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Bermuda flag flying

Bermuda's 2016 November History and Newspaper Reports

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

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

Gibb's Hill Lighthouse

Gibb's Hill Lighthouse, Southampton Parish

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.

November 30. Legislators got two extra days to prepare for a debate in Parliament on key airport redevelopment Acts, after Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House, deferred today’s session until Friday. Meanwhile, confidential schedules for the airport development agreement, withheld since April because of non-disclosure agreements, have been shared with MPs. The schedules were not divulged while negotiations continued with Canadian Commercial Corporation and its contractor, Aecon, despite the issuing of a summons by the Public Accounts Committee. However, Mr Horton said he had called upon Bob Richards, the Deputy Premier, to request their release — which was granted yesterday, prompting the deferral. It came in the wake of several days of meetings with Michael Dunkley, the Premier, as well as Leader of the Opposition David Burt and their respective parliamentary teams. Last night, Mr Dunkley said that the schedules had not been given out with other reports issued on November 18 because they had still been subject to confidentiality. “The release of the schedules — at the behest of this Government — is in keeping with the Government’s commitment to fully inform the people of Bermuda at all steps of the Airport Redevelopment Project,” Mr Dunkley said. “It is my hope Members of the Opposition take this opportunity to review the documents for Friday’s debate to approve a project that will generate jobs, career and business opportunities for Bermudians; get built on time, on budget, and stimulate economic growth with no increase the national debt. This is a project of national importance that will protect and strengthen Bermudian families for years to come. We look forward to Friday’s debate.” Last night, Mr Burt said the release of the schedules — 15 months after the airport development agreement was signed — was “barely a partial victory for people in Bermuda who wanted transparency and good government. It was only after immense pressure by the Opposition and the public that the Government, Aecon and CCC finally relented on their longstanding and unjustified refusal to release the schedules of the Airport Development Agreement. The documentation released earlier today is insufficient and more information is required for Members of Parliament to make an informed decision. Of necessity is the release of the Project Agreement itself, which will govern the 30-year concession between the Government and Aecon. Today’s release of the schedules is a feigned attempt at transparency as the substantial contract details still remain unknown.” Mr Burt had yesterday planned to issue a speech to residents from the steps of Parliament, where a small group of protesters quietly gathered in anticipation of the debate. Dressed in black shirts emblazoned with the campaign name Move, they were watched by police, with a fence flanking the Sessions House entrance — echoing concerns from March, when mass demonstrations over immigration proposals briefly shut down Parliament. Flyers accusing Mr Richards of breaking the law over the deal were placed on parked cars last night in Hamilton. Mr Burt appeared at Parliament but announced the cancellation of his speech, saying he could not divulge his reasons — although he later tweeted that today’s session had been postponed. It capped a day of continued sparring over the airport agreement, with Mr Burt issuing a response to Mr Richards’s counter-response to an Opposition press release. Mr Richards charged that the Opposition “appears to be working on the theory that if you repeat a falsehood often enough, people will believe it”, while Mr Burt continued to hammer the project as “an untendered deal which has violated the Good Governance Act”. Mr Horton’s deferral was the second for the legislation, originally scheduled for last Friday but postponed to allow more time for MPs to review the project’s business case and value for money report.

November 30. Legislators have been handed a substantial reading list ahead of tomorrow’s debate on bills essential for the Bermuda Government’s airport development to proceed. A raft of documents detailing how the multimillion-dollar deal would work was yesterday released to The Royal Gazette under public access to information laws. The agreement’s schedules include a comprehensive list of scenarios that would cancel the project — ranging from a “deterioration” making the new terminal unaffordable, or a chill in international markets that might render financing impossible. There are still plans for parts of the existing terminal to remain: while its eastern portion is earmarked for demolition, the newer western facility has a future as office space, staff facilities and storage. Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, was fiercely criticised for an e-mail reference to Canadian Commercial Corporation that he had “fuzzied” numbers regarding financing — but the schedules illustrate the uncertainty of a project relying on hoped-for future revenues. If projections fall short, the Government must pay Project Co, the entity running the airport, in return for “participating equity certificates”, which suggests the concessionaire handing over ownership stakes — potentially allowing for the later recovery of funds. All guaranteed revenue payments to Project Co would be held in “a segregated interest bearing account”, and would be restricted to debt-related payments. If the new terminal at L.F. Wade International Airport should prove an unexpected bonanza, the Government would share in that revenue — once the investment had been recouped. Although Mr Richards has been Bermuda’s face for the proposal, the first page shows a 2015 agreement between CCC, and the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transportation, which would ultimately take purview. Much has been made of the enhanced retail on offer, and Bermudians who recall the days when locals lined up at the McDonald’s on the old United States naval airbase could be forgiven for wondering whether the golden arches might return. Project Co gets exclusive right to provide a plethora of potential commercial services and developments, ranging from casinos to a planetarium. However, since these are subject to “current Bermuda public policy”, McDonald’s or other food franchises seem unlikely to feature on the menu. On airport design, a “linear” terminal was settled upon, with exterior “Bermuda motifs”. Financial close was originally anticipated by November, allowing a December 2020 completion after a 40-month build — which means a finished terminal would be farther down the road. Like MPs, The Royal Gazette only recently obtained the 229-page document of the Airport Development Agreement and its nine schedules, which had been withheld as confidential. This newspaper first requested the schedules associated with the $250 million development back in January. Our request was refused and we appealed the decision to the information commissioner, who launched a review. Yesterday, the Ministry of Finance e-mailed the schedules to us, in the context of that review, enabling us to share them with the public for the first time. The release of the schedules to this newspaper came less than 24 hours after the Speaker of the House, Randy Horton, revealed that he had “raised with the Government the importance of releasing the schedules of the airport development agreement”. Financing, and whether the Government satisfied due diligence requirements, will feature prominently in tomorrow’s debate. Fierce opposition has continued to the bitter end, with a website launched called “Keep Our Airport Bermudian”, and flyers denouncing Mr Richards placed on cars.

November 30. Former Premier Ewart Brown will not have to answer questions from the witness box at the Commission of Inquiry. He was issued a subpoena requiring him to appear today but his lawyer Jerome Lynch, QC, yesterday successfully argued his right to claim privilege against self-incrimination. The commission also heard yesterday that high-profile lawyer Delroy Duncan had been sacked by Dr Brown’s cousin, businessman Donal Smith, as corporate agent for Mr Smith’s company Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd. The firing was linked to a subpoena issued by the tribunal for BECL’s financial records. Mr Duncan told the panel he held the documents but was loath to release them as Mr Smith had threatened him with a lawsuit if he did so. He read out an e-mail sent to him by Mr Smith in which he was told he was fired. Mr Smith told the commission he considered its investigation to be a “farce” or a “witch-hunt” and would not consent to the release of the records. The four-person Commission of Inquiry is exploring the mishandling of public funds from 2010 to 2012, as outlined by the Auditor-General in a damning report which detailed how official financial instructions were regularly disregarded. Dr Brown was ordered to appear before it to answer questions about government projects carried out during his time as Minister of Tourism and Transport and as Premier, including ones involving BECL and the construction of the TCD building and three emissions testing centres. The other projects were: Port Royal Golf Course, the Heritage Wharf cruise ship pier at Dockyard and the Dame Lois Browne-Evans police and court building. He was also to be quizzed about controversial contracts with US-based companies GlobalHue and Ambling, as well as on why a delegation of accounting responsibilities was passed from the Ministry of Public Works to the Ministry of Tourism for some contracts. Mr Lynch made a formal application for the subpoena issued to Dr Brown to be discharged. He said his client, the subject of a long-running police inquiry which has cost taxpayers more than $2 million, was claiming privilege against self-incrimination, as was his “constitutional, statutory and common-law right. He is unique of all the witnesses,” Mr Lynch said. “Firstly, because of his former position as Premier but set against that is the fact that he is a man who, it has been declared, is part of an ongoing investigation by the police. He is left in some considerable jeopardy if he was placed in the witness box and asked questions.” Commission chairman Sir Anthony Evans said the tribunal accepted Dr Brown’s right to claim privilege but noted that, without his assistance, it would have to reach its conclusions based on other evidence. He said the subpoena would be discharged once Dr Brown swore an affidavit asserting that right. Mr Lynch’s application was adjourned until 11am today to allow that to happen. The subpoena against Mr Duncan, a director of Trocan Management Limited, which was corporate agent for BECL, was discharged and the commission said it would make no further order in relation to it. Sir Anthony said the commission had sympathy with the lawyer, who had asked for “some form of allowance” which would release him from having to comply with the summons. The chairman told Mr Smith, who was sitting in the public gallery, it would not report him to the court for refusing to allow the release of the records but would have to complete its inquiry without them. “You will appreciate that we won’t have had any evidence from you, any assistance from the company. The company won’t be in a strong position to complain.” That prompted Mr Smith, the founder of BECL and former deputy mayor of Hamilton, to warn that he would expose much information publicly, if pushed, that could prompt another commission. He said the “whole world will know that ... this is a farce or a witch-hunt. I don’t run from a fight. There is no evidence. I have not been charged for anything. I want to put it to you: I’m not backing up from this.” This month, BECL lost a legal appeal against a subpoena requesting that it provide documents regarding the development of the TCD emissions centre in Pembroke. The Auditor-General concluded the cost of that project tripled from $5.3 million to $15.2 million after control was “relinquished” by the Government to two linked private companies, one of which was BECL. She found a disregard for normal financial controls. BECL was awarded a five-year multimillion-dollar contract to carry out safety and emissions testing in 2009, without the project going out to tender, and the contract was renewed in 2014.

November 30. Former Premier Ewart Brown’s lawyer told the Commission of Inquiry yesterday that if a “rule or two had to be bent” in the awarding of government contracts it had “nothing to do with corruption or backhanders” and “everything to do with redressing the balance”. Jerome Lynch, a top British QC, who represents the former Premier, along with former Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess and businessmen Allan DeSilva, Edmund Lee Matvey and Arthur Bryan McLeod, told the four-person panel that the Progressive Labour Party was elected on a mandate of “making sure that those who had been excluded for far too long were included”. The mindset of those in the charge of the country, he said, was: “So what if we had to bend a rule or two to include them.” He was challenged by commission chairman Sir Anthony Evans on how that ethos related to the awarding of substantial contracts to overseas companies, such as GlobalHue and Ambling, during Dr Brown’s tenure as Premier and Minister of Tourism and Transport. “The evidence we have heard shows that substantial payments, very substantial payments, were paid out of the jurisdiction. I just wondered how the submission you have made could be relevant to this.” Mr Lynch replied: “I’m seeking to try, if I may, to put into context some of the contracts.” He said he was conscious that Dr Brown, who would know about the GlobalHue and Ambling contracts, had exercised his right to privilege against self-incrimination and had not given evidence to the commission, so he could not explore those topics. Mr Lynch said many people viewed the Commission of Inquiry as a “witch-hunt”, a perception fuelled by the fact that the panel was comprised of a “retired white British judge who knows little of black issues on this island” and a founder of the One Bermuda Alliance, references to Sir Anthony and John Barritt, respectively. He said having three white commissioners and one “relatively junior” black member [Kumi Bradshaw], along with “white lawyers” acting as counsel to the commission, added to suspicions of discrimination. Sir Anthony responded: “So what?” The chairman said the comments were “couched in very offensive terms”. He added: “You have gone a long way to making a political statement.” Mr Lynch said: “You should not think this is me making a political statement.” The lawyer said he merely wanted the commission to be alive to the fact that many people felt that way and that giving some immunity from prosecution to witnesses might have helped alleviate concerns. He focused, in his closing submissions, on the Dame Lois Browne-Evans building project, which ran over-budget by some $26 million. He said local firm Landmark — owned by Mr Matvey and Mr McLeod — was fairly awarded the contract after partnering with Canadian company Lisgar. When Lisgar left the project, Dr Brown’s half-brother Vincent Hollinsid and Winters George Burgess, whom Mr Burgess has described as a close friend and relative, put up collateral to secure a loan for the company and were each given an equity stake. Mr Lynch said in such a small place as Bermuda, people were often related to one another or had close ties and nothing untoward should be inferred from that. Dr Brown was due to appear as a witness but Mr Lynch successfully argued his right to claim privilege against self-discrimination. Sir Anthony told yesterday’s hearing that Dr Brown had sworn an affidavit asserting the right not to have to answer questions. He added: “The commission cannot compel Dr Brown to answer those questions. That’s his right, both at common law and under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, under which we were appointed. We have decided that there is no point in calling him to give oral evidence.” The chairman said Dr Brown’s affidavit contained an “unnecessary and intemperate remark”. He added: “I make clear that the commission does not associate itself with that sentence.” Yesterday afternoon the commission’s counsel, Narinder Hargun, made a series of closing submissions on the capital projects the panel has been charged to investigate. He said the TCD project became a template for later capital projects where contracts that should have fallen under Works and Engineering were given to other departments that did not have the capacity or specialist knowledge to deal with them. Mr Hargun added: “This [the TCD project] was a quite extraordinary situation where there was a total breakdown of all the controls in relation to the spending of public money on a very substantial project. The construction manager is selected without open tender. the construction manager selects a contractor without open tender in circumstances where the contractor is a 30 per cent shareholder, where the director of the contractor is also the director of the construction project manager, and the project manager assumes the contract on behalf of the Government.” Mr Hargun also told the panel that “no real sensible reason has been advanced” why the TCD project was transferred away from the Department of Works and Engineering. Referring to the Heritage Wharf project, the commission’s counsel added: “The project was being designed as it was being built; that is a recipe for huge expenses.” Meanwhile, in relation to the Port Royal renovation project he said: “We have seen how business was conducted; there was no attempt at open tenders, substantial contracts were given without open tender and given to companies which the trustees were interested in, but no one seems to have been aware of a conflict of interests.” Mr Hargun will continue his closing submissions this morning and the commission’s report is due by the end of this month.

November 30. The Government is celebrating ten consecutive months of tourism growth, noting figures from October. In a statement yesterday afternoon, a government spokesman said that even though there were no America’s Cup World Series events, which provided a tourism boost in October 2015, the trend of increased visitor arrivals continued. “Officials from the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) believe the October example shows a resiliency to the tourism resurgence currently under way and are especially upbeat about the 20 per cent growth in vacation air arrivals,” the statement said. “Vacation air arrivals is the metric the BTA focuses its marketing on the most because those vacationers have the biggest impact on the local economy. Year-to-date, vacation air visitors from the United States are up 20 per cent, up 28 per cent in October 2016 alone, when compared to a year ago. With vacation air arrivals from all countries factored in, business is up 14 per cent year-to-date, equating to more than 18,000 additional tourists flying to the island.” While the number of air arrivals were higher than last October, the number of cruise ship visitors declined by 2.6 per cent in October, representing 1,126 fewer passengers. Overall, the island saw an additional 988 visitors during the month — an increase of 1.8 per cent. And despite the lack of an America’s Cup event, yacht arrivals were 4.3 per cent higher this October than during the same period in 2015. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, added: “We have increased the number of airline seats by nearly 12 per cent so far this year and vacation air arrivals are up 14 per cent. That’s an addition of about 51,000 seats and an additional 18,000 vacationers. And we believe that continuing efforts by the Bermuda Tourism Authority will ensure that more of the under-utilized capacity is utilised going forward. The BTA has a number of irons in the fire for 2017 and as a result of its work, coupled with the America’s Cup, forward hotel bookings look very strong. With that expected growth we can fill more of the increased airline capacity that came on line this year. This is just one of the ways our air carrier and tourism strategies are effectively synchronized.” While Mr Fahy said there was still work to be done, he said the government was pleased to see the level of growth that had been recorded this year. “Hotel occupancy for the year is up seven per cent after really strong performance during the summer months,” he said. “Now the focus is on raising occupancy further, particularly in the shoulder months. As we look towards a strong America’s Cup boost in May and June of 2017, we won’t take our eye off the goal of making Bermuda a truly year-round destination. A strong October performance is a big step in that direction.”

November 30. Investors behind plans to transform the old Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club into a 50-acre nature reserve have described their venture as an “unprecedented conservation project”. At the beginning of this month The Royal Gazette revealed that a group of local investors had joined together to purchase the property hoping to use the majority of the land as a conservation zone. The proposals prompted some residents and club members to launch a petition against the plans over fears they will include residential development. But this week the group 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. “We aim to protect most of the land by rezoning it to a much more restrictive and protected zoning status such as Nature Reserve, Conservation, Park and Open Space Reserve,” a spokeswoman for the investors said. “Once this project is finalized, Bermudians will be able to benefit from over 50 acres of reforested conservation area, which will be the first of its kind in Bermuda of this scale. This is a unique opportunity to undertake an unprecedented conservation project for the benefit of Bermuda. The new plans call for the planting of over 500 endemics and stunning natural gardens, significantly larger than the 36-acre Botanical Gardens. The conservation project is being undertaken in consultation with highly respected landscape architects and Bermuda’s leading environmentalists; all highly accomplished Bermudians in their fields.” Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club, Bermuda’s oldest course, closed abruptly on March 31 after nearly a century in operation because the club could not meet operational costs. The group of investors, the majority of whom are Bermudian, met with local residents in October to outline their vision. They maintain that the majority of local residents are in favour of the project. However, those behind the petition claim the Development and Planning Act 1974 should protect the golf course from residential and commercial real estate development. The petition, which has attracted 363 signatures and been sent to Cole Simons, the Minister of the Environment, and local Government MP Jeff Sousa, states: “[We are] asking Government to protect and prevent Riddell’s Bay from being rezoned and developed into housing. [We] are demanding that it remain zoned as recreational space and have high hopes of it remaining a golf course. We believe that any efforts to rezone the property would set a dangerous precedent for all of Bermuda’s property zoned Recreation and impact the island’s limited green space.” The group of investors say the petition is being promoted by one or two individuals and insist they want to provide greater protection for the land by making it a nature reserve. Several residents contacted The Royal Gazette yesterday to express their support for the project. Elspeth Weisberg, who owns a property on Burgess Point Road, said: “My overall message is that the majority of residents support the ideas proposed. It’s qualified support because no one wanted to see the golf course close. The majority of us feel this is the best option that has been presented.” Resident Stephen Catlin added: “I have immense sympathy with the disappointment of losing the golf club but unfortunately getting a golf club back now will never happen. Many of us feel we have to be pragmatic and be grateful for the different proposal.” Meanwhile, resident Gill Riihiluoma added: “I have been playing golf at Riddell’s Bay for 40 years and if it could be a course again it would be fantastic, but there is just no way this is going to be possible. I am 100 per cent behind these new proposals; it is the best way forward.” Nick Jones, a Riddell’s Bay resident of 53 years, told The Royal Gazette: “I personally think that what they are doing is a big positive for the area. I will support them going forward.” Another resident, who owns a Riddell’s Bay property and asked not to be named, added: “If it pans out as they suggest with a large swathe of land dedicated to green space that is a positive thing for Bermuda. If that means giving up some small area of land to residential that is fine by me. Bermuda already has a sufficient number of golf courses, losing one and gaining a large area of green space is fine.”

November 30. Seven Seas Explorer, billed as the “most luxurious cruise ship in the world”, has made her inaugural trip to Bermuda. The overnight visit on Monday was part of a positioning cruise, with the ship arriving from Madeira and heading to Miami, from where it will begin a schedule of Caribbean cruises. Tourism officials led a welcome delegation for a plaque presentation aboard the ship and according to Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, Seven Seas Explorer will return for three visits next year in March and October. Owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, the high-end vessel is the new flagship for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and has accommodation for just 750 passengers. Fares for a 14-night Caribbean cruise from Miami to Miami stopping at places such as Bridgetown in Barbados, Fort-de-France in Martinique, and Basseterre in St Kitts start at $7,599. The following reasons are why the Seven Seas Explorer exudes luxury, according to rsscblog.com. 

November 30. One Canadian replaced another at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Gosling’s Invitational at Belmont Hills yesterday after Danny King, the first day leader, lost his edge to shoot an eight-over-par 78. King was the man to catch after his impressive 58 on Monday, but yesterday’s round enabled David Wettlaufer to take over first place by eight strokes after he carded a four-under 66 to go with his opening round 62. He will take a two-day total of 128 into today’s third round which switches to Port Royal for the first time in the tournament’s history. King, who finished in a tie for second last year, will be hoping a change of course for the final two rounds will also improve his fortunes as he sits eight strokes off the lead, tied for second with Danny Mijovic on 136 after he carded a 66 to go with his opening 70. Mijovic was one of four players in the top ten to improve their score yesterday. Local pair Brian Morris and Daniel Augustus both moved up the board after their rounds of 70 and 69, with Morris tied for fifth on 141 with Zach Byrd while Augustus is a stroke back, one of six players tied for seventh place. Nick Jones, of Bermuda, is also in that bunch, after his 72 on day two. Kirk Hanefeld sits alone in fourth place on 139 after his round of 70 yesterday. Brian McCann, the defending champion, lost his chance to defend his title after he slipped 16 strokes behind the leader after a round of four-over 75 which leaves him tied for sixteenth, one of three players on 144. The tournament in entering the critical final two rounds today with Wettlaufer, Mijovic and King teeing off at 11.03am in the final group. Just ahead of them will be Morris, Byrd and Hanefeld, all battling to make a move ahead of tomorrow’s final round at Port Royal. Augustus will play alongside Joe Horowitz and Matthew Sita, leaving at 10.45am, with Jones in a 10.36am threesome also including Nick Johnson and Cody Martin. In the amateurs, Adam Petty leads the net division with a two-day score of 138, with Luis Gerardo and Henry Arundale tied for second on 146. Arundale is also second in the gross, eight strokes behind leader Damian Palanyandi on 148. Hav Trott leads the seniors with a two-day gross score of 144 after two rounds of 72, while Glenn Kelly is six strokes back in second place on 150, after shooting 80 yesterday.

November 30. Technology company Apollo Enterprise Solutions Ltd has celebrated its fourth anniversary of being listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange. The company has its corporate office in Hamilton. It also has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Sydney and Milan. Among its products and services, it provides advanced technology to banks, financial institutions, finance departments and health organisations. Joseph Konowiecki, chief executive officer of AES, said: “The BSX is a full member of the World Federation of Exchanges and we recognise that the BSX has increasingly become a destination market for growth companies. “We have received recognition in the marketplace due to our association with the highly respected BSX and are confident it will assist us in expanding our shareholder base in years to come.” AES is also listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the Xetra platform. Greg Wojciechowski, chief executive officer of the BSX, said: “The BSX congratulates Apollo Enterprise Solutions on its fourth year anniversary of listing on the BSX. The BSX has increasingly become a popular and important listing venue for high-growth-potential small and medium enterprise companies. We are pleased that Apollo Enterprise Solutions’ experience with the BSX has been positive and wish the company every success in its future endeavors.”

November 30. Many traditional shipping names will disappear as a result of a shake-up in the container ship industry, brought about by overcapacity, slower global trade and a widened Panama Canal. That is the view of Jens Alers, group director of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Bermuda), which has offices in Par-la-Ville Road. He said a rebalancing of the sector was “in full swing”, but he believes some well-known companies will vanish from the scene as a consequence. Economic turbulence is battering the sector, and has led to a number of casualties, most notably the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping, the world’s seventh largest shipping line. Newly-built container ships are coming into use, increasing capacity by an estimated 6 per cent each year, even as the sector tries to get a grip with a changed economic picture and scraps older vessels at a record level. “The container shipping industry has no choice. It is vastly over-tonnaged as a result of the unprecedented new building ordering binge between 2000 and 2008,” said Mr Alers. The sector was rocked by the global financial crisis in 2008, but steadily recovered until “the China bubble deflated” in 2014, explained Mr Alers. “In 2016, for the first time in 15 years, world trade will grow at a slower pace than the world economy. At the same time container vessels larger than ever before are still being delivered by shipyards in the Far East. The cascading effect, which describes the replacement of smaller ships by larger and more efficient ones, is in full swing in almost all size sectors of the container fleet.” The World Trade Organization estimates global trade growth this year will be 2.8 per cent this year, improving to 3.6 per cent next year, but still well below the 5 per cent average since 1990. In June, the Panama Canal expansion project was completed. The waterway linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans has been widened to accommodate larger container ships. The larger ships boast greater economies of scale and are displacing the Panamax container ships that were once the largest vessels able to navigate the strategic waterway. While the sector has hit a rough patch, it is not all bad news. There has been pragmatic action by shipping companies, with vessel demolition rates at an all time high, four times above what it was last year. This has been described as a “positive surprise” by Bimco, the Baltic and International Maritime Council. Peter Sand, Bimco’s chief shipping analyst, said: “It is important that the demolition of excess capacity comes sooner rather than later, as there is still a huge delivery schedule hanging over the container shipping industry for the rest of this year and well into 2017-2018. However, the high demolition activity is currently softening the net supply growth rate of the container shipping capacity and will prevent a darker outlook for the years to come, if maintained.” Almost half of the vessels being scrapped are Panamax container ships. Mr Alers said it was not only older ships that were being sold off; newer ships are being scrapped many years before they would normally be put out for demolition, at a significant financial loss to the owner. The most striking example was a report last week that Rickmers Maritime Trust had sold the India Rickmers, a seven-year-old Panamax containership, to be scrapped. That would set a new record for the youngest box ship to go for demolition. Responding to the report, RMT, which is a non-operating container ship owner, said it had not yet decided on whether to sell the ship. RMT is in a hard place as it has a fleet of 16 Panamax container ships, the category of ship being squeezed out by the newly-built larger vessels now able to navigate the Panama Canal. Mr Alers said: “This class of vessel [Panamax] is now pretty much obsolete since the larger new Panama Canal locks can accommodate ships with an intake over 10,000 TEU.” Before it was widened, the Panama Canal could only accommodate ships with a capacity of about 5,000 TEU, or 20-foot equivalent units. Bimco noted that, in tandem with the record level of ship scrapping, there has been a noticeable slow down in orders for new ships to be built. New building contracts are at their lowest level in 20 years. Analyst Mr Sand said: “The events in 2016 have shown that the tools to turn the container shipping industry around are being used and are working. The recommendations to consolidate fleets and demolish ships are being taken serious within the industry.” Meanwhile Mr Alers said: “Participants in the container markets have to act fast to stop the ‘bleeding’. Consolidation between the large operators is progressing at a previously unseen pace.” He pointed to a number of takeovers and mergers this year, including a decision likely to be made today on whether the Hamburg-Sued company is sold. Mr Alers said Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement is not involved in any ship scrapping. The company looks after 600 ships and 20,000 employees. It manages tankers, container ships and VLCC, or Very Large Container Ships.

November 30. A lifeguard teacher has been left “heartbroken” after being hit with an eviction notice shortly after his school’s building was decimated by Hurricane Nicole. Captain Dean Bottomley said he was unsure what the future held for the West End Lifeguard Academy at Daniel’s Head, one of five businesses operating in the defunct 9 Beaches resort. Hurricane Nicole pummeled the island on October 12, with the Category 3 storm bringing torrential downpours and winds of up to 120mph. The morning after it passed, Mr Bottomley checked on the Sandys building and spotted a broken window, but did not venture inside. When he returned to the site two days later, the Somerset resident “never imagined” the devastation that awaited him within. “Part of the roof was lost and the ceiling had caved in,” he said. “I was totally amazed. Everything that you needed to teach a classroom was in there — lifesaving equipment, first-aid kits, televisions, course records and more,” On November 7, Mr Bottomley then discovered that he and his neighboring four business owners were being evicted by site owner the Bermuda Land Development Company. The BLDC said that the would-be developer, IRC Sandys, had sublet the properties without its knowledge or consent, and ordered the business owners to vacate their respective premises by December 9. Mr Bottomley, who moved to Bermuda from San Diego in 2007, has been training lifeguards in the building for almost seven years. Classes take place from April to August, with groups of three to seven people completing 48 hours of training to receive their certification. “It’s a passion I’ve always had, bringing a challenge to youths and giving them something viable to use,” Mr Bottomley said. The American Red Cross instructor is still cleaning up inside the academy several days a week, as well as trying to salvage whatever equipment he can. “All the decking on the pier has been torn up too. It’s not safe there right now, and it’s going to take a lot of work to repair everything,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen up there. But I would like to thank the sponsors who have donated equipment and supported me over the years.” Francis Mussenden, CEO of the BLDC, said: “Coming to this decision was never an easy option and it’s one that we’ve diligently tried to avoid over the last year. Having exhausted all our options, we’re disappointed to be left with no other choice but to move forward with the eviction.” A BLDC spokeswoman added: “Once the property is vacated, the BLDC will be able to thoroughly assess all the buildings on the property and take the appropriate actions required.”

November 30. Education minister Wayne Scott has promised facility inspections at each of the island’s public middle schools, after a teacher walkout at T.N. Tatem Middle School this week over mould issues. The announcement came as a health and safety report found the school safe to be occupied, with no “imminent health and safety concern” but the premises needing thorough cleaning and repairs. A plan for the school should be in place by December 9, with a timeline agreed between the Ministries of Education and Public Works. Mr Scott said the T.N. Tatem report would be posted online today on the ministry website. Parent Teacher Association members have requested in the past that the Bermuda Government carry out a report similar to the Score [School Reorganization] report for primary schools to look into health and safety standards across the island’s middle schools. Mr Scott told The Royal Gazette: “There is no plan to do a Score type report for the middle schools. However, we have just received a full facilities inspection report on T.N. Tatem which is very similar to what was done in the Score report and it is our intention to do this for each middle school.” Toxic strains aspergillus and penicillium mould are said to have been found in the rooms at T.N. Tatem while an unspecified number of teachers complained of lethargy, headaches, redness of the eyes and swelling of the face. Mr Scott said that a “full facilities inspection report” had found no immediate health threats, though the ministry was working through concerns. PTA president at Dellwood, Kelland Hayward, said that Dellwood recently had mould issues and had previously received reports of rodents on the premises. Mr Hayward said: “There are definitely issues in Dellwood as well and we have seen T.N. Tatem is a clear example as well. There is mould and things of that nature at Dellwood and there have been reports of rodents in the past. “We are not sure how wide spread it is but we definitely know there have been concerns. There is no comprehensive report that has been done. However, it has been requested. There are all sorts of concerns that have been put out there. Ever since the Score report came out for primary schools the same group has suggested that it also be done for the entire public school system. As always Government is way behind in its timing but at the end of the day that report would definitely be invaluable in highlighting the issues that do exist.” Mr Hayward said the issue of mould at Dellwood had been raised with the principal and, following a request from the Ministry of Education earlier this month for feedback on health and safety concerns, the school was now working on a formal response. Mr Hayward said there had been growing concerns in recent days after the Supreme Court case of police officer Emmerson Donald who said his “mind and body were broken down” and his life “hijacked” as a result of toxic mould-related illness. “People aren’t waiting to find out what type of mould it is now — if they can see mould they are concerned. We recognise that the Government is in a bad way in terms of financing but we do want to know there are promises of it being addressed so we are looking for those kinds of indicators.” The Score report published in February of this year exposed damning health and safety standards across the primary school system including mould, live electrical wires and leaks as well as infestations of rodents, termites and cockroaches. The Department of Education has been working with the Department of Parks and the Department of Works and Engineering to rectify the issues in the primary schools and are posting progress updates on the ministry website at www.moed.bm. Mr Scott added: “We have looked at the report into air quality at T.N. Tatem and we are pleased to say there are no imminent health threats at T.N. Tatem. However, there are concerns and issues that we have to address some of which we are starting to address immediately. Our goal is to have an action plan with timelines by next week Friday similar to what we did in the Score report and we are going to get on with these things. I appreciate this and support this. We have funds available for the schools and we are looking forward to getting on with it. The commissioner reached out to ask the union to canvass their members to bring issues to our attention. We have asked the principals and custodians. Over the break a few weeks ago there were some issues at Dellwood Middle School which we addressed immediately. There was some mould that we had to remediate as well as fix a leaking roof. We understand that there are concerns and we are very sensitive to those concerns and it is our intention to address those issues especially where there is a health and safety concern.”

November 30. Workers alleging unfair dismissal after they were sacked by the Corporation of Hamilton are preparing for a legal fight — saying that the Bermuda Industrial Union failed to go to bat on their behalf. “They’re just looking for an excuse to get rid of staff,” said Robert Lee, a sanitation driver fired in July after six years’ work. “They say they’re trimming the fat.” Mr Lee joined three other unionized staff who lost their jobs and felt that the BIU neglected to fight their case, forcing them to consult lawyers to take it further. The group maintained that management singled out certain workers by provoking frustration and branding all infractions as gross misconduct. Delmair Trott, formerly a machine operator for the engineering department, told The Royal Gazette he had fought his case for three years, and had been approved for reinstatement by the Corporation — but got turned away by management. “I was there 14 years; it’s sad,” Mr Trott said. “I can understand dismissal on many grounds, but there’s a protocol. I was told I was a really good worker, but they still let me go.” They were joined by Gareth Beam, who said he was dismissed from Parks in October 2015 after 18 years — and had thus far been unable to get management to meet with the labour board — as well as sanitation worker Gregory Wainwright, fired in September 2015 after 15 years. The four claimed there had been a “repercussions” after staff joined the BIU in 2008. “We’re trying to get union help first of all and they keep pushing us to the side,” Mr Lee said. “All we want is their help to get a fair shot.” Chris Furbert, president of the BIU, declined to comment in advance of this article, but said he would consider responding at a later date.

November 29. Bacardi Limited has appointed KC Kavanagh as its new global chief communications officer. She joins Bacardi from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, where she worked for 18 years and led the company’s global communications. Ms Kavanagh will be based at Bacardi’s headquarters on Pitts Bay Road. She succeeds Jim Gallagher, who has decided to step down from the position at the end of the year. As a senior vice-president. Ms Kavanagh will report to Mike Dolan, chief executive officer of Bacardi Limited, and work closely with him, and chairman Facundo Bacardi, to develop “strategic internal and external corporate communications to support the family-owned company’s efforts to drive growth globally”, the company said in a statement. She is to collaborate with the company’s brand marketing teams to develop integrated public relations campaigns, social media strategies and content marketing programmes for the portfolio of iconic brands. “We are delighted to welcome KC to the Bacardi team,” said Mr Dolan. “Her significant corporate and global experience, coupled with her success in launching and nurturing luxury, lifestyle and next generation brands, dovetails perfectly with our efforts to innovatively market our brands and cultivate meaningful relationships with our consumers around the globe.” While working at Starwood, Ms Kavanagh led global communications for the company and its 11 brands, including Sheraton, Westin, St Regis and W Hotels. She was also a member of the company’s deal and integration team during Starwood’s merger with Marriott International. Prior to Starwood, she oversaw public relations for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Ms Kavanagh said: “I am honored to join a company with such vibrant brands, tremendous global breadth and a storied family history that has inspired a culture of entrepreneurship and pride. I look forward to working with our team to creatively bring our stories and lore to life across many dynamic platforms.”

November 29. Former Accountant-General, Joyce Hayward, has acknowledged that her department would sometimes just check signatures on capital projects to ensure arrangements were in line with Financial Instructions. Ms Hayward, who held the position between 2004 and 2013, told the Commission of Inquiry that she relied on the expertise of accounting officers from the relevant ministries to ensure that due diligence had been completed. The commission has been tasked with investigating a series of capital projects that came under criticism in special reports by the Auditor-General in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Yesterday morning, Commission lawyer Narinder Hargun asked Ms Hayward what checks her department made when it came to ensuring capital contracts were approved by Cabinet, properly tendered and payments were in line with Financial Instructions. “We would rely on the accounting officers and the persons providing information to us to have done whatever the due diligence they were doing, to make sure they complied, so we could make payment,” Ms Hayward added. She told the commission that “putting the right people in place was the control that we had at that time”. The Commission’s lawyer went on to ask Ms Hayward: “You were effectively checking signatures?” She responded: “Correct, and depending on the type, for capital projects it would be different than other payments, because we were not capital project experts. If it was a payment to Belco we would have the invoice and we could check the maths, that is where our expertise would lie. But capital projects, that was not our expertise.” Mr Hargun continued: “Your evidence is that you were the final check, but only to make sure the accounting officers in respect of ministries had signed off on it?”. Ms Hayward replied: “Correct.” Commission member Kumi Bradshaw asked Ms Hayward whether she felt that was sufficient with hindsight. She said: “If the things had been in place in the departments as they were then yes the process should have worked how it was set up. But, of course, with hindsight there are things that have been corrected or fixed or changed that have made the process better.” Mr Hargun asked Ms Hayward about the role her department played in several capital projects, including Heritage Wharf, Port Royal and the TCD project. The former Accountant-General maintained that several changes had been made during her tenure to strengthen financial processes within Government. She added: “When questions came up with the Auditor-General we would work on them and if there were concerns we would go to the Finance Secretary to make sure things were put in place so it did not continue.” During yesterday’s proceedings the Commission of Inquiry also heard from Donal Smith, the CEO of Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd. Mr Smith firmly denied making any contributions to any political party and said he found it “bizarre” that taxpayers would want to know whether he made political contributions. “I find the question silly and dumb. We have never made a political contribution of any sort to any party.” When asked again if his company, BECL, had made any political contribution to a party he replied: “Never.” Mr Smith also denied providing any economic or other benefits to individuals linked to the Government. His appearance before the tribunal comes after BECL lost a legal appeal against a subpoena requesting it provide documents regarding the development of the Transport Control Department’s emissions centre in Pembroke. The commission had requested documents from the business as it continues its investigation into the misuse of government funds on a raft of projects, including the construction of the TCD building and three emissions testing centres. Auditor-General Heather Jacobs Matthews concluded in a special report released in 2010 that the cost of that project tripled from $5.3 million to $15.2 million after control was “relinquished” by the Government to two linked private companies, one of which was BECL. She found a disregard for normal financial controls. BECL was awarded a five-year multimillion-dollar contract to carry out safety and emissions testing in 2009, without the project going out to tender, and the contract was renewed in 2014.

November 29. Businessman Donal Smith today fired a high-profile lawyer as a row escalated over his refusal to release records demanded by the Commission of Inquiry. Delroy Duncan told the panel he held the financial records on Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd, which are the subject of a subpoena, but was loath to release the documents because Mr Smith had threatened to sue him if he did. The lawyer, a director of Trocan Management Limited, corporate agent for BECL, read out an e-mail sent to him today by Mr Smith, firing him from his contract. “If there is some other way that the tribunal can achieve its purposes, I would seek some form of allowance,” Mr Duncan said. Commission chairman Sir Anthony Evans said the panel had sympathy with Mr Duncan. He told Mr Smith, who was sitting in the public gallery, that it would not report him to the court for refusing to release the records but would have to complete its inquiry without them. “You will appreciate that we won’t have had any evidence from you, any assistance from the company. The company won’t be in a strong position to complain.” That prompted Mr Smith, the founder of BECL and former Deputy Mayor of Hamilton, to describe the commission as a “farce” or a “witch-hunt”. Mr Smith told the tribunal he would not consent to the release of the records. “I don’t run from a fight,” he told Sir Anthony. “There is no evidence. I have not been charged for anything. I want to put it to you: I’m not backing up from this.” He further warned that he would expose much information publicly, if pushed, that could prompt another commission. He said the “whole world will know that ... this is farce or a witch-hunt”. After retiring, the panel returned and ruled that Mr Duncan was released from the subpoena and there would be no further order in relation to it. Yesterday, Mr Smith, answering questions from the witness box, denied making any contributions to any political party, saying he found it “bizarre” that taxpayers would want to know whether he had. “I find the question silly and dumb,” he said. Mr Smith also denied providing any economic or other benefits to individuals linked to the Government. This month, BECL lost a legal appeal against a subpoena requesting that it provide documents regarding the development of the Transport Control Department’s emissions centre in Pembroke. The commission had requested documents from the business as it continues its investigation into the misuse of government funds on a raft of projects, including the construction of the TCD building and three emissions testing centres. Auditor-General Heather Jacobs Matthews concluded in a special report released in 2010 that the cost of that project tripled from $5.3 million to $15.2 million after control was “relinquished” by the Government to two linked private companies, one of which was BECL. She found a disregard for normal financial controls. BECL was awarded a five-year multimillion-dollar contract to carry out safety and emissions testing in 2009, without the project going out to tender, and the contract was renewed in 2014. The hearing continues.

November 29. Premier Michael Dunkley has been “forging tourism ties” with China following a meeting with Chinese representatives based in London. The delegation — consisting of the Minister Counselor Jin Xu of the Economic & Commercial Counselor's Office, First Secretary Huang Hongyong and Third Secretary Peng Zhang — left last night after a three-day visit. “The purpose of the delegates’ Bermuda visit was to establish greater co-operation with leading financial centres such as Bermuda and to discuss forging greater tourism ties,” said a Government spokesperson “Premier Dunkley hosted the group of dignitaries for lunch at Camden and shared some of the history of the Camden grounds with the delegation. Joining the Premier in hosting the luncheon was the Deputy Premier and minister of finance Bob Richards.” In addition to the luncheon, the Chinese dignitaries also participated in a full day of appointments, which included meetings with the minister of economic development Grant Gibbons, the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, the Bermuda Business Development Agency and the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA). They closed out their day by attending a dinner at Government House which was hosted by the Acting Governor Ginny Ferson. Mr Dunkley termed their discussions as “fruitful, encouraging and productive”.

November 29. Former member of the School Reorganization Committee, Danielle Riviere, has questioned the extent of structural problems across the island’s middle schools after the closure of T.N. Tatem Middle School yesterday owing to mould issues. Ms Riviere, who is also PTA president at West Pembroke Primary School, said that while she welcomed the extensive Score report, examining issues arising across the island’s primary schools published at the start of this year, she said she was yet to hear of plans for a similar report for the middle schools. Teachers at T.N. Tatem collectively called in sick yesterday because of continuing problems with air quality while students turned up apparently unaware of the closure before being sent home. Ms Riviere told The Royal Gazette: “It seems there has been no review of the middle schools from a structural perspective so we are seeing that they have very similar issues to the elementary schools and the question becomes how is that going to be dealt with. “A list was created outlining priorities, but I don’t know if any reporting has been done as to what the issues are. We don’t know if it has been done for the middle schools because we don’t have a public document to say so.” Ms Riviere said she hoped that going forward PTAs will be able to work closer with the Department of Education in coming up with solutions for the island’s schools. “The ministry has been very receptive — I have had conversations with both the PS [permanent secretary] and the minister and they were receptive. They do want feedback and, where we can, we want to work not opposed to the ministry but with the ministry.”

November 29. Hundreds of residents are expected to flock to St George’s this Friday for the annual Bermuda National Trust Walkabout which has become one of the island’s most popular pre-Christmas events. Now in its 38th year, the Walkabout has proved a boon evening for St George’s merchants, many of whom regard it as the most profitable day of the year. And this year the crowd could swell even more, as the Trust is introducing a ferry which will bring people from Albouy’s Point in Hamilton to St George’s, avoiding the traffic chaos and parking problems which motorists have previously endured. “In recent years, as the popularity of the Walkabout has grown, we have had attendees spending too much time in traffic and looking for parking spaces,” said National Trust Development Director Kelly Way. “Traffic restrictions at the Longtail Bridge will exacerbate this. Therefore, with the co-operation of the Department of Marine and Ports, we are introducing a ferry from Hamilton to St. George’s,” she said. “The ferry will take a maximum of 350 people at 5.30pm from Hamilton to St. George’s and will leave St George’s after the fireworks at 9.15pm. In addition, the ferry will shuttle people from Marginal Wharf in St David’s to St George’s. In each case, a maximum of 350 tickets will be sold in advance and only people with tickets will be able to board the ferry.” Musicians, dancers and carolers will entertain the crowd and children can meet Santa and make Christmas crafts at the Edith Clair Spencer Hall. “We invite everyone to head east to explore some of the oldest continually occupied buildings in the New World which will be decorated and candlelit for the event,” added a Trust spokesperson. Old Rectory, Bridge House, Buckingham, Tucker House, Reeve Court and the Globe Hotel will be festively decorated with each offering its own yesteryear experience. One of the Samaritans’ Cottages will also be open for the first time in decades following a careful restoration. The Bermuda National Trust could not hold this event without a huge amount of community support, our Trust volunteers and our generous sponsor, Butterfield Bank. This year marks our 10th anniversary with Butterfield as our sponsor and we are celebrating with a fireworks display at 9pm.” Parking — Tiger Bay/Penno’s Wharf, St. George’s Prep and St George’s Club Golf Course.  Ferry schedule and pricing.  Leaves Hamilton Ferry terminal at 5.30pm and returns leaving St George’s at 9.15pm. Adult Hamilton to St. George’s return $10. Child Hamilton to St. George’s return $5. Shuttles from Marginal Wharf to Penno’s Wharf.  Depart every half-hour starting at 6.45pm. Last shuttle back to Marginal Wharf 8.45pm. Adult Shuttle Marginal Wharf to Penno’s Wharf $4. Child Shuttle Marginal Wharf to Penno’s Wharf $2. Check www.bnt.bm to buy tickets. Availability is limited.

November 29. Bermudian entrepreneur Donte Hunt is preparing to launch what he believes is a “unique and revolutionary” phone app game that will be Bermuda’s first free lottery. Players of Memorwin will see an image or video from an advertiser for a set amount of time, and then be challenged to answer questions about it once it has vanished. Correct answers will give the player the chance to win a prize draw. Mr Hunt came up with the idea and did graphic design and a small amount of computer coding to demonstrate the concept of the game. A commercial version has now been created by developers. The Bermuda launch of Memorwin, “the memory game app that pays”, is very close. If it is a success, Mr Hunt has ambitions to extend it into Canada and the US. The idea for the game started by chance two years ago. “My wife was playing an online game and ads were popping up. You had to look at them and wait for 30 seconds before getting on to the next level,” said Mr Hunte, who is a former MP. Online ads are regarded as a nuisance by many people, said Mr Hunt. “They say only one out of every 1,000 people who visit a website actually view the ads. The performance is pitiful.” He wondered if there was a way to have digital ads appear without them being ignored and considered a nuisance. An innovative solution presented itself, again by chance, when he tried an online memory game his daughter was playing. “I found myself memorizing the pictures, and afterwards I thought, ‘You know what, it doesn’t matter what the image or picture was’.” With help from his wife he tweaked a few ideas and the result was Memorwin. Mr Hunt believes it is the only example of an online game where an individual’s main focus is specifically directed at an advert. He said the incentive is there, because the person knows they can potentially win a cash prize. Memorwin will have three types of draw. The game draw will allow all players who have answered questions correctly on a specific game to be entered into a draw to win a prize. There will be a super draw with one winner, with all players eligible, and finally there is a super draw for the top-scoring players. Mr Hunt said that, similar to a lottery, prize money will vary depending on the number of games played. “The more people who enter, the higher the cash prize.” The money comes from the advertisers, who pay to have their advert used in a game. The game host, or advertiser, budgets for how much they will pay for a set number of games being played using their picture or video. Mr Hunt said it was a fairer way for online advertising to work, explaining that the company with a product or service gets the exposure it wants, the advertising agency that secures the guaranteed audience placement gets paid, and the end-user, the viewer who looks at the advert as they play the memory game, has opportunities to win cash. “We are allowing the ordinary person to have a chance of getting a piece of the pie,” said Mr Hunt. To get the game off the ground, a Facebook page has been created. Once enough people have shown an interest and “liked” the page, the game will go live. “We have to prove that we have a following,” said Mr Hunt. People who “like” the Memorwin Facebook page will automatically get updates on when the game launches, announcements of weekly and monthly cash prize winners, special cash prize offers and new app news and developments. The plan is to launch Memorwin by Christmas, although it could be much sooner if the business is able to demonstrate to advertisers, through the number of Facebook “likes” it has secured, that a good-sized captive audience is willing and waiting to play the game.

November 29. Several cases of food-borne illness from local fish, suspected to be caused by the ciguatera toxin, are under investigation through the Department of Fisheries. For Richalene Knights and her family, early symptoms mimicked food poisoning — then intensified to a burning under the skin, accompanied by an intense bitter taste in their mouths. “It’s no joke — your hands and feet feel like they’re on fire, and at night you start itching,” said Ms Knights, whose parents and sister also fell ill. “My parents are in their 70s. To see my mother get so sick was awful. I’m not trying to point the finger of blame at anyone, I just spoke out to make people be careful.” Ciguatera, known in islands to Bermuda’s south, is a rarity in local waters, where the tiny organisms that carry the toxin have not been present in high enough numbers to cause the illness. Poisons from the reef plankton accumulate in the meat of grazing fish, and are then concentrated in the larger species that feed on them. The undetectable toxin is not broken down by cooking, causing rapid sickness in unsuspecting diners. Early symptoms, which hit Ms Knights’ family within six hours, include vomiting and diarrhea. Ciguatera leads to headaches, muscle pain and a burning, tingling sensation on contact with anything cold. “There’s nothing you can do about it, just go through the process,” said Ms Knights, who found her hands stinging when she washed them, followed by a metallic taste in her mouth “as if I had been drinking brine”. The family had purchased bonito from a Southampton fisherman on November 19, and consumed the fish separately over the next few days. They traced it back to the same meal, which she said had tasted “nice and fresh”, after noticing that all of them were experiencing leg pain. “By Friday last week it felt like a bad case of the flu, with my legs and arms hurting and itching,” Ms Knights said. When contacted, the fisherman informed them that he had been speaking with the Department of Fisheries after another customer attended the hospital with a suspected case of ciguatera. Ms Knights said she had confirmed that the department was testing fish samples. A positive result would buck a long trend for Bermuda, which has the same reef fish such as barracuda that are known elsewhere for carrying ciguatera — but has seldom seen actual cases of the sickness. In rare cases, ciguatera’s neurological symptoms can persist over weeks or even months. For the Knights family, the worst seems to have passed. “I have an appointment for Wednesday with my doctor,” Ms Knights said. “I didn’t feel deathly sick, once I got over the vomiting. We’ve just been waiting it out, drinking Gatorade and flushing it out of our systems. I just want people to be aware of the symptoms, so they’ll know.”

November 28. The Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2016 was passed without opposition in the Senate this morning paving the way for a new stream of economic activity on the island. Also passed without opposition were the St George’s Resort Amendment Act 2016 and The Bribery Act 2016. In passing the Casino Gaming Amendment Act, One Bermuda Alliance senator Michael Fahy pointed out that the Hamilton Princess and St George’s Resort had already been given designated site status while two further applications were being processed. Mr Fahy expressed his gratitude to the Gaming Commission and its chief executive officer, Richard Scheutz, for working “diligently to move gaming forward for Bermuda.” Independent senator James Jardine spoke favorably on extra measures taken to protect minors and vulnerable people as part of the legislative amendment. Speaking on the St George’s Resort Amendment Act, Mr Fahy assured senators that every effort had been made to help the old town to retain its Unesco world heritage designation status. Progressive Labour Party senator Renee Ming raised questions regarding an amendment that allows the developer of the hotel to have an organisation of its choice to make environment and traffic impact assessments as they relate to any “minor” adjustments to the development. Mr Fahy said that full assessments had already taken place and the amendment would merely offer flexibility on only minor changes from here on. Mr Jardine said he was “disappointed” that the process to build a hotel in the East End had taken so long, saying that he had expected ground to have been broken by now. Pressed on the need for public consultation, Mr Fahy said that the information regarding the new development was in the public domain describing it as “one of the most transparent processes” undertaken by the government. Taking time to explain the planning process relating to the St George’s development, Mr Fahy said: “In the usual way, all plans have been made available to the public to allow for objections and suggestions. The public will also be aware that the developer has made some changes to accommodate concerns raised by the Historical Building Advisory Committee relating the site line to Fort St Catherine and will also be providing public parking to facilitate beach use by the public. All in all the development is and exciting economic opportunity for St George’s and the Bermuda tourism product as a whole.” The Bribery Act which is based on the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act 2010, was enthusiastically embraced by senators of all affiliations.

November 28. Bermuda Monetary Authority has released its first report to highlight the island’s reinsurance industry’s resilience to major, but improbable, catastrophic events. The Authority’s Catastrophe Risk in Bermuda Report gives a high-level overview of the jurisdiction’s catastrophe reinsurance risk stress testing and modelling practices. Overall, the Report also underscores the reputation of Bermuda reinsurers of being well-capitalized, innovative and technically proficient. Craig Swan, managing director, supervision at the Authority said, “With such a relatively high concentration of catastrophe risk, a broad understanding of the potential adverse impacts, including identification of any concentration of risks and catastrophe modelling practices in Bermuda is central to the Authority’s supervisory framework.” “The Authority plays a significant role as a leader in the regulation of the global catastrophe market and in an effort to continue to re-emphasise our commitment to high standards of transparency, the Authority has produced this report,” Mr Swan said. The Authority intends to produce the Catastrophe Risk in Bermuda Report annually. To access the Report, visit the “Publications” section (BMA Surveys) on the Authority’s website at www.bma.bm.

November 28. Hamilton Underwriting Limited, the Lloyd’s platform of Hamilton Insurance Group, has been given permission to increase its gross written premium by £52 million ($64.6 million) and to write two new lines of business. Syndicate 3334 had approval for a gross written premium of £69.5 million this year. Lloyd’s has now given approval for that to increase to £122.5 million next year. The two new lines of business the Syndicate can write are marine liability and war and terror. “We are delighted that Lloyd’s has approved this substantial increase in our capacity for 2017 and has given us the go-ahead to write marine liability and war and terror business,” said Dermot O’Donohoe, chief executive officer of Hamilton Underwriting Limited. “Since acquiring the Syndicate in 2015, we have recruited market-leading teams of underwriters and significantly scaled up the business. Some of our books of business were relatively small and thus subject to volatility if there were major losses, so this increase in capacity allows us to iron out a degree of volatility in the portfolio. The current soft market is difficult and there are many challenges, but with our combination of careful risk selection and utilization of data and analytics to improve our underwriting, we look forward to maximizing profitable business opportunities in 2017.” Last month, Hamilton Underwriting Limited announced it had recruited Mark Appleton from The Navigators Group as head of marine liability. The managing agency is currently seeking a head of war and terror. Syndicate 3334 also writes accident and health insurance, contingency insurance, property D&F insurance, professional indemnity insurance, space insurance, treaty reinsurance, and financial institutions insurance.

November 28. Heritage Education Funds International has paid out more than $3.2 million to families in Bermuda this year for postsecondary education. The funding was distributed by Heritage Agency (Bermuda), which is licensed to market the Heritage International Scholarship Trust Plan in Bermuda. The plan, known generally as an education savings plan, is a US dollar plan and provides families with a method of saving and investing for their children’s postsecondary education. Families are able to create flexible, long-term savings plans that are tailored to each family’s individual financial situation. In a statement, Heritage said that students who received their third and final scholarship this year benefited from return of 6.70 per cent. During the two previous years, families in Bermuda received respective amounts of $2.75 million and $3.62 million. Heritage has paid out a total of $44 million to families in Bermuda, “complemented by the fact that more subscribers than ever before in Bermuda have been using our Education Savings Plan to help fund a postsecondary education for their children or grandchildren”. Jason Maguire, president of Heritage Education Funds International, said: “I’m truly thankful to our subscribers for putting their trust in us over the years. Our organisation has some of the best, most loyal customers of any industry, and they’ve helped make Heritage International what it is today. Our goal has always been to provide a cost-effective, flexible means to help hard-working families better afford a college or university education for their children, and I’m simply ecstatic that, by sticking with our plan, more of them are able to do so. A postsecondary education is critically important in today’s society, and the more people we help in achieving that goal, the better off the world will be.” The organisation said tuition costs continue to rise, averaging a 5 per cent increase annually, and said if this trend continues, tuition for a four-year degree programme could exceed $100,000 in 2026, depending on the programme of study and location. Heritage Agency (Bermuda), which is licensed to conduct investment business by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, said it continues to assist thousands of families in Bermuda building brighter futures for their children. Gerry Swan is the agency director. Heritage Agency (Bermuda) has offices at Washington Mall, Phase 1, Church Street level.

November 28. Opinion. By Dr. Ewart F. Brown, MD, who served as Premier of Bermuda from 2006 to 2010, executive chairman of Bermuda Healthcare Services. "After months of feigned neutrality, two leading Bermudian insurance companies, Argus and BF&M, have finally taken a predictable, self-serving stance in the present healthcare debate. They have come out in support of the Bermuda Health Council’s deeply flawed legislation against private doctors. What is surprising is not that Argus and BF&M have sided with their economic interests; the surprise is that they have ignored the facts regarding purportedly unnecessary diagnostic testing and are trumpeting the health council’s vacuous “patient safety” argument. I would have thought that these companies would have at hand, at the very least, evidence of unnecessary testing before taking such an unjustifiable public stance on the issue. There has never been any proof that doctors in Bermuda are engaged in ordering diagnostic examinations for any reason other than the well-being of their patients. Nor has anyone established that Bermudians are unsafe in the medical environment. Contrary to the health council’s disingenuous public relations scheme, this legislation has very little to do with patient safety. Scare mongering, unfortunately, has become the standard operating procedure for the Health Council, as it empire-builds and hires new staff and consultants. This is not the first time we have seen fear tactics employed as a strategy to sway public opinion. Henry Dowling, the president of the Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, has repeatedly and eloquently expressed concern on behalf of his membership. He is disturbed that his working group, which toiled in good faith after the Bill was initially withdrawn, has had to watch in shock as most of its suggestions were rejected by the health council. Dr Dowling’s position is that he and his fellow physicians are being deprived of the opportunity to have a say in the regulation of their profession. That the work is being driven by folks who are, at best, on the periphery of healthcare makes matters worse. Imagine the outcry if massive reform of the legal profession was initiated by a politician and executed by a group that excluded lawyers. So, if safety is not the true focus of this hopelessly flawed and unnecessary legislation, what is? Could it be about the money? One need only trace the history of this debate back to comments made in the House of Assembly in July by the finance minister, Bob Richards, ignoring his own party history. The finance minister railed against the idea of physicians who “are about to cut me with a knife” being entrepreneurs or businessmen. Aside from his ambivalence as to whether, or how much, doctors should be paid for their services, the finance minister ignored a huge slice of United Bermuda Party/One Bermuda Alliance history. In the 1980s, James King, an outstanding Bermudian surgeon, was chairman of Somers Isle (now Argus) Insurance Company. Dr King, who later became chairman of the UBP, routinely submitted bills to the very same insurance company he chaired for operations that he decided to perform. In addition, Dr King, to his credit, held numerous high-level positions in major businesses, including the chairmanship of the Bank of Butterfield. I applaud Dr King’s accomplishments and never considered him a charlatan or a cheat because he was an ambitious businessman who also billed for his work. I trusted that he would uphold the Hippocratic oath while he conducted his business. Who is the “unseen hand” behind this Health Council Bill? Why is passing this legislation so urgent at this time? What are its true objectives? If the health council is so concerned about patient safety, why doesn’t it focus attention on King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where the need for reform is more acute? Why is the Government not directing its energy towards cost and quality-of-care issues at KEMH, when we all know that KEMH represents the lion’s share of our healthcare costs? Answers to these questions are more important than the draconian contents of the proposed legislation. So, folks, it is not about you after all. Punishing doctors will not make you any safer."

