, compared with 16 Progressive Labour Party MPs. One of the PLP members is the Speaker, who is usually not called upon to vote in the House. Mr Crockwell now serves as an independent and a new MP for Warwick South Central, formerly held by the PLP’s Marc Bean, will be chosen by voters at a by-election on December 20.

December 9. A pause for quiet reflection on Parliament hill has been called for this Sunday by activist Glenn Fubler in the wake of protesters clashing with police on December 2. Mr Fubler called it “an experience which calls on all of us to pause”, saying that over the next two months, each week, “at least two members of the Bermuda family have committed to a therapeutic exercise”. Dubbed “Period of Two”, the informal gatherings will consider of two enterprises: “quiet mindful reflection, with an attitude of gratitude for all”, followed by “dialogue, led by a sense of reverence for each other”. The goal, Mr Fubler said, is to facilitate “the emergence of our better selves”. He invited all to attend the Period of Two, bringing “an open heart and an open mind”, starting this Sunday at 2pm.

December 9. A Bermuda delegation will present the island’s bid to host the 2020 International Triathlon Union World Grand Final before the ITU Executive Board in Madrid tomorrow. Bermuda is bidding against two other venues for the major sports event, with Flora Duffy, who won this year’s race in Cozumel, Mexico, expected to be among the group in the Spanish capital. Should Bermuda be successful in its bid, the island would also be guaranteed to host two World Series races in 2018 and 2019. As many as 1,200 competitors — 150 of them elite athletes — could take part in each of the series events, while a huge field of 3,000 could race in the Grand Final, attracting as many as 10,000 visitors, including friends, family, members of the media and officials. The other members of the delegation are Senator Michael Fahy, the tourism minister, Phillip Schmidt, a media consultant, and Christian Toetzke, a marketing executive. Bermuda should know its fate by Tuesday.

December 9. The Summerhaven home for the physically challenged has been temporarily taken over by the Ministry of Health and Seniors, citing “a serious risk to the health and well-being” of residents, along with “undue hardship or the risk of harm”. Allegations of mismanagement and mistreatment have come to this newspaper since June 2015, with staff and tenants sharply divided over its chairman, John Powell. Accompanied by a policeman, ministry officials attended the Smith’s facility yesterday armed with a court order for government-appointed administrators to bring the home back in line with regulations. Sources said Mr Powell threatened to have residents evicted, and left the premises refusing to allow administrators access to records. A ministry spokeswoman said complaints over Summerhaven had escalated since October, with investigators concluding “immediate action” had to be taken. “Contingency plans have been put in place to ensure funding is administered by the ministry to cover staffing and resources at the facility to protect and provide for residents’ safety and well-being.” The Royal Gazette understands that senior magistrate Juan Wolffe gave the order on Wednesday under section 16 of the Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes Act, which permits the Chief Medical Officer to intervene in cases where there appears to be “serious risk to the life, health or well-being of the residents in a home”. Residents and staff have accused Mr Powell, who was unavailable for comment last night, of mistreating tenants who criticised his management — allegations which the chairman refuted, with the apparent backing of Summerhaven’s board. Mr Powell maintained that, as an independent living facility, Summerhaven left residents free to manage their own affairs, while several occupants claimed they were being bullied, given substandard meals and denied access to transportation. Glenn Blakeney, a former Progressive Labour Party MP, took the matter before the House of Assembly in November 2015, shortly before his retirement, demanding that Mr Powell be suspended while the ministry investigated allegations. In February of this year, a new administrator was appointed for Summerhaven under an agreement with the government, with a spokeswoman saying in May that they had “agreed a way forward to ensure compliance with regulated requirements and to protect the safety and well-being of residents at the facility”. One resident, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday’s move had left disgruntled tenants in “a party mood”, adding: “One man who never left his apartment came out and just started crying.” According to the ministry, the new administrators will remain at Summerhaven “until the ministry is satisfied that the facility is operating in accordance with the Act and Regulations”.

December 9. Premier Michael Dunkley claimed yesterday that the “tactics” used by those who organized last Friday’s protest outside Parliament were “not acceptable in Bermuda” and urged reporters to investigate further. The Premier told a press conference: “I believe that what happened on Friday was a concerted, organized effort, taking in tactics that are not acceptable in Bermuda, and I would hope that the media would uncover some of those tactics and do the job that you typically would like to do. I think there were many demonstrators who came with a good intent to share their point, but I think there were other demonstrators who were rallied there, who knew exactly what they were getting into and they were advised how to act, how to conduct themselves and those type of tactics. I am surprised the media is not investigating fully.” The remarks came in response to a question about whether any of the lessons he said were learnt after the Pathways to Status protests in March had been applied on Friday. Mr Dunkley would not comment any further on the tactics he referred to, but added: “I have seen e-mails going around. I have followed them to some extent.” ZBM reported earlier this week on an e-mail shared on social media which was said to have been sent to demonstrators, giving guidance on how to behave during a protest. No information was given on who allegedly sent the message. Mr Dunkley was asked why he did not speak in person to the demonstrators who gathered and locked arms outside Sessions House on December 2 to prevent MPs from debating a controversial redevelopment plan for the airport. Revealing he was in his office at Cabinet from 7.30am, he said he first became aware that MPs were being barred from entering the House of Assembly when Deputy Premier Bob Richards could not get inside after 8am. “I considered through the morning to go out there but it was advised to me that it wouldn’t be the appropriate thing to do,” said the Premier. “The crowd was not listening. The people there were not really listening to what was taking place. When members of Parliament asked to walk in and they are told ‘no’ or ‘turn around’ then it makes little sense to go out there and do what you have to do. All through the process of any government initiative, I have always made myself very open to sit down and talk to people about these things and that’s not going to change. But I don’t think it would have been fruitful to go out and talk to the people at that time. Let’s be very frank about this, those people were there for a purpose and they were not interested in my humble opinion and dialogue at that time.” Pressed on who advised him to stay away, he said: “I take advice from many different people.” Asked if the police told him not to attend for safety reasons, he repeated that he took advice from many but said he left his office for some fresh air about 11.45am. Mr Dunkley said: “I could have gone out there. I could have gone out there and said some things but at that time people were there to demonstrate, they were not there to listen. My door has never been closed to listen to people.” He added: “Go out there, be part of the demonstration, listen to it, be subjected to verbal abuse — that’s really not worth it. That’s not progress.” Earlier yesterday, Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House, announced that Parliament would not sit today and had been adjourned until February 3. Mr Dunkley said he had met with the Leader of the Opposition and the Speaker and agreed upon the decision. “We will use this time to calm, to heal and, of course, to reflect on the meaning of this season that we enter,” he said. The Premier revealed he could not see the scenes unfolding outside the House from his office but was shaken upon discovering what had taken place, as were his One Bermuda Alliance colleagues. He spoke of the tensions on display, adding: “As a responsible government, we must take every tangible step to cool those tensions.” Explaining why MPs would not meet at the House today, he said: “There’s too much angst in the community. I live, I breathe, I walk in this community and so does everyone in Bermuda. And so I feel that pain. The decision might not be accepted by some in the community but this is the right decision at this time.” The leader of the country was quizzed about whether he had advance knowledge of the police decision to send officers in riot helmets who used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. The Progressive Labour Party claimed on Wednesday the public continued to be “kept in the dark” as to who was told beforehand that the police support unit — or PSU — was to be deployed at the scene. The Commissioner of Police has said no one outside the Bermuda Police Service knew of the decision. Mr Dunkley said he had no discussions with the Commissioner on the evening of December 1, after the protest was announced, and was not privy to the plan before the officers arrived at the scene at about 1.15pm. Asked how the shutting down of Parliament by a small sector of the population could be prevented again, he said: “Those questions should be answered by the Commissioner and by the Governor, who has direct responsibility.” Mr Dunkley said the airport deal remained on the order paper of the House and would be there still on February 3. “We are going to continue to work and get a better understanding [of the Bill],” he said. In his prepared remarks, the Premier said the airport deal was a “creative” approach to get a new airport and create jobs without adding to Bermuda’s debt, referencing projects under the PLP which led to multimillion-dollar cost overruns. He urged Bermudians to respect the rule of law and “rise out of the divisive rhetoric that seeks only to define us by difference and not by commonalities. This isn’t a time for finger pointing. It’s a time to join hands. It is an opportunity to heal those things that divide our island.” In a statement yesterday afternoon, David Burt, the leader of the Progressive Labour Party, said issues regarding the airport legislation and the clash between police and protesters need to be resolved before Parliament resumes. “The PLP reiterates our call for a full, independent, public inquiry into why riot police were sent to confront peaceful protesters." He said questions remain surrounding rumours that the Premier and members of his Cabinet “were aware of such planned deployment and did nothing to stop it”.

December 9. The Bermuda Police Service has urged anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse to come forward in the wake of claims that football players have been victims. In a statement yesterday, Sean Field-Lament, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, said the protection of vulnerable persons was a priority for the police. “I stress to all members of the general public that all cases of sexual abuse can and should be reported to the police regardless of the time frame involved,” he said. “The Bermuda Police Service consistently investigates reported incidents of sexual assault of all forms. In recent times, we have expanded our capacity and capability in the area and have a pool of highly trained officers who are specifically tasked to address these issues. This team, under the leadership of Acting Detective Chief Inspector Mark Clarke, is well equipped to investigate these sensitive matters and is supported by a raft of robust legislation.” He noted that partner agencies including the Department of Child and Family Services, the Coalition for the Protection of Children, Scars, and the Inter-Agency Committee for Children are all available for further expert advice and support when facing these issues. “Specific training to sporting bodies is available and has been delivered to several clubs already,” he continued. “I remind people that there are statutory requirements of reporting suspected incidents of child abuse under the Children Act 1998. It is an offence not to report these incidents. To reiterate, the Bermuda Police Service takes all reports of child abuse and sexual abuse seriously and there is no time limit to reporting these incidents. If you are a victim and/or know of incident(s) of child sexual abuse — report it to the police.” The comments came after one of the island’s top coaches, Maceo Dill, said he was aware of several former players who have suffered sexual abuse by people linked with the island’s clubs, which he believed had been a breeding ground for sexual predators looking to prey on vulnerable youngsters. For further information or to report any matter please contact Acting Detective Chief Inspector Mark Clarke of the Serious Crime Unit on 717-0282, e-mail mclarke@bps.bm, or contact the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline 800-8477.

December 8. Donald Trump’s sprawling business empire includes a company based in Bermuda. The US President-elect owns D.J. Aerospace (Bermuda) Ltd, according to the 104-page submission to the Federal Election Commission in which he listed his financial interests. In the document Mr Trump described himself as president and director of the company, which was incorporated on February 11, 1994, according to the Registrar of Companies. The Republican has strongly criticised American companies that site operations and subsidiaries outside the US, both during the campaign and since the November 8 election, in which he defeated Hillary Clinton, his Democratic Party rival. Media outlets including CNN and the New York Times have previously reported Mr Trump has a business interest on the island without specifying its nature. The name of the company suggests it may have been linked to a Bermuda-registered jet that Mr Trump used to own. That plane was a Boeing 727 that was built in 1968 and which had previously been flown as a commercial passenger aircraft by American Airlines. The luxury jet, which has a bedroom and 23 seats, was sold to Weststar Aviation Services, a charter company which operates mainly in South East Asia. It seems he had the plane until at least March 2011, when Mr Trump was said to be mulling a bid for president in the 2012 election. At that time the US political news website Politico noted: “The news that Donald Trump is headed to New Hampshire reminds me of yet another mark of the lack of seriousness in his presidential ambitions, noted by a reader who happened to note the tail number of the signature Trump jet that parked in Des Moines not long ago. “The tail number begins ‘VP-B’, a code indicating Bermuda registration — which may be useful for tax and regulatory purposes, but probably isn’t a great vehicle for an American candidate.” It is not clear whether the company is still active.

December 8. The debate on the controversial airport project has been delayed until February at least. Speaker of the House of Assembly Randy Horton announced that the House has been adjourned until Friday, February 3. It follows suggestions that protesters against the development, still angry about police action at last week’s demonstration, could have repeated their protest outside Sessions House tomorrow. Mr Horton said in a statement: “Last night I met with the Premier, Michael Dunkley, and the Opposition Leader, David Burt, to discuss my concerns relating to the protests which occurred last Friday outside the precincts of Sessions House. “As a result of that meeting, both the Premier and Opposition leader have agreed for the House to be adjourned until Friday, February 3, 2017. I look forward to working with both of them as we resolve this important national issue. I am also requesting a full public independent inquiry into the sequential events surrounding the recent protest.” David Burt, the leader of the Progressive Labour Party, said this afternoon that issues regarding the airport redevelopment legislation and the clash between police and protesters need to be resolved before Parliament resumes. “The PLP reiterates our call for a full, independent, public inquiry into why riot police were sent to confront peaceful protesters,” he said. “An inquiry is required so that we may obtain answers to the many questions that have arisen because of these actions. “These questions include the rumours that the Premier and members of his Cabinet were aware of such planned deployment and did nothing to stop it. This must be addressed so that the public’s confidence in the BPS to protect them, and not just the Government, can return. That same openness and transparency must be applied to the contract for the OBA’s proposed airport contract. This will only be possible through an independent and public review of the deal by the Auditor-General, which must proceed immediately and we will continue to press for this accountability.”

December 8. Steve Nackan, Aecon Concessions president, has defended the decision not to put the airport project out to tender in a Canadian newspaper. Speaking to the Toronto Star, Mr Nackan said that the lack of tendering had been an element of contention with the controversial project. Such a process would not have worked in Bermuda due to its size, he said. He is quoted as saying: “It is very difficult in the airport market to tender a project on any airport that has less than a million passengers. Typically, those tenders are not viable or they fail.” Mr Nackan also told the newspaper that Aecon was selected because it was “essentially ideally suited to helping out with a project that needed both financing and construction services”, adding that the island does not have the capacity to borrow further to build the airport. On the subject of Bermudian jobs, he said that while Aecon would hold the lease for 30 years, the staff who work at the existing terminal would have jobs at the new terminal, and local labour would be used in the projects construction. He told the Toronto Star: “Fundamentally, the Bermudian people who currently operate their terminal will continue to operate it with support from us.” Mr Nackan further said the terminal would be state-of-the-art, describing it as “probably the most modern in the Americas”. The recently published article also noted the recent protests and the clash between demonstrators and police outside Sessions House, including quotes from statements released by police and both political parties.

December 8. Premier Michael Dunkley said today that Parliament had been adjourned until February 3 to allow a period of “calm” to take place, following Friday’s protest. The Premier told the media he had met with the Leader of the Opposition and the Speaker of the House of Assembly and agreed upon the decision. “We will use this time to calm, to heal and, of course, to reflect on the meaning of this season that we enter,” he said. Mr Dunkley spoke of the tensions on display when the House of Assembly was prevented from sitting on December 2 and added: “As a responsible government, we must take every tangible step to cool those tensions.” Explaining further why MPs wouldn’t meet at the House tomorrow for debate, he said: “There’s too much angst in the community. I live, I breathe, I walk in this community and so does everyone in Bermuda. And so I feel that pain. The decision might not be accepted by some in the community but this is the right decision at this time.” The leader of the country was quizzed by reporters at a press conference about his knowledge of the police strategy which was deployed on December 2, when protesters locked arms outside Sessions House to prevent entry and officers in riot helmets used pepper spray in a bid to disperse them. The Progressive Labour Party claims the public continues to be “kept in the dark” as to who was told in advance that a police support unit — or PSU — was to be deployed at the scene, though the Commissioner of Police has said no one outside the Bermuda Police Service knew of the decision. Mr Dunkley said he had no discussions with the Commissioner of Police on the evening of December 1, after the protest was announced, and was not privy to the plan before the officers arrived at the scene at about 1.15pm on December 2. He told how he spent the morning in his office at Cabinet and did not see the scenes unfolding outside Parliament. Mr Dunkley said he considered going to speak directly to demonstrators, but was advised against it, though by whom he would not say. “The crowd was not listening,” he said. “The people there were not really listening to what was taking place. Those people were there for a purpose and they were not interested in my humble opinion and dialogue at that time. I believe that what happened on Friday was a concerted, organized effort taking in tactics that are not acceptable in Bermuda and I would hope that the media would uncover some of those tactics and do the job that you typically would like to do. I think there were many demonstrators who came with a good intent to share their point but I think there were other demonstrators who were rallied there, who knew exactly what they were getting into and they were advised how to act, how to conduct themselves and those type of tactics, I am surprised the media is not investigating fully.” Asked how the shutting down of Parliament by a small proportion of the population could be prevented again, he said: “Those questions should be answered by the Commissioner and by the Governor, who has direct responsibility. “That House of Assembly — let’s be real about it — is probably the least secure Parliament that I have ever been in, even for smaller countries. I know members on both sides have been concerned for their safety and it’s something we need to take a look at. I’ve always felt very safe in Bermuda but I have to tell you, on Saturday morning. when I woke up and I got the death threats [on Instagram], I thought for a while. Not so much that somebody was going to try to do something to me but because: where are we as people? After I reflected on it for a while, I decided I had full confidence in the Bermuda Police Service.” Mr Dunkley said the controversial airport deal which sparked the protest remained on the order paper of the House and would be there still on February 3. “We are going to continue to work and get a better understanding,” he said of the bill. He was asked if his position as leader of the One Bermuda Alliance was under threat and whether he had been “approached” by Public Works Minister Craig Cannonier, the former Premier, who resigned after the Jetgate scandal. Mr Dunkley said he had not been approached by Mr Cannonier. “I am not aware of anyone who wants me to move on at this point,” he said.

