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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us).
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August 31. Premier David Burt has renewed the Progressive Labour Party’s election pledge to review the airport redevelopment contract. The Premier told The Royal Gazette that news of the possible sale of Aecon would also be considered as part of the review, although he did not specify if the review had begun or when it was likely to finish. However, Steve Nackan, president of Aecon Concessions, maintained it was business as usual for the airport project and said the construction of the new terminal at LF Wade International Airport would not be affected by any potential transaction. He said: “I would first reiterate that any transaction would be intended to create shareholder value and enhance Aecon’s capabilities and growth potential. Second, for all our operations, including our wholly owned subsidiary Bermuda Skyport Corporation Ltd, and any business units involved in construction, it is business as usual and we remain focused on doing great work for our customers. The construction of the airport is contracted to the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown corporation of the Government of Canada; this is not affected by any potential transaction.” News broke last week that the Canadian construction company building Bermuda’s new airport terminal was looking at putting itself up for sale. Aecon Group confirmed that it had hired advisers from Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal to explore a potential sale of the company. The firm is the prime contractor on the airport project under a public-private partnership involving the Bermuda Government and the Canadian Commercial Corporation. But in a statement Mr Burt described the project agreement as “a decision to privatize” the airport. Mr Burt said: “The former Government made the decision to privatize the LF Wade International Airport to Canadian company Aecon. The new Government will keep the pledge we made in our election platform to review this privatization contract, and news of the possible sale of Aecon will be considered.” Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, toured the LF Wade International Airport redevelopment project last week. The Deputy Premier met the Bermuda Airport Authority board and staff as he checked on the progress of the project. Work on the new terminal’s foundation infrastructure is ongoing with 70 per cent of the 725 steel piles having been driven hundreds of feet into the ground. Installation of the above ground terminal infrastructure will start later this year, while a new aircraft taxiway is also being constructed as part of the redevelopment.
August 31. Minister of Education Diallo Rabain yesterday said he hoped that teachers in the public system would be happy with the result of negotiations about working conditions and end a work to rule. The Bermuda Union of Teachers voted to work to rule before the summer vacation over several problems raised under the previous One Bermuda Alliance administration. The OBA set up the Public Service Negotiating Team to conduct talks and it is due to meet the union again tomorrow. Mr Rabain said: “The PNST is the team charged with dealing with the union and when they are ready to release a report on any of their negotiations they will release it. “I am hopeful that teachers will be happy and ready to go back to school, but I cannot predict what will happen in the meeting that they plan to have on Friday.” The union’s concerns cover scale posts, the speciality subjects that teachers at all education levels are responsible for in addition to their normal teaching duties and the workload of deputy principals at primary level given extra teaching responsibilities. Negotiations also involve the wording of the introduction to the collective bargaining agreement — the BUT wants to have “the delivery of modern and relevant education” included in it. Bermuda Union of Teachers President Shannon James said last night: “We have been meeting and working feverishly to avoid any disruption next week”.
August 31. A major business conference that typically would have been too big for Bermuda to handle is going ahead in November. It will bring 800 delegates to the island, filling more than 4,800 room nights at three hotels, and have an estimated economic impact on the island of $2.3 million. And it is happening as a result of inventive thinking by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which collaborated with hoteliers and transport operators to find a way to make it possible, rather than risk seeing the event go elsewhere. The Canadian Investment Institute Conference will take place from November 19 to 22 at the Fairmont Southampton. Because of limited meeting space and hotel accommodation, a conference of this size is generally not held in Bermuda. The conference organisers visited the island in 2015 and indicated they would like to hold this year’s event here. However, when the number of expected delegates grew larger than had originally been anticipated, the BTA set to work to find solutions to the challenge and ensure the conference did not need to relocate to another country. “Over the 17 years I’ve worked in tourism for Bermuda this is the largest conference I’ve booked,” said Donna Douglas, the BTA’s business development manager for association groups. “Usually we have to turn away from conferences of this size because we don’t have a facility big enough, but we were determined to find the right solutions to get this contract.” She added: “The business development team knows group business like this between November and March is the key to putting money in people’s pockets year-round — hotels workers, small business owners, people driving taxis and minibuses.” Fairmont Southampton, which will serve as the conference hotel, was instrumental in closing the original deal alongside Ms Douglas. While it has the required meeting space, it did not have the number of hotel rooms needed to house everyone as interest in a Bermuda conference grew among the group’s membership. Delegates who could not be accommodated at the Southampton hotel were offered alternative options at Hamilton Princess and Elbow Beach Resort, but that meant they would require transportation to and from the conference location. To meet this challenge, the BTA worked with Bermudian-owned businesses Flood Transport and Island Tour Centre to arrange daily ground shuttles from Elbow Beach and daily water ferries from the Hamilton Princess. Tim Flood, president of Flood Transport, said: “It’s always helpful to my business to have big groups, but it’s an added plus in November because that’s when the season tends to wind down a bit. Over the last eight to ten years, this kind of business in November is very rare — a lot of people across the island should benefit.” His company has six vehicles in its fleet, two are minibuses. In order to handle the passenger loads, Mr Flood will partner with other local drivers to make up the difference. For Bermuda, the expected economic boost of the conference will be significant. The BTA noted that high-volume business during the shoulder season is especially valuable because it keeps tourism workers employed year-round. Group hotel room bookings island-wide in November are ahead 47 per cent from where they were a year ago, thanks largely to the Canadian group. That amounts to 3,244 additional room nights compared to last November. Planning for the conference began two years ago after the BTA and Fairmont Southampton co-hosted a site visit by the Canadian group’s management company. Commenting on the arrangements, Stacy Van Alstyne, of the Canadian-based International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, which hosts the Canadian Investment Institute Conference, said: “The Bermuda Tourism Authority has been extremely helpful in ensuring our needs of hosting an effective educational conference are met. BTA was instrumental in getting different partners together in creating solutions for transportation and housing. “They have a high level of dedication to making this a success. Their team asked the right questions, did their homework, and came up with creative solutions. They are very service-oriented, working over and above from what we normally expect from a tourism authority.” The conference is seen as an example of how the BTA can sell the whole island as a meetings destination, instead of a single conference hotel. Victoria Isley, BTA’s chief sales and marketing officer, said: “It is essential to improve group travel in order to improve overall performance and employment for Bermuda. We expect the group room nights this November to double what was on the books in November 2015. We’ve got a long way to go, but that is fantastic progress in two years. It’s a testament to hard work and signals that our strategy to drive group business to the island in the shoulder season is working.”
August 31. Dellwood Middle School will remain closed but all other schools will be open when the new term begins on September 11. Education minister Diallo Rabain and Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works, provided an update on Bermuda’s schools at a press conference yesterday. They said major works have been carried out, including mould remediation and infrastructure work, but students at Dellwood would need to be housed temporarily at locations in the City of Hamilton until the work is completed in two weeks. Mr Rabain said the work at Dellwood would cost around $450,000 and could not be completed inside the original six-week timetable. Mr Rabain outlined some of the works undertaken at schools during the summer break, which include:
Mr Rabain said: “We are in the final stages of cleaning and repair work at the majority of public schools and I am pleased to report that they are on schedule to be fully operational and ready for handover to our teachers on September 1.” Dellwood Middle School students relocated to Bermuda College in June owing to concerns among teachers over widespread mould. Mr Rabain added: “It is unfortunate that the previous Government did not allocate the funding needed to address these issues when they were identified in June. As a result it was not until July 25, some six weeks after the school was closed, that at this new Government’s first Cabinet meeting, the funding was approved to get Dellwood Middle School safe for the upcoming school year. Despite the hard work and long hours by both the Ministry of Works staff and the three contractors on site, we have determined that Dellwood Middle School will not be ready in time for the September 11 opening. I want to assure the public that every effort is being made by my team to ensure that our students have minimal disruption to their learning.” Mr Rabain said that, along with the Commissioner of Education, the Department of Education’s facilities manager, a representative from the Department of Health and the Minister of Public Works, he has met with the Dellwood team including the principal, PTSA executive, staff and Bermuda Union of Teachers and executive members to determine the most suitable alternative arrangements. He continued: “While the preferred option will be to have students back at their school, Dellwood Middle School students will be housed initially in alternative locations in the City of Hamilton.” TN Tatem Middle School relocated to Clearwater Middle School during the last school year because of mould problems, while Harrington Sound Primary School children were sent home for several days because of an infestation of bird mites. But schools across the island have benefited from a community clean-up effort over the past few weeks. Mr Rabain added that a “year-round maintenance plan” would be introduced. Reports on structural, mechanical, electrical and health and safety building inspections of all schools will be prepared to ensure a “complete picture” of the condition of schools in the future. Colonel Burch said he believed there was a problem of teachers “hoarding” items in schools, including paper. He added: “Paper is a magnet for mould and we will take some steps and intervention with each school to see how we can address that during the course of the school year.”
August 31. Total economic losses from Tropical Storm Harvey could be as high as $70 billion to $90 billion — but the vast majority of the losses will be uninsured. That is the latest finding of catastrophe modelling firm RMS, which says Harvey is a rainfall record-breaker and that the bulk of the losses will come from flooding in the Houston metropolitan area. Some of Bermuda’s reinsurers are likely to make substantial payouts, as the insurers that they cover will be hit by a slew of property and business interruption claims in the coming weeks. Given that most of the damage will come flooding and private flood insurance is limited, RMS said in a preliminary estimate that most of the losses would be uninsured. “However, although the insured losses will remain uncertain for some time they will be significant, as private coverage is not consistent: there are significant variations in how coverage is provided by individual insurers,” RMS said. Michael Young, RMS head of Americas climate risk modelling, said: “Hurricane Harvey has already broken all US records for tropical cyclone-driven extreme rainfall, with observed cumulative amounts of 51 inches. And with the rain still falling heavily and the waters rising, the situation is too fast-moving to be stating with certainty what the losses in Texas could be.” RMS added that the estimated losses represented preliminary insights” and were the result of analysis produced by its US High Definition Flood Model. The modeler will issue an official insurance loss estimate for the storm in the coming weeks." Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, expects a significant impact for insurer Geico, a Berkshire company. Around 50,000 of the 500,000 cars Geico insures in the affected area would probably be total losses, he said. RMS said last week that wind damage from Harvey would likely lead to insurance losses below $6 billion. Modelling firm Air Worldwide said earlier this week the insured losses from Harvey’s wind and storm surge were estimated at between $1.2 billon and $2.3 billion. That figure does not include flooding. Analytics firm Corelogic yesterday raised its estimate for wind and storm surge insured property losses, excluding flooding, to $1.5 billion to $3 billion from $1 billion to $2 billion.
August 31. Bermuda’s economy is in a much worse state than people think, an economist has warned. Robert Stubbs, previously head of research at the Bank of Bermuda, said government policy mistakes made before the 2008 global financial crisis were to blame. Mr Stubbs said: “What really surprised me was to learn of the number and scale of structural and fiscal imbalances ailing the economy. Our powers that be were either purposely misrepresenting or failing to fundamentally comprehend the scale of Bermuda’s economic problems.” Mr Stubbs compared Bermuda with Jersey and Andorra, both offshore competitors similar to Bermuda. But he said, unlike Bermuda, their economies had rebounded after the economic downturn. Mr Stubbs began research two years ago and found that the three main issues that had dogged Bermuda’s economy were the island’s regressive tax structure, severe imbalances between investments and domestically derived savings, and the shift of economic development to the centre of the island. Mr Stubbs said: “A regressive tax structure is bad for social justice in that it exacerbates inequality of incomes. It’s also bad for growth in that it acts like a poverty trap and contributes to a hollowing-out of the middle class. An increase in overall tax revenues, increased revenues on capital and a substantial degree of progressivity in payroll tax were needed. It’s time the public be informed not only of the need for, and range of, options in changing our tax structure, but also the limitations we face in terms of our global competitive pressures. Change is quite often frightening to people, but I think everyone will be much better off for these reforms.” Mr Stubbs presented an economic analysis of Bermuda to the general public for the first time at the Bungalow 56 Talks event in Hamilton last week. The economist is not the first to criticize Bermuda’s tax structure. Bermuda College lecturer Craig Simmons said in 2016 that poor people paid a greater percentage of their income in tax than the rich. Mr Stubbs quoted research by the International Monetary Fund that identified extreme levels of income inequality as a possible threat to future economic growth. And he said that, although severe imbalances between our investments and domestically derived savings were ideal for global economic growth, it was detrimental to Bermuda’s economy. Mr Stubbs added that the island’s poor restrictions on private entities and enactment of required private pensions were the underlying causes of this situation. He said: “While the majority of the island’s residents are living paycheque to paycheque, many of Bermuda’s higher income households are saving significant sums, the vast majority of which are funding the investment of other countries around the world. The 1974 decision to make Hamilton the island’s economic hub had also caused problems. It created a remarkable disparity between the location of jobs and where people lived. While jobs have been migrating to Hamilton, our residences have been fleeing Hamilton. As a consequence, people’s commuting distances have increased enormously over the past 60 years.” But Mr Stubbs said the policy errors of the past could be fixed easily by monitoring and disciplining lending by banks. He added: “Twice in 20 years Bermuda’s banks wreaked havoc on the island through runaway credit growth.” Mr Stubbs said the first time this happened was in the 1980s, and resulted in inflation that increased prices of goods and services — which condemned tourism to 20 years of subpar growth. He added the second time was a few years before 2008 when inflation showed up in house prices. Mr Stubbs said: “We all know how destabilizing that was.” Mr Stubbs will make another presentation at Bungalow 56 next Thursday, at 6pm. The speech, “Bermuda in 2017: Convergence of the Offshore World: An Emerging Common Economic Model?” will review reforms adopted by Bermuda’s biggest competitors in the offshore world since 2008.
August 31. Car carrier Viking Sea struck Hamilton’s cargo docks yesterday after a towline broke as the ship attempted to leave port. A spokesman for the Ministry of Transport and Regulatory Affairs said the incident happened at 3pm and was being investigated. He added: “The car carrier Viking Sea departed the cargo docks in Hamilton at 3pm today with the assistance of the two government tugs, Powerful and Faithful. During the unberthing procedure and maneuvering off the berth, one of the tug’s towline parted resulting in the vessel drifting down on, and making contact with, the corner of the cargo dock.” Corporation of Hamilton chief operating officer Ed Benevides added that damage to the dock would be assessed today. At 8.30pm last night, the ship was still docked in Hamilton.
August 31. The owner of the rental pontoon that sunk in the Great Sound on Monday evening has said that the 13 passengers on board did not exceed the weight limit. The incident, in which six children and seven adults were pulled out of the water, is under investigation by marine police. Tom Steinhoff, whose company Sea Venture Watersports runs boat trips out of the Fairmont Southampton’s Waterlot Inn, said the vessel was fit to hold 12 adults. He added that sea conditions were “fine” on the day and that the pontoon was “legally fitted and had all of the appropriate gear on board, including lifejackets”. Mr Steinhoff told The Royal Gazette: “The boat is out of the water, we have looked at it and there are no holes in it. The boat was inspected before it went out and it was fine. It is an unfortunate incident and there is an ongoing investigation. I have been in contact with the guests and obviously they were traumatized when it happened, but they seemed reasonably OK. I don’t know how they were displaced around the boat. I don’t think they noticed that the boat had taken on water until it was too late. It was a self-rental, so they were riding the boat themselves.” Steinhoff confirmed that the Fairmont Southampton is continuing to use the services of Sea Venture Watersports at present. Water Safety Council member Paul Doughty said the incident in the Great Sound would be discussed at their September meeting. He said the council would be looking for information from the Bermuda Marine Police and Harbour Radio. He added that if further action is deemed necessary, the matter would be dealt with by the Permanent Secretary and the director for Marine and Ports. “It is up to the minister if anything has to change from a legislative standpoint. There is a very delicate thing at work here and the water is our open space. Over-legislating it is not going to go down well with Bermudians.” He said legislation “further north” was geared to survival but in Bermuda the water temperatures in summer can still be around 88F. He said he was not aware of all the details in this incident saying it could have been anything from an operator error to a problem with the boat. Mr Doughty added: “I don’t know how they wound up with 13 people on a boat that size. A boat is licensed to carry so many people and 13 sounds like a lot.” He added that with “that weight on board, even if it was 13 children it would sink “very fast”. Mr Doughty, who was in the boat rental business for 25 years, said he used to tell his customers to be back by 6pm as it meant there would still be an hour or two of daylight to search for them if they did not return. A Fairmont Southampton spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the 13 guests who were rescued on Sunday evening from a capsized boat operated by a third party. We are thankful everyone is safe. The well-being and safety of our guests is of paramount importance to us and our priority is to continue to provide the families concerned with the appropriate support during their stay. As the boat is operated by a third party and local officials are currently investigating the situation, we are unable to comment further. All inquiries should be directed to the local authorities.”
August 31. Beyond Rugby students will be able to do their homework on laptops this year, thanks to DHL Express Bermuda. Rob Brown, DHL Bermuda country manager, said the donation of 90 reconditioned laptops will help to support young students. He said: “The children will be able to use them at the academy while they’re doing their homework, and also at home. It’s critical in today’s world that all students are able to learn in a digital environment.” Beyond Rugby will distribute the laptops to students at CedarBridge Academy, Berkeley Institute and Dellwood Middle School who are registered in the programme. Beyond Rugby was set up to help provide training, life skills and academic support off the pitch to young Bermudians. Championed by professional wrestling veteran and World Wrestling Entertainment commentator John Layfield, the programme is a partnership between the Bermuda Rugby Football Union and Family Centre Bermuda. The joint effort gives students a place to do homework and have a nutritious meal as well as play rugby. Mr Layfield, who lives in Bermuda, said the donation will do more than support Beyond Rugby, it will support at-risk young people. He said: “The honour of working with Beyond Rugby is not just the incredible youth we love so much, but also the volunteers and great partners like DHL, who have helped make this programme a life-changer for at-risk youth. The partnership we have with DHL is invaluable and the main reason Beyond Rugby has been so successful. We cannot thank DHL enough for the kind donation of 90 laptops for our youth. Education is the one thing that can break generational cycles that must be broken for a society to truly be equal for all.” Gareth Nokes, co-founder of Beyond Rugby and chairman of youth rugby in Bermuda, added: “Beyond Rugby is possibly the most relevant charity for Bermuda’s youth in operation today, and hopefully this will allow the students to excel and flourish to achieve their full potential in today’s digital world.” Sandy DeSilva, director of services at Family Centre, said: “This donation is another resource to help support and inspire youth to reach their full potential on and off the rugby field. This helps to remove yet another barrier to achieving academic success which gives way to more positive opportunities in the lives of young people.” DHL recently made a similar donation to a foundation in Costa Rica that works with schools in remote areas of the country.
August 31. Money transfer company Western Union expects its services in Bermuda to be back to normal by September 8. An interruption to its services during the past two weeks has caused problems for residents who use the company to send money overseas. Alvin Wilson, the firm’s managing director, said the company’s system is being updated. He added: “Western Union’s systems should be updated on September 8.” Western Union has branches in St. George’s, Hamilton and Somerset.
August 30. Fresh food supplies are “critically low” after cargo ship Oleander was marooned in New Jersey because of a breakdown, an island supermarket manager warned yesterday. Jasper Guevarra, Arnold’s Discount Warehouse manager, said: “We’re running critically low on most of our produce items.” He said this included items such as fresh vegetables, fruit and fresh juices. Mr Guevarra added that the Hamilton store had received calls from customers about items that would normally be advertised at special prices in The Royal Gazette. He said: “It is out of our hands; we are doing as much as we can.” Mr Guevarra was speaking after it was revealed that an unspecified mechanical problem on the container ship, which was scheduled to dock in Bermuda last Sunday, meant it will not return to the island until the end of this week. Supermart produce manager Carlos Veloso said the Front Street supermarket had added to an air order scheduled to arrive last night owing to the cancelled trip. He added: “Some of the shelves have looked a bit sad at the start of this week because we did not get our usual Oleander delivery. We have increased our air order to deal with the situation, and this should arrive on Tuesday night and be in the shop on Wednesday. In the last few days we have reached out to local vendors where we can to boost stock, but we have been out of produce like strawberries and chickens. Fortunately, we have the Bermuda Islander arriving on Thursday and that will help the situation.” Zach Moniz, a manager with the Lindo’s group of companies, which has stores in Devonshire and Warwick, agreed that the arrival of the Bermuda Islander would help boost stocks. He said that the Oleander delay had a huge impact and it was a “triple whammy” with the holiday weekend and the return to school looming. Mr Moniz said: “Customers can expect there to be very limited produce and very limited poultry. What they see is what we have. Once the Oleander does arrive, some of the stuff will have to go straight in the dump." Mr Moniz also said that some items such as raspberries could be flown in, but customers would have to absorb the extra cost. He added that would be “a bit much” for items such as bags of salad. Butterfield & Vallis chief operating officer Spencer Butterfield said the food wholesaler had scrambled over the weekend to get extra produce on to the Bermuda Islander. He added that they also tried to move some containers loaded on the Oleander to the Bermuda Islander, but that “the timelines were too tight”. Mr Butterfield said that some of the containers had been sent back to the supplier, who would sell what they could on the east coast of the United States. He added that some of the items coming in on the Oleander on Sunday could “potentially” be spoilt. He said: “Anything that has appropriate dates will go on to the market.” Barry Brewer, president and chief executive officer of Bermuda Container Line, operators of the Oleander, confirmed yesterday that the ship would not make its weekly landing. He said that fitting spare parts to fix the problem was set to be completed yesterday. Mr Brewer added: “We anticipate leaving late evening on Thursday, one day earlier than our usual Friday departure, to enable the discharge and delivery of delayed cargo and this week’s scheduled cargo on Sunday morning before the Labour Day holiday in Bermuda.” Mr Brewer said it was the first time in 1,924 sailings that the Oleander had missed a trip due to mechanical problems. He added: “We have worked very hard with customers to assist them with contingency planning. We have also apologized for the inconvenience.” BCL announced earlier this year that the 27-year-old Oleander would be replaced by a new freighter in 2019. The current 362-container capacity ship is powered by a single 7,340 horsepower marine diesel engine, with three auxiliary diesel engines to generate power for refrigeration, hydraulics, compressors and other shipboard needs.
August 30. Plans to build a rental centre for electric vehicles at the Fairmont Southampton have been given the go-ahead by the Development Applications Board. West End Properties was given planning permission to build the facility this month. The new facility is expected to be operated by Current Vehicles, which runs a similar rental operation out of the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club. The development will include a new 8ft chain-link fence, shipping containers for storage and an external charging station. There will also be new lighting and a CCTV system. Minutes of the DAB’s meeting on August 16 show the board questioned how the location of the facility would impact the availability of overflow car parking at the hotel. The minutes state: “The technical officer explained that the car rental facility will take up approximately 25 per cent of site coverage of the overflow parking, thus minimizing the reduction in parking spaces.” Under the terms of the planning permission work, has to begin within two years. The DAB also stipulated that a maximum of four containers can be used for car storage and that the containers shall be “painted and designed to complement the area”.
August 30. Businesses at Dockyard’s Clocktower Mall were yesterday forced to shut up shop due to a gas leak. The problem was fixed by yesterday afternoon — but several Clocktower store owners said that the incident may have cost them sales on one of their busiest days. A staff member at one of the stores said: “Business-wise, it was really bad. I was really disappointed, but things happen. “At least I’m making a little bit now, but Tuesdays and Fridays are our busiest days. Especially in the summertime. It’s really busy.” An assistant at another store added: “This is usually one of the busiest days of the week with the cruise ships getting ready to head off, We usually get a rush of folks on Tuesday and Friday, so losing the morning hurts. I don’t know how the day is going to wind up, but I think we’re all hoping the passengers are a little patient and were willing to wait for us.” Another business operator said: “Thankfully, it is business as usual now. I’m just hoping we didn’t miss out on too many sales this morning.” Andrew Dias, general manager at Wedco, said the mall was shut down as a precaution after a mystery smell in the mall was reported by staff. He said: “It was right around 9am when the facilities department noticed a smell. We didn’t see anything, but out of an abundance of caution we evacuated the building and contacted the fire service. We also checked the gas lines outside along with the tanks and we didn’t see anything. It was right after we turned everything back on that we noticed the smell had increased again.” But it was later found there was a problem with a fitting behind an appliance in the mall’s Café Amici. Mr Dias said: “We got in touch with Bermuda Gas and they sorted all that out.” The mall and its stores were back in business by 1pm. Mr Dias added it was unfortunate that the mall had to be closed during a peak period — but that safety was the top priority. He said: “I’m sure there was some disappointment. That’s why we made efforts to open it as soon as we could instead of saying we would just open tomorrow.” A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service said that firefighters were called to the mall but their assistance was not needed.
August 30. Bermy Cuisine regulars got a bit of a surprise this month. A mural featuring the island’s flora and fauna suddenly appeared outside the Serpentine Road restaurant’s door. Owner Horace Tucker came up with the idea and hired his childhood friend Dennis Joaquin to make it happen. “I was thinking there’s so much negativity around the world, I wanted to add a positive flair and make the entrance more welcoming and help promote Dennis’s artwork as well,” he said. The project was done over Cup Match. It took Mr Joaquin and his business partner Kendra Earls about 16 hours to complete. The pair, who have “worked together for years”, had painted several murals to help beautify Hamilton at the request of city officials. “Our longtail mural on Front Street opposite the Bank of Bermuda was commissioned as part of the city mural project,” Mr Joaquin said. “It helps beautify Bermuda, gives the city an atmosphere of calm and tranquility. It’s what we do.” They hope their most recent mural will have a similar impact, Ms Earls added. “Hopefully people will see [the Bermy Cuisine mural is] an awesome image and want to come. We tried to bring in all elements of Bermuda — the kiskadee, the butterfly, paw-paw, bird of paradise, oleander, hibiscus ... Horace gave us the theme and we worked it out together, a Bermuda-style home entrance.” Mr Joaquin, who runs Create2Connect with Ms Earls, said he was happy to help Mr Tucker, a friend since high school days. “Horace and I have done a lot of projects together: making kites, fixing up cycles,” he said. “He had his shop and [organised] this project partly as a way to draw in customers. “I’ve been an artist all my life. I worked as an airbrush artist for 30 years while also working at Belco and I went from there and explored my puppetry. I make and design my own and go with Kendra to seniors’ homes to visit those, especially, with Alzheimer’s and dementia. You’d be surprised how they wake up when they see a puppet. [My art is] my incentive after being in the corporate world for 25 years. I think we can look within ourselves to the creativity in us to create work to make a change in our environment instead of looking to others to make a change. Let it be with each one of us.” Mr Tucker said he approached Mr Joaquin and Ms Earls, confident they’d do a great job. “We’ve been friends since childhood,” he said. “He’s always been very artistic. We’ve had such a positive response from our customers we’ve decided to do something else in the future.”
August 30. Police today identified the 62-year-old man who drowned yesterday morning as a Canadian national. Thomas Kyser was taking part in what police described as a “snorkelling excursion” near North Rock when he lost consciousness while in the water at around 10am. Mr Kyser was rushed ashore and transported to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. A police spokesman said: “The Bermuda Police Service extends our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”
August 30. Preserve Marriage has become a charity again after home affairs minister Walton Brown overturned a decision to refuse it charitable status. The group, which opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, first gained charitable status in 2016 but had been unsuccessful when applying again this year. The Charity Commissioners, according to minutes of meetings obtained by The Royal Gazette under public access to information, decided not to renew the group’s charitable status, partially on the grounds that its purposes were “unlawful” in light of a court decision allowing gay people to wed here. Other reasons given were that its purposes caused “more detriment than benefit” by appearing to “single out and victimize” people based on their sexual orientation, and were purely political. Preserve Marriage appealed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Mr Brown found in its favour this week. He told the organisation in a letter: “In reviewing the initial application for registration as a charity, which was successful in 2016, in comparison to your 2017 re-registration application, I see no differences with regard to your charitable purposes or primary objectives. You have provided enough information to allay all of the concerns which the commissioners used to make the determination to deny the re-registration. It can be agreed that with the recent change in law declaring same-sex marriage as legal on May 5, 2017, advocating for marriage to be defined as a union between a man and a woman has not been declared unlawful. That change in law is the only change that has occurred with respect to your initial successful application and your re-registration application. I am satisfied with your additional submissions and hereby overturn the Charity Commissioners’ decision, therefore the organisation is now granted re-registration of charitable status.” The decision means Preserve Marriage can begin soliciting donations from the public again to further its stated aim of having marriage in Bermuda “defined and upheld as a special union ordained by God between a man and a woman”. Since the May 5 Supreme Court ruling, gay marriage has been legal on the island and several same-sex couples are reported to have tied the knot. But government MP Wayne Furbert plans to reintroduce a private member’s Bill in Parliament next month to restrict it again to opposite-sex couples. This newspaper can reveal that Preserve Marriage’s application to renew its charitable status earlier this year prompted 20 letters of objection from members of the public, as well as 12 letters in support. The letters were sent to the Charity Commissioners as they deliberated over the application and have now been released under Pati, with the identities of the senders redacted. One objector wrote: “I am a married Bermudian and father. I object to Preserve Marriage being granted charitable status. The objectives of Preserve Marriage are political, discriminatory and harmful to our society and harmful to our tourism industry.” Another said: “I sincerely hope that the Charities Commission denies the continuation of charitable status for the Preserve Marriage group. This group does not meet the Commission’s objectives to educate the public, increase the public trust in charities, nor does it have a public benefit. What it does is the complete opposite: it promotes fearmongering and hate. The religious dogma of one group should not be forced on the entire community.” A Preserve Marriage supporter wrote: “I fully support their beliefs and ideals that marriage should remain between a man and a woman and they have been a public benefit and instrumental as our collective ‘voice’ for the many thousands of Bermudians who feel this way.” Another said: “I am, and always will be, against gay marriage and will support any group that opposes bringing that here to Bermuda. If these people have to get married, they can go elsewhere to do it, not here. The people have spoken loud and clear that we do not want it here, simple as that.” A press release from the Ministry of Home Affairs said Preserve Marriage was denied charitable status on May 23 and submitted an appeal on June 12. “As is the normal process, the appeal is first reviewed by the technical officers who assess whether the appeal meets the requirements of the legislation and then makes a recommendation to the Minister. The Minister ultimately accepted the recommendation of the technical review of the appeal.” It was not possible to reach anyone from Preserve Marriage for comment yesterday.
August 30. A 62-year-old man died yesterday after losing consciousness while snorkeling. Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre said it was contacted by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences’ research boat Henry Stommel just after 10am to report that it had an unresponsive diver on board near North Rock. The man, a visitor to the island, was rushed ashore and taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. But police said the man was pronounced dead at the hospital. A police spokesman said the man would not be identified until next of kin had been informed.
August 29. Ewart Brown, the former premier, has called on the Bermuda Government to increase funding for a charity devoted to getting young people’s lives back on track. Dr Brown, who backed setting up the Mirrors programme as one of his priorities when he became premier in 2006, said he hoped the new administration would increase funding for the charity. He added: “My hope is that the PLP will see its way to keep it and expand it.” Dr Brown was speaking as Mirrors, which had its budget slashed by a third by the last Progressive Labour Party government in 2011, prepared to celebrate a decade of helping young people. Mentorship for the island’s young men had been sought in the 1990s by several local figures alarmed by antisocial behaviour at sports events. Uncommon Results, a global transformation programme founded in 1995 by life coach Mark Charley, caught Dr Brown’s attention and was the blueprint for the Mirrors programme. Dr Brown added that the One Bermuda Alliance government, elected in December 2012, had changed the focus of Mirrors. He said: “The previous government diluted it and changed the direction somewhat, which was their prerogative. I am hoping that we will be able to restore some of the elements that were there before. We need to get back to the Uncommon Results approach. But I am happy that Mirrors has persisted. That means it has shown results. Mirrors co-ordinator Kimberley Jackson said she is as impressed as ever with Mirrors’ programme of personal transformation. But she added that, despite public concern over the island’s epidemic of violence, a shortage of volunteers and funding cutbacks have challenged the programme for at-risk youth. Ms Jackson said: “Mirrors has made the difference in our community with our young people and my staff.” Ms Jackson added that making Mirrors a department of Government could help. She said: “Ten years of data and results show our success. We need to make that decision that will help stabilize the programme’s staffing as we move forward.” Ms Jackson added that the Mirrors curriculum has evolved, but the foundation remained the same. Ms Jackson explained: “The first ten years, we dealt with hardcore individuals in the schools who needed that confrontational look at themselves to work out who they were and what made them tick.” The curriculum is still focused on life skills, but has added academic components, while Mirrors has also seen “increasing self-reported depression and mental health issues”. Ms Jackson said that was due to young people feeling more comfortable talking about their problems. Mirrors has taken on younger children from the island’s middle schools and last year launched the SuperCamp Quantum Learning programme to deliver classroom skills. SuperCamps are showing “the same results”, Ms Jackson said, and required fewer volunteers. The latest camp called for 15 adults, and recruited ten. Ms Jackson said: “Volunteers have been a challenge.” Ms Jackson traced the problem back to the exodus of expatriates, who often volunteered as the global recession hit the island. But as gun and knife deaths continue to rock the island, she called for concerned members of the community to step up and join Mirrors. One volunteer and Mirrors employee who has never looked back is Lesha Musson. Ms Musson came to Mirrors as a troubled youngster in its first year. She told The Royal Gazette in 2008 that without it, she would “definitely be incarcerated. I was a very angry young adult, misguided and confused,” said Ms Musson, who is now a married mother of three and working for Mirrors as an administrative assistant. But Ms Musson said Mirrors helped her realize where she had gone wrong. She added: “You realize that you can’t blame other people. You realize that it’s not their fault. It’s your choice.” She was speaking as SuperCamp participants played outside during their break. Ms Musson was encouraged by Mirrors staff to finish school and now, at 26, she is pursuing a degree in psychology. She said: “This programme is actually my life. My dream before I close my eyes each night is to bring a safe haven for children in Bermuda — a hub of resources. Mirrors is helping me to build on that.” And Ms Musson predicted a new generation of volunteers would come forward to help the programme. She said: “It’s coming. More and more people are getting frustrated. It only takes one person to step up, and more will follow.”
August 29. Methods used to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in Bermuda could be used to tackle other diseases such as hepatitis. Bermuda announced this month that it had reached the milestone of elimination of HIV and syphilis in newborns — one of only a handful of countries to do so. Ministry of Health assessment officer Dy-Juan DeRoza said the target was achieved owing to teamwork between different parts of the health service — and that hepatitis transmission could be the next condition on the hit list. She added: “We are looking at how the systems work together, including the human rights element, and looking at how we can eliminate other diseases and how we can work together to ensure that these diseases stay eliminated and even to monitor and track other diseases throughout the region." It adds emphasis to the importance of the development of information systems for health and greater collaboration throughout the health system.” The elimination confirmation process was started by the Department of Health in 2015 under the guidance of the Pan-American Health Organisation. The process needed extensive reviews of documentation, tracing and verification, as well as a programme of spot-checking the relevant population by the island’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit. Validation was then given by the Global Validation Advisory Committee. Ms DeRoza said: “Getting validation further proves that this type of collaboration can work and is effective and they have decided to expand this to a few other diseases.” In achieving elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) of HIV and syphilis, Bermuda joined Cuba, where EMTCT for HIV and syphilis was confirmed in 2015. Belarus in Eastern Europe and Thailand followed in 2016. Armenia has eliminated HIV transmission to babies, while Moldova has done the same with syphilis. Chief Medical Officer Cheryl Peek-Ball said: “The validation process is what is so rigorous about this and what makes the achievement so important. What we knew clinically was the case from our experience over the last 25 or so years is one thing. But being validated is a scientifically, statistically more significant designation and you do have to jump through hoops to prove that you would know if you are missing HIV-positive babies or HIV-positive mothers. You have to prove that you have the health system finely tuned enough to catch people who might go under the radar for whatever reason, because of lack of information, fear, stigma or other things that would keep people from coming to healthcare attention.” Ms DeRoza said the island result was a team effort and involved the Bermuda Hospitals Board and island laboratories. The Ministry of Health effort also involved private obstetricians and pediatricians to ensure all of the treatment and testing rules were followed. Ms DeRoza said there was also a human rights component and they had to look at sexual and reproductive rights, as well as confidentiality and privacy issues. Department of Health HIV/Aids co-ordinator Kimberley Ball added: ”The validation means we have done a great job in prevention, treatment and health promotion. And people are adherent. I think it says that our population does trust what we do as far as teaching them to be healthy, giving them the treatment that is up-to-date and current. I think we are also able to track a bit better than some of the other UK territories. People are less likely to go under the radar.” Dr Peek-Ball said one of the best outcomes of the whole process were the recommendations made by the validation committee on areas that could be improved. These included modernizing legislation from a human-rights standpoint “to ensure that we are not driving individuals away from being tested because of harsh legislation, so that people are motivated to be tested rather than hide the possibility of being HIV positive.” Dr Peek-Ball added good access for teens to health information services was also highlighted, while improving protection around personal health information was an “ongoing effort”. And she said the achievement highlighted the importance of strong disease surveillance systems and communication among the health service. Dr Peek-Ball added: “Now that we’ve reached validation, what’s really important is to sustain that and keep the communications systems and the surveillance systems as robust as possible.”
August 29. More details have been revealed about the new changes under way for a number of the restaurants at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel. The hotel has invested more than $1 million into the refurbishment of several of its dining destinations. It was originally planned to have the project completed prior to start of the America’s Cup in May, however Wouter Aarts, director of food and beverage, said the available time would have meant cutting it close to the sailing event, and the hotel did not want to risk starting before it had all the materials for the construction portion of the project. “Because we did not want to risk having things too late we didn’t want to start it, so we waited until the America’s Cup was over,” he said. Work has started on the refurbishment of Jasmine Cocktail Bar & Lounge. It closed last week and is planning to reopen on Friday. Fairmont Southampton said it is moving in a different direction and it plans to have everything completed quickly. Mr Aarts said: “We relocated the Jasmine Lounge to the Poinciana Foyer on August 26.” The restyled Jasmine Lounge will offer some of the same foods, but with a twist to the menu. Mr Aarts explained that lounge will offer a broader cuisine with additional varieties of spices from around the world. Besides the cuisine, Jasmine Lounge will have a different look than before. “The hotel lobby, where the Jasmine Lounge is located, is the face of the hotel. It is the entrance guests see on arrival,” said Mr Aarts. He believes the revamp of the location will display a fresh new feel, which will enhance the dining experience. Previously the lounge and dining area were mixed together, but the changes will allow a separation between them. The entrance to the lounge will be where people can either have a drink, socialize, or order appetizers. Towards the rear will be the dining area, where there will also be live music. The second phase of the project will see the introduction of a new Mediterranean restaurant called the Mediterra. On October 4, the Mediterra will be replace the Gastro pub offering in the Newport room. In an effort to ensure an authentic experience, a team of four Fairmont Southampton employees embarked on a two-week culinary immersion through the Mediterranean region of Europe earlier this year. Two young Bermudians, second cook Nicole Clarke and server Ravone Butterfield, joined the resort’s executive chef and assistant director of food and beverage, to source innovative dishes in Spain, Italy and Monaco. Among dishes that will be served are shared plates of fresh seafood, and paella. Mr Aarts told The Royal Gazette that the hotel wanted a Mediterranean restaurant because he believes there are few on the island and it will be something different to attract more customers. “The Mediterra will have authentic flavors and this will be a unique restaurant in Bermuda.” he added. The final phase of the project will be the opening of Boundary Sports Bar and Grille, an upscale American sports bar. The bar will offer live TV broadcasting of major international sports events, and it is expected to become the new place to be in Bermuda’s West End. The sports bar and restaurant will replace Bacci, the hotel’s Italian-style restaurant, which is due to close on October 1. The new bar and grille is set to open in early November. “This was a high demand for guest and locals,” said Mr Aarts. Fairmont Southampton will be working with design firm Wimberly Interiors to bring the new concepts to life. Wimberly Interiors is part of WATG, one of the world’s leading integrated design firms and ranked as second in the world among hotel architectural firms. The Fairmont Southampton states it is working hard to ensure hotel guests and locals enjoy their experience with the new changes.
August 29. More than 1,900 employees got their health insurance back last year after employers were investigated by the Bermuda Health Council. This resulted in more than $660,000 being collected in health premiums, according to the health watchdog’s annual report on employer compliance with the Health Insurance Act. “This is a welcome decrease from the previous year when the Health Council aided 3,039 employees,” the Council stated. Compliance policy analyst Ian Cameron added that the decrease “is indicative of the positive work being done by the Health Council, insurers and businesses to ensure compliance and coverage for employees”. And he said: “At a time when the health system is seeing an increase in the prevalence of chronic disease with patients using health services, health insurance is vitally important to allow patients access to quality and affordable healthcare.” According to the report, 458 employers representing 2,581 employees were investigated last year and five inspections were made. Of those investigated, 393 employers settled their debts and re-established their policies, which led to 1,962 employers getting their health insurance back. The report added that this resulted in a minimum of $663,293.34 being recovered in Standard Health Benefit Premium on behalf of employees. The report attributed the decrease in non-compliance to more awareness of legislation through the naming of non-compliant employers on the Council’s website and increased communication online and in print. It added that the public and affected employees also continue to report inactive insurance coverage and employers are “generally” responsive to the Council’s investigations. But the report also pointed out that the ratio of uninsured employees to non-compliant employers increased during 2016. In January, there were 88 employers reported without health insurance coverage for 345 employees and in December there were 46 employers without health insurance coverage for 352 employees. And while no legal action was pursued in criminal court last year, 24 non-compliant employers were published on the Council’s website. Five of these became compliant. The report concluded that employees have also highlighted a number of employers who have never obtained health insurance policy for employees. “In the upcoming months we anticipate targeted inspections in specific industry areas to address these concerns. We invite employers to contact local insurers to obtain a policy.” According to the Council, every employee working more than 15 hours a week and more than two months a year is entitled to coverage by their employer. It added: “The employer is responsible for activating and maintaining the health insurance policy, and may deduct half the premium amount from employees’ wages.”
August 29. Demolition work at the former concessions building at Shelly Bay is almost complete. The building was set to become a restaurant and bar with watersports and beach facilities, but demolition crews moved in last week after Government said the structure was unsafe. Cheryl-Ann Griffin, an area resident who spoke out against the development, said: “Our objections were not about the restaurant or the building. Objections were based on the establishment of a parking lot on well-used picnic space and next to the playground, and the appropriation and commercialization of Shelly Bay Beach and Park for a private enterprise, thus depriving locals and visitors alike of a free and unhindered space to enjoy summer activities. Concerns were also shared about extended restaurant operation hours.” It was announced last week that the 70-year-old structure, which was expected to be the home of a new restaurant, had been condemned as unsafe. Tom Steinhoff, of Shelly Bay Beach House Ltd, had hoped to have the proposed restaurant up and running in time for the summer despite structural problems with the building. But the restaurant also faced challenges from members of the public. Protests led the developer to scrap plans to establish a parking area on land next to the Shelly Bay playground. Ms Griffin said that the protests about the restaurant were unrelated to the condition of the building. But she added: “It is good to know that this dangerous structure is being removed before a hurricane causes injury or damage to surrounding properties.” Ms Griffin said she hoped that the government will consider leaving the property largely open as parkland without any commercial development She added: “It is a popular community and family picnic space for locals and tourists alike and the only structure to be considered would be the establishment of a few washrooms for day use with a plan for regular daily upkeep during the summer months. I feel that Shelly Bay Beach, as one of the very few remaining unfettered public beaches, and the only one on the North Shore, encourages Bermudians to continue their own unique summer culture and tradition of preparing and packing up a picnic lunch or supper to share and enjoy with family and friends or to enjoy a planned weekend of camping. For persons who prefer more commercialization and more amenities there are several other choices of beaches.”
August 28. The Progressive Labour Party will explore all options of alternative energy with a view to protecting the island’s environment and ensuring its sustainability. Walton Brown, the minister responsible for the environment, also told The Royal Gazette he was keen to engage with the farming community to strengthen the island’s agricultural sector. “The environment is fundamentally important and we need to ensure we have adequate policies in place to protect our environment and ensure its sustainability,” Mr Brown said. “We need to protect our open spaces for generations to come and identify land which can be left undeveloped. We must also be aware of climate change and rising sea levels.” He added: “I would like to meet with farmers in Bermuda to see what can be done to strengthen the agriculture industry. The vitality of this industry is so important to Bermuda as is its sustainability. I would also encourage the farming community to reach out to me and together with our technical officers we will look at what we can do to support that industry.” Mr Brown also outlined plans to clamp down on those who flout planning regulations and tackling what he described as a “delay” in the way applications are being processed. “When it comes to alternative energy I am a firm believer that we should explore all options. We need to do more in relation to alternative energy. I have been visiting Holland for 30 years and have seen the power it can create while ensuring a level of sustainability. There is a lot we can learn from other countries.”
August 28. Wind-related insurance losses from Hurricane Harvey are unlikely to exceed $6 billion and could end up being below $1 billion in some scenarios, risk-modelling firm RMS said on Friday. The hurricane made landfall in Texas over the weekend as a Category 4 storm, the most powerful hurricane to hit the state in more than 50 years. “Our selection of scenarios suggests something in the low single-digit billions is most likely from wind damage,” RMS said in an e-mail. There was likely to be further damage from storm surges and inland flooding, which could be the “dominant drivers” for losses, RMS said. Fitch Ratings said the giant storm will likely impact primary insurers, traditional reinsurers — many of which are based in Bermuda — and the National Flood Insurance Programme with the potential to also affect collateralised reinsurers and insurance-linked securities markets. By yesterday afternoon, Harvey had dumped more than two feet of water on Houston. The system, downgraded yesterday to a tropical storm, was expected to hover over southern Texas for several days and drop around two feet of water. While wind damage from hurricanes is covered by property insurers, flood damage generally is not. Fitch said flood losses from storm surge and torrential rain may lead to a material event for the NFIP, which counts Texas as its second-largest exposure by policies in force. Harvey will also represent “an earnings event for the private insurance industry”, the ratings agency added. “Collateralised reinsurance and ILS markets also have exposure to Texas property risk but losses would be limited in a less severe insured loss event,” Fitch said. Commercial lines of business that are exposed to the impact of a hurricane landfall include allied lines, fire, commercial multi-peril: non-liability and inland marine. “Oil and gas production facilities in this region will be impacted and insurers with business interruption exposure could face losses as offshore operations have been shut down for multiple days as the storm approached the coast,” Fitch added. Although many areas of Texas were suffering severe flooding yesterday, with more torrential rain expected, this aspect would be borne primarily by the public-sector programme, Fitch added. “Flood losses can be a significant contributor to overall losses from a hurricane as storm surge and heavy rainfall often greatly affect coastal areas. Flood risk in the US is almost entirely assumed by the NFIP with the private market for flood limited to a handful of surplus lines writers, admitted companies, and Lloyd’s of London syndicates.” In 2008, Hurricane Ike hit Texas, generating $2.7 billion of paid losses for the NFIP in 2008. But the Insurance Information Institute yesterday said flood damage losses from Harvey in Texas could match those of Katrina in 2005, which cost the NFIP $15 billion in Louisiana and Mississippi. The NFIP is already deeply in debt and a taxpayer-funded bailout is likely to be needed to cover the bill for Harvey’s flood losses.
August 28. Michael Fahy’s decision to quit politics may be etched with disappointment at the thumping the party he helped to form took at the polls on July 18. But he remains adamant that the One Bermuda Alliance left the country in a better position than it found it, while acknowledging there were areas where it fell well short. The former government minister, who repeatedly found himself in the firing line of opposition to the OBA’s policy agenda, fervently believes that immigration reform is the way forward for the island. He maintains that contentious decisions to scrap term limits, reform work permits, introduce minicars and wrestle authority away from the Corporation of Hamilton’s fractious administration were the right thing to do. But he also openly admits that the party he helped to found in 2010 achieved very few of its education pledges and simply failed to effectively communicate to the public the reasons for policy decisions. “I really wish we had done a better job in communicating the reasons for what we were doing,” Mr Fahy told The Royal Gazette. “We were good technocrats, but not good politicians. The overwhelming negativity and, frankly, the huge amount of misinformation and also our inability to counteract it in a timely fashion was incredibly stressful. The picture painted by the Opposition of me being this anti-Bermudian foreigner was desperately unfair and completely inaccurate. Every policy put in place was for the benefit of all Bermudians; many might not have seen that, but in the long term the policies introduced in relation to work-permit policies have, and will continue to have, positive economic effects. The scrapping of term limits had an immediate effect on instilling confidence with the international business sector. The truth is you can change work- permit policy all you want, but without a first-class education system and proper career guidance in the schools, we are doomed. Education is the one huge arena where politics has interfered for too long and has directly impacted the ability of many Bermudians to participate in the IB sector or even set up a successful business.” Mr Fahy said he had twice offered to resign during the OBA tenure. The first was in May 2014 after Craig Cannonier resigned as Premier over the Jetgate scandal because the party’s constitution dictated that senators appointed by Mr Cannonier should, with the second coming during the protests against Pathways to Status outside the House of Assembly in March last year. “I did not want Pathways to become all about me,” he said. “It was not so much about the opposition to it, but it was a Cabinet decision and I felt that parliamentary colleagues were wavering in their support. I felt that if there was a lack of confidence in me I would and should step aside; but my offer was not accepted.” He said that he was disappointed that Pathways to Status was never debated in the House of Assembly, adding: “It’s really unfortunate that things ended up the way they did. Looking back we should have had more people speaking to its aims and a stronger education campaign on its long-term intent to move it out of the realm of mistrust and the perception it was based on race. I still believe Pathways to Status is exactly the route to go for Bermuda given our declining population and need to sustain a service economy. We are not going to have economic success unless we have international business and people doing business feeling secure. I never imagined it would result in protests like it did. There was a sense of support for why these policies needed to come forward as we were dealing with a string of court cases and immigration appeal cases that were bringing this to the fore. It is simply wrong that people who have been born here and then been here for 18 to 20 years have no rights. What was false and disingenuous was to suggest these policies were based on race. It was just completely wrong and sad that people thought that and judging by the results in the election the recent grants had no effect on the result based on the Opposition’s argument. The plight of long-term residents in Bermuda still needs to be dealt with, even by the working group that was formed afterwards, so if Government won’t do it then the courts will, and there will be decisions people don’t like.” Mr Fahy’s decision to step away from politics comes more than a decade after he entered the fray in 2006 as a branch manager for the United Bermuda Party in Constituency 10. He went on to be appointed to the Senate in 2008 under then leader Kim Swan before leaving to become one of the founding members of the Bermuda Democratic Alliance, which later joined with the UBP to form the OBA in 2010. He directed the party’s election campaign and took on the roles of home affairs minister and Senate leader when it came to power in December 2012. Mr Fahy insists the OBA left Bermuda better off than when the party took power and describes it as “unfortunate” that in some quarters he was public enemy number one. “At first you try to ignore the negativity and the personal attacks,” he said. “It’s a small community and you run into people every day that either like you or do not. It was important for me that I could get up and look in the mirror and know that what I am doing is ultimately the right thing for Bermuda, and I really believed it was. When I spoke with people who had the gumption to say negative things to my face, most of the time talking facts and numbers calmed the waters down. I evaluated the reasons why I got involved in the first place and those original principals of doing the right thing. I believed I could make a fundamental change for the good and hoped that the community would understand. It’s difficult with a family; you want to shield them from it, you make sure they don’t watch the news, you don’t want them to see the negativity. I hope people remember that political decisions and policies are made by Cabinet. I may have been the lead minister on difficult issues, but it was annoying that some described the policy as Michael Fahy’s Pathways. It was a Government decision.” Mr Fahy conceded he was surprised by the extent of the General Election defeat “and especially disappointed for St George’s because of the work we had done to get cruise ships back there, a new hotel and also major investment in infrastructure projects”. But he also acknowledged that the OBA suffered perception issues after Mr Cannonier stepped down. He said: “It’s incumbent upon us to ensure the PLP does not fail, but we cannot oppose just to oppose. The community needs to be offering to help the PLP. We need international business to give support and advice to the PLP, and we need local business, hotels and the man on the street to give support to Government to make sure we are successful.” Asked if he would do anything differently, Mr Fahy replied: “I would have done more; we should have made more fundamental changes in government organisation. The Sage report lost us a year and we failed to implement recommendations quickly enough. If we had come out of the starting gates faster and were more serious about outsourcing some government contracts it could have spurred economic growth without redundancies.” Meanwhile, he dismissed claims that he went Awol in the run-up to the election. “I was not running; I certainly thought about it, but I had to make a balanced decision based on what was important to my family and I believed as a minister in the Senate I was making a positive difference. If you’re not running you give that opportunity to be seen and heard to those running so the public understand who they are voting for. I have a fantastic and supportive wife and three young children. My employer was supportive and I’m looking forward to fully re-engaging in my career as a lawyer. I’m disappointed for the OBA, but personally I’m happy now. You don’t realize sometimes when you are doing everything you can in the public eye that you are wearing an invisible 100lb pack on your back and that has been lifted now. I made it clear to the OBA that I am retired after ten years of political involvement. History will show that we tried to do what was right and we tried to do it without fear, favour or prejudice.”