November 28. A workforce strategy for Bermuda’s medical future is to be drawn up by early next summer as healthcare stakeholders prepare for a changing population. “We’re at the beginning of assessing the community’s human resources needs for health,” said Cheryl Peek-Ball, the chief medical officer, in the wake of a planning seminar with input from the Pan-American Health Organisation. Some of the issues are nothing new: the shortage of nurses is a longstanding global problem, and the island has historically faced challenges in retaining its medical professionals. The island-wide consultation now under way will include the Department of Immigration in drafting Bermuda’s blueprint. Among seminar participants was Noreen Jack, the Paho and World Health Organisation representative to Jamaica. “It’s not unique to Bermuda; it’s everywhere,” said Dr Jack. Influencing factors include the training and retention of personnel for the field — or the attraction of higher salaries or better chances for advancement that make some areas more enticing than others. “That said, we heard that Bermuda is not really worse off. You have a fair number of personnel, particularly specialists.” Lifestyle-related illnesses such as diabetes, termed as chronic non-communicable disease, exact a heavy toll on the healthcare system. Planning for the future is likely to include “more generalists, to engage with the community for them to take care of themselves,” Dr Jack said. “There is a need for personnel from the beginning, so that each point is an opportunity for intervention — not waiting for people to get sick.” In 2013, the worldwide shortfall of healthcare personnel was estimated at 17 million. “It’s expected to increase into the future,” Dr Jack added. Dr Peek-Ball said the planning exercise confronted “complexities that make this not such an easy exercise — there are subtle details that have to be worked out. We’ve been gathering information over the last five months. Now we are going to paint a clear picture of where we are.”

November 28. Opinion. By Nathan Kowalski CPA, CA, CFA, CIM, Chief Financial Officer of Anchor Investment Management Ltd. " I took some time last week reading through the entire Speech from The Throne (“the Speech”) and the Reply to the Throne Speech (“the Reply”). There was actually a lot to like in both documents. What follows is not a political discussion but a brief economic commentary triggered from reading both documents. Regulations and rules. I have a general comment on new rules and regulations. Increasing complexity and regulation benefits the large companies over the small. The larger companies have the resources and staff to throw at any new twist in a regulatory regime or new law that is enacted. The cost of compliance is a lessor burden to larger organisations and in fact only tends to entrench their dominance more. I would caution against any rush to please everyone globally. To preserve our reputation and “good standing” in the world we must play by the rules but balance and pragmatism must ultimately win the day. We can’t simply regulate our way forward to protect the large industry players at the expense of the domestic market and our future competitiveness. If we are serious about cutting red tape and bureaucracy, a measured pace of introduction, only after confirming that new rules are necessary, should be sought. It could be argued that a lighter touch has big advantages. If you don’t believe me listen to what came out of the recent Offshore Perceptions STEP Research Report 2016: “Overwhelming agreement (94 per cent) across the offshore respondents that compliance is a burden … 63 per cent of offshore respondents say reporting obligations are deterring clients … 51 per cent of onshore respondents saying they have seen clients moving onshore as a result of compliance costs raising charges offshore” I agree with President-elect Trump’s recent statement: “If you want to introduce a new regulation then you need to get rid of two others”. I welcome the day when we see a speech that highlights all the rules and regulations being removed or amended to open up competition and liberalize markets. Bermuda‘s international business has historically thrived by reducing regulation and promoting innovation. Taxes.  Although not mentioned in the Speech, I wanted to note that the General Services Tax is simply a non-starter to me. I have serious concerns over a tax that puts an ever-increasing burden on the local domestic economy of Bermuda and only escalates the cost of business. Our island continues to become polarized between a generally successful and profitable international sector and a struggling domestic sector which needs to contend with the reality of a shrinking population. This is really a regressive tax that will likely hurt the small/medium business owner in Bermuda who will either pass on the cost to the end user or suffer some margin erosion if this is simply not possible. I appreciate the need to look into ways to raise tax revenues in an effort to balance the budget but I would prefer one that spares the part of the economy that continues to try and recover and grow. The mention of a more progressive payroll tax regime and even a lower payroll tax is far more appealing. Although I would prefer to see lower government spending and fiscal prudence. The business sector would be more supportive of tax changes if they were assured that government expenditure was going to be reduced. One solution may be an exemption (no payroll tax) for amounts up to $30,000 with higher progressive rates above this. The downside to progressive tax system is that employers will be incentivised to hire more part-time workers and consultants. Higher payroll tax rates will also make Bermuda less competitive compared to other jurisdictions, especially if President-elect Trump significantly lowers US tax rates. Cost of Bermuda and of doing business in Bermuda Mention was made about the cost of Bermuda and the cost of doing business in Bermuda. This still remains one of the largest threats to the island’s future competitiveness. In a world of fluid capital and labour arbitrage, opportunities exist for companies to locate resources within the most favorable domicile. With modern day telecommunications technology, supply chains and labour pools can be located nearly anywhere for intellectual capital based businesses. Arguably one of the best ways to control costs in an economy is the promotion of competition. Oligopolies and/or monopolies in our small economy can hamper cost efficiency with entrenched pricing and quasi control of certain markets. Promoting more balance or competition in certain fields would go a long way to reducing costs that are regressive in nature for our society and offer more affordable choices. Furthermore, if we want to help the less fortunate and lower income households a key factor will continue to be an economic rebound. According to the World Bank, on average, a 1 per cent increase in GDP per capita reduces poverty by 1.7 per cent. Diversity. I have written about the secular challenges that Bermuda needs to address to secure a promising future. I call them the “4 D’s for Discussion: Debt, Demographics, Disparity and Diversity”. The first two I have written about since 2011. The last two more recently. The acknowledgement of minimal diversity within Bermuda’s economy and its associated risk was commented on in the Reply. Both documents did make specific reference to developing Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programmes for schools. I still feel this is an important “D” that is slowly being recognized.  The recent celebration of attracting SELLAS Life Sciences to the island is a worthy step in the right direction. The company establishes a start to moving outside everything “finance/insurance related” and is in a sector of high secular growth. This is important because our largest industry continues to struggle with weak pricing and disruption from the capital markets. The consolidation we have seen does not appear to be over. The recent Argo Group and Ariel Re merger suggests there is still interest among the group to consolidate further. Recent reports by AM Best and Citigroup suggest much more consolidation is likely and we are almost assuredly to see a few more mergers over the next year. As a result any policies that encourage expansion into areas outside our core will become increasingly important to sustain economic growth and create a diverse array of jobs. There was much more discussed in both speeches which bear further analysis. Ideas to reform education, fund entrepreneurs and protect the environment are all important topics to address. If there is one thing I have noted, however, it is that the country would be best served if those who served worked together. By adopting and combining much that was discussed in both speeches the country would have a lot of positive things to talk about.

November 28. Hundreds of families lined the streets of Hamilton yesterday to celebrate the start of the holiday season. The city turned into a winter wonderland as the MarketPlace 2016 Santa Claus Parade filled the air with Christmas cheer. Floats, some spewing plumes of artificial snow, dancers, bikers, Gombeys, and majorettes in full regalia entertained the crowds as Christmas music blared. “This is the start to the Christmas season,” said Brendell Hayward, who was watching the parade with her daughters Kinra, 4, and SaVana, 14, on Front Street. “I’ve been coming since I was little — we come every year. It’s just getting ready for the holiday season and this is a nice family outing.” The parade has also become a tradition for Vicki Benevides and her family, who found their spot on Par-la-Ville Road. “There’s so few things to do in Bermuda,” said Ms Benevides, who brought Ethan, 9, Payton, 5, and Isabella, 5, along. “When there’s something somewhat kid-orientated, you want to take advantage of that.” Chris Smith has also come every year since his son, Sanchez, was born. “I like to see him enjoying himself,” he said. “I take him, let him see it and get excited.” The Gombeys are a firm favourite for six-year-old Sanchez, who also enjoys “getting the candies”. Kaylani Simmons was also eagerly awaiting the start of the parade with her family on Front Street. “I really like the dancing,” said the 11-year-old, who dances with DanceSations herself. Chloe Botelho, who found a spot at the bottom of Burnaby Street with her extended family, was also looking forward to seeing the dancers. “I like that everyone comes together and watches the parade and sees all the dancers and Santa Claus,” she said. But she added that seeing Santa is her favourite part. While the event has become a tradition for some families, others had never experienced it. “This is my first time so I’m excited,” Erin Jackson said. “Even though I’ve lived here 26 years, I’ve never made it to the Santa Claus Parade.” While the Lotus Bermuda Aerial Team showcased their suspended dance skills, Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Club members captivated parade goers with daring demonstrations. The Somerset Brigade Band filled the air with Christmas music, while scores of In Motion School of Dance and DanceSations students were among the dancing troupes who performed. Traditional sponsor MarketPlace pulled out all the stops with its floats, which heavily featured Disney characters. On board their specially themed float, Bermuda’s version of Olaf, Anna and Elsa from the much-loved film Frozen delighted children, as did the Star Wars characters who waved from their float. And of course Santa — the man himself — proved to be a definite highlight on board his float complete with sleigh and reindeer. Awestruck children waved excitedly as MarketPlace staff handed out candies to the crowd.

November 28. Pupils arrived for class this morning at the TN Tatem Middle School, only to find that their teachers would not be attending. The school is to expected reopen tomorrow, with today’s postponed parent-teacher conference scheduled for then — although a statement has yet to be issued by the Bermuda Union of Teachers. The Royal Gazette understands that up to 40 staff called in sick over longstanding issues with air quality. Principal Francine McMahon was in attendance. This afternoon, education minister Wayne Scott released the following statement: “I wish to advise the public and parents of students attending TN Tatem Middle School that members of the Ministry of Education administration team have met regularly with teachers and staff to address facility challenges and to begin planning a way forward to improve conditions at the school. Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Mrs Valerie Robinson-James met with staff on November 17 and agreed to have weekly communications with staff, teachers and parents. The Permanent Secretary indicated that a full report from the Health and Safety Officer has been fast tracked and we are anticipating having that report on Monday, 28 November. It is anticipated that by Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, we will have further information to provide to teachers, parents and the general public. We recognise that the situation at TN Tatem has been the cause of distress for teachers and parents. We share their concerns. The health and safety of the students and staff at TN Tatem has been our primary focus. As stated, the ministry is planning to share the report findings to all concerned and present a comprehensive plan for the remainder of the school year. However, we first must receive the Health and Safety report. I can share with you the communication that was sent on behalf of the Ministry to the principal and staff at TN Tatem on November 22 from Dr Lou Matthews. Dr Matthews stated: ‘Mrs McMahon and TN Tatem family, I am writing to provide you with an update from the Department of Education following our meeting with staff on Thursday, November 17, 2016. This is the first of week updates. As a result of that meeting four areas of focus were discussed as action items:

November 28. Campaign group Take Back Our Park has issued a “call for action” in an effort to halt development in Botanical Gardens. Objectors to the plans to build a maintenance yard in the park have been asked to send their comments through to Marcus Wade at Marwade@gov.bm. Earlier, the group presented a 1,500-word “letter of objection” to the Bermuda Government. The proposed maintenance yard would include a two-storey water tower, a 30ft tall warehouse and a headquarters for parks staff. Jennifer Flood, a spokesperson for TBOP, said in a statement this morning: “We have been consistent in saying that the Parks staff deserve a new headquarters, just not in a place that virtually bisects a national park. “We know that a yard has existed there previously but we feel strongly that Government has missed an opportunity to move it somewhere more suitable. In addition, the sheer scale of the development is wholly inappropriate.” Work on the new maintenance yard was stopped earlier this year after Chief Justice Ian Kawaley granted a temporary injunction halting the Bermuda Government from proceeding with its plans. Government recently held a public meeting on the plans, which was attended by TBOP members. However, according to the statement, the members found the meeting “disappointing”. The group is now urging interested members of the public to sign an online petition in protest of the development. “We would urge people to sign our petition and to write to Government protesting these plans,” Ms Flood said. “We believe there are suitable alternative sites and that this is a great chance to enhance the Botanical Gardens, a national treasure.”

November 27. The Premier has refused a written request by the Progressive Labour Party for an independent review by the Auditor-General of the proposed airport development before MPs vote on legislation. Michael Dunkley reiterated last night that an assessment had already been carried out and that the Bermuda Government intended to debate the legislation during the next House of Assembly session. His comments came after Opposition leader David Burt repeated his call for an independent review, which had been outlined in a letter to the Premier dated November 24. “Yes it was denied and for a couple of reasons; the first reason is that we have had assessment of this project done,” Mr Dunkley told The Royal Gazette. “And we’ve worked closely with the UK Government and Government House on it. We’ve made sure they’re very comfortable with it and we have their full support.” He furthermore noted that the “Auditor-General is not equipped to do this type of work”, adding that the Auditor-General is set up to do audits after the fact, not before. Mr Dunkley also dismissed Mr Burt’s accusations that the OBA had broken its promise to reveal the full contract details, refused to respond to summons by the PAC, violated financial instructions and repeatedly omitted or “fuzzier up” the facts surrounding the process of awarding the contract as “absolute nonsense”. “While the Opposition leader and his colleagues are entitled to play politics and do what they have to do, this Government has done significant due diligence on this project and my colleague, the Deputy Premier and the Minister of Finance, has worked hard on it,” he said. “We feel confident in this and this will serve Bermuda well going forward. We are going to move forward, we’re going to give the people of Bermuda all the information that’s required and we look forward to the debate in the House of Assembly on real issues, on real terms, and we’re not going to get caught up in the prevarication, the spin and the misleading comments by the Opposition leader. We were elected to make very tough decisions and this is a very complicated project. We feel we’ve got it right, putting no more debt on our bottom line, and building ourselves a new terminal. We will make sure it is managed in an appropriate way so that Bermudians get what they expect and what they deserve and we will make sure there are jobs and opportunities at the same time. It is our intention to debate it in the next session when we go back into the House.” In the letter, Mr Burt requested Government support a motion to commit “the Bermuda Airport Authority Act 2016 to the Select Committee on the Public Accounts, with a request that the Auditor-General — an ex officio member of that committee — provide the committee with an independent assessment of the impact on Government finances and value for money”. He also requested that Government “provide the necessary information to the Public Accounts Committee and/or Auditor-General to enable her to make an assessment of the project before January 31, 2017, and delay the final consideration of the project by Parliament until after this review. Note that this timing will still enable the Government to achieve financial close prior to the March 31, 2017 expiry of the Airport Development Agreement”. But he stated yesterday: “Regrettably, after receiving a written request from the Opposition for such a review, the Premier and the OBA rejected this transparent, sensible and reasonable approach and continue to stubbornly barrel ahead with this scheme. Parliament needs to have a fully independent review of the finances of this deal so that every MP, acting on behalf of the people they represent, can understand what impact the vote would have on the government’s finances. The best way for this to happen is the reasonable and sensible suggestion that the PLP have brought forward; to request the Auditor-General to review the contract in advance, including the documents that have not been disclosed to parliament, and provide MPs with unbiased information regarding the impact of this deal will have on government finances.” The proposal for a new terminal at LF Wade International Airport cannot proceed until the Airport Redevelopment Concession Act and the Bermuda Airport Authority Act are approved. This was expected to go before MPs during last Friday’s sitting of the House of Assembly but it was delayed after a meeting with Opposition and Government leaders to give MPs the opportunity to go over the materials that had been shared up to this point, according to Randy Horton, Speaker of the House.

November 26. Bermuda's Parliamentarians have approved legislation that could see rental minicars introduced in Bermuda for the first time. The Motor Car Amendment (No 2) passed without any objections in the House of Assembly yesterday, despite Opposition MPs decrying its lack of regulations as well as the potential impact on the taxi industry. Meanwhile, Government MPs maintained that the small covered vehicles, capable of carrying a maximum of two passengers, would offer business opportunities for entrepreneurs and safer options for visitors. After the debate, which lasted more than four hours, Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, said he was “very pleased” the Bill had passed. “This brings us a step closer towards the introduction of minicars in Bermuda which will enhance our tourism offerings and move our tourism product forward and make us far more competitive with other tourism destinations,” Senator Fahy said. “We have taken into account the concerns of our transportation stakeholders and are pleased to have found broad agreement in the size and specifications of minicars. Having spoken at a number of international tourism events there is real excitement in the tourism industry about the likelihood of this offering being successful. “I look forward to the Senate debate when I will be able to expand further on the benefits of this new amenity and the consultation that was undertaken which should add clarity to some of the misleading statements made by the Opposition during the debate in the House.” Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, opened the debate announcing that ten makes of vehicles, none of which would exceed the capacity of 150cc, were considered appropriate for local roads, including three-wheeled vehicles and quadricycles. Dr Gibbons told the House that augmenting the existing rental choices for visitors was key to maintaining the island’s competitive edge. However, Lawrence Scott, the Shadow Minister of Transport, replied that the Bill was seen by the Opposition as “the thin side of the wedge for allowing full-size rental cars” — saying that the island’s debate in the 1940s over the original introduction of cars had included dividing up the automotive market. “Behind the scenes they were trying to figure out who got what dealership,” Mr Scott said, adding that some taxi owners still opposed minicars, and had not been consulted. Progressive Labour Party MP Derrick Burgess maintained that Bermuda was too small and already “saturated” with vehicles, while PLP MP Jamahl Simmons berated Mr Fahy for his consultation efforts with taxi drivers. PLP MP Rolfe Commissiong also raised questions why electric-powered vehicles were not being championed in the legislation, describing the proposal of using vehicles that emit greenhouse gases as “an opportunity missed”. David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, added: “The Government cannot seem to get it right when it comes to consulting or communicating or understanding the fact that you need the support of the people before you move things forward. The first time they got taxi drivers to drop tools.” Independent MP Shawn Crockwell threw his backing behind the Bill, saying: “Tourism is about what our guests want, it is not about our comfort. Let’s look at this as adding to the experience for our guests.” Meanwhile, Sylvan Richards, Minister of Social Development and Sports, described it as “a matter of life and death — it’s a safety issue for our visitors” that would deliver new business opportunities for Bermudians. OBA MP Leah Scott acknowledged that the Government could have done a better job in conveying information about the initiative to the public, but maintained “we should all support it”. OBA MP Glen Smith also supported the Bill while assuring the House that his own auto business had no deals in the pipeline. Public Works Minister Craig Cannonier insisted that the entrepreneurial opportunities “do not have an agenda”, and OBA MP Mark Pettingill called on the House to embrace offering a greater range of visitor amenities. Summarizing an at times heated debate, Premier Michael Dunkley chastised the Opposition for their “tired and typical” approach of knocking down government legislation. “Everything we do is with a view to making all Bermudians’ lives better.” the Premier said. “We can work through the challenges; this Bill is a very positive step for the people of Bermuda.”

November 26. Oracle Team USA have returned to Bermuda after the final Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in Fukuoka, Japan last weekend. As predicted, with so much at stake, including bonus points for 2017, the racing for the America’s Cup event in Asia was intense and hard-fought. In addition to the glory that comes with winning the event, the title of overall series champion was also up for grabs, as this was the final event of the two-year racing circuit. And, perhaps more importantly, bonus points for next year’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers were also on the line, with the overall winner getting two points, and the runner-up, one. Oracle Team USA put up a spirited fight in trying to overhaul Land Rover BAR for top spot, but could not quite make it. The final races on Sunday were a battle royale, with the American, British and New Zealand teams fighting for the final two point-scoring places. Eventually, Land Rover BAR came out on top, while Oracle Team USA collected one point for their efforts. Team New Zealand, along with the other teams, were shut out of the bonus points. “We would have loved to have taken the two points,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, said. “But one thing we weren’t going to let happen was to have Team New Zealand take a point with a second-place finish. So we ended up in a bit of match race with them at the end. And the boys did a great job to keep them behind us.” At one point in the racing on Sunday, both BAR and Team New Zealand were pushing penalties onto Oracle Team USA, attempting to drive the team further down the rankings. However, each time, Spithill and his crew fought back. “That’s us just living the dream as the defender,” Spithill said. “But I’d like to congratulate BAR for winning the series. You get what you deserve in this game, and they sailed well.” Spithill was also quick to credit the full Oracle Team USA team for their efforts over the past year. Our shore team and support crew and the guys on board have done a tremendous job over the last two years to make sure we had an opportunity to win it all, right down to the last day, and that’s all you can ask for.  I think it’s a real tribute to them that we were in this position.” With the Fukuoka event marking the conclusion of racing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, Oracle Team USA will now redouble its efforts in Bermuda, in preparation for racing next year. “Now we move on to the serious end of the business,” Spithill said. “The America’s Cup is what we have to focus on now. We’ve been doing a lot of work in Bermuda and some great testing with SoftBank Team Japan and Artemis Racing, and we’ve got an extensive development programme to go. Our shore team and engineering team and designers have been working away in Bermuda while we’re in Japan, so we can put the hammer down again when we’re back.” It didn’t take long. With most of the team arriving in Bermuda on Monday night or Tuesday, the team were out on the water, resuming their testing programme on Wednesday. No extended holidays for this team. The racing in Fukuoka was the last time the teams will compete in the foiling AC45F catamarans. The next time the teams race — in May next year in Bermuda — they will be lining up in the America’s Cup Class boats which each team is required to design and build. And the AC45F boats will be shipped to Bermuda for a tune-up and a fresh look. You’ll see them out on the Great Sound again in the new year as they’ll be used by up to 16 international youth teams — including Team BDA — in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2017.

November 26. An employer who was fined for work-permit offences has had his fine significantly reduced after appealing the decision of the Chief Immigration Officer to the Supreme Court. Kenneth Dill Jr, the proprietor of Changes Beauty Salon, was fined $35,000 in April for four violations of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956. The fine was handed down on the basis that Mr Dill had allowed Nadine James and her husband, Donovan James, to work for him without work permits. Mr Dill appealed against the decision of the Chief Immigration Officer, claiming that at the time of the alleged work-permit violations relating to Ms James, she was working without his knowledge or consent. He further claimed that he did not employ Mr James and that the penalty of $35,000 was manifestly excessive and wrong in law. Justice Stephen Hellman agreed with Mr Dill’s first ground of appeal that Ms James was working without his consent or knowledge. “I am satisfied that in the circumstances, it would be unduly harsh to impose a civil penalty in relation to the work-permit violations involving Ms James,” he said. “Even had I been satisfied that a penalty was appropriate in relation to the first violation, I should not have imposed a penalty in relation to the second. This is because the immigration authorities did not bring the first violation to the attention of the appellant until after the second violation had taken place. He was therefore not given a reasonable opportunity to correct it.” Mr Justice Hellman also ruled that the penalty imposed by the Chief Immigration Officer was excessive. “Section 71A (3) provides that there shall be a $5,000 penalty for a person’s first violation and a $10,000 penalty for each subsequent violation within a period of seven years, beginning with the date of the first violation,” Mr Justice Hellman said. “The respondent concluded, perfectly logically, that in the present case that meant one penalty of $5,000 — because there can only be one first violation — and three penalties of $10,000. In my judgment, it follows that the reference to a person’s first violation in section 71A (3) is to a person being dealt with for a violation for the first time, even if on that occasion he or she is being dealt with for more than one violation. Thus, had I found that the four separate penalties should be imposed upon the appellant, the appropriate amount would have been $20,000 [ie, four times $5,000], rather than $35,000 [ie one times $5,000 and three times $10,000).” The Supreme Court judge added: “In the present case, I have found that the appellant should be subjected to a civil penalty for two violations. As they are both first violations, the penalty is $10,000 [ie two times $5,000]. The decision notice is quashed and in substitution for a penalty of $35,000 for four work-permit violations, I impose a penalty of $10,000 for two work-permit violations. Shawn Crockwell, representing Mr Dill, told The Royal Gazette that his client’s case was the first to look at how the fine structure was applied under the legislation. “The significance of this case is that it is the first time to my knowledge that this section of the legislation has been challenged in court, and the first time a judge has looked at how the penalties should be broken down. It provides clarity to an area that was previously uncertain. We are pleased with the significant reduction in the fine, and that the judge took a just and equitable approach to the alleged violations. However, I would prefer if such matters could be appealed directly to the minister, rather than force individuals to pursue appeals at the Supreme Court, which is obviously a costly exercise.”

November 26. A Bermudian shipping firm has thrown its support behind a groundbreaking scientific research project to track and film marine life. Bermuda International Shipping Ltd has joined with PwC, The Atlantic Conservation Partnership and Henrik Schroder from iTDNA as a sponsor of the Ocean Tech project. The project will employ state-of-the-art underwater vehicles and is expected to provide new data that could lead to the establishment of marine protected areas. “We are very pleased that BISL has agreed to support the Ocean Tech project,” Ocean Tech executive director, Andrew Smith, said. “As you can imagine we will be shipping in a huge amount of equipment and vehicles from the UK and the USA, consequently a mission shipping partner is essential. BISL have very kindly agreed to donate their full set of services to the project for free.” Ocean Tech will use two REMUS 100 autonomous underwater vehicles that are designed to study the marine life around Bermuda. The vehicles are fitted with sensors, scanners and 360 degree virtual reality video cameras and can follow marine animals autonomously to reveal their deepest secrets. The team hope to follow and film Galapagos and dusky sharks, tiger sharks, giant tarpon, spotted eagle rays, lion fish and humpback whales with the vehicles. George Butterfield, manager of BISL’s agent, Meyer Freight, said: “We are extremely proud to support the Ocean Tech project; the oceans are a vital part to Bermuda’s economy and its ecology. Our business exists because of the ocean; as such we feel we have a responsibility, as does everyone, to help ensure its effective management and protection. “Ocean Tech is a unique platform that can let us see how and why marine species use the marine environment. This will help governments effectively and efficiently manage and protect the places that may need protecting,” said Mr Butterfield. The Ocean Tech team plan to produce a documentary film of their work and also create global and local exhibits as well as an educational programmes. Fred Barritt, vice-president of BISL, added “We all need to become better stewards of our ocean for the sake of our children and children’s children. Ocean Tech is a fantastic way for many of us to do that.”

November 26. Black Friday may have lost its novelty for locals, but the faithful still turned out in force — for pre-Christmas festivities as much as special deals. The absence of Digicel and Bermuda’s declining population meant less foot traffic than in previous years, but shopkeepers remained upbeat about their performance. “This is my first one, and it’s lived up to the hype,” said Laura Husband, department manager at Annex Toys, where customers with Christmas in mind snapped up popular toys: Shopkins figures — this year’s surprise craze — plus Doc McStuffins, and gadgets like the VTech action cam. “I’ve got nieces, nephews and two children; I’m out to get some stocking stuffers,” said 5am shopper Patrick Murdoch. “Plenty of people won’t come out for this nowadays. They’re a little jaded with it. But People’s Pharmacy was 50 people deep.” The American retail bonanza started in 2010 as a promotion for mobile phones, and Bermuda’s big stores adopted Black Friday as their own the following year, bringing giant crowds. Five years on, yesterday’s showing may have been more modest in the small hours but stores have adapted by prolonging the sale period from the initial predawn rush. George Grundmuller, president and CEO of Phoenix Stores, was on hand for its 4am opening where a queue snaked around the block, while a DJ kept spirits high. “Customers knew exactly what they wanted to go for,” Mr Grundmuller reported by 7am. “Black Friday is for sure here to stay, for many years to come. What retailers are doing is bringing some of the Black Friday specials forward to spread out the workload. It got to a point where it was a challenge to manage all the crowds. Right now we’re just about where we were in the same period last year.” Gibbons Company, like others, used the anticipation for a big Thursday night: “It was amazing,” CEO Paula Clarke said, as day broke over Hamilton. “We were supposed to close at 10pm. We still had customers at 10.45pm. We opened at 5am today and had a really big rush.” Ms Clarke, who represents the retail division of the Chamber of Commerce, added: “I felt the foot traffic on the streets was not as much as previous Black Fridays. In previous years, the offers from the cell companies have got people excited, and the reality is we have a smaller population than past years and our heyday. But retailers are working really hard to keep till dollars in Bermuda, and we are fairly happy with what we have seen.” Black Friday still comes with a touch of dread in the US, with stories each year of cut-throat shoppers stopping at nothing. Bermudian shoppers, more sedate, enjoy its social side. “Look around, everybody here is happy,” said Kalreta Conyers-Steede, waiting in the doorway of Brown & Co. “I’ve been here since midnight and I come out for it every year. It’s the atmosphere.” Nearby, Beverly Marshall waited to pick up some artwork for her living room at a 40 per cent discount. “The music’s nice,” Ms Marshall said. “People are dancing. It’s friendly.” Poised near the front of the Phoenix queue, Ereka Gift was another annual Black Friday regular, and she agreed that the atmosphere was lively. “But I’m here for the sales,” she said, having waited from midnight. Fellow customers cheered as staff readied to unlock the doors. Far less people camped out for phones this year, but demand remains strong: first-timers Heather and her son Brent put out their chairs at 2am outside One on Church Street to snap up special deals on iPhones. Surprised to be the only ones there at 3.45am, Heather was happy to arrive early to reap the special deals for the first 50 — and she soon had company. While some shoppers are sceptical of the discounts, the two stood to make big savings, she said. “Why pay all that when you can make a little sacrifice and save a couple of hundred, or pay nothing at all?” The scene was replicated at several of the island’s major shops, where staff have grown used to the retail festivities. “I don’t get it,” confessed one, who asked not to be named. “All these people — it’s too much. But as soon as they see the offers they start calling us, seeing what they can get. They’re having a good time.” A spokesperson from One Communications said: “There was a line-up outside our Church Street store this morning, in time for our 5am opening. Since then we’ve had a steady stream of customers. Shoppers are loving both the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy specials we’re offering. Since this is the first Friday for late-night shopping, we’ll be open in town till 8pm.”

November 26. More than a hundred people descended on the Somers Garden in St George’s this afternoon to catch a glimpse of two Olympians grace Bermuda’s first skating rink. Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn dazzled the crowd with daring lifts and skilful twirls during three back-to-back performances for the official launch of the synthetic rink. The pair, who competed for the United States at the Winter Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City, were given a rousing reception by the scores of children that watched the display. Cher Przelomski, vice-president of the Planning Factory, who created the event, told The Royal Gazette she was thrilled to see so many people turn out. “It’s a great feeling to see it all come together,” she said. “We really appreciate the work of all the sponsors, members of our team and the Corporation of St George’s who worked so hard to make this a reality. I’m just really proud of everyone involved; it was very much a team effort.” The skating rink, which will be open to the public tomorrow between 2pm and 8pm, will remain in place in the Olde Towne until January 2. St George’s MP, Kenneth Bascome, hailed the success of the event. “I would like to thank everyone who has worked to organise this event in St George’s including the Mayor and the Corporation,” Mr Bascome said. “I hope this is something that will become an annual event. It is certainly good to see everyone turn up for the performance of the Olympic skaters today.”

November 26. Bermuda Emissions Control Ltd have lost a legal appeal in advance of a scheduled appearance before the Commission of Inquiry. BECL launched an appeal against a recent Supreme Court decision, stemming from a subpoena by the commission requesting the company provide documents regarding the development of the Transport Control Department’s emissions centre in Pembroke. However, the Court of Appeal yesterday announced that they had dismissed the appeal, stating that written reasons would be released at a later date. No further specifics about the details of the appeal, or the consequences of the ruling, were given. The commission had requested documents from the business as they continue their investigation into government spending, but BECL launched a legal challenge in the Supreme Court. Lawyer Eugene Johnson, representing the company, challenged a subpoena issued by the commission which would have had the company produce documents to only one of the four commissioners, and said the minute books requested by the commission were not relevant to their investigation. He also argued that the Premier unlawfully delegated the power to set the scope of the public inquiry to the COI and that the COI could not investigate the TCD emissions centre. Furthermore, he said that the BECL’s minute books, which the commission has demanded to see, were “not relevant” to the matter. In a hearing last month, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled that the Premier’s decision to appoint the COI was valid, as was the COI’s decision to look into the TCD project. While Mr Justice Kawaley did have questions about the subpoena, he suggested the matter could be resolved by the issuance of the new subpoena, requiring BECL to show its documents to all four commissioners, which the commission enacted the following day. The COI is scheduled to meet next on Monday, with their schedule listing subpoena hearings with BECL and Donal Smith, the chief executive officer of BECL.

November 25. Britain has revealed details of its plans to seize a slice of the global catastrophe bond business that Bermuda dominates. A new regulatory framework and exemptions from corporation tax for the sector are among the proposals put forward by the UK Treasury and the Bank of England. The new rules have been urged for some time by the London Market Group, which represents the British capital’s insurance industry. The insurance-linked securities market, which includes catastrophe bonds and collateralised insurance products, has boomed in recent years and Bermuda has emerged the world leader as a domicile for this niche. Initial reaction from the Bermuda market yesterday was that the island’s ILS market can continue to thrive, even if London is successful in attracting a share of the business. And with Britain’s exit from the European Union looming in the coming years, Bermuda, with its track record, framework for and expertise in ILS, is seen as offering greater stability for investors. ILS issued from Bermuda represented 70 per cent of total outstanding global capacity as the end of the second quarter, or $17.6 billion of the world’s total $25.1 billion, according to the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s ILS Market Report, published last month. Nearly 160 ILS structures with a value of some $19 billion have listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Andre Perez, chief executive officer of Horseshoe Group, a Bermudian company that has thrived on the ILS industry, said Britain’s move had been in the works for the past two years. “Bermuda has been at it for a while on the ILS front, so I don’t think this new London initiative will be a big threat for Bermuda,” Mr Perez said. “There is room for several ILS domiciles around the world. If anything, the fact that the London market is hopping on the ILS bandwagon is pretty exciting as it does, in a way, further validate this growing sector of the market. I personally do believe that London will be successful in attracting new ILS opportunities and further grow the market. This is about making the ILS pie bigger.” Inga Beale, the chief executive officer of the London-based Lloyd’s insurance market, caused a stir on the island last month when she said at a conference in Germany: “For whatever reason it happened, I feel that Bermuda stole the ILS market from London.” Mr Perez said that in reality the two insurance centres had a symbiotic relationship. “I would hate to pin one domicile against another,” Mr Perez said. “Despite Inga Beale’s comment a few weeks ago coming across as flippant and ill-informed, the reality is that both jurisdictions have been working hand in hand for many years, supporting each other’s growth. They both have different attributes which may attract different type of ILS transactions. Several ILS participants are either in Bermuda or in North America, this will probably give the edge to Bermuda. However, transactions with European nexus may be a better fit in London. Bermuda has done a fantastic job at keeping in touch with the market realities, and as long as it continues to do that and steer clear from becoming inflexible or dogmatic, then there is no reason why it would not continue to thrive as one of the foremost reinsurance and ILS domiciles in the world.” The ILS industry provides an efficient source of third-party capital for the reinsurance industry and also provides work for law firms and fund managers. Many Bermuda reinsurers have set up their own alternative capital arms. A report commissioned by the Bermuda Business Development Agency, published in July this year, found that the ILS industry created 400 jobs in Bermuda in 2015 and had a total economic impact on the island’s economy of more than $730 million. Gavin Woods, counsel with law firm Appleby, said: “In our experience, interest in ILS is driven by the needs of sponsors and investors and Bermuda has established a legal and regulatory framework that corresponds with such requirements. “However, the ILS market is constantly evolving to meet the challenges of sponsors and investors and time will tell whether London will contribute to the healthy growth of the ILS market. Bermuda had become the pre-eminent ILS jurisdiction and so it was only natural that others would look to replicate its success. London’s interest in the ILS market validates Bermuda’s decision to promote ILS as it continues to attract sponsors and investors as the premier ILS jurisdiction,” Mr Woods said. Asked whether Bermuda would be able to compete effectively with London for ILS business, Mr Woods said: “Bermuda has established an excellent reputation within the ILS market, based on a legal and regulatory framework that satisfies the needs of sponsors and investors, and a financial services industry that is dedicated to the success of ILS. As a result, one should query what advantages does London have that may enable it to compete effectively with Bermuda’s dedicated ILS regime.” Greg Wojciechowski, chairman of ILS Bermuda and CEO of the BSX, said competition was always inevitable in an area in which Bermuda had enjoyed so much success. “Bermuda has earned the right to be referred to as the world’s risk capital and a centre for excellence for the creation, support and listing of US structures. This position is the direct result of our resilience, innovativeness and ability to anticipate and respond to changes in our core markets as they occur and with our clients that we service in mind. Bermuda was one of the first jurisdictions that embraced the creation, support and listing of ILS structures and is now the leading centre of excellence for this business with the greatest global market share of ILS.” Bermuda had been servicing this market niche for nearly a decade and its infrastructure and expertise gave comfort to clients, he added. The island had proved it could consistently deliver speed to market — important, given that many ILS opportunities were time-sensitive. Analysts from Peel Hunt believe London’s late arrival on the ILS scene could result in a continued weakening of reinsurance rates as it encourages more alternative capital to pour into the reinsurance industry. The Artemis.bm website, which specializes in news from the alternative risk transfer market, quoted Peel Hunt analysts as saying: “Alternative capital accounts for about 20 per cent of reinsurance risk exposures in H1 2016 and the increase in alternative capital has been one of the main reasons behind the softening of reinsurance rates. “Hence, it is likely that reinsurance rates, in particular, will remain soft should a liberalization of ILS in the UK attract more capital.” The UK Government will put the proposed ILS regulations before Parliament next spring.

November 25. What is described as the world’s most luxurious cruise ship pulls into port at King’s Wharf in the West End on Monday for an overnight visit. Tourism officials will lead a welcome delegation for a plaque presentation aboard the Seven Seas Explorer, a new, super luxury ship built for Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the brand of the Prestige Cruise Holdings group. Ultimately owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, the ship’s inaugural visit is arriving from Madeira and going on to Miami, where it will begin a schedule of Caribbean cruises. Just 56,000 gross tonnes and 223 metres in length, it was put into service in July, after exiting its Italian shipyard. The local plaque presentation will be held onboard on Tuesday, prior to departure. Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, Michael Fahy noted: “This is one of the last visits for the cruise ship season. There are just two more remaining in the month of December. So we are delighted that we are closing out a highly successful cruise ship year with such a quality visitor. And we look forward to her return to the island for three visits next year in March and October.” The high-end vessel is the new flagship for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and has accommodation for only 750 passengers. Sailing an inaugural Caribbean season of ten and 14-night cruises this winter and spring, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is developing new classes for the Culinary Arts Centre onboard and new Gourmet Explorer Tours at select ports of call. “Already a resounding guest favourite, the Culinary Arts Kitchen provides guests with all the ingredients needed to expand their culinary skills,” said a spokesman. “Positioned on deck 11, with incredible ocean views, the Culinary Arts Kitchen is designed in much the same manner as the most prestigious cooking schools in France. Guests attending classes receive highly personalized instruction and hands-on training at 18 individual cooking stations fully equipped with top-of-the-line induction cook tops, stainless steel sinks and a comprehensive collection of essential cooking utensils.” The cruise company is the only line to offer free unlimited shore excursions in every port-of-call in every destination. “Gourmet Explorer Tours are offered as part of the Regent Choice shore excursion programme, designed for intrepid guests wishing to delve deeper into a region’s culture and history,” she spokesman added.

November 25. Bermuda’s airport redevelopment deal is “unusual”, according to the global body Airports Council International — but the proposal was also described as “creative” and seemingly well vetted. “Our message is not to say that they should or should not do this,” added Angela Gittens, director general of ACI. “Due diligence appears to have been done, and the provisions of the agreement, from what we can see, are the kinds of provisions that we promote.” ACI, a worldwide trade representative for airports, spoke with The Royal Gazette after assessing the business case and value-for-money reports on the project. Based in Montreal, Canada, the non-profit ACI serves 592 members operating 1,853 airports. The reports, issued by the Government a week ago, have been fiercely disputed, with MPs heading into Parliament today to debate two key pieces of airport legislation. The Progressive Labour Party is to call for the Auditor-General to assess the Government’s public-private partnership with Canadian Commercial Corporation before MPs debate the Airport Redevelopment Concession Act and the Bermuda Airport Authority Act. In a measure of the political rancor that has dogged the project for two years, Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, has spent the week at loggerheads with David Burt, the Leader of the Opposition, over whether the reports demonstrate value for money. Public-private partnerships like Bermuda’s are a growing global trend, Ms Gittens said, and airports are “one of the places where governments recognise that they can get outside sources of capital”. The group took special note of the island’s partnership with Canada to develop a lone, comparatively small facility. “This one was very interesting to read,” Ms Gittens said. “I don’t know if we have had this government-to-government structure. It’s creative and resourceful. Having a PPP isn’t unusual, but the structure is. It’s also included provisions that we encourage. The Government sets out its objectives clearly and its criteria for success. Something we see is either buyer’s or seller’s remorse, when various parties draw different conclusions of what success looks like. In this case, that looks like it has been made manifest. Everyone will know what the deal is. It’s almost textbook in terms of what we would advocate.” Ms Gittens also ranked the assessments as realistic in terms of potential pitfalls. “In any transaction there is a risk of things not working out.  It’s important that everyone understands things can go wrong in 30 years. The fact that it is countenanced is very important.” Mr Richards has given job creation as one of the project’s top priorities, which Ms Gittens said was a typical rationale for any government. Governments also find airports attractive for their capacity to be run more in the style of a commercial business than other infrastructural investments, she noted. Stefano Baronci, director of economics for ACI, has examined a value-for-money report commissioned from the transport consultancy Steer Davies Gleave, and said he was satisfied with its analysis. “The report very much provided evidence that the objective that Bermuda has set in advance could be met by selecting this scenario,” he said. “There are two important points that the report highlights which make you understand the level of risk that the investor takes.” Passenger numbers could flag in the future, he said, while the modernization of infrastructure by itself “can’t be a game changer for increasing demand”. Both officials found it unusual that investors would take interest in a small airport that did not belong to a larger network of facilities. “This particular investor is taking great risk,” Ms Gittens said. “Typically, they wouldn’t look at an airport of this size. I think it’s because of this government-to-government feature.” The backing of the Canadian Government, Mr Baronci said, made the proposal “solid — more so than with a purely private investor”. Ms Gittens, who recalled the island from an ACI conference held here in 2010, gave high marks to the argument that L.F. Wade International’s current terminal was susceptible to damage from hurricanes. “What a lot of the documents talk about is what happens if you don’t do anything. It looks like you don’t have that option just from a maintenance point of view with the terminal’s vulnerability to storms. That puts you out of business altogether. This is something that’s expensive to maintain which will be an albatross around your necks until you do something else. That’s an important element. It’s not just a pretty new building to replace something that isn’t pretty.”

November 25. Noting the heightened potential for disease transmission between visitors and locals with increasing visitor arrivals, Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health and Seniors, said: “Preparation is key to managing this threat. And it is important to train well in advance of June 2017.” The endeavour is also supported by stakeholders including the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Bermuda Hotel Association. “The aim is to improve the health and safety of visitors to Bermuda thus making Bermuda’s tourism product more competitive, resilient and sustainable,” Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, said. The programme covers four key elements: building necessary public health capacity, international certification in food and environmental safety, real time information and monitoring of illness occurring among visitors and the corresponding level of alert, and health, safety and environmental sanitation standards. BTA COO Karla Lacey said: “A focus on preventative measures to maintain the health safety of our destination is crucial. We support this initiative and will continue to work with our partners to protect Bermuda’s reputation as a safe destination.”

November 25. Anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing legislation will come into effect next week, putting the spotlight on the supervision of dealers of high value goods. Trevor Moniz, Minister of Legal Affairs, explained to MPs this morning the progress that has been made by the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) in particular, and the National Anti-Money Laundering Committee. “This effort is part of Bermuda’s continuing commitment to enhance Bermuda’s compliance with the requirements set out in the international standards established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF),” said Mr Moniz. The legislative provisions will come into effect on December 1. Dealers in High Value Goods are defined in the legislation to include:

Jewellery dealers;

“The supervisory framework for these sectors will be unique. Businesses will have the opportunity to organise their operations in a way that will obviate the need for them to be registered and be subject to supervision by the FIA,” said Mr Moniz. “This is because the supervisory regime will only be focused on those businesses that wish to be able to accept cash payments totaling $7,500 or more, or the equivalent in any other currency, for a single transaction or series of related transactions.”

November 25. Leaders of Bermuda’s African Methodist Episcopal Church are expecting a decision shortly from immigration authorities on the Reverend Nicholas Tweed’s work permit. Mr Tweed, pastor at St Paul AME Church, vocal critic of the Bermuda Government and a prominent campaigner for workers’ rights, had an application for a renewal of his work permit rejected last month, prompting an outcry from supporters. It is understood the refusal was appealed by the church’s presiding elder, Betty Furbert-Woolridge, and an answer on whether he can stay on the island is likely to come soon. Meanwhile, the presiding bishop of the church will arrive in Bermuda today to conduct weekend Advent services. A source, who asked not to be named, told The Royal Gazette that the Right Reverend Gregory Ingram planned to make personal representations regarding Mr Tweed while here. Mr Tweed’s three-year work permit was due to expire on July 19 this year and an application to renew was made on July 18, according to Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert. The Department of Immigration says applications must be submitted no less than a month before a work permit expires. Mr Furbert brought the matter to public attention on September 5, stating in his Labour Day speech that someone “very dear to us” had his work permit expire in July and had yet to hear if it would be extended. The union leader claimed ministerial interference on the part of home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, an allegation she strongly refuted. In a statement on October 24, St Paul AME Church said the work-permit renewal was rejected by the minister, describing her decision as amounting 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”. The post of pastor at St Paul AME Church was not advertised in this newspaper, but what is not known is whether the church requested a waiver from the Department of Immigration allowing it not to advertise. The church has not responded to questions on that topic, but it has been suggested that the phrase “longstanding custom and practice” was a reference to it previously not having to seek waivers. Ms Gordon-Pamplin said last month that “comprehensive changes” to policy were made in 2014 and that the Department of Immigration operated under the new policy. “This policy requires for a position for a work permit to be advertised, or if a waiver from advertising is sought, the waiver fee is remitted and an application made for the dispensation,” she said. Both the minister and the Ministry of Home Affairs have refused to comment directly on Mr Tweed’s case. A ministry spokeswoman told this newspaper: “The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Immigration will not discuss individual cases or appeals.” Asked if the Board of Immigration was considering an appeal and how the process worked, she added: “The minister and Ministry of Home Affairs speak for the Board of Immigration. Therefore, the board is also not at liberty to respond to any specific queries about individual cases.” The refusal to renew Mr Tweed’s work permit prompted widespread criticism, including from the BIU, the Progressive Labour Party and anti-racism group Curb. Although a guest worker, Mr Tweed has close family links to Bermuda and his biography on the St Paul AME Church website describes it as his “ancestral homeland”. In August 2014, he said: “My father [Kingsley Tweed] was one of the significant figures in desegregating the island and contributing to the expansion of the franchise. So I don’t come to this island as a ‘foreigner’. So it’s a little different.” Kingsley Tweed reportedly left Bermuda in 1961, because of threats to his life. Nicholas Tweed was born in London in 1964 and many of his relatives live here, including his teenage daughter. Mr Tweed is understood to no longer be married to his Bermudian wife, Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, principal of the Berkeley Institute, hence why he requires a work permit. It is believed the pastor had discussions this year with the Department of Immigration about applying for Bermudian status, but the outcome of those talks is not known. It is the duty of an employer to apply for a work-permit renewal in good time, following the same process used to obtain the original permit. If a completed application is not submitted to the Department of Immigration within the required timeframe, the employee must stop working, but in Mr Tweed’s case, he was given permission by Ms Gordon-Pamplin to continue as pastor pending a decision. The source told this newspaper the original application for a work-permit renewal would normally have been submitted by Ms Furbert-Woolridge, as the bishop’s locally based representative. But she was off island and the renewal was handled instead by three officers of St Paul AME. Two of the three church officers who handled Mr Tweed’s application for a renewal of his work permit were civil servants. One was Marc Telemaque, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of National Security. The Royal Gazette previously reported an allegation from a government source that a civil servant and AME Church member had tried to influence the application process by “repeatedly bullying” staff members in the Department of Immigration. But this newspaper has since seen an e-mail from Danette Ming, the Chief Immigration Officer, to Mr Telemaque, in which Dr Ming states: “I can say categorically that the allegations ... are untrue.” Bishop Ingram did not respond to e-mailed requests for comment and Ms Furbert-Woolridge declined to comment.

November 25. Ascendant Group Limited, the parent company of Belco, has repurchased 710,000 of its own shares. The shares were bought at price of $7 each, and 6.6 per cent of Ascendant’s overall listed securities issued as at the date of the trade. In a statement released through the Bermuda Stock Exchange, Ascendant stated it intends to cancel 595,000 of the listed securities repurchased and retain the remainder as treasury shares to be used for general corporate purposes.

November 25. Neville Tyrrell was unveiled yesterday as the Progressive Labour Party candidate for Warwick South Central. The former president of the Bermuda Football Association will face One Bermuda Alliance candidate Robyn Swan at the by-election for Constituency 26, set for December 20. They will compete for the seat left vacant by former PLP leader Marc Bean, who retired from politics this month. At a press conference in Alaska Hall, the PLP’s headquarters in Hamilton, Opposition leader David Burt called Mr Tyrrell “a true community servant” who had lived in Warwick for 40 years. He praised the candidate for his extensive work on government boards, including the Race Relations Council, the Sports Development Council and the CedarBridge Academy board of governors. Mr Tyrrell, who retired from Colonial Pensions Services Ltd in 2014, spoke of his passion for technical education and claimed that as an MP he would also address issues such as care for seniors and infrastructure. He added that his two primary concerns for Bermuda were education and employment. A lot of constituents have children and grandchildren, just like I do, and they’re worried about the future,” he said. A member of the Hamilton Rotary Club, Mr Tyrrell said he based his ethical decisions on three Rotarian principles: “Service above self, is it the truth and is it fair to all concerned? I will therefore speak on the floor of the House with a clear conscience.” In Warwick South Central, he resolved to clean up the “deplorable” condition of Bulkhead Drive and addressed the need for more lighting at night in certain areas. Mr Tyrrell previously ran for the Devonshire East seat in the 2012 General Election against Bob Richards, with the Deputy Premier winning 460-340. Mr Burt said that the PLP was building “a team that possesses a combination of youth and experience” and said that Mr Tyrrell had been the strongest of several applicants for the role. Ewart Brown, the former Premier who held the seat in Constituency 26 before Mr Bean won in the 2010 by-election, said that December 20 offered the PLP a “great opportunity” to further strengthen its position there. “The relationship that I enjoyed there was one of the highlights of my political career,” Dr Brown added. “It is a true cross-section of Bermuda.” Dr Brown said that his own conversations with voters there led him to believe that their concerns mirrored those elsewhere in the island: “Economic opportunity through meaningful employment, upward mobility in the private-sector workplace and a relevant, first-class education for their young people.”

November 25. Craig Hocknull pulled away from the pack yesterday at Port Royal Golf Club to comfortably win the PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada tournament. Hocknull’s three-day total of four-under-par 209 (74-69-66) was five shots better than Brian Hadley who held a slim one-stroke lead heading into the final round. Dave Levesque, the PGA of Canada’s No 1-ranked player, finished alone in third at three-over. “This is just an awesome win,” Hocknull said. “Last year I came close to winning this championship and I wanted to make sure that this year in Bermuda I walked away as the winner.” The 41-year-old’s final round at Port Royal featured an impressive seven birdies and just two bogeys. His five-under-par round was the lowest by any competitor all week. “It really all started to click for me on No 7 when I made a nice two-putt birdie, then I birdied the ninth and really just kept it rolling from there,” Hocknull said. Lindsay Bernakevitch and Gordon Burns rounded out the top five, finishing tied for fourth. In addition to the 54-holes of championship golf, PGA of Canada members were treated to a number of off-course events as well, such as a players’ reception last Sunday at the Fairmont and a skins game shoot-out on the world renowned par-three golf club at Turtle Hill on Monday after the practice round. Hocknull said he thoroughly enjoyed his first Bermuda experience this week. “It’s just been a fantastic week here in Bermuda,” he said. “Everything and everyone has just been first class and I’ve really enjoyed my experience here.” The Inter-Zone Team Championship, which is comprised of four players per zone (and three scores per team counting), was handed out on Wednesday. Team Ontario, featuring Hadley, Burns, Danny King and James Skrypec, captured the title, besting the squad from British Columbia by 18 shots. Port Royal hosted the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 2009-2014, including winners such as Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington, Keegan Bradley and Lucas Glover. Former champions of the PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada include Danny King, Adam Chamberlain, Roger Beale, Norm Jarvis, Gar Hamilton, Bob Panasik, Yvan Beauchemin, Graham Gunn, Ken Tarling and Brian Hutton.

November 25. Ordinary citizens are technically able to apply for personal licences to possess medical cannabis, a Supreme Court ruling has shown. The November 9 hearing before Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman was a breakthrough for Michael Brangman, who has successfully argued that the Minister of National Security has the power to consider an application. “Forms exist for this process, which we have had sight of as a result of this exercise,” lawyer Kamal Worrell told The Royal Gazette. “There are also guidelines to assist those who wish to make a personal application for the importation and use of cannabis, or any other controlled drug, for that matter.” Under the 1972 Misuse of Drugs Act, the minister may issue a licence for the importation of a controlled drug, while Section 12 of the Act covers exceptions for medical purposes, Mr Worrell said. The 2014 Cannabinoid Pharmaceutical Products Act amended the drug legislation to allow the minister to remove drugs from the prohibited schedule on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer. “At the end of the day, the judge agreed that the authority was clearly with the minister,” said Mr Worrell, who also noted that in most jurisdictions, drug laws fell under the purview of the Ministry of Health rather than that of national security. “The minister can decline an application, but we know based on a Pati request that at least one person, in 2014, has been granted a personal licence by the minister in respect of a cannabis-related product. A lot of people have been asking for the medical use of cannabis, particularly cancer patients. The tragedy is that the minister, together with the Attorney-General’s chambers, had taken the view that the law did not permit such a thing. But once a doctor says that they are prescribing it for you, the minister would be hard-pressed not to follow through on the recommendation.” The latest Throne Speech pledged that the Government would look into decriminalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis, which Mr Worrell said could potentially be executed with no changes to the law. “The minister can deem anyone in Bermuda who possessed cannabis up to a certain amount to have a licence,” he said. “He might not even have to revert to Parliament for it.” Shakira Dill-François appeared on behalf of the Minister of National Security.

November 25. Two former Olympic skaters will be the star performers when Bermuda’s first ice skating rink is officially opened in St George’s tomorrow. Now retired, Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn competed for the United States at the Winter Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City. They have been invited by St George’s Skates, the company which has built the synthetic rink in Somers Garden. It will remain open until early January. Cher Przelomski, of local event management company Planning Factory Bermuda, the creators of the event, said the grand opening would feature lots of “family-friendly fun and excitement” as well as an appearance by the two former Olympians who will put on an exhibition at 2pm. “Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Butterfield Bank, we were able to bring down two world-class Olympic skaters to entertain the crowd. This component has added a new dimension to the grand opening of St George Skates and allowed us to take this community event to the next level. Saturday’s event serves as a kick off to the holiday season and will bring residents and tourists a fun winter time activity that’s never been offered before on island.” Tickets for an hour of skating, priced $20, are already on sale at ptix.bm. However, with the purchase of gas from any RUBiS station on the island, people can get an additional $5 discount coupon. Graham Redford, managing director of RUBiS, said he was “extremely happy” to see the event come to life. “We would like to thank Cher Przelomski and Kathryn Massa, of the Planning Factory, for all of their hard work putting this together, as well as Erica Smith, Raymond Lambert and the exceptional team at Bermuda Economic Development Corporation for the support. We would especially like to thank the Mayor and Corporation of St George for sharing the vision necessary to make an event like this happen. I’d like to encourage residents of Bermuda to take full advantage of this opportunity brought to you by RUBiS and Bermuda Gas and come on down to the East End and get your skates on.” Butterfield Bank’s Sean Lee, the executive vice-president and head of retail banking for Cayman and Bermuda, said he was pleased to welcome Ms Scott and Mr Dulebohn to Bermuda to open “this exciting attraction. St George’s is a great place for a family outing during the holidays, and Butterfield has helped celebrate Christmas in St George’s with our support of the Walkabout for years. With the addition of the rink in Somers Garden, there’s even more reason to make the journey to the East End and experience the hospitality of the Old Towne. It’s our hope that seeing Tiffany and Philip perform will inspire Bermudians who’ve never tried ice skating before to give it a go — especially the kids.” The skating rink will be open for the public on scheduled dates until January 2.

