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Bermuda's 2017 October History and Newspaper Reports

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

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

Bermuda news this month

Benefits of website linkage to Bermuda Online

See at end of this file all our many History files

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

October 21. Immigration legislation to “protect Bermuda for Bermudians” was passed in the House of Assembly last night despite vocal opposition. The new laws give the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act priority over the Human Rights Act. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said the Bill would protect Bermuda for Bermudians but the Opposition expressed concerns about the lack of consultation. The Bill was introduced after a May 2014 Supreme Court ruling that enabled certain holders of a permanent resident’s certificate to apply for status. Mr Brown said the intention of the Bill was to “restore the primacy the [Bermuda Immigration and Protection] Act once enjoyed” and ensure that “Bermudians come first”. He told the House that Bermudians continued to be the most economically disadvantaged in terms of unemployment, salary, and total jobs filled, according to statistics in the Labour Force Survey 2015. “If the court ruling prevails, hundreds could work here without the minister’s permission,” he said. “It is for governments to pass laws not the courts. The court’s job is to interpret law. Only a weak government lets the courts decide.” On a point of order, Trevor Moniz took issue with Mr Brown’s assertion that other countries operated with the same restrictions as the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act. “The European Convention gives rights through citizenship — it is standard practice,” he said. But Mr Brown highlighted that there were special considerations for smaller countries and that Britain was currently trying to decide its position on immigration control as part of the Brexit process. Mr Moniz accused Mr Brown of lack of “broad consultation” over the Bill, which Mr Brown has consistently said was imperative for comprehensive immigration reform. He said he believed that the court ruling had prompted a “panicked” tabling of the Bill and that if he truly wanted broad consultation he should wait for the Immigration Working Group, which Mr Brown had originally been a part of, to deliver its findings on October 31. Mr Brown said he had consulted with the Human Rights Commission but Mr Moniz maintained that was not considered “broad consultation”. Mr Brown told the House that he had been an advocate for human rights for more than 30 years and defended his party’s stance on human rights, making the point that it was the Progressive Labour Party that had extended rights to permanent residents in the first place. Mr Moniz joked that Mr Brown “deserved a little statue” for his show of “self righteousness. We are talking about people who were born here, we’re not talking about strangers,” Mr Moniz said. Mr Brown estimated that it might take a year for full reform to take place but due to “harrowing stories of people marginalized and people in limbo” he would deal with the issue of PRC holders and status as a matter of urgency, while the reforms would come later. Mr Brown also said it was important to distinguish between human rights and privilege. During the debate Michael Scott, PLP backbencher, said the move was of public importance, calling it a response to “judicial activism”. He said: “It’s a matter of public importance. It’s a matter that’s essential.” Meanwhile, Walter Roban, Deputy Premier, said that legal actions had “pulled the rug” out from under laws protecting Bermudians. “The protections that underpin the law have been weakened and the sense of stability and security is at risk,” Mr Roban said. “We have to bring stability to the current situation so we can bring about the rational change. However, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Opposition Leader, said that the Government’s handling of the Bill had caused public anxiety. She called on the Government to hold the Bill until the end of the month so consultation could take place. Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “I think there’s nothing wrong with ensuring that you are not using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.” Grant Gibbons supported the intention of the Bill. He said: “There probably is mischief that needs to be addressed but there may be a more targeted approach rather than sweeping aside the Human Rights Act.” However, David Burt, the Premier, said the OBA objected to the Bill because it was the death of Pathways to Status. “What this Bill represents to them is the end of their dream of Pathways to Status through the back door,” Mr Burt said. “That’s what they are trying to do.”

October 21. Junior Minister of Finance Wayne Furbert has refused to say when he will retable his Parliamentary Bill to outlaw same-sex marriage. It is the second time Mr Furbert has dodged questions on the status of his Private Member’s Bill. Mr Furbert said shortly after the Progressive Labour Party election win in July that he planned to retable the Bill in September — and expected it to pass. But the proposed legislation, which Mr Furbert said was a contributing factor in the PLP election landslide, has still to be tabled in the House of Assembly. The same Bill was passed by MPs last year, but blocked in Senate. If it passed in its current form, it would not need the approval of the upper house to become law. But The Royal Gazette reported in September that due to a constitutional technicality, senators might be able to again turn down the bill in the Senate. Section 38 (2) of the Bermuda Constitution allows Bills passed by the House of Assembly in “two successive sessions” to be presented to the Governor for assent, even if rejected by the Senate in each of those sessions. But lawyer and former Attorney-General Mark Pettingill said at the time: “The Constitution refers to two successive sessions of the House. I think on any reading of it, it is arguable that this is the third successive session.” Mr Furbert was given the position of Junior Minister of Finance earlier this month — replacing Vance Campbell. Mr Furbert had no portfolio until David Burt, the Premier, made the switch.

October 21. Bermuda ranks 13th for cocaine consumption out of 115 countries, according to a survey. The statistics showed that 1.3 per cent of Bermuda residents used the drug — more than anywhere in the Caribbean region except the Dutch territory of Aruba, which was 12th in the table. Truell Landy, director of youth drug prevention charity Pride, said the results underlined the need to prevent people falling victim to gateway drugs as they entered adulthood. She added: “It is just an indicator that we need to be more vigilant with our young people here in Bermuda. Gateway drugs are an opening to the harder drugs — we know that if you have the tendency or predisposition to get involved in drugs or hard drugs, starting with tobacco, marijuana and alcohol, it can open the door and expose our young people.” Albania, where 2.5 per cent of people use cocaine, came top of the list, compiled by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. Scotland came second, on 2.34 per cent, followed by the US, where 2.3 per cent of the population use the drug and England and Wales on 2.25 per cent. The small European duchy of Luxembourg anchored the top 20 with cocaine used by 1.04 per cent of the population. Ms Landy said that cocaine use did not appear to be a major problem among the under-18 age group in Bermuda, with an average of 1.9 per cent using the drug. She added that more could be done to deal with drug abuse on the island. Ms Landy explained: “There are gaps in services among all of the substance abuse agencies whether it be prevention or treatment. We encourage people to get involved in providing effective services in prevention, treatment and even intervention — making sure that we have all of the resources on the island.” The Daily Telegraph survey was based on the most recent statistics from the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and national reports. The newspaper report said: “The data corresponds to a variety of reporting years so does not offer a perfect comparison, but gives a good indication of the nations that have the biggest appetite for cocaine.” Ms Landy added that the survey showed the need to nip drug use in the bud. She said: “It is just an indicator that we need to be more vigilant with our young people here in Bermuda. Gateway drugs are an opening to the harder drugs — we know that if you have the tendency or predisposition to get involved in drugs or hard drugs, starting with tobacco, marijuana and alcohol, it can open the door and expose our young people. I would encourage our parents and adults caring for young people to be very vigilant. We are looking at what’s the current use of all substances among our young people now — some, such as alcohol, are really wreaking havoc even though it is a legal drug. There are many of our young people who are engaging with alcohol and marijuana use and it is causing problems. We can see it in the news over the last several years. It is something that we really want to focus on as a concern.” This year’s National Household Survey report on drug use and health in the adult population found that two per cent of respondents admitted to a lifetime prevalence of cocaine use and 0.4 per cent said they were current users. The Daily Telegraph article can be found at 

Cocaine intercepted

Cocaine intercepted, see above story

railway trail on the coastOctober 21. Plans to use quad bikes in Bermuda’s parks and on the Railway Trail need an impact assessment, environmental watchdogs said yesterday. The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Task Force warned that environmental, economic and social factors had to be examined to avoid “unintended consequences” of allowing commercial operators to use all- terrain vehicles in these areas. The call from the charity came after West End residents and environmentalists questioned plans, approved by former OBA environment minister Sylvan Richards, to introduce ATV tours to the Railway Trail in Somerset. BEST said the proposal “raises troublesome issues” and called for the scheme to be “thought through thoroughly”. The group added: “Consultation with the public and railway right of way defenders is a must so that we don’t find down the road that we have taken another step harming Bermudians, offending and turning off bread-and-butter tourists and furthering injury and death. BEST calls for an environmental, economic, and social impact assessment so that we are truly informed and know what we are doing, thus avoiding unintended consequences.” BEST’s chief advocacy officer Stuart Hayward added: “With so few open spaces available in Bermuda, all of which are desperately needed for the health and well-being of Bermudians, it is disturbing that this plan appears to have been approved without the appropriate assessments, public consultations and, we understand, against the recommendations of the Parks Commission.” The group added that the island had already experienced problems due to previous changes in transport policy. It said: “An example is the change in law about ten years ago allowing increased motorcycle size and power. Whatever the arguments for this — which might have seemed quite valid at the time — there have been and continue to be ‘unintended consequences’.” BEST said more powerful bikes had led to more frequent and serious accidents, made enforcement more difficult for police, and may have encouraged people already illegally racing bikes in Hog Bay Park. The group added: “Further, enabling this ATV plan will completely lose the original intention for including our railway trail in the parks system, preserving it as quiet, linear open space. Laws and regulations will need to be changed, paving the way for greater erosion of our parks as areas of safe, quiet, family friendly venues for walkers, joggers, children, dogs, horses, tourists and those simply wishing to enjoy time in nature.” Mr Richards said in an online statement last month that the idea was for “low-powered silenced ATV’s along part of the railway trail in Somerset only”. He added that tours would not operate on Sunday and parts of the trail would be off-limits to ATVs. The plan sparked opposition on social media and Greenrock’s director Jonathan Starling highlighted a lack of consultation. Neither the Ministry of Public Works nor the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources replied to requests for comment yesterday.

October 21. A fresh bid to tackle gangs and antisocial behavior in an island parish is to take place tonight. The launch of Peace in Hamilton Parish comes after a wave of murders and attempted murders in the area. Desmond Crockwell, of Youthvision Promotions, said: “With there having been murders and attempted murders at both Hamilton Parish Workman’s Club and Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club, we found it to be a worthy effort to bring the idea of the Anti-Violence Network to the parish.” Mr Crockwell said the idea to hold the event in the parish came through conversations with a concerned local resident. He added: “The verbal support we received has been overwhelming, as many people recognize our purpose.” Mr Crockwell said family members of young men — including those of victims of violence and those convicted of offences — had signed up for the Anti-Violence Network. He would like to see attendance continue to grow at the events as more people understand the goal. He said: “I think their courage is commendable and should be supported.” The event, part of series across the island, will feature a number of speakers including Pastor Leroy Bean, the new gang violence reduction co-ordinator. Other presenters include Nicky Furbert, mother of murder victim Rico Furbert, Tyrone McHardy, counselor at the Berkeley Institute, and boxing coach Robert Somner. The event will also include music from Corvin Melody, J-Silva and Amori “Marvo” Browne. Mr Crockwell said that two anonymous donors had helped to finance the event. He added, however, that more financial support would help “so we can become more consistent in our presence throughout our island. We must continue our efforts, because we believe we are helping to make a difference.” Peace in Hamilton Parish will take place at Crawl Gospel Hall at 7pm. For more information, contact 297-2018 or e-mail

October 20. The need to educate other countries about Bermuda’s business reputation is intensified because of uncertainty in Europe, according to Premier David Burt. The Premier gave MPs a report on his recent trip to Brussels, Paris and London, in which he met with European Union Cabinet of Commissioner Pierre Moscovici. He told the House of Assembly: “I outlined the challenges within Europe to highlight the current uncertainty of politics in Brussels and across Europe. This uncertainty means that Bermuda will, now more than ever, need to continue to educate others about our business model and reputation. During my visit I had the opportunity to meet with the head of staff in the Cabinet of Commissioner Moscovici to begin this process of greater understanding. Our message is that Bermuda adheres to all international standards of tax transparency.”

He said these include:

Mr Burt continued: “Bermuda shares data upon request and through automatic exchange through our tax information exchange reporting portal. This portal has received Common Reporting Standards information from industry and has delivered it automatically to OECD members including EU member states via the OECD’s reporting portal. Bermuda’s portal is also now live for receiving CBC information from the applicable large multinationals headquartered in Bermuda. It will be able to upload this CBC information to the OECD portal by the middle of 2018.” He said during his discussion with OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, Mr Gurria had praised Bermuda’s recent OECD rating of “largely compliant”. Mr Gurria also applauded Bermuda’s placement on France’s CBC reporting White List, and the measures taken on levels of transparency, Mr Burt said.

October 20. New legislation giving the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act priority over the Human Rights Act will be debated in the House of Assembly today. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, has said the move “will not take away from anyone’s fundamental human rights”. Mr Brown also told The Royal Gazette that the Bill was not aimed at eliminating the May 2014 Supreme Court ruling that enabled certain holders of a permanent resident’s certificate to apply for status. The remarks came as the minister delivered an “impromptu” press conference in the wake of what Mr Brown described as a “litany of comments” about the intent of the legislation. Mr Brown further stated that the legislation was separate from the business of the immigration working group, which will end its deliberations this month. He added the proposed legislation, which drew criticism from the Human Rights Commission, among others, was designed to “bring back into law processes and practices that go back more than 40 years”. Brown mentioned the Paula Tavares case, in which a woman born in Bermuda to non-Bermudian parents won a judicial review over a rejected application to work on the island without restriction. Mr Brown said that recent decisions by the courts had combined the questions of “what is a function of government and what is a service”? He added: “It opens the door for literally thousands of people to make that claim to a backdrop of high unemployment.” Mr Brown said that The Human Rights Commission will be a member of a bipartisan immigration reform group due to start work next month.

October 20. Michael Dunkley, the former premier, has said his Government terminated a multimillion- dollar casinos agreement with a local company because it served “no purpose”. Mr Dunkley, who was a member of Cabinet when the deal with MM&I Holdings was signed, said he was not involved in the drafting of the memorandum of understanding under the One Bermuda Alliance administration and did not see the document until he became leader of the country in May 2014. He told The Royal Gazette: “When I became premier, I just decided it wasn’t the direction to go. Obviously, when we were looking into gaming we were making sure that we put the best model into place. Thus, I talked to my colleagues and said it’s our responsibility as a government to put that model into place, but we let the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission give us advice. I said: ‘I just think the MOU has no purpose now’.” As revealed by The Royal Gazette in a special report published on Wednesday, the agreement for MM&I to provide a centralized gaming system for Bermuda’s casinos was signed on 3 December 2013 by the late Shawn Crockwell when he was tourism minister and was witnessed by then attorney-general Mark Pettingill. Mr Crockwell and Mr Pettingill introduced MM&I to the Cabinet and, after he quit his position, Mr Pettingill’s law firm represented the company, which stood to make tens of millions of dollars a year from the deal. Mr Dunkley said he saw a presentation that MM&I made to the Cabinet in 2013. He added: “We were impressed by the system. I thought it was interesting. But remember, I was looking at it as a system. I still don’t think any government should mandate what systems are put in.” MM&I is owned by Bermudians John Tartaglia and Michael Moniz. The company’s proposal was that it would invest the “upfront capital costs” to install a centralized gaming system for all casinos in Bermuda and then be paid a management fee of 40 per cent of the island’s gross gaming revenue for electronic gaming. According to a Cabinet memo from Mr Crockwell, this was a higher management fee than the 30 per cent industry norm, but was appropriate because MM&I would be taking on “all the capital and ongoing risks and providing the electronic gaming machines”. Mr Dunkley said the 2015 formation of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, an independent regulatory body, meant Government did not need to deal directly with gaming operators. He added: “I had the greatest respect for Mr Tartaglia and Mr Moniz, but I didn’t want Government to get involved in what systems were to be used. I am not casting aspersions in any way. I just didn’t want to get bogged down in that which should be the responsibility of another body.” The MOU was terminated in July 2016 by Michael Fahy, Mr Crockwell’s successor as tourism minister, who acted on the advice of Richard Schuetz, executive director of the gaming commission. Mr Fahy, who was also in Cabinet when the MOU was signed, said: “The reason I felt that termination was appropriate was because the terms of that MOU didn’t seem to make any sense to the future of gaming in Bermuda. It would be too restrictive on operators to be tied to one system and the numbers envisaged in terms of revenues that would go to MM&I per the MOU were very high indeed.” Mr Dunkley said he and Mr Fahy met with Mr Tartaglia after the agreement was terminated. He added: “We suggested they talk to the gaming commission. I said ‘I don’t want the Cabinet or Government to be involved.’ For me, it was finished and the gaming commission could do what it had to do.” Mr Dunkley said after the Jetgate scandal, which involved Mr Crockwell and Mr Pettingill and led to the resignation of Premier Craig Cannonier, he was keen to make sure everything done within Government was "open and transparent. On gaming, there was no way I was going to have people come in and make allegations about inappropriate dealings. We didn’t need to have any MOU. I believed that the gaming commission should be making those decisions. I believe operators should be allowed to decide what system they should use, if it fits into the model under law and approved by the commission. I don’t think that one shoe fits all.” MM&I’s partner firm is Florida-based Banyan Gaming, which developed the cashless gaming technology. Banyan representatives appeared as “experts” at a Progressive Labour Party forum on safe and responsible gaming in May this year, which was streamed online. Mr Dunkley, who did not attend the meeting in person, said: “It seemed like at that meeting, especially the Banyan people, just hawked what they were selling. It seems like they were allowing people to hawk their systems. As politicians, we shouldn’t be getting involved in that.” He said Mr Schuetz, who has resigned from the gaming commission, was a “respected man” who was “castigated in the House of Assembly” by Mr Pettingill, Mr Crockwell and PLP MP Zane DeSilva. He added: “Gaming can help tourism if we can get politics out of the way.”

October 20. A claim by a firm bidding for a multimillion-dollar government gaming contract that it would give away the vast majority of its profits was called into question yesterday. Alan Dunch, chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, said MM&I’s statement that it would donate “95 per cent of all profits” to good causes if it landed the hugely lucrative deal was met by the commission with “interest, intrigue and a degree of incredulity”. MM&I made the claim on Wednesday after a special report in The Royal Gazette revealed that the company made an agreement with the One Bermuda Alliance government for an exclusive deal to provide a networked gaming system for casinos on the island. Records released under the Public Access to Information Act show the gaming commission feared the deal could still be under consideration by the Progressive Labour Party administration, even though it has flagged up concerns about the licensing history of people associated with MM&I’s Florida-based partner, Banyan Gaming. Mr Dunch said: “The commission has read with interest, intrigue and a degree of incredulity the statement issued by MM&I in response to The Royal Gazette articles published yesterday. Given the assertion that MM&I is seeking legal advice ‘to claim significant damages’ against the commission, prudence dictates that the commission should be cautious in providing any comment upon MM&I’s alleged position. However, the commission can say that until we read it in the paper yesterday, at no time was the commission ever made aware of the purported philanthropic objectives of MM&I and certainly no representations of the sort made in their response will be found in any of the written or verbal communications that the commission has had with the principals of MM&I — nor are they in any of the documents to which the commission has been made privy.” MM&I said after it got back its investment in the networked gaming system and reached the “profit stage” it would donate 95 per cent of all profits to a “government-appointed Gaming Proceeds for Charity Committee” and the money would be distributed to “churches, community clubs, vulnerable citizens’ programmes, etc”. Mr Dunch said: “The commission has no knowledge of and indeed has never heard of any referenced Gaming Proceeds for Charity Committee and there is no reference to such a committee in the Casino Gaming Act or in any documentation to date other than in The Royal Gazette. The creation of such a committee has never been the subject of any discussion with the commission by anyone.” The Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism was asked if such a committee existed or was under discussion — but no response was received by press time. The gaming commission released 59 pages of records about the MM&I deal under Pati, including the agreement itself and e-mail correspondence. No mention of the charity element of MM&I’s plan is made in the documents. Two other documents obtained separately, a Cabinet memo by the late Shawn Crockwell who was tourism minister, and a 15-page joint submission that MM&I and Banyan made in response to a government request for qualifications advert in 2015, also make no mention of charity donations. All the documents can be viewed on The Royal Gazette’s website. Page 12 of the RFQ submission shows the list of seven references that MM&I and Banyan provided to the Government, including billionaire casino owner Steve Wynn. The records released by the commission revealed that the regulatory body’s executive director Richard Schuetz knew many of the referees and made inquiries which resulted in “less than glowing” written and verbal responses. MM&I claimed in its statement: “Our MM&I references were never contacted by the Bermuda Gaming Commission.” But Mr Dunch said: “As is made clear in the correspondence that is referenced in The Royal Gazette articles, and contrary to what MM&I says in its response, the commission did contact and make inquiry of the references put forward by MM&I and, as a result, it raised the concerns that it did, concerns which to date have not been responded to. Beyond that, the commission has nothing more to add at this stage.”

October 20. Government ministers will be required to disclose any hospitality they receive which could influence them, under new amendments to their code of conduct. Government reform minister Lovitta Foggo said the move comes in the light of the Jetgate affair under the One Bermuda Alliance administration. She told MPs the amended ministerial code of conduct would require a minister to disclose all gifts to the permanent secretary as soon as possible after their receipt. Ms Foggo said: “Further, a minister will also be required to disclose all hospitality from any source which might reasonably be thought to influence ministerial action in any manner. For example, honorable members will recall instances where private air transportation and complimentary high-end dinners to discuss potential business, such as casinos or gaming, were accepted by a previous administration. The amended code requires that a minister must immediately disclose such hospitality. An official disclosure form will be created and distributed electronically to each minister and ministry to ensure that this mandate is operationalized. Transparency and integrity in office are at the heart of this endeavor.” The amendments are expected to be tabled in the House of Assembly in the coming weeks, Ms Foggo said. The minister also said she had been a fierce advocate for establishing parliamentary oversight committees which would improve governance, reduce waste and increase efficiency, and is working with the legislature to ensure they are formed. Other planned moves include making Cabinet accountable for its own decisions, instead of senior civil servants. She said: “The supremacy of Cabinet in Bermuda’s system of government is a long settled position. In recent years there has been a very public attempt to enjoin senior civil servants with Cabinet and to make them responsible for the decisions of Cabinet. This is fundamentally wrong and contrary to a core tenet of our style of government. Therefore, the code contains a provision that recognizes the authority of the Cabinet and seeks to make Cabinet accountable for its decisions subject to documenting the rationale. This provision is intended to relieve senior civil servants of the obligation to justify decisions of Cabinet.”

October 20. Obesity and diabetes could cost Bermuda $26 million in health insurance claims over the next decade, Kim Wilson warned today. The Minister of Health told the House of Assembly that this figure does not include indirect costs, such as the impact on other conditions, out of pocket payments, wages and work hours lost. She said: “Obesity, and the lifestyle choices that cause it, also lead to the early onset of preventable diseases like diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease. These conditions bear a terrible burden on those afflicted, on their families, and they are expensive to treat. Estimates by the Bermuda Health Council indicate that, based in health insurance claims alone, obesity and diabetes will add over $26 million to our Island’s health costs over the next ten years. This is just the direct cost of medical care and does not include indirect costs, like the impact on other conditions, out of pocket payments, subsidies, wages and work hours lost. Those indirect costs are part of the larger health economic impact. Bermuda just can’t afford this.” Ms Wilson repeated that three in four island residents are overweight and obese — among the highest in the world. “Look in the mirror. Are you a woman with a waist measuring more than 35 inches or a man with a waist larger than 40 inches? If the answer is ‘yes’, then include yourself in the statistic. Bermuda today is suffering from epidemic levels of obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases like diabetes and kidney disease." Ms Wilson highlighted initiatives to tackle the problem, including the community health drive Taking it to the Streets. She said the Department of Health screened 350 people and referred 126 for extra medial assessment because they had high blood sugar and blood pressure readings. “This means one in three persons screened were at risk and in need of medical attention. How many other people are walking among us today in a similar state?” Ms Wilson said that last month’s Celebrating Wellness event provided a supportive forum and targeted information to help get the word out and make health the easier choice. Meanwhile, the 50 Million Steps Challenge aimed to get people moving. Bermuda’s walkers showed that what they are made of, and more than doubled the original goal to 100 million steps taken.” She added that the Enhanced Care Pilot targeting underinsured and uninsured persons with chronic non-communicable diseases also showed encouraging initial feedback. “In addition, we are hard at work to develop proposals for Bermuda’s Sugar Tax, which we intend to begin consultation on in the coming months. And I am personally committed to reintroducing the Vending Machine Policy in Government Buildings to ensure healthier options are available on Government properties. We must not continue to promote the very choices that make us sick and cost us so dearly.” And she revealed that work was under way to establish a National Register of Chronic Diseases, which she said should help the country manage chronic diseases better. “Accurate national health statistics are a basic requirement to address the chronic disease problem in Bermuda. We must be able to know the population’s health status and accurately track our progress following interventions.”

October 20. The International Business community will help middle school students with social studies and business studies as part of a new partnership. Education minister Diallo Rabain told the House of Assembly a new public-private partnership with the Association of Bermuda International Companies would support teachers and give students a better understanding of the economy. Mr Rabain pointed to the importance of IB to Bermuda’s economy, telling the House: “The ABIC team, curriculum officers and teachers commenced discussions on promoting the opportunities available to Bermudians in the IB sector to middle school students. Our teachers will expose M2 and M3 students to the world of International Business in Bermuda through the use of resource material and lesson plans. Students will learn about the island’s economy and careers related to IB using PowerPoint presentations, videos, infographics and animated graphics telling the story of Bermuda’s economic history, how regulation works, and current global business sectors. Students will understand the Bermuda market’s contribution to economies worldwide, inclusive of practical tips to help middle school students investigate careers in reinsurance, captive insurance, other financial services, and support industries such as accountancy and compliance, where qualified personnel are in high demand.” He said exposing students to career opportunities at an early age would help prepare them for a place in the job market. “This is our intent as we introduce our middle school students to understanding the origins, opportunities and structures of IB in Bermuda. The basic business concepts understood from the operations of IB in the local economy will allow our students to build on and conceptually link to the global perspective, as they progress to the senior and tertiary school levels.”

October 20. The island’s incinerator will have to recruit four engineers from overseas to fill gaps in the workforce, the Minister of Public Works told MPs today. And Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch warned that the Tynes Bay plant would either need expanded or major work done on the existing waste to power plant within the next three years to remain reliable. Colonel Burch also raised the possibility of Tynes Bay becoming a quango — a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization — outside of direct government control. He said: “We are commissioning a study to do an analysis of timelines, options and of course cost to explore which is more beneficial in the long term. The costs are significant for either option along with the likely requirement for extensive space for baled garbage for an extended period during construction.” Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly that Tynes Bay was down four operators due to staff leaving — often for better money at Belco and elsewhere. But he said it was planned to launch a recruitment drive for trainees next year. He said: “We lose staff to Belco more and more as our compensation mechanisms fail to keep up with the competition. Gaining more flexibility by becoming a quango may be a solution as current government compensation grading does not take into account risk management, which is a high contributing factor to persons not wanting to stay and progress through the ranks. All options are on the table to secure and retain qualified Bermudian talent and we shall aggressively explore these options without apology.” Colonel Burch said that the weekday drop-off times at Tynes Bay would be extended from the start of next month. He explained the hours for the bulky and special waste drop-off section were cut as a cost-saving measure in 2013. But he said that “through collaborative efforts with the operating contractor and ministry staff” a deal was worked out to change the 9am to 6pm hours to 7am to 6pm to let people drop off items on their way to work. Colonel Burch added that “through the application of monies already owed to government” the extended hours would not involve extra expenditure.

October 20. The old police station building in St George’s is neither habitable nor large enough to serve for policing the Olde Towne, according to Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security. While there has been “much discussion around the relocation of the eastern police station from Southside to the town”, Mr Caines said there was no need to operate from Southside and within the town at the same time. He told the House of Assembly: “Only one location, or the other, should be considered.” Police have a long-term rental agreement with the Bermuda Land Development Corporation for Southside, which also houses the forensic crime unit, but other police units could be relocated there with savings made, Mr Caines said. “This ministry will continue to work with the commissioner to determine the best policing plan in support of St George’s, providing a solution that inspires confidence, serves the growing town well, and is economically viable for the long term,” he said.

October 20. Stevedoring Services workers at Hamilton Docks have downed tools in a dispute with management. Warren Jones, Stevedoring Services chief executive, confirmed yesterday afternoon that the firm had received notice of industrial action and was working to resolve the situation. Mr Jones said: “Stevedoring Services Limited can confirm that we have received formal notice of industrial action from the Port Workers’ Division of the Bermuda Industrial Union. The stevedores have unloaded and delivered refrigerated containers. We are working to resolve this action.”

October 20. Sexual assault is “pervasive” in Bermuda, according to one leading island social worker. Laurie Shiell-Smith, executive director of the Centre Against Abuse, said that the organization began using the #MeToo campaign to “let other survivors know that they are not alone”. The movement went viral on social media earlier this week and allowed victims to share their stories to draw attention to the widespread issue of sexual assault and harassment. The move followed a string of allegations of sexual abuse by Hollywood producer and former studio executive Harvey Weinstein. Ms Shiell-Smith said CAA encouraged survivors to share “what they can when they are ready. I know of several individuals who have spoken about some of their story on social media about their sexual assault, and had several people reveal to them privately that the same thing happened to them. They feel relaxed to come out to people whom they see understand where they are, and can empathize with them. They no longer feel all alone.” Ms Shiell-Smith said the number of people using the hashtag was uplifting and unsettling at the same time. She explained: “It is heartbreaking to see so many people have had to endure this atrocity, but it is empowering because they are using their voice to say that this is not my shame to bear any longer. Sex assault and harassment were all too common on the island. Sexual assault is pervasive in Bermuda. It happens in the home, workplace, on the street and in various public arenas. Sexual assault was any non-consensual sexual act. Sexual assault may refer to rape, attempted rape, incest, molestation or other acts of sexual intrusion, including non-physical or verbal acts of violence.” Numbers provided by police in April showed an increase in sexual assault reports in recent years. Police said that 40 sexual assaults were reported in 2016, up from 35 in 2015, and 30 in 2014. The crime statistics report for last year recorded twenty-three arrests for sex assault. But Ms Shiell-Smith said that official statistics were just the tip of the iceberg. She explained: “Often assaults happen in the workplace that may not even get to human resources and if they do, human resources do not have a central place to report statistics. Assaults happen on the street just in passing, and you don’t know who that person is that assaulted you, and you don’t know how to report it, while some people are very fearful to report. Shame, fear of reprisal, or feelings of responsibility for being victimized were all reasons for under-reporting of sex offences. Then there are others who don’t realize that they’ve been raped, as they don’t understand that their ‘yes’ should not be forced or coerced in any manner. The way sexual assaults are often discussed — with the responsibility on possible victims to behave differently, rather than on the perpetrator — is part of the problem. Often times we are taught early in life to stay away from the dirty old man’ or that fresh person. This type of talk instills in us from young that the onus is on the potential victim, that the responsibility is theirs to avoid being victimized. The sexual predator needs to be held accountable. Victims had to have their stories believed and supported to recover from their ordeals. We need to allow the survivor to decide their course of action, and also provide education, direction and guidance to support them through their entire process. We need to support survivors when they use their voice to tell their story.” Ms Shiell-Smith added the CAA offered help for victims irrespective of when an assault happened. She said: “CAA provides services for survivors who were assaulted yesterday and for those who were assaulted as children and are now adults and wish to receive support. Your voice does matter.” And Ms Shiell-Smith said the #MeToo campaign “is about solidarity, it is about removing a mask, it is about encouragement, it is about starting a conversation that has been hidden for far too long”.

October 20. Bermudian acting legend Earl Cameron was back in the limelight in his homeland last night. Mr Cameron, who turned 100 in August, was the star of Our Earl is 100 Years Young at the City Hall in Hamilton. About 300 fans and supporters crowded into the Earl Cameron Theatre, which is named in his honor, to hear him tell his story. Mr Cameron told The Royal Gazette: “I seem to have a fair amount of energy. They seem to be very proud of me here; named a theatre after me. It’s very kind of them.” Mr Cameron made a name for himself in London theatre before becoming the first black star to play a leading role in a British film. But he said his first acting role came about almost by accident. Mr Cameron added: “When I arrived in London, I had no qualifications for anything. It was a period when it was almost impossible for a black person to get any kind of job.” Mr Cameron went to see a friend in a show and, after noticing a number of black actors, asked him if he could have a part. Mr Cameron said: “He said no way. The show was cast, but strangely enough three weeks later he came by late one afternoon and said my big chance had come. He said a guy on the show hadn’t shown up, it was the third time he had missed a matinee so the director said to get someone else.” Mr Cameron made his debut in the chorus that night. Mr Cameron was still able to sing some of his lines this week, more than 60 years later, but he was less lucky on his debut on the boards. “I knew none of the words. All I could see were faces of people in the packed Palace Theatre. I was sweating, my knees were trembling, but I was thinking to myself it’s better than washing dishes. From that night forward, I was bitten by the theatre bug. I never looked back.” Mr Cameron returned to Bermuda after the Second World War, but just five months later he was back on a ship, heading to New York and then to London, where he won a role as an understudy in Deep are the Roots. He said: “That play did me a lot of good. When the show closed, the guy who played the lead went off to live in Paris and I became a package deal with the show for the repertory theatres across England. I owe an awful lot to that play. It was the best part I had up to that period.” Mr Cameron later made the move to the silver screen with a starring role in Pool of London, which made him one of the first black stars in the UK. He went on to earn roles in Simba, Sapphire, the James Bond movie Thunderball, The Queen and The Interpreter. Mr Cameron was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his contributions to drama in 2009. The University of Warwick awarded Mr Cameron an honorary doctorate in 2013. Mr Cameron also had some advice for young and aspiring actors. He said: “To be honest, I spent the best part of my life in show business, but I am reluctant to recommend that to young people. It’s a hell of a life. I got the best part of it.” Mr Cameron added he was thrilled to be back on the island where he was born. He said: “It feels wonderful to be here as there’s no place in the world like Bermuda. It’s a delightful place.”