August 28. The Government will draft legislation protecting the legal rights of same-sex couples if a private member’s Bill to outlaw gay marriage is passed. Acknowledging there were a lot of “ifs” before that point was reached, Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, maintained the Progressive Labour Party would stick to its election platform, which promised same-sex couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, except marriage. Mr Brown also suggested that debates in the House of Assembly should not go on past midnight because the “quality of the discussion went downhill” after that point but instead should end at a mutually agreeable time arranged by party whips. Government MP Wayne Furbert reiterated last month that he would bring his Bill to outlaw gay marriage back to Parliament in September and said he expected it to pass. “Our position is that same-sex couples should have all the legal rights of heterosexual couples, save for marriage,” Mr Brown said. “If the private member’s Bill is successful, then we will draft and table legislation to ensure that same-sex couples have those rights enshrined in the law. At present there is no need for this to be done due to the ruling by Justice Charles-Etta Simmons.” Mr Brown added: “There already exists a Bill, the Civil Unions Bill, which would have similar elements to what is needed, although it obviously would not be called that. That was an OBA Bill that was distributed to all MPs, but never tabled officially.” MPs will return to the House of Assembly on September 8, with the first order of business being the appointment of the Speaker. Mr Brown described the PLP’s return to Parliament as an “exciting but sobering responsibility”, and maintained that despite the Government’s huge majority the Opposition still had an important role to play. He said: “For those who have committed themselves to public service it is not the raw desire for power that is appealing but the ability to shape the destiny of your country. Parliament works when you have a Government that is challenged by an Opposition. We need to have a robust debate that gives the public some level of insight into the issues. That is how the system works. It is more to do with the quality of debate than the numbers they have — they can still put up a robust Opposition. If they had two it would be an issue, but 12 is enough to provide that level of debate.” Mr Brown told The Royal Gazette that he believed there were areas of Parliamentary procedure that needed to be looked at. “I don’t think we can have a productive debate at 3am. t’s an endurance test rather than about the quality of the debate. After midnight the debate goes downhill. Perhaps there could be a mutually agreed cut-off time between 10pm and midnight that is agreed between the whips. Some of the processes are also inappropriate for a 21st-century Parliament and raise challenges based on the freedoms enshrined in the constitution.”
August 28. A temporary floating dock installed near the airport will be removed over the next few days. The dock, located on Kindley Field Road, was installed by the ACBDA in May with the condition that it come out of the water following the end of the sailing event. Mike Winfield, CEO of ACBDA, said that the dock helped facilitate the large number of visitors attending the event, including private jet passengers staying aboard private yachts. “While the ACBDA has had discussions with various entities that may take future ownership of the dock and its maintenance on an ongoing basis, there has been no definitive agreement and as a result, we have no option but to remove the dock at this time,” he said. Mr Winfield said that the organisation remained hopeful that the dock may be replaced at a later date “for the benefit of Bermuda’s local boaters and visitors”. The concrete piles supporting the dock will remain in place after it is removed, and will be marked with reflective material for safety. The dock itself will be stored. The removal is expected to take place before the end of the month.
August 28. Footage of Bermuda’s shipwrecks have been featured on the homepage of international news outlet CNN. According to Brekke Fletcher, CNN Travel’s executive editor, the video entitled “Charted Waters” has proven to be hugely popular by website users. “I’m surprised at how well it did despite it being such a departure from traditional CNN coverage,” she said. “It was ceaselessly pleasing to see how many people were hungry for something positive, warm, beautiful and truly informative.” The Bermuda Tourism Authority described the high-profile video as a significant public relations win for itself and Turner PR, noting that CNN.com records 58 million unique web visits each month. The video, which has been viewed more than 500,000 times on Facebook, came as a result of a pitch by Turner PR and the BTA last May at the America’s Cup World Series event in New York. Ms Fletcher said her attention was initially drawn to Bermuda due to the America’s Cup, but her focus shifted to the island’s history and shipwrecks, along with its people. Kevin Dallas, CEO of the BTA, said: “Since joining the Bermuda Tourism Authority in January, one of many things that has really impressed me is the strategic thinking the marketing team puts into winning PR victories for the island. Charted Waters’ is an excellent example of an invisible, yet very influential process that helps Bermuda get into magazines, onto television shows and, in this case, on the homepage of CNN.com.” Bermuda’s shipwrecks have also recently been highlighted on the BBC Travel Show, with excerpts expected to air on BBC World, which boasts an audience of 76 million weekly viewers. And Conde Nast Traveler put together a video piece focusing on the island’s shipwrecks entitled “Exploring Bermuda’s Deadly Coast”. A BTA spokesman added: “The origin of both BBC’s and CNN’s interest in Bermuda emanated from the America’s Cup. The same is true for Today, which produced two hours of morning show programming from Bermuda in May. About four million viewers are estimated to have watched those two broadcasts.”
August 28. An heroic mother has relived pulling three families from the sea after their rental boat sank in the Great Sound. Nicola Stegmann and husband Werner were out on their own boat with family last night, when they spotted the listing boat and saw terrified children, most aged under 6, and their parents struggling in the water. She said: “Instinct just took over and we knew we just had to help these people. To know that they were all safe is a huge relief. It was frightening and it could have gone terribly wrong. It was a pretty shocking experience. I feel quite traumatized. It was not quite something I planned to do on a Sunday evening.” Ms Stegmann, from Devonshire, was out boating with her husband, her daughter and goddaughter, both 14, and her eight-year-old son when they spotted the sinking boat east of the Artemis base on Morgan’s Point. She added: “We’d just gone out for an evening and we’d not been out very long when we noticed a pontoon boat on its side and simultaneously all these heads and jackets bobbing in the water. We navigated closer to them and that’s when my husband told me to call 911.” Ms Stegmann had the operator on the phone but had to put the phone down to help haul the people on board. She said: “It seemed like so many people. There were three families from New York and a total of seven children.” She said the majority of the children were under six, some with life jackets and some without, and they were calling out for help. We started to pull all these people on board. The mums were completely panicked. It was frightening.” Ms Stegmann said another thirteen people on their 30ft boat proved a challenge, so some of the rescued children clung to the tube raft attached to the back of their boat. She added: “The kids sat on that as they were tired from swimming.” They also threw them life jackets and noodles and Ms Stegmann added that “it took a good 20 minutes for the children to calm down”. She added: “It went down really quite quickly. We stuck around for another hour rescuing all the stuff that was floating.” Ms Stegmann said marine police arrived on the scene quickly and another three boats also came to their aid. She said the marine police were “wonderful” and that Harbour Radio had also kept them informed about other boats coming to help and reassured them that they were not on their own. Ms Stegmann said the families later told them that the boat had just started taking on water and was listing heavily to one side. She added: “They did tell us there was no VHF radio on-board. They couldn’t find it.” She said the families had told her that they had tried to call Harbour Radio but the call got disconnected. A Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre spokesman said they were contacted by police at 5.48pm and told that connection had been lost with a 911 caller on board a sinking rental boat in the Great Sound. He added that marine police were tasked to assist and helped take the families to the Waterlot Inn in Southampton. He said that there were no reported injuries. A police spokesman thanked the family for their help. “The police would like to thank the persons on board the vessel that assisted with the rescue — their swift actions went a long way in averting a tragedy.” He added that inquiries into the incident were under way. The BMOC spokesman added that the partially submerged boat is half way between Grace Island and Morgan’s Point at latitude 32-16.368N and longitude 064-50.468W. He said: “Mariners are advised to keep a sharp lookout and to proceed with caution.”
August 28. Cargo ship Oleander is delayed in New Jersey due to a mechanical problem. A Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre spokesman said the container ship had been scheduled to leave Port Elizabeth last Friday and arrive Bermuda by Sunday. Meanwhile, the Celebrity Summit was expected to arrive ahead of schedule today to disembark a passenger for medical reasons. The spokesman said the cruise ship, normally due at 6.20am on Wednesday, was set to arrive at 3pm and will anchor at Grassy Bay until a berth is free in Dockyard. He was unable to provide more information about the nature of the emergency. The spokesman also added that the rental boat that sank in the Great Sound on Sunday with 13 people on-board had been floated and returned to Waterlot Inn by Atlantic Mooring.
August 28. A man struck by a taxi in Southampton over the weekend remains in hospital in stable condition, according to police. It happened on Horseshoe Road on Saturday at around 9.30pm. According to police, the 33-year-old man was on the roadside near his residence when he was hit by the vehicle. “The taxi driver stopped and spoke to the victim who initially stated that he was fine resulting in the driver leaving the scene,” police said in a release issued this morning. A short time later, police said the man began experiencing severe pain and attended hospital where he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit with “serious abdominal injuries”. As of this morning, the man was listed in stable condition, police said. “Police are appealing for the taxi driver in this incident to please come forward as well as anyone who may have seen this incident or anyone who many have any information that may assist the investigation,” they said. Investigators can be reached on 295-0011.
August 26. A Bermudian husband and wife are unable to stay with family in Massachusetts due the state’s refusal to accept Bermuda driving licences. Eric Bell’s son and his family live 60 miles away from Boston, and Mr Bell and wife Carol need to hire a car to visit them. Mr Bell said: “They live 60 miles west of Boston so we try and visit them every year, but without the ability to drive it is not feasible,” The couple, who hold only island licences, were last year unable to make the trip to Shrewsbury, where they stay at a hotel and get around by rental car. Mr Bell said his son had offered to loan him a car. But he said: “It’s not just about having a car. If my licence isn’t valid, what would happen if I got stopped by police or had an accident? I’d get locked up.” Mr Bell has lived in Bermuda since he was 18 and said he never had the chance to get a licence from any other country. The Bermuda Ministry of Transport said clearing the roadblock will take “ongoing dialogue with overseas authorities and further Cabinet discussion for the new Government”. A spokesman said: “The Ministry is committed to bringing this issue to a conclusion as soon as possible, but it will require reciprocal arrangements with other countries by way of treaty extension.” Massachusetts’ decision to refuse to recognise Bermuda licences hit the headlines a year ago. The Ministry of Transport said at the time it was “committed to working towards an expeditious solution” with Government House and the United States Consulate General. But the year-long driving ban for Bermudians has affected residents who study in the state or who need to travel there for medical treatment. The reasons behind the Massachusetts decision are unclear and it is feared the ban could in theory be adopted by other states. But the fact that Bermuda does not recognise foreign driving licences is understood to have played a part in the hard line from Massachusetts. Mr Bell said that was confirmed when he contacted Government House. And the US Consul General’s office in Bermuda said: “Essentially, the problem stems from the fact that Bermuda has never signed any international treaty that provides driving privileges abroad for its citizens, nor has it made arrangements to come under the UK’s signature on the UN treaty governing driving reciprocity. These treaties provide the framework for citizens to be allowed to drive in countries other than their own. “ Mr Bell added that the island’s Transport Control Department had suggested applying online for an international driver’s permit, which is recognized if accompanied by a valid licence. According to the US Department of Motor Vehicles, the permit, which is different from an international driving licence, is valid for one year.
August 26. Best-selling author, businessman and educator Stedman Graham is to offer Bermuda’s business community, and the public, an insight into his rise to success and how to diversify the workplace. The chief executive officer of S Graham and Associates is the long-term partner of Oprah Winfrey and has visited Bermuda about ten times over the past 12 years, forming a strong connection with Family Centre. Mr Graham’s talks in the United States and around the world have a strong focus on identity and how the key to success is leadership capability. Graham will be the keynote speaker at a lunchtime discussion, sponsored by XL Catlin, titled “Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion through Authentic Leadership” on September 7, before giving a public talk at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute in the evening. Family Centre has also asked Mr Graham to meet with some of Bermuda’s young men and he will attend the charity’s fundraising Beach Bash at the Fairmont Southampton Ocean Beach Club on September 8. With few people of colour holding top positions in the reinsurance industry in Bermuda, Mr Graham’s upcoming talk is expected to strike a chord with many. While Graham said he was not too familiar with the demographics of the industry here, he said: “I’m pretty sure Bermuda is the same as in most places in that there is a lack of diversity and also inclusion in that industry at the higher level.” But the responsibility is not just on the businesses to diversify, he told The Royal Gazette. He said: “It is about leadership and getting people to focus on diversity and inclusion and empowerment. A lot of times, the onus is really on the people who want to move up to the next level and they need to focus on the best in themselves. I think diversity is an issue on both sides — it is just as important for people of colour and women to ensure that they are qualified and focus on investing in themselves, so that they have the opportunity to move up and take the position. Nobody wants to just bring you in if you are not qualified or not competitive enough. We need to provide the opportunity because it is good for business, it makes for strong socio-economic structure in Bermuda, it helps more people, it empowers them and enables them to be a part of the fabric of building Bermuda.” While the talk on diversity is by invitation only, the public will have the opportunity to hear how Mr Graham made his way to the top. He explained: “I will talk about what I have learnt, how to build a foundation for development and how to define yourself as opposed to having the world define you. I learnt I can help someone who is labeled and put into a box to have the ability to break out of those boxes and learn how to apply education and make those things relevant to who you are every day.” Mr Graham, who has written eleven books including New York Times bestseller You Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps to Success, emphasized the importance of quality education and the need to gain a solid grasp of emerging technologies. He said: “Everything is technology today, so if you don’t have a strong background in technology you are pretty much ensuring that you will be replaced. Technology is the foundation for future jobs and future opportunities. Basic education is also the foundation for it and having the drive and the willingness to want to be somebody — the motivation to be able to do that. You want to make sure that people are productive in Bermuda. You don’t want to have a problem with crime, dropout rates or drugs because it hurts a small community like Bermuda. Structurally, there needs to be a plan for how to improve that process and ensure quality of life for people at all levels. Education is great but you have to have additional information to be competitive in the marketplace otherwise you are not going to qualify. Education is traditional and a lot of times it is not relevant to the 21st century. But the marketplace is moving so quickly. In the States you have people graduating from Harvard and Stanford who can’t find a job. If you have a skill and you are looking to build opportunities around the skill, especially in the technology arena, then you will have a much greater chance of success.” His love for the island and its people has spurred Mr Graham to return many times over the years and he believes the work of Family Centre is crucial to leveling the playing field and giving young people the best shot at success. He said: “Family Centre is so important because it is about empowering the family and ensuring the family understands their opportunity. It helps them to understand their role and also their ability to be able to keep moving up so that they don’t become a drag on the country but become more productive in terms of building their own lives as well as building communities inside of a beautiful country. I was invited by Michael Dunkley, the former premier, to attend the America’s Cup. I didn’t make it but kept hearing about it over and over. I was travelling in Europe and there was even a lot of coverage over there about it, so I was very proud of Bermuda for that.” Asked whether he hoped to continue visiting in the future, he said he certainly would and hopes to convince his world-famous partner to join him. “I am always talking about Bermuda and make sure it is on people’s radar. People know of it but they don’t think about going there but it is such a great place. Oprah has been twice. She is not coming this time but she loves Bermuda, so hopefully she’ll come back. I’m looking forward to trying to get her back for a holiday. It’s a special place.” Mr Graham will give his talk to the business community on September 7 by invitation only. On the same evening he will give his public talk at BUEI at 7.30pm. Tickets are $25 and all funds raised will go to The Family Centre. Finally, he will attend Family Centre Beach Bash at the Fairmont Southampton Ocean Beach Club on September 8. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 232-1116 for tickets.
August 26. A television producer who unleashed a foul-mouthed torrent of abuse and bit a woman police officer while under the influence of alcohol has been fired. Zero Point Zero Production in New York confirmed yesterday Tamara Lodge was no longer with the company. The move came after the 33-year-old British national, who was on holiday in Bermuda, was fined $5,600 after she admitted two charges of assault on police officers and two charges of using offensive language. A spokeswoman for Zero Point Zero said yesterday: “We were saddened to learn about the recent incident involving Ms Lodge in Bermuda. The behaviour and statements do not reflect the person we have come to know.” The spokeswoman added: “It has come to our attention that there may be extenuating circumstances behind these events. However, our policy is that we do not tolerate hurtful speech or actions and Ms Lodge will no longer be working on ZPZ projects.” The company made the statement after at first refusing to comment on the court case. Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday that police officers went to Horseshoe Bay Beach after reports of an assault around 10pm. Officers noticed that Lodge smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on her feet after they tried to speak to her. They became concerned for her safety when she was unable to give a local address and explained the offence of being drunk and disorderly in public. Lodge became angry when police tried to arrest her and hurled insults at them. She told one officer: “F**k you, you f*****g t**t.” And she called a woman officer: “A f*****g trailer b***h” and shouted “F**k you, you black f*****g c**t.” She then bit a woman officer on her right arm and left her with visible marks that required further hospital treatment. Lodge also hit the other officer across the cheek. She told the court on Tuesday that she had no recollection of the incident and that she was “incredibly ashamed and horrified”. And Lodge added she was on medication and “should have known better than to drink anything”. Lodge has worked as producer on the award winning CNN food and travel show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, as a development researcher on the BBC’s The One Show in Britain and as assistant producer on National Geographic’s Explore.
August 26. Bermuda’s broken-down bus fleet has adversely affected some of the island’s most vulnerable people and could damage the tourism industry, experts said yesterday. Linda Smith, chairwoman of Age Concern, said the elderly had suffered as a result of cancellations because of vehicles being off the road. She added: “Many seniors are dependent upon public transportation, specifically buses, to get them to stores and to Hamilton to do shopping, attend medical appointments and take care of their personal business. While bus schedules have been disrupted or cancelled more frequently in recent months, it wasn’t until we heard the most recent news reports that we became aware of the depth of the problems.” Ms Smith was speaking after six buses broke down on Thursday, causing transport disruption across the island. The breakdowns brought the number of buses out of service to 72 out of 105 vehicles. Ms Smith said Age Concern appreciated the efforts of the Public Transportation Board to address the problem but emphasized the importance of a reliable service. She added: “Apart from requiring transportation, seniors need the security of knowing that they can get to their required destination and safely back again. And she said daily updates on the status of routes would help seniors to schedule their days. Education and tourism representatives also said they were concerned about the state of public transport in Bermuda. Leonard Santucci, chairman of the board at CedarBridge Academy, said he was “challenged” by the state of the bus fleet as children prepare to return to school after the summer break. He added: “More than 50 per cent of our student body relies on public transportation.” Dr Santucci said he had worked with the previous government to help find a solution to the problem. I believe the current government is very much aware of it, and seeking to address it and to remedy it.” Dr Santucci encouraged parents to have back-up plans in place in case of bus service disruption, but he said he was aware that not everyone had access to alternative transport. He said: “We need to fix as many buses as can be fixed, and then we need to replace as many buses as can be replaced almost immediately.” Glenn Jones, director of public and stakeholder relations at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said an unreliable bus service affected visitors as well as residents. He added: “When the service does not live up to its promises, vacations are negatively impacted. Unreliable service is also very unhelpful to the local tourism workforce and other residents who rely on buses to get to and from their jobs.” A spokesman for the Ministry of Transport and Regulatory Affairs on Thursday blamed the problem on a lack of investment in new vehicles. Overheating of bus engines was also said to be a significant factor in the unreliable service. New buses on order, however, should be less prone to the problem. The spokesman added new buses were expected to be on the island’s roads “near the end of the year” and that maintenance staff were working overtime to get out-of-service vehicles back on the roads.
August 26. The Blue Waters Anglers Club has stepped up security after a customer was stabbed to death in the street outside the premises. Roderick Nesbitt, president of the Hamilton club, said yesterday that a lock had been fitted to the door to stop non-members entering late on busy Sunday evenings after the death of footballer Raymond Butterfield in March. A camera covering the entrance to the club has also been installed, and Mr Nesbitt said the incident had affected the club and its patrons. He said: “What is tragic is that a young person lost his life and another young person is in prison. That’s bigger than the stuff that happens at Blue Waters. In real terms, it hasn’t been good this summer, but those two families have had an even worse summer.” Mr Nesbitt said that while the stabbing of Mr Butterfield and the fight that led to it happened outside the club, management had taken action to try to prevent further incidents. “We did look at the time on Sunday nights when other places close and we have some people milling around the city looking for somewhere to go. We have also put a security lock on the door so members can enter after 10pm and a camera at the door, so if we get a frequent customer they can be let in. Even though it didn’t happen in the club, we still have to take some kind of steps.” Nesbitt said it was unfortunate that the stabbing was linked to the club, but that management decided not to make a public statement at the time because they did not want to interfere with the investigation and subsequent trial. “People could have said it happened on East Broadway or outside the gas station, but they said Blue Waters even though it didn’t happen in the club. We didn’t want to make any official comment because we didn’t want to interfere with the investigation, but it started outside. People inside the club didn’t know what was going on outside. We got some bad press from it. It is what it is.” Mr Nesbitt added that the entire island is worried by an increase in knife crime. “I think most Bermudians are concerned about the idea of young people carrying knives, not just private clubs. I think the whole of Bermuda is concerned about that.” Mikiel Thomas, 19, was this month cleared by a Supreme Court jury of murdering Mr Butterfield Court but found guilty of manslaughter. He has yet to be sentenced. The incident is one of a series of recent knife crimes, which include the killing of 21-year-old Jahkoby Smith at Sandys West End Sailboat Club during a fight at the wake of shooting victim Jahcari Francis. A police spokesman said officers were aware of criminals, including gang members, using knives as well as firearms. He added: “Unfortunately these individuals are motivated to harm one another and will use any available method which is readily accessible. We continue to use all our lawful powers to bring these perpetrators to justice and curb group violence. This includes legislative powers and increased penalties, mandatory minimum sentences and fines when firearms and bladed articles are involved.” The spokesman said the recent arrest of three people — one for possession of a firearm and two for possession of ammunition — was a sign of the service’s efforts to tackle violent crime. But he added: “The BPS can not solve the problem by enforcement alone and we encourage the community to get involved in addressing the scourge of gangs and the root causes of the gang culture. He asked anyone with information on suspected criminal behaviour to contact police or the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline.
August 26. Flora Duffy is on the brink of winning her second straight ITU World Triathlon Series title after another dominant victory in Stockholm on Saturday. The Bermudian is guaranteed to repeat her title with a seventh place or higher finish at the WTS Grand Final in Rotterdam on September 16 after recording her fifth win of the season in the Swedish capital. There was speculation that Duffy might not compete in Stockholm to save herself for Rotterdam, with 1½ times the points on offer. However she decided to race to give herself as much of a cushion as possible in her attempt to win a second straight WTS title. “I had five pretty good scores before today, but you never know what is going to happen,” Duffy told the WTS website after her victory. “With the Grand Final being points-and-a-half, you kind of want to go in there with the biggest buffer that you can to make sure you can absolutely give yourself the world title.” Duffy won in Stockholm in a time of 2hr 0min 9sec. She was a mammoth 1min 21sec ahead of Jessica Learmonth, of Britain, who came second in 2:01:30 for her first WTS podium. Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle was third in 2:01:42. I was very happy with today to execute a solid race in the swim, bike and run,” Duffy said. “My swim has been a little shakier this year, so it was nice to come out third behind Jess [Learmonth] and Lucy [Hall, Learmonth’s fellow Briton], it was a perfect position. And then on to the bike, we were hammering on that first lap to create a gap and that kind of set the race up perfectly.” Duffy is now only the second woman to record five first-place finishes in a season, after American Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen. The 29-year-old, who has not finished lower than second in races she has competed in this season, now stands on 4,000 points, with Gentle in second place overall on 3,507 points and Andrea Hewitt, of New Zealand, third on 3,224. Duffy was among the leading triathletes after the swim, with Learmonth and Hall, in a time of 19:13 and broke away on the bike with Learmonth and Katie Zaferes, the American who was third overall before the race. However, events took a dramatic turn, with Zaferes crashing inexplicably rounding a tight corner on the third lap on her bike, putting her out of the race. Duffy and Learmonth both finished the cycle in 1:04:52, but the Bermudian turned up the heat on the run, with a time of 34:45 with Learmonth managing only 36:05. Gentle managed to gain some ground on Duffy overall in the run, with a race-best time of 33:27, but events in the Netherlands in three weeks’ time look a mere formality for the island’s reigning champion.
August 26. A former alderman accused of attempted murder was yesterday released on $50,000 bail. Carlton Simmons, 40, was on Monday remanded in custody after being charged with the attempted murder of Jahkeil Samuels in Ambiance Lounge, on Angle Street, Hamilton, on August 12. But yesterday Mr Tokunbo released Mr Simmons on bail with two sureties of $25,000 and on condition that he reports regularly to police. Mr Simmons is not required to enter a plea at this stage as the case must be heard in Supreme Court. The case is expected to be heard next month.
August 26. A green charity yesterday called on new entrepreneurs to be properly informed of environmental regulations to prevent running afoul of them. A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce said that a drive to encourage new businesses could lead to corners being cut — and end up damaging the natural beauty that attracts tourists to the island. She added the charity was aware of a jet ski business operating in the “environmentally sensitive” Coot Pond area in St George’s without all the needed permissions. The spokeswoman said: “The fact that a single application for a new business venture could require various permissions from different government departments or ministries means that there are opportunities for steps to be missed, accidentally or even intentionally. “Best encourages individuals and organisations to understand and adhere to the processes designed to protect the beauty of our island, which could lead to a revival of our tourism business. The Department of Planning can provide guidance where an application for siting a development or operation is required.” What the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation and the new businesses they want to help, must remember is that the number one attraction is Bermuda’s exquisite natural environment, the sustainability of which requires that a portion of every development scheme be linked to suitable development on appropriate sites. That should be part of the thinking of every entrepreneur as a kind of investment or insurance policy.”
August 25. A new Immigration Act could be introduced next year to address inequities in the present system, according to Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs. Mr Brown also pledged that the new government would “explore with a level of urgency” how to resolve the complications linked to Bermudian passports being printed in the UK. He told The Royal Gazette that he would work to find a way for Bermudian passports to be printed on the island again. “The British are being obstinate and have taken away our ability to produce our own passports,” Mr Brown said. “This, in turn, has created a complication with the coding of these passports, which have been given GBR rather than BMU. This has created a challenge for Bermudians with a Bermuda passport trying to enter the US from outside Bermuda. Some have been told they are required to have the ESTA waiver. However, Bermudian status holders do not require an ESTA; so it is technically illegal for Bermuda status holders to even apply for an ESTA. Our goal is to get the Bermuda passports reprinted with the Bermuda code, and ultimately get the Bermuda passports printed in Bermuda again. Bringing back the code is the short-term remedy. Printing these passports in the UK also creates an unnecessary eight-week delay in getting your passport. We will explore with a level of urgency how this process can be brought back to Bermuda.” Mr Brown also stressed the importance of Bermuda having a voice as the UK pursues its Brexit agenda. He said: “The UK is moving forward to protect and pursue its interests, but those are the interest of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, not the Overseas Territories. Prime Minister May is putting the UK’s interests first and we need to ensure we have a seat to promote our interests.” During his first interview since taking the reins of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Brown elaborated on how the new Progressive Labour Party would look to implement comprehensive immigration reform. He vowed that his party’s approach would be consultative and collaborative, and involve the creation of a bipartisan committee when the House of Assembly reconvenes on September 8. Mr Brown previously outlined how the existing Immigration Reform Working Group has been given a new mandate to recommend principles relating to mixed-status families: additional categories of Permanent Resident certificates and additional categories of Bermudian status. The group will produce a final report at the end of October, which will then be subjected to public consultation until the New Year. “We know at the end of the process not everyone will be happy,” he said. “I do not expect everyone to be happy, but I expect people to think it was a fair and just process. This is a very important issue which involves laws, rights and privileges that are fundamental. We have seen different interest groups and we have heard rhetoric on many sides; it is politically salient and volatile, so it is fundamentally important we get the right balance. The current work permit policy is being examined and being revised; some tweaks will be coming out imminently that involve security. We have already met with the musicians union to fix the policy which marginalized their ability to work. There are many things in the current immigration policy that are unbalanced and will be addressed. Policy changes are imminent, although some things are technical matters.” Mr Brown told The Royal Gazette: “Our long-term plan is to introduce an entirely new Immigration Act; many components of the old Act have been tinkered with over the decades which has proven problematic. We need a clear and simple framework. I would be frustrated if that took two years; I am inherently impatient and think one year should be more than enough time. But having said that we will still do intervening reforms; like the plight of families who have status but whose children are unable to get work permits. I don’t want to see policies that lead to the fragmentation of families.”
August 25. Police certificates will now be required with work permit applications, the Minister of Home Affairs announced today. In a statement issued yesterday, Walton Brown said: “As we move to carefully scrutinize applicants, the request to submit police certificates is with immediate effect. “For work permit applications for first-time residents, which have already been submitted but where no decision has been rendered, employers will have one business day from today’s date to submit original police certificates which display the original seal, stamp or other display of authorization.” Under the current Work Permit Policies 2015, employers are required to provide confirmation that applicants who are first-time residents have been thoroughly screened. Until now, employers were required to have a police certificate on hand should the Department of Immigration wish to view it. Police certificates must be valid for six months from the date of issue. For work permit applications not yet submitted, employers must submit the original police certificate. Applications affected by the policy change include global entrepreneur, global, new business, and standard work permits. Mr Brown reminded employers it is a criminal offence to make statements containing false information. For information on police certificates, employees should refer to the checklist details available at www.gov.bm.
August 25. AM Best has affirmed the A- financial strength rating of Oil Casualty Insurance Ltd with a stable outlook. Ocil is a Bermudian-based mutual, providing coverage primarily to its shareholders from the energy industry, but writing some third-party business too. Best said the ratings reflected Ocil’s “strong risk-adjusted capitalisation, generally solid operating profitability and diversified asset portfolio”. Ocil has diversified its business in recent years, expanding into direct and facultative property coverage within the energy sector and some property/casualty insurance to global companies outside the energy industry. The rating agency viewed this diversification positively, saying it reduced the volatility of Ocil’s overall book of business. Incidents like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico represented a risk to Ocil, but this risk was mitigated by retrocessional reinsurance bought by the company, Best added.
August 25. Equator Re, QBE Insurance Group Ltd’s captive reinsurer, hosted 25 reinsurance interns at the Blu Bar and Grill in Warwick. This summer networking event was for interns to discuss careers in reinsurance and what to expect for the future. Equator Re, which was established in 1983, views the recruitment and development of young talent, and specifically of local Bermudian talent, as essential to sustaining the reinsurance ecosystem, to Bermuda’s growth and to the company’s future success. The event provided an opportunity for Bermudian interns in reinsurance to meet each other, as well as senior executives from their employing companies to discuss their experiences. Quintonio Lema, was a key speaker at the event. He is a previous local intern at Validus Re, now employed by Everest Re. He discussed valuable internship lessons and provided a career trajectory perspective for the interns. “I just made the transition from intern to a full-time employee and I must say it was a little bit of hard work and luck. Timing is everything. You could be the most qualified, but if there’s no space for you there’s just no space, but, networking within Validus helped get me in the door.” he said Another intern at Everest Re, Zoe Wright, said: “It has been a really good experience and to see what I want to do when it comes to my future. It is also interesting to see how my school work and things I learnt are relating back to my career. Once I complete my degree I want to continue my actuary exams and come back and work within the industry.” Ms Wright is planning to complete her exams while still coming Bermuda to do internships during summer breaks. Tyler Mallory, an intern at MS Amlin, said: “For me this is about experience and figuring out what I really want to do. I just graduated in May and I will be at Amlin until December. I am still trying to figure out what’s next for me, whether getting my Master’s or continuing to work.” Jim Fiore, president of Equator Re, said: “This year we had our first intern, we have been talking about doing it for a few years, and this year we interviewed a few people and got someone on board. I was reading in the newspaper about Hamilton Re having a couple of interns and I started thinking well, this is the reinsurance market of the future. It will be good to get everybody together and network — which is great because our business is really based on building relationships. I think this is a great event and I am going to try and keep doing this every year.”
August 25. A blockchain-sector company is in the process of incorporating in Bermuda. The technology enterprise is likely to have some staff based on the island to run back-office functions. It will build blockchain applications for the financial industry, and it sees opportunities to do business with Bermuda’s insurance and reinsurance sector. DrumG is a spin-off from R3, a high-profile New York company researching and developing blockchain technology. Bermuda-based Stafford Lowe, who worked for R3, is chief administrator for DrumG and he sees great potential for the technology, and also for Bermuda to benefit from a blockchain-focused start-up establishing itself here. Blockchain is an online distributed ledger, best known for supporting bitcoin, the digital currency. However, the architecture of distributed ledger technology has the potential to be applied across many aspects of the financial-services industry and beyond. “We will have teams in London, New York, Singapore and Bermuda,” he said. “Reinsurers could very well become clients.” The enterprise has maintained a close relationship with R3. Mr Lowe said DrumG would work with business clients as well as end users. Customers will license a platform, which will provide all the security and scalability they need.” Blockchain eradicates the need for double-entry bookkeeping, speeding up processes and potentially saving billions of dollars across industries. It can be used by groups of companies that do business with each other to create shared databases, doing away with the need for all of them to store the same information, and it can provide a reliable and secure way to trace the most updated data in a system. It streamlines how these businesses transact and cuts out steps along the way. You can ask businesses where are their pain points,” Mr Lowe said. “We will be able to create automation around sharing information. Creating an app that is configurable for each individual user.” Mr Lowe sees potential innovations helping streamline aspects of the ILS market, adding: “Anything that involves lots of paperwork is fair game. A lot of it boils down to cutting out paperwork. If everything comes together we will start with 18 to 20 people in different countries, with four specific applications. It is not about one application; it is based around open architecture.” Mr Lowe is married to a Bermudian and lives on the island. He said: “Our goal in Bermuda is to run a central back office here. We believe there is a role to play for Bermuda.” He said the venture has met with a positive response and he would like DrumG to become a poster child for more start-ups to come to Bermuda.
August 25. Novae has decided to close its US direct and facultative re/insurance operations in Bermuda. The news came as Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance group Axis Capital increased its offer to buy Novae. Novae, a London-based carrier, confirmed the unit’s closure yesterday, after an earlier report in industry publication Insurance Insider. Novae declined to comment on the jobs impact of the decision. However, the Insider reported that the D&F unit’s team, led by Nik Lucking and including senior assistant underwriter Keerome Maybury and deputy unit head Nick Garside, had been let go. Last month Novae agreed to be sold to Axis in a transaction worth $604 million. The deal is expected to close later this year. But yesterday, Axis announced a “full and final offer” for Novae of 715 pence per share — up 15 pence per share on its offer of July 5 — valuing the company at around $611 million. Albert Benchimol, chief executive officer of Axis, said: “The benefits of this transaction announced with our initial offer have not materially changed with this revised offer. We believe that our final bid represents compelling and full value for Novae, as recognized by the boards of both companies. By offering Novae shareholders an improved cash offer, Axis aims to bring certainty to the transaction.” Novae’s island operations are based in Ideation House, on Pitts Bay Road. In a statement given to this newspaper, Novae said yesterday: “The Novae Group board has decided not to renew its quota share reinsurance contract in Bermuda for the 2018 year of account. Furthermore, the group will no longer underwrite US direct and facultative re/insurance through our Bermuda platform. International property-catastrophe reinsurance remains a key class of business for Novae and will continue to be underwritten in 2018.” Novae also writes international reinsurance out of its Bermuda office, with the team led by Philippe Chevereau. The company set up its Bermuda base two years when Stuart Heath, Novae’s property divisional head, expressed high hopes for further expansion on the island. Early this month, Novae announced that it made a pretax loss of £14 million ($17.9 million) in the first half of 2017 and scrapped its dividend. At that time, chief executive Matthew Fosh said the firm’s strategy since 2015 had been to re-engineer its underwriting portfolio in the face of a “deteriorating soft market” that he said had tested even the largest industry players.
August 25. Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, toured the L.F. Wade International Airport redevelopment project yesterday. The Deputy Premier met the Bermuda Airport Authority board and staff as he checked on the progress of the project. At present, the new terminal’s foundation infrastructure is being constructed and 725 steel piles are being driven hundreds of feet into the ground. The pile drive is just over 70 per cent complete and installation of the above ground terminal infrastructure will start later this year. A new aircraft taxiway is also being constructed as part of the project.
August 25. The Fairmont Southampton resort is to invest more than $1 million in an overhaul of its restaurants. Over the next two months, the Jasmine Cocktail Bar and Lounge will be revamped and given a new menu, while the Gastro pub in the Newport Room and Bacci at the Turtle Hill Golf Club will both be closed down and replaced. Mediterra, a new Mediterranean restaurant, will open in the Newport Room location, while the Boundary Sports Bar and Grille, described as an upscale American sports bar, will replace Bacci. The hotel said today that the project will be completed in three phases, starting with the refurbishment of Jasmine Lounge. The hotel lobby lounge will relocate to a beautiful pop-up space in the Poinciana Foyer tomorrow, and will reopen next Friday with an updated look and feel. The new menu will feature the restaurant’s most popular items in addition to several new and exciting dishes. In early October, the second phase of the overhaul will create Mediterra. “In an effort to ensure a truly authentic experience, a team of four Fairmont Southampton employees embarked on a two-week culinary immersion through the Mediterranean region of Europe earlier this year,” the hotel stated. “Two young Bermudian colleagues, second cook Nicole Clarke and server Ravone Butterfield, joined the resort’s executive chef and assistant director of food and beverage, to source innovative dishes in Spain, Italy and Monaco. Dishes will include shared plates of fresh seafood, paella, and more.” Bacci’s last day of operation will be October 1 and the Boundary Sports Bar will open in early November. The new venue will offer live TV broadcasting of major international sports events. The hotel will be working with design firm Wimberly Interiors to bring the new concepts to life. Wimberly is part of WATG, one of the world’s leading integrated design firms and ranked as second in the world among hotel architectural firms. More information on all new restaurant concepts, including opening hours and menus, will be released closer to each opening date.
August 25. The Bermuda Union of Teachers is due to hold a general members’ meeting to discuss whether teachers will work to rule at the start of the school term over unresolved matters. The union voted to work to rule in June, claiming the Public Service Negotiating Team formed under the One Bermuda Alliance had gone back on its word. They reached out at the time to then education minister Cole Simons and Michael Dunkley, the former premier, but were referred back to the PSNT. The union also voted unanimously to give “notice of action” at any time the union executive decided. The BUT is concerned about scale posts, the speciality subjects that teachers at all education levels are responsible for in addition to their normal teaching duties; the workload of deputy principals at primary level given extra teaching responsibilities; and the wording of the preamble of the collective bargaining agreement, which the union would like to have included “the delivery of modern and relevant education”. It is understood that Shannon James, the president of the BUT, has met with an education representative since the new Progressive Labour Party administration came to power but no resolution has yet been reached. However, general secretary to the union, Mike Charles, has said there is still time to come to an agreement before the first day of term in two weeks. Mr Charles said: “We are hoping to be able to resolve something soon because school starts in a week. The new government is on a tight schedule and has had a very brief time to get together. We are still hopeful. We have scheduled a meeting for next Friday to bring our members up to date. They voted unanimously to work to rule and they are the only ones that can remove it. We have to inform them of where we are at this point — as of today [yesterday] that is no further than the last meeting in June. It could happen overnight. We still have tomorrow and next week, so we hold out hope that something can be done.” Leonard Santucci, chairman of the board at CedarBridge Academy, said he believed a resolution could be met and that the only way to avoid “distraction and destruction” of the teaching/learning process is to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. Dr Santucci said: “I have every confidence in the ability of the minister to provide the leadership necessary to address these outstanding matters. At the beginning of a new school year, we need teachers in classes teaching, and we need students in classes learning. Every minute lost in the teaching/learning process is to the detriment of both the student and the long-term development of the country. At this time, we need cool and calm heads to prevail and the work to rule is a longstanding union process. The resolution can only be found at the bargaining table. The sooner we get there the better.” Asked whether working to contracted hours only would have much impact on the running of Bermuda’s 38 public schools, Dr Santucci said: “Because it will be a distraction, it will have destructive potential. I believe in locking folk in until the resolution is found. If you have to work through the midnight hour, work through the midnight hour, but let’s get the school year off to a constructive start devoid of all these distractions.” This newspaper reached out to the Ministry of Education for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of going to print.
August 25. An airliner was yesterday forced to divert to Bermuda after smoke was spotted coming from the rear of the plane. The JetBlue flight bound for St Lucia with more than 200 passengers on board made an emergency landing at the island’s airport. A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Fire & Rescue service said the Airbus A320 aircraft was carrying 202 passengers and landed safely in Bermuda at about 12.15pm. She added: “BFRS personnel dressed in breathing apparatus carried out a thorough search of the airbus compartment with thermal imaging equipment before turning the scene over to the airline representatives.”
August 25. A painting by Bermudian artist Graham Foster depicting the wrecking of the Sea Venture is hanging in Buckingham Palace as part of a new exhibition. The painting — a small version of his portrayal of the Sea Venture in his famed Hall of History mural at the Commissioner’s House — is being displayed in the Royal Gifts exhibition until October. Mr Foster was commissioned to paint the gift by the director of the National Museum of Bermuda, Ed Harris, when the mural, which was officially opened by the Queen in 2009, was nearing completion. The big question for Mr Foster when he was thrown the gauntlet was: “What do you create for someone who seemingly has it all and oversees one of the greatest art collections in the world?” After considering numerous ideas, he decided the best thing would be a souvenir of the mural that the Queen could take with her. Mr Foster said: “One of the most iconic events in Bermuda’s history was the 1609 wreck of the Sea Venture. I knew the Queen liked dogs, so I placed a mastiff in one of the long boats. I almost painted a Corgi instead, but changed my mind as I doubt even a pack of Corgis could bring down a hog.” The Queen and Prince Phillip were presented with the painting by Dr Harris during the mural unveiling and Mr Foster pointed out a few details such as the devils in the trees, the hogs and “denizens of the deep”. He recalled meeting the Queen at the mural opening while she was taking in his work. “I met her at the bottom and the first thing she said was, ‘This must have driven you mad! I replied that I’d left part of my sanity in the room. She was great, easy to talk to and didn’t bat an eyelid when I almost knocked her hat off with one of my sweeping hand gestures.” Mr Foster often wondered where the painting ended up in the following years. Among his guesses were “a bathroom in Balmoral, the royal tat warehouse, row J or box 56 next to the Sultan of Qatar’s gold-plated coconut palm with the crystal coconuts”. His painting The Wreck of the Sea Venture is hanging in the Americas section of the exhibition near a signed photo of JFK. Then in March, he received an e-mail from the curator of the summer state exhibition for Buckingham Palace Sally Goodsir, informing him that the painting had been chosen for the Royal Gifts exhibition. It was also included in the book detailing the show which reads: “Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has been presented with a variety of gifts of cultural and historical value and significance. Royal Gifts presents a selection of these objects, displaying a spectacular array of craftsmanship from over 100 countries across the globe.”
August 25. Six buses broke down yesterday morning, causing transport problems across the island. The news means 72 out of 105 buses are out of service, which is nearly 70 per cent of the fleet. The figure is the highest reported in recent times, and almost double the total of 39 given in June last year. A spokesman for the Ministry of Transport and Regulatory Affairs blamed the problem on a lack of investment in new vehicles. The spokesman said: “Buses used to be replaced annually or biannually. The last time buses were purchased was in 2014; before that 2009. The ageing fleet has become unreliable.” Some of the vehicles were said to have been off the road for months as they are due to be scrapped. The spokesman said: “We are rebuilding some engines. Buses are repaired and sent back into the field, only to return with another fault.” Overheating of the engines was said to be a significant problem, but new buses on order are said to be less prone to overheating. The spokesman said new vehicles were expected to be on the island’s roads “near the end of the year”. He added that maintenance staff work overtime to get buses back in service in the meantime. The spokesman apologized to bus service users and he said the Bermuda Government was “in the process of determining how this longstanding issue can finally be addressed, once and for all”.
August 25. A new preschool is due to open in Warwick and parents are encouraged to go along to see what the venture has to offer. Former teacher Charnita Smith invited parents to visit Abraham’s Little Seeds Preschool as she prepares to open her doors in September or October. The preschool can take 30 children aged between 3 and 5 and Ms Smith said she aimed to give the youngsters an early introduction to technology while “fostering the love of Jesus Christ”. Ms Smith said she had struggled to attract people to the newly renovated preschool and wanted to make clear that the premises are under new management. Ms Smith said: “This is an innovative facility equipped for the future of today’s children. The place has been renovated and designed especially as a preschool. “I have Samsung tablets and an access board similar to a smart board. That is one of the basic things that is missing from a lot of the other preschools and this is our children’s future – technology. I truly believe that Abraham’s Little Seeds Preschool is a good choice because we foster the love of Jesus Christ and focus on technology. The inside of the building has been designed especially for a preschool setting and for the children to come and explore and to learn in a hands-on environment.” But Ms Smith added: “It has been a real struggle to get people to come and see it — I’ve had open houses, I have been on the radio to let people know it is under new management.” Ms Smith completed an associate degree in early childhood education at Hasser College, Boston. She worked in the private sector for three years at Happy Talk Preschool after she returned from the US and taught three-year-olds. After six months at the school, she was made supervisor. Ms Smith moved to government four years later and worked as a Para educator at West Pembroke School where she worked with children with special needs for seven years. Ms Smith also set up the Back to Basics school camp and worked at the Genesis after school programme as a supervisor. Her sister Debra Smith, formerly of Homestead Nurseries, will also work at the preschool. Abraham’s Little Seeds Preschool is now accepting new registrations at its premises at 93 Spice Hill Road. Ms Smith said: “After seeing our young children today, many of them are out there fighting and killing each other. What’s missing is God’s love — they have a lot of hatred and anger. We have to go back to the basics of just instilling in our young children God’s love and goodness. I was instilled with great values about respecting everybody – I believe we need to get back to the basics with our young ones and reinforce positive behaviour without focusing on the negative. A lot of children are told they are a bad child, but we reinforce good behaviour and show them how they can do things in a different way and that can all be done through learning and play.”
August 24. Revenues for the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial year came in at just under $250 million — up 7 per cent on the previous year, according to figures released by Government today. The Ministry of Finance said the main reason for the rise was a $10 million increase in payroll tax collections compared to the first quarter of the previous financial year. The statement added that higher collection of customs duty and stamp duty was offset by lower collections in passenger tax and civil aviation receipts “due to the privatization of the airport” and the transfer of the Department of Civil Aviation out of the Government. The statement said: “When compared to budget estimates, total revenues are tracking higher. However, not all taxes and fees are collected evenly on a monthly basis so the quarterly comparison should only be used for a rough guide. Current account expenditures, excluding debt service, for the first three months ending June 2017 are $232.3 million; this is $5.3 million or 2.2 per cent lower than was spent during the same period last fiscal year.” The latest statistics show that capital account expenditures for the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial year were $15 million, which is slightly above the previous year. The statement explained: “This is due to increased capital grant amounts for the America’s Cup. Debt service costs for the first three months ending June 2017 are $46.5 million. This represents $31 million in interest payments and a $15.5 million contribution to the Government borrowing sinking fund, representing approximately one quarter of the $62.1 million annual contribution. Debt service to date is about $300,000 less than last year’s period. This is due to the Government restructuring its debt in 2016 by paying off more expensive debt and issuing cheaper debt.” Total Government spending for the first quarter of the 2017/18 financial year was $5.3 million, which was 1.8 per cent, lower than the previous year. The statement said: “It should be noted that in the course of ministries’ budget monitoring and control exercises they have reported to the Ministry of Finance a number of additional expenditures in current account expenditures in 2017/18 — mainly due to unbudgeted expenses incurred for the America’s Cup by the former Government.” For the first three months of 2017/18, the Government incurred a deficit of $43.9 million, which was financed by drawing funds from an HSBC Credit Facility and with working capital. Gross debt at the end of June 2017 stood at $2.494 billion.
August 24. Premier David Burt is to be the keynote speaker at the Bermuda Industrial Union’s Labour Day banquet next month. The annual banquet, the 36th, will be held on September 1 at the Fairmont Southampton. Labour Day is marked as a public holiday on Monday, September 4. It was first officially celebrated in Bermuda in 1982.
August 24. The role insurance-linked securities can play in the protection and redistribution of cybersecurity risk will be among topics discussed at the ILS Bermuda Convergence 2017 event in October. One of the guest speakers is Rick Welsh, chief executive officer of Sciemus Ltd, and he will look at the cybersphere and distinction between traditional and non-traditional cyber-risk; how that distinction creates an approach to modelling and pricing “that fuses technical cybersecurity expertise with actuarial and statistical science to deliver a mechanism for the transfer of cyber-risk to capital markets”. Cyber-insurance will be the topic of discussion for another of the speakers, Tom Johansmeyer, assistant vice-president at PCS. His presentation is on why cyber ILWs make a difference. He will look at the argument that Cyber ILWs could help drive in fresh capital, support flexible risk and capital management, and add speed to the decision making process. Two speakers from KPMG Germany, Elena Nagy and Philipp Herr, will explore the practical challenges in applying fair value concepts to ILS. Another speaker is Thomas Deinet, of the Hedge Fund Standards Board. He will look at the insurance open protocol solution that enables investors to aggregate and analyze risk taking across their entire portfolios, including ILS exposures. While Aaron Kosch, director and consulting actuary at ILS Group, will be taking a look at the future of ILS, particularly with independent modelling for non-catastrophe issuances. Now in its fifth year, the conference takes place on October 18 and 19. For further details, visit www.ilsbermuda.com/convergence-2017/
August 24. A top economist and a debating champion will discuss the economic state of Bermuda at a Bungalow 56 Talks event tonight. Robert Stubbs, a former head of research for the Bank of Bermuda and an economist, will talk about how the island’s basic economic model compares to other offshore and onshore economies in his speech, “Economic Test Tube to the World”. And Kenza Wilks, 18, the captain of England’s national debating team and the top speaker at this month’s World Schools Debating Championships, will present “An Urban Economic Perspective”, which will highlight how increasing urbanization can tackle Bermuda’s economic decline. Mr Stubbs’s research was used by Bermuda’s Fiscal Responsibility Panel, private corporations, non-profits, senior academics in Britain, the One Bermuda Alliance and Progressive Labour Party. His talk will review the historical adjustments Bermuda has made to its model and how these changes have undermined the economy’s resilience. He told The Royal Gazette he believed many economic problems have been concealed by a lack of transparency on the part of governments and corporations worldwide. He added: “It’s time the public be informed not only of the need for and range of options in changing our tax structure, but also the limitations we face in terms of our global competitive pressures. These are interesting times globally. I think the whole world is about to embark on economic policy reforms of historic importance. Change is quite often frightening to people, but I think everyone will be much better off for these reforms.” Mr Wilks encouraged young people to attend so that they can gain from Mr Stubbs’s insights. He said: “Much of the data we will be presenting has not been seen or even collected before Robert did it. This is a talk of potential interest to lots of high school students, particularly those that are interested in studying economics or politics at university as I am.” The event will take place at 56 Reid Street today at 6pm.