November 24. Seadrill Ltd’s earnings beat forecasts as the Bermuda-domiciled offshore rig company controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen continues to cut costs and sees signs of improvement in a challenging market. Third-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization fell to $441 million from $546 million a year ago, beating a $396 million estimate in a Bloomberg poll of 11 analysts, it said. That also beat its own estimate of $380 million. Its net loss narrowed to $657 million, after making a $882 million non-cash impairment for its investments in Seadrill Partners and Seamex. Its shares rose as much as 8 per cent in Oslo and 8.8 per cent in New York yesterday. “The offshore drilling market continues to be challenging, however, we are seeing an improvement in the level of bidding activity,” chief executive officer Per Wullf said in a statement. “2017 is expected to remain challenging. However, we expect the market to gradually improve as costs have been reset across the value chain and more drilling activity will be needed to avoid accelerated production declines.” Seadrill and other offshore rig owners have been battered by a collapse in crude prices over the past two years, which has hurt demand for drilling at the same time as a wave of new rigs inflated supply. The company has suspended dividends, slashed costs, renegotiated contracts and delayed the delivery of new units to weather the downturn, but is also grappling with the industry’s heaviest debt-burden. Seadrill last week pushed out the deadline for the conclusion of a restructuring process to the end of April, compared with early December previously, after extending a credit facility and making progress in talks that involve more than 40 banks in addition to bondholders. It provided no new details on the process in the third-quarter report, where it said net interest bearing debt was at $8.9 billion at the end of the period, down from $9.1 billion three months earlier. Fredriksen, the company’s chairman and main shareholder, is willing to lend the company as much as $1.2 billion as part of a potential deal with banks and bondholders, people familiar with the matter said last month. The “solid” third-quarter results were offset by a reduction of $144 million of the contract value for Seadrill’s West Jupiter rig, which is working for Total SA in Nigeria, Nordea AB said in a note to clients. Seadrill expects Ebitda of about $340 million in the fourth quarter, it said late on Tuesday. Group backlog fell to $7 billion in the third quarter from $8 billion in the previous quarter, and it warned that most of new contracts being awarded were at or near cash-flow break-even levels. “While our long-term view of the market for high specification drilling rigs remains positive, in the near term the offshore drilling sector remains extremely challenging,” the driller said.

November 24. A parliamentary showdown looms for tomorrow as the Opposition aims to table a motion calling for the airport development to be referred to the Public Accounts Committee — and requesting that the Auditor-General conduct an independent review. Progressive Labour Party leader David Burt yesterday continued to attack a value-for-money report from the firm Steer Davies Gleave as being based on an invalid comparison. The request will be made before MPs debate two crucial pieces of legislation for the proposal. Speaking alongside shadow transport minister Lawrence Scott and Michael Scott, the Shadow Attorney-General, Mr Burt maintained that Parliament could not be expected to consider the Acts when there had been no independent review provided. Mr Scott added that the proposal broke a convention of administrations not embarking on “mega capital projects” in the final year of their term. Mr Scott also condemned giving the Bermuda Airport Authority the power to lease publicly owned land. “What exactly is Parliament voting on?” Mr Burt asked, noting that the fine details are still under negotiation “On Friday, we will be voting to give an Airport Authority, who is unelected and appointed by the minister, the permission to enter into a contract of their choosing which we have not been able to see. It is a surprise to me that we’re even doing this, because the Government had said that before anything was done, they would release all these assessment reports. These assessment reports have only been released to the public last week Friday.” Mr Burt reiterated a call made during Monday’s session of the House for the Auditor-General, Heather Jacobs Matthews, to provide her own analysis — which prompted Lynne Woolridge, the chairman of the One Bermuda Alliance, to accuse him of misleading the public. Last night Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, said Mr Burt had been incorrect in asserting that the report’s conclusion compared the $267 million redevelopment to a vastly more expensive older mode. “The two comparators are what I call the expensive band-aid approach that we are doing now and the design-build option,” he said. “The old $514 million Taj Mahal option has nothing to do with it. The Auditor-General’s job is to audit Government accounts, not to study projects that have not taken place yet. This is an attempt to stall the project — that’s all.”

November 24. Developers behind the Caroline Bay luxury hotel resort hope to attract more than 30 super yachts to their state-of-the-art marina for next year’s America’s Cup. Morgan’s Point Ltd has already accelerated the marina phase of the multimillion dollar project so the old Morgan’s Point site can accommodate the predicted influx of maritime traffic. Work on strengthening the foreshore with armour rock imported from Canada is already under way, while the 720ft wave attenuator, which will form the spine of the marina structure, is due to arrive in Bermuda next week on a specially chartered ship. Dennis Correia, marina project manager told The Royal Gazette that the Caroline Bay marina would be the largest in Bermuda and similar to structures found in Dubai. “I am very confident that we will have completed the structural work on the marina by the end of January,” he said. “After that there will be further infrastructure work that will need to be completed too. The bad weather we have had recently has put us back a couple of weeks but we are working hard to make that up. When the marina attenuator arrives from Finland next week we will have all the materials on site that we need for the construction. The plan is to anchor the ship in the Little Sound or to the north of the property and use tugs and barges to bring the structure on to site. We have one expert coming in from Finland to help with the assembly and around 15 to 18 other workers, all Bermudians, who will be responsible for the marina construction project.” Morgan’s Point Ltd obtained the Southampton peninsula in 2008 as part of a land-swap agreement under the condition that the Bermuda Government remediate the site to residential standards. The Caroline Bay project officially broke ground earlier this year in June. The first phase, expected to be completed by the end of 2018, will include 35 branded condominium residences and a five-star, boutique, 79-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel. Jodi Lewis, a spokeswoman for Morgan’s Point Ltd, said that developers believed that the marina would be completely sold out for the America’s Cup next year. “The Caroline Bay marina team had the pleasure of attending the Fort Lauderdale boat show and were very pleased with the positive feedback we received from the numerous vendors, super yacht owners and business professionals.  There have already been several inquiries for berths and we estimate that the marina will be completely sold for the 35th America’s Cup. The Caroline Bay marina is currently taking inquires and although the marina will not be complete until March 2017, we are already making plans to accommodate super yachts of any length.”

November 24. A major sports event which will bring thousands of visitors to the island could be a reality within two years. In the Senate yesterday it was revealed that Bermuda was bidding to host the 2020 International Triathlon Union World Grand Final — an event which Bermuda’s Flora Duffy won in Cozumel, Mexico in September to become world champion. 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. Bidding against two other venues — not yet officially revealed — Bermuda should know its fate before the New Year, with Ms Duffy joining a delegation which will present the island’s bid before the ITU Executive Board next month. Edmonton is known to be one of the other bidders, the Canadian city having been runner-up to Lausanne for the 2019 event. Bermuda Tourism Authority said the impact of all three events would result in significant visitor spending on-island, should Bermuda be chosen. “We are aggressively pursuing this opportunity because it checks a lot of important boxes for the tourism economy,” said BTA CEO Bill Hanbury. “These international triathlon events are outside of the summer months, they bring robust media exposure and this is sports — an area the BTA has made tremendous strides in over the past two years. Winning this bid would catapult us to the next level of sports tourism. These events are a terrific way to follow in the wake of the America’s Cup.” BTA chief product and experiences development officer Pat Phillip-Fairn said: “We’re competing against prominent destinations. Three years ago Bermuda was not in such elite company — we weren’t even in the conversation — but now we’re serious contenders. It just goes to show the distance we have traveled in a relatively short amount of time. Being named a finalist for such a prestigious sports tourism event is an outstanding accomplishment for Bermuda.” The WTS competition is an annual worldwide series of nine to ten triathlons culminating with the Grand Final. Journalists, TV broadcasters, support crew and competition officials would drive visitation numbers significantly higher, noted the BTA. The event is broadcast around the globe, including in the United States where NBC Sports is the broadcast partner. Rotterdam in the Netherlands will host next year’s Grand Final followed by the Gold Coast in Australia in 2018 and Lausanne in Switzerland in 2019. Previous hosts have included Auckland, London and Chicago. Announcing the bid, Senator Michael Fahy, the Tourism Minister, said the races would be broadcast in 160 territories internationally, and that Ms Duffy’s success in the series only helped Bermuda’s case. It would be “all hands on deck”, added Mr Fahy, as Bermuda prepares its bid package. Mr Fahy is taking the lead in the Government’s support of the bid, with assistance from Grant Gibbons, Minister of Economic Development, and Sylvan Richards, Minister of Social Development and Sports. Government departments would play a pivotal role in the event’s logistics including security, traffic control, health and safety, beach and railway trail access, immigration and customs. Ms Duffy, who made a short visit to the island last month and is currently enjoying a vacation, is expected to join up with Bermuda’s delegation next month. Adding weight to the bid could be Bermudian Patty Petty, a long-time ITU technical official. Mr Fahy said: “It certainly doesn’t hurt that Bermuda is the home of Flora Duffy, the ITU World Triathlon Champion and perennial rock star of the sport. She is a wonderful ambassador for telling Bermuda’s story as a perfect destination for athletes and adventure travelers. Because of strong leadership from the Bermuda Triathlon Association, our island has a solid reputation for managing outstanding triathlon events. The proposed courses for the triathlon will highlight Bermuda’s natural beauty on both land and sea.” Mr Richards noted: “Landing these events would be a tribute to Flora, Tyler Butterfield, Tyler Smith and all the impressive Bermudian triathletes making a name for themselves in the sport. Government is proud to be supporting this initiative and our local Bermuda athletes.” Mr Gibbons added: “Bermuda’s winning bid for the America’s Cup, its stellar performance during the America’s Cup World Series, plus its emergence as a premier sports and adventure playground has made us a formidable player in these discussions. As always, Bermuda is punching way above its weight on the global events stage.”

November 24. Five years after Black Friday became a significant shopping event in Bermuda, tomorrow’s annual sales bonanza is shaping up to be the biggest yet. Shoppers and retailers have embraced the US tradition, which is marked by hefty discounts at stores on the Friday that follows Thanksgiving Day. And along with the discounts, many retailers open much earlier than normal to give the most determined bargain hunters the opportunity to get the best deals. Sales during the fourth-quarter “make or break” the year for retailers, and Black Friday is a key date, according to Paula Clarke, who represents the retail sector on the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. Last December, retail sales hit $111 million, a $20 million rise on the month before, before falling by $30 million in January. Black Friday is regarded as the turbocharged day that moves the festive shopping period into gear. “It is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. It has become a real focus in the retail calendar. In years gone by we used to kick off the shopping period with corporate shopping nights and different events, which have evolved into Black Friday,” said Ms Clarke, who is also chief executive officer of Gibbons Company. “Most savvy retailers see the opportunities that Black Friday represents. We want people to spend money in Bermuda. Retailers work hard to make sure money stays in Bermuda.” There are conflicting accounts about the origins of Black Friday, with some reports claiming it developed in the US during the early 1930s. However, according to the A&E Networks-owned History, the post-Thanksgiving Day one-day sales bonanza only became commonly referred to as Black Friday across most of the US as recently as the mid-1980s. The tradition has taken hold, and today more than a hundred million Americans head for the post-holiday sales each year. Black Friday has spread to many countries and, in 2010, a small number of retailers in Bermuda offered Black Friday-styled deals. However, it was not until the following year that the island fully embraced the tradition, with queues of shoppers camping out during the small hours to ensure they were among the first through the doors when the sales began. Tomorrow, Gibbons Company will open its doors at 5am, offering a 40 per cent discount across the store, with a few exclusions, up to 10am. Between 10.01am and 8pm the discount rate will be 30 per cent. Shoppers should prepare for a few extra surprises that will be revealed on the day, such as a number of “up to 75 per cent off” deals. Ms Clarke said: “There will be discounts in all departments. There will be brand new items.” With the island gearing up for the America’s Cup next year, and people preparing to welcome house guests or rent out properties, Gibbons’ Company will offer discounts on items such as towels and sheets. Gorham’s Ltd has stretched its Black Friday offerings across the entire week. It started on Monday, and for the first three days of this week it promoted special offers on a limited range of products. Today and tomorrow are its two major Black Friday sales days, with “big discounts” promised. This is the second consecutive year that Gorham’s has held a “Black Friday week”. Andrew Mackay, general manager, said: “It is the official launch of the festive season. It’s like the starting gun for the Christmas shopping period, and gets people in the mood.” He doubted it was a big money-maker for many retailers, but was more of an opportunity to get customers into the stores to see what is new for Christmas. While Black Friday is viewed by many as the start of the Christmas shopping season, it is the appearance of Christmas trees for sale that heralds the true start of the festive shopping period, according to Mr Mackay. “When the real trees arrive, that’s when people realize that Christmas is only a few weeks away. That’s when people really get going.” Gorham’s expects to take delivery of Christmas trees at the start of next week. The Phoenix Centre, on Reid Street, and its associated shops have in the past been popular with Black Friday shoppers. The Phoenix Centre, P-Tech, Brown and Co and Annex Toys will open tomorrow at 4am, while iClick opens at 7am. The Phoenix Centre will offer big discounts all day. Annex Toys and Brown and Co will have tiered discounts, with the biggest bargains at the start of the day, while P-Tech and iClick will have heavily discounted sales items. Meanwhile, One Communication, formerly Logic and CellOne, will tomorrow give the first 50 customers through the doors of its Washington Mall store a share of gifts valued at $5,000. The store will open at 5am, offering a $125 smartphone monthly plan deal and devices that include the iPhone SE 16GB and Samsung A5 bearing a $0 price tag. Brian Lonergan, head of marketing at One Communications, said: “We are fully committed to offering customers the great deals they’ve been looking forward to on the biggest shopping event of the year.” The company will make its discount offers available at its Southampton and St George outlets during regular business hours. There will, however, be no night-time queues outside Digicel Bermuda’s store on Church Street tonight. The company was one of the businesses that pioneered Black Friday in Bermuda, but this year it has stepped away from the tradition. It said it had responded to customers’ preference to have “the best value every day of the year rather than one-off events”. Earlier this month, Julian Burton, commercial director at Digicel, said: “Our customers have told us they want the best value every day of the year rather than one-off events. The market has moved on since Digicel led the way with Black Friday in Bermuda.” Of those stores that are running Black Friday promotions, many will open earlier than usual tomorrow and offer customers the deepest discounts in the early part of the day. Stores running Black Friday offers include Masters, Exclusive Home, Flatts Menswear, Sears, Hunts, Price Rite, English Sports Shop, Jeans Express, Audio Visual Electronics, Sports R Us, Boutique CC, AF Smith, Orange Bay Company and Lusso.

November 24. Colour Sergeant Keith Whorms, the Premier’s driver, has been remembered by friends and colleagues as a “dear man” with a “big smile and a warm heart”. Colour Sergeant Whorms, who has driven Governors, Deputy Governors and Premiers around the island for more than a decade, died suddenly in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was 53. “He really enjoyed his job,” Michael Dunkley, the Premier, told The Royal Gazette. “He was so professional, just first class all the time, and always had everything under control. “It was an honour and a pleasure to work with him. During our time working together I grew very fond of him; his values were very important to me and he always worked very hard. I was blown away to get the call in the early hours of Wednesday saying he had passed away. I could not sleep afterwards. He was the kind of person that always went above and beyond the call of duty. He was a happy man, he always talked about his children and he loved his family. I will miss him, but I will never forget the type of person he was.” Acting Governor Ginny Ferson and Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley led the tributes to the popular soldier, who had served in the Royal Bermuda Regiment for more than two decades. “If you were having a bad day, Keith was the kind of guy to bring you back up,” Lieutenant-Colonel Curley said. “As a Jamaican he always had a joke or a couple of lyrics that would put a smile on your face. He was a very dependable, robust person. He knew what his job was to a tee and always had the right attitude. He’s a huge loss. Replacing someone like Keith is very, very difficult because of what he stood for and his morals.” Mrs Ferson added: “Keith Whorms was a dear man, much loved by all the staff here at Government House and he will be sorely missed. I have informed The Duchess of Gloucester, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Bermuda Regiment about the sudden loss of Colour Sergeant Whorms and she has asked me to add her condolences to those of myself and my colleagues which we are extending to Keith’s family at this very sad time.” Colour Sergeant Whorms joined the Regiment in the 1990s and quickly worked his way up through the ranks to a full-time position. He played a prominent role in the transport arrangements for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Bermuda in 2009. A spokesman for The Regiment hailed Colour Sergeant Whorms’s professionalism. “It is with deep sadness and regret that we acknowledge the passing of 7726 Colour Sergeant Keith Whorms,” he said. “For over 20 years he served the Regiment and our country, most recently as diplomatic driver to the Premier of Bermuda. He will be missed for his professionalism, his big smile and his warm heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” Former Regiment Commanding Officer Michael Foster-Brown expressed his condolences on the Regiment’s Facebook page. He said: “So sorry to hear the sad news. My condolences, thoughts and prayers with his family, friends, the Warrant Officers and Sergeants’ Mess and the Regiment. He was a good soldier, a funny man and a charmer with more than a twinkle in his eye.” Opposition Leader David Burt also offered his condolences to Colour Sergeant Whorms’ friends and family on behalf of the Progressive Labour Party. He said: “Originally from Jamaica, he served with dedication in the Bermuda Regiment for over 20 years and loved our country. He was deeply admired and respected by his fellow Regiment soldiers and many members of the community whose lives he impacted. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this most difficult time.”

November 24. The chairman of the Bermuda Parent Teacher Student Association has been told he will have to pay the majority of the costs for his legal challenge against reforms and practices implemented by the Ministry of Education. Harry Matthie, who brought the lawsuit on behalf of the Bermuda Parent Teacher Student Association, objected to how teacher transfers were conducted in the public school system as well as the enactment of new Parent Council Rules on the basis that parents were not properly consulted. Mr Matthie also sought to quash the decision by Wayne Scott, the Minister of Education, to appoint the School Re-organization Advisory Committee to recommend which schools should be consolidated or closed on the same grounds. But in June Justice Stephen Hellman dismissed Mr Matthie’s applications for judicial review on the issue of transfers and the establishment of Parent Council Rules. However, Mr Justice Hellman ruled that prior to new legislation introduced in March 2015, the Education Commissioner should have consulted with the PTA of a school before a decision to transfer a teacher or principal was made. He also left the door open for the BPTSA to restore their legal challenge to the appointment of the Score committee after Mr Scott had published his final decision on school re-organisation. Last week, the parties returned to the Supreme Court for Mr Justice Hellman’s ruling on costs. “I find no reason to depart from the principle that costs follow the event,” the Supreme Court Justice said. “Although there are two respondents, they both represent the same department and are both represented by the same counsel, so there is only one set of costs. Mr Matthie will pay the respondents’ costs of the interim hearing and two-thirds of their costs of the substantive hearing. He will pay the respondents’ costs of any directions hearings in full in so far as the hearings related to the interim hearing and on a two-thirds basis insofar as they related to the substantive hearing.”

November 24. Bermudian Clyde Best's exploits at West Ham United in the 1970s continue to inspire football fans, including one youngster who went on to become a major shareholder of London club Queens Park Rangers. Tony Fernandes, who grew up Malaysia before moving to London and is now a successful businessman, is a West Ham supporter who remembers watching Best play, one of the few black players in the English game at the time. As part of a BBC series, Black and British, over 80 high-profile individuals and school groups was asked to nominate the individual who inspired them in the areas of sports, science, law, medicine and arts and entertainment, using the hashtag #blackbritishhero. People were nominated from all walks of life and the aim of the campaign is to celebrate brilliant black Britons who have made a contribution to their society, whether they are eminent professionals, stars of sport and entertainment, local heroes or ground-breaking talent. “My black British hero is Clyde Best from West Ham United,” Fernandes said. “It is common to see black players now in British football. But in the early Seventies, with lots of racial abuse, Clyde Best stood up to all that adversity and paved the way for future generations of black British footballers. He inspired me on how to stand up to adversity. For that reason, Clyde Best, you are my black British hero. You're the man.” Best recently released his autobiography, The Acid Test, when he spoke about the many challenges facing him as a young black player in England in the late Sixties and how he overcame those obstacles to become a top striker in the then First Division. His success inspired many young black footballers to dream of becoming professional players. “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 of his journey. “When I look and see what is happening in English football today, it gives me great satisfaction.” Ian Wright, the former Arsenal striker, named Laurie Cunningham, the former West Bromwich Albion and Real Madrid winger, as his black sporting hero. “I remember him playing against Manchester United when he ripped them to shreds,” Wright said. “Sometimes people mention my name with Laurie Cunningham's which is high praise, but I don't feel I have done enough to get that praise. Just to be mentioned in the same breath is fantastic for me.” Gabby Logan, a BBC presenter and former international gymnast, choose Olympian Daley Thompson as her black sporting hero. He was charismatic, handsome, entertaining and an unbelievable athlete,” she said of Thompson. “I've been a fan of his ever since. Last year I even got to work with him at the World Athletics Championships.”

November 23. The latest revisions to Bermuda’s gaming laws should help to give comfort to US correspondent banks that they can deal with the proceeds of gaming from Bermuda casinos, according to Senator Michael Fahy. The Minister of Tourism welcomed the passing of the Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2016 earlier this week, saying the Bill brought the island a step closer to establishing a regulatory framework for casinos. The Act passed without any objections in the early hours of Tuesday morning, despite some vocal opposition from MPs from both sides in the House of Assembly. “We are very pleased that the Casino Gaming Amendment Act passed without objection,” Mr Fahy said. “The Bill brings us ever closer to creating a regulatory framework that should give comfort to US correspondence banks that they can deal with the proceeds of gaming from Bermuda casinos.” His comments come just days after Alan Dunch, chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, revealed the island’s three banks had told Government they “won’t bank casinos”. Last night HSBC and Bank of Butterfield said they would not comment on the issue, while no response from Clarien had been received by press time. Mr Fahy told The Royal Gazette: “The Gaming Commission has been undertaking due diligence and the issue is that if the correspondent banks will deal with Bermuda gaming proceeds then that should remove the impediments. It is our view and that of the Commission that a strong regulatory regime will make all the difference.” Mr Dunch told this paper he was “cautiously optimistic” that Butterfield and Clarien would be able to come to a business agreement with their correspondent banks in the US. “It’s not a question of banks here not being prepared to bank casinos if they had the choice on their own. The issue is that the correspondent banks that they use in the United States as clearing houses will not allow them to clear the proceeds of gambling in Bermuda, as things currently stand.” Mr Dunch added: “I first became aware of this banking issue in September 2015 when I was asked with [commission executive director] Richard [Schuetz] to attend a meeting of what is known as the Bermuda Banking Association. At that meeting, there were representatives of HSBC and Clarien. HSBC are their own clearing house. They made it clear that they would not get involved in gambling. Clarien and Butterfield [later] both explained to me, in extraordinarily cordial terms, that while they themselves might entertain banking casinos, they could not do so without the blessing of their correspondent banks.” He said he and Mr Schuetz were advised to speak to the correspondent banks and have since met with the Bank of New York Mellon and Wells Fargo, Butterfield’s and Clarien’s correspondent banks, respectively, Both banks explained that before they could consider banking casinos in Bermuda from a business perspective, they would have to be satisfied that the island’s regulatory package would meet the approval of their regulators. “They said ‘go away, develop your regulatory package and bring it back to us’,” Mr Dunch said. The revisions to the 2014 Casino Gaming Act were debated for nearly five hours on Monday evening, with some terms, including time restrictions on when Cabinet members and MPs could become involved in the gaming industry, coming under fire from some quarters. Mr Fahy described the provisions as “quite normal. The provisions relating to restricting members of Cabinet and also restricting members of the Legislature whose responsibilities relate directly to gaming from participating in gaming for two years after leaving office is not unprecedented in other jurisdictions, particularly those where our correspondent banks are domiciled." A clause granting a provisional casino licence to Desarrollos Group, developers of the upcoming St Regis hotel for St George’s, also proved unpopular with the Progressive Labour Party. But Mr Fahy maintained: “This has been done in the national interest. It is important to note that the developer will still be required to pay all relevant fees, satisfy conditions as laid out by the Gaming Commission and pass suitability tests per the Act, just like any other developer who may be granted a provisional licence by the Commission. The developer is doing everything asked of it and we are confident about their commitment to Bermuda and their intent to build a first-class resort which will bring jobs and hope to the people of St George’s and boost our tourism product. The chairman and the CEO and the entire Commission should be thanked for the work they are doing and I look forward to continue to work with them to see our casino gaming industry be a total success We shall be tabling extensive and numerous regulations to support the Bill in the near future including fees and other matters that require Gaming Commission regulation.”

November 23. Sports tourism will be one of the main priorities in 2017 for the Bermuda Tourism Authority following an increase in funding. The BTA has announced that 27 sport and adventure activities have had their applications approved in the annual Tourism Experiences Investment process, which financially backs home-grown ideas. Long-standing events such as Bermuda Marathon Weekend and the Marion Bermuda Race will return as will the Bermuda Fly-fishing Invitational. They will be complemented by a slew of other events which will be supported for the first time, including the Divas Half Marathon, the Bermuda International Match Series and International Women’s Keelboat Regatta. “Bermuda has transitioned from an emerging sports tourism destination to a premier sports tourism destination,” said Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer at the BTA. “Not only do we have these 27 sport and adventure experiences in 2017, but we continue to bolster our reputation as a sports training destination and as the sailing capital of the Atlantic. Although not part of the tourism experiences investment process, Bermuda will also host the 35th America’s Cup, Tall Ships Regatta, Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and other regattas in 2017, supplementing the existing nautical calendar which has grown significantly since December 2014 when Bermuda won the America’s Cup bid,” stated a BTA press release. A minimum of $826,500 is slated for investment in 2017, covering 40 successful applications. In total, 16 of them are new — 14 in sport and adventure and two in arts and culture.

November 23. Tinee Furbert, a 39-year-old mother of two with an extensive background in healthcare, has been unveiled by Opposition leader David Burt as the new Progressive Labour Party appointee to the Senate. With Renee Ming now the Opposition leader in the Upper House and serving with Kim Wilkerson, the PLP has an all-female Senate team, which Ms Furbert called “a happy day for women. We represent males as well. We have sons, brothers and uncles.” It was also occasion for Mr Burt to congratulate Ms Ming on taking the Senate leadership, calling her “a great advocate for the East End” and a proponent of the public education system. Ms Ming has served in the Upper House throughout the PLP’s time in Opposition, while Ms Furbert fills the position left by the resignation of Marc Daniels, former Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, who stepped down on November 5. “Senator Furbert represents the Bermudian spirit at its best; one that treats strangers as friends and believes we all deserve the same chances in life,” Mr Burt said in the formal announcement at Alaska Hall, calling her the completing member of a parliamentary team that had “humbled itself during its time in Opposition. The PLP is now even more dedicated to reforming our education system, diversifying our economy and preventing the further disenfranchisement of neglected segments of our society.” An occupational therapist, Ms Furbert has worked in both the island’s hospitals, and has served on boards such as the National Accessibility Advisory Council, which she chaired. Sister-in-law to PLP MP Wayne Furbert, she has also been closely involved in the party, including serving as deputy chair from 2013 to 2014. She pledged that her role would be “one of action and critical thinking”, saying that some in the community faced “roadblocks” that had to be eased, and voicing “deep concern” over a lack of employment opportunities linked to educational access. In a nod to the parliamentary debate over a living wage, Ms Furbert added: “There are many hard-working people who still can’t make a living based on their salaries.” PLP appointees to the Senate often go on to the House of Assembly, and some have suggested Ms Furbert, who lives in Hamilton Parish, might be under consideration as an Opposition candidate for the nearby St George’s South — a constituency taken by the One Bermuda Alliance in 2012, but which has a history of narrow electoral margins. Asked if she had aspirations to run as an MP, Ms Furbert said she “can’t speak at this time whether I have ambitions in Parliament” — but she acknowledged that the Senate could be “a training ground — and I look forward to the experience”. Ms Furbert has advised the Human Rights Commission, and during questions from the media yesterday she remarked that many do not use the HRC to the best of their ability. Questioned for her stance on same-sex marriage, Ms Furbert said the issue had gone to a referendum, adding: “I stand with the people and their decision.” Educated in rehabilitation services at Springfield College, Massachusetts, Ms Furbert began her career as an occupational therapist at Meridian Manor, a Connecticut nursing home, followed by the acute adult and adolescent psychiatry united at the state’s Manchester Memorial Hospital. In addition to her hospitals work, she was served on the Department of Health’s community rehabilitation unit. Ms Furbert is a clinical consultant and therapist for Medical House Limited, and is the founder of Icando Therapy Services. She has chaired the Bermuda Government Council for Allied Health Profession, belongs to the Bermuda Affordable Standard Health Benefit Committee, and is a founding member of the group Bermuda’s Working Women.

November 23. The Bermuda Police Service have threatened to stop football being played at Police Field if clubs that use the ground persist in allowing gang members to play for them. In a letter sent to the Bermuda Football Association and the island’s clubs after a meeting this month, Martin Weekes, the acting deputy commissioner, promises a “zero tolerance” approach and warns that it is time for clubs and teams to stop allowing gang members to travel to away games. It is understood that Boulevard Community Club and Paget Football Club have already received letters from the police, informing them that several of their players are no longer welcome at Police Field. The letters were sent out before the Friendship Trophy and First Division Shield games that took place on November 14. Boulevard, who made a much publicized attempt to rid the club of gang members several years ago, are believed to have had four players who were deemed unacceptable; Paget, two. “It has been the Bermuda Police Service’s position for some time that the dangers caused to the public and to the footballing community by the practice of teams fielding persons that are identified as being actively involved in gang and criminal activities outweigh any benefits that their skill on the field can bring to Bermuda football,” Mr Weekes wrote. “It is time for teams and clubs, particularly, to recognise the liability issues surrounding the continued practice of travelling to ‘away’ games with gang members on their teams when violence, which could otherwise have been avoided, ensues during or after games.” Incidents of gang violence surrounding football, at Somerset Cricket Club and Southampton Rangers Sports Club in particular, appear to have motivated the police to take a stand, with Mr Weekes writing that getting its own house in order was the police’s first priority. “With a view to setting standards at our own club premises, the Bermuda Police Service wishes to inform you that, going forward, we will operate a ‘zero tolerance’ attitude to persons we have identified as persons involved in gang and criminal activity, utilizing the Police Field,” Mr Weekes wrote in the letter addressed to David Sabir, the BFA general secretary. “Officers will be in attendance at games played at Police Field going forward and will work with club officials to identify these persons and to inform them that they are not welcome to play at the Police Field. I wish to make it clear that the Bermuda Police Service is not targeting any club or team in particular and will apply this policy to all teams and indeed all sports currently played at Police Field.” Mr Weekes finished by informing Mr Sabir and the clubs that spectator behavior, primarily the smoking of cannabis at games, will also be clamped down upon, with police officers at matches to ensure the policy is enforced. A failure by clubs to support the police in this will result in police rescinding “our permission for the BFA to schedule fixtures at Police Field”. The BFA responded by releasing a statement: “The BFA supports any efforts to protect the game and the match-day environment. We look forward to ongoing dialogue with the Bermuda Police Service as it pertains to football, in particular, assistance with our Bermuda Antisocial Behavior Policy. We acknowledge that our clubs will need assistance in dealing with the antisocial behavior, which manifest itself throughout various parts of Bermudian society.” The police stance puts the onus on the BFA, which in the past has insisted that football does not have a gang problem. Larry Mussenden, the former BFA president, reiterated this after Rickai Swan was shot dead last year by Shantoine Burrows in gang violence at Southampton Oval. “We refute the suggestion that there is a significant or any gang problem in football,” Mr Mussenden, who is now the Director of Public Prosecutions, said in an interview with The Royal Gazette in October 2015. In that interview, Mr Mussenden pointed to the tough stance the BFA took on antisocial behavior, with players forced to submit to vetting by police, while clubs are mandated to “vet their players and remove any who have breached the policy by any conduct whatsoever in the wider community and courts”. Mr Mussenden went on to say that the BFA would not hesitate to “ban anyone from playing football. Together, we will never let the criminal actions of a few miscreants spoil the beautiful game”.

November 23. A doll-maker whose Gombey creation won a hat-trick of awards at an international convention has attributed her victory to a deep reverence for the Bermudian art form. Penny Sampson entered her Gombey into last month’s event, held by the Doll Artisan Guild (DAG) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where it picked up Best in Category (Dances of the World), the Arti Award for Best Theme Doll and the People’s Choice prize. “I poured my heart into that doll because I love the Gombeys so much and I wanted to honour them,” the Warwick resident said. “They’re unique and wonderful, and I think every Bermudian has to be proud of them.” Mrs Sampson began making her 20-inch-tall doll in July and finished it in early October, after receiving advice on outfit design from local Gombey Dancers Roddy and Tyrone Nesbitt. “A competition doll takes about 200 to 300 hours to make,” she said, adding that her Gombeys porcelain head and decorative cloak took two weeks apiece to finish. “The head took about nine firings in the kiln, and I made all of the cloak’s fringing by hand with a crochet hook,” said the retired primary schoolteacher, who still substitutes at Warwick Academy. Mrs Sampson moved to Bermuda from England in 1975 and married Bermudian Tyrone Sampson the following year. In 1998, their son Ewan died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 17. To help her deal with the grief, Mrs Sampson decided to build a dollhouse, having collected dolls since childhood. “It took my mind off it,” she said. “And I was buying all these miniature dolls, which were terribly expensive. I thought, ‘This is daft, I’m sure I could make these’.” After looking online, Mrs Sampson discovered the DAG and became an active member of the international organisation — travelling everywhere from Japan to South Africa, and making many new friends. “It’s a really enriching hobby. It’s a passion really,” she said. Mrs Sampson has made around 70 dolls overall, to add to the 100 antique dolls she owns. “My husband’s only rule is the dolls can’t intrude on his study, but I’m afraid they intrude on every other room in the house,” she said. Although she has won prizes in previous DAG conventions, Mrs Sampson said that her victory last month was special given the cultural significance of her doll. “It meant so much to me to do well, because I revere the Gombeys and didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t expect to win, because some of the dolls were just beautiful, so to be recognized by my peers and the instructors was wonderful.” 

November 23. Boat builders from Oracle Team USA have repaired 15 Optimist dinghies that were severely damaged by the hurricanes in 2014. And tomorrow, the America’s Cup team will be giving them back to Sandys Boat Club. Oracle team manager Mark Turner said his team had spent the past few months, in between their busy work schedules, getting the Optimists up and running. The boats have received a full overhaul and are in “better than new” condition. The return of the boats will allow the club to put its sailing programme “back on its feet”. It marks the second donation of 15 Optimist dinghies in Bermuda by the USA team.

November 23. Two Customs officers have been placed on administrative leave by HM Customs after each was arrested last week in connection with separate proactive police investigations. Both individuals have been released on police bail pending further inquiries, according to a press release from the Bermuda Police Service. Senator Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, said he was aware of the matter and had been “fully briefed by both the Bermuda Police Service and the Collector of Customs. As the matter is under active investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

November 23. Retailers took 5.7 per cent more at the till in September than they did in the same month a year earlier, according to government statistics. The gains were led by motor vehicle sellers and building supplies stores, whose sales rose by double-digit percentages. Retail sales volume — which is the adjusted-for-inflation figure — was up 4.7 per cent year over year, according to the Retail Sales Index produced by the Department of Statistics, and has risen every month this year except May. Motor vehicle sales surged 27.3 per cent as the number of vehicle sold grew by 27.8 per cent, reflecting increased inventory. Receipts from the sale of building materials increased 12.7 per cent year-over-year. The rise in sales was linked to greater demand for increased inventory that supported ongoing projects. Service stations got a boost from the nearby passage of Hurricane Karl, which prompted many locals to stock up on fuel and inspired a 3.6 per cent gain in fuel sales. Sales receipts for the all other store types sector rose 1.8 per cent year-over-year. Gross receipts for marine and boat suppliers increased 135.9 per cent due to higher sales of big-ticket items. Pharmacies reported a 5.9 per cent gain in gross receipts. Receipts for the sale of furniture, appliances and electronics decreased 8.1 per cent. Other miscellaneous sales fell 21 per cent. Apparel stores bucked the trend with a 2.2 per cent fall in sales. Residents declared $4.6 million in overseas purchases during September, unchanged from a year before.

November 22. Reports issued last week by the Bermuda Government to support the proposed airport development were “recently done, but our analysis was done up front”, according to Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance. The project was announced on November 10, 2014, but Mr Richards said he had been “acutely aware” during his years in Opposition of the financial constraints, and called upon his years in financial services industry when he first decided the deal was “worth pursuing”. As MPs prepare to debate legislation for the project this Friday, Mr Richards expressed confidence that the bills would be approved in Parliament. “We are ready for any battle,” the Minister said when asked if he anticipated a rough day in the Lower House. The Government last week issued a business case for the project, along with a value-for-money assessment from the independent transport consultancy firm Steer Davies Gleave. The analysis concludes that the Government is “taking the best course of action, under our current circumstances”, Mr Richards maintained, stressing that the reports “show that the analysis was done”. Speaking two years after the first agreement was signed with Canadian Commercial Corporation, the Minister added: “I never thought it would take this long. I guess I’m naturally optimistic.” While ground has technically already been broken in connection with the project — with the rerouting of a jet fuel pipeline at L.F. Wade International Airport — the rest of the job is “a little behind schedule”, he said. Aecon, CCC’s chosen contractor, still have to raise their own financing, which cannot commence until legislation is passed, and the project goes to financial close. Asked if the project would have enjoyed more support from the Bermudian public if it had been put out to tender, Mr Richards replied that “we would have wasted another ‘X’ years” if the Government had followed a traditional approach. “I would like to point out that there has never been an off-balance sheet tendering process that has been successful for an airport of this size,” he said. “Never. They have tried it in a few other islands, and it has not worked. Some folks have this notion that the tendering process is magical. It isn’t. All you have to do is look around Bermuda and see what it’s cost us in overruns ... it goes back to the United Bermuda Party days. You had major projects run amok.” While the building of the hospital’s acute care wing represents the undertaking of a major prior public-private partnership, the Minister said that even that deal had not been wholly off the Government’s balance sheets. Mr Richards insisted that “if you look at the risk and reward, we have got the best deal here”, and said that the public would “rightfully kick my backside to the kerb” if the project had incurred more debt. He also said that there was “a commonly held misconception” that 30 years of revenue would be leaving the island for Canada. “There is revenue being transferred to the entity we call Project Co for now. The notion that it does to Canada is totally false. That money is going to go to operate the airport and pay salaries. It’s going to go to maintain the airport, to pay the interests on debt, to pay back the capital on debt.” Once Aecon recoups “about $63 million in dividends”, the revenue generated by the airport will be split “50-50 with the Government of Bermuda”, Mr Richards said. Acknowledging the presence of a smattering of protesters today outside Parliament, Mr Richards said he had nothing against such groups. “I met with them before at Devonshire Rec. It was not pleasant.” However, the Minister said: “That’s the nature of democracy.”

November 22. Top officials from Bermuda Monetary Authority hosted the leading US insurance regulators’ organisation on the island. It was the first bilateral meeting between the BMA and National Association of Insurance Regulators since the two organisations signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in August 2015 in Chicago. Insurance is regulated in the US at a state level and the NAIC is the American standard-setting and regulatory support organisation created and governed by the country’s chief insurance regulators from the 50 US states, the District of Columbia and five US territories. The US is the largest insurance market in the world and the biggest source of business to the island’s insurance and reinsurance industry. Since the start of 2015, Bermuda has enjoyed full Qualified Jurisdiction status from the NAIC, allowing island firms to reinsure US risks on a non-discriminatory basis. Jeremy Cox, chief executive officer of the BMA, said: “Maintaining open and frank dialogues between national regulators is a vital component of supervision today. We look forward to meeting the NAIC again here soon in what we hope will be a biennial visit.” Ted Nickel, NAIC president-elect and Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner, said: “The relationship between Bermuda and US insurance regulators is critical. Our semi-annual dialogues help reinforce areas where we are working together, which is important given the role Bermuda’s reinsurers play in protecting US policyholders. In recognition of the strength of Bermuda’s regulatory framework, Bermuda was one of the first countries to be deemed an NAIC Qualified Jurisdiction, resulting in reduced collateral requirements for insurers selling policies in the US.” In a statement, the BMA said “regulatory developments of mutual importance to both the US and Bermuda were discussed”. These developments included Bermuda’s Solvency II equivalence work and ongoing efforts; alternative risk transfer mechanisms; approaches to mortgage insurance and reinsurance; group capital calculations; principles-based reserving and cyber security. Important work being conducted at key international standard-setting bodies, such as the International Association of Insurance Supervisors’ Supervisory Forum, and the development of International Capital Standards, was also discussed. Also in attendance were: Julie Mix McPeak, NAIC vice-president and commissioner, Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance; Rashmi Sutton, international relations analyst, NAIC; Craig Swan, managing director, supervision; Shauna MacKenzie, director, policy, legal and enforcement; Yvette Pierre, assistant director, policy; and Natalie Stevenson, assistant director, international affairs.

November 22. Nick Christopher, from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, has described the “horrific and surreal” backlash the cast have suffered since incurring the wrath of Donald Trump. The Bermudian actor has endured racist abuse on Twitter following the incident on Friday, in which a post-show message was read out to Vice President-elect and audience member Mike Pence, while other performers have received death threats. President-elect Trump has fronted the furious charge against the historical musical, which has won 11 Tony Awards, a Grammy and a Pulitzer, posting multiple Twitter tirades and demanding an apology. “I’m still processing it, to be honest. It doesn’t seem real,” said Mr Christopher, who officially began playing George Washington last Tuesday after covering the role in the summer. “Social media has blown it up. It’s sad and it’s scary, I don’t understand how a message of love could be so disturbing to people.” The saga began on Friday afternoon when lead producer Jeffrey Seller discovered that Mr Pence was due to attend that night’s show at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Since being named as Mr Trump’s running mate, the conservative politician has drawn criticism for repeatedly opposing legislation intended to protect the LGBT community in the United States. Mr Seller penned a statement to Mr Pence along with the musical’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail, with input from the actors. During the curtain call, actor Brandon Victor Dixon read the message aloud: “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” The incident quickly became a global news story, as well as a lightning rod for debate, with many media outlets mentioning that the audience had booed Mr Pence. However, Mr Christopher, who was stood onstage behind Mr Dixon, said that the crowd’s reaction was actually mixed — with half of the room cheering the Vice President-elect as the other half voiced their displeasure. He added that when the statement began, Mr Pence’s supporters then began booing the cast. “But once we actually got through the message, everybody was clapping. It was a beautiful communal moment and there was a great feeling in the room. People try to take things out of context, and they’re going to feel whatever they want to feel. It has nothing to do with the actual moment itself.” Mr Pence has since played down the incident and praised the “incredible production. I nudged my children and reminded them that’s what freedom sounds like,” he told Fox News. But at the end I did hear what was said from the stage. I can tell you I wasn’t offended by what was said — I’ll leave it to others as to whether it was the appropriate venue to say it.” Mr Trump, however, has struck a far less conciliatory note. He tweeted on Saturday morning: “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen! The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” On Sunday, he added: “The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior.” With tensions inflamed, security has been beefed up at the Broadway show, while a Saturday night performance in Chicago was interrupted when an audience member started shouting profanities at the stage. “What we’re going through with the backlash is kind of horrific,” Mr Christopher said. “For the past few years in America, we thought we had a clean floor. Now we’re lifting up the rug and seeing what was swept underneath.” However, the Queens resident added that he was consoled by the increase in dialogue among the American populace since Mr Trump won the election on November 8. “I’m very happy that people are talking to each other,” he said. “There’s anger on both sides, but the only way to move through it is by getting things out in the open and continuing a healthy conversation.”

November 22. Revisions to Bermuda’s gaming laws were passed by MPs in the House of Assembly last night, paving the way for casinos in Bermuda. The Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2016 was passed after a fiery debate lasting more than four hours, while Casino Gaming Designation Site Orders for the St Regis Hotel in St George’s and the Hamilton Princess were also approved. The Act faced harsh criticism in Parliament from the One Bermuda Alliance’s own ranks as well as Opposition MPs. A two-year exclusion for any public officer involved in gaming from business in the new industry was denounced as a superfluous restraint of trade, with MPs calling it unnecessary given the anti-bribery legislation already in place. Economic development minister Grant Gibbons launched the debate, in which the 2014 gaming act was “streamlined” with provisions to address issues such as problem gaming. But a clause granting a provisional casino licence to Desarrollos Group, developers of the upcoming St Regis hotel for St George’s, proved unpopular. Such licences did not permit gaming, Dr Gibbons said — but merely confirmed an applicant as eligible for a full licence, enough to start construction. E-gaming, a category separate from internet gaming, would be open to guests in specific areas via their mobile devices — and the Casino Gaming Amendment Act 2016 would also allow betting. Opposition deputy leader Walter Roban opened the Progressive Labour Party’s response, calling it “a cleanup Bill for the first Bill” and criticizing the Government for the expensive “ministerial misadventure” in Singapore to create the 2014 Act. Mr Roban also queried whether Cabinet had circumvented the gaming commission in the exception for the East End developer. PLP MP Wayne Furbert echoed both points, asking the House why the Morgan’s Point developers were left off. Shawn Crockwell, the former tourism minister and now independent MP, chastised the lack of “real leadership” in the gaming delay. Noting that the America’s Cup would miss out, Mr Crockwell asked repeatedly why it had taken so long. Both Mr Crockwell and OBA backbencher Mark Pettingill excoriated clause 187, which carried the two-year business ban. Mr Crockwell questioned its timing, telling the House he had never seen it among amendments that came across his desk during his time as minister. Describing himself as “the only lawyer in this country who is a member of the international association of gaming advisers”, Mr Pettingill called the restriction “jaw-dropping. Tomorrow, former minister Crockwell has to call our clients and say ‘we can’t work for you any more’,” Mr Pettingill told the House. Both disaffected MPs added that the Bill would require their reluctant support if gaming was to go ahead. Another consistent complaint from MPs was that Desarrollos had been given special treatment simply to keep the St George’s resort deal alive. Opposition leader David Burt questioned “what research has Government done to make sure this person is fit to get a gaming licence? What work has been done to make sure that this decision will not come back to bite us? This is about keeping Desarrollos at the table. We have to think very, very carefully about what granting a provisional licence to Desarrollos means. This Bill is certainly needed and we want the gaming industry to get off the ground, but it is certainly clear this is a troubling development and it should concern all parties. If we set this precedent today, every developer is going to ask for the same thing — and they would be well within their rights to demand it.”

November 22. Legislative changes to the original Act that paves the way for a luxury St Regis hotel resort in St George’s were passed by MPs last night. The St George’s Resort Amendment Act 2016 made a handful of alterations to the original St George’s Resort Act 2015, which was tabled in July of last year and then passed a month later. Kenneth Bascome, the Junior Minister for Tourism, told the House of Assembly yesterday that the amendments would allow the developers Desarrollos to “stay on course” to break ground in early 2017. Mr Bascome confirmed that financing for the multimillion dollar project was in place and that the hotel would be built first before the condominium phase. “We hope that the planning process will be completed at the end of December and soon after that the project will be started,” he said. The amendment legislation makes a slight adjustment to the size of one of the development lots, to correct a mistake in the original Act. The Act provides the Development Applications Board with a discretion to determine whether further Environmental Impact Assessments or Traffic Impact Assessments needs to be completed during the project. It also allows the Bermuda Government to make small changes to terms of the lease without coming back to the House of Assembly for approval. During and at times heated debate, Progressive Labour Party MPs raised “serious concerns” that EIA and TIAs would be just discretionary rather than mandatory as the project moved forward. They also expressed shock that Government was being given the power to change terms within the 262-year development lease. Derrick Burgess said: “No Cabinet can vary or modify a lease; changes should be brought back to this Parliament.” Zane DeSilva added: “We have an issue with the Minister being able to change a lease, that should only be changed in this House.” However, Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, responded saying that Government was not being given the power to change the term of the lease. He added: “We are talking about minor changes to a lease, which may come as a result of technical issues in the next few years.” Dr Gibbons told MPs that the amendments would facilitate the development and reminded the House that an extensive EIA had already been conducted on the property. Noting that a Historical Impact Assessment was also being done he said: “There is a great deal of sensitivity already in the current 2015 Act, such as Section 7, that protects the World Heritage Site. If there are minor changes it will be up to the DAB if there needs to be another EIA.”

November 22. National security minister Jeff Baron has vowed to clamp down on antisocial and criminal behavior in licensed premises. Senator Baron spoke to The Royal Gazette about the intended changes to the Liquor Licensing Act after they were outlined in this month’s Throne Speech. The Government manifesto said that drinking establishments “often serve as magnets” for unsavory and illegal activity, and promised to “enhance the powers of a senior police officer to temporarily suspend a liquor licence when warranted”. Mr Baron called the latter statement “absolutely critical”, as it would provide a financial incentive for bar owners to confront the problems inside their venues. “I don’t think it’s a surprise to people that there are licensed premises which not only enable criminal behavior, but openly facilitate it. And that has to stop. Known gang members are fighting and committing crime in these establishments. I have a huge issue with that and it will not happen.” Mr Baron said that the decision had been taken after deliberation with senior magistrate Juan Wolffe, the Bermuda Police Service and the Attorney-General Trevor Moniz. He added that in the past month alone, he had visited more than a dozen licensed premises to encourage their owners’ participation and collaboration. “The onus is on owners to make the necessary changes, or police may feel it necessary to close their bar down for a week. If this continues to happen over and over again, I don’t think they could sustain their business.” Mr Baron insisted that the legislation was not “taking square aim” at the service industry, but rather prioritizing the safety and peacefulness of Bermuda’s wider community. “Anyone in a criminal network who proliferates fear and crime, their lives should be made uncomfortable until they start making better choices,” he added.

November 22. Blue Capital Global Reinsurance Fund Limited recorded a $6.8 million loss in October, primarily related to Hurricane Matthew. Ordinary shares of the company had an unaudited net asset value of $1.1216 at the end of October, which was 0.2 per cent down for the month. The year-to-date performance, as of October 31, is reported as 6.2 per cent. Regarding the October losses, led by Matthew, the company said in a statement: “The investment manager continues its normal post-event procedures to estimate any loss to the company, and continues to monitor these events for any further impact to the company.” Matthew, which at its peak was a Category 5 hurricane, affected parts of Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic and the southeastern US last month.

November 22. Bermuda has the potential to be a leading light in the development and implementation of blockchain technology. A high-profile company researching and developing blockchain, R3, visited Bermuda and gave a demonstration of the potential benefits distributed ledger technology can bring. The demonstration was attended by brokers, insurers, reinsurers and financial services organisations. Tim Grant, chief executive officer of R3 Lab and Research Centre, and consultant Todd Bault, were speakers at the ILS Bermuda Convergence conference earlier this month. On the second day of the conference, a small team from R3 gave a real-time demonstration of how blockchain technology can potentially be used by companies in Bermuda. “We had brokers, underwriters, Bank of New York Mellon, who are a big trustee, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, people from underwriting to operations on the reinsurance side, and guys from the advisory companies,” said Stafford Lowe, head of human capital management at R3. “We wanted to take an industry loss warranty on a real ledger. So we had a broker screen, an underwriter screen, and a trustee’s screen. We followed it through the process and saw the numbers change on everyone’s screen. This was a representation of three people’s very separate views on things. But the most important thing was that whenever an action was performed you saw something get written to the ledger. That really resonated with people. It was a real example. It was designed to be a starting point. This was something we knocked together in two weeks; imagine if we built this thing together, and where we could get very quickly.” For Bermuda, there is an opportunity to embrace the technology and take a leading role in its development and implementation. Mr Lowe, who is married to a Bermudian and lives on the island, said: “Bermuda should be looking at this as a balance between a threat and an opportunity. We have an amazing opportunity to get ahead of our competing jurisdictions.” Blockchain is an online distributed ledger. It is best known for supporting bitcoin, the digital currency. However, the architecture of distributed ledger technology means it has the potential to be applied across many aspects of the financial services industry. Mr Lowe said R3’s goal at the conference was to demystify blockchain and crystallize what the company does and how the technology can be applied. Blockchain eradicates the need for double-entry bookkeeping, speeding up processes and potentially saving billions of dollars across industries. “A transaction is agreed between two parties. The details of that transaction are stored on a immutable, unchanging, tamper-proof single ledger that both parties can go back and refer to,” said Mr Lowe. “There is just one agreed truth, and it is stored forever. You are creating a new database for the industry. From a regulatory and audit perspective you have this time-stamped record that will never change.” He said R3 was created to become a “centre of gravity” for distributed technology expertise “and a facilitator to the financial services industry in coming together to figure out how they are going to re-engineer their businesses”. A group of ten Wall Street banks that spent millions of dollars researching blockchain technology, aware that it had the potential to eliminate a huge amount of costly, day-to-day processes, realized it made more sense if they pooled their resources and collaborated. However, they needed an “honest broker” to help project-manage the research and experiments. New York-headquartered R3 has filled that role, and the membership of the alliance has grown from the initial ten banks to 70 of the world’s biggest financial institutions. Although yesterday, two of the original members of the R3 group, Goldman Sachs and Banco Santander dropped out. The two banks are involved in other bitcoin and blockchain initiatives. R3 has a team that now numbers up to 90 people, spread across ten countries. As possibilities for the technology increase, that number could easily double within the coming year, said Mr Lowe. “The exciting thing in the journey of R3 is the banks came to us and said it’s a peer-to-peer paradigm; it’s not just about banks trading with banks, it’s the entire financial services ecosystem. It’s asset managers, insurers, reinsurers, clearinghouses, exchanges, technology vendors, and treasury businesses of large Fortune 500 companies. When I heard the news that we were extending beyond the banking industry, I immediately put up my hand and said you have to come to Bermuda.” He said the collaborative model fits perfectly with Bermuda’s tradition of working together and innovating, and its “very sophisticated financial services ecosystem. We have 20 or 30 of the most globally significant insurance and reinsurance companies here all within half a mile of each other. We have a highly accessible and pragmatic regulator in the BMA, which is very interested in fintech innovation. While it is true there are not hundreds of technologists on the island, there are some. We have the end-users of the technology, the people who will be interacting with this new technology. They are the ones who have the opinion on how to build this.” Also attending the ILS Bermuda event was David Rutter, CEO of R3. Mr Lowe said the presence of three key figures from the company was significant. “They see what I see, which is a huge opportunity here that is good for R3 and Bermuda. I want companies like R3 to come to Bermuda and work on their innovation and test out their ideas in our ecosystem.” Mr Lowe said it was difficult to predict when there will be an “enterprise grade solution” using the distributed ledger technology, although some specific areas of technology may go into production in the next few years. If a group of companies on the island came together to work on a distributed ledger initiative that would benefit them all, then there would be a strong case for R3 to set up a local office. Mr Lowe believes R3 would do well in Bermuda. “There are a handful of reinsurance companies here who are genuinely interested in what we are doing. We hope they join R3, and see this as an opportunity to gather the Bermuda market together as a global statement of intent to remain at the leading edge of the industry. New technologies like this are going to be built collaboratively, and Bermuda has always been a wonderful place for collaboration.”

November 21. The group of experts who advise the Bermuda Government on tackling its debt crisis believes the island is on the right track. The three-man Fiscal Responsibility Panel was appointed in 2015 to assess the Government’s efforts to balance the budget. David Peretz, chairman of the FRP, told The Royal Gazette: “We are quite pleased with the direction of policy set out in this year’s budget.” The independent advisers did not want to make any further public comment ahead of the release of their second report on Bermuda’s public finances, scheduled to be tabled in the House of Assembly in December. Mr Peretz worked in a top post in the UK Treasury and as UK executive director of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. His two colleagues in the FRP are Jonathan Portes a former chief economist to No 10 Downing Street and Peter Heller who held senior management roles in a near 30-year career at the IMF. Among the groups the trio met with last week were the Ministry of Finance, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Health, the Pension Commission, trade unions and the Bermuda Tourism Authority. The Bermuda Government is saddled with net debt expected to reach nearly $2.4 billion by the end of the fiscal year in March 2017. It has cut costs and increased taxes and aims to eliminate the annual budget deficit — which is estimated at $199 million this year — by 2018-19. Last December, the FRP’s first assessment recommended that the government should get “more aggressive” about tackling the deficit and pursue broad-based tax increases with the aim of increasing revenues to 19 per cent of GDP from the 16 per cent. This entailed lifting revenue by about $170 million over three years. They recommended scrapping the cap on payroll taxes that allows high earners to be taxed only on their first $750,000 of income, as well as increases in land tax and the introduction of a tax on services. The panel also highlighted Bermuda’s “serious demographic challenge” of an ageing population, which required action including adjusting the terms of public pension and health insurance plans and raising the retirement age. The panel suggested that more immigration of working-age people — and less emigration of young Bermudians — was needed to help the island to deal with the growing strain on public finances resulting from the larger population of retired people. Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, announced plans in last year’s budget to bring in a 5 per cent tax on some services and projected a 22.5 per cent increase in government revenues over three years. This marked a stark change in approach from the budget a year earlier, with more emphasis on raising extra revenue and less on cutting costs, as recommended by the FRP. In the Speech from the Throne earlier this month, the Government spelled out plans to introduce a more progressive payroll tax regime, which will transfer some of the burden from low earners to higher earners.

November 21. US President-Elect Donald Trump has repeated his assertion that the cast of hit Broadway musical Hamilton, which stars Bermudian Nick Christopher, should apologize to Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Mr Pence watched a performance of the critical and commercial smash on Friday night. After the show, the cast publicly addressed him with a statement urging the new administration to protect all Americans. Mr Christopher was standing onstage when actor Brandon Victor Dixon acknowledged that Mr Pence was in the audience, and addressed him: “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday morning: “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen! The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” Mr Dixon tweeted in response: “@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.” Lead producer Jeffrey Seller has said that Mr Dixon’s statement was co-written by himself, the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail, with input from cast members. Mr Seller was quoted in The New York Times: “We had to ask ourselves, how do we cope with this? Our cast could barely go on stage the day after the election. The election was painful and crushing to all of us here. We all struggled with what was the appropriate and respectful and proper response. We are honored that Mr Pence attended the show, and we had to use this opportunity to express our feelings.” Hamilton has won particular praise for its provocative portrayal of America as a nation of immigrants — particularly with its casting of Hispanic or black actors in the roles of Hamilton, Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers. Yesterday, Mr Pence responded to the controversy by saying that he had not been offended by the incident. He told Fox News: “I did hear what was said from the stage. I can tell you I wasn’t offended by what was said. I will leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it.” However, Mr Trump remained incensed by the matter, tweeting yesterday: “The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior.” Last week, Mr Christopher hit the headlines when he officially took over the role of George Washington in the award-winning musical about US founding father Alexander Hamilton.