December 8. A register of directors of Bermudian companies is to be set up, Government said yesterday. Amendments to the Companies Act 1981 mean that the names and addresses of individual directors and, in the case of a company, its name and registered officer address must be filed with the Registrar of Companies by the end of January next year. And failure to comply with the new rules by the due date will result in fines for companies and their officers. Government said that, although not mandated, for ease of identification middle names or initials should be included to assist with identification. The Registrar of Companies has prepared a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet template, which can be found at https://www.gov.bm/directors-register where the needed information can be filled in by service providers. The completed document should be e-mailed to directorsregister@gov.bm. A fee of $90 is levied on all directors’ register filings. Information on wire transfer details can be found at the same address as the template. Queries regarding payment of fees may be directed to tmcartwright@gov.bm and pmsmith@gov.bm.

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Boardroom for company directors

December 8. Witnesses who saw an allegedly unruly passenger on Sunday’s WestJet flight from Toronto to Bermuda have been asked by police to come forward. The traveller was described to The Royal Gazette by several witnesses as intoxicated and threatening a violent retaliation for the police crackdown on parliamentary protesters last Friday. Police attended LF Wade International Airport, but with no offences reported at the time, took no further action. However a police spokesman said in a statement this evening: “In particular, police are appealing for anyone that may have heard or observed anything in the area of seat 20 during the flight. “Passengers that can assist with enquiries should contact Constable David Abraham or Constable Ian Moe on 295-0011 or directly on 717-0028.”

December 8. Police have identified Deshaun Jerry Berkley as the man who lost his life in a shooting outside the Western Stars Sports Club. The 30-year-old Devonshire man was fatally shot at around 1.20am on Thursday at a private event held at the St John’s Road club. About eight shots were heard just after the party celebrating the life of Garry “Fingas” Cann wrapped up shortly after 1am, according to Carla Zuill, the club’s assistant secretary. At a press conference yesterday morning called by the sports club, president Willis Dill extended heartfelt sympathies to the victim’s family on behalf of the club and called on witnesses to come forward. “Unfortunately, another one of our sons of the soil met with tragedy last night,” he said. “People had to be here, someone had to see something and we’re asking that anyone who was here at the club last night would be gracious enough to inform the police of anything that they saw, regardless of how insignificant it is.” Ms Zuill was bartending at the event in honour of Mr Cann, who was shot dead in 2009; she said it had been a peaceful celebration of his life from what she could see. “For this to happen is really heart-wrenching and I’m taken aback because there wasn’t even a scuffle in the club,” she told the media. Reflecting on the social media reaction to the incident, she urged the public to stop taking and circulating pictures. “Within moments of the gentleman being shot, people were pulling out their phones, taking pictures — pictures are now circulating. It’s very disrespectful to the families. Imagine having to see your child dead on the ground.” Ms Zuill also stressed that the club had worked hard to “get rid of certain elements. And I’m going to be frank — it hasn’t been easy because, the more we try, sometimes the more kickback we get. We hope that this does not malign our club in any way. This was not a Dandy Town, Western Stars event. Unfortunately, it goes to show that you cannot control other people’s actions.” Mr Dill stressed that the club had worked tirelessly to clean up any bad elements but added: “All of that good we have down in those two years, close to two years now, basically people will still look at us differently as a result of what took place here. We have to again figure out how do we rise up now based on what’s happened. Hopefully, people will look at it not as the club, just the fact that it happened here.” Senator Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, emphasized that while the incident happened at the club, it was not the establishment’s fault. “You don’t own this. This could have happened on Front Street, it could have happened on Court Street, it could have happened in Somerset.” He called on the community to rally around and support the club, noting all the good work it does in the community. Mr Baron also said that such incidents should not be allowed to impact the island’s culture, sporting events or sporting clubs. Michael Weeks, the Shadow Minister of Sport and Community, and a former Western Stars executive member, extended his sympathies but stated that “this is not a Western Stars problem, this is a community problem. “It’s not a sport problem, it’s a social issue,” he said. “We can’t let a small minority of people who seek to disrupt our everyday life to stop our events. We must show them that we run our community and not that small group that’s hell-bent on killing each other.” He said more community organisations and churches need to come to the table to find a way to stop what is happening. But he added that the Bermuda Government is also going to have to look at expanding the CCTV network. “As much as its not a sporting club problem, that’s where a lot of our people gather, so we have to do what we can at a minimum to make it safe and if that means making sure that CCTV is operational in every single sporting and community club on the island, then that is where we have to start from.” According to a police spokesman, officers responded to a report of gunfire near the St John’s Road club at about 1.20am, adding that Mr Berkley’s death is being treated as a murder. The spokesman said that a full investigation is now under way, and police are urging anyone with information to contact the investigating officer, Acting Detective Inspector Jason Smith of the Serious Crime Unit, on 717-0864 or the independent Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-8477.

December 8. After longstanding allegations of mismanagement at the Summerhaven home for the physically challenged, the Ministry of Health and Seniors has temporarily taken over its administration, starting today. The Royal Gazette understands that an order granted by senior magistrate Juan Wolffe was executed earlier by ministry officials, accompanied by a policeman. Sources said John Powell, the chairman of Summerhaven, left the premises threatening to have residents evicted, and refusing to comply with the new administrators. Summerhaven has been troubled for more than a year by complaints over its operation, which emerged in this newspaper in June 2015, when several residents and staff accused Mr Powell of mistreating residents that he viewed as enemies — allegations which the chairman refuted, with the apparent backing of Summerhaven’s board. Mr Powell maintained that, as an independent living facility, Summerhaven left residents free to manage their own affairs, while several occupants of the Smith’s care home claimed they were being bullied, given substandard meals and denied access to transportation. Glenn Blakeney, a former Progressive Labour Party MP, took the matter before the House of Assembly in November 2015, shortly before his retirement — demanding that Mr Powell be suspended while the ministry investigated allegations. In February of this year, a new administrator was appointed for Summerhaven under an agreement with the government, with a spokeswoman saying in May that they had “agreed a way forward to ensure compliance with regulated requirements and to protect the safety and well-being of residents at the facility”. The order was granted by Mr Wolffe under section 16 of the Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes Act, which permits the Chief Medical Officer to intervene in cases where there appears to be “serious risk to the life, health or well-being of the residents in a home”.

December 7. Reform of a government-run flood insurance programme will bring new opportunities in the US for Bermuda reinsurers. The National Flood Insurance Programme is $23 billion in debt with the American taxpayer on the hook and legislators are looking for ways to transfer some of the risk burden to the private market. Yesterday, Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer, chairman of the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, released principles intended to guide the debate on reforming the NFIP, which is set to expire at the end of September next year. Among them were “to provide stronger public/private partnerships, and greater consumer choice to achieve public policy objectives”, signaling an opening of the door to the private sector. The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, which represents 23 island-based companies, has consistently proposed that the private reinsurance market could shoulder more of the risk currently shouldered by government-run insurance programmes such as the NFIP. Bradley Kading, Abir’s president and executive director, yesterday welcomed the statement from Washington. “Abir supports efforts to build more effective risk mitigation into the US National Flood Insurance Programme and to promote alternatives that lead to private-sector sale of flood insurance. Flood insurance should be like wind insurance in the US. It can be largely insured in the private market with factors that promote risk mitigation, use of reinsurance and over time devolves the NFIP into a residual market. The chairman’s principles are positive and encouraging.” The Reinsurance Association of America was also positive about the news. “Embedded in these principles is the requirement that FEMA actively manage the NFIP risk through the use of reinsurance or capital markets alternatives to diversify risk across multiple markets, thus protecting NFIP and American taxpayers from large losses,” the RAA stated. Frank Nutter, president of the RAA, said: “These principles recognise the value that reinsurance can play in helping the NFIP to manage its financial risks and protect taxpayers, while looking to enhance the development of the private market. The steps will ease the financial burden for flood risk now borne by the federal government and ultimately, the American taxpayer. We look forward to working with the next Congress to ensure these principles are a core of the 2017 NFIP reauthorization.”

December 7. Kevin O’Donnell, chief executive officer of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd, has been elected chairman of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2017. Mr O’Donnell succeeds Stephen Catlin, the XL Catlin executive deputy chairman, who completes his two-year term December 31. Elected as first deputy chairman was Brian Duperreault, chairman and CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group, while Albert Benchimol, CEO of Axis Capital Holdings Ltd, was elected second deputy chairman. Brad Kading, Abir’s president and executive director, thanked Mr Catlin for his leadership. “Stephen brought a tremendous depth of knowledge to this position and was instrumental in leading Abir discussions with UK and EU political leaders. He helped the membership navigate successfully down the Solvency II equivalence path. The members are extremely grateful for his service,” Kading said.

December 7. Michael DeSilva promised yesterday to quickly release the Bermuda Police Service’s policy on the use of pepper spray if a public access to information request was made. The Commissioner of Police told The Royal Gazette: “I will ensure that any Pati application for it is expedited.” This newspaper did submit a Pati request to the BPS yesterday seeking answers on how riot police came to be deployed at Friday’s protest outside Parliament. We asked for the policy on Captor pepper spray use, as well as records showing how and when the decision was taken to deploy a police support unit (PSU) — commonly referred to as riot police — to the grounds of Session House on Friday afternoon, and by whom the decision was taken; any correspondence between the BPS and any individual outside the BPS regarding the decision to deploy the PSU, prior to the decision being enacted; any correspondence dated December 2, 2016 between the BPS and the Speaker of the House, Randy Horton;  records showing the number of alleged assaults of members of the public and police officers at the protest. We asked that the records released include the police operation order which led to riot police being deployed, its accompanying signature and any accompanying police plan. The BPS has until January 17 to reach a decision on our request, unless it seeks an extension for an additional 42 days, as is allowed under the Public Access to Information Act. Police cracked down on protesters outside Sessions House at lunchtime on Friday after the demonstrators barred entry to the House of Assembly, where MPs were due to debate a controversial deal to redevelop the airport. Mr DeSilva said in a statement that evening that “police initiated positive action to open a path to the House” after it was announced that the parliamentary session would take place. He said officers warned protesters they were committing offences, before the crowd surged and some protesters assaulted the officers. The incapacitant spray was used in a “proportionate response” to disperse the crowd, he added. Yesterday, Mr DeSilva told this newspaper it was solely his job to “determine the use and control of the operations of the [police] service”. He said no one outside the BPS was told of the decision to deploy riot police before the decision was enacted. The Commissioner revealed that 26 complains of assault against officers had been made by members of the public. He said: “Six officers received injuries. Statements of complaint from other officers regarding common assault are still being recorded and numbers are not currently finalized but [are] expected to exceed 20.” Michael Dunkley, the Premier, has asked Government House and the Bermuda Police Service to investigate and produce a report on what happened on Friday and why, after saying he was “deeply troubled by what occurred”.

December 7. Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert has warned “the same thing” could happen again if the airport redevelopment debate goes ahead on Friday. Mr Furbert told The Royal Gazette the chances of a repeat of last week’s protest outside the House of Assembly rests on whether protesters are “still totally against the airport Bill”. He added that there would likely be no change in opinion by those who set out to protest — and if anything matters had been made worse by the Bermuda Police Service’s use of pepper spray against the crowd. The Bermuda Government has not confirmed whether the airport debate will take place on Friday. Mr Furbert also confirmed he was due to hold a meeting today at noon for the union’s general council and shop stewards over how their members were treated. He said: “All I can say is that if it [the sitting of Parliament] goes ahead, whether the same thing happens is entirely up to whether the people are still totally against the airport Bill that the Government is trying to pass which gives away revenue for the next 30 years. I don’t think anything has changed since last Friday — nothing has changed — if anything, matters have been made worse by the way the police have behaved.” Mr Furbert described the police assertion that the protesters assaulted police first as “utter garbage”. He continued: “For them to carry on that way and assault innocent people who are peacefully protesting ... [Commissioner of Police] Michael DeSilva said that his officers warned protesters that they were committing an offence before the crowd surged and some protesters assaulted the officers." That is utter garbage. The people pushed back. We didn’t assault anybody. The police came marching down Parliament Street and marched straight into the crowd; they didn’t pause, they marched straight into us. I was right there at the front — I am not telling you what somebody told me. They surged into us and of course we surged back and we weren’t letting them come into the gate. They made no advancement to getting close to the gate. Every moment that they were there, they got pushed back farther and farther. That is why they got frustrated and went around to Reid Street. And that is when all the pepper-spraying and that took place. The Opposition made it crystal clear that if you are concerned, then you have a right under the Constitution to protest freely.” Mr Furbert said that the BIU meeting today will focus on the events of Friday, when officers and protesters were injured in the clash. “We are going to inform our members about what happened to our members last week Friday,” he said. “What happened to some of the seniors — we are going to give an overall update and hopefully we will know whether the House is due to reconvene this Friday. That is still up in the air and I am not sure when the final call is going to be — they can’t wait until the last minute to make the call — they should make the call by today.” Mr DeSilva has said six officers received injuries during Friday’s confrontation and that more than 20 officers are expected to complain they were assaulted. He argued in the aftermath of the protest that some officers used incapacitant spray in a “proportionate response to disperse the crowd”. Also this morning, Mr Furbert denied rumours communicated with this newspaper that there were plans ahead for a general strike. “This is not a labour issue,” he said. “The BIU’s general council and shop stewards are meeting at 12 o’clock today, so I don’t know if someone has taken that out of context. There are no plans for a general strike. No. If people are calling for people to protest because of the Bill, that is a completely different thing than a general strike because it is not a labour issue.” According to Mr Furbert, the Trade Union Congress is planning to issue a statement today to the Minister of National Security.