October 20. A Bermuda-born actress has claimed Hollywood tycoon Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her. Lena Headey, best known as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, alleged Mr Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax, subjected her to sexual harassment on two occasions several years apart. Ms Headey said the first incident happened at the Venice Film Festival in 2005 when she was in her 30s. The Brothers Grimm, a film she appeared in along with Matt Damon and the late Heath Ledger and in which a Weinstein company was involved on the production side, had its premiere at the festival. Ms Headey wrote on Twitter: “At one point Harvey asked me to take a walk down to the water. I walked down with him and he stopped and made some suggestive comment, a gesture, I just laughed it off. I was shocked.” She added: “I was never in any other Miramax film.” Ms Headey said she next saw Mr Weinstein in Los Angeles several years later. She said: “I had always carried the thought that he’d never try anything with me again, not after I’d laughed and said never in a million years. I believed that he respected my boundary and maybe he wanted to talk about potential work.” Ms Headey said she accepted an invitation to breakfast. After the two talked about film-making, she said Mr Weinstein asked her personal questions “about the state of my love life”. A short time later, Ms Headey said he invited her upstairs to get a script. Ms Headey added: “We walked to the lift and the energy shifted, my whole body went into high alert. “I said to Harvey ‘I’m not interested in anything other than work; please don’t think I got in here with you for any other reason; nothing is going to happen’.” Ms Headey said Mr Weinstein was silent after she spoke. She described feeling “completely powerless” as he was “marching me forward” with “his hand on my back” towards his room. Ms Headey said Mr Weinstein became angry at the room door after his key card failed to work. She added she was walked back through the hotel by Weinstein “grabbing and tightly holding to the back of my arm”. Ms Headey said: “He paid for my car and whispered in my ear ‘Don’t tell anyone about this, not your manager, not your agent. I got into my car and I cried.” Ms Headey, 44, has also appeared in movies 300 and The Purge. The daughter of John Headey, an island policeman, and his wife Susan, she was born in 1973 and lived on the island for five years. Ms Headey is one of dozens of women who alleged Mr Weinstein subjected them to sexual harassment and assault. These include actors Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevingne, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow. Mr Weinstein was fired this month by the board of his company, The Weinstein Company, after the allegations came to light. Mr Weinstein, along with his brother Bob, founded Miramax in the 1970s.

October 20. Transitions, a practice offering psychology and psychotherapeutic services, has been through its own transition since last year’s major fire on Front Street destroyed its former home. Employees of Transitions, a company that has been in business for almost 30 years now, described losing their former base at 79 Front Street as traumatic. But they believe the experience will allow them to relate better to some of their clients. Jeremy Lodge, clinical psychologist at Transitions told The Royal Gazette that he lost all client records, which he describes as a minor setback. “I had to call clients that I remembered off of the top of my head, and meet at their homes and other locations temporarily. I lost all upcoming appointments and records in the fire.” All of the counselors had similar experiences, but all were impacted in a different ways. Sarah White, a psychotherapist, described the experience as a feeling of grief, as if she lost her home. “I have been there so long,” she said. “For me it was a second home — we try to make our offices an extension of our own personalities and comfort zones. I didn’t realize at the time how devastating it really was, it felt like I had no where to go any more.” However, the group believed there had been advantages from going through the experience, as Debbie Jackson, a psychotherapist, mentioned. “We work with people who undergo trauma and difficult times,” she said. “It has certainly deepened my understanding and empathy having gone through this myself. And through resilience, to understand it’s possible to rebuild and refresh. We are happy in a new space which we did not anticipate a year ago.” Brian Rosorea, a psychotherapist, added: “It highlighted how people react to loss in different ways. Life throws situations at you so I knew it would be fine, but it wasn’t until six to nine months later when I started to feel the tug of it all.” During the struggle, their friends from the corporate community assisted by lending out office conference rooms to hold meetings. Ms White said: “The community really pulled together to help us and we are grateful.” The Transitions team has moved into a new home in Wessex House at 45 Reid Street. They want clients to know that they are back at full strength and ready to help people in their time of need. “It is ironic that our name is Transitions, as this was a very transitional experience,” Ms Jackson said. They offer diverse services including for children, adults and the elderly, and for issues such as chemical dependency, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, and marriage, as well as facilitating seminars and workshops. Mr Rosorea said: “We help people with relationships, whether it’s with other people or with themselves.” For more information, contact any of the counselors on or on 295-2665.

October 19. Bermuda can further improve its world leading position in the insurance linked securities sector, according to David Burt, the Premier. And his view was supported by Ross Webber, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, who said the island’s message to the rest of the world is that it is the place to seek and find new ideas and creative solutions. He also said technologies such as fintech and insurtech find a natural test bed environment in Bermuda. The two men were addressing a room of delegates at the two-day ILS Bermuda Convergence 2017 event this morning. Mr Burt spoke of the catastrophes resulting from hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, the earthquakes in Mexico, and the wildfires in northern California. “The importance of the Insurance Linked Securities business in Bermuda and our catastrophe reinsurance platform has truly been affirmed by these devastating events, and I am pleased that the growth in this annual ILS meeting, mirrors the growth in Bermuda’s ILS industry,” he said. “The significance of industries like yours, at the cutting edge of risk financing for some of the most destructive events, cannot be understated.” The insurance industry is expected to pay out $100 billion in claims resulting from losses caused by Irma, Harvey, and Maria. Those payments will support the recovery and rebuilding process of affected individuals, businesses and communities. Mr Burt, who is also the Minister of Finance, noted that the Bermuda market is expected to pay about 25 per cent of the losses from those catastrophes. “These events can accelerate a capital market’s incursion into insurance market share held by traditional insurers and reinsurers, especially with regard to the catastrophe business, as ILS increasingly appears to provide capital efficiencies. With these changes, the role of the capital markets in the future of insurance and reinsurance will grow in significance. Reinsurers may improve their own capital structures, by embracing alternative capital models and making them part of their own business plans.” ILS Convergence 2017 was held at the Hamilton Princess. The event is now in its fifth year. The Premier spoke of Bermuda-based companies at the front of the pack using new and innovative structures as the ILS sector grows globally. And he said there is “a promise of further progress in these products for insurance and reinsurance lines, well beyond catastrophe reinsurance”. Last year the Bermuda Stock Exchange had a record 61 new ILS listings. That had increased to 218 by June, with a value of $24.5 billion. “As the island remains the leading jurisdiction for the issuance of catastrophe bonds, the Bermuda Monetary Authority reports that ILS issued from Bermuda represents nearly 74 per cent of total outstanding capacity at the end of the first quarter,” said Mr Burt. “With the backing of industry and Government, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, has always sought effective supervision, combined with coordination among their global regulatory peers, with strong and useful regulation being critical to today’s financial markets.” Mr Burt, who became Premier following the General Election in July, added: “This new Government believes the Bermuda market can go even further to serve the needs of the corporate world. However, it will take the continued efforts of working together with industry stakeholders, for all of us to reap the rewards and find mutual benefit. My message today is the same as it has been over the last few months, Bermuda is an excellent place to do business, and provides an excellent and well regarded platform to — putting it simply — make money. I look forward to supporting the growth of this segment and rest assured that my government will do all it can to ensure that Bermuda is not only a great place to live and work, but an even better place to make money.” The BDA is lead sponsor of the event, which it helped launch in 2013. Mr Ross said: “Our island is unrivalled in the scope and speed of ILS development and we work hard to keep it that way. Technology can forge a path of disruption. Talented minds in this market are looking at distributed ledgers, blockchain and other technologies that can continue that can continue to build on Bermuda’s dynamic reputation and set us apart. Our message to the rest of the world is that Bermuda is different, exciting things happen here, new ideas, creative solutions and fresh ways of looking at things.” The ILS Bermuda Convergence 2017 event concludes today.

October 19. The firm bidding to provide a cashless gaming network for casinos in Bermuda claims it would retain only a “very small profit margin” from the tens of millions of dollars it stands to make. Responding to a special report by The Royal Gazette yesterday, MM&I Holdings said it would give the vast majority of profits to “churches, community clubs, vulnerable citizens’ programmes, etc”. In MM&I’s signed agreement with the Government — disclosed under public access to information and published by this newspaper yesterday — no reference was made to profits being given to churches, charities or programmes helping vulnerable people. Yesterday, MM&I said the agreement was deemed null and void once the referendum on gaming was withdrawn by the One Bermuda Alliance government. The Royal Gazette reported how gaming regulators fear a multimillion-dollar casinos deal involving the Government and MM&I remains on the table despite concerns it could damage the island’s financial reputation. Our report revealed individuals associated with the company’s partner firm, Florida-based Banyan Gaming, previously surrendered their gaming licences in two gaming jurisdictions in the United States, which the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission believes could create problems if they were licensed on the island. Mark Pettingill, the former Attorney-General, whose law firm represents MM&I, and who was in Cabinet along with his business partner, Shawn Crockwell, when the deal was agreed with the Government, released a statement on behalf of MM&I Holdings Limited and its partners yesterday. “It is true that MM&I would seek to earn a profit as a service provider to the gaming market in Bermuda. That is the nature of any good business,” the statement said. “But it is also true that once MM&I reached the profit stage of its investment plan, 95 per cent of all profits would be donated to a government appointed Gaming Proceeds for Charity Committee to distribute the profits to churches, community clubs, vulnerable citizens’ programmes, etc. MM&I would have no say in who the money would go to. We would only serve to perform our services and collect the funds to make them available to the committee for disbursement. In fact, MM&I would retain a very small profit margin in reflection of our multimillion-dollar, upfront investment and necessary operating expenses for jobs, etc. Without hesitation, MM&I remains 100 per cent committed to ensuring that no overseas operator can enter the local gaming market and siphon off tens of millions of dollars out of our local economy and systemically erode our currency. We are also 100 per cent committed to establishing a legacy for Bermuda in that we implement a safe, responsible and controlled environment for gaming, including stringent anti-money laundering and vulnerable player controls.” On the fact that MM&I provided a $30,000 donation towards a pro-gaming marketing campaign, at the request of Mr Crockwell, Mr Pettingill’s statement said: “It is true that MM&I donated $30,000 towards the ‘Yes’ for gaming and ‘Jobs Bermuda’ campaigns. We fully believe that the Bermuda public should be educated on gaming prior to the referendum and that there should have been a referendum on gaming.” He said that MM&I and its partners were now seeking legal advice to claim significant damages because “the disclosure of confidential information” and comments made by the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission “in a public forum” had severely impacted their ability to enter the gaming market in Bermuda. This newspaper reported how Mr Crockwell had told his Cabinet colleagues it was imperative to proceed with MM&I because “no other local entity” could provide the same networking system. Responding, Mr Pettingill said: “It was always the understanding that any decision to have a central/cashless system in place would result in a proper public tendering process. This was made clear by the former entire Cabinet. MM&I followed the RFQ [request for qualifications] process and we are positioned to bid based on a tender request. To date it has not gotten to the stage of being tendered, as no decision has been reached by the new administration.” The statement noted that MM&I is a “100 per cent owned and staffed Bermudian company” and said its MM&I references were never contacted by the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission. Our report revealed that the gaming commission was unimpressed after speaking to referees included in a joint RFQ submission by MM&I and Banyan. Mr Pettingill’s statement continued: “So please ask yourself, is this a good deal for Bermuda? And why would anyone try and impact such a philanthropic and sensible approach to ensuring Bermuda’s future economic stability? We are asking for nothing up front and we are giving the vast majority of profits back to Bermuda and Bermudians.” He said the group had tried to “educate the OBA government” by hosting them overseas for an in-depth system and casino operation information session, and the public at large via the Progressive Labour Party’s forum on responsible gaming on May 3 this year. It said: “We have also strived to do the right thing for Bermuda, as this is our home. We are not an overseas entity trying to enter the market and extract tens of millions of dollars from Bermuda to fund offshore interests. We are here to stay and make sure that Bermuda is not adversely impacted by the gaming industry. Our philanthropic vision is that the disposable income that players spend on gaming is used to fund charities and community programmes in Bermuda for those who are struggling and/or in need of support. And we challenge the hotels who stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars from gaming to either match our vision or to make a significant contribution to Bermuda’s charities and community programmes from the proceeds of gaming. MM&I will be holding a public forum on its philanthropic-based gaming solution for Bermuda. This is an opportunity for Bermudians to help to form their own opinion on the best plan for Bermuda.” Dates for the open forums are to be announced shortly. The gaming commission disclosed records about the MM&I deal, including the agreement itself and e-mail correspondence, in response to a Pati request.

October 19.  The Human Rights Commission has been invited to make submissions over controversial amendments to immigration legislation. The HRC and home affairs minister Walton Brown released a joint statement yesterday, in which they said they had held “candid and constructive” talks over Mr Brown’s plan to make immigration regulations lawful even if they contradict the Human Rights Act. Mr Brown said he is committed to accepting submissions on future amendments to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act, while the HRC welcomed an invitation for one of its commissioners to join the Immigration Reform Committee. The minister has previously said the amendments are designed to protect Bermudians and to block court challenges over Bermuda status from non-Bermudians who can argue that immigration law has discriminated against them based on their country of origin. The HRC had argued it was “reckless” to undermine the Human Rights Act, or have it portrayed as a tool for manipulation. Mr Brown and the HRC said of their meeting: “The discussion was candid and constructive. The minister acknowledged the HRC’s fundamental concern at undermining the primacy of the Human Rights Act 1981 as a means of addressing immediate and necessary immigration reform. The minister, a human rights advocate, recognizes the Human Rights Act 1981 is not a tool to be manipulated, nor weakened, and laws should only be exempted from its primacy in a reasonable and balanced way. Equally, the HRC recognizes that Bermuda must have control over its immigration. However, that regulation should be exercised in a reasonable manner that upholds the principles afforded under national human rights legislation. In the interest of collaboration on human rights and immigration issues in the long term, the minister has invited a commissioner of the HRC to join the Immigration Reform Committee and the HRC has accepted this invitation. The minister is also committed to accepting submissions from the HRC and other interested parties on future amendments to the bill, or related recommendations. Both the HRC and the minister will seek to educate the public further on this very important issue and will be providing further information in the near future.”

October 19. Despite uncertainty created for Bermuda’s insurance and reinsurance market by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president, there are still opportunities on the island for the life insurance market. That view will be expressed by Chantal Cardinez, chief executive officer of Hannover Life Reinsurance Bermuda, when she speaks at InsuranceERM Insurance Risk and Capital, Bermuda event tomorrow. “Bermuda is one of the world’s leading insurance centers and has a strong reputation of being both entrepreneurial and at the forefront of advancements in insurance risk. Bermuda has successfully built an enhanced regulatory framework for commercial insurers and reinsurers, including Solvency II equivalence status by the EU Commission.,” said Ms Cardinez. “However, with the change in the US administration and the outcome of the EU referendum in the UK, concerns have been raised about the possible repercussions on the Bermuda market. Despite the uncertain geopolitical climate, growth in the life insurance sector continues. We believe there is still a lot of opportunity in Bermuda for the life insurance market and during the panel discussion we will discuss why this is the case.” Ms Cardinez is a member of the board of directors of Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers. She will be on the panel of a conference session entitled “Innovation and Change in the Re/Insurance Industry”, and she will examine the growth of the life insurance sector in Bermuda, as well as discuss the most pertinent issues facing risk professionals and the outlook for the life insurance and reinsurance industry in 2018. Others on the panel are Manu Sheen, head of reinsurance and co-CEO of Biltir member company Global Atlantic Re Limited, and Dan Malloy, chief underwriting officer at Third Point Re. Meanwhile, Sylvia Oliveira, CEO at Wilton Re Bermuda and member of the Biltir board of directors, will sit on a panel discussing risk culture and the changing role of the CRO. The event, which attracts CROs, chief actuaries and regulators, is being held at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

October 19. An international travel conference is set to be held on the island in what the Bermuda Tourism Authority described as a “double win”. The 32nd Educational Travel Consortium Signature Conference, February 5-8, 2018, is expected to bring more than 400 travel planners and tour operators to the Bermuda in February. The conference is expected to pump an estimated $830,000 into the local economy while highlighting the island as a destination. Christi Tucker, business development manager for the BTA, secured the ETC group with assistance from Fairmont Southampton — the event’s host hotel. Ms Tucker said: “This conference is a double win. Not only is the ETC coming to a destination outside the United States for the first time, it’s bringing very influential travel planners out here. These decision-makers are in critical positions to bring more conferences and group travel to Bermuda in the future.” ETC members represent higher education alumni groups, museums, zoos and conservation and cultural organisations, focusing on “experiential travel”. While on the island, attendees will experience Bermuda’s culture first hand, allowing them to better promote Bermuda as a destination. The visit will also result in at least 2,000 room nights for local hotels during the slower shoulder season. This month, Ms Tucker hosted key officials from ETC on a site visit that included time at Carter House with Heritage Bermuda, a collection of historical and cultural organisations in Bermuda. Rick Spurling, chairman of Heritage Bermuda, said: “This extremely important conference will be a major catalyst for tourism in Bermuda. All heritage experience providers in Bermuda from the Gombeys to the museums are dedicated to Bermuda’s fascinating culture and history and can’t wait to tell it and show it — not only next February — but for many years to come.

October 19. The Governor urged everyone to help eliminate child sexual abuse by taking the training programme run by Saving Children and Revealing Secrets yesterday. John Rankin, who became certified on Tuesday, along with nine members of Government House staff, also commended the child sex abuse prevention charity for the work it does to protect children. Mr Rankin said: “I would encourage everyone, whether they work with children on a regular basis or not, to undertake the training. It is the responsibility of all of us to protect Bermuda’s children and hopefully with the training provided by Scars, Bermuda can continue to move forward in eliminating child sexual abuse. Scars and its staff should be very proud of the work they have done to date; they have trained 12 per cent of Bermuda’s adult population, something which has not been accomplished in larger jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom or the United States. This figure shows the importance placed by the community as a whole on this very difficult topic.” The Governor said he had heard much about the “essential” work done by Scars to increase the awareness of the devastation caused by child sexual abuse and to provide a voice for victims and their families. He added: “Although Government House does not have daily interaction with children, I felt it was right and important that we undertake the Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training to better equip ourselves in recognizing and dealing with such a sensitive matter.” Trained facilitators Debi Ray-Rivers and Glenda Edwards, delivered the three-hour programme designed to educate adults on how to recognize, prevent and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Ms Ray-Rivers, founder and executive director of Scars, said the programme is the only prevention course in Bermuda that is scientifically proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child-protective behaviors. She added: “We have now trained 6,096 adults in our community and we are seeing the impact this training has had in our community in the past six years. “We at Scars are truly grateful to the Governor and his wonderful team of staff for choosing to take part in this training. This highlights the importance that he places in protecting the children of Bermuda.” Ms Ray-Rivers said sexual abuse can affect entire communities in terms of relationships, health costs and crime. “It is important to learn everything we can about this issue because it is preventable.” Any adult or organization entrusted with a child or interested in the subject is encouraged to take the programme, become certified and put into practice what they learn. Ms Ray-Rivers added: “Although there is a cost to Scars, we will continue to raise funds so that no adult has to pay to learn how to protect children from sexual abuse. We are grateful to all of the foundations, corporations, and individual donors who believe in our mission and continue to support our cause.”

October 19. Gary Simons, the deputy chairman of Preserve Marriage Bermuda, has resigned from his position at the group that has campaigned against same-sex marriage for the past two years. Prominent in the group since December 2015, Mr Simons declared a month later that the group’s “twofold purpose is to ensure that marriage remains between a man and a woman for the betterment of society, and ensure that the few do not decide for the many to redefine marriage in Bermuda”. Mr Simons also opposed the granting of civil unions as “the answer to alleged discrimination”, saying they “inevitably” led to the redefinition of marriage. Preserve Marriage released a statement yesterday that confirmed the church pastor had quit. The group said: “The executive committee of Preserve Marriage would like to advise its supporters that it has received and accepted the resignation of its deputy chair/spokesperson Gary Simons. “The board will continue its relentless efforts to reverse the recent court decision that allows for same-sex marriages to be performed in Bermuda and plans to keep its many thousands of supporters informed of the progress of its efforts. “Moving forward, Dr Melvyn Bassett will continue to chair the Preserve Marriage board and speak on its behalf.”

October 18. Powerful winds and rain from Storm Ophelia have caused damage in Ireland that has been estimated at up to $1.8 billion. However, another estimate suggests the range of losses is likely to be lower at between $580 million and $940 million. The Enki Research Centre, in Savannah, Georgia, has put the estimated losses for Ireland at $1.8 billion, split between physical damage and economic disruptions, reports Elsewhere, an initial estimated range reported by broadcaster RTE in Ireland, cited the lower range of figures. It also quoted Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland, who said it was too early to say whether insurance premiums will rise as a result of claims linked to Ophelia. He also said it would be a few weeks before the extent of insurance claims are known. Almost half-a-million homes and businesses across Ireland lost power as a result of the storm, which was downgraded from a hurricane as it hit Ireland on Monday. Wind gusts of 80 miles per hour were reported on the country’s south coast. A few days before it reached Ireland, Ophelia was briefly a Category 3 hurricane as it passed south of the Azores in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. In Northern Ireland, 200,000 customers had their electricity supply disrupted. The storm also caused damage in parts of Scotland, England and Wales. The Enki Research Centre expects the damage caused in the UK to be around $298 million.

October 18. THE ROYAL GAZETTE investigates how a potential multimillion-dollar deal for a cashless gaming system could prove “problematic” for the Bermuda Government Gaming regulators fear that a multimillion-dollar casinos deal involving the Government is still on the table, despite concerns that it could damage the island’s financial reputation. Local company MM&I Holdings stands to potentially net tens of millions of dollars a year if it is given the contract to provide a cashless gaming network management system for any casinos that open on the island. But the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission has warned that individuals associated with the company’s partner firm, Florida-based Banyan Gaming, have previously surrendered their gaming licences in two major gambling jurisdictions in the United States and this could be “problematic” in relation to them being licensed in the Bermuda market. In addition, after checking references provided by the two companies, the commission questioned why those referees seemed “unwilling to endorse” them. Disclosures made under the Public Access to Information Act reveal that Deborah Blakeney, the commission’s lawyer, raised the issues in an e-mail to MM&I earlier this year. She wrote: “It is the commission’s goal to ensure that the highest standards of suitability will be employed in allowing operators to enter the Bermuda integrated resort market. To do anything less not only jeopardizes the ability of the industry to secure a correspondent banking relationship, but can also damage the reputational brand of the island.” MM&I is owned by Bermudians John Tartaglia and Michael Moniz. As of July 2016, MM&I was represented by Mark Pettingill’s law firm and the company reached its agreement with the Government when Mr Pettingill and his business partner, the late Shawn Crockwell, were in Cabinet. Mr Crockwell, in a Cabinet memorandum seen by The Royal Gazette, told his colleagues it was “imperative” to proceed with the agreement with MM&I since “no other local entity” could provide the same networking system. The agreement itself, obtained through public access to information, was non-binding, conditional upon the legalisation of casino-style gaming and was signed by Mr Crockwell as tourism minister and witnessed by Mr Pettingill, then the Attorney-General, on December 3, 2013, a year before casino gaming was given the green light by Parliament. It proposed a ten-year contract for MM&I, with the option to renew for another ten years, giving the company 40 per cent of Bermuda’s gross gaming revenue from electronic gaming devices — slot machines and electronic table games — and an 8 per cent transaction fee on the purchase of chips for use at dealer-operated tables. With Bermuda’s annual revenue from casinos projected to be between $84 million and $146 million, according a 2010 government-commissioned report, and electronic gaming probably accounting for about three quarters of that, the rewards for MM&I and Banyan were likely to be substantial. At about the time the agreement was signed, at the request of Mr Crockwell, MM&I gave a $30,000 donation towards a marketing campaign aimed at persuading Bermudians to vote in favour of casino gaming in a planned referendum on the issue. The One Bermuda Alliance government decided to break its promise to hold that referendum just ten days after the MM&I agreement was signed. Mr Crockwell later tabled the Casino Gaming Act, which passed in Parliament in December 2014, paving the way for a casino industry in Bermuda. Mr Crockwell said the introduction of casinos would significantly enhance Bermuda’s tourism product and the referendum was ditched “for the better good”. Although MM&I’s agreement with the OBA government was terminated by Michael Fahy, who replaced Mr Crockwell as tourism minister after the latter quit Cabinet, gaming commission executives are querying whether it is still under consideration by the new Progressive Labour Party administration. The PLP, when in Opposition, invited two representatives of Banyan to sit as panellists at a forum it held on “safe and responsible” gambling on May 3 this year. At that meeting at Elbow Beach Bermuda Resort & Spa, Banyan president Jason Seelig outlined the benefits of a cashless gaming system and suggested that it be mandated by law. He was backed by Australian attorney Tibor Vertes, another panelist and client of Mr Crockwell and Mr Pettingill’s law firm. Just the day before, according to the records disclosed under Pati, the gaming commission’s lawyer had written to MM&I with questions about a firm that Mr Seelig previously ran with his father, Mac Seelig, and its “history of regulatory difficulties in markets” in which it was licensed. That history was a concern, according to the commission’s lawyer, Deborah Blakeney, because any sound anti-money laundering regime requires thorough background checks on operators, and banks could be deterred from dealing with the proceeds of the island’s casinos. Ms Blakeney wrote on May 2: “I raise these two issues because in the commission’s dealing with the correspondent banks for the island, and in dealing with the mandates of the Financial Action Task Force, a keystone condition concerns the suitability of the operator and all associates thereof. “The fact that it appears that this operator is considered unsuitable for licensing in at least two major US jurisdictions appears problematic. If I am missing something here, I would appreciate your guidance.” Public records show that the predecessor company, AC Coin & Slot, voluntarily surrendered its licence in New Jersey after the company was wound down in July 2013. In doing so, it became ineligible to apply again for a licence for five years. In the same month in Pennsylvania, AC Coin & Slot withdrew “with prejudice” its application for a licence. Such withdrawals can result in a five-year period of ineligibility to apply for a licence, in certain circumstances. Ms Blakeney referred to a list of references provided to the Government by MM&I and Banyan. “You are obviously not aware that my executive director, Richard Schuetz, knows many of these individuals and he was able to make inquiries,” she wrote. “The written and verbal responses from these individuals was generally less than glowing and the commission is puzzled as to why such individuals would be included as references for your company.” Ms Blakeney added: “We would ... appreciate your explanations as to why your listed references seem unwilling to endorse you.” Commission executive director Mr Schuetz reiterated the commission’s concerns in an e-mail to Ms Blakeney on August 2, pointing out that MM&I had not responded to her questions. He said since her letter was sent, Banyan had removed the names of Jason Seelig and Mac Seelig from its website. “This may all result from the fact that Jason and Mac are no longer associated with Banyan,” he wrote. “That would be a most interesting coincidence.” Mr Schuetz also considered the possibility that Banyan was distancing itself from those two individuals in order to pursue a licence in Bermuda without any legacy licensing issues or to position itself to argue that past concerns were no longer relevant. “This is particularly disconcerting if their plan of entry is by way of legislative mandate,” wrote Mr Schuetz. “I believe that certain people on this island believe that legislative mandate is worth $40 million per year for ten years. If, in fact, Mac and Jason are no longer listed on the Banyan website to create the impression that our past licensing concerns are no longer relevant, then I believe it is safe to conclude that the legislative mandate option is still being considered...” Mr Schuetz, who resigned from the commission on the day of the General Election and is serving out his notice period, has been criticized by Mr Crockwell and Mr Pettingill, as well as by Mr Vertes and social development and sports minister Zane DeSilva, a friend and sometime legal client of Mr Pettingill. Mr Vertes is being sued by Mr Schuetz for defamation. The Royal Gazette asked new tourism minister Jamahl Simmons if he was aware of the December 3, 2013 agreement with MM&I and whether the Government was still in talks with MM&I/Banyan or any other company about a casino gaming system for Bermuda. Mr Simmons replied: “As the ministry responsible for gaming, the main priority is ensuring that our gaming regulations are in place to assist with passing the current global review process, protecting our reputation as a jurisdiction and ensuring a clean gaming industry that benefits Bermudians first. Matters related to gaming systems should be addressed by the gaming commission.” There was no response by press time to a request for the minister to clarify what he meant by the “current global review process”. Digital Gaming Corporation USA acquired Jason Seelig’s 50 per cent share in Banyan in July. Jason Seelig now lists himself on LinkedIn as an executive vice-president at DGC. Mac Seelig’s profile on LinkedIn refers to him as a senior business analyst at Banyan. Keith Furlong, from DGC, told this newspaper: “Banyan Gaming LLC was established in January 2015 with Jason Seelig as a 50 per cent owner of the entity. “On or around July 2017, Seelig’s interest in Banyan Gaming was acquired by Digital Gaming Corporation USA. Seelig is no longer a shareholder of Banyan Gaming or Digital Gaming Corporation USA. The company does not wish to comment further.” Company filings in Florida from August show that Mr Furlong replaced Mr Seelig as Banyan’s manager. Mr Pettingill, the lone respondent to The Royal Gazette’s request for comment yesterday, has promised to speak today after consulting his clients.

October 18. Timeline of Casino Gambling events. 






Timeline based on Pati disclosures and newspaper reports

October 18. Bermuda-based Axis Capital Holdings Ltd has completed its acquisition of Lloyd’s insurer Novae Group after the takeover received clearance from regulators including the European Commission. The acquisition creates a $2 billion insurer in London and a top ten re/insurer at Lloyd’s, with total global gross written premiums of $6 billion, based on 2016 actual results. Novae originally agreed in July to be bought by Axis for $604 million. But a shareholder revolt halted that deal, with many saying the price undervalued Novae. The deal was struck after Axis increased its offer to $611.4 million. Matthew Fosh, Novae’s chief executive officer, will become Axis Capital’s executive chairman, Europe, and will report to Albert Benchimol, the CEO of Axis. Novae will adopt the Axis brand and its insurance business will be merged into Axis’s international insurance division, led by its CEO, Mark Gregory, who reports to Pete Wilson, CEO of Axis Insurance. Alistair Robson, chief underwriting officer at Axis Insurance International, will become CUO, property and casualty, in the combined organization, and Robert Forster, CUO at Novae, will be CUO, specialty lines. Novae’s reinsurance business will be merged into Axis Re and will form the core of the firm’s London reinsurance business, led by Richard Milner, CUO of AXIS Re London and APAC. Mr Benchimol said: “Acquiring Novae greatly adds to the scale and breadth of our international business and also underscores our commitment to London and to Lloyd’s, which continues to be the pre-eminent market for specialty risks. Novae is known for its market-leading underwriting talent, which we expect will thrive at Axis. Our goal is to bring out the best in both firms as we become one organization that is even stronger together.” Mr Fosh said: “Both companies share similar values and priorities — we are specialty businesses that place a high priority on our clients and employees. Our culture fosters innovation and entrepreneurial, and I expect that to continue as we bring together the best of our two companies.”

October 18. A weakness in a security protocol that Wi-Fi devices rely on has put wireless-enabled devices at risk of attack, Government’s Cybersecurity Working Group warned today. According to national security minister Wayne Caines, the Key Reinstallation Attack, or “KRACK”, can allow an attacker within range of a Wi-Fi network to gain access to unencrypted traffic sent over the internet. The Government’s Cybersecurity Working Group is advising the community to take the following precautions:

For the public:

For corporate users:

October 18. A “World Series of Sailing”, showcasing the same foiling catamarans used in the 35th America’s Cup, could be heading to Bermuda. The Royal Gazette revealed this month that plans were in the works for the island to host a regatta to be contested in the AC50 catamarans. And speculation over the proposal has heightened after various reports surfaced suggesting that Larry Ellison, the Oracle Team USA owner, “is believed to be close to announcing the series”, with Bermuda being considered as a host venue. A report from Rob Mundle, the Australian sailing writer who co-authored Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill’s recent book Chasing the Cup: My America’s Cup Journey, said that “reliable sources” suggest that the proposed series will be contested at a number of venues around the world. It could also be launched in Bermuda, given that many of the racing syndicates from AC35 have retained facilities here. The report adds that teams from the United States, Sweden, Japan and France are already on board and it is expected that they will be joined by other racing syndicates, including one possibly led by Ernesto Bertarelli, a two-times America’s Cup winner. The World Series will be based on the same concept that software billionaire Ellison used to change the face of America’s Cup racing, with the introduction of the high-speed hydrofoiling catamarans and spectator-friendly courses for the 34th and 35th editions of the America’s Cup, held in San Francisco and Bermuda. The AC50 is the smallest class raced in the America’s Cup and capable of speeds approaching 60mph. The future of the multihull racing yacht remains uncertain after Emirates Team New Zealand, the 36th America’s Cup defender, and Luna Rossa, the Challenger of Record, confirmed that the next installment of the “Auld Mug” will be contested in 75ft monohulls by a crew of ten to 12. Bermuda could still play a part in the next America’s Cup after it emerged that five overseas pre-regattas will take place over a two-year period in the build-up to the event, to be held in Auckland in 2021. Luna Rossa will organize the pre-regattas, which are planned for 2019 and 2020. The other choices include unnamed venues in Italy, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, as well as Newport, Rhode Island, home port of New York Yacht Club, a challenger for the next Cup.