November 21. Bermuda’s relationship with Britain will be “stronger than ever” after Brexit, Michael Dunkley has assured the House of Assembly. The Premier, who attended the Joint Ministerial Council meetings in London earlier this month, said that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union would not change its relationship with the Overseas Territories. He added that Government was working to ensure that Bermudians would retain free movement throughout the Schengen area. Mr Dunkley said that although Bermuda’s people did not get to vote on Brexit, “we respect the decision of the UK people”. Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown expressed his concern over the prospective impacts on Bermuda. “The UK doesn’t have a very good track record of listening to the Overseas Territories,” he said. The Premier responded by saying that the JMC meetings were “the most consultative we’ve ever had” and that Government would ensure that its voice would be heard as discussions continue. He added said that potentially tighter offshore tax rules imposed by Brussels “does not concern Bermuda. We have consistently had direct engagement in Brussels and EU nations on a bilateral basis. In some cases there has been assistance from the UK Government, but for the most part Bermuda has defended its own battles and developed a unique skill in highlighting our valued economic contribution to the global economy.”

November 21. Bermuda’s anti-corruption laws must be updated and simplified, Trevor Moniz told the House of Assembly today as he detailed a proposed new Bill. The Attorney-General said that the Bribery Act 2016 would “address significant gaps in legislation”, some of which dates back to the 19th century, and help to enhance the island’s international reputation. He added that other small jurisdictions such as Gibraltar and the Isle of Man had already introduced laws to fight corruption into the modern age. Among the offences covered in the Bill are bribery of foreign public officials and the failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery. Public officials will also be mandated to report any offer of a bribe, or face penalties for failing to comply with that duty. The legislation will only apply to future offences, and cannot be implemented retroactively. Progressive Labour Party MP Michael Scott, the Shadow Attorney-General, welcomed the Act — calling it “an important first step”. However, he added that the legislation should have been more Bermuda-centric rather than simply replicating the laws of the United Kingdom, which made widespread changes in 2011. PLP MP Walton Brown, the Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, also applauded the Act. “We need to ensure our reputation is strong, robust and protected,” he said. But Mr Brown questioned Mr Moniz’s comment that more consultation would take place if the Bill passed, suggesting that discussions should have been completed before it was brought to Parliament.

November 21. The Bermuda Bar Association has accused Attorney-General Trevor Moniz of turning a blind eye to its repeated calls to allow conditional fee agreements in Bermuda. Richard Horseman said the Bermuda Government’s stance on the legal arrangements, which mean lawyers only get paid if their clients win, was depriving people of their right to justice. The Bar Association’s president dismissed the idea that fee agreements were designed to line the pockets of lawyers or increase levels of litigation. He said that they would improve access to justice by making legal services available to people who would not otherwise be able to afford a lawyer’s fees. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Legal Affairs told The Royal Gazette that it had not received a “compelling case” for the change in Bermuda, but maintained the ministry was “open to discussions”. Mr Horseman said: “Despite the compelling social policy objectives behind the subcommittee’s proposals, the considerable work that went into investigating the options and the support of the judiciary, the Bermuda Government has declined even to discuss the Bar Council proposals. Numerous attempts have been made to engage with the Attorney-General over the past two years but Mr Moniz has refused even to acknowledge Bar Council’s several requests for a meeting much less to engage in a discussion with us. The result, sadly, is that many individuals in our community continue to be deprived of the right to justice, including redress from personal injuries, medical malpractice, mistreatment by employers or landlords or through holding the Government to account for its actions.” Under a conditional fee agreement legal practitioners charge an agreed uplift on the usual fees if they win, whereas under a contingency fee agreements lawyers’ fees are calculated as a percentage of the amount awarded by the court. In August 2012 the Bar Association put together a subcommittee, chaired by Mark Chudleigh, to determine whether conditional or contingency fee agreements should be permitted for civil cases in Bermuda. After a period of consultation, the subcommittee issued its final report in October 2014 together with draft proposed legislation. The proposed legislation was based on the UK conditional fees statute. The subcommittee was not in favour of moving to a US-style contingency fee regime and preferred the more moderate conditional fee approach for Bermuda. The spokeswoman for the Ministry of Legal Affairs said: “Conditional fee arrangements have attracted criticism in the UK where these reforms originated. Many voices at the time of enactment raised concerns about that jurisdiction moving closer to the litigious culture which prevails in the USA. “This has happened to some extent, with some research pointing to across-the-board increases in health and motor insurance premiums. The Ministry of Legal Affairs has to date not received a compelling case for action but we remain open to discussions with any stakeholders on proposals that genuinely address access to justice issues.” Mr Horseman maintained that the objective of fee arrangements was to spare a client from having to bear the “considerable price of entry for civil litigation by enabling the lawyer to share in the risk of the litigation. Numerous jurisdictions have permitted lawyers to enter into conditional or contingency fee arrangements. Notable examples include the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. As matters stand in Bermuda, civil litigation is largely the preserve of wealthy corporations or individuals or middle-class individuals who are willing to use life savings or to mortgage their homes in order to fund legal expenses. Every lawyer in Bermuda has a tale of a deserving individual who has been deprived of their right to legal redress because they were unable to qualify for legal aid yet could not afford the cost of litigation.”

November 21. New shipping industry growth in Bermuda, the America’s Cup, and infrastructure developments were discussed by Kevin Richards when he spoke to the Shipping Podcast. Mr Richards is a business development manager at the Bermuda Business Development Agency, and his responsibilities cover the shipping and aviation finance sectors. He was a guest on the multimedia outlet Shipping Podcast, which shares shipping industry news across a variety of platforms, including podcasts, website, Twitter and Facebook. During an 18-minute discussion Lena Göthberg, host and producer of Shipping Podcast, Mr Richards talked about the revitalization of Bermuda’s shipping industry, the jurisdiction’s blue-chip reputation and the America’s Cup 2017. He also mentioned the outreach work of the BDA and industry partners, and the newly created Bermuda Shipping & Maritime Authority. Mr Richards was attending the Connecticut Maritime Association Shipping 2016 conference, in March, when he met with Swedish-based Ms Göthberg. The podcast went live today and can be heard at http://shippingpodcast.com/kevin-richards-business-development-manager-bermuda-business-development-agency-bda/

November 21. A group of road safety advocates has gained unprecedented access to the carnage witnessed by ambulance crews to reveal the shocking toll of crashes and drink-driving. A Piece of the Rock released a sobering teaser for its upcoming documentary depicting injured motorists being put into the back of ambulances that culminates in the wrapped body of a road fatality. About 40 people a week needed treatment after road accidents in October, according to figures obtained by the Road Safety Council, with 1,411 people requiring emergency hospital treatment in the first ten months of this year. More than 100 people have been killed in road accidents over the past decade, including 11 this year alone. Creative producers of A Piece of the Rock, Manish Thareja and Agam Jain, hope their groundbreaking project raises awareness about the extent of the problem. “Not many people are aware that approximately 15 per cent of the population of Bermuda has been to the ER due to road traffic crashes in the past five years alone — many of whom are left with severe injuries, which have huge emotional, social, economic and psychological effects on this country,” Mr Thareja said. Mr Jain added: “Through our experience of filming over the last several months, we realized that some people are just not getting the full picture through the small number of accidents that get reported through media about their resulting, often long-lasting impact.” A Piece of the Rock, a partnership between Bermudians and Expats, has worked with the hospital, EMTs, doctors, nurses and staff over several months to lift the lid on the reality of the island's drink-drive and road safety problem. The full-length documentary, shot by local filmmakers, is expected to be released early next year. The first of four teasers was put on social media last Monday and has already garnered over 19k views, hundreds of “likes” and been shared more than 280 times. Mr Jain added: “The first teaser we have released will perhaps come as a shock to many people, but this is our reality. These videos and the documentary itself, are merely tools towards a much larger campaign that we need and it boils down to something simple — there must be a change in the cultural mindset. We therefore urge people to follow these stories we share through social media and to themselves become the change this society needs.” The group is also gearing up to start a social media campaign encouraging residents to share their personal stories of being impacted by Bermuda's roads using the #APieceOfTheRock and #ShareyourStory.  Mr Thareja said: “As we see it there are three core issues that need to be addressed through legislative change and enforcement. Firstly to change the culture of drink-driving on the island; secondly, to have a rigorous graduated licensing programme for young adults; and lastly, to tackle the issue of speeding by perhaps reassessing the 35km-an-hour speed limit and its stringent enforcement through technology and other means.”

Monday, November 21. Protesters stood outside the House of Assembly to raise a variety of concerns this morning. About ten members of Move (Mobilize Organise Visualize Execute) were holding placards on the grounds of Sessions House, as MPs began a day of debating. Among the group’s issues are immigration, infrastructure, employment and the controversial $250 million redevelopment of LF Wade International Airport.

November 19. The hit Broadway musical starring Bermudian Nick Christopher has erupted in political controversy in the United States. At the end of last night’s performance of Hamilton, the cast addressed audience member Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, with a statement urging president-elect Donald Trump to work on behalf of all Americans. It prompted Mr Trump to publicly accuse the cast of harassing Mr Pence and demand an apology. Earlier this week, Mr Christopher hit the headlines when he officially took over the role of George Washington in the award-winning musical about US founding father Alexander Hamilton. As the play ended last night, actor Brandon Victor Dixon acknowledged that Mr Pence was in the audience, and addressed him: “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” Mr Trump tweeted this morning: “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen! The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” Mr Dixon tweeted in response: “@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir. And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.” Lead producer Jeffrey Seller has said that Mr Dixon’s statement was co-written by himself, the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and director Thomas Kail, with input from cast members. Mr Seller was quoted in The New York Times: “We had to ask ourselves, how do we cope with this? Our cast could barely go on stage the day after the election. The election was painful and crushing to all of us here. We all struggled with what was the appropriate and respectful and proper response. We are honored that Mr Pence attended the show, and we had to use this opportunity to express our feelings.” Hamilton has won particular praise for its provocative portrayal of America as a nation of immigrants — particularly with its casting of Hispanic or black actors in the roles of Hamilton, Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers.

November 19. The Corporation of Hamilton has won a legal challenge against a court order that made it liable for repaying an $18 million loan. Judge Stephen Hellman ruled that the Corporation had no power to guarantee the loan from Mexican Infrastructure Finance to build a hotel on the Par-la-Ville car park. Mr Justice Hellman, therefore, set aside the previously unchallenged Consent Order of May last year that had required the Corporation to pay MIF the loan plus interest. Mayor Charles Gosling welcomed the judgment handed down at the Supreme Court yesterday, describing it as a “lifeline”, but an MIF spokesman expressed disappointment and vowed to seek recourse in the New York courts. “We continue to believe the Corporation of Hamilton is responsible for repaying this loan,” the spokesman said. “They unilaterally signed off on releasing the monies we lent to the hotel project, which are now known to have been misappropriated, and it was clearly within their power to issue a valid guarantee on the loan. We intend to immediately pursue recourse in other jurisdictions, namely, New York, as laid out in the demand letter that was delivered to the Corporation to pursue what we believe is a just solution in this matter. We will explore additional jurisdictions to ensure that the rule of law is upheld and that future creditors to the Corporation and to Bermuda do not have their claims expropriated. It is unfortunate that this issue has not been settled and will continue to besmirch the reputation of Hamilton and Bermuda as a whole at a time when the country will be in the global spotlight.” Mr Gosling told The Royal Gazette the judgment would allow the Corporation to get itself back on its feet. “The ruling of Judge Hellman is a welcome lifeline for the Corporation of Hamilton, its ratepayers and those who rely on Bermuda having a functioning capital city,” Mr Gosling said. “While the guarantee in question was for $18 million, factoring in the total costs, this figure would have almost doubled. This alone would have crippled the City, its services and capital projects for at least 15 years. The ruling will allow the Corporation to concentrate on recovering other lost revenues and get itself back on its feet, not only in terms of those services and works but also in terms of further fiduciary responsibility and accountability. The Corporation anticipates that, despite their press release, MIF will appeal the ruling in Bermuda as they have already indicated to the courts to that effect. Until they make it clear that they are no longer seeking a ruling through the appellant process and have chosen another means of trying to secure a different ruling, the Corporation cannot comment further."  A careful reading of Judge Hellman’s ruling may provide clarification as it pertains to the comments made in the MIF release on the Rule of Law and Contractual Law.” In July 2014, the Corporation agreed to guarantee a bridging loan of $18 million made by MIF to Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences Ltd to help PLV build a hotel on the Par-la-Ville car park. On December 31 that year, PLV defaulted on the loan and MIF took the Corporation to court, in its capacity as guarantor, for the outstanding balance of $18 million plus interest. The Corporation initially concluded it did not have a defence to the claim and a Consent Ruling was made by the court in May 2015 against the Corporation for the full amount. However, the City launched a fresh legal challenge in June to set aside the Consent Order on the basis it had no power to make the original guarantee and therefore it should be null and void. In his ruling, Mr Justice Hellman agreed that the Corporation had acted “ultra vires” in providing the guarantee and set aside the Consent Order. “I have every sympathy with MIF given the position in which it now finds itself,” Mr Justice Hellman said. “Nonetheless, I would not go so far as to say that the Corporation’s behavior was so unreasonable as to render the application to set aside the Consent Order abusive. When considering the matter in the round, in my judgment the most important contextual feature is that it is in principle undesirable for the court to enforce a guarantee which is in law a nullity. This outweighs the various contextual features pointing in the other direction, including the serious prejudice to MIF which may be caused by not enforcing the guarantee.” Mr Justice Hellman noted in his ruling that there might be other ways for MIF to pursue the $18 million. “This judgment does not determine that MIF cannot recover the amount of the loan monies from the Corporation: merely that it cannot do so by enforcing an ultra vires guarantee,” he said.

November 19. Tourists are choosing Bermuda as a holiday destination over other Caribbean and South American locations because of the island’s Zika-free status. A handful of imported cases have been reported by the Department of Health on the island, but so far there has not been any local transmission of the mosquito-borne infection. Kenneth Bascome, Junior Minister for Tourism, told The Royal Gazette he had spoken with many first-time visitors who chose Bermuda because they did not need to worry about the Zika virus. “I have been involved in the visitors’ industry for many years and make a point to ask first-time visitors why they have chosen Bermuda,” Mr Bascome said. “It has been amazing to me over the last three months the number of people who have chosen to come here as a result of the Zika virus. Many have told me they wanted to travel to Barbados, but chose Bermuda instead because they had concerns about Zika. These first-time visitors have told me they have been overwhelmed by their experience and will be returning.” Mr Bascome praised the “outstanding” work of the Bermuda Tourism Authority that has resulted in a sharp increase in arrival numbers over recent months. But he also urged the public to stop dumping household appliances and other equipment that could collect water and act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. “This is a real problem, especially on the new hotel site, and I would beg my fellow Bermudians to think about these dangers before they go up there and dump fridges, washing machines and other appliances.” The World Health Organisation declared a state of emergency over the spread of Zika in February, and since then the virus has reached almost every country in the Western Hemisphere except Canada. Thousands of babies have suffered deformities as a result of the infection. Yesterday, the WHO declared an end to its global health emergency, although this prompted criticism from global public health figures. Zika’s capacity to tip Bermuda’s air arrival numbers was noted during the Throne Speech debate, when Michael Scott of the Progressive Labour Party noted its potential as an outlying influence on tourism figures. Glenn Jones, the BTA’s director of public and stakeholder relations, told <>i>The Royal Gazette that business development managers had fielded inquiries from groups looking to travel to the island, when initially they had looked to go to the Caribbean. However, he acknowledged that it was not possible to quantify the impact of Zika on tourism numbers. “The BTA is constantly consulting with the Department of Health as it relates to Zika and we have confidence in the officials who are taking the necessary steps to keep residents and visitors safe from the threat of Zika. As seen in a recent Boston Globe article, travelers are learning Bermuda has one of the most effective vector control programmes in the world. Even though Bermuda does not have the mosquito most capable of transmitting the Zika virus, it’s clear to us that the growth in visitor arrivals we’ve seen this year is primarily a result of foundational changes in tourism strategy. A refreshed brand, more geographically focused advertising placements and success in sports tourism are just a few examples of the things making a positive difference for the island’s tourism economy. So while it’s true Bermuda is as safe a travel destination as it has always been from a health perspective, our appeal as a destination is more than that — it must be more if Bermuda is to be successful. However, anecdotally, I’ve heard about a New York family’s decision to move its reunion from Mexico to Bermuda because they had Zika concerns. Our business development managers have also fielded enquires from groups investigating travel to Bermuda when initially they had their hearts set on the Caribbean. We’re not out there actively trumpeting Bermuda as a non-Zika destination, but if and when travelers reach out with questions we provide them with the best information we have as a result of working with the Department of Health.”

November 19. The Bermuda Government’s airport development project is to take shape, two years after the deal first went public, under key pieces of legislation waiting to go before MPs in this session. According to the Government Whip, the Airport Authority Act and the Airport Redevelopment Concession Act must sit on the House of Assembly’s order paper for at least two sittings before coming up for debate. Since both were tabled on Monday by Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, they should remain off the agenda during next week’s sessions. If approved, the deal with the Canadian Government through Canadian Commercial Corporation and Aecon, the Canadian contractor, would mark the island’s second public-private partnership after the hospital’s acute care wing. The agreement is for a 30-year concession with an entity thus far known generically as Project Co — which The Royal Gazette understands would do business as Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited. CCC’s involvement would cease once the new terminal became operational, and Project Co, owned by Aecon with a minimum of 35 per cent equity, would take over running the airport. According to an overview issued by Mr Richards, L.F. Wade International Airport would be leased to the company over the 30 years of the agreement. In addition, under the Bermuda Airport Authority Act, a new entity would be set up to take over from the Department of Airport Operations — currently part of the Bermuda Government. The BAA would oversee the redevelopment, along with the operation, maintenance and management of the airport. The quango would carry responsibility for the Government’s retained services, as well as holding the airport to quality standards, while Project Co would carry out operation and maintenance until the concession term ends. While the airport land would remain Government-owned, it would be leased to the developer by the BAA with ministerial approval, for a period not exceeding 30 years. That agreed period cannot be extended, meaning that the airport’s operation, along with its assets, would return to the Government after that term. Left off the lease would be the unused runway jutting into Castle Harbour known as the Finger, which the Government would retain. Mr Richards has said that solar energy is planned for that vacant strip, to assist with the energy subsidy for airport electricity. However, retailers in the new terminal would not be entitled to a break in electricity costs. The Authority’s board, overseen by a chief executive officer, would consist of five to seven directors, showing qualifying experience in areas ranging from civil aviation to administration. The Act also covers the transfer of staff from the Department of Airport Operations into similar roles under the BAA — effective from an approval date. Staff who failed to accept the transfer into the BAA, and refused going into another Government department, could have their employment terminated. According to Mr Richards, jobs across the Authority and Project Co are likely to increase by 50 per cent over present airport staffing. Under the terms of a second piece of legislation, the Airport Redevelopment Concession Bill, the Government grants relief from a wide range of payments in connection with the project: import duty, stamp duty, land tax, future taxes of profits or income, work permit fees for redevelopment employees, as well as the employer’s share of payroll taxes. Aecon and the developer would get permission to pay staff in US dollars, exempted from exchange controls and foreign currency purchase tax. Finally, the Bill would grant exemption from environmental legislation and lawsuits relating to any pre-existing contamination of the airport lands. Since it was announced, the airport proposal has proven a particularly difficult sell for Mr Richards. The Minister’s top justifications have been the poor condition of the present terminal, and the need to boost employment without increasing the Government’s debt. Mr Richards has given the construction costs as $267 million, with the demolition of the old terminal costing $16 million, including some renovation costs. The construction is expected to take 40 months. Financing has constituted much of the political sparring over the deal: Project Co would take in all revenues generated by the airport, along with operational expenses such as paying staff. According to the Opposition’s figures, the airport yields a profit just below $18 million a year, which the island would lose, while taxpayers remained on the hook for significant operational costs. According to Mr Richards, the airport barely broke even until legislators last year approved an airport improvement fee and increase in departure tax — specifically for the project. That dispute is heading now for a showdown in the House — with potential to be taken up by protest groups such as the People’s Campaign, which has repeatedly challenged the proposal.

November 19.  America’s Cup Bermuda is run by a small staff of ten people and more than a dozen committees. Each committee is charged with addressing Bermuda’s responsibilities for the 35th America’s Cup. This is made possible thanks to the dozens of volunteers who work in relevant fields, along with technical officers from key departments of the Bermuda Government. Each committee also has a representative from the ACBDA and the America’s Cup Event Authority. Here is a breakdown of the committees and what they are tasked with. Communications. Co-chairman: Victoria Isley and Michael DeCouto. To keep the public informed and updated on all America’s Cup activity and events as they relate to Bermuda and its people. Health and Safety. Chairman: Dr Joseph Froncioni.  To address all aspects of medical service coverage plans (medical, first aid, evacuation and clinical) required for the America’s Cup events including public safety on land and water in addition to medical and personnel and assets for race support. Hotel Capacity. Chairwoman: Victoria Isley.  To maximize the accommodation options available to visitors for the period of the AC35. Infrastructure.  Chairman: Denton Williams.  To assess, plan and deliver the required elements of physical infrastructure at the America’s Cup Village. To include but not be limited to: sewage, fresh water, grey water, electricity, alternative energy, trash collection, telephone, pest Control. Legacy and Sustainability. Chairman: Garry Madeiros To ensure the America’s Cup is a sustainable event in terms of economic development, social development and environmental protection and to ensure that a long-lasting and positive legacy is created for Bermuda. On Water Operations. Chairman: Tom Miller. To provide comprehensive on water marshalling of the public and VIP spectator vessels outside of the Race Box Area and to ensure an enjoyable and safe viewing experience for spectators. Regatta Support. Chairman: Andy Cox. To provide support and race management resources to America’s Cup Race Management. Key responsibility is to provide the “race box” by positioning race markers, start and finish gates, and race management assets inside the race box. Security.  Chairman: William White. To plan and coordinate all aspects of security on land and water for AC35, including public and private entities both local and international. South Basin Reclamation Works. Co-chairs: Mike Winfield & Peter Durhager.  To deliver the foundation on which the America’s Cup Event Village will be built on Cross Island in the South Basin in Dockyard, including the removal of buildings, foundation preparation for team bases and the South Basin infill project. Sponsorship.  Chairman: Peter Durhager. To maximize sponsorship opportunities to assist in; reducing the Bermuda Government’s sponsorship guarantee; reducing the cost to Bermuda of hosting AC35; creating lasting legacy opportunities from AC35. Superyachts.  Chairman: Mark Soares. To analyze the current status of the superyacht industry in Bermuda and recommend policy and infrastructure improvements that will make Bermuda a more competitive destination during the America’s Cup and beyond. Telecommunications and Technology. Chairwoman: Fiona Beck. To address all aspects of telecommunications and ensure the Island’s infrastructure is adequate for all America’s Cup requirements. Transport. Chairman: Brian Gonsalves.  The delivery of a comprehensive Transportation Plan ensuring adequate transport infrastructure for land, sea and air traffic during the America’s Cup events.

November 19. The illustrious history of the Berkeley Institute is now on show, courtesy of the school’s class of 1963, who have handed over their three-year labour of love as a testament to its legacy. The documentary, Respice Finem, traces Berkeley’s history from its founding in 1897. Along the way, it tells the story of black education, and Bermuda’s own evolution. Proud alumni passed the full-length film, which has been picked up internationally, over to the grateful Berkeley Educational Society. Sinclair White, society chairman, said the group had been “elated” to learn of the class of 1963’s project when it was launched on the 50th anniversary of their graduation. “It will give past, current and future students the opportunity to look into Berkeley’s unique history,” Mr White said of the DVD. “It’s important that people from all sides of the spectrum know where the school started, how it grew and what legislative support there was for it to be where it is today. We thoroughly appreciate the hard work, dedication and commitment of the class of ’63. It is a job well done.” The Berkeley Institute’s 12 founding fathers pledged to establish “a school for the better education of the people”. In so doing, they gave the island its first integrated house of learning. The school’s motto translates as “Keep the End in View”, and the filmmakers, under the direction of Lucinda Spurling, did just that. “Originally it was to be a 30 minute film, but as they started researching they felt the story was so profound that it needed to be full length,” explained alumnus Conchita Ming. “It has been received at a festival in Zanzibar, shown at the Bermuda International Film Festival in January, and proposed for two other international festivals.” Alumni have not ruled out adding a second volume to the school’s story, added graduate Eloise Bell. “We haven’t decided what we are going to do for our 60th anniversary,” she said.

November 18. Reports integral for the proposed redevelopment at LF Wade International Airport have been issued by the Bermuda Government. The Ministry of Finance, along with the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, encouraged the public to examine the overall business case for the project, which comes with a summary report offering an overview. The report addresses both the entrustment requirements set by the Foreign Commonwealth Office, and the gaps identified in the May 2015 report issued by Deloitte. Also issued was a value for money assessment from the independent transport consultancy firm Steer Davies Gleave, which compares the project with similar public-private partnership arrangements. According to a Government spokesman, that assessment concludes that “overall the project achieves value for money for the people of Bermuda”. The reports are available online at the Government portal, www.gov.bm/airport-redevelopment-project-arp

November 18. The island’s three banks have told the Government they “won’t bank casinos”, according to the chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission. Alan Dunch told a gathering of business leaders yesterday that the island’s fledgling casino industry may never take flight if the banks do not agree to be involved. “Nobody told me when I took this job on that the three banks in this country had told the Government they won’t bank casinos,” he told the annual meeting of the Association of Bermuda International Companies. He added: “If we can’t get the banks to bank casinos … there won’t be any casinos.” Mr Dunch spoke after the commission’s executive director Richard Schuetz gave a talk to the meeting on how plans were going to get the gaming industry up and running in Bermuda, including ensuring robust anti-money laundering measures were in place. Mr Schuetz said: “Mr Dunch and I have flown to the East Coast of the United States to meet the head of the money-laundering office for Wells Fargo Bank, which is the correspondent bank to Clarien. We have flown to New York to meet the chairman of the Bank of New York about our money-laundering controls and they have given us serious discussions about the importance of having this part buttoned down. And what’s at stake here is just not our ability to offer a casino industry. We think it is the ability of this island to maintain its brand as a viable and legitimate, economic entity. We asked Bermuda’s three banks — Clarien, Butterfield and HSBC — for comment late yesterday afternoon but none was received by press time." However, Senator Michael Fahy, the tourism minister, told The Royal Gazette: “The Bermuda Government is well aware of the issues that surround banking the proceeds from gaming. It is important that we have a robust regulatory regime to demonstrate to both local banks and their overseas correspondent banks that adequate know-your-client and anti-money laundering provisions are in place. “As we move ever closer to having gaming in Bermuda through the allocation of casino gaming licences via the Casino Gaming Commission we will ensure that such robust provisions are in place to give comfort to our partners that our regime is of a first-class standard.” During a question-and-answer session following Mr Schuetz’s talk, Mr Dunch discussed the recently tabled Casino Gaming Amendment Bill, which he said could be debated in Parliament a week today. He said existing legislation allowed for the issuing of three casino licences but the amendment would allow a fourth licence to be issued to the developers of the St George’s Resort, the Desarrollos Group. Mr Fahy added: “The amended legislation provides for a provisional licence to be given to the St George’s developer which will still permit the Casino Gaming Commission to allocate three provisional licences. All provisional licence holders will need to satisfy many conditions before a full licence can be granted by the Commission.” Mr Dunch said the philosophy that led to the original gaming legislation being passed centred on the idea of casinos as an amenity for hotels. But he said he and Mr Schuetz were keen to see one of the hotel operators rebranding as an internationally-known casino name and that could provide a big economic boost for the island. He confirmed that Bermudians would be able to visit casinos. “I have no intention of telling my fellow Bermudians that they can’t participate in gaming,” he said. Mr Schuetz was asked when the island would see its first casino open and the executive director joked: “I can tell you but I’d have to kill you first.” He said the commission had struggled to get an amendment to the existing legislation tabled in the House over the past year and still needed to get 700 or so pages of regulations past legislators. “If we are allowed to move forward and take care of business, we believe we can have the right package done some time in late March, April. We can then move to have an RFP process.” He added: “If everything fell right, we could have a casino open on this island in 2018.” The 45-page Casino Gaming Amendment Bill includes a section on combating corruption in casino gaming. “The Bill is making amendments to strengthen our regulatory regime in totality,” explained Mr Fahy. The draft originally proposed by the commission would have banned all politicians from involvement in the gaming industry for two years after they left office. As reported by The Royal Gazette last month, that was expected to be opposed by One Bermuda Alliance backbencher Mark Pettingill and independent MP Shawn Crockwell, both lawyers who represent clients with interests in the gaming industry. The newly tabled version has narrowed that category down so it only applies to Cabinet ministers and parliamentarians whose responsibilities relate directly to gaming.

November 18. Bermuda’s social fabric is “fragile” and its future prosperity depends on collaboration between the business sector and all segments of the community. That was the message from Patrick Tannock, chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies, who was speaking at the organization's annual meeting yesterday. Mr Tannock said: “Let’s not forget that the challenges of Bermuda business to remain relevant in the global market are relentless and that economic stability and social stability go hand in hand. And while our value proposition as a top business jurisdiction remains strong, our social fabric is fragile. “So we need to continue to keep our fingers on the pulse of our Bermuda community and pursue every opportunity to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that Bermuda remains the business domicile of choice.” He announced a new ABIC education award aimed at assisting locals interested in upgrading their skill sets. “Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the ABIC Education Award,” Mr Tannock said. “As part of our celebration of the anniversary, we have invited ABICEA alumni to contribute to this special award that will help mature individuals, who are interested in upgrading their skill sets so that they remain relevant in an ever-evolving, highly competitive global marketplace, to pursue new educational and career goals. Through the ABICEA Give Back Campaign we plan to raise funds directly based on financial donations from our alumni, many of whom have excelled in their professions and have made significant contributions to the island’s business sector.” This year ABIC is supporting 21 students with scholarships. Over the past ten years, the ABICEA has supported more than 570 students, through more than $5 million invested by ABIC members and ABICEA donations. ABIC advocates “balanced government policies that maintain Bermuda as a well-respected domicile of choice” and Mr Tannock said ABIC was encouraged by the spirit of collaboration between the major political parties on social stability. The organisation has this year met with both political parties and labour unions, discussing matters including proposed changes to payroll tax and immigration matters. And it is also a member of the Bermuda Government’s External Affairs Strategic Steering Committee. Mr Tannock described the Everybody’s Business campaign, which aims to spell out why international business is important to everyone through print and electronic media. ABIC is also working with schools to develop an economics curriculum, expected to be rolled out in the new year, he said. And young professionals have met with students at CedarBridge Academy and Berkeley Institute to talk about career opportunities. Mr Tannock added that ABIC was exploring use of the Bermudascholarships.com website to advertise summer and entry-level jobs. ABIC has taken on fiduciary responsibility for the website, of which it is the founding sponsor, and a rebuild of the site backed by several sponsors was recently completed.

November 18. The cost of living rose in September at the highest rate in more than a year. Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, hit 2 per cent with education, healthcare and food costs the main contributors to the increase. The Department of Statistics reported that the Education, Recreation, Entertainment and Reading sector was the largest contributor to the year-over-year change, increasing 4.3 per cent. This was driven by a sharp rise in the cost of school tuition, which rose 3.9 per cent locally on a month-to-month basis and 2.7 per cent overseas. Inflation has been muted over the past year and a half, helped by a fall in the price of oil, and this was the first reading of 2 per cent or more since June 2015. Health and personal care costs rose 3.7 per cent year over year, while food cost consumers 1.9 per cent more than a year earlier. In the month-to-month analysis, fuel and power prices rose 6 per cent, as the fuel adjustment rate on Belco bills jumped 20 per cent. The rate, which is dependent on the price of the fuel oil that Belco burns and which was 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour in September, has since then fallen and is 9.5 cents for November. The transport and foreign travel sector also saw prices surge 4.5 per cent, bouncing back from a 4.3 per cent decrease in August. The average cost of air fares rocketed 13.6 per cent, while overseas accommodation climbed 13.2 per cent. Food prices inched 0.1 per cent higher from August to September, driven by increases in the cost of onions (4.4 per cent), oranges (4.2 per cent) and fresh tenderloin (2.7 per cent). Another notable rise in the report was a 1.6 per cent month-to-month rise in child care fees.

November 18. Child safety campaigner Sheelagh Cooper is calling for a “dangerous offender” law to ensure pedophiles and others convicted of sex offences have to be supervised upon release from prison. Mark Pettingill, chairman of the joint parliamentary select committee investigating how better to protect children from sex offenders, said last night in response that the group was addressing “all this in the committee report, which will be completed in the next few weeks”. In an opinion piece on page 4 of today’s edition of The Royal Gazette, Ms Cooper, who is the founder of the Coalition for the Protection of Children, said: “In most jurisdictions, including Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, provision exists for mandatory parole supervision of serious sexual or violent offenders. These individuals, once designated by the courts, can be subjected to supervision after release for life.” Ms Cooper said that might sound “draconian” but in cases like that of former policeman John Malcolm “Chalkie” White, who was recently released from jail after serving 12 years for sexually assaulting three young boys, it was necessary. White was originally sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2004 but it was reduced to 18 the following year by the Court of Appeal, with the panel of justices concluding that “a worse case might occur, though as far as we are aware it has never done so in these islands, and we sincerely hope that it never will”. The 46-year-old left prison on October 31 after serving two-thirds of his sentence and having not taken part in any rehabilitation at Westgate. Edward Lamb, the Commissioner of Corrections, said the nature of White’s case “precluded, to a large degree, Corrections making him attend sex offender classes”. Ms Cooper said: “In the case of sexual perpetrators like White, only constant supervision, coupled with specialized treatment, would reduce the very real risk of his re-offending. It is well known that offenders like White wait for release at two-thirds of their sentence, rather than applying for parole [after a third] to avoid this type of supervision. We propose that dangerous offender legislation be enacted to provide for lifelong supervision in such cases.” She said sexual offenders who were deemed unsuitable for group counseling should be given individual treatment and should have to serve their full sentence if they refused to take part. The charity boss said other changes needed to take place in Bermuda to safeguard children from predators, including disclosing to the public information about the identities and locations of released sex offenders. She suggested a public sex registry was appropriate for Bermuda, providing it was kept at Hamilton Police Station and those convicted of minor sexual offences were not included. Ms Cooper said Attorney-General Trevor Moniz’s reluctance to notify the public about White’s release amounted to him protecting sex offenders “at the expense of our children”. Mr Moniz claimed that although the public could, by law, be notified, no written policy existed on how to do so. He told this newspaper he was investigating how soon a protocol could be put in place. The Opposition contradicted him, insisting a protocol was enacted during their time in government. Ms Cooper said the Minister’s ability to notify the public, which has been law since 2001, had never been used until last week when Michael Dunkley, the Premier and Acting Minister of National Security, released White’s photograph to this newspaper. Ms Cooper reiterated a previous call for those accused of sex offences to be named upon being charged, except in cases where it would identify their victims. Not doing so, she said, gave those individuals “preferential treatment” over people accused of non-sexual offences. And she said the island’s court system needed to allow hearsay evidence in child abuse cases, as per the Khan Decision in Canada, which allowed a child’s out-of-court statement to her mother to be admissible as evidence.

November 18. Opinion. By Bryant Trew. "Most voters and political observers are probably wondering what impact will the change in the Progressive Labour Party’s leadership have on Bermuda’s political environment. Will it be more or less acrimonious? Will it be more or less mature? Will it be more of the same? Or will we see a paradigm shift of any kind? These questions were partly answered this week when David Burt used his inaugural Reply to the Throne Speech to make very clear that we should expect no reduction in populist rhetoric and cringe-worthy doublespeak. Practically taking a page right out of Donald Trump’s playbook, he sought to describe Bermuda as being a place where the elite and privileged trampled on the necks of the downtrodden. Perhaps like Trump, Burt wants to make Bermuda great again? You know, turn the clock back to the days of milk, honey, respect and integrity. Bermuda was just so much better when the PLP was in power, wasn’t it? Of course, I jest. For those of us who remember, inequality didn’t begin in December 2012. The PLP was elected in 1998 on the hope of dismantling the disadvantages that Burt just laid on the One Bermuda Alliance’s doorstep. But as history has shown, after 14 years in power, the PLP rewarded us with multiple leadership fights, political scandals, court cases, investigations, belligerent and divisive politicking, and an economy teetering on the edge of destruction. Burt wants to present his PLP as the solution to his “Tale of Two Bermudas” without acknowledging that the PLP was a significant contributor to our present problems. He also wants us to ignore the reality that building a fairer society requires the Government to first undo the economic and reputational damage done by the PLP. The PLP Reply closes with a classic straw-man argument that we all should take note of: “Let us refrain from boasting of prosperity that only touches the few while so many are going without.” The problem with Burt’s premise is that it is false. The OBA has not been boasting of prosperity while ignoring those who are still struggling. The 2016 Throne Speech, delivered just one week before, speaks explicitly to the desire to “make recovery work for the island as a whole”. It specifically laments the reality that the recovery to date has been “slow in coming” for the man on the street. But this is not the first time that such an admonition has been made, either. Finance minister Bob Richards focused the entire introduction of the 2016 Budget Statement on the understandable frustrations of those who do not yet feel the benefits of Bermuda’s economic recovery. He actually went to great lengths to explain that the OBA’s overriding mission is to extend the recovery into every household across the island. As if Burt’s false arguments were not enough, he is clearly flip-flopping all over the place by saying whatever he hopes will stick to the wall. One moment, he is against granting concessions; the next, he is supporting the reduction of payroll tax to create jobs. In July, he unequivocally supported the rejection of equal rights for gays. This week he is claiming that the PLP will embrace all Bermudians, regardless of their sexual orientation. For the past year and a half, Burt, like the majority of his colleagues, said nothing about the gross disrespect repeatedly shown towards multiple women in the OBA. Now we are supposed to believe that he will fight for a fairer, more inclusive Bermuda? Nevertheless, Burt’s questions above deserve answers. My personal responses are that the OBA is obviously not taking from the poor to give to the rich. It is strategically digging us out of an economic abyss so that Bermuda works for those whom it should. The OBA is delivering results, so I believe that my children will potentially have more opportunities and success than I did. Although Bermuda remains far from where it needs to be as a society, the OBA has not governed with contempt for voters who speak out against it. Therefore, I am absolutely certain that Bermuda is far better off under the OBA than the PLP."

November 17. Robyn Swan has been unveiled as the One Bermuda Alliance’s candidate for the Warwick South Central by-election set for December 20. At 36, Ms Swan is a fresh candidate to compete for the Constituency 26 seat left vacant by the resignation of former Progressive Labour Party leader Marc Bean. Prior to that, it was held by Ewart Brown, the former Premier. With grass-roots concerns ranging from racial issues to seniors, Ms Swan told The Royal Gazette she was keen to become more involved in getting the OBA’s message across. The PLP has yet to reveal its candidate, but is widely expected to retain the seat in one of its traditional stronghold constituencies. However, Michael Dunkley, the Premier, said the party was determined to make progress in the area, calling it the PLP’s seat to lose. Regardless of the outcome, Ms Swan said she planned to take part in clinics for “those who might be in debt or looking for jobs, or with general problems like housing and clothing — I would like to become a resource for them”. Declaring herself “honoured” as she was introduced yesterday, Ms Swan said that despite spending much of her childhood in the United States, she held “fond memories of Ord Road — an area I still consider to be my home. Many of those memories include racing my bike through the Rubber Tree, buying Simmons chocolate pops at Hayward's and playing cricket every Good Friday, religiously at the PHC field. My connection to the West End runs deep in my veins. I have canvassed the area for the last two weeks and thank you for inviting me into your homes. I too have concerns for our area and Bermuda. As a blue-collar worker and mother I too am affected by the decisions that are made on the hill. That is why I have decided to mature from behind the party scenes and graduate into the public arena.” Ms Swan has political experience in the Cannabis Reform Collective, and has also served in the Department of Corrections. Sir John Swan, the former Premier, is first cousin to her father Edward Swan, and told her that “he just wanted me to do the best that I can”, she said. Yvette Swan, a former Cabinet Minister, is her aunt, and she called both “heroes”. Mr Dunkley said of Ms Swan: “To have change, you need a breath of fresh air, and this lady brings that to the table. Right now is not the time for an election with all the important stuff we have to do like the casino gaming legislation, St George’s, the airport, the budget next year is very important. We are making significant progress and we need to get these things done. This election will be a bellwether for the PLP only. This is all upside for us. This is a constituency that the One Bermuda Alliance did not fare well in the last election, in spite of having a very good candidate. This is a constituency that has had the former leader of the Opposition and had a Premier of Bermuda in it. We know we are going to go out and be very competitive. But it’s theirs to lose. It’s ours to make some progress in. We are very confident about our candidate here because Robyn is committed and she has something to offer.”

November 17. The future of the island’s tourism industry is the brightest it has been for decades. The rallying call came yesterday at the Tourism Summit where Michael Dunkley commended a tenth consecutive monthly increase in vacation air arrivals, year-on-year. “The grounds for a Bermuda renaissance in tourism are certainly solid and set,” Mr Dunkley said. “October 2016 will be the tenth consecutive month of growth in tourism, which is an amazing feat.” The Premier told the summit the latest October statistics were even more remarkable given the impact of Hurricane Nicole on travel and given that last October saw a huge influx of visitors for the America’s Cup World Series. Hundreds attended the third annual Tourism Summit at the Hamilton Princess, including Kevin Dallas, the new Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO, who will take over from Bill Hanbury at the beginning of next year. Mr Dallas said he was delighted to be coming home, describing his appointment as “my dream job”, while Mr Hanbury praised his team at the BTA for helping to turn around years of decline in the tourism industry. “I’m grateful for the people that have stuck with us through some pretty tough times when people were criticizing us, and unfairly criticizing us,” Mr Hanbury said. “Numbers don’t lie and the long-term outlook for Bermuda has never been brighter; that is because of the people sitting in this room. The country is finally starting to celebrate this organization's success.” Yesterday’s Tourism Summit came in the wake of what BTA chairman David Dodwell described as “phenomenal” statistics for the third quarter of 2017, which showed vacation air arrivals had increased by 18 per cent. Mr Dodwell joined Senator Michael Fahy in paying tribute to Mr Hanbury’s tireless work as head of the BTA, and suggested that 2017 could be even better. “We are in the process of recovery, and it’s not a short-term recovery, it is now a sustainable one.. This recovery will go well into 2017. “We are seeing a new kind of visitor; a much younger clientele which is exactly what we need to sustain this progress. It’s been a really good year, but we are really excited about 2017. That is not just to do with America’s Cup, that will help top it off, but it’s the group business that is driving this change.” The Minister of Tourism added: “Bermuda is back on the map and no longer the destination of grandparents. For the first time in 30 years Bermuda can look forward to real growth in tourism after decades of decline. We have new hotel developments in Bermuda for the first time in 30 years; it has been a long time since we have seen that level of confidence in Bermuda. The tourism picture looks brighter now than for many years I would like to thank Bill Hanbury; you have brought a significant amount of passion to the role. He faced a lot of local adversity when he was appointed but he pushed through that.”

November 17. Two prominent hotel bosses have thrown their support behind plans to bring rental minicars to Bermuda. Allan Federer, general manager of the Hamilton Princess, said he was “very, very excited” by the initiative, while John Bush, president of Clearwater Development, which is leading the renovation of the old Surf Side Beach Club, insisted the scheme could have a “huge benefit” for visitors. Legislation paving the way for introducing vehicles, which have to be no more than 60 inches wide and 115 inches in length, is expected to be debated next week in the House of Assembly. Mr Federer and Mr Bush were part of a five-strong panel of hoteliers and developers speaking at yesterday’s Tourism Summit and providing updates on construction and renovation projects at their hotels. Mr Federer told an audience of more than 100 stakeholders that renovation of the Hamilton Princess was 85 per cent complete, while further expansion work was planned for the Beach Club in 2017 and the marina in Hamilton for the America’s Cup. Meanwhile, Mr Bush said a major project to strengthen the foreshore of the Azura Boutique Hotel and Residences is expected to begin in the next week or two and be completed in February or March. The construction of a pool and restaurant area as well as extensive landscaping has already started. The initial rooms inventory is expected to be completed next summer but given the ongoing construction work the hotel will not be able to welcome hotel guests in any significant number until the fourth quarter 2017 or first quarter 2018. Alessandro Colantonio, vice-president of acquisitions for GenCom, revealed the asset management firm was just “days or weeks” away from a formal announcement on closing the acquisition of Tucker’s Point. He also outlined plans to upgrade the hotel for the America’s Cup as well as an extensive renovation project for the end of 2017 and 2018. “We will be revisiting all aspects of the resort; rooms, public spaces, food and beverages, new concepts and adding one of two new venues. We will also be looking at low-density development.” Craig Christensen, Morgan’s Point Ltd chief executive officer, announced his firm had accelerated the marina phase of the Caroline Bay Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort in time for the America’s Cup. “The marina is being created right now in Finland and will be here in 11 days,” he said. “We can take maybe 40 mega boats at our location.” Mr Christen said the marina should be completed by next March. Miguel Purroy, from Hotelco, the owner and developer of the St Regis development in St George’s, pledged to preserve the historic aspects of town during the project. Mr Purroy was quick to praise the efforts of the BTA in helping to move the project forward, but he expressed concerns about the lack of power and water infrastructure in the East End.

November 17. A group of young Bermudian entrepreneurs are gearing up to rent three-wheel rental scooters to visitors early in the new year. It will be all systems go once a Bill allowing such vehicles to be used on the island’s roads is passed by Parliament. The legislation was tabled earlier this month. “We’re very excited. We’re hoping for the Bill to pass and it’s just an overall great, enthusiastic feeling for the whole team,” said T.J. Clark, 33, one of four partners working on a project to bring ScootCoupe vehicles to the island. Mr Clark and business partner Justin Robinson won support for their idea from the Bermuda Tourism Authority in 2014 as a result of the Tourism Experiences investment process. But the lack of proper legislation put everything on hold. They also encountered a set of local entrepreneurs with a very similar ScootCoupe plan. Rather than compete, the pair decided to collaborate with fellow Bermudians Tulani Bulford and Paul Ross. Mr Bulford said: “Seven out of 10 tourists have never ridden a motorcycle in their life, but most tourists have driven a car. So we felt this vehicle was a slam dunk. It hits all the safety aspects and it gives the users the freedom to roam around the country.” The group said safety is of paramount importance and the main reason they went with ScootCoupe. The two-seater vehicle has a 150cc engine, three-point safety harness, a roll cage, lockable trunk and glove compartment and will require helmets to be worn. Mr Bulford said promoting the ScootCoupe rental experience to visitors under 45 years-old is a major part of their plan. The BTA has reported double-digit growth in younger visitors arriving by air this year. New legislation is expected to allow vehicles no more than 60 inches wide and 115 inches long, which would include ScootCoupe and other makes like the Renault Twizy. The BTA is on record as supporting the introduction of small rental vehicles for visitors. At the annual Bermuda Tourism Summit, local hoteliers also voiced support.

November 17. Securing the future of the National Trust’s education programme and making its vast archive of historic artifacts and documents more accessible to the public will be top priorities for newly appointed executive director Bill Zuill. Mr Zuill, who took over from Jennifer Gray earlier this year, said the Trust hoped to begin a major $32,000 revamp of the Globe Hotel in St George in 2017. He also told The Royal Gazette that preparation work had already begun to establish an online database of charity’s artifacts and a new phone App to guide visitors around Trust properties. “We very much want to proceed with the revamp of the Globe Hotel next year. That will include the creation of an interactive education centre. The idea would be for school groups to take advantage of this new education space, while the Rogues and Ruins exhibits would be scaled back slightly. It’s a work in progress and part of our commitment towards the extensive education programme the Trust runs.” About 5,000 students take part in the National Trust’s education programme each year, which encompasses a large variety of classes, holiday camps and outdoor pursuits. For the past nine years Axis has provided the financial backing for the programme, but now the Trust is looking for a new sponsor to ensure the scheme continues for another decade. Mr Zuill said: “Axis have sponsored our education programme for the last nine years, with some help from the Bank of Bermuda Foundation. It has been amazingly successful and we want to ensure it continues to give amazing opportunities to children at preschools all the way up to secondary schools. We are now looking for a new sponsor to take over from Axis and help provide the $130,000 required to keep it going. Donors can choose to fund different elements of the educational programme such as the experiential learning, the teacher training of the holiday camps. They don’t have to sponsor the whole thing. We have the funding to keep us going through the school year but need to secure its future. The programme is not in imminent jeopardy, but we are looking for a long-term commitment to ensure it carries on. In 2017 the Trust hopes to start work on a $32,000 digital database of all the charity’s artifacts and historic documents as well as establish an $11,000 phone App providing information on Trust properties. We have a huge collection of artwork, documents and artifacts, much of which is currently stored at the archives.  We want to make this more accessible to the public in the shape of a digital database, which is a major project and expected to cost in the region of $30,000. It’s a big project but one that we are keen to get started in 2017.”

November 17. An elevator at a government-owned nursing home for seniors has been broken since May leaving residents “stuck” in their rooms, it was alleged in Parliament yesterday. Opposition Senator Renee Ming told the Upper House that the lift was broken at the Sylvia Richardson Care Facility on Old Military Road, St George’s, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health and Seniors. A ministry spokeswoman said staff are working hard to overcome the situation, helping residents move about the facility without the elevator. She confirmed the elevator is out of bounds for safety reasons and said the process to fix it has begun. Ms Ming, a Progressive Labour Party politician, told the Senate: “At the Sylvia Richardson facility, the elevator doesn’t work and hasn’t worked for some time. So guests, visitors, residents, cannot come down to the social rooms. Can you imagine if you had your loved one living there and they are basically stuck in their room, for want of a better word.” Ms Ming said she believed the elevator broke down in May. “I’m sure that if that was any of our loved ones, we would not like, appreciate or even want to see that outcome. Could you imagine how they must feel, stuck.” She added that “apparently, they can manually use the elevator and twice a day someone comes and takes needed things up but the residents of the facility can’t move and, as a result, one whole floor isn’t being used”. Ms Ming was speaking during a debate on the Throne Speech, during which she lambasted the Government for not doing enough for seniors. In relation to the situation at Sylvia Richardson, she said: “I know we can do better than that.” The Sylvia Richardson Care Facility houses 43 residents and provides residential, nursing and daycare to seniors. According to the Government’s website, residents range from independent to semi-dependent. The manager of the facility referred this newspaper to the Ministry of Health and Seniors for comment. A ministry spokeswoman said: “The Ministry of Health and Seniors has been working with the elevator contractor to seek a permanent resolution to the elevator fault. Lightning strikes incurred during Tropical Storm Karl have prolonged the matter by adding to the complexity of fault finding by the equipment supplier. Procurement is now under way for substantial plant replacement and to ensure appropriate expenditure of Government finances. Residents were moved from the top floor as a temporary measure and in order to avoid using the elevator on the advice of the Government Safety Coordinator. Sylvia Richardson staff have worked hard to overcome this situation and to assure the continued quality of life of residents, with staff assisting residents’ regular daily movements through the facility, to the cafeteria and on outings, etc, but without reliance on the elevator. Every precaution has been taken to protect staff and residents. The ministry and management remain vigilant of the situation and are working to secure a properly procured solution expeditiously.”

November 16. The Bermuda Government and Opposition sparred throughout the Throne Speech debate, with the One Bermuda Alliance pointing to a “rising tide” of economic recovery and the Progressive Labour Party highlighting those left behind. OBA MP Jeff Sousa spoke for the former, criticizing the PLP narrative that the governing party turned a blind eye to the hardships felt by ordinary Bermudians. “So often I hear those on the other side say that we don’t care,” Mr Sousa told the House, saying he saw jobs growing and the “tide turning”, adding that the next couple of years would be “unprecedented in our history”. Finance minister Bob Richards conceded that a gap between “haves and have-nots” had become a common feature throughout the world, exacerbated by recession. “We’ve just emerged from six years of recession; no other country I know has gone through that,” Mr Richards said, chastising the PLP for “economic mismanagement” that had left the island vulnerable. “During a six-year recession, the poorest always suffer the most.” Mr Richards contended that closing the gap between rich and poor could not be done in a foundering economy, saying: “We have to right the ship first.” The minister lamented that Bermuda lacked up-to-date job statistics, saying indicators such as retail figures or tourism arrival and spending told a different tale. Many Opposition MPs made reference to the need for a living wage, with Derrick Burgess focusing on the plight of seniors and the persistent wage disparities between black and white workers. Noting the Reply’s opening reference to “two Bermudas” — taken from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens — Opposition MP Zane DeSilva highlighted a recent reference in this newspaper by John Wight, head of the Chamber of Commerce, to the quandaries faced by disenfranchised Bermudians. Mr DeSilva quoted to the House that “we have far too many in our community who do not see a better Bermuda for themselves and their children in 2017 and beyond” — telling MPs that if the island failed to address the predicaments of young black men, then “we will feel the continued effects”. Michael Weeks, MP for Pembroke East Central, said that “two Bermudas is more than a term; it’s a reality. As I go out on the doorsteps, the conversations go a lot of the time to the economy, the lack of jobs, the underemployment. Rather than point the finger, I have to realize that we do have two Bermudas.” Examining the possibility of imposing a living wage was agreed upon by both sides of the House earlier this year in the wake of widespread protests in March over immigration reforms. Hitting back after a Throne Speech that emphasized economic recovery and job growth, Opposition leader David Burt has repeatedly charged the OBA with failing Bermudians, telling the House yesterday that: “While one Bermuda enjoys wealth, privilege and security, the other Bermuda is living from pay check to pay check, if they are lucky enough even to be collecting a pay check”.

November 16. Information commissioner Gita Gutierrez has issued her first order compelling a senior civil servant to release a public access to information decision. Ms Gutierrez filed the order at the Supreme Court against the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Rosemary Tyrrell, giving Ms Tyrrell until Tuesday, November 22 to comply. The order follows a decision by the information commissioner that the PS failed to respond within the statutory six-week timeframe to a person who asked her to conduct an internal review of a Pati decision made by the Judicial Department. Ms Tyrrell is one of three senior civil servants who haven’t complied with the Public Access to Information Act and been criticised by Ms Gutierrez in decisions posted on her office’s website in recent weeks. The first was the financial secretary, Anthony Manders, who also did not provide an internal review decision to a Pati requester within the six weeks set out in the legislation. The case involved a Pati request to the Customs Department for personnel records and the FS eventually released a decision during the commissioner’s review. The most recent was Valerie Robinson-James, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education. As reported last week by this newspaper, the Ministry of Education failed to respond to a Pati request from The Royal Gazette within six weeks and Ms Robinson-James then failed to provide an internal review decision. The PS later apologized for not sharing the outcome of her review and issued a decision. The independent commissioner, in her decision regarding Ms Tyrrell, reveals that on February 24 this year, an individual, who remains anonymous, asked the Judicial Department for “records about the data supporting its performance measure outcomes”. The performance measure outcomes are listed each year in the government’s Budget book and include items such as how many trials have taken place and how many court cases were recorded by the court recording system (100 per cent in 2014, according to the last Budget book). The Pati requester, in this case, received a decision from the Judicial Department on April 13 and asked Ms Tyrrell, as head of the public authority, for an internal review of that decision on May 26. When an internal review decision wasn’t given within six weeks, the requester appealed the case to the information commissioner and she launched a review, asking the Judicial Department to comment. According to Ms Gutierrez: “The Judicial Department chose not to provide relevant submissions to the information commissioner for consideration in this review.” She said in her decision that the Judicial Department accepted it did not respond to the applicant’s request for an internal review within the required timeframe. She added: “The Judicial Department was invited by my office to make submissions on the application several times in September and October 2016. Although a reasonable opportunity to make representations was provided . . . no relevant submissions were received explaining why an internal review decision was not issued by the Judicial Department within the statutory timeframe.” Her court order, filed on November 1, states that the permanent secretary shall conduct the internal review and issue a decision to the applicant, copied to the commissioner, by November 22. The commissioner’s decision states: “If the Judicial Department fails to comply with this decision, the information commissioner has the authority to pursue enforcement in the same manner as an order of the Supreme Court.” If an internal review decision is not issued by November 22, the commissioner could launch contempt of court proceedings against the PS, much as Ombudsman Arlene Brock did against the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Hamilton in 2013 for failing to cooperate with one of her investigations. According to the Public Access to Information Act, a decision of the commissioner is “binding on all persons affected by it”. The Judicial Department has the right to seek judicial review of the commissioner’s decision. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Legal Affairs declined to comment yesterday, as did Ms Gutierrez. The Pati Act became law on April 1, 2015. Michael Dunkley said last week that “challenges” seen so far in relation to requests being dealt with in a timely manner were “because those public officers have other things they are doing as well”. The Premier told this newspaper during a Facebook live chat with readers: “That’s one of the things we have to look at: how we improve the efficiency of it.” He said: “Sometimes, if people have other responsibilities they have to do ... it’s going to take some time. That’s why we built in that timeframe and that’s why we have to look at that to make sure we got it right.”