December 7. A 75-year-old woman who was pepper-sprayed at Friday’s protest outside Parliament, described her fear yesterday at the response of riot police, claiming officers “treated us like a bunch of dogs”. Great-grandmother Marie Smith told The Royal Gazette: “My poor heart was pumping. I couldn’t believe that this was what I was up into. I didn’t expect it at all.” Ms Smith was one of five demonstrators who met at the headquarters of the Bermuda Industrial Union yesterday afternoon to share their experiences, before going together to make formal complaints about the police. One man, Andre Simmons, 50, alleged he was punched in the ribs and back by officers after being pepper- sprayed, for refusing to move to allow police to get into the grounds of Sessions House. Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, said last night that 26 complaints had so far been recorded from members of the public regarding the events of December 2 and they would be notified to the independent Police Complaints Authority and investigated. He added: “Six officers received injuries. Statements of complaint from other officers regarding common assault are still being recorded and numbers are not currently finalized, but [are] expected to exceed 20.” Mr DeSilva said in the aftermath of the protest that some officers used incapacitant spray in a “proportionate response to disperse the crowd”. He reiterated last night that it was his job alone to “determine the use and control of the operations of the [police] service” and that no individual outside of the BPS was told about the decision to deploy riot police to the scene before the decision was enacted. Ms Smith, who took part in the 1977 riots sparked by the hangings of Buck Burrows and Larry Tacklyn, was among the demonstrators on the Reid Street entrance to the House of Assembly when she was sprayed. She followed officers in riot protection helmets to that area from Parliament Street. “When they walked off and went down the hill, I went behind them,” she said. “That’s when they started pushing and then they started to spray. I was just outside the sidewalk when they sprayed the pepper spray. The person who was up on the steps, spraying, when he sprayed, it came to me. It got in my throat and when I started coughing, that’s when I backed across the street because I have thyroid problems. I had surgery recently and I can’t have anything like that because it makes me cough. It was almost a choking and I had to keep coughing to clear my throat. It lasted about five minutes. I got it from somebody else. The guy that was up on the steps spraying, it came right across to me. I wouldn’t say direct or indirect, but I know it reached me.” She viewed the decision to deploy riot police — known officially as a police support unit or PSU — as “unbelievable, really, because I don’t think it was really called for”. Ms Smith added: “I didn’t see anybody raise their hand. People were shouting and telling them [the police] they were wrong. I didn’t see nobody attack any policeman. I think that they treated us like a bunch of dogs …[I told an officer] this is no different to South Africa.” Her son Richard L Brangman, 59, was also at the Reid Street entrance and saw his mother get sprayed. He said he realized at that point “these guys are serious, they’re sick”. Mr Brangman described being part of the “frontline” of protesters stopping access to Parliament when the riot police came “barrelling in, shoving. I found myself face to face with the officers. We [protesters] were locked in arms stopping officers getting past. We were holding on, and these guys were shoving, and we were back and forth, shoving, shoving. Three or four minutes later, the female officer, I recognized her pulling out the spray. She held it like maybe eight inches or a foot away from my face and my reaction was to drop my head down. It caught my eyes, the back of my head, my arms, that was burning. She didn’t say nothing [in warning] and there was too much noise going on for her to.” Another Reid-Street-side demonstrator, Winnae Wales, said she did hear a warning from police that pepper spray and tasers were to be used if she didn’t move. “They came around to us and at that time we locked arms,” said Ms Wales. “When they got close enough to us, the police officer started to try to pull the frontline gentlemen; there was a bunch of burly guys in the front. They tried to pull them away and with the resistance they were showing, they pulled out their pepper spray and started to spray people in their face.” Ms Wales said a male officer “came up behind my neck … and he actually took his [spray] gun and tried to spray me directly in my face. Another one came on this side and tried to spray me directly on my face. So not only were they spraying the crowd but they were targeting people’s faces. Our arms were locked. We couldn’t assault them because our arms were locked.” Mr Simmons claimed he was punched because pepper spray from an officer didn’t make him move and was eventually “thrown up against a wall. They gripped me, punched me in my ribs. They gripped my clothes and were pulling me. I was being punched in my ribs and my back until finally my jacket tore off.” A fifth protester, Lilymay Bulford, 64, said she too was pepper-sprayed. Friday’s protest was organized to prevent MPs entering the House to debate a controversial plan to redevelop the airport. The Centre for Justice, an organisation which promotes civil rights, said on Monday the law did not permit those gathered for assembly and protest to block public access ways or rights of way. Ms Wales said: “If you feel there is something that’s going on that’s not congruent with what you believe to be right, I’m willing to break a law.”

December 7. Speaker of the House of Assembly Randy Horton told yesterday how “appalled” he was at the scenes that unfolded outside the House of Assembly on Friday and admitted he “probably should have moved faster” to adjourn that day’s parliamentary proceedings. The Speaker told The Royal Gazette he knew nothing beforehand of a decision to deploy riot police to the scene and “obviously” did not plan to resign from his position, despite a call for him to do so from union leader Chris Furbert and others. Mr Horton gave this newspaper a detailed account of his day on December 2, including how he watched “with dismay” from his office in Sessions House as police in riot protection gear arrived on the scene and how he then saw “people scrambling against each other”. He said he took a “unilateral decision” to adjourn the House once he realized that things were escalating outside and conveyed that decision to Michael Dunkley, the Premier, as well as Opposition leader David Burt. There was a delay, he said, between him sharing his decision with them and a public notification being issued by the Government at 2.45pm. Mr Horton arrived at the House at about 7.45am on Friday, when just a handful of demonstrators were in attendance, and was able to enter via the Parliament Street gate. “There was one lady who came up to me and stood in front of me,” he said. “I can’t remember exactly what she said; it wasn’t kind words.” The only other MP to make it into the building, he said, was Cabinet minister Sylvan Richards. The Speaker said he spoke with Acting Governor Ginny Ferson during the morning and, when no other members showed up, he decided to adjourn until 1pm. “I’m fairly certain I spoke to the Commissioner [of Police] in terms of letting him know we were adjourned until 1pm,” said Mr Horton. “I spoke with the leader of the Opposition and I spoke with the Premier.” The Speaker said the commissioner did not, at any point, discuss with him the plan to deploy riot police and the first he knew was when he saw helmeted officers through his office window. “I saw them walking down to my dismay. When I saw that — and I probably should have moved faster but I didn’t move as fast as maybe I should have — once I saw them go in and I saw people scrambling against each other, I saw people tussling, when I saw that I said ‘hey, I’m calling and saying we are not going to resume the House’.” Reporters from this newspaper who covered the protest believe riot police arrived at about 1.15pm. Mr Horton said he watched the events from his window for “maybe 15 minutes” and made his decision to adjourn the House until December 9 after that, though he could not say exactly when. He said he shared his decision immediately with Mr Dunkley and Mr Burt but was not certain he spoke to the commissioner. A press release regarding the adjournment was sent to the media by the Government at 2.45pm. “I don’t know that there is any other action that I could have taken,” said Mr Horton, on being asked whether he could have done anything more to stop the situation from escalating. He said the scenes he witnessed were “not pretty and not good” but he had “no comment to make about the work of the police”. The Progressive Labour Party MP said: “I was appalled to see people — human beings — going at each other the way they were. I was not there. I just saw people — police and everybody — I saw people fighting against each other. I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on. I feel it’s terrible that people were pepper-sprayed. I feel saddened.” The Speaker said a decision had yet to be taken on Friday’s session of the House but he hoped it would take place. “Hopefully, all parties will have got together and had some discussions on a way forward so that we can move ahead in a productive way.”

December 7. Environmental groups have urged walkers to stop piling rocks on top of each other in the island’s national parks. The Bermuda Audubon Society and the Bermuda National Trust say the practice of prising rocks from the natural formations and creating tower formations is disturbing the habitat of the critically endangered Bermuda skink. “While we understand that the creation of these rock formations or cairns is sometimes considered to be art, people may not be aware that interfering with nature in this way can have catastrophic effects on other species and can cause major disturbances to the natural environment,” Andrew Dobson, the Audubon Society president, said. Several rock piles have appeared at Spittal Pond, and the conservation groups say prising up and moving rocks can also cause erosion and can disturb plants and ferns. Bermuda National Trust president William White added: “Thousands of people every year enjoy Bermuda’s parks, nature reserves and open spaces, but users need to respect the safety of the species which rely on these areas for their very survival. “The saying ‘Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints’, is appropriate here. Nature takes thousands of years to evolve and we must take enormous care not to disturb that evolution while we enjoy these areas.” Anyone with information, or who is interested in learning more about the problem, can contact info@audubon.bm or palmetto@bnt.bm.

December 6. The Chinese owner of Ironshore has agreed to sell the Bermudian-based insurer to US giant Liberty Mutual in a $3 billion deal. The US company, which struck the deal with Shanghai-based Fosun International, said it planned to let Ironshore “operate with the same management team and brand, but as part of the larger Liberty Mutual organisation, which has a focus on growing its specialty lines operations”. And Mitch Blaser, CEO of the Bermuda arm of Ironshore, said the move could mean an expansion and more jobs for the island operation. Mr Blaser said: “If anything, from a business perspective, we would expect to see the opportunity to expand, taking advantage of the Liberty Mutual resources, global client base and infrastructure.” He added: “Liberty Mutual does not have a Bermuda operation, so Ironshore will become the Liberty Mutual and Ironshore Bermuda operation.” Mr Blaser said the nuts and bolts of the deal had still to be negotiated, so any changes could not be expected in the short term. But he added: “Our goal is to grow our Bermuda business — that’s a joint goal for Ironshore and Liberty Mutual.” Mr Blaser said: “We see this as a big positive for our global business and we also believe it’s a very big positive for Bermuda. When you are a Bermuda company, you are very restricted in being able to do business in other jurisdictions. When you are a US company, you have freedom to do business in the United States because you are paying taxes in the United States.” David Long, Liberty Mutual chairman and chief executive officer, said: “We are pleased to have Ironshore and its proven management team led by CEO Kevin Kelley join Liberty Mutual. Ironshore has a track record of profitably underwriting global and diverse specialty risks insurance and is an ideal complement to Liberty Mutual, providing additional scale, expertise, innovation and market relationships to our $5 billion global specialty business.” Kevin Kelley, Ironshore CEO, added: “The combination of Ironshore and Liberty Mutual is a win-win proposition and value creating for both companies. Ironshore will become part of a another A-rated company with a global reach, a strong balance sheet, wide client base and a much greater capacity to drive profitable growth.” And he said the deal was “beneficial for all three parties involved and is the culmination of a careful and considered process. We have aimed for the best possible outcome for our employees, clients and business partners and are confident this transaction achieves these goals and more.” Ironshore, founded in 2006, had gross premiums written in 2015 of $2.2 billion and is one of the top ten excess and surplus lines insurers in the US. The company has around 800 employees spread across 15 countries worldwide and is organized into three operating hubs in Bermuda, the US and London. Liberty, like Ironshore, has an A rating from agency AM Best, and more than $120 billion in assets. Ironshore was taken over by Fosun, which already had a 20 per cent stake, a little more than two years ago. The Liberty Mutual deal is expected to close in the first half of next year, subject to approvals by regulators and other conditions.

December 6. Four hi-tech all-electric BMW i3 hatchbacks were yesterday handed over to America’s Cup defenders Oracle Team USA. Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said: “We’ve got the best rides in Bermuda — I think there are a lot of jealous people on the island right now.” But Mr Spithill said the German green machines would also highlight the alternatives to gas and diesel engines. He explained: “If we can help be the catalyst to introduce this technology to help people get around the island, we’re happy. “It’s a no-brainer — there’s plenty of sunshine here and charging stations around the island could be powered by solar. If we can help do that, alongside BMW, that would be a pretty good thing to be a part of.” The BMW hatchback, made by a main sponsor of Oracle, features the latest in design, with a composite body shell to cut down on weight and with the car being recyclable at the end of its life. Mr Spithill said he had driven an i3 overseas and had been “very impressed. It’s like a mini luxury car and I love the technology — it’s a really cool little car.” Handing over the vehicles at Oracle’s Dockyard nerve centre, David Gibbons, chairman of Bermuda Motors and its Ultimate Motors wing, which sells BMW, said the i3, the first car to be designed as all-electric from the start, was “incredibly innovative. This is a union that brings together speed and efficiency, technology and art, aerodynamics and aeronautics. More importantly, it’s the promise this type of technology brings — zero emissions, recyclable materials and hopefully recharging from the sun in the future.” Mr Gibbons added that Bermuda had been low on the global list for deliveries of i3s — until the island won the America’s Cup. And he said: “We have two sold over the weekend and it looks like another two might be going out.” Premier Michael Dunkley, who attended the handover, said: “I was very surprised at the roominess inside, the quality of the vehicle, what it does for our environment and the very, very smooth drive.” And he praised Oracle and BMW for “all that you have tried to do to support the community and having a positive impact on the community”. Mr Dunkley said: “This is a vehicle I believe can help us move in that direction.” Grant Simmer, the chief operating officer for Oracle, said BMW and the team were also collaborating on technology, with the BMW racing car division designing a steering wheel for the team’s boat. He added: “We are pleased to see BMW’s commitment to sustainability and their commitment to electric cars. There is so much innovation in the cars and we look forward to driving them and we thank Bermuda Motors for the support they have given us.”

December 6. Judy Simons has been re-elected to a third term as president of the Bermuda Olympic Association. Simons, who succeeded former president John Hoskins in 2008, ran unopposed at last week’s election and will serve for the next four years. “It is gratifying to, once again, be entrusted with the leadership of the BOA for another four years,” she said. “Over the next quadrennial, which will take to the end of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, my focus will continue to be on building stronger ties between the BOA and the international sports organisations that the run the major festivals, and locally with the National Governing Bodies. Our goal is to continue to expand and enhance Bermuda’s representation at the major festivals through a focus on the development of our athletes.” Stan Douglas, who was previously a general member of the committee, has been appointed to the role of secretary general, replacing Philip Guishard, who died earlier this year. Katura Horton-Perinchief’s appointment at the election at a committee member has left a vacancy in the role of athletes’ committee chairperson, which will is expected to be filled soon. The BOA has also announced the chef de missions of the major international sports festivals during the next quadrennial. Mia Black will take on the role at next year’s Youth Commonwealth Games in Nassau, Bahamas, from July 18 to 23; Michael Murphy will serve as chef de mission at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea; Horton-Perinchief will perform the duties at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia. Jon Beard will serve as the chef de mission at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

December 5. Bermuda’s new Governor, John Rankin, was officially sworn in at a parade in King’s Square in St George’s this morning. After a march by Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers, a commission speech by Cabinet Secretary Derrick Binns, a prayer by the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill and an introduction by Michael Dunkley, the Premier, Mr Rankin said it was “a great honour to be appointed as Her Majesty the Queen’s representative as your Governor”. He said he looked forward to working with Bermuda in “upholding the highest international business standards”. The father of three also said he wanted to engage with Bermuda’s young people “who represent the future”. Commenting on recent political discontent, he said he hoped to work with “all Bermudians” to ensure a “constructive way of going forward to deal with the issues where there is currently disagreement in Bermuda ... allowing them to resolve peacefully in line with this country’s democratic traditions”. He added: “Those same traditions of tolerance, stability and security [I hope will] also continue to ensure that those who arrive in Bermuda are quickly made to feel welcome.” The Premier said the new Governor had a wide range of expertise and was armed with “a quite impressive résumé”. He also spoke of the Friday’s events, saying: “As we saw recently, even the strongest and healthiest democracies face their share of challenges. As leaders in government, in opposition and in Government House, we should all feel very hurt and saddened about what happened last Friday at the House of Assembly with Members of Parliament not being allowed to access to conduct the people’s business ... injured citizens, police using pepper spray. These are very disturbing images for anyone to see. Our first priority should be the safety and well-being of the people we serve. As these are very challenging times, we must be mindful that we still are one people.” He said going forward, his government would seek to come together to create a “prosperous, unified and proud Bermuda”.