August 24. Young people need to know there is a way out of gang violence, according to social activists. In the wake of a series of stabbings around the island, Gina Spence said the community needs to be educated about the causes of gang violence and what help is available. And Desmond Crockwell, editor of anti-violence Visionz magazine, added efforts had to be made to change the minds of young people who might have bad intentions. Mr Crockwell said: “Those who care about them must have the courage to come together and step to them with the options and support we know they need. Evil didn’t start with this generation, so we must change the mentality and the behaviour will change.” They were speaking after Jeff Baron, the shadow Minister of National Security, said a rise in stabbing incidents was due to a crackdown on firearms. Mr Baron explained: “The more successful the disruption by intelligence-led law enforcement is on firearms, the more offenders will revert to other weapons and ways of offending. In this case, it’s a return of edged-weapons being used and carried, particularly when group tensions are escalated.” Mr Crockwell, however, said that each incident should be looked at separately rather than as part of a trend. “Just a few weeks ago there were a few shootings, and reported shootings back-to-back, so to say there are rumours of ‘less guns or ammunition’ can be premature. I think the ones with bad intentions possibly could be more aware that many in the community may be on a heightened alert, and the use of guns may be getting a bit too risky.” Mr Crockwell added there had been no reported incidents of violence since August 12, when YouthVision hosted an anti-violence forum and more anti-violence initiatives had been announced. Ms Spence said she was concerned by both the young age of the victims and the public nature of recent crimes. She added: “What we are seeing today is younger victims and perpetrators. We are also seeing these crimes more frequently in public places like wakes, parties and businesses in broad daylight. This is reason for great concern — any innocent person or bystander could get caught in the crossfire.” Raymond Butterfield, 28, was fatally stabbed on East Broadway in March, while Jahkoby Smith, 21, died after being stabbed at a wake at the West End Sailboat Club in June. A second man also suffered stab wounds in the sailboat club brawl. A series of non-fatal stabbings have also been reported over the summer. A 25-year-old man was stabbed in a fight on Front Street in June, and a 40-year-old man suffered what were described as life-threatening stab wounds in a “domestic dispute” on August 1. A 19-year-old man was stabbed at Sports Locker less than 12 hours later. And a 32-year-old man was seriously injured after an alleged stabbing in Ambiance Lounge. Ms Spence said: “If you look at the penalty or charges for a bladed weapon verses a violent act using a gun the charge is far less. Also, knives are easier to get and conceal and also cost less money. They are also easier to get rid of.” She added that knife crime was a problem 12 years ago but that community work and harsher penalties had a positive impact. “We wrote to the legislature requesting an amnesty to help get the bladed weapons off the streets. We held a community outreach event at Parsons Road playground to educate people on what was happening in our communities. During the community outreach programme we had young men sharing their experiences about the culture and educating parents and the community about what was emerging. Our charity was very instrumental in advocating for community and public safety. We also met with the department of prosecutions to share our concerns. Shortly after the government reviewed bladed weapon laws and put laws in place that had an impact. We started to see a decrease in use of bladed weapons being used.” But Ms Spence said public education on gang culture was also key to addressing the problem. She said that people needed to be aware of early warning signs of involvement in crime and what to do about it, as well as where to get help. Ms Spence added it was also important that people knew how to protect themselves and others if violent incidents happened in public places. She said: “These are the hard questions that need to be asked and answered. Gang prevention and education is key for the entire community as it affects all of us. I would like to see a grassroots campaign using social media and performing arts to get the message out especially to youth. We at Gina Spence Productions used to host a travelling road show that went from parish to parish using drama, song and dance to educate and empower the community on social issues. I would love to see this idea launched again. It was very successful and had great impact.” She said she was keen to speak to anyone interested in partnering with her charity as no one person or organisation can solve the problem on its own. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of National Security said that dealing with knife crime and other violent offences was a police responsibility — not the Ministry’s. She added: “As a reminder, the Ministry ‘facilitates the delivery of the policing strategy of the Bermuda Police Service’. That said, the Ministry is committed to working with the Bermuda Police Service regarding policies to address crime and antisocial behaviour.”
August 24. Spreading the good news of Bermuda College’s resources is the mission of new vice-president Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, who is elated after the institution’s boost of financial aid. “It comes at an excellent time, as many of our people are still dealing with the economic downturn,” the former Berkeley Institute principal said of the $300,000 government grant this month, which “provides opportunities for people who otherwise might not feel they can pursue an education”. Calling it “a great first step for the new government”, Dr Curtis-Tweed voiced hope that the support would continue. “I want to be clear about this: my vision is for Bermuda College to be a school of choice as an affordable first step in tertiary education, in retooling skills, for workforce development, and in generally meeting the higher education academic needs of our island community with local and international partnerships." Enrolment is a priority in her new role — “channelling our community to make the best possible use of the opportunities that Bermuda College offers”. Asked about the insights she brought from her tenure in the public school system, Dr Curtis-Tweed said the college “has to market itself, to make sure it is well known by the people who might not have previously taken advantage. We have special work to do when it comes to encouraging the development of our young black men. There are also many positive things that occur and, unfortunately, much of the things we see in the media are negative. We have many who are doing well and moving forward in a positive manner. But we don’t want to lose anybody. It’s important for us as a college to do everything we can to reach out to the population who might not feel they have been able to access the opportunity. We do have programmes that they can benefit from, whether it is arts and sciences to pursue a degree programme or to acquire qualifications in business, hospitality or technical education. They have a broad range of appeal.” With extensive work in the United States, Dr Curtis-Tweed believes that while experience overseas is good for Bermudians, “it’s important for them to come home”. Developing articulation agreements with institutions overseas is another priority: the partnerships detail academic transfer policies, enabling Bermuda students to take their qualifications abroad. At present, Bermuda College has no such agreements with UK institutions. Dr Curtis-Tweed said she also wanted to work closely with students “both traditional and non-traditional with the transition into college and beyond, whether into a baccalaureate programme or into the workforce”. Bermuda College offers both credit and non-credit programmes, ranging from 31 associate degree, diploma and certificate programmes, to 12 professional designation programmes, more than 30 distance education courses, and seven workforce development and training programmes. Its technical training has grown to fill some of the void left by the much-missed Bermuda Technical Institute, she noted. “I’m really happy that the college has a programme with the high schools that focuses on technical education,” she said. “They had 26 students who completed their first year and approximately the same in the cohort. That’s a really positive move for us. As a community and a college, we simply need to shore up opportunity to ensure that skills that used to be staples of the island are not lost — masonry, plumbing and carpentry that were once passed down through apprenticeship. We don’t have that happening much today.” Emphasizing Bermuda College’s variety, Dr Curtis-Tweed added: “We really want our community to come to this school, whether it’s to take a course or a programme. We believe we have something for everyone.”
August 24. A technology store has expanded and is now providing customers with more than they bargained for. The Hub on Middle Road, Warwick, has been around for more than a decade and has been recognized for friendly customer service and competitive prices. Gavin Kennedy, owner of the Hub, said he fell into the business by buying his nephew a flash drive. “I ordered about ten flash drives for my nephew and him and his friends loved them, then other people started to ask about phone cases.” he said. “Once I moved from selling cases, I moved on to BlackBerry phones when they were new — now we sell Samsung and iPhones,” he added. The business offers other services such as fixing and restoring phones. “We make sure every customer is completely happy. The phones are already unlocked and sold with a case.” He added that the store offers a low-price guarantee. “If you find a phone anywhere else on the island unlocked and off contract we will match it and offer it for a lower price,” Mr Kennedy said. Not only does The Hub sell phones, phone cases, accessories, chargers, and many more items, but it is now renting out space to other vendors, selling anything such as clothes, shades, bathing suits and more, in the company’s new expanded space. They also rented space to The MoneyShop, located next door to the store. Mr Kennedy said: “We give vendors the opportunity to sell their merchandise. Some of them used the Hub as a stepping stone and went on to start their own store.” The Hub is open seven days a week and the owners of tenant vendors do not need to be there to make sales. And The Hub allows them to view their sales online. “Some people have the right product for this market and they’ve just exploded,” he added. Mr Kennedy talked about the new brand they have called the Bermuda Onion, comprising shirts and mobile phone cases designed by Omar Smith. When asked what makes his business stand out is he said his staff. “We pride ourselves on our customer service and we aim to uphold our reputation,” Mr Kennedy said. The Hub has five staff members in total. De-Andre Smith-Lightbourne, the assistant manager, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for me because I want to be a computer technician, and Mr Kennedy gave me this opportunity when I started looking for a job. I am very good at customer service and helping people. It makes me feel good doing things for people.” All of the staff seem to enjoy working at The Hub and all had good things to say. Another employee, Taffori Burch, said: “ I feel good working here, it’s a pretty good experience. Not only do we have to learn about technology and the latest gadgets but we get to give good customer service and help satisfy customers’ needs.” Anthony Amyoony, store manager, cheerfully said: “ I feel absolutely fantastic everyday working here, the satisfaction, helping somebody that actually needs your help is one of best feelings.” For further information on The Hub, visit its Instagram page, @thehubbermuda.
August 24. A drunken New York-based TV producer unleashed a foul-mouthed torrent of abuse and bit a woman police officer after being questioned by officers at a beach. Yesterday, Tamara Lodge, a British national, was fined a total of $5,600 after she admitted two charges of assault on police officers and two charges of using offensive words at Horseshoe Bay on Tuesday. Magistrates’ Court heard that police were called after reports of an assault at the beach at about 10pm. Officers noticed that Lodge, 33, smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on her feet after they tried to speak to her. Police asked her if she needed medical attention, but Lodge said: “I don’t need anything from you.” Lodge has worked as producer on the award-winning CNN food and travel show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, featuring the top chef. She has also worked for the hit BBC programme The One Show in Britain. Prosecutor Carrington Mahoney told the court that when Lodge could not provide a local address, officers believed she was unable to look after herself and explained the offence of being drunk and disorderly in public. Lodge, who works for Zero Point Zero Production in New York, became angry when police tried to arrest her, and hurled insults at them. She told one officer: “F**k you, you f*****g t**t.” And she called a woman officer “a f*****g trailer b***h” and shouted “F**k you, you black f*****g c**t”. Lodge then bit the woman officer on her right arm and left her with visible marks that needed hospital treatment. She also hit the other officer across the cheek. Lodge was ultimately arrested and taken to Hamilton Police Station. Mr Mahoney told magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo that Lodge, whose address was given in court as Camp Hill, Southampton, was a visitor to the island and due to leave that day. Lodge told the court she had no recollection of the offences and added that she was “incredibly ashamed and horrified”. She said she had been drinking on the beach with a group of people. When they left, she went swimming with a group of younger men, who became “overly amorous”. Lodge said this scared her and she returned to the bar. She added that her next memory was being fingerprinted by police. And Lodge told the court the offences were “out of character” and that she was on medication. She said: “I should have known better than to drink anything.” Mr Tokunbo told Lodge it was a pity she had drunk so much that she could not remember the events and that she had assaulted police officers who were trying to help her. Duty counsel Alexandra Wheatley said that Lodge had no previous convictions and that the offence might never have happened if she had not been drinking. Mr Tokunbo said: “That might be so but it can’t be overlooked what the consequence of that drinking was.” He added that “the sentence must reflect the seriousness of the offences”. Mr Tokunbo fined Lodge a total of $5,000 for the two assaults on the police officers and a total of $600 for threatening them. He added that the money must be paid before Lodge left Bermuda and ordered her to surrender her travel documents, which would be returned when she paid the fines.
August 24. A 25-year-old Smith’s man was charged with damaging a wall and two vehicles owned by Dunkley’s Dairy. But defence lawyer Marc Daniels raised questions about Khayriek Woolridge’s fitness to plead. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo ordered court reports and adjourned the case to October 10. The offence allegedly happened in Devonshire on July 18. The wall and vehicles were said in court to be owned by Stephen Dunkley. Mr Woolridge was released on $2,000 bail.
August 24. The Think Fest event series is set to continue this Sunday with Bermudian graduate student Saskia Wolsak discussing the erosion of plant knowledge due to colonization. Ms Wolsak, who is completing her Masters of Science in ethnobotany at the University of British Columbia, has been researching the relationship between plants and people in Bermuda. “We will be discussing the knowledge-power dynamic and the forces which led to the erosion of plant knowledge in Bermuda, with a focus on some of the plants that most influenced Bermuda’s culture and landscape including cedar, palmetto, allspice, and cassava. A study in Bermuda ethnobotany offers many benefits. It provides insight into Bermuda’s history, into the creativity and self-sufficiency of Bermudians, into the current state of our landscape, how it got to be that way and what we can do to change it.” A spokesman for organiser Think Media said the presentation will detail how traditional knowledge and skills were adapted as the social, economic and environmental circumstances changed in a foreign colonial society. The event will also give attendees an opportunity to experience some of the plants first hand, with a tasting of wild herbs and plants from Bermuda, along with cactus caviar and prickly pear cheesecake. The presentation is the latest in a series which gives a platform to Bermudian academics to discuss a range of topics ranging from cancer research to crime. Think Media said: “Think Fest is an opportunity for the island to celebrate and acknowledge Bermudian academics and independent thinkers, a platform for networking with potential employers, funders, other academics and researchers and a forum for discussing the latest research in a wide variety of fields. Each of the Think Fest presenters will dive deeply into a single topic for an extended period, followed by a chat with a host and audience participation.” Sunday’s event is set to start with the tasting at Liberty Theatre 6.45pm, with the presentation following at 7.10pm. Tickets can be purchased in advance at think.bm or at the door, with early bird and group discounts available.
August 24. Four new cadets were welcomed into the Bermuda Police Service yesterday afternoon. Cadets Zahjahrie Augustus, Ashley Steede, Jevon Talbot and Alnique Young-Looby are enrolled at Bermuda College, where they are required to obtain an Associate’s Degree at the end of their studies. They will also complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award programme, and complete four hours of community service each month.
August 24 Police have identified an elderly cruise ship passenger who died while snorkeling yesterday morning. Stuart Rothfield, 80, was with a tour group when he was found unresponsive in the waters near Dockyard at around 11am. Despite life-saving efforts, he was later pronounced dead in hospital. Information on the nationality of Mr Rothfield was not immediately provided. “The Bermuda Police Service offers our sincere condolences to the friends and family of the decease,” a release issued today said.
August 24. Thirty cases of energy drinks were stolen from a St George’s storage locker. Officers were called to Penno’s Wharf at around 10pm yesterday and determined the theft of Anaconda BlackBull drinks took place earlier that day. Police are asking members of the public to be on the lookout for anyone selling the product who does not appear to be a legitimate vendor. Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators on 295-0011.
August 23. Two telecoms companies were hit by disruptions for much of today, bringing to three the number of island-based internet providers hit by outages or disruption in a 48-hour period. LinkBermuda and One Communications both reported issues affecting their operations. For One, the disruption was caused from outside the company and its effect was limited to its customer care-related system and did not impact its network services. By late afternoon the companies said services and operations had been restored The disruptions came only a day after TeleBermuda International suffered a total outage of its data and voice services. What was described as a major outage at LinkBermuda lasted most of today as the company’s technicians worked to overcome the problem on the local network. In a statement, the company said: “At 6.50am, some Link Bermuda customers experienced a service interruption that affected local voice and data services. “The disruption was caused by a faulty node in the local network, which did not impact Link’s international network. The Link technical team worked hard throughout the day to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and all connectivity was restored by 3.59pm.” The company thanked customers for their patience during the disruption and apologized for any inconvenience it may have caused. Also in the morning, One Communications reported an “external technical service issue” had disrupted connectivity to businesses in the Hamilton area, including its own. It posted a message on its Facebook page informing customers: “Due to an external technical service issue providing connectivity to several businesses in the Hamilton area, including ours, resources for assistance such as account access have been limited.” Around 5.30pm, the company updated its status. It said: “All systems have been restored and we’re now able to provide complete customer care. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience, and appreciate your patience and continued business.” The problems encountered by LinkBermuda and One mean that three island-based internet services companies have now reported disruption during the past two days. TeleBermuda International was hit by a total outage on Tuesday morning. It deployed all its available resources to identify and then repair the fault. External tech support was also brought in to assist with repairing the internal network equipment malfunction. TBi managed to fully restore its services by late evening. Yesterday, Gregory Swan, president of TBi, confirmed that all services had been restored. “Everything is back to normal, and I want to express by appreciation to customers. We realize that people are so reliant on connectivity these days, and I apologise of the inconvenience caused.” Both TBi and LinkBermuda said the problems identified were on their internal networks and not the result of outside factors.
August 23. Bermuda’s entrenched disparities must be tackled for black workers to get a fair shot, according to former minister Wayne Perinchief, who said that inequality remained alive and well ten years after his Workforce Equity Bill was proposed. “I’m 75; I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of this unfairness,” Mr Perinchief said. Speaking with The Royal Gazette after social activist Eva Hodgson called on the new Progressive Labour Party administration to take action, Mr Perinchief said: “The common denominator is race and power. It’s not going away, and it is not getting better.” The Bill, which never got beyond draft, was ultimately dropped under former premier Ewart Brown, who said the legislation had faced “disquiet” from the party’s caucus as well as the Cabinet of the day. “Sometimes I wish we had gone ahead with it anyway,” added Dr Brown, who expressed hope that the Bermuda Government would take on the island’s uneven playing field. “Not only must they be receptive; they must be ready to act. We don’t have for ever. We cannot remain a country where we educate our young, but they don’t contribute to the economy. I’m not just talking about jobs or bank loans; it’s about the freedom to develop ideas, and for people to place confidence in Bermudians’ ability to do that.” While agreeing with the former Minister for Community and Cultural Affairs that some in the international business community had been uncomfortable with the Workforce Equity Bill, Dr Brown said that proposals tended to get pulled when they failed to resonate with Cabinet — unless they were seen as “critical”. Meanwhile, Mr Perinchief offered advice for the PLP, which was returned to power in an overwhelming election victory last month. Imposing a minimum wage, he said, would ensure Bermudians got better access to lower-level jobs dominated by foreign workers. He also faulted the public education system, saying it should explore offering the International Baccalaureate, as private schools do. However, Mr Perinchief maintained that the winds of change worked best when they came from outside the Government. “What I would expect, though I can’t be too optimistic, is that the private sector would take the initiative. Why should it always be that a black Government has to twist the arm of corporate Bermuda to do the right thing? That impetus should come from the corporate sector to change the paradigm, not the Bermuda Government. The PLP would be called dictatorial, there would be people marching — that shouldn’t happen.” Noting the longstanding departure of Bermudians overseas, along with the erosion of the island’s middle class, Mr Perinchief said: “Bermudians aspire to greatness everywhere except at home.” In 2007, the Workforce Equity Bill raised eyebrows for singling out black Bermudians. “I was questioned about that by my technical officers, and I said I was not going to bite my words,” Mr Perinchief recalled. “I said, this is a way to bring parity — ‘black’ stays in the Bill.” It emerged from a policy to encourage the broad employment of Bermudians, which Mr Perinchief said needed to be toughened as it was clear that black males in particular fell behind. At the time, the suggestion of steep fines for non-compliant businesses drew consternation. But Mr Perinchief was adamant that “by the time I put it forward as a Bill, it was not to have any punishment at all. It was all incentives. I was trying to encourage people to get on board, and voluntarily, because it was the right thing to do. I know the word ‘black’ set off some red flags. But I wanted people to get that message.” As the economic recession loomed in 2009, a committee of business leaders, Bermuda First, was assembled to come up with strategies. Similarly, Mr Perinchief said that while equity legislation would today seem less contentious, “the incentive to analyze society and put in remedial policies should come from outside the Government, and outside of strictly vested interests. We need a think tank to come up with policies that put the country forward.” Dr Hodgson earlier this month reiterated her call for “affirmative action policies”, echoing those developed by the United States in the 1960s to redress inequality. Asked for his view, Dr Brown said: “The difference from Bermuda is that blacks are a minority in America. But the situation we’re talking about is common in both. Should we have an affirmative action programme regardless? I think you call it what you want. The fact is, black people need to have jobs and to be a significant part of our economy — whatever that takes.”
August 23. Radioactive material produced in Europe has been identified in the waters around Bermuda, although researchers have said the material presents very little danger. According to research by the Geotraces project, material produced by nuclear reprocessing plants at Sellafield in the UK and La Hague in France, were traced in low concentrations to Bermudian waters. The research, which was released earlier this month at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Paris, followed the route taken by Iodine-129 as it passed north through the Arctic before drifting through the Atlantic to Bermuda. The iodine has been tracked as far south as Puerto Rico and researchers believe it will continue to flow into the South Atlantic. According to Science Daily, the levels of material found are extremely low and not considered dangerous, but researchers are able to use it to track deep ocean currents. It is hoped the information will help scientists better understand the movements of ocean water and the impact of climate change. John Smith of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, the lead researcher on the project, said: “In many ways this is a bit like the old ‘stick in a stream’ game we used to play as kids, where you would drop a buoyant object in the water and observe where it comes out. “Of course, it would be much better if these markers were not in the ocean at all, but they are, and we can use them to do some important environmental science.” By tracing the iodine, the researchers were able to confirm how the deep ocean currents flow through the North Atlantic. Researchers said the iodine travelled 15,000km over a period of about 20 years. Dr Smith added: “This is the first study to show precise and continuous tracking of Atlantic water. The water is flowing northward into the Arctic Ocean off Norway, circulating around the arctic basins and returning to the Nordic seas in what we call the ‘Arctic loop,’ and then flowing southward down the continental slope of North America to Bermuda at depths below 3,000m.”
August 23. While there was a mixed reaction to the demolition of the former concessions building at Shelly Bay, most people canvassed in the area yesterday said the area should not be overdeveloped. Local resident Alan Smith said he believed that parking for a permanent business would have caused problems. The former Department of Planning employee said: “My idea was to knock the building down and have a food court — maybe about six entrepreneurs can set up there. You could have someone selling hot dogs and somebody selling bathing suits — that was my idea. “The biggest problem with a permanent restaurant is the parking. At different times there will have to be communication because we have the churches groups going down there, we have the West Indies Association during the summer — it is full.” Mr Smith added that he did not think water sports rentals were a good idea. He said: “There are children here swimming — the biggest problem is people running into those little kids. From Admiralty House all the way to St George’s this is the only beach on the North Shore. It’s a good idea, but the wrong beach.” But one tourist on the beach disagreed. Brenda Winslow has visited Bermuda from New York for 30 years and said that yesterday was the first time she had even been to Shelly Bay. She added the calm waters were a perfect location for water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding and a restaurant would attract more tourists. Ms Winslow said: “This would be great for kayaking and paddle boarding. It is rarely wavy here — it is wonderful for families. Water sports would be nice on this side. The children here are surrounded by water and should be encouraged to enjoy the water. I would come more often if they had a little restaurant or bar. And how about a restroom? More tourists would stop here and use this. We came here today — we’re on bikes so we didn’t pack any coolers. You limit what you can comfortably bring. We won’t spend as much time here — if they had tables, chairs and refreshments, we would have stayed for the day or at least stayed for lunch. There is a future here for developing.” They were speaking as demolition work on the building began after developer Tom Steinhoff abandoned plans to turn it into a beach bar and restaurant in face of serious structural challenges and lack of agreement with the Bermuda Government on a lease. Bermudian Kim Faiella was visiting the beach with three children and believes a measured approach should be taken. “There is nowhere close to go to the bathroom on the beach. It would be fun if they had little rentals like kayaks but you don’t want it to be too popular because it is so nice. If it gets too busy, it’s good for the tourists but it takes this away from us. You have Snorkel Park and Tobacco Bay and the new place on Horseshoe Bay.” Bermudian Karen Cross said she was a regular visitor to the beach and playground with her grandchildren. She agreed development should remain minimal but would also welcome some facilities. Ms Cross said: “I’m glad the plans were scrapped because we lost the use of a lot of our beaches already and it is enough. “This would have been another area that they would have taken away from us. This is the only playground in the area — I’m glad that it was scratched. It’s for families, so I am glad they are keeping it family orientated. But Ms Cross added: “I don’t have a problem with maybe fast food or a restaurant — for us who don’t pack a lunch, we might want to purchase lunch here. It is a beautiful beach and I don’t always like packing lunch.” A senior Bermudian woman visiting the beach with young children, who asked not to be named, said a restaurant would be the best option. The woman added: “They used to have showers way back, I think. Now you have to walk way down to use the bathrooms. “They always had some kind of restaurant there you could stop by and pick up some food and you are close to the beach. I wouldn’t have a problem if they had some kind of restaurant. If there is a bar, as far as the alcohol was concerned, it would only be after hours.” However, Ed Swan who lives opposite the building, said he was often disturbed by noise from a previous late-night establishment. He said: “My main concern was if they had a restaurant, they close at ten but at 12 o’clock at night you can still hear the staff talking and noise. Mr Steinhoff wanted to go to midnight — I would hear it right in my bedroom.”
August 23. Seaglass Studio in the Town of St George is getting ready for its biggest change in 14 years. The shop, which is halfway along Water Street, is about to relocate to the other side of the street. It is taking over part of the former CV café, which closed earlier this month. Once the seaglass shop settles into its new location, owner Kelly Diel intends to open a café in the other portion of the premises, the section that was once Café Latte, run by former town mayor E. Michael Jones. For Ms Diel, the addition of a café will make things easier during the traditionally quieter winter months when the Seaglass shop sees fewer tourists breezing in. She said the shop does well for seven months of the year, but when the quiet months arrive it has to survive on previously saved income. Seaglass Studio will relocate at the beginning of next month, while the café is expected to open in November. “The only problem I have is the five months of downtime each year when there are no cruise ships. I have to save money in the summer to get through. But with a café there will be some winter income,” she said. Ms Diel is a beachcomber. She collects detritus that washes up on the sand and finds a new use for it. The many shades and shapes of seaglass found on the beaches are combined with copper, silver or gold wire and turned into jewellery, such as necklace pendants and earrings. Some pieces become key chains or fridge magnets, others are added to larger designs, including picture frames, or hung decoratively from pieces of driftwood. The shop is a treasure trove of assortments. Ms Diel sits at a work station creating new pieces to sell, while also greeting customers as they enter and browse. Larger pieces for sale include decorative pieces made from netting, old rope, metal, bleached driftwood, and other discarded items. Some have been used to create shelves, which are popular with locals. Elsewhere, a wedge of wood that may have come from a shipyard has been now repurposed as an unusual tea light holder decorated with broken shells and seaglass. Wherever you look in Seaglass Studio you find surprising and innovative refashioning of flotsam and jetsam that has washed up to the island’s shores, including many pieces of ocean-smoothed seaglass. “Nearly everything has something from the beach incorporated in it.” She also sells a variety of her own hand-painted glassware. Tourists wander in and out and are often on the lookout for something they can say is genuinely made in Bermuda. Repeat customers are an important factor in the success of the business. Ms Diel said that in the 2000s the town was regularly visited by the cruise ship Norwegian Majesty, which sailed from Boston and docked at the town between Tuesdays and Fridays. When that service ended, the next generation of larger cruise ships had to be accommodated at Dockyard. However, Boston visitors now come on the Norwegian Dawn, and with the addition this year of a Norwegian Cruise Line-operated shuttle ferry it means the Town of St George is serviced by two ferries, four times a day. “It has made a fantastic difference,” said Ms Diel, explaining that many of the repeat visitors who love the town make a point of returning to the shop. “Repeat customers are the key. They go back home and tell their friends who then come out.” Ms Diel enjoys spending evenings and weekends with her “better half” wandering on local beaches searching for items that she can turn into something to sell in the shop. At Seaglass Studio, in between serving customers, she sits and creates the smaller pieces to sell. She enjoys the entire process, from the initial searching on the beaches to the creative process and finally interacting with customers. “It is very peaceful and relaxing. At weekends at home I paint and bake the glassware and that’s where I make all the wall art.” Ms Diel said she is looking forward to the possibilities that the shop’s relocation, followed by the opening of a café, will offer.
August 23. Retail sales surged 9.1 per cent in June, as the America’s Cup boosted takings at the tills. Total sales in Bermuda amounted to $112.2 million, up from $102.8 million in June 2016, according to the Department of Statistics Retail Sales Index. Thousands of visitors came in for the world’s most prestigious sailing event, with racing on the Great Sound viewed by large crowds at the America’s Cup Village in Dockyard. After taking inflation into account, sales volume rose 7.6 per cent, following an 8.3 per cent rise in May. Receipts were even higher than the holiday shopping-fuelled month of December — typically retailers’ most important month of the year. Last December’s sales totaled $108.9 million. Motor vehicle sellers were the one group to see sales fall in June, seeing a 25.4 per cent drop in receipts. Apparel sales rose by more than a third year-over-year as many retailers experienced a boost from greater tourist demand and sales of America’s Cup merchandise. Visiting yachts were a strong contributor to a 19.4 per cent increase in liquor stores sales and a 10.4 per cent rise in food sales. Service stations saw receipts climb 16.7 per cent — partly the result of a 2.6 per cent increase in the price of fuel and partly from America’s Cup-related demand. Building materials stores saw their receipts rise for the tenth month out of the past 12, registering a 6 per cent increase as demand for supplies was fuelled by a number of ongoing building projects. Residents declared $3.8 million in overseas purchases at the airport in June, a fall of 7.3 per cent year over year. Sales volume rose for the fourth consecutive month.
August 23. Education has leapfrogged employment to become the second most important issue facing Bermuda. Focus on education has now hit the highest level for the past decade. But both education and employment still lag behind worries over the economy, according to a new poll. Nearly a third of the population still believe that the economy is the key concern on the island. The Total Research poll, however, suggested that an increasing number of residents are concerned about education. Employment has shifted down to the third biggest challenge facing the island and the poll suggests that concerns over jobs “have notably declined over the past two years”. According to the poll, in which 400 residents were canvassed by phone between June 29 and July 12, women are less likely to pick the economy as the biggest challenge for the island, as are those outside the ages of 35 to 54, and black residents. But women and black residents, as well as people in Pembroke and Devonshire, are more likely to identify education as the greatest issue.
August 23. An 80-year-old cruise ship passenger was found floating in the sea off Dockyard this morning. The visitor is believed to have been snorkeling with a tour group before he was found in an unresponsive state at 11am. He was retrieved from the water, given CPR and rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital by ambulance, where he was later pronounced dead. A police spokesman said that there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the man’s death.
August 22. All internet and voice services from TeleBermuda International were disrupted for much of today. The Hamilton-based company deployed its full resources to fix the internal technical issue, and by early this evening it had managed to partially restore some of its voice and data services. Gregory Swan, president of TBi, apologized to customers for the inconvenience caused by the fault. He said it was the first time the specific technical problem had been encountered by the company. The company’s internet and voice services went down around 10am. Its website also became unavailable, and the phone lines to its head office were out of operation. By 7pm, partial service had been restored, at which time Mr Swan said: “We anticipate full restoration later this evening.” Earlier in the day the company had “all hands on deck” as it worked to identify the root problem that had caused its network to go offline. External technical support was also brought in to assist with the repair work. Mr Swan said the problem had not been malware or a broken cable, but was caused by an equipment malfunction at the TBi site. “It was not the result of anything outside the company. It was an internal issue,” he said. “This is the first time we have had this issue. We have technical support and expertise on site.” Because of the total loss of its communications capabilities, the company faced challenges during the day as it tried to notify corporate and retail customers about the issue. Mr Swan said: “We apologise for the inconvenience caused. We know how important connectivity is to our customers.”
August 22. Legal Information supplied to the Royal Gazette. The new Personal Information Protection Act, due to be in full force by December 2018, will regulate the future processing of all personal information in Bermuda. Appleby partners MICHAEL HANSON, STEVEN REES DAVIES and senior associate PETER COLEGATE consider some of the most pressing issues." While much of the focus to date has been on the compliance obligations for organisations with regard to their customer data holdings, those organisations also need to take steps now to ensure that they understand their obligations as employers. Employers need to have in place policies and procedures to ensure the proper protection of employee personal information under their control and to give themselves flexibility to monitor an employee’s use of e-mail, the internet and other devices where necessary. Employers in Bermuda need to get it right — reputations and criminal liability will soon be at stake. Drafted around a set of internationally recognized privacy principles, the Personal Information Protection Act 2016 (PIPA) provides a framework of rights and duties designed to give individuals greater control over their personal information. “Personal information is defined widely to include any data which enables an individual to be identified, said Steven Rees Davies of Appleby. "Personal information relating to employees must be processed fairly and lawfully and used for a legitimate purpose that has been notified to the employee in advance. Employee data holdings should not be excessive in relation to the purposes for which they are collected and should be securely purged once those purposes have been fulfilled. An important aspect of employee data is that it almost invariably includes ‘sensitive personal information’, such as information about an individual’s health and ethnic background. Sensitive personal information is subject to enhanced privacy protection under the PIPA and therefore requires careful handling.” The PIPA gives employees the right to access personal information held about them and to request that any inaccurate data is corrected or deleted. Employers will need to have policies and procedures in place to manage these requests. The new law also obliges employers to cease processing personal information once the purposes for which that information has been collected have been exhausted. Prescribed data retention periods are not set out in the PIPA but an analysis will need to be undertaken to determine how long employee data should be kept for. Similarly, it will be important to evaluate how personal information can be securely deleted once the purposes for holding it have been fulfilled.
August 22. It is 25 years ago this week since Hurricane Andrew devastated parts of Florida and in the process bankrupted 11 US insurance companies. Bermuda saw a major wave of insurers and reinsurers set up on the island in the aftermath of the Category 5 hurricane, which caused $15.5 billon of insured losses in Florida when it made landfall near the city of Homestead. This week it has been estimated that at today’s prices and exposures such a storm would cause insurance industry losses of $56 billion in the US. And that damage would escalate significantly if a Cat 5 storm made landfall eight miles north of Homestead, just south of Miami. In that scenario, the losses would top $138 billion, according to AIR Worldwide. To give that context, the greatest insured loss from a US hurricane was Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, at $60.5 million. At the time, Andrew was the most destructive hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Betsy in 1965, and only the third Cat 5 storm to make US landfall since 1900. Peter Sousounis, assistant vice-president and director of meteorology at AIR Worldwide, said: “Category 5 Hurricane Andrew tore into South Florida on August 24, 1992, 17 years after the previous landfall of a major hurricane in that state. Andrew killed dozens and caused an estimated $15.5 billion in total insured losses, according to Property Claims Services, and resulted in the insolvency of 11 insurance companies. The costliest natural disaster in US history at the time, Andrew changed for ever how reinsurers an insurers approach hurricane risk management, spurring the growth of the emerging catastrophe modelling industry and ultimately prompting the development of insurance-linked securities.” AIR Worldwide provides risk modelling solutions. It has researched possible Florida hurricane scenarios. It estimates that if a major hurricane were to strike Miami, it would “would prompt immediate activity in the marketplace for insurance-linked securities”. AIR believes that in such an instance, 25 catastrophe bonds would be triggered, 47 tranches would take losses, 38 tranches would be completely exhausted, and there would be a $6.3 billion loss to the catastrophe bond market principal.
August 22. Tourists flocked to Bermuda’s beaches yesterday to watch the solar eclipse. More than 200 were on Horseshoe Bay to watch the Moon partially obscure the face of the Sun. Cory Minors, manager of the beach attendants at Horseshoe Bay’s Rum Bum Beach Bar, greeted tourists as they hit the beach. He said: “On face value today is a normal day at the beach — but it seems like the world knows there is a solar eclipse.” Mr Minors added: “Some have come down specifically to see the eclipse because it’s an open space.” Beach attendants Cameron Bell, 17, and Gianluca Cacace, 18, said the event had turned an ordinary working day into something special. Mr Bell said: “We’re pretty amped. We’re pretty excited to be honest.” Mr Cacace added: “There is no better place to see something one of a kind than on a one of a kind beach.” The beach was crowded despite early rain and overcast skies, which had threatened to block views of the eclipse. Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Grandeur of the Seas passengers the Flynn family, from Pennsylvania, were among the crowds on the beach. One family member said: “When we booked our trip we had no idea it was going to be during the solar eclipse.” She added: “It’s pretty cool. In my lifetime I’ve never seen one before.” Many US states experienced a full blackout of the sun, although Bermuda had 81 per cent coverage at the peak of the eclipse just after 4pm. The Cherry family from Maryland said they had no idea there would be an eclipse during their vacation when they booked a cruise. A family member said: “I’ve seen a partial one in ’96 in Chicago but this is the first time with glasses and the whole nine yards” He added: “We’ve been to Jamaica, Mexico and Punta Cana — this tops it by far. We figured Horseshoe Bay was the best place to go because of the pink sand and we could explore the caves.” For those who missed this eclipse, Nasa this week predicted another total eclipse of the sun in some areas of the US in 2024. But a solar eclipse on the scale of yesterday’s will not be seen for nearly 300 years.
August 22. Four people left clinging to their rental whaler after it capsized on Saturday were rescued by marine police and private boats. Multiple distress flare sightings were reported to the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre and marine police in the area off Cambridge Beaches at about 6pm. “Marine police vessel Heron 2, and private craft Attitude Adjustment and Ocean Gypsy 2 also reported similar sightings with all vessels tasked to the distress position,” the incident report said. “Upon arrival, Attitude Adjustment discovered four persons in the water, clinging onto a capsized rental whaler. All persons were taken on board with no reported injuries.” Heron 2 also attended and the rental operator then took the vessel under tow back to Dockyard. BMOC added: “This incident highlights the need for carrying distress flares on board as a means of alerting other boaters and authorities ashore of your distress situation. Follow-up investigations by marine police are ongoing.”
August 22. Registration is now open for the fourth annual golf tournament in memory of Tomasz Tabor. The event on October 30 will help fund Bermuda Hospitality Institute initiatives in the name of the talented chef and golfer, who died in a crash in 2014. The entrance fee is set at $125 for individual players or $500 for a team of four and participants can register by e-mail. “Once receipt of payment is confirmed your registration for the 2017 tournament will be finalized,” organisers stated. “Thank you again for participating in this special event. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. We look forward to seeing you on the course.” For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
August 22. Custody staff at Westgate Correctional Facility returned to work yesterday afternoon after a three-day strike over staff shortages. Representatives from the facility’s senior management team and the Prison Officers Association reached a resolution that resulted in officers go back to work at about 2pm. Under the agreement an action plan has been established to help address staffing concerns, and a committee, which will include frontline officers, has been established to better handle the staff shortage. Timothy Seon, chairman of the POA, told The Royal Gazette he was pleased that an amicable resolution had been reached. “There are a lot of issues that stem out of the staff shortage and these have been longstanding issues, so the membership understands there is not an overnight fix. We also had concerns about the facility: circulation within the premises and the temperature, and also mould. We will continue to work with occupational health and more proficient efforts will now be made to eradicate mould from the facility. Unfortunately, at this point, we have not had the chance to sit down with the new minister but hope we can soon. At present we have 180 officers when we require around 240 and this has put pressure on our members, who felt that it had come to a head and therefore decided to take action. We now have an action plan to move forward and a committee where custody staff will be involved in handling the staff shortage.” About 20 custody staff took part in the industrial action that began on Friday and continued over the weekend. The strike meant that visits by inmates’ families had to be cancelled and prisoners had to forgo outside recreation, however the prison continued to run smoothly. Mr Seon added: “I would like to thank the members of staff that continued to provide a service over the last three days and also thank the inmates who allowed the process to take place without incident. I’d also like to thank the officers and the senior administrative team for moving this situation forward and being progressive in dealing with the issues.”
August 22. Former Corporation of Hamilton alderman Carlton Simmons was charged with attempted murder yesterday. Mr Simmons was in Magistrates’ Court accused of the attempted murder of Jahkeil Samuels in Ambiance Lounge, on Angle Street, Hamilton, on August 12. Mr Simmons, 40, from Angle Street, is the owner of Ambiance Lounge and served as an alderman between 2012 and 2015. He was not required to enter a plea, as the charge must be heard in Supreme Court. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo remanded Mr Simmons in custody until October 2, when he is expected to appear in Supreme Court.
August 22. Akinyi Apopa and Amber Reid are the winners of the Bermuda Zoological Society’s Steinhoff Scholarship for 2017. The students, who receive $5,000 each, were chosen for their outstanding scholastic achievement and community service, according to a press release from the BZS. Ms Apopa is heading to the University of Edinburgh to pursue an MSc Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education. She stated: “As a science teacher in Bermuda for the past five years, I have found ways to take my lessons out of the confines of the school buildings and into the outdoor world. But now it is time for me to grow. Undertaking this Masters course provides an opportunity for me to engage in theory and conduct research that will broaden my knowledge. My goal is to save the environment, one child at a time.” Ms Reid is off to Northeastern University in Boston for her final years of a BS Environmental Sciences. A volunteer with the BZS, Ms Reid helped the BZS education team to teach local youth about Bermuda’s oceans. “The excitement and enjoyment that the students exhibited as they learnt more about the amazing life that our oceans hold, and how essential it is to protect it, was simply inspiring,” she stated. “I would like to see conservationism ingrained into Bermuda’s culture and viewed as part of everyday life. The work that the BZS does for our community helped me to figure out my educational path in the field of Environmental Science.” The scholarship was named after former BZS president Robert Steinhoff and was established for Bermudian students in the final two years of study for a Bachelor, Master Degree or Doctorate in the Environmental Sciences with an accredited institution. Since its inception in 2009, 18 scholarships have been awarded, totaling more than $90,000.
August 21. Bermuda has passed a crucial test in winning international approval of its tax information exchange practices with other jurisdictions. The island was rated by The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes as “largely compliant” — maintaining the level of compliance it achieved during a previous assessment in 2013. The enhanced assessment focused on “the availability of and access by tax authorities to beneficial ownership information of all legal entities and arrangements”, according to the Global Forum website. Bermuda’s largely compliant status was also achieved by Canada, Australia, Cayman Islands, Germany and Qatar, while three jurisdictions — Ireland, Mauritius and Norway — were “compliant”. David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, praised the work of government officials in achieving the standard. “This is tremendous news and excellent for Bermuda,” Mr Burt said. “My thanks to all involved in securing this important outcome. This result is a testament to the hard work of the team in the Ministry of Finance. With an impending European Union blacklist on the horizon, this was one of the important tests that Bermuda had to pass. It is good news for local industry, boosting confidence in Bermuda as an international business centre. A bad rating would have most certainly guaranteed Bermuda to be blacklisted by the EU, and it is through Bermuda’s commitment to compliance that we can avoid such a result.” The new round of peer reviews — launched in mid-2016 — followed a six-year process during which the Global Forum assessed the legal and regulatory framework for information exchange (Phase 1) as well as the actual practices and procedures (Phase 2) in 119 jurisdictions worldwide. The Global Forum is the continuation of a forum which was created in the early 2000s in the context of the OECD’s work to address the risks to tax compliance posed by non-co-operative jurisdictions. The original members of the Global Forum consisted of OECD countries and jurisdictions that had agreed to implement transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. The Global Forum was restructured in September 2009 in response to the G20 call to strengthen implementation of these standards.
August 21. Education minister Diallo Rabain has confirmed that the Ministry of Education authorised a public volunteer effort to ensure Bermuda’s public schools are ready for the new term in September. The first of the “work rallies” took place at Warwick Preschool on Saturday when volunteers helped to clean bookshelves, cots, chairs and other equipment. Some landscaping work was also needed. The effort follows an e-mail from group leader Angela Young, which was sent out to parents and volunteers who had voiced their willingness to offer a helping hand. The group met with Mr Rabain and the Minister of Public Works Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, who both welcomed their help. According to the e-mail, Warwick Preschool is the first of “30-plus that require assistance” and schedules are being prepared. Mr Rabain said: “Recently, the Minister of Works and I met with a group of parents and volunteers who expressed their commitment to assist with getting schools ready for new school year. The group leader, Angela Young, has enthusiastically begun to organise volunteers to assist with work rallies. Our ministry teams have welcomed their support and willingness to join us in preparing schools. The volunteers will work with our ministry facilities team and school principals to arrange the work rallies.” Ms Young’s e-mail claimed that help with landscaping work was needed as the Parks Department was “overwhelmed”. The Parks Department was contacted for comment on the work rally but no response was received by press time.
August 21. New staff have been approved for the Ministry of Health to address shortages that have worsened under the Bermuda Government hiring freeze. In particular, reinforcements have been earmarked for Ageing and Disability Services, according to Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health. Speaking with The Royal Gazette in the wake of complaints over a lack of resources at the K Margaret Carter Centre for the disabled, Ms Wilson confirmed that the facility would be among those to get extra staff. According to a spokeswoman, the freeze has put the ministry as a whole down 82 at 355 posts. Fifty of those 82 posts already have funds allocated, meaning that there would be no need to seek extra funding from outside the ministry’s budget. Saying the freeze had presented “challenges with respect to providing full support”, Ms Wilson said: “We presented a request to the Premier, who agreed to allow me to hire for Ageing and Disability Services. We recognise the challenges with respect to resources, and have taken immediate steps.” The K Margaret Carter Centre, where case workers are stretched to serve 48 clients, is expected to get five new hires — one-third of its total positions — with a permanent administrator put in place by autumn after three years of interim management. Meanwhile, the Centre’s facility on Roberts Avenue has been refurbished this summer with its services relocated to CedarBridge Academy. Clients are expected to return to the original centre later this month. Details on recruitment plans are scant this early in the process, and Ms Wilson stressed that Government hiring can be time consuming. But with Tineé Furbert assigned the specific portfolio of Junior Minister for Disabilities, the minister said it was “safe to say it’s important for this Government to create an inclusive community”. Restrictions on Government hiring have been used since 2011 to cut costs, and its repercussions for health were acknowledged as a “serious concern” by the former minister, Jeanne Atherden, who said the withdrawal in 2015 of furlough days for civil servants had forced the freezing of 14 posts at the Department of Health. According to a frustrated parent of a special-needs adult, Centre workers are under strain with seven clients per member of staff. However, Ms Wilson commended David Northcott, the facility’s acting administrator, for a “sterling” performance. “The facility at Roberts Avenue is an old building that needs maintaining. One of the challenges is that it was only closed three days a year, making it hard to do repair work. But we’re hoping to continue with regular maintenance to the standards its clients deserve.” She added that stronger legislation to protect the vulnerable for rest homes and those of diminished mental capacity is “likely” to be seen in the coming legislative session. In addition, a strategy for the long-term care of the disabled, as well as seniors, is to be boosted from a one-year plan to a three- to five-year strategy.
August 21. The much-anticipated solar eclipse commences shortly before 3pm today but may be obscured, depending on the vagaries of the weather. In a 70-mile swath across North America, millions will watch a total eclipse of the sun by the moon. The first coast-to-coast eclipse witnessed by the United States in nearly a century will be seen in Bermuda, at its height, as an 85-per-cent eclipse. Skies over the island will start to darken at 2.51pm, with the most impressive gloom at 4.12pm — and the sun back to normal at 5.25pm. Observers should note that, even during a partial eclipse, it is never safe to look directly at the sun; the change in light levels can inflict serious permanent damage to the retina before your eyes have a chance to adapt. Regardless of today’s weather, sky watchers should follow the event with caution. Details are available at https://tinyurl.com/y7pel5ep. But will the weather allow us to follow the celestial show? Locals were disappointed in 2015 and 2014, when total lunar eclipses were eclipsed in turn by the clouds. As of last night, the Bermuda Weather Service forecast “sunny periods” for this afternoon, with lingering patchy cloud.
August 21. The concession building at Shelly Bay looks set to be demolished this week after the structure was deemed unsafe. Yesterday, the Ministry of Public Works stated that the developer of the Shelly Bay Beach House had been “unable to complete the redevelopment of the property”. Tom Steinhoff, of Shelly Bay Beach House Ltd, had hoped to have the facility up and running in time for the summer despite complicated structural challenges with the building. Under the plans, the property would have undergone a major renovation and been transformed into a fully licensed restaurant and bar with water sports and beach facilities. Last night, Mr Steinhoff said he was upset with the direction the project had taken. “We are still interested and able to pursue the project and have been trying to find a way to make it work with Government where there is no cost to the tax payer. Unfortunately, no agreement was found. Ultimately, the building is structurally worse than anticipated by both parties and while we are willing to invest the extra funds, the terms of the lease need to reflect the additional investment.” A Bermuda Government statement released yesterday afternoon said that the remaining structure was expected to be demolished this week in the interests of public safety. The statement added: “Area residents, Shelly Bay Beach patrons and the motoring public are being advised that in preparation for the demolition there will be increased construction activity near the Beach House. There will also be the likelihood of traffic delays to accommodate the demolition works. As a public safety note, motorists and pedestrians are encouraged to use care and caution when travelling through the Shelly Bay area.” A Government spokeswoman added: “Conceptual plans for a replacement facility are being designed for presentation and consultation with area parliamentary representatives and members of the public.”
August 21. Bermuda is a little more beautiful than before thanks to a number of recent clean-up missions. Marine debris and general litter were collected from the coastlines of Daniel’s Head in Somerset as well as Black Bay Beach and Glass Beach in Dockyard. Jessica Burns organised the Somerset clean-up last Thursday along on the small beach on the north side of Daniel’s Head. Ms Burns told The Royal Gazette: “It came to my attention that the tour boats visit this spot daily as the turtles were relocated to this area because of America’s Cup, so it is especially important that this beach be taken care of. What a success we had. For such a small beach there was so much marine debris and local litter. We were able to clear off many large items such as broken chairs, pieces of boats and a rusty BBQ. There were some incredible people helping us out. One bystander, named Ollie, offered to go snorkeling to pick up what he could in the ocean. MarketPlace and Price Rite sponsored the trash and recycling bags kindly.” There was also a clean-up effort in the West End on Thursday thanks to collaboration between cruise ship staff and Keep Bermuda Beautiful. Close to 40 crew members from the Celebrity Summit took leave of their duties on board the ship to do beach clean-ups at Black Bay Beach and Glass Beach in Dockyard. KBB executive director Anne Hyde said: “It is wonderful to have this unexpected source of volunteers to help keep our beaches clean and litter-free. They have a shared understanding about the importance of keeping our oceans healthy. I met the group at Black Bay and welcomed Captain Alex Papadopoulos, master of the Celebrity Summit, and the environmental officer Diana Mihalache, along with three dozen crew members for an afternoon of community service benefiting Bermuda. We started with a brief presentation about how harmful litter is to our turtles, birds and other marine life who get tangled in it or ingest it.” The large group of volunteers divided into teams to cover multiple areas, the adjacent beaches, the park and along the roadside all the way to Grey’s Bridge. They collected a mix of litter left behind from picnics and fishing or thrown from cars, as well as marine debris that floated to Bermuda from countries hundreds of miles away. The team at Glass Beach took a group picture next to the Wedco sign reminding people that it is unlawful to remove the natural sea glass from the beach.