November 16.  Premier Michael Dunkley’s trip to the UK to attend the Joint Ministerial Council Meetings cost just over $10,000. The Premier traveled to London with Cabinet Secretary Derrick Binns on October 30 to take part in the annual gathering of leaders from the UK Overseas Territories and returned on November 3. According to details released on the Government’s ministerial expenses website, the total cost of air travel was $5,447, while the accommodation bill was $2,692. Just over $680 was spent on ground transport during the trip and a further $1,200 amounted to expenses for Mr Dunkley’s annual reception for Bermudians living in the capital. A summary of the trip states: “The annual meetings bring together the leaders of the UK Overseas Territories with UK Ministers to discuss and address issues of concern, including the UK withdrawal from the European Union, Health, Environment, and the ongoing relationship between the UK and its territories. “While at the meeting, the OT Leaders were introduced to the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. In addition, Leaders met with the UK Parliamentary Environment Select Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee. The Premier was accompanied by the Director of the Bermuda London Office and UK Representative Kimberley Durrant and Secretary to the Cabinet Derrick Binns.”

November 16. A biopharmaceutical company with cancer treatment drugs in development that has relocated from Switzerland to Bermuda expects its on-island staffing level to eventually be in double-digits. Sellas Life Sciences Group has started the process of assembling its Bermudian-based team, which includes a chief financial officer already on the island. Going forward, the company is looking to build a larger presence at its offices at O’Hara House, on Bermudiana Road. And it is hoped the arrival of Sellas, which was announced yesterday, will encourage other companies in the biopharmaceutical sector to set-up or relocate to Bermuda. “I’m excited to bring a new business to the island, and hopefully we can be a shining star and attract others to Bermuda,” said Angelos Stergiou, chief executive officer of Sellas. He believes Bermuda has the potential to attract biotech and ‘big pharma’ businesses, and he was complimentary of the way Bermuda facilitated a quick, streamlined process for Sellas to redomicile. Dr Stergiou said the company encountered almost no bureaucracy as it moved its head office to the island. The process took less than six months. The island’s receptiveness to new business was something Dr Stergiou had been made aware of by Equilibria Capital, the largest shareholder of Sellas. Equilibria is an asset-management company that set up in Bermuda in 2011. “They encouraged us to consider re-domiciling to the island,” he said, adding that Equilibria has spoken “very highly” of Bermuda and its business environment, but it was something he wanted to check for himself. He did so through meetings with the Bermuda Business Development Agency and Bermuda Government officials. “I came out of the meetings highly encouraged,” he said. “We have found it easy to set up our business here and would wholeheartedly encourage other biotech companies to consider moving to the island.” Dr Stergiou said there had been key factors behind the decision to redomicile. One was the island’s proximity to the US and its significant market. The company also has an office in New York. Being based in an English-speaking jurisdiction was a further consideration for the company. Additionally, Dr Stergiou said: “We could find great talent on the island. It is important to have that talent — people who have worked in the world of finance.” He mentioned Bermuda’s strong legal system, political stability, infrastructure, its quality workforce and the corporate tax structure as other considerations. Looking at the wider picture for the biotech and big pharma sector in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in last week’s US presidential elections, Dr Stergiou noted the market’s positive reaction to the prospect of the new administration. “Biotech and biopharmaceutical is recession proof. With the incoming administration our sector will benefit.” Sellas was founded in 2012, and has 13 full-time staff, based in Bermuda and New York. The company focuses on the treatment of various cancers through its immunotherapy agent, called galinpepimut-S, developed at, and licensed from, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. In a statement, Sellas said the effectiveness of the agent in treating cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia and malignant pleural mesothelioma in phase two clinical trials has been “very encouraging”. The company is now ready to enter into the final stage of clinical testing, phase three, for both of these indications. Sellas also has ongoing trials targeting ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, and will also enter into clinical studies for glioblastoma multiforme and chronic myelogenous leukaemia shortly. “Sellas’ cancer treatment immunotherapies are potentially applicable to over 25 types of cancers and could have a material impact on the way that cancers are treated,” the company said in a statement. Dr Stergiou, who is in the process of moving to Bermuda, said: “It is a great island to do business. I’m particularly excited about giving support to the island to encourage companies to come to Bermuda.” Regarding the move, Daniel Tafur, partner at Equilibria, said: “We are delighted that Sellas has moved its headquarters to Bermuda. We are confident that the company will find the island an excellent base from which to grow and continue to develop and commercialize its innovative cancer therapies.” Ross Webber, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, said: “We have been working for a while to attract biotech and life-science companies to Bermuda, and the move here by Sellas is a very positive development that not only creates jobs but also helps diversify our economy. The BDA has worked with Sellas and its advisers for nearly six months, and we are proud to see them establish a physical presence on the island. It brings new jobs for Bermudians immediately, and we fully expect more will follow.”

November 16. The hi-tech all-electric BMW i3 is to be launched in Bermuda this weekend. And Bermuda Motors will showcase its full range of electric and hybrid vehicles at its Eco Auto Show, believed to be the first of its kind on the island. Krishna King, general manager of the car dealers, said: “We invite the community to come along and plug into the future. The vast improvements in technology over the past few years have made green cars a real alternative to gas-powered vehicles and we’re looking forward to showcasing the choice we offer Bermuda drivers in electric and hybrid vehicles.” The event, to be held at Bull’s Head car park in Hamilton on Saturday between 10am and 3pm, will also feature a special one-day offer of up to 30 per cent off selected regular models from BMW, Ford, Toyota and Kia. Visitors will be able to test drive the i3, already seen on Bermuda’s roads as part of the America’s Cup fleet of vehicles, on a special rooftop track. The show will also feature the electric Kia Soul EV, the Lexus CT200h and Toyota Prius c. And it will feature a free continental breakfast between 10am and 11am, a fun castle for children, food and drink stalls as well as displays highlighting environmental awareness and energy efficiency from charity BEST, Belco, The Green House and Bermuda Air Conditioning. DJ Power Girl will broadcast live from the event. Mr King said: “The i3 generates zero emissions and no odors — but feels just as dynamic to drive as you’d expect a BMW to be. Just dipping the accelerator is enough to deploy full torque and pull away powerfully in near silence.”

November 16. A same-day delivery website has launched in Bermuda, selling drug paraphernalia and detailing a potent new method of smoking cannabis. Addiction specialist Gita Blakeney Saltus said she was taken aback at the “brazen” nature of the Vape Bermuda website which claims that “discretion and privacy for our customers is our main concern”. The business — whose logo incorporates Bermuda’s geographical outline — sells items priced at up to $250, including natural vaporizers, electronic vaporizers, hemp wick, bongs, grinders, smoking masks and scales. It promises to deliver all products in unmarked bags “so no one has to know what you are ordering, or who you are ordering from”, and payment can be made either online with a card or in person with cash. Section 9 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972 states: “No person shall have in his possession any pipe, equipment or apparatus fit and intended for use in connection with the misuse of a controlled drug or the preparation of any such drug for misuse. “It is an offence for a person to have in his possession a pipe, equipment or apparatus.” There is also a section dedicated to “dabbing” — which Livescience.com says allows users to inhale a more concentrated form of cannabis through the use of butane hash oil. According to Theweedblog.com, the method emerged in recent years in the western United States, with one contributor claiming it “gets you really high, really fast”. An embedded YouTube video at Vape Bermuda, titled “How to Dab”, features a man wearing a hoodie, surgical gloves and a ghost mask similar to that seen in the 1996 horror film Scream. The man, whose voice has been altered to hide his identity, points out cannabis resin strains on a table such as Trainwreck Wax, Blueberry Express and Red Eye Jedi — as well as Moonrocks, which is considered one of the strongest existing forms of cannabis. He explains how to “dab” through a bong, before heating the glass equipment and inhaling smoke for the camera. Vape Bermuda has proven popular on Instagram, with more than 2,500 followers. The majority of its posts on the social network site showcase items for sale, and contain hashtags such as #smokeweedeveryday, #potheads and #onlysmokethefinest. Gita Blakeney Saltus, executive director of Smith’s-based addiction charity Pathways Bermuda, expressed her surprise at the “in your face” approach of the Bermudian website. “It’s very disturbing and shocking that this exists. It’s so brazen, in a way I’ve never seen,” she said. “I can’t believe that this is in plain sight and someone’s able to start a business around it.” The Royal Gazette contacted both Vape Bermuda and the Bermuda Police Service for comment, but did not receive a response from either by the time of going to press.

November 16. A former British Army regular soldier has launched a new name in security services on the island. Kyle Powell, a former soldier in the Royal Anglian Regiment, explained he saw a gap in the market in Bermuda after he returned home — and finally decided to set up Sentinel Defense Group. Mr Powell, 38, said: “I got the ball rolling last year, but I was travelling so much to the UK, I only really got going late this year. “What I saw was an opportunity to make security a profession, rather than a retirement hustle or a weekend hustle. “What I wanted to do is raise the bar to UK standards — UK Security Industry Authority standards. I see a chance to turn security into more of a profession.” Sentinel, with a staff of around 10 plus more on call if needed, offers a range of security services, in addition to traditional stewarding for bars and clubs, venue and events security and residential and commercial work, like patrols and static security. The company also provides security consultancy, executive security chauffeuring, close protection and bodyguard services, as well as medical first response, including personnel trained in CPR and the use of defibrillators. Mr Powell, known as Billy, said: “I saw a gap in the market because I saw security companies charging exorbitant rates and just sticking anyone on site. We try and practice preventive security. Most companies are reactive — they only have someone on site to record and report, rather than stopping something happening. We’re trying to be more proactive and more professionally trained. All my employees are conflict management trained, first aid and CPR trained, background checked and licensed by the Bermuda Police Service, which some don’t do. They also wear body cameras and use techniques to prevent situations escalating. A lot of bars and clubs are using unlicensed operatives and they don’t understand that liability that goes with that. Hiring a fully-registered and trained company minimizes that risk. You have to able to justify the use of force and you have to able to conduct yourself in a professional manner. What people have to understand is if they hire unlicensed security, they are liable for anything they do on their premises.” Mr Powell, who worked in property management for an international company before creating Sentinel, said that, in addition to his military experience, he had completed specialist security courses in Britain. He added: “Some of the training I did in the military definitely lends itself to security — crowd control, observation, things like that. All of that helps when dealing with large crowds. A lot of the private training I have done since I left the military has pushed me towards forming my own company. I just decided that, because I have done so many security courses over the years, I would give it a go rather than be stuck working for someone else forever.” Mr Powell said that some services, like close protection and body guarding, would be a niche market in Bermuda, although he predicted the America’s Cup next year might see higher demand for executive protection. "There’s not much demand for it, but if someone wants it, it’s there. I’m a licensed close protection operative from the UK Security Industry Authority. We may have people coming here who might bring a security team with them. I imagine with the America’s Cup, there will be a few people who might want some guys with them and use us instead. I hope to develop the company so I can have young Bermudians who are willing to do the courses and make a profession of it.”

November 15. Introducing temporary casinos during the America’s Cup would boost the island’s tourism product while helping unemployed Bermudians, Shawn Crockwell has claimed. The newly independent MP said that, while some people were “over the moon” about the June 2017 sailing event, he had witnessed plenty of indifference among the population as well. The former One Bermuda Alliance tourism minister expressed his disappointment that Government had not heeded his proposal to introduce temporary casino licences during the 35th edition of the yacht race. “We will have thousands of people which means converging on this island — some millionaires or even billionaires,” he said yesterday in the House of Assembly. “Just imagine the buzz if we could provide a quality, temporary casino experience for our guests. What an opportunity to get this new industry on the go.” Mr Crockwell said that the necessary businesspeople had declared their interest in his proposal, which would also prove hugely beneficial to any individuals on the island who were struggling financially. He recounted a visit to the Atlantis hotel casino in the Bahamas, where he had seen a blackjack dealer make $400 in tips in just two hours, and insisted that this scenario could be replicated here. “We could train unemployed Bermudians not just for a job, but for a career. And they would be lining up for that opportunity. And even if they didn’t get employment in Bermuda, they could go to the United Kingdom (to find further casino work). That would create something that’s missing in our community — hope — and would get the average Bermudian buying into the benefit of the America’s Cup.”

November 15. Argo International Holdings has struck a $235 million deal to buy Ariel Re in an all-Bermuda insurance combination. And it appears that job cuts on the island are not high on the agenda for the merged company. A spokesman for Argo said: “Cost savings were not a major driver in the rationale for the acquisition of Ariel Re, rather we are excited about bringing two significantly complementary businesses together. “Both teams will have a significant role to play in bringing our platforms together for the benefit of our customers.” Ariel Re employs around 100 people and has offices in Victoria Place, Hamilton. Argo, whose headquarters is on Pitts Bay Road, said the deal, which will see Argo’s reinsurance arm combine with Ariel Re, was expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to regulatory approvals. Mark Watson, CEO of Argo, said: “Ariel Re is a terrific fit for Argo Group — operationally and culturally. We remain focused on delivering enhanced shareholder value. This transaction enables us to build on the successes realized individually by Argo Group and Ariel Re, utilizing our combined strength to deploy capital in selected areas to produce maximum return and continued growth.” Mr Watson added: “Under the leadership of Jose Hernandez, head of Argo Group’s international business, the combination of Ariel Re and Argo Re will result in a market-leading business and will make a meaningful and immediate contribution to earnings and return on equity.” He said that the acquisition was part of Argo Group’s bid to build scale in its London and Bermuda-based platforms by adding complementary lines of special business. Mr Watson added that, after the deal goes through, Argo Group will have “a well-balanced portfolio mix” of about 88 per insurance and 12 per cent reinsurance. The transaction is claimed to provide Argo with added diversification, which will help to improve its ability to manage through changing market cycles. And the company said that other benefits, like Ariel Re’s “unique modelling and risk analysis tools”, would enhance Argo’s underwriting analytics. Mr Hernandez said: “Ariel Re is a group of proven insurance experts who rely on deep domain expertise, rigorous research and development and innovative thinking — values and capabilities that align with those of Argo Group.” Ryan Mather, CEO of Ariel Re, said: “Argo Group have long been supporters of Ariel Re and we are delighted to take this relationship forward by bringing Ariel Re under the Argo banner. There is great synergy between the teams from both companies and we are looking forward to working together to strengthen the offering for our clients.” Ariel Re is jointly owned by Banco BTG Pactual and the Abu Dhabi Investment Council and underwrites a global portfolio of insurance and reinsurance business through Lloyd’s Syndicate 1910. The company said it’s business is well-diversified by distribution, regional exposure and peril and that it had achieved “superior returns by sourcing low-frequency/higher severity high margin business”. Ratings agency Standard & Poors said that the US long-term ratings of Argo were unaffected by the move. The firm said: “SWE believe the acquisition’s size is relatively small on a net basis. While financial leverage, on a pro forma basis, will increase to around 26 per cent, we expect prospective capitalization to remain very strong, leverage to decline in part through accrued earnings and fixed charge coverage to remain above four times, which is consistent with our assessment of a strong financial risk profile.”

November 15. The Bermuda Monetary Authority registered a total of four new insurance companies last month. Zurich Management (Bermuda), Kuvare Life Re, Offshore Reinsurer (Bermuda) and Windhaven Insurance all joined the BMA register. The year to October showed a total of 29 new insurers and 13 new intermediary firms. There were five insurance applications reviewed in October. Two of the applications were approved, two applications were deferred and one application was withdrawn. Registration/licensing of approved insurance entities is subsequent to the Assessment and Licensing Committee application process and may be confirmed in future periods.

November 15. Voters in Warwick South Central, Constituency 26, will return to the polls on December 20 to choose a replacement for Marc Bean, the former Leader of the Opposition who retired from politics this month. The Parliamentary Registrar informed this morning that Acting Governor Ginny Ferson has issued a writ of election, paving the way for the Progressive Labour Party and the ruling One Bermuda Alliance to make official their candidates for an area seen to be a PLP stronghold. Nomination day will be on December 5. Bean defeated photographer Ras Mykkal by 507-272 in the 2012 General Election, when there was a 66 per cent turnout from 1,191 registered voters in the area. Registration for voters living in Constituency 26 will close on Monday at 5pm. Voters can register online at www.elections.gov.bm or at the Parliamentary Registration office in Craig Appin House, third floor, 8 Wesley Street, Hamilton. The polling place on by-election day will be St Mary’s Church Hall.

November 15. One Bermuda Alliance MP Mark Pettingill has criticised the Progressive Labour Party’s approach to legalizing cannabis possession in small quantities as “ill-founded and wrong”. After new Opposition leader David Burt delivered his party’s Throne Speech response yesterday, backbencher Mr Pettingill rebuked the PLP for oversimplifying its proposed overhaul of cannabis laws. Speaking in the House of Assembly, Mr Burt said: “The criminalisation of our citizens for minor, non-violent possession is an open sore on our society, damaging the lives of hundreds of Bermudians, young and old.” The PLP leader added that many people had been “obstructed from years of real opportunity” after having their criminal records blemished by a cannabis possession charge. And he suggested that the issue needed to be addressed as a matter of fairness, given that black people were significantly more likely than white people to be arrested, charged and convicted for the offence. “The OBA has had time to lead on this issue, and they have failed. Therefore the PLP will table a Bill to remove criminal penalties for simple cannabis possession below a prescribed amount.” While agreeing that the law needed changing, Mr Pettingill claimed that the Opposition’s stated solution to the problem was vague and unworkable. He insisted that Bermuda should adopt a “stepping stone” approach to the issue, noting that California had just legalized recreational marijuana use — but only after introducing laws providing for medicinal use of the drug. The OBA MP also stressed the importance of regulating cannabis in areas such as production and tax, in much the same way as the alcohol industry. Pointing out that the Reply contained no specifics on quantities or penalties pertaining to cannabis, he added: “Here’s the problem: you have to get the cannabis from a drug dealer, which is illegal. It’s a sound bite that you wouldn’t be able to make work.” Nandi Outerbridge, the Government whip, called decriminalization “a step up from the current caution policy” but questioned the extent to which the Opposition had engaged in consultation on the issue. However, Ms Outerbridge agreed with the PLP that the majority of persons disadvantaged by the policy were young black men. A rethink of Bermuda’s cannabis laws has been in the works for some time, with Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, putting the caution policy out for public input earlier this year.

November 15. David Burt, the new Leader of the Progressive Labour Party, delivered a forceful Reply to the Throne Speech yesterday, charging the One Bermuda Alliance with failing in its 2012 electoral pledges, while vowing tighter governance and oversight to a returned Progressive Labour Party administration. Delivering his maiden public speech since assuming leadership, Mr Burt castigated the OBA’s policies as outdated and catering to elites. The reply won an enthusiastic reception in the PLP ranks after a trying year for an Opposition split by infighting over leadership. Standout proposals included a Child Poverty Act, decriminalizing cannabis in small quantities, and tougher environmentally friendly regulations. Telling MPs that the party had learnt during its “humbling” loss of the Government, the Opposition leader also presented familiar policies from the Vision 2025 plan — emphasizing economic diversification and dismantling “structural imbalances” that favored foreign labour over Bermudian workers. Good governance and oversight were other strong points in a Reply that included campaign finance laws and tackling weak areas that left the political process “subject to abuse by those who seek to use wealth, influence or intimidation to obtain political or economic power”. Noted that his Reply would likely be the last before a General Election, Mr Burt told the House that the departure of Bermudians unable to afford life on the island stood as a “stinging indictment” of the OBA’s four years. He savaged the OBA’s electoral pledge to create 2,000 jobs — charging that 2,124 had instead been lost — and attacked the governing party over rising national debt, healthcare and the cost of living. Pledging to stimulate jobs with a cut in payroll tax, he echoed previous Opposition calls for embracing new technology, with an Economic Diversification Unit to fast-track a new primary industry yielding 5 per cent of GDP, with three new secondary industries giving at least 2 per cent by 2025. A Bermuda Fund seeded from pension funds would be run to develop local businesses. Again, the Opposition proposes installing a technology incubator at Southside. Bermudian workers, he said, stood to benefit if employers were required to give occupational pensions to their work-permit staff, while the Opposition echoed previous calls for a condensed and simplified system for entrepreneurs to start businesses. The Reply gave a nod to international business with a call to collaborate with the industry, keeping the island’s products and regulations ahead of competing jurisdictions. A revenue and government earnings commission was called for, with the implementation of Sage recommendations to target inefficiency. In education, Mr Burt reiterated PLP calls to phase out middle schools, boost scholarships and grow “signature schools” at the secondary level, catering to different learning styles. A frequent-flyer plan for Government travel would be turned to the benefit of students. The National Health Plan would be reinstated, with incentives brought to expand competition in local insurance, while medical cannabis and a sugar tax were proposed. Turning to growth in tourism numbers, Mr Burt took aim at the developments often touted by the Government as proof of economic turnaround, telling the House that the projects had been lured through a “false economy” of concessions and government guarantees. The Reply also committed to bipartisan immigration reform — which Mr Burt said would include the OBA, to maintain consistent and fair immigration policy. Social ills inflamed by the long recession also featured highly, particularly tackling the plight of black males. Proposals include prioritizing the Job Corps programme, and bringing in Equality Impact Assessments to assist in policy development. He called for a reform of Financial Assistance so that clients could keep money earned through jobs on the side, instead of forfeiting part of their awards — and said the PLP would look at greater maternity benefits, with an allowance for paternity leave. The PLP Government proposed a new category of dwelling unit, restricted from car registration, as a modest housing option that could boost construction. Mandatory recycling, plus a charge on single-use plastic bags, were promised, with a pledge to examine a deposit system for beverage containers. The OBA’s airport deal came up for lengthy critique, in a “segue” into promises heavy on extra governmental scrutiny: oversight committees, a stronger Public Accounts Committee, and legislation toughening integrity in public office — as well as giving Bermuda’s voters the power to initiate referendums. “Better scrutiny and better oversight will lead to better results and outcomes for the people of Bermuda,” Mr Burt said, closing with a call for disillusioned OBA supporters to find a place in the PLP — and a “new phase in Bermuda politics” that would break from the parliamentary bickering that has wearied voters.

November 15. The Caroline Bay marina project has been tipped as the next big berthing destination for superyacht owners. The luxury development at the Morgan’s Point property, scheduled to open in March ahead of the America’s Cup, will bring an influx of yachts to the western side of the island. While attending the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show last week, Caroline Bay Marina principal and director Craig Christensen and Ralph Richardson, the marina’s new chief executive officer, were interviewed by the online magazine Superyachts.com.  The magazine said Bermuda is shaping up to become “the next big charter and berthing destination for superyacht owners”. Mr Richardson told the publication: “It’s been years since there’s been a major marina development in Bermuda and this is the largest that’s ever taken place. This will be the first time there will be a multi-facility for superyachts. We’ll be able to take about 30 to 40 superyachts at our site and we’re really excited.” Mr Christensen said: “We are actually putting it on the map. We’re really helping to reposition Bermuda working with the tourism authority with the view of becoming a real high-end destination, and that’s what we’re becoming now.”

November 15. A teacher looks set to be awarded damages after winning a groundbreaking legal battle against the Minister of Education for the way she was treated while working at CedarBridge Academy. In the first case of its kind in the Bermuda Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled that the ministry had breached its duty of care to Karen Clemons that resulted in her suffering high blood pressure. In a judgment handed down yesterday, 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. The plaintiff has liberty to apply for the hearing of the assessment of damages phase of the trial,” the Chief Justice added. Ms Clemons welcomed the ruling and confirmed that she would be pursuing damages. “Overall I am pleased with the ruling especially given that I am a litigant in person, and represented myself against Crown counsel. As the Chief Justice said, this case was the first of its kind and I hope that it starts an open dialogue on these issues. I want to thank all the people that supported me and gave evidence in this case.” 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. She blamed the conditions primarily on principal Kalmar Richards and alleged that her complaints were ignored, she was given insufficient information about students and subjected to a campaign of psychological warfare and harassment, which included having her car towed away off the school campus. At trial Ms Richards rejected any suggestion she had treated Ms Clemons unfairly let alone in a bullying manner. And Mr Chief Justice Kawaley noted in his judgment: “Kalmar Richards was a credible witness who gave her evidence in a straightforward manner despite being cast by the plaintiff as the villain in this piece of litigation.” In his judgment the Chief Justice said he had “little difficulty” concluding that the defendant had breached its duty of care by failing to prevent Ms Clemons’ harm to her health. He said: “I find that the plaintiff has established that she suffered a physical illness; high blood pressure, from which she suffered between 2004 and 2006. In my judgment it ought to have been obvious that the plaintiff needed support. The severe, if not draconian penalty of being placed on review based on the procedurally flawed and substantively unfair 2003-2004 evaluation, was almost guaranteed to provoke an extreme and negative emotional response on the plaintiff’s part.” At yesterday’s brief hearing, counsel Norman MacDonald, representing the Minister of Education, argued that the defendant had substantially won the case and Ms Clemons had only won on one very narrow point. He also maintained that she should pay 90 per cent of the defendant’s costs. Mr Justice Kawaley reserved the issues of costs, which will be decided at a later hearing.

November 14. New York (AFP) - President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to move aggressively on a conservative agenda in filling Supreme Court vacancies, cracking down on immigration and cutting taxes, but also sought to reassure worried Americans they have nothing to fear from his presidency. Setting aside the strident tone of his campaign, the 70-year-old assumed a gentler manner in his first television interview since his shock election, saying he was "saddened" by reports of harassment of Muslims and Hispanics, and telling the perpetrators: "Stop It." The interview with CBS's "60 Minutes," which was taped Friday and aired in full Sunday, offered Trump an opportunity to reintroduce himself after an ugly, name-calling campaign and surprise victory that sparked protests in cities across the United States. "I just don't think they know me," the billionaire real estate mogul said at one point, of the thousands of protesters who have massed in streets below his Trump Tower headquarters. Told that many Americans are scared of his presidency, Trump said: "Don't be afraid. We are going to bring our country back." Conservative agenda. Millions were expected to tune in to Trump's interview for clues on how the billionaire will govern, and to what degree he intends to convert his slogans into policy. Trump earlier Sunday named anti-establishment firebrand Steve Bannon his top strategist and senior Republican Reince Priebus his White House chief of staff, blending pragmatism with a rabble-rousing edge in the first appointments of his new administration. On the issues, however, Trump made it clear he intends to aggressively push a right-wing agenda, pledging to name justices to the Supreme Court who are against abortion and for gun rights. "The judges will be pro-life," Trump told CBS. "In terms of the whole gun situation," he added, "they're going to be very pro-Second Amendment." He will have an immediate opportunity to fill a vacancy on the court left by the death of arch conservative justice Antonin Scalia. President Barack Obama's attempt to fill the seat was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate. On immigration, Trump reaffirmed his signature campaign pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico, although he conceded parts of it may be just a fence. And he said as many as three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records would be deported or incarcerated. "What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers. We have a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate," he said. Conciliatory notes. He left the door open, however, on the fate of the millions of other immigrants in the country illegally. "After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized, we're going to make a determination on the people that you're talking about who are terrific people," he said. Immigration, he said, was one of three top legislative priorities he has discussed with House Speaker Paul Ryan, the others being action to undo Obama's signature health care reform and a bill to cut taxes and simplify the tax code. Trump had previously indicated he would keep some aspects of Obamacare, including a ban on insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. He also signaled that he would not seek to overturn the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. "It's law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it's done," Trump said when asked if he supports marriage equality. "And I'm -- I'm fine with that," he added. He also confirmed he would forgo the $400,000 salary that comes with the office of US president. "I'm not going to take the salary. I'm not taking it," he said. "I think I have to by law take $1, so I'll take $1 a year," he added. In a call to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump told the leader he believes they will have "one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward," according to a statement released by the president-elect's team early Monday. Trump -- who frequently savaged China on the campaign trail and threatened to impose a 45-percent tariff on Chinese-made goods -- agreed to meet "at an early date" to discuss the relationship, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said. Conspiracy-mongering. While Trump has veered on some pledges, his choice of Bannon as top strategist suggests he intends to preserve his populist edge. Bannon, who was campaign chairman in the final months of the Trump campaign, is CEO of the right-wing, conspiracy-mongering Breitbart News website known for withering attacks on the Republican elite. It has railed against everything from Muslim immigrants to women, once telling females facing online harassment to go away and stop "screwing up the internet for men." Priebus, meanwhile, is a seasoned political operative and head of the Republican National Committee, with close ties to Ryan, the House speaker.

Monday, November 14. Premier Michael Dunkley has accused a union leader of “irresponsible” comments about this year’s Throne Speech. The Premier said during a live online question- and-answer session with readers of The Royal Gazette that he did not think Mike Charles, general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, had read the speech before branding it a “bunch of platitudes”. He said: “There’s some good stuff in there; you can’t just dismiss it.” His comments came as he responded to a question from a reader about whether he sent his own children to public school. Mr Dunkley replied no, adding that his daughters, now grown up, went to Saltus before attending school abroad, a decision driven by a desire for them to have the best education they could get. “It’s a good political question,” he said. “They should ask every politician that, but I don’t think it comes into the equation. Where you send your children to school is a family decision. It should be the aspiration of every child to go on and get a further degree.” He insisted that if he had school-age children now he would consider sending them to public school, despite acknowledging that it had “its challenges”. Pointing to this year’s graduates from the Berkeley Institute, the majority of whom were going on to higher education abroad, he said: “You can get a good education in the public system here. We complain about stuff sometimes because we like to complain about stuff. Let’s not make any excuses about public or private. Let’s drive it. You need to have family and friends to help drive the children.” Turning to Mr Charles’s remarks about the Throne Speech, which includes a pledge for a strategic plan on education, he said: “We have to hold everybody in the system accountable. I’m going to push the envelope a bit far here this morning. I consider those [Mr Charles’s] comments irresponsible.” Education was just one of the topics raised by readers in the 40-minute Facebook Live session with the Premier on Thursday, which focused on Throne Speech initiatives. Another reader asked Mr Dunkley if he thought there ought to be reparations for the island’s black population for the wrongs of the past. The Premier said: “Reparations is a subject that has come up from time to time but it’s not something that’s high on the radar in Bermuda at the present time.” He said he would rather the community at large had a discussion to understand what it meant before he would commit one way or another. Asked if distributing reparations would be the fair and just thing to do, Mr Dunkley replied: “The jury is out on that.” The Throne Speech promises to introduce absentee voting before the next general election for students abroad and those getting medical treatment overseas. A reader asked why that was not being extended to all Bermudians who were resident overseas; Mr Dunkley replied that locals on the island would need to be consulted before that happened. To extend the franchise in that way would be to considerably expand the voter base, he said, and it was vital to ensure all potential consequences, including unintentional ones, were carefully considered. Other topics under discussion during the chat included public access to information legislation, which was enacted in April 2015. “We’ll have to improve as we move along,” he said, admitting that some information officers tasked with handling Pati requests were struggling to do so in a timely manner. “It’s easy to ask a question,” he said. “Some of the questions require detailed research.” The One Bermuda Alliance leader told readers that climate change was on the Government’s agenda, although not mentioned directly in the Throne Speech. But he acknowledged public “doubt” about the emissions control testing being done for TCD. “We are taking emissions testing but we are not using them in the appropriate way,” he said, adding that the island had set targets to meet.

November 14. More than $24,000 has been spent on security for the residences of Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and Senator Michael Fahy, the House of Assembly heard this morning. The home of Mr Fahy, the tourism and transport minister, was secured at a price tag of $12,491 as of 2013, while the Premier’s home was dealt with to the tune of $11,775. The figures came from Mr Dunkley, responding to parliamentary questions from Progressive Labour Party MP Derrick Burgess. Mr Dunkley added that he had personally carried some costs to work at his house, since it would remain in place after he had stepped down from office. The Premier was also asked who had authorised the investigation of Ewart Brown, the former premier, which has run up a cost of $2 million as of June. Mr Dunkley replied that only the Commissioner of Police could commence and conclude the criminal investigation, which began in 2012.

November 14. National security minister Senator Jeff Baron has encouraged respected community figures to step forward as “moral voices” to help in the fight against gang violence. In last week’s Throne Speech, the Government announced its intention to resurrect Operation Ceasefire, a “community-collaborative initiative”, which has been proven effective in reducing gang warfare in the United States. The programme appoints “moral voices” — such as former gangsters, those who have lost loved ones to gang violence and members of the clergy — to share their thoughts and experiences with young offenders, or those at risk of following that path. “Operation Ceasefire aims to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks, while simultaneously removing the attraction to the gang lifestyle,” said Mr Baron of the initiative, which originally launched in Bermuda in 2013 but faded from view. It’s telling them that this pipe dream they have of a glamorous, moneymaking lifestyle is complete garbage.” As part of Operation Ceasefire, gang members looking to leave the lifestyle behind are provided with workable exit strategies. “We need to make sure that we’re giving them positive and realistic off-ramps,” he said. Mr Baron emphasised that far from being a “fluffy” approach to gang violence, Operation Ceasefire allowed the law-abiding community to directly voice its displeasure with those involved in illicit activity. “This isn’t a battle just between law enforcement and criminals — it transcends that. That’s why ‘moral voices’ are so critical because the community members themselves are saying to gang members enough is enough, what you are doing is not acceptable and if you want to stop, we will help you.”

November 14. The Bermuda Police Service have issued a statement encouraging businesses to “design crime out” of their premises to help deter illegal trespassing. The statement came after police were accused of not adequately responding to such activity on a Somerset property. The police responded to complaints made by supermarket owner Frank Arnold, who claimed the force was “failing to enforce the law” against those “loitering” on his property in the Warren Simmons Community Field area. Mr Arnold said the problem had persisted for some 30 years and despite all his efforts the situation remains the same. He has now hired a security firm “at large expense” to help deal with the problem. The Royal Gazette ran a story last month highlighting Mr Arnold’s concerns that groups were loitering and allegedly soliciting drugs with little or no police response. After questions from this newspaper, the BPS eventually came forward with the following response: “The Somerset area of the Warren Simmons Community Field has a longstanding history of attracting people to congregate and socialize near by. The antisocial element of those groups, unfortunately, adversely impacts the community and area businesses. In this way, the area is sadly not the only one across Bermuda that experiences this problem. The BPS is aware of the perennial issues, particularly in neighborhoods where alcohol is sold for off-licence consumption, and over the years we have taken enforcement action where it is justified and lawful to do so. We know that alcohol and antisocial behavior are inextricably linked in our community, and in circumstances where there are no lawful powers for the police to use, we encourage that businesses take an environmental approach to designing crime out from the area. By fostering healthy spaces surrounding licensed premises, incidents of roadside consumption of alcohol are likely to reduce and antisocial behavior is less likely to occur. We also recommended the service of registered letters to ban the most prolific offenders from attending the area’s businesses and causing a nuisance in the area.” Mr Arnold said he was not happy with the response, claiming “the police are doing nothing to enforce the law. If you want to stop someone for trespassing on your property, a policeman cannot serve [notice]. It has to be served by a process server or a registered letter must be sent. I have done this for years. Part of the problem is that we can’t get proper information from the police of who they are and where to send it. From time to time they have helped — it depends on the officer. We never have confirmation from the Post Office whether they received it. We don’t hear back from the people so we are assuming it is served. I have to say I want a summons because they were on my property, I send them a registered letter I want them arrested and I want to take them to court for trespassing on my property. The police never follow through, they don’t do the paperwork to serve the summons for trespassing. I have asked many times.” Mr Arnold, who said he has not been contacted by police in response to the comments he made in this newspaper on October 21, now says that his new security firm, Security Associates, made a recent report in relation to a police visit. He added: “Two officers drive up and the quote from the security firm was that the police officers said they wondered why Arnold’s was calling so much and that they couldn’t stop people from hanging in the bus shelter and they left the premises. There were numerous people loitering in the bus shelter. We had called the police, asked them to do their job and remove them for loitering on public property. As they left there was a smell of weed coming from the area and they refused to do anything — they didn’t talk to them, get out of the car or search anybody, they don’t do anything and when we call them they say why are you calling us?” The BPS did not make reference to specific incidents in its response to questions from this newspaper, but they did add: “Community Action Teams are available at each of the island’s police stations to provide free crime-prevention advice. The police will continue to work with neighborhood residents and business owners to tackle antisocial behavior through a combination of enforcement and prevention measures.”

November 14. There is a strong Bermuda connection to a new book written by women for women, and offering experiences learnt and wisdom gained in a number of business professions. Bermudian Teri Seymour is the author of one of the book’s chapters, while the publication is the second in a series produced by author Jan Fraser, a success coach who splits her time between Bermuda and Las Vegas and works with businesses on the island. Success University for Women in Business goes on sale tomorrow. Sixteen women from six countries have each written a chapter for the book, sharing their insights and wisdoms on the world of work and career progression. Their professional backgrounds range from politics, the military, business, law, accounting, insurance and the environment, to hospitality and hotel management, and the petroleum industry. Ms Seymour’s chapter is written from her perspective as a human resources professional. She has more than 32 years of experience as a director and vice president of human recourses in the hospitality and retail industries, including the former Marriott Castle Harbour Hotel, and Gibbons Company. She said: “My contribution is entitled ‘Increasing Potential’ and the focus is to assist young women in discovering their interests or passion early in life, and creating a road map that will allow them to pursue the required education and training in order to be successful and have a good quality of life.” Ms Seymour also shares advice on preparing for interviews, conduct, goal setting and leadership. She also discusses the importance of recognizing the life an employee has beyond the workplace, and how that can impact job performance. “Compassion and love for our fellow human beings would go a long way in establishing a ‘new norm’ in the workplace,” she said. The book includes a foreword by Patty Aubery, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul. The connection to the hugely popular Chicken Soup series goes deep as Ms Fraser trained with and assists Jack Canfield, the motivational speaker and coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. It was through Ms Fraser that Ms Seymour became involved in the latest Success University for Women book. The two previously worked together on training programmes and became good friends. Ms Fraser and author Catherine Scheers successfully published the book Success University for Women last year, and earlier this year they decided to add a business-focused title to the series. Ms Seymour said: “Jan and I had trained teams together, and she was aware of my experience in the human resources field. She invited me to write a chapter for the book.” Her chapter includes personal vignettes from her life, particularly focused on advice, values, and insights she gained from her grandmother, and what she saw and experienced during her own career. Ms Seymour concludes her chapter by encouraging readers to reach out and help others along the way at every opportunity. Each chapter ends with advice on success strategies identified in the preceding pages “in an effort to assist business women with the necessary advice at their fingertips. I am absolutely certain that all women will greatly benefit by the stories and advice offered in Success University for Women in Business. It is directed towards young women entering the business world, or who are at college and thinking about entering the business world, and it is also for women who are already working in businesses and looking to become more effective.” Writing a chapter for the book is Ms Seymour’s first venture as an author. She now intends to write her own book. “This has encouraged me to write and share my experiences and help others. My second book will be for my granddaughter, but will also be aimed at helping other young girls in their development and learning how to conduct themselves.” Success University for Women in Business will be available in a Kindle edition at Amazon.com from tomorrow, where it can be download for free until it moves to full price on Friday. Advance orders can also be made for the hard copy edition, to be published on November 29. The publishers will donate 10 per cent of book’s revenue to charity, and Success University for Women in Business team will schedule conferences in the future. Hard copies of the book will be made available in Bermuda, although a date for their arrival has yet to be announced. Ms Seymour and Ms Fraser will be happy to sign copies and can be contacted on Facebook.

November 14. A pair of superbly worked second-half tries secured South Africa a sixth title at the World Rugby Classic at the North Field on Saturday night. Tonderai Chavhanga and JP Nel struck the decisive blows that separated the two sides to hand South Africa a deserved 14-0 victory over Argentina. It was the Springboks first title at the Classic since they beat the Pumas 14-7 in another similarly hard-fought win three years ago. Mark Wood, the South Africa coach, has been involved in five of those successes, either as a player or coach, and praised his side for exploiting a tired-looking Argentina down the final straight. “Argentina were defending a lot, getting tired, and one or two gaps opened up and our guys picked those out and capitalized on them,” Wood said. “You have to seize the moment when you get it because Argentina are abrasive and it was a great final. We always thought we could win it as we’re a professional team and I would never bring a team here that I didn’t think could win.” Wood believed it actually benefited his side playing into the wind in the second half after a cagey opening stanza. “It was a very tough first half and a lot of times when you’re playing with the wind, people tend to think the wind will do the job for you. That’s not the case; you actually battle more against the wind and it’s actually easier because you’re not going to knock-on and your whole mindset changes. The boys dug deep and the defence won the game, really.” South Africa broke the deadlock in the 51st minute on the counter when Egon Seconds picked the ball up deep inside his own half and drove at the Argentina defence before releasing Chavhanga with an inviting chip and chase. The South Africa wing then booted the ball farther towards the try line before scooping it up to score, with fly half Monty Dumond kicking the extra points. Chavhanga’s try seemed to open the game up, and, soon after, the Springboks doubled their lead after carving through the Argentina defence with lock JP Nell supplying the finishing touches to a free-flowing passing move. Dumond stepped up to kick his second conversion and tie up his team’s title triumph. Having just a day’s rest after dismantling New Zealand 40-14 in the semi-finals might have explained Argentina’s second-half fatigue, but Rodolfo Ventura, the team’s manager, refused to make excuses. “South Africa were a very strong team and they hit us physically,” said Ventura, whose said were chasing their third title after winning in 1999 and 2011. “Perhaps they knew we didn’t have enough time to recover [from the semi-finals]. There’s no excuse from us, though, and South Africa did very well and deserved the championship. They took advantage of their only two opportunities and that’s important when you’re in a final.”

November 14. The Canadian-born daughter of a Native American chief found and married her husband in Bermuda in 1964 and since her father was the first chief to visit the island the wedding made the front page of The Royal Gazette. Now Nancy Nightingale (née Baker) is back on the island for the first time in 52 years as part of the cultural exchange programme Friendship Force International. Chief Khot la cha — or Chief Kind Heart — part of the 1,000-member Squamish tribe in North Vancouver, visited the island to give his daughter’s hand away to navy man Gerald McDonald at St James Church, Somerset on May 12, 1964. Ms Nightingale was 19 when she traveled by herself across Canada to New York to take a flight to Bermuda and visit her girlfriends. “I loved it so much I stayed and got a job as a secretary to a construction company,” she said. She ended up staying for two years, during which time she met her future husband, Mr McDonald, who was serving in the Navy. They began planning their wedding, which included the invitation of a rather special guest — her father Chief Khot la cha. “My parents came to the wedding and my father was the first Native American chief to visit Bermuda, so we ended up on the front page of the newspaper. It was the first time he had traveled, but after that he loved it so much he was appointed Ambassador for the Native People of Canada through Air Canada. Thanks to Air Canada ,he traveled the world — Europe, New Zealand and Hawaii — promoting our native culture. My husband served in the Navy and spent two tours going to war in Vietnam. He has now passed away. I have two wonderful daughters and I am also blessed with four grandchildren. I now live in North Vancouver where I grew up and also have been promoting our native culture through my Khot-la-cha Art Gallery, where I sell the artwork of our Squamish Nation.” In an interview with The Royal Gazette under the headline “Indian Chief paying visit Here; Daughter’s Wedding”, Chief Khot la cha, born Simon Baker, spoke of a push in the US towards preserving rights for the rights and culture of Native Americans. He said at the time: “At the moment we are fighting the Canadian Government for the confiscation of our land. British Columbia used to belong to us until we were exploited by the French and the British. My grandfather Chief Capilano, petitioned King Edward for full fishing, hunting, educational and land rights.” He also spoke of the history of some of the North Western tribes telling this newspaper: “We have never had wars the way the prairie Indians did with Custer. But the Northern tribes used to raid us and carry off our women and take our men for slaves. And by the way, it was the English who started the idea of scalping, by offering £200 for the head of an enemy during the French and Indian wars.” During her visit, Ms Nightingale has been taking in Bermuda’s cultural delights — she attended the Remembrance Day Parade on Friday and will take part in historic walking tours around the island. She also revisited St James Church.

Sunday, November 13. WASHINGTON (AP) — Steve Bannon, a leading force of the far-right, a flame-throwing media mogul and professional provocateur, a man who made a career out of roiling the establishment from the outside, just landed squarely on the inside. Donald Trump's pick for chief strategist and senior counselor signals the president-elect has no intention of abandoning his brash, outsider instincts as he puts together his new government. Trump didn't give Bannon the top White House job — that went to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Still, Trump made clear Sunday that a man many credit with righting the businessman's campaign — and one others accuse of amplifying a bigoted fringe — would have a plum position in the West Wing. Bannon joined Trump's election team as chief executive late in the campaign, following the departure of Trump's second campaign team in August. He quickly became a member of Trump's inner circle, frequently traveling with the candidate and working to re-shape his message to emphasize Trump's populist and outsider appeal. Bannon came from Breitbart News, an unabashedly pro-Trump outlet that had declared war on GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, with whom Trump will have to work to pass his agenda if Ryan retains his role. But other elements of Bannon's tenure are getting more attention. Under his leadership, the site pushed a nationalist, anti-establishment agenda and became one of the leading outlets of the so-called alt-right — a movement often associated with far-right efforts to preserve "white identity," oppose multiculturalism and defend "Western values." The site specializes in button-pushing, traffic-trolling headlines, including one that called conservative commentator Bill Kristol a "Republican spoiler, renegade Jew." Others asked, "Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?" and "Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy." Bannon has been personally accused of prejudice. His ex-wife said in court papers obtained by The Associated Press that Bannon made anti-Semitic remarks when the two battled over sending their daughters to private school nearly a decade ago. In a sworn court declaration following their divorce, Mary Louise Piccard said her ex-husband had objected to sending their twin daughters to an elite Los Angeles academy because he "didn't want the girls going to school with Jews." Alexandra Preate, a spokeswoman for Bannon, denied he'd ever said such things. Bannon also faced domestic violence charges following an altercation the pair had on New Year's Day 1996 following a spat over money. He was charged in 1996 with misdemeanor witness intimidation, domestic violence with traumatic injury and battery. The charges were dropped after Piccard didn't show up at trial. A Harvard MBA, Bannon began his career as a Goldman Sachs investment banker. He later capitalized on an entertainment industry deal that left him with a share of "Seinfeld" royalties, founded the Government Accountability Institute to ferret out "crony capitalism" and government corruption, and created a number of his own films, including paeans to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the tea party movement and Ronald Reagan. Breitbart's founder, the late Andrew Breitbart, once admiringly described Bannon as the Leni Riefenstahl of the tea party movement, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek profile. Riefenstahl was a filmmaker vilified after World War II for her propaganda pieces about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Breitbart's founder, the late Andrew Breitbart, once admiringly described Bannon as the Leni Riefenstahl of the tea party movement, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek profile. Riefenstahl was a filmmaker vilified after World War II for her propaganda pieces about Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. He was hired by Breitbart News after Breitbart died suddenly in 2012. Unafraid to play favorites, the website early last year prominently featured positive stories about Trump rival Ted Cruz. But as Trump gained momentum later in the year, the site began pumping out pro-Trump stories — and remained a chief proponent of Trump's candidacy through the end of the race. Given his background and reputation, many had expected Bannon's arrival in August to signal a new, caustic phase for the Trump campaign. There were moments. Trump's pre-debate news conference with the women who'd accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault seemed to be signature Bannon. But largely, Trump appeared more comfortable and willing to stick to the teleprompter under the guidance of Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, who was promoted to the role of campaign manager when Bannon joined the team. Ultimately, Bannon's biggest influence appeared to be pushing Trump to adopt more populist rhetoric and paint rival Hillary Clinton as part of a globalist system bent on oppressing the country's working people. Trump's campaign said Bannon will work "as equal partners" with Priebus. The arrangement suggests the president-elect is putting a premium on loyalty and maintaining much of his existing inner circle as he begins to fill thousands of government positions over the coming weeks. "I want to thank President-elect Trump for the opportunity to work with Reince in driving the agenda of the Trump administration," Bannon said in a statement. "We had a very successful partnership on the campaign, one that led to victory. We will have that same partnership in working to help President-elect Trump achieve his agenda."

November 12. US President-elect Donald Trump has said he is open to leaving intact key parts of President Barack Obama's healthcare bill. Mr Trump, who has pledged to repeal the 2010 law, said he will keep the ban on insurers denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. He told the Wall Street Journal that he also favored allowing young adults to be insured on their parents' policies. "I like those very much," Mr Trump said of the two pillars of the bill. It was his meeting with Mr Obama on Thursday that had made him reconsider his calls for an all-out replacement of the Affordable Care Act, he told the newspaper. Asked whether he would implement a campaign promise to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate his defeated Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while secretary of state, Mr Trump said: "It's not something I've given a lot of thought, because I want to solve healthcare, jobs, border control, tax reform." Meanwhile, protesters angered by Mr Trump's election gathered in several US cities for a third night on Friday. Thousands took to the streets of Miami, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, voicing anger at the president-elect's comments about immigrants, Muslims and women. Police in Portland are investigating the shooting and wounding of a protester on a bridge where anti-Trump demonstrators were marching. Officers had earlier used stun grenades to disperse a crowd of hundreds of people in the city centre. In a separate interview with CBS, Mr Trump said the parts of Mr Obama's healthcare bill he was "going to try to keep" were "the strongest assets". He said that while the bill would be repealed and replaced, the changes would provide Americans with "great healthcare for much less money". He made the statement during an interview with the 60 Minutes programme, which is due to air on Sunday. "Repeal and replace" - with emphasis on the former over the latter - has been the Republican mantra when it comes to Barack Obama's healthcare reform for the past six years. Candidate Donald Trump echoed this when he labeled the programme a "disaster" and promised something much better if he were elected president. Just days after the US public gave Mr Trump the keys to the Oval Office, however, he said there were parts of Mr Obama's signature legislative achievement worth keeping. The challenge for the president-elect is that the Obamacare features he praises - such as its mandate that insurers cover pre-existing medical conditions - are made possible by portions of the law he has condemned, like requiring all Americans to obtain insurance. Keeping the law's carrots while abandoning its sticks could prove difficult. Complicating the matter is that a "revise and reform" effort may not fly with Mr Trump's ardent supporters and the cadre of arch-conservative politicians in Congress, who want to tear up the law "root and branch". Mr Trump often broke with Republican orthodoxy while campaigning and didn't pay a political price. He may learn that as president he won't get far without his party establishment's help. During the election campaign, Mr Trump said the government-run health insurance marketplace was "a total disaster" and "a catastrophe". "Obamacare is just blowing up," he said only last month, while promising his own plan would deliver "great healthcare at a fraction of the cost". While running for president, Mr Trump did not offer much detail on what he envisaged would be ObamaCare replacement. The Republican's plan included tax-deductible health savings accounts and allowing insurers to sell coverage across state lines. His apparent change of heart on Friday comes amid a surge in applications to join the plan from Americans possibly fearful it is about to be overturned. More than 100,000 applicants snapped up Obamacare health insurance on the day after Tuesday's election, this year's biggest sign-up, the Obama administration announced. About 22 million Americans would be without insurance if the law was repealed. Congressional Republicans have voted more than 50 times to undo the law. Though the Republicans have maintained control of the Senate, they cannot repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety because under Senate rules, the Democratic minority remain in a position to block the move. The Republicans could, however, starve parts of the bill of funding through a budgetary process called reconciliation. The law has not been without its difficulties. Last month, the Obama administration said the average cost of medical coverage under the bill was expected to rise by 25% next year for those Americans who do not qualify for subsidies. And about one in five consumers would only be able to pick plans from a single insurer, it added. Former President Bill Clinton last month called the unsubsidized portion of the law "the craziest thing in the world". In the US - unlike in many other Western countries - private companies, rather than the government, provide health insurance for most citizens. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has suspended its efforts to win congressional approval for a Pacific free-trade deal before Mr Trump succeeds him in January. The deal covers mostly agricultural products and involves 12 countries around the Pacific, but not China. Officials said that after eight years of negotiations the fate of the deal, known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, was in the hands of the next administration. Mr Trump has criticised the accord, describing it as a disaster which would send more jobs overseas.

November 12. A legal dispute over the $18 million Par-la-Ville Hotel loan has garnered international attention, with a legal commentator calling the situation “noteworthy and troubling”. The article appearing on political website The Hill, written by Horace Cooper, of The Heartland Institute, said the case “gets at the very heart of what is held sacrosanct when one thinks about the rule of law, and the moral hazard that results when contracts begin to lose their force.” The case revolves around an $18 million guarantee made by the corporation for a hotel project on the Par-la-Ville car park site. The developer used the guarantee to secure a loan from MIF but subsequently defaulted, leaving the municipality on the hook. While the Corporation of Hamilton (COH) initially accepted the debt, making several requests for additional time to pay, the corporation is now arguing that it never had the power to issue the guarantee, so any agreement made was invalid. While the Supreme Court of Bermuda has yet to formally release its judgment on the dispute, Mr Cooper wrote that the case could damage the island’s international reputation at a very delicate time. “This situation clearly poses broader reputational risks for Bermuda — a jurisdiction that has historically sought to present itself as a paragon of law and order and financial rectitude in a region where that is often not the norm. It is compounded by the fact that Bermuda is in the midst of trying to raise money through a bond issue in international markets [working with HSBC] as it attempts to attract investment to bolster infrastructure in advance of the 35th America’s Cup in the summer of 2017. Doubts about its financial responsibility and hints of scandal are the last thing Bermuda needs while attention is focused on the country as the host of this highly regarded event.” And while Mr Cooper expresses his opinion that the CoH is simply attempting to break a contract, a victory in the case could carry long-term consequences. “If the CoH’s argument stands, then we’ll have a situation in which any similar contract could be called into question. “That would certainly open the floodgates of moral hazard and would likely damage the reputations of municipal and sovereign borrowers across the region. And it would certainly be cause for MIF to seek justice via whatever legal means are available to it — including in other courts such as New York where the negative spotlight for Bermuda could loom even larger.”

November 12. Six officers of the Progressive Labour Party’s executive have resigned making way for a host of officers to be placed in acting positions until the Annual Delegates Conference scheduled for early next month. The Royal Gazette has previously reported on the resignations of the party’s public relations officer Coy Millett after the election of David Burt as Leader of the Opposition, as well as branch chairman Makai Dickerson [not a member of the executive] and now further positions have been made vacant through the resignations of Francine Simons, secretary general; Yolanda Furbert, membership secretary; Carmon Cyrus, party organizer; Rudy Daniels, assistant treasurer; and Darlene Rogers. assistant organizer. The PLP’s Central Committee met on Friday to fill the vacancies. The following people were appointed to act as officers: assistant secretary general, Kim Lightbourne, a former deputy chair of the party; membership secretary, Michael Landy, a former membership secretary; public relations officer, Liana Hall, long-term member; assistant treasurer Jache Adams, a new member of the party; party organizer Linda Trott, a long-time party worker; and assistant organizer East Owen Darrell, a former party organizer. They will join the following existing executive members: chairman Scott A Simmons; deputy chairwoman J. Dawn Simmons; acting secretary-general Lauren Bell; treasurer Selena Fields; assistant organizer central Christopher Famous; and assistant organizer west Daniel Reece. Mr Burt and the chairman Scott Simmons acknowledged and thanked outgoing officers who have served their terms. A spokeswoman for the party said: “The executive is committed to working together to support the party and its parliamentarians as they continue their efforts to advance the country’s interests.” The Annual Delegates Conference is scheduled for December 6 to 8.

November 12.  Doctors have branded a raft of reworked legislative proposals aimed at regulating healthcare providers as “heavy handed” and say that the reform measures unfairly target their profession. The Bermuda Health Council recently published the proposed changes to the Bermuda Health Council Amendment Act 2016 on its website after what it described as “unprecedented consultation”. The council’s chief executive, Tawanna Wedderburn, told The Royal Gazette that the council had listened and acted on concerns raised by physicians in formulating the amended legislation that goes before MPs on Monday. “There have been several changes to the original Act as a result of feedback from physicians, specifically removing the need for doctors to get permission from the council to self refer. The Health Council has engaged in extensive consultation over the years incorporating feedback into the proposed legislation. It met with all statutory bodies and professional associations between 2010 and 2014. It met with physicians four times between July and October 2015. In July 2016 it hosted meeting with physicians where over 50 attended. Between July and September 2016 the council held seven working group meetings and met with Bermuda Medical Council, Bermuda Dental Board, and Council for Allied Health Professionals.” But physicians have written to MPs and Cabinet questioning whether the council has listened to their recommendations and reinforcing their opposition to the changes. They have also raised concerns about the severe punishments, including imprisonment, proposed in the legislation and accused the council of using a “sledgehammer approach” to limit the advanced technologies that can be made available on the island by prohibiting their importation. One doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The Bermuda Health Council has not addressed the issues surrounding healthcare in Bermuda in a systematic and analytical process but has instead undertaken a piecemeal approach that is a hindrance to the overall system. “The tone and content of the proposed document is clearly one directed specifically towards physicians in spite of the statement BHC saying otherwise. The largest expenditure to the health system is the hospital and this entity is not addressed. When administrative personnel make rules and regulations to the healthcare system then there is chaos.” The 2016 Act enables the Health Council to grant permission to health service providers to make financially vested referrals, license health service providers and grant permission for entry of high-risk medical technology. It was initially withdrawn from the House of Assembly in July to allow for further consultation that culminated in the changes being publicized on October 31. In a letter that has been sent to Cabinet, a group of six physicians who formed a working group during the consultation process, maintain that the Health Council has ignored their recommendations and formed policies off poorly collected data. A further letter from one doctor states: “The Act, if passed, will influence counter to its positive intentions and be a long-term detriment to healthcare delivery in Bermuda. It will limit access to healthcare technology, drive the cost of investigations higher and virtually eliminate competition — resulting in mediocre service. Most of us feel that this legislation targets, and is overly oppressive, to private healthcare facilities.” But Ms Wedderburn maintained that the Health Council had done everything it could to consult widely and ensure that patients’ interests were protected. She further stated that the proposed legislation did cover the hospital. “There are a lot of physicians that support this legislation, We keep hearing from a select few who are against it. Others in the medical community support it and the public has also been supportive. I would challenge anyone who is objecting to enhancing patient protection to be very clear why.”