October 18. Bitcoin has become an investable asset class rather than a digital currency — and it’s a bubble all set to burst. And while the initial coin offerings (ICOs) that launch new cryptocurrencies can potentially be vehicles for fraud, the blockchain technology behind them has a bright future in the financial-services industry and beyond. Those were some of the views expressed at a panel on blockchain technology at the World Alternative Investment Summit last week. Stafford Lowe, chief administrative officer of Bermudian-based DrumG Financial Technologies, said this year’s more than sixfold increase in the dollar value of a bitcoin — yesterday it was trading at above $5,600 — suggested it was an investable asset class as opposed to a currency. “Bitcoin is not a currency any more,” Mr Lowe told delegates at the Fairmont Southampton. “Cryptocurrencies are inherently deflationary, because there’s a finite amount and if you can’t find a way of chopping it up into smaller and smaller pieces to allow normal people to get hold of it, then you’re going to get the situation you have with bitcoin. And then you wonder — is 90 per cent of the value of bitcoin owned by about ten people? It’s entirely possible and that’s a fairly common conspiracy theory about it. So that just screams bubble.” Michael Murphy, the founder and chief executive officer of Rosecliffe Ventures was also dubious about bitcoin’s real value. “There’s a lot of money to be made by trading bitcoin. But I feel that it’s a mania that’s going to end poorly — maybe I side with Jamie Dimon on this.” Mr Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, has described bitcoin as a “fraud” and people who invest in it as “stupid”. Mr Murphy added: “I think that the rise and the press coverage of bitcoin recently and a few get-rich-quick stories that are out there are hurting the overall usefulness of the platform. People will work out a way to use blockchain to make things better, whether it’s just in financial institutions or whether there’s a broader base there.” Kirill Gourov, portfolio manager for Full Node Capital, a New York-based hedge fund investing in the digital currency space, was more positive about cryptocurrencies. “You’re looking at entirely new business models designed around digitized transfer of value,” Mr Gourov said. “It’s changing the way that consumers interact with each other and how they do commerce with one other.” He conceded that there are issues with the initial coin offerings that were launching a host of new cryptocurrencies. “There’s definitely a lot of noise out there and I think that most ICOs are absolute garbage,” Mr Gourov said. “ICOs have more of a crowd funding methodology than a unique crypto focus. It definitely has its problems from a regulatory standpoint. You have the issuers not being fiduciaries to their token holders. You have the issue of people without a product raising millions of dollars.” Steven Rees Davies, a partner with law firm Appleby Bermuda, was concerned by the lack of regulation of ICOs and the lack of tangible value of bitcoins. “ICOs are really just unregulated ways to raise funds, but because of the buzz around cryptocurrency and everybody thinking, ‘it’s the next big thing, I must get into it’, it’s an easy way to raise money that could be fraudulent,” Mr Rees Davies said. In the conventional world, an investor buys into something with tangible value, he added, but not in an ICO. “Not many countries have identified what cryptocurrency is,” Mr Rees Davies said. “Is it a security? Is it something that is covered by the Investment Act in Bermuda? In most cases, it isn’t. So in effect, you’re buying into something and not getting an interest in the company, not getting a note with a promise of a return, you’re buying a new token that’s been created out of software. Over time we’ll understand the technology and get some regulation around it.” Blockchain is technology based on a decentralized and shared database. No centralized version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the internet. Mr Lowe said it was important to decouple blockchain from cryptocurrencies to understand the value of the technology for financial services and other industries. He said that big banks spent enormous amounts on running their technology — and that blockchain could help them slash such expenses. “Wall Street identified that the ability to create a shared database was a very obvious way of stripping out tens of billions of dollars of costs,” Mr Lowe said. Blockchain is like an engine. But it’s up to somebody to build the car. That’s what we at DrumG are trying to do, to take that next step to create real-world applications for actually doing stuff.”

October 18. Conyers Dill & Pearman has maintained its Tier 1 position in corporate and finance, in the updated IFLR1000 guide to the world’s leading financial and corporate law firms. The firm has also experienced a 60 per cent increase in the number of ranked lawyers, which puts it ahead of other Island firms in terms of the number of ranked corporate lawyers. IFLR1000 cited Conyer’s work on a number of capital markets transactions, including Myovant Sciences’ $218 million IPO, as well as its strengths in M&A, aircraft securitisations, insurance and shipping. Narinder Hargun, director & co-chairman, Bermuda office, said: “We are delighted to receive these accolades. Our results in Bermuda and around the globe demonstrate the depth of talent we have at the firm and are testament to the client-first experience our teams provide every day”. Globally, Conyers has maintained top-tier rankings across several practice categories. Researchers for the IFLR1000 guide commented on the firm’s strengths in investment funds and M&A, noting its involvement in the $4.4 billion privatization of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, which was the largest privatization for a Hong Kong group. David Lamb, Partner & co-chairman, Hong Kong office, said: “This year’s rankings further define our position as a leading international law firm. We congratulate all of our practice groups and lawyers on their recognition.”

October 18. Employees of administration services company Estera have raised more than $10,000 to donate to colleagues in its British Virgin Islands (BVI) office following the devastation of hurricanes Maria and Irma. Staff from Estera’s in offices in different countries, including Bermuda, came together with events such as raffles, dress down days and bake sales to raise the money to help their storm-stricken colleagues rebuild their lives. In addition to these funds, Estera has provided close to $40,000 for tarpaulin, electrical generators, evacuation costs, daily supplies, showers and washing machines in the office, as well as cash in hand for daily living requirements. Farah Ballands, chief executive officer of Estera, said “This is a fantastic result and I am very proud of the generous spirit of the Estera global team. Our team in the BVI, and the jurisdiction as a whole, has shown incredible resilience throughout this difficult time.” Estera’s BVI office resumed normal operating hours for clients on October 5.

October 18. The Mayor of Hamilton has called for a police presence at the city’s bus terminal to tackle antisocial behavior and violence. Charles Gosling’s plea comes after a vicious brawl involving several young male students erupted on Church Street outside the terminal on Monday afternoon. Graphic footage that shows young men kicking and punching each other before members of the public intervene has been shared on social media across the island. Mr Gosling told The Royal Gazette the city needed more officers on foot patrol, but acknowledged that a police presence at the bus terminal as children waited to catch buses home from school was important. He said: “I would like to see a police presence around the bus terminal when children are going home after school to prevent these incidents of violence and antisocial behavior. But there is another issue here: how can we expect the children to behave in an appropriate respectful manner when we have people just 50 yards away defecating and urinating on the City Hall front lawn in the middle of the day with no repercussions. The message right now that is being sent out is appalling. I would just like to see more of a police presence on the streets of Hamilton. I feel that police walking around has an immediate impact to the community and shows that there will be repercussions to antisocial or violent behavior.” Yesterday police confirmed that they were investigating a disturbance that took place at 4.55pm on Monday close to the bus terminal. A spokesman said: “The Bermuda Police Service is aware of historical concerns stemming from large numbers of school students congregating in the City of Hamilton after school hours, thus officers are deployed in an effort to reduce opportunities for antisocial behavior to occur. The BPS recognizes that there are issues affecting public transportation as well as other contributing factors that may sometimes necessitate students visiting the Hamilton area. However, we advise that parents and administrators of both public and private schools recommend that students, as much as practical, travel home directly from school or the surrounding environs and avoid traveling into Hamilton unless absolutely necessary.” The spokesman said the brawl on Monday was broken up by two plainclothes police officers who were on patrol. “CCTV footage of the incident is being reviewed and the Bermuda Police Service is aware of mobile phone video footage of those involved circulating via social media,” he added. Anyone with any information regarding the circumstances that led to this disturbance is asked to contact the main police telephone number 295-0011.

October 18. Archaeologist Dr. Edward Harris will retire as executive director of the National Museum of Bermuda after 37 years of service. The museum’s board of trustees said Dr Harris, 70, will continue as a special adviser to the museum, as well as pursuing his writing and research. He will be succeeded by the museum’s deputy director and curator, Elena Strong. “Edward’s major achievements through his work at the museum have been magnificent but, underpinning the work, he also laid an extraordinarily rich foundation of relationships with academics, donors, members and friends across the globe,” said James Hallett, chairman of the NMB board of trustees. “We look forward to his continued counsel and support in retirement and we are delighted with his contribution in preparing Elena Strong to be his successor. Elena will bring new skills and a different perspective, placing the museum in good hands for its future strategic development.” Dr Harris joined then Bermuda Maritime Museum in 1980 as its first director and oversaw the institution’s evolution from a derelict fortress into an award-winning heritage center. The former Mount St. Agnes student graduated from Columbia University, New York, in 1971, and earned a PhD at University College London in 1979. He gained worldwide recognition in 1973 for inventing the Harris Matrix, by which stratigraphic sequences of archaeological sites could be viewed in diagram form for the first time. The technique became the industry standard and his book, Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy, has been published in seven languages, with four more translations in the offing. Dr Harris said: “As a Bermudian, it has been an honor to serve the country in the role of director of the museum and I thank all of those from government and private life who made the advance of the museum possible by their many contributions to the cause”. Dr Harris was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2000 in recognition of his services to Bermuda’s cultural heritage. He championed legislation to preserve Bermuda’s early shipwreck sites and played a leading role in the successful campaign to get St George’s Unesco World Heritage Site status in 2010. Over the next few months, a series of events will be held to mark Dr Harris’s contributions. The first will be the “Out with a Bang” celebration on November 18, to which all museum members and the general public are invited. The party will mark his retirement and help raise funds for the museum to continue its work in heritage preservation and research. Tickets go on sale at the end of the week. For more information contact

October 17. Private-equity firm Apollo Global Management is to increase its interests in the Bermuda insurance market by buying a majority stake in run-off specialist Catalina Holdings (Bermuda) Ltd. Apollo made an initial investment in Catalina in December 2013 and, as a result of the deal announced today, the New York-based firm and affiliated investors will have a controlling interest in the business. Apollo is also a major shareholder of island-based Athene Holdings Ltd, a life reinsurer that went public with an initial public offering last December. Catalina has doubled in size over the past three years, since Apollo became involved with the company. The group has completed 23 deals, acquiring $4.7 billion of non-life insurance and reinsurance liabilities and, as at June 30 of this year, had total assets of $3.6 billion and shareholders’ equity of $700 million. Catalina’s headquarters are in Cumberland House, on Victoria Street, Hamilton and the firm also has offices in the US, Ireland and Switzerland. The company specializes in buying up companies or insurance portfolios that have ceased writing new business and managing their exiting assets and continuing liabilities. In a statement released today, Catalina said the existing management team, led by founders Chris Fagan and Dean Dwonczyk, will continue to run the business and maintain a significant shareholding. Mr Fagan, Catalina’s chairman and chief executive, said: “We’re delighted that Apollo, and the long-term institutional shareholders supporting it, are increasing their shareholding in Catalina. They are doing so at a time of significant change in the non-life insurance legacy sector which is developing faster now than at any point over the last 15 years. Catalina is one of the leading consolidators in the non-life run-off sector and together with our new shareholders, we believe the company is ideally positioned to continue our strong growth and development. I would like to thank our exiting investors Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for their consistent support over the last ten years and the role they have played in helping us to build Catalina.” Gernot Lohr, Senior Partner at Apollo Global Management added: “We fully support the outstanding management team at Catalina and are excited about the opportunity to deepen our relationship with the business. Whilst already significant, the market for non-life legacy acquisitions continues to grow, and we believe Catalina is well positioned to capitalize on these opportunities due to its deep industry expertise as evidenced by its successful track record. We look forward to working with Catalina during the next phase of its growth and development.” Catalina was advised by Barclays, JP Morgan and Allen & Overy. Apollo was advised by Sidley Austin.

October 17. A Massachusetts couple’s visit to the island marked a milestone in more ways than one. Polly and Arthur Logan have now notched up 25 visits since their first trip in the 1970s. And the pair’s most recent trip was their first for 17 years, and was planned and paid for by their ten children plus grandchildren to mark the couple’s 60th wedding anniversary. According to Ms Logan, the choice of Bermuda — in the beginning — was about proximity. Ms Logan explained: “If anything happened to them while I was away, I could get home quickly. It was close.” The couple live in Longmeadow, about 95 miles from Boston. On their first trip to the island they stayed at Elbow Beach, touring the island by bus and spending time on the beach. Ms Logan said she was in “her late 30s” then. She added the couple had seen a lot of changes over the roughly four decades, but that some things never changed. Ms Logan said: “The people are still the same. They’ve always been very friendly and kind and warm. Bermudians are still wonderful people.”

October 17. Ask Miriam Callabras how she spends her time, and you’re likely to get a lively response. The 71-year-old keeps busy knitting prosthetics, or as she describes them to anyone with even a passing interest, “knockers! You know, boobies?” She’s donated 15 to Pals in the last year, each knitted in a different size to fit women who have had mastectomies. “It takes me an evening,” said the retired nurse. “I do it for the love of it. A manufactured prosthetic is made out of silicon. It is hot, heavy and sticky. When a woman has just recently had a mastectomy, she has scarring on the chest wall. Scar tissue can be itchy and sore. The benefit of a knitted prosthetic is that it is made out of cotton and is absorbent. It doesn’t weigh very much, and you can throw it in the wash.” Her mother, Margaret Owen, taught her how to knit and sew at age 6, in Harrowgate, Yorkshire. “She was a schoolteacher and head teacher who specialized in the arts and crafts,” said Mrs Callabras. She became a midwife because she thought she’d be able to travel: “‘Every country needs a midwife,’ they said. It didn’t quite work out that way.” In 1972 she moved to Bermuda to work at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. She later joined the staff at Lefroy House and then was a Sandys district nurse for many years. Life was one big party. “A lot of nurses dated police, because they were on the same shift schedule,” she said. “There were always parties at police headquarters. It was an amazing time. It was a case of party, work and sleep.” She met architect Sinclair Callabras in Casey’s bar on Queen Street. “Hell yes, he was a good-looking guy,” she laughed. “And he would give you the shirt off his back.” They married on July 10, 1979. She still has the blue wedding dress she made for the ceremony. “I keep it as a reminder of the days when I was 95lbs, soaking wet,” she said. Her husband died in 2008; Mrs Callabras retired from nursing three years later. Ham radio, orchids and her beloved bichon frise Lucky Licky Louis all keep her busy but her main focus is knitting — any and everything. A room in her Sandys home is stocked full of yarns and knitting needles. “I can’t resist a yarn shop,” she said. “I was on holiday in New Orleans recently and was on an evening walking tour of the city. I looked up and saw this big basket full of luscious yarn in a store window. The next day, I had to get a taxi and go back. In the store, I was just walking around picking up yarn after yarn. I said, ‘Someone slap my hand’.” She and a friend knitted a dozen blankets for patients at Agape House four years ago. Once that was finished, Mrs Callabras started “looking to see what else I could do”. An online forum for knitters alerted her to her most recent cause. “Knitted knockers is a worldwide movement,” she said. “There are even women who will stuff them for you, if you don’t have the money for that.” Part of the draw came from the challenge. Patterns are a little more complicated because they use four needles rather than the standard two. She proposed the prosthetics as a project for her knitting group at St Andrew’s Church in 2014. There was little interest from the other members or from Pals. “I imagine the knockers just got put away in a corner,” she said. “No one asked for any the first year.” Then she ran into a former colleague, Kathy Fox, who’d become a Pals nurse. “She was really interested when I told her about it,” said Mrs Callabras. The requests trickled in; three for the entire year. “This year demand has really picked up,” said Mrs Callabras. “I’ve done 15 already. I said to Kathy, ‘There must be a breast cancer epidemic’, but I think really, the nurses at Pals have finally gotten to know about them and are suggesting them to more people. Now we’re looking for more people to knit the knockers. If they don’t know how to knit, I’ll teach them.”

October 16. Proposed changes to give immigration law priority over human rights legislation is a “blunderbuss” approach, Shadow Attorney-General Trevor Moniz said yesterday. Mr Moniz said: “It potentially has very broad consequences — it’s a danger to go into it. When you suspend the Human Rights Act, there are all sorts of people who could be affected. It’s not a closed list. It could affect all sorts of people in all sorts of situations.” He was speaking after Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said the proposed changes were designed to protect Bermudians and block court challenges over Bermuda status from non-Bermudians who can argue that immigration law has discriminated against them based on their country of origin. Mr Moniz said the United Kingdom did exempt some immigration legislation from its human rights obligations, but that there were “no blanket exemptions”. He added: “The way the minister is doing it is not the way to do it; he’s doing a blanket exemption, which could affect a lot of people.” The Human Rights Commission last week called on Mr Brown to withdraw the amendments for more consultation. Mr Moniz said: “I know there are other groups that have been looking at making statements. It’s very dangerous what he’s doing. It’s a blunderbuss approach and needs to be fine-tuned.” Meanwhile in a YouTube video published online today, One Bermuda Alliance senator said the bill’s broad approach was “clumsy” and “poorly conceived”. Mr Simons said: “It’s not clear to me what problem the minister is trying to solve that is not already addressed by the constitution. It’s also clear that the bill in its current form, if passed, would do immediate harm to people working and living in Bermuda.” Mr Simons suggested that the bill be withdrawn and that meaningful consultation be done. He added: “If we are going to move forward with immigration changes, lets get this right.” Similar videos were posted featuring Susan Jackson, OBA MP, and Nick Kempe, OBA senator, calling for the amendments to be withdrawn, The Government has published details of the proposed changes to both the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act and the Human Rights Act on the parliamentary website. Mr Brown tabled amendments in the House of Assembly on October 6 to alter the immigration act so it would be applied “notwithstanding” the Human Rights Act. That would mean immigration regulations would be lawful even if they contradicted the Human Rights Act. Mr Brown said that the proposed amendments did not weaken human rights legislation, but clarified what has been law and policy “for decades”. Mark Pettingill, a former Attorney-General, said he did not believe the amendments would open the door to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. He said: “Immigration is one of those areas that has to have a different kind of approach when it comes to human rights. You can’t have people just roll up on Elbow Beach and say they are Bermudians because they are here. I see this as something that brings us in line with other jurisdictions. I spoke to the minister about it on Friday, and he is not going to be putting something out there that is going to impact people based on sexual orientation.” Mr Pettingill added that the amendment would not affect past court rulings that found same-sex couples should receive the same rights as heterosexual couples. Mr Brown told MPs when he tabled the changes in the House of Assembly that human rights would still be protected and that the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights would still provide protection from discrimination. The minister said: “We are not undermining human rights, we are strengthening the rights of Bermudians, while at the same time recognizing that the human rights of people remain important. We have to recognize that Bermudians have fundamental rights in their country and these rights are in part protected by the Immigration and Protection Act.” The Constitution, which is superior to all other laws, prohibits discrimination on several grounds. These include discrimination based on race, political opinions, color, creed and place of origin, although a section allows certain restrictions to be placed on persons who do not “belong to Bermuda”. But the Constitution does not offer protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, family status or disability, which are covered by the Human Rights Act. The European Convention on Human Rights, which covers Bermuda through the UK, prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, color, language, religion, political opinions, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or “other status”. Mr Brown’s Bill was criticized by the Human Rights Commission. A spokeswoman for the HRA said: “Our view is that the HRA should be strengthened and protected, not weakened or mineralized.” The organization yesterday declined to comment on the amendments. Mr Moniz said: “The danger with something like this is we have had a Minister who has trumpeted how much he will collaborate and consult with everyone. He said that when he came in. Now he drops this bombshell and gives no particular explanation why he’s doing it.”

October 16.  QuoVadis has been accredited in the Netherlands under the Qualified Trust Service Provider (TSP) regulations under eIDAS, the regulation which establishes updated electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European Union. Founded in Bermuda, QuoVadis is a leading global Certification Authority (CA) providing cloud-based Trust/Link Managed PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) services, including TLS/SSL digital certificates for web security as well as eID for authentication, encryption, and electronic signature. QuoVadis also provides electronic signature platforms including mass signature and trusted time-stamping solutions for e-invoicing, as well as cloud-based signing platforms for individuals. QuoVadis electronic signatures are used on more than 60 million electronic transactions annually. QuoVadis was first accredited as a Bermuda Authorized Certification Services Provider in 2002 under the island’s Electronic Transactions Act. The company later established operations in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom with close to 70 employees. QuoVadisalso has a cloud hosting and co-location hosting subsidiary located in Bermuda. Roman Brunner, managing director of QuoVadis, said, “QuoVadis has been a Qualified issuer in Europe for close to a decade, and is pleased to step up to the new eIDAS standard. Through its accreditation of TSPs, eIDAS seeks to increase interoperability and legal certainty in cross-border online transactions, fostering a ‘digital single market’ in the EU. Perhaps the biggest shift in the new standards is the creation of Qualified Seals for corporate entities/legal persons versus Qualified Signatures for natural persons, allowing more flexibility in electronic transactions such as e-invoicing.” In addition to acting as an EU Qualified TSP, QuoVadis is also an issuer under the Netherlands Government PKIoverheid programme. QuoVadis is also accredited as a ZertES Qualified and SuisseID issuer in Switzerland. Following a transaction in early 2017, QuoVadis is now the Managed PKI brand of WISeKey, a leading Swiss cybersecurity and IoT (Internet of Things) company, listed on the Swiss SIX Exchange.

October 16. MediaAlpha, a company owned by Bermuda-based White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd has acquired parts of’s health and life insurance business. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. MediaAlpha is an advertising technology company. It operates exchange platforms that facilitate real-time transactions between advertisers and publishers of performance media (i.e., clicks, calls and leads). MediaAlpha has developed distinctive platform solutions for a range of insurance verticals, including auto, motorcycle, home, renter, health and life, and non-insurance verticals, including travel, education, personal finance and home services. It powers over 25 million transactions annually, representing more than $250 million in aggregate media spend. In a statement, White Mountains said the acquisition will expand MediaAlpha’s footprint in the health insurance and life insurance verticals and increase the company’s scale and profitability. “We are pleased to support MediaAlpha in its acquisition,” commented Chris Delehanty, Managing Director of White Mountains. “The deal supplements MediaAlpha’s strong organic growth and further establishes MediaAlpha as the leader in its marketplace.” The acquisition was financed with debt from MediaAlpha’s existing lender, Bridge Bank, and equity funded by MediaAlpha’s existing unit holders. As a result of the transaction, White Mountains’ ownership in MediaAlpha increased to approximately 59 per cent on a fully-diluted basis.

October 16. The Bermuda Stock Exchange will move to a T +2 (trade date plus two days) settlement cycle, effective Monday, October 23. This follows an announcement last month by both the US Depository Trust Companies and Canada’s Central Securities Depositories (CSDs) that they were joining many European Union member states, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand in migrating to the shorter settlement period. BSX operations manager Neville Caines said: “The BSX’s move to a T+2 settlement cycle is in keeping with the long-term goal of global harmonization of exchange settlement and further aligning Bermuda with much larger CSDs seeking to reduce settlement risk and improve capital efficiency.” After the 2008 global financial crisis, the industry increased its focus on reducing risk, achieving greater transparency and improving efficiency in order to establish a safer market environment. As a result, markets across the globe are transitioning to a T+2 settlement cycle. Mr Caines said: “Central securities depositories such as the Bermuda Securities Depository, better known as the BSD, are systemically important infrastructures in modern securities markets. They perform crucial services to support the registration, safekeeping and ultimately the safe and efficient transfer of securities. Shortening the settlement cycle will reduce both credit and counterparty risk and further align our operating processes, increasing market efficiency in keeping with global standards.” The BSX implementation of T+2 comes after approval from the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), which regulates the Exchange, and consultation with the market. “Consultation has been key,” Mr Caines said. “It was very important that the market be aware and supportive of the move. Collectively it is acknowledged that the move to T+2 is a positive step for Bermuda, as the BSX’s continues to drive standards forward in line with international market practices.” Mr Caines added that while minor operational and technology changes were required, the move had not come at any great cost or inconvenience to the Exchange.

October 16. Executives from four Bermuda life reinsurance companies will talk about their growing industry at the prestigious Society of Actuaries (SOA) Annual Meeting in Boston this week. On today’s panel discussion entitled “Life Reinsurance in Bermuda”, are Manfred Maske, chief executive officer at Monument Re Group; Sylvia Oliveira, CEO at Wilton Re Bermuda and member of the Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers (Biltir) board of directors; and Scott Selkirk, managing director at Somerset Re. The session will be moderated by Gokul Sudarsana, senior manager at Deloitte in Bermuda. At the end of the session, the aim was for attendees to be able to understand and describe popular business models in the Bermuda long-term insurance market; interpret emerging regulatory deliverables to support Bermuda’s Solvency II equivalence; as well as evaluate how Bermuda’s growing long-term insurance market can create opportunities for existing reinsurance programmes. Mr Maske, one of the panel speakers, said: “Bermuda is already a well-known and well-respected global hub for insurance capacity, and although the Bermuda insurance market has traditionally focused on general insurance risks, life insurance has been one of the fastest growing sectors in recent years. “A diverse range of business models have emerged in this sector, providing new options and opportunities to manage long-term insurance risk. A key driver of growing and sustaining this thriving long-term insurance sector is Bermuda’s increasingly robust and transparent regulatory landscape, notably its recognition as a Solvency II equivalent jurisdiction. Over the coming years, we can expect the Bermuda market to become increasingly important for life-focused actuaries. The presentation is designed to introduce the audience to pertinent business models and regulations in Bermuda life insurance. It is intended to meet the needs of actuaries focused on risk management, capital planning and reinsurance.” More than 2,000 decision makers in the actuarial profession from around the world are attending the 2017 SOA Annual Meeting.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauOctober 16. Opinion, by J .J. McCullough, a political commentator and cartoonist from Vancouver, a columnist at Loonie Politics. "Canadians like to brag about the shortness of their prime ministerial elections in contrast to the agonizingly long presidential contests of the United States — a bit of self-flattery that is true only in the narrowest sense. According to campaign law, Canada’s 2015 national election lasted a mere 11 weeks, but if we want to get technical, a close reading of the Federal Election Commission rulebook says the 2016 contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton comprised a brisk 13-week period between the party conventions in the summer and voting day in early November. In reality, of course, both countries consider their elections to have de facto started the second it becomes obvious who will be leading the major parties into battle. With Andrew Scheer having already been appointed leader of the Conservative Party of Canada in May, the selection this month of Jagmeet Singh as head of the New Democratic Party means Canada has now officially passed that mark — a full two years before the October 21, 2019 General Election. While a lot can and will happen in Canadian politics before then, the world nevertheless enjoys a pretty clear view of the shape of debate that will consume the country as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fends off two competent rivals to seek a second term. While the three would-be PMs represent distinct ideological traditions — Trudeau and Singh on the Left, with Scheer on the Right — their similarities are substantial. All men were born in the 1970s, for one, making this Canada’s youngest prime ministerial contest in history. As a consequence of their youth, all have résumés dominated by politics at the expense of much else — Trudeau was an infamous dilettante before getting elected to Parliament at age 36; Singh joined the Ontario legislature at age 32 after working briefly as a lawyer; Scheer had not even completed his bachelor’s degree when he became an MP in 2004 at age 25. Although none can be fairly described as “millennial”, all personify youthful incarnations of their political movements. Trudeau, as much of the world already knows, has achieved great success marketing himself as a sort of post-Obama Obama, thoroughly literate in the vocabulary of tolerance and sensitivity that has come to define modern progressivism. The woke and winsome Singh offers similar appeal, and as the first non-white, non-Christian to lead a major Canadian party, he boasts an authenticity advantage. However, the pitch is more than a tad ironic, given that progressive NDP voters tend to bash Trudeau precisely for using style to conceal a lack of skill. How exactly doubling down on charisma will make any easier the impossible tasks the Canadian Left has assigned itself — appeasing aboriginal people, achieving a perfect balance between environmental and economic anxiety — remains cryptic. Conservative leader Scheer, meanwhile, while far from the alt-right, does embody a certain other stereotype of conservative youth — as The Onion put it, “young voters who dress and act like they’re already 50 years old”. A former party staffer who venerates Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, strenuously opposes tax hikes and was, until recently, a reliable foe of abortion, his squeaker election to the Tory leadership was a victory for consensus conservatism in the face of wilder alternatives. Yet establishment orthodoxy also brings the nervousness of young conservatives who feel chronically misunderstood, and with it, a desire to be liked by being “uncontroversial”, particularly on polarizing social issues. Scheer has thus spent the first few months of his low-profile leadership wishing immigrant communities a happy this-or-that, and trying to distance himself from the politically incorrect outbursts of some of the less disciplined members of his caucus. Yet he never goes quite as far in that direction as some may like, either, highlighting the difficult dance of a conservative politician in an era when so many on the Right believe the primary purpose of center-right politics is resisting the censorial power of the Left. The first election after the ascension of a new Canadian prime minister is rarely that interesting or consequential. Often the results differ little from the previous outcome, and with three candidates who do not seem particularly disposed to expand their party’s base, 2019 could be little different. A mild decrease in his present popularity could result in Trudeau’s Liberal Party losing a few seats to the Conservatives or NDP in swing districts. Singh could perhaps make inroads in immigrant-heavy suburbs but lose seats in Quebec on account of what we are supposed to euphemistically call his “outward religiosity” alienating many “secular” French-Canadian voters. His obsession with beating Trudeau at the social justice game could similarly turn off some voters in rural NDP areas who traditionally expect the party to feign some blue-collar bona fides — although only if Scheer can market himself as a conservative with vaguely Donald Trump-like counter-appeal. A tall order. Even a mildly weakened re-election for Trudeau would give the two opposition leaders enough victory to save face, and given their age, both could easily justify hanging around for a rematch in 2023, when Trudeau would presumably seek a fairly precedented third term. How’s that for a long election?"

October 16. The big-hearted owner of a children’s clothing store has donated tens of thousands of dollars of unsold stock to an aid campaign for Caribbean islands devastated by hurricane strikes. Francesca Cacace, who owns Blukids store in Hamilton’s Washington Mall, said the new summer-season clothes would be shipped to Antigua in partnership with cruise organizers Ubersoca and the promoters of Bermuda Heroes Weekend, and then on to islands hammered by the storms. Ms Cacace, 27, who gave birth to son Luca only a month ago, explained: “After the hurricane, we decided that instead of holding back unsold merchandise, we would donate anything left over. We watched week after week another storm going through. We were very fortunate that we weren’t hit and that Bermuda’s homes are so well-built.” The clothes — more than 4,000 separate items — include outwear for babies up to teenagers, as well as underwear. Ms Cacace said: “It’s a great thing that the island has come together; everyone has been asking how they can donate. It’s wonderful how our island has supported the other islands.” Sandra Richards-Vance, director of Bermuda Heroes Weekend, said her organization had already teamed up with Ubersoca, a Bermuda-based organizer of annual soca cruises, to ship non-perishable relief supplies to the Caribbean when Ms Cacace’s mother Yvonne, who owns clothes store Stefanel on Reid Street, told her about Francesa’s plan. Francesca said: “It was our idea to send the merchandise and my mom was working with Bermuda Heroes Weekend, so it was a good way to send things down there.” Ms Richards-Vance said: “We are very pleased Blukids has decided to assist us in our efforts by donating brand-new clothes.” She added that a shipment of brand new clothes would bring some happiness to children who may have lost everything in the storms. Ms Richards-Vance said: “I’m sure the kids will have a really great time picking clothes — it’s really nice stuff.”

October 14. Premier David Burt fought Bermuda’s corner on tax in an interview on Britain’s BBC World News. The Premier, also Minister of Finance, appeared on the channel’s Talking Business yesterday and emphasized that Bermuda complied with international tax standards. Interviewer Aaron Heslehurst quizzed Mr Burt on the charity Oxfam’s claim last December that Bermuda was the worst corporate tax haven in the world. But Mr Burt, who has spent the past week visiting officials in the UK and Europe, hit back that the island was a leader in tax compliance and transparency. Mr Burt said: “Bermuda’s ratings from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on transparency are equivalent to the United Kingdom and Germany and in many instances, in many international ratings, we are ahead of the United States. We believe we are a leader in this space, and we will continue to exert our leadership position to ensure that Bermuda is on the latest standards.” Mr Burt also told Heslehurst: “I think that we certainly have a different taxation system — but different does not necessarily mean that it’s bad.”