Monday, August 21. Divers have welcomed the latest Government guidelines governing recreational lobster fishing in Bermuda. Last week Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, announced that a maximum of 500 recreational fishing licences would be granted in the 2017-18 season. Mr Brown also called for broader consultation with the divers to ensure the welfare of the marine species. The minister’s stance has been supported by the Bermuda Lobster Divers Association, a newly formed group of mainly lobster divers, but also spearfishers and scuba divers. The group has come together to help ensure and promote the evidence-based management of the island’s marine resource. “The BLDA welcomes the decision of Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, in respect of the lobster diving licences for the 2017/18 season,” a spokesman said. “However, more importantly, the BLDA welcomes the minister’s desire to have broader consultation on the licensing of lobster divers going forward. We are hopeful that this will extend to consultation on the marine resource generally.” Thursday’s announcement by Mr Brown came after some lobster divers had raised concerns that the limit would be significantly reduced to 150 for the season. Under the guidelines divers who held a licence during the past 2016-17 season can be relicensed, but must submit their catch data for the 2016-2017 season before they can renew. Lobster divers will also be required to be “in strict compliance” with the requirement to report their season’s catch by April 20, next year.
August 21. A stroke victim’s once promising recovery is faltering in the absence of comprehensive follow-up services, according to her loved ones. As The Royal Gazette explores healthcare deficiencies for the disabled, one anonymous family have credited the early support they received — but said they were now struggling to keep the ailing woman out of a home. “My intent is not to discredit or demoralize the Government’s helping agencies, but to bring to attention where the system falls short in the hope of improving it,” her brother said. “We are grateful for the services that were provided, although they were limited.” Exactly what struck her remains unknown: ten years ago, the woman had a stroke at the same time as a traffic accident. “We never found out which came first,” he said. “We took her to Boston for treatment. Then she was in the hospital here for a few months. After they felt they could not do any more with her, she was brought home. At that stage, she was walking with a cane, and able to get out of bed, clean her teeth, wash her face, get breakfast.” Rehabilitation restored much of her speech, he added: “She came back a long way. But then she started falling in the house, losing her balance a lot. That was about a year and a half ago. She lost her confidence. We were finding her with bruises and bumps on her head. Eventually, as a family, we decided to put her in a wheelchair. We were concerned she might hurt herself.” That decision was “probably the wrong thing”, he admitted: his sister’s muscles began to seize up. So far, she has spent 2017 confined to her chair. But when her family sought additional rehabilitation and physiotherapy at the hospital, they were told to keep her at home. “This is where the downfall starts,” he said. “There was a shortage of personnel. They could come once a week or every two weeks. They did their best, but obviously that was not enough for her. Another thing I must point out is that she was her own worst enemy. She was not forthcoming in doing her part.” The family believe that the stroke damaged the woman’s ability to reason, leaving her “argumentative. She went to Ageing and Disability Services, and to the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. We were concerned about her mental health. The services provided were minimal. I was expecting her to be put in some sort of programme. But the only advice from the doctor at MWI was for family members to stay away and let the caregivers deal with her. That really discouraged me.” As the woman’s speech declined, becoming slurred, she was brought before a hospital therapist who, after ten minutes, told her brother to practise with her at home. “That was it,” he said. “I expected more.” He commended Financial Assistance and Government health insurance for helping with daycare and nursing. “The Government agencies prefer to have families care for their loved ones. That’s what I am trying to do. But it gets difficult without proper professional care. It is obvious that there is insufficient personnel and money available. We may have to put her in a home. I don’t wish to fully blame the system for my sister’s position. She has to take some blame for her failure — and also me, I guess. I didn’t challenge it. I accepted it and moved on. Her failure to recover is partly due to her negativity and not putting in the work. I do have to commend the physiotherapy staff for their time and professionalism. But my frustration is still there.” A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Hospitals Board said that patient confidentiality prohibited comment on individual treatment. “We do have a Patient Advocate on staff who can be contacted to investigate any concerns and who will also work to implement changes where necessary,” she added. “We invite the gentleman quoted in this article to contact our patient advocate by calling 236-2345 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
August 19. The Bermuda Police Service are committing to having more police on the beat in the Court Street area following a productive community outreach initiative yesterday. The Community Action Team conducted an outreach clinic in the area and the overwhelming message from residents and business owners was that they wanted more engagement with officers on a regular basis. The initiative aims to help build bridges between the police and the community so that they can work together to identify issues and come up with solutions. PC Arthur Dill was accompanied by three officers yesterday who engaged with the public as well as sharing information on crime prevention and how to set up a Neighbourhood Watch group. PC Krishna Singh told The Royal Gazette: “What we have been sharing with the people is how to keep your home safe, how to form a Neighbourhood Watch and we are also asking them about any particular issues in the area and how we can assist them. The police and community need to come together and combat any ills in the community. We have talked about having more police foot-patrolling on Court Street — not just driving through but walking through and speaking with owners and residents and engaging with them. Driving through does a little bit but not a lot. When you are on the beat — for us and the community — it makes a big difference. We have started already today and this is going to be ongoing. We have done it in the past but we are going to do it more frequently in my department — the CAT department.” Armed response officers are also involved. Mr Singh said some concerns raised on the day included the issues of drugs, speeding and littering. “People have raised concerns about littering and drugs being sold openly along Court Street. We talked about having a Business Watch where we have all the shop owners come together — similar to Neighbourhood Watch — and share their problems and issues. We put our heads together in terms of coming up with solutions. It could be something as simple as speeding — a few people mentioned that today, where we could request more police radars or speed bumps. Some people have said they feel unsafe at times. Some of them don’t want to come out in the open and share information because they are afraid of the backlash. We try to encourage the community to share information — we are not here 24/7 — they are. They can stay anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers on 800-8477. ” Mr Dill said he believed increasing the police presence and building strong relationships in the community would go a long way to tackling the issues raised. “Just even today, when we first got here, there were about 15 or 20 guys over there and as soon as we came they disappeared,” he said. When we get here we displace them. If there is any criminal activity they are going to have to move it somewhere else and then that is where we are going to go too. If we had more officers out then we could do this all the time. There was an incident the other day that came about as a result of us getting information from off the street — we seized a firearm. That is how it works. When we do community policing we start building up relationships with the public and that is when we start getting real information. Sometimes, someone will say they don’t want to be involved but that a certain person has a gun. It is beneficial for us. This is a good example here — someone gave us a call in response to someone coming through the neighborhood that didn’t stay there and there was a sexual assault in the area at that time. When we went and followed up on it, a man was arrested for sexual assault as a result of the information that we had from the community.” Mr Singh added: “That only comes with the police building bridges as we are doing today. It is not us and them — we are in this together and that is how I think we can really make a dent in crime.” A local businessman was engaging with the officers when The Royal Gazette attended the clinic. He told us: “It has been getting better over the past two years — there was a lot of break-ins and it has gone down. The main thing we have now is people stealing bikes. I would like to see more of a police presence.” Sergeant Shakisha Minors added: “It’s not just driving through — it’s officers going into the different businesses — how it used to be — and speaking to them and saying how is everything and building a rapport. There are a lot of communities asking for the same thing — the Community Action Team is only so big but we try to do it as much as we can other than when we are being pulled to other areas in the force.” Asked whether the police will be monitoring progress as they step up their presence in the area, Sgt Minors said: “We are trying to look at statistics — what we try to rely on is the omnibus survey and the rating of how the community looks at us as a service. Do they have trust and confidence in us? That is what we try to build our objectives on when we do our patrols. We are trying to find out what their concerns are instead of imposing our own.”
• Anyone wishing to speak with PC Dill or who is interested in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group can call 247-1119 or e-mail email@example.com for central parishes, firstname.lastname@example.org for eastern and email@example.com for western. Anyone with any information about crime in their area may also remain anonymous by calling CrimeStoppers on 800-8477 or visiting www.crimestoppers.bm.
August 19. A new Tropical Storm, Harvey, has developed in the Caribbean, dumping heavy rain on the Windward Islands yesterday as it makes a slow trek west towards Central America. The storm, which has the potential to build into the season’s third hurricane, is followed by two other pockets of weather: a disturbance several hundred miles to Harvey’s east, and a tropical wave budding off the West African coast. Meanwhile, the remnants of Hurricane Gert, breaking apart into a storm, continues its drift towards Ireland and Britain. The 2017 Atlantic season has already shown above-average activity, and late August through early October is its typically height. According to meteorologists, the tropical Atlantic at present is at its warmest since 1950. A powerful atmospheric phenomenon known as the Madden-Julian Oscillation could be feeding storm development at the moment, but should decline early next month, resulting in less favorable hurricane conditions.
August 19. Bermudian actress Lana Young reached a “tipping point” after a neo-Nazi in a car mowed down anti-racism demonstrators in Charlottesville, killing a woman and injuring 19 others. Now she has launched Blended Experience — an Instagram page to celebrate differences and people coming together. The page already features mixed-race couples, holiday pictures and babies. Ms Young, who lived in the Virginia city for five years before moving to New York, said she knew the scene of the terror attack and had friends at the demonstration, sparked by white supremacists protesting at the removal of the statue of a US Civil War confederate general. Ms Young said: “One of them was missed by an inch. They’re traumatized. They watched people getting crushed. You can’t unsee that.” The scenes of devastation, which claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Hayer, were captured by photographer Ryan Kelly of The Daily Progress. In the iconic photo, two protesters — one black, one white — were sent into the air, while Ms Young’s blue-shirted friend stood in shock to the left of the attacker’s car. Ms Young said: “The racial divide is widening and I’m trying to figure out what small role I can play in being part of the solution. It’s always been very black versus white in Bermuda. But there are many of us blended or mixed-race people who are straddling the racial divide and who want to freely love and support both families. With all the coverage in Charlottesville, it is apparent, and maybe for the first time, that there are more people of all races on the same page than are not.” The Instagram page, which can be followed at @blendedexperience, has no set parameters, but celebrates the happy experience of combining differences. Ms Young — like many Bermudians — is of mixed race. Her father, Stan Young, is black and Portuguese, while her mother Margaret Young is white and from Northern Ireland. She explained her aim was to promote “serious listening, and an outline of actionable solutions and goals”. Ms Young added: “There’s a lot of work needed to acknowledge atrocities past and present. I’m not trying to take that away. I’m not singing kumbaya.” Ms Young moved to Charlottesville, a university city with a population of 50,000, in 2009 where she ran an acting school. She said she enjoyed “an easy way of life — I was ingrained in the community. I had a talk show there”. Ms Young added that the University of Virginia draws “wonderful, creative people”, but that the city had problems. She said: “They call themselves diverse. But if you talk to people of colour who live there, there are still problems. But it’s much more progressive than the rest of the state.” Tensions exploded in the city last week when a rally under the banner of “unite the right” was organised to protest against the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee. General Lee commanded the confederate forces during the Civil War and later became a hero of the “lost cause” of the Southern states who fought to preserve slavery. Counter-demonstrators gathered to challenge the white supremacist protesters and as clashes broke out, city authorities declared a state of emergency. Just two hours later, counter-demonstrators were rammed, killing Ms Hayer. A Nazi sympathizer from Ohio has since been charged with her murder. Ms Young added that other historical ghosts haunt Charlottesville — like Monticello, the plantation of slave-owning Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and now a museum. She said: “I’ve always struggled with Monticello and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson did great things. But he was a slave owner. You can’t ignore that.” Ms Young added she came from a relaxed background where she was “never made to feel like I had to fit in” and was slow to learn how race operated. She said: “Race was created to divide. It’s always been the big divider in Bermuda. It’s leaving out people like me. This is where you get into sensitive territory. Images and representations of people are a very important thing. Everything we see through the media and entertainment is our teacher. It’s what we get used to, and how we see the world. Over the years we’ve seen people of colour misrepresented and criminalized through the news, shows, films, and not a lot of positive images. I’d like to be part of the change.” Ms Young admitted she was nervous about putting herself in the spotlight at a time of heightened racial tension in the US. She said: “I don’t know where this is going. But I had to start. I’m open to whatever people want to share. It’s no longer okay to say, hey, oppression doesn’t exist anymore, or hey, get over it. And it’s equally important that we are able to clearly articulate and define what we want to see improve and change, and be able to identify very solid ideas and solutions about how we want to see that change happen. And respectfully by all. It will take both whites and blacks and all of us in between to be open and available to ask and answer the hard questions.”
August 19. A message of love and understanding in Bermudian April Branco’s painting Resting Place has won international recognition after it became a symbol for anti-white supremacist protesters Virginia last weekend. Her image was used by Mark Martin to represent Adam and Eve on a placard he carried during the demonstration last Saturday in Charlottesville against neo-Nazis who had congregated in the city. The painting, showing black couple in an intimate embrace, was printed on a sign with the caption “Genesis 2:19: God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them” and a title card describing them as Adam and Eve. Ms Branco, from St George’s, said: “He asked to purchase a print and I offered a licensing fee instead. But after hearing the reason for the rally I decided it would be an honour to be involved and gave it free of charge.” The protest made headlines worldwide after a Nazi sympathizer drove his car into a group of anti-Fascist protesters, killing a woman and injuring 20 others. Ms Branco said she was “horrified” by the attack — but praised the thousands who took to the streets to protest against white supremacy. She added: “That a white man can see God in this painting and was willing to sit in the streets for love and unity tells me that there is hope and we are not as doomed as they would have us think we are.” Ms Branco created the painting in 2010 when she realized that many images depicted black couples in a sexualized way and failed to show “the tender sides of black love”. She added: “There always seem to be black greasy bodies with dreads in erotic positions everywhere. I believe that there is more to the young black couple than physicality and that intimacy, gentleness and spiritual connection can feature predominantly in a young, black relationship.” Ms Branco said that art was an ideal medium to show emotions and that Resting Place pointed the way towards personal healing and social change. “When we’re children we learn through images and visuals, then as we get older we become more verbal and intellectual with words. I feel there is a primal part of us that still gravitates to images for representation of our thoughts and feelings.” Ms Branco told The Royal Gazette that Mr Martin was safe following the vicious attack on counter-protesters last Saturday, though she does not know how the area is handling it.
August 19. Bermuda’s newest dance company Vision held its first dance showcase last night at the Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall. Vision, which opened earlier in the summer, comes under the umbrella of the Jackson School of Dance and is located on the same premises on Burnaby Street. The showcase — The Power of Dance — combined a variety of dance genres including ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap and hip hop. Vision’s first dance showcase is under the direction of choreographer and instructor Angelina Hayward-Simas, also known as Miss Angie, and featured some 42 dancers ranging in age from 2 years old to 25.
August 18. A Bermuda lottery would be a tax on the poor, the executive director of the Casino Gaming Commission warned yesterday. Richard Schuetz said a lottery would not benefit the community. He added: “Lotteries have historically been called a tax on the poor. They are known as a regressive tax. Jurisdictions use them to raise money, and they raise it on the backs of the poor. I don’t get that as a public policy goal.” Mr Schuetz was speaking after Zane DeSilva said the new Government planned to create a lottery to support sports funding and education. But Mr Schuetz said: “What I heard during the election is there is a problem with people being poor, so lets not exploit the poor to deal with this debt.” Mr DeSilva told ZBM News earlier this week that he backed the introduction of a lottery and explained that, if implemented correctly, lotteries and casinos could generate government revenue to fund sport across the island. He told the station: “I think that if we use gaming correctly, if we set it up correctly, whether it’s gaming, a lotto or what have you, I believe if we set it up correctly we can use the surplus of funds that are expected to put into our community, whether its education or sports.” The Progressive Labour Party’s election platform called for the introduction of a local lottery to benefit sports development and national sporting bodies within two years. Mr DeSilva said: “That is going to be very much on our agenda. I think that between gaming and lottery, if it’s done correctly, I think we can generate quite a bit of extra revenue for the government.” A 2010 Government-commissioned study by the Innovation Group estimated that a lottery could generate more than $17 million a year in revenue. It said that the introduction of lotteries are often “politically motivated”, aimed at raising funds for programmes to improve the quality of life of citizens. But Mr Schuetz raised several concerns about legalized lotteries. He said: “In tax language a lottery is known as a regressive tax, meaning that it takes a larger percentage from lower income people. Furthermore, empirical studies have demonstrated that lottery sales increase during the times of the week or month when transfer payments are made. A classic example of a transfer payment is welfare.” Mr Schuetz added that lotteries serve as competition for casinos while creating comparatively few jobs and that the introduction of a lottery could translate to fewer casino jobs. Asked why lotteries would be viewed as regressive tax and casinos not, he said the cost of entry was a key point. Mr Schuetz added: “You can get into the lottery for a fairly low price generally. Even when they raise the price of entry, you get these syndicates in the neighborhood to buy tickets, so raising the price doesn’t work. People don’t go into a casino and bet a dollar.” He also said the casino model being adopted on the island was intended to increase investment and employment and boost tourism. “A lottery is not going to do that. This is a small island. It’s not like you are going to get those jumbo jackpots.” He explained that lotteries need liquidity to survive and that Bermuda’s size would cause problems. “Bermuda has a very small population. This means that the jackpots would be very low and the administrative costs would be quite high as a percentage of revenues.” Mr Schuetz also said he had discussed the topic with Roger Trott, the Commission’s director for problem and responsible gaming, who said that lotteries could present a high level of risk for problem gamers and poorer participants. Government did not respond to requests for comment by press time last night.
August 18. Former Berkeley Institute principal Michelle Simmons has been appointed an independent Senator. Ms Simmons joins Joan Dillas-Wright and James Jardine as the independents in the Upper House after Carol Bassett, President of the Senate since 2008 and a senator since 2003, retired. In a statement, Governor John Rankin said: “I am grateful to each of the independent senators for their willingness to serve. Carol Bassett, who has served as President of the Senate since 2008, is retiring after 14 years of devoted and selfless service to the Bermuda Parliament. On behalf of my predecessors as Governor and myself, I am grateful for all of her commitment to the work of the Senate throughout her period of office.” Ms Simmons was Berkeley principal for 20 years and was also involved in education in Britain, Nigeria and at the Bermuda High School for Girls. Responding today, the Board of Governors of the Berkeley Institute paid congratulations to Ms Simmons. “Ms Simmons has had a distinguished career in the community particularly in education as the first woman to hold the substantive post of principal of our alma mater,” the board stated. “The Berkeley family wishes Ms Simmons well as she discharges this awesome responsibility as a legislator.”
August 18. Two Bermudian tourists yesterday cheated death in a terror attack in the Spanish city of Barcelona that claimed the lives of at least 13 people and injured 80 more, many of them seriously. Juliet “Etta” Pearman and family member, Jean Joell, were waiting for the green light at a pedestrian crossing in the tourist hotspot of Las Ramblas when a white van mounted the opposite side of the road and mowed down pedestrians. Shocked Ms Pearman — who was only 50 feet away from the carnage — said, if the crossing light had been green, the two would have walked into the “firing line” of the hired van, driven by an Islamic terrorist. Ms Pearman, speaking just hours after the attack, said: “We were out and about on Las Ramblas and were standing at the cross walk. We had to wait for the light but had it been green we would have been in the firing line of the van. Just before we crossed the street, we heard a loud noise and screaming. I didn’t see it hit but I saw bodies lying on the ground. I was in shock, I thought it was an accident at first. I kept hearing these loud noises like gunshots or explosions and I just knew I needed to run in the opposite direction. As we were running I fell down, my glasses fell off ... it was terrible. We ran into a shopping complex, got inside and they closed the doors and pulled down the metal gates. We were in there for about an hour and we had to get out so we went to another hotel — we were running and running. I was so shaken up. We are still here now, we are hungry there is no food but we are afraid to go outside.” Ms Pearman was celebrating her 50th birthday in the Spanish city with 15 other Bermudians when terrorists struck. All 15 in her group are safe and unharmed. The party included her niece Raven Pearman, Joanne Ballard and her husband Myron Ballard, Jean “Gaity” Joell and her husband Duke Joell, Bethea Pearman, and Juliet Pearman (senior). They were staying in the Royal Ramblas hotel — about 200 yards from where the attack took place. Ms Pearman’s niece Raven had remained at the Royal Ramblas with her 83-year-old grandmother Juliet Pearman (senior) when the attack occurred. Raven said she burst into tears when she learnt her mother had escaped unscathed. She added she had feared for the safety of her mother Bethea Pearman because she did not hear from her in the half-hour following the attack, although her aunts had contacted her to tell her they were unharmed. She told The Royal Gazette: “I am in the lobby. I have seen police running down the street with guns looking for the guy who ran into people. The man got out of the van and ran so they are searching for him. Police are blocking off the area with police tape. People are inside the shops waiting it out. I am here with my elderly grandmother. My aunts saw it happen and had to run. My aunt saw people get hurt and they had to check into a hotel. For a long time, my mother was missing but she eventually contacted us. I broke down into tears. I was trying to keep it together for my grandmother, I didn’t want to let her know. My mother told me she is in a restaurant near to where they are holding hostages.” Raven said she had got a call from her sister in Bermuda to ask what had happened and if the group was safe. Ms Pearman’s family shot video footage of the chaos following the attack as they were being moved to a nearby hotel. The family were in Barcelona for a few days’ shopping before joining a cruise ship. Raven said she had no idea whether they would go ahead with the trip and added that family members in Bermuda had asked them to return home. Juliet Pearman said that this was not the first time she had been close to a terrorist incident. She was in a mall in London last summer when a suspicious package was found, which led to the evacuation of shoppers. The Barcelona incident is the latest in a string of attacks across Europe using vans and cars. London, Berlin and Nice have all been hit by terrorists who ran over pedestrians in busy city streets. Islamic terror group Isis yesterday claimed responsibility for the attack. Two men, a Spanish national from the North African enclave of Melilla and a Moroccan, have been arrested but police have said neither was the driver of the van, who is reported to have fled the scene.
August 18. Butterfield Bank is confident it will return its operating expenses to its target level by the end of the year. And while it has twice raised its lending rates this year, in line with moves by the US Federal Reserve, it has no declared intention on what it will do if there is a further hike by the Fed. Regarding expenses, the bank has a 60 per cent efficiency ratio target for the end of 2017. However, between March and the end of June it went off target. Its non-net interest expenses rose to $75.3 million, about $9.5 million higher year-on-year. Part of the reason for the blip was the impact of the 35th America’s Cup. The bank was an official supplier and official Bermuda bank of the event, and it hosted more than 800 guests and clients during the sailing competition in May and June. Michael Collins, chief executive officer has previously described the one-time expenditures as yielding “unparalleled opportunities for business development and retention”. And during a conference call following the release of the bank’s quarterly results last month, he said expenses had been driven by “marketing for the America’s Cup, Sarbanes Oxley, investment in compliance systems and capabilities and the build-out of our Halifax, Nova Scotia Support Centre”. Mr Collins said that the America’s Cup expenses were non-recurring, while the costs of Sarbanes Oxley, a US Act which relates to management and accounting, and investment in compliance systems had picked up in the second quarter “but should start to level off by the end of 2017”. He added: “Expenses related to the Halifax build-out will likely continue through the end of the year, before fading in early 2018, and thereafter will start to create operational efficiencies for the group.” Butterfield is moving some middle-office functions and back-office departments to its service centre in Halifax, Canada. Mr Collins said: “We continue to be very focused on expenses and expect to show significant progress by the end of the year as projects conclude and we achieve the anticipated savings.” During the second quarter, the bank’s net interest income increased $3.6 million over the prior quarter. Michael Schrum, chief financial officer, said: “The increase was due mainly to improving yields on the Bermuda and Cayman mortgage books, as adjustable rates began to reset following the recent Fed rate moves.” On the question of how the bank might react to future Fed rate hikes, Daniel Frumkin, chief risk officer, noted that Butterfield had passed along the March and June rate rises to its Bermuda mortgage customers. But he added: “We don’t have any forward-looking view of what we’ll do on the next rate rise.”
August 18. Bermuda’s re/insurance community will once again join Lloyd’s of London and cities around the world to promote diversity in the workplace. Next month’s Dive In Festival will highlight the business case for diverse and inclusive workplaces and for providing practical ideas and inspiration on how to bring about positive change. It will feature events in a record number of 31 locations across the globe between September 26 and 28. Bermuda, New York, Zurich, and London are among the returning locations where the event will be held. New cities such as Beijing, Glasgow, Johannesburg, San Francisco, Madrid, Perth, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Miami will also be included. The Bermuda Dive In Festival Committee will welcome elite performance coach Dave Alfred MBE, a pioneer in performance psychology who has worked with some of the biggest names in sports, including the England rugby team in four world cups. Dr Alfred also worked with the British Lions on three tours, as well as the South African rugby team, the England cricket team, and English Premier League football teams Manchester City, Sunderland and Watford. During the festival, Dr Alfred will lead an interactive session, hosted by Argus, titled “No Limits”. Session participants can expect to gain an understanding of his “no limits” philosophy where there is no thought of failure and everyone has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. Events staged in Bermuda will include discussions on:
The Bermuda Dive In Festival is supported by Abir, Aon, Argus, Chubb, Hamilton Re, Markel, Willis Towers Watson and XL Catlin. Abir chairman Kevin O’Donnell said: “The Dive In Festival challenges leadership to embrace diversity and inclusion for the benefit of industry and society. “The events help to grow understanding, identify barriers and embrace innovation to expand in new directions that support a more diverse and inclusive corporate culture. “Through this collaboration, we reinforce the need for diversity and inclusion and fuel our efforts to support and attract diversity in the re/insurance industry.”
August 18. The deaths of Gombey stars Lawrence “Stickers” Hendrickson Sr, 81, and David “Shaggy Dog” Wilson, who would have turned 66 today, have been mourned by the community. Mr Hendrickson, one of the founders of H & H Gombeys and Mr Wilson, who was part of the Warwick Gombey Troupe, both died this week. The drums, dance and costumes of the Gombeys evolved from a fusion of African, Caribbean, Native American and British culture. That tradition was carried by Mr Hendrickson for decades, starting with a childhood apprenticeship to Charles “Boxcart” Norford, who practised Gombey dances on Roberts Avenue. Mr Hendrickson performed with him until Mr Norford’s death in 1980, and founded the H & H Gombeys in 1989 with his son, also Lawrence, who also captained the troupe, but died suddenly in 1994. Mr Wilson was prominent in several football teams and known for his skills on the pitch — but former Government minister Dale Butler, a schoolmate from Victor Scott Primary School when it was known as Central School, recalled him as “one of the most supportive Gombey drummers that I knew”. His skills were highlighted in Mr Butler’s musical Pickles and Spiced Ham: Bermudian Women in Song. Mr Butler added: “He was looking forward to being in part two in September, which I have had to cancel.” He described Mr Wilson as a man who would “stand to attention at the mention of the word ‘Gombey’.” And Mr Butler said he was “outgoing, very friendly and kind, very into the Bermudian way of manners — he was always proud of being part of our group that went to Central School”. Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Social Development and Sports, hailed both men as “two of Bermuda’s prominent tradition bearers”. He added: “The Bermuda Gombey is Bermuda’s most iconic and enduring tradition of culture, resistance, strength, and freedom. Through the dedication of men like Lawrence and David, the Gombey tradition of dance, drumming, and unique regalia have been passed down through the generations.” He offered his condolences to their friends, family and fellow Gombeys and the loss would be “greatly felt by many”. The deaths came as both troupes prepared to represent the island on the stage at Carifesta in Barbados. Gombeys have a rich heritage across the Caribbean, where similar traditions emerged on several islands, but the Bermuda Gombeys were recognized as a uniquely local art form at a Unesco Cultural and Conservation Conference in 1970.
August 18. Bermuda’s national flower is struggling for survival — in Ireland. According to the Irish Times the Bermudiana, generally considered to be endemic to Bermuda, has been flowering in Ireland for more than 150 years. “What nobody seems to know for sure is whether it’s native to Ireland and was introduced to Bermuda, or vice versa,” the story said. “Given its flowering habits — the star like petals open only on sunny days — you’d expect it to prefer Bermuda’s humid subtropical climate to the uncertainties of Irish weather.” The Bermudiana, was first reported in Ireland in 1845 where it is known as blue-eyed grass or by the Irish name feilistrín gorm, which translates to “little blue iris”. The plant is a common sight in Bermuda but it is considered endangered in the Republic of Ireland and it is protected by legislation in British-run Northern Ireland. Conor McKinney, a landscape manager with the conservation group Ulster Wildlife, told the Irish newspaper that the flower has faced challenges in Ireland, in part because of farming habits in the area. “It won’t open up on cloudy days, only when the sun is high in the sky. And it’s very small and quite delicate — so it is easily overlooked,” he said. “Many sites were seeded with very aggressive rye grasses which overtake the native species, of which blue-eyed grass would be one. Farmers were often told to spray fields ‘until that purple flower disappeared’. That was regarded as good farming practice.”
Bermudiana, Bermuda's national flower
August 18. A 33-year-old St George’s man accused of possessing a firearm and ammunition was this morning remanded in custody. Dion Cholmondeley was charged in Magistrates’ Court with possession of a Glock 9mm handgun and four rounds of 9mm calibre ammunition without a licence in Warwick on August 15. He was not required to enter pleas because the charges are indictable and must be heard in Supreme Court. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo remanded Mr Cholmondeley, represented by lawyer Charles Richardson, in custody until the October 2 arraignment session.
August 18. Crumbling infrastructure is a major drain on the resources of Boaz Island Village’s management board. Chairman Simon Groves said homeowners owed more than $180,000 in maintenance fees and called on them to pay up so the area in the West End can be properly looked after and reach its full potential. “What we are seeing today is the consequence of the lack of consistent, quality infrastructure support,” he explained. “Let’s use the water as an example — my understanding is that it was built with a grade of material that wasn’t suitable for Bermuda conditions. And as a consequence, we have a severe leakage problem. Whereas we buy all of our water from Government via Wedco, we are buying twice as much as we are using.” Mr Groves said minor leaks were hard to detect and the only solution was to dig up the entire system and replace it. He added: “It’s the same for the guttering to catch water from the roof tops, the same with the lighting — we’ve really got to go back to basics.” He said the board had submitted a business plan for funding the replacement of the water infrastructure to Government that would see them pay back an initial start-up. And he added that a contractor was preparing estimates to fix the lighting, starting with the worst-affected areas. Mr Groves, who has lived on Boaz Island for about 17 years, said some of the problems were the result of how the village was built and others were down to a lack of proper maintenance. “What we’ve done now is we’ve reached a point where the infrastructure has collapsed to the point that we’re having to replace the infrastructure. Whereas before we could just paper over it, eventually it collapses and now we have to pay for the repairs as they occur to the collapsed infrastructure, so the demands on our meager resources are exponentially rising.” Mr Groves said the board, which is responsible for all communal issues including ground maintenance, electricity, water supply, exterior building maintenance and insurance, is owed more than $180,000 in arrears because some owners are not paying their fees. “The problem is when one debtor fails to pay, that means that all of the other non-debtors are paying for their upkeep of their property, the purchase of their water, the supply of their communal electricity and the maintenance of their grounds and it’s not fair. So there is a considerable bitterness in regards to those who stay on top of their expenses and those who have fallen behind. I’d like owners to take responsibility for their liabilities. Owners have to big up. Once we can stop the hemorrhaging of money to fix crisis problems, when we stop putting out fires, we can start to reinvest on the aesthetics.” Mr Groves explained that it is the responsibility of homeowners to contribute the monthly $425 condominium fee, “which then enables the board to do its business”. He said: “In almost all cases, the owners occupy the buildings that they own, with the exception being Wedco, of course. In Wedco’s case, that maintenance fee comes out of the rent that they charge the individual. If it wasn’t for them, we would have sunk a long time ago.” He said that there are “a handful of chronic debtors” who owe up to $20,000 each and that the board has had “limited success” in getting them to pay up. Mr Groves added that the board was now working with a new debt collection agency and papers had been served telling defaulters who are in more than 90 days of arrears that they will be taken to court if they do not settle their debts. Mr Groves warned: “We will have to seek payment orders on them or even asset forfeiture if it comes to that and we don’t want to. In my period of chairmanship we have tried everything to avoid that but if there is no other recourse, that’s what we have to do.” Despite sending out monthly newsletters, Mr Groves said many homeowners were not aware of the financial concerns until they noticed problems and asked why they had not been fixed. He said: “Well, it’s because we can’t afford to fix it — it’s as simple as that.” Mr Groves said he would like to see more homeowners get involved with the board to increase awareness of the problems and help tackle them. He added: “You’ve got 94 residences. They’re not all waterfront but they’re all water accessible. Where else in Bermuda have you got a location and a potential like we have here? This is all about potential, this is about turning this village into a residential destination of first choice.” A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Works confirmed yesterday that a joint proposal seeking funding to upgrade the water infrastructure was submitted by Wedco and Boaz Island Village Committee under the previous administration. “The proposal was considered but the final decision was deferred due to budgetary constraints,” she added. “Recently Wedco has requested further consideration be given to the proposal. As it stands, the proposal has yet to be reviewed by the current minister for consideration.”
August 18. Four Saltus Grammar School students have won top awards from an examinations board in the United States. Alexandra Barnes, Christian Oatley, Casey Schuler and Megan Zimmerer were all awarded National AP Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction. The awards come after 78 per cent of Saltus students sitting the Advanced Placement examinations of the US College board achieved a grade 3 or higher (5 is the highest grade). A grade of 3 is usually accepted as a subject credit in North American universities. Head of School, Deryn Lavell, said: “Our AP results were fantastic and demonstrate the academic rigour of our AP programme. The results, and these top designations, are a terrific indicator of the hard work of our students and the wonderful professionalism of our staff. We congratulate all of our 2017 graduates and wish them well as they move on to university.” Other awards include:
Ms Lavell added: “I am sure all these students will go on to even greater things, and will represent Saltus and Bermuda with distinction.”
August 17. White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd is aiming to buy back up to half of a million of its common shares, valued at more than $400 million, in a “modified Dutch auction”. Through the self-tender offer, the Bermuda-based firm will give shareholders the opportunity to part with shares for a cash payment of between $825 and $875 per share. On Wednesday, White Mountains closed at $850.65 in New York trading. The announcement of the tender came in a filing with the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Companies frequently use excess capital to buy back their own shares for cancellation, in order to boost the value of each share. The buyback announcement was welcomed by investors, as White Mountains stock climbed more than 2 per cent to as high as $869.42 in morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. “The self-tender offer allows shareholders to indicate how many shares and at what price within the company’s specified range they wish to tender their shares,” White Mountains said in a statement. “Based on the number of shares tendered and the prices specified by the tendering shareholders, the company will determine the lowest price per share within the range that will enable it to purchase 500,000 shares or such lesser number of shares that are properly tendered.” The company will determine the purchase price, based on the results of the offer. No shareholder will be paid less than their agreed selling price, but some may be paid more. The offer opened yesterday and is expected to expire at 12 midnight, New York time, at on September 14, 2017, unless extended. The company, nor its directors, made any recommendation as to whether any shareholder should participate.
August 17. Former Major League Baseball star Darryl Strawberry is coming to Bermuda as a keynote speaker at a business conference. He is the latest name to be added to a growing list of guest speakers and attendees for the World Alternative Investment Summit 2017 at the Fairmont Southampton in October. The conference looks at alternative investments, and it is being promoted as the largest gathering of asset managers, family office and investment professionals. It will be held from October 11 to 14. Special guest Mr Strawberry was a renowned slugger who won the World Series with both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees in a 17-year MLB career. He is also an ordained minister and co-founder of the Darryl Strawberry Recovery Centre. Other speakers at the summit include Charles Smith, of Charles Smith Exchange, Michael Murphy, of Rosecliff Ventures and Fox Business, Jon Najarian, of Najarian Family Office and CNBC Halftime Report, and Finn Poschmann, president of Atlantic Provinces Economic Council. And the organisers have lined up former world heavyweight boxing champions Riddick Bowe, James Toney, Ray Mercer, Lamon Brewster, and Chris Byrd. Together with Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, a National Basketball League Hall of Famer. Attendees at the summit will have the chance to join the Hall of Fame athletes at a live boxing event at Snorkel Park on October 14.
August 17. Bermuda is entering conference season, with at least a dozen events in the next three months to attract participants in a range of industries, according to the Bermuda Business Development Agency. They start off on September 10-13 at the Fairmont Southampton, with the Bermuda Captive Conference, at its later-than-normal date after an America’s Cup-related rescheduling. The conference will offer captive owners, risk managers, and insurance professionals all the elements they have come to expect from a well-established industry event. Hot topics such as innovative new ways to use captives, taxation treatments, investment and claims trends, and the latest insurance products, are some of the areas the 2017 conference will highlight. On September 19, an annual conference is being held exploring trends in the life and annuity industry, hosted by the Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers (Biltir) at the Southampton Princess Hotel. The World Alternative Investment Summit will follow on October 11-13, also at the Fairmont Southampton. A list of other events being held are, London International Shipping Week, World Alternative Investment Summit, Global Fund Forum, Convergence, Insurance Risk & Capital, 7th Annual Offshore Aircraft Registration Conference, International Private Client Forum, Global Reinsurance Innovation & Insurtech, Global Reinsurance Innovation & Insurtech, PWC S&P Global Bermuda Reinsurance and Bermuda Executive Forum.
August 17. By Attorney Shannon Cann is an Associate in the Corporate Department at Appleby practising in all areas of corporate and commercial law including banking and corporate finance, mergers, amalgamations, restructuring, re-domestications and insurance law and regulation. "The potential consequences of being found guilty of an offence under the soon-to-be-operational Bribery Act 2016 make it imperative that both individuals and entities are aware of the provisions of the legislation. The Act, which becomes operational September 1, applies to all Bermudians, Bermuda residents and entities incorporated or registered in Bermuda. On conviction, individuals can face imprisonment for a term of up to 15 years, or an unlimited fine, or both. Commercial organisations can receive an unlimited fine. The Act is largely based on the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act 2010 and consolidates various existing anti-corruption laws into one clear international standard for combatting bribery. Bribery involves “intending to influence the actions of a person by way of a bribe”. The main offences under the Act are:
The territorial reach of the Act is broad and goes beyond just Bermudians, Bermuda residents and Bermuda entities. The Act applies to bribery that takes place in Bermuda and bribery that takes place outside of Bermuda (which would form an offence if the bribery was carried out in Bermuda) where the person has a close connection with Bermuda. A person who commits bribery has a close connection with Bermuda if they:
Note also that the failure of a relevant commercial organisation to prevent bribery is an offence committed irrespective of whether the offence takes place in Bermuda or elsewhere. For the purposes of the Act, a “relevant commercial organisation”, is: (i) a body corporate or partnership incorporated or formed under the laws of Bermuda that carries on business in Bermuda or elsewhere, and (ii) any other body corporate or partnership wherever incorporated or formed that carries on a business or part of a business in Bermuda (Relevant Organisation). For there to be an offence, an associated person must have intended to obtain or retain business or an advantage in the conduct of business for the Relevant Organisation. An “associated person” is defined widely under the Act as a person who performs services for or on behalf of a Relevant Organisation. The concept of “associated person” covers employees, contractors, agents, joint ventures and subsidiaries of Relevant Organisations. There is no requirement for the “associated person” to have any connection with Bermuda. Relevant Organisations will have a defence to liability if they can show that they have put in place “adequate procedures” to prevent associated persons from bribing. Pursuant to its obligations under the Act, the Ministry of Legal Affairs published guidance in June on the procedures that Relevant Organisations can put in place to ensure their practices do not fall afoul of the Act. The guidance can be found at https://www.gov.bm/sites/default/files/BRIBERY-ACT-2016-Guidance-FINAL2.pdf. The Act also creates a new National Anti-Corruption and Bribery Committee for the purposes of advising the Minister on the detection and prevention of corruption and bribery, reviewing the operation of the Act, and evaluating the existing legislative and administrative measures in place in Bermuda to combat corruption and bribery. The Act is an important step in modernising Bermuda’s corruption and bribery legislation as it signifies that Bermuda is committed to the global fight against corruption and bribery. The significant extension of the Act’s territorial reach and severe penalties means that individuals connected to Bermuda or associated with a Relevant Organisation should be aware of the provisions of the Act. Additionally, Relevant Organisations must take appropriate steps to ensure adequate procedures are in place to prevent bribery in order to rely on the corporate defence."
August 17. A 19-year-old footballer was yesterday cleared by a jury of the knife murder of Raymond Butterfield — but unanimously found guilty of manslaughter. Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said after the verdict was announced that the jury’s decision showed they had rejected claims by the defence that Thomas was not at the scene of the stabbing. He added: “Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased. We hope that it has brought some closure to the family. Cases like this are never easy and it’s very sad and tragic that this offence took place. Mr Butterfield died after being stabbed twice in the chest in a confrontation in the street outside of Blue Waters Anglers Club on March 5. Mr Mussenden said: “We would like to reiterate the call that people should not be carrying knives and that there are peaceful means for people to resolve their differences. We hope that we will not see more cases like this happening.” The jury delivered the verdict at about 5pm yesterday after three hours of deliberation. Thomas, who did not give evidence during the trial, remained silent as the verdict was read out. He was remanded in custody by Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons until September 1 for background reports. The Supreme Court earlier heard that Mikiel Thomas stabbed Mr Butterfield in a dispute that began when a woman in the club refused the offer of a drink. A witness told the court that the two men later brawled in the street outside the club. The witness, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, testified that on the night of the stabbing she had been at the club with several friends. As they went to leave the club, someone in the bar bought them shots. When one of the friends refused the drink, another person in the bar insulted her. The incident continued, with the witness getting into an argument with Mr Butterfield before walking out of the club. She testified that she crossed the street, where she saw Thomas and other members of his football team, who asked her why she was upset. When she refused to answer, she said the group crossed the street and an argument broke out between the group and those that were in the club. The court was told the argument escalated when Mr Butterfield punched Thomas and threw a bottle at him. Mr Butterfield went back into the club, while the witness said Thomas crossed the street and sat on a bench. Minutes later, Mr Butterfield came out of the club and the two ran at each other and collided in the middle of the street. While the incident was caught on CCTV, defence lawyer Kamal Worrell suggested that Thomas was not the man who clashed with Mr Butterfield and that the witness had been dishonest.
August 17. Insurers in Bermuda and elsewhere will be counting the costs incurred by severe weather in the US and other parts of the world in July. Prolonged rainfall resulted in economic damage estimated at $10 million in China during the month. While in Turkey, insurers are braced for anticipated claims payouts of $440 million after powerful thunderstorms brought large hail and flooding to the Istanbul metro region. Extreme heat and drought conditions led to wildfires in the US, Canada and Europe. In Italy, a prolonged drought has caused estimated economic losses of $2.3 billion, with the production of vegetables, fruits, cereals, vines and olives hit by the long dry spell. In China, a near-stationary weather front brought relentless rain across central and eastern parts of the county, leaving almost 200 people dead or missing and damaging or destroying hundreds of thousands of homes. While in the US, public and private insurers face payouts in the hundreds of millions in relation to severe weather and flooding in the west and central areas of the country, Illinois and the Ohio valley. Tropical Storm Emily, which struck Florida on the last day of July, caused some coastal flooding, but the damage was relatively minor. A round-up of the catastrophe losses is featured in the latest Global Catastrophe Recap report from Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting team. Claire Darbinyan, Impact Forecasting associate director and meteorologist, said: “There was no shortage of global natural disasters during July, though the vast majority were reported in Asia where enhanced seasonal monsoon rainfall over China and throughout South Asia led to significant flooding that caused considerable loss of life, and billions of dollars of damage to property and agriculture. “In addition, three tropical cyclones in the region enhanced the monsoonal flow to trigger further flooding in multiple countries. Given low levels of insurance penetration in the region, the majority of these losses are expected to be uninsured, highlighting the considerable protection gap and the potential for re/insurers to further offer their specialist risk management skills.”
August 17. Government has capped the number of recreational lobster divers at 500 for the 2017-18 season. The limit was announced this morning in a statement by Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, who said the cap was “approximately the same number of divers licensed for the 2016-17 season”. The announcement comes after some lobster divers had raised concerns that the limit would be significantly reduced to 150 for season, which begins on September 1. The statement says that divers who held a licence during the past 2016-17 season can be relicensed, but must submit their catch data for the 2016-2017 season before they can renew. “These lobster diver licences will be issued on a first come, first served basis,” the statement added. “Licences will also be issued to first time recreational lobster divers until the cap is reached.” Recreational lobster divers can only catch lobsters in areas shallow enough for free-diving, where Government says catches from traps have been declining over the last four seasons The Marine Resources Board and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have also expressed concern about the long term health of Bermuda’s lobster population, particularly in the shallow areas closer to shore. Under the terms of the latest licenses lobster divers will be required to be “in strict compliance” with the requirement to report their season’s catch by April 20, next year. Lobster divers will have to sign the 2017-18 terms and conditions document to indicate their commitment to abide by this deadline and the other terms and conditions. Mr Brown added: “Going forward, I want to have broader consultation on the issue, and I encourage the formation of a lobster diver association to facilitate this. The number of lobster divers allowed in the fishery next season will be decided in consultation with stakeholders after an analysis of the 2017-2018 data. As Minister, I will consider proposed amendments to our fishery parameters, if any are required, in order to ensure a healthy fish stock.” For more information on recreational lobster fishing licenses visit https://www.gov.bm/online-services/apply-recreational-lobster-diving-licence.
August 17. Bermuda is entering conference season, with at least a dozen events in the next three months to attract participants in a range of industries, according to the Bermuda Business Development Agency. They start off on September 10-13 at the Fairmont Southampton, with the Bermuda Captive Conference, at its later-than-normal date after an America’s Cup-related rescheduling. The conference will offer captive owners, risk managers, and insurance professionals all the elements they have come to expect from a well-established industry event. Hot topics such as innovative new ways to use captives, taxation treatments, investment and claims trends, and the latest insurance products, are some of the areas the 2017 conference will highlight. On September 19, an annual conference is being held exploring trends in the life and annuity industry, hosted by the Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers (BILTIR) at the Southampton Princess Hotel. The World Alternative Investment Summit will follow on October 11-13, also at the Fairmont Southampton. A list of other events being held are, London International Shipping Week, World Alternative Investment Summit, Global Fund Forum, Convergence, Insurance Risk & Capital, 7th Annual Offshore Aircraft Registration Conference, International Private Client Forum, Global Reinsurance Innovation & Insurtech, Global Reinsurance Innovation & Insurtech, PWC S&P Global Bermuda Reinsurance and Bermuda Executive Forum. For more information on any of the events please visit http://bda.bm/events/
August 17. Three students have won Bermuda Government Scholarships as they prepare to begin their studies overseas. Hannah Eve Marshall, Shanyce Morris and Bakari Simons receive funding towards the cost of their tuition and accommodation, up to an annual maximum of $35,000, for a period of up to four years. Ms Marshall plans to attend Stanford University in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, to become a Doctor of Medicine, eventually specialise in cardiology with the hope of returning to practise as Bermuda’s first female cardiologist. Ms Morris plans to study Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science and hopes to eventually influence Bermuda’s youth to actively engage in local and international issues to equip themselves for leadership in the future. Mr Simons is currently enrolled on the four-year vocational integrated Master’s Degree programme at the British School of Osteopathy and aims to become the first Bermudian-born osteopath. In total, the education ministry funds 24 Bermuda Government Scholarships, including four new awards: technical and vocational and exceptional student awards, achievement and merit scholarships. Overall, the Bermuda Government issued scholarships and awards to students valued at a total of $1.1 million. Education minister Diallo Rabain said in a statement: “Further education is very important in today’s changing and diverse global economy. The Government supports all areas of learning and will continue to provide the financial support that our students need as they pursue higher levels of educational growth.”
August 17. A woman born in Bermuda to non-Bermudian parents has won a judicial review over a rejected application to work on the island without restriction. According to a ruling by Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman, the Minister of Home Affairs had discriminated against Paula Tavares on the ground of her national origin. The Supreme Court heard that Mrs Tavares was born in Bermuda in 1976, at which time she was considered a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by birth. She became a British Dependent Territories citizen in 1983 under the British Nationality Act 1981, and in 2002 she became classified as a British Overseas Territories citizen. If either of her parents had Bermudian status, the court heard she would also have had Bermudian status. While Mrs Tavares moved to the Azores when she was 10, she returned to Bermuda with her family three years later. She later pursued higher education in Portugal and the Azores, returning to the island in 2001 with her Portuguese husband. Since then, the couple have had two children who were born and brought up on the island. “Mrs Tavares would like to work,” the decision stated. “However, she states that her employment options are very limited because as matters stand she has to apply for a work permit.” While a March 2016 ruling in a separate Supreme Court case allowed Mrs Tavares permission to work without restrictions, the decision was partially overturned in the Court of Appeal last November. “Mrs Tavares belonged to Bermuda at common law but did not fall within any of the categories of belonged who were protected by the Constitution,” the court stated. “She therefore had to give up her job immediately.” Her lawyer, Peter Sanderson, wrote to the Minister of Home Affairs asking her to give Mrs Tavares specific permission to engage in employment without the imposition of conditions or limitations. That request was denied. The couple sought a judicial review of the decision, with Mr Sanderson arguing that Mrs Tavares had been discriminated against on the grounds of her national origin. “He relies upon the fact that Mrs Tavares is a BOT citizen by reason of her birth in Bermuda and is therefore a common law belonged in that Bermuda is the constitutional unit to which her citizenship relates; that Bermuda is her home and she has lived here almost all her life; and that the vast majority of persons possessing Bermudian status are also BOT citizens,” the judge wrote. “I agree.” The judge also agreed that the minister’s refusal unlawfully discriminated against Mrs Tavares on the ground of place of origin and treated her less favorably than someone at least one of whose parents possessed Bermudian status. The judge quashed the minister’s decision, remitting the matter to be reconsidered.