December 5. The Progressive Labour Party has a lead over the One Bermuda Alliance for the first time in more than a year, according to a poll commissioned by The Royal Gazette . The PLP has a 38-35 advantage in the survey by Global Research from November 18 to 25, compared with the 38-37 lead held by the OBA in our last poll in September. It means the PLP has gained 15 points over its rival in the past year, having trailed by 42-30 in December 2015. Some 27 per cent of people refused to back either party, including 1 per cent saying they would vote for an independent candidate. The OBA does score a higher performance approval rating than the PLP, with 25 per cent of people approving and 44 per cent disapproving of the ruling party; with 20 per cent approving and 45 per cent disapproving of the Opposition. Among the party leaders and deputies, Michael Dunkley, the Premier, retains his position at the top of the performance approval ratings, despite a six-point drop. But a new trust rating shows that none of the four leading politicians is trusted by more than three out of ten people, with the parties faring even worse. The telephone survey of 400 registered voters has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level. The proportion of people who said they would be absolutely certain to vote at a General Election has increased from 61 per cent to 66 per cent, including a rise from 55 per cent of blacks to 63 per cent. A breakdown by race shows that, among whites, 76 per cent would vote OBA, down from 78 per cent, and 4 per cent would vote PLP, unchanged from September. Among blacks, 55 per cent would vote PLP, down from 63 per cent, and 15 per cent would vote OBA, up from 14 per cent. The PLP comfortably has the female vote, by 39-31, with the OBA leading the male vote by 39-38. The PLP is scoring well with the young generation, winning among the 18 to 34 age bracket by 41-24, and among the 35 to 44 age bracket by 46-31. In the previous poll, the PLP was leading 56-25 among the 18 to 34 group, but the OBA was in front 41-33 among the 35 to 44 group. The poll also shows a spike in the number of young people saying they do not know how the political parties are performing. Some 7 per cent of people aged 18 to 34 said they do not know how the OBA is performing, compared with zero people aged over 55; and 9 per cent of people aged 18 to 34 saying they do not know how the PLP is performing, compared with zero over the age of 45. Mr Dunkley’s performance approval rating is 36 per cent, down from 42 per cent in September. He gets support from 65 per cent of whites and 22 per cent of blacks, down three points and five points respectively. He is backed by 40 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women, and draws most support from the older generation, with 51 per cent of those aged over 65, compared with 21 per cent from the 18 to 34 age group. David Burt, the shadow finance minister who took over as PLP leader from Marc Bean last month, has a performance approval rating of 30 per cent, down from 37 per cent. Mr Burt gets approval from 42 per cent of blacks and 5 per cent of whites. Bob Richards, the finance minister and OBA deputy leader, sees his approval rating drop from 25 per cent to 19 per cent. Mr Richards is approved by 44 per cent of whites and 7 per cent of blacks. Walter Roban, the newly elected deputy leader of the PLP, has a 15 per cent approval rating, with 21 per cent backing from blacks and 3 per cent from whites. The trust rating was introduced for this poll, with Mr Dunkley and Mr Burt scoring 30 per cent, Mr Richards 18 per cent and Mr Roban 17 per cent. The PLP scored 23 per cent and the OBA 18 per cent. General favourability ratings were also awarded, with Mr Dunkley scoring 42 per cent, Mr Burt 35 per cent, Mr Richards 22 per cent and Mr Roban 19 per cent.

December 5. The Corporation of Hamilton may have won a legal battle over the Par-la-Ville Hotel loan guarantee, but it will still have to pay its own legal bills. While costs in legal judgments usually follow the decision, the Supreme Court found that it would be unjust to require Mexico Infrastructure Finance Ltd to pay the municipality’s costs given the details of the case. The legal dispute stemmed from an $18 million loan guarantee for the Par-la-Ville Hotel project made by the corporation. When the loan defaulted, the corporation initially accepted responsibility. However, earlier this year the corporation applied to the court to have its order of consent set aside, arguing that it did not have the legal power to issue the guarantee and as a result the consent order was invalid. While MIF contested the application, arguing that the guarantee and the order were both valid and that the corporation’s application was an abuse of process, the Supreme Court found in favour of the corporation. The corporation subsequently made an application for costs, causing MIF to object. According to a judgment by judge Stephen Hellman, dated November 25, Narinder Hargun, the lawyer representing MIF, submitted that the corporation should not recover its costs because the case revolved around a consent judgment, which the corporation claimed to have entered into by mistake. In such circumstances, he argued that the party seeking to set aside a consent judgment should pay the costs of the other party. “Moreover, Mr Hargun submits, the guarantee was approved by the Senate and the Legislative Assembly,” the judgment continued. “In those circumstances, it was entirely reasonable for MIF to rely upon the guarantee, which it had done to its detriment, prior to the application to set aside, and then to defend the consent order, particularly bearing in mind that the consent order gave it the right to enforce payment of the monies due under the guarantee as a judgment creditor.” However, Mark Diel, representing the corporation, submitted that if the corporation had initially challenged the issue rather than sign the order of consent, there would have been a trial which the corporation would have prevailed. As the corporation would have been awarded costs in those circumstances, he argued there was no good reason not to be awarded costs in the present circumstances. Concluding his judgment, Mr Justice Hellman wrote: “There is force in both sets of submissions. However, I cannot get away from the fact that the need to apply to set aside the consent order was entirely of the corporation’s making. It would be adding insult to injury, and would be unjust, to cause MIF to pay the corporation’s costs. Therefore the order that I make, based upon the fact that these are exceptional circumstances and taking account of the justice of the case, is no order as to costs.”

December 5. Opinion by Venous Memari. "The protest on Friday raises a number of legal issues that the Centre for Justice wishes to address as part of its remit to raise public awareness around civil liberties. Section 10 of the Bermuda Constitution guarantees the right of freedom of assembly and association. As in most fundamental rights, this freedom is not an absolute right. Freedom of assembly can be lawful only if it is peaceful. Freedom of peaceful assembly means the intentional and temporary presence of a number of individuals in a public place for a common purpose. An assembly is deemed peaceful if its organizers have professed peaceful intentions and the conduct of the assembly is non-violent. Freedom of assembly is integral to a healthy and vibrant democracy. Any restriction on it must be proportionate. According to the Venice Commission’s Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, there is a presumption in favour of holding assemblies, and our democracy requires that laws exist to facilitate and to protect such gatherings. Where any restrictions on the freedom of assembly are required, they must be proportionate and must not fundamentally alter the character of the assembly or attempt to relocate the assembly to less visible locations. The freedom is to be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, sex or gender, religion or belief, affiliation, family status, sexual orientation, ability or socioeconomic status. Peaceful assembly must also be distinguished from activity that can constitute a criminal offence. By way of clarification, the law does not permit those gathered for assembly and protest to block public access ways or rights of way. Section 12(c) of the Parliament Act 1957 provides that any person who willfully interferes or attempts to interfere with the free exercise of any Member of Parliament or senator of their duties commits an offence. Accordingly, preventing access to the House of Assembly by parliamentarians is an offence. The courts have the power to imprison someone who is found guilty of this offence for up to two years or impose a fine of $16,800 — or do both. Further, under section 20(1)(c) the Summary Offences Act 1926, any person who knowingly interferes with the carrying-on of any lawful activity in any public premises, which includes any building occupied or used by or on behalf of the Government, commits an offence. Section 98 of the Criminal Code Act 1907 creates offences relating to unlawful assembly and riot. Specifically, where more than three people assemble and act in a way to cause anyone in a neighborhood to fear, on reasonable grounds, that they will disturb the peace, that gathering is unlawful. Separately, where that unlawful gathering acts in a manner to disturb the peace, those individuals are said to engage in a riot. It is therefore clear that so long as the assembly, march or protest is lawful and peaceful, the right to engage in such an assembly, march or protest cannot be interfered with. Historically, there have been occasions where those advocating for human rights and civil liberties have engaged in acts of non-violent resistance and civil disobedience to successfully challenge the status quo. Anyone seeking to engage in civil disobedience should be aware of the risks associated with doing so, which may result in criminal sanction. Given the potential for criminal sanction, it is recommended that individuals engaged in civil disobedience also understand their rights in the event they are arrested and/or prosecuted for committing an offence."

December 5. Opinion, by Nathan Kowalski CPA, CA, CFA, CIM, Chief Financial Officer of Anchor Investment Management Ltd. The key story in November was Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the US presidential election. With prospects of a Trump victory increasing as results poured in from key battleground states, equity futures sank, with the S&P 500 futures hitting limit-down of 5 per cent at one point. By the early morning it became clear that Republicans would retake the Senate and the Presidency and hold on to their large majority in the House of Representatives. With the world on edge Donald Trump’s acceptance speech came across more measured than his tone during the campaign which proved to calm investors. The US market opened the day slightly lower but closed up over 1 per cent despite previous fears that a Trump victory could lead to a crash in equity prices. Sentiment shifted from concerns over Donald Trump’s temperament and his ability to act as “Commander and Chief” to the potential benefits that a Republican sweep would have on the US economy. The remainder of the month was highlighted by sharp rallies in equities which resulted from the anticipated benefit brought about by increased promises of spending on infrastructure and the specter of higher inflation. The outcome of the US election could prove to be an economic inflection point. Although the current expansion in the US has been one of the longest on record, it has also been one of the weakest recoveries since the Second World War with economic growth and inflation well below the potential rate for 6½ years. The proposed policies by president-elect Trump have the chance to be a game changer but the markets’ enthusiasm may be excessive. Here are some market implications to consider: Inflation.  The bond market told investors something in November. It screamed inflation. On Election Day, market participants made a volte-face and a “bigly” move in interest rates followed. The ten-year US Treasury security yield rose 56 bps in November, which was the biggest monthly move since December 2009. Yields spiked to 2.06 per cent the day after the election and closed the month at 2.38 per cent. Whether much higher rates materialize at this point is somewhat suspect to me but the rationale is not. Real economic growth will likely be accompanied by higher inflation due to increased trade protectionism and less immigration on top of a relatively tight employment market. Such an outcome has been reflected in the entire yield curve which adjusted sharply upwards shortly after the election. The market now expects a rate hike this month, two more in 2017 and another two increases in 2018. Research by the International Monetary Fund has shown that even before the US election the output gap of advanced economies has narrowed from a high of 3.8 per cent of GDP in 2009 to 0.8 per cent at present. Once the gap has been closed some additional inflation pressure can be expected. One of the Federal Reserve’s favourite measures of inflation, the five-year forward breakeven inflation rate, soared to 1.94 per cent at one point and very near the Fed’s targeted inflation rate of 2 per cent. The 30-year secular bond rally looks to be ending. The Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Total Return Index lost a record 4 per cent last month, the deepest slump since the gauge’s inception in 1990. Investors also voted with their feet, pulling $10.7 billion from US bond funds in the two weeks after Trump’s victory — the biggest withdrawal since the 2013’s “taper tantrum”. Infrastructure. Fiscal stimulus could increase federal debt by trillions over the next few years and provide a not immaterial boost to GDP growth per annum. Even a watered down infrastructure and tax accord will provide stimulus to the US economy. It’s not likely that we will see the full $1 trillion spending plan Trump initially proposed and it is far more likely that its full effect will not truly be felt until late 2017 at the earliest and more likely not until 2018. The last fiscal spending bill during the Obama administration was not very effective and a lot of funds became trapped in administrative morass and found little traction to spur “shovel ready” projects. The market immediately latched on to the potential upside and drove most infrastructure names in the industrial and materials sector meaningfully higher. Taxes.  Lower corporate taxes and an overall simplification of the tax code would be a very fast and effective boost to corporate profits. This is especially so for domestically oriented and small to medium sized businesses within the US. The Russell 2000, a gauge of small cap stocks, soared nearly 13 per cent after the election. Lager multinational corporations, however, will see less of an overall benefit given their blended global effective tax rates are already much lower. They would, however, benefit from a repatriation holiday which could free up trapped capital sitting offshore that they may use for debt reduction, share buy-backs, dividends and/or investments within the US. For large multinationals, I would also suggest that the earnings gains from lower taxes will be offset by foreign exchange translation losses from overseas profits as the US dollar has soared. International Trade.  Probably the greatest risk to markets is protectionism. Despite the hype around Trump’s plans, the outcome may be positive for the US but not necessarily for the global economy. World trade has slowed down considerably with the year-over-year change in global export volumes essentially unchanged. The proposed renegotiations of existing trade agreements (e.g. Nafta) and additional protectionism measures will likely improve the US trade deficit but consequently hamper growth prospects of other economies, especially emerging markets. So far the visible adjustment has happened in the foreign exchange market. Primarily vulnerable is the Mexican economy — the peso lost 9.1 per cent in November alone. Other emerging market currencies, like the Turkish lira, the Indian rupee, among others, have sold off to record lows. De-globalization will not only impact growth prospects but has also the potential to reduce foreign direct investment into emerging markets and reverse capital flows back to developed economies, putting further upside pressure on the US dollar. Any restriction on free-trade, like Trumps recent warning that companies that plan on moving jobs to Mexico will be “taxed heavily at the border”, will only stoke US inflation or crimp corporate profit margins. What exactly comes of a Trump administration is by no means assured. While we are hopeful that a Trump presidency will lead to a lower corporate tax rate and higher investment spending, we are always mindful of valuation. Many of the “Trump Triumph” plays are now pricing in a near perfect scenario that assumes benefits will be realized almost immediately. Although narrative “trumps” numbers in the short run, it cannot replace true fundamental value. We would caution chasing trades that reflect excess optimism."

December 5. The Court of Appeal has rejected a ruling by the Supreme Court which could have opened the window for British Overseas Territories citizens to seek Bermuda status. While the original ruling by Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman found that Bermuda’s immigration laws were discriminatory, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Attorney-General appealed the ruling. In a ruling, the Court of Appeal found that the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968 specifies who is classified as “belonging” to Bermuda. The judgment, written by Appeal Judge Desiree Bernard, stated: “I posit the view, in absence of any tendered reasons, that the legislative purpose of section 11(5) was to provide a list of persons who qualify as belonging to Bermuda. “It sought to make clear and remove doubt about those whom the Constitution regarded as belonging to Bermuda. I do not agree with Mr Justice Hellman that the list is not exhaustive. “Unfortunately, persons such as the respondent who was born in Bermuda of parents who did not have Bermudian status were not part of that list. The anomalies [that] creates are unsatisfactory.” In the original case, Michael Barbosa argued that he had been unfairly prevented from seeking status due to his place of origin. While Mr Barbosa was born in Bermuda in 1976, his parents were not Bermudians. As a result, he was declared a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies. He later acquired British Overseas Territories Citizenship in 2002, and was granted indefinite leave to remain in Bermuda in 2013, but remained ineligible to apply for Bermudian status or a permanent residency certificate. Through lawyer Peter Sanderson, he argued that he legally belongs to Bermuda on the basis of common law. In a hearing in March, Mr Justice Hellman ruled in favour of Mr Barbosa, making declarations that Mr Barbosa belongs to Bermuda within the meaning of the Constitution and that he had been discriminated against. The justice further granted Mr Barbosa liberty to apply for a remedy should the Bermuda Government fail to provide a legislated remedy before the end of the legislative session. However, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Attorney-General appealed the ruling, saying the judge was wrong to find that Mr Barbosa was a person who belonged to Bermuda under the constitution as the Constitution provides an “exhaustive definition” of those deemed to belong to Bermuda. Lawyer James Guthrie, representing the appellants, submitted that the judge had construed the section too broadly and it was not permissible for the judge to add to the categories in the Constitution. However, Mr Sanderson supported the Mr Justice Hellman’s conclusions, stating that Mr Barbosa enjoys BOT citizenship because he was born in Bermuda before 1983, and as such he belongs to Bermuda under the common law. The Court of Appeal judgment aside Mr Justice Hellman’s declarations. In the ruling, Court of Appeal president Sir Scott Baker added: “The key question is the true construction of section 11(5) of the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968. The point at which I part company with the judge is his conclusion that the section can be read as incorporating an additional category of persons who are deemed to belong to Bermuda, namely ‘belongers’ at common law. In my judgment, the section is clear and unambiguous.”

December 5. A tribute now stands to the late former Chief Justice Sir Richard Ground, whose love of nature has been celebrated with a bird hide shelter in his name at the Seymour’s Pond nature reserve. Sir Richard served as Bermuda’s Chief Justice from 2004 until his retirement in 2012. His passion for wildlife and talent as a photographer resulted in the publication of the books Creator’s Glory when he was Attorney-General in the Cayman Islands, and The Birds of the Turks and Caicos Islands during his tenure as Chief Justice in Turks and Caicos Islands. The Bermuda Audubon Society’s reserve in Southampton has been extensively upgraded, and Sir Richard’s widow, Lady Ground, was able to visit the bird hide last week during a visit to the island. Society president Andrew Dobson called it a fitting tribute to a man who would “undoubtedly have spent many hours here with his camera at the ready”. “About 100 species of birds have been recorded on the nature reserve, and the hide provides ideal viewing of the wildfowl, herons and shorebirds that visit the pond.” Lady Ground was accompanied on her visit by Audubon Society member Geoffrey Bell, who was instrumental in the creation of the bird hide, and Bermuda’s current Chief Justice, Ian Kawaley.