November 12. Today marks a special occasion for one of the East End’s greatest landmarks, Fort St Catherine. Usually open on weekdays only, the fort is taking visitors from 10am. The iconic fortification in St George’s, which was first established in the early years of Bermuda’s settlement, is having a Saturday opening after numerous expressions of interest. Francine Trott, the heritage officer for the Department of Parks, said the exception had been made for today to allow so that children who would ordinarily be in school, as well as adults with work commitments, to explore the island’s history. “We are happy to offer this chance to learn about fortification and how Fort St Catherine played a role in the island’s defence. It’s an interesting activity for any family or for history lovers, and a chance for locals to know your history.” There will be two tour guides for parties of more than five, or visitors can take a self-guided tour. The cost is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors aged 65 and over and $3 for children. The edifice will be open until 5pm. The first stone fort on the site was built in 1614, only a few years after the island was claimed by the Crown, and has been rebuilt several times over the past 400 years. It is part of the Unesco World Heritage site of St George’s. Fort St Catherine’s present-day form was constructed during the 19th century, and stayed in use until 1900. It was turned into a tourist attraction in the 1950s and once featured a production of Macbeth, starring Charlton Heston. The building offers a classic showcase of British forts, complete with guns.

November 12. Bermuda’s small and medium-sized contractors are sinking financially as larger companies swallow their work, one professional has claimed. The certified contractor, who asked not to be named, said his longstanding struggle to secure employment had left him “trying to survive on a daily basis. I’m making less than $1,000 a month. Much of that goes towards bills, which doesn’t leave much to buy food.” The contractor, who began his career by landscaping in 1973, added that he regularly resorted to eating free meals provided by goodwill organisations such as the Salvation Army. The Devonshire resident said that he was hamstrung by not being able to afford his own vehicle, meaning that he could only find work such as painting and cleaning in his own community. “I have a friend that picks me up and takes me and my tools to nearby locations, but I can’t keep using him,” he said. He urged the Government, businesses and the general public to consider hiring small and medium-sized local contractors, instead of picking major firms from either from Bermuda or abroad. “I’m trying not only to help myself but other certified contractors as well, as I know they’re having financial difficulties, too,” he said. “Just remember, small and medium-sized businesses keep a country’s economy alive.” The contractor said that his last big job was in 2000, when he installed 30 new tombs in a Warwick graveyard. “I’ve been bidding on work,” he said. “My bids have been pretty good and I’ve been getting close, but not close enough. “Even one big job would put me on my feet, but I need a vehicle.”

November 11. Bermuda Public Holiday. News from overseas. 

November 11. A large crowd surrounded the National War Memorial and Cenotaph on Front Street this morning to commemorate those who fought and fell in conflict for freedom. After the parade of the veterans there was a Royal Salute followed by two minutes silence at the stroke of 11am to honour the war dead. The tradition dates back to the signing of the Armistice marking the end of the Great War at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918. While much of the crowd was made up of war veterans, war widows, Royal Bermuda Regiment officials and dignitaries, there was a good turn-out from the general public including young families and groups of tourists. Despite forecasts for rain, the sun shone brightly on the solemn occasion. The traditional laying of the wreaths was followed by a short prayer: “Brethren, on this Day of Remembrance, we meet to pay tribute to all those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom in two World Wars, especially those who served in defence of this land of ours and are here commemorated.” Prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer as well as hymns, closed the ceremony as the veterans departed followed by dignitaries. This year marks the 100th anniversary since the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps entered the First World War, fighting with the Allied Forces in the Battle of the Somme.

November 11. BBC News, London. Trump Presidency: your questions answered.  Donald Trump's election as the next US president, along with a Republican-controlled Congress, brings with it an avalanche of questions about the election itself - and about what happens next. From health insurance to same-sex marriage, global warming and Obamacare - American citizens and people around the world want to know what the future will hold under the new administration. Here we tackle some of the questions being raised online and by BBC audiences.

November 11.  BBC News London. Trump commends Democrat protesters' 'passion' after new night of rallies. US President-elect Donald Trump has praised protesters' "passion" after a new night of demonstrations against his election victory that included rioting in Portland, Oregon. "Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country," he tweeted. "We will all come together and be proud!" He had previously blamed the unrest on "professional protesters". Mr Trump is in New York, believed to be discussing his future cabinet. "Busy day planned in New York," he tweeted. "Will soon be making some very important decisions on the people who will be running our government." Campaign officials could be seen arriving at Trump Tower on Friday morning, where the future president is believed to be staying. The Republican is due to be inaugurated on 20 January, taking over the White House from Democrat Barack Obama, who served two terms. Mr Obama, one of Mr Trump's most withering critics during the election campaign, said his priority was to "facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful". But Harry Reid, the Democrats' outgoing leader in the Senate, said Mr Trump's victory had "emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry. It does not feel like America."  Protests have taken place in US cities on both nights since the result of the election, which Mrs Clinton lost for the Democrats despite enjoying a lead in most opinion polls. Only on Thursday, Mr Trump had tweeted: "Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!" About 4,000 demonstrators gathered in the centre of Portland, the largest city in Oregon, which voted in favour of Mrs Clinton. Some protesters smashed shop and car windows, threw firecrackers and set rubbish alight. Objects were thrown at the police, who responded with pepper spray and rubber baton rounds. Police declared a riot and made 26 arrests. Spencer and Kristen Foxworth, who left the protest before it turned violent, told the BBC most of the demonstrators were just ordinary people like themselves who were horrified by some of the things Mr Trump stood for. "This is not any sense of a hangover, this is more like the galvanizing effect," Mr Foxworth told Outside Source. "People who were quiet, were polite or not activists by any means - I mean myself, for example - are now galvanized by this. Trump now has the Senate and the House, and there will be very little checks and balances on his actions."  In Oakland, California, police made 11 arrests after anti-Trump protesters lit fires on streets and in rubbish bins, smashed windows and sprayed graffiti. Elsewhere, protests were largely peaceful: In Los Angeles, about 185 people were detained, mostly for blocking streets, but one person was arrested for injuring a police officer. Demonstrators in Minneapolis briefly blocked an interstate highway in both directions In Philadelphia, crowds gathered near City Hall holding placards bearing slogans such as "Not Our President", "Trans Against Trump" and "Make America Safe For All" In Baltimore, police say a peaceful crowd of 600 people marched through the city, blocking traffic In San Francisco, high school students waved rainbow banners and Mexican flags. A small crowd also gathered outside Trump Tower in Chicago while protesters also returned to Trump Tower in New York for a second night. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said anti-Trump protesters had to accept the election results.  "Everyone needs to just take a deep breath, take the weekend... count our blessings, and let's come back on Monday," he told ABC News. Bernie Saunders, the Vermont senator who fought Mrs Clinton for the Democratic nomination, appealed to protesters to show restraint. "Our job is to deal with the real issues - to deal with our rigged political and economic system - not take our anger out on our neighbors," he said in a tweet. Mr Trump's team is understood to be focused on quickly filling key national security posts. It is not yet clear who will sit in his cabinet or fill senior posts in his administration, such as chief of staff, but several figures in his inner circle have been mentioned. After meeting President Obama at the White House, the president-elect said it had been a "great honour". Despite their cordiality, Mr Trump has vowed to dismantle much of President Obama's legacy. That includes Obamacare, the act extending medical insurance to more Americans than ever before. The Republicans will control both the White House and Congress as a result of this week's elections.

November 11. BBC News London. At almost 9,000 km long, the Canadian-American border has become the fault line for Trump anxiety. While Donald Trump has spoken about building a wall between the US and Mexico to keep immigrants out, it is Americans who may be trying to flee. During this election's vicious campaign cycle, the idea of Americans heading to Canada became a political statement. Celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Bryan Cranston, and Lena Dunham have threatened to move north of the border to escape a Trump presidency. When that possibility edged closer to a reality late Tuesday night, the Canadian government's Citizenship and Immigration website crashed due to what officials called "a significant increase in the volume of traffic." Statistics provided by the government indicated over 200,000 people were trying to access the site at 11 pm when it crashed. American IP addresses accounted for some 50% of the traffic, instead of the usual 9% to 10%. Mr Trump's election victory has left many Canadians incredulous. "He has no political experience, he's a business man, a reality-TV star and you blink and he's the American president?" said a shocked Robert McNair, from Cambridge, Ontario about 150 km (93 miles) from Buffalo, New York. Paul Deskin, an American tourist from Connecticut, couldn't agree more. "I just feel like my heart's been ripped out, the country I love votes for someone with no integrity," he said. "I hope I'm wrong, and I will fight to make our country a better country, and I truly hope that Trump finds the right way to lead." Both men were visiting Niagara Falls, Ontario, a border city and tourist hub that shares both the majestic falls and a border with New York State. Here, and elsewhere in Canada, these cross-cultural exchanges are nothing rare. Every day, more than 300,000 people travel across the 8, 891 km (5,525 miles) border, the longest shared border in the world. Many people have family in both countries and, before the 9/11 terror attacks led to more security measures, Canadians and Americans along the border often crossed it casually with little or no formal ID. There are 119 border crossings between the US and Canada, including the Rainbow Bridge spanning the Niagara River gorge Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati says the community would be happy to welcome fleeing Americans on a more permanent basis. "We'd roll out the red carpet. But don't believe there's going to be a mass exodus," he said. "The American spirit is strong and those were emotional statements." The mayor thinks that once everything has settled down in the US, things will not have changed as much as people think they will. "The way I see it, things are never as bad as they seem and they are never as good as they seem," he said. Priyanka Varkay, who was visiting from Halifax, Nova Scotia, said an influx of southern Neighbours this could be positive for Canada but worries it would strain relations Americans moved in large numbers. "Trudeau seems to be very diplomatic, he'll find a way around it," she said. Others are not so sure diplomacy is the best way to deal with Mr Trump. "If he doesn't follow the rules, we'll have to stand up for ourselves," said Toronto resident Irene Landry. She has American neighbors who moved during the George W Bush administration. In 2006, immigration from the US reached a 30-year high, according to government statistics. "They certainly won't go back and live under Donald Trump," she said.

November 11. Washington (AFP) - US President-elect Donald Trump visited Congress on Thursday and proclaimed that health care, border security and jobs will be his top three priorities when he moves to the White House next January. Continuing a Washington victory tour of sorts after his presidential election shocked the world, Trump and Vice president-elect Mike Pence sat down with House Speaker Paul Ryan and then with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to discuss the Republican priorities in Congress. Ryan and Trump had a testy relationship during the campaign, with the House speaker last month saying he would not defend the nominee after Trump's lewd comments about women were made public. Now that Trump is the president-elect, Ryan appeared friendly and gracious as they met, first over lunch and then in his Capitol office. "We had a very detailed meeting," Trump told reporters at a brief photo spray. "As you know, health care -- we're going to make it affordable. We are going to do a real job on health care," he said. Trump made repealing Obamacare, and building a border wall between the United States and Mexico, pillars of his presidential campaign. Trump said he and the Republican majority in Congress were going to accomplish "absolutely spectacular things for the American people," adding he was eager to get started.  Afterwards, following an hour-long meeting with McConnell on the other side of the Capitol, Trump stood at the Senate majority leader's side and stressed that "we have a lot to do. We're going to look very strongly at immigration, health care, and we're looking at jobs -- big league jobs." Trump did not elaborate. McConnell said they discussed the transition operations and said "he's anxious to get going early, and so are we." Ryan for his part complimented Trump on his astounding come-from-behind victory against Democrat Hillary Clinton. "We're going to turn that victory into progress for the American people, and we are now talking about how we are going to hit the ground running to get this country turned around and make America great again," Ryan said. Congress returns to work next week, after an extended break for the US elections.

November 11. Donald Trump's election risks upsetting EU ties with the US "fundamentally and structurally", EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned. "We will need to teach the president-elect what Europe is and how it works," Mr Juncker told students in Luxembourg. The Commission chief predicted that two years would be wasted while Mr Trump "tours a world he doesn't know". His remarks contrasted with other EU leaders' more muted reaction to the Tuesday's shock election result. American cities have seen angry protests since Mr Trump's election victory over the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. In New York, Mr Trump set about forming the team that will see him through to his inauguration on 20 January, when he replaces Barack Obama in the White House. Mr Juncker had offered his formal congratulations to Mr Trump on Wednesday in a joint statement with Donald Tusk, head of the European Council. Speaking on Friday, he said: "In general the Americans take no interest in Europe. During the campaign, Mr Trump said Belgium was a village somewhere on our continent. He raises questions which could have harmful consequences because he calls into question the trans-Atlantic alliance, and thus the model on which Europe's defence rests. He takes a view of refugees and non-white Americans which does not reflect European convictions and feelings." During the election campaign, Mr Trump caused alarm in EU circles with his sharp criticism of Nato, the cornerstone of Western Europe's defence structure, and calls for better relations with Russia.. His promise to "cancel" the Paris Climate Agreement within 100 days of taking office and protectionist stance on trade have also caused concern, as have his controversial comments about ethnic and religious minorities. While EU leaders congratulated the Republican on his shock victory over Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed in her message to him that the US and Germany shared "the values of democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity, regardless of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political belief". Germany, France and the Netherlands all face elections in the new year, with populist and far-right parties poised to capitalize on discontent with the EU's continuing migrant problem and its slow recovery from the Eurozone debt crisis. Before Mr Trump's victory, the EU had already been rocked by the UK's vote to leave the body at a referendum in June. However, on Thursday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged his EU colleagues to take a more positive attitude. "I would respectfully say to my beloved European friends and colleagues that it's time that we snapped out of the general doom and gloom about the result of this election," he said on a visit to Serbia. Meanwhile, in New York, outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was confident Mr Trump would not rip up the Paris agreement on climate change, despite his campaign pledge. "He has made a lot of worrying statements but I am sure that he will understand the whole importance and seriousness and urgency," he told AFP news agency.

November 10. Anti-Trump Protests sweep USA. See http://www.bbc.com/news/election/us2016.

November 10. US tax reform has become much more likely after the Republicans won control of all three arms of government in Tuesday’s elections — and that could have consequences for Bermuda’s international business sector. That was one of the early takes from the poll that saw Donald Trump elected the next US President and his Republican Party colleagues maintain control of both the House of Representatives and the US Senate. Reaction from some leading business figures on the island yesterday suggested that it is too early to understand the full impact on Bermuda but that the island had better be prepared for some changes after the change of power. Bradley Kading, president of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, who lobbies on behalf of the island’s flagship industry in Washington, said: “We always have three major issues with the US — insurance market access, tax policy and regulatory policy. And that is always the same, regardless of who’s in power. Tax reform is a priority for the new Trump administration and in the Republican Congress and the Ryan-Brady blueprint will have more prominence. There are some issues in there for reinsurance and we have met the House Ways and Means Committee and will meet with them again.” He declined to discuss the specifics of the meeting, but said there were some issues on tax reform that Bermuda would have to address, but he was optimistic this could be done successfully. Earlier this year, Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Kevin Brady, chairman of the tax-setting House Ways and Means Committee, put forward a tax reform plan that included moves to simplify the US tax code, close loopholes and cut the federal corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 20 per cent. Mr Trump’s campaign proposals appeared to borrow much from the plan, but his proposed corporate tax rate is even lower at 15 per cent. Mr Kading added: “I haven’t spoken with anyone since the election, but before the election the theory was if there was a Republican Congress, then the House would try to move tax reform legislation in the first six months of 2017, and put it forward for Senate consideration in the second half of 2017.” He said that having both houses of Congress and the executive branch under the control of one party was very unusual and this would allow for the government to enact its policies faster. Mr Kading added that among the positive aspects of the new government from a Bermuda viewpoint was that the Republicans were likely to have a greater appetite for allowing greater transfer of risk from the public sector — for example, the National Flood Insurance Programme — to private-sector reinsurers. Nathan Kowalski, chief financial officer of Anchor Investment Management and a columnist for this newspaper, said it was too early to say whether the Republican clean sweep would be good news for the island or not. “It is too early to understand the true impact on Bermuda and only time will tell,” Mr Kowalski said. “The clean sweep obviously makes a Republican doctrine more accessible. Questions may remain on whether the Tea Party and other factions of the Republican party will support President-elect Trump’s policies. But the Supreme Court will likely move further to the right and some legislative changes are far more likely now with the Republicans controlling the House, the Senate and the Presidency. The good news is that legislation drafted and sponsored by the Democratic Party that could adversely affect the reinsurance industry in Bermuda like the Neal Bill is less likely. The bad news is that Trump’s agenda to put American jobs first could pressure any form of offshoring. Furthermore his proposed lower corporate tax rate could make offshore or other lower-tax jurisdictions less attractive.” Mr Trump’s campaign pledges have included huge infrastructure projects, as well as swathing tax cuts. But he will have to work hard to win over potential opposition to the large capital spending programmes from the Tea Party element among the Republicans, according to Mr Kowalski. “President-elect Trump’s suggested corporate tax rate of only 15 per cent and the 10 per cent repatriation holiday could pressure lower tax regimes such as offshore jurisdictions,” Mr Kowalski said. “This is a very competitive tax structure. Tough to say exactly how likely this is given the fact that a huge infrastructure agenda may be less acceptable by Tea Party Republicans. The new President will also have to bring together a divided Republican Party before any policies can be introduced.” Ross Webber, chief executive officer of Bermuda Business Development Agency, said: “Bermuda has a longstanding history of co-operation with the United States, and America remains our largest trading partner — that holds true no matter which administration is in power. Our jurisdiction will continue to nurture this incredibly valuable and symbiotic relationship that Bermuda has shared with America for more than 400 years. Our economy plays a critical role in the US. Research indicates we support a minimum of 300,000 American jobs alone. Our agency will continue to work to raise awareness among policymakers, industry influencers and government leaders about Bermuda’s worth to the US, and to economies around the world.”

November 10. Bermuda’s female business professionals have voiced their astonishment and dismay at Donald Trump’s victory in the United States election. The reality star turned Republican nominee was named the country’s 45th president early yesterday morning, despite running a campaign rife with rancor and controversy. President-elect Trump has faced repeated accusations of misogynistic behavior and displaying a hostile attitude towards females. Incidents have included a video leak in which the one-time Apprentice star boasted of groping women, a former beauty queen claiming he called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping”, and more than a dozen women stepping forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. “Female or male, we’re all shocked that Donald Trump is the new president of the United States. It’s unknown territory right now,” said Denise O’Donoghue, head of investments and treasury at Lancashire Group insurance firm. “He’s going to divide the country on many issues, and gender is just one of them. I think his ability to win, despite having made those comments about women, speaks loudly.” However, Ms O’Donoghue suggested that the 70-year-old New Yorker’s rise to power could prove unwittingly motivational in the struggle for gender parity. “Hopefully his presidency will only strengthen the battle against inequality,” she said. Nathalie Rushe, principal at Rushe Capital Advisors consulting firm, called the election result “a huge setback” for the United States. “I’m very upset. No matter how people felt about Hillary Clinton, I just assumed they would vote against evil. But I was wrong,” she added. Ms Rushe said she was “deeply saddened” that President-elect Trump’s supporters had voted not just against females, but against African-Americans, Muslims, the LGBT community, immigrants and the disabled as well. “As a woman, I take it very personally that people were misogynistic enough to vote for Trump, but I’m more worried about the plight of minorities,” she said. “We’ll have to see what happens. Trump doesn’t have too much power on his own, which helps, and although I think he’s evil, I don’t think he’s particularly bright.” Christie Hunter Arscott, a gender and generational strategist, said that it was imperative to “move forward” from the result in a positive, structured and unified manner, thereby turning “grief into action. I’m committed to not losing momentum or faith, and to pushing our gender-equity agenda forward,” said Ms Hunter Arscott, a World Economic Forum global shaper who divides her time between Bermuda and the United States. This is not just for an elite few women, but for all females — regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, disability, nationality or socio-economic or immigration status.” Sylvia Oliveira, CEO of Wilton Reinsurance Bermuda Ltd, said she was “completely shocked” by the outcome of the election, and that she had struggled to explain it to her children. “As an American, I was sure we’d be celebrating our first female president today. Instead our leader will be a man who shows very little respect for females. I feel like this is a step backwards for gender and racial equality, and I’m deeply disappointed.”

November 10. Bermudians living in the United States expressed shock and dismay at Donald Trump’s election victory. Clare O’Connor is a journalist who lives in Brooklyn, New York and covers women entrepreneurs and workplace equality for Forbes magazine. Although not able to vote, she is an ardent Clinton supporter and said the result felt like the “death of decency. This is a repudiation of progressive values by people who are fearful of women and angry at eight years of a black president,” she said. “The mood last night in New York was horrifying. I was at a party of all women and we expected to make history and instead angry white men showed us that they fear our rise to power. This just shows that the most-qualified woman still is no match for the least-qualified man. All the women I was with last night were so devastated.” Referring to Trump’s pledge to see the Roe vs Wade decision on abortion overturned, she said: “I just gave a large donation to Planned Parenthood and I would urge anyone with the means to do the same, as women’s rights and reproductive health are now at stake. If anyone wants to give a donation and send me the receipt, I will match it.” Andrew Cossar expressed similar dismay at the election result, noting Mr Trump’s history of controversial comments directed at minority groups. “I’m extremely disappointed,” he said. “Even if we take the most-optimistic view of Trump’s win, and hope that he backs down on his craziest and most unaffordable ideas, his election sends a horrible message to citizens of the US and the world. He is a man who grew his political notoriety by declaring that the first black president wasn’t born in this country, based on nothing. His presidential candidacy began with calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers. Since then he’s disrespected other minorities and immigrants, POWs, the disabled, Muslims and women. I was here for Obama’s election in 2008 and re-election in 2012, and you could sense that African-American children finally believed that they could do anything in this country. I’m afraid that minorities and women just learnt how little this country can care about them.” Meanwhile, Tarah Rigby, a Bermudian living in the Republican stronghold of Texas, said: “I think overall people are in shock and disbelief. A lot of people are angry at those who voted for another candidate other than Hillary or Trump — such as Gary Johnson — saying they ‘threw away their vote’ and essentially that’s why Trump won — which I don’t believe. Everyone has a right to vote what they believe and we need to unite. I personally don’t want Trump to fail because if he does that means America will fail. I’m scared for America and hoping for the best. I continue to have faith that humanity, kindness, love and acceptance of all will prevail.” Lana Young, a Bermudian actress living in New York, said: “I couldn’t believe how I was feeling this morning. It was foreign. It definitely knocked me around and I felt despair. But I refuse to let this situation distract me from the possible, or change my outlook on the world and on people. One thing that this election has shown us is that there are many people of all races, genders and sexual orientation who truly believe in equal opportunity, marriage for all, the right to choose, et cetera. So let’s find each other and start working on how we can continue to move forward together, united. They will have won if we continue to divide, especially by race. We just witnessed half the country expose their bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia, but the other half was fighting against it. We do have allies. Let’s be careful not to look at each other suspiciously but rather seek out those people who care to evolve in a healthy, positive and fair way.”

November 10. BBC London. Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump spelled out on several occasions what his priorities would be in his first 100 days in office. Now that he has won the presidency, what has he promised - and can he deliver. Pledge: Start process of "removing the more than two million criminal, illegal immigrants." Can it be done? It might be difficult, mainly because there are only an estimated 178,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records currently in the US. Even if there were two million, beginning a mass deportation on that scale would be hard. However, he could start to recruit and train the thousands of extra people needed to enact such a deportation - although it is not immediately clear how he would afford the billions some have suggested it would cost. Pledge: Build a wall dividing the US and Mexico. Can it be done? Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, or Mr Trump's ideas, the President-elect says he wants to begin implementing plans for the construction of a "beautiful" wall along the southern US border immediately. Beginning it will be one thing though, finishing another. Tightening border security and building on US territory is well within his mandate, but details on the cost and practicalities of the scheme are yet to be worked out. Mr Trump insists the Mexicans will foot the bill. Pledge: Denying visa-free travel to countries who refuse to take back their citizens. Can it be done? In theory he can, under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. In fact, President Barack Obama has used the act to block visas for certain groups. But he restricted it to very specific groups, like people under UN travel bans and those helping the Syrian government commit human rights abuses, and it has never been applied to entire countries. Pledge: Take action to appoint a new Supreme Court judge. Can it be done? There is a vacancy in the top US court after the death of conservative Antonin Scalia. President Obama has nominated a replacement but the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to consider it. Mr Trump will now be able to fill Mr Scalia's seat, tipping the balance towards conservative-leaning officials. What's more, with others on the panel aged over 70, he could get to make further appointments should they die, influencing decisions on everything from abortion to freedom of the press for years to come. Pledge: Repealing every Obama executive order. Can it be done? Yes. His vow to overturn the executive orders would be within his powers bequeathed by the office. President Obama made 32 executive orders during his time in office, including one lifting the remaining sanctions on Myanmar (Burma). His most wide-reaching and controversial one was probably his plan to lift the threat of deportation to millions of undocumented migrants and give them the right to work. That faced legal challenges and is now set to be reversed. Pledge: Scrapping Obamacare Can it be done? Mr Trump has called President Obama's healthcare reforms a disaster and says he will ask Congress to repeal them on day one of his term. Senior Republicans share Mr Trump's view and the party now controls both houses. Despite this, repealing Obamacare will be difficult, with Mr Trump having to find a way to overcome a Democrat filibuster in the Senate, scrap thousands of pages of associated regulations, and not least tackle what will replace it for the millions of America now receiving affordable care. Pledge: Restrictions on White House officials becoming lobbyists Can it be done? In theory he would need the support of Congress, which some have suggested is unlikely considering its impact on members' future earning potential. Pledge: Term limits for members of Congress. Can it be done? This idea was first tabled back in 1994 by the GOP and still hasn't come to fruition. Whether Mr Trump can do it remains to be seen. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after Mr Trump's election: "I would say we have term limits now - they're called elections". Pledge: Cancellation of all payments to UN climate change programmes. Can it be done? Mr Trump has widespread support for scrapping the payment to the Green Climate Fund among his Republican colleagues - who have retained control of both Houses - so he won't face much opposition should he choose to repeal it. His distrust of the Paris Agreement is also shared with many Republicans. But the deal has been ratified so it's now international law, and would take him four years to withdraw from it. Pledge: Using that money to fix US infrastructure. Can it be done? Putting money into infrastructure has been a popular campaign pledge for both Mr Trump and Hillary Clinton. But Mr Trump will need every cent he can find to fund the $1tn (£800bn) plan he unveiled in the last days of the campaign. Pledge: Cut taxes. Can it be done? Mr Trump's promise is traditional Republican territory and is likely to appeal to even the most anti-Trump party members in Congress. The major question is whether Mr Trump can get along with the Republican party's leaders. Conciliatory gestures have been made, though - House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who distanced himself from Mr Trump during the campaign, now says "we will work hand-in-hand on a positive agenda to tackle this country's big challenges". Generally, presidents submit their first budgets in February. Pledge: To label China a currency manipulator. Can it be done? Mr Trump could sign an executive order labeling the country a currency manipulator on his first day in office. However, it is likely it would have little impact, beyond annoying China.

November 10. As news of Donald Trump winning the 2016 Presidential Election in the United States rocked the world, The Royal Gazette took to streets of the City of Hamilton to find out what residents made of the outcome. While some expressed shock and concern, others were not surprised, having long predicted his success over rival Hillary Clinton. Malik Tuzo “DJ Flava”, of Pembroke: “Go Trump. I’m not shocked at all. Out of the lesser two evils, he’s the better. There’s Trump and he grabs them by the you know what and then there’s Hillary — she’s giving people money to fight America. I will take a grabber over an ISIS funder. "Michael Ingham, Sandys: “I’m disappointed, really. I’m surprised because I thought Hillary was going to win. I think America’s made a mistake. The question we also have to ask is what does it mean for Bermuda?”  Jesse Almeida, Hamilton, 29: “I kind of expected that because history was made when Barack Obama became the first black president. I didn’t think they would make history again to see the first female president. I still think Trump would have been president simply because he’s a man.” Melissa Caldwell, 36, Warwick: “To be honest, I don’t really have a reaction yet. Either was as worse as the other in my opinion. They make all sorts of promises and say what they think people want to hear. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when he gets in.” Karen Claire, Pembroke: “It’s shocking and its frightening. And it’s hard especially with two daughters to explain to them that someone like Donald Trump has been elected president. They were quite shocked, horrified.” Ladezz Cann, 26, Sandys: “I really, really don’t care. Let him have his chance. It’s not like he makes the rules. He earned it, he worked hard. Let him be the face of America. Hopefully it will be Hillary the next time.” Terai Wilson, 27, Devonshire: “I don’t really have a preference — it doesn’t really matter. It’s just another reality show for me. I don’t really let it take over my life. I have other things to worry about.” Mary-Ann Saltus, St David’s: “I won’t be going to America any time soon. I think it’s over, it’s finished. I knew that a woman was not going to be in charge — that was too much. They weren’t ready for that.” Lorrae Edwards, Paget: “I’m in shock actually. I think it’s the same as when it was the UK with the Brexit. I did think Hillary would probably get in over him but I think both candidates were pretty bad.” Flo Rowe, 37, Pembroke: “I don’t know why people are surprised. It’s a rebellious vote. The same thing has happened in the UK with Brexit. It is what it is.” Mark Selley, 26, Warwick: “I don’t know. It’s a crazy world we live in. I’m just glad that I’m not American. I’m glad we played no role in who was picked.” Carole Hetherington, Pembroke: “I don’t have anything to say. I feel like we just have to wait and see what he’s going to do.”

November 10. The shock election of Donald Trump as US President could be a boost for Bermuda’s real estate sector. One island real estate firm alone fielded a total of eight inquiries from US citizens yesterday in the wake of the polarizing election of Trump to America’s highest office. Penny MacIntyre, partner in Rego Sotheby’s International Realty, said some people contacted the company’s office even before it opened yesterday. She added: “There is initial shock or concern — these people seem to be supporting Hillary Clinton and they are examining their options on being resident or based elsewhere.” Ms MacIntyre said enquiries had come from a US citizen working in Bermuda, an American on holiday here, as well as from the US through the firm’s website. She added: “People have asked what it potentially takes to become resident and that they are also looking at other jurisdictions." And Ms MacIntyre said: “There are a variety of properties internationally available — condominiums to certainly the larger luxury homes and we have people who are thinking about what to do. “These are people who are retiring or getting ready to retire and determining what to do.” Ms MacIntyre added: “It’s interesting the commentary we have heard across the board and it’s interesting to see people reaching out and looking at their options.” And she said: “We have beautiful weather conditions and the America’s Cup is coming — it’s not uncommon for people to take advantage of being on island.” She added that the controversial vote by Britain to leave the European Union had sparked similar inquiries from people with connections to or who were familiar with Bermuda. Ms MacIntyre stressed that any inquiries were still at an exploratory stage. She said: “No one is saying ‘drive me around the island and let me see what I can buy’ — but there is interest out there.” Ms MacIntyre was speaking after maverick Republican candidate Trump scored a shock victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.

November 10. Long before he was a contender for the US presidency, Donald Trump was America's most famous and colorful billionaire. Once considered a long shot, Trump is now the next president of the United States. Scepticism over Trump's candidacy stemmed not only from his controversial platform on immigration and outrageous campaign style, but from his celebrity past. But the 70-year-old businessman had the last laugh when he defied all predictions to beat much more seasoned politicians in the Republican primary race. And he has now gone a step further by winning the presidential election, after one of the most divisive and controversial contests in living memory against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Early life. Mr Trump is the fourth child of New York real estate tycoon Fred Trump. Despite the family's wealth, he was expected to work the lowest-tier jobs within his father's company and was sent off to a military academy at age 13 when he started misbehaving in school. He attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and became the favourite to succeed his father after his older brother, Fred, chose to become a pilot. Fred Trump died at 43 due to alcoholism, an incident that his brother says led him to avoid alcohol and cigarettes his entire life. Mr Trump says he got into real estate with a "small" $1m loan from his father before joining the company. He helped manage his father's extensive portfolio of residential housing projects in the New York City boroughs, and took control of the company - which he renamed the Trump Organization - in 1971. His father died in 1999. "My father was my inspiration," Mr Trump said at the time. The mogul. Mr Trump shifted his family's business from residential units in Brooklyn and Queens to glitzy Manhattan projects, transforming the rundown Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt and erecting the most famous Trump property, the 68-storey Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Other properties bearing the famous name followed - Trump Place, Trump World Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and so on. There are Trump Towers in Mumbai, Istanbul and the Philippines. Mr Trump also developed hotels and casinos, an arm of the business that has led to four bankruptcy filings (for the businesses, not personal bankruptcy). Mr Trump also built an empire in the entertainment business. From 1996 until 2015, he was an owner in the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageants. In 2003, he debuted an NBC reality television show called The Apprentice, in which contestants competed for a shot at a management job within Mr Trump's organisation. He hosted the show for 14 seasons, and claimed in a financial disclosure form that he was paid a total of $213m by the network during the show's run. He has written several books, and owns a line of merchandise that sells everything from neckties to bottled water. According to Forbes, his net worth is $3.7bn, though Mr Trump has repeatedly insisted he is worth $10bn. The husband and father Trump has been married three times, though his most famous wife was his first - Ivana Zelnickova, a Czech athlete and model. The couple had three children - Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric - before they filed for divorce in 1990. The ensuing court battle made for numerous stories in the tabloid press. Those stories included allegations that Trump was abusive towards Ivana, though she later downplayed the incidents. He married actress Marla Maples in 1993. They had a daughter named Tiffany together before divorcing in 1999. He married his current wife Melania Knauss, a model, in 2005, and the couple have one son, Barron William Trump. His children from his first marriage now help run Trump Organization, though he is still chief executive. The candidate. Mr Trump expressed interest in running for president as early as 1987, and even entered the 2000 race as a Reform Party candidate. After 2008, he became one of the most outspoken members of the "birther" movement, which questioned whether Barack Obama was born in the US. Those claims have been thoroughly debunked; Mr Obama was born in Hawaii. Mr Trump finally admitted there was no truth in the claims during the presidential race, although, characteristically, there was no apology. It was not until June 2015 that Mr Trump formally announced his entrance into the race for the White House. "We need somebody that literally will take this country and make it great again. We can do that," he said in his announcement speech, promising that as a candidate with no need to fundraise he answered to no special interests and was the perfect outsider candidate. Under the banner Make America Great Again, Trump has run a controversial campaign built on promises to strengthen the American economy, build a wall on the border of Mexico and the US, and to temporarily ban immigration by Muslims "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on". Despite massive protests at his campaign events and the best efforts of his Republican rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Trump became the presumptive Republican party nominee for president after the Indiana primary. The election. Few expected to ever see Trump in the Oval Office Mr Trump's campaign for the presidency was rocked by controversies, including the emergence of a recording from 2005 of him making lewd remarks about women, and claims, including from members of his own party, that he was not fit for office. But he consistently told his army of supporters that he would defy the opinion polls, which mostly had him trailing Hillary Clinton, and that his presidency would strike a blow against the political establishment and "drain the swamp" in Washington. He took inspiration from the successful campaign to get Britain out of the European Union, saying he would pull off "Brexit times 10". It was something few pundits believed would happen as polling day approached, despite his campaign receiving a late boost from fresh controversy over an FBI investigation into his opponent's emails. As his stunning victory was still sinking in across the US, his supporters got the chance to see him in the Oval Office when he and President Obama met for transition talks two days after election day. He will be the first US president never to have held elected office or served in the military, meaning that he has already made history before he is sworn in as America's 45th president in January.

November 10. Progressive Labour Party Leader David Burt has announced his new shadow cabinet, bringing back into the fold MPs who resigned under Marc Bean’s leadership. Of those returning are Walton Brown, who has been appointed Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, and Kim Wilson, who is Shadow Minister of Health, while those MPs remaining out are Derrick Burgess, Rolfe Commissiong and Zane DeSilva. Mr Burt has reclaimed briefly abdicated position as Shadow Minister of Finance. Mr Burt said his cabinet will “take forward the PLP’s campaign for a fairer Bermuda; one which keeps the interests of all Bermudians at heart”. The rest of his shadow cabinet are as follows: Walter Roban, Shadow Minister of National Security; Dennis Lister, Shadow Minister of Public Works; Lovitta Foggo, Shadow Minister of Education; Michael Scott, Shadow Attorney-General; Michael Weeks, Shadow Minister of Community, Youth and Sports Development; Jamahl Simmons, Shadow Minister of Tourism; Lawrence Scott, Shadow Minister of Transport; Diallo Rabain, Shadow Minister of Environment, Planning and Workforce Development; Renée Ming, Shadow Minister of Municipalities; and Kim Wilkerson, Shadow Minister of Economic Development. Mr Burt added: “Our shadow ministers look forward to serving Bermuda through the responsible and respectful execution of their duties as the government in waiting. They will work alongside our extremely capable backbench Members of Parliament to hold the One Bermuda Alliance Government to account during every parliamentary session for their failure to effectively serve the people of Bermuda.”

November 10. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Minister of Home Affairs, announced today that hard work continues to get Bermudians back into the job force, while attempting to process applications quickly. Speaking on initiatives highlighted in the 2016 Throne Speech, the minister said the Bermuda Government’s goal was to improve the quality of life of those on the island and help Bermudians find work. The ministry would work to make sure guest workers in certain fields — including such categories as landscaping gardener, auto mechanic, electrician and welder — met certified standards and secure authorization from the Department of Workforce Development, before a work permit could be issued. “What we have done is to enhance what happens within the Department of Workforce Development to ensure that we have national certification,” she said. “In order for someone to hold themselves out as competent, they require certification. There are times when those areas require work permits, so looking out for the employment of our people, it is important that we ensure that as many Bermudians as possible are able to get jobs in their country. In terms of work permits for specific industries, we will be minimizing work permits that are issued as much as we possibly can to enhance the ability of Bermudians to be employed. In looking at that, we will make sure that if someone is coming in and requires a work permit, in the absence of a Bermudian qualified to do that job, we will make sure that person also has the national standard certification before they are able to apply for a work permit. By having a set curriculum, having a training officer to ensure that the standards are set and to have enforcement officers, helps ensure that our Bermudians qualify at a level that may minimise the need for permits to be issued, and I’m looking forward to that.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin further noted elements of the Throne Speech aimed at “strengthening families”, such as a promised study of parental leave, including maternity, paternity and adoption leave. “This is an issue that we will put to the Labour Advisory Council,” she said. “We will confirm the structure around which they will be operating in this regard and terms of reference so we can have these discussions in a meaningful way. It is very important from a social perspective to strengthen the family structure that we have systems in place where people can feel comfortable, where if they require time off then it is structured and supported by government policies.” She said that the government would work to address the issue of collecting child maintenance payment arrears, adding: “We have to make sure our young people are not disadvantaged because one parent is not meeting their obligations.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin also noted the continuing work of the Immigration Working Group, which is tackling immigration issues raised in the Pathways to Status legislation. One element — that of adoption — has already been addressed by legislation, and at present the group is in the public consultation phase of the second element, mixed status families. The group will later tackle more contentious issues, such as the possibility of granting Bermudian status to some long-term residents. Asked about the speed at which the ministry is processing work permit and Bermudian Status applications, Ms Gordon Pamplin said the ministry was working to accelerate the process. “There have been delays in processing certain things,” she said. “We have put measures in place in order to create efficiencies in the department. We are looking at bettering the interaction we have with the public to make sure that everyone is happy at the end of the day.”

November 10. Butterfield Bank is to redeem all of its 8 per cent Government Guarantees Preference Shares. The shares were issued in June 2009, giving the bank a $200 million injection as it re-capitalized following the impact of the global financial crisis the previous year. The shares carry a guarantee of dividend payments extending to June 2019. This guarantee is backed by the Bermuda Government and the future value of those dividend payments will be honored, even as the shares are redeemed 2½ years ahead of that date. Following the bank’s successful initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in September, its directors decided it was the appropriate time to redeem the preference shares, given the bank’s strong capital position and its ability “to generate excess capital from operations”. Michael Collins, Butterfield’s chief executive officer, said: “Our successful US public offering was an important milestone for Butterfield, marking the bank’s full recovery from the impact of the global financial crisis and the beginning of a new chapter of growth. The redemption of preference shares will allow our common shareholders to participate more fully in the bank’s success going forward.” The redemption equates to 31 cents per common share based on the 53,248,307 common shares outstanding at the end of September. Mr Collins added: “I would like to thank the preference shareholders who invested in Butterfield at a time when we needed their support. We are pleased to be in a position to retire the entire preference share issue with a payment of $215.8 million, comprising principal and current dividends of $186.5 million and a make-whole premium of $29.3 million, representing the present value of future dividends that preference shareholders would have received through 22 June 2019.” Mr Collins thanked the government for supporting the preference share offering in 2009 with its unconditional guarantee of dividends and principal. The mandatory redemption of the 182,863 outstanding shares will take effect on December 15, and will result in the discontinuance of annual payments of $16.4 million in preference share dividends and government guarantee fees. Preference shareholders of record on December 1 will receive a “make-whole” redemption payment of $1,180 per preference share on December 15. The preference shares will be delisted from the Bermuda Stock Exchange and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Formal notification and complete information regarding the mandatory redemption of the preference shares will be mailed to preference shareholders not later than November 14.

November 9. WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump was elected America’s 45th president in the early hours of this morning, an astonishing victory for a celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters’ economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House. His triumph over Hillary Clinton will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and threatens to undo major achievements of President Barack Obama. He’s pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama’s landmark healthcare law, revoke the nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada. The Republican blasted through Democrats’ longstanding firewall, carrying Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the competitive battleground states, and he did just that, claiming Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and others. In his victory speech in front of his euphoric supporters, Trump said: “Hillary has worked very hard and very hard over a very long period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to this country. Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for every American. And that is very important to me. For those that have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country.” However, despite the conciliatory tone of his acceptance speech, global stock markets and US stock futures plunged deeply, reflecting investor alarm over what a Trump presidency might mean for the economy and trade. A New York real estate developer who lives in a sparkling Manhattan high-rise, Trump forged a striking connection with white, working-class Americans who feel left behind in a changing economy and diversifying country. He cast immigration, both from Latin America and the Middle East, as the root of the problems plaguing many Americans and tapped into fears of terrorism emanating at home and abroad. Trump will take office with Congress expected to be fully under Republican control. GOP Senate candidates fended off Democratic challengers in key states and appeared poised to maintain the majority. Republicans also maintained their grip on the House. Senate control means Trump will have great leeway in appointing Supreme Court justices, which could mean a major change to the right that would last for decades. Trump upended years of political convention on his way to the White House, leveling harshly personal insults on his rivals, deeming Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers, and vowing to temporarily suspend Muslim immigration to the US. He never released his tax returns, breaking with decades of campaign tradition, and eschewed the kind of robust data and field efforts that helped Obama win two terms in the White House, relying instead on his large, freewheeling rallies to energies supporters. His campaign was frequently in chaos, and he cycled through three campaign managers this year. His final campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, touted the team’s accomplishments as the final results rolled in, writing on Twitter that “rally crowds matter” and “we expanded the map”. The mood at Clinton’s party grew bleak as the night wore out, with some supporters leaving, others crying and hugging each other. Top campaign aides stopped returning calls and texts, as Clinton and her family hunkered down in a luxury hotel watching the returns. At 2am, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told the crowd to head home for the night. “We’re still counting votes and every vote should count,” he said. Trump will inherit an anxious nation, deeply divided by economic and educational opportunities, race and culture.  Exit polls underscored the fractures: women nationwide supported Clinton by a double-digit margin, while men were significantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white voters backed the Republican, while nearly nine in ten blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for the Democrat. Doug Ratliff, a 67-year-old businessman from Richlands, Virginia, said Trump’s election would be one of the happiest days of his life. “This county has had no hope,” said Ratliff, who owns strip malls in the area badly beaten by the collapse of the coal industry. “You have no idea what it would mean for the people if Trump won. They’ll have hope again. Things will change. I know he’s not going to be perfect. But he’s got a heart. And he gives people hope.” Trump has pledged to usher in a series of sweeping changes to US domestic and foreign policy: repealing Obama’s signature healthcare law, though he has been vague on what he could replace it with; building a wall along the US-Mexico border; and suspending immigration from country’s with terrorism ties. He’s also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoken of building a better relationship with Moscow, worrying some in his own party who fear he’ll go easy on Putin’s provocations. The Republican Party’s tortured relationship with its nominee was evident right up to the end. Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush declined to back Trump, instead selecting “none of the above” when they voted for president, according to spokesman Freddy Ford. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a reluctant Trump supporter, called the businessman earlier in the evening to congratulate him, according to a Ryan spokeswoman. Democrats, as well as some Republicans, expected Trump’s unconventional candidacy would damage down-ballot races and even flip some reliably red states in the presidential race. But Trump held on to Republican territory, including in Georgia and Utah, where Clinton’s campaign confidently invested resources. Clinton asked voters to keep the White House in her party’s hands for a third straight term. She cast herself as heir to President Barack Obama’s legacy and pledged to make good on his unfinished agenda, including passing immigration legislation, tightening restrictions on guns and tweaking his signature healthcare law. But she struggled throughout the race with persistent questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. Those troubles flared anew late in the race, when FBI Director James Comey announced a review of new e-mails from her tenure at the State Department.

November 9. From BBC UK. http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37920175. Trump Beats Clinton to take White House.

November 9. Positioning the Progressive Labour Party “collectively as a strong and viable alternative to the government” is the priority for incoming party leader David Burt. Speaking to The Royal Gazette following his leadership victory on Monday evening, when Walter Roban was also voted in as his deputy, he said his team going forward would be expected to work together for the good of the party and the country. He confirmed that he will reappoint senators Renee Ming and Kim Wilkerson as “both have served us very well,” but would not give further details on future appointments. He said: “I am humbled and gratified by the trust that has been put in me — it is an awesome responsibility, it is a sacrifice, it will certainly be a challenge. But this issue isn’t about David Burt — it is about the Progressive Labour Party and about a country that has been suffering under four years of broken promises by the One Bermuda Alliance. I will be looking for a team that can stay focused on the job as we are elected to do and to present ourselves collectively as a strong and viable alternative to a government, that as many people see it, is focused on the elite and privileged and out of touch with the challenges that the average Bermudian faces on a daily basis, and that is what we are looking for — people who can ensure they can represent the PLP well. I don’t expect there will be a huge number of changes and we are going to move forward to ensure that we are continuing to hold the OBA to account.” Asked whether any of the six shadow cabinet ministers who resigned back in December, citing differences with former leader Marc Bean, would return to his cabinet, Mr Burt replied: “Everything will be revealed in short order.” Mr Burt refuted accusations that his party had no solid plan pointing to its last Reply to the Throne Speech as well as its reply to the Budget last year. “We have a lot of plans. It is about making sure we communicate those plans,” he said. During his leadership bid speech at Devonshire Recreational Club on Monday night, one specific issue Mr Burt raised was that of the need for improvement in Bermuda’s public education system. The father of two said he believed Bermuda had been let down by the OBA in terms of preparing students for technological advances during the same term that $100m had been allocated to the America’s Cup. “We need to focus on raising standards and preparing the youth for the 21st century global economy. There are schools that don’t even have wi-fi — how is it that in 2016 we have schools that don’t have wi-fi? That is wholly unacceptable. We have to make sure that they have the best technology, the best tools that they can learn from in the classroom. What is also important is training and lifelong education. We have to make sure that if we attract new industries and diversify the economy, we also ensure that people are able and ready to do those jobs. We called in our budget reply for a tripling of the training Budget. We need to train Bermudians and that investment is proven over time to yield incredible benefits internationally — you need to invest in your people. Those are the type of priorities you will see from the PLP government that will be different than what the OBA’s priorities are.” Speaking on why that wasn’t done under the previous PLP administration, Mr Burt added: “We lost an election in 2012 because people didn’t think we were doing the things that were necessary. It is our job in opposition to point out the things that we need to be doing and it is our job as the government to fulfil those aims. It is all a question of priority and from the perspective that we sit now — especially knowing the way that technology is moving and changing — we cannot have that digital divide inside of our schools.” Mr Burt said he was well aware that the PLP needed to gain the confidence back from the people as a party that could work together following a tumultuous year marred by division. Former senator Marc Daniels quit following the retirement of Marc Bean, describing “subterfuge” and deceitful behavior as playing a part in his ousting. Mr Burt said: “I have known former senator Daniels since I was five years old; he is an amazing public servant; he is an amazing individual; he has his opinion — he has a few. I think what is most important for the PLP is to move forward and unify. We cannot focus on the differences that we have. When it is in democracy you are always going to have differences in opinion — that is no different in a marriage. The question is how do you manage those differences? We will do what we can to help the rifts. If we continue to battle each other rather than battling the OBA, I think that could be a challenge. From the perspective of the PLP we have to focus on the task at hand. We are Bermuda’s oldest political party, we are the most vibrant political party, we have branches around the country that continue to meet, that organise many events for the community and our students and seniors on the ground and we will continue to do the work in Parliament.”

Trump and Clinton results by state

Trump's states in red, Clinton's in blue. Trump got 290 electoral votes, Clinton 228. She very narrowly won the popular vote.

November 9. Britain’s impending departure from the European Union will be good for Bermuda’s reinsurance industry, according to the man at the helm of one of the sector’s leading companies. Kevin O’Donnell, chief executive officer of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd, said at a conference yesterday that even island reinsurers with a Lloyd’s of London business — like his own — stood to benefit. “Brexit will be good for Bermuda — we have Solvency II equivalence,” Mr O’Donnell said, while speaking on a panel at the Bermuda Reinsurance conference at the Hamilton Princess yesterday. “From that perspective, I feel very good that Bermuda is our domicile and our home base.” Bermuda was given third-country equivalence by the European Union with the bloc’s Solvency II regulatory regime for the insurance industry earlier this year, meaning Bermudian firms can compete on a level playing field in the EU marketplace. British insurers enjoy “passporting rights” that allow them to trade unhindered throughout the EU, but these rights are likely to go in the event of Brexit and entry to these markets would have to be negotiated with individual countries. RenaissanceRe is one of several Bermuda reinsurers to have a Lloyd’s operation — RenaissanceRe Syndicate 1458 was set up in 2009 and wrote more than 20 per cent of the group’s gross premiums in the third quarter of this year. “Within Lloyd’s, the European business is the most exposed to Brexit, but Lloyd’s has many agreements with other countries around the world that will be largely unaffected,” Mr O’Donnell said. He added that RenRe was “built to be nimble” and could adapt as necessary to deal with any Brexit shocks. Kean Driscoll, CEO of Bermudian-based Validus Re, who was sitting alongside Mr O’Donnell on the CEOs’ panel, said last week’s court ruling in the UK requiring that Parliament is required to vote before the invoking of Article 50 — which will trigger negotiations on Britain’s exit from the bloc — will be helpful to Lloyd’s. Validus owns Talbot Underwriting, a Lloyd’s-based operation that generated more than half of the group’s gross premiums in the third quarter of this year. Mr Driscoll said the parliamentary process would likely delay Brexit, giving Lloyd’s more time to renegotiate licensing agreements with individual EU countries — something that may already be happening, he added. In an earlier session at the conference, Moritz Kraemer, global chief rating officer, sovereign ratings, for S&P Global ratings, spelled out a grim Brexit scenario for the UK, including falling foreign direct investment, rising inflation as a result of the weak pound and a tough bargaining stance from the EU to dissuade other members from leaving the bloc. “We should expect that in the coming months some of the financial institutions in London will make announcements on their future plans in the case of a hard Brexit — which seems increasingly likely,” Mr Kraemer said. The panelists also discussed the consolidation spree that has changed the face of the industry in recent years and the various types of buyers to emerge. Mr Driscoll referred to the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board’s agreement in September to purchase Lloyd’s-based Ascot Underwriting for $1.1 billion from American International Group. “Many pension funds are coming into the P&C [property and casualty] space and I think we will see more of that,” Mr Driscoll said. “They have a longer time horizon than most and that is good for stability, good for clients and good for Bermuda.” Big deals in recent times in Bermuda have included Japanese insurer Sompo’s proposed $6.3 billion purchase of Endurance, Chinese investment firm Fosun International’s $1.8 billion acquisition of Ironshore and Italian investment company Exor’s $6.9 billion buyout of PartnerRe. Mr O’Donnell said the differing types of buyers had differing measures of success. “The Japanese buyers can pay a higher multiple because they have a much longer time window,” Mr O’Donnell said. “The Chinese want to diversify their capital and the cash buyers are looking at the return they’re getting at a funds level.” In this environment, he added, further consolidation between reinsurance companies was likely to be “very dilutive to the acquirer”.

November 9. Two MPs have questioned why the public was not notified about the release from prison of a former policeman who lured young boys to his home to rape them. Mark Pettingill and Zane DeSilva, chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the joint parliamentary select committee on safeguarding children, claimed Attorney-General Trevor Moniz should have issued a notice when John Malcolm “Chalkie” White left jail. White is understood to have been released from Westgate on October 31 after serving 12 years of a 25-year sentence for crimes including buggery, attempted buggery and sexual exploitation in Smiths and St George’s between 1996 and 2001. Opposition MP Mr DeSilva chastised Mr Moniz for staying quiet about White’s release, querying why the AG didn’t issue a notice and photograph of the convicted pedophile.  “This man has been locked up for a most horrific offence,” he said. “The AG has the power to publicize that he is out and the power to put a picture of him in the public domain. Why is he not dealing with this? People have a right to know where he is.” Mr DeSilva said he understood that White had not taken part in any rehabilitation or treatment while locked up. “What should worry all of us, [is] if this man could end up committing further crimes. For this reason, I think the AG needs to get off his hands and do something. It’s children that we worry about.” Government backbencher and former Attorney-General Mr Pettingill cited section 329H of the Criminal Code, which allows the Minister, after consultation with the Commissioner of Police, to issue a notice to the public or specific groups or individuals, if he believes there is a need to protect them. “This is a matter of public protection and interest and the law is in place to deal with the issue,” he said. “There is no excuse for delay and it is nothing short of dangerous to prevaricate on an issue like this.” It is understood that Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security and a former policeman, alerted the One Bermuda Alliance’s parliamentary team to White’s release at the end of last week. Mr Baron became aware by chance of the situation only after White had left jail and immediately flagged it up to his colleagues because of the very serious nature of the convict’s crimes, which involved three boys, the youngest of whom was ten when he was raped. Mr Baron declined to comment on the specific case yesterday but said: “We need to achieve a balance between shielding our vulnerable population from sex offenders, recognized as such by our courts, and assisting offenders with getting critical help to address a very serious illness they have. “My priority is with the vulnerable persons, with child victims. No person deserves to become a victim of a sex crime and no person or society deserves to feel victimized by persons who have yet to confront or who have failed to manage such significant mental health issues.” Mr Moniz did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment yesterday. Asked whether White was considered a danger to the public and whether he was being monitored, prisons commissioner Edward Lamb said: “Other than to say that Mr White served his time in accordance with the law, it would be highly imprudent of me to offer specific comments on a former inmate.” A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said: “Matters concerning the public notification of registered sex offenders are the remit of the Minister of Justice, who is empowered under the Criminal Code Act 1907 to make disclosures under specific circumstances. The BPS can confirm that it works closely with the Attorney-General, the Department of Corrections and others to monitor offenders, ensuring their compliance with the requirements to be registered and, more generally, to ensure that the list of sex offenders is properly maintained.” Bermuda does not have a publicly available sex offenders register, though the joint select committee is investigating whether one should be created.

November 9. Archaeologists have conducted a small excavation on the site of the new hotel in St George’s to ensure that historical artifacts are not disturbed during the project. The site of the development is believed to be close to the spot where the Sea Venture crew came ashore in Bermuda in 1609, which has prompted a Historical Impact Assessment of the location. Last weekend, Edward Harris, the National Museum’s executive director, and archaeologist Brent Fortenberry excavated an area of about an acre in size to check for signs of early civilization. They did not find anything of historical value during the dig. “All we were doing was some due diligence in relation to the new hotel site in St George’s,” Dr Harris said. “This is the site where the crew of the Sea Venture is believed to have landed, so the point was to see if there was any evidence of early occupation on the site. The work was done over two days by myself and Dr Fortenberry with the permission of the planning department and also the Bermuda Government. We found no evidence of occupation and no evidence of any military occupation either. There was a couple of dozen bits of pottery but nothing of any great significance.” The National Museum is in the process of working with the hotel developers on a Historical Impact Assessment of the site.

November 9. Bermuda’s economy grew in the second quarter of the year, driven by an increase in services exports and higher capital spending. Gross domestic product — a measure of all the goods and services produced by the island — totaled $1,442.7 million, up 2.7 per cent on the same period last year, according to a report published by the Department of Statistics. Real GDP growth — that is, after inflation was taken into account — was 1.3 per cent. It was the sixth quarter of real GDP growth in the past seven and represented a bounce back to expansion after the 0.3 per cent decline in the first three months of this year. The main driver of growth was a $39.7 million increase in the exports of services, mostly generated by increased earnings for travel and insurance services. The exports increase helped to boost the island’s net trade surplus by 8 per cent to $24.2 million. Imports of goods and services, which has a downward effect on GDP growth, increased $14.2 million reflecting higher payments for telecommunications, professional and management consultancy services. It was the third successive quarter of imports growth, reflecting a higher demand in the economy for goods and services purchased from overseas. Gross capital formation — or net spending on capital assets, expected to last for more than one year — grew $19 million, or 10.8 per cent in real terms, driven by higher spending on transportation equipment such as boats and vehicles. The figures suggested that the Bermuda Government tightened the purse strings during the third quarter, as government consumption fell 2.3 per cent during the quarter, or 3.1 per cent after inflation. Island residents also reduced their spending, as household consumption fell 1.4 per cent after inflation to $773.4 million.

November 8. The Anglican Cathedral on Church Street will host a special Remembrance Day service this Sunday from 10am. This year marks the 100th anniversary since the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps entered the First World War, fighting with the Allied Forces in the Battle of the Somme. To commemorate the occasion, the cathedral has received four ceramic poppies from the 2014 Tower of London exhibition ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’. The artworks will sit permanently in the Warrior’s Chapel to remember the sacrifice of those who fought in the conflict, which claimed 90 Bermudian lives, and the chapel will also feature photographs and trench art loaned by Carol Everson. The service will be open to the public, and the Bishop of Bermuda Rev Nicholas Dill has also invited those whose ancestors fought in the war to bring any stories or memorabilia along. For those unable to attend, the service will be broadcast on radio station Power 95 Call 292-6987 or e-mail diocese@anglican.bm for further details.