August 17. Members of the LGBTQ community and their families are to organise secret support groups amid fears of intimidation by anti-gay activists. Sylvia Hayward Harris, part of the unnamed group setting up support networks at undisclosed locations on the island, said: “We were very concerned about folks who might show up and are not supportive or who may harass those who come.” The group formed as a result of a forum organised by a separate group, Out Bermuda, where Ms Hayward-Harris suggested the idea. Ms Hayward Harris said support groups for LGBTQ people and their families are crucial in Bermuda’s current climate to cope with the “wall” of rejection they are faced with in the community. She added that her own son had vowed never return to live in Bermuda after he was attacked for being gay some years ago. A support group is due to meet this evening and Ms Hayward-Harris said she hoped that LGBTQ members and their families would find strength and understanding in a community where large sections of the population are against them having equal rights. Despite a landmark ruling in May that paved the way for same-sex marriage to be legalized, Progressive Labour Party MP Wayne Furbert plans to retable a Bill that would cement the legal definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. His first Bill was defeated in Senate. But if the new majority PLP Government votes the same way they did previously in the House of Assembly, the Bill could be successful and outlaw same-sex marriage. In addition, pressure group Preserve Marriage has consistently campaigned for marriage to remain as being between a male and female. Ms Hayward Harris said: “There really is a major — I can’t call it a push back, it is a wall — against people who are gay here. There isn’t any kind of acceptance for them so having support groups is very necessary. They struggle and there are some families that are violently anti gay. The church is anti gay — we have some so-called Christians who are not very Christ-like in dealing with their children or other LGBTQ people. They consider them to be abominations. The community — according to Preserve Marriage — is really not into being supportive or understanding of the issues surrounding it. You have Preserve Marriage themselves fighting against marriage equality and we have Wayne Furbert trying to trump the Human Rights Act — it sends a message to someone who is gay or lesbian that this community is not supportive, they are not wanted and their needs are not considered. They truly need support.” Shari-Lynn Pringle, a member of the LGBT community and an LGBTQ activist, said it was time that support groups were formed in Bermuda. She added that she faced discrimination after coming out several years ago. Ms Pringle said: “For any issue that challenges a community there will always be those who need someone or somewhere that they feel safe talking to or going to. It is especially important because people are coming out a lot younger and they need to know that they can have a good quality of life. A lot of us out here are paving the way for them so they don’t have to go through some of what we went through.” The next meeting is due to take place this evening from 6pm to 7.30pm. Anyone interested in attending should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 17. A huge change is on the horizon for the shipping industry as autonomous ships become a reality. For Bermuda, the challenges and opportunities this will bring are likely to be felt in a number of sectors. Some of the world’s major shipping operators are domiciled on the island, and many Bermudian-based insurers and reinsurers provide coverage for the maritime industry. The idea of crewless ships, or robot vessels, plying the world’s oceans is no longer science-fiction. The technology is being refined and the first autonomous commercial ship will begin trials next year. Within the coming decade it is expected that crewless ships will revolutionize the maritime industry. Autonomous shipping was one of three developments highlighted by XL Catlin in its second quarter Emerging Risks Report. The report noted: “Similar to autonomous trucks on the roads, autonomous vessels at sea controlled by onshore crews are expected to reduce risks and costs associated with human error and crew on-board, while having efficiency benefits.” However, there are legal and regulatory challenges to be overcome, including the question of liability should things go wrong, and the threat of cyber-attack. Stephen Harris, senior vice-president of Marsh Global Marine Practice, noted some of the risks in a feature on Marsh & McLennan’s BRINK website last week. He discussed the legal and regulatory hurdles ahead, such as whether a “captain” sitting at a desk on shore is legally part of an autonomous ship’s crew. He said it was something that was “likely to be viewed differently by various legal jurisdictions as they apply the law to insurance claims for physical loss or damage to the ship. That’s only the start of the legal issues. What status should be given the programmer who designed the computer system that runs the autonomous ship? Where does liability fall? With fully automated vessels, could ship owners claim coverage for loss or damage to the vessel caused by the negligence of programmers? These are debates that the insurance industry needs to have before people start ordering these vessels.” The technology of autonomous ships and its potential impact is something that Jens Alers is also keeping an eye on. He is group director of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Bermuda), which has offices in Par-la-Ville Road. He said: “Within the next five years unmanned ships will become a reality in limited domestic short-distance cargo trades. In fact, Yara, a Norwegian chemical company, has already ordered a small autonomous ferry for the transportation of containerized cargo across a Norwegian fjord, thereby eliminating thousands of road truck loads every year.” Yara International ASA’s first autonomous vessel, Yara Birkeland, will sail next year, initially with a crew before becoming fully crewless in 2020. “In due course we could also see some limited distance passenger ferry trade, but where ‘human cargo’ is involved rules and regulations will make it a lot harder to get the idea of unmanned ships from concept to reality,” said Mr Alers. “Within my lifetime we will see fully autonomous ships of all types in operation worldwide.” There are economic arguments supporting the development of autonomous ships. For instance, human error accounts for 96 per cent of all marine casualties, according to the US Coast Guard. Crews are vulnerable to piracy in some areas of the world, and there is a severe shortage of skilled workers seeking a career at sea. Purpose-built crewless ships would not need crew quarters, or a command bridge, increasing the efficient use of space and design and eliminating a variety of operating costs. It is envisaged they would be controlled by onshore operators. Rolls-Royce, the jet engine maker, is one of the leaders in the development of autonomous shipping. It is part of the Advance Autonomous Waterbourne Applications initiative. Mikael Makinen, president of Rolls-Royce’s Marine business, said: “Autonomous shipping is the future of the maritime industry. As disruptive as the smartphone, the smart ship will revolutionize he landscape of ship design and operations.” The company plans to release an autonomous remote-controlled cargo ship in 2020. World leading mining companies BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto already use driverless trucks. Rio Tinto is about to deploy autonomous trains in Australia, and both companies are investigating the use of crewless ships. Challenges for testing and developing autonomous maritime technology, and legal implications, safety and security issues and developing a universal regulatory framework, will be discussed at the three-day Autonomous Ship Technology Symposium in Amsterdam, in June 2018. Alluding to some of the challenges, Mr Alers said hurdles to overcome include the need for shoreside infrastructure and technology that integrates with the on-board systems of the ships. He said: “Even in a high-tech world accidents still happen. We will need to rewrite the rule book of risk assessment, liability and claims for the world of autonomous ships. Insurance companies, classification societies, ship registries and regulators will have to rethink completely in an on-board world devoid of a captain and a chief engineer and their seafaring colleagues. The ultimate reward for an insurer will of course be the elimination or, at the least, drastic reduction of the factor which today leads to most maritime accidents: human error.” While it is expected that the need for on-board crews will be reduced and eventually eliminated, Mr Alers believes there will still be a need for hands-on repair and maintenance of the ships. And he added: “Autonomous ships are a fascinating subject and one day they will be reality. As is often the case, the voyage to that ultimate goal will present big transitional challenges.”
August 16. Legislators return to Parliament next month with a new Cabinet position under Lovitta Foggo designed to steer Government reforms. The ministry, Ms Foggo’s first portfolio after ten years as an MP, will involve fresh scrutiny of good governance measures brought in by the last Progressive Labour Party government, as well as suggestions brought by the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission. “I’ve been busy, busy, busy,” Ms Foggo told The Royal Gazette. “I will say this: I certainly appreciate the confidence that has been placed in me by the Premier. I find it very interesting and exciting in terms of how this ministry can develop going forward.” As Minister for the Cabinet Office with Responsibility for Government Reform, she will examine best practices in “various departments that by design have oversight of the infrastructure of the Government”. Her reach is significant: human resources, statistics, communications, information and digital technologies, management consulting, the office of procurement and project management, the Public Service Commission, Post Offices, and the policy and strategy section. Upcoming priorities include reviewing the Ministerial code of conduct, the rules for members of the legislature, a code of practice for project management and procurement, and the implementation of the parliamentary oversight committees that were highlighted in the Sage report. Three oversight committees were pledged in the PLP’s first 100 days. Ms Foggo said her promotion to Cabinet offered “an opportunity to see what makes the wheels spin”. She added that her decade as a backbencher left her in “good stead in terms of understanding the rules that govern MPs and dictate how they should operate” and she stressed her background in public policy. The Office of Project Management and Procurement was set up under former premier Paula Cox in 2012 — but the “slow rate of progress” in getting it fully operational was lamented earlier this year in the report of the Commission of Inquiry. The OPMP is “up and running”, Ms Foggo said, and as minister she would build on its best practices and “the good works already put in place” to better what it does, including a stronger code of practice. Having served on the Public Accounts Committee, Ms Foggo also noted the priority given in the PLP’s 100-day agenda to strengthening the PAC’s “good work”. Asked about the Sustainable Development Department, which has been merged into Cabinet, Ms Foggo said it was “early days”, and any decisions would be made in consultation with its director. Campaign finance reform, similarly, will be approached in conjunction with the Parliamentary Registrar. “After having done whatever research and having consulted with the parliamentary registrar on best practices, only at that point will a more definitive decision be made on the direction taken in respect of campaign financing.” Reforms will also be influenced by the distinctive characteristics of different departments, Ms Foggo said. “The workings within various departments will help shape and decide the types of reforms that are necessary — one, to build on the successes of the public service and two, to ensure that the Government runs more efficiently, more effectively, in response to both the internal dictates of Government and to the dictates of the wider community.”
August 16. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, turned up in person to bring birthday greetings to renowned Bermudian actor Earl Cameron on his 100th birthday in England. “It was an honour to meet this distinguished and much-accomplished Bermudian and to bring best wishes from the Government,” Mr Brown said. “We had a wonderful conversation where he shared with me his close friendship with my grandfather W. G. Brown and great uncle D .A. Brown.” Mr Brown, who was on holiday in England at the time, dropped into Mr Cameron’s birthday celebration, held in the Holiday Inn in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, last Saturday. Several of Mr Cameron’s close relatives travelled from Bermuda to attend the centenarian’s birthday and join numerous other family members and friends. Mr Cameron stumbled on a career in acting as a last-minute recruit when an actor failed to show up, but went on to become the first black actor to star in a British film. He broke the race barrier in 1951 in Pool of London, while back home all of Bermuda turned out to see his films. His accomplishments were recognized in 2009 when he was made a Commander of the British Empire by the Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The Earl Cameron Theatre at Hamilton’s City Hall was named in his honour at a ceremony he attended in 2012.
August 16. Two men are in custody after police stopped a car containing a gun, ammunition and a controlled drug. Describing it as “proactive policing”, a spokesman said that officers following a “specific investigation” had cause to stop the vehicle in the area of St Mary’s Road, Warwick area on Tuesday evening. “A firearm and a quantity of ammunition were seized. Two men in the vehicle were subsequently arrested in connection with the matter. One of the men was also arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled drug. Both men remain in police custody at this time pending further enquiries. Anyone with information regarding the location of illegal firearms, ammunition or drugs is urged to contact the Serious Crime Unit on 247-1739 or the independent and anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline 800-8477.”
August 16. Hurricane Gert is no threat to Bermuda as the closest point of approach has passed. The category one storm was forecast to pass 281 nautical miles to the north-northwest of the island at 8am and had been deemed a potential threat. In its noon update, the Bermuda Weather Service said this had been downgraded to no threat. A spokesman said: “Hurricane Gert has now passed its closest point to Bermuda and will continue to speed NE and away from the area causing swells to become westerly. A frontal boundary, invigorated by the influx of moisture from Gert, will dip south towards us bringing showers, a risk of thunder and occasionally strong winds tonight through Friday. Winds drop light to moderate for the weekend as the boundary lingers nearby.” At 12pm, Gert was about 309 nautical miles north of Bermuda, boasting maximum sustained winds of 80 knots and gusts of 100 knots. While the US National Hurricane Centre said some strengthening is still possible today, Gert is expected to weaken and become an extra-tropical low by Thursday night.
August 16. Four stranded jet skiers were rescued by marine police 3 nautical miles north of Tynes Bay on Saturday. At 2.20pm, Bermuda Radio received a call reporting two broken-down jet skis — one possibly capsized — about a mile east of Dockyard. Bermuda Radio tried calling the jet-ski owner to get a more accurate position, while marine police boats Rescue One and Heron Two started searching the area. “Bermuda Radio commenced a radio broadcast to all vessels in the vicinity of Dockyard, Spanish Point or North Shore having possibly sighted two purple jet skis reported in distress,” Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre said. Rescue One continued its search eastward and found one jet ski adrift and a second with four people in the water, north of Tyne’s Bay. Rescue One and Heron Two recovered all the people in the water and towed both the jet skis back to Dockyard. In a separate incident, two jet skis collided near Pompano at about 12.52pm on Saturday with one man suffering back injuries. He was taken to Robinson’s Marina by boat and marine police have started an investigation. BMOC also received a call at 12.32am on Saturday from a concerned mother whose son, 4, had gone fishing with his father, possibly out of Mill Creek. The mother was unable to confirm the name of the boat or where they would normally fish. Following a check, the vessel was identified. Bermuda Radio started radio calls to the vessel and any others with information on their whereabouts and the boat was later seen and reported as safe. The report said: “This case highlights the importance of filing a float plan, with accurate boat information and destination details, and having vessel information correctly registered.”
August 16. The mother of a special needs adult has criticised the island’s lack of resources, claiming clients are being neglected. And the woman said the only specialist unit, the K. Margaret Carter Centre, was decades behind international standards and had contributed to a decline in her daughter’s condition. The parent, who asked not to be named, said: “My daughter started to lose her skills in the first two years.” The former Opportunity Workshop, renamed in June 2015 after an activist for the disabled, was designed to provide clients with work experience under a merger of services. But the parent said the level of care “plunges” for clients who move to the health ministry-run centre from the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy, which is run by the education ministry. She added: “They gain weight, they lose their balance — they lose everything they’ve learnt. There’s no future for them, no goals.” The woman’s 28-year-old daughter has multiple disabilities including hearing loss, vision problems, cerebral palsy and a mental age of two to five. But she added: “That doesn’t mean that she isn’t smart. What I want from this Government is a commitment to make it a priority to provide the services these children deserve — goals to work on, so they can be excited to come back the next day. Instead my daughter is stuck doing puzzles every day. She doesn’t want that. She is bored.” The parent said an independent assessment from overseas of the island’s special needs care should be carried out. She added: “It’s going to take ten, 15 years to get us to an international standard of care. We are decades behind. My daughter is not as high functioning as some. But I see children in the centre who are high functioning. You know what they’re doing for most of the day? Playing with magnetic blocks. It’s a waste of a life. The other day a parent told me, these are the forgotten children. We aren’t a part of society. And it’s true.” The new Progressive Labour Party Government includes a Junior Minister for Disability, Senator Tineé Furbert, a registered occupational therapist who listed healthcare, education and disability rights as her priorities when she was announced as an election candidate in May. David Burt, the Premier, spoke of “an opportunity to include people who are differently able in this Government’s priorities” when she was appointed last week. Asked if she felt optimistic, the woman told The Royal Gazette: “I do. But talk is one thing and action is another. The mother said that the centre was the subject of “spin” and that the variety of services promised in November 2014, when the Orange Valley Centre merged into the Opportunity Workshop on Roberts Avenue, had not materialized. She added that the centre lacks adequate support services, case workers and paraprofessionals, while the building itself is ageing and, in some areas, lacked basic amenities — including air conditioning for an assembly hall. The centre has had no permanent administrator for two years, which she called “incomprehensible”. The woman said case workers were burdened with several clients each — and her daughter received only two hours’ occupational therapy a week. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said it had been “working with relevant partners to address concerns. The hiring freeze and recruitment challenges in recent years led to delays in securing a permanent manager/administrator since November 2014, which has led to some difficulties that are now being addressed successfully. A management team has been in place since June, resulting in a raft of improvements in the physical plant, the programme and staffing levels, though this work is not yet complete. Work continues to secure permanent staffing and the centre was temporarily moved for the summer so that essential facility maintenance and upgrades could be undertaken.” She added that the centre was “under review”, with the ministry “conscious of the access and physical infrastructure challenges that need to be addressed in the long term. At present, the ministry is working closely with community partners in learning disabilities to determine a long-term vision and strategy for services for persons with intellectual disabilities. This will create greater synergies between services and improve adult services. A visioning workshop was held last month, and follow up is taking place in August,” she said. The parent claimed the ministry was “spinning their words”. She added: “With whom did they have this visioning workshop? We had a parent meeting in June but it was to update parents. The minister was supposed to be there and wasn’t.”
August 15. Reinsurers are now twice as likely to report an underwriting loss as they were in 2012. That is the view of analysts at Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings, who say falling prices for reinsurance will likely result in more volatile earnings. Bermuda is a global hub for the property-catastrophe reinsurance business. But traditional reinsurers have faced increasing competition from alternative capital in the form of insurance-linked securities, such as catastrophe bonds. And lower-than-normal catastrophe losses have added to the downward pressure on rates. “Given that prices are continuing to soften across all lines of business and global property-catastrophe prices were down about 4 per cent to 6 per cent during 2017 renewals, we consider more-frequent catastrophe losses will become a bigger threat to underwriting profits and capital than they were in the past,” said Charles-Marie Delpuech, S&P Global Ratings analyst. “Reinsurers are therefore likely to see heightened volatility in earnings, in our view.” The rating agency’s commentary added: “Those more exposed might have to rethink their appetite for property-catastrophe risk in order to sustain their earnings and capital base, as well as defend their competitive positions.” S&P said the sector’s strong capital adequacy provided a cushion against major losses, however it added that some reinsurers are more exposed to the risk than others. “We now consider that seven out of the 20 reinsurers we rate might experience erosion of their capital base due to an annual aggregate loss in the one-in-ten-year return period range in 2017, while in 2016, we did not project any to be at threat,” the rating agency said. Global reinsurers saw losses from natural disasters rise materially in 2016 to $54 billion from the relatively low levels of $36 billion in 2015.
August 15. Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, continues to meet with the individuals and organisations under the remit of his ministry. Mr Roban’s sessions have including discussions with department directors, vendors and those with special interests, such as environmentalists. The state of the public bus system was up for discussion in the minister’s meeting with Stephen Outerbridge, director of the Department of Public Transportation, and other officials. Similar meetings have been held with staff at the Department of Marine and Ports Services, including the director, Captain Rudy Cann. “Our public transportation system is very important to Bermuda, providing daily commuters and tourists with safe and dependable transportation options across the island,” Mr Roban noted. “There are a large number of Bermudians working to ensure the necessary service level for the island’s ferries and buses is maintained on a daily basis.” The minister is also to meet with officials from the Transport Control Department, the Department of Energy, and other departments and authorities that fall under his ministry.
August 15. The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced amendments to the Fisheries Order to open fishing on the red hind grounds from today. The ministry stressed that the extended closure areas around the black grouper grounds remain closed until December 1. The Seasonally Protected Areas were closed for the first time on April 15 — fishing has historically been banned in the areas from the start of May through to the end of August. The restrictions were put in place in the 1970s to protect groupers and hinds from excessive fishing when they aggregate. However, in recent years, there seems to have been a shift in when aggregations first form for the season, and large catches of red hind occurred from the “hind grounds” during the month of April in both 2016 and 2014. Technical officers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources think red hind are gathering earlier to spawn in some years because of increased seawater temperatures. Following consultations with stakeholders, it was agreed that the red hind aggregation sites needed greater protection and it was decided to move the closure period for the Seasonally Protected Areas forward by two weeks. Therefore the closure period for the “hind grounds” will now run from April 15 through August 14 each year. The larger black grouper has a longer spawning season than the red hind, running from the spring through the month of November. It is for this reason fishing will be prohibited in the extended closure areas through November 30th each year. Amendments have also been made to the Fisheries Regulations 2010 in order to further protect the red hind. These are: The addition of a year-round catch limit for recreational fishers of ten Red Hind per boat or per person fishing from shore within a 24-hour period and; A catch limit for commercial fishermen of 50 red hind per boat within a 24-hour period during the month of April. The catch limit of ten red hind per 24-hour period from May 1 to August 31 remains in place for commercial fishermen. The public is also reminded that there is a year-round catch limit of one black grouper per boat or per person fishing from shore within a 24-hour period for all fishers. In addition, fishers are reminded that Marine Resources officers are conducting tagging studies on red hind and black grouper to better understand their movements around the Bermuda Platform, particularly at spawning aggregations sites. All fishers are encouraged to contact the Marine Resources Section at 293-5600 or email@example.com if you catch a tagged red hind or black grouper. All tags taken from examined fish will be entered into a draw. Four $500 Masters gift certificates will be awarded throughout the year. The draw for the first certificate will be held on September 1, 2017. The tagging studies will provide important information that technical officers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources can use to help evaluate the effectiveness of these new protective measures. The intention is to review these measures once sufficient data have been collected. The ministry urges the public to familiarize themselves with the Seasonally Protected Areas and extended closure areas, and to abide by the Fisheries Regulations. For more information contact the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Section at 293-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org
August 15. Somers Ltd reported a $6 million profit for the quarter ended June 30. The financial-services investment holding company, which owns Bermuda Commercial Bank and holdings in the UK and Australia, said it had benefited from currency fluctuations during the three-month period. After the end of the quarter, Somers announced the sale of its stake in UK-based financial advisory form Ascot Lloyd Holdings — a sale which has allowed Somers to pay off all of its debt. Warren McLeland, chairman of Somers, said: “The investee companies continue to perform strongly with excellent financial results in particular at Homeloans and Waverton. At the end of the quarter, the Company completed the profitable sale of its investment in Ascot Lloyd. “The company’s results have benefited from strong capital markets in 2017 and during the quarter ended June 30, 2017 both the Australian dollar and sterling increased in value against the US dollar. This positively impacts the company’s overall valuation given 60 per cent of the investment portfolio is denominated in either Australian dollars or British pounds. We were pleased to recently announce the company’s bonus warrant issue, the proceeds of which combined with the proceeds from the sale of our Ascot Lloyd investment has enabled the company to completely eliminate all of its debt post the quarter end. The company’s balance sheet is strong and we therefore look forward to the rest of the year with cautious optimism.” The results did not specify net income for BCB, but Somers said the bank maintains “a high capital ratio of 23.2 per cent and a highly liquid balance sheet with 43 per cent in cash and high quality liquid assets”. Assets under management at Homeloans Ltd, Somers’ Australian holding, increased to $9.4 billion and as part of its funding programme completed a successful A$1 billion residential mortgage-backed securities issue. Its major UK investment, Waverton Investment Management Ltd had assets under management of £5.2 billion at June 30. During the first six months of its fiscal year, through the end of March, the company announced a loss of $6.6 million. Somers’ $6 million net income compared to $0.1 million in the corresponding quarter of last year. This reduced the year to date net loss to $0.6 million. Somers’ diluted net asset value per share was $17.63 as at June 30, 2017. As of the close of trading on the Bermuda Stock Exchange on Tuesday this week, Somers’ share price was $13. Somers recorded a $2.7 million gain on its investment portfolio during the June quarter and this reduced year to date investment losses to $1.4 million.
August 15. An elderly woman died while on a Bermuda-bound flight. The 85-year-old, from Pembroke, was travelling with four family members aboard the American Airlines aircraft from Miami on Monday night. According to a Skyport official, she experienced a medical emergency shortly after 9pm. A passenger told The Royal Gazette that flight attendants had called for any doctor on board to assist with a medical emergency. “Three men helped. Some passengers kept turning around to see what was going on, but the news spread quickly. The volunteers took turns giving CPR, for more than 20 minutes, until we landed. Before landing, the pilot asked everyone to remain seated so medical personnel could get through. Passengers were quiet and the mood was somber. People were not sure what to say, so most said nothing. Some family members were on the flight. It was awful to see a family tragedy played out in the public eye — my deepest sympathies to her family. Emergency personnel were called the L.F. Wade International Airport, but unfortunately the passenger died on board at 9.57pm,” the Skyport official said. “Bermuda Skyport would like to wish condolences to the entire family of the passenger.” Yesterday, police added that it appeared the woman had a pre-existing medical condition. There are no suspicious circumstances and the woman will be named after next of kin have been informed.
August 15. A need for love and acceptance led many youths to the streets, an anti-violence event heard at the weekend. Ralph Burrows, who spent more than two decades living the street lifestyle, said he grew up in a home where love was a foreign word. “When I started hanging on the streets and using, I felt love,” he told the audience at a packed anti-violence event held over the weekend. “That’s where my acceptance came from — the guys on the streets.” Mr Burrows was one of several speakers at a pre-launch party for the second issue of Visionz magazine. The anti-violence publication is the idea of Desmond Crockwell. According to Mr Burrows, much of today’s antisocial activity is not motivated by what many might think. “People say it’s about drugs and territory — that’s not what it’s about,” he said. “These little guys are poisoned, and they’re looking for love. Some of them are not getting it from home — they’re getting it from a guy on the street.” Mr Burrows described his life for more than 20 years as a cycle of “getting high, committing crimes and going to prison”. On November 27, 2010, he was shot twice while riding a motorcycle in the St Monica’s Road area of Pembroke. The shooting left him paralyzed and dependent on a wheelchair. He was 41 years old at the time. The oldest of five children, Mr Burrows said he often was “posted to the position of a parent” taking care of his siblings while his mother worked. “I hated that — because I didn’t have a childhood,” he said. “I had the main job, so whenever things went wrong, I was the one punished. So I used to be angry.” But Mr Burrows said: “It is not just youths with hard home lives that are drawn to the streets. I’ve seen the guys that come from two parent, Christian homes involved in this craziness. It’s not always these little guys from single-parent homes.” Ceble Crockwell, who lost her brother Fiqre Crockwell to gun violence, said they were brought up in a stable environment. Ms Crockwell added: “Fiqre and I were raised in a two-parent, family home. Morals were instilled and rules were set. The streets never appealed to us — we had love in our home.” Fiqre Crockwell, 30, a well-known cricketer, was fatally shot in Pembroke last year on National Heroes Day. Bermuda’s gun problem, Ms Crockwell said, had “no type. A small number” of people — known to the community and law enforcement — are “holding our island hostage. We need Bermuda to come together as one.” She said that parents with knowledge of their son’s involvement in gun crime needed to step up. Ms Crockwell added: “You’re just as bad as your sons. The country has lost its sense of community. This is a long, lonely road if we don’t speak up.” Andre Minors agreed the violence impacting the island was a community issue. He said: “We all are contributing, one way or another, to the state of our society.” Mr Minors, a former prison inmate, said he came up “somewhat on the rough side”, “not by any fault of my parents, but simply by a matter of choice. I have spent time in every individual police station from St George’s to Somerset. When I was in the street, we fought everybody and anything that came my way. Because we didn’t care about our lives and we didn’t care about the value of other lives around us.” He described himself at that period of his life as an “out of control monster”. Ultimately, Mr Minors was sentenced to 11 years in prison for attempted murder. While inside, in addition to pursuing academic achievements, he said he found God. He added: “I was released from prison in 1998. To this day, 2017, I’ve not even had so much as a traffic violation.” Mr Minors said addressing the violence must start in the home. “Take hold of your children. Teach them, encourage them, show them consistently, even when they refuse to hear it the first time. The psychological, emotional, and bad behaviour of absentee fathers would show up in the youth in the years ahead. I am a testament to it. Young men, growing up with that sort of weight on his shoulders, who doesn’t have the capacity to deal with that — and you wonder why they’re out in the streets pulling guns, and knives?”
August 15. The former girlfriend of a known gangster said women play a part in the causes and solutions to Bermuda’s violence. Juanae Crockwell used her presentation at an anti-violence event to reflect on the role and responsibility women have for the state of the community. Ms Crockwell said: “As women, we hold a lot of the responsibility in this national crisis, because somewhere along the way we made it OK for them. We made it acceptable for them.” Ms Crockwell was one of several speakers at a pre-launch party at the BPSU headquarters in Hamilton for the second issue of Visionz — the anti-violence magazine created by Desmond Crockwell. Ms Crockwell also clarified the old saying that behind every successful man is a woman. “It’s not just successful men that we stand behind,” she said. “We stand behind all of them, in one way or another, whether they are successful or they are not. Whether they are in streets or they are in the church.” When she was 19, Ms Crockwell began a relationship with a man she described as a known gangster — a career criminal, drug dealer and user. She said the five-year relationship “ripped my whole life apart”. And she added that for years afterwards she blamed the man for the perceived damage he had done to her. But Ms Crockwell, the sister of the late MP Shawn Crockwell, said that after learning how to love and value herself, her perspective shifted. She explained: “I don’t take responsibility for his choices, but I made it OK for him to live that life during the time that he was with me. I made it OK for him to use drugs, to commit crimes, to abuse me and others. We’re not pulling the trigger, but we are playing a part in their demise when we ignore, and accept, and glorify. When we glorify this lifestyle we are glorifying killing each other.” Ms Crockwell said that apathy towards antisocial behaviour was approval. “When we get into relationships with these so-called gangsters, we are telling them it’s OK. When we accept money and material gestures from them we are telling them it’s OK to live a life of crime. And it’s not OK.” Business owner Kenneth Butterfield said that responsibility for solving the current situation also laid with the broader community. “What you guys are talking about, I’m going to do,” he said. Mr Butterfield’s business Ascendant Technologies Ltd was founded along with his brother Tyrone in 2008. ATL employs eight men under the age of 25 from at-risk neighborhoods and Mr Butterfield said all of them started with no skills. “Three to six months, these guys are experts,” he said. And Mr Butterfield said the ‘teach one, reach one’ role was one he said he was prepared to play. He promised: “I’ll be the teacher, and I’ll reach a lot of them.” But he criticised the lack of help for his efforts to help others. “The issue that I have now is that I have had no support from government. Not one bit of support.” He added that most of the support for his business came from international rather than local companies. "We just need a little bit more support from our own people. You give me the resources, I’ll give you the results.” Kenneth Matthew, a recovering drug addict and counselor, echoed Mr Butterfield’s commitment to the betterment of community members. He said: “I’m putting my money, my time, my life to help each and every person in this country.” Mr Matthew told the audience how his past lifestyle had led to prison in both in Bermuda and the United States. He was also shot while in Jamaica. He added: “Five of my closest friends are no longer here. They’re either dead, or the last one is in jail for the rest of his life.” Since returning to the island, he has worked to try and help others, including thorough founding Trust Recovery, to assist in the rehabilitation of drug addicts. He has also served as director of the drug and alcohol education programme at Westgate. Mr Matthew said: “Our community is sick right now, and we need to find some solutions. This situation is a dire situation.” He added that the offer of help extended to all in need. “I don’t care what colour you are, I don’t care where you come from, but if you are on this soil here, you’re my family.” Ms Crockwell added: “I believe that if we collectively raise the bar, our men will rise to meet it. And I think we should give it a try.”
August 15. A 32-year-old cruise ship worker was yesterday accused of causing her own miscarriage by taking a poison or other noxious substance. Arlene Cauyo Peralta, a Filipina national, was charged with the offence, which allegedly happened in Sandys between August 6 and 7, when she appeared in Magistrates’ Court. Rakesh Anand Shetty, 35, an Indian citizen who is also a crew member on a cruise ship, was charged with helping Ms Peralta to escape punishment in Sandys between August 6 and August 8. Ms Peralta and Mr Shetty did not have to enter a plea because the charges must be heard in Supreme Court. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo released the defendants on $1,000 bail each on condition that they surrender their passports, report to Hamilton Police Station every day and tell police if their local address changes. The case was adjourned to the September arraignments session in Supreme Court.
August 15. Two people were injured following a “scuffle” involving cruise ship workers and locals in Dockyard in the early hours of this morning. Police are looking to speak with witnesses following the incident near King’s Wharf at around 3.20am. Circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear, but a police said in a statement: “Initial information suggests that two cruise ship workers were involved in a scuffle with up to four locals.” Two people — one local and one ship worker — sustained what police described as superficial injuries. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact investigators on 247-1744.
August 14. He’s lost elections and leadership battles, been through spells as public enemy number one for his blunt approach to finances, and even been accused of taking bribes from the Canadian government. But considering what Bob Richards has been through in his personal life, the trials and tribulations of Bermuda politics were easy to handle. “When you lose a child, all other disappointments are easy. I lost my first child. These low points are more like inconveniences to me,” Mr Richards said of his experiences during two decades as a senator and MP. “People wonder how I can stand up in front of angry crowds. That’s nothing compared to what I have had to deal with. Nothing. The loss of my son has made me bulletproof to all that.” Not that the former finance minister — the son of Bermuda’s first premier, Sir Edward Richards — has been on the receiving end the whole time. “I got satisfaction from dealing blows to others,” said the 69-year-old. “I have been very, very fortunate to see what it is as a child of a politician. I saw what my father went through, to know the kind of things you have to deal with, but I still had to toughen up myself.” And although he did not retire on his own terms — losing his Devonshire East seat to Christopher Famous on July 18 — there were enough good times for him to reflect of his father: “He would have been proud.” Chief among them was the passing of airport legislation, despite much public opposition, which Mr Richards believes was crucial to the economic recovery of the island, and his last Budget, delivered in February, which showed his financial survival plan “was becoming real”. Not bad for someone who admitted: “I never wanted to be a lawyer or a politician. That was my mantra until I was 50.” That defeat to Mr Famous may have been painful, but he said: “I’m relieved. My plan was to get re-elected and to see the balanced budget through and then to sail off. The election has just hastened my departure by two years. “I really had to think long and hard about running in this election. At 69, you can really think of better things to do in your life at my age. The main objective was to put the economy on an even keel. It became pretty clear to me early on that we were not going to be able to do that in five years. The only thing I ever wanted to do in politics was to be Minister of Finance. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to do that. Who would have know that an opportunity came at such a time of crisis? Be careful what you ask for. I do feel that the job is not finished, but the path to get there is clearly laid out. I hope the new government continues to follow that path because if they do, Bermuda will be better off, government will be better off and in much better shape. Now the only thing I care about it the fortunes of Bermuda.” Reflecting on a job not quite finished, he continued: “You have frustration on one hand, but that’s balanced with a removal of pressure and stress on the other hand. During the count I realized that we weren’t going to win. I just felt the load lift off my shoulders from there. Three-quarters through the count, I went over and congratulated Mr Famous. I realized the cake had been baked.” He did not take defeat personally, explaining: “If you are going to do a good job as Minister of Finance, you have to be prepared to make difficult and unpopular decisions and there’s no Minister of Finance in the history of Bermuda who came into a situation where the country was on the precipice of going into an irreversible dive. The dive had already started. I had to convey some tough and difficult messages to the people of Bermuda. I had to do it in a way that people perhaps didn’t like; it had to be done in a blunt and firm way. It was a monumental job. I’m satisfied I did the best I could and I think my best was good enough because it did work and was working.” Mr Richards describes the passage of legislation for the airport development as one of the high points of his political career. However, the controversy surrounding the project shone a light on the public perception of Bermuda’s politicians that leaves a tone of sadness. “I had people accuse me of taking bribes from the Canada government, or Aecon,” he recalled. “I would have not thought anybody could think that. When people get to the stage where they’re deciding about which ‘set of crooks’ to put in power ... I really hope that we have not reached that stage because we will only have pain in the future if that is so. I think the OBA has to look into the reason why that happened.”
August 14. Former finance minister Bob Richards has warned of “catastrophic” consequences if Bermuda does not heed a series of international dangers. The island’s OECD assessment is up for renewal, Mr Richards said, while a blacklist threat still lurks from the European Union’s Code of Conduct Group, and the eyes of the Financial Action Task Force will be cast over Bermuda next year. Mr Richards, who handed over the finance ministry baton to David Burt, the Premier, after the General Election on July 18, told The Royal Gazette: “These three hurdles are, I believe, do or die for Bermuda. “It’s ironic that this never got on the radar screen during the election, but they are the most important things moving forward. Failure to clear any of these three hurdles could be catastrophic for Bermuda.” Mr Richards warned reinsurance companies based on the island, which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, would leave if Bermuda was noncompliant. “When you are a public company like that, you can’t be located in a country that’s noncompliant,” he said. “These are the biggest threats to Bermuda, from the private sector to government people.” He credited Mr Burt for forming a Cabinet committee to look at anti money-laundering efforts, which will be the subject of the FATF assessment next year. But he reiterated his concerns that the Code of Conduct Group appears to be working with a premeditated conclusion that Bermuda should be placed on an economic blacklist because it is a tax haven that is harmful to the global economy.
August 14. The One Bermuda Alliance scored a huge own goal by making Craig Cannonier the “fall guy” for Jetgate, according to former deputy premier Bob Richards. Mr Richards described Mr Cannonier’s resignation as premier as a “very traumatic event” which could have contributed to the OBA’s dismal failure to keep the trust of the public during its 4½ years in power. He also called for fellow “old soldiers” of the party to step aside after last month’s crushing General Election defeat — with Mr Cannonier still his choice as leader. Mr Cannonier sensationally resigned in May 2014, to be replaced by Michael Dunkley, after being involved in the Jetgate controversy along with Cabinet colleagues Mark Pettingill and Shawn Crockwell. Mr Richards would not divulge the full story behind the scandal, but told The Royal Gazette: “The public doesn’t know what happened. Craig was made to be the fall guy.” The former finance minister said his own defeat to Mr Cannonier in the OBA’s first leadership contest in September 2011 had been “a blessing in disguise. I think if I had won that, I don’t think we would have won the 2012 election. Craig was the right guy. Quite frankly, he’s still the right guy.” Asked whether Mr Cannonier should return as leader — a position taken by Patricia Gordon-Pamplin following the resignation of Mr Dunkley last month — Mr Richards said: “I hope so. He’s a very talented person in ways that I’m not. He has charisma. I don’t think I could’ve done what he did in 2012 to bring people together.” Mr Richards said of the public perception of the OBA during its tenure: “They trusted us enough to get elected in the first place. The trust was clearly lost along the way. The irony is, we did do what we were elected to do, but in doing so we lost trust. I don’t have the answers.” Some believe the OBA lost that trust because it won the 2012 election under the umbrella of a new political entity, only to then resemble the old United Bermuda Party once Mr Dunkley became premier, supported by former UBP politicians such as Mr Richards, Ms Gordon-Pamplin, Grant Gibbons and Trevor Moniz. Asked for his thoughts on that theory, Mr Richards said: “I think that’s a good thesis. The resignation of Craig Cannonier, I think, was a very traumatic event for the OBA. Very traumatic. I think it had long-lasting effects. That’s another reason I’m happy to be sitting here not elected. It’s time for the old soldiers to shove off. I’m one of them. It’s time for new people to replace some of the old soldiers that are left. I think that’s what’s going to have to happen with the OBA, because people just have to accept that you do your bit. The company is not yours. You serve your time and you step aside and other people have to step up and run the show. I know this to be true. I have seen this growing up the son of a politician. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, there comes a time when you have to step aside.” He declined to name individuals, but said: “I would say to members that if they want to make changes they have got to step up and make the commitment. You can’t stay on the edge and make noises from the edge. I think there’s plenty of talent in there, and plenty of talent out there — people who may be reticent to get involved in politics, because politics is not a nice game.” On July 18, the Progressive Labour Party won 24 seats against 12 for the OBA, with the PLP claiming almost 60 per cent of the popular vote. In arguably the biggest shock of the night, Mr Richards lost his Devonshire East seat to Christopher Famous by 94 votes. Days earlier, a Global Research poll commissioned by this newspaper showed the OBA was 11 points ahead of the PLP. Mr Richards said of the survey: “One of my colleagues said people lied — I don’t buy that. Those folks have been pretty reliable. How this happened is a mystery to me. The poll was echoing what we already had, so it was a major glitch. There were some major miscalculations in what the mood of the public was on our part. People who were in the OBA are going to have to figure out what went wrong, because we did think we were going to win the election. We were clearly not connected enough to the community to understand we were even in trouble.” He acknowledged the OBA had upset large numbers of people with its approach to immigration. “That last demonstration on Parliament: I don’t think the people ever got over that,” he said. But he believed the Pathways Bill would have brought desperately needed improvement to the ailing economy, and said the Government was “determined to turn things around as rapidly as possible. We were in a hurry. Bermuda is not accustomed to government being in a hurry. It was clear to me as the economics guy that what we were proposing for immigration was very sound economics. Politics is very often quite different from hard economics. We made a political miscalculation, that’s obvious. I believe that if we weren’t operating in excess of the accustomed political speed limit, we may have had a more measured approach to that particular issue.” With the benefit of hindsight, he said: “We could have done it in pieces instead of trying to do it all at once. The phase that people felt particularly threatened by, we could have just not done, and we would be in a better position now. It was clear that people were very angry. Upon reflection, I think many people thought that we were trying to manipulate for political advantage. That was never my rationale.”
August 14. NEW YORK (Bloomberg) – A Los Angeles man who was born into a life of white-collar crime with an opulent lifestyle was ordered to serve more than 14 years behind bars for ripping off poor Native Americans, a sentence that tacked five years to time he’s already doing for ripping off investors in a Bermuda-based firm. Jason Galanis, who pleaded guilty in January to duping a Sioux tribe in South Dakota in a $60 million bond-issuing scam, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court. He appeared in blue prison garb, sporting a long beard, with his straight hair combed neatly to his shoulders. “There aren’t enough words to describe how remorseful I am,” Galanis, 47, said. “I’ll never live down the shame. It’ll be with me forever.” Galanis is already serving 11 years for another crime. The Greenwich, Connecticut, native pleaded guilty in July 2016 to swindling investors in a island-based financial-services firm, Gerova Financial Group Ltd, out of $20 million. “You’ve spent a good deal of your life charming and manipulating people,” US District Judge Ronnie Abrams said in handing down the sentence. “You’ve had many more opportunities in life than most of the defendants I have before me.” The judge initially sentenced Galanis to more than 15 years in prison, but later credited him with the 15 months he’s already served. She said her intent was to add five years to his current sentence. Defence attorney Lisa Scolari had asked for mercy, arguing last month that her client’s life was dominated by his father, John Galanis, whom she referred to as “one of the ten biggest white-collar criminals in America.” The Galanis name, she said in a court filing, is “etched into more than 45 years of state and federal criminal indictments, beginning in the early 1970s. There is a sadly familiar path,” she said, and her client “has followed directly in his father’s footsteps.” Scolari asked the judge to hand down a sentence that wouldn’t result in any additional time behind bars. Prosecutors didn’t buy it. They urged the judge to impose a sentence of almost 20 years, which would have added more than 8½ years to Galanis’s current term. “The government has little doubt that being raised by John Galanis was a significant and formative negative experience,” prosecutors said in an August 4 filing. But, “having witnessed first-hand the devastating familial costs of criminal behaviour, Jason might have been expected to live his life on the straight and narrow, and to aspire to a life both more productive and modest than that of his father.” John Galanis was charged with his son in both frauds, while two of his other sons were charged in the Gerova scam. The elder Galanis once ripped off the former head of the New York Stock Exchange and was previously convicted in 1988 of masterminding a tax-shelter scheme that bilked actors including Eddie Murphy and Sammy Davis Jr. The scam against the Gerova investors in Bermuda was also a family affair. In the latest case, father and son were accused of persuading a corporation affiliated with the Wakpamni District of the Oglala Sioux Nation, whose members live in one of the poorest regions in the US, to issue limited-recourse bonds the pair had structured. John, now 74, and Jason promised that the bond proceeds would be invested in annuities to benefit the tribe and repay investors. Instead, prosecutors said, they stole more than $10 million. Their long-time scams helped fund a lifestyle that went from the younger Galanis getting a $100,000 Ferrari for his 16th birthday to the family living in a Del Mar, California, mansion that last sold for $50 million, according to court filings. John Galanis is at a low-security prison in California. He’s due to be released in 2022 and has pleaded not guilty in the bonds case, according to court records. The US urged a harsh sentence based on the younger Galanis’s long history of breaking the law. “Galanis’s conduct is all the more egregious because the Wakpamni fraud was not his first brush with the law but was merely the latest of his repeated efforts to enrich himself and support an opulent lifestyle at the expense of his victims,” the US said. “The scale and scope of his illegal conduct, and his willingness to lie and deceive to cover it up, has only grown over time.”
August 14. Representatives from the street, the clergy, the community and Government came together for an anti-violence event at the weekend. The event — called Changing Lives — was organised by Desmond Crockwell, chief editor of Visionz Magazine, and coincided with the coming second issue of the publication. The standing-room only event, held at the Bermuda Public Service Union on Saturday night, also included, among others, Cal Burgess, Kenneth Butterfield, Ralph Burrows, Ceble Crockwell, Kenneth Matthew, Andre Minors, Pastor Maria Seaman and Dr Gina Spence. Areas touched upon by the presenters included the responsibilities of parents and women, the role of religion and the church, incarceration as a deterrent, the use of the term gang, and the motivations of those involved in antisocial behaviour. Opening the event, Mr Crockwell said the focus of the forum was on positively impacting the lives of the youth. “There are more people that have good intentions than those that have negative intentions,” he told those in attendance. “There are more of us than there is of them.” A collaborative, community-based approach is necessary to tackle the problem, Mr Crockwell said. “One person cannot save all of our young people,” he said. “Everybody here tonight has the potential to reach one young person.” Dr Ernest Peets Jr said the issue of violence was one that all members of the community must own. “The problem is actually us,” he said. “And therefore the solution must come from all of us.” According to Mr Peets, two things were urgently needed — an immediate ceasefire, and a longer-term solution. “I would recommend, based on what I’ve heard tonight, a massive public-private venture,” he said. Grassroots movements, Mr Peets said, are what bring about change. “I’m not willing to accept the current conditions and the current climate,” he said. Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, described the incidents since the new Government came into power as a “baptism of fire”. Since the General Election on July 18, two men — 20-year-old Jahcari Francis and Jahkoby Smith, 21, — have been murdered. A number of serious stabbings have also occurred. The problem, Mr Caines said, was not one that would be solved through policing alone. “We are not going to handcuff ourselves out of this crisis,” he said. “Arresting a person and locking them up — that is not getting to the root of the problem.” Mr Caines said he believed the violence was a result of “systematic, untreated, long-term trauma. We are now seeing a manifestation of that in our young men,” he said. During his 30-minute speech, Mr Caines first laid out recent statistics relating to violence, followed by the Ministry’s plan to address it, and finally the commitment he needed from the community. Mr Caines asked those in attendance to sign up to be “peace builders. I believe the strategy for healing this country is in this room. If you leave this room without getting on one of these committees, and attaching yourself to something, you are a part of gang and gun-related violence in this country.”
August 14. Bermuda’s Carifesta participants have been wished good luck as they prepare to show off the island’s culture in Barbados. Carifesta involves countries of the Caribbean and Latin America who gather to celebrate the spirit of their people through the expressions of art, craft, music, food, fashion, film, folklore, health and beauty, literary arts, theatre and dance. According to a press statement from the Ministry of Social Development and Sports, it provides a forum for the people of the region to be exposed to each other’s culture. In a statement ahead of the ten-day cultural extravaganza which begins on Thursday, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Heather Whalen director stated: “The benefits of Bermuda’s participation in Carifesta go far beyond the advantages that will be derived by those who attend. The knowledge that participants will gain while there will be brought back to Bermuda and shared with countless others; thereby strengthening the broader cultural community. In this particular Carifesta programme, Barbados will be placing great emphasis on the promotion and development of cultural industries; we will gain insights that can help Bermuda further develop and promote our cultural industries here.” Participants include rapper Adum Reb (former stage name, K.A.S.E.), published author and visual artist Alan C. Smith, published author and storyteller Florenz Maxwell, banana leaf doll maker Ronnie Chameau, United Dance Productions dance group (Suzette Harvey, In’Dasia Showers-Reid, Karina Forth, Shani Tucker, Zane Aberdeen, Zya Fraser and Keiazia Burchall-Busby), songwriter, producer, singer, tap dancer and actor Mitchelle “Arijahknow Live Wires” Trott, poet Chris Astwood, the Bermuda Gombeys (including representatives from H&H Gombey Troupe, Gombey Evolution Troupe, Wilson’s New Generation Gombeys, Place’s New Generation Gombeys, Warwick Gombey Troupe, and the Gombey Warriors), writer Yesha Townsend, poet and vocalist, Joy T. Barnum, artist and art educator Edwin M.E. Smith, the Wall Street Band (Robert Edwards, Eugene Tuzo, Denton Leader, Conrad Roach, Charo Hollis, Max Maybury, and Eugene Joell), dancer Rikkai Scott and singer Cindy Smith.
August 14. The 2017 Rubis Around the Island Power Boat Race will go down in history as the year of rookie. All three of the class winners had a rookie in the cockpit, including the A class entry, driven by pilot Shaki Easton and rookie co-pilot/owner Errin Butterfield, which was the first boat to complete the 54-mile racecourse in 1hr 6min. “I’m very excited and shocked,” an emotional Butterfield said. “It was my first time going around the island and I owe this to a whole lot of people. I also thank my wife Martha who reluctantly agreed for me to go around the island and supported me, Shaki who kept me motivated and also all of my sponsors who without their assistance we wouldn’t be here today.” Easton and Butterfield led the overall fleet before being passed by the D class entry driven by twin brothers David and Mark Selley in the late stages of the race. However, the Selley brothers were dealt a cruel blow when they suffered a mechanical breakdown and had to withdraw, allowing Easton and Butterfield to retake the overall lead. But victory came at a cost for Easton and Butterfield as their 19ft Phantom suffered a crack in its hull after striking a wave on a treacherous South Shore. “We hit a wave hard around Castle Roads and the gel coating on top cracked,” Butterfield said. “We jumped up and the boat landed on an angle. The North Shore was a little bumpy and we were able to ride at a pretty good speed. But then when we hit Pompano Beach Shaki told me to hold because was going to get rough. He was trying to take different lines and we were popping out of the water and so I’m a little sore.” Also savoring victory at the first attempt in the D Class was rookie pilot Andrew Cottingham, who just happens to be the chief mechanic and a sponsor of Butterfield’s boat. “This was my first time going around the island and Henry [co-pilot Henry Talbot] guided me where I had to go,” Cottingham said. “North Shore, all through town and back of Dockyard was beautiful. But as soon as we hit Pompano Beach it was on and we knew then it was a race of endurance. We started seeing boats broken down as we were going down South Shore so we slowed down because our boat is a flat-water boat and we knew it wasn’t capable of catching the boats ahead of us. We just went along at a steady pace until we got back into the right conditions we can run in and it worked out for us. We’re so happy to make it back safely.” Incidentally, Cottingham and Talbot’s elapsed time was identical to Easton and Butterfield’s. “When we heard Shaki and Errin came back first it made the celebration even better,” Cottingham added. “The guys have put a lot of time and work into testing to get these boats where they need to be. My first year out I’ve had a blast.” Another rookie achieving success was Josh Allen who was the co-pilot on Ryan Resendes’s B Class entry. The pair’s feat was nothing shy of remarkable given the hurdles pilot/owner Resendes had to overcome in the final days leading up the race. “I just got this boat on Wednesday, spray painted it on Thursday and then spent all day Friday and Saturday putting it together,” Resendes said. “Today is my first day actually driving this boat. I tried two propellers and the second one was the best and we went out. I had no clue how to drive the boat and went out and drove it and won my class. I’m totally shocked and wasn’t expecting this at all.” Resendes’s come-from-behind victory also came at a cost as his boat suffered considerable hull and mechanical damage. I have about $5,000 in damage to my boat right now,” he said. “There was a lot of damage done and obviously it’s not worth it. It was rough and I will never do it again in conditions like this.” Eight of the 18 entries that started the race, featuring three classes, managed to go the distance.
August 14. Bermudians are encouraged to apply for scholarships on the British government’s global leadership programme. The Chevening Awards offer fully-funded scholarships and fellowships for future leaders and influencers to study in Britain, according to a press release from Government House. Successful applicants for the 2018-19 year will live and study in Britain, so that they can develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience British culture, and build lasting positive relationships with Britain. Apply before the 7 November deadline at www.chevening.org/apply.
August 14. A pool maintenance veteran has seen a rise in the number of customers switching from freshwater to saltwater pools. Tim McKittrick, owner of Tim’s Pools Ltd, has been in business for 15 years and witnessed many changes during this time. He said: “Saltwater is not as harsh on the skin, doesn’t smell as much, it is much better for the surfaces of the pool, metals that are in the pool and railings. Overall it is a big help.” Salt from the ocean has 30,000 parts per million, Mr McKittrick added. He adds salt to freshwater equaling about 3,500 parts per million. This is not a straightforward process. Salt is added to a freshwater pool before placing it on electrolytic plates in a salt cell which converts the table salt into chlorine for the pool. With technology advancing other change has happened as well, such as, customers moving from a regular standard pump to a variable speed pump, which helps save money on electricity and will turn itself off if customers forget to top up their pool. With the new advancements, Mr McKittrick understands the importance of keeping up-to-date and continues to take refresher courses and certifications to instill confidence in his customers. Relationships are important to him because he hopes that building relationships will maintain customers. “The biggest challenge I face is loyalty in the business. I find a lot of customers don’t stay loyal which can be hard so it’s about building relationships. Once you do, people tend to stay. You gotta take the good with the bad and move on and just continue building.” Mr McKittrick has a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management and was a teacher prior to owning his pool business. He believes both those careers shaped him to become the successful business man he is. “I learnt about business and management having the hotel management experience, and teaching helps me to stay focused and be patient.” he said. Having a staff of only four, he plans to expand and grow with opportunities for dedicated people to remain with the company. “I train my staff and get them certified,” Mr McKittrick said. “It is all on-the-job training. I want dedicated people who are willing to stay and help with the business. In the past I had employees who I have trained up and they left after. I just want people who will stay.” Besides maintaining pools the company power-washes pool decks, furniture and driveways, seal decks, and does basic plumbing. They offer free consultation for new clients who are building new pools. Mr McKittrick added: “We also install salt systems and variable-speed pumps even if people want to maintain the pool themselves.”