October 14. The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation used just a third of its guarantee capacity to support businesses last year. The Bermuda Government has announced plans to double the corporation’s $1 million of capital — used to guarantee loans for small businesses — but the amount of capital used for loans has fallen steadily. Senator Crystal Caesar, the Junior Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, blamed the falling use of the guarantee capacity on banks making loans harder to secure. However, she said increasing capital could allow the BEDC to potentially offer larger guarantees, enabling it to support loans that it otherwise would not. Ms Caesar wrote in a response to questions in Senate: “Due to the challenged economy, banks have become more risk adverse, requiring significantly more collateral to gain loan approvals than in the past. As a result, the ability for the BEDC to provide guarantee approval has been impacted. Although it is improving since the island’s recession, banks are still slow to lend to local small and medium-sized businesses if bank loans are not 100 per cent collateralized.” Ms Caesar added that even though not all of the loan capacity is being used, making the pot bigger would give the BEDC other ways to support businesses. Increasing BEDC’s capitalization does allow it to provide more loan guarantees, but it also allows it to provide other direct lending or supported products. It also allows it to consider increasing its guarantee percentage, allowing it to be closer to what its international counterparts offer their small and medium-sized businesses.” While the BEDC can guarantee up to 50 per cent of a loan, comparable bodies in Barbados and Jamaica can guarantee up to 80 per cent of a loan. Even more can be guaranteed by bodies in the US, Canada and the Bahamas. Senate heard the BEDC used 71 per cent of its $6 million loan capacity in financial year 2011-12 and offered loan guarantees for 67 businesses. But the BEDC used only 34 per cent of its loan capacity in 2016-17 — less than half of what it had five years earlier. Loan guarantees for 32 businesses were provided last year and cash was used to give micro loans to 13 businesses and to give one client an HM Customs letter of credit. Ms Caesar also confirmed that no new loan guarantee applications have been approved since the General Election as a new board had not been appointed. But she said new board members would be announced this month which will enable a new board to meet. Ms Caesar added that a total of four loan guarantee applications made since July are being processed. The BEDC has $1 million in capital, which gives it capacity for a maximum of $6 million in loan guarantees at any one time. Government has said it will double that figure next year — giving the corporation enough capital to provide $12 million in loan guarantees.

October 14. Winning the America’s Cup appears to have been more straightforward for New Zealand than developing the infrastructure to host the next event in Auckland in 2021. The Kiwis have stumbled upon various logistical challenges in developing the main hub for the next installment of the ‘Auld Mug’, which Bermuda overcame in its successful hosting of sailing’s holy grail this summer. According to a report in Sail-World, an inspection of four of the options shows that none are ideal, with the Auckland Council unwilling to splash $150 million on what it perceives to be a White Elephant should there be no legacy use in place after the 36th America’s Cup. Three of the four options involve either wharf extension or reclamation — none of which are palatable options for the Auckland Council, and without the assistance of an America’s Cup Empowering Act would surely be held up by prolonged planning action and litigation by groups opposed to further encroachment in the harbour. The best option, an extension to Halsey Street, was almost taken off the list of options to be passed to the Council CEO for further analysis and report back during a Council meeting last month. While several of the Council were opposed, they voted in favor only to see an unrestricted slate of options considered. The West haven marina site is suitable for the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, under whose banner Emirates Team New Zealand race, but has difficult and narrow street access and requires the development of a new road based on the current breakwater to reach the end of the new reclamation. The 30,000sq meters of hard stand which will accommodate 8-10 teams depending on the required footprint, which was 3,500sq meters per team in Bermuda, has no allowance for an America’s Cup Village which would be required to be based away in the Viaduct area, but with no visibility of the team bases which were vital part of the America’s Cup in Bermuda. The media center would also need to be allocated in the Viaduct Events Centre or a special temporary facility constructed. At the 34th America’s Cup in the San Francisco, the bases were remote from the America’s Cup Village with the boats being required to be brought to the America’s Cup for a Dockout ceremony. However it was a poor substitute for being in the same place as happened in Bermuda, and there was no return to the America’s Cup Village after racing which was a big part of the fan experience in Bermuda. The Wynyard Point area, where various tanks, silos and an oil discharge facility are presently situated, does have the required land for bases at around 85,000sq metres, and could also take an America’s Cup Village if required. The area is reasonably handy to ferries, public and rail transport and the cafés and bar on North Wharf and the Viaduct Harbour. If the area were used for the America’s Cup Village as well as team bases, then the Bermuda experience would be recaptured. However, leases are believed to extend into 2025 or later — and the America’s Cup will have been sailed by that time. The option is to bring forward the lease termination date by two or three years. However there is the vexed issued of contamination rectification, which is believed to be the responsibility of the current lessees, that would be a negotiating point and trade-off if there were early termination of the leases — with unknown cost. The fourth area is the extension of Captain Cook Wharf. Like the extension of Halsey Street, the Council claims to be philosophically opposed to further encroachment on the Harbour of wharves and reclamations. Next step is expected to be the drafting of a Host City Agreement by Emirates Team New Zealand and then negotiating with the Auckland Council. But who pays the bill is another question, with the debt-strapped Council involved in several high costs infrastructure projects, and knowing that if they invest the $150 million required to secure the Cup then the NZ Government reaps the well documented reward in terms of GST and Tax spend by teams and visitors for no outlay. For its part the previous Government [NZ is currently in an electoral impasse] was unwilling to invest in a facility only to hand it over to be owned by the Auckland Council. Bermuda’s spend of $77 million pales in comparison with Auckland — that comprised a USD15million event fee, a USD25million underwrite on any sponsorship shortfall and the balance of $35million to create Cross Island within the Royal Naval Dockyard. Under the Protocol governing the 36th America’s Cup, certainty on the facilities is required by August 2018 or earlier, otherwise, the Cup may relocate to Italy, venue of Challenger of Record Luna Rossa. It emerged this week that Bermuda is being considered as an option to host a pre-regatta in the lead up to the next America’s Cup.

October 14. Baseball superstar Darryl Strawberry won four World Series titles with the New York Mets and New York Yankees, amassing no small amount of fortune along the way. But the former slugger told an audience of schoolboys at the Berkeley Institute last night that a “path of destruction” led him to drug addiction, health problems and prison time. He told the pupils that it was never too early to make changes so they can keep out of trouble and lead a fulfilled life. Mr Strawberry said: “I almost lost my life to drug addiction. I was in prison. I had everything but I had nothing because I was broken inside. “I was rich and famous but I was lost. You have to deal with it now while you are in school or you will end up running with fools. Pain is real, guys, and if you never deal with your pain you are empty inside and your destructive behavior is going to come out. I lost it in drugs. I should be dead but I am a living miracle. There are heavy hearts and broken hearts in here, but I am here to tell you your true destiny is up to you if you make the right decisions.” Mr Strawberry was in Bermuda after an invite from the Bermuda Business Development Agency to speak at the World Alternative Investment Summit, held this week at the Fairmont Southampton. Mr Strawberry has also met male pupils at CedarBridge Academy as well as baseball players and fans on the island. He told the Berkeley pupils that he was one of five children brought up by a single mother and that his father took no interest in him until he started to find success with baseball. But he said, even then, his father predicted he would never become a professional player. Mr Strawberry said: “I was determined I was going to be the best I could be. Go for it — don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it.” When he asked the pupils how many of them had problems or felt rejected, most of the hands in the room went up. He told them: “Everyone of you in here needs to know this — you are not a mistake. Failure is part of succeeding. We all have made mistakes and we all will fall short, and all the ones who think they are better than the next one, you are not better than the next one because their situation is tough. We’ve all got some issues. Be your brother’s keeper and love him no matter what, uplift him when he is down and bring wisdom and knowledge into his life. You guys have got to know how to communicate. You’ve got to learn how to talk about your problems. You know you — and that you are here for a reason and a purpose. You are here to make things better.” Mr Strawberry asked the pupils who liked to break the rules and a few hands went up. He said: “I liked doing that too. It didn’t get me anywhere. I was rejected and I was in pain and it led me to greatness but greatness led me to destructive behavior. If you don’t feel good inside, you will fall into some really destructive behavior. It’s about the way you think of yourself. If you walk around with your pants falling off your butt, you are a fool following a fool. You have to think ‘how am I going to be where I want to get?’ The whole society that we live in is broken. The only way we fix what is on the inside is getting healed. What makes us weak is when we say we don’t have problems and struggles — everyone of us has. Life is short. I have decided I am going to finish it right and empower people.” Mr Strawberry, co-founder of the Darryl Strawberry Treatment Centre for alcohol and drug problems in Florida, ended his playing career in 1999 after a bout with colon cancer. He has now dedicated his life to “spreading the word of gospel” and also discussed how faith can help people find their way in life. Pastor Leroy Bean, Bermuda’s new gang violence reduction co-ordinator, also talked to the students and shared some of his own experiences of finding his way in life. Mr Bean listed serious crime statistics — including 52 murders. But he told the audience: “Despite all these facts, we still don’t have to be a statistic.” Mr Bean said he had also gone down the wrong path earlier in life, but had achieved his GED exam and gained two master’s degrees. He added: “I didn’t have my father around me but I had neighbors. I had someone there to direct me to the path I wanted to take. My school told my mama I wouldn’t make it. Put your mind to it and it will happen for you.” Minister for Government Reform Lovitta Foggo discussed the importance of positive role models and described one troubled pupil who, after meeting a pilot, was inspired to earn his own wings.

October 14. Professional advice. By Martha Harris Myron CPA JSM: Masters of Law — International Tax and Financial Services. Pondstraddler, life financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders with multinational families and international connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Contact: A Bermudian (and his foreign-born spouse) come home for permanent residence in Bermuda. A reader FAQ featured on September 16, 2017 asked the following: “A Bermudian friend of ours is returning to Bermuda with his foreign spouse after two decades living in the United States. What are the ramifications of his US connections? Does he have to do anything? ( My disclosure: the following discussion is general in nature and cannot be considered in any way whatsoever as specific tax, investment, immigration, estate, legal, or any other financial planning advice for anyone referencing this article. Tax, financial, legal, immigration legislation and regulations are subject to change without notice. I make no representation as to the current accuracy or representation of hypothetical facts. Readers, if you, or anyone you know has similar questions, you must seek advice specific to your personal situation from qualified US tax professionals (in Bermuda) experienced in both domestic and international tax and finance relevant to the jurisdictions connected, both United States and Bermuda.

Returning Bermudian fact pattern:

What we don’t know is even more critical. How long did he really live and work in the United States? Is he a US citizen, a US green card holder, or just a foreign person who was a tax resident in the United States. We also do not know whether he may have become a simultaneous dual-citizen of Bermuda and the United States at birth, a distinction we will discuss in part 3, October 21, 2017. We assume that it is highly unlikely that he would have resided in the US for so many years without being a US citizen or a US green card holder. The US taxing authorities position relative to US persons, according to US Internal Revenue Service. ( ) If you are a US citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income, estate, and gift tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether you are in the US or abroad. Your worldwide income is subject to US income tax, regardless of where you reside. This US tax responsibility requirement continues to apply whether our Bermudian/US person is just returning home, or, critically, to US connected persons who may not have lived in the US. A composite story. “I’m a US citizen on paper, but emotionally I have always been a Bermudian. So, I declined to renew my passport, it is sitting in a drawer. I’ve cut all ties to the US, and as far as I am concerned — this stuff is a dead issue. I am free of the US.” However, when I inquired whether he/she used the US passport when traveling? The sheepish answer was: “Well, not always, but I’ve had to use it a few times because some countries have rejected a Bermuda passport.” So much for cutting ties and leaving vital documents in a drawer. Question, readers. Do you think that the US might be tracking this passport use? What are the consequences of being out-of-compliance?

US federal income, gift, estate tax position

US state tax positions

California, New York, Virginia (and other US states) are rigorously determined to collect all tax due from their residents. You are a considered a resident in a state in the United States — until you notify formally, say on final tax return or notification — that you have permanently given up US residency and have moved abroad.

For example:

Well, how will they know? Readers, believe it or not, from time to time, there is that thought is out there. “How will any of these tax authorities know? Why are they bothering me? I am a Bermudian, my allegiance and my permanent home is here in Bermuda now.” Under the mandatory Bermuda/US International Governmental Agreement Model 2 promulgated December 19, 2013, foreign financial institutions (local banks, etc) must provide full disclosure of US-connected persons in Bermuda to the US Internal Revenue Service ( Needless to say, for our composite individual emotional disconnect is not an excuse; if caught, he/she may be assessed significant tax and filing penalties for non-compliance, possibly under the more punitive wilful tax avoidance category. A US citizen’s (and US green card holder) taxation and reporting responsibilities never go away. There is no escape if an individual wants to maintain that US status connectivity. And many do. Know what your tax status is and get with the programme. Do not put your US passport or your US green card in a drawer — as if it did not exist. Next week: why it matters, and what decisions does our reader’s friend have to make?"

October 13. The value of catastrophe bonds and ILS issued this year stood at a record $10.64 billion up to the end of last month. 

2017 cat bonds report

While the third quarter failed to reach $1 billion of issued cat bonds and ILS for only the second time in five years, the addition of $873.7 million of risk capital was almost $108 million above the ten-year average for the quarter. The figures are included in the latest catastrophe bond and ILS market report by alternative risk transfer website The outstanding market of cat bonds and ILS issuance hit a new end-of-quarter high of $29.87 billion. There were six deals in the third quarter, and the World Bank featured in a $320 million deal that is the first to benefit the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility. This is a parametric deal that is triggered by World Health Organization reported deaths and cases of pandemic flu.

October 13. Valerie Robinson-James, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education, should be fired or moved to another role over a bungled bid to fire Commissioner of Education Freddie Evans, his lawyers said yesterday. Mark Diel of law firm Marshall Diel & Myers made the demand as one of four conditions for Dr Evans waiving legal action against the Governor, the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Education in connection with an attempt to dump him from his job. A letter from Mr Diel on Wednesday to lawyers acting for the PSC said education authorities could avoid potentially expensive damages claims if Dr Evans continued in his post. Mr Diel also asked for a public retraction and apology from the PSC, the education ministry and Ms Robinson-James. The letter added that Ms Robinson-James, “given her obvious and improper conduct”, should be moved to another ministry or fired. And it asked for Dr Evans’s legal fees “be paid in full”. The legal moves come less than two weeks after an e-mail from Ms Robinson-James to public school principals and teachers said that Dr Evans “has been relieved of his responsibilities as Commissioner of Education”. Education bureaucrats, however, were forced into an about-turn just days later and said “an administrative error” in correspondence to Dr Evans meant he had not been fired at all. But the letter to Mr Diel from the PSC added “nor has he been confirmed in his post”. It said: “The parties should govern themselves accordingly.” The move came after Mr Diel pointed out that Dr Evans could not be fired after his six-month probationary period, which finished at the end of September, had expired and that it was “crystal clear” he could only be removed by Governor John Rankin. The letter to the PSC’s lawyers said: “The result is that our client, through no fault of his own has had his reputation smeared through a series of acts that were either negligent or malicious. By way of example only, the permanent secretary, knowing that she had not received any communication from the Governor or any representative, took it upon herself to hold staff meetings and to publish to his colleagues and the press that our client had been relieved of his duties when that was obviously not the case. Finally, and perhaps even more egregiously, when the PSC finally stated that our client had not been terminated, she and the Ministry, despite urging from us, did not post any such retraction and have yet to do so.” Mr Diel added: “Given the permanent secretary was the cause of this entire mess, it in fact should be she who ought to be terminated as opposed to our client.” And he warned: “Further, at the risk of stating the obvious, the longer this matter continues without a retraction and apology, the greater the damages in defamation.” Mr Diel added: “We should point out that any attempt to try and terminate our client now will be seen for the fiction that it is. For the last three-and-a-half years our client has performed his job and done it well. Any attempt to further tarnish our client’s excellent reputation as an educator will be met with further claims for damages.” A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education declined to comment yesterday. A government spokeswoman added: “The Government doesn’t comment on internal personnel matters.”

October 13. Royal Gazette Editorial. "It is not uncommon these days to hear Bermudian politicians on the campaign trail pledge to introduce policy regimes based around “consultation”, “collaboration” and “transparency” if their party is elected to power. Sadly, experience would suggest they are only talking about the very loosest of guidelines rather than any hard-and-fast rules. Heightened expectations about incoming Bermuda governments of all stripes being prepared to openly engage with the public, interest groups and individuals on major policy fronts have been dashed against the rocks of experience all too many times in recent years. Too often their actions once in office give the lie to all of those grandiose campaign promises we have heard about administrations operating in “the sunshine of public scrutiny”, as well as being open to differing points of view when it comes to the crafting of policy frameworks on a whole range of issues. Unfortunately for some at either end of the ideological spectrum in Bermuda, “consensus” and “inclusiveness” clearly remain dirty words. Bermuda witnessed another such case in point just this week. With no forewarning or advance publicity, Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown announced plans in Parliament last Friday to introduce legislation giving Bermuda’s immigration laws primacy over the Human Rights Act. The draft legislation has yet to be released publicly. Nor was it even shared in advance with interested parties, most notably Bermuda’s Human Rights Commission, which reacted to news of the pending change with unvarnished concern. That body has since described government plans as “reckless”. The commission argues that for the government of the day to selectively tamper with the supremacy of human rights legislation could threaten the “shield” that protects internationally recognized freedoms and standards in Bermuda. Brown quickly attempted to quell both the HRC’s fears as well as others arising in the broader community. He said the new legislation would simply formalize and add clarity to “what has been law and policy for decades”, the primary objective being to prevent court challenges to immigration law by non-Bermudians claiming discrimination on the grounds of place of origin. Brown said: “The Bill makes clear what has been the law and policy for decades: that those who hold Bermuda status or a Permanent Resident’s Certificate have different rights [than] those who do not have Bermuda status or PRC.” And the minister does have a point, as far as it goes. The Progressive Labour Party was, after all, elected to office in July on a populist platform centered around the campaign slogan “Putting Bermudians First”. So exempting sections of the Bermuda Immigration & Protection Act from the Human Rights Act to legally codify what has been customary here for many, many years might, at first blush, seem to be a largely non-contentious move, as well as one fully in keeping with the new government’s commitment to reinforce the rights of Bermudians in their own country. But neither the Human Rights Commission nor a growing number of other interested observers see things quite that way. To distil the matter to a simple case of political housekeeping, one that will allow the Government to deliver, in part, on a campaign promise, seems to be very much at odds with both the letter and the spirit of Bermuda’s human rights obligations. “Tabling a Bill of this nature, one that will have human rights implications without consultation is entirely inconsistent with [the] purpose of the Human Rights Act, particularly as the topic of immigration has necessarily been highly emotive and divisive,” the HRC told The Royal Gazette this week. The commission added that it has informed the Government “that it is imperative to undertake an inclusive process of consultation that reflects the gravity of the proposed amendments, and the significance of this national issue”. And while the minister has denied that this is the first step in a promised comprehensive overhaul of Bermuda’s antiquated immigration regulations, the commission seems to take the view that his proposed reforms amount to just that. The commission pointed out that it advocated for comprehensive immigration reform under the previous administration in the face of the ill-considered and ultimately stillborn Pathways to Status initiative. And it has reinforced this need with the new government, adding tellingly that “ensuring an inclusive consultation process is essential”. Brown, of course, helped to stage a number of large-scale exercises in political street theatre in recent years predicated around a lack of just such inclusive consultative processes on immigration-related matters under the former One Bermuda Alliance government. For a man so well-versed in the optics of political perception and the sometimes damaging unintended consequences of political tone-deafness, the best that can said about his handling of the present matter is that the choreography and presentation involved were conspicuous by their almost complete absence. With critics contending this could be the thin edge of a highly significant wedge when it comes both to immigration restructuring and Bermuda’s human rights obligations, the onus is clearly on the Government to further amplify and explain the purpose of these changes and to release the draft legislation. Then it would surely make sense not to fast-track the legislation, as has been suggested will happen, but to include it in the promised public discussions on overall immigration reform, given the Human Rights Commission’s publicly stated concerns about “the gravity of the proposed amendments”. Simply steamrollering these changes through Parliament now in the wake of such damning condemnation would likely only sow the seeds for unnecessary discord, division and legal wrangling in the future. Everett Dirksen, a long-time United States senator from Illinois, once famously said: “I live by my principles, and one of my principles is flexibility.” For some, Dirksen’s folksy Midwestern wisdom might seem a cynical contradiction in terms. But on any number of issues, his flexibility enabled him to put aside narrow questions of party advantage and political one-upmanship when overarching matters affecting the common good were at stake. Surely, when it comes to immigration reform and human rights, that type of flexibility on the Government’s part — flexibility that would allow for genuine consultation, collaboration and transparency — is both necessary and indispensable."

October 13. Reinsurers’ earnings for the year have probably already been wiped out by industry catastrophe losses of more than $100 billion — and their capital could also be hit. That is the view of analysts at S&P Global Ratings, who believe that an improvement in reinsurance rates may follow in the upcoming January renewals. “As reinsurers are coping with their third-quarter catastrophe-related losses, their capital could take a hit,” S&P stated in its report, released today, entitled Third-quarter catastrophe losses are becoming a capital event for reinsurers. Although our ratings are supported by robust capital adequacy levels, we would consider a reinsurer that incurs large losses that translate into capital erosion as an outlier that could be subject to a negative rating action.” Several Bermuda reinsurers have announced their preliminary loss estimates for the third quarter. Among the more notable are XL Group ($1.48 billion), Everest Re ($1.2 billion), RenaissanceRe ($625 million) and Axis Capital ($617 million). The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers has estimated that Bermuda entities will cover at least a quarter of the estimated $100 billion in insured losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. S&P said global reinsurers would foot the bulk of the bill. And with capital of $605 billion, including $89 billion of alternative capital as of June 30,2017, they were well prepared to take the strain. The report described the third-quarter catastrophes as “just a speed bump” for the thriving catastrophe bond market, which is predominantly based in Bermuda. S&P has downgraded only one cat bond — the Everest Re-sponsored Kilimanjaro Re 2014-I Class B. S&P said the main reason for the lack of impact on cat bonds it rates, despite the massive economic losses caused by the string of disasters, a large proportion of the impact was not covered by private insurers. This included most of the flood damage and much of the devastation in the Caribbean. S&P saw this protection gap as an opportunity for the industry. “We think that the insurance industry and the natural catastrophe investor base have an opportunity to expand into these hitherto non-insured exposures and regions, and given the appropriate returns, can provide a new source of earnings for themselves and protection for many currently uninsured people and regions,” S&P stated. The rating agency said that “without a doubt, reinsurance pricing will increase for the affected regions and business lines”, while US national pricing was likely to move higher too. Increases in global reinsurance prices are less certain. S&P expects global prices to increase by zero to 5 per cent at January 1 renewals. “Given the magnitude of the losses, we expect reinsurers to hold flat on pricing at the very least, but most will likely demand higher risk premiums at this time,” S&P said.

October 13.  Centaur Fund Services (Bermuda) Ltd has appointed IC Condat as its head of insurance-linked securities. Speaking about his appointment with the independent fund administrator, Mr Condat said: “The ever growing interest and appetite in the ILS asset class provides us with great business opportunities as clients really value Centaur’s professional and client first approach. “I am excited to be part of a great team, and I am focused on building and growing Centaur’s ILS service offering.” Mr Condat has previously held senior positions at SS&C Fund Services (Bermuda) Ltd and PwC Bermuda. He will be based at Centaur’s office in Bermuda. Marc Weaver, chief operating officer, Centaur Fund Services (Bermuda) Limited, said: “Centaur services a strong group of hedge funds, private equity and family office clients based in the US, Europe and Asia and we see tremendous opportunities for further growth, including growth in the ILS sector. We launched our Bermuda office in 2016 and it has quickly become an important servicing center for us.”

October 13. It was human brain power that was tested in a debate on the future of artificial intelligence in the investment world. At the second World Alternative Investment Summit Bermuda, trading exports Michael Murphy and Jon Najarian took opposing sides on the motion: “Artificial Intelligence will replace stock picking portfolio managers sooner than you think.” Mr Murphy, founder of Rosecliff Ventures, pointed out that a graph of the US stock market, when viewed over a century, shows a steadily continuing rise with a few “blips” when market crashes occurred. He said the blips, where people have lost money, can be eradicated by taking human emotion out of the equation through AI stock-picking. Mr Murphy, who appears on FoxBusiness, said technology is already helping to eliminate human error from portfolio and investment management. He mentioned the growing popularity of passive investment strategies such as index-based ETFs, where investors are less likely to jump in and out of positions based on short-term news and fears. “People recognize that humans make mistakes. Algorithms can make investments based on the facts that are there,” he said. In the future, Mr Murphy believes people will set a plan for their retirement with goal investment return figures, and then sit back while an AI program controls their portfolio. He also said that most people can’t predict the tops and bottoms of markets, and so by using AI the “human emotion” is taken out of investment decisions, such as any potentially unwise moves sparked by sudden and major market shifts. Presenting the case against the motion, Mr Najarian suggested that an AI program running during the past two years would likely have made missteps in the face of unpredictable factors, such as the near record-breaking length of the current bull market, reactions to Fed rate decisions, and geopolitical matters. He drove home the point, stating that “black swan” events — occurrences that deviate from the normal and are extremely hard to predict — should happen once in a lifetime. I’ve been trading for 36 years and I’ve seen three ‘black swans’ in that time,” he said, adding that AI would have to get very intelligent to successfully deal with such unpredictability. He said most AI would have thought the US dollar would have risen in response to recent Federal Reserve rate hikes, yet that had not happened. “The market frustrates you. And when there is a hiccup, maybe some of the [AI] funds get flushed.” He also challenged the “buy-the-dip” strategy that is being played out daily in US markets. He warned: “When it does not work it might break in a big way.” Mr Najarian is an options trading expert and co-founder of Najarian Family Office. He also appears on CNBC’s Halftime Report and Fast Money. During the debate at the conference, which is being held at the Fairmont Southampton, he noted there have been examples of algorithm programs trying to spoof other algorithms in order to create a stock market movement. This type of spoofing is now illegal in the US. He said that if the majority of people opt for passive investing then there will likely be much bigger out performance by those who remain outsiders and active traders. Mr Najarian said people tend to panic, and when volatility rockets there would be people bailing out of AI investment programs, saying things like: “I’m cutting this one off and moving onto the next.” He accepted Mr Murphy’s assertion that over the long-term markets have always recovered from crashes and gone on to greater heights. In turn, Mr Murphy agreed with Mr Najarian’s point that “if you have a six-month timeframe, it’s dangerous to be in AI”. The debate was lightheartedly styled on the British House of Commons, with Mr Murphy filling the role of Prime Minister to Mr Najarian’s Leader of the Opposition. Maintaining order was “Speaker of the House” Zac Schwartz, complete with gown and wig. Mr Schwartz is president of ZSC Inc. A vote before the debate showed a 19-17 split against the motion. A vote after the debate came out at 24-19 against the motion. Mr Schwartz deftly skated over the voting irregularity that revealed more people had voted at the end. He declared the motion lost. The Wais conference, organized by Radius Financial Education, continues today.

October 13. A Bermudian doctor described the devastation in the Caribbean island of Dominica yesterday after it was hammered by Hurricane Maria. Roslyn Bascombe-Adams, sent to the island as part of a Pan American Health Organization aid mission, said: “Every Dominican that I came in contact with had been impacted by the storm. Those who had not lost their roofs had been flooded.” Dr Bascombe-Adams, deputy chief of the emergency department and hyperbaric services at Bermuda Hospitals Board, was called up for aid duty last month and at first thought she was headed for the British Virgin Islands badly damaged by Hurricane Irma. She and the PAHO team were in Barbados when Category 5 Maria hit Dominica and they were taken by Barbados Coast Guard boat in a 14-hour journey to the stricken island instead. Dr Bascombe-Adams said: “We had no information coming out — there were no communications. We didn’t know what the ports were like, we didn’t know what the airports were like, and therefore going in by plane was not even an option. But the devastation of the storm was immediately evident. As we approached the island, we could see the immense impact on the roofs of the buildings as we looked ashore.” Dr Bascombe-Adams added: “We realized, from the time we got on the ground, that the impact was likely to be catastrophic.” She said the island was without power or a phone service and almost all the roads were blocked by debris. Dr Bascombe-Adams added that in the capital Roseau 90 per cent of utility poles were “bent across the roads like toothpicks”. She explained that problems were worsened by the Roseau river, which runs through part of the capital and had been rerouted years ago. Dr Bascombe-Adams said: “It literally reclaimed its old path, flew through the town and gutted buildings in a most formidable way.” She said one of the critical medical problems was the island’s inability to provide kidney dialysis due to lack of power and water. The team also had to get the hospital’s emergency department up and running again. It had lost part of its roof, but the staff were still able to function to some extent.” They had flooding in the diagnostic imaging department, so they couldn’t use their X-rays and they couldn’t use their CT scan. Both the blood bank and the mortuary were also out of commission due to the lack of power. It became very trying for the staff who were present to manage people who had injuries who were able to be brought in. Around three times as many people as normal showed up to the emergency department in the first days after the storm. This doesn’t mirror all persons who were injured, because there are injured persons who cannot get to the hospital because roads are blocked, because of landslides and disruption.” The situation was still “very chaotic” when she left a week later. “There is no quick fix for Dominica. The infrastructure is so severely damaged, and the impact so severe, it’s going to be months for them to build a semblance of normality. When I left, about 60 per cent of the doctors had reported for duty and about 50 per cent of the nursing staff. Largely that’s because they couldn’t get in.. The hardest thing for her was to stop myself pitching in to help the injured because her role was strategic not hands-on. It is difficult — but I understand that there is a bigger picture. It’s the last thing that the director of PAHO reminded me — ‘Rosalyn, you are going in to provide strategic guidance. I kept hearing those words in my head when I got there.”

October 13. The man jailed for his role in the brutal murder and rape of teenage tourist Rebecca Middleton has been deported from Bermuda. Sources said Kirk Mundy was flown by private jet to his homeland Jamaica last week after more than two decades in Bermuda’s prison. Carol Shuman, who founded the Rebecca Middleton Foundation to fight for a retrial for Mundy and co-accused Justis Smith, said: “Bermuda does well to see the last of Kirk Mundy.” Dr Shuman, who wrote extensively on the case, added: “However, his exit neither removes the island’s shame regarding its judicial handling of the murder of Rebecca Middleton. Nor, of course, does it bring Becky back or erase the international shock that for many is not forgotten.” Mundy is understood to have been deported on Wednesday of last week. He was sentenced to five years behind bars in 1996 after he pleaded guilty to a charge of being an accessory to the murder of Ms Middleton. Murder-accused Smith walked free from court after then Justice Vincent Meerabux threw out the case against him. A later bid to try both Mundy and Smith for the murder of the Canadian 17-year-old, after new forensic evidence, failed because the UK’s Privy council in 1998 ruled that the case could not go ahead. The Privy Council also ruled that Mr Justice Meerabux’s decision on Smith could not be overturned. Mundy was on bail at the time of Ms Middleton’s murder and was sentenced in 1997 to 16 years in prison for the armed robbery of a Bank of Butterfield security van two years earlier. His sentence was increased in 2009, when cannabis was found in his cell at Westgate. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “The deportee was transported via private jet due to associated security risks for transit via the UK, US or Canada.” Mundy was 21 when he and then 17-year-old Smith were arrested in connection with Ms Middleton’s murder — which drew international attention. Ms Middleton’s body was found by the roadside at Ferry Reach in the early hours of July 3, 1996. The 17-year-old had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times. The handling of the case, particularly the failure to reopen proceedings against the two suspects, caused outrage in Bermuda and overseas. Human rights lawyer Cherie Booth, the wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair, called the case “a terrible, terrible story — one that no family should have to endure”.