December 5. When inspiration knocks, writer Eric Murphy answers. It’s not unusual for the Canadian writer to be hammering out a chapter at 4am. “If you don’t answer when the muse knocks, she leaves,” laughed Mr Murphy. It’s a formula that has worked well for him. He’ll be in Bermuda later this week to launch his third children’s book, The Bermuda Shipwreck. It’s his first novel based in Bermuda; The Phantom’s Gold and The Dead Man’s Boot were set in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. “I am a frequent visitor to Bermuda,” Mr Murphy said. “My wife and I first came to Bermuda five years ago when my daughter moved there with her husband. He works in an insurance company and I have two grandchildren there. I even have my driver’s licence which allows me to help with family life.” Mr Murphy has learnt much about the island’s culture and history through Bermuda friends. “Before coming to Bermuda I had no idea Bermuda had such a rich history,” said Mr Murphy. “I’m a real history buff. I developed a taste for history while writing my master’s in political science at Laval University, in Québec City. As I became more acquainted with Bermuda’s past, I realized that there was more than enough material for my third novel. In the process I discovered that Bermuda and Halifax were hotbeds of Confederate spies during the Civil War.” Bermuda history is deeply woven into the plot of The Bermuda Shipwreck. In it, cousins Will and Harley sail to Bermuda to deliver a customer’s sailboat. Will is looking forward to getting some scuba diving practice, while Harley is excited about reuniting with an old friend. But when the cousins discover something on the boat that they shouldn’t have, they are forced, at gunpoint, to dive for gold on the wreck of a Civil War era blockade runner. Mr Murphy visited many historic sites on the island to write the book, such as the Rogues and Runners museum in St George. He also spent a day shadowing Bermuda’s marine police. “I’m grateful for their kindness and their help,” said Mr Murphy. “The ride along with them was very informative. I have become friends with one of the officers. He has been very patient with my questions. There are two things I love about writing a historical series, storytelling and these fabulous characters,” said Mr Murphy. “The book is dedicated to the memory of Joseph H. Rainey, one of the more captivating individuals to have walked St George’s narrow streets. To me, he is a beacon for literacy. Mr Rainey and his wife fled to Bermuda during the Civil War. She ran a dress shop in Hamilton while he resumed his trade as a barber in St George. During his exile, Mr Rainey taught himself to read and write, something illegal for a black man to do in the South, before and during the Civil War. After the cessation of hostilities and armed with his new skills, he returned to the Carolinas where he became the first black man elected to the US House of Representatives.” Mr Murphy is a great proponent of literacy. His motto is: “It is hard to be the author of your own destiny if you can’t read or write.” He used The Phantom’s Gold to spearhead a literacy campaign in Regent Park, a Toronto housing project. He frequently visits schools to talk about his two passions: literacy and sailing. This week he’ll be speaking at CedarBridge Academy and Saltus Grammar School. Mr Murphy previously wrote film scripts and did some acting. “The Phantom’s Gold, the first book in the series of historical novels, began its literary incarnation as a feature script that got optioned by a producer,” he said. “It got development money from Telefilm Canada, but the producer let the option lapse which happens a lot in the film industry.” A friend suggested he turn the script into a novel for young adults. “I thought yeah, there is an opportunity, as one door closes, another one opens,” he said. “I didn’t know at the time that it would spawn a series. There are at least three more books in the offing.” He studied novel writing at Humber College in Toronto and fell in love with the craft. “You have 120 pages maximum in a script,” he said. “You have to express yourself as succinctly as possible whereas with a novel you can indulge a little more, and delve more deeply into the characters’ motivations. I have grown fond of writing novels. That’s not to say I would turn my back on a film script again if I had the chance to do it. Separate from the series, I am now working on a fourth book, this one for adults, and I am almost finished with it, although if you believe Oscar Wilde, a book is never finished, just abandoned.” The Bermuda Shipwreck will launch tomorrow at the Bermuda National Library from 5pm to 7pm. He will sign books, speak and answer questions. The book will be on sale at the Bookmart at Brown & Co. 

December 4. An Air Berlin flight made a detour to Bermuda this afternoon after a passenger suffered a medical emergency. According to Aaron Adderley, general manager at LF Wade International Airport, Air Berlin flight 7408 en route from Düsseldorf to Curacao, landed in Bermuda at around 2pm due to an emergency involving a male passenger. “The aircraft was met at the LF Wade International airport by emergency personnel, who tended to the 86-year-old before he was transported to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital,” he said. The flight then refueled and continued on its flight to Mexico, departing at about 3.15pm.

December 4. Premier Michael Dunkley this evening called clashes at the protest on Friday outside of Parliament “disheartening to see and unacceptable” and also criticised “obstruction to our democracy”. Mr Dunkley said that he had asked Government House, along with police, for an investigation into the crackdown on protesters, with “a report be completed for the Government on what happened and why”. The statement came as David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, issued a call for the Premier to “urgently address how and why riot police and pepper spray were deployed against Bermudians exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest”. Mr Dunkley’s statement continued: “Democracy means we listen, debate and vote in the legislature. Any threat to that process is a threat to our way of life, how we govern this country and basic decent respect regardless of party or position. The insightful, divisive rhetoric from the Opposition over the past week has no place in our country. Any leader that encourages demonstration and obstruction to our democracy is clearly not a leader that respects the democratic process which allows the business of the people to be conducted in the House of Assembly.” The Premier defended the airport terminal redevelopment, which prompted the call for demonstrators to block Parliament as MPs prepared to debate legislation for the project, as “badly needed” and “a vital investment in our infrastructure and community”.

December 4. Ginny Ferson, the Acting Governor, Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, were among the dignitaries on hand to greet John Rankin, the new Governor, when he arrived in Bermuda this evening. Mr Rankin told the assembled group that he was delighted to be in Bermuda and looked forward to working with them in the best interests of all Bermudians. The new Governor will be sworn in at a ceremony in the Town of St George at 11am tomorrow.

December 3. RG Opinion. "March 2016 played host to the Pathways to Status Bill. December 2016, only two days young, has delivered the airport redevelopment legislation. The common denominator? Neither political process was allowed to go forward because of unlawful protests that held up the democratic system that our forefathers fought so hard for us to have. What was different nine months down the road between protests, and alarmingly so, was that Bermudian citizens suffered physical injury. And it was so utterly avoidable. The Bermuda Police Service, who were ridiculed as toothless muppets when Chris Furbert, Jason Hayward and the Reverend Nicholas Tweed led their merry mob on to Cabinet grounds to successfully stop debate on the issue of permanent resident’s certificates and Bermudian status, have been on a hiding to nothing. But with a view to ensuring that the dreadful precedent set earlier in the year was not repeated, they armed themselves with a resolve that the people’s business be allowed to be carried out, provided that the Speaker of the House signaled for Sessions House to be open for business — which he did. Anything that prevents that, anything at all, is deemed unlawful. We brought yesterday on ourselves and have descended rather predictably into a lawless abyss of incivility as a result. Many have much to answer for, significantly among them David Burt, delivering his first big gambit as Leader of the Opposition, and the wide-eyed, foul-mouthed Jason Hayward, who resembled anything but the leader of a white-collar union; more raving lunatic. Questions need to be asked of both men, including: if this indeed was a peaceful protest, why was access to the House of Assembly denied to the honourable members who were democratically elected to fulfil their duties? The large majority of the crowd assembled on Parliament Street were indeed peaceful but those intent on stopping MPs from taking their places on the Hill were not. The scenes displayed when the police attempted to clear a path to Parliament were shameful — on both sides. Police will be reminded that senior citizens were subjected to pepper spray and the threat of Taser. That is what has made the rounds internationally, as Bermuda’s turquoise waters and pink sands have been exchanged for scenes out of a 1980s football hooligans’ dust-up. Whose bright idea was it to have them on the front line? Questions also need to asked of the officer who felt it necessary to spray an 87-year-old woman or those who manhandled another woman, resulting in her requiring hospital treatment. But none of this would have happened if the peaceful protest stayed peaceful and the officers were allowed to forge a way to the gates of Parliament. The moment the crowd closed ranks around them and the moment those closest to the gates girded their loins, that is when “peaceful” became something quite different. Burt, with his stated aim to stop the One Bermuda Alliance and the Bermuda Government from proceeding with the airport deal after Michael Dunkley refused to dance to his tune, made it so. The protesters were given a pass in March, but this cannot be allowed to go on whenever the OBA and the Progressive Labour Party do not see eye to eye in the legislature. What are we? Savages? Near enough, it must be accepted, because it is hard to escape such a crude analogy on the evidence of yesterday. And what’s worse, we wheel out the elderly, the vision-impaired and our young children for such occasions without taking full stock of worst-case scenarios. With all strategic boxes ticked, the sympathy card is at the ready if it all goes belly up. Moral high ground achieved. Politics. But finally, finally, one or two social-media commenters have taken to exploring the airport deal and why it is causing so much angst. They planned on reading the 200 or so pages that were put into the public domain a fortnight ago so that they might make an informed decision. They will be in a very small minority. We have been going at this for almost two years and the reality is that no more than one in ten of our “peaceful protesters” — and we are being pretty generous even with that assessment — has bothered to read any of the reams of literature that have been produced to articulate one side of the argument or the other. That is what we have become. Well led rather than well read. The result is a spinning of wheels in quicksand. And deeper and deeper we sink until we are no longer seen at all.

December 3. The Bermuda Government remains undeterred after a day of protests,  Premier Michael Dunkley pledged last night. “If people tonight think they got the upper hand out of today, I’m sorry, it’s just not like that,” the Premier told The Royal Gazette. “All Bermuda grieves tonight and we need to do better.” Mr Dunkley, who was speaking after a heated demonstration over the controversial airport redevelopment project turned violent yesterday, added: “I have no intention of being deterred in our resolve to move forward. “I take a great degree of dedication in paying attention and dealing with the issues of Bermuda. Tonight I am quite troubled, but I do believe that calm heads will prevail and I do believe that people who are sincere in wanting to move us forward will have an open dialogue.” He added that although Bermuda is a shining example to the world in many areas, yesterday “was a very dark day — a blight on the history because the world is looking at us and is saying wait a second, the House of Assembly couldn’t meet for a second time because they couldn’t get in. And then we had the unfortunate incident where some of our brothers and sisters were injured during the events that took place after that. While I fully support people’s right to protest their disagreements about things, I stand behind law and order and allowing democracy to take place. It is our job as legislators to get into the House and have that full and frank discussion in the House of Assembly.” Mr Dunkley also said it would be premature to talk about the next steps. Although he met with the Acting Governor and the Commissioner of Police yesterday to find out what happened and why it happened, he had not had the chance to speak to his colleagues “in too much detail”. But he said he intended to do so over the weekend, adding that he would also be speaking with Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, to discuss what happens next. “As far as the airport deal, when I have more to talk to the media about, I will certainly get back to the media,” he added. “But at this stage, this weekend, I want people to reflect, to stay calm — let’s not jump to conclusions.” Mr Dunkley also urged people to be more serious about having an open dialogue, but he stressed that “people need to be sincere in the motive on what they’re doing. I’ve talked to the Opposition leader over the past week about this Bill and I’ve doubted his sincerity on what he’s done." He said: “We have a disagreement in the direction that the Bill should go but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get on the floor of the House of Assembly and debate it like elected leaders who are responsible.” He added that it is unfortunate that the Opposition “is all about pulling this Government down and stopping Bermuda from moving forward and that’s not acceptable”. Mr Dunkley also urged the public not to be concerned about their safety, and if they do have concerns to report them to police. “People were demonstrating what they believed was a specific issue and that was the airport. We’ll continue to provide information and understanding on that airport. I feel that Bermuda is still a very safe place.” Meanwhile, Senator Lynne Woolridge also insisted the One Bermuda Alliance “will not be swayed by these politically motivated protests”. The party chairwoman accused the PLP of taking this “country to the brink of anarchy” and urged Bermudians to “understand this cannot continue”.

December 3. A death threat has been pulled from online after graphic threats against the life of Michael Dunkley, the Premier, were circulated on the social networking service Instagram. Later today Instagram announced that the account had been removed for violating its guidelines. The poster had requested to be messaged if willing accomplices wished Mr Dunkley’s “family’s info, his address and the addresses and numbers for his colleagues”. The account, named “dunkleymustdie”, had almost 350 followers by this morning. Separate responses say the Premier has “only a few weeks left to live” and that “he must resign by Tuesday or his family and he will feel what Bermudians have felt for far too long!” This escalation of threatened criminal intent against the leader of a sitting government came in the aftermath of a violent showdown between protesters blocking the gates of Parliament yesterday and the police tasked with clearing them. Images of the confrontation, which included the use of pepper spray against demonstrators, many of them seniors and women, have outraged residents. “Police are aware of the social-media threats to the Premier and his family and have commenced an investigation into the matter,” a police spokesman said this afternoon. “Additionally, the offensive posting has been brought to the attention of the service provider for review. Anyone with any information that might assist police in identifying the original poster is encouraged to contact police on 295-0011 or the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.” This turn of events came less than a day after the Premier said that residents should have nothing to fear in the wake of disruptions that have delayed the legislature’s handling of the airport redevelopment deal. “I feel perfectly safe and comfortable tonight in spite of what took place today,” he told The Royal Gazette yesterday. "I urge people, don’t be concerned about your safety. If you have those concerns, contact the police. I feel that Bermuda is still a very safe place. It’s really tragic and unfortunate what happened today, but people should not be concerned about their safety unless they put themselves in confrontational issues that can be contentious.” David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, despite his many disagreements with the Premier, has responded to developments with a statement of condemnation. He said: “I condemn in the strongest possible terms the death threats made against Premier Michael Dunkley, his family and other members of the One Bermuda Alliance. Although we may disagree with the OBA on best way for Bermuda, the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party does not condone violence of any kind, for any reason, against the Premier or any members of the OBA.”

December 3. Two government MPs are considering resigning from the One Bermuda Alliance and becoming independents after yesterday’s protest outside Parliament, The Royal Gazette understands. Leah Scott and Mark Pettingill were horrified that riot police armed with pepper spray were used to quell demonstrators outside the House of Assembly. Both viewed the protest against plans to redevelop the airport — called for the night before by Opposition leader David Burt — as peaceful, and have serious concerns about the “show of force” deployed by law enforcers. Southampton East Central MP Ms Scott spoke to The Royal Gazette this morning but declined to comment on whether she was considering resigning. Warwick North East MP Mr Pettingill could not be reached. Ms Scott said: “I’m very disappointed that there was no consideration given to the fact that our families were out there and that riot police were engaged on a peaceful protest. It just was a very, very sad day yesterday. There was no understanding of the history, that this marked the anniversary of the protests prompted by the hangings of [Erskine] ‘Buck’ Burrows and Larry Tacklyn. Yesterday’s response clearly demonstrated why the OBA is so hated among blacks in the community. It just clearly delineated the line between us and them. I watched the footage [of the protest] afterwards. I was disappointed with myself that I didn’t go. While on my way to the House, I was called to a meeting [of the OBA’s parliamentary group] at the Premier’s office. I am so angry with myself that I didn’t just get up and go. People may feel that I condoned what was going on because I wasn’t there, but I didn’t condone it. My understanding was that the police were there to open up the gates so that we could get into Parliament. I cannot condone the use of force and spraying. Grandchildren saw their grandparents being sprayed with pepper spray. That is an image they will never forget and I just cannot condone that.” A separate source within the OBA, who asked not to be named, said there was a “high degree of discontent” among party members, including some in Cabinet, about yesterday’s events. The source said former Attorney-General Mr Pettingill was vocal at the parliamentary group meeting about not having “any form of police force”. Last night, he was said to be “appalled and upset” and today was considering whether to resign, having already been at loggerheads with the party leadership in recent months over other issues, including same-sex marriage. Mr Pettingill did not support the protesters and felt they were attempting to impose “mob rule”. But he felt the Government should have defused the situation by postponing the parliamentary session, where the airport deal was to be debated, and speaking to those gathered outside Sessions House. “It was kneejerk,” said the source, about the police response. “Who showed up armed, carrying pepper spray? Who showed up wearing helmets? You are coming to do battle. It just ups the ante.” Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, insisted yesterday that protesters acted unlawfully, with some attacking officers. He said the use of pepper spray was “proportionate” to disperse the crowd.