August 13. There has been a “marked increase” in cases of the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea in Bermuda according to the Department of Health. The increase began in June and appears to be growing, the department said, with those affected ranging from 20 to 50 and half the cases in those aged 26 and under. About two-thirds of the cases reported to the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit affected females and throughout June and July there have been 20 cases reported. This is well above the two to nine cases reported each year during June and July from 2012 to 2016. Gonorrhoea can infect both men and women and causes infections in the genitals, the anus and the throat. You can get gonorrhoea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhoea while a pregnant woman with gonorrhoea can pass the infection to her baby during childbirth. Untreated gonorrhoea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men. In a statement released this afternoon, the department advised: “If you notice any symptoms of gonorrhoea, or if your partner has an STI or symptoms, both of you should be examined by your doctor. Alternatively, you can visit the Communicable Disease Control Clinic, Department of Health, 67 Victoria Street for free, confidential testing. It is also important to inform all your sexual partners if an infection is confirmed, and encourage them to seek medical advice.” Some men and women with gonorrhoea may have no symptoms at all but symptoms, if experienced, may include: A painful/burning sensation when urinating; in men — a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis/painful or swollen testicles; in women — increased vaginal discharge/vaginal bleeding between periods. Anal infections may include: discharge; anal itching; soreness; bleeding; painful bowel movements. The only way to completely avoid gonorrhoea (or other STIs) is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The department advised that to lower your chances of getting a sexually transmitted infection: Be in a long-term relationship with one sexual partner, who only has you as a sexual partner, and has been tested and has negative STI test results; and use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex. The statement continued: “Gonorrhoea can be cured with the right treatment. If diagnosed with an STI you must return to your doctor for treatment and notify your sexual partners so that they can be diagnosed and/or treated as well. It is vitally important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. It is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhoea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhoea are increasing. There is evidence that a strain of gonorrhoea seen locally may be resistant to treatment by one of the most common antibiotics. If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a healthcare provider to be checked again. If you have been diagnosed and treated for gonorrhoea, to avoid getting re-infected or spreading gonorrhoea to your partner(s), you and your sex partner(s) should avoid having sex until you have each completed treatment. Re-infection is possible.” For more information, call or visit your physician or the Communicable Disease Control Clinic, Department of Health, 67 Victoria Street, Hamilton or call 278-6442 with any questions or concerns. You can also visit www.health.gov.bm/health-data-and-monitoring
August 13. Bar owner Carlton Simmons has been arrested after he and another man suffered stab wounds in a fight in his Ambiance Lounge. Mr Simmons, 40, and a 32-year-old man were taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital after the incident in the Ewing Street club at 4.15am yesterday. This afternoon, police said the younger man was in a stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit. Mr Simmons, who was treated and released from hospital, has been arrested and is now in police custody. Mr Simmons opened Ambiance Lounge three years ago. He said it was part of an effort to regenerate the area around Court Street and Ewing Street. Mr Simmons served as an alderman for the Corporation of Hamilton from May 2012 to May 2015, and also formerly ran the Youth on the Move charity, which aimed to help disaffected young people find work. Yesterday’s fight was Bermuda’s fourth serious stabbing incident in about two weeks, following the killing of Jahkobi Smith at the West End Sail Boat Club on July 29, a domestic incident in Sandys on August 1 and a stabbing in Sports Locker, Hamilton, on August 2. Police have appealed for anyone who was in the Ambiance Lounge at the time, or was in the Ewing Street and Court Street area, to call Acting Detective Inspector Jason Smith on 247-1218 or 717-0864, or e-mail email@example.com. Alternatively, call Crime Stoppers on 800-8477.
August 13. Tropical Depression 8 in the Atlantic has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm and has been described as a potential threat to Bermuda. Tropical Storm Gert has winds of 30 knots and gusts of 40 knots and is forecast to pass 245 nautical miles to the north-north-west of the island on Tuesday at 7pm, although the Bermuda Weather Service says it may move closer after that point. At 6pm today, it was 437 nautical miles to the south-west of Bermuda, travelling in a north-north-west direction at a speed of 9 knots.
August 12. Pepper-sprayed MP Lawrence Scott yesterday said that a new report on the December 2 protest at the House of Assembly did not speak as loudly as last month’s election result. Mr Scott added that the results of the General Election on July 18 gave him more closure on the incident than the report from the Police Complaints Authority released this week. “July 18 was basically a report on the last five years,” the Warwick South East Progressive Labour Party MP said. The report — the final of three ordered following the incident — criticised the leadership and planning behind the police response on December 2, 2016, which included the use of Captor pepper spray on protesters, including Mr Scott, but cleared individual officers of wrongdoing. It concluded that the confrontation had left a “scar on Bermuda’s history”. Mr Scott, who said he had “skimmed” the report, said the real question that needed to be addressed was what had brought protesters out in the first place. “What led up to December 2 — that’s what has to be looked at, versus what happened on December 2,” he said. The One Bermuda Alliance Government, he said, had “disenfranchised” every segment of Bermuda, including seniors, the church community, and teachers and created a “powder keg environment. The slightest thing would have set it all off.” Michael DeSilva, Commissioner of the Bermuda Police Service, acknowledged that the actions of police at the protest had left some members of the community angry and disconnected. “We continue to work to heal that wound by demonstrating that we have taken the lessons on board,” Mr DeSilva said in a statement issued yesterday afternoon. “We know that the ability of the police to do our job effectively relies on strong trust and support from the public.” He said the BPS acknowledged the findings of the report. “We accept the determination that police officers did not act negligently or with misconduct is an appropriate finding based on the evidence,” Mr DeSilva said. He added that views expressed about mistakes made by senior officers “thoroughly covered” in an earlier report came as “no surprise”. Mr DeSilva said: “In my statement in March in reply to the (National Police Co-ordination Centre) report, I acknowledged the findings of the report and I accepted the ten recommendations it made.” He said that work on addressing some of the identified areas with deficiencies had already begun, with additional training taking place later this year. “We will do our part to manage protests appropriately in Bermuda,” he added. Michael Dunkley, the former premier, described December 2 as “a day when political scheming, law breaking and official actions collided to create a day no Bermudian can be happy with”. Mr Dunkley said he was confident the BPS would “consider all recommendations” from the reports on the incident and “take every necessary step to improve policing, protect public safety and enforce the laws of Bermuda for the benefit of all residents”. He pointed to the latest report, and the two previous ones, which “unequivocally dispels misinformation” suggesting the OBA government was responsible for the police decision to use pepper spray. Mr Dunkley quoted a statement made by Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, in which he described the report’s findings as “disturbing and lacking the closure only proper accountability can bring”. Mr Dunkley said: “I hope he finds his colleagues accountable. I suggest one cannot have a complete assessment of December 2 without questioning the actions of everyone involved and that included members of the PLP. After all, we are all in this together and we must all be responsible for our actions.” In a statement released yesterday morning, Mr Caines said: “Ordinary citizens rely on public bodies and institutions to ensure accountability for actions taken and decisions made. People must have confidence that where one body gets it wrong, another will make it right. I have shared my views on the decision with the PCA’s chairman, the Governor and the Commissioner." Mr Caines said that the path forward began “with accountability for what the PCA refers to as the ‘lack of planning and poor communication’ that led to the events of this terrible day”. He said discussions regarding accountability would continue with Mr DeSilva and Governor John Rankin. Mr Caines added: “Both this decision and the NPoCC report of January 2017 speak to significant needs within the BPS related to planning and training. The Commissioner’s acceptance of and action on the recommendations is an important and encouraging step in the process. I am committed to supporting the Commissioner and his senior command team in securing that training as we must ensure that this kind of event does not happen again.”
August 12. The Customs Department has not changed its policy on importing cannabis-related items, shop owners have been advised. It follows confusion on social media after Customs sent businesses a letter warning them food, drink and beauty products containing hemp are being sold in local shops. That letter reminded traders that the importation of goods containing cannabis, cannabis resin or cannabinoids is punishable by imprisonment or fines, and that any goods found containing them, including hemp, would be sent to police for investigation. In a statement to clarify the matter, shared with The Royal Gazette today, the Customs Department said: “The Collector of Customs has taken note of certain concerns expressed on social media regarding a letter to all customs traders concerning the importation of goods containing cannabis, cannabis resin or cannabinoids. The Collector wishes to dispel any possible misunderstanding concerning the content of that letter. The Collector confirms that there has been no change in Customs policy regarding the import prohibition on cannabis, cannabis resin or cannabinoids. The letter simply restates the effect of the relevant legal provisions, and sets out what importers of products containing these substances might expect for any breach of the law. For the avoidance of doubt, no advice has been issued to importers by the Customs Department regarding any such products already on the shelves of local shops.” The Customs letter dated August 2, stated: “It has come to the attention of the Collector of Customs that a variety of food and beverage preparations and beauty and skin care products purporting to contain hemp protein, hemp seed or hemp oil are on offer for sale in certain local retail shops. The presence of these products on shop shelves notwithstanding, we would remind all customs traders that the importation of any part of the cannabis plant (except fibre produced from the stalk of the plant); cannabis resin; or natural or synthetic cannabinoids is prohibited by law. Importations of goods or products containing these substances are subject to forfeiture and those responsible for the importation may be liable to penalties or imprisonment. For the avoidance of doubt, ‘cannabis plant’ includes the hemp plant or industrial hemp plant. Should any customs officer have reasonable grounds to suspect that any imported goods contain any of the substances listed above, those goods will be detained and forwarded to the Bermuda Police Service for investigation.” Any questions concerning the importation or exportation prohibited or restricted goods should be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on import and export prohibitions and restrictions has been published on the Bermuda Government website at www.gov.bm.
August 12. Raymond Butterfield died as a result of two stab wounds to the chest, a jury was told yesterday. A post mortem found that the 28-year-old footballer suffered two stab wounds, one which punctured his left lung and a second which struck an artery. The Supreme Court also heard he suffered injuries to his left hand typical of defensive wounds. Prosecutors have alleged that Mr Butterfield suffered the fatal injuries on March 5 in a clash with Mikiel Thomas in the street outside of the Blue Waters Anglers Club in a dispute stemming from a refused drink. PC Raisa Tuzo testified that she attended the scene just after 11pm in response to reports of a fight outside of the club. She said she saw a group of people outside the club, including two men who appeared to be in an argument and approached them, thinking that it was the clash that was reported. “I asked them why they were engaging in the argument,” she said. “One said he was angry because he had gotten a message that some one had called his sister a b***h because she refused a drink." He said he came ‘to slap some n*****’s head off’.” While speaking to the men she noticed Mr Butterfield, who she knew from school, approaching her and her partner’s police car. “I noted that because I knew Ray and he didn’t talk to police,” she said. “I saw him sit in the driver’s seat and thought that was strange. It wasn’t until a member of the public shouted out that he was bleeding that I went across to lend assistance.” She told the court that Mr Butterfield was bleeding from a wound to his upper left chest and was not responding to those speaking to him. “His eyes were open and he was moving around, but he wasn’t saying anything,” she said. “It seemed to me he was in shock.” Mr Butterfield was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where he died of his injuries. Mr Thomas, 19, has denied a charge of murder. Earlier in the trial, the jury heard evidence from a witness who testified that earlier in the evening she had an argument with Mr Butterfield after someone he was with in the club insulted a friend. She left the club and ran into Mr Thomas and other members of his football team, leading to a clash between the victim and the defendant in which Mr Butterfield punched Mr Thomas before going back into the club. The witness testified that a short time later Mr Butterfield left the club, he and Mr Thomas ran at each other and clashed in the street. Under cross-examination, she accepted that she had been arm-in-arm with the suspect seen in CCTV footage as clashing with the victim — which she had not mentioned to police. The trial continues.
August 12. An elderly pedestrian suffered chest and pelvic injuries after being hit by a woman on a motorcycle this morning. The man, 76, was taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital following the accident on Middle Road, just east of Lindo’s, Warwick, at about 9am. This afternoon he was said to be on a general ward. The woman, 28, sustained a head injury and needed stitches to her lips and chin, but is expected to be discharged from hospital today. Police diverted traffic as officers processed the scene this morning. It was the third serious road accident in Bermuda within 16 hours, following the death of a 52-year-old motorcyclist on Black Watch Pass yesterday evening, and a motorcyclist suffering serious leg injuries in a crash on Middle Road, Southampton, early this morning. Witness should call police on 295-0011.
August 12. Alesha Page’s parents insist that her first word, as a toddler, was “doctor”. So although the 26-year-old cannot pinpoint exactly what first inspired her to pursue a career in medicine, no one in her family was too surprised when she did. “I always knew that I wanted to do medicine,” she told The Royal Gazette. “Always.” Ms Page has already obtained three separate degrees, including a master’s in ethics from the University of Sydney, and is now in the middle of a degree in medicine on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts. She has just been named this year’s recipient of the Dr J.J. Soares/Hamilton Medical Centre Scholarship, an award worth $10,000 annually for a maximum of three years. She was delighted to have been chosen. “It’s going to pay for most of my tuition for next semester,” she said. “I’m 26. Many people of my age are buying their first house, have jobs and are starting families. For me, all of that is on hold because of my dream. But with my chosen career I will get to wake up and give of myself to help others and I think that’s the most amazing thing I can do while I’m on this earth.” The former St George’s Preparatory student applied for the scholarship last year but was not successful. However, she said her interview with Dr Soares, a physician in Hamilton, was helpful. “He told me that I have to be more well-rounded. I thought I was already pretty well-rounded but I thought about it and realized I spent so much time studying, there wasn’t time for anything else. I love to cook, I love athletics and to read. All those things, I had put on the back burner. He told me to try to think about how to allow me to be me.” The advice paid off as the high-achieving student, who expects to graduate from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2019, has tweaked her schedule to allow for a better study/life balance with no ill-effect on her mostly A grades. “I think the balance has helped,” she said. “It’s good for stress relief. You have so much to do [at medical school]. It’s great to have an outlet.” Ms Page attended two home schools after St George’s Prep and then studied at Bermuda College, where she got her associate’s degree in science. Next was a bachelor’s degree in biology from Emory University in Atlanta, before she went to Australia. “I just wanted to stretch myself as much as I could before becoming a physician,” she said of her decision to pursue a master’s degree. “There are so many ethical issues that arise on a daily basis. It’s helpful to know how to navigate these things.” The educational route she has chosen means she will not become a doctor until she is well into her 30s, after a four-year residency at a hospital in the United States, but that does not faze her. “People say ‘it’s going to take so long’ but the time is going to pass anyway,” she said. “You might as well follow your dream and go along the path you want to take.” The student, who has shadowed doctors on the island, including plastic surgeon Christopher Johnson and urologist Charles Dyer, does not yet know what her specialism will be. Dr Dyer advised her to simply wait and let the answer become clear once she starts seeing patients on a regular basis. But Ms Page is sure of one thing: she will return to Bermuda to practise medicine once she is qualified. “Bermuda is what made me. There has been so much support; from my family but also from the community. I have always had a lot of financial backing and I am so grateful. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Bermuda. I want to be of use to my country. There is no way that I would give that to another country. I love to travel and see the world but I will be coming home.” Last year’s scholarship recipient, the first to win the award, was VaShon Williams, a student at Loma Linda University in California. He has been successful in retaining the funding for a second year.
August 12. Collins Smith, 52, has been named as the motorcyclist killed after crashing on Blackwatch Pass, Pembroke, on Friday. Mr Collins was travelling south when he apparently lost control of his bike and hit the side of the road at about 6.30pm, according to the Bermuda Police Service. He was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. It marks the tenth road death of 2017. Deputy Premier Walter Roban said on Saturday: “Last evening, Bermuda recorded another road fatality. Earlier today I reached out to family members of the gentleman who died and expressed the condolences of the Premier and the entire Cabinet. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. As a government and as a community we must work together to increase safety and reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Bermuda’s roads.” Witnesses or anyone with information about the movements of Mr Smith before the accident should call PC Oswin Pereira on 717-2360.
August 12. Shortly after 1pm on December 2 last year, a heated demonstration against the One Bermuda Alliance’s airport development proposal turned violent as police were assaulted and protesters were pepper-sprayed. The Royal Gazette looks at seven factors behind one of the most contentious days in the island’s recent history.
August 11. The change in government will not have a significant impact on the Bermuda Tourism Authority, CEO Kevin Dallas said yesterday. Speaking after the release of the latest tourism statistics, Mr Dallas said the BTA had a solid working relationship with the Progressive Labour Party and the new tourism minister Jamahl Simmons. Dallas said: “Since the BTA was created, we are on our second government and our third tourism minister. One of the reasons the BTA was created was that in the past a new minister always meant a new direction and our strategy remains largely unchanged. We worked hard to earn bipartisan support, and we will continue to do that with the Government and shadow minister.” The PLP has often been critical of the BTA, claiming that the OBA-created body lacked oversight or accountability. It also attacked declining tourism figures in 2014 and 2015. However, the party pledged in its election platform to work in partnership with the authority and stakeholders to enhance the tourism industry. Mr Dallas pointed to a good, long-running relationship with Simmons. He said: “We had a productive, ongoing relationship since before I arrived. His shift into the minister’s chair obviously changes that relationship in some ways, but we have a strong working relationship to build on.” Dallas added that he was not aware of any proposed changes to the BTA as a result of the new Government. “When we look at what was in the PLP’s platform, their language was they would support the BTA and work with the BTA, so we have not been led to believe that there is any intention to change the way in which we work, only to reinforce the way we work. That is governed by the Bermuda Tourism Authority Act, which sets out our role versus the ministry and what our reporting requirements are.” Mr Dallas also noted that the PLP’s election platform had included legislative changes matching those recommended by the BTA. “We laid out what we believe the legislative priorities for tourism should be in a statement and it was pleasing to see many of those things, in one way or another, in the new Government’s election platform. In particular the Tourism Investment Act, about modernizing incentives for hotel and visitor attraction development, is in our priorities and in the platform. So is vacation rental, and providing a framework so that comes out of a grey space and continues to grow uninterrupted.” Mr Dallas said the BTA would continue to target younger visitors, calling them one of the core focuses for the long-term future of the industry. “They have the potential to come again and again, just like how a generation ago Bermuda latched on to a younger visitor and grew with them,” he said. “That was our focus before, and that is our focus today. The America’s Cup, I think, had a wide appeal. When you look at the attention we got it ticked those youth boxes.” Dallas added that the BTA would still largely focus on the British and US markets, where there is still a great deal of room for growth. “If you look at the US market, and this is an oversimplification, Bermuda is the destination for half of one per cent of all outbound trips from the US. Doubling that number is a whole lot easier than activating China or India or anywhere in South America. And we know our marketing is well below the saturation point. We know that an additional dollar invested in the New York tri-state area, where we have five flights a day and the potential for more, is a dollar well spent. Until we are at full potential in our existing target cities, I don’t see a logic in including more, certainly not based on our budget.”
August 11. The number of people arriving on the island by air rose by 16 per cent in the first half of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Figures until June of this year also show visitor spending was up by 31 per cent compared with the same period in 2016, with a 27 per cent increase in hotel revenue per available room. Unveiling the statistics yesterday, Kevin Dallas, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said the second quarter of the year was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth for the Bermuda tourism industry, with leisure air arrivals up by 15 per cent in the quarter. Dallas said: “I know there was a lot of speculation about how this June would compare to June last year, and the results really speak for themselves. That makes six consecutive quarters of growth, which is a phenomenal run for Bermuda. I don’t think I can promise that every quarter will always be up but we are definitely on a sustained rebound.” Mr Dallas highlighted the growth in visitor spending and added that $175.1 million was spent by air visitors in Bermuda between January and June, an increase of $39.9m compared with the same period last year. “While seeing more and more visitors arriving at the airport is a nice sign of the rebound, what’s really valuable to Bermuda is what those visitors are spending on the island in local businesses and in our hotels, on various excursions and experiences that Bermudian entrepreneurs are offering. This is the money that is going directly into Bermuda’s economy.” The majority of the growth came in the form of younger visitors, with 78 per cent of the growth attributed to an increase in the number of visitors aged under 45. The number of cruise ship passengers also rose, with 13.4 per cent more visitors visiting the island by cruise ship in the first half of the year. And the number of superyachts that visited the island more than doubled, with 100 anchored in Bermuda during the America’s Cup. Mr Dallas said that increase was more significant than it may appear as many of the visits last year were simple refueling stops, but this year the superyachts arrived with their owners. There was a 13 per cent increase in hotel occupancy in the first half of the year and also growth in the vacation rental market. A total of 10 per cent of visitors stayed in rented accommodation — a 47.1 per cent increase from last year — and those visitors stayed in Bermuda on average two days longer than during the same period in 2016. And while the island saw a 10 per cent increase in visitors from the US, arrivals from Canada, Britain, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia also increased. There was an 83 per cent surge in visitors from other areas, with more than 1,000 visitors travelling from New Zealand to watch the America’s Cup. Leisure air arrivals were up nine per cent during the America’s Cup and the number of air arrivals visiting friends and relatives shot up 54 per cent. An estimated 19,103 air arrivals during the America’s Cup were first-time visitors — an increase of 17 per cent compared with the same period last year. Mr Dallas said the America’s Cup had met BTA expectations. He said: “It’s really for PwC and ACBDA to quantify what the America’s Cup effect was and what it meant to Bermuda, but the quality of the exposure and the coverage means that it actually exceeded our expectations. The second half of the year looked strong and that the BTA was expecting to finish the year with percentage increases in double digits. The bar was set high for next year, without the America’s Cup, but things look promising. There is no doubt the first half of this year will be a very hard act to follow next year, but there is a long-term trend.”
August 11. A decision handed down by the Police Complaints Authority on the confrontation between police and demonstrators blocking Parliament has been described by Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, as “disturbing and lacking the closure only proper accountability can bring”. Meanwhile Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police said remedial training was under way, and that police were working to mend their relations with the public. The ruling faulted leadership as well as the planning behind the police response on December 2, 2016, which included the use of Captor pepper spray on protesters — but cleared individual officers of wrongdoing. “Ordinary citizens rely on public bodies and institutions to ensure accountability for actions taken and decisions made,” Mr Caines said. “People must have confidence that where one body gets it wrong, another will make it right. I have shared my views on the decision with the PCA’s chairman, the Governor and the Commissioner. There is a way forward but that starts with accountability for what the PCA refers to as the ‘lack of planning and poor communication’ that led to the events of this terrible day. I will continue to discuss the issue of accountability with the Governor and the Commissioner. Both this decision and the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) Report of January 2017 speak to significant needs within the BPS related to planning and training. The Commissioner’s acceptance of and action on the recommendations is an important and encouraging step in the process. I am committed to supporting the Commissioner and his senior command team in securing that training as we must ensure that this kind of event does not happen again.” Mr DeSilva’s statement is as follows: “The Bermuda Police Service acknowledges the findings in the independent report of the Police Complaints Authority. We accept the determination that police officers did not act negligently or with misconduct is an appropriate finding based on the evidence, much of which was seen and circulated in the public domain. In terms of the views expressed about the mistakes made by senior police commanders, most of this was thoroughly covered in the NPoCC report earlier this year and therefore does not come as a surprise. In my statement in March in reply to the NPoCC report, I acknowledged the findings of the report and I accepted the ten recommendations it made. I took responsibility to correct the deficiencies that were identified in the areas of training, planning, command, communication, tactics, and stakeholder engagement. Much of the work has already been undertaken, and more training is being delivered later this year. I also acknowledge that the events of 2nd December left some members of our community feeling angry about the action we took, and disconnected from the police. We continue to work to heal that wound by demonstrating that we have taken the lessons on board. We know that the ability of the police to do our job effectively relies on strong trust and support from the public. To that end, we have been working to strengthen that trust by doing things differently. We will continue to implement all the recommendations of the NPoCC report and we will do our part to manage protests appropriately in Bermuda.”
August 11. A report into the clash between police and protesters outside Parliament on December 2 last year has concluded that officers did not engage in misconduct during the incident. The Police Complaints Authority report also said the confrontation had left a “scar on Bermuda’s history”. Police used pepper spray on demonstrators blocking Parliament “only when they properly believed that it was necessary” according to the PCA. The six-person investigating team found no order was given from higher up to use the spray and the decision to deploy the spray was taken by individual officers, as per “use of force policy”. The report added the use of Captor “could have and should have been avoided”, but for the “precarious position” officers were sent into by their commanders. The group concluded that the incidents had soured the relationship between the public and the police. But the independent body’s long-anticipated findings determined that 26 formal objections filed over officers’ handling of demonstrators “cannot be upheld”, although there was “no question that mistakes were made in the BPS at senior levels”. Protesters opposed to the airport redevelopment project had earlier blocked the gates to the House of Assembly to halt the debate of key legislation for the proposal. The most contentious episode of the day, and the main subject of a separate review by Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead of the UK’s National Police Co-ordination Centre, was the deployment of helmeted police armed with Captor in an attempt to dislodge protesters from the entrances to the grounds of Sessions House. That review criticised the planning and execution of the police’s tactics. Last night’s decision handed down by the PCA began with an affirmation of the right to lawful protest, noting that the demonstration had been “generally considered by those participating ... to be a lawful and peaceful assembly”. Captor was first used when a “bubble” of officers tried to open access to the vehicle gate, and ended up “surrounded by a crowd deemed to be hostile”. It was used a second time in a bid to retrieve an officer said to be “in danger of injury from certain members of the public making up the crowds”. Captor falls near the lower end of a use-of-force continuum, the report said, while more physical methods such as batons or tasers are “far more likely” to cause harm. It also noted that blocking entry to the House contravenes the law and that protesters “had not responded favorably” to earlier attempts to persuade them to move. Police had initially opted not to remove protesters after being informed at 10am by Randy Horton, the Speaker of the House, that MPs would not be sitting. The report said: “However, later in the day, possibly around 12.30pm, the Speaker informed Commanders that he wished the House to sit that afternoon. By this time there were many more protesters. The Commanders ordered their officers to secure access to the House for the Parliamentarians. Officers were given orders to get control of the entry gates to the House of Assembly when, with hindsight but as also advised by some at the time, the better course was to do nothing.” The report was unsparing on the lack of preparation and poor communication that affected the response, adding that senior officers believed that “if a Commander had been on site from the beginning” it may have made a difference. It also described the circumstances that led to the “bubble” tactic being used as “torturous”. The report said: “The Speaker had determined earlier on that Friday that the House would not sit. If it had been decided that the House would sit, the police would have had a relatively easy task of gaining control of the gates from the few protesters that were present early on.” But once the Speaker informed the Commissioner of Police that he wished Parliament to proceed, officers mobilized and the tactic, settled upon earlier, was never reconsidered. The next decision to call off Parliament was made sometime before 1pm but “did not reach the Commanders in time” to stop, and police officers situated among the protesters could no longer be reached by radio, forcing senior officers to shout instructions. “This was a bad day for Bermuda, the BPS and the protesters, many of whom had only intended to be there to peacefully make known their views,” the report added, saying the struggle had “rekindled memories of darker times”. Jeff Baron, former minister of national security, said the findings of the report left Bermuda confronted with a choice. “Will we take sides and become further entrenched — further divided? Or will we set a table for the police, politicians and the complainants present outside of Parliament that day to have a respectful conversation?,” he said in a statement issued last night. Some will say this sounds too audacious and impractical. I disagree. What is impractical is letting another eight months pass without having a summit on such a significant national incident.” Mr Baron said that he had “faith” that Wayne Caines, the newly appointed Minister of National Security, and Senator Jason Hayward could “facilitate this conversation”. “Let’s give them a chance,” he said.
August 11. The proposed casino at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club will feature 17 gaming tables and 200 slot machines, according to international casino entertainment company Century Casinos. An automated roulette machine will be on the main floor of the development, with a total of about 12,000 square feet of gaming space also including a “high limit area” and private room. The details were outlined in a press release announcing that Century Casinos had submitted a licence application for the casino jointly with hotel owner Hamilton Properties Limited. “The casino with approximately 12,000 square feet of gaming space will feature 17 gaming tables, 200 slot machines and an automated roulette machine on its main casino floor, high limit area and salon privé,” it said. The Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission announced last month that the Hamilton Princess made an application to become the island’s first integrated casino resort and that the hotel will make its presentation to the commission in a public meeting in September. The release from Century Casinos added that it had entered a long-term management agreement with Hamilton Properties Limited through its Austrian subsidiary Century Casinos Europe GmBH. “Pursuant to the management agreement, CCE assisted with the licence application and would manage the operations of the casino, should a licence be awarded. In addition, CCE would also provide loan funding in the amount of $5 million for casino equipment.” The Hamilton Princess was named a “designated site” last year, making it eligible to apply for a casino licence. And earlier this year, legislators approved the casino licensing application process, with the first window for applications opening in April. “The next step will be a hearing of the application on September 22. This second stage may end with the award of a provisional casino licence by the commission,” the press release added. “The third stage of the application process will be the suitability stage. Only at the conclusion of this final stage will a casino licence be granted, permitting the offering of gaming to the public, subject to the final approval of the commission to open and operate the casino.”
August 11. RG Editorial. "It is often said that more tears are shed over answered prayers than the unanswered variety, and this holds particularly true in the political field. The Progressive Labour Party defied its own expectations with last month’s stunning election victory over the One Bermuda Alliance, securing landslide majorities both in terms of the popular vote and the number of parliamentary seats won. Now basking in the early days of what’s likely to be an extended honeymoon period, the new Government is preparing to fill in some of the details of the appealing but vague policy agenda which drew so much support on the hustings. Doubtless the early initiatives it plans on rolling out will be crowd-pleasing and largely uncontentious, aimed at cementing — and burnishing — the PLP’s populist bona fides. Then factor in this administration’s proven mastery of spin, deflection and political communications: when it comes to the more bitter pills every government has to dispense from time to time in terms of policy and priorities, it’s all but certain they will be sufficiently sugar-coated to broadly maintain the wide support the PLP now enjoys. With the OBA routed and likely to be demoralized and unfocused for some time and an unassailable majority in the House of Assembly, opposition to the PLP’s programmes will be negligible and easily overcome. So theoretically the new administration will have carte blanche to govern without compromise and almost without impediment. What could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, actually, certainly over the long-term. One thing all politicians eventually learn, and many voters repeatedly choose to forget in the immediate aftermath of an election, is that it’s a lot more difficult to govern than it is to campaign — and it’s certainly a lot easier to make promises than it is to keep them. The PLP ran a vigorous quasi-insurgency campaign against the Bermuda Establishment in its many forms in the four years leading up to the 2017 election. But now the party faces the paradox which confronts populist political movements the world over once they are in office: it cannot actually govern without the co-operation of that same Establishment. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes clear PLP claims to be the only party in Bermuda capable of steamrolling entrenched interests and championing the cause of the common man were always more a matter of vote-winning political rhetoric than actual intent. Practical compromises will eventually eclipse the sketchy grand designs to put the country right outlined by the PLP on the campaign trail — and, of course, dash the artificially raised expectations of those encouraged to believe the island’s post-recessionary economic and social problems weren’t nearly so deep or entrenched as the OBA had claimed them to be. This need to compromise and make concessions to the stubborn realities on the ground will first become evident on the fiscal front. Given the constraints the PLP will operate under, given its limited ability to borrow from international capital markets, the new Government has no choice but to rein in spending and encourage private enterprise if it is to maintain Bermuda’s public-sector workforce and public services. Efforts begun under the OBA to reinvigorate and substantially broaden a tax base that has diminished as a consequence of both a shrinking population and a contracting economy will need to continue as a matter of urgency. And the PLP is fully aware of the fact that governments cannot directly create private sector jobs — they can only encourage job creation by way of tax and immigration policies and public spending on stimulus projects like the OBA’s airport redevelopment plan and the America’s Cup. While those two projects were publicly derided by some in the PLP as wasteful sideshows, privately they were acknowledged by all but the most diehard parliamentarians and activists to be sure-fire methods of putting Bermudians back to work and putting more money into the pockets of workers and the wider economy. While PLP stimulus and infrastructure projects will place a heavier emphasis on the significance of small Bermuda businesses for economic growth and job creation than was the case under the OBA, not much else is likely to materially change. The airport plan, for instance, may be tweaked and somewhat modified for public relations purposes but it’s doubtful it will be substantially reworked, let alone scrapped. And the demonstrable need to buttress the offshore sector, its support services and satellite industries will, by necessity, lead to the type of tax, immigration and other incentives which the PLP would almost certainly have railed against on the campaign trail if proposed by the OBA. But given the economic conditions which Bermuda must still contend with as a result of the crippling one-two punch of a worldwide recession and past PLP borrow-and-spend policies, such incentives will likely be unavoidable. These are precisely the types of bitter pills which will, of course, be sugar-coated by the party’s PR gurus and the first months, perhaps even the first one or two years, of the new PLP term are likely to be relatively problem free. But eventually a segment of the electorate will begin to grow angry and frustrated with the fact the PLP is not making our economic or social woes go away any faster than the OBA did. And with public-sector wages and benefits almost certain to remain stagnant over the foreseeable future, there’s also likely to be increasing discontent on the labour front as the PLP pursues steady-as-you-go policies largely indistinguishable from the OBA programme for economic retrenchment and eventual regrowth. Then consider the fact that a lopsided parliamentary majority can very often lead to factionalism, infighting and intriguing within a governing party. Simply put, in the absence of a strong and determined opposition to keep them united against a mutual enemy, a ruling party’s legislators have a tendency to start fighting among themselves. And having gone through six leaders in the last 14 years, the PLP is obviously no stranger to such destabilizing internal power struggles and feuds. The tears may not come for some time yet. But unless the PLP works diligently and consistently on attempting to reconcile the high hopes of energized supporters with some of the harder truths of governing, they will indeed come at some point — and the party will end up ruing the election day when its prayers were answered in so spectacular a fashion."
August 11. When it comes to cutting-edge ideas about emerging technologies, Alex “Sandy” Pentland has many people’s ears. So when the man, who has previously been named by Forbes as one of world’s seven most powerful data scientists, came to Bermuda there was a sense of anticipation. Professor Pentland, of MIT, did not disappoint as he discussed blockchain and related topics — and he left food for thought for Bermuda about potential avenues it might consider exploring. One of those is the concept of e-citizenship, or e-residency. He is familiar with the pioneering work done by Estonia. The European country launched an e-residency programme three years ago. The status does not grant a person the right to physically enter or reside in the country, but there are other benefits for the individuals, businesses, and for the country. Professor Pentland said: “Digital identity is fundamental And you see certain countries that implemented this and have done a good job. Estonia is one of the leaders. It now has digital identity operational for everyone in the country, and it is used by everyone. “They got rid of driver’s licences, they got rid of passports. All taxes are done online with your digital identity and, because of safeguards, they have had no breaches.” He was a keynote speaker at the Hub Culture Innovation Campus and Beach Club at Ariel Sands, which is a summer-long, pop-up campus where innovators and influencers from the island and overseas have been meeting and networking. Professor Pentland was part of a themed week that focused on digital currencies and blockchain technology. He has an extensive background in the field and in other specialities, including wearable computing, social physics and computational social science. And as he described the Estonia model for e-residency, he said it could be something for Bermuda to consider. “Estonia started something called e-citizenship. Any one can become an e-citizen and set up a company, do business from there and you never have to have set foot there. To be compatible with other countries they don’t collect tax off this. If you start your own company you are likely to hire a bookkeeping accountant that is in Estonia.” He said the country is not looking for tax revenue, and if your company made money in another country it would pay the relevant taxes in that country. “So they are not looking for the tax revenue as much as the network effect, and the fact that they have got people’s eyeballs captured to do this.” Professor Pentland said that when he told Estonians he was coming to Bermuda and asked them for their thoughts, they said they would love Bermuda to have an e-citizenship programme that was synergistic with them. Expanding on that, he said: “It would be like a global small country e-citizenship. You would offer digital services the same way to citizens all over the world. The point is you are going to hire the local accounting firm, maybe a couple of other things locally, and be aware of the other e-citizen people and companies and things that are going on in Bermuda — and that aids the economy. That’s the deal.” He said it would begin with an e-citizenship, a form of digital identity, then move to the creation of a company “a smart set-up” with smart contracts to support such activity. “That’s one thing that is worth talking about. You don’t always have to do things the way they have been done. E-citizenship is an example. Why not have a consortium of countries that provide e-citizenship?” And he also spoke about smaller countries banding together in other digital endeavors, giving them greater ability to avoid “being rolled over” by the bigger countries. Professor Pentland is a founding member of advisory boards for Google, AT&T, and the UN Secretary General. He created and directed the MIT Media Lab, and is on the board of the UN Sustainable Global Partnership for Sustainable Development data. During his presentation at the Hub Culture village, he also spoke about advances in digital identity, blockchain and systems for data federation, mentioning innovative projects in China that relate to the expansion of Beijing and the creation of a model city that aims to have “new systems managed in a distributed, federated way”.
August 11. The America’s Cup may have ended but Bermuda — and especially Dockyard — has new and exciting things on the horizon. Among the West End Development Corporation’s plans are new tourist accommodations on site and a new transport museum. Andrew Dias, the general manager of Wedco, said: “Dockyard has some new opportunities to look forward to. We are going to continue to encourage entrepreneurs to open businesses and provide goods and services within Dockyard.” Tourist accommodation is seen as one area of opportunity. Mr Dias said: “That is something that we have never gone into previously so that is something that we are looking forward to doing. We are planning to take a unit and are looking for an entrepreneur to operate just like a bed-and-breakfast, similar to Airbnb.” He mentioned that they want to test the market and bring additional revenue and different types of visitors to Dockyard. He believes that if people stay in Dockyard, they will be more inclined to shop at the stores and eat at the restaurants in the area. While the West End attraction has many cruise ship visitors, they usually eat on the ships because their package deals include meals — limiting the benefit for local restaurants. Not only does Wedco plan to attract visitors through tourist accommodations but also opening what they believe will be Bermudas first, large exhibit of transportation throughout the ages. Mr Dias said the museum will open soon and will feature historic island transport, such as horse and carriage, historic motorcycles, trains, marine dinghies, and more. “You will get a flavour of transportation in Bermuda over the ages,” Mr Dias said. “When it does open it is going to be a must-see for older Bermudians to reminisce and for younger ones to come out and learn a bit of history of what transport used to be like. Team Artemis and Oracle also contributed to the museum by donating a boat each before they departed. That will be a part of Bermudian legacy as the America’s Cup was a historic event. The international exposure Dockyard enjoyed during the America’s Cup has raised hopes of more events to follow. One of the positive things we got from the America’s Cup was the hospitality and entertainment. I wouldn’t say there was plenty of people from the actual event, but those that were not quite ready to go home after the event made their way into Dockyard and went to the Frog and Onion pub, the Anchor restaurant, or sat off with some ice cream while enjoying some more entertainment. We made sure we had different bands and activities going on for moments like this.” Although the America’s Cup was in Dockyard, Mr Dias acknowledged it was a separate event which didn’t have a huge affect on sales and revenue for local businesses. “We haven’t lost or gained much more, we stayed on track,” he said. Some Dockyard storekeepers echoed this point of view. Burton Jones, owner and manager of The Littlest Drawbridge in Dockyard said: “The end of May sales were good, but that was from the cruise ships. The America’s Cup didn’t bring in as much sales as expected. I believe most people were exhausted after spending all day at the village.” Another shopkeeper, Muna Vallis, owner of Fair Trade Bermuda said: “ Most of my sales were from the cruise ships not the America’s Cup, but it was a good atmosphere.” Joanna Cranfield, business development manager at Wedco said: “Since last year May-June revenue has increased overall by 25 per cent. Some shops have seen more benefit than others. Jewellery stores and restaurants in Dockyard saw a higher increase since last year. Overall it was fairly positive.” Mr Dias and Ms Cranfield both are grateful of the work that was done, not only by the Wedco team, but everyone who pulled together and created a successful event. “I am very proud of all the staff at Wedco, because we made sure we focused on our core businesses and not just the America’s Cup event,” Ms Cranfield said. “So when we fixed up the buildings and different attractions it wasn’t just for the event but both the jobs we had to do, by maintaining our business and providing for the America’s Cup.” Dockyard has been raising its game, said Mr Dias. “The transportation has improved, taxi, minibuses took a couple years to get sorted, but there is no such thing as a smooth transport system. Delays happen. We will always face transport challenges but I believe we have a pretty good relationship with the minibus and taxi drivers who usually are honest and say what we did or did not do right.” Mr Dias also gave credit to the public ferry operators. Mrs Cranfield said: “The reason why the Dockyard and the America’s Cup was so successful is because everyone pulled through and worked together — it is amazing what can be achieved with a collaborated effort. This could not have been possible without the help of some government departments, Wedco, entrepreneurs and the ACBDA.” They also believe that having a solid infrastructure and backbone was important whether it be telecommunications, water or sewerage system. “We are quite diversified in what we do, not only do we have shops and stores, we have our commercial, entertainment and restaurants,” Mr Dias said. “So it really is a development we continue to improve. A lot of people thought Dockyard could not handle the infrastructure and the vast amount of people but we always said we could do it, and we did it.” Wedco also strives to maintain and improve its residential area. “Historically I think our residential area needed to be improve and I think we did a good job,” he said. For more information, go to Wedco’s website at www.dockyardbermuda.com.
August 11. Fast-growing Athene Holding Ltd is continuing its expansion into Europe with the acquisition of Dublin-based life insurer Aegon Ireland. Bermuda-based life reinsurer and annuities provider Athene will carry out the transaction through AGER Bermuda Holdings Ltd, the holding company of the group’s European subsidiaries. Aegon Ireland provides wealth management and retirement planning products to more than 25,000 customers in Britain and Germany. It had assets of approximately £4.7 billion ($6.1 billion) as of June 30, 2017. The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals. Athene said consideration for the deal will be approximately 81 per cent of the own funds of Aegon Ireland as of closing. Solvency II own funds of Aegon Ireland were approximately £200 million ($260 million) as of the end of June. “The successful capital raise by AGER in April 2017 has laid the foundation for our growth in Europe,” said Deepak Rajan, executive vice-president at AGER. “This transaction is another important step towards our goal of becoming the premier European run-off consolidator and life reinsurance partner. We see significant opportunities with Aegon Ireland. This acquisition gives us a strong platform to accumulate Irish annuities, to create a reinsurance hub in Europe, and to provide services to all AGER group companies including our existing German operations. A presence in Ireland has been part of our strategy from the beginning and Aegon Ireland is a perfect fit for our growth plans.” AGER, also based in Bermuda, said it intends to break away from Athene. “Athene will remain a large minority shareholder in AGER in addition to being a preferred reinsurer for AGER’s spread liabilities,” the company said. The acquisition news came after Athene posted strong earnings growth in its second-quarter results. Net income for the quarter was $326 million, compared to $193 million in the same period in 2016. Operating income was $1.43 per share, comfortably beating the $1.08 estimate of analysts tracked by Yahoo Finance and up from 96 cents per share a year earlier. “We have delivered another quarter of strong financial performance resulting in further strengthening of our balance sheet and capital position,” said Jim Belardi, Athene’s chief executive officer. “Our differentiated, multichannel distribution platform generated record deposits of $3.2 billion resulting from growth in both our retail and institutional channels. I am pleased to announce that we successfully entered the pension risk transfer market in the second quarter, securing our first deal in which we assumed approximately $320 million in pension liabilities. Further demonstrating the diversity and flexibility of our model, we issued $1.1 billion of funding agreements during the quarter, a market in which we continue to gain significant traction.” Athene said shareholders’ equity increased 29 per cent year-over-year to $8.3 billion. Last week, Athene announced a new flow reinsurance treaty with Lincoln Financial Group to reinsure traditional fixed and fixed indexed annuities.
August 11. A new barrier system at Par-la-Ville car park will be operational on Monday morning. The Corporation of Hamilton said the system is now “fully operational”. “The car park is an all-day car park so motorists can park for $2 per hour, or any part thereof, from 8am to 6pm,” a statement said. “Cars that are parked past 6pm will only be charged for the time prior to 6pm. There will be no charge for any time after 6pm until 8am the next day when the next charging cycle begins. The lost ticket rate will still apply The ticket system is the same as that is installed in City Hall and No 1 dock car parks.” The statement added that the Corporation will have a team on hand to help car park users on Monday.
August 11. A Bermuda-registered investment fund has been ordered by the Supreme Court to wind up because the island’s financial regulator found it had breached several regulations. The Bermuda Monetary Authority petitioned the Supreme Court to wind up Cumulus Eastern European Property Fund Ltd, pursuant to section 36(1)(b) of the Investment Funds Act 2006 (the IFA) and the provisions of the Companies Act 1981. The BMA said it no longer had confidence in Cumulus’s ability to manage its own affairs to the benefit of its investors. Keiran Hutchison and Roy Bailey of EY Bermuda Ltd were appointed as joint provisional liquidators of Cumulus, after the court made the winding-up order last month. The BMA said Cumulus was in breach of the IFA and the Fund Rules 2007. In particular, said the regulator, there was a failure to prepare annual audited financial statements for the past five years. “The company has provided audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2013, which statements are highly qualified and have not yet been signed off by the company or the auditors,” the BMA stated. The regulator added that Cumulus had failed to meet the requirement to have an investment manager with day-to-day control over the management of the property of the company. “The Authority viewed the above breaches as serious because of their extent and duration, and no longer had confidence in Cumulus’s ability to manage its affairs to the benefit of its investors,” the BMA stated. “The Authority’s actions highlight the importance of its role in protecting the reputation of the jurisdiction and protecting the interests of investors.” Anyone with immediate questions related to Cumulus or the liquidation, should contact Liam Carroll at Liam.Carroll@bm.ey.com or Shannon Dyer at email@example.com
August 10. Economies of scale have helped Bermuda-based Triton International Ltd benefit from stronger than expected demand for shipping containers. In the second quarter its net income was $45.7 million, or 62 cents per share, compared with $34.6 million for the first three months of the year. The company, which a year ago was formed by the merger of Triton Container International and TAL International Group, dominates the shipping container market. During the second quarter it saw a 1.3 per cent increase in utilization of its containers, to 97.1 per cent, and that figure has edged slightly higher since the end of June. Stronger than expected global containerized trade growth this year has boosted revenue, and that trend is expected to continue during the third quarter. Since Triton’s merger last July it has purchased 1.1 million TEU of new and sale-leaseback containers, enhancing its already considerable market reach at a time when some shipping lines and leasing companies have been unable to respond due to lingering financial challenges. The company generated a $9.6 million gain from sales of used containers in the three months to the end of June. The market for used containers has rebounded this year in tandem with rising demand for container usage. Triton’s adjusted pre-tax income was $58.8 million, up from $42.7 million in the first quarter, while adjusted net income was $47 million. Total leasing revenue for the quarter was $281.9 million, up about $16 million on the first three months of the year. Brian Sondey, chief executive officer of Triton, said: “Market conditions remained strong in the second quarter and we continued to benefit from our industry-leading scale, cost structure, and operational capabilities. Our customers are indicating that global containerized trade growth has been stronger than expected this year, and industry forecasters have generally increased their growth projections for 2017 into the range of 5 per cent. In addition, the inventory of new and used containers remains extremely tight, especially for dry containers. New dry container prices have been fairly stable since March in the range of $2,100 to $2,200 for a 20-foot dry container, and market leasing rates for dry containers remain above our portfolio average rates. Used dry container sale prices continued to increase in the second quarter and are now above our accounting residual values. Triton’s financial and operational strength had allowed it to fill a supply gap in the market, mentioning its purchase of 1.1 million TEU of new and leaseback containers. Our ability to quickly and aggressively invest to meet the industry’s container needs plainly demonstrates to customers that Triton is uniquely capable of managing their most critical container requirements.” Mr Sondey expects market condition to remain favorable at least until the end of the year, with the gap between supply and demand for containers remaining tight.
August 10. People are finally starting to recognise their own role in tackling Bermuda’s violence problems now that they can no longer blame the One Bermuda Alliance, according to an anti-gang campaigner. Desmond Crockwell believes the Progressive Labour Party’s General Election victory has forced its supporters to look in the mirror and consider how they can be a part of the solution to the scourge that has blighted the island in recent years. He issued a rallying cry to the community to attend a “Changing Lives” event this Saturday, when former gang members and convicts will join social workers for an open discussion. “People are speaking out now, and it has a lot to do with the political landscape in Bermuda,” Mr Crockwell told The Royal Gazette. “A lot of people were blaming the government previously for this violence. A lot of people now who voted for the PLP are saying it’s not government’s fault, we all have to come together and pitch in. A lot of people became blinded by the political landscape at that time, particularly black people. We can now see more black people speaking out. They don’t want to blame the PLP. They are more conscious of what’s going on and that we are all contributing to what’s going on. Now the PLP is back in, who are we going to blame? We have to look in the mirror and see we are part of the solution. We have done all the blaming; we have blamed everybody. The PLP alone can’t solve the problems. Teachers, parents, neighbours, co-workers, everyone who can work in this community has to work together. I hear a lot of people say, how can I help, what can I do?” The event on Saturday will also serve as a pre-launch party for the second issue of Visionz Magazine, the anti-violence magazine of which Mr Crockwell is chief editor. Speakers will include national security minister Wayne Caines, activist Gina Spence, shooting victim Ralph Burrows, former prison inmate Andre Minors, PLP election candidate Ernest Peets and pastor Maria Seaman. Discussion topics will include how to provide safe havens, support workers and training for at-risk young men. “Businesses need to work with street workers to offer facilities where we can meet,” Mr Crockwell said. “Everyone is drawn to someone who cares about them. If we show interest in these people, they will listen to us. They want a roof over their head. They want their peace and quiet. They are people, not animals, they don’t want to be chained down. They want the same thing everyone else wants.” Since May 2009, there have been 34 gun murders in Bermuda. The past month has seen a spate of violence, including the fatal shooting of Jahcari Francis, 20, the day after the election, and the fatal stabbing of Jahkoby Smith at Mr Francis’s wake ten days later. It was one of three stabbing incidents within five days, which were followed by a large fight at the Wellington Oval during Cup Match last week. Earlier this week, national security minister Wayne Caines spoke of the need for the community to be held accountable for the surge in violence. Yesterday, Mr Crockwell said violent incidents tended to spike during the summer as people attend alcohol-fuelled parties. He said anger had also come to the surface as young men had grown frustrated at their lack of opportunities. “Every child has a talent. We need more people to pull that talent out, because if not that talent gets submerged with anger,” he said. “For example, there might be a child that really wants to play football but he can’t go to certain places. So he can’t play, which leads to more anger. You don’t get what you want; you have aggression. We as adults must come together. We don’t know who we influence. The guy in the neighborhood doesn’t realize the young boy is looking up to them when he does his ignorance.”