November 8. A focus on improving long-term care, helping seniors age at home and tackling age discrimination in the workplace has been welcomed by charity Age Concern. However, deputy board chairman Charles Jeffers cautioned that this was only the beginning and that there were many other issues that needed to be addressed to help Bermuda’s seniors. “Long-term care is one of the things Age Concern has been pushing for years,” Mr Jeffers, who is also chairman of Age Concerns advocacy committee, told The Royal Gazette. “We’re happy to see it included, but the Throne Speech is just the beginning.” While he applauded Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health and Seniors, for her sincerity and for taking recommendations from Age Concern and the Seniors Advisory Committee on board, he said the proposals would go nowhere without Cabinet approval. According to the Throne Speech, the Ministry of Health and Seniors will roll out a Long-Term Care Action Plan this parliamentary session. Acting Governor Ginny Ferson, who read the speech, said this would address quality of care needs, developing long-term care staff and educating the population about long-term care issues. She said the ministry would also work with stakeholders to reduce the cost of operating long-term care facilities and including long-term care as an insurance benefit. Emphasizing that it is of equal importance to ensure seniors can remain at home “for as long as possible”, Mrs Ferson said the ministry would also be developing incentives to help seniors afford appropriate home renovations. Government will furthermore examine ways to protect seniors against age discrimination in employment, “mindful that there are economic and other trade-offs that must be carefully considered”, she added. According to Mr Jeffers, this is another issue Age Concern has been pushing for years. Noting that Britain introduced similar legislation in 2010 with a two-year time frame to enact the legislation, Mr Jeffers said: “We feel that Government can show its sincerity by passing the bill and giving itself a time frame to enact it.” But Mr Jeffers added that there were many more issues that needed to be addressed to help seniors in Bermuda who are struggling. He said he would have liked to have seen pensions indexed “at least” to the cost of living. Adding that the biggest cure for a lot of the problems facing seniors is money and lower prices, Mr Jeffers warned that unless the cost of expenses such as prescriptions or co-pays go down, “we are going to continue having problems”.

November 8. Legislation regulating dogs is set to be “modernized”, according to the Throne Speech. Among the proposed changes will be measures to set standards for the keeping of dogs, the banning of cosmetic surgical procedures on dogs and a review of controversial breed restrictions. The speech also noted public concerns about the island’s cat population, both feral and domestic, stating: “The government will devise a strategy that incorporates humane treatment, methods of population control and partnerships between community charities and the Bermuda Veterinary Association.” Deborah Titterton Narraway, executive director of the Bermuda SPCA, said she was pleased to hear the issued being addressed in the Speech. “The SPCA has been involved in talks with various stakeholders regarding the feral cats in our community and will continue to work to find a collaborative approach to managing this population. The Bermuda SPCA submitted a comprehensive review and recommendation of the Dog’s Act 2008 to the Minister and the Canine Committee submitted a separate review. The SPCA is very interested to see how many of the recommendations put forth will be included and to see how comprehensive the modernization will be.” She said that the recommendations put forward by SPCA included elements mentioned in the Throne Speech, such as ensuring dogs have access to the “five freedoms”, explaining that such elements are not detailed in the 2008 act. Ms Narraway also said that the “cosmetic surgery” element of the Throne Speech was a reference to cropping and docking — the surgical removal of part of a dog’s ears or tail for cosmetic purposes. “A lot of the time that is done by the breeders, that often have no medical or veterinary training,” she said. “That then can cause health issues.” Cosmetic cropping and docking has already been made illegal in some countries, such as England, Australia and some provinces in Canada, however other countries have not restricted the practice. A spokesperson from Punish The Deed Not The Breed group said: “We are glad to hear prohibited dog legislation and the dog act itself mentioned as being on the agenda, and are fully in support of this being put forward asp to be amended to promote modern and relevant dog welfare and responsible ownership legislation.”

November 8. Teachers’ union leader Mike Charles has dismissed the education proposals set out in yesterday’s Throne Speech as “a bunch of platitudes”. Bermuda Education Network executive director Becky Ausenda cautiously welcomed the initiatives, but questioned whether the Bermuda Government would have sufficient resources to see them all through. The Throne Speech called for an end to the practice of social promotion, in which students move automatically through the grade system. “Allowing a child (to do so), without demonstrating the understanding of concepts or developing skills to acceptable levels, ensures continuing academic struggle and more. The Ministry of Education promised to continue to enhance the quality of teaching and learning. Support will continue for the implementation of mathematics and literacy strategies, quality teaching practices, development through the arts and community and family engagement,” it said. The document also announced the ministry’s intent to focus on “completing initiatives already in progress”. These included “implementation of the Danielson Framework for improved curriculum teaching, maximum use of the Bermuda College STEM centre and addressing the facility challenges outlined in the Score Report”. Elsewhere, Government pledged to improve the quality and prevalence of information technology in schools, and vowed to “implement alternative pathways for student success” through the use of City & Guilds certifications. Mr Charles, general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, criticised the Throne Speech’s education section as “all a lot of fluff, which really says nothing. It doesn’t give us any comfort. Our schools still don’t have supplies, and the mould problem has not abated in any way,” he said. Mr Charles accused the Government of doing “zero” for Bermuda’s public schools, adding that its pro-education declarations were simply for show. “When this Government came into power, they decried the education system that was there before. They said that schools were in crisis.  Well, it’s four years on, and what has been done? Absolutely nothing. All they want to do is put on the America’s Cup.” Describing the social promotion initiative as “no big deal”, Mr Charles chastised the Government for continually cutting the education budget year-on-year. "In February, finance minister Bob Richards revealed that the Ministry of Education would receive $2.23 million less than it did the previous year. There’s a saying: you show me your budget and I’ll tell you where your priorities are. The Government talks about 21st-century education. Visit any public school and see for yourself if a 21st-century education is possible.” Ms Ausenda commended the priorities of the Throne Speech, “starting with teaching quality and the continuation of professional development, especially in mathematics and literacy”. She also applauded its focus on existing strategies. “The Ministry of Education is often criticised for starting initiatives and not seeing any through. So we welcome their commitment to completing measures including the Danielson Framework and the Multi-Tier System of Support (for student behavior interventions).” Ms Ausenda said that the BEN “would like to see the Government assess whether it has sufficient human resources to implement these new proposals. We recognise that the Ministry of Education doesn’t have an endless source of funding, and some tough choices will have to be made,” she added. Regarding the ministry’s driving principle of “children first”, Ms Ausenda suggested that such a system “first needs a robust accountability framework to back that up. This could be achieved by broadening the role of the Score committee, introducing school inspections or bringing in an external review team similar to 2007’s Hopkins Review."

November 8. Roadside breath testing is set to come into force next year to crack down on drink driving, the Throne Speech said today. Acting Governor Ginny Ferson, reading the blueprint for the parliamentary session on behalf of the Government, said there was “no tolerance” for driving over the limit. And she added that speed cameras would also be installed around the island in an attempt to cut Bermuda’s high rate of death and serious injury on the roads. The Government will also look at decriminalization for small amounts of cannabis. Ms Ferson said: “To that end, government reforms will preserve police powers to confiscate cannabis and to test whether road users are under the influence of cannabis. These reforms will complement our efforts to educate our youth about the dangerous effects of drug use, balancing the need to reduce the consumption of cannabis while avoiding the unnecessary criminalisation of our young people.” In addition, the US-based Operation Ceasefire will be brought back to Bermuda to conduct an “intensive review” of Bermuda’s anti-gang drive, including the Team StreetSafe intervention and crisis management programme set up in consultation with Operation Ceasefire. Ms Ferson also said that antisocial behavior and violent crime linked to bars and clubs would be cracked down on. She said: “Accordingly, consultation will be held with the senior magistrates and the Bermuda Police Service for amendments to the Liquor Licensing Act to enhance the powers of a senior police officer to temporarily suspend a liquor licence when warranted.” The Government also aims to curb under-age drinking, with a debate in Parliament on “social host liability laws” used in other countries to penalise adults who provide or allow the provision of alcohol to those under-age. Ms Ferson said: “Following the debate and necessary consultation, a Bill will be tabled setting out provisions to address this serious issue of under-age alcohol consumption and abuse.” Health was also front and centre in the Throne Speech, with the importation of cannabis-based drugs being considered to broaden the range of treatments available. Ms Ferson said: “Decisions by Government in this regard will continue to be evidence-based so that our residents will only have access to quality products.” The Throne Speech listed care for seniors and support for the needy as a priority, as well as measures to cut crime and to calm the roads, and the creation of “an abundance of opportunities to help Bermudians make the most of their lives”. It added: “The overall goal is to enhance quality of life across the board and to build an island that meets people’s needs and supports their aspirations.” The speech also promised “the introduction of progressive payroll tax reform to ease pressures on lower-income earners.” The Government also promised to tackle serious chronic, non-communicable diseases, often caused by obesity and which are the biggest killers on the island. The speech said: “Lower-income individuals who lack access to appropriate care are the most seriously affected. The situation often leads to revolving-door hospitalizations and inappropriate use of emergency services. To manage the situation, the Bermuda Hospitals Board will establish a hospital-based ‘medical home’ programme to manage the needs of individuals with chronic non-communicable diseases.” The health ministry will also set up a chronic disease register, to include conditions such as diabetes, kidney and heart disease, to identify levels of disease with high impact on society and to help professionals come up with strategies to deal with them. Voting legislation is to be amended and will include a proposed provision to allow students overseas and voters abroad for medical treatment to vote in advance through absentee ballots. Ms Ferson said: “It is expected this inclusive measure will be in place before the next General Election.” In education, the speech said that teachers would continue to be supported to improve the quality of education, while moving children automatically through the grade system would be ended. The speech said: “Allowing a child to move through the system without demonstrating the understanding of concepts or developing skills to acceptable levels ensures continuing academic struggle and more. The ministry will therefore end the practice of social promotion to ensure adequate development takes place before children are moved to another grade.” A clear route to trades qualifications will also be created using the City & Guilds applied certification programme, while scholarships will be increased and diversified. And steps will be taken to protect seniors against age discrimination in employment “mindful that there are economic and other trade-offs that must be carefully considered.” The Government will also debate three Acts of Parliament connected to the proposed public-private partnership redevelopment of the national airport by the Canadian Commercial Corporation and Aecon. The Registrar of Companies is also set to be modernized with an electronic registry, a step that will “provide better service to its customers and help Bermuda keep pace with its international reporting obligations”. A new code of practice for project management and procurement will also be introduced with a view to increasing transparency and financial accountability. Ms Ferson added: “Government will further its good governance reforms by introducing legislative amendments creating new offences relating to misconduct in public office and requiring all public officials — ministers, members of the legislature and public servants — to declare in writing any outside interests they or close family members may have.” The Government also committed to building a new centre for public use at White Hill Field, which is widely used for football and cricket. The Throne Speech invoked Bermuda’s hurricane spirit, last seen during Hurricane Nicole last month, as an example for the future. The speech said: “Hurricane Nicole provided a stellar example of a society that works, from people demonstrating readiness, co-ordination and compassion, to a home-grown building code that kept homes intact. “Bermudians should be proud of what the storm showed of their character, their culture and their spirit. Commentators urged people to carry that spirit forward into everyday life — a worthy hope the depends on individual decencies that lie within each of us, bringing people together.”

November 8. Marc Daniels, who had served as the Opposition Leader in the Senate, has resigned from the Upper House, citing “subterfuge and deceit” against Marc Bean, who stepped down on Friday as Opposition Leader. The Progressive Labour Party this afternoon commended him for four years of service, which included most of this current year as Senate leader. “Senator Daniels represented us remarkably in the Senate with his PLP counterparts, debating legislation, holding the Government to account, and standing strong for the Bermudian people,” the statement added. “His contributions helped to make the PLP Senate team a force to be reckoned with, and he was able to connect with and inspire many during his tenure.” It followed the posting of a hard-hitting statement this morning on Mr Daniels’ Facebook page, which accused rebel Opposition MPs, along with the Acting Leader of the Opposition — currently David Burt — of engaging in concerted “deceit” against Mr Bean. Mr Daniels railed against dissenters within the PLP ranks, ranging from the leaking of details to the media and a “campaign” to depose the former leader, who was appointed in December 2012. The blistering statement, which coincided with today’s Throne Speech, included his letter of resignation, which was submitted on Saturday. In an earlier statement, posted on Saturday, Mr Daniels expressed shock at Mr Bean’s resignation, noting that the former leader had trusted him, with just over one year’s experience in the Senate, to stand as leader. He called Mr Bean a “political ally, a critic, a mentor and most of all friend”. A copy of today’s statement follows: "As I stand on the grounds of Parliament listening to the commencement of the Speech from the Throne, many individuals, inclusive of the press, are asking why I am not seated with the Parliamentary Group. Appreciating that no statement has been proffered on behalf of my Party I will share the following correspondence that I submitted to the Party on Saturday, 5 November 2016, to the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party Chairman, the Deputy (Acting) Leader and the Executive Branch. In light of the recent announcement that our Party Leader, the Hon. Marc A.R. Bean JP MP, has retired from party politics, I am compelled to likewise tender my resignation as a Senator on behalf of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party (“PLP”). I shall remain forever grateful to the former Party Leader for placing his trust and confidence in me, by appointing me to serve as a Senator and Opposition Senate Leader, to represent and advance the aims and objectives of the PLP. It has been my personal honour and privilege to serve in the Senate Chamber to critically assess and forcefully debate the multitude of Bills that have been passed into law by the One Bermuda Alliance Government from 2013 until present date. I pray that my few years of service have been of value to the Party and its legacy as the Party continues to fulfil its mandate on behalf of the People of Bermuda. It is clear that our internal issues have once again caused a rift of division that cannot be overcome with mere token words of “functional unity”. For over one year we have all witnessed a small, but vocal, group of MPs engage in acts of subterfuge and deceit to usurp and malign not only our Party Leader, but also our Executive branch, for their own political purposes. We are all aware that confidential information has been leaked to the press, public statements have been made withdrawing support for our Party leadership, and a campaign has been initiated to remove the leader, notwithstanding such protagonists could not secure the minimum requirement of one third of our branches’ support to constitute a SDC to discuss and/or challenge the leadership appropriately, without holding the party to ransom and stagnating our vital work in the community. The conduct of those MPs is wholly contrary to my principles, values, character, and integrity such that I can no longer continue to serve, in the Leader’s absence, in my present capacity as a Senator. I could not in good conscience even continue to serve on an interim basis under the temporary leadership of the Deputy (Acting) Leader and his band of rebel MPs, as they acted with the utmost deceit to undermine the former Party Leader’s twice confirmed duly elected position. Without a doubt I regret the present circumstances as my heart remains loyal to the Party and to its future success. But I cannot endorse those that have acted so unscrupulously to tarnish one of our own so callously, in order to satisfy their own desire. My hope for the future is that the Party recognizes the wealth of talent at its disposal and that it does all that it can to nurture generations of public servants and grass roots community participation to sustain the legacy of our illustrious Party. Simply put, we must do better to exude principles of justice, fairness, but most of all; honesty. In this regard, I express my humble thanks to every member and supporter of the PLP for your words of encouragement, support in my political journey. I will always treasure the awesome responsibility that was afforded to me and I shall remain indebted for the platform to express my views and affect change on matters of national importance."

November 8. Deputy leader of the Progressive Labour Party David Burt was voted in as Leader of the Opposition in a tightly fought contest last night. The former Shadow Minister of Finance and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee replaces Marc Bean who retired from politics on Friday, bringing to an end a tenure fraught with unrest and division within the party. During the delegates conference held at Devonshire Recreational Club last night, Dennis Lister made a bid for the leadership but was beaten to the post by 39 votes to 35. After his victory, a cool and collected Mr Burt, pictured above immediately after the ballot, addressed the media to say he was “gratified and humbled” by the trust put in him and vowed to unify the party. Walter Roban was named the new deputy leader, beating out competition from Kim Wilson. Mr Roban did not reach the necessary 38 votes, but Ms Wilson, who gained 27 votes, conceded. Asked whether the party could be better unified under his leadership, especially alongside Mr Roban, who had expressed disappointment at Mr Bean’s retirement, Mr Burt said: “The PLP is going to be moving forward and this man [Mr Roban] works hard and we will work very well together. “During the period of time that the former leader was on medical leave, I was the acting leader and he was the acting deputy and we worked excellently together, so I am looking forward to working together. I am looking forward to continuing the work to unify the party and I am looking forward to presenting an alternative vision for the future of this country so that people can feel confident in voting for the PLP and end the poor governance of the OBA.” Speaking on whether there was time for the PLP to win the upcoming election, Mr Burt replied: “Absolutely.” He went on: “The priority is getting ready for an election and then it is presenting alternate visions for the people of this country. The people of this country need jobs, they need opportunity and they need hope. Right now there is very little out there.” Mr Roban said: “My track record speaks for itself — I support leadership. I have never acted against leadership. David has been chosen; I stand by David Burt as the leader of the party and we will build a team that will win the next election.” Meanwhile, Makai Dickerson stepped down as branch chairman for constituency 34 and member at large for the central committee in protest at the election of Mr Burt as leader. “I want what is best for the people of Bermuda and I believe that was Dennis Lister.” He said Mr Burt was part of the crew that led to Marc Bean retiring: “I’m done,” he said. “I won’t be for the OBA but I will continue to represent the people of Bermuda.” Born and bred in Pembroke, Mr Burt was seen by many as the most likely replacement for Mr Bean and his recent resignation as Shadow Finance Minister hinted at his motives. Mr Burt was appointed as a Member of the Senate as well as Junior Minster for Finance and Environment Planning and Infrastructure Strategy in November 2010. Under Paula Cox, Mr Burt served as chief of staff and was party chairman between 2006 and 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a double major in Finance and Information Systems in 2001. In 2003, he was awarded The George Washington University Presidential Administrative Fellowship and received his Master of Science in Information Systems Development. Mr Burt has served on the Tourism Board, National Training Board, a director of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce and as director of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. Back in July, Mr Burt outlined his intention to bid for the leadership of the PLP if and when the opportunity arose. He said at the time that the PLP “owned” its mistakes from its last term in office and had spent the past three years researching policy, formulating specific plans of action and focusing on how to transform the island’s economy. Burt isn’t known for pulling punches. This summer he accused the OBA of being “either tone deaf or stupid” in its approach to introducing its controversial Pathways to Status Bill — a move he saw as adding more whites to the electoral roll. He has recently been an outspoken critic of the One Bermuda Alliance’s airport development plan, describing the process taken by the government as a “wholesale rejection of the principles of good governance”. Mr Burt is said to have distanced himself from Mr Bean by party insiders amid a storm of anger over his leadership style, which resulted in seven members of the Shadow Cabinet quitting late last year.

November 8. Homeware giant Gorham’s is celebrating its 80th anniversary. The firm, founded by A.J. Gorham in 1936, has grown from a small lumber business on Hamilton’s Front Street to a supermarket-style operation in Pembroke. And Rod Farrington, senior manager and shareholder, said the secret of the firm’s long life was the ability to adapt. He added: “Gorham’s has always been progressive over the years and kept changing. A.J. Gorham started in business selling cement and a local lumber yard started selling cement — he decided if they could sell cement, he could sell lumber. We’re the oldest lumber yard in Bermuda now. The company has always been forward-thinking, trying to stay ahead of the game and never resting on its laurels.” From small beginnings on Front Street, where the Supermart building now is, the company expanded into bigger premises on Reid Street, now occupied by Island Trading. Mr Farrington said, when sunlight hit the Island Trading store at the right angle, the original Gorham’s lettering could still be seen, while markings for different sizes of lumber could still be seen clearly in the building’s storage area. The company moved to its current location in 1962, built on a former area of swamp land reclaimed using rubble from the Bermudiana Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1958, and began to expand towards the multi-line store it is today. Mr Farrington said: “In our first two locations, we probably had other things like nuts and bolts, nails and hammers.” Basic hardware items were added in 1962 and over the years more and more items were added, but the modern store took shape when it was decided to replace the company’s third home with a new, larger warehouse some decades later. Mr Farrington said: “By the time we were ready to build the new facility, the old lumber yard probably had two to three thousand square feet of tools — once we moved into the new building, we expanded even more.” Two separate buildings, housing lumber and other stock, were joined together in 2002 to create the store shoppers know today. The company was bought out from various members of the Gorham family by Kitson & Company the same year and began a series of improvements. Only last month, the firm set up to accept the new chip-and-pin credit and debit cards, the latest piece of technology adopted by Gorham’s. Mr Farrington said: “We were the first company to do electronic data interchange with ordering, even prior to the internet. We automated very quickly and started using bar code scanners.” The firm later developed supply change management based on iPhones and iPads and two years ago won a Bermuda Tech award for best mobile apps on the island. Mr Farrington said: “Our philosophy is always to look forward. We’re 80 years strong and we’re just getting started. We’ve been strong throughout the years, but we’ve never sat on our laurels.” Mr Farrington said that, even after the recession hit towards the end of the last decade, the company did not lay off staff. He added: “In fact, we’ve invested in our business. Naturally, when times get tough and recession hits retailers, one of the first things they do is cut back inventory. We never did that so when people came here we still had what they needed.” Mr Farrington added: “We have an incredible customer base and we really appreciate our customers — we keep up our inventory and we’re constantly trying to be more efficient.” The firm will celebrate its birthday tomorrow from 6.30pm to 8.30pm with special promotional offers. There is a $10 per person entrance fee, with proceeds going to the Bermuda Legion, which aids ex-services personnel and their families. The event includes special offers, birthday cake, free food and drinks and a DJ, as well as other entertainment.

November 8. Court reports were ordered on a St George’s man who this morning admitted growing cannabis in his shed. Joshua Wilson, 33, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to charges of cultivating five cannabis plants, which were seized on April 1. Prosecutor Alan Richards told the court that police conducted a search of a Wellington Street property early that morning. During the search, Wilson directed officers to a nearby shed, where he admitted he had been growing the plants for his own personal use. Addressing the court, he said: “I’m sorry for what I have done. It will never happen again. “I messed up, but it was for my personal use. I was trying to save money.” While Wilson said he would accept a fine for the offence, magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo noted his clean record and ordered both a Social Inquiry Report and a drug assessment be carried out prior to sentencing. Wilson was released on $3,000 bail, and is expected to return to court next month.

November 8. A popular Hamilton café has a new owner. Katerina Smith, who comes from a restaurant business family, has taken over the Bermudiana Road café Nonna’s Kitchen, opened three years ago by Norma Thomson. Ms Smith, the wife of national swimming coach Ben Smith and originally from Bulgaria, said: “We will not be making too many changes, but I want to add some of my signature dishes, some European dishes like lamb and sautéed vegetables, as well as some Bulgarian salads.” She added that her chef, who is originally from the Philippines, will also add some menu items with an Asian flavour. Ms Smith, whose father ran a restaurant in Bulgaria, has managed Café Ten, Café 4 and Tuscany, now Bolero, all in Hamilton. She said it had “always been a dream of mine to own my own place and work for myself and when this opportunity came up, I just grabbed it.” Ms Smith added: “Nonna’s is a great place that has been working very well since it opened and I just so happy to be running it now and very excited for the future.”

November 7. Decontamination work to remove traces of toxic mould inside the Supreme Court Registry could take months to complete. Alarming levels of three kinds of mould were discovered last month in three rooms at the Front Street premises. The find prompted the closure of the Registry as well as Supreme Court 3, which in turn caused disruption to the criminal court schedule and restricted access to court documents. Last Thursday, Registrar Shade Subair Williams sent out the fourth circular to the legal profession providing an update on the toxic mould situation at the registry. “While considerable progress has been made, the decontamination of court records is ongoing,” Ms Subair Williams said. “The majority of all court records continue to be out of the reach of registry staff as they await mould decontamination at 113 Front Street. Regrettably the decontamination process may take months. All efforts are being made to prioritize the decontamination of urgent and current records.” The circular stated that hearings scheduled to take place in the Registrar’s Chambers would be held on the third floor of the Dame Lois Browne-Evans building, while all criminal matters would continue to take place in Supreme Court 1 or courtroom 4 at Dame Lois Browne-Evans building.

November 7. Progressive Labour Party MP Zane DeSilva has ruled himself out of running for the leadership of the party saying he stands “firmly behind David Burt” to take the top position. Mr DeSilva was responding to reports by a source close to the party telling this newspaper that Mr DeSilva and Shadow Minister for Public Works and Environment Dennis Lister had been “seeking support” from delegates following Marc Bean’s retirement from politics on Friday. Mr DeSilva said: “I deny that I am going for the leadership. I can confirm that I am firmly behind David Burt. I am definitely not running.” The source told us that the two MPs had been contacting delegates mainly through phone calls to discuss the leadership. Mr Lister could not be contacted by press time. He was tipped by political commentator Phil Perinchief last week as the best option to lead the PLP through the election as a neutral member of the party — even if he did not ultimately remain so. PLP party chairman Scott Simmons confirmed last night that a delegates conference is to go ahead this evening as scheduled despite an unexpected clash with the day of the delayed Throne Speech delivery. He said that the party would fulfil its constitutional obligation to name a leader within seven days of the former leader ending his tenure. Mr Simmons said: “While we are discussing other matters [at the conference] I would suspect that we will listen to the delegates and we will listen to what it is they would like to discuss. I would suspect the leadership will come up in our meetings but I cannot confirm that. It is a special delegates’ conference and we do have a constitutional requirement to find a replacement within seven days and we are going to meet that. That discussion can only be determined by the delegates and they will decide whether they wish to discuss it, but they are mindful that there is a seven- day requirement and so I would anticipate that they will want to have that discussion.” Asked whether anyone had formally put their names forward, Mr Simmons replied: “I believe there is a process that we have in that we will let our executive know and then we will let the delegates know who those individuals are if there are any and I think we shall follow through with that.” Mr Bean’s resignation also spells a by-election for Constituency 26 — Warwick South Central. Mr Simmons, on behalf of the executive committee, trustees, delegates, members and supporters of the PLP, thanked Mr Bean for stepping into the role of leader “at a challenging time following our 2012 election defeat.” Acknowledging the sacrifice of Mr Bean’s family members Mr Simmons went on to say: “Under his leadership, the PLP has achieved much, including blocking anti-Bermudian policies in Parliament, winning two bye-elections and re-establishing community focused fundraisers that defied the economy and addressed the shortfalls on our party balance sheets. It is without doubt, that Marc Bean made a political career of emphasizing the party’s position on good governance, education reform, and fiscal responsibility which are essential for social stability and prosperity.”

November 7. While Marc Bean in political years has had a relatively short life, in cricket terms it was an aggressive innings. He has done the right thing for himself and the party. In spite of his desire to clean the deck, the deck did not belong to him and perhaps he came to terms with that reality. The best thing for him is to take care of his health and family, and leave the politics up to natural forces. The larger issue for the Progressive Labour Party is who will be his replacement. Will it be a new look with a new vision for the party or the continuation of pre-2012. Not being close enough, I have seen the elements of both possibilities. However, it would seem that a new makeover-type leadership does not have enough momentum. On the other hand, it must be worrisome to the One Bermuda Alliance because a new leader could spark a revival for the PLP and re-energize its support. Leadership should inspire hope and that is why the choice is so critical for the PLP at this time. The by-election is also critical because if there was an opportunity to parachute a new leader as a change agent, this would be the time and place to do it. Likely there will be those — even the unpopular and those linked to everything thought to be bad for the PLP — who will surface to challenge this coveted Warwick seat. Let’s say Bean took the high road and recognized his own possible detriment. It remains a question whether others would take the same lead in this by-election to favour someone new who could bring greater credibility. The same, of course, applies to the upcoming General Election, where there are many others who would do the party and the country a favour by not standing again. The operative word should be “clean sweep”. The operative modus operandi for the party should be “let’s finish the job that Marc Bean started but for his own constraints could not finish”. Truthfully, no one should oppose Bean’s vision. It may be for many other reasons that he is not the one to bring the needed reform, but without any doubt, reform is vitally needed — not for the party’s sake but for that of the country. The OBA would much prefer a soft target to shoot against in the next election and may have been relying on Bean. The PLP would have to consider that there are many soft targets sitting in their ranks with aspirations for leadership. In any event, the next month will be very interesting.

November 7. The information commissioner has ruled that the Ministry of Education failed twice to comply with public access to information legislation when it was asked to release records by The Royal Gazette about a money-raising scheme for public school buildings. Gitanjali Gutierrez was asked by this newspaper to review the ministry’s actions in relation to a Pati request submitted in February this year for records relating to the Adopt-a-School initiative launched under former education minister Dame Jennifer Smith. This week, Ms Gutierrez issued a decision notice which stated that the ministry failed to make two decisions within the statutory timeframe set out in the Public Access to Information Act. The first failure was not providing a decision regarding our Pati request within the six weeks set out in the Act. This newspaper subsequently asked the head of the authority, permanent secretary Valerie Robinson-James, to conduct an internal review. The second failure of the ministry was not providing a decision regarding the internal review within the six weeks set out in the Act. This newspaper finally received a decision from Ms Robinson-James on September 8 this year, during the course of the commissioner’s investigation and seven months after submitting our Pati request. Ms Robinson-James said an internal review had been conducted and apologized for not issuing a decision to convey the outcome. She said her internal review concluded that the ministry’s information officer had “not completed a decision” regarding the Pati request but that “roughly two half work days had been spent searching through historical (2010 to 2012) hard file folders for letters and internal memoranda relating to the ‘Adopt-a-School scheme.’ An electronic search of the topic was made on the ministry’s website and in its central database of soft files. Limited information was found. The internal review also discovered that the ministry’s Pati information officer had carried out internet searches on various other websites to supplement the limited information found in the ministry files.” The Adopt-a-School scheme was announced by Dame Jennifer in November 2010 as a way to raise money for repair work on ailing school buildings. In June 2011, the minister announced that $180,000 had been raised to improve more than a dozen schools. Those reported to have adopted schools and donated money included Ewart Brown, the former Premier, former Cabinet minister David Burch, Progressive Labour Party politicians Zane DeSilva and David Burt, the Green family, Greymane Contracting and Jim Kerwin, of Rock Media. Our Pati request was submitted on February 11 this year, soon after the ministry released its school reorganization report to the public. That document revealed a host of health and safety failings across Bermuda’s public primary schools, including exposed live electrical wires, rodents climbing into classrooms, discarded condoms, and a play structure described as “an accident waiting to happen”. We asked the ministry to “share all information held on the Ministry of Education’s Adopt-a-School scheme” including a “list of all the schools that were adopted, the names of their adopters, the amounts of money given to the schools by the adopters and detailed information on how that money was spent”. We added: “Please include information on how long [length of time] each adoption lasted and which schools are currently adopted.” The records released by the permanent secretary on September 8 comprised media reports and press releases already publicly available and five pages of internal documents, none of which reveal how the money raised was spent or whether the scheme is still in existence. Ms Gutierrez said she need take no further action in respect of the ministry’s failures, because the permanent secretary had eventually issued a decision, but she noted that this newspaper could ask her to review the permanent secretary’s decision if it was unsatisfactory, which we will do.

November 7. The latest spate of anti-government and homophobic graffiti cost $4,000 of taxpayers’ money to clean up, the Ministry of Public Works has revealed. The new daubings were spotted last weekend after similar slurs were sprayed at locations across Devonshire and Pembroke in August and September. Among the three parishes affected this time were North Street, Fort Hamilton Drive, Blackwatch Pass and North Shore Road in Pembroke; Old Military Road and Dock Hill in Devonshire; and Naval Tanks Hill in St George’s, as well as Government House. The graffiti contained offensive sentiments including the exhortation “Kill Fahy”, referring to Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities and former home affairs minister. When asked by The Royal Gazette how much it cost to remove the markings, the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Works confirmed that the bill was approximately $4,000. She added: “Cleaning and power-washing of bus shelters varies between $350 and $450 each, depending on whether they need to be painted, which costs an additional $150.” Michael Dunkley, who was similarly targeted, called the graffiti “hateful vandalism (which) has absolutely no place in our society”. The Premier added: “I strongly condemn such vile, disrespectful and threatening language.” One Bermuda Alliance chairwoman Lynne Woolridge also denounced the “venom-laced propaganda”, adding: “The OBA views these activities as criminal threats that attempt to instill fear among our elected officials, their families and other members of our community.” The Progressive Labour Party likewise criticised the graffiti. A joint statement from Walter Roban, the shadow public safety minister, and PLP MP Diallo Rabain said: “While many Bermudians have become frustrated, disenchanted and even angered with the OBA’s approach on many issues, antisocial behavior and derogatory slurs against the LGBT community are not the way to express dissatisfaction or disagreement. “We condemn this without reservation. We encourage all of Bermuda to seek more lawful and productive ways to participate in the political process.” The Bermuda Police Service are continuing their investigation into the matter. Anyone with any information is asked to call 295-0011.

November 7. A three-try blitz by Welsh flier Richard Carter propelled the Classic Lions to a convincing first-round victory brimming with as much backline sparkle as forward grit. Carter, who parted company with Welsh side Aberavon in controversial circumstances after opting to travel to Bermuda, was at the heart of a scintillating Lions display that proved too much for a spirited Italian side in the opening game of this year’s World Rugby Classic. It was the 33-year-old winger’s pace, sidestep and eye for a gap that sent the defending champions on their way when he launched a thrilling break from his own 22 after a promising start from the Azzurri. From the resulting line-out the pink-shirted forward pack kept it tight, slowly rumbling towards the Italian line, for James Cockle to pounce across the white wash from close range. With the wind at their backs Italy came roaring back again, sending big, burly ball carriers careering into the heart of the Lions’ defensive line, only for Ceri Sweeney to pick up a sucker punch of an interception on the half way and canter home beneath the posts. Just before the break Carter added to the Italian’s woes as he turned finisher to touch down for his first try after some powerful and deft work in the midfield from Gareth King. The Lions were well worth their 17-0 lead at half-time, especially given the strength of the head wind they faced. Any thought that the Italians would roll over in the second half was quickly extinguished by Italy’s, Lissandro Villagra, who pierced the Lions’ defences with a blistering break that ultimately resulted in his side’s first points. After a couple of minutes of intense pressure Benjamin de Jager was denied a certain try in the corner by a high tackle, giving the referee little option but to award the Italians a penalty try. The conversion was duly added and the Italians were right back in the game at 17-7. That was at least until the twinkling feet of Welsh legend Shane Williams began to conjure some old tricks. Despite being on the receiving end of a monster hit from Italian stalwart Martin Castrogiovanni, Williams postured and skipped around defenders making space for those around him. With 15 minutes to play Williams dodged one tackle, stepped inside another and set Carter tearing off towards the line for his second try, which Sweeney converted. It was not long before Carter was galloping free again to register a deserved hat-trick, although this one was all of his own making. The conversion took the Lions to unassailable 31-7 lead, but this is not a team to rest on its laurels. Perhaps still spurred on by a stirring minute’s silence for Munster-man Anthony Foley, a former Classic Lions captain of 2009 and 2010, who died suddenly last month at the age of 42, the Lions came again. Some fatigued sides may have looked for the refuge of touch with time up on the clock, but not this backline. They surged up the middle of the park with the last play off the game and after some nifty off-loads Spencer Brown made the most of a clear run to the posts to push his side to an impressive 38-7 victory. The Classic Lions stock of 2016 has a pack full of proven performers and if they can continue to give the deadly Welsh trio of Williams, Carter and Sweeney ball on the front foot this team will fancy their chances of retaining the Classic title. Last night’s confident and clinical performance was the ideal way to start that campaign. Lions will face South Africa, who defeated Canada 17-14 yesterday, in the semi-finals on Wednesday. Monty Dumond grabbed a pair of tries for South Africa who were made to work for victory over a bellicose Canada. Robin McDowell and Trevor MacCauley registered tries for the Canadians. Mark Wood, the South Africa coach, heaped praise on Canada and said his side never felt comfortable of victory. “I thought Canada played exceptionally well,” Wood said. “Every year they seem to be improving and all around world rugby the so-called minnows are improving. We had to dig deep today and show some character. At no point did I think we had won it. At no stage did we feel like we were in the comfort zone. This was our first game together and this character will take us into our next game.” Tonight’s matches will pit Argentina against the United States at 7.15pm, while France take on New Zealand at 8.30pm.

November 7. An island boat transportation firm is celebrating its 35th anniversary. And Mark Selley, founder of Selley’s Boat Trailer and Marine Services, said he never expected to be still in business after buying an existing business in 1981. Mr Selley, who built a career in the hospitality industry, said he at first thought he could combine the two roles when he took over the company on Guy Fawkes Day. He said: “We started with a bang on Guy Fawkes and we’re still going.” He added that his twin sons, Mark and David, 26, had come on board and Selley’s could now offer boat servicing as well as haulage. Mr Selley, 64, said: “They’re certified marine technicians and we all work as a team — the business has taken on new energy when some businesses are failing. We’ve always been a boat trailering service, but with my sons, that’s another addition to the product. We service our customers’ boats as well.” The former two-time Commodore of the Power Boat Association and ex-chairman of the Water Safety Council, who raced boats for 17 years, added salt water ran in the veins of his entire family. He said: “My sons have been involved with the trailer business since they were seven years old and they’re now involved more than ever.” But Mr Selley said: “I towed my own race boats, which is not the same as towing someone else’s pride and joy. It’s a business I picked up on my own and I didn’t think I would be doing it for this long. It was something I thought I could do in my spare time.” Mr Selley added the Paget-based business was dealt a blow when he suffered a stroke in 1991 which left him partially paralyzed and doctors in the US warned that he may spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But he battled his way back to health again and carried on with the business. Mr Selley said: “They said I’d never move again — I’m still moving.” Mr Selley added the recession had hit the business, with the number of boats trailered down from a peak of 600 to around 150. But he said: “Things are improving. This has been the best year in the last five, maybe the best in the last ten. There’s been a gradual increase and the importation of boats has increased, so there are more boats to be moved.” And he added that Tropical Storm Karl and Hurricane Nicole and had seen a spate of owners who wanted their boats out of the water as a precaution. Mr Selley said: “It’s definitely still a viable business and there are signs it’s getting better.”

November 5. The clocks will be turned back one hour at 2am on Sunday, meaning that mornings will be lighter and evenings darker.

November 5. Marc Bean, the Leader of the Opposition and MP for Warwick South Central, has declared his retirement from politics — bringing to a close an increasingly troubled tenure. “I’m at peace,” Mr Bean told The Royal Gazette, shortly after the Progressive Labour Party announced that his letter of retirement had been submitted to Ginny Ferson, the Acting Governor. “My hands are clean, my heart is pure and my conscience is clear.” The 42-year-old, who took a lengthy medical leave after battling health problems in March, declined to specify his reasons. It ends almost a full year of tumult, with his leadership repeatedly questioned, and will likely have ramifications for the ruling One Bermuda Alliance, widely perceived as benefiting from the Opposition’s disarray. The move also spells a by-election for Constituency 26, which Mr Bean retained capably against Ras Mykkal, the OBA contender in the 2012 General Election. Mr Bean’s youth, with a reputation as an uncompromising straight speaker, won him favour in the wake of the party’s General Election defeat of 2012 — and his popularity endures, with many supporters viewing him as cleaning house within the PLP. However, his outspoken stances, which could turn aggressive behind closed doors, also cost him crucial support. Many within the Opposition were angered by Mr Bean’s remarks in August when he condemned a “politics of plunder” prevalent in both parties. Erratic behavior in the House of Assembly and in public also proved damaging, such as the impulsive threat in March 2015 to “take out” government MPs that got him a week’s suspension from Parliament — or insults directed at former OBA senator Toni Daniels outside the Sandys South polling station in November 2014 that offended many supporters. Mr Bean had already crossed a line in the party after telling MPs that he had cured his daughter’s asthma with “ganja tea”, during June 2014 remarks in the House. In December last year, internal dissent culminated in the departure of seven MPs from his Shadow Cabinet — and David Burt, who stood as Acting Leader of the Opposition during Mr Bean’s medical leave, stepped down last month as Shadow Minister of Finance, Political commentator Phil Perinchief said the PLP would have to find a “face of neutrality” to carry it through the next election — even if that person did not remain leader. Mr Perinchief ranked backbencher Dennis Lister as the best option. “Because they are so polarized right now — those who sided with Marc and those against him — and the divide is so deep, for the PLP to move forward they are going to have to find a way to blend elements from both sides. Unless they involved an entirely untainted group among them so they can have a better public face, that would include some of the more competent members on either side of the divide, as well as a new group of people who are brought in without any axe to grind and a proper blend of seasoned and youthful people, then the PLP may actually not make it through to the next election, because the knives are likely to be out on both sides.” Mr Perinchief warned that the PLP could falter without a buffer of people with no “skin in the game either side”, who would put the interests of party and country at the fore. “That would be a caretaker group, and they may want to find somebody as neutral as they can to lead them through that transition. I think the best from what is left would be Dennis Lister.” Otherwise, Mr Perinchief said the Opposition might have to “draft in” a personality with no stake in party factions, but carrying enough stature and trust to lead. “That will get them through the next election,” he said. “But I think the process of reformation will have to continue. Otherwise, after the election, they will fall into the same abyss.” Mr Bean was first brought into the legislature by Ewart Brown, who as Premier appointed him senator in the summer of 2008. He came to Parliament in 2010 when he won the by-election to replace Dr Brown as the Warwick South Central MP. Less than a year later, Paula Cox, the Premier, appointed him Minister of the Environment. Mr Bean’s career as leader began with a comfortable landslide against rival Terry Lister, at a party conference in the aftermath of the PLP’s 2012 defeat. With another General Election on the horizon, the Opposition’s next conference to select a leader can only be seen as critical for the party’s future.

November 5. A grey-headed swamphen has been recorded in Bermuda for the first time, according to the Audubon Society. The bird was spotted at Somerset Long Bay last week by Audubon member Tim White and several local residents. “The bird has been confirmed as the first grey-headed swamphen to be recorded in Bermuda,” Audubon president Andrew Dobson said. “This purple-colored chicken-sized bird has huge red feet to enable it to negotiate reed beds. It is highly likely that this bird has come from the population of grey-headed swamphens in Florida which became established there in the late 1990s. It may well have arrived as a result of Hurricane Matthew. The bird appears perfectly healthy and feeding well, oblivious to kite surfers, dog walkers and the local paparazzi.” The species is native to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to southern China and northern Thailand. Its sighting in Bermuda comes seven years after an African swamphen was seen in Bermuda to the astonishment of the ornithological world. The bird — the first of its kind to be recorded on this side of the Atlantic — remained in the Pembroke Marsh area for two weeks.

November 5. A living wage for Bermudians and a move away from “trickledown politics” are among the Throne Speech priorities proposed by local politicians and political commentators. The reconvening of Parliament falls on Monday along with the announcement of the Government’s priorities for the next parliamentary session. Political scientist and Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown said that if the Government failed to progress on three critical issues, it risked “continued disaffection” over the One Bermuda Alliance’s governance. Jobs, violent crime and affordable healthcare stood out as top priorities. On employment, Mr Brown told The Royal Gazette: “It is not the Government’s responsibility to create jobs, but to create the appropriate environment for quality jobs to be created.” There had been “nothing” in the last four years on generating quality jobs, he said, which had “deeply affected” people enduring years of hardship. Mr Brown said the OBA had staked everything on trickledown economics, which failed to benefit ordinary workers or even mid-level people. While he respected the Bermuda Police Service’s focus on “better understanding” over more punitive methods for violent crime, Mr Brown called for a comprehensive approach. He continued: “There are a variety of models that one can embrace but what we need is a focus by government. You don’t solve a problem with a slogan — ‘if you see something, say something’. That is not a policy. Let’s have a debate — do we need to focus more on social and economic conditions that give rise to this activity? Do we need to adopt a harsher approach where the rule of law is effective?” Finally, Mr Brown described the medical bills crippling those in need of care as “fundamentally wrong. Seeing on the front page of the Gazette that a woman faced a $120k medical bill, I find it profoundly offensive that we are in 2016 in a country richer than 90 per cent of others, yet we do not have a coherent, sustainable, affordable healthcare system. We cannot have a healthcare system that is fundamentally driven by maximizing profits. That is a recipe for increased costs. We need to adopt an approach close to what you see in many European countries, where healthcare is seen as a basic right — not a privilege. If they don’t do it, the next Government will have to.” Echoing Mr Brown’s comments, political commentator Phil Perinchief highlighted a need to shift from “trickledown economics” to focus on a living wage, particularly for low income families. Bermuda’s cost of living is far, far too high. To have affordable housing, it is not just the lowering of the price — what we need is a reduction in interest rates for commercial and residential mortgages and loans.” Mr Perinchief said that the setting of interest rates needed to be wrested from private financial institutions, and into the hands of a government central bank. Finally, he suggested examining a flat rate tax on international companies in the range of 0.5 to 2 per cent across their bottom line levels. “We have the Google's in this country making millions if not billions — that won’t hurt them. That money would be ploughed back into our economy, and could underwrite substantially our budget, which would help bring the cost of living down. Prices and goods are cheaper and people can buy more, which will encourage not just the multiplier effect economically but also employment.” A system of proportional representation would also be of benefit, with a shift from the “first past the post system” that encouraged political polarization. Rolfe Commissiong, PLP backbencher and chairman of the Joint Select Committee on the establishment of a living wage, agreed to prioritizing a living wage while reducing the disparity between blacks and whites. “There may be some signs that the economy has improved marginally but I stand by the comment of John Wight on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, on his concerns about a growing income disparity. That disparity is also reflective of our racial divide. If we don’t begin to tackle that more broadly, we are going to see the social cohesion that Bermuda has enjoyed over the last couple of decades continue to decline.” Speaking of a brain drain of young, black Bermudian talent leaving the island, Mr Commissiong added: “We need to see the sort of policy and legislative prescriptions, not only by this Government but the next Government as well, that will reverse this trend and make Bermuda attractive not only for foreign investors but for growing numbers of Bermudians who feel they can no longer afford to live here.” Veteran commentator Charles Jeffers likened Bermuda’s electoral choices to the grim options in the United States: “Voters will have to hold their noses and go by candidates, not by political party,” he said. Monday may not necessarily be the final Throne Speech for the OBA, political observer Khalid Wasi pointed out — so the party “still has time to throw bold initiatives at the public”. But the loss of Craig Cannonier as leader, and the departure of the “effective voice” of Shawn Crockwell, lost the OBA two members who spoke to its black constituents. “At the core of the Brexit vote, and now the US presidential race, is a clear bottom line with people or majority populations that are angry as a result of being marginalized by globalization or the effects of migrant workers perceived as taking away jobs and opportunity,” Mr Wasi added. Ultimately, he said, the OBA needed to deliver “a clear ‘pathway’ for locals to succeed in their own economy”.

November 5. Greenrock is hoping a commitment to tackling climate change will be part of the Government’s upcoming Throne Speech. The environmental organisation has also outlined six areas of importance including marine conservation, tackling litter and an updated white paper on energy. Greenrock’s executive director Jonathan Starling said that while the Government had set up a Climate Change Taskforce, it remained unclear what had been done. He said that a Climate Change Act, similar to that in the UK and the Scottish Climate Change Act 2009, were good examples for Bermuda to follow. “These Acts set clear targets for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and shifting towards a low carbon economy,” said Mr Starling. “While Bermuda is a relatively small player on the global stage, we can have global influence by showing the world that a greener, fairer future is possible. At a minimum, such an Act should commit us to have 50 per cent of Bermuda’s energy produced from renewable resources by 2030, and 80 per cent by 2050. We would also like to see Government ratify the Paris Agreement, like it did with the Kyoto Agreement previously.” In a commitment to reducing marine debris and threats to wildlife, Greenrock called for a Single Use Carrier Bags Charge Act which has been introduced in other countries around the world with positive effect. Mr Starling also said he hoped that the America’s Cup would act as a catalyst for greater marine conservation, suggesting a revisit to the idea of a marine protected area around Bermuda’s waters." We were disappointed that the Government chose not to proceed with the Blue Halo proposal. This initiative was beginning to generate conversations about how best to use our Marine Economic Exclusive Zone in a sustainable manner. Our hope would be that with the America’s Cup in 2017 this can provide a catalyst for greater marine conservation and protection. While we will continue to support the Blue Halo concept, we would support anything that increases marine conservation.”  Reducing litter is also on the agenda along with renewed calls for a bottle deposit system where reward is given for recycling while mandatory recycling was also an option they hoped would be explored. Mr Starling said an updated sustainable development plan as well as an updated white paper on energy were also necessary. “The original Sustainable Development Plan is dated, being over a decade old. While much of the original plan has been implemented or is in the process of being so, it is long overdue for an update. The original plan was far-reaching and comprehensive, based on widespread consultation. We recognise that the Sustainable Development Department has now been merged with what was the Central Policy Unit, which has the potential for making sustainable development central to Government policymaking. However, one of the weaknesses of the original sustainable development initiative was that it wasn’t backed up by legislation, which greatly weakened the potential of the plan itself and the relevant department. Introducing a Sustainable Development Act that ensures (a) regular reviews and updates of Sustainable Development Plans; (b) making sustainable development central to government policy; and (c) clarifying the role of the Sustainable Development Roundtable as an independent watchdog and guardian of sustainable development in Bermuda would be beneficial for all. We also think it is important to stress that sustainability must incorporate not simply the environmental, but also include economic and social sustainability. The 2011 White Paper on Energy remains a key document in outlining Energy Policy in Bermuda, and we welcome the introduction of the Electricity Act 2016, albeit with us having some reservations concerning it as not being strong enough regarding renewables. However, we think it is time for this document to be updated to prepare a road map for energy policy through to 2030 — with regular five year reviews.”

November 5. This is a challenging time of year for America's Cup training in Bermuda. One day, the conditions will be summer-like, the next, it can be more like winter. However, the variety in the weather is valuable. It allows an America’s Cup team to develop its skills across all the weather conditions that might occur next year during the cup. A challenge for all of the teams at the moment is sailing in top-end wind conditions. In the America’s Cup, the upper wind limit is an average wind speed of 25 knots. That’s quite a bit of wind for sailing — a small craft warning is issued at 20 knots — but for most experienced sailors, 25 knots is a wind speed that they and their boat can deal with. When it comes to racing a light, powerful, wing-sailed catamaran however, 25 knots is more than handful. Earlier this week, Oracle Team USA were out in conditions approaching the upper wind limit and came very close to capsizing. The wind was out of the North, meaning a lumpy sea state in the Great Sound as well. Nearly an hour into the training session on Tuesday afternoon, a strong gust pushed the Oracle Team USA catamaran over, over, over, but not quite into a capsize. Tom Slingsby, the sailing team manager, was helming on Tuesday and said the team learnt a lot from the experience. “It was blowing 22 to 25 knots. We did a bearaway, we were doing 42 to 43 knots of boatspeed. We got stable out of the bearaway but then we had a ‘bit of a moment’. We got hit by a big gust, got a lot of heel, and stuffed the bow into the waves. In that moment when you have a big nosedive, your natural reaction is to ease the sails, but it’s the worst thing you can do. Tom Johnson [the wing trimmer] did a great job. He called for the grinders to grind the wing back in and stall the wing. We ended up saving a capsize and learnt a bit more about what we can and can’t do in the boats.” Typically, Johnson was modest when approached dockside at the end of the day. “It wasn’t just me,” he said. “It was a team effort.” Another lesson learnt and more data points in the pursuit to design, build and race the fastest America’s Cup boat ahead of next year’s competition.

November 5. Katherine Houston described seeing her dog being attacked by a loose pitbull as a nightmare. However, now with her dog on the road to recovery, Ms Houston is trying to turn the incident into a positive by using it to support the Bermuda Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It felt like it would make everything right,” she said. “My son and I got our very first dog right here at the SPCA shelter. When these things happen, you have got to respond, and we have to do something to help groups like the SPCA. We have to be community minded.” Ms Houston said that on August 28 she was walking her pet, Nevada, near Cut Road in St George’s when the dog was attacked by a loose pitbull who gripped the corgi-terrier cross by the neck. “It was out of nowhere,” she said. “He didn’t even whimper. It didn’t last too long but from his neck to his shoulders his skin was ripped off. When I told Dr Jennifer Fullerton that he didn’t even whimper, she said he was in a strangle hold. It was pretty horrendous. It was a nightmare.” She said a stranger drove her and Nevada to a veterinarian, and it was there she noticed that she herself had suffered a puncture wound to her forearm. While Nevada was treated for his injuries, complications arose in the form of a series of bacterial infections which required antibiotics and a second emergency surgery. Ms Houston said the owners of the pitbull involved in the attack stepped forward in the wake of the incident and offered to reimburse her for the cost of treatment, which over the last two months rose to about $3,000. However, after some thought, she decided that she would donate the reimbursement cheques to the SPCA as they come in so that other animals could benefit. Deborah Titterton Narraway, executive director at the SPCA, said the donation came at a time when the charity was working on improving its facilities so it can keep better care of dogs. “The SPCA lives off of community involvement and everything we do is based on what the community gives, so we are grateful for any donation. The timing of this is just wonderful. We have had a full shelter now since I have been here, with every type of dog.” While she said that redoing the kennels entirely would cost “a few million dollars,” there are a number of less costly changes and improvements that can be made. “We have a donor who has come forward who has offered to help us put in acoustics to help the reverberation. A lot of the dogs that come here don’t have the best background, and most are coming in are nervous even if they come from a loving home. The charity was also looking to install a “pocket door” so that people who come to see the cats don’t have to first walk past the kennels — something that can cause the dogs unnecessary stress. The SPCA are also hoping to make use of an exterior run, improving it so that it could be used for large dogs or dogs that require additional space. “We want to be able to better handle whatever comes in through the door, and that is exactly how these funds are going to be used,” she said.

November 4.  The Bermuda Tourism Authority is encouraging entrepreneurs to come up with ideas that will bring new “amenities and experiences” at five of the island’s public beaches. The five locations for the BTA’s Beach Economy Vision are Horseshoe Bay, Shelly Bay, John Smith’s Bay, Tobacco Bay and Clearwater Beach. A new CITV programme available on YouTube and a BTA presentation available online aims to guide entrepreneurs on the types of amenities and experiences best suited for each of the beaches while more information will be shared during Entrepreneurship Week between November 14 and 21. “For the better part of a year, our Beach Economy Working Group has been co-ordinating with government departments and collaborating with a variety of stakeholders. Thanks to the input of many, our plan has wide support,” said Glenn Jones, chairman of the BTA’s internal team working on beaches. "Five beaches now have a clearly defined identity, based on their natural attributes and appeal. This will lead to economic opportunities for Bermudians. Local entrepreneurs can study our research and use it to develop new, forward-thinking ideas that align with the vision.” "The Ministry of the Environment is working closely with the BTA to realize a beach vision that balances economic opportunity for Bermudians with important environmental sensitivities on our shoreline,” said Minister of the Environment Cole Simons. “Focusing on five public beaches — just 12 per cent of total beaches — is a smart way to achieve balance. And we agree, assigning identities as the BTA has done gives us a clear vision that will streamline the permitting process for small business owners.” For example, an “identity” for John Smith’s Bay is health and wellness. Next year, the BTA will ask the Parks Commission to recruit entrepreneurs for John Smith’s Bay that can deliver a health and wellness experience. In turn, the BTA will use its marketing channels to drive visitors to John Smith’s Bay if they’re looking for a health and wellness experience. Mr Jones added: “What we’re doing is matching the persona of the visitor with the identity of the beach. When we get this right it should mean more jobs for Bermudians, more visitor spending into our economy and a better experience for beach goers — visitors and locals alike.” The BTA formed an internal working group to consider enhancements to Bermuda’s beach economy tasked with three primary objectives: create beach economy jobs; increase visitor spending on public beaches; and improve the beach experience for visitors and locals The association’s work also focuses on cleanliness, facilities maintenance and ancillary job opportunities like the ones that may emerge in the transport sector. Some beaches on the Beach Economy Vision target list already have concessionaires in place under government lease agreements. The BTA will work with existing beach entrepreneurs and new ones to encourage them to offer amenities and experiences that live up to the beach’s identity and deliver on visitor expectations.

November 4. Third Point Reinsurance Ltd, the Bermuda-based reinsurer backed by hedge fund Third Point LLC, posted third-quarter net income of $72.1 million as the value of its investments gained. The profit compared to a net loss of $195.7 million in the third quarter of 2015. The company’s book value per share increased by 5.2 per cent to $13.55 per share from $12.88 per share as of June 30, 2016. At the close of regular trading in New York, before the results were released, Third Point Re’s share price closed at $11.30. Third Point Re slashed the value of gross premiums written by nearly a third and its combined ratio was more than 100 per cent, indicating an underwriting loss. However, the investments, managed by Dan Loeb’s hedge fund, performed well enough for the firm to make a sound profit for the quarter. John Berger, the company’s chief executive officer, said: “During the third quarter, we generated premiums written of $142.6 million, a decrease of 30.6 per cent compared to the prior year’s third quarter, primarily due to one large reserve cover that was written in the prior year period. Our combined ratio for the quarter was 106.5 per cent, which was in line with expectations given current market conditions and lines of business on which we focus. Our investments continued to perform well through the third quarter resulting in a 5.2 per cent increase in diluted book value per share for the quarter.” Investment returns for the quarter were 4 per cent, with the gains generated partly by Third Point’s long equity positions, with consumer and technology, media and telecommunications being notable performers, and partly by its credit portfolio.