December 3. Progressive Labour Party MPs have condemned the “heavy-handed tactics” employed by the Bermuda Police Service to try and break up yesterday’s protest. The Opposition parliamentarians, many of whom spent the day side-by-side with the protesters, described seeing seniors pepper-sprayed and pushed aside while riot police tried to clear a passage to the House of Assembly. Some also raised questions about the actions of Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House, as the day played out. David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, said late last night in a statement that “the images and videos from today cast a stain on our society that will not easily be removed”. Deputy leader Walter Roban told The Royal Gazette he was jostled and pushed by officers as they tried to break through the main entrance to the Sessions House on Parliament Street. Meanwhile, Opposition whip, Lovitta Foggo, revealed her grandson’s father was pepper-sprayed during the confrontation. “This was a peaceful protest,” she added. “The people have a democratic right to make their voices heard. We as Parliamentarians sit at their behest. We should be responsive to their calls. It is of great concern to see what has happened today.” Jamahl Simmons told The Royal Gazette that Opposition MPs had tried to help the protesters, “at which point police pepper-sprayed into the crowd,” he said. Mr Roban described yesterday’s events as “a sad day for the country”, and demanded police provide answers for the way they acted. “We have seen our democracy assaulted,” he said. “What we witnessed was way over the top and unnecessary. People who were peacefully gathered, as is their right, have been treated like they have broken the law. I do not know who gave the orders, but answers will have to be given. I asked senior police officers under what authority they were acting and they could not provide me with an answer.” PLP MP Rolfe Commissiong said the day’s events “vividly confirmed the growing divide in our society. The assertion that there are two Bermudas is not an idle comment by our leader.  I am also terribly disappointed in the role the Speaker has played today. This whole event vividly demonstrates that black Bermudians have had enough.”

December 3. A heated protest over the controversial airport redevelopment project turned violent yesterday, with police dousing protesters with pepper-spray and officers allegedly being assaulted. While protesters have alleged that the officers needlessly disrupted a peaceful protest, sending at least one senior away in an ambulance, police commissioner Michael DeSilva said protesters were unlawfully obstructing police and the public. Hundreds gathered outside the House of Assembly early yesterday morning in protest of controversial airport redevelopment plans following a call by Opposition Leader David Burt for a demonstration. While the protesters successfully prevented MPs entering the House of Assembly, tensions came to a head in the early afternoon when police made efforts to move them. Protesters chanted and linked arms to remain in place and, during a heated altercation, police attempted to disperse them with spray. The move prompting a furious reaction from protesters, union leaders and Progressive Labour Party MPs. People who were sprayed were seen treating themselves in the street with water and cream, while two female crowd members were helped into an ambulance. Witnesses said one woman was injured after a confrontation with police, and several officers reportedly attacked. By 2.45pm, Speaker of the House Randy Horton announced Parliament would be postponed until next Friday and the crowds began to dissipate, although a presence remained for the rest of the afternoon. At the height of the tension, veteran PLP MP Derrick Burgess warned police some potential demonstrators may bring ammunition. “I would like you guys to retreat — this is going to get dirty,” he said. “You don’t want to mess with us. There are people with ammunition; they may come here — that’s what they told me. I tried to calm them down; they will shoot. They will come.” Mr Burgess, who emphasised to The Royal Gazette that he had tried to calm people down, later said of the standoff: “This is white supremacy at work. This is the biggest thing to happen since the 1977 riots. Yes, people said they would bring ammunition and I can understand the emotions when your grandmother or auntie is being pepper-sprayed.” P.J. Hayward, a member of the Bermuda Industrial Union general council, said he was among those hit by pepper-spray when he called on protesters to lower their heads. “Saying we were violent is ludicrous,” he said. “I saw a lady pulled in through the gate and sprayed who fell down and hit her head. She’s ended up in the hospital.” The Reverend Terry Hassell of Heard Chapel AME Church, said he had challenged officers as they advanced, and was told that it was “an unpeaceful assembly”. “It needs to be stated that even after people were sprayed, it remained peaceful,” Mr Hassell said. Asked what had fuelled the frustration of demonstrators, he replied: “Bermuda is divided and racist. We need to deal with that reality — and we don’t.” Jason Hayward, president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, said: “All we were doing was standing here peacefully and they tried to come and manhandle us but, guess what, they didn’t get in and they didn’t get the gate. But it’s unfortunate that they came using that type of force to women and especially elderly women. I saw them spray an elderly woman directly in her face, not indirectly, directly in her face. That’s wrong. Then they pulled down that woman that just went in the ambulance.” Mr Burt later addressed the crowd to say he was “extraordinarily concerned” about what took place and that the Police Commissioner had been contacted. He told The Royal Gazette: “What happened today was that we had members of the public peacefully assembled to express their displeasure at a government intent on pushing through a contract no one knows the details of. To see riot police come out, to see senior citizens pepper-sprayed from behind, it’s a sad day, and someone will have to answer for today.” Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, called the clash a tragedy, adding: “This was a peaceful protest. The police came down here and tried to push through this gate; manhandling people in a peaceful protest. They could not get through so they went around to the other gate where people were pepper-sprayed including seniors. The Premier and the commissioner must be held accountable for what has happened today.” The significance of yesterday’s date, marking 39 years since the island’s racially charged riots of 1977, was also noted by many protesters. In the wake of the altercation, the Police Commissioner said the incident was “regrettable”, but maintained that protesters were acting unlawfully by obstructing others and assaulting police. He said that one person was arrested for an assault on an officer, and that an investigation into the actions of one officer would be carried out after a complaint from the public. Premier Michael Dunkley said the altercation had caused him and his colleagues “great distress”, saying: “Images of our seniors and members of our public being pepper-sprayed is not something that should be happening in Bermuda. We recognise that it is our democratic right to protest, so it pains me greatly that the end result of today’s protest impeded democracy.” He stressed the need for the island to find more productive means of communicating, saying such disruption of the democratic process cannot become the norm. Meanwhile Acting Governor Ginny Ferson said she was concerned about what happened, urging protesters to act within the boundaries of the law: “Preventing MPs from getting into Parliament to carry out their legislative business is a serious infringement of the rule of law and the democratic values we all hold dear. “The right to peaceful protest is also a right we hold dear. But there are people who seek to go beyond peaceful protest and incite criminal activity.” 

December 3. Paul Goodison intends to capitalize on his wealth of local knowledge during the MS Amlin International Moth Regatta. The Olympic gold medal-winner and world champion has spent the past year training in the Great Sound with his Artemis Racing team-mates and, as such, will be quite familiar with the conditions which could give him the edge as he guns for Rob Greenhalgh’s title. “I think we’ll have a bit of an advantage having done a bit of sailing here,” the British sailor said. “It is quite a big difference when you switch from the big turbos [AC45S] to the Moths. The biggest thing is how much more maneuverable these small boats are so you can tack and gybe where you want obviously not limited by course boundaries. It is very different but at the end you’re still on the foils and still on the Great Sound.” Goodison finished third at this event last year and now hopes to go two better to claim bragging rights and with it the lion’s share of the $10,000 in prize money. The Artemis helmsman will renew rivalries with compatriots Chris Rashley, the UK Moth champion, and Greenhalgh, the defending MS Amlin champion, whom he got the better of on the way to capturing a maiden Moth World title in Japan in May. “I haven’t done much Moth sailing, to be honest, since I came back from the worlds in Japan because we’ve been super busy,” said Goodison, who won a gold medal in the Laser dinghy at the 2008 Olympics. “The priority here for Artemis Racing obviously is the America’s Cup and it’s quite an important period right now where we’re making some big decisions about how the 50 is going to turn out and the actual America’s Cup boat. I’m really looking forward to doing some Moth sailing. It’s going to be extra special with all the other boats here to train with. I’m very excited to get out on the Great Sound and do some racing.” Goodison is among a trio of Artemis sailors competing in the Moth Regatta as team-mates Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen are also among the 52 strong racing fleet. Outteridge is also a past Moth world champion and Olympic gold medal-winner, having topped the podium in the double-handed 49er at the 2012 Games in England with Jensen. Carrying local hopes are Nathan Bailey, James Doughty, Richard Graham-Enoch, Josh Greenslade, Christian Luthi and Brett Wright. The regatta is hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and begins today with the MS Amlin Dash for Cash in Hamilton Harbour and runs until December 9.

December 3. Bermuda resident Brooke Burfitt has been awarded the Best Actress award at an Irish film festival. By Any Means, a thriller starring Burfitt, premiered at the Wexford Film Festival in Ireland last weekend. Her portrayal of reality show star Mimi Wyatt won her top honours. The film itself won the Best Film award, with director Leighton Spence collecting both awards. Burfitt was unable to attend the premiere, and instead found herself sitting with her husband in her Warwick home waiting for word about how the evening would turn out. “The film was nominated for four awards: Best Director, Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress, and I had my fingers crossed we would get something,” she said. “Leighton texted a photo at 8pm of two awards sitting on the stage. My heart stopped and then a following text came through saying I had won Best Actress and we took home the prize of the night — Best Film. It was such a shock. My husband, Rhys, was thrilled and rushed down to the local service station to buy a bottle of something fizzy to celebrate.” Burfitt, who is originally from Chiswick in London, moved to the island last year and has already become involved in the local theatre scene. She starred in the Bermuda Musical Dramatic Society’s production of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew this summer. “The theatre and talent here is incredible,” she said. “The week I arrived on the island, BIFF was running and there were so many workshops and events going on, that I just got wrapped up and inspired by it all.” The film, which was shot last October in New York, is about a “C-list reality show star” who is abducted by a man in desperate need of money to save his terminally ill daughter. Thomas Gipson plays the kidnapper, Frank Watson, while reality television stars Jonathan Cheban and Michelle Money both appear in the film. Burfitt said the role of Mimi was her most challenging to date. “Mimi is calculating and egocentric and so her personality makes it difficult for you to sympathize with her during a traumatic ordeal. But it was fascinating because it is such a different role to the sweet girl-next-door I would normally play and I have never had to push myself as hard.”

December 2. Police commissioner Michael DeSilva said an altercation between protesters and police was unfortunate, but maintained that protesters were acting unlawfully. “It is regrettable that this incident has occurred without a doubt,” he said. “However it is clear to us that there were those among the protesters that were determined to confront the police acting in a lawful execution of their duties.” Officers reportedly deployed pepper-spray and Tasers during an altercation early yesterday afternoon, with officers attempting to move protesters who had surrounded the House of Assembly grounds in protest of controversial airport plans. Speaking at a press conference yesterday afternoon, Mr DeSilva said that police were already at the House when the first protesters arrived, and had warned them to abide by lawful instructions. “Throughout the morning, in an attempt to allow access to the House of Assembly, officers engaged with protesters continually to warn them about their conduct and to encourage them to desist from obstructing the entrance to the grounds or building,” he said. “Once the Speaker of the House declared the House would sit today, police initiated positive action to open a path to the House. They approached the protesters who were blocking access, warned them they were committing offences, and instructed them to desist. Immediately the crowd surged and some of the protesters assaulted the officers. Some officers deployed incapacitate spray in a proportionate response to disperse the crowd and create a safe separation. The decision to de-escalate was taken later after the Speaker announced that the House would not sit today.” He said it is important for the public to be aware that there is a significant difference between peaceful, lawful protest and “unlawful activities that threaten the democratic process. We respect and uphold the constitutional right to freedom of speech, to gather and to peacefully protest, but we remind the protesters and organizers that their actions must be lawful and they must not intrude on the rights of others or impede on the rule of law. Our investigators are reviewing video footage that was captured today to identify offenders with a view to produce files for the Department of Public Prosecution to review. We received one complaint from a member of the public against a police officer, and that matter will also be investigated.” Asked who ordered riot police to intervene, he said it was not the Premier, the Speaker of the House or the Governor. “The only people that can instruct police officers to use lawful force is police officers,” he said. He later added: “Whenever we use force, it’s after trying every other option we can think of. Police officers don’t walk into a situation and pull out Tasers and batons and incapacitate spray.” Police also revealed that one protester was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an officer with a stick, but the service determined that other offenders would be dealt with by way of summons. Asked what offences the protesters were allegedly committing, Mr DeSilva said: “The general offence was obstruction. It is an offence under the Summary Offences Act to obstruct lawful duty, lawful business. People moving along the street. You can’t block other people from doing what they are allowed to do.” The commissioner confirmed that officers at the scene were using body cameras at the time of the incident, and that the footage would form the basis of their investigations, but said the footage would not be released publicly for legal reasons.

December 2. Acting Governor Ginny Ferson has this afternoon expressed concern over events at today’s protest, urging protesters to act within the law. In a statement, Mrs Ferson said: “I am very concerned at the events which took place today outside Parliament. Bermudians elect their MPs to represent them and to debate Bills in Parliament. Preventing MPs from getting into Parliament to carry out their legislative business is a serious infringement of the rule of law and the democratic values we all hold dear. “The right to peaceful protest is also a right we hold dear, but there are people who seek to go beyond peaceful protest and incite criminal activity. The Bermuda Police Service is tasked with upholding the law and assuring public safety. The protocols they follow are aimed at minimizing use of force and avoiding injury, both to the public and to their officers. For my part, I would urge those who wish to protest to act within the law so that occurrences like this can be avoided in the future.”

December 2. The One Bermuda Alliance will not be swayed by politically motivated protests, according to party chairwoman Senator Lynne Woolridge. In a statement this evening, Ms Woolridge accused the Progressive Labour Party of taking this “country to the brink of anarchy” and urged Bermudians to “understand this cannot continue”. She said: “Today is a sad day in Bermuda. The democratically elected government has been prevented from doing the people’s work.” Noting that the purpose of today’s planned debate of the airport legislation was to reveal the benefits of the airport redevelopment plan, she added: “The Progressive Labour Party has steadfastly, for more than two years now, refused to pay any attention to the mountain of facts and relevant documents the Government has put out about this project. “The fact of the matter is, we have concluded, that the PLP couldn’t care less what the facts are; they simply want to defeat the OBA and wrest back control of the government by any means necessary. That’s not democracy, that’s government by force. That is government by bullying. The PLP has taken this country to the brink of anarchy. I urge all Bermudians to look at what the Opposition and their supporters are doing, and understand this cannot continue. We must respect the rule of law in Bermuda and the right of the elected government to move legislation forward for the benefit of all Bermudians.” Ms Woolridge added that today’s events were “not representative of who we are as Bermudians and it is most unfortunate that some of the protesters were injured”. She added: “Physical confrontations are never the answer in resolving a disagreement. We have overcome our differences in the past and, going forward, the OBA is committed to fulfilling our responsibility to the people of Bermuda and we will not be swayed by these politically motivated protests.”

December 2. Buses will not be running for an indefinite period today because of a planned march on Parliament, the Government has advised. A government statement said: “The Department of Public Transportation has this morning been advised by the Bermuda Industrial Union that the bus service will shut down between 8am and 8.30am this morning. “This is due to the march on Parliament this morning.” It comes after David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, urged Progressive Labour Party supporters to demonstrate today at Parliament as MPs prepare to debate the controversial airport redevelopment legislation. The Department of Public Transportation added that there is no information as to when bus service will be resumed.