August 10. Mahesh Reddy’s medical credentials were called into question by detectives but later confirmed as acceptable by the island’s registration body for doctors, according to records released under public access to information. Dr Reddy, medical director of Bermuda Healthcare Services, which is owned by former premier Ewart Brown, was arrested by police officers after an early-morning raid at his home in May last year but never charged with any offence. A Supreme Court judge has since ruled that the arrest and search of his home were unlawful. Dr Reddy told The Royal Gazette yesterday: “The documents [released under Pati] speak for themselves and demonstrate that the police had no good reason to doubt my credentials.” According to minutes of meetings held by Bermuda Medical Council, police sent the statutory board “specific queries regarding the authenticity of the medical credentials of Dr Mahesh Reddy” not long after his arrest. The minutes of the council’s meeting on July 14, 2016, reveal that efforts were made to validate the credentials on file for the GP, who was awarded his first-class bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery from Gulbarga University in India in the mid-1990s. He was registered with Karnataka Medical Council in 1997 and the BMC asked chief medical officer Cheryl Peek-Ball to confirm the council was “authentic and reliable”. A meeting on August 11 was told that a “review of submitted photocopies of credentials indicate they appear to satisfy criteria for registration” and a meeting the following month, after original documents were reviewed, heard that the registration of Dr Reddy was “confirmed valid”. Bermuda Police Service was informed of the validity of Dr Reddy’s credentials but the minutes of a later meeting show that detectives met with the BMC chairman, registrations manager and Dr Peek-Ball on October 19, 2016 to “discuss further the process for registration of Dr M Reddy”. The minutes state: “Police still have concerns about authenticity of educational documents submitted and will pursue this. [Dr Peek-Ball] advised that [the] Ministry [of Health] does not possess resources or expertise to pursue matter further. BMC awaits results of the BPS investigation and will follow up accordingly.” The issue of Dr Reddy’s credentials did not crop up again at the council’s meetings until April this year, according to the records shared with this newspaper. At that point, it was recorded in the minutes that Bermuda Health Council, a separate regulatory body concerned with healthcare quality, requested the credentials of the physician. The medical council deferred the decision on whether to share the documents to the health minister. Later minutes show the credentials were sent to the health council on May 8. The minutes state: “Confirmation was given that the physician was found to have credentials acceptable to BMC for registration in 2016.” Health council CEO Tawanna Wedderburn, in response to questions from this newspaper, said earlier this year: “The health council routinely writes to statutory bodies to confirm information related to professional registration, which includes confirming whether health professionals meet the registration requirements. Our requests are made as part of the annual reporting process of statutory bodies to the health council or as part of routine operational matters. The health council is unable to comment on whether specific requests have been made.” The medical council disclosed its minutes and copies of Dr Reddy’s credentials, with his permission, under the Public Access to Information Act on July 3. A separate Pati request, to the health council, for any communication — e-mail, letter or other — between the health council and Dr Peek-Ball about Dr Reddy and Dr Brown since May last year, was rejected. This newspaper has appealed that decision. Dr Brown has said the arrest of Dr Reddy, for the suspected ordering of unnecessary medical tests, was really part of a “protracted and relentless” campaign against him, which included a long-running police investigation into alleged corruption.
August 10. Residents have called for more positive activities for young people in Boaz Island Village. Locals spoke out after a group of people threw bottles at passing traffic near the Rubis gas station in an incident on Saturday. While area residents said antisocial behaviour had not been a persistent problem, they told The Royal Gazette more guidance is needed to keep the younger generations out of trouble. “There are too many young children running around that are negative because there is nothing positive to do,” one area resident, who asked not to be named, said. “As long as there is nothing positive to do, they are always going to think negative. Give them something positive to do.” The resident, who lives close to where the bottle-throwing incident happened, suggested putting on more activities at the Sandys Community Centre, and also called for better lighting in the area along with an increased police presence to deter antisocial behaviour. But she stressed the incident near the gas station was “unusual”. She added: “This is the first time it happened out here — usually we hear about it around Woodys.” The woman explained that some of the younger residents put on a barbecue in tribute to Jahkoby Smith, who died after being stabbed at the West End Sail Boat Club on July 29. Police attended the scene after bottles were thrown at passing traffic, including police cars. According to police, nobody was hurt and spokesman Dwayne Caines said it “appeared to be a negative, emotional response” to the death of Mr Smith. But the resident also pointed out that the writing that had been sprayed on the road and nearby buildings was “unnecessary” and that “sheets are enough”. She also called for the street lighting, which was damaged in the recent hurricanes, to be fixed and said: “I feel that they come out here because there is no lighting.” Another area resident, who lives further away from the main road, added that her part of the neighborhood was also usually quiet. However, she said antisocial behaviour was a problem island-wide but that pointing fingers would not fix the problem. “We know that the problems with antisocial behaviour go a lot deeper,” she said, and highlighted underlying problems like education and jobs. “As a community we all have to find a solution,” she said, adding that there also needs to be more communication with the younger generations to find out what they need. Another resident said: “It’s always the race card being pulled and that doesn’t solve anything. It takes a village to raise a child. I think the youth of today just need guidance.” In addition to more positive activities, she said they also need to be reminded that they can make something of their lives and that “it’s not about gang life”. Simon Groves, chairman of the village’s condominium association, agreed that antisocial behaviour had not been a problem on a day-to-day basis. “Obviously what has happened in the last week or so was prompted by other unforeseeable incidents but I think that if you were to look statistically at what happens in Boaz Island, there is not greater risk in any way there than there has been in any other comparable neighborhood.” He also acknowledged residents’ concerns about the street lighting, which falls under the association’s remit along with all other infrastructure support and maintenance work for the condominium buildings. He said meetings had started with a contractor to repair lighting, with the areas most in need addressed first. But he also explained that the association is still underfunded and is owed around $180,000, because 50 per cent or more of the private property owners had not paid their monthly maintenance fees. Mr Groves said that the crumbling water infrastructure was also draining funds, which meant the association had to priorities the funds it had left after legally mandated fees had been paid. “If we had the money, which owners are legally demanded to pay, then infrastructure support such as lighting and all the other things would be in place straight away,” he added. Michael Scott, the PLP MP for the area, said knee-jerk deployment of police had to be avoided. “Police deployments must, going forward be connected with known risk and concerns and be intelligence driven,” he added. He backed the views of Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, who on Tuesday announced a multi-pronged and multidimensional approach “to compassionately and structurally address antisocial conditions in our island”. Mr Scott also endorsed more activities for children and adolescents in the area and said he would work to deliver on this. He added that he had also been made aware of security concerns about street lighting. “It is a legitimate concern which I have listed for the attention of the minister with responsibility for Wedco with a footnote that the resolve to light and fix areas and infrastructure for AC must be equally applied by Wedco in the name of resident security and safety. I am sure my government will share these security concerns and assist where required.” However, Wedco general manager Andrew Dias reiterated that all work for the village falls under the responsibility of the board. Police spokesman Dwayne Caines added that police inquiries into Saturday’s incident continued. He said police would continue to work with area residents and anyone with direct concerns should call Western Community Action Team Sergeant Andrew Exell on 717-0993 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 10. An “above average” Atlantic hurricane season is likely, with two to five storms potentially evolving into major systems. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week forecast 14 to 19 named storms, with five to nine developing into hurricanes and between two and five reaching Category 3 strength of 111mph or more. Category 3 storms, which include Hurricane Nicole last year and Fabian in 2003, can result in significant structural damage and flooding of coastal areas. In May the agency predicted 11 to 17 storms. The systems are named once their winds attain speeds of 39mph. NOAA revised its forecast as a result of the likely absence of the Pacific El Niño, which is capable of exerting a major influence on storms in the Atlantic. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with its most active phase spanning six weeks from August 20, and peaking on September 10. On average, the Atlantic season will spawn 12 storms. Six tropical storms have formed thus far in 2017: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily and Franklin. Last year’s season was notably active, with 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes.
August 10. A Bermudian schoolgirl’s book about the Uighurs brought to Bermuda from Guantánamo Bay is now on sale — with proceeds going to support their legal costs. Uyghurs: Prisoners in Paradise, written by 16-year-old Hasna Turner, started as a personal project at Somersfield Academy, but Hansa hopes it will raise awareness about their plight. “People remember them arriving on the island, but now it seems they are suffering in silence because a lot of people have forgotten them or don’t realize that they still live in Bermuda,” she told The Royal Gazette. “They received a lot of publicity in 2009 but that was before people had a really clear idea of what happened and who they are.” The Uighurs — a group of four Muslim men from central Asia — were taken in by Bermuda after being released from Guantánamo Bay in 2009. While the men have since found work, married and have had children, because of the circumstances of their arrival they and their children are considered stateless, leaving them trapped on the island. The group has since been fighting legally to earn passports for themselves and their children, and Hasna said that all of the proceeds from the book sales will go towards those legal costs. While Hasna said the book was submitted for her personal project in February, since then she has been making multiple revisions and edits to make it all it could be. She said that Luke Hansen, an American-based editor and Jesuit Priest who met the Uighurs in Guantánamo Bay, assisted with the process having taken an interest in the story. The book’s official description reads: “This non-fiction book recounts the compelling plight of four Uighurs from central Asia who fled the grueling oppression of communist China only to be caught in the crossfire of the US led ‘War on Terror’. “Their attempt to immigrate into Turkey derails as they are captured as a bounty offer in Afghanistan and turned into the US military for reward money by local tribesmen. Ultimately, this resulted in their false imprisonment within the notorious US detention centre in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Moreover, after seven years of being indefinite ‘detainees,’ and overcoming unimaginable obstacles while in captivity, their prayers begging for freedom were finally answered. Subsequently, they were released to the remote, mid-Atlantic subtropical island of Bermuda. And despite their new-found freedom in a paradise that American author, Mark Twain, once referred to as ‘superior to heaven’, they are stateless and stranded to this day, now remaining as ‘prisoners in paradise’.” The book is now available for purchase through Lulu.com. A digital eBook version of the book costs $9.99, while a printed paperback is available for $39.99 plus shipping.
August 9. A new portfolio will address Bermuda’s ageing and increasingly chronically diseased population, the new Junior Minister for Disability Tineé Furbert said yesterday. Ms Furbert was speaking after Senators Crystal Caesar, Vance Campbell and Jason Hayward were appointed junior ministers alongside her at a ceremony at Government House. Ms Furbert is the new MP for St George’s South and sat as a senator from November last year until this summer’s election. She said: “I’m very excited for the community. Bermuda is still at a place where we need to continue with awareness of disability.” Ms Furbert added that building accessibility also needed to be prioritized. She said: “I think with Bermuda having an ageing population and having an increased chronic disease population, that we definitely need to focus on disability and how we can make our community and our environment accessible.” David Burt, the Premier, said: “We have an opportunity to include people who are differently able in this Government’s priorities. We must understand their needs and address them in a manner that will support this population’s development. We understand that people with disabilities have an important contribution to make to all sectors of our society, and we must be inclusive.” Ms Furbert and her fellow junior ministers are all relative newcomers to the political scene and ran as candidates in the General Election last month. Ms Caesar will take on the junior portfolios of tourism, home affairs and economic development, while Mr Campbell will take finance, public works and government reform. Mr Hayward will serve in education, workforce development, national security, social development and sports. Ms Caesar, Mr Campbell and Mr Hayward were all appointed to the Senate last month, having challenged in seats traditionally held by the One Bermuda Alliance. Mr Hayward said he was “elated” by the trust that had been placed in him by the Premier. Asked how he would balance his new responsibilities with his existing roles as the president of the Bermuda Public Services Union and a leader of the People’s Campaign, Mr Hayward said that a “good structure” had been put in place within the union. He added: “We have a strong team, so the burdens of the responsibilities of the union are not always placed on my shoulders.” Mr Hayward said of his move into Government: “Where I was advocating for policies, I have an opportunity to assist with ensuring that those policies come to light.” Ms Caesar said it was “an honour” to be able to serve the country. She added: “I’m just ready to dig in and learn all that I can as a junior minister.” Mr Campbell described his appointments as an “awesome responsibility. It’s a responsibility that I will take on with integrity, hard work, and diligence, as I would with anything in life,” he said. He added that the economy and balancing the budget, along with addressing the cost of living in Bermuda, and the idea of a living wage, were all areas of “high importance”. With regard to public works, Mr Campbell said that work had already commenced on preparing school facilities for the upcoming year. Mr Burt said the four junior ministers would all bring “energy, professionalism and a unique perspective to the table. They are now in a position to make a real difference in the development and growth of Bermuda for all Bermudians.”
August 9. Maiden Holdings Ltd made a loss of $22.4 million, or $0.26 per common share, for the second quarter. That compared to a $30.9 million profit for the same period of 2016. Art Raschbaum, chief executive officer of the Bermuda-based company, said: “The emergence of adverse loss development in both of our key operating segments has impacted our second quarter 2017 results. “We do not believe that the development observed in the quarter is analogous to the trend observed across our portfolio over recent quarters, which specifically emanated from elevated commercial auto liability frequency and severity from the 2011-2014 underwriting years, a phenomenon which has plagued many in the industry.” The net adverse development for the quarter in the AmTrust reinsurance segment was $29.4 million. Mr Raschbaum added: “While the AmTrust reinsurance segment adverse development is relatively modest in the context of the overall historical portfolio assumed, as we have committed to in the past, it is our practice to respond to confirmed adverse development promptly. In response to observed elevated claims activity which we noted in our first-quarter earnings call, Maiden’s audit activity has confirmed claims operational changes in AmTrust’s US small commercial lines business which are believed to have contributed to a portion of the increased emergence in related casualty lines. We have however increased our reserves in these lines in the quarter in response to elevated severity in specific jurisdictions.” There was also adverse development of $25.4 million in the company’s diversified reinsurance segment’s casualty facultative business. Mr Raschbaum said: “Despite the adverse development in the quarter, year-to-date treaty commercial auto which has been the source of significant development over many recent quarters, has been benign, giving us increasing comfort that we have addressed this issue.” He noted that most recent underwriting years continue to perform within expectations, adding: “We did benefit from strong investment income, up 14.7 per cent from the prior year period driven by increased investable assets. Absent adverse development, this will improve both return on equity and operating results in future quarters.” In the second quarter, gross premiums written increased 2.5 per cent to $705.2 million, while gross premiums written in the diversified reinsurance segment were down 14.6 per cent at $140.8 million. The combined ratio for the second quarter rose to 105.8 per cent, from 98.6 per cent a year ago. Book value per common share was $11.65, a decrease of 1.4 per cent compared to the year-end 2016. In June, Maiden redeemed its $100 million 8 per cent senior notes due 2042, and issued $150 million 6.7 per cent non-cumulative preference shares. Before the earnings report was released Maiden’s shares closed at $10.56 in New York, down 45 cents, or 4.09 per cent.
August 9. A footballer suffered fatal stab wounds after a fight erupted over a refused drink, the Supreme Court heard yesterday. A female witness gave evidence that Raymond Butterfield got into a fight with Mikiel Thomas, 19, outside the Blue Waters Anglers Club on March 5 after an argument between herself and Mr Butterfield. Later that same evening, prosecutors allege that Mr Thomas stabbed Mr Butterfield. Mr Thomas has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. During the first day of the trial, the female witness, who cannot be identified due to reporting restrictions, said she attended the club with some friends but the group had decided to leave after a short time because they did not like the music. She said before they could exit, a man offered them shots. The woman said: “One of my friends didn’t want to take any and one of the guys at the bar called out ‘b***h’. I looked at her and I looked at him. She didn’t know him, so I said something to him and we started arguing. Then Raymond chimed in. We started arguing and going back and forth. Then I walked out by myself.” She told the court that when she left the club she noticed the friend who had refused the shot had already left and crossed the street to the nearby gas station, where she was talking to several members of the Devonshire Cougars football team, including Mr Thomas. The witness said: “I ran over to her because I was still upset. The Cougars team realized that I was upset and they wanted to know what happened, but I wouldn’t tell them.” The witness added that the Cougars players, including Mr Thomas, then crossed the street to the club and asked what had taken place. Several of the people who had previously been inside the club, including Mr Butterfield, were now outside. During the conversation between the two groups, the witness said she heard Mr Butterfield say that he was the one who had been disrespectful. She added that Mr Butterfield continued to argue about the incident and the confrontation became more heated. The witness said: “Then Raymond punched Mikiel. In the face. Then he threw a bottle towards him. Everybody broke it up. Raymond went inside and everybody else scattered.” The witness told the court that Mr Thomas crossed the road and sat on a bench outside the gas station facing the club. A short time later, Mr Butterfield stepped outside and the two men ran at each other. “They fell to the ground, they got up and then walked away. Both of them,” she said. “They both walked right, into town, on separate sides of the road. Everybody then scattered again and the police came.” She added that while she knew Mr Thomas from school and was aware of his involvement with the Cougars, she did not know Mr Butterfield by name. Prosecutor Takiyah Simpson told the court that when the pair collided in the street outside the club, Mr Thomas stabbed Mr Butterfield, who subsequently died as a result of his injuries. She added: “This case is about the senseless stabbing of a footballer by another footballer that had nothing to do with football.” The trial continues.
August 9. A limit drastically curtailing lobster fishing licences just weeks before the season resumes has taken the community by surprise. “It’s like a secret edict,” said longstanding fisherman Ted Gauntlett, about restrictions that would bar hundreds from a popular sport featured in the island’s online tourism guide. Calling lobster fishing an “end-of-summer tradition”, Mr Gauntlett added: “Many will be incensed at the Government’s arbitrary removal of what we consider almost a rite of passage.” To the consternation of amateur fishermen, a limit of 150 licences has been imposed on a sport normally granted more than 600 permits annually. Licences cost $130 according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources — meaning the new policy stands to put the Government around $60,000 out of pocket. Fishermen expressed concern that an abrupt cutback with no rationale could encourage people to flout the law. “I’m not aware of any concerns over the state of the lobster fishery,” Mr Gauntlett said. “Normally around 30,000 per annum are caught but sometimes it’s as high as 36,000.” The great majority of the shellfish are taken by commercial fishermen, he added. Like others, Mr Gauntlett got a rude awakening this month when fishermen headed to the department to pay their dues. “We’re just going on rumor at the moment, but we believe it’s correct,” he said. “The cap is 150. That’s a huge 75 per cent reduction.” An online petition has been started and Mr Gauntlett, who co-founded the Bermuda Amateur Lobster Catchers Association against past regulations, said the group might reform in protest. Regulations are set by the marine resources board, while the department itself is now under the purview of Home Affairs. In response to inquiries, a spokeswoman told The Royal Gazette that the ministry was “looking into the various factors that influence the licensing/relicensing of recreational lobster fishers, and will come to a decision once all aspects have been reviewed. The public will be informed once the decision is made.” Stuart Joblin, who has had a licence to dive for spiny lobsters for 30 years, called it “frustrating to have this decision for something that is so loved”. The owner of Makin’ Waves said he had already ordered stock for the season, having “no idea the goalposts had been completely repositioned”. Mr Joblin discovered he was ineligible on the first business day of this month, when he went to restore his sports diving permit for the season starting on September 1. Licence holders normally declare their takings — but this year’s requirements include a stipulation that holders submit their “returns” before the end of April. On the Facebook site, BDA Lobster Divers Licence Petition, Mr Joblin said only the first 150 licence renewals were approved. Those who had never held a licence, or who failed to renew last season, would be declined. “If there’s a reason, it’s nothing they have shared,” Mr Joblin said. “We ought to have been consulted on some level. It’s not like we have not fulfilled our obligations.” He added: “We’re the guys who first noticed lionfish, who rescue turtles — it’s not a job; we’re out there because it’s something we love.” The decision was “probably made under the previous administration”, Mr Joblin said. Lobster season is keenly anticipated and lasts until March 31. Once little-regulated, it has been subject to a variety of rules, some of which proved unpopular. The Bermuda Amateur Lobster Catchers Association was formed in 1984 after commercial operations lobbied the Government to deny recreational fishing. Mr Gauntlett said there had also been calls to limit fishing to Bermudians, which BALCA opposed. Calling the latest move incomprehensible, he said: “If they are only now looking into the various factors, why have they already created a cap of 150? It sounds to me that BALCA should most urgently reawaken.”
August 9. A rare local seabird is pulling back from the brink of extinction thanks to a “100 per cent successful” breeding season. But conservationist David Wingate warned that the survival of Bermuda’s three remaining pairs of the common tern remains precarious. “We can only pray now that no new hurricane will hit Bermuda this year to undo this small incremental step to recover,” Dr Wingate said. “It is quite possibly the last chance that this most beautiful and graceful addition to our summer harbour scene will have to recover.” The migratory bird thrives around the world, but the Bermuda population, which DNA analysis shows to be endemic and distinct, was almost wiped out by Hurricane Fabian in 2003. Since then, a string of direct hits from hurricanes have kept their population dangerously low. Sterna hirundo has been protected with the help of Bermuda Maritime Operations, the marine police and the local boating community, who have kept “a respectful distance from their vulnerable sign posted breeding sites in St George’s and Hamilton harbours and in Little sound”, Dr Wingate said. “Two of these sites were abandoned ship buoys dating from the period of US Navy occupation between 1941 and 1995, which had to be modified into mini-islands by the addition of sand, perimeter rock barriers and shade covers.” Terns typically lay eggs in clutches of three. Nine birds fledged successfully this summer and have been ringed or banded for identification. Unlike the success story of the cahow, local terns are at the mercy of the elements before they head to their wintering grounds in South America. “Data from 45 years of monitoring has revealed that every time Bermuda is subject to a direct hit by a Category 2 hurricane or higher, the entire fledgling crop and most, or all, of the male adults are wiped out,” Dr Wingate said. “Partly for this reason, the tern has never been very common on Bermuda. Over the last 50 years, the maximum number of pairs was 35, attained in the early to mid-1980s at the end of a very long cycle of low hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin.” Global warming, which is expected to intensify hurricanes, could “easily tip the scale towards extinction of the local population”, Dr Wingate added. The last chicks to fledge, on the ship buoy in the Little Sound, developed their adult feathers just before Cup Match.
August 9. The Bermuda Broadcasting Company has been taken to court by the Performing Rights Society for alleged breaches of copyright legislation. And, according to a preliminary ruling, the broadcaster asked Supreme Court to find that the island’s copyright laws were invalid. The judgment by Chief Justice Ian Kawaley, dated July 21, states that Bermuda Broadcasting had argued that the Copyright and Designs Act 2004 (CDA) was void due to conflict with UK law. Alternatively, the company argued that the CDA was void because Bermuda’s legislature was not “constitutionally competent” to legislate foreign copyright protection. The courts, however, ruled in favour of the PRS on both preliminary issues. During the July 17 hearing in Supreme Court, lawyer Peter Sanderson, representing Bermuda Broadcasting, argued that the CDA was in conflict with the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which was extended to Bermuda in 2008 — on the same day that the CDA came into effect. The UK Act’s extension to Bermuda was revoked in 2009, but Mr Sanderson argued that having two competing statutory schemes created a legal inconsistency, or “repugnancy” which rendered the CDA void. Mr Justice Kawaley said that if Mr Sanderson’s argument was correct, the result would be that Bermuda has had no statutory copyright law for nearly eight years. And he wrote that there appeared to be no “substantive conflict” between the two schemes. “On any view, the 2009 Bermuda Order, made on Guy Fawkes Day 2009, seems to have been more of a damp squib than a firework in Colonial Laws Validity Act repugnancy terms,” he added. The Chief Justice ruled in favour of PRS, but said Bermuda Broadcasting could argue during the main trial that specific provisions of the CDA were void for repugnancy between February 8, 2008 and November 12, 2009, when both regimes were in place. But the judge took a stronger stance on the “ambitious” argument that the CDA was void because Bermuda legislature was unable to legislate foreign copyright protection. “The CDA does not impose liabilities on overseas persons or entities at all,” he wrote. “It will only be extended to such overseas parties as part of a quid pro quo for similar protection being granted to Bermudian authors and copyright owners in other jurisdiction under corresponding foreign law. The territorial centre of gravity of the CDA is Bermuda.” Mr Justice Kawaley later added: “The CDA was clearly within the competence of Bermuda’s Legislature to enact and the argument that it is invalid because it has impermissible extraterritorial effect must be firmly rejected.” The case is expected to return to the courts later this year.
August 8. Argo Group International Holdings saw its net income improve to $46 million in the second quarter, compared with $30.9 million for the same period in 2016. The Bermuda-based company also saw 22 per cent increases in gross written premiums to $687.2 million, and net investment income to $43.6 million. Mark Watson, chief executive officer, said: “Argo Group’s results for the first six months of 2017 reflect strong investment returns and profitable growth in our US, Bermuda, and Latin America operations. “Book value per share grew 8.2 per cent over the past 12 months and the annualized return on average shareholders equity was 9 per cent at June 30. These results demonstrate continued value creation for our shareholders through our focus on specialized products and distribution globally.” On February 6, the insurer and reinsurer completed its buy-up of Ariel Re, and since that date Ariel Re results have been included in Argo Group’s consolidate international operations results. Argo’s net income for the quarter was $1.48 per share, up 48 per cent on the same period a year ago. Adjusted for investment gains, net income was $1.31 per share, up 9.2 per cent. Book value per common share is now $62.65, up 4.9 per cent since the start of the year. The company’s combined ratio was marginally higher, rising 1 per cent to 96.6 per cent. Estimated pre-tax catastrophe losses were $4.5 million, compared to $22.7 million a year ago. While estimated pre-tax catastrophe losses for the first half of the year are $6.3 million, down from $26 million during the same period in 2016. Before the earnings report was released, Argo Group shares closed in New York at $60.20, up 35 cents, or 0.58 per cent.
August 8. A decade-old record for the value of catastrophe bonds issued in a single year has been broken. The first six months of this year saw a greater value of cat bond issuance than during the full-year record set in 2007. Major bond issuances, covering earthquakes and hurricanes in North America have been mostly responsible for the new record. And it is good news for Bermuda, which has a market share approaching 75 per cent of the world’s outstanding insurance-linked securities capacity. At the end of June, the value of catastrophe bonds issued to date this year was $8.55 billion. To put that in context, the record for a full year, set a decade ago, was $8.38 billion. The inflow into the market more than made up for the $4.17 billion outflow from bonds matured during the second quarter. There was more than a $1 billion market expansion due to new issuance during the three months. The total for the period was $6.37 billion, beating the previous second-quarter record set three years ago by $1.89 billion. As of June 30, the global outstanding catastrophe bond limit was also a new record at $26.12 billion. Aon Benfield, in its insurance-linked securities second-quarter update, stated: “The strong 2017 year is in part based on the renewal of the record amount of limit maturing in the first half of 2017. However, three new sponsors, favorable pricing, and the ability of alternative capital to provide significant capacity again and again, resulted in the expansion of the overall market.” The new sponsors were Casablanca Re Ltd, Integrity Re Ltd, and Torrey Pines Re Ltd. Casablanca and Integrity are issuances by Florida specialty companies, with both covering Florida named storms, and Integrity also covering severe thunderstorms. Torrey Pines Re covers US earthquake risk, named storms and severe thunderstorms. The second quarter also saw the placing of the third largest catastrophe bond, the $1.25 billion Kilimanjaro II Re series 2017-1 and 2017-2. Covering named storms and earthquakes in US, Canada and Puerto Rico, there was such demand from investors that the transaction was more than doubled from an initial $600 million. Six public entities also issued $2.2 billion of catastrophe bonds during the second quarter. They were all repeat sponsors. Pelican IV Re Ltd, issued by Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, and Everglades Re II Ltd, issued by Florida Citizens, cover hurricanes losses in their respective states. Ursa Re Ltd, the California Earthquake Authority’s seventh offering, and largest to date at $925 million, is the fifth largest cat bond issued. MetroCat Re Ltd is the second cat bond by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority covering storm surge from New York hurricanes and earthquakes. Texas Windstorm Insurance Association’s third Alamo Re Ltd covered named storms in Texas and severe thunderstorms, while Cranberry Re Ltd is Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association’s third cat bond covering named storms, severe thunderstorms and winter storms. According to the Bermuda Monetary Report in June, ILS with a combined nominal value of $21 billion were listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange at the end of the first quarter, or 77 per cent of global market capitalisation of ILS. Bermuda’s dominance was reinforced in the first quarter, when almost 93 per cent of new issuance was underwritten by Bermuda-based SPIs, the BMA reported.
August 8. The island’s new Minister for National Security has called for the entire community to be held accountable amid an increase in violence. Wayne Caines said the new Government would deal with the problem using a “multifaceted” approach and also revealed that the public would be “formally” asked for help this week. Mr Caines said in a Facebook post “Since I became Minister of National Security, we have experienced two murders, a near-fatal stabbing, a fracas involving gang-related persons at Cup Match. This increase in violent activity is concerning. Please know our team has been working around the clock to action our plan.” Play at Cup Match was temporarily halted on Friday after a fight involving spectators. Last Tuesday a man was rushed to hospital after being stabbed in the chest and the following day a man was knifed in the stomach in a busy Hamilton store. Jahcari Francis, 20, was fatally shot on July 19 — a day after the General Election. Ten days later, Jahkoby Smith was stabbed to death at the wake for Mr Francis at the West End Sailboat Club, where another man was also stabbed. Mr Caines added: “Just because we have not made our actions public [and we will] please do not feel the matter is not in hand. We will deal with this issue using a multifaceted approach. Again, the respective teams are working diligently.” Mr Caines added that he had met the Governor and the Commissioner of Police and “both understand the problem and key issues. Both men are committed to working to stamp out violence in our country. But this is a community problem, these are our sons, brothers, boyfriends, ace boys, nephews, godsons, husbands. We must hold them accountable. Hold the police accountable, hold me as the minister accountable, but we must hold each other accountable for this mess. This will only be solved if we tackle it together. This week we will formally ask for your help. Please be ready to roll up your sleeves.” Adding that the problems are clear, he called for people to tell him that they are “willing and able to help. We will put you to work. Continue to believe in our country, continue to believe in our sons. Let’s dig deep, make the necessary changes and evolve to a more loving and caring society. And he invited concerned members of the public to contact him by e-mail at email@example.com or by text on 704-8900.
August 8. As Earl Cameron turns 100 today, friends spoke of Bermuda’s acting legend — the first black actor to star in a British film — as a humble man who cherished his local roots. “He never forgot his homeland,” recalled former cultural affairs officer Ruth Thomas, who in 1970 shared a local stage with Mr Cameron in Galileo. An ardent member of the Baha'i faith, Mr Cameron’s spirituality “kept a glow about him and he always had a wonderful aura”, she added. “You can’t help admiring someone who has a dream and pursues it in unknown territory. He left Bermuda as he could not have acted to that extent here, and found himself in England, in a foreign land, on his own, and made it.” Seeking fortune just before the Second World War, Mr Cameron joined the merchant marine, struggled through menial jobs in wartime London, and stumbled on to the stage as a hurried recruit when an actor failed to show up. He went on to break the race barrier in 1951 in Pool of London, while back home all of Bermuda turned out to see his films. His accomplishments were recognized in 2009 when he was made a Commander of the British Empire by the Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, while the Earl Cameron Theatre was named in his honour at a ceremony he attended in 2012. Folklife Officer Kim Dismont Robinson, who interviewed him in 2012 for An Evening with Earl Cameron, remembered the “palpable sense of pride that the community brought to that event, especially some of the older Bermudians who were familiar with his legacy. Everyone was smiling. It’s as if all the people who were there that night wanted to say out loud ‘he is ours’. He continued: “Everyone who meets Earl comes away with the same impression. He is a quintessential Bermudian gentleman in the way that I remember my own grandfather and others of his era. He is almost courtly with his self-effacing politeness, his charm and is philosophical about where he has come from and the path he has travelled during the course of his long life.” At a time when celebrities seem expected to be entitled, Mr Cameron “remained true to his upbringing and culturally instilled values. You will never hear from Earl what he has accomplished, and how significant he has been in breaking the colour barrier in film. One can only imagine the conversations that he has had with his close friend Sidney Poitier over the years, and collectively what these two men have experienced. Given last year’s protests at the Oscars about the lack of black representation, Earl’s accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider the degree to which black actors still struggle in the film industry.” The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club, is to honour Mr Cameron’s 100th birthday on October 19 with “Our Earl Is 100 Years Young!”, Dr Dismont Robinson said, where the man himself will relate his experiences across close to 30 films. That trip home coincides with a momentous occasion for Baha'i worldwide: the 200th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Bahá’u’lláh, according to friend Leighton Rochester. Mr Cameron joined the faith in 1963. “It was the 100th anniversary of the declaration of the faith — the first Baha'i World Congress, at the Royal Albert Hall in London,” Mr Rochester said. Leroy Stines, the lone Bermudian attendant, knew Mr Cameron and invited him along. “Earl was so impressed and he immediately embraced it,” Mr Rochester said, recalling Mr Cameron’s fascination with the peaceful bearing of the attendees. The actor is “very humble, humorous, colorful, kind and very knowledgeable”, he said. The pivotal Baha'i teaching of the oneness of mankind was “reflected in Earl”, Mr Rochester added. Adherents traditionally open their homes to “seekers and friends”, and in the 1970s Mr Rochester often stopped by Mr Cameron’s home. Veteran broadcaster Charles Webbe was another frequent caller as a London student, enjoying “a pleasant respite from normal schooldays, spending a Sunday afternoon at Earl’s house”. It was reciprocated, for the actor liked keeping in touch with Bermudians, and followed news from home. “You’d never use the term ‘movie star’ as he was very self- effacing, courteous, and always had time for us youngsters in London,” Mr Webbe said. “When he came out here, which was not that often, he was always the same. Never put on any airs. I think he was more wedded to his faith than to the acting world.” In fact, Mr Webbe noted, Mr Cameron “never talked about himself” as that was overshadowed by his interest in others and world events. Reflecting on the actor’s legacy, Ms Thomas said she admired his fortitude. “So many of us would like to do things,” she said. “But somebody like that has the extra bit of nerve. Later in life we can find ourselves thinking ‘if only’. I am very proud of him.”
August 8. A veteran television and radio personality has been remembered as a “wonderful” person and a pioneer for women. Marlene B-Landy, who worked in broadcasting for ZFB and ZBM for more than four decades, died at the age of 84 last Thursday. A spokeswoman for her family yesterday described her as a trailblazer. “She was a pioneer in a lot of ways,” the spokeswoman said. “She paved the way for young black women to become broadcasters, and at that time it was not something that happened. She was a role model, someone people could look up to and see what they could accomplish. She was a wonderful woman and a caring mother who taught her children about the values of life. She was a single mother at a time when it was very difficult.” Ms B-Landy, formerly Butterfield, was a fixture of Bermuda radio and television since 1962, when she joined the Capital Broadcasting Company. Quinton Edness, who worked with Ms B-Landy at Bermuda Broadcasting Company, described her as a “wonderful, friendly person, who worked hard. She was popular and well-liked,” he told The Royal Gazette. “I think she made a lot of friends in her life, wonderful friends.” He added that she made quite a contribution to sporting life when she was younger, as well as to Bermuda as a whole. “She was a very good broadcaster,” he added. “She was good in radio and television.” Rick Richardson, former CEO at Bermuda Broadcasting Company, recalled Ms B-Landy as “the consummate professional when she was on air and when she was working in administration and management”. He added that she was “by the book” and her deportment, demeanor and speech all bore the hallmark of professionalism. He said: “She was creative in her writing and mentored a number of young employees at ZBM. She was an amazing woman.” Mr Richardson explained that Ms B-Landy did the bulk of her broadcasting work with Capital Broadcasting Company before the company became ZBM when it merged with Bermuda Broadcasting Company, where she worked “on a semi-retired” basis for about twelve years. Longtime co-worker Delano Ingham said Ms Landy was determined to make sure things were done in the proper way and dedicated to helping others. “She was a pioneer for women in radio broadcast here,” he said. “She was one of the first people on the radio and later on television hosting shows.” Mr Ingham said Ms B-Landy established herself as the go-to person for live broadcasts including the reconvening of parliament and various parades, and became the programme director for ZFB radio. “She had a knack for the business,” he said. “She was a great person and a perfectionist. She believed in doing things the right way and she was set on training people to do just that.” Leola Stovell said she first met Ms B-Landy during a job interview for a post at Capital Broadcasting. Over the years, she said Ms B-Landy trained her in everything from modelling to marketing. “She was fantastic,” she said. “She knew how to handle people, she knew how to do television and radio and remote broadcasts. She was a well-rounded person.” Ms Stovell said Ms B-Landy might best be known for her hosting of Good Morning Bermuda on ZFB. “Everybody that was into anything would be on that show,” she said. “From politicians to entrepreneurs, Marlene introduced them to Bermuda by having them on the show. She was a fantastic person, and was known around the world.” Ms B-Landy also co-hosted the popular radio show Sixty Something, with Fred Hassell, three days a week for 14 years until 2010. Mr Hassell said the programme was sponsored by government to reach those over 60 with information on government, public and private sector events and services. “She was born for her voice to be heard nationally and she had the ingredients for success in the field of broadcasting. We went on to do some beautiful music. She was par excellence when it came to the public presentation of music.” Mr Hassell said she could work with various genres and was always keen to feature local talent. “She wasn’t schooled but was born to be able to present to the public,” he added. Off the air, Ms B-Landy, owned and operated the Bermuda School of Charm and was a founding member of the Bermuda Business and Professional Women’s Club, dedicated to enhancing the status of women in the community. She also served as a choreographer with the Miss Bermuda Beauty Pageant, was a public relations officer for ZFB and held seats on several government boards. After retiring from broadcasting, she taught at the Senior’s Learning Centre. Ms B-Landy’s family also described her as an avid golfer and traveller, with the family spokeswoman saying: “There are not many places she did not go.”
August 8. Gang tensions are a factor in the spate of violence plaguing Bermuda over the past two weeks, according to Superintendent Darrin Simons. Mr Simons pointed to the “ebb and flow” of incidents leading to reprisals as he reflected on a Cup Match weekend in which 55 people were arrested. He classified the fight at St George’s Cricket Club, which brought Cup Match to a temporary standstill on Friday, as the most significant event of the weekend. The incident shortly after 6pm “definitely had some of the hallmarks” of gang involvement, Mr Simons told a press conference yesterday. Asked what had led to the recent spate of violence in the community, he said: “There are incidents that occur, and there are reprisals that occur. “And it’s not always clear which initial incident leads to a further reprisal. But that’s the kind of climate that we’re dealing with — with ongoing gang tension for which there is an ebb and flow.” Four men appeared in court yesterday over the fight, but Mr Simons said the investigation was ongoing, and appealed to anyone who may have video evidence to contact police. “There were hundreds of people who witnessed this incident — we really need to hear from you.” Other arrests over the Cup Match holiday included warrants, minor drug possession and road traffic offences. A specific breakdown of the charges was not immediately provided. Two suspects were arrested in connection with a chain-snatching on Friday in the West End. Both men denied charges in court yesterday. A further two suspects were arrested in connection with the stabbing on Wednesday afternoon at Sports Locker in Hamilton. Both have been bailed. That was the third stabbing within five days. Mr Simons said that following the incident at the Wellington Oval on Friday, police stepped up their presence on both land and water. During Sunday’s Non-Mariners Race, marine police searched both persons and vessels for weapons. “Thankfully there were no significant acts of antisocial behaviour or violence reported,” Mr Simons said.
August 7. New Yorkers were targeted with an offer to get away to Bermuda, through an innovative phone campaign. “Bermuda Calling” debuted on Broadway in New York between West 40th and West 41st Streets, as a partnership between Bermuda Tourism Authority and JetBlue Vacations. Under the initiative, new phones were built into the storefront at 1450 Broadway on July 27 and 28, and sporadically rang as people passed by. Those who picked up the phone received either a friendly message to entice them to the island, a JetBlue Vacations promotional discount up to $500 or a vacation to Bermuda for two travellers, complete with air and hotel. According to a press release from the Tourism Authority, the objective was to tell New York consumers:
Chief sales and marketing officer for the authority, Victoria Isley, stated: “In the same way Bermuda is set apart from other destinations because of its unique location and way of life, we want our marketing to be as distinct and memorable as Bermuda herself.” JetBlue increased its airlift to Bermuda from New York and Boston in May this year, which included a second daily flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport. JetBlue now provides air service between Bermuda and both cities year-round.
August 7. Makeshift marine non-crafts were again launched into Mangrove Bay yesterday for the annual Non-Mariners Race. Several of the vessels created for this year’s non-race set their satirical sights on the recent America’s Cup and the defeat of the One Bermuda Alliance in last month’s General Election. Ashley Weekes, of the America’s Cup Non-Boundary Painters, said she and her crew were motivated to solve a problem. “When people were watching the America’s Cup on the television, they had the boundary lines on there,” she explained of the racecourse." And so people would go to the America’s Cup looking for these boundary lines actually painted on the water. So we decided let’s be non-boundary painters and paint the water.” A mixture of flour and water served as the young team members’ “paint”. Empty paint cans and tyre tubes, gathered over two days, served as the vessel’s flotation devices. Participating for the second year, Ms Weekes said that she and her team made this year’s entry bigger than the last. “We believe it’s going to float better,” she said. By far the biggest entry into this year’s non-race was the OBA Non-Forward Together entry assembled by members of Mariners RFC. Johnny Peacock said that at 27 feet, the non-craft was the longest the group had ever constructed. It took a mere 30 minutes to build, he said. “We are not moving forward together, so it’s the Non-Forward Together,” he said of the name. “At the moment, we’re just trying to get enough people to get it into the water — whether it floats or not doesn’t matter. It’s going to be an issue.” Bruce Barritt, who has served as non-emcee for the non-race for the last three decades, said that poking fun at politics has been a key part of the event since the beginning. “The people that actually make the non-craft use it as an opportunity to poke fun at the Government, politicians and Bermuda,” he said. Mr Barritt said the focus of the event has shifted over the years since he first got involved. “The pleasure craft fleet has grown exponentially and the people on the dockside have diminished,” he said. Other non-events on this year’s roster included noodle non-races for boys and girls, the non-dance off, and the non-calypso pipe band parade. “They try desperately to corral this non-event into something that has a structure — and you can’t,” Mr Barritt said. Maureen Sullivan, vice-commodore at the Sandys Boat Club, said planning for the one-day event begins early every year. “Once we’re done with this, we sort of start thinking about next year,” she said. “It’s all run by volunteers — so we all put a little time in here and there and everywhere.” Entry charged for each non-craft, as well as for access to the boat club itself, would be used to support local charities, including the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, Ms Sullivan said. “The winner of the floats actually get to pick where that money goes. We’re really focusing more on the charity side of things — really trying to give as much as we can.” Mr Barritt said: “There’s a part of this silly event that I think needs to be nurtured and kept going.” The non-event, he said, was the best way to say farewell to the long weekend “when you’ve probably not had enough sleep, eaten far too much of the wrong things, and consumed far too much alcohol. Let’s just act silly, relax, have fun for the last afternoon — because the world comes crashing back to reality tomorrow.”
August 7. The success of one of the world’s most famous logos was born on a beach in Bermuda 40 years ago, according to an article in the New York Post. The “I heart NY” logo was given a trial run on the island by New York deputy commerce commissioner William Doyle, who had two T-shirts made with the distinctive design, and the reaction he got helped him to convince the city to adopt the emblem as its own. Mr Doyle said people on the beach kept approaching him to ask where he and his girlfriend had bought their T-shirts. He told the New York Post: “I can still see the ladies. It brought huge smiles and people’s eyes were glistening. It really worked.” When he returned to New York, the logo was tagged on to all existing advertising and later became world famous. But Mr Doyle said: “Had there been no trip to Bermuda, there wouldn’t be any logo.” The news came in an article which documented the birth of the “I heart NY” campaign, which helped to revitalize tourism in New York. A logo was commissioned in 1977 as part of a larger advertising campaign by the New York state’s Department of Commerce. Commerce commissioner John Dyson was given the green light to improve New York’s image when the city was suffering a reputation for crime and homelessness. Mr Dyson and his Deputy William Doyle enlisted advertising company Wells Rich Greene and the slogan “I Love New York” was created by creative director Charlie Moss. But Mr Dyson and Mr Doyle felt that the campaign lacked visual impact and they selected graphic designer Milton Glaser to come up with a logo. Mr Glaser created the “I,” a heart, “N” and “Y” which had the visual appeal of the red heart plus a problem-solving element which was needed to decipher it. Mr Moss was not enthusiastic but Mr Doyle had faith and used his own money to print a couple of T-shirts with the proposed logo on the front. He and his girlfriend wore the T-shirts on a Bermuda beach on Labour Day.
August 7. Soca performer Destra Garcia had to call off upcoming shows after breaking her ankle at last week’s Cup Match Summer Splash concert — but the mishap was described as “a very unfortunate accident” by organisers. Contrary to reports in the media in Trinidad, the stage held strong during the show, and statements that it had given way were “absolutely not the case”, Andrew Holmes of 441 Productions told The Royal Gazette. Mr Holmes was backed by a spokesman for the Corporation of Hamilton, which owns the Par-la-Ville venue, who pointed out that Sean Paul, the headline act, went ahead with the show after the songstress was taken to the hospital for treatment. “441 have been doing productions island wide for years,” he added. “They are one of the island’s top promoters — we don’t think they would let any performance go ahead if there was something wrong with the stage.” A witness said Garcia had slipped between the stage and a speaker while performing — confirmed by Mr Holmes, who said Garcia had made “a couple of steps from the stage to the speaker stacks. “She went to do that again and unfortunately she fell. The only way I can describe it is an extremely unfortunate accident. We wish her a speedy recovery.” Garcia was taken away on a stretcher, with her neck in a brace as a precaution, and Brian Morris, her manager, said she would require surgery. Mr Holmes thanked the St John’s Ambulance Brigade for their assistance.
August 7. Social activist Eva Hodgson has urged the Government to improve the plight of black Bermudians by “deliberately, consciously and publicly” tackling the island’s economic racial disparity. Dr Hodgson, who frequently accused the previous Progressive Labour Party government of failing to do enough to help the black community, called for David Burt, the Premier, and his newly elected team to take affirmative action that will address the psychological, educational and social problems suffered disproportionately by blacks. She implored the ruling party to acknowledge the island’s racially divided history and its long-term impact before taking “affirmative-action policies” to create economic opportunities specifically for black Bermudians, as well as establishing a living wage. Schools should also make a conscious effort to give black children a sense of self-worth, she said, so that they will be less likely to grow up prepared to “kill themselves and each other”. Acknowledging confidence in Mr Burt’s seemingly “strong sense of self-worth”, Dr Hodgson said she understands that his team will do things differently because they are younger than their predecessors. But she called for the PLP to express its deliberate intentions to use affirmative action so it may be held accountable if it does not. “It has to be conscious because we have so many other issues and so many other problems that it’s very easy to give their attention to all kinds of other things without specifically addressing affirmative-action policies,” she said. According to Dr Hodgson, the severe economic and psychological disparities that plague the black community today were the result of countless years of segregation based on the belief of white superiority. This exclusion not only kept job opportunities from black workers, but also raised them in a society that taught them that they were inferior. The long-term effects, she said, resulted in unequal levels of poverty and a sense of low self-worth that fuels black-on-black violence. Explaining the need to acknowledge such a legacy, Dr Hodgson continued: “Our history tells us that we were both not only enslaved but we were segregated, and we were segregated on the thesis that we were too inferior to mix with whites. So the psychological aspect, where the society tells us that we’re inferior and have little or no worth, is still very much with us. Otherwise, you would not have young black mean thinking so little of themselves and having so little value for themselves and each other.” In addition, Dr Hodgson believes that the island’s schools should have a proper focus on Bermuda’s racial history to show the youth how it still affects them. “At one time when I was young and segregation was officially sponsored by the Government and by society, I had teachers that impressed upon me that I had to work harder and be better because this society was saying that I was inferior and opportunities were not going to be provided for me,” Dr Hodgson said. “Today, when there’s not an official policy of segregation, very often educators and teachers are not even supposed to talk about it. So if we don’t do it at the educational level, you will continue to have young black men growing up and thinking they have no value and no worth, and are quite ready to kill themselves and each other — and that is the most destructive aspect of what our society has done to instill the disparity.” Dr Hodgson believes that in the past the PLP lacked the self-conviction and integrity to push for effective change for the black community. Although it did propose the Workforce Equity Bill in 2007, which was intended to ensure blacks were fairly represented in businesses, the activist argues that the failure to pass the Bill reflected a level of intimidation. She also grew frustrated that the PLP spent so much time talking about race, yet black Bermudians missed out as lucrative contracts were given to the likes of Portuguese firm Correia Construction and black American firm GlobalHue. “People voted for them hoping they would do something positive in terms of economic disparity and they didn’t, except for individuals and themselves,” she said. Reflecting on last month’s General Election, Dr Hodgson said that the One Bermuda Alliance ultimately paid the price for a refusal to acknowledge the idea of “two Bermudas” and to listen to the people’s concerns. She referenced Charles Richardson’s op-ed that appeared in The Royal Gazette, titled “Why I voted for the PLP”, where he talked about the OBA’s controversial stances on the new airport, funding the America’s Cup and a seeming indifference in the wake of the Belvin double murder. According to Dr Hodgson, indifference to the concerns of Bermudians towards the Pathways to Status initiative and the pepper-spraying of protesters on December 2 last year were significant factors in mobilizing those who had abstained from voting in the 2012 General Election.
August 7. Two grateful students have been granted scholarships of $25,000 towards careers in computer networking and economics, courtesy of the Nicholl Scholarships. The windfall in memory of the educational philanthropist Albert Nicholl will assist Antonio Bailey, 20, and Christian Oatley, 18, to pursue new fields of interest. Computer networking beckons for Antonio, from Paget, who is attending London Metropolitan University and is heading into his third year of his bachelor of Science degree. He plans to concentrate on cybersecurity for his master’s. Keen in this evolving field, and in “getting to know computers and how they work and communicate” from an early age, Anthony aims to dive into working after graduation and climbing to the top of his field. This year marks a century since Lieutenant Nicholl arrived in Bermuda as Chief Examination Officer for the Royal Navy Reserve. He initiated a charitable legacy that, through his will, awarded most of his estate to scholarships for young Bermudians. “Being awarded the Nicholl Scholarship is not only an honour but will also help to cover my university tuition and living expenses and allow me to primarily focus on my studies,” Antonio told The Royal Gazette. “I would also like to extend a special thank you to the scholarship committee for awarding me this opportunity and I strive to show that their confidence in me is not misplaced. Hailing from St George’s, Christian said he had been drawn into a quest to fathom economic disparity — first, through his exposure to poverty in Bermuda when working with the Salvation Army, and later competing for the island in the regional cycling championships in Suriname, where he passed through “barely standing neighborhoods. I felt compelled to seek an understanding of what was going on in the world around me, and turned to economics with hope of understanding the underlying forces that burgeon the world economy,” he said. Christian will be at the University of Nottingham in September. Upon completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, he plans to work in either insurance or finance back home in Bermuda. “It is my goal to be able to give back to the communities, such as the Bermuda Bicycle Association, which helped me become who I am today, and through donations and continued volunteering at the Salvation Army I wish to be able to combat the destructive syndrome that accompanies poverty,” he said.
August 5. The Bermuda Heart Foundation has teamed up with New York Presbyterian Hospital to provide better service to patients. Now, the US hospital will work with the foundation’s Core Heart Health Centre to provide expert doctors. Burak Malatyali, vice-president of Strategic Alliances and Global Services at New York Presbyterian, said: “This collaboration is ideal for both citizens of Bermuda and our medical centre and hospital. “We ideally love to see how we can help patients who have heart disease. But in this situation, with a facility like the Core Heart Health Centre, we can bring services to people and help them through all these different issues. It really is a win-win for both programs.” Simone Barton, CEO of the Bermuda Heart Foundation, said that the two organisations had worked together in the past but decided to join forces again in an effort to improve care for Bermudian patients. She described NYP as one of the best hospitals for cardiology in the United States and added that it had strong ties with both Columbia and Cornell universities. Dr Malatyali said that there would probably be two physicians from NYP at Core on a rotating basis, including Christopher Irobunda, a faculty member at Columbia University Medical Centre, and one from Cornell. Dr Malatyali added: “I think complementing what Core already has with a clinical resource is really beneficial for co-ordinating care and making sure that patients are handled properly.” Dr Irobunda added that the program gives patients in Bermuda the opportunity to have experts from New York review their cases. He said: “It is a situation where Bermudians who have seen other doctors can come and get a second opinion and pose any questions they might have about their health. That’s something we can offer.” Ms Barton said that the partnership would only strengthen the services already being offered by the Heart Foundation and Core, which aimed to address health issues before they escalated. “We train people how to do health in a way that’s not expensive, because everybody thinks it’s expensive. You can eat the foods you love in moderation and balance and still achieve your objectives. It’s a holistic approach that basically feeds off the person that they are, not the person that the books or magazines tell them they need to be. It has actually been medically proven that diets do more harm than good because the yo-yo factor is not good for your overall health, so you teach people to modify their life instead of trying to diet their way out of bad behaviour.” Ms Barton highlighted the impact that diabetes had on the island. “We lead the globe in amputations. No other country has more amputations than we do. We had a 17.5 per cent growth rate in 2015 in kidney disease. These are all modifiable risks that can be managed if you get out of it instead of waiting for it to become a full-blown disease.”