October 12. The Minister of Home Affairs has dismissed calls for withdrawing a new Bill giving priority to the Immigration and Protection Act over the Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Commission has branded government plans “reckless” and warned that watering down the supremacy of human rights legislation threatens the “shield” that protects international human rights standards and freedoms on the island. But Walton Brown told The Royal Gazette the Bermuda Immigration (No 2) Act did nothing to undermine the HRA and simply provided clarity to “what has been law and policy for decades”. He also revealed the Government would meet representatives from the HRC today after the adverse reaction to the Bill that was tabled in Parliament last Friday. “There is no compelling reason why the Bill should be withdrawn,” Mr Brown said. “Nothing we are doing is weakening the Human Rights Act. It has been clearly thought through and has passed through the various stages before it is presented to the House. We will debate it and I am confident it will pass.” Asked if he was surprised by the reaction to the legislation, Mr Brown replied: “I am used to it in political discourse; I look at laws that will make Bermuda a better place. I do not personalize issues. This is not about personalities.” The Government’s move is designed to prevent court challenges to immigration law by non-Bermudians claiming discrimination on the grounds of place of origin over rights of residence and Bermuda status. Mr Brown said: “The Bill makes clear what has been the law and policy for decades: that those who hold Bermuda status or a PRC have different rights in terms of employment to those who do not have Bermuda status or PRC. As someone who has been an advocate for human rights for 30 years, my track record should speak for itself. I am a strong proponent of rights in the HRA and believe they need to be broadened. We don’t have age discrimination and our Constitution is silent on the issue of gender discrimination. We have fundamental discrimination in Bermuda that needs to be addressed.” The HRC has condemned the Government for pushing ahead with the legislation without “proper consultation”, while warning that the HRA should not be portrayed as “either a tool to be manipulated, or for manipulation”. But Mr Brown countered the assertion saying: “We are not undermining human rights, we are strengthening the rights of Bermudians, while at the same time recognizing the human rights of people remain important. We have to recognize that Bermudians have fundamental rights in their country and these rights are in part protected by the Immigration and Protection Act. This country does not allow anyone to come in and buy land with no constraints, nor does it allow anyone to come in and work without a work permit; there are constraints on that. This is about the issues relating to immigration status, not the rights of women or a gay person, which are protected by the Human Rights Act. This is not immigration reform; this is bringing clarity to a specific area. There was consultation with the HRC and extensive dialogue but we disagreed on the way forward.”

October 12. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said yesterday he hoped that Bermuda passports will be printed on the island again within a year. The UK Government took over responsibility for printing passports for British Overseas Territories Citizens in June 2016 because of security concerns. But Mr Brown said there was no reason why Bermuda passports should be printed in the UK rather than in Bermuda. He added: “We are in the process of identifying what the costs would be of bringing the process back to Bermuda. The Request for Information is just about to go out. The challenging part of us is to persuade the UK Government to relinquish their control of the printing of our passports. We were doing it for an extended period of time and we never lost a passport. We have the technical ability on island and there is no defensible reason why the UK should hold on to the printing of our passports.” Mr Brown said that he would have to travel to the UK and meet British government representatives to bring the process back to Bermuda. He added: “My goal is to have it done within the year. I have one passport — I don’t want to get another, and when I get that passport renewed I want to get it printed here.” The relocation of the printing process to the UK has led to delays in passport issuing and complications with the coding, which now read GBR rather than BMU. This has created problems for people with a Bermuda passport entering the US from outside Bermuda, as some have been told they are required to have a US Electronic System for Travel waiver because they have the GBR code. But Bermudian status holders do not require an ESTA and it is technically illegal for Bermuda status holders to even apply for one.

October 12. The Bermuda Government needs to do a better job of collecting unpaid taxes due before it starts looking for new ways to tax the public. That is one of the views expressed by the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, reacting to the release of the independent Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (Cartac) report on tax reform in Bermuda. John Wight, president of the Chamber, said the organization backed progressive tax reform and initiatives that would bring more people to live and work in Bermuda, thus expanding the tax base. The Cartac report, which was submitted to the previous One Bermuda Alliance administration in 2015, but was made public only last week by the new Progressive Labour Party government, highlighted the scale of taxes in arrears. A statement from the Chamber’s executive was very supportive of strengthening enforcement of tax collection. “Before we look at creating new ways to tax our residents, a better job needs to be done to collect existing arrears,” the Chamber said. “The report states that at the end of the 2014-15 year, arrears totaled $197 million, of which $146 million represented payroll tax alone. More than 90 per cent of this balance is older than 12 months. Collection has to improve.” The Chamber praised the government’s move in releasing the report, saying it would promote a fact-based discussion on a critical issue. “Discussion, collaboration, and action around tax reform are critical for Bermuda,” the Chamber stated. “Tax reform should be viewed alongside Bermuda’s declining birth rate, immigration reform, and other important issues that impact Bermuda’s financial objectives of balancing the country’s budget and repaying its debt. Fiscal responsibility is paramount.” The Chamber said it supported transparency, fairness and simplicity in tax reform and added that the Cartac report should be just one of many tools that government should be using in making tax policy decisions. And the business organization also backs the government’s stated desire, expressed in the Throne Speech, to achieve economic growth by creating new jobs for more people to work and live in Bermuda. “Progressive taxation, as evidenced by the change in payroll tax rates that came into effect on April 1, 2017, is supported by the Chamber,” the statement added. “With socioeconomic disparity becoming an increasing problem across the western world, the Chamber believes that a model promoting higher tax rates for those earning higher salaries is fair and equitable.”

October 12. The Ministry of Health is offering the community both an electronic and printed version of the new Directory of Helping Services. This is the first time a searchable, online version of the directory has been available. It can be found at The Health Promotion Office of the Department of Health produces the printed directory, which lists non-profit organisations, registered charities, and Government agencies in Bermuda that offer support services to families and children, seniors and persons with disabilities. The online directory will provide an expanded version of the print directory and will include private businesses that assist families and children, seniors and persons with disabilities. The electronic directory can be searched in three ways:

The online directory is part of the Ministry of Health’s Long-term Care Action Plan, which committed to increasing community and professional’s knowledge of available resources to assist persons with long term care needs. This resource will make it easier to find the help needed by seniors, persons with disabilities and families. Minister of Health Kim Wilson said: “I hope the public will find the directory helpful in identifying appropriate services and support programmes. The searchable database should make it easy and convenient to find multiple organisations that can offer the support needed.” Previous recipients of the printed directory will receive those in the mail in the next week or they are available for collection at the Ministry of Health, Ground Floor, Continental House, corner of Church Street and Cedar Avenue. To be included in the online directory or to update information, use the online submission form which is available here: or contact the Health Promotion Office on 278-4900.

October 12. Hiscox plans to ramp up capacity in anticipation of a pick-up in insurance prices. The company, which is based in Bermuda, said today it plans to increase the 2018 capacity for its Syndicate 33 at Lloyd’s by £450 million ($594.5 million) to £1.6 billion, driven by improving market conditions. The move is subject to Lloyd’s approval. “The increase in capacity is driven by an anticipated improvement in market conditions and a desire to have sufficient capacity available to participate in a widespread market turn,” Hiscox said in its Syndicate business forecast today. “This follows a period of significant catastrophe activity in 2017 in which more than $100 billion of industry capital is estimated to have been destroyed.” Last week, Hiscox announced a preliminary estimate of $225 million for net losses from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. At the same time, Bronek Masojada, chief executive officer of Hiscox, said: “These events are already having an impact on rates in the global insurance market, particularly in affected areas and specific sectors. After a number of years of rate reductions, we are starting to see price corrections, most acutely in affected lines such as large property insurance and catastrophe reinsurance, which we expect to spread to non-affected lines.”

October 12. Bermuda’s global industry groups are joining forces with middle-school teachers to help boost awareness about the island’s economy and careers in international business. Led by the Association of Bermuda International Companies (Abic), the initiative has won support from the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers (Abir), the Bermuda Insurance Institute (BII), the Bermuda Insurance Management Association (Bima), the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), and the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA). The organisations have teamed with the Ministry of Education and public-school teachers to help develop the middle-school social studies curriculum to give students aged from eleven to thirteen a better understanding of how Bermuda’s economy works, and the different industry sectors — and job types — within the all-important IB market. “Abic has been in the business of educating Bermudians for careers in international business for over 40 years,” Patrick Tannock, Abic’s chairman, said. "Our industry depends on qualified Bermudians, and by developing curriculum for schools, we hope to increase awareness of career opportunities in the island’s international business sector.” A working group met with Ministry of Education teachers earlier this year to discuss innovative resource material and lesson plans to incorporate it. This included PowerPoint presentations, videos, infographics and animated graphics telling the story of Bermuda’s economic history, how regulation works, and current global business sectors. Teachers and industry representatives also talked about the Bermuda market’s contribution to economies worldwide, plus practical tips to help middle-school students investigate careers in re/insurance, captive insurance, other financial services, and support industries such as accountancy and compliance, where qualified personnel are in high and growing demand. The enhanced curriculum has now been successfully delivered at five of the island’s middle schools. “Our aim was to ensure students were exposed to information about international business in Bermuda that included an historical perspective, as well as the modern-day realities of IB’s importance to Bermuda’s economy,” said Lisa Marshall, education officer for social studies. Once the curriculum content was decided, selected teachers were tasked with creating the lesson plans and lesson activities for their colleagues. I am thankful for the phenomenal job done in creating lessons and activities by social studies teacher Nicole Grant and business studies teacher Dean Foggo,” she said. “Their task was to ensure our students’ exposure at the middle-school level included relevant and easy-to-understand information, both in its content delivery and use of resources. The curriculum was piloted at the M3 year level from March — May this year, and the feedback from students and teachers has been positive. We’re excited with the support from our IB partners and look forward to our continued collaboration with them.” New resources supplied by industry partners included:

Organizers hope the programme can be augmented via future initiatives such as on-site visits by students to international companies’ Bermuda offices and interactive sessions such as roundtables allowing students to chat with Bermudian industry professionals. The middle-school project is one of numerous Abic-led education initiatives. Through its annual Abic Education Awards programme, Abic has supported more than 600 students in overseas post-secondary education. More than 60 per cent of recipients now work in IB and support services. “Our thanks go to the Ministry of Education curriculum team and the middle-school teachers for embracing this initiative and developing lesson plans to deliver the curriculum,” Mr Tannock said. “Thanks also to all our industry partners for contributing content and participating.”

October 12. Seeing a big name performer live in concert is only a plane ride away for Bermuda residents — literally, because no ground transportation is needed to reach the venue once you land at New York’s JFK International Airport. Among the artists who have previously held intimate shows in the middle of JetBlue Airway’s T5 terminal are Taylor Swift, Boyz II Men, The Wanted, Emeli Sandé, Ellie Golding and Jason Derulo. It is an unusual business concept, but one that has proved popular since it was introduced in 2009. The shows take place in the post-security side of the terminal, at the central area normally used to provide seating for customers of the surrounding food concessions. “Performances are available exclusively to ticketed customers as an additional way the airline further enhances the travel experience,” said Tamara Young, corporate communications manager at JetBlue. “Since 2009, these surprise and delight pop-up shows have featured performances by an array of artists across various musical genres.” JetBlue flies a daily service between Bermuda and JFK all-year round, and this year introduced a second seasonal daily flight on the route from May to October. There is no schedule for the “Live from T5” concerts, Ms Young said: “It’s more about when there is an artist that is a good fit. “The concerts also serve as a promotional vehicle for artists; not only as a performance for their fans, they also receive exposure on our seat back TVs on-board reaching millions of customers each month.” Ms Young said the concerts give fans a chance to meet and see their favorite musicians, while offering an opportunity for artists to reach an audience of millions. “Live From T5 is promoted across JetBlue’s powerful social channels and through a series of wide-reaching media partnerships tailored uniquely to each artist’s fan base.” When asked why JetBlue came up with the idea for airport terminal concerts, Ms Young said: “Music is something that is near and dear to our hearts at JetBlue. Music is a connector and a unifier and crosses all demographics — age, gender, ethnicities, etc. And fun is one of JetBlue’s core values. What’s more fun than music?”

October 12. America's Cup racing could return to Bermuda as early as 2019 after all. Russell Green, the Emirates Team New Zealand rules expert, revealed in an interview with Sailing Illustrated that five overseas pre-regattas will take place over a two-year period in the build-up to the 36th America's Cup, to be held in Auckland in 2021, with Bermuda among the options being considered. The other choices include unnamed venues in Italy, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, as well as Newport and Rhode Island. Bermuda hosted the 35th America's Cup, won by Team New Zealand, on the Great Sound in June. Luna Rossa, the Challenger of Record will organize the pre-regattas, which are planned for 2019 and 2020. The Italian syndicate, backed and run by Prada chief executive Patrizio Bertelli, issued its challenge shortly after Team New Zealand dethroned Oracle Team USA in a lopsided final. Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa worked together to establish the protocol for the next edition, which will be contested in 75ft monohulls. Green also revealed that there was a desire to take the pre-regattas to “traditional venues with good wind and good viewing”. He suggested Newport, the home port of challenger New York Yacht Club, as a good fit as it is widely regarded as the traditional home of the America's Cup, which the club held for 132 years from 1851 to 1983. Green said Bertelli would also find other areas of the Mediterranean appealing and also mentioned the Caribbean or a return to Bermuda. The format of the pre-regattas — match-racing or fleet racing — would depend on the number of teams involved and the time available, Green added. Team New Zealand will be involved in all of the pre-regattas but will break away from the challengers until facing the top team from the challenger series in the America's Cup Match. It emerged last week that Bermuda could host a regatta featuring the AC50 foiling catamaran that were seen this summer on the Great Sound. It is understood that the teams involved in the previous America's Cup are keen on the idea, with Sir Russell Coutts, who served as the chief executive of the America's Cup Event Authority, among those being linked to the project. Powered by a rigid wing-sail, the AC50 is the smallest class raced in the America's Cup and is capable of speeds reaching 60mph. However, the future of the multihull racing yacht remains uncertain after the return of monohulls. The last time the “Auld Mug” was contested in monohulls was in 2007 in Valencia, Spain, where Swiss defender Alinghi retained their title with a 5-2 triumph over Team New Zealand.

October 11. Wayne Furbert remains tight-lipped over the shake-up that led to him being named the new Junior Minister of Finance last week. Members of the Opposition, however, have been vocal in criticizing the move. A media release on Sunday evening advised that Mr Furbert, MP for Hamilton West, had been sworn in by John Rankin, the Governor, on Friday. Senator Vance Campbell who also has responsibilities for public works and government reform, was previously unveiled as the junior minister for finance as well at a ceremony held in early August. Asked yesterday about the circumstances behind the change, Mr Furbert said: “I can’t answer that one.” Mr Furbert said he was also the “wrong person” to ask about why the shuffle was not announced at a press conference. “I was just appointed,” Mr Furbert said. “I can’t answer that question.” Asked about what skills and qualifications he would bring to the position, Mr Furbert pointed to his publicly accessible biography on both the Progressive Labour Party and Parliament websites. He added: “My qualifications are very clear.” Asked to comment on speculation that the change was made because he had been upset about being left out of the original cabinet, Mr Furbert said: “I’m not going to even answer that. That’s dumb.” Mr Furbert added: “I’m the Junior Minister of Finance and I’ll govern myself accordingly working with the minister.” David Burt, the Premier, said that Mr Furbert would earn $11,387 a year in the position. The appointment, the Premier said, would allow him to focus on two current undertakings “vital to Bermuda’s economy” — Bermuda’s FATF evaluation and the ongoing work of the EU’s Code of Conduct Group. “The Constitution allows the Premier to appoint junior ministers to assist with duties in the Legislature and MP Wayne Furbert will handle most finance-related legislation in the House,” Mr Burt said. “I am pleased he has agreed to assist me in my parliamentary duties related to finance. It is my determination that this will assist the Government in better executing its mandate.” Mr Burt said Mr Campbell would continue to handle finance matters in the Upper House. Asked about the shuffle, Mr Campbell said that there would be no change in his responsibilities. “I will still handle matters relating to finance in the Senate and continue to serve as Junior Minister for Public Works and Government Reform,” Mr Campbell said. Pressed on how his responsibilities would not change despite no longer being Junior Minister of Finance, Mr Campbell said: “As it relates to the Senate, there will be no change in my responsibilities.” Michael Dunkley, the former premier, questioned both the cost associated with the switch, as well as the timing. He said in a social media post on Monday: “In Opposition, the current Premier questioned the size of the Cabinet, which was less of a burden on the taxpayer than the current one. Why the double-speak?” Mr Dunkley added: “A Junior Minister for Finance was appointed in the Senate less than three months ago. Why the change so quickly?” The Smith’s North MP also questioned Mr Furbert’s qualifications. “Although MP Furbert is an accountant, his experience and actual track record recently raises serious questions about the financial advice he can provide,” Mr Dunkley said. Senator Nick Kempe, who had previously voiced concern over the salary bill of Cabinet, said he remained “hopeful that spending across the rest of Government does not follow the example being set at the top.  Otherwise, the PLP will struggle to maintain their campaign promise of a balanced budget by 2019. Despite increased spending being a news item last week, the Premier has decided to add yet another junior minister to the payroll further widening the spending gap with the last OBA cabinet. I hope that the 24-seat majority does not require too many concessions to keep the backbenchers content.”

October 11. Freddie Evans is said to be “confused, upset and angry” at having received no confirmation as to whether he can return to work as Commissioner of Education. This is according to his lawyer Mark Diel of Marshall Diel & Myers, who told The Royal Gazette the Ministry of Education had still not been in touch to clarify its position. Dr Evans was informed by the ministry last week that he had been removed from the job. However, after a backlash from Dr Evans over procedure, the Public Service Commission sent a letter to Mr Diel and Ministry of Education permanent secretary Valerie Robinson-James to say “an administrative error” in correspondence to Dr Evans meant he had not been fired. However, the letter added “nor has he been confirmed in his post”. Mr Diel told The Royal Gazette: “Has Dr Evans been approached by the ministry as to him going back to work? We can say no.” Asked how his client was feeling with regard to the whole situation, Mr Diel responded: “Confused, upset and angry.” Dr Evans could now be eligible for a payout in damages from the Government. Mr Diel has been instructed to issue proceedings against the ministry and Governor John Rankin for declarations that Dr Evans had not been “relieved of his responsibilities”. Dr Evans has not returned to work since the initial announcement was made last Monday. Mr Diel claims that Dr Evans’s contract makes clear that the only person who can remove him is the Governor and that it must be done during his probationary period. Mr Diel said that period ended on September 30. Mr Diel has also been instructed to issue proceedings for libel against the ministry and the permanent secretary. Government House has so far also failed to respond to questions surrounding who had the power to fire Dr Evans, whether a letter of termination had been sent to him and when his probation period expired. The Ministry of Education said it would not comment on the matter at present. Richard Horseman has been retained by the PSC to provide legal assistance. Meanwhile, shadow education minister Cole Simons issued a lengthy statement yesterday evening describing the course of events as “very disheartening and unfortunate”. Mr Simons criticized the lack of response from the ministry asking: “What have they done to remediate this matter and bring it to a conclusion? It appears they would rather sit back and watch the very unfortunate matter unfold to the detriment of our students and the delivery of education services.” Mr Simons also questioned the performance report written up for Dr Evans adding: “Was the commissioner positioned to succeed? When the commissioner took on the role, why was he not provided with a proper professional development plan? In addition, why during the probationary period was he given positive interim performance reports, which were presented to the Public Service Commission, but when it came to the final assessment, he was deemed to be woefully lacking? What event or events took place that led to this unfavorable appraisal?”

October 11. Bermuda’s civil liberties watchdog called on the Government to ditch “reckless” plans to undermine human rights laws yesterday. A spokeswoman for the Human Rights Commission warned that watering down the supremacy of human rights legislation over immigration law threatened the “shield” that protected international human rights standards and freedoms on the island. The government move is designed to block court challenges to immigration law by non-Bermudians claiming discrimination on the grounds of place of origin over rights of residence and Bermuda status. The spokeswoman said: “The strength of this shield is made stronger by the HRA’s primacy over all other laws, except the Constitution; that is that all other laws must be read to be compliant with the Act. The stronger the shield, the stronger the protection for us all.” The spokeswoman added: “It is therefore reckless to undermine the Human Rights Act or have it portrayed as either a tool to be manipulated, or for manipulation. Steps to reduce the effectiveness of the Act should invoke thorough examination before being enacted and should only be taken in rare cases. This is clearly the position in most democratic societies where exemptions from human rights legislation are carefully considered in support of balancing rights and associated implications for all stakeholders. For example, the entirety of the UK immigration legislation is not exempt from their Human Rights Act.” The HRC spoke out after Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, tabled a Bill of amendments in the House of Assembly last Friday. Mr Brown told MPs the amendments would give the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act primacy over the Human Rights Act. When asked by The Royal Gazette why further consultation was not done on the piece of legislation, the ministry responded: “It should be remembered that a major tenet of this government’s platform promise was to put Bermudians first. However, we must also clarify that there was consultation with the HRC on the matter of exempting sections of the Bermuda Immigration & Protection Act 1956 from the Human Rights Act 1981. While the minister was apprised of their concerns, he took a different position.” The HRC spokeswoman said: “The HRC has not yet seen the draft Bill, and therefore cannot effectively address specific questions on the potential implications of the Bill.” But she added: “Tabling a Bill of this nature, one that will have human rights implications without consultation is entirely inconsistent with the spirit and purpose of the HRA, particularly as the topic of immigration has necessarily been highly emotive and divisive. The HRC has already communicated with the Government that it is imperative to undertake an inclusive process of consultation that reflects the gravity of the proposed amendments, and the significance of this national issue. The HRC advocated for comprehensive immigration reform under the previous administration, and has reinforced this need with the government; however, ensuring an inclusive consultation process is essential.” The spokeswoman said the HRC was committed to engagement with the Government and had expressed its “urgent concern” over the proposals. She added: “There is too much at stake for media sparring and speculation at this stage. We are determined to steer the course towards less polarizing and divisive engagement to address these challenging issues. We urge Government to withdraw the tabled Bill to allow for proper consultation as advised. Our view is that the HRA should be strengthened and protected, not weakened or mineralized. The HRC will continue to communicate our concerns to the Government and advocate for the upholding, advancement and protection of human rights in Bermuda.”

October 10. Diversifying Bermuda’s economy through the space industry is one of the routes being explored by the Government of Bermuda. It is a sector that has been pursued for a number of years, and the impetus will continue, according to Walter Roban, Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs. “Bermuda is seeking to expand and diversify its economy, and next steps with respect to the satellite and space industry are of critical importance,” he told MPs in Parliament on Friday. Now that Bermuda has secured its orbital slots and the Space Industry Bill is presently before the UK Parliament — the next step in regulating space flight activities — Bermuda must consider its options and what it has to offer.” Mr Roban was speaking about his visit to London in September, where he attended London International Shipping Week conferences and took part in meetings relating to shipping, investment, and transport. Beyond the shipping conference, the space industry was a topic of conversation with consultants, and the Deputy Premier said he had “fruitful discussions” that continued in Bermuda after he returned from Britain. He added: “I will have more to report on this in due course.” Bermuda has four orbital slots for satellites, one is occupied by the EchoStar VI satellite operated by the company Satellite Ventures (Bermuda) Ltd, which is a joint venture of SES Satellites (Bermuda) Ltd, and EchoStar Ltd. The satellite operates on the BermudaSat-1 network at 96.2°WL, and its potential markets include commercial, leisure and government consumers. However, a US-imposed moratorium that has been in place since 2005 has prevented access to the highly valued US market by all new licensed satellite networks, including Bermuda’s. The EchoStar VI satellite was launched in 2000 and brought into service on the BermudaSat-1 network in 2013. In March of last year, in a report to Parliament, it was stated that no commercial agreements had yet been made for the satellite, although SES continued to be “optimistic about the commercial prospects of BermudaSat-1”. In December, Grant Gibbons, who at the time was the Minister of Economic Development, spoke about meetings he had with Nasa officials in Washington DC. The discussions included the issue of the moratorium and suggestions on how Bermuda might proceed. Afterwards, Dr Gibbons said work was bring done with consultants “to consider various options and provide me with a recommendation as to the best course of action to put us into a position to finally maximize the commercial potential of our premier satellite orbital resource”. Bermuda’s involvement with the space industry stretches back to some the earliest days of Nasa’s space programme, with the agency operating a tracking station at Cooper’s Island from 1960 until 1997. This year, the island has hosted portable satellite tracking facilities operated by Nasa, the European Space Agency, and SpaceX. In London last month, Mr Roban was part of a Bermuda delegation that included representatives from the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority, the Bermuda Business Development Agency, and a number of Bermudian-based companies. He said the group had promoted “Bermuda’s ‘blue-chip’ advantages to the international shipping sector”. Mr Roban also met with Transport for London to talk about technology and travel products. He said: “These included, for example, ‘pay as you go’ or pre-loaded cards such as the Oyster card, contactless payment — which requires a chip and PIN technology not yet widely available in Bermuda, ticket vending machines, biodegradable smart cards and travel apps.”

October 10. Fewer than half of Bermuda residents see the island as “inclusive” and 31 per cent feel uncomfortable because of their skin color a new report has revealed. The news comes in the Bermuda Vital Signs study for 2017, carried out by the Bermuda Community Foundation. The survey showed housing ranks as the top concern, with only 38 per cent happy with their living conditions, even though 60 per cent of people own their own home. A total of 38 per cent believe healthcare is affordable and 60 per cent hold a favorable view of healthcare on the island. Myra Virgil, executive director of the Bermuda Community Foundation, said the study was designed to give a “snapshot” of Bermuda across a range of areas. Dr Virgil said some of the seven categories that were looked at provided surprises. She explained the island’s score on diversity and inclusion, where feelings of exclusion are determined by skin color or race, “implies that we are not attending to this issue enough”. The report is to be followed next year by a series of “community conversations” including charities and government agencies to help co-ordinate resources. Dr Virgil, who has headed BCF since its foundation in 2013, said: “This is our baseline report,” The group started with a $6 million grant from Atlantic Philanthropies, boosted by large donations from Bermuda’s international business sector. Lisa Kolody, executive director of Canada’s Windsor Essex Community Foundation, said the study, released today, was carried out with Vital Signs, a global programme for community foundations co-ordinated by Community Foundations of Canada, where there are 191 similar groups. She added: “Vital Signs started in Toronto in 2001. We have standardized it, but also created a sense where people can keep it unique to their community.” Ms Kolody is on the island with Tamara Gathright Fritz, the project’s research co-ordinator, to launch the first report — the culmination of two years’ work at BCF. Dr Gathright Fritz said the initiative’s “first swipe” had been adding questions to the Bermuda Omnibus Survey, in which 400 people were surveyed by telephone. The quality of life indicators that emerged were health and personal well-being, economy and work, housing, education, safety and security, community well-being, and diversity and inclusion. Information was collated on each priority area, and a public perception survey was developed to explore the island’s performance in each category. Dr Gathright Fitz said: “What you see is what people said.” Each respondent’s assessments came with a one to ten ranking of “poor” to “excellent”. Most Bermuda residents rate their quality of life around seven out of ten. The summary is taken from a full White Paper report by BCF that will be used to help potential donors and policymakers. The surveys will continue to be refreshed, to improve the group’s understanding of local quality of life. Dr Virgil said: “This is about people’s experiences, and their expectations. All of this is really about generating and facilitating conversations.” On housing, residents assess availability at 44 per cent, and the cost at 31 per cent. Dr Virgil said regional factors, such as the island’s small size, would influence residents’ views. She added: “That’s where we need to dig deeper. It appears we are not doing very well — so what’s underneath that?” The White Paper will be updated next year once 2016 census data is available. A comprehensive Vital Signs update will be carried out in 2020 or 2021. Dr Virgil said: “Over the next 18 months, starting in January, we will host Vital Signs conversations.” The talks will bring together charities and government agencies in a bid to better distribute the island’s limited pool of charitable donations.

October 10. A five-kilometer walk and run in memory of former premier David Saul will take place next month, with funds raised going to Family Centre. Dr Saul’s family, including his widow, Christine, the couple’s two children and two of their grandchildren, will take part in the event on November 5, beginning at Fidelity International in Hamilton. The keen athlete and businessman, who led the country between 1995 and 1997, died in May at the age of 77. His daughter, Robin, told The Royal Gazette the event was organized by Fidelity, the investment company where her father served as Bermuda president from 1984 to 1995 and remained as a director until his death. She said Fidelity employee Rose Powell, who knew Dr Saul well, had asked the Saul family whether the Fidelity Couples Race could be renamed the David Saul Memorial 5K. Ms Saul said: “It didn’t take long for the family to decide this was a wonderful idea. We all agreed that it was fitting to remember the man who ran all his life, with a running race. David was inducted in to the Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his running success so this really is a perfect fit. I think David would love the idea of a running race held in his memory. All his family plan to participate. David’s two youngest grandchildren, Keane and Dash, will run the kids’ race. My husband, Will, and I also plan to run. And it is pretty unbelievable that my mother, Christine, 74, who just had a total hip replacement in July, plans to run. My brother Jonathan is going to fly home from Canada to also participate. We will all be there, and I am sure David will also, in our hearts, memories and stories. The family is grateful to Fidelity for organizing this event and remembering David in such a fitting way.” Martha Dismont, executive director of Family Centre, said: “We are incredibly grateful for being chosen as the recipient of the funds raised for this memorial 5K walk. It is particularly gratifying for the Family Centre because of our immense respect for David Saul and his support of Family Centre during his previous role with government. He was one of Bermuda’s finest and most thoughtful citizens. We are very grateful to Fidelity International for choosing Family Centre. Funding will go to our counselling services, which is experiencing a significant shortfall this year.” Allan Pelvang, head of Fidelity’s Bermuda office, described Dr Saul as a personal friend to many at the company. He said: “He is greatly missed and it was obvious to rename the race in his honor. We are hopeful that a lot of people will participate and help make it a great occasion in memory of a great Bermudian — and of course in support of the Family Centre.” The children’s 1K race starts at 8.30am and the 5K run and walk starts at 9am. Registration for the event is at

October 10. Global warming is not to blame for recent flooding and high tides in Bermuda, an oceanographer said yesterday. Ruth Curry, physical oceanographer at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, said that two factors were responsible for the high water that submerged low-lying portions of the island over the weekend, including King’s Square in St George. Ms Curry said the recent full moon, coupled with a warm ocean eddy passing Bermuda, was to blame. She added: “This is no a consequence of global warming, but is a very unusual phenomenon.” James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, agreed. He said: “There is no current evidence that this is driven by global warming or climate change.” Because of the full moon, the tide over the past couple of days was predicted to be slightly higher. Ms Curry explained the phenomenon is called a king tide. She said that Bermuda was also experiencing the effects of higher sea levels associated with a warm eddy. Mr Dodgson said: “Predicted high tides have been nearly 1ft higher than they naturally can be at other times of the year, and the sea height anomaly is hovering around 1ft.“This equates to a water level perhaps 2ft higher at high tide than at other times of the year.” Ms Curry said eddies are “ubiquitous ocean features that have circular structure and trap and transport waters coherently around the ocean over long distances”. Depending on where an eddy forms, the water in it can be either warmer or colder than the water outside it and regularly pass Bermuda. She added: “The volume of water expands when it is warmed and shrinks when it is cooled. The sea surface will exhibit a slight bulge where the underlying waters are warm, or a depression if the waters are cold.” The Gulf Stream is a major source of cold eddies, while the warm eddies that flow past Bermuda often originate to the south and east of the island. Ms Curry said Bermuda is on the western edge of a warm eddy. She added that “several very strong cyclonic eddies” are sitting east of the island and poised to head towards the island. “Bermudians can expect the effects of this warm eddy to persist for another few weeks, followed by very strong currents and a lowering of the water level as the cold eddy approaches. Water levels will be higher than average, but the tidal effects will subside shortly. Hopefully, the flooding will cease as well.” Mr Dodgson added: “General water recession at high tide can be expected in the coming days as the predicted high-tide levels gradually fall.”

October 10. Architects in Bermuda are looking for ways to make more businesses accessible to the physically challenged and visually impaired. The Institute of Bermuda Architects (IBA) hosted an architectural tour last week in Hamilton for members and invited industry associates to experience what the visually impaired go through on a daily basis in navigating the streets. The Government of Bermuda has been doing its part in making sure the public is educated on the physically and visually challenged community. They have teamed up with IBA’s inaugural Architecture Week. This is the first year that the IBA had a week dedicated to the visually impaired. Keith Simmons, accessibility officer at the Ministry of Health, Ageing and Disability Services, said: “This year they are celebrating architectural week. We have had walks for the physically challenged before but now we wanted to enlighten people on what the visually impaired experience everyday walking the streets; things most people take for granted like cutting corners, sidewalks, navigating around signage and more.” Visual impairments come in many forms and can make navigating the urban environment daunting. That is why Mr Simmons and the IBA want people to have a clearer understanding. “The walk was an hour long in the city. There was someone who was visually impaired showing how to navigate around,” Mr Simmons said. This tour will gave participants an interactive experience, with materials, surfaces, time-of-day perspectives, and aspects of limited visibility. Mr Simmons mentioned that last year’s walk for the physically challenged made businesses more aware, and many have since built wheelchair-accessible ramps and elevators. The Bermuda Society for the Blind has also been raising awareness. It is dedicated to empowering people who are blind or impaired to learn how to live well with vision loss. The Society has programmes such as The Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Programme, which enables those who are blind or vision-impaired to complete everyday tasks that formerly depended on vision, by using special techniques, strategies, and adapted equipment and technology. This leads to increased confidence and independence, and enhances the quality of life of those affected. For individuals with low vision, the programme focuses on using any remaining vision as effectively as possible. The programme covers topics such as, independent living, orientation and mobility and assistive technology.