December 2. A call was issued last night by David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, for supporters to demonstrate today at Parliament as MPs prepare to debate the controversial airport development legislation. The call was made in an e-mail and reiterated at a People’s Campaign meeting on the airport project which featured Mr Burt as a panelist alongside Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert, Larry Burchall and moderator Reverend Nicholas Tweed. “Our call is simple,” Mr Burt said at the packed meeting at St Paul’s Centennial Hall, which was also broadcast on Magic 102.7. “Submit the deal to an advance review by the office of the Auditor-General, let her give her independent assessment of the cost to taxpayers of this deal and then, and only then, should Parliament, the representatives of the people of Bermuda, be able to ask the Government as to whether or not we are going to privatize our airport to this Canadian company and export our profits overseas.” And responding to members of the public who voiced their frustrations and called for less talking and more action, he said: “I hear your frustration, I hear where you are, you are tired of marching. But tomorrow is a day where the One Bermuda Alliance is planning on using their very slim majority to sell our airport, to privatize our airport to a foreign company and we cannot let that happen. So I hope that you will heed the call. At the very minimum, the people of this country deserve an independent review of this deal. And if the Government is not prepared to commit to that, then there’s going to be no negotiation on our side.” Noting that “we have exhausted the political options”, Mr Burt called also on Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, to reconsider his position, saying it is only because of where he sits that “the One Bermuda Alliance is still the Government of the day. I would hope that this evening, the Speaker of the House would consider the fact that the people voted for him, voted for the Progressive Labour Party and would consider the fact that if he decided to come home to the PLP, the One Bermuda Alliance’s plan’s would be derailed. Because we can march and we can make our voices heard, but the actions of one man would be enough to stop this entire thing.” Mr Furbert also called on the people to send a clear message “to Michael Dunkley and the OBA Government like they did in the early 1970s when the UBP was trying to implement the payroll tax on the hotel workers’ grats, then you show up tomorrow in full force and I can tell you, the OBA will have no other choice but to turn that bill somewhere else”. Referencing the protests in March, which he said saw about 15 per cent of the workforce come out, he added: “So instead of taking five days, if we had 80 per cent out, maybe it takes one day to resolve.” And Reverend Nicholas Tweed, who pointed out to much laughter that he had “exercised tremendous discipline and restraint in his neutral role as facilitator”, added in closing: “On the dawn of the 39th anniversary of 1977, we must decide whether we are going to continue to address symptoms and get tired of walking, tired of marching, because we are addressing symptoms and we have to decide whether we are ready and committed to fix the problem. You think on these things. Your destiny is in your hands.” In an e-mail sent last night from the Progressive Labour Party, Mr Burt called today “a pivotal date in Bermuda’s history” — noting past occasions when mass protests had caused the Bermuda Government to backtrack. On March 14, demonstrations outside Sessions House blocked legislators from the building, and Mr Burt pointed to that showdown as well as mass demonstrations on furlough days as occasions when the One Bermuda Alliance “wouldn’t listen and the people forced them to listen”. Mr Burt also reiterated his call for the Auditor-General to review the proposal in advance and to give an independent assessment of its cost to MPs — a request that was earlier turned down by the Government. Michael Dunkley, the Premier, has stated that the project has already been assessed, and that the Auditor-General’s office is unsuited to evaluating projects in advance. Mr Burt’s message called on all Bermudians to come to the House of Assembly from 9am to demonstrate. The statement added: “Now it is time for the people to demonstrate our strength yet again because you know, as we do, that ‘the power of the people is far greater than the people in power’.”

December 2. The Commission of Inquiry was asked yesterday to consider whether certain arrangements regarding the multimillion dollar Dame Lois Browne-Evans project pointed to “potential infringements or criminal activity.”  Narinder Hargun, counsel to the commission, told the four-person panel that Derrick Burgess, when Minister of Public Works, knew that “friends and family” of his and Ewart Brown had acquired interests in the company. Mr Burgess told the commission last month that he did not know who the principals of the company were. Mr Hargun said the evidence showed that the answers he gave under oath on the subject could not have been honest. The lawyer said there could be innocent explanations for why the Cabinet appeared not to have been told about the connections but added: “The commission may feel there is evidence which points to potential infringements or criminal activity.” He went on to say that if the involvement in the company of Vincent Hollinsid, former Premier Dr Brown’s half-brother, had affected the contract negotiations it would be a criminal matter, although he noted: “There’s no direct evidence to suggest that.” Mr Hargun’s remarks came eight weeks after Mr Burgess told the tribunal he did not know Winters Burgess, whom he has described as a close friend and relative, and Mr Hollinsid, had an interest in LLC, formerly called Landmark Lisgar. Yesterday morning, Mr Hargun revealed that recently disclosed documents showed lawyer Julian Hall was present at a meeting with HSBC representatives on behalf of Mr Burgess, along with Winters Burgess and Mr Hollinsid, when the arrangement was finalized. Mr Hargun said Mr Burgess should have told Cabinet in November 2008 that Winters Burgess and Mr Hollinsid had taken on an equitable interest in LLC. He told the commission: “It is highly unlikely that the minister [Derrick Burgess] did not know Winters Burgess and Vincent Hollinsid were the beneficiaries of an equitable ownership of the company in November 2008. It’s important to emphasise that Julian Hall did not attend the bank in a personal capacity but on behalf of his client, the Minister of Public Works, Derrick Burgess. If this is right, and we suggest it is clearly right, that Derrick Burgess had that knowledge that Winters Burgess and Vincent Hollinsid had acquired interests in the company in November 2008, he should have told the Cabinet, either when he made the presentation on November 4 or if he found out afterwards, he should have disclosed it.” Mr Hargun added: “Mr Burgess never advised the Cabinet of this, and these men were not complete strangers; they were friends and family of the minister and the Premier. In these circumstances, we say that the evidence that Mr Burgess gave when he was here last time has to be looked at very carefully in light of these documents. The evidence he gave on October 6 is not consistent with these documents. One can see why Mr Burgess was reluctant to acknowledge that he had this knowledge.” Yesterday morning, Mr Hargun confirmed that Mr Burgess had been sent the bank records by his lawyer and had until Wednesday to respond. Mr Hargun, who said his comments were subject to what Mr Burgess had to say in response, maintained it was “clearly beyond any reasonable doubt” that Mr Hall knew about Winters Burgess and Mr Hollinsid. He added that Mr Hall was “duty-bound” to tell the minister and it was “inconceivable” that he would not have done so. He said Mr Burgess knew because his consultant knew. When Mr Burgess gave evidence before the commission last month he branded the tribunal a “lynch mob”, while making personal racial accusations against Mr Hargun for asking him questions about the project. “I didn’t know who was behind their business [LLC],” Mr Burgess said. Asked if he knew that Winters Burgess and Mr Hollinsid were seeking an equity interest in the company, he answered: “How would I know that? I’m asking, how would I know that? No, I did not know.” Mr Hargun asked: “When did you find out that they had an equity interest in this company?” Mr Burgess replied: “I didn’t find out.” Mr Hargun continued: “You didn’t find out? ”Mr Burgess said: “No.”

December 2. Bermuda had foreign portfolio holdings of more than half-a-trillion dollars last year, predominantly through its financial services sector. At $505.6 billion, that was down 2 per cent on 2014. The decrease was attributed to a decline in the assets of the insurance sector and net assets values of investments funds. Globally cross-border holdings fell 5.6 per cent last year. The insurance sub sector accounts for 84 per cent of the island’s total foreign portfolio holdings, followed by investment funds, banking and the Bermuda Government. While the island does not feature in the world’s top ten places with the largest foreign portfolio holdings, it does account for a chunk of the $46.2 trillion of global cross-border holdings of securities. The insight comes from data released for the first time by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Since 2001, Bermuda has been participating in a voluntary global investment survey, under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund. The Co-ordinated Portfolio Investment Survey tracks the cross-border holdings of portfolio investment securities in 82 countries. The information shows where Bermuda’s financial services entities invest assets, and which countries are investing in Bermuda. As a group, the island’s insurers and reinsurers, investment funds and banks heavily favour the US for their portfolio holdings, with $293.7 billion invested in the country, up 10 per cent, and representing 58 per cent of the overall total. The next most popular destinations for portfolio investments were Britain and Canada, accounting for 7 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively. Cayman Islands, Luxembourg and France account for 3 per cent each, with the remaining 22 per cent spread elsewhere around the world. Bermuda’s derived liabilities, which are the value of securities held by non-residents, were $479 billion at the end of 2015, a decrease of 1 per cent. Derived equity securities accounted for 89 per cent of the total, while debt securities, both long and short, made up the remainder. The island’s foreign portfolio holdings consist mainly of debt securities, which last year totaled $398 billion. At present, Bermuda collects foreign portfolio holdings data from the government and financial services industry only. The BMA report noted that the financial services industry “is the biggest sector in Bermuda and contributes over 60 per cent of Bermuda’s economic output”. The insurance sector heavily dominates the island’s foreign portfolio holdings and has done since the first investment survey was conducted in Bermuda in 2001. The sector’s foreign portfolio holdings had a $425 billion value at the end of last year. Investment funds were the next biggest in terms of foreign portfolio holdings with $68 billion, followed by banks with $9.4 billion and the government with $2.1 billion. Debt securities, the vast majority being long-term, account for 88 per cent of the insurance sector’s foreign portfolio holdings, with the remainder in equities. Investment fund foreign portfolio holdings in Bermuda have fallen from a peak of $209.8 billion in 2007 to $68 billion last year, which was $12 billion lower than in 2014. The net asset value of the funds was $144 billion. Unlike the insurance sub sector, the foreign portfolio holdings of investment funds contain a bigger percentage of equities, at 80 per cent, with debt securities accounting for 20 per cent. The banking sub sector’s foreign portfolio holdings were almost exclusively debt securities, with equities representing 1 per cent. Government’s foreign portfolio holdings were divided between equities, at 84 per cent, and long-term debt securities, with a very small portion of short-term debt securities. Geographically, portfolio investment securities issued by the US account for $1.9 billion, or 89 per cent, of government’s holdings. Bermuda’s derived liabilities, that is securities held by non-residents, were down 1 per cent on the previous year, at $479 billion. These liabilities consist mainly of equity securities accounting for the remaining 11 per cent. Regarding the Bermuda survey, the BMA stated: “The primary purpose of this study is to provide countries with systematic estimates of their foreign portfolio assets, at market value, and to enhance the quality of statistics on global capital flow.” It added: “Overall, the CPIS exercise provides countries with systematic estimates of their foreign portfolio assets by security type and geographical allocation, and enhances the quality of statistics on global capital flow. Bermuda’s participation contributes to an improved understanding of the jurisdiction as an international financial centre and re-emphasizes Bermuda’s commitment to a high standard of transparency.”

December 2. The St George’s Club could be sold before the end of the year — but members of the club have voiced serious concerns. According to a letter sent to members on October 27, a local hotelier — believed to be the group behind the Grotto Bay Beach Resort — had proposed “investing a significant sum” into refurbishing the club and taking over management of the resort. However, in order for the sale to go ahead the club must pay off more than $3 million of debt, leaving members concerned that they will be footing the bill. The letter from management stated: “The club has been in discussion with the Government of Bermuda and the Member’s Advisory Committee on this topic for many months and we have come to the conclusion that the best way forward is to offer each member a clear choice so as to ensure that the St George’s Club is unencumbered by debt which is a stated requirement of the investor prior to their investment.” According to the letter, members were given the choice of remaining members, with a final portion of the accumulated debt levied as a “special assessment”, or buy out their agreements with the club. “The St George’s Club management have advised the Government of Bermuda at every step of this discussion and they have been in direct communication with the investor. The investor has a very aggressive timescale for this project of the beginning of 2017 and we are all working towards this for the good of everyone involved,” the letter stated. A subsequent letter to members from the MAC stated the present owners and managers of the club were told by the Minister of Tourism they must pay $3.5 million in debts before the sale can go ahead. “The MAC has argued, in the past and present, that we have no responsibility for these debts because of incorrect accounting and management issues,” the letter stated. “The potential new owners, the Grotto Bay Beach Resort, have conditioned their purchase on the same ‘debt free’ status.” A letter to members, signed by Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, dated December 1, also stated that while there is a buyer interested in the club, they wanted the property in a “debt-free position”. “It is envisioned that one of the ways to help clear the debt of the SGC is by way of a ‘special assessment’,” the letter states. “The Ministry’s position is that both the MAC (on behalf of the membership) and the developing owner must agree on the terms and conditions of such an assessment before being levied.” The letter concludes: “It is our sincerest hope that you, the membership who love Bermuda and wish to return year after year, may do so and, that those members who would prefer to terminate their commitment to the SGC, can do so by paying an exit fee. We believe a sale and the imposition of the above, including an agreed special assessment will guarantee the future success of the SGC. We accordingly encourage members to accept the above.” In recent days several members however have expressed serious concerns about the handling of the proposed sale. One member told The Royal Gazette: “To many of us, it appears they are attempting to pay down this debt to avoid bankruptcy. There are not enough members to possibly retire this debt and we do not see how this is our responsibility. The larger question that has the members most frustrated are the unknowns. If we stay, and the debt is not paid in full, does the club default and all our agreements are null and void? If we stay, when will the new owners contact us and provide new legal agreements?” Another member noted that their purchase agreement specified which cottage they would stay in, explaining: “This is important because amenities in some cottages are greater than others. Nothing has been said about compensation for loss of rights to use for members. Nothing in the contract of purchase states there was an obligation to pay for prior or future debt incurred by the club management. The owner/managers allude to a change in time share law that allows them to make members pay special assessments to accommodate past and future debt.” Responding to their concerns, John Kyle of the SGC said that the sale is not a done deal, adding that if it does go through the rights of all the club’s members would be protected. “Any talk of a sale is purely speculative at this stage,” he said. “It is getting to a point beyond just being interested, but there is nothing on paper. It is not going to affect the members. Their rights will be protected.” Asked if the assessment was unrelated to the sale: “To be honest, it stimulated it because it gave us the ability to do it. Basically, Club Operations, the member’s side of the business, built up a debt and we are trying to reduce it to make the business sustainable. Under Timeshare law we can ask for a special assessment which we have done. We have agreed with Government that there is going to be a special assessment, actual amount to be approved. This will be less than a current annual assessment fee and the developer will pay their share of this too.” And regarding the change to a hotel model, he noted that the club is already operating more than 50 per cent as a hotel. On the subject of the buy-out offer presented to the members, he said: “We felt that it was good to offer a lot of our members, many of whom are elderly and cannot travel so often, the opportunity to buy out their contract. It is standard timeshare practice and relieves a member of the financial burden of ongoing fees. It is based on the size, type and length of lease left on unit but is not much more than an annual assessment fee in most cases.” A spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities said: “The ministry has been working diligently to assist the current owners of the St George’s Club and the Members Advisory Committee over the past few months in a number of areas. Discussions are ongoing, so it would be premature to comment further at this time.”

December 2. The Corporation of Hamilton has stood by its decision to terminate four members of staff who subsequently took their case to the media, claiming they had been unfairly dismissed. The four also criticised the Bermuda Industrial Union, alleging that the BIU had failed to pursue their case — prompting a sharply worded response from union president Chris Furbert. Mr Furbert blamed one of the workers for submitting to a drug test against union advice, saying that the Corporation had no drugs policy in place — but a spokeswoman for the City of Hamilton last night said that the BIU and Department of Workforce Development were aware that its policy had been in place since 2009. “The Corporation has and does abide by the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement it shares with the BIU; it has and does comply with all legal requirements under labour legislation,” the statement said — also backing the BIU’s support for its members. “Sometimes employees have to be terminated to protect the organisation and maintain the safety of its employees and those they serve,” the statement concluded. “The City of Hamilton stands by its decision to terminate them.”

December 2. TN Tatem Middle School is a “sick building”, according to the Bermuda Union of Teachers, which defended staff for their sick-out on Monday. The union thanked the Government for commissioning a facilities inspection report, but pointed out that it was merely a walk-through on the part of the health and safety officer — and called for a comprehensive air quality test for TN Tatem, where four rooms have been sealed off for mould treatment. “In September, the Minister of Education stood in front of the same school and proclaimed to all of Bermuda that our schools were ready,” said Mike Charles, general secretary of the BUT. “The report will show clearly that the school was never ready, and has never been ready for students for a long time.” The report lists 61 instances of “practices that are not healthy” in TN Tatem, Mr Charles said, with “close to 20 rooms with mouldy conditions”. Mr Charles conceded that parents were inconvenienced by Monday’s sick-out, which resulted in the school closing for the day. “But it seems to be the only thing that gets attention,” he said. “These people have been meeting with the minister. They met with the minister just two weeks ago and they were given promises of a timeline. When they left school on Friday evening, nothing had come through. There is only so much to everybody’s patience.”