August 5. Bermuda’s community is “reeling from the shock” of its gang violence problems and failing to address the issues behind them, according to social worker Martha Dismont. Young men — often dismissed by their schools and families as incapable of learning — need to be given a proper chance to get back on the right path, the executive director of Family Centre said. She questioned whether society was prepared to invest resources into ensuring they have the skills to take jobs and whether families are given the appropriate treatment to cope with emotional neglect and trauma. “When we are faced with a struggling economy, the need for new job skills and education and family stressors, our family systems struggle,” Ms Dismont said in a speech to the Hamilton Rotary Club. We have been in a crisis state with public education, increased gang violence and disenfranchised youth for some time, yet we have not responded as if we are in a crisis. We seem to be still reeling from the unbelievable shock of it all, and meanwhile families and young people are living this life for far too long. There is a responsibility that parents must take to be better in the lives of children, and to find the solutions that they need to improve their lot in life, but we also have the responsibility as a community to place an emphasis on family strengthening. Good businesses work hard to ensure that their employees are in a position to do their best. Is it too much to ask for Bermuda to focus on family, the centre of our resources and strength as a tourist destination?” In the past week, Bermuda has seen the fatal stabbing of Jahkoby Smith, 21, and two other stabbing incidents, while 34 men have been shot dead since May 2009, including Jahcari Francis, 20, on July 19. Ms Dismont said that education was a core issue, noting that few involved in the gang culture had a high school diploma or a college degree. “I hear more complaints about Bermudians who are not job-ready than businesses willing to pitch in and help our youth to become job-ready. Those who have chosen to act out violently, particularly within gang activity, are most likely young men who have been released from school environments, and dismissed by their families, and seen as incapable of learning. They must be given a concerted chance to get back on the right path. In 80 to 90 per cent of the cases of these young men, they desperately desire an increased level of education, more self-esteem, a sense of belonging, and a future for themselves, absent of the violence.” Ms Dismont said the core question was whether Bermuda was serious about addressing its social ills. She asked: “Are we ready to invest the appropriate dollar, resource and effort into ensuring that our young people and the unemployed adult are trained with skills to be in a position to take the new jobs that are being developed? Are we instilling in adults the necessary nurturing sense of care and response to children and their emotional needs? Are we properly treating the adults and parents of our children for their emotional neglect and trauma? Are we improving the public education system with urgency so that we no longer have young people who are leaving school without a degree, without skills, and without a sense of purpose? There is no true wealth without work. So, we must get to work and place the emphasis where it needs to be. You were all children once upon a time. What actually helped you to be successful?”
August 5. Soca queen Destra Garcia is recovering in Trinidad after breaking her ankle in a fall on stage at Wednesday night’s Cup Match Summer Splash concert. Meanwhile Andrew Holmes of 441 Productions, which organised the show, told The Royal Gazette that statements in the Trinidad press that the stage had given way were “absolutely not the case. The stage was not compromised in any way, despite what the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian said. The headliner, Sean Paul, was on stage right after — the stage was fine; it’s just a very unfortunate accident.” A witness told The Royal Gazette that Garcia had slipped while attempting to place her foot on a speaker — a move she had carried out successfully earlier in the show at Par-la-Ville car park. The witness added that the performer slipped between the stage and a speaker. The concertgoer said: “It looked like she might have hit her head as well. She was down for about 20 minutes before they took her away on a stretcher. It was scary.” Mr Holmes confirmed, saying Garcia had made “a couple of steps from the stage to the speaker stacks. She went to do that again and unfortunately she fell. The only way I can describe it is an extremely unfortunate accident. We wish her a speedy recovery.” Mr Holmes added that the production team that assembled the stage had done the job “for many years” without issues. “We’ve never had any problem with the quality of the stage.” A member of the production team accompanied Garcia to the hospital, then back to her hotel to assist with getting her home. Mr Holmes said he did not speak personally with the singer — but she was “upset, and physically in pain. Health and safety is of paramount concern for the entire production team, which is why the St John’s Ambulance team was on site, and we’d like to give them a big shout out — it wasn’t easy but they did an awesome job.” A spokesman for the Corporation of Hamilton, which owns the car park, said the City had been advised that there had been “nothing wrong with the stage. If there had, it would have been strange, because the concert continued. It’s hard to see from the video what went on; one moment she’s standing and the next she’s fallen. But 441 have been doing productions island wide for years. They are one of the island’s top promoters — we don’t think they would let any performance go ahead if there was something wrong with the stage.” Garcia was taken away on a stretcher, with her neck in a brace as a precaution, and Brian Morris, her manager, said she would require surgery. The accident puts a spanner in the works for her upcoming performances: three events scheduled this weekend for the Caribana festival in Toronto are going ahead without Garcia this weekend, and her appearance at next week’s Emancipation Festival in the British Virgin Islands is also under threat. Her friend, fellow soca star Ancil “Blaze” Isaac Jr, told the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian: “We take everything for granted. We go and do a sound check and make sure the sound is OK but we actually have to make sure that the infrastructure of the said event is working for us.” Mr Isaac said he backed the introduction of Occupational Safety and Health Administration personnel at events. He added: “Things like short stage and monitors in your way, we have to look at because they are serious safety concerns. We may have to get OSHA people involved to check to make sure the stage is safe for us.” He suggested a clause be included in future contracts, explaining: “It will work out well for us to safeguard ourselves and also safeguard promoters against being sued for something like this.” Nicknamed the Queen of Bacchanal, Garcia is known for hits such as I dare you, Bacchanal and Lucy.
August 5. Flora Duffy lost an ITU World Triathlon Series race for the first time this season, when she finished second to Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle in Montreal on Saturday. However, she extended her overall lead in the series by a huge margin. The Bermudian is now 654 points in front of the competition in the overall rankings, after being just eight ahead before Saturday’s race. Duffy, who is chasing a second consecutive title after winning the title in 2016, is on 3,940 while Gentle moves up from fourth to second overall on 3,286. American Katie Zaferes, who was second overall, drops to third on 3,192 points after finishing ninth in Montreal. Duffy missed the first two races of the season, in Abu Dhabi and on Australia’s Gold Coast, with a hip injury, but roared back to win the next four — in Yokohama, Leeds, Hamburg and Edmonton. However, Duffy was not able to make it five in a row after losing by just 23 seconds to the 26-year-old from Brisbane, who won for the first time in the series. Gentle won the 1.5-kilometre swim, 40km cycle and 10km run in a time of 1hr 59 min 4 sec, with Duffy finishing in 1:59:27. New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt, winner of the first two events, came third in 1:59:48. Gentle broke clear at the start of the run and 29-year-old Duffy was not able to reel her back in. Duffy told the WTS website that she was “very happy for my second place”, but “really happy for Ashleigh. I knew this was going to come at some point”. Zaferes led after the swim, but was soon chased down after the first transition. However, Duffy was not able to make her trademark breakaway on the bike and was further hampered by a poor second transition, which saw her having to re-rack her cycle and struggle to change her shoes. Gentle pushed forward to a nine-second lead after the first lap of the run, although Duffy was among the chasing pack along with Hewitt and Kirsten Kasper, of the United States. However, the Australian was able to stretch her lead after every lap, taking centre stage on the podium, and was in tears talking to the media afterwards. “I had so many things on my mind coming into this race,” Gentle said. “I needed to focus on the little things rather than the results, and I did. I made it. It has taken me six years to get on top of the WTS podium, six years of up and downs, a few second places … and I finally made it.” Hewitt moved up to fourth overall on 2,971 points while Kasper drops from third to fifth overall. She is now on 2,834 points after coming fourth in Montreal behind Canada’s Joanna Brown. The penultimate race of the season takes place in Stockholm in three weeks before the season finale in Rotterdam, which offers 1½ times the points, on September 16.
August 5. The unmistakable sounds and smells of Bermuda cricket filled the air — and at last the scorching sun came out to play — as thousands of people turned the Wellington Oval into a Cup Match party yesterday. The two-day event may have got off to a slow start, with play almost entirely washed out by constant rain on Thursday, but it ticked all the most important boxes by the end. Even as the match approached its conclusion yesterday afternoon, with St George’s and Somerset playing out a draw, the atmosphere remained upbeat as spectators lined up to watch the game, enjoy the traditional dishes and try their luck at Crown and Anchor. “This is Cup Match,” said St George’s supporter Jadah Outerbridge. “It’s hot, it’s sunny, you can smell the food, you can hear the game. This is Cup Match.” Ms Outerbridge said she had been put off by the wet weather on Thursday, noting it “just didn’t feel like Cup Match. Maybe it was just the rain, but there just wasn’t that feeling.” While she said she was disappointed in the St George’s performance, the day was far from a loss. “It’s a beautiful day, everybody is here. It’s about more than the cricket. It’s about celebrating.” Peter Wolffe, who is visiting the island with his family from Gloucestershire in Britain, was happy to be able to watch a bit of the game. “I didn’t know much about it when we booked our trip, but everyone we spoke to for the last three days asked us if we were going to Cup Match, so we kind of had to,” he said. “I love the atmosphere, I love the music. It’s very hot, but it’s a nice change of pace.” Asked which side he was supporting, he said he leant towards the “home team”, although he conceded it did not appear things were going in their favour. Meanwhile, Alice Grounds voiced her support for the defending champions, but added that she does not usually follow the game itself. “This is my fourth time going to the game, and it’s always a blast,” she said. “This is just the most Bermudian time of the year. Everyone comes out, has fun, watches some cricket, plays some Crown and Anchor, drinks some swizzle and has a good time. Somerset taking the trophy home again is just icing on the cake. Red and blue icing. With everything that’s been going on around the island this year, it’s good to be able to relax and come together as a community.” While the crowds were thinner than usual on Thursday, some had found the shorter lines and cooler weather a boon. Donning the red and blue of Somerset, Kevon Adderley said: “A bit of sun would be nice, especially for the ride home, but we’ve got the music, we’ve got the Crown and Anchor, and hopefully we’ll get a bit of cricket by the end of the day. When I heard about Emily, I figured it was an excuse so St George’s wouldn’t have to say they lost again, but the weekend ain’t over yet.” Another Somerset supporter, Madree Musson, joked that it always rains when Cup Match is in the East End. “I love Cup Match. It’s a Bermuda tradition,” she said. “I have been going as long as I remember myself. It just gives you a lift and it makes you feel Bermudian. Even when it rains. It’s the highlight of the summer, and of course I have got to support my team.” St George’s fan James West remarked that the wet weather had its own advantages during the first day’s play. “I have been coming to Cup Match all my life, and I have never seen the lines for food this short. And you can walk around the pitch without much traffic. I’m hoping things dry up a bit so we can give Somerset the whooping they deserve, but it’s only day one.”
August 5. Bermuda enjoys a well established reputation as a romantic getaway. Now the Pino family, dedicated repeat visitors for 29 years, have yet another special memory of the island after 24-year-old Anthony took the occasion of their latest trip to get down on one knee. On the eve of Cup Match, he took his fiancée Kelly Fox happily by surprise on the family’s favourite beach: Buildings Bay, the “glass beach” of the East End. “Once again, your island keeps sharing the love with us,” proud father Dominic told The Royal Gazette. “Anthony has been coming here for 23 years. His lovely fiancée has been joining us the last five years. Now she’s part of the family.” Ms Fox’s parents were flown in to surprise her for the proposal on Wednesday, while Cheryl Pino, Anthony’s mother, captured the big moment for posterity. “Her parents hid in the bushes — we got on the beach, and I got down and asked the question,” Anthony said. “We’ve been going to that beach ever since we came. We love sorting through all the sea glass; it’s our favourite beach in Bermuda.” The Pinos, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, have kept coming back to the island ever since 1988, and the passage of time has done nothing to erode Bermuda’s charms. The happy couple are headed back to Philadelphia this weekend, leaving Mr and Mrs Pino some time to relax on their own.
Building's Bay beach. See above article.
August 4. Jordan DeSilva, the Somerset captain, admits his side were a little frustrated at having to settle for a “winning draw” in a rain-affected Cup Match at Wellington Oval yesterday. Despite persistent showers ensuring just 6.2 overs were bowled on the first day on Thursday, Somerset were still able to put themselves in a winning position after scuttling St George’s out for 89 runs in their first innings. Somerset then gave themselves a lead of 122 after declaring on 211 for seven, with Chris Douglas scoring a maiden Cup Match fifty, but the holders fell five wickets short of a second successive win in the East End as St George’s dug in to finish on 104 for five. “For the second straight year if any team was going to win it was going to be us,” said DeSilva, who was captaining Somerset for the first time in St George’s. “It was a winning draw for us and you really can’t complain when you keep the cup. Considering only six overs were bowled yesterday, I thought we did well to come this close to getting a result.” DeSilva, 27, said he perhaps should have declared a bit sooner and that his only regret was his side not scoring at a faster rate. “There wasn’t much we could have done differently. Overall I’m happy with my decisions, my bowling changes and field settings, but maybe we might have scored a bit quicker and then declared a bit earlier before tea. Credit to my players, though, especially Chris who batted well and Malachi Jones and Kamau Leverock who bowled well this morning and this evening to get us in a winning position. Kamau showed today why we brought him in. He bowls with real pace and hit the ball hard and showed that in his cameo innings [of 32].” Ultimately it was the experienced pair of Lionel Cann and Rodney Trott who prevented Somerset from exposing the St George’s tail with an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 46. “We knew what Lionel was going to do,” DeSilva said. “Lionel can be a match-winner or a match-saver and when Rodney decides to shut up shop he usually does it well.” Douglas said his first half-century in Cup Match was a “monkey off his back”, with the Somerset opener reaching the milestone in his ninth appearance in the classic. “It was a pleasure to get that half-century as I’m nine Cup Matches in now and maybe 15 innings,” said Douglas, whose previous highest score was 41. “It was nice to get that bogey off my back. It would have been even better to get it in front of my own crowd at Somerset but I’ll take it wherever I can get it. Now I’ve got a 69, I hope my next goal can be a hundred in front of my home crowd next year.” The 27-year-old admits he was disappointed that Somerset’s dominance did not translate into what would have been a famous triumph in their rivals’ backyard. “I’m a little upset we couldn’t pull off the victory. Maybe that was to do with our fitness as we just didn’t have that extra push we needed to get the wickets in the last hour or so. Credit to Lionel and Rodney, though. When they came together it was like, ‘We can’t get this’. It was almost like [José] Mourinho parking the bus!” Leverock, playing his first Cup Match since 2013, said he was eager to entertain the crowd and show how much he has developed since moving to Britain to further his cricket career. “I had a bit of fun today and just wanted to show what I could do,” said Leverock, who plays for the Cardiff MCC University. “I wanted to show how much I’ve grown as a player in the past four years. I thought I could have done a bit more with the bat, but we were trying to declare and I was trying to get some quick runs.” Leverock, 22, added: “I thought we were on track for victory but things swung a bit differently in the end.”
August 4. Play at Cup Match was temporarily halted today after a mêlée involving spectators. One man could be seen bleeding from the mouth after the fight, which happened at about 6.15pm. Three men were arrested in connection with the incident. “It was all over in two minutes,” a police spokesman said. “It was not a major incident. Fisticuffs took place, police got in the middle and it was over.” An ambulance arrived at the ground shortly afterwards. This evening, police said the victim’s injuries were not life-threatening.
August 4. The Bermuda Historical Society held an open house event at its museum in Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton. A series of talks, tours and presentations took place to mark the 60th anniversary since it moved to the location, on July 29. The museum had previously been based in a private residence on East Broadway before moving to the old Georgian property on Queen Street in 1957.
August 3. Soca queen Destra Garcia is said to have broken her ankle after falling during her performance at the Cup Match Summer Splash concert last night. The performer’s manager Brian Morris has said she will require surgery, according to the Loop news organisation in her native Trinidad and Tobago. According to a witness, the performer slipped between the stage and a speaker. While she had earlier placed a foot on a speaker during the show, she fell attempting to do so again, bringing her performance to a halt. “It looked like she might have hit her head as well,” the witness said. “She was down for about 20 minutes before they took her away on a stretcher. It was scary.” Loop stated that she is now in a temporary cast and is in pain. Nicknamed the Queen of Bacchanal, the singer is known for hits such as I dare you, Bacchanal and Lucy. She was one of the stars at last night’s concert to kick off Cup Match festivities, as well as reggae artist Sean Paul.
August 3. The first day of Cup Match 2017 may have been almost entirely washed out, but a little rain failed to deter thousands or revelers at the Wellington Oval. While the crowds were thinner than usual with hardly cricket possible throughout the day, some found the shorter lines and cooler weather a boon. Donning the red and blue of Somerset, Kevon Adderley said: “A bit of sun would be nice, especially for the ride home, but we’ve got the music, we’ve got the Crown and Anchor, and hopefully we’ll get a bit of cricket by the end of the day. When I heard about Emily, I figured it was an excuse so St George’s wouldn’t have to say they lost again, but the weekend ain’t over yet.” Another Somerset supporter, Madree Musson, joked that it always rains when Cup Match is in the East End. Despite the weather, she said the atmosphere is good. “I love Cup Match. It’s a Bermuda tradition,” she said. “I have been going as long as I remember myself. It just gives you a lift and it makes you feel Bermudian. Even when it rains. It’s the highlight of the summer, and of course I have got to support my team.” St George’s fan James West remarked that the wet weather had its own advantages. “I have been coming to Cup Match all my life, and I have never seen the lines for food this short. And you can walk around the pitch without much traffic. I’m hoping things dry up a bit so we can give Somerset the whooping they deserve, but it's only day one.”
August 3. Torrential downpours marred today’s opening day of Cup Match at Wellington Oval. Only 6.2 overs of play were possible because of the inclement weather. Somerset managed to snatch a couple of St George’s wickets before another shower sent the players off the field for good with the home side ending the day’s play on 27 for two. “You can’t control mother nature and it’s unfortunate for the people that spend so much money for this occasion that they never got to see a lot of cricket played today,” Ryan Steede, the St George’s coach, said. The start of tomorrow’s second day of play has been brought forward a half-hour from 10am to 9.30, with the mandatory 20 overs also pushed back from 6.30pm to 7pm in an effort to make up for lost time. “The game has been extended so it’s almost like two days squeezed in one,” Steede added. “The forecast is looking like good and hopefully we do get good weather.” The floodgates opened after Somerset captain Jordan DeSilva won the coin toss and promptly sent St George’s in to bat, washing out the entire morning’s session and a huge chunk of the afternoon’s session. Play finally began at 3.08pm with Malachi Jones making the breakthrough on the penultimate ball of the first over of the St George’s innings. Opener Sinclair Smith never looked comfortable facing the new ball and it came as no real surprise when he was pinned in front of his stumps offering no shot to a Jones delivery pitched outside off-stump that jagged back off the seam. Somerset, the champions, struck another body blow in the next over when Treadwell Gibbons virtually threw his wicket away attempting an unnecessary run. Unlike fellow opener Smith, the left-handed Gibbons looked to be in control, driving Greg Maybury through the covers for a boundary and playing Jones equally as comfortably off his pads. However, an innings that promised much was cut short when Gibbons took on the arm of Tre Manders fielding at midwicket and was brilliantly run out by a direct throw at the stumps. Gibbons’ dismissal put the hosts further on the back foot and they were fortunate not suffer more damage when Manders dropped Macai Simmons, the St George’s captain, at extra cover off Maybury. Simmons went for the big shots early, smashing two boundaries off Maybury’s second over. He added 22 runs with Onias Bascome, one of three recalled players in the St George’s team this year, before play was halted at 3.39 because of another rain delay and never resumed. Simmons is unbeaten on 16 and Bascome on 12 for St George’s. Jones, who first spell lasted three overs, has figures of one for three and Maybury none for 20 off three overs. First change Kamau Leverock, one of two recalls in Somerset’s team this year, conceded two runs with the only two deliveries he sent down after replacing Jones at the western end before the heavens opened up.
August 3. Sky News, London. British Airways cabin crew who fly both long haul (including those that fly to and from Bermuda on Bermuda's only airline service from and to the UK) and short haul flights will strike for another two weeks during the summer holidays. It means they could now strike until the end of the month, prolonging their action from 16 August and taking in the bank holiday on 28 August. Those taking part have joined BA since 2010. It was their 58th day of strike action on Thursday. If a deal is not reached, their protest could cover most of July and August. The Unite union has described an offer by BA to reinstate travel concessions for workers who have taken action as "half-hearted". Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said that "in robbing striking workers of hard-earned bonuses the airline has sought to sow division". He said: "The airline needs to get around the negotiating table and start recognizing that punishing low-paid workers fighting for fairer pay is no way for a 'premium' airline to behave." Mr Richardson claimed "last week's massive profits" showed BA could afford to look at pay. The union claims its action has forced BA to spend millions of pounds on leasing aircraft. "As we have done in previous periods of industrial action, we will ensure our customers reach their destinations," BA said in a statement. "More than three months ago, Unite agreed that our pay deal was acceptable, but have since refused to ballot their members on it. Last week, we took the significant step of offering to return staff travel to crew who had been on strike, which was the biggest outstanding issue in the dispute, in order to bring the dispute to an end. Unite has now chosen to reject this offer and call yet more strikes." The airline said it confirmed earlier this year that the cabin crew would be eligible for the 2017 bonus.
See above article
August 2. New Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons told a press conference yesterday that two “very sensitive” civil lawsuits launched by her predecessor had cost taxpayers more than $2 million and had been handled in an “unprecedented and concerning” way. However, Shadow Attorney-General Trevor Moniz last night countered her assertions, saying Ms Simmons could have sought guidance from legal advisers — and that a dozen cases under investigation had generated extensive files that had been kept at outside legal offices. Mr Moniz added: “I understand that she faces a steep learning curve given that she is new to dealing with cases of political corruption, which is why I made my earlier public offer to assist her. This offer remains open.” Ms Simmons had stated that she had yet to see litigation files for either case, as none had been found within the Attorney-General’s Chambers. “I can’t speak to whether they were removed,” she said, in response to a question about whether she was alleging unethical activity. “They just currently do not exist.” The cases were brought by the Bermuda Government against the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts and former trustees of Port Royal Golf Course, including cabinet minister Zane DeSilva. The first matter alleged corruption and bribery against Lahey and involving former premier Ewart Brown, while the second accused Mr DeSilva and two others of “self-dealing” in relation to multimillion dollar renovations at the publicly owned golf course. Ms Simmons said: “I have inherited from my predecessor Trevor Moniz some very sensitive matters with ramifications for the integrity of the office of Attorney-General and the administration of justice as a whole. The nature of how these matters were being handled by the former Attorney-General is unprecedented and concerning as there are no litigation files within the Attorney-General’s Chambers with respect to these matters. As a consequence of this highly irregular circumstance, as Attorney-General, I am in the process of obtaining these files in order to review the lawsuits that have been brought in the name of the Attorney-General against Lahey Clinic and with regard to the trustees of the Port Royal Golf Course.” The senator, asked if the files were missing, replied: “I am not saying the files have gone missing. I am saying that in the transition process there have been no litigation files retained in Chambers.” She said she had instructed lawyers in the Attorney-General’s chambers to “obtain complete files from overseas counsel retained by the former Attorney-General regarding both matters. We’ve been fortunate, in that overseas counsel have been co-operating and they will provide to us the information that they have,” said Ms Simmons. “They have tons and tons of files and we are in the process of having them sent to us so we can review them and chart the way forward with regard to these matters.” The Lahey case was filed in Massachusetts in February and a Boston legal firm, Cooley LLC, was hired by Government to handle the proceedings, with a PR firm in the city also appointed. The Port Royal matter was filed in the Supreme Court of Bermuda in March. Asked whether the Port Royal case involved overseas lawyers, Ms Simmons said: “The Attorney-General had retained the services of overseas counsel to oversee these matters, in relation to the Lahey matter in particular. The Port Royal matter is one that I am not prepared to discuss at this time, in terms of particulars of counsel.” She said in the “ordinary course of legal practice” there would be a master file held in chambers on any matter undertaken by counsel in those chambers. But she said there were “no litigation files” in the Attorney-General’s Chambers on either of these cases and Mr Moniz appeared to have provided instructions to overseas counsel “to the exclusion of other counsel in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, including the Solicitor-General”. She said Mr Moniz was the “primary person” dealing with the lawsuits before the General Election, assisted by his political consultant Richard Ambrosio, a junior barrister. “There were no instructions given by any counsel in the Attorney-General’s Chambers with regard to any of these matters,” she said. Ms Simmons, a former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, said once she obtained files on both lawsuits and conducted an “objective assessment”, she would advise the Government on how to proceed. The two lawsuits, she added, had cost the Bermuda Government “over $2 million” in legal fees so far, though she was unable to say how much of that had been spent on each case. Asked if those payments were approved by Cabinet, she responded: “I can’t speak to the Cabinet decisions of the previous administration. Any payments coming from our budget would have to be approved by the accounting officers but I can say that it’s more than likely that Cabinet did approve the expenditure.” Mr Moniz told Parliament in March that Cabinet approved the Lahey legal proceedings in April 2016. Mr Ambrosio declined to comment — but last night Mr Moniz said: “Contrary to the AG’s statement, there is nothing unusual about engaging external counsel to deal with certain matters and who hold files on behalf of the Government, especially in cases dealing with political corruption. “In respect of Lahey, as the matter is being dealt with in the US courts, the litigation file is being held by Cooley’s office in Boston as they are the Attorneys of record on the matter. In respect of the Port Royal matter, during my time as AG, the litigation file was maintained by the Deputy Solicitor-General. I was working on 12 separate matters being investigated — of which, Lahey and Port Royal were only two. Any costs incurred related to all 12 cases. Furthermore, given that there are large amounts of evidence involved in these investigations, all other files have so far been kept by Cooley’s office in London. It was simply not practical for piles upon piles of paper to be printed and stored locally.” Meanwhile in a statement last night, Dr Brown said the lawsuit against Lahey was “ill-conceived” and set to cost the public millions, accusing Mr Moniz of having “some personal animus” against him. “He will stop at nothing in his dogged pursuit of this vendetta against me. He has no credibility and is obviously handicapped by his ignorance of medical diagnostics,” he said. “If he is convinced that his allegations are accurate, let him come out from the protection of Parliament and the cover of the Lahey lawsuit and make the outrageous accusations about me personally in the public arena. For him to decline this challenge offers support for the belief that he is a coward, pure and simple.” Mr Moniz issued the following response to Dr Brown today: “Dr Brown seems to have an overactive imagination if he believes that I spend any time focusing on him. To reiterate — I have never issued proceedings against him. I believe Dr Brown is getting confused between civil matters I have brought against other parties and an active criminal investigation against him. The criminal investigation is being conducted by the Bermuda Police Service and [the] Director of Public Prosecutions, Larry Mussenden, who is a former PLP senator, I would note. Any questions on this matter should be directed to them.”
August 2. Bermuda’s Supreme Court ruling paving the way for same-sex marriage has been adopted by P & O Cruises, now the first British cruise lines to offer the unions, along with Princess Cruises and Cunard. The development, reported online by Cruise Critic, has been taken up by the three divisions of Carnival, which have their ships registered on the island. In a statement, Paul Ludlow, senior vice president of P & O Cruises, stated: “I am delighted that following this much anticipated change in the legalities we are now the first British cruise line to be able to arrange same sex weddings on-board.” P & O’s inability to offer same-sex marriage has generated negative press in the past. Cunard, which switched its ships’ registration from the UK to Bermuda in October 2011 to benefit from regulations here allowing couples to wed at sea, is reportedly offering same-sex marriages from November 2018. In a statement online, Josh Leibowitz, senior vice-president for Cunard North America, said the company was “proud to become among the first cruise lines to offer same-sex marriages at sea. Cunard has brought people together through travel for over 175 years, and we’re proud to mark another milestone in our company’s history as we welcome our first gay marriage booking and many other marriages to come.” Princess Cruises, which has 13 ships registered on the island, issued a statement: “We are currently working on developing a range of services and amenities to meet the needs of same sex couple ceremonies and will release full information on these shortly.”
August 2. If there is one celebration that brings all of Bermuda’s people together, it is Cup Match, and after a sometimes fractious few months people are looking forward to a sense of unity. Whether from Somerset or St George’s, they want to take a break from the stress, bust out their colours and spend time with the ones they love. The Royal Gazette hit the streets to find out what the two-day holiday means to residents, whether it be camping, boating, partying, cricket or celebrating the founding principle on which the event rests: the anniversary of the abolition of slavery. Chef at Nonna’s Kitchen Ryan Lompano, a Somerset resident and staunch supporter of the red and blue side, said that Cup Match is time to celebrate the rich heritage Bermuda has to offer. “I’ve lived in the West End for about eight years now; I lived in town [Hamilton] my whole life before that,” he said. “I just fell in love with the West End. I love all the beautiful beaches and the South Shore. Cup Match is about coming together and celebrating Bermuda’s cultures and traditions. I usually fly away during the holidays but I always stay in Bermuda for Cup Match — everyone is in such a great mood and partying. “I enjoy the set of events around Cup Match: the game, Non-Mariners. Cup Match is a time to forget all the fighting and take a break — it’s not about PLP or OBA, it’s just about red and blue, and blue and blue. But mainly red and blue!” Najuri Simmons, manager at clothing store Sisley, is a diehard St George’s fan but her shop window showed no bias with the colours of both teams on display. “I think it makes people happy to see the colours in the windows and it brings the customers in. My family is from St George’s. I love Cup Match because it brings everyone together. We get a little break, we go camping. I love it when we all come together — we forget all the bad stuff.” Jessie Ewart left no guesses as to who her team was as she rocked her blue dyed hair and bright red skirt. Her reason for supporting Somerset was simple: “We are the best. My mom was born and raised in Somerset. I love Cup Match for all the festivities and that whole Cup Match atmosphere: everyone is so friendly. We need this now.” Debra Tucker was spotted in an immaculate blue business dress complete with light blue flower and St George’s accessories. “I’ve been St George’s all my life,” she said. “My family comes from St George’s, though some of them split off when we got older. My sister is for Somerset but me, my brother and my older sister are for St George’s and the offspring tend to follow their parents. Cup Match is about family and it’s time to wind down before the second part of the year. When we were younger, all the family would get together and go to the game and go to the beach; we still get together now. I never try to predict who will win. One team might look good on paper but what makes the difference is the performance on the day. I do hope St George’s takes the Cup home.” Juan DeSilva was getting into his maintenance truck which had a flag for Somerset and a flag for St George’s. He explained: “Some people see the flags and they think I am confused but one is for me and the other is for my wife. When I came to Bermuda in the 1970s I lived in Somerset so that has always been my team. But my wife is from St George’s. My real team is Portugal as I am a football supporter.”
August 2. American International Group has reported a $1.1 billion profit for the second quarter. Now headed by Bermudian Brian Duperreault, the company’s net income for the quarter was $1.19 per share, and was down from the $1.9 billion, or $1.68 per share, in the same quarter in 2016. In a statement the company said the results primarily reflected net realized capital losses of $69 million compared to net realized capital gains of $1 billion a year ago. After-tax operating income was $1.4 billion, or $1.53 per diluted share, for the second quarter compared to $1.3 billion, or $1.15 per diluted share, a year ago. Mr Duperreault, who became CEO in May, said: “Our second quarter results show the value of AIG’s diverse businesses and the opportunities we have to grow profitably. “We will build on AIG’s strong franchise by maximizing the value of our international footprint, which distinguishes us from many of our competitors. While market conditions remain challenging, we are committed to disciplined underwriting and are focused on investing in profitable growth.”
August 2. A finance firm has launched a bid to claw back a $13.7 million loan intended to help fund the failed Par-la-Ville hotel development from the City of Hamilton and a US bank. Mexico Infrastructure Finance wants compensation plus interest on the money, loaned to Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences three years ago, from the city and The Bank of New York Mellon. While courts in Bermuda last November ruled that the Corporation’s guarantee for the $18 million loan was void, Mexico Infrastructure Finance (MIF) has alleged that the money was withdrawn through “fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations” in a complaint filed in the Supreme Court of New York. According to a press statement released on behalf of MIF, in July of 2014 the company agreed to loan up to $18 million to the hotel developer, subject to various conditions. The statement said: “The purpose of the MIF Loan was to cover PLV’s expenses associated with procuring $325 million in long-term, senior financing to construct a luxury hotel, condominium, and car park project in Hamilton. The MIF loan was a short-term bridge loan that would mature on December 30, 2014. The majority of the loan could not be accessed by PLV unless and until PLV had secured a senior loan of at least $225 million and an equity investment of at least $100 million to finance the project, all of which was subject to the review by and approval of Hamilton. Hamilton signed an escrow agreement with MIF, PLV and The Bank of New York Mellon as escrow agent, which allowed the proceeds of the MIF Loan to be released only upon the written authorization of Hamilton and then only to a senior escrow account for the benefit of the senior lender.” According to the complaint, MIF was unable to review or approve the loan documents due to “supposed confidentiality concerns” and relied on the Corporation and the bank to ensure that senior financing was secured. In October of 2014, the complaint claims that PLV informed the municipality that it had entered into a financial agreement with Argyle Limited. However, MIF claims that the agreement was not a permanent loan funding agreement, but instead a “Trade and Profit Share Agreement” between Argyle and trustees of the Skyline Trust. “The Argyle agreement was not and does not even purport to be a ‘loan agreement’, and unquestionably did not qualify as a ‘permanent loan’ to PLV as defined in the escrow agreement,” the complaint said. “Indeed, PLV is not a party to the Argyle agreement.” It added that the fact the money was moved into the PLV director’s personal account should have raised clear “red flags”. The lawsuit alleged that the municipality “falsely represented” that senior financing was in place and instructed the escrow agent to release the funds to PLV instead of to the senior escrow. The statement by MIF continued: “As a result of Hamilton’s fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations, more than $13.7 million of MIF’s funds were diverted and, according to press reports, were used to finance extravagant purchases, including an Aston Martin, an engagement ring, and two properties in the English countryside.” The Corporation of Hamilton had not responded to a request for comment by press time last night. The loan and guarantee has been the subject of legal contention since the loan first defaulted on December 31, 2014. While the Corporation initially signed a consent order, it later applied to overturn that order on the grounds it was not legally empowered to make the original guarantee. Bermuda’s Supreme Court last November ruled that the Corporation had acted “ultra vires” — beyond its powers — in providing the guarantee, which made both the guarantee and the consent order invalid. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal this year.
August 2. A senior reinsurance underwriter who is passionate about helping others to thrive in the workplace has written a book to motivate and encourage others. Lorene Phillips has been working in the insurance and reinsurance sector for more than 25 years. Her book is titled 29 Keys to Unlocking your Faith at Work & Win. “I decided to write a book combining questions I have been asked over the years, both professionally and personally,” she said. “The reason faith is in the title is because it’s the foundation of what I do and who I am. My values and every decision of mine is based on my faith. Colossians 3:23 says ‘whatever we do, we should do it unto Christ and not onto men’.” Mrs Phillips believes that her calling is in the corporate world as that is where she excels and flourishes the most. I want to empower people of faith in the workplace to understand that God has a calling on all of our lives.” She has mentored with the Bermuda Foundation For Insurance Studies, and has a strong connection to young people particularly in Bermuda and the UK, where she now lives and works. “I love to give back, that’s why I wrote this book, to encourage people to do their best in everything as God has intended them to.” Mrs Phillips has a BA in Economics from Acadia University, is a Chartered Insurer (UK), a career strategist and a qualified corporate coach with The Coaching Academy in Britain. Her coaching experience plays a key role as she knows how to communicate with people and encourage then when they need extra support. “I get the bathroom calls, people know they can confide in me — I am here for moments like this.” Mrs Phillips pointed out that the book is an easy read and is straight to the point, with only 90 pages, to help give readers the tools to become successful in everyday life. It touches on subjects such as integrity, etiquette, work-life integration, networking, rest and how to handle not receiving that promotion, as well as integrating both work- life with family and marriage life. She believes she can identify with people who are working in the corporate world because she is living it daily. Last month, Mrs Phillips hosted a seminar at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce where she spoke about three key principles from her book. One was the importance of networking. She said if you network correctly you will never have to apply for another job again. “The jobs will start coming to you if you have a strong network." Mrs Phillips touched on time-management and prioritizing, knowing what is important and how to deal with deadlines. “I know what it is like to be unprepared and have a meeting overrun and having to pick up my children late. That transparency, and being able to relate, makes the conversation more meaningful.” Lastly, she touched on work-life integration, and how important it is to integrate the two. “I call it work-life integration because we never quite get a balance.” At a successful book signing event all copies sold out. Mrs Phillips has another book planned for later this year. It will be about parenting. The book, 29 keys to Parenting & Win, will talk about important principles such as respect, etiquette, social media, empowering parents to address chores, and why it is important to instill values in children early. “My husband and I wrote this book together. It was a fun experience to have a male perspective as well.” Mrs Phillips’ current book, 29 Keys to Unlocking your Faith at Work & Win, is on sale at the Bookmart in Brown & Co. There will be a book signing event at the store on Saturday, August 12, between 10am and noon. The book is priced $19.95, and can also be purchased on Amazon. There is also a kindle edition.
August 2. A 47-year-old Southampton man is to face trial on charges of possession of cocaine with an estimated street value of $117,000 and intent to supply. Rudolph Travers pleaded not guilty to two counts — possession and intent to sell cocaine on both January 8 and January 14 of this year — in Magistrates’ Court yesterday. Travers was remanded in custody and is scheduled to appear in court again on Friday, September 1. Meanwhile, Shaki Easton, 34, of Warwick, was banned from the road for 18 months and fined $1,200 after he admitted driving while impaired. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo heard how Easton was involved in a single-vehicle collision in his van at about 4am on July 20 in Smith’s Parish. Police found the damaged vehicle against a wall and utility pole.
August 1. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin has taken aim at Walton Brown, accusing the new home affairs minister of making a “political decision” in favour of an expat. While not identified by name, the statement comes days after the Reverend Nicholas Tweed returned to the pulpit after an immigration dispute. Mr Brown responded that he was “disinclined” to comment on individual cases, but added: “It is the case, however, that all matters are handled in a manner consistent with the law. “Notwithstanding the Opposition leader’s use of language some may consider divisive, we remain committed to an inclusive approach to immigration reform and look forward to working with OBA.” In a statement this evening, the Opposition leader wrote that Mr Brown had started his term on “shaky footing. When speaking of ‘fair’, Mr Brown barely allowed the ink to dry on his appointment before making a political decision in favour of an expat who blatantly misrepresented facts on application forms and the minister expected that a blind eye would be cast over such inconsistencies. The minister has lost his moral authority to speak of fairness and Bermudians first, unless to him, the connotation of being fair and to consider Bermudians first means ‘first, after his favourite expat’. I note that not too long ago, the department under my instruction revoked a permit for a worker who misrepresented similar details on his application form. It was, in my opinion, fair to refuse that applicant a new permit. Should we encourage double standards?” Ms Gordon-Pamplin said that while the OBA has committed to working with the Bermuda Government for measures they deem to be in the best interest of Bermuda, she questioned Mr Brown’s approach. Mr Brown announced on Sunday that the Immigration Reform Working Group would complete its report by the end of October, with a three-month consultation period coming after. Ms Gordon-Pamplin, however, said that the reform group — which included Mr Brown — had been engaging in public consultation for more than a year with weekly reporting of the group’s progress. “Is he discounting the numerous town hall meetings and the input by those group members and those who committed to attend as being an exercise in futility?” She added that she had written to the chairman of the working group last week, thanking the members for their work, wishing them the best as they continue. Meanwhile, the persons behind the “Supporting Fair Immigration Reform” Facebook group — formerly the “We Support Pathways” Facebook group — said their members were satisfied that Mr Brown was seeking to continue the tasks of the working group, but did have some concerns. “First, we are concerned about there being yet another consultation period pushing the deadline for reform back yet again,” they said in a statement. “We were supposed to have proposals on mixed-status families and young persons by May 2016. This was pushed back to late 2016. Now a proposal is due in late 2017, with legislation unlikely until 2018. Perhaps with a former working group member as minister, this will finally be when policies are pursued.” The organisation also questioned references in Mr Brown’s statement to a survey to obtain “sound statistics”, asking how this survey was being conducted. “If the minister is keen to pursue a ‘principles first’ immigration policy, then we would counsel him and the working group to not get caught up in what could be a fruitless exercise to obtain perfect data. “Certain classes of persons are either deserving of Bermudian status or they are not. The group should work from first principles and determine which categories of persons should benefit. Whether it is five people or 500, they are each deserving of their human rights being protected.” The group reiterated its belief that there should be a pathway to status for those born in Bermuda or arrive at a young age and who lived here their entire lives. “We once again implore and urge the working group and the Government to consider this vitally needed reform.”
August 1. Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission executive director Richard Schuetz has resigned for “personal and professional reasons”. Mr Schuetz will continue to serve in the position until the end of the year and help to identify and prepare his successor for the role. Commission chairman Alan Dunch said: “The Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission is thankful for Richard’s two years of service, leadership and commitment to formulating a framework for Bermuda’s introduction of integrated resort casinos. We understand and support his decision to step down and are grateful for his assistance in positioning the commission and its staff for future growth. As a result of Richard’s resignation, one of our immediate priorities will be to implement a search process with a view to recruiting a new executive director. I am pleased that Richard will be assisting us in this process so that his expertise will be available to us in terms of assessing the credentials of any applicants and advising us as to whom is best suited to take over from him in this role. He will also use his remaining time with us to ensure the Hamilton Princess response to the request for proposals for a provisional gaming licence is appropriately handled without any disruption.” The commission was appointed to regulate, manage and safeguard the island’s emerging gaming industry. Mr Schuetz said: “It’s been an enormous privilege to work with the commission and its staff, to help create a viable casino industry, one that operates with a high level of integrity and ethics, and produces jobs and investment for Bermuda, as well as enhancing the island’s tourism product.” Prior to the July 18 General Election, Mr Schuetz gave notice to commission chairman Mr Dunch of his intentions. But the news was not made public in an effort to avoid it becoming “part of the clamor surrounding the political campaigns”. Mr Schuetz joined the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission in September 2015. During his time in office, several pieces of gaming legislation were approved in the House, but not without controversy. Debate over regulations establishing the cost of casino licences became particularly heated with independent MP Shawn Crockwell joining opposition MPs in declaring the fees too high. While the BCGC said it had not had any pushback about the proposed fees, Mr Crockwell claimed that Australian casino expert Tibor Vertes had raised issues in a meeting with Mr Schuetz. A defamation suit was subsequently filed by Mr Schuetz personally against Mr Vertes over comments made in an e-mail. As of yesterday, a spokeswoman for the BCGC confirmed that case remains ongoing. Prior to coming to BCGC, Mr Schuetz worked for four years with the California Gambling Control Commission. In addition to working as a senior executive in the gaming markets of Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno/Tahoe, Laughlin, Minnesota, Mississippi and Louisiana, Mr Schuetz served as a consultant to the City of Detroit and the state of Kansas as they introduced casinos. For more information on the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, visit www.bcgc.bm.
August 1. Keisha Douglas has been announced as the next principal of the Berkeley Institute. A Berkeleyite with more than 22 years’ experience in education, Ms Douglas replaces Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, who declared her resignation earlier this year to pursue another career opportunity. She comes to the post having been the principal of Clearwater Middle School, and having served as acting principal at Berkeley. Craig Bridgewater, the chairman of Berkeley’s board of governors, said the group was “elated” to report that Ms Douglas will become the school’s eighth principal after an “intensive and robust” recruitment. “In making this appointment, the board is confident that Ms Douglas has the requisite skills, educational qualifications and experience to professionally and enthusiastically discharge the function of principal in a manner that it is consistent with the mission and core values of the Berkeley Institute. Ms Douglas holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Mathematical Sciences, and a Master of Arts degree in Instruction and Curriculum. Yesterday, she described herself as “humbled and honored” at her appointment — saying that it had come with “continued hard work, commitment, dedication and purpose for a life filled with service to public education”. “I look forward to working with all Berkeley stakeholders, most importantly the board, the society, our teachers, support staff, students, parents and our wider community partners. Together, we will ensure that Berkeley forges ahead as a senior school with a rich heritage and tradition of excellence that prepares students for leadership and success in the local and global communities. I am eager to get to work within the knowledge that excellence is the expectation in everything we do. Nothing but your best is acceptable. If you are your best, then we will be the best.”
August 1. A drunk Frenchman who forced a Lufthansa flight to divert to Bermuda was today fined $1,000. Benoit Becuwe admitted in Magistrates’ Court to being drunk on the flight in the early hours of this morning. The 28-year-old, of no known address, also pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner towards crew members. The court heard that Becuwe boarded the plane in Panama City, Panama, at 9.40pm yesterday and was served “a few” alcoholic drinks. He later approached staff for more and became loud and aggressive when he was told crew were no longer serving alcohol on the flight to Frankfurt, Germany. About 20 minutes later and after repeated attempts to calm him, crew members warned him he would be restrained if he did not settle down. But he became aggressive towards a female flight attendant, was put in plastic handcuffs and the flight diverted to Bermuda, landing at 2.28am. Airport operators Bermuda Skyport said later that the aircraft, with 258 passengers and 14 crew, was boarded by the Bermuda Police Service, who removed Becuwe. The aircraft refueled before departing at 4.40am. In court this morning, Becuwe, who was being assisted by a translator, apologized for his actions and duty counsel Vaughan Caines said Becuwe drank because he had anxiety and wanted to sleep. He also pointed out that the defendant, who works as a teacher, had no previous convictions and requested an absolute discharge. However, magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said: “In this current climate of uncertainty, terrorism and concern over air travel, this kind of behaviour cannot be treated lightly.” Adding that an absolute discharge would not be acceptable, he handed Becuwe a $500 fine for each count, to be paid on the spot or face 20 days in prison instead.
August 1. Jahkoby Smith was fatally stabbed after the wake of a shooting victim turned into an alcohol or drug-fuelled mêlée, according to police. One man has been arrested in connection with the incident at West End Sailboat Club on Saturday evening, in which a second man was also stabbed, detectives said yesterday. Police stressed the killing was not revenge for the likely gang-related death of 20-year-old Jahcari Francis, whose funeral had taken place earlier in the day. “This event was not a retaliatory event that occurred as a result of the death of Mr Francis,” Acting Superintendent Nicholas Pedro, told a press conference. "It is our understanding that the persons involved in the death of Mr Smith, and Mr Smith himself, were associates and friends of the deceased Mr Francis.” The investigation, Mr Pedro said, suggested that the 21-year-old’s death was the result of “antisocial behaviour” that was “fuelled by alcohol and or other items, possibly including drugs”. Reports, he said, indicated that alcohol was consumed at the church service at Christ Church in Devonshire, as well as at the graveside before the event in the West End. The behaviour escalated into a “full mêlée”, Mr Pedro said, with Mr Smith and the other victim being stabbed. He described Mr Smith’s death as “senseless”. Mr Francis was fatally shot on July 19 in the same house on Upland Street, Devonshire, where his close friend Isaiah Furbert, 19, was fatally shot nine months ago. Police previously said their deaths were likely part of an longstanding feud between two gangs. While he would not provide specifics, Mr Pedro said that both waterborne and roadside measures were in place to “monitor and deter” rival gang factions from attending the club at the time of Saturday’s event. No police officers were on the premises at the time, he said. Gail Allen, Mr Smith’s aunt, pleaded with members of the public who may have information on what transpired to come forward. “Sit down and do a statement — because that’s the only way that justice is going to be served,” she said. “We need you to help us solve this murder.” Ms Allen described her nephew as someone who had “so much love in his heart for his family. Our family is hurting so bad,” she said. A man, who has not been identified, has been arrested in connection with the murder and wounding. Chief Inspector Na’imah Astwood said the suspect was not arrested on the club’s property. A number of people, she said, had come forward to help police with the investigation. “It’s important that we hear from as many people as possible,” she said. “We want to get it right.” Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, was scheduled to meet with Michael DeSilva, Commissioner of Police, yesterday. He described the incident as part of a “national crisis” in a statement released on Sunday. The incident happened at 7.15pm on Saturday. Witnesses should call Acting Inspector Dean Martin of the Serious Crime Unit on 717-2074 or 247-1739, or the confidential Crime Stoppers Hotline on 800-8477.
August 1. Two cases of drug possession and importation and a separate case of wounding with intent were adjourned during the arraignment session at Supreme Court this morning. Chamari Burns, 25, is accused of importing the controlled drug cocaine and being in possession of cocaine with intent to supply on October 22 of last year. The case was adjourned so he made no plea and is due to return to the court for the next arraignment session on September 1. Mr Burns was remanded in custody. Raza Mirza, 23, of Ontario, Canada, appeared to face charges of the importation of cocaine and possession with intent to supply on June 9 of this year. The setting of his trial date was also adjourned. He will return to court for arraignment on September 1. Trenton Williams, 20, is accused of wounding with intent on June 8. His case was adjourned with no plea made. He will return to court on August 15.
August 1. Tropical Depression Emily is expected to pass the island this week — 30 years after its namesake devastated the island. As of noon today, Emily was described as a potential threat to the island, and was expected to pass 243 nautical miles to the north-north-west of the island on Thursday afternoon. The system could continue moving closer after that point. At noon, it had passed over Florida, and was travelling north-east at a speed of 12 knots, with winds of 25 knots and gusts of 35 knots. It brought heavy rain and wind damage in the Sunshine State yesterday, damaging a number of roofs and causing street flooding in some areas. Kimberly Zuill, director of the BWS, said it was still too early to say for sure how close the depression could come to the island, or how strong it would be as it passes. While the system was downgraded yesterday to a tropical depression as it passed over Florida, experts would be watching to see how much and how quickly it re-establishes itself once it reaches the Atlantic coast. Other elements that could determine the future of the storm are how it reacts to the warm water of the Gulf Stream and how it interacts with a frontal boundary to the island’s northwest. “Confidence is high that should all those ingredients go as planned in the forecast advisory, it will pass to our distant northwest just over 300 nautical miles as a 40kt tropical storm,” Ms Zuill said. “In order for this system to move closer to Bermuda than forecast, it would need to overcome the challenges of increased shear while mixing with the front and upper level trough, and at the same time the large Atlantic high pressure to our east would need to shift a couple hundred miles further east than expected, thus allowing the frontal boundary to solidly cross the island carrying Emily with it. At the moment, this scenario is highly unlikely.” She said meteorologists will know more by late this morning, when the system has had an opportunity to reform in the Gulf Stream. In the meanwhile, the local forecast calls for breezy southwesterly winds with mostly cloudy skies, occasional showers and the possibility of thunder on the first day of the Cup Match holiday. Conditions are expected to be better on Friday, but a shower or two remain a possibility. The storm’s name may stir less-than-kind memories for many Bermudians. On September 25, 1987 Bermuda was rocked by Hurricane Emily. Making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, the storm caused $50 million in damages, costing more than 200 homes and commercial buildings their roofs. Ms Zuill explained that while it is common to “retire” hurricane names once a storm causes a certain level of destruction, the US Navy never applied for the name to be removed from the rotating list. “Since the establishment of the Bermuda Weather Service in 1995, in the wake of the US Navy Base’s departure, the BWS has been responsible for all National Weather Service functions. “The director has a seat at the annual World Meteorological Organisation Region Area IV Hurricane Committee, where discussions surrounding the effects from the last hurricane season, lessons learnt, changes to policy and NHC procedures as well as decisions such as which names will be retired, occur. “In 1987, Bermuda did not have a seat or voice in that forum and the US did not retire the name from the cycle. Now any system that does have an impact with that level of destruction is retired. An example of this occurring for Bermuda is Fabian 2003, which was replaced with the name Fred.
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