October 10. Hotelier and retailer Robin Gilbert, who in 1967 became one of the first graduates of the Bermuda Hotel School, has died at the age of 68. Along with his wife, Susan, Mr Gilbert became a familiar face to many through the family business for more than 40 years, the clothes store Pirates Port. But he was famed for his 50-year hospitality career, starting out in the Bermudiana Hotel in the 1960s. Mr Gilbert was just 26 when he became general manager of the Jadini Beach Hotel on the south coast of Kenya after two years on a management development programme in three major London hotels. He later returned home to work at Cambridge Beaches and subsequently bought the Palmetto Bay Hotel on Harrington Sound. After the birth of their children Jessica and Alexander, the couple focused on their retail business. Mr Gilbert returned to the hospitality industry in 2004, becoming the general manager at Coco Reef the following year. He also worked at 9 Beaches and The Reefs. Jessica Cassidy recalled her father as a dedicated “people person” who dived into hotel work at the age of 16. “That was his life — he just made everyone feel good, and he loved being around people, especially tourists. He was a huge family guy who did absolutely everything for me, my brother and our mother.” Even as tourism declined from its heyday as the mainstay of the Bermudian economy, Mr Gilbert remained confident in the island as a destination. “There is no question that Bermuda is a beautiful product,” he told this newspaper in 2005 — but added that local hotels needed to focus on “fantastic service that exceeds the expectations of our guests”. Mr Gilbert later took the helm as general manager at 9 Beaches before returning to his retail roots. Ms Cassidy described him as “hardly ever in a bad mood and he treated people with respect. We have lived a very loved life because of him."

October 9. Premier David Burt says he held a positive meeting with OECD Secretary General Ángel Gurría today. The Premier is in Europe this week to discuss financial issues with key policymakers in London, Paris and Brussels. He tweeted this afternoon: “Productive meeting today with #OECD Secretary General @A_Gurria and @BermudaPremier in #Paris. Recognizing #Bermuda ‘s high standard.” Mr Burt has said he will use the trip to reinforce Bermuda’s “recognised leadership position in transparency and compliance” with leading representatives from the OECD, the European Union, and the British Government. He said in a press release yesterday: “Our objective is simple, to prevent any negative impact to Bermuda from the ongoing work of the EU Code of Conduct Group.” The Premier is joined on the trip by assistant financial secretary of the Treaty Unit Wayne Brown and British representative for the Government of Bermuda, Kimberley Durrant.

October 9. Government officials hosted the Canadian Consul General to New York, Phyllis Yaffe, who completed a round of courtesy talks and acquainted herself with Bermuda. The Consul General’s area of responsibility includes the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware as well as Bermuda. David Burt, the Premier, met Ms Yaffe at the Cabinet Office and transport minister Walter Roban met her separately at the Ministry of Transport headquarters. She was joined in the meetings last week by senior officials from the Consulate General of Canada in New York, including Canadian Consul and head of investment Nathalie Niedoba, and head of advocacy and communications Juan-Pablo Valdes.

October 9. Wayne Furbert has replaced Senator Vance Campbell as the Junior Minister of Finance. Mr Furbert, MP for Hamilton West, was sworn in by Governor John Rankin during a ceremony at Government House on Friday. Mr Campbell was unveiled as the Junior Minister of Finance at a ceremony in early August, but will now serve as the Junior Minister of Public Works and Government Reform. Mr Campbell will continue to speak on financial matters in the Upper House. David Burt, the Premier, said: “I am pleased to welcome the knowledge and insight that Wayne Furbert will bring to the Ministry of Finance. Additionally, he will be assisting me with Parliamentary duties in the House of Assembly related to finance.” Mr Burt said: “Senator Vance Campbell will continue to speak on financial matters in the Senate and will serve as Junior Minister of Public Works and Government Reform.”

October 9. The loudest phase of the construction for the airport redevelopment project has been completed ahead of schedule. All 719 piles have been driven beneath the surface to create the foundation for the new terminal at the L.F. Wade International Airport, according to a press release from Skyport. Pile driving ­— the process of hammering steel piles into the ground — began on May 28 and work took place seven days a week. Frank Ross, executive director of infrastructure at Aecon Construction, stated: “The pile driving was the noisiest phase of the project and we would like to thank our stakeholders and neighbors for being patience for the past couple of months. We are pleased to have completed it months ahead of schedule. Also, so far, 34 per cent of the pile caps have been completed and we are well on our way to finishing the project on time.” The work was scheduled between 7am and 10pm every Monday through Saturday, and between 7am and 6pm on Sundays. It finished on September 22, four months ahead of the schedule. Work was carried out by Aecon Foundations and Correia Construction and involved 28 Bermudians. The construction of the new airport terminal is expected to take 40 months and will be finished in 2020.

October 9. A number of Bermuda-based insurers and reinsurers have released estimates of losses they expect to book from three hurricanes and earthquakes in the third quarter. Lancashire Holdings Ltd has estimated losses of between $106 million and $212 million. The losses apply to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which between them wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and the US, as well as two earthquakes in Mexico. The loss exposures are through its Bermuda and Lloyd’s operations, as well as its involvement with the Kinesis third party capital facility, in which Lancashire has a 10 per cent stake. The estimate falls well within Lancashire’s modeled loss ranges for these types of catastrophe events, the firm stressed. Meanwhile, American International Group expects to report pre-tax catastrophe losses net of reinsurance of $2.9 billion to $3.1 billion. In a statement, AIG said pre-tax losses from Harvey are estimated at between $1.1 billion and $1.2 billion, with those from Irma in the region of $1 billion to $1.1 billion, and losses from Maria likely to be between $600 million and $700 million. AIG also estimated that pre-tax losses from the Mexico earthquakes and other catastrophes will be approximately $150 million. Validus Holdings estimates that its net losses in the third quarter due to the hurricanes and earthquakes, net of reinsurance and a number of other factors, will be $378.9 million. The companies cautioned that actual losses may vary materially from the preliminary estimates.

October 9. (Bloomberg) — The US solar industry is about to airlift rooftop panels and batteries to Puerto Rico, where more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses remain without electricity after Hurricane Maria destroyed the grid. The first plane of supplies is set to leave this week. It is primarily a humanitarian effort, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. But it is also a chance for the industry to showcase what it can offer that conventional power plants and grids cannot: an energy source capable of weathering natural disasters. And Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, leader of an island wrecked by back-to-back storms, is all ears. After Elon Musk suggested on Twitter on Thursday that Tesla Inc could rebuild Puerto Rico’s electricity system with solar panels and batteries, Rossello responded: “Let’s talk.” Renewable-energy advocates have wasted no time in promoting solar and batteries as a solution for regions wrecked by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Tesla Inc said it would send hundreds of battery systems to Puerto Rico that could be paired with rooftop panels. Edward Fenster, chairman of solar-panel provider Sunrun Inc, said it is also looking to help in restoration efforts. The storms knocked out power to millions of utility customers who depend largely on fossil-fuel plants and long-distance transmission lines for service. Some in Puerto Rico may be in the dark for as long as a year as the grid’s repaired. “We build solar panels to withstand 150-mile-an-hour winds — if the roof stays on your house, the solar panels stay on your roof,” Sunrun’s Fenster said in an interview at Bloomberg’s San Francisco office last week. “And batteries are real-life safety equipment. From a broad perspective, solar and storage can strengthen grids everywhere.” Solar’s proposition is proving an attractive choice for an island facing the daunting task of rebuilding a system from the ground up. It could take six months to a year before power is restored across the entire island, the US Army Corps of Engineers in Puerto Rico said, citing initial forecasts. “What’s the smartest way to rebuild?” asked Abigail Ross Hopper, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Do you recreate the infrastructure that existed and could be devastated in a storm, or do you balance a resilient system like solar plus storage that can better weather storms?” The supplies US solar companies are sending to help with the hurricane response is a testament to how crucial energy storage has become to their business. Solar customers are looking for affordable ways to keep the lights on even when the sun is not shining — and lithium-ion battery pack prices fell 73 per cent from 2010 to 2016, based on Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates. While such a combination may look increasingly appealing for regions like the Caribbean islands hit hard by the hurricanes, “the question is whether you can do it affordably,” said Ethan Zindler, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Washington. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit group that promotes clean energy, it would cost roughly $250 million to build about 90 megawatts of solar and storage across a chain of Caribbean islands. That is enough to power an estimated 15,000 US homes. While it may be sufficient for islands like the Turks and Caicos, more than a million households live in storm-battered and debt-ridden Puerto Rico alone. “Certainly there’s an opportunity here, with the potential for positive in Puerto Rico probably much larger than the potential total revenue,” Zindler said. “There are sales potentially to be had,” he said, but that assumes Puerto Rico gets the aid it needs to rebuild. Meanwhile, the solar association has packed more than $1 million of donated gear onto aeroplanes. It is working with disaster-relief groups and other trade organisations to get the equipment where it is needed and to help raise money for the recovery efforts. “We’re trying to connect people with each other,” said Hopper, the trade group’s president. “Our customers have products that can make a huge difference in people’s lives.”

October 9. Further rounds of “community conversations” exploring race have been launched by the group Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda. The first series of truth and reconciliation talks proved “extremely successful” this spring, according to Curb president Lynne Winfield — met with “enthusiasm, thankfulness and appreciation”. Returning later this month, the talks will bring participants together each week with the same trained facilitators and group members. Aimed at fostering relationships and the sharing of stories, the talks are ultimately intended to bring about “societal change”, Ms Winfield said. After four groups met and talked island-wide for the spring sessions, Curb coached extra volunteer facilitators through the International Institute of Restorative Practices. The group thanked the Association of Bermuda International Companies and the Association for Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers for their financial support, as well as the Bermuda Community Foundation. Curb is collaborating with the Human Rights Commission as the location of one round of talks, and is now linked with the Bermuda National Library where a second group will gather. A third location will be arranged should the need arise. Starting on October 18 and 19, the sessions will be held from 6pm to 8.30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, for seven consecutive weeks. Ms Winfield said Curb was “committed to continuing the community conversations for the next few years, allowing the people of Bermuda a space to listen and be heard, whilst working together to find concrete ways to heal and repair the damage of the past and ensure a healthy future”. To get involved, e-mail or call 337-2688.

October 9. People wasted time arguing about Pastor Leroy Bean when they should have been tackling the real issue behind the gun violence epidemic, according to shadow national security minister Jeff Baron. Mr Baron highlighted the plight of young black men as he reflected on the latest shooting, outside Southampton Rangers Sports Club on Friday night, in which a man and woman were injured. Reacting to Mr Bean’s appointment as gang violence reduction co-ordinator last Wednesday, Mr Baron had claimed there was “eye-rolling” among the anti-violence community, and questioned what had happened to the One Bermuda Alliance’s selection for the role, Chae Powell. But on Saturday, Mr Baron said in a statement: “We made this issue about a name — a person. We lost the chance to talk about the real issues. I regret that. What we should be talking about are these raw, undeniable facts.” Police said a man on a motorcycle fired into the parking area of the club shortly after 8.30pm. Both victims were taken to the hospital where they were treated for injuries. Mr Baron stated: “The indiscriminate shooting into a crowd at Rangers club is horrifying. The toll each incident like this takes on our community is significant and long-lasting.” The former national security minister pointed to the following statistics:

He continued: “Our reality? We are losing a demographic of our society. We’ve lost too many already. Instead of being a source for leadership and transformation politics has been roadblock. It’s wrong to make gang violence about one person or one agency. It’s right to talk about the reality of the raw data together. Ignoring it or not knowing it is not good enough. It’s wrong to engage in sustained political feuds over government’s appointment when blood splashes our pavement. It’s right to question, hold to account, and quickly move forward by supporting whoever serves this critical role. Gang violence reduction is not about a name or person — it’s not about Leroy, Chae, Wayne or Jeff. If we want to make violence about names consider these: Haile, Lorenzo, Prince, Rickai, Jahni, Fiqre, Joshua, Stefan, Kumi, Randy — and this heartbreaking list goes on. Whose names will be on the list next week, month or year? That, not anything else, deserves our collective, total focus from the body politic and from the community.” Witnesses should call police on 295-0011 or the confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 800-8477.

October 9. The mother of one of the victims of the Belvin’s double murder has reached out a hand of forgiveness and support to the men convicted of her son’s killing. Nicole Fox told The Royal Gazette that she wants to help the four men serving time for the fatal shooting of her son, Ricco Furbert, and his friend, Haile Outerbridge. “I have love in my heart for these young men and a lot of sadness,” she said. “I would love to be a part of their rehabilitation if they would let me help them.” Her comments came after Gariko Benjamin was jailed for life at Supreme Court for the murders of Mr Furbert and Mr Outerbridge. Last Wednesday, Benjamin was told he would have to serve a minimum of 25 years behind bars before he could even be considered for release for his role in the double shooting. The 25-year-old, who was at the murder scene and helped in the escape of the shooter, LeVeck Roberts, had previously admitted his involvement in the crime and pleaded guilty to murder. Roberts, 21, and Romano Mills, 30, were also jailed for life for their roles in the shooting that took place at the Belvin’s Variety store on Happy Valley Road on January 23, 2013. Both were found guilty of premeditated murder after separate trials. A fourth man, Christoph Duerr, is serving a ten-year prison sentence for looking after the gun that was used in the Belvin’s double murder. Ms Fox, who has attended all the trials and sentencing hearings connected with the murder of her son, said that she will get total closure only by helping “these young men turn their life around”. She added: “I don’t know what form that will take, or exactly how it would work, but they will have to accept my offer and take me as I am. I know from my experience in life that hurt people, hurt people. If God’s good grace has helped me to get through addiction and come out of the darkness, then I have to be part of that process for someone else. I want to be able to help these boys become productive members of society again so they can mentor and help the next generation, to prevent them doing the same thing. If these young men can change then there can be a ripple effect and that can have a positive impact on Bermuda as a whole. If I can help in any way with that process and show these young men that there is light in the darkness then I would love it.”

October 9. Children used King’s Square as a makeshift pool and some people questioned whether the Olde Towne was sinking — “ridiculously high tides” certainly created a splash over the weekend. Six inches of seawater accumulated in the square on Saturday morning, partly as a result of the full moon but, according to St George’s mayor Quinell Francis, locals took the unusual phenomenon in their stride. Ms Francis told The Royal Gazette last night: “I got it more from the rest of the island, in reference to seeing the pictures and thinking St George’s was sinking. “It wasn’t as big a concern to the St Georgians as it was probably to everyone else. I think everyone was just sort of enjoying the seawater in the square. We did have some children actually wading in it. It was not a normal occurrence, but it has occurred before.” As of last night, however, the excess water had drained away and no damage had been reported. The mayor added: “As far as I’m aware, it didn’t make it inside the town hall.” Multiple photographs and videos submitted to this newspaper and posted on social media showed flooding and high water in low-lying areas across the island. Samantha Swainson, of St David’s, submitted a number of photographs of flooding in her neighborhood. Ms Swainson, who has lived in the area for 15 years, said: “I have never seen flooding like that.” Her photographs showed water encroaching towards Kindley Field Road. “I was shocked because the ocean was right there. On Stone Crusher Corner, where the memorial is, the water was up to the bench.” Smith’s resident Trish Alexander submitted a photograph of high water in Flatts. The photo was shot from the Aquarium parking lot on Saturday morning and showed water nearly at the top of a dock in the inlet. Ms Alexander said: “I noticed as soon as I drove into the parking lot that I’d never seen the water so high.” Parking at the airport was also affected. A spokeswoman with Bermuda Skyport said yesterday: “The long-term parking lot at the LF Wade International Airport is closed until further notice due to flooding.” Those with vehicles parked in the lot were advised to remove them as soon as possible to avoid water damage. By Sunday afternoon, however, only a few puddles were left in the lot. Mark Guishard, meteorologist and programme manager for Bermuda’s Risk Prevention Initiative, said that the “ridiculously high tides” were the result of a full moon and a “warm core eddy” around the island. He added in an online post on Saturday: “Usually at high tide the water is about 12in to 18in below the dock. Today there are waves lapping over the top! Imagine if there was a hurricane around, too (don’t worry, there isn’t) — storm surge would be even worse.”

October 9. Retirees and those preparing for retirement are increasingly looking to the sky for a way to bring a degree of certainty about some of their future household expenses. Many are installing solar panels at their properties to generate electricity that they can use in their home, and sell any excess to the Bermuda Electric Light Company. It is a trend that has been noticed by Nick Duffy, divisional manager at Bermuda Alternative Energy, which is part of the BAC group. He explained how households can reduce their monthly energy bill by generating some their electricity needs through solar panels. He said the attraction is even greater for those who are retired or soon to retire. Being at home during the daytime means a retiree can make full use of the energy being produced by a solar energy system in the peak daytime hours. Appliances such as air conditioning units, washing machines and cookers can be used, making the most use of the solar-produced electricity. Because storage battery technology has not reached a price point where electricity produced by solar panels can be easily and economically saved for use during the hours of darkness, most residents put any excess electricity from their panels into the Bermuda energy grid at a set price that is below what they pay to use Belco’s electricity. However, retirees and those who are home during daytime hours can make better use of solar energy their panels are capturing. Mr Duffy said: “Having solar makes sense for those who are entering retirement or setting things up for retirement.” He said most people in that position are looking for ways to stabilize and fix their future household costs and expenses. “In Bermuda one of the big unknowns is the Belco bill. It’s not something that’s easy to manage as it fluctuates.” Energy rates can change and the fuel adjustment regularly fluctuates due to the impact of factors beyond Bermuda’s shores. Mr Duffy said: “The key to solar energy is that peak solar production comes during the main daylight hours. The panels are producing the most during the hours when many people are not at home as they are out working. But for a retiree, they are going to be in their domicile during the day and when the solar system is going to be producing the most electricity.” He said the issue was not so much how much energy they are using, but when they use it. Being at home when solar panels are working at their peak means a retiree can gently cool or warm their home so that it is already near or at their requirements when the evening arrives and they have to switch to using electricity from the grid. As storage battery technology evolves it will increasingly possible for excess electricity from solar panels to be cleanly and efficiently stored for later use when the sun goes down. “Storage is imminent. Once the price is at the right level that will be a game changer,” said Mr Duffy. “In terms of the retiree, the really great thing is if you buy solar it is not like you are buying a product. You are investing. It’s a long-term investment. The nice thing about solar for a retiree is the relatively good payback. After it has been set up it will pay for itself within seven or eight years. You could start at 58 and then when you reach 65 it [the solar energy system] has paid for itself. Then you have an asset that can last for 25 years or longer.” Mr Duffy said some customers were adding solar panels incrementally as they see the benefits and want to make more use of renewable energy. He added: “It’s attractive to someone who is retiring. It is something that you can manage in the run-up to retirement  “We have people saying they are doing it as they prepare for retirement. It stabilizes one of the big unknown costs. And it adds to the value of your home. You can show your Belco bills that are all zeros to a potential buyer — that’s attractive.” BAE has a website at

October 9. Flora Duffy will be the favorite at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, next year, according to the only woman to beat her this season. Ashleigh Gentle has cranked up the pressure on Duffy, insisting the Bermudian is the one to beat on the Gold Coast “whether she likes it or not”. Duffy came about as close to perfection as possible in retaining her ITU World Triathlon Series title, winning six of seven races and finishing second in the other in Montreal, where she was beaten by Gentle. “[Duffy] pretty much had a perfect season ... the pressure is on her and that’s definitely fine with me,” Gentle told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “She has been racing really well and deserves that, too. Whether she likes that or not, she is the favorite and I just hope that there will be ten times more people cheering for me rather than her.” With her home crowd cheering her on, it will be hard to discount Gentle, a Gold Coast native, who will be looking to upset Duffy after enjoying a breakthrough year. “Racing at home is definitely underestimated and makes a big difference,” said the 26-year-old, who finished runner-up in the WTS. “When you’re hurting in triathlon and you have people screaming your name, you find another gear.” Gentle, who finished ninth at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, one place behind Duffy, believes she has become a more dynamic competitor since teaming up with Jamie Tucker, who trained Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen. “There have been so many things I have learnt this year,” Gentle said. “I’m a bit more of a dynamic racer and ready for whatever course there is.” The men’s and women’s individual triathlons will be on April 4, with the course similar to the one used in the Gold Coast leg of the WTS. The northern end of Southport’s Broadwater Parklands will host the start, finish and transitions, with the bike and run legs to head north along a flat, technical route. Gentle said it will give spectators the chance to watch triathletes produce some fast racing in what will be the first sprint-distance run at a major games. “You always want to keep progressing,” she added. “If I keep focusing on the things that I worked on this year and if I can improve on them in training then, yeah, I hope to keep producing the results on the course.” Duffy has two races left this season — the Xterra World Championship in Kapalua, Maui, on October 29 and the Island House Triathlon in Bahamas on November 17 and 18.

October 7. MPs clashed in a race row in the House of Assembly yesterday. The controversy broke out after One Bermuda Alliance MP Trevor Moniz, the Shadow Attorney-General, clashed with Diallo Rabain, education minister for the ruling Progressive Labour Party. Mr Moniz said: “He’s on the front bench over there, so he thinks he’s a wonderful boy.” The remark sparked groans from MPs. Mr Rabain hit back: “If that man calls me boy again, I won’t be sitting here — I’ll be right over there.” Mr Moniz withdrew the remarks after he was pulled up by Dennis Lister, Speaker of the House. Mr Lister said: “Mr Moniz, I was slow reacting on that. I’m going to ask you to withdraw the comment.” He added: “Let’s not go to that level again.” Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Leader of the Opposition, said she did not make any excuses for anybody. “When barbs are thrown at me, I have to take it. Let us not be so thin-skinned that every word that everybody says somehow creates this great big offence.” Jamahl Simmons, the tourism minister, told the House: “My grandparents had to put up with racists — I do not. Let us rid ourselves of the mindset where it is acceptable to call a black man a boy.” Shadow tourism minister Leah Scott said: “I do not commend the language that was used in this House. Anybody who knows me knows there are some things that go on that I do not agree with. This debate was extended far longer than it needed to be, and I apologize for the time that was wasted.” The row flared up again during the motion to adjourn. Mr Rabain described Mr Moniz’s comments as “sad language”, and said that the incident “speaks volumes to any person of color in Bermuda. If a white member has the audacity to speak to a black member in this House in that tone, we can only imagine how he speaks about us and of black people in Bermuda in the comforts of his personal spaces.” Mr Rabain said the comment was then defended by Ms Gordon-Pamplin. The statement drew a point of order from Ms Gordon-Pamplin, who said that she did not defend the comment. Mr Rabain added: “If that’s what she feels is necessary to gain acceptance by the white members of that side, then so be it. But this side will not bow our heads, avert our eyes, or shuck and jive to get acceptance by any white member of this society.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “Let me say, without fear of contradiction, I don’t need to be accepted by anybody on my party.”

October 7. Civil Service bureaucrats have made an about-turn over the “firing” of the island’s Commissioner of Education. Now Freddie Evans, who was told on Monday he was dumped from the job, could be in for a payout in damages from the Government. A letter from the Public Service Commission to Dr Evans’s lawyer, Mark Diel, and Ministry of Education permanent secretary Valerie Robinson-James said “an administrative error” in correspondence to Dr Evans meant he had not been fired after all. But the letter, signed by PSC secretary Carlita O’Brien, added “nor has he been confirmed in his post”. It said: “The parties should govern themselves accordingly.” Dr Evans said last night: “As surprising as it is and as disappointing as it is, I can’t comment. I don’t know what’s going on. Because it’s so extremely weird, I will leave comments to my lawyer.” The shock move from the PSC came after a letter to media this week appeared to confirm that Dr Evans had been removed as commissioner. That followed an e-mail with the same message from Ms Robinson-James to school principals and teachers. The announcement came less than seven months after Dr Evans was appointed to the top job. The PSC letter backtracking on the sacking also invited Dr Evans and his legal team, as well as ministry officials, to a meeting next Monday to “discuss the recommendation of the commission”. Mr Diel fired back at the education ministry and Ms Robinson-James in a letter yesterday and pointed out that it was clear that Dr Evans could be fired only during his probation period, which ended last Saturday — before he was told he was out of a job. He repeated that only the Governor, John Rankin, could fire Dr Evans — not bureaucrats — and the Governor could do so only after “a properly and fairly arrived at” recommendation from the PSC inside the probation period. Mr Diel added: “We call upon the ministry to confirm by return that it will cause a retraction of its statements made on Monday, October 2, to be sent to the same individuals that it so rashly contacted earlier in the week.” He warned: “You will, of course, note that it cannot now be in issue that your statements were wrong and defamatory — the only issue will be the amount of damages our client is to recover.” In a separate letter to the PSC yesterday, Mr Diel said: “We note your comment that ‘the parties should govern themselves accordingly. Again, we can only assume this ‘directive’ has come from the Governor as our client’s employer, but again respectfully, we have no idea what this means.” He also asked if Dr Evans should show up for work today — despite the education ministry’s statement to teaching professionals and the media that he had been removed. Mr Diel said last night: “I query what the ‘administrative error’ is because they don’t tell us what it is. There is so much wrong with the letter — they say he hadn’t been terminated — that’s not their job, that’s the Governor’s job. Their job is to make recommendations to the Governor whether the probationary period should be extended, whether he should be confirmed in his position or terminated. The Governor acts on their recommendations.” Mr Diel added that it was still not clear if the PSC had been in touch with the Governor before the body said Dr Evans had been fired. He said: “It’s quite remarkable that the ministry thinks it’s OK at the last minute to send out a notice to everybody to say he has been terminated and it’s taken five days to confirm he hasn’t been. I can only assume there has been some horrendous communications breakdown somewhere along the line in all of this.” The Ministry of Education was yesterday asked what the “administrative error” was — and if any bureaucrats would be disciplined or fired for the major confusion surrounding Dr Evans’s job. The ministry did not respond.

October 7. A former top executive of the US Central Intelligence Agency has joined the board of Butterfield Bank. Meroe Park has been appointed as a non-executive director. She was most recently the executive director of the CIA, serving as the agency’s chief operating officer in its most senior career post. Prior to her retirement from the CIA in June, Ms Park was a 27-year career intelligence officer and one of the US Government’s leading professionals. She held increasingly senior positions at the CIA, including chief of human resources and a senior mission support officer for locations in Eurasia and Western Europe. Ms Park successfully led key strategic initiatives, including the modernization of the CIA’s technology systems and organizational structure, and the implementation of talent initiatives focused on workforce development and inclusion. Ms Park earned a number of awards during her career, and has twice been the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, the Executive Branch’s highest honor for Government career professionals. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University. Michael Collins, Butterfield’s chief executive officer, said: “On behalf of my fellow directors, I am excited to welcome Meroe to the Butterfield board. Meroe’s leadership skills and unique geopolitical perspective, developed over nearly three decades of domestic and international experience with the CIA, will help support our growth in high quality international financial centers. I look forward to working closely with Meroe and our other directors as we continue to build shareholder value.”

October 7. A woman jailed for importing cannabis has had sentence reduced by eight months — but the court refused a request to increase the sentence of a second woman for drugs offences. Valisa Holder appealed against a 2½-year sentence imposed in Magistrates’ Court, while the Crown asked to have the 2½-year sentence given to Amanda Henry-Huggins increased. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley found that Holder’s sentence was harsh and excessive and reduced it to 22 months in a judgment issued earlier this month. But he quashed the Crown’s appeal against the sentence of Henry-Huggins and said it was in the range proposed by defence counsel and “tacitly conceded” by prosecutors at the time. Henry-Huggins and Holder were arrested in separate incidents at LF Wade International Airport. Holder was found with 1,101g of cannabis in September 2014. Henry-Huggins was caught with 10,896g of the same drug last December. Both pleaded not guilty but were convicted after trials and received the same sentence. During an appearance before the Supreme Court last month, lawyer Auralee Cassidy argued that Holder’s sentence should have been between a year and 18 months. He added that in his notes on sentencing, the magistrate singled out the extended trial as an aggravating factor. Ms Cassidy said: “In this case, there were no aggravating factors. It gives an impression that she was punished for going to trial, but that’s wrong.” She added that the Crown’s comments on sentencing mentioned an “uncertainty” about the value of the seized drugs and argued that the lowest value should be taken into account. But Crown counsel Alan Richards said that the only “uncertainty” he could see in the court records was the usual difference between the estimated street value of the drugs and the wholesale value. Mr Richards accepted that the magistrate would have been wrong if he had used Holder’s trial as an aggravating factor, but he said that the sentence was in the appropriate range. In the case of Henry-Huggins, Mr Richards called for a higher sentence, arguing that the 2½-year sentence imposed was inadequate. Supreme Court heard that during sentencing, defence lawyer Vaughn Caines had called for a sentence of three years, while the prosecution did not suggest a sentence length or oppose the one proposed by Mr Caines. Mr Richards accepted that the submissions by the Crown were “not particularly detailed”, but said that Mr Caines’s suggestion would have been at the lower end of the sentencing scale. Mr Caines said that the legal system in Bermuda was adversarial and questioned if it was right for the Crown to complain about a sentence after it failed to make a submission on the subject at the sentence stage. Mr Justice Kawaley wrote in his rulings that the sentence of Holder was excessive when compared to that of Huggins and that the magistrate had failed to provide sufficient reasons to give her a sentence at the higher end of the proposed sentencing range. He allowed the appeal and reduced her sentence by eight months. However, the judge dismissed the Crown appeal in the case of Henry-Huggins. He said: “The Crown has demonstrated that the sentence imposed was manifestly inadequate in the sense that it was both unduly lenient and wrong in principle. However, because the sentence imposed was within a range which was proposed by defence counsel and tacitly conceded as appropriate by prosecution counsel at the sentencing hearing, a case for allowing the appeal and quashing the sentence imposed has not been made out.”

October 7. It’s a wet weekend at the East End as exceptionally high tides lap against the Old Towne. But the phenomenon was noticed all over the island on Saturday, with the seas noticeably high at Crow Lane, and water rising on low-lying ground inland. The high water is driven in part by the full moon, which exerts an extra gravitational pull on the ocean. However, according to the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, a warm core eddy around the island is contributing to the high seas. Ordinarily at high tide, water stands 12in to 18in below the BIOS dock, but as of Saturday there were “waves lapping over the top”, according to the BIOS site. Mark Guishard, meteorologist and programme manager for Bermuda’s Risk Prevention Initiative, posted: “Imagine if there was a hurricane around, too (don’t worry, there isn’t) — storm surge would be even worse.” Flooding caused the closure of the long-term parking lot at L.F. Wade International Airport. A spokeswoman for Bermuda Skyport said this morning: “If you have parked in the long-term parking lot, please arrange to have your vehicle removed as soon as possible to avoid water damage.”

October 7. Bermudian hotel worker Sidney Mello was hailed a hero after he dived into a dangerous rip tide to rescue a drowning woman. Mr Mello, a beach supervisor, swam 50 meters to pull the guest to safety and he carried her back to shore above his head as waves crashed in. The 22-year-old, who has worked at the Rosewood Tucker’s Point Beach Club for five years, jumped into action when he heard the woman screaming for help. He said: “At first I thought I was hearing things. But then as I looked out to sea I could see there was someone in real trouble. Another guy was running into the water and trying to help a child back to shore, and I could see there was an older woman around 50 meters offshore in difficulty. The water was rough and there was a real rip that had dragged her all the way along the beach. By the time I reached her she was pretty fatigued, so I tried to get under her and lift her head above the water so she could breathe. The waves were still coming down hard, but when we got to a level where I could stand I just held her above my head and tried to walk against the current. It was hard work — I would say we were in the water battling the waves for two or three minutes, so by the time we reached the beach she was absolutely exhausted.” The drama happened on September 16 off the Rosewood Tucker’s Point. Details of the rescue became public only this week as modest hotel worker did not want a fuss. It is not the first time that Mr Mello has come to the aid of a guest. He has been involved in two other rescues on the South Shore beach and is known by staff at the hotel for his professionalism. Management at the hotel praised Mr Mello’s life-saving actions. Guido Brambilla, the hotel’s food and beverage executive manager, said: “What he did was incredible, but he does so much around the place. “We have a disabled member that Sidney has become good friends with and he personally takes him out swimming when it’s safe to do so. The job that the guys on the beach do is one of the most tiring. They work long days in the sun and still have to remember to put a smile on the guests’ faces.” Gioacchino Di Meglio, director at the resort, added: “This is a special guy; he’s very sincere and works hard. He sets a great example for everyone else to follow.” But Mr Mello said: “I just try to help out as best I can.”

October 6. Premier David Burt this morning tabled a previously unreleased 2015 report on reforming Bermuda’s tax structure. The Premier said the report by the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre had been commissioned and received by the One Bermuda Alliance administration but never publicly released. He said the report, entitled “Reforming the Tax System and its Administration for Fiscal Consolidation”, looked at ways to increase tax revenue. Numerous interviews were conducted by Cartac in 2015, and the report suggested ways to increase tax revenue by 0.5 per cent of GDP annually for three years. However, Mr Burt said the proposed changes would have left the bulk of the burden on the poor.

October 6. Transport minister Walter Roban said a delegation to London helped show Bermuda is “a safe harbour and open for business”. Mr Roban joined the Bermuda Business Development Agency, the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority and local law firms on the trip to the London International Shipping Week 2017 Conference. The delegation was also at the annual Capital Link Shipping, Marine Services and Offshore Forum during the trip to Britain from September 11 to 14. At the House of Assembly today, Mr Roban told MPs: “The delegation, promoting our small island’s significant Ship Registry and ship services, demonstrated that Bermuda is a safe harbour and open for business.”