December 2. A Bermudian who launched a savage knife attack on another man in London has been jailed for eight years. J’Dun Thompson stabbed Ahmed Hewa twice in the side of the chest with a hunting knife, Croydon Crown Court heard yesterday. The 24-year-old had gone to watch a football match at a friend’s home in Croydon on the evening of July 2, this year, when a row erupted between the pair over a woman they had both dated. As the argument escalated Thompson stood over Mr Hewa on the couch and pulled out the three-inch blade and yelled at his victim. He then lashed out at him twice plunging the knife into Mr Hewa’s side. Mr Hewa ran out into the street pouring with blood and collapsed. He was rushed to hospital and treated for a stab wound to the liver as well as a large amount of internal bleeding to the right side of his chest. He remained in hospital for four days before being discharged. Thompson was arrested and initially charged with wounding Mr Hewa with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm. He was due go on trial yesterday but changed his plea at the last moment. He was then jailed for nine years for the attack. In 2009 Thompson was jailed for 12 months for possessing a bladed article in Bermuda. A year later, at the age of 16, he was shot in the foot in what police believed was a gang shooting on Court Street in Hamilton. Since moving to the UK Thompson has also been in trouble with the law. In January 2013 he was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence for witness intimidation. Meanwhile, in August 2014 he was jailed for four years for robbery. Thompson had been released on licence for that offence when he committed the Croydon stabbing.

December 1. Former Attorney-General Mark Pettingill said yesterday that a newspaper advertisement taken out by a group opposing same-sex marriage was “totally inappropriate” in light of ongoing legal proceedings. Preserve Marriage paid to place the half-page advert, quoting remarks made in Parliament by Mr Pettingill in 2014, on page 5 of yesterday’s edition of The Royal Gazette. The advert pointed out that during a debate on landmark legislation prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, Mr Pettingill told MPs that there was no need to include any “carve-out” to secure marriage in Bermuda between a man and a woman. Mr Pettingill, who was Attorney-General at the time, said then: “In my view, it is not a valid fear or concern that someone can take the very significant thing that we are doing here today and sensibly, in law, run off and try and apply at the Registry to have a same-sex marriage, because the first thing that is going to happen is that those provisions are going to be looked at and the answer on the face of it would have to be no. It would have to be no because the law is in place. In a sense, really, it is redundant to put it in there. It is not appropriate to put it in.” The advert said Mr Pettingill was now “suing the Registrar-General to introduce same-sex marriage in Bermuda through the courts this December, 2016, and his application is supported by the Human Rights Commission”. The case, involving Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé, Greg DeRoche, who are represented by Mr Pettingill, is due to be heard by the Supreme Court on December 8. Mr Pettingill said yesterday: “I find it highly inappropriate that in the midst of a court case, they try and go after one of the lawyers, who clearly has always been an advocate for non-discrimination.” Mr Pettingill said of his comments in the House on June 14, 2014: “I think it was a case of being somewhat placating. The fact of the matter is that I have had to deal with people who have been homophobic on both sides [of the House]. A large number of people in my own party voted for the discriminatory amendment which was sent back by the Senate [in July this year].” He said the quotes in the advert were his but they were made in the context of being adamant, as AG, that there should be no carve-out added to the sexual orientation amendment to the Human Rights Act. “There were people that wanted to have a discriminatory clause put in there. I wasn’t prepared to do that. What I said in relation to same-sex marriage was that this was a different debate for a different time, which is exactly what I am involved in now.” He said Preserve Marriage’s advert showed what a “well-funded campaign of discrimination this really is” and comments he made in 2014 were hardly relevant now. “People grow and change with wisdom, with the benefit of learning and love,” said the One Bermuda Alliance backbencher. “It doesn’t matter what Mark Pettingill said three years ago. I stand very firmly today in a place of non-discrimination.”

December 1. Hundreds of “sewage balls” have again been found at Grape Bay with one area resident describing it as the worst occurrence in four years. However, a government spokeswoman said last night that improvements at Tynes Bay to help tackle the problem that has been plaguing South Shore beaches will go live in mid-December. “There were hundreds and they are all over the beach,” the resident, who asked not to be named, told The Royal Gazette. “It’s the worst infestation I have seen in the four years I have lived on Grape Bay.” The man, who spends time on the beach “most days”, discovered the “greaseballs” while walking his dogs yesterday morning. He said they were mainly concentrated in the centre of the beach, whereas they are more commonly found in the East End, which is closer to the Seabright outfall site off Hungry Bay. According to the spokeswoman, the Ministry of Health and Seniors received and confirmed a report of “greaseballs” on Grape Bay Beach, and took samples of these and the seawater. She said Elbow Beach was also checked but no “greaseballs” were found and a clean-up was scheduled for Grape Bay yesterday. “The measures being taken to control grease input to the sewerage system help to prevent these occurrences, but weather conditions also contribute,” she added. “A treatment plant remains on the table as a long-term solution. In November, Works and Engineering commissioned the Tynes Bay Septage Receiving Station, which will also greatly improve effluent quality and remove grease. The new process goes live in mid-December.” This newspaper first reported “greaseballs” washing up on South Shore beaches in 2002. They drew growing concern after a 2013 water quality study revealed that human bacteria levels in the waters off South Shore beaches reached up to four times the acceptable US standard during strong easterly winds, tide and swell. This led to an assurance by government that the water quality would be monitored on a daily basis and measures taken to rid the island of potential pollution. Sampling is done according to the US Environmental Protection Agency recreational water guidelines, which recommend that the 30-day geometric mean does not exceed 35 enterococci per 100 millilitres. The most recent readings on the government website records minimal pollution at Grape Bay with less than five per 100 millilitres. And while there had been “an improvement over the summer”, the resident said he had spotted them “occasionally” when the winds are from the southeast. He added that the problem had clearly not been solved despite the Bermuda Government’s effort to reduce fats, oils and grease from entering the sewerage system by passing legislation mandating restaurants to fit grease traps. “We can’t continue to allow this to happen. The problem needs to be solved by the City of Hamilton.” The resident also said that this could be an “ideal situation” for a public-private partnership for a new treatment plant, adding that the “technology is there and it’s available” and that there are places near Hungry Bay where a treatment plant could be built. After the “greaseballs” reappeared at Grape Bay in August, the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce and Greenrock warned of the detrimental effect “greaseballs” could have on the island’s tourism product. And Greenrock executive director Jonathan Starling told this newspaper yesterday that the most recent occurrence underlined the need for a national infrastructure plan. “It seems evident that the current infrastructure isn’t working,” he said. “As I said just a few months ago, we can’t keep dumping our waste in the ocean — the equivalent of sweeping dust under a rug — and hope it will just go away. Often times it comes back to haunt us — in this case in a very direct and disgusting form. What seems clear is that the steps that have been taken — while in the right direction — are insufficient, and the system of dumping sewage offshore doesn’t seem to be sustainable anymore.” Independent tests carried out on water samples from Grape Bay and Hungry Bay in August showed that both beaches were safe for recreational use. This newspaper also commissioned testing at Hungry Bay in June, after we revealed that there were problems with the state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant at the new acute care wing at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. While a government spokeswoman confirmed there were still “issues” with the hospital sewage plant in August, she ruled them out as the “source of the greaseballs at Grape Bay”. And a Bermuda Hospitals Board spokeswoman said yesterday that “the sewage treatment plant at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is fully functional and is in compliance with operating licence standards. "Monthly quality monitoring results from the sewage treatment plant are provided to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.”

December 1. Bermuda’s reinsurance sector has been stress-tested on its ability to withstand losses from a number of disaster scenarios — and it came through with flying colours. The Bermuda Monetary Authority, the island’s financial-services regulator, this week published its first “Catastrophe Risk in Bermuda” report. The report concludes that “the Bermuda insurance market is resilient to potential adverse impacts from various catastrophe underwriting loss scenarios”, and adds: “The results also establish Bermuda insurers’ ability to absorb these unlikely potential large losses and still have capital remaining to settle policyholder obligations.” The report is intended to provide a high-level overview of Bermuda’s catastrophe reinsurance risk stress testing and modelling practices. Bermuda has long been a catastrophe reinsurance hub, an industry which took off with a wave of new reinsurers that set up on the island after losses from Hurricane Andrew bankrupted 11 American insurance companies. The industry has evolved over the years and most of the formerly monoline catastrophe reinsurers have either been acquired or have expanded into other lines of reinsurance and insurance, which has diversified their risk. The BMA report, which focuses on 2015 data, found that Bermuda reinsurers are more exposed to Atlantic hurricane risk than any other risk, with gross median exposures across all companies of $417.8 million for a one-in-50-year event and $771 million for a one-in-1,000-year event. Reinsurers use computer models to simulate the loss impact of various catastrophe scenarios, most frequently with software provided by industry leaders AIR and RMS, sometimes used in tandem with Equecat, according to the report. In-house modelling is used by 39 per cent of reinsurers — up from 34.7 per cent in 2011 — while more than half said they used more than one model in their accumulation process. The report uses data from Class 3B and Class 4 insurers only. The stress tests involved each firm estimating its loss impact for 18 standardized underwriting loss scenarios, using Realistic Disaster Scenarios developed by Lloyd’s of London and other scenarios developed by the BMA. Each insurer also has to provide its own estimates for a worst-case loss scenario. Of the 18 scenarios, the report stated “Gulf Windstorm (onshore) had the largest potential adverse effect with an estimated gross loss impact to statutory capital and surplus of 24 per cent (and 12 per cent net loss impact), followed by Northeast Hurricane, which had the potential to deplete 23 per cent (and 13 per cent net loss impact)”. The gross impact from all other perils was below 20 per cent. The scenarios include California earthquakes, European windstorms, Australian wildfires and marine collisions. “At the individual entity level, the results showed that Bermuda’s insurance entities are resilient to their worst catastrophe event underwriting loss scenario,” the report states. The test also gauges terrorism coverage resilience, using a standardized scenario of a two-tonne bomb exploding. All firms tested “would comfortably withstand their worst impact” from this scenario. The underwriting loss scenarios guidelines included a Miami-Dade hurricane causing industry losses of $125 billion, a Gulf windstorm costing $107 billion and a $78 billion Los Angeles earthquake.

December 1. Bermuda’s growing asset management industry has a great opportunity for further expansion — particularly in the areas of insurance-linked securities and private equity. That was the one of the takes from the EY Hedge Fund Symposium that took place in Bermuda earlier this month, attracting around 175 financial-services professionals. Jessel Mendes, a Bermuda-based EY partner and regional growth markets leader, said that growth was already happening with the promise of more to come. Mr Mendes said in an interview yesterday: “We are definitely seeing an uptick in the asset-management space. The three pillars of the industry are fund incorporations, administration and asset managers and we’ve seen an uptick in all three.” Fund launches in Bermuda were up 10 per cent on last year, Mr Mendes said, with ILS and private-equity funds a particular focus. “Some big asset managers in New York, Boston and London are looking at Bermuda for their funds,” he added, declining to add details for confidentiality reasons. Bermuda has already attracted some of the world’s major fund service-providers, including Mitsubishi UFJ Fund Services, SS&C Technologies, Apex Fund Services and Centaur Fund Services, which set up an office on Pitts Bay Road in July this year. Mr Mendes said: “The Bermuda Monetary Authority lists 57 asset managers and another 22 in the ILS space and there are many others in the private-equity space who are not regulated.” The new law firms that have entered the Bermuda market in recent years had brought global relationships that had further boosted business, he added. Conferences such as the Global Fund Forum, staged for the fourth time this year, and the World Alternative Investment Summit, held for the first time in September, were also adding to the asset management industry momentum. The BMA reported in its second-quarter Regulatory Update that there were 592 funds based in Bermuda with a net asset value of $151.81 billion as of June 30 this year. Jeff Short, a Cayman-based EY partner and wealth and asset management sector leader, also attended the hedge fund symposium, staged in Bermuda for the tenth time. “We had a panel focused on ILS and private equity space where we see a tremendous opportunity for Bermuda,” Mr Short said. The mood had been “very bullish on Bermuda”, he added. According to a report by analysts at Goldman Sachs, the hedge-fund industry is on course to under perform the returns of the S&P 500 for an eighth year. Mr Short said there was much more to the story. For example, assets managed by the industry were around $3 trillion — an all-time high — while from a performance perspective, hedge funds had delivered positive returns for the past several months. Managers were coming under increasing fee pressure from investors, Mr Short said, while fund managers were listening harder to their investors and tailoring specialized alternative-investment products to their needs. He referred to the EY 2016 Global Hedge Fund and Investor Survey, which provided more insight into how the industry is changing. The survey found that hedge fund growth has slowed for a variety of reasons — the abundance of low-fee passive investment options, lacklustre hedge fund performance and cost concerns. Other findings include:

December 1. Unprecedented funds have been raised by this year’s Poppy Appeal, which has so far taken in more than $30,000 — the most successful of the ten operated by the Bermuda Legion. Thanks to the community’s support, the group is offering a second round of its training course to get members of the public qualified as home caregivers for dementia sufferers. Training was brought to Bermuda last year with the help of Alzheimer’s Disease International, but proved so popular that some had to be turned away. “It shows us how caregivers are so desperately needed,” said Carol Everson, welfare case worker for the veterans’ charity, which hopes to make the course a regular offering. “Our next course will probably be in March 2017, and will have Mark Wortmann, the executive director of ADI, to present it. Our course was created specifically to build a population of caregivers for people with dementia, and has been taken up by other countries as a result. The course is free to war veterans’ families and to anyone who is unemployed, because there are so many who need jobs and have no prospects. Ultimately the goal is to put in place a master trainer for Bermuda to continue the course locally. The training is open to the greater community, not just veterans, at the Legion’s expense. The sacrifices these people made hopefully will never be repeated,” Ms Everson said. “Their last days need to be free of anxiety.” Meanwhile, costs have risen while hard-won benefits have been eroded. Ms Everson pointed to the case of “a 99-year-old woman, our last living link with the First World War”, who is in King Edward VII Memorial Hospital with a brain tumor and dementia. “The hospital needs to vacate the long-term care bed and is trying to find a nursing home for her, but there is nowhere for this lady to go. Our top aim continues to be for a multi-use nursing home — there is no solution for this unless one is created now. My daughter says that love is a doing word, not a talking word. This is not something we can talk about any longer.” Ms Everson thanked all volunteers, especially the Royal Bermuda Regiment, for their support of the appeal, adding that media coverage had helped. The Anglican Cathedral and Gorham’s gave additional support, along with schools and churches, with the Legion now putting together its annual Christmas gift programme for elderly veterans and their widows — and special thanks went to Lt Col David Gibbons for donating shop space, as well as John Kane and the Rugby Classic for their assistance. Anyone who knows of a veteran in need this Christmas is asked to contact the Legion at nosoldierleftbehind@hotmail.com or 293-3975.

December 1. Bermuda Industrial Union leader Chris Furbert pulled no punches in his rebuttal to sacked Corporation of Hamilton workers who said this week that the BIU did not fight to save their jobs. “What’s not going to be tolerated by this organisation is when we give direction to members who lost their jobs because they didn’t listen to the BIU,” Mr Furbert said. The four arrived at the union last week demanding to meet with BIU president, Mr Furbert said. “I talked with them for about 20 minutes and they left and went to the media.” Mr Furbert said that two had been referred to the Department of Workforce Development, which had requested their employer for a meeting, adding that he had phoned the department in the presence of the other two and received a prompt reply. Conceding that he understood their frustration with the length of time to deal with their requests — with the longest wait being 15 months — Mr Furbert insisted that the BIU was doing its part in representing Robert Lee, Delmair Trott, Garreth Bean and Gregory Wainwright in their wrongful dismissal case. Mr Furbert said the Corporation had no drug policy in place, and that one member had been told to refuse a drug test for that reason — but had complied, and consequently lost his job for violating a policy that “didn’t exist”. “You ignored advice, lost your job, and then blamed it on the BIU.” Added Mr Furbert: “What workers have to understand is that the union is not a hierarchy. The union is membership. If your colleagues are not prepared to stand up for you, then you have to ask why. I can’t go into a workplace and tell people what to do.” Asked why workers faced long delays in getting their cases heard by a third party, Mr Furbert said the wait was typically caused by one side resisting going to arbitration. “If you want to have an industrial action against management, you need to get the support of a majority and do what you want to do. You can’t go ahead with 35 or 40 per cent.” Mr Furbert said the Corporation had engaged in management practices that would not be tolerated elsewhere, citing a case in which two workers had each accepted a month’s suspension after getting into a “disagreement” at a Christmas function after working hours. “While I understand the fear of retribution, at some point you have to get past that. Where are you going to draw the line? If a termination is unjust, who is next?” he said, saying the onus lay on other workers to stand up in support of their colleagues.

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