November 4. Insurer and reinsurer Bermuda-based Lancashire yesterday posted pre-tax profits of $42.9 million. The figure is $10 million up on the same period last year. Gross premiums written dropped $12.2 million to $108.2 million quarter on quarter between last year and this. And earnings per share rose four cents to $1.21 per diluted share in the third quarter. Alex Maloney, group CEO, said: “The group’s results for the third quarter have once again been strong. Our return on equity of 3.1 per cent for the quarter and 10.5 per cent for the year to date demonstrate our ability to deliver excellent results throughout the insurance cycle and during challenging market conditions. These results are a tribute to the quality of our people throughout the group and an illustration of the fruits of disciplined underwriting and prudent risk selection.” Mr Maloney added that Hurricane Matthew, which devastated parts of the Caribbean, particularly Haiti, before striking Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, fell outside the financial reporting period. But he said: “However, as an insured event affecting the US, the level of insured damage was less than it might have been in other circumstances. Matthew is an attritional loss for the insurance sector as a whole, certainly not of a size to constitute the market-moving event which sooner or later will occur. However, it is a timely reminder of the volatility and unpredictability of loss events in our industry and will contribute to the further erosion of margins and profitability across the sector.” Elaine Whelan, Lancashire chief financial officer, added: “Our outlook for 2017 is a continuation of current market trends. However, we expect to be able to maintain our core book and consequently operate at a similar capital level to this year. We are therefore returning approximately $150 million of capital via a special dividend. That represents $121.7 million of comprehensive income for the year to date. We have now returned $2.7 billion, or 104.9 per cent of total comprehensive income, since inception.”

November 4. Senator Jeff Baron met with a senior White House adviser in September about the island’s response to natural disasters. According to a spokeswoman, the national security minister met with Samantha Medlock of the White House Office of Management and Building in advance of Hurricane Nicole. Also participating in the conversation was Stephen Cosham, the ministry’s National Disaster Co-ordinator, who provided an overview of his role. “Ms Medlock shared with the ministry some of the critical work she does on behalf of the Obama Administration, such as her role in staffing the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force and launching the insurance partnership called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan to reduce economic risk and drive resilience-based codes and standards, the spokeswoman said. Mr Baron said it was “gratifying to share with her the island’s disaster planning efforts, adding that since her visit to the island, she had been involved in critical disaster management-related work. She shared with us that she was based in Florida to assess the effects of Hurricane Matthew, in particular the flooding associated with that storm in the affected East Coast states. She was also very supportive of Bermuda earlier this month by extending her well wishes to us as our Island dealt with Hurricane Nicole. She has since shared that she has been very impressed with our resilience and recovery efforts so soon after Hurricane Nicole. So, overall, the Ministry of National Security viewed this a very productive relationship-building opportunity for Bermuda, and we look forward to actively furthering key discussions with Ms Medlock and her team.”

November 4. Generous donors have joined forces to help buy a new boat for the Bermuda Zoological Society. The 30ft Beachcat, called Callista, arrived on the island in June and has already been used to ferry children to summer camps. The purchase was made possible thanks to donations from Diana Bergquist (daughter of the late Bermuda-resident billionaire Earnest Stempel), the Stempel Foundation, Clarien Bank, Somers Isle Shipping and RUBiS. “Our new beach catamaran, Callista, has proved invaluable,” BZS education officer, Jamie Bacon, said. “Whether it was shuttling students daily between BAMZ and Trunk Island or venturing out as far as North Rock, Callista provides a fantastic experience and a safe, stable platform for all.” The boat was specifically designed to have stadium-style seating to allow BZS educators to host classes on board. Furthermore it was designed so that the seats can be taken out to transport trees and equipment out to Trunk Island. Mrs Bergquist, a benefactor of BZS’s free conservation education programmes, gave the initial donation for the purchase of the boat to mark her birthday. The gift was matched by the Stempel Foundation that allowed BZS to buy the custom-built Beachcat from Florida and have it delivered to the island. Clarien Bank also gave a large financial donation for the additional equipment needed for the boat, while Somers Isle Shipping helped import the vessel into Bermuda. Rubis bolstered its commitment to provide free fuel to Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo vehicles by adding Callista to its donation recipients that had already included MV Endurance and the BAMZ bus. “We would not be able to continue the important environmental educational classes of the BZS without the very generous donations and in-kind support that we receive from the Bermuda community,” Richard Winchell, BZS president, said.

November 4. By James Paul Sabo, CPA, is the president of ETS Ltd, PO Box HM 1574, Hamilton HM GX, Bermuda. "In May 2016 AFL Investments sponsored an International Tax and Planning Seminar for Bermuda Nationals who own US investments, vacation homes and rental property in the US. The sessions were chaired by Joel Schaefer, chief executive officer of AFL Investments. Speakers were Stephen Ziobrowski, a senior international estate and trust attorney with the firm of Day Pitney in Boston and me. With reservations required and limited seating we are summarizing the presentation below for those who were unable to attend. The presentation has been split into two columns. The October column discussed how and when Bermuda nationals are subject to US income tax. This column will discuss how to structure your US investments to minimise or eliminate US income tax.

November 4. Royal Gazette Editorial. "How many countries ever get to host the America’s Cup? The British have been trying to do so for 165 years since they lost the inaugural race that was sailed around the Isle of Wight. The oldest international sporting competition in the world has been to only five countries, and yet when the island of Bermuda is chosen as the sixth, a segment of its community appears hell-bent on turning into a political football one of the greatest shows on Earth that could grace its doorstep. You just couldn’t make it up. You would have to be barmy not to appreciate the tremendous benefit the America’s Cup brings to Bermuda. Even outside what can be seen visually by way of the construction that is going on around the island, and the creation of jobs while doing so, the rewards for our economy are of exponential possibility. Then, aside from the numbers crunching, you have the realization of world-class sport being brought to our shores for an entire month, some of it featuring young Bermudians. Unlike the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, where the participants popped in for a weekend and then were off on their private jets, America’s Cup teams are camped here in Bermuda for the long haul — immersed in Bermudian society, living with us, eating with us, sending their children to our schools. Interacting. Engaging. In short, contributing to our way of living and growing our economy at the same time, while making what is hoped to be a lasting impact on young minds. Oracle Team USA, Artemis Racing and SoftBank Team Japan have had their bases set up for some time and got the jump on their rivals in integrating with Bermuda at grassroots level, but there can be no mistaking that Groupama Team France, Emirates Team New Zealand and Land Rover BAR will do likewise after they finalise their plans by the end of the year. And this is all before the fun and games are under way in May 2017, when the world’s media and thousands of visitors will flock to Bermuda — many in their superyachts, several more as part of the Marion to Bermuda Race and the rest taking the conventional route by air. All eyes will be on Bermuda. It is to be hoped we will not be looking back at them through self-inflicted black eyes. For that is the path we are on, if some have their way. Sad. Very sad. It is for this reason that The Royal Gazette has entered a partnership with America’s Cup Bermuda Ltd, the company formed shortly after we won the bid to host the 35th America’s Cup in December 2014 to deliver on the Government’s responsibilities to the America’s Cup Event Authority. Among these deliverables is ensuring effective communication with the broader Bermuda community in relation to the America’s Cup, and the impact and opportunities associated with it. You would think this to be a doddle, given the magnitude of the America’s Cup, and the euphoria that greeted Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, and Sir Russell Coutts, the ACEA chief executive, when the pair paraded the Auld Mug around the island was out of this world. The feel-good factor was infectious and there was no doubt then, as there should be no doubt now, that the Bermudian community was behind the America’s Cup and will flock to the racing in the Great Sound and to the events associated with it. As much could be seen for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series last year between October 24 and 26 — and back then we even lost a day’s racing. But when the cup’s away, the mice will play. Most in the name of politics, the discourse of which is already a massive shortcoming for Bermuda, the America’s Cup has been battered from pillar to post by those who put on blindfolds to the realities of the progress made around the island, and who have been only too willing to pass out $77 million in bandanas for others to be led by the Pied Piper over the pier and into a murky abyss of misinformation. What is actually happening is very positive. We at 2 Par-la-Ville Road can see that, but it is not always possible for every single detail related to the America’s Cup to be reported. Yet it is essential that our community can see this, too, and have a total buy-in that the America’s Cup is about more than filthy-rich billionaires and playthings that fly through the Great Sound. There is a lot to learn: about wing sails and foils, and hydraulics — and about how grinders have nothing to do with what you might find in remote corners of a reggae dancehall party. More pertinently, it is about community. It is about Bermuda’s young people and the wonderful Endeavour programme. It is about environmental sustainability. It is about leaving a legacy. Starting two weeks ago, we and ACBDA have partnered to present a two-page pullout in the Saturday edition of the sports section. Emboldened by the hashtag #ourAC, the varied community-driven content takes you to the heart of the effort to engage Bermuda and Bermudians. In addition, we have crafted a section dedicated to #ourAC on the website, which can be found towards the extreme right of the menu fields on the homepage. Once there, not only is every community story related to the America’s Cup featured, but they are sorted into subsets so that you can find what you want — ranging from team news and athletes’ biographies to the AC Effect and volunteering — and rather quickly. Vicki Abraham, the director of marketing and communications for ACBDA, is one of a ten-strong team tasked with spreading the word. “We are so pleased with this significant media partnership and The Royal Gazette’s commitment to serving the community with up-to-date, interesting and relevant information about the impact of the America’s Cup experience, here in our home,” she said this week. We are proud as well. It is our duty to see that the America’s Cup is seen for what it is — a truly amazing event with special athletes and cool high-tech gadgetry, and the propensity to extend Bermuda’s global reach beyond our wildest dreams."

November 4. World triathlon champion Flora Duffy went back to school yesterday morning, visiting Warwick Academy, which she attended as a teenager, before eventually becoming a professional athlete. And she was greeted with a warm welcome by both students and teachers. After giving an insight into her triathlon season, she handed out the IGCSE certificate to students and then held a question-and-answer period with the school’s top sport students. Flora competed in a new three-day event last weekend in the Bahamas, in which she finished second to Olympic champion Gwen Jorgenson. But the highlight of her career came in September where she was crowned 2016 World Triathlon Series champion, winning the final event in Mexico. Last month she claimed the Xterra World Championships in Maui, Hawaii, where she was the two-time defending champion. And she can complete a hat-trick of world titles when she travels to Snowy Mountains in Australia for the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships where she is also again the defending champion.

November 3. The Bermuda Tourism Authority has appointed Bermudian Kevin Dallas as its chief executive officer. Mr Dallas, 38, is due to take over the post in January 2017 on the completion of Bill Hanbury’s contract on December 31. BTA chairman David Dodwell said: “Kevin is a proud Bermudian who distinguished himself from a talented slate of candidates. His unique combination of global credentials and experience encompasses market development work for South African Tourism, as well as consultancy and executive roles in product and marketing within the digital domain.” The board, in making its selection, was keen to “move beyond traditional marketing” in order to keep Bermuda ahead of the curve given the evolving global tourism marketplace. Mr Dodwell added: “In the new digital tourism game, the BTA needs to know how digital platforms like Airbnb, Expedia and Google really work, so we can play to win. Kevin Dallas is a proven leader in cutting edge digital marketing and strategy at an innovative global technology company where he learnt the inner workings of the online travel industry. We are thrilled that he is bringing this expertise to the BTA.” Mr Dallas manages a multimillion-dollar annual budget and leads a global team of approximately 100, with ten direct reports. The recruitment process began in June 2016, the chair including extensive stakeholder consultation in the hospitality industry helping to establish “key indicators of expertise and to identify the modern skill set required for the post”. Philip Barnett, the chairman of the BTA selection committee, “We were elated with the short listed candidates, all of whom were Bermudian and all of whom were exceptionally talented. We are confident that with our new appointment, the BTA will continue to grow and move forward.” Mr Dallas will be introduced at the upcoming Tourism Summit on November 16. Mr Hanbury said of the appointment: “I’m delighted that Kevin has been selected to lead the BTA into its next period of growth. It has always been my wish that a Bermudian would follow me as the next CEO. I look forward to working with Kevin over the next couple of months to ensure we have a smooth transition. In this way, the BTA won’t skip a beat as it continues to drive forward tourism’s economic recovery.” Speaking on his own appointment, Mr Dallas added: “I’m thrilled to return home to Bermuda for this opportunity. Having lived and worked not only in Bermuda’s core Boston, New York and London markets, but also across Europe, Asia and Africa, I can say that Bermuda has a unique and special place in the world. I look forward to using my experience as a traveller, tourist and global executive and my passion for our island, to deliver the next chapter for Bermuda’s tourism product.” The BTA committee took on Bermudian human resource consulting firm Performance Solutions Limited to structure “a fair, rigorous recruitment process to attract and vet a wide slate of candidates”. The BTA said that Mr Dallas will receive a similar compensation package to his predecessor, recorded publically last year as $295,000 per year along with a $75,000 annual housing allowance. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, congratulated the BTA board for its work in recruiting Bermudian executive talent. He said: “Following an aggressive recruitment campaign for the next CEO, I am pleased to announce the selection of Bermudian Kevin Dallas to accept the baton from current CEO Bill Hanbury and lead the team through the next heat of the competition for global visitors. I would like to commend the board of the BTA, and the selection process which has been demonstrated to have been robust, effective and geared to the needs of an evolving global tourism industry. Over the past ten years, the inner workings of the global travel industry have changed completely. Travellers now dream, search and book online, and a huge portion of bookings are made through online travel agents like Expedia, rather than traditional travel agents. Successful destinations drive tourism demand using digital marketing, analytics, and partnerships with airlines and digital platforms like Google, TripAdvisor, Uber, Airbnb, Facebook and Expedia. The BTA has successfully brought Bermuda into this new era, and our recent air arrival results show that it is working. In order to stay ahead of this curve, we need leadership who are fluent in the new digital travel marketplace, and that’s what we have found in Kevin, the next CEO of the BTA. Destinations that continue to market themselves in traditional ways will fall behind, but Bermuda intends to stay ahead of this curve and lead, transforming and enmeshing our traditional product for success in this modern environment. We congratulate Kevin Dallas who has proven to be a results-oriented executive, and we look forward to leveraging his substantive body of experience and industry insights to grow the market for a new generation of travelers for the benefit of Bermuda.”

November 3. Bermuda’s battle to ditch its tax haven label has won a string of top awards in Britain. The country won a total of four British public relations industry awards for its fight to have Bermuda removed from a EU tax haven list. Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance, said: “It was a team effort to set the record straight and protect Bermuda’s good name.” He said the team included Kimberley Durrant, Government’s UK representative and Alastair Sutton, the EU advisor to Government in London. But he added that Bermuda’s boosters abroad also included “Bermudians at home who work diligently on behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda.” He singled out financial secretary Anthony Manders, assistant financial secretary for treaties Wayne Brown, and Pam Burrows, assistant financial secretary in the regulatory unit. Bermuda won gold in the Corporate and Financial Awards for most effective crisis communication as it fought to have the island removed from the EU blacklist. In addition, the work to restore Bermuda’s good financial name was honored by The City and Financial PR Awards, the Sabre Awards and the Corp Communications Awards. But Mr Richards said that, although a battle had been won, the war to avoid being branded a dodgy jurisdiction would go on. “The threat has receded temporarily, but it’s not gone forever. I’m very pleased that the hard work the team and myself have done has been recognized — it’s a battle we’ve won, but there will be other battles in the war.” The Government presented its arguments at the highest levels of European and UK government, and in the international media. It won endorsement from Europe’s most influential voices, as well as retractions from countries said to have blacklisted Bermuda over a period of seven months from June 2015, In October of that year, Bermuda was the first jurisdiction to spot that the list had been pulled by the EU, and it alerted its British network, using the opportunity to promote Bermuda’s credentials as a transparent, trans-Atlantic insurance centre, as opposed to a tax haven. Kimberley Durrant, UK representative for the Bermuda Government, said: “It was essential to secure Bermuda’s rapid removal from the list, which was potentially so threatening to our commercial and geopolitical credibility.” As part of a whirlwind tour of major European centres, including London, Mr Richards won plaudits for his performance when he sparred with Kirsty Wark, the heavyweight anchor on the BBC’s prestigious current affairs show Newsnight. Mr Richards said: “I enjoyed dealing with the UK media — they totally underestimate us. A number of them hadn’t done their homework and it was easy to pick them off.”

November 3. Rental minicars — no more than 60 inches wide and no more than 115 inches in length — could be on Bermuda’s roads in the near future. An agreement between the Bermuda Government and taxi operators about minicar legislation has been reached after a series of meetings. According to a government statement, several changes will be introduced to the legislation tabled by the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities after “extensive dialogue to allay industry concerns”. The original Bill, which proposed the introduction of rental minicars, was put on hold this summer after a storm of complaints from taxi and minibus drivers about their potential impact on the industry. The Government said the amended legislation would allow for licensed liveries to operate the minicars provided they are within the agreed size. The primary legislation makes it clear that the number of seats permitted is limited to two, the same as a livery cycle. Limits will also be imposed as regards the power of the vehicles with the cc not exceeding 150 and a horsepower of 20 or 15kw. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, said: “There were some concerns as to the previously proposed size, and not withstanding that the types of vehicles we are talking about were always limited in their power and size, we have added extra clarity to give comfort to the transportation industry. We will continue this dialogue as we draft the regulations in support of the primary legislation. During our fruitful discussion, a myriad of other issues were raised by both the Government and the industry stakeholders, among them concerns about the high cost of purchasing new taxis and the hardship it places on the taxi operators. To assist the industry, we have agreed to permit the importation of second-hand vehicles for use as a motor taxi, as long as they comply with the necessary restrictions long established by the Public Service Vehicles Licensing Board and the Transport Control Department. Consequential regulations may be adopted to assist with this new market. New guidelines to reflect this policy change will be released by the end of the year. I’ve been told that it is something that has been sought by the industry for a number of years.” Leo Simmons, president of the Bermuda Taxi Owners/Operators Association, said that there were longstanding issues facing the industry that needed to be addressed. “We have formed a good working relationship with Mr Fahy throughout this process,” he said. “We are very pleased with the solutions given to assist the taxi industry thus far and look forward to continued dialogue. The meetings were useful to get a number of issues on the table faced by taxi owners and for us to understand where the Government is coming from. The BTOA supports the actions thus far by the ministry in this regard and looks forward to the new guidelines for the policy change regarding the importation of second-hand vehicles for use as a motor taxi before the end of 2016.”

November 3. Scientists often tell us we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom of our oceans but Bermuda is at the heart of a mission that intends to change that. More than 200 samples and specimens including black coral never before recorded in Bermuda and a starfish that has only ever been seen once close to 100 years ago are among the secrets dug up from the depths of our ocean as part of the Nekton Mission’s XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey. Working alongside scientists from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Nekton’s experts are back on the island following their deepwater expedition this summer to begin the extensive process of sorting through the specimens collected while gathering physical, chemical and biological data. The deep ocean survey is designed to create a standardized methodology for marine biologists to assess “the function, health and resilience of the deep ocean”. The team used groundbreaking technology including 360 degree view Triton submersibles, science ships and remotely operated vehicles as well as mobile technical divers in the waters of Bermuda between July and August as well as missions in Canada and the Sargasso Sea. During their time in Bermuda they hit depths of over 1,000 feet, taking in areas including Argus and Challenger Banks. The Royal Gazette accompanied Nekton’s principal scientist Lucy Woodall, as well as curator for the Bermuda Natural History Museum Dr Robbie Smith and world-renowned expert on black coral identification Daniel Wagner at the Bermuda Natural History Museum yesterday as they began the process of sifting through our most bountiful deep ocean catch to date. They are working in collaboration with some of the world’s top ocean scientists from esteemed institutions including The Smithsonian Museums, Oxford University and London’s Natural History Museum to help identify the species. While it is too early to say whether any undiscovered species were found on Bermuda’s ocean floor, the mission has found about six types of black coral never recorded here before, a brittle starfish that scientists are still attempting to identify, as well as a type of starfish — the Copidaster schismochilus — that was only ever seen in the 1920s.  Dr Woodall told The Royal Gazette: “The majority of organisms we observed stayed in the water and we will use the photographs and video to help answer some of the questions in the XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey. We have photographs of them in the water so we can refer those to the video and photographs of them as soon as they came out of the water and photographs of them now after they have been preserved. “Finding the starfish [Copidaster schismochilus] was really exciting because it was collected from one site — north-northeast just by St George’s and it’s only the second time it has ever been seen before scientifically. The other one came from Challenger Bank. It is probably endemic to Bermuda and we saw from the video that it is really common. My colleagues from the Smithsonian did work on this and were able to give us a fantastic identification through the photographs.” As for the brittle starfish, scientists continue research into whether it has been previously discovered. We are very interested in these starfish — it might very well be a new species or certainly something that hasn’t been recorded here before. You have to go through a lot of steps and make sure that you check it against everything else that has previously been recorded. That will then go into scientific literature into a peer review process.” Other organisms that came up included tiny juvenile fish including a sargassum fish, hard corals, desmosponges, octocorals and volcanic rock. Before the mission in Bermuda, six types of black coral were known to live in Bermuda but through the ocean survey that figure has now doubled. Speaking on the discovery, Dr Wagner said: “I assume the same will be true with other groups. People tend to think of the deep seas as void of life but the more we look and know where to look, we find there is a lot of life. “Missions like this one adds to the value of these places as important reservoirs of biodiversity. When you are thinking about conservation ideally you want to protect an area where there is a lot of biodiversity. Nekton is going around the entire world looking at different parts of the ocean across the continents trying to find these patterns where we have the real hotspots and most species — what are the most important areas on earth to protect.” Speaking on the benefits for Bermuda, Dr Smith, who was able to go on two submersible dives on Triton, added: “It gives us a better sense of what makes up our reef system. We discovered that some animals we see in shallow water move down into deep water. We can see a lot more about what these habitats look like. As interesting as it is to know what all these dead specimens are, I think the real value will come out when we see the data from the video records and also our personal experience.” Dr Woodall said she believed initial reports from the mission will come out as soon as June next year, giving a timely response to the data. She said: “If we can get this working it is a massive step change in how we do ocean science. It is not unusual for me to be looking at papers and specimens from ten years ago. It is so difficult to get into the deep sea and there are a lot of logistics involved. Having the opportunity to pull that all together with world experts and getting it out there quickly is really important to understanding our oceans.”

November 3. The Bermuda Community Foundation has approved $480,000 in grants to 43 nonprofit organisations. According to a statement, the foundation’s board of directors made the grants, which represent the BCF’s final grants of the 2016 fiscal year, from seven donor funds. “BCF’s grantmaking programmes are supported by a range of unrelated donors who wish to ensure the sustainability and success of nonprofits in Bermuda,” managing director Myra Virgil stated. "These donors use the resources and expertise of BCF to support their grantmaking. This extraordinary set of grants totaling almost half a million dollars is the result.” In the field of community improvement and capacity building, BCF approved $135,000 in grants to deliver para-transit services, build organizational capacity in the nonprofit sector, help build a national employment registry and database, and promote nonprofit certification and accreditation. Grantees include Age Concern Bermuda, Project Action, MyFutureBermuda, the Coalition for Community Activism and YouthNet. Community-based youth development efforts such as the PHC Foundation’s scholarship programme, the Bermuda Bridge Club, Bermuda’s Brazilian Football School, Raleigh and YouthNet also received support. To advance community development, BCF’s board approved $155,000 in grants from donor-advised funds to go towards infrastructure building projects. These include the provision of residences for people struggling with mental health issues, an initiative managed by the Bermuda Mental Health Foundation. The Coalition for Community Activism received a grant to support efforts to improve educational outcomes through their work with parents and the Ministry of Education. And educational programmes received a funding boost of $81,000 to support the work of the Adult Education School, Bermuda Education Network, Impact Mentoring Academy, Centre for Talented Youth and CARE Computer Services scholarships. BCF also approved $44,000 in grants to the Coalition for the Protection of Children, Salvation Army, the Bermuda Society for the Blind, the Family Centre and others to continue providing direct service support to people in need. Those interested in setting up their own charitable funds to improve Bermuda can learn more about donor-advised philanthropy at bcf.bm.  A complete list of grant recipients will also soon be available.

November 3. Climate change, controls on pesticide and a sustainable tourism strategy would be worthwhile elements in the 2016 Throne Speech, according to the environment group BEST. While government has thus far kept the contents of Monday’s Throne Speech to themselves, Best has expressed hopes that it will contain promises of action for environmental issues. Climate change came on the top of the charity’s “wish list”, which is “ripe for serious attention in Bermuda”, said a Best spokesperson. “We would be justified in expecting that the Climate Change Task Force set up by the Government would have proposed practical steps for the public to either play our part in reducing contributions to climate change and/or in preparing our island for the likely consequences of it. Our hope is that this Throne Speech will introduce a Climate Change Act that will set clear targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the role of renewable energy and preparing our infrastructure for the effect of climate change. Small island states like Bermuda are at the leading edge of the climate crisis, and we would do ourselves a favour by facing this reality, and including public consultation and input on the topic.” The charity is also hoping for a commitment to protect the local bee population through better controls on pesticides which potentially threaten bees and human health. Meanwhile, amendments to planning legislation to ensure environmental impact assessments and sustainability impact assessments are mandatory. “Bermuda’s density of population and development demand that we give more attention to the localized and overall impact of development now and into the future,” the spokeswoman continued. “The increasing demand for marine and submarine development points to the need for marine planning legislation. We believe this is crucial for the future welfare and use of our near-shore marine environment. Best hopes this Throne Speech revives the development of a near-shore marine spatial planning policy.” The group also expressed some concerns about “development creep” in public spaces such as the island’s beaches, saying: “Best can support the BTA’s development focus being unleashed on five public beaches, provided the promised pristine status of the remainder is retained. However, we have observed extensions beyond these, which have caused us concern, noticeably at Admiralty House Park where locals, toddlers to adults, have been nudged aside. We would like to see the 2016 Throne Speech intensify the support for a sustainable tourism strategy for Bermuda.” The charity further called on Government to address noise pollution and reiterated its longstanding hope that Southlands will finally be named a national park. “We have had years of promises,” the spokeswoman concluded. “We hope that the 2016 Throne Speech will signal this promise kept.”

November 3. A new CITV short film on the airport redevelopment project has been released online. The film, produced by the Bermuda Government television station, was first aired on the channel this morning, and is set to air on ZBM on Monday evening. A spokeswoman said: “This information piece discusses the options of building a new airport terminal, the employment opportunities that will be available, the risks of tendering as well as the benefits of the Government-to-Government approach.” The full 15-minute film is available to view now on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IYLJpQbWMg.

November 3. Two local women — Josephine Bean and Dashunté Furbert — have become the first two registered nurses (RNs) to graduate from the Bermuda College’s Associate of Science (Nursing) programme. The pair will now be able to apply to the Bermuda Nursing Council for a licence to practise as a Registered Nurse in Bermuda. “Besides making history, they have underscored the quality of the programme by successfully completing the NCLEX exam with only having to answer 75 questions, instead of having to answer the entire 265 questions,” said a College spokesperson. Mark Van den Hende, vice-president of Academic and Student Affairs, said that “the success is solid validation of the rigour of the programme at Bermuda College, and the committed efforts of the Director of Nursing Education, Mrs Kathy-Ann Swan, Nursing Lecturer, Mrs Renee Faulcon, the entire Nursing Education Team, and other key stakeholders locally and overseas”. Mrs Swan also noted the pair’s achievement, crediting the Nursing Education Team, and all who assisted them on their educational journey. “Always remember,” she said, “We can go fast and go alone or go far and go together.” Students of the ADN programme must first successfully navigate the pre-nursing core of six courses (19 credits) and pass with a minimum GPA of 2.6 and a minimum grade of C+ (77 per cent) in the Anatomy & Physiology courses. Only upon successful completion of the pre-nursing core, will students be allowed to commence core nursing courses. 

November 3. Berkeley Institute is to become the first public school in Bermuda to introduce a programme of bridge — a tactical card game that has been proven to enhance academic performance. The Bermuda Bridge Club is recruiting interested students to take part in the co-curricular “Bridge in Schools” programme that has already been introduced at Saltus Grammar School and Bermuda High School. Top players get the opportunity to travel overseas to compete in international competitions as well as locally in national contests. Bermuda Bridge Club president John Burville said he was excited that the club had now extended into the realm of the public school system and that he hoped to expand the club to as many schools on the island as possible within the constraints of available sponsorship and funding. He told The Royal Gazette: “Berkeley is special because it is the first public school to introduce the club and we are really excited about it. Our theme is ‘Bridge is Coming to Berkeley’. It adds diversity. I would love to be able to take a group of Berkeley children to the world championships. We would be thrilled. This is will be the makings of the programme — I had no idea how big this was going to be in terms of publicity and recognition.” Four Saltus students — Tyler Irby, Ruskin Cave, Gianluca Cacace and Liam Peniston — competed in the 16th World Youth Bridge Teams Championships in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy, this summer and participated in the North American Bridge Championships in Chicago in 2015, thanks to sponsorship through the Bridge Club as well as money raised through carwash sales. Kitted out in their hot pink, club branded T-shirts, the newcomers created quite a stir — they received the loudest applause of the day as they entered the arena. While they did not pick up any trophies, they did walk away with the sportsmanship award. Interviewed after the contest in Italy, Saltus student Tyler Irby said: “I think we are known for our manners. Our sportsmanship is definitely something we want to show going forward.” The Bridge Club is offering all students the ability to travel to Toronto to play bridge at a major ACBL Youth event, mainly to gain experience, provided they reach a basic minimum level. Mr Burville described bridge as “an elegant game full of strategy and tactics. It is part science, part maths, part logic and part reason” adding that “a huge component of bridge is also very human.” It is also believed to improve academic performance in students, not least in the subjects of maths and science. In 2005, a researcher from Carlinville, Illinois, Dr Christopher Shaw completed a study examining six groups of fifth graders of a similar academic ability. One group learnt to play bridge as part of its maths instruction for three years while the other five groups did not. The 15 students who learnt bridge had a greater average increase in their Iowa test of Basic Skills scores than the others in reading (20.66 per cent), language (13.39), maths (24.22), science (39.31) and social studies (22.74). Michael Viotti, a physics teacher at Saltus Grammar School who has been teaching his students bridge, was interviewed by World Bridge Federation journalist Jade Barrett about his Bermuda team. Asked about the local students, Mr Viotti said: “Their best experience has been playing in the Bermuda regional. For them that’s when it felt like bridge was more than a little club thing — it was more serious and they saw the competitive element a little bit more and that, for them, was a big eye opening moment.” Berkeley alumni Alan Douglas is considered one of the best bridge players Bermuda has ever seen. In more than 30 years he has played all over the world and won the club’s events including its most prestigious award — Senior Player of the Year. Mr Douglas said: “I would recommend any student to spend time to learn the game. It teaches you ways of thinking that you will not learn anywhere else. You become a Sherlock Holmes, and the more you play, the more you can detect about the game. Besides basic counting skills, a player uses deductive skills, inferences, and creative thinking.” The Bermuda Bridge Club is also an approved provider of bridge for the skills component of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. The club at Berkeley will be headed up by alumni Marilyn Simmons with days and times yet to be announced. Students interested in joining the bridge club at Berkeley Institute are encouraged to contact Berkeley Institute teacher Meredith Callaghan.

November 2. American Airlines is set to offer year-round flights between Bermuda and Philadelphia, Senator Michael Fahy announced yesterday. The Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities added that the move was part of a wider “renaissance period” for the island’s tourism industry, with visitor numbers and hotel occupancy both thriving. AA will provide a once-a-week winter service from January 14 to April 1 as well as daily connections in the peak summer season. The airline will operate a 128-seat Airbus 319 aircraft every Saturday during the off-peak months, departing Bermuda at 3.05pm and arriving in Philadelphia at 4.34pm. The return flight, also on Saturday, will depart Philadelphia at 10.30am and arrive in Bermuda at 1.48pm. Mr Fahy welcomed AA’s decision to resume year-round service to the island for the first time since 2013, after he and a team of delegates visited the company’s Dallas, Texas headquarters in the summer. “We’re talking about a renaissance period in Bermuda tourism,” he said, pointing to statistics released by the Bermuda Tourism Authority last week, which showed an 18 per cent increase in vacation air arrivals in the third quarter. As September figures leapt 31 per cent compared with the same month last year, year-to-date statistics also marked the highest number of vacation and leisure air arrivals since 2008. “More vacationers visited the island in the first six months of this year than for the same period of any year since 2008. Nearly eight in ten of those growing our tourism numbers are younger people — under 45 years old — which is encouraging news for the prospect of repeat visitors.” He expressed further optimism for Bermuda’s tourism product, given next summer’s America’s Cup, new hotel developments and the rebound in the Canadian and European economies. However, Mr Fahy underlined the importance of the island’s populace to “all do our part” in welcoming holidaymakers to Bermuda. “We must reach back into our history when we instinctively projected the notion that tourism was about all of us. [That was] a kinder, gentler time, when Bermudians — all Bermuda residents — went out of their way to be helpful and accommodating to our tourists. A healthy tourism economy makes for a healthy Bermuda, creating jobs and a brighter future for us all.”

November 2. RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd almost doubled its third-quarter profit to $146.8 million, helped by strong investment gains. The Bermuda reinsurer’s net income broke down to $3.56 per share, compared to $75.5 million, or $1.66 per share in the same quarter of 2015. Operating income of $87 million, or $2.09 per share fell short of the $2.19 per share consensus of analysts tracked by Yahoo Finance and fell from $116.7 million, or $2.58 per share last year. Kevin O’Donnell, RenRe’s chief executive officer, said: “Our results benefited from a low level of insured catastrophe activity, favorable reserve development and mark-to-market investment gains. “For the first nine months of the year, we have generated $411.1 million of net income and grown tangible book value per share by 9.5 per cent, after adjusting for dividends, while also returning almost $350 million of capital to our shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. Given where we are in the reinsurance cycle, we are executing our gross to net strategy, trading underwriting risk for fee income, and protecting our balance sheet for the long term.” Gross premiums written of $430.2 million increased $60.6 million, or 16.4 per cent, compared to the third quarter of 2015, with the company’s Specialty Reinsurance and Lloyd’s segments experiencing increases of $56.5 million, or 26.4 per cent, and $18.4 million, or 25 per cent, respectively, partially offset by a decrease in the Catastrophe Reinsurance segment of $14.3 million, or 17.5 per cent. Underwriting income was $112.9 million, while the combined ratio — the proportion of premium dollars spent on claims and expenses — was 67.4 per cent in the third, compared to 64.2 per cent in last year’s third quarter. Favorable development on prior-year reserves fell to $45.8 million in the third quarter, from $70.4 million in the corresponding period of 2015. The total investment result, which includes the sum of net investment income and net realized and unrealized gains on investments, was $111.2 million in the third quarter of 2016, compared to a loss of $13 million in the third quarter of 2015, an increase of $124.2 million. RenRe said the improvement was driven by unrealized gains on equity investments that performed well during the quarter, as well as realized gains on the company’s fixed-maturity investment portfolio. The company added that corporate expenses increased $4.2 million year over year to $11.5 million in the third quarter, primarily reflecting expenses associated with an executive retirement.

November 2. Updating Governor-designate John Rankin on Bermuda life was the among tasks in London for Michael Dunkley, the Premier, during talks among Overseas Territory leaders. Mr Rankin is to be sworn into office on December 5, Mr Dunkley told The Royal Gazette. Yesterday’s last round of business included “broad discussions on economic development, and the UK acknowledged our openness and transparency on the airport development”, Mr Dunkley said — referring to the British Government’s issuance of an entrustment for the Canadian Government to proceed with the project. The Premier, who returns home today, divulged little on Monday’s Throne Speech — but promised “a very ambitious agenda. The fall session in Parliament is short and we have a lot of key legislation to tabled,” Mr Dunkley said, calling for a "change of tone” in local politics. The people of Bermuda don’t want to hear acrimony and dissent; they expect political debate to be done in a respectful and understanding way.” After a difficult year for the One Bermuda Alliance, in which several members chastised the party for its public image and communications strategy — and former minister Shawn Crockwell quit to go independent — Mr Dunkley was asked about the current state of play within the OBA. “Everybody has speculated, seeing the advertisements that we have been running, and they think an election is imminent,” Mr Dunkley said, noting the party’s recent series of ads in this newspaper — which focused on defending the proposal for LF Wade International Airport. “There is an election that will take place next year; we still have work to do and improvements to make. Communication is key. However, against that, I think the people of Bermuda will recognise that we have seen significant progress over the four years since we were elected to the Government. Every day we look forward and we learn from any missteps we have made. I am proud of that progress — we live and learn. We have been the most open and transparent Government that Bermuda has ever had. Our record is one we can be proud of, but we can never rest on our laurels, because there are still people who have not moved forward as we would like to see.” The OT joint ministerial council included meetings on climate change, where the Premier spread the word on the Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea. A meeting led by Crispin Blunt, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, provided “a good opportunity for all the OT leaders to speak with MPs in the House”. Yesterday’s meetings were led by Baroness Anelay, the Minister for the Overseas Territories, ranging from infrastructure to good governance, anti-corruption, European Union negotiations and international trade. Mr Dunkley said he once more presented Bermuda’s firm stance on anti-corruption and beneficial ownership. An anti-bribery convention from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is to be extended to the island during the upcoming session of Parliament, along with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The Falkland Island Government introduced a memorandum of understanding aimed at safeguarding children through the sharing of information between the territories and the British Government, which was supported by Bermuda. And Brexit, the British Government’s decision to leave the European Union, loomed large in the talks. It was agreed to establish a joint ministerial council on the negotiations for early next year, before the evoking of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Mr Dunkley also met with Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, at a reception last night — where the former London mayor was presented with a set of Bermuda shorts.

November 2. Argo Group International Holdings has announced net income of $55.2 million for the third-quarter — up nearly $21 million on the same period in 2015. The figure is equivalent to $1.80 per common share, compared to $1.13 a year ago. Operating income for the quarter was $34.4 million, or $1.12 per diluted share. Mark Watson, CEO of the group, said: “Continued improvement in our underwriting results combined with strong alternative investment returns contributed to growth in book value per share, delivering real value to our shareholders. By almost all measures, our business continues to show year over year improvement.” Gross written premiums rose 10.2 per cent to $585.4 million, compared with $531.4 million in the third-quarter of 2015. The firm recorded $32.7 million in investment income, up from $18.4 million in the third-quarter of 2015. Argo estimated pre-tax catastrophe losses at $12.9 million for the quarter, compared to $13.1 million in the same period last year. 

November 2. Maiden Holdings Ltd has reported net income for the third-quarter of $31.8 million. That is up on the $22.5 million recorded for the same period last year. Art Raschbaum, CEO of Maiden, said: “Maiden continued to deliver strong results with a year over year improvement in our combined ratio, double-digit operating return on common equity, increased investment income, continued book growth in book value and disciplined growth from virtually all business activities, despite an increasingly challenging operating environment with intensifying competition, as well as growing loss cost volatility.” He said that the boost came from both existing clients and new business won by the firm. Gross premiums written for the quarter went up 12.5 per cent to $706.9 million, compared to the $628.5 million recorded in the same period last year. Net investment income also went up 8.6 per cent to $35.7 million. The total net operating income also increased, up $4.4 million, to $30.2 million.

November 2. Addressing age discrimination — including mandatory retirement — could potentially benefit more than just seniors according to Peter Sousa of the Pension Commission. Speaking in a panel discussion on the subject of age discrimination at Bermuda College, Mr Sousa suggested that rather than holding onto the mandatory retirement age of 65, a plan could be developed that keeps Bermudians in the workplace longer and better supports the pension system. Emphasizing that he was not speaking on behalf of the Pension Commission, he said: “Many, many overseas jurisdictions are moving away from 65. I think many for financial reasons. It actually helps to enhance the funding of the solvency of their significantly underfunded pension plans. We have all read stories and the SAGE commission and others have pined about the state of our pension plans, but this is a way to provide some relief in a way that could potentially deal with the thorny issue of age discrimination, but it’s not something that can happen overnight. The financial benefit is something we need to look at and I think provides more justification than just the issue of discrimination alone.” Mr Sousa argued that allowing civil servants to remain in the workforce longer would increase the amount they put into the pension fund and decrease the time they spend taking out of it. Attendees were told that while the Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on age when it comes to providing premises or goods and services, it falls short of protecting against discrimination in the workplace. Ben Adamson, lawyer at Conyers Dill & Pearman, said the situation was “unusual and slightly illogical”, adding: “You could not imagine being allowed to discriminate based on gender in one area but not another. Here we have an act that allows people to discriminate in employment. There is obviously concern about making it a fully protected ground.” He also noted that there is a legal distinction between age and the effects of age, saying there is a difference between discrimination on someone due to their age and the person being unable to perform their job due to their age. “If you discriminate just because they are old and you presume they cannot perform their duty, such as lifting, that is discrimination."  Bert McPhee, a practising physician at the age of 90, meanwhile said that while everyone ages, the impact of age is different for everyone. “Ageing is an individual thing. A typical elder does not exist,” he said. “There is a public perception that comes out of some phrases, such as an older person being referred to as ‘over the hill’. Merely because a person reaches a certain age doesn’t justify that sort of thing.”

November 2. The Progressive Labour Party joined others yesterday in condemning a flurry of anti-Government and homophobic graffiti spray painted around the island. As well as walls in public places, the vandal targeted trees, portable toilets and even the side of a truck, with much of the invective directed at the One Bermuda Alliance. Many singled out Michael Dunkley, the Premier, and Michael Fahy, the Transport, Tourism and Municipalities minister, with slurs including “Kill Dunkley”, “Kill ob-gayz”, “kill mafia, kill oba”. In a joint statement, Shadow Minister of Public Safety Walter Roban and MP Diallo Rabain deplored the offensive statements against the governing party. “While many Bermudians have become frustrated, disenchanted and even angered with the OBA’s approach on many issues, antisocial behavior and derogatory slurs against the LGBT community are not the way to express dissatisfaction or disagreement,” the statement said. “We condemn this without reservation. We encourage all of Bermuda to seek more lawful and productive ways to participate in the political process.” The threats, which police are investigating as the work of a lone individual, were earlier called “hateful vandalism” by Mr Dunkley, and decried by Lynne Woolridge, the chairwoman of the OBA.

November 1. A small team from the Bermuda Tourism Authority hit the cobblestone streets of St George’s on Monday to get the word out about the increase in visitors expected in the old town next year. Cruise calls dedicated to the East End are expected to go from four in 2016 to 15 in 2017. “We want to make sure everyone is ready to seize this opportunity,” said Chief Product and Experiences Development Officer Pat Phillip-Fairn, who led the team in St George’s. “There is palpable optimism in St George’s now. This is a slice of the island’s tourism success carved out specifically for them. Stakeholders in the East End can decide how best to take advantage of these calls for their business.” The BTA provided St George’s stakeholders with the scheduled cruise calls for their area and “encouraged them to arrange staffing levels and opening hours that put them in the best possible position for success”. Marine and Ports is expected to make the full 2017 Cruise Ship schedule available on its website this week. The expectation for 2017 is 15 cruise calls for St George’s and 24 for Hamilton.

November 1. A school to train buyers how pilot a revolutionary flying car could open in Bermuda. The makers of the PAL-V, which converts from a road-going vehicle to an aircraft, said that a flight school could take off in Bermuda due to its good climate and closeness to the east coast of the US. Mark Jennings-Bates, vice-president for sales in North America for the Dutch-based manufacturers, said: “If we can arrange to have a flying school here, that’s a very big deal. And the clients we attract are very likely to favour Bermuda for learning to fly. We are discussing that with a few officials at this point and we hope at some point to announce we have a flying school here in Bermuda.” Mr Jennings and PAL-V colleague Andre Voskuil last week visited the island to explore launching their flying car in Bermuda in tandem with the America’s Cup — which is expected to attract the kind of person who can afford the $400,000 to $600,000 price tag for the PAL-V, which converts in minutes between road use and an aircraft using the autogiro principle. The two men unveiled the final design for the PAL-V at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club on Friday. The model improved from the prototype and features two engines instead of one. It was designed with assistance from experts who have worked for a major luxury Italian sports car maker. Mr Jennings-Bates, who is based in Canada, said: “What we see here is a wonderful tourism attraction in Bermuda. It’s a smaller market, but it’s very close to the north east coast of the US.” He added that he had also been in contact with Longtail Aviation, which already operates commercial aircraft from its airport base. Mr Jennings-Bates said Longtail had expressed interest in talking to the firm about a flying school and “that they would be the natural people to talk to. It’s still very early stages — this is an exploratory trip, but I’m optimistic we can return and have some more discussions. The first model, the PAL-V Pioneer, a model with special luxury trim and paintwork and restricted to 90 examples, is set to go into production in 2018, with the more basic Liberty Sport version starting production after that. PAL-V’s ultimate business is hundreds of vehicles a year and North America would account for 20-30 per cent of that. There would be 60 or 70 people on the eastern seaboard, quite possibly, who would require training. Bermudian potential customers had also expressed an interest in the vehicles. There might be two or three sales here on the island. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we got some interest from corporate visitors as well.” He said that, although there is a flying prototype, full-scale production will not start until 2018, so the launch will involve a flight simulator and a scale or full-scale model of the PAL-V. The PAL-V representatives also met officials from the new Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority and they said had been told that certification in Europe and the US would be acceptable — opening the way for the two-seater machines to be based here. The company has already set up flight-training school in Utah to qualify buyers on conventional German-built autogiros, which use the same principles as the PAL-V in flight mode. In flight mode, an propeller at the rear moves the craft forward. Wind then generates lift on the helicopter-type rotor, which makes it airborne. The flying car needs around 600 feet of ground for take-off. The rotor and tailplane fold away for road use. The tricycle arrangement of the wheels allows for a patented tilting system to be fitted so in car mode it can lean into corners like a motorbike.

November 1. Premier Michael Dunkley has joined other Overseas Territories leaders in London for the (British) Overseas Territories (OT) joint ministerial council. OT heads held a parliamentary meeting yesterday with MP Nick Hurd, Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry. The group also met with the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, at a gathering led by its chairman, Crispin Blunt MP, to discuss matters of significance to the territories. Afternoon sessions included a meeting on OT pension matters, chaired by Richard Harrington MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions, as well as a discussion of health issues, chaired by Lord Prior of Brampton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health. Mr Dunkley also met with Baroness Anelay, Minister for the Overseas Territories, who last night hosted a formal dinner for OT leaders.

November 1. Logic and CellOne are now a unified brand known as One Communications. The name was revealed today as the business opened a new retail store on Church Street, opposite City Hall. “Our goal is to be the leading provider of these services in Bermuda. We know as a company we are not there yet. So we are kicking off a 'plus $20 million' investment programme, a new network infrastructure,” said Frank Amaral, chief executive officer of One Communications. “Part of that is hundreds of miles of fibre cabling across the island that will dramatically improve reliability and speeds for home internet service.” He said the company was “on the verge of making some huge improvements”, including better customer service and faster data speeds. We are doing a total revamp of our TV product. We also continue to roll out our 4G LTE network, which is already providing customers with ultra fast data speeds on their smartphones. We also have a huge plan around customer care. So when you come to our store or when you call in on the phone, we are in the process of hiring more customer facing staff. We are investing in more training, new systems and revamping our processes so things work better.” Mr Amaral acknowledged the company still has work to do with its network investments and customer service. “Changes of this magnitude will not happen overnight and there will be a planned roll-out of all service improvements over the coming months. We will be making sure that we communicate our plans with all our customers.” The retail store will provide technical assistance for customers, and demonstrate TV and internet services provided by One Communications. There is also a new website at www.onecomm.bm. One Communications' payment and service centre is on Victoria Street. In a statement the company noted that internet speeds for homes and small business customers currently “top out at 25mbps”, but with new fibre investment these will increase dramatically and be more reliable.

November 1. Anti-racism group Curb has expressed concerns over the handling of the work permit of the Reverend Nicholas Tweed. Mr Tweed, pastor at the St Paul AME Church and a leader of the activist group the People’s Campaign, reportedly had his work permit renewal denied, with both the church and the government accusing each other of “bullying tactics”. In a statement, a spokeswoman said that Curb’s Central Council noted the history of using immigration for political gain and Mr Tweed’s familial ties to the island. “Mr Tweed is uniquely qualified for the position, not only from a spiritual and leadership perspective, but also from a cultural and social perspective,” the statement said. “His family ties go back many generations and his daughter lives in Bermuda. Much has already been written about his father, Reverend Kingsley Tweed, whose courageous social justice work prior to desegregation and his outspoken advocacy during the Bermuda Theatre Boycott in 1959, drew fierce criticism including death threats. Unable to find employment and fearful for his life he was forced to leave Bermuda as a political and economic refugee. Curb has previously published research papers on the racialised immigration laws and policies that held sway in Bermuda until contemporary times. Victimization of those who stood for social justice against the views of the establishment was commonplace, and both Methodist and AME ministers were victims of that wrath.” The statement compared Mr Tweed to Martin Luther King, calling him a “vocal leader defending the rights of the underprivileged, the worker and the disenfranchised and sidelined in modern Bermuda”. “For many Bermudians the actions taken against Mr Tweed are all too familiar with past acts of victimization and current-day economic intimidation, and are seen as an attempt to silence him and his work in the community,” the statement continued. “What is perhaps bittersweet, is that if it was not for Bermuda’s past racialised immigration policies, Mr Tweed might today have been viewed as a Bermudian, and would have qualified under ‘Right of Blood’ to have Bermudian status. Curb stands with Mr Tweed and asks the government to consider the appeal to renew Mr Tweed’s work permit with sensitivity and responsiveness to the needs of the community, especially the wishes of St Paul’s AME congregation and the wider AME community.”

November 1. Bermuda’s world triathlon champion Flora Duffy was greeted by politicians as she arrived home on Monday night. Sports minister Sylvan Richards was joined by MP Jeff Sousa at the airport to welcome the professional athlete who has taken the triathlon world by storm during the past year. She competed in a new three-day event over the weekend in the Bahamas, the Island House Triathlon, in which she finished second to Olympic champion Gwen Jorgenson, of the United States. In September, Duffy was crowned 2016 World Triathlon Series champion, winning the final event in Mexico, and last month she claimed the Xterra World Championships in Maui, Hawaii, where she was the two-times defending champion. Next up is the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships this month in Snowy Mountains, Australia, where she is again the defending champion. This Friday evening, she will take part in a wine-tasting question-and-answer session at City Hall put on by the Bermuda Triathlon Association. The former Warwick Academy student also plans to attend the school’s Assembly n Friday when she will chat to students about her accomplishments and then hand out the IGCSE certificates. Mr Richards said: “As the minister responsible for sport, I wanted to congratulate Flora for her many sporting achievements and thank her for being a positive and inspiring role model for all of our athletes, and especially our young female athletes. She makes Bermuda proud. It seems as if she never stops; every time you blink, Flora is taking part in another grueling competition, propelling her way to the front of the pack time and time again.”

November 1. About 100 Marine and Ports workers downed tools in Hamilton and Dockyard yesterday morning in a row over new contracts issued to seasonal workers. The ferry service was disrupted after employees stopped work at about 9am. They returned before noon, after attending a meeting at Bermuda Industrial Union headquarters led by BIU president Chris Furbert. Mr Furbert told The Royal Gazette the dispute arose after seven seasonal workers signed extension contracts for this month, only to be swiftly told that the contracts were being rescinded. Alternative contracts removing basic benefits from the workers were then offered to them, said the union boss. “Marine and Ports has decided to extend their contract past October 31, but what they are doing is changing the contract altogether. They are giving them a different contract. Some have been there for the last two or three years. They now want them to sign a brand new contract which is completely different from the one they had before. The union can’t understand why they are being asked to sign that contract, giving up the benefits they currently have.” Shinah Simons, vice-president of the Marine and Ports division, said the row began on Monday and escalated yesterday, when the seven staff members were told “they don’t have a job here, because they won’t sign it”. Mr Simons said the Department of Marine and Ports was short of at least 20 staff members due to government’s hiring freeze. “We need the workers,” he said. Torian Morrissey, BIU shop steward for Marine and Ports, added: “We couldn’t run the summer [ferry] schedule without them. We have nobody down in the yard to do maintenance.” Workers on Front Street in Hamilton and at Dockyard stopped work in support of their colleagues, returning after Mr Furbert told them he and organizer Graham Nesbitt had had fruitful talks with the acting director at Marine and Ports. Mr Furbert said it was hoped the Government would honour the rescinded contract, with workers getting all the benefits they had previously enjoyed. The seven workers were hired as “seamen” — an entry-level job which involves manning the boats on the deck. Mr Furbert said the union took particular exception to the term “vendor” being used to describe the workers in the revised contract. “A vendor to me is a vending machine where you go get a bag of chips or a soda,” he said. “That’s no classification of a worker.” A spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities said yesterday afternoon: “The Department of Marine and Ports is back to normal after staff briefly downed tools this morning, interrupting the ferry service in a dispute involving temporary workers. “The temporary staff were hired for the summer through to the end of October but the department has sought to keep them on. The disagreement was related to conditions of employment, going forward, the subject of ongoing talks between the Government and the Bermuda Industrial Union.”

November 1. A group of local investors have joined together to purchase Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club. The Royal Gazette understands that the group plans to use the majority of the land as a conservation or green zone, with provision for a 50-acre nature reserve. Representatives from the investors met with Riddell’s Bay residents last Tuesday to outline their vision for the golf and country club that closed down abruptly at the end of March. One resident, who was at the meeting, however expressed concerns that the group planned to use some of the Riddell’s Bay property for residential purposes. “We were basically told that they would be closing the golf course,” the resident, who asked not to be named, said. “They also outlined plans for a 50-acre nature reserve. But there is some concern that there are proposals to use some of the land for residential purposes. There has been a lot of uncertainty around the property for some time now since it closed earlier this year and the grass around the course is getting longer and longer. So some residents might say they are happy that someone has actually done something about this situation. But then on the other side of that, there has also been a plan put forward by residents and members to maintain the operation of the golf course.” The Royal Gazette reached out to the group of investors — the majority of whom are Bermudian — for a comment on this story, but none was forthcoming. Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club, Bermuda’s oldest course, closed on March 31 this year after nearly a century in operation. Professional services firm PwC, who were appointed as liquidators, said the club had “limited and insufficient cash” to meet operational costs and “that there is no prospect of the necessary funding becoming available in the immediate future”. Members were told to clear out their lockers, while pre-booked parties and events at the clubhouse were cancelled. PwC’s Alison Tomb and Simon Conway were appointed joint provisional liquidators to liquidate the club after the board of directors lodged a petition with the Bermuda Supreme Court. A few days after the closure construction company chief Zane DeSilva revealed he had designs on the course and a plan to bring it back to profitable operation. In June the joint provisional liquidators announced that they had sold two residential plots, fronting the Great Sound, separate from the closed course. Alison Tomb and Simon Conway of PwC, joint provisional liquidators of Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club Limited, said last night: “At this point in time, we are not at liberty to disclose discussions that have taken place but we are hopeful that a sale will be completed in the coming weeks. As soon as we are in a position to make a formal announcement we will do so.”

November 1. Ewart Brown, the former premier, is among witnesses scheduled to appear later this month before the ongoing Commission of Inquiry. According to the commission’s webpage, the group is still working on its list of potential witnesses for the week starting November 28. Dr Brown, whose appearance at its last hearing was adjourned after an application by counsel, is scheduled to appear on November 30, while Joyce Hayward, the former Accountant General, is also expected. In addition, witnesses who addressed the commission in September may be recalled. Thus far, no witnesses have refused to appear. The Commission of Inquiry is continuing to take submissions, but would like to have them by November 18 — with the online statement adding that some have been impossible to follow up on because they were sent in anonymously. The group remains committed to finishing its work by the end of the calendar year. Meanwhile, all transcripts of its public hearings are available on its site, www.inquirybermuda.com.

November 1. The Commission of Inquiry has posted an updated ‘frequently asked questions’ document on its website. This includes a question and answer section regarding the status of the commission’s investigation into aspects of the airport redevelopment project. The commission will resume its public hearings on November 28 in St Theresa’s Church Hall on Laffan Street, Hamilton, starting at 10am.

November 1. A Sandys man has denied five counts of sexually abusing his son and one count of sexually abusing his daughter, both of whom are under 16. The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of performing oral sex on both children, as well as showing offensive material to his son, touching his son’s penis, inviting his son to touch his penis and masturbating in front of his son. All six incidents are alleged to have taken place on unknown dates between January 1, 2014 and July 17, 2016. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo released the man this morning on $10,000 bail with a like surety, and ordered him to have no contact with either child. The defendant will return to Magistrates’ Court for mention on November 24.

November 1. A series of free health screenings are being offered by the Bermuda Hospitals Board in recognition of Diabetes and Chronic Lung Disease Awareness Month. The Diabetes Respiratory Endocrine and Metabolism (DREAM) Centre, which provides diabetes, asthma and lung disease education and awareness, will be offering free screenings for lung function, blood sugar and blood pressure next week. The first free screening will take place on Monday at the KEMH General Wing lobby between 2pm and 5pm. The next day, a screening will be held at the Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute’s first floor conference room between 2pm and 4pm. The Dream team will return to KEMH next Wednesday, holding another free screening in the Acute Care Wing main lobby from 2pm to 4pm. Debbie Barbosa, BHB Asthma educator, said: “Anyone over 40 who smokes or has a history of smoking and who finds it difficult to breathe sometimes or all the time, should come in and take the free lung function test during the screenings. If that is not possible they should contact me on 239-1652 or e-mail asthma.centre@bhb.bm. “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious lung disease which over time makes it harder to breathe.” Meanwhile, Annabel Fountain, endocrinologist, said the Bermuda Hospitals Board Dream Centre is committed to educating the public about diabetes and seeks to lead the way in prevention locally. “We have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world,” Dr Fountain said. “It is the leading cause of blindness and heart disease on the island, but these side effects are preventable with prevention, early detection and proper management. At the Dream Centre we want to help people to control their sugar levels. Good education has been shown to be as effective at lowering blood sugar levels as many diabetes medications and regular monitoring and appropriate interventions help individuals to avoid the complications of diabetes.” Venetta Symonds, BHB CEO, encouraged members of the public to take advantage of the free screenings, saying: “As healthcare professionals we recognise the importance of early detection and prevention in chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and COPD. I encourage you to come in and meet our Dream Centre professionals. They can help you on your wellness path.”

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