October 6. Two town hall meetings will address dog legislation next week. Speaking in the House of Assembly, Walton Brown, Minister of Home Affairs, said that the ministry has been consulting with stakeholders on updating the Dogs Act, which has been criticized for its handling of restricted breeds. Mr Brown said: “The issues of how to best care for, manage and control dogs has been raised in this House on numerous occasions. Issues debated have included how to manage illegal breeding, animal abuse and neglect, and more effective methods of enforcement. The focus for much of this debate, however, has been on how to best manage problematic breeds, such as the pit bull, and associated controversial breed-specific policies. The challenge continues to be in finding the right balance between the desire to have one’s dog of choice and ensuring public safety.” As part of the consultation process, Mr Brown announced that public meetings will be held on the topic on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, at the Anglican Church Hall and the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo respectively. Both meetings will begin at 6pm. “Our aim must be to develop a sustainable approach to canine management,” he said. “I encourage members of the public to attend these meetings and share their concerns and proposals. Their input will conclude the public consultative process, and allow the government to shape the new legislative framework.”

October 6. The Bermuda Tourism Authority wants to turn the America’s Cup Team Artemis guest pavilion into a Hamilton visitor information center. It has applied for planning permission to move the building to a site on Front Street near the junction with Queen Street. “We will engage industry stakeholders to explain how this new project will showcase Bermuda’s unique way of life and indelible charms, the hallmarks of what sets our country apart from other destinations,” the BTA said. As always, our visitor services goal is to provide travelers with the information they’re looking for — and this project will accomplish that. But we also want to surprise and delight them with discoveries they never could have imagined. That’s where we’re headed with this new project and we’re proud to be doing it with the help of our friends at the Corporation of Hamilton.” The building is three-storeys tall with a roof-deck and is decorated with images of Bermuda’s coastline. Plans for the building include restrooms, an office, storage areas and a balcony overlooking Hamilton Harbour. The building is designed to easily connect to utilities like electricity and water and its modular design means that it could be easily removed if necessary. Asked about the cost to purchase the structure and what the new building would mean for the visitor center in Hamilton’s ferry terminal, a spokesman reiterated that more information about the project would be released in the coming weeks.

October 6. This year’s Gombey Festival pays special tribute to a trailblazer and keeper of Gombey traditions: the late Terry “Termite” Simmons. Mr Simmons, who died in January, aged 62, personified Bermuda’s unique art form — not only dancing, but creating the elaborate Gombey regalia. His handiwork still proudly adorns the St Monica’s Road residence of daughters Dawnae and Terrieka, and their mother, Dawnette Simmons. Mr Simmons grew up near by at the family homestead in Government Gate, where he first heard the distinctive drumming of the Gombeys and joined at an early age. He joined his godfather Charles Norford’s troupe as a child and performed with other groups, devoting himself to the Gombeys for the rest of his life. “Termite” was also a footballer and played for Centaurs, North Village and Young Men’s Social Club in his early days — and worked for more than 30 years at the Bermuda Telephone Company. Mr Simmons was also a sous chef at the Fairmont Southampton, additionally working for MarketPlace’s produce section, and Redeem Construction as a mason. Former MP Dale Butler, a Gombey scholar and cousin of Mr Simmons, recalled him as “a personable, well-known, extremely friendly young man. He had passion for Gombey dancing, its history, and for remembering the older performers. It ran in his veins. He was talented, gifted, and had the greatest respect for the tradition.” Deeply committed to the culture, Mr Simmons passed on Gombey traditions to his family — most recently to his grandson, Ricaija. Bermuda’s fraternity of Gombeys unites tomorrow at the main show ring of the Botanical Gardens, from 5pm to 9pm, for the International Gombey Festival Showcase, which is open to everyone.

October 6. The dangers of social media will be among the topics up for discussion at a parent expo planned for January. The event, featuring workshops and presentations by principals from public and private schools, was initially scheduled for this weekend but has been postponed for three months to give organizers more time to prepare. In a joint press release, Kalmar Richards of CedarBridge Academy, Linda Parker of Bermuda High School for Girls, David Horan of Warwick Academy and Duranda Greene of Bermuda College said they hoped the event would galvanize a “spirit of collaboration” across the community. Mr Horan pointed to the implications of social media and the internet for students. He said: “In an age in which technological enchantment has taken hold of many of our children, what are the dangers that we need to be aware of in order to protect them? The parent expo session will look to workshop this conversation, offering some insights into its impact on young people that researchers have uncovered. In addition, we will share some proactive steps that parents can use.” Mr Horan said participants would discuss the pros and cons of social media, how to speak with children about appropriate social media and internet usage and practical strategies to put in place at home. Other workshops will include the vital role of parents in a child’s education, suggestions for helping children with their study skills and preparing students for life beyond high school. The date and time of the parent expo are to be confirmed.

October 6. A leading community activist has urged the man heading Bermuda’s anti-gang efforts to unite all groups tackling the problem. Gina Spence said yesterday that it was vital that Pastor Leroy Bean brought together the groups and organizations “who have been on the front lines and in the trenches”. She was speaking a day after Mr Bean was appointed as Bermuda’s gang violence reduction co-coordinator. Ms Spence, whose son-in-law James Laws was shot dead on Court Street seven years ago, said Mr Bean was “more than qualified to do the job”. She added: “He is highly respected, a great man of faith, and he has a great relationship with the young men caught up in the gang-culture behaviors. I believe he has had success in running his own programme and is respected throughout the community as an honest, humble and genuine pastor who has a heart for both the people and for those who find themselves involved in gangs and antisocial behavior.” Ms Spence said Mr Bean had been a prominent figure after incidents of violence — including in hospital and at funerals — and had worked with both the family and friends of victims and young men in the community. She added that Mr Bean was also involved in earlier efforts to bring gang members together for peace talks. Mr Bean said after he was given the job by Wayne Caines, the Minister for National Security, that he hoped to see a more “comprehensive and holistic approach” to tackle the problem that “has plagued our country”. Ms Spence said Mr Bean’s first move should be to meet people already tackling the issue “to have a clear understanding of the work that is already being done and having success. I believe he needs to empower these groups and organizations with support and resources to continue the work that they do. Too often we appoint people to leadership positions who are not connected at the grassroots level and those who have been doing the work in the trenches are not acknowledged, appreciated, or invited to be part of the national plan.” Ms Spence said the time had come to put people first. She added: “I believe Pastor Bean has the heart and compassion to do just that. He is going to need help and support from the entire community. I look forward to working with him and all who are really serious about making a change.” Ms Spence said she had seen many people come and go since she started “on this long and difficult journey” working as a community activist ten years ago. “I look forward to a leader who is in it for the long haul and totally committed to doing the work required to break this cycle of gun violence and antisocial behavior in Bermuda.”

October 6. Just weeks before he was battered to death by his partner, Edmund John Flood told a friend: “I might not be alive much longer.” The chilling comment in September last year came only a day before Keivon Scott viciously attacked Mr Flood and put him in hospital. But Mr Flood, 55, later withdrew an assault complaint and explained he did not want to get Scott in any more trouble. But less than a month later the well-known equestrian and harness pony racing driver was dead — the victim of another brutal beating at the hands of Scott. Yesterday, Scott, 35, was jailed for life for murdering Mr Flood, who was also known as Johnny Five, and told he would spend a minimum of 18 years behind bars before he could be considered for parole. Mr Flood was found dead in his Paget home on October 2 last year after his landlord became concerned about his welfare. Supreme Court heard that Scott and Mr Flood had been involved in a romantic relationship. Prosecutor Javone Rogers described the relationship as “strained and tumultuous” and one that was “fuelled by physical abuse, emotional abuse and fear”. He described the murder as a “heinous crime. Mr Flood was beaten with an unknown object and repeatedly punched. We know with certainty that Mr Flood was bludgeoned, tied up and left for dead. The deceased’s ankles were tied to the leg of the bed, his arms across his chest and there was masking tape around his neck. The post mortem shows that he suffered repeated high-impact injuries to his head, face and neck, but his death was not instantaneous.” Scott was arrested on October 8 last year and was found to have injuries to his hands and knuckles consistent with the attack on Mr Flood. Scott pleaded guilty to Mr Flood’s murder in May. Yesterday, he apologized for his actions to Mr Flood’s family, who were in the public gallery. Scott said: “First and foremost I would like to say I offer no excuses for my actions. I accept what happened to John is wrong. My only wish now is to do the right thing. It is with great remorse that I am trying to do the right thing.” Scott’s lawyer Mark Pettingill said that the attack had taken place while his client was in a “complete drugs haze. His problem has been drugs and dishonesty. The problem has been there for many years but he is not a violent man when drug free.” Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves said that Scott had assaulted Mr Flood before. He added: “There are some aggravating factors in this case — this was not the first beating you imposed on the victim. The defendant delivered a beating on Mr Flood previously for which he was hospitalized. However, the victim later withdrew that complaint. Secondly, the defendant not only beat the victim but he left him tied up in the bedroom unable to secure help for himself and, in effect, he suffered to death.” Police welcomed the sentence as a fair reflection of the crime. Detective Sergeant Jason Smith said: “Unfortunately, this case speaks to the trend in our community of people resorting to beatings. We would urge the community to resolve conflict peacefully rather than resorting to violence that ultimately leads to tragedy. There are no winners in a case like this — this is a real tragedy and everyone loses.”

October 6. A spirit of support and solidarity has been shown in the wake of the fire that gutted a large section of Robertson’s Drug Store in St George last month. Another business in the town opened its doors to allow the pharmacy owners to hold a two-week “fire sale” that attracted long lines of customers. And the pharmacy store is on the way back — it reopened its lower floor the week after the blaze, and it is preparing to reopen the main shop floor. Joy Rothwell, a co-owner and manager at Robertson’s, has praised the support of the community, including businesses in the town that rallied around to offer support. One of those was Kelly Diel, of Seaglass Studio, on Water Street, who made available the vacant section of her new premises for Robertson’s to hold its fire sale. “She has done us a big favor,” said Ms Rothwell. “Other people have offered to help us. All the business people in the town have a relationship. This was the best property [for the fire sale].” There were lines of people streaming into the fire sale during its first few days, and the demand was so great that on a few occasions the sale had to be restocked. “It went well. We still have some things left,” said Ms Rothwell on Wednesday. Among items included in the sale were toys, luggage items, stationary, hair care, and books. Explaining the reason for the sale, Ms Rothwell said: “It was a way of trying not to waste stuff.” She praised Robertson’s staff for the work they have done helping with the clean-up of the fire-damaged premises and getting the store back in business, albeit in a limited capacity at present. She added: “People have been really supportive. Everything is ready for the opening of upstairs. There are a few things that need to be done. We will open it as soon as we can.” Further community support has come from the Bermuda Pilot Gig Rowing Club, which intends to undertake a rowing challenge to raise money for a local charity in honor of Robertson’s Drug Store. The fire sale has been held in part of the former CV café, halfway along Water Street. The premises are now occupied by Seaglass Studio, which early last month relocated from the opposite side of Water Street. One side of the new location is now home to the Seaglass Studio, while the adjoining vacant half of the premises will eventually be transformed into a café. Ms Diel, who owns Seaglass Studio, was in the process of moving her business into the new space on September 2 when she heard that the pharmacy on York Street was on fire. She said: “The day I moved Seaglass in here, someone came up and said Robertson’s was on fire. I ran down the street and it was heartbreaking seeing the family there watching as their building burnt down. I felt so bad after that I could not focus.” Later that week she saw members of the Rothwell family walking along Water Street looking for a suitable place to hold a fire sale. “I said to them that if they needed a space they could take the empty café. It was important that they had a place with air conditioning.” The turnout for the sale, particularly in the first few days, was extremely high. Ms Diel said: “They opened the sale on a Thursday morning and there was a line of people outside waiting for them to open. The next day was busy too, and then on Saturday it was worse; it seemed like the whole of the island came down for the sale.” The fire sale was winding down this week with a few items still on offer.

October 6. The Fairmont Southampton has opened the doors of its new restaurant Mediterra. The new restaurant will aim to bring Mediterranean dining culture and diverse old-world cuisine to diners, offering tapas and shared dishes on the menu. To mark the occasion, the hotel has launched a promotion called the 3-3-1 challenge — offering a free one-night stay at the Fairmont Southampton to guests who dine three times at any one of the hotels restaurants and eat three courses on each occasion. The restaurants include the Jasmine Cocktail Bar & Lounge, the Waterlot Inn, the new Mediterra, or the new sports bar, Boundary Sports Bar and Grille. The 3-3-1 challenge is cumulative, so the more guests dine, the more free nights they can earn. Guest can dine from October 4 until December 23, 2017, while free nights earned can be redeemed from January 2 until March 31, 2018. Boundary Sports Bar and Grille will be opening on November 1. For more information contact the hotel on 238-8000

October 5. The Government will conduct an assessment of the tourism industry to help unemployed Bermudians into jobs held by non-Bermudians, according to Jamahl Simmons. Speaking at a press conference this morning, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism said that a “new approach” is needed to make sure that Bermudians come first. He said: “The Government, working in tandem with the Department of Immigration, the Department of Workforce Development and stakeholders, will conduct an industry-wide skills and needs assessment of the tourism industry to identify areas where unemployed or underemployed Bermudians can be trained to fill or be promoted into jobs currently held by non-Bermudians. For Bermuda to realize its fullest potential we must have a well-trained, highly-qualified Bermudian work force where the only limit to growth and advancement is the ones that individuals put on themselves. To achieve this goal, we must ensure full alignment between the worker skill sets, industry demands, and the education and training being offered.” Mr Simmons also said the ministry will work with the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development to revitalize the Bermuda Hospitality Institute, enabling it to better help Bermudians get into the industry. “The training and designations that the BHI offers will be enhanced to certify Bermudians so they can become stakeholders in the tourism industry,” he said. He also reiterated that the ACBDA will be changed into the Bermuda Event Authority, saying the body would adopt a “more diverse and inclusive” approach to finding events for the island that will benefit a wider segment of the community. “Bermuda is more than golf, rugby and sailing, and there exists the capacity to grow events relating to sports, arts and culture that will attract younger, more cosmopolitan and more diverse visitors to our shores,” Mr Simmons said. “Also we must end the periodic over reliance on the local market to bring energy and volume spending to support some events. Working alongside the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the BEA will increase engagement with institutions and industries and seek out strategic partnerships aligned with our objectives.” Mr Simmons also said consultation about how to improve the island’s nightlife and entertainment options would be conducted to both attract young, cosmopolitan visitors. A better, fairer Bermuda is one that not only insures that there are more seats at the economic table, but is also one that invests in Bermudians and provides opportunities not just to be hired, trained and promoted, but to also own and run businesses of our own.  In the months ahead, I will provide updates on these and other initiatives designed to do just that.”

October 5. Legislation designed to introduce a more flexible and responsive approach to global communicable disease was today passed in the Senate yesterday. The Quarantine Amendment Act 2017 and Quarantine (Maritime and Air) Regulations 2017 were supported by Government, Opposition and independent senators. Senator Crystal Caesar, the Junior Minister of Home Affairs, said the amendment and regulations would “provide the guidance for enforcement of the security structure and ensure our ports and airports create the first line of defence from global public health threats. “As a whole the Act and Regulations will modernize and strengthen our response to international public health threats.” She added that the amendment would also change the Public Health Act 1949 to allow the health minister to establish temporary isolation hospitals or clinics for persons with a communicable disease and will not require proof of an epidemic. The new regulations will streamline the procedures required at both the airport and ports, provide the key structure to the security, ensure the roles of health officers are outlined and the rights and responsibilities of travelers are enshrined in law. They will allow health officers to stop the disembarking of passengers and crew from a ship or aircraft as did the 1946 Regulations. However, in the new regulations health officers will only have this ability where a public health threat has been reported on board, a death was reported or the conveyance is coming from an affected country." Opposition senator Andrew Simons said he supported the legislation, pointing to the spread of the Zika virus in South America. He added that it is important to “quarantine legislation right and it’s good to see we are following best practice”. Independent senator James Jardine said the “regulations are extremely important”. He said he did not realize how widespread the Zika virus was and added that protecting Bermuda’s borders is “extremely important because a mosquito could come in a ship’s hold, in a container, it could come in on an aircraft as long as it is not subjected to the cold in the hold.” Mr Jardine also questioned if specific areas had been set aside at the airport or other ports in case someone needs to be quarantined. Ms Caesar responded that there will be a quarantine area at the new airport and space had also been identified in the hospital. Four further Acts that updated and made changes to existing legislation were also passed today. These included the Companies Amendment (No 2) 2017; Payroll Tax Amendment (No 3) Act; USA Bermuda Tax Convention (No 3) Amendment Act 2017; and Proceeds of Crime Amendment (No 2) Act 2017.

October 5. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch gained “some useful insight” on a tour of Hamilton docks. The public works minister was given an overview of the dock’s daily operations as part of a series of visits to assess lands, infrastructure and buildings across the island. He was accompanied by permanent secretary Francis Richardson on the tour which was conducted by Stevedoring Services CEO Warren Jones. Colonel Burch said in a press release: “As 98 per cent of all of Bermuda’s goods are imported into our island by container ships, the tour provided us with an opportunity to see first-hand how the port operates. We gained some useful insight on this very important service, which was in full action during our visit. It was quite impressive to witness the professionalism and expertise of this all Bermudian operation.”

October 5. PartnerRe Ltd has estimated combined catastrophe losses of approximately $475 million from its exposure to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria for the third quarter. The company, which is owned by Italian investment firm Exor, stressed there was significant uncertainty over the estimates, which was based on a preliminary analysis of the company’s exposures, the current assumption of total insured industry losses and the early information from cedants. PartnerRe’s announcement comes after fellow Bermudian reinsurer RenaissanceRe yesterday estimated catastrophe losses of about $625 million for the third quarter, related to the three hurricanes and the Mexico City earthquake.

October 5. A man banned from teaching in Britain because of serious misconduct with a 16-year-old schoolgirl applied for a job at Saltus Grammar School this year. Matthew McGowan approached Saltus after complaints were raised about his relationship with a pupil at Wycombe Abbey School. But McGowan, 38, a former Warwick Academy teacher, withdrew his application before a panel in the UK ruled on his case. McGowan instead applied for a job with the Bermuda Police Service and joined a recruitment class last month. He was removed from his duties after the results of a disciplinary hearing in the UK were revealed. McGowan was struck off the UK teachers’ register for life after the National College for Teaching and Leadership found he had developed an inappropriate relationship with the girl, a pupil at the fee-paying girls’ boarding school, where he taught drama. A complaint about McGowan was made by the girl’s mother in July 2016, and he resigned from the school in September 2016. Deryn Lavell, head of school at Saltus, confirmed that Mr McGowan had applied for a position at the school after leaving Wycombe Abbey. She told The Royal Gazette: “He applied for a post at Saltus this spring and we had no knowledge then of any investigation. We went through our normal interview process, which always includes a rigorous reference check, but he withdrew his application before that process could be completed.” Mr McGowan taught drama at Warwick Academy for three years before leaving the island in 2010. He took a job at Wycombe Abbey school in Buckinghamshire in 2011. The Bermuda Police Service last week confirmed that Mr McGowan joined its recruit foundation course last month. A spokesman said that information on the disciplinary hearing was not available at the time and that McGowan had failed to mention it. Acting Deputy Commissioner Antione Daniels said on Friday that Mr McGowan had been removed from active duty. Mr Daniels added that the public would be updated on Mr McGowan’s employment status once legal advice had been taken.

October 5. Ten kayakers braved a 40-mile journey this weekend to raise almost $30,000 for child sex abuse prevention charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets. Scars co-founder and executive director Debi Ray-Rivers said: “Scars truly appreciates all the hard work, valuable time and the campaigning for donations that the participants put towards our cause. “Scars’s vision is to have a community without child sexual abuse and we are doing everything we can to end the shame and pain associated with this issue. It is through the generous financial support from the kayakers, their friends, families and colleagues, corporations and the community that we can continue to make great strides in educating adults in sexual abuse prevention and ultimately preserve the innocence of children. Thank you ever so much.” Ms Ray-Rivers said the group, who are still collecting donations, had ideal weather conditions on both Saturday and Sunday as they paddled from Somerset Long Bay to Clearwater Beach and back, Mike Krefta, Simon Kimberley, Alex Winfield, Simon Arnott, Jerry Rivers, Erik Soria, Chris Conway, Matt Pifer, Bror Muller and David Stubbs left Somerset Long Bay at sunrise on Saturday and arrived at Clearwater Beach at 3.30pm. They left on the return leg at sunrise on Sunday and finished up at Somerset Long Bay at 1.30pm — although one kayaker had to pull out because of injury. Organizer Jerry Rivers said that nine out of the ten kayakers who took part worked in the insurance and reinsurance industry. The group hoped that more donations after the event would mean they would beat last year’s total and reach $40,000 this year. Scars’s child sexual abuse prevention training is free for adults and the funds raised will help cover the cost of purchasing and publishing the material and equipment used. The money will also go towards the general operating expenses to organize, host and generate awareness. Scars has trained more than 6,000 people who work with children in a bid to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sex abuse. For more information, visit or

October 5. Two young men who were part of an armed raid where a homeowner was held up at gunpoint have been jailed. Wakeem Philpott, Detre Ford and a third man targeted the Barrack Close residence in St George’s on July 1, last year. Ford stood guard outside the property while Philpott and the third man, who has never been caught, went inside the property and threatened the occupants with a gun. Prosecutors maintained that the third man wielded the firearm during the home invasion and also tried to fire the gun at one of the occupants but it jammed. Yesterday at Supreme Court, Philpott, 22, was jailed for ten years, while Ford, 24, was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Philpott had previously pleaded guilty to his involvement in the crime. He admitted aggravated burglary as well as possessing a firearm and unlawfully attempting to discharge a firearm. Ford had denied any involvement in the crime, but after a trial a jury convicted him unanimously of aggravated burglary and possession of a prohibited weapon. Yesterday, prosecutor Javone Rogers described how Philpott had grabbed a wallet belonging to one of the occupants, which contained a small quantity of cash, during the home invasion. Both Ford and Philpott were arrested later the same day in a car being driven by Ford through the Mullet Bay area of St George’s. They were detained and when searched police officers found a firearm wrapped in a scarf in Philpott’s trousers.

October 4. Freddie Evans is taking legal action against the Ministry of Education after being “relieved of his responsibilities” as education commissioner. There is also confusion about whether Dr Evans had been properly dismissed from his job. Mark Diel, of the lawyers Marshall Diel & Myers, confirmed yesterday that the firm had been instructed to issue proceedings against the Ministry of Education and John Rankin, the Governor, “for declarations that our client’s employment has not been terminated in accordance with his contract or at all”. Mr Diel added: “We are further instructed to issue proceedings for libel against the ministry and the permanent secretary.” The letter, sent to multiple island media organizations yesterday, followed an e-mail from Permanent Secretary of Education Valerie Robinson-James to principals and teachers on Monday. Ms Robinson-James said in the e-mail, seen by The Royal Gazette: “This is to confirm that Freddie Evans has been relieved of his responsibilities as Commissioner of Education.” The permanent secretary added: “The post of Commissioner of Education is under consideration and you will be advised of the way forward in due time. Any critical issues can be forwarded to the administrative assistant in the Office of the Commissioner of Education who will forward them to the permanent secretary.” A statement on Dr Evans was also issued by the Ministry of Education on Monday night. A spokeswoman said: “The Ministry of Education can confirm that Dr Freddie Evans has been relieved of his duties as Commissioner of Education. However, the ministry would like to assure the public that an interim plan is being put in place until the Board of Education commences a recruitment process.” But Mr Diel said yesterday: “Reports have been made that he was ‘dismissed’ and ‘ousted’. Regardless of which wording has been used by the ministry and variously by the media outlets, the statement issued by the ministry is wrong and the statements are libelous. To date, our client has not received any letter of termination/dismissal etc.” Mr Diel claimed Dr Evans’s contract made it “crystal clear” that the only person who can remove him is the Governor. “And this can only be done during his period of probation,” he added. Mr Diel said Dr Evans’s probationary period ended on September 30. He added: “We can further confirm that our client has not received any communication from the Governor, whether written or oral, nor any individual acting on his behalf.” According to an October 2 letter from the Public Service Commission to Dr Evans, and provided to this newspaper, the appointing authority confirmed it had reviewed a 15-page rebuttal provided by Dr Evans in response to a final probation report submitted by Ms Robinson-James. The commission agreed, in line with its probationary regulations, that it would recommend that Dr Evans go back to his former position as Assistant Director of Education. The statement from Mr Diel also warned media outlets that they would face legal action unless a retraction written by the legal firm was published. Mr Diel said: “If you publish the said retraction we are instructed that our client will waive any claim for damages against you.” But Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said on Monday night: “I am aware that the position of the Commissioner of Education is now vacant.” Further details of the circumstances surrounding the matter were not immediately provided by the minister. Mr Rabain added: “It is important to note that myself as Minister of Education has no responsibility for operations, human resources or hiring at the ministry or Department of Education.” Curtis Dickinson, chairman of the Board of Education, did not respond to a series of questions about Dr Evans by press time. Government House and the Ministry of Education also failed to respond to questions on who had the power to fire Dr Evans, whether a letter of termination had been sent to him and when his probation period expired. Dr Evans, who took over as Commissioner of Education in March, served as acting commissioner for three years in a rotation that included Lou Matthews, who has since resigned, and Llewellyn Simmons. Dr Evans told The Royal Gazette when appointed that he was “absolutely dedicated” and looked forward to a decade or more in the job. A 33-year veteran of the public education system, he was described by a source as popular with many teachers and parents. But the department source added that Dr Evans had only reluctantly been given the role, with leadership believed to be more in favor of a foreign candidate. The source said Dr Evans’s work had been hampered from the start by conditions imposed from above. The previous commissioner, Edmond Heatley, was recruited from the United States in 2013 but resigned eight months later.

October 4. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death by cancer for women in Bermuda, according to health minister Kim Wilson. As she proclaimed Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ms Wilson urged everyone to protect their health by talking about their risk factors with their doctor and having mammograms as recommended. Ms Wilson said: “Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide after lung cancer and, in Bermuda, it is the women’s leading cause of death by cancer. With one in eight women being told in their lifetime that they have breast cancer, regular screenings and quality care are vital to improving outcomes and we are making strides and improving treatment options with the addition of Bermuda Cancer and Health Canter's radiation therapy unit.” Ms Wilson said some women were more likely to get breast cancer than others and understanding risks, such as family history, is important because early detection can save lives. She added: “As we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge everyone to protect their health by having a mammogram as recommended by your physician. Digital mammography is the best available method of detecting breast cancers, long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt.” She added that BCHC provides free mammograms to women without insurance throughout the year. Ms Wilson said women and men should also talk to their doctor about how to lower their risk factors and learn what tests are right for them. She also revealed that HIP and FutureCare patients would now have access to radiation therapy and BCHC executive director Tara Curtis said she was thrilled by this. Ms Curtis added that those who do not have health insurance would also have complete access to care. She said BCHC conducts 12,000 screening and diagnostic appointments every year and since the radiation facility opened in May, it has treated 54 patients — 13 of which had breast cancer diagnosed. “We are certainly experiencing, as a center, as a community, the benefits of having radiation therapy available locally. This would not have been possible without the continued and ongoing support of BF&M and our Government.” Kristin Burt, wife of the Premier and this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month patron, said she was “thrilled and honored” to take on the role. Mrs Burt said she was looking forward to helping raise awareness in the community and supporting all of the events this month. John Wight, the president and CEO of BF&M, said the insurance firm hoped to outdo last year’s record-breaking annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. He said: “Initiatives like this and the walk help us all in our fight to prevent, detect and treat cancer.” The event will be held at Barr’s Bay Park along with the 21st annual BF&M preventive health fair on October 18. Mr Wight is also looking forward to the BF&M School Spirit Award and the top two schools that raise the most funds for the walk will win a monetary prize. In addition to the BF&M events, AS Cooper is offering shoppers who donate a minimum of $5, 15 per cent off this week and Gorham’s will be hosting a Think Pink Ladies Night Out today. This Friday is Wear It Pink Denim Day and Girls Night In events will be held throughout the month. The BF&M health fair will start at 4.30pm and the walk at 6pm. Registration is available at BF&M, BCHC, Sportsellar and

October 4. A new Salvation Army shelter could offer community-wide programmes as well as a halfway house for the homeless. Divisional commander Major Frank Pittman said renovations to the Bishop Spencer Building would help to deal with the island’s homeless problem and offer a “pathway of hope”. He said: “Right now the dilapidated building we have is strictly a shelter only — you can come in at night, you depart in the morning and come back again in the evening. We don’t have the facility for adequate programming, so we need a place like Bishop Spencer to be able to offer programming.” Major Pittman said this would include community-wide programmes “that enhance the body, mind and soul” that would not be restricted to the shelter’s residents. He said it could offer basic exercise programmes, chaplaincy services and emotional support through counselling and guidance, “hence taking the holistic approach”. The renovation of the Bishop Spencer Building, on The Glebe Road, has been talked about for more than three years but work has yet to start. Major Pittman said the rebuild would cost about $4 million on top of the organization's $2 million annual operating budget. He said: “A little over two years ago when we did an assessment, we were at $3.5 million.” Major Pittman added that would likely be higher now because costs would have gone up and the building has deteriorated. He added: “When we are ready to move, we will update that study.” But Major Pittman said the Salvation Army also needs the Government’s help to get the project up and running and that he had contacted Ministers to set up a meeting. He added: “I’m 100 per cent confident that this is the year that we are going to make this work. From everything that I’ve seen in the PLP’s platform and their social conscience, I don’t see anything to suggest that they won’t support me. What we have to remember is that the homeless population is a Bermuda issue — it’s not the Salvation Army’s issue. The Bermuda Government needs to own this situation - but the Salvation Army can be the vehicle whereby we can serve these people.” Major Pittman said that the new shelter would require partnerships to take on a “life of its own” and would include basic amenities such as a foot clinic. The Salvation Army also wants to recruit hairdressers and barbers prepared to donate a few hours a week to give shelter residents haircuts. Major Pittman said: “It’s about anything that will make these people feel respected and help them get a sense of dignity and self-worth.” He explained a new shelter was expected to house the same amount of people as the current one, which has continued to deteriorate, but that the amenities would be “250 per cent better than what we have today”. Major Pittman said it could also have transitional housing units that would be self-contained one-room, single occupant apartments. He added: “The idea of the transition is that it would be affordable and supportive, supportive meaning that they are living in a private apartment but all the supports of the Bishop Spencer are available to them.” Major Pittman added that the focus of the new shelter would be a route out of homelessness. “Many people today feel hopeless and sometimes society looks at a lot of people as hopeless but we just look at people with respect and realize that every individual is created for a purpose and they just need to find that purpose and that pathway. And that would be the aim of the Salvation Army, to take people on a pathway to hope so that they can be an effective or a contributing member of society.” A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Works said: “The planned Bishop Spencer Shelter is still under consideration, and a meeting is planned to further discuss this initiative.”

October 4. Police Week is set to take to the steps of City Hall this evening with an hour of music and dance. The Halton Regional Police Pipes and Drums from Ontario, Canada, are set to join with the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band and Highland Dancers for a performance starting at 6.30pm. The Canadian band, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, have come to the island as part of Police Week 2017. A police spokesman said: “Both bands are grateful to the Corporation of Hamilton for the use of their venue. Please come and enjoy the display of piping, drumming and Highland dancing.” While Police Week will bring music to Hamilton, the Bermuda Police Service warned that another event today may cause loud noises in the Prospect area. Between 10am and 3pm, the BPS are hosting Display Day for schoolchildren and other members of the public at Police Field. The spokesman said: “Police vehicles are on display and as part of a series of live demonstrations, loud noises will be heard at times. We appreciate the understanding of the public as well as area residents and apologize for any inconvenience caused.”

October 4. For Seán O’Connell getting his epic two-day swim around Bermuda into print had always been a dream, but much like the 43-hour feat itself, it turned into something of a marathon. After setting the record for the first known circumnavigation of the island, he interviewed everyone who had been involved in the attempt and even got 40 pages into a full version of events before “it fizzled out”. But now, 41 years after he battled Bermuda’s grueling currents and completed the 38-mile swim while also raising $11,000 for charity, the dream has become a reality with the publishing of Shark Bait. “Back in 1976 I just got involved with other things and I had no idea how to get a book published,” Mr O’Connell said. “I just ran out of steam with the idea. Then recently I saw how Jonathan Smith’s book Island Flames was published by Brimstone Media and spoke with him about what a great job they had done. I started to go back to my old notes and tried to come up with something that incorporated the whole narrative. It refreshed my memory and I spent months and months putting the story together. I worked on the text with Rosemary Jones and then graphics with Paul Shapiro.” The 116-page autobiographical account details Mr O’Connell’s months of preparation, a failed attempt, and his ultimately successful swim, which raised $11,000 for the Bermuda Physically Handicapped Association charity and landed him in Sports Illustrated and the Guinness Book of Records. Produced by Brimstone Media, Shark Bait: How I Battled Tides, Fins and Fatigue to Complete the First Non-stop Swim Around Bermuda also reveals how Mr O’Connell’s feat at the age of 33 was triggered by a $1,000 bet wagered by a friend at the Robin Hood Pub one Friday evening. “It’s fantastic to see the finished product; it’s been a long time coming in so many ways,” Mr O’Connell said. “It’s been almost as much of a marathon as the swim. It’s my baby and it sends a very positive and inspiring message about overcoming challenges. That swim changed my life for ever; it gave me more self-confidence and is one of the achievements in my life that I am most proud of.” The former Bermuda College mathematics professor, now 75, moved to the island in 1974 and spent 29 years teaching at the college. Born in Brooklyn, New York, to a family of Irish heritage, Mr O’Connell, now Bermudian, trained to become a Jesuit priest after high school until he chose teaching as a career instead. But he thinks his upbringing as the son of a high-ranking New York City police officer, plus the years of discipline he practiced in the religious order, prepared him well for his long-distance effort years later. Mr O’Connell’s seven months of training in the ocean around Bermuda in 1976 saw him battle weight loss, vomiting and psychological challenges, as well as endure combative tides and close encounters with barracuda, sharks, jellyfish, and even a freighter. A team of volunteers and vessels was organized to support him through two attempts, including the final successful clockwise swim around the island between August 21 and 23, in a time of 43 hours, 27 minutes. The book, which includes contemporary photographs and newspaper clippings, looks at other round-the-island attempts after his achievement, including one by American open-water swimmer Lori King who succeeded in breaking his record in 2016, the 40th anniversary of his swim, just as he finished writing his narrative. Shark Bait is on sale at Bookmart for $19.95. All proceeds go to the BPHA, the charity that benefited from his swim.

October 3. A Cabinet of full-time ministers is needed to deliver promises made by the Progressive Labour Party, the Premier has said. David Burt’s PLP team has 11 full-time ministers, compared to seven full-time and five part-time under the previous government — a change One Bermuda Alliance senator Nick Kempe said would cost taxpayers an extra $150,000 per year. Mr Burt told The Royal Gazette: “The former government had 12 ministers, this government has reduced the size of Cabinet to 11.” But Mr Burt avoided the question of costs for the reduced number of ministers. He said: “The new government reduced the size of Cabinet, and our ministers are focused on delivering the election mandate of the Bermudian voters. The work to deliver on this mandate requires full-time attention and I am pleased that all of our ministers are working in a full-time capacity for Bermudians.” Mr Burt claimed the new numbers were a reflection of his party’s commitment to fiscal responsibility when he announced his ministers in July. Mr Burt said at the time: “We have reduced the size of Cabinet to 11. I recognize that fiscal responsibility must start at the top.” But Mr Kempe said: “The inference in those comments is that a smaller Cabinet is less expensive and that a less expensive Cabinet proves fiscal responsibility starting at the top. I think it is important that the public record shows that this 11-person Cabinet, in fact, costs more than the 12-person Cabinet it replaced.” Mr Kempe said his calculation was based on the number of full and part-time ministers in the current government compared with the last. He said: “Basically, full-time ministers receive $100,000 and part-time receive $50,000 on top of MP or senator pay.” He said the OBA’s 12-minister Cabinet, made up of seven full-time ministers and five part-time ministers, cost $950,000 a year. Mr Kempe added that the wage bill for the PLP’s 11 full-time ministers would mean an annual total $1.1 million. Mr Kempe said there might be a 5 to 10 per cent variance if the exact figure was to be calculated. Attorney-General Kathy Simmons last week confirmed all current ministers were full-time employees. Ms Simmons, in reply to questions from Mr Kempe, also revealed that Corey Butterfield was an adviser to Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism. The OBA was criticized by Mr Burt when it hired Mr Butterfield just after its 2012 election victory. Mr Burt said at the time the new government had made a “terrible start” to its commitment to cut government spending. Asked why the PLP had hired Mr Butterfield, Mr Burt said: “Mr Butterfield has been retained to conduct work that is integral to executing the new government’s agenda of economic empowerment. I look forward to his work producing dividends for the people of Bermuda.”

October 3. Education commissioner Freddie Evans last night described himself as “dumbfounded” after being dismissed from the post. The shock move came less than seven months after Dr Evans was appointed to the top job. Dr Evans said he was stunned that “any talk of dismissal, termination or reassignment is happening when I have not heard anything from his Excellency the Governor, or Government House. I only want what is best for the students of Bermuda public schools,” Dr Evans said. “My legal representatives will be responding on my behalf from this point forward.” Principals and teachers were notified of the termination in an e-mail from the Department of Education. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, issued a statement pointing out that he held no responsibility for “operations, human resources or hiring at the Ministry or Department of Education. This Government is serious about progressing public education in Bermuda and, as such, supports the Board of Education and the Public Service Commission in their efforts to employ the most suitable people to lead our public schools. All public servants should be commended for their dedication to supporting our students and we thank Dr Evans for his work.” Mr Rabain congratulated staff and encouraged the community to support them. Dr Evans, who took over as Commissioner of Education in March, had previously served as Acting Commissioner for three years. He told The Royal Gazette when appointed that he was “absolutely dedicated”, and looked forward to a decade or more in the job. According to the e-mail to public education staff, the post of commissioner is now “under consideration”. A 33-year veteran of the public education system, Dr Evans was described by a source in the department as popular with many teachers and parents. But the source added that Dr Evans had only reluctantly been given the role, with leadership believed to be more in favor of a foreign candidate. The source said Dr Evans’s work had been hampered from the start by conditions imposed from above. The previous commissioner, Edmond Heatley, was recruited from the United States in 2013 but resigned eight months later. His time in the role was plagued by complaints about the post going to an overseas expert and Dr Evans took over the role on an interim basis after Mr Heatley’s departure. Teachers were told that “critical issues” should be forwarded to the administrative assistant at the commissioner’s office, who would pass them on to the Permanent Secretary. Last night a spokeswoman said the ministry “would like to assure the public that an interim plan is being put in place until the Board of Education commences a recruitment process”.

October 3. Bermudian long jumper Tyrone Smith relived the terror of a murderous gun attack on a concert in Las Vegas yesterday. Mr Smith was at a show just across the road from the Mandalay Bay hotel, where gunman Stephen Paddock holed up before he fired hundreds of shots at a packed country and western show in the streets below, killing at least 58 people. Mr Smith, on a visit to the gambling mecca with US Olympic pole vault silver medal-winning girlfriend Sandi Morris, said the two were at the Blue Man Group show at the Luxor Hotel and Casino on Sunday night when they were ordered to remain in their seats about 11pm because of an emergency. He said: “At first we thought it was part of the show — like there was something else they were going to do. Once I realized that it wasn’t part of the show, and then I found out that there was the active shooter, my brain just went to kind of a defence mode, and I just started spotting where all the exits were.” A check online revealed the terror unfolding only a few hundred yards away. Mr Smith, who lives in Houston, Texas, said: “At this point, the people at the venue had not told us anything.” He added audience members were locked down in the Luxor until almost 5am, when the couple were allowed out and had to walk a mile to their own hotel. Mr Smith said: “There we no taxis, there were no Ubers, it was a ghost town. There were police, some in tactical gear, lining the road. For 80 per cent of the walk, there was just police and police vehicles out.” Mr Smith was just 14 miles away in Monaco when an Islamic fundamentalist drove a truck into crowds packed into the center of Nice, France, killing 86 and injuring hundreds in July last year. As well as the dead, more than 500 people were injured when Paddock, 64, from Nevada, opened fire on the 22,000 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in the worst mass shooting in modern US history. Paddock shot himself dead before police stormed his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. The motive for the attack is still unknown. Stuart Lacey, founder and CEO of Bermuda-based technology company Trunomi, was also caught up in the terror as he arrived in the city for a technology conference. He was in an Uber taxi around 9.30pm on his way to the Caesar’s Palace Hotel when the car stopped in heavy traffic and he could hear gunshots in the distance. Mr Lacey said: “I could hear the shooting from the Uber. We were maybe a half mile away from it. There were police everywhere, trying to get around the traffic, driving over the embankment. The gunfire didn’t stop for some time. It took quite a while. You think these things would be over quickly, but we were hearing them for 20 minutes. The amount of shots we could hear, there was no doubt that this was not a simple rifle and a lot of people were at risk.” Mr Lacey added: “The route the Ubers usually take goes right down the strip. If we were traveling five minutes earlier, we would have been passing right between the hotel where the shooter was and the concert.” Mr Lacey said he and his driver discussed what to do and decided to stay in the car. He added: “There’s a fight or flee urge that goes through everyone’s mind, but in these kind of incidents the advice is to run. You don’t stick around, but it’s difficult when you’re stuck in traffic. Eventually other cars started going over the embankment and driving the wrong way down the one way, and we followed them. Police were saying there was an active shooter and we didn’t want to be anywhere near it.” Mr Lacey arrived at his hotel at around midnight but terrified people crowded the hotel and everyone was forced to wait outside until around 3.30am. He said: “The whole hotel went into lock down — from what I understand they locked down the whole strip.” Mr Lacey added that he was grateful he survived unscathed but that friends of people connected to Trunomi were in hospital after the incident. He said: “I’m one of the lucky people.” Bermudian Jaidah Bailey, a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said she was at home when the firing broke out. She added she had noticed a friend mention a shooting before she went to sleep but was not aware of the seriousness of the incident — until she was bombarded by messages to check she was unharmed. Ms Bailey said: “I was awoken by a phone call by mother. She was very concerned because she had heard what happened and many people were reaching out to her to make sure I was OK. I wasn’t aware of much but once I checked my phone I had many messages from friends and family back home to see if I was safe.” She added a friend who worked at the Mandalay Bay said it was “madness” at the hotel and that she had been trampled by terrified people fleeing the shooting. Ms Bailey said: “Her and her coworkers had to hop over fences and run for their lives. They ran all the way to the University of Nevada where they knew it was safe.” She added classes at the university were yesterday suspended. Ms Bailey explained: “Many people have not left home because they are frightened or were affected. Some classmates came to class crying and many had to leave because they didn’t have the strength to be around others at this moment. This has been a huge tragedy in another place I call ‘home’. Richard Schuetz, executive director of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission and in the city to deliver a lecture, said the holiday city was in shock. He added: “I have lived in and been involved with Las Vegas for many years, and there is a part of me that says that this was almost inevitable, and another that is just in shock that it did happen. “Walking around Las Vegas one finds a city in a surreal haze, and no one understands it. The city is simply in shock.” Mary Ellen Koenig, United States Consul General in Bermuda, said: “It’s a heartbreaking day for those affected by this senseless tragedy. Right now, our thoughts are centered on the victims and the devastated families and friends who have been impacted.”

October 3. Former Bermuda College mathematics professor Seán O’Connell has written a book about his record-setting two-day swim around Bermuda in 1976. The 116-page autobiographical account details the Mr O’Connell’s months of preparation, a failed attempt, and his grueling but ultimately successful 38-mile swim that raised $11,000 for charity and landed O’Connell in Sports Illustrated and the Guinness Book of Records. Produced by Brimstone Media, Shark Bait: How I Battled Tides, Fins and Fatigue to Complete the First Non-stop Swim Around Bermuda also reveals how Mr O’Connell’s 43-plus-hour feat at the age of 33 — the first known circumnutation of the island — was triggered by a $1,000 bet wagered by a friend at the Robin Hood Pub one Friday evening. “It only happened because of a happy-hour boast that turned into a serious proposition — and it changed my life for ever,” said Mr O’Connell, now 75, who moved to the island in 1974 and spent 29 years teaching at the college. Born in Brooklyn, New York, to a family of Irish heritage, Mr O’Connell, now Bermudian, trained to become a Jesuit priest after high school until he chose teaching as a career instead. But he says his upbringing as the son of a high-ranking New York City police officer, plus the years of discipline he practiced in the religious order, prepared him well for his long-distance effort years later. Mr O’Connell’s seven months of training in the ocean around Bermuda in 1976 saw him battle weight loss, vomiting and psychological challenges, as well as endure combative tides and close encounters with barracuda, sharks, jellyfish, even a freighter. Through it, he learnt the necessities of marathon swimming — how to fuel his body with high-energy supplements and protect against hours in salt water by coating himself with thick grease and wearing a face mask. A team of volunteers and vessels was organized to support him through two attempts, including the final successful clockwise swim around the island August 21 to 23, in a time of 43 hours, 27 minutes. He donated a total of $11,000 raised by his swim to the Bermuda Physically Handicapped Association. The book, which includes contemporary photographs and newspaper clippings, looks at other round-the-island attempts after his achievement, including one by American open-water swimmer Lori King who succeeded in breaking his record in 2016, the 40th anniversary of his swim, just as he finished writing his narrative. Shark Bait is on sale at Bookmart for $19.95. All proceeds go to the BPHA, the charity that benefited from his swim.

October 3. Sompo International Holdings Ltd has launched a new insurance platform and global clearance system, as it aims to offer clients options across insurance and reinsurance markets to help them manage their risks. SIH, which is based in Bermuda, was established after Japanese insurance giant Sompo Holdings acquired island-based Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd in March this year in a $6.3 billion deal. SIH, which is led by chairman and chief executive officer John Charman, is aiming to set “a new global standard” for the industry, by offering customers a wide array of products on one web-based platform. Mr Charman said: “I am delighted with the substantial progress that we have made to date in integrating the various operating entities that comprise Sompo International. Of course, complete integration will take time and we are committed to accomplishing this in a thoughtful and deliberate manner while keeping the best interests of our clients, trading partners and employees at the forefront. The launch of our new global clearance system is just the first step as we continue to modernize and transform our technology platform across all lines of business and geographies. In keeping with Sakurada-san’s vision, we remain steadfastly focused on creating and growing a highly profitable, globally integrated business that is unique in the history of our industry.” All the former Endurance companies were transferred to SIH on September 27 in the first step to create the global clearance system. The company intends to transfer the Sompo America companies and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Company of Europe Ltd to SIH in the near future. The intention is to bring all other Sompo worldwide subsidiaries under the ownership and control of SIH. Kengo Sakurada, CEO of Sompo Holdings, said: “Starting with the solid oversight for all commercial lines of products, this reorganization and the alignment of our global platform under John Charman’s leadership is the next logical step in our journey to fulfill our vision to build the first truly global integrated insurance and reinsurance business.”

October 3. Former Hamilton alderman Carlton Simmons denied a charge of attempted murder in Supreme Court yesterday. The 40-year-old was accused of the attempted murder of Jahkeil Samuels on August 12, in Ambiance Lounge, owned by Mr Simmons, on Angle Street, Hamilton. At the monthly Supreme Court arraignments session yesterday, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons set a trial date of February 26 next year. Mr Simmons was released on bail until that date. Also yesterday, Dion Cholmondeley, 33, of St George’s, admitted possessing a firearm and ammunition. Cholmondeley pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a Glock 9mm handgun and a second of having four rounds of 9mm ammunition on August 15 in Warwick. Mrs Justice Simmons ordered that a Social Inquiry Report must be carried out. Cholmondeley was remanded in custody pending sentencing next month. In addition, Jahmico Trott and Troy Burgess, both 29, denied charges of attempted murder and using a firearm to commit an indictable offence. Mr Trott also denied carrying a firearm with criminal intent and handling a firearm. The offences are alleged to have taken place on May 14 in Pembroke. The two were remanded in custody for trial next February. Later in the session Charmari Burns admitted a charge of importing cocaine to the island last October, but denied possessing the drug with intent to supply. Crown counsel Carrington Mahoney accepted the plea. A Social Inquiry Report was ordered on Burns and he will return to Supreme Court next month for a sentencing date to be set. In a separate incident, Dwayne George Watson pleaded not guilty to conspiring to import cocaine to the island and possessing cocaine with intent to supply on September 1. The case is expected to return to the courts on October 18 for mention.

October 3. The only enlisted Bermudian woman to march in the Second World War victory parade in London has died aged 93. 

Lobelia Bubenzer

 Lobelia “Bella” Bubenzer was just 19 when she traveled to England in 1943 and crossed the U-boat-infested Atlantic in a convoy to enlist in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She went on to marry a German prisoner of war she met while serving in Oxfordshire before returning home to Bermuda in 1959 with her two sons, Peter and Axel. Son Peter Bubenzer said: “She talked a lot about the victory parade to us as children. She talked about the pride and the camaraderie of all the young women together. She made many friends during the war years that she kept for life.” Mrs Bubenzer was born in July 1924 to James Howard and Doris May Curtis at their home on Middle Road, Paget. One of six children, she attended Paget Glebe School and then Berkeley Institute before pursuing secretarial qualifications. Mrs Bubenzer signed up as a member of the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps and left the island for the first time on December 20, 1943. She paid her own way from Darrell’s Island by flying boat to Baltimore, where she took a train to Halifax before boarding the Pacific Exporter. The old banana boat traveled in a 93 vessel convoy that left on January 23, 1944 and arrived safely in Avonmouth in early February. Mr Bubenzer said: “When she arrived in London she found herself in the middle of an air raid, although to her great surprise everyone was walking around on the street as if nothing was out of the ordinary. She was then assigned to a unit at Bicester in Oxfordshire and served there as a secretary until she was demobbed in 1947. The women slept in huts that could hold 12 and my mother never forgot the spartan accommodation. While she was in Bicester she was joined by her great friend, Eva Robinson, in the spring of 1944. During periods of leave they decided that they should travel as far away inside the British Isles as they could. They went to Dublin twice, Aberdeen in Scotland and St Ives in Cornwall.” Mrs Bubenzer met August-Wilhelm Bubenzer, a German prisoner of war while stationed in Oxfordshire. The pair struck a friendship and in 1948 they married and moved to Manchester. The couple later settled to London where they had two sons and Mrs Bubenzer got a job working for future newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell, who had just started a publishing business. But her marriage broke down and Mrs Bubenzer returned to Bermuda with her two sons in 1959. Mr Bubenzer said: “When we first came home we stayed with my mother’s aunt and uncle on Angle Street in Hamilton. I was five and my brother was three and she worked tirelessly to provide for us. Her first concerns were not just providing adequate food and clothing for her sons, but also giving us a good education.” Mrs Bubenzer became the first black woman to serve as secretary to the island’s Magistrates, where she recorded court proceedings. She got a job at American International in 1967 and worked there until she retired in 1989. Mrs Bubenzer continued to travel with Mrs Robinson during her later years and enjoyed an active social life. She decided to move to nursing home Westmeath in 2011, where she remained until her death on Monday, September 25. Mr Bubenzer said: “She was very loving; very protective and wanted to make the best possible life for her children. Above all, my mother loved people, and had friends of all ages and backgrounds over the many years of her life in England and Bermuda, including old Bermuda friends, such as Eva Robinson. We are extremely proud of what she did and the difference she made and also how she struggled when she came back to Bermuda. What she was able to achieve was a minor miracle. She accomplished a huge amount — we were always close and so saying goodbye has been very hard.”

October 3. Sean Lamont, Mike Ross and Marcus Horan will be among the heavy hitters looking to help the Classic Lions reclaim the World Rugby Classic title next month. Lions, who previously claimed the title in 2015 with a win over the Classic All Blacks, open their campaign against France Classic Rugby in a group B match on Sunday, November 5. Lamont, only the second Scottish player to win 100 caps for his country, retired from professional rugby last season while playing for Glasgow Warriors. The 36-year-old center scored 70 points for Scotland from 2004 to 2017, and 320 points during his club career, which included two spells at the Warriors. He is presently a Scottish Rugby Academy coach. Ross, who also retired last season, made 61 appearances for Ireland, playing in two World Cups, as well as winning a pair of Six Nations titles. The 37 year-old also won two Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and two Pro12 titles with Leinster. Meanwhile, Horan was capped 67 times by Ireland and was part of the side that won the Grand Slam in 2009. The 40-year-old, who retired in 2013, also represented Ireland at the 2007 World Cup and won a pair of Heineken Cup and a Magners League with Munster. Also named in the 24-man squad are Tomás O’Leary, a former Ireland scrum half, Gavin Kerr, who won 50 caps as a prop for Scotland, and returning players Chris Wyatt, Ceri Sweeney, David Corkery, Ritchie Rees and Neil Best. The Lions, who were beaten 14-7 by the Classic Springboks in the semi-finals last year, will be coached by Derek McAleese, a former Ireland fly half, and managed by former Wales lock Allan Martin. The World Rugby Classic runs from November 5 to 11, with the opening game between Classic Pumas and Rugby Canada at North Field at 2.30pm.

October 2.  A new, Bermuda-focused geography textbook will be in the hands of primary school students, according to Diallo Rabain. Speaking in the House of Assembly on Friday, the Minister of Education and Workforce Development, said the new Young Geographers textbooks are the result of a collaboration between Panatel VDS Ltd, a local video and film production house, and the Department of Education aimed at teaching them about the local environment. “Geography is the study of specific places on Earth and the relationships between people and their environments. Geography helps to develop key skills as it relates to understanding where places are found, why they are there and how geographical areas develop and change over time. Our teachers will expose our P1 to P6 students to the world of geography in the Bermuda context through this text book. In addition to learning about the size and structure of the island, the book helps to teach lessons on Bermuda’s land formations, caves and vegetation. We all understand the importance of planting seed when the soil is fertile so it guarantees fruit,” Mr Rabain said. “This is our intent as we expose the fertile minds of our primary school students to understanding the origins and features of the Bermuda environment. The basic geographical concepts understood from the local environment will form the foundation for our students to build on and conceptually link to the global perspective.”

October 2. Bermuda’s youngest Member of Parliament has urged the Government to push ahead with changes to the education system. In his first speech in the House of Assembly, Progressive Labour Party backbencher Dennis Lister III said revamping the middle school system and introducing a Steam academy in primary schools would provide more opportunities for young people to find their purpose in life and keep them away from negative influences. “I want to encourage our government to continue going forth with their Throne Speech promises of introducing the Steam academy and also to go through with revamping the middle school system because that is where the majority of our young and especially black men fall through the cracks. They get lost because they are not as academic as ‘that person’, so they feel like they are a failure. We have to do all that we can to make a positive environment for the young people coming up: to enforce to them and reinforce and reiterate to them that you can be whatever it is you want to be; give them all the opportunities education-wise, training-wise so that they can be exposed to anything so that they can see their opportunities.” During Friday’s motion to adjourn, Mr Lister, 32, said not everyone wanted to work in law, medicine, accounting or insurance. And with schools focused on academics, he said the challenge lay with those who were not academically inclined. “And that challenge has a knock-on effect in society and what we see today with a lot of antisocial behavior, a lot of negative that young people get caught up in,” he said. But he added that being able to pursue other career paths “will keep them away from any negative influences in life. If they know that they can be successful in that and make their living, that will give them a focus in life, a purpose and keep them from getting distracted in negative things that as an idle mind, with no purpose, it is much easier to get caught up in.” Mr Lister said the PLP’s pledges in the Throne Speech to fix the education system and to provide better opportunities and training for Bermudians should also include providing opportunities for young people to reach their purpose. He said the story of Bermudian boxer Nikki Bascome resonated with a lot of young people. “School wasn’t his forte. He got caught up in some negative vibes in life but he got the exposure to something good that he used to his benefit. If we can do that with all the young people coming up, you can imagine the positive effect this is going to have for Bermuda.” He also spoke about his own experience, telling the House that although he was not sure about what he wanted to be growing up, he knew he wanted to sit in the House of Assembly as an MP. And after working with his uncle, former MP Terry Lister, in 2010, he felt it was his time to stand up and make a difference. He said he was here today because he had found his purpose and stuck with it. Mr Lister added that he received supportive messages from many young people, who now want to follow his lead “all because one person took a stand, followed their purpose and used it to make a difference”. He concluded by urging the island’s youth to “do all you can to pursue your purpose, do what you can to make it your goal in life to use your purpose to affect those around you positively”.

October 2. Mahesh Madhavan has taken over from Michael Dolan as chief executive officer of Bacardi. The spirits giant, which has headquarters on Pitts Bay Road, had first announced the planned transition in March. Mr Dolan has retired after holding the CEO’s role since 2014. “With more than 20 years at Bacardi, in different roles in different geographies, Mahesh has a tremendous track record of success,” Facundo Bacardi, chairman of the family-owned business said today. “He inherits a business that is in great shape, with a healthy balance sheet, revitalized brands, and an engaged team of employees. Mike and Mahesh have worked closely to carry out the succession smoothly, and the board is delighted with the progress they achieved.” In his career with Bacardi, Mr Madhavan has led the company’s Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa operations. He has also held leading roles in various fast-growing emerging markets including managing director of India, managing director for Thailand and the Philippines, and managing director of South Asia and Southeast Asia. He has also led the company’s Emerging Market Council. As part of this leadership succession plan, Mr Madhavan announces the internal appointments of two senior leaders. Effective immediately, John Burke, 51, becomes global chief marketing officer of Bacardi and president of Bacardi Global Brands Ltd, while Ignacio del Valle, 47, leads commercial operations for the Latin America and Caribbean region as its regional president. Mr Burke and Mr del Valle serve as members of the Bacardi Global Leadership Team and report directly to Mr Madhavan. Mr Burke will be based between the Bacardi global headquarters in Bermuda, subject to Bermuda immigration approval, and Bacardi Global Brands Ltd’s London office. “These internal appointments showcase our deep bench of seasoned talent and leadership within Bacardi and further demonstrates the company’s dedication to nurturing and growing our talented leaders,” Mr Madhavan said.

October 2.  A same-sex couple who recently married on the island have expressed their joy, thanking Bermuda for giving them a positive experience. In a social media post, Bryce Whayman and Roland Maertens wrote that they were warmly welcomed, despite the often heated debate about marriage equality on the island. Mr Whayman wrote: “Roland and I had an amazing time in Bermuda, we felt the love from everyone, complete strangers were approaching us in the grocery stores, restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions offering their congratulations. “It was amazing to see and feel! We were presented with gifts (blows my mind!) from anonymous shopkeepers and I recall each and every one of these special moments and the people. My father was amazed too, he was pulled aside by restaurateurs who wanted to tell him how good this is for business and Bermuda as a whole. Humanity coming together giving support. Beautiful!” The couple particularly praised Wahoo’s Bistro, Ascots, Café Acoreano, the Village Pantry, Rock Island Coffee, Island Life, the Bermuda National Museum and Fort St Catherine’s for their kindness and generosity. Based on their experience, he wrote that it appeared that those speaking out against same-sex marriage appeared to be the vocal minority. “Bermuda can really turn it on when it needs to but in our case, it was more heartfelt and genuine,” he wrote. “The politicians need to drop the marriage equality showdown and focus on building Bermuda. It’s in dire need of some love right now.” Kevin Dallas, the CEO of the BTA, commented on the post, writing: “That’s great to hear! It speaks to Bermuda’s legendary spirit of hospitality — we welcome all visitors — and to some of our service providers’ desire to serve a lucrative market segment.”

October 2. West End residents and environmentalists have queried plans to introduce quad bike tours to the Railway Trail in Somerset. Members of the public issued a statement earlier today describing their qualms. The proposal was approved by former Minister of the Environment Sylvan Richards, although it would have to pass other legislative hurdles before the bikes could operate. The excursions would use all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, for visitors to embark on guided tours along the trail. According to Mr Richards’s statement online, the idea was for “low-powered silenced ATV’s along part of the railway trail in Somerset only”. No tours would operate on Sundays, and portions of the trail would be off-limits. The Royal Gazette was unable to get a response on Friday regarding the status of the plan, which has drawn opposition on social media. The environmental group Greenrock is also seeking details. Executive director Jonathan Starling lamented the lack of consultation. Mr Starling said: “Members of the public have been in touch and voiced their opposition to the proposal.” Area residents were concerned over rumors that the motorized tours would include access to Hog Bay Park. Mr Starling said Greenrock had “some reservations.  While we can appreciate visitors getting to know our beautiful nature reserves, the use of ATVs doesn’t seem the right way to do so,” he said. Mr Starling accepted its use for those with mobility issues but remained “concerned about the precedent it would set. The Railway Trail and nature reserves are supposed to be areas of active commuting — walking, jogging and cycling — and generally areas for peaceful contemplation of our island’s nature and beauty,” he said. “This proposal would seem to run counter to that, and there’s the added concern of damage to the trails.” The group was consulting with other organizations, and Mr Starling called it “disappointing” that none had been approached. “Through consultation, things like this could be troubleshooted early on, and win-wins identified. Sometimes that’s not possible, but more often than not, it is. We would hope that the new Government makes public consultation on policies central to their decision-making process — and it would be fantastic if entrepreneurs also engaged the relevant organizations early on too so that we could avoid problems or misunderstandings.

October 2. Increasing fuel costs were the largest driver of inflation in July, as the cost of living rose 1.7 per cent from a year earlier. Inflation, as recorded by the Consumer Price Index, published today by the Department of Statistics, edged lower to 1.7 per cent from 1.8 per cent in June. The fuel and power sector rose 9.7 per cent year over year and it was up 3 per cent from June. A significant factor was a 9.5 per cent increase in the fuel adjustment rate on Belco bills in July. Higher prices for premium fuels also drove 3 per cent annual inflation in the transport and foreign travel sector. It was also up by 2.4 per cent month to month. The average cost of airfares and overseas hotels increased 8.3 per cent and 5.6 per cent, respectively, from June. Food prices rose 2.6 per cent from July 2016 and 0.2 per cent for the month. Fuelling the increase was a 4.5 per cent rise in the cost of flour, while rice prices were up 2.3 per cent and fresh tenderloin was up 2 per cent. The CPI data showed that the basket of goods and services that cost $100 in April 2015 now costs $103.90.

October 2. A successful pilot recycling programme in Dockyard could become permanent. Blue recycling bins were installed in May after the West End Development Corporation and the Department of Public Works agreed to split the costs of the initiative. Wedco’s Business Development Manager Joanna Cranfield said: “We have thousands of people using Dockyard every day during peak periods and our motivation was simply to reduce the volume of general waste and, also, because it is the right thing to do.” Ms Cranfield said they had tried to start a recycling programme in Dockyard for many years without success because of the cost of taking the recycled items to the depot. She added: “We finally agreed that with the assistance of Public Works we could share some of the expense. The AC35 was also instrumental in making this happen as they had a strict recycle programme and we were able to piggy back off them as well as being able to use some of the recycle equipment that was already in place after the event.” Wedco placed blue TAG bins, with all the internationally recognized recycling symbols, next to black general waste bins in the hope that people will separate their trash. The trash contractor then collects the separated trash and delivers it to the relevant dumpsters in the Sallyport waste area. The Department of Public Works provided the recycle dumpsters and compactor and removes the recycled trash as needed. Ms Cranfield added: “The programme started in May and is due to run for six months. It has been very successful and we will talk to the department about how we can ensure it continues on a permanent basis.” Don Baisdon, of ES Enterprise who is contracted to deal with all Wedco trash, said since the start of the pilot programme about ten tonnes of recycled materials have been collected from Dockyard. He added: “This initiative is very important and I can see it growing and becoming the norm for everyone.”

October 2. Buses and ferries will not be running tomorrow morning because of a meeting with the Bermuda Industrial Union, the Ministry of Transport and Regulatory Affairs has advised. Services are expected to be down between 9.45am and 12.30pm. A ministry spokesman apologized for the inconvenience to the public. According to the BIU, the meeting was scheduled by the Government’s negotiating team in conjunction with the BIU. The team has met for several weeks to ratify the current collective bargaining agreement between the Government and the union.

Sunday, October 1. A shipping container of drinking water is on its way from Bermuda to the Caribbean, with another container of supplies to follow for hurricane relief. The aid was mustered by the Kiwanis Club of St George, in a break from its usual activities, in response to devastation left by storms. Club director Buddy Fleming, who spearheaded the collection, said his heart had gone out to “our neighbors to the south” when he heard of the catastrophe. Mr Fleming linked through the club to one of the chapters in Antigua, which agreed “instantly” to help with the distribution of aid. The container of roughly 27,000 bottles of water is now en route to Antigua, with another being packed with necessities such as clothing, bedding and household items. Gary Kent-Smith, the president of Kiwanis St George, said that “many residents in Antigua and Barbuda lost their houses — in fact, they lost everything — in the hurricane. As a result it was determined that anything we can send from Bermuda would be of use to the victims.” Various companies assisted, including Lindo’s, AS Cooper & Sons, Fast Forward Freight, Meyer Shipping, the Fairmont Southampton, St George’s Club, Golf Villas Ltd, and Rosewood Tucker’s Point. While the main thrust of Kiwanis clubs is to serve children, Mr Kent-Smith said that “if we help adults in need, they in turn will be better placed to take care of their children — as a result, Kiwanis St George is indeed helping children”. Both Kiwanians, on behalf of their club, thanked all who contributed. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.

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Last Updated: October 23, 2017.
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