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Bermuda's Royal Gazette newspaper is not published on Sundays or Public Holidays but sometimes has some Sunday news online
The Crown vowed to launch an appeal yesterday after the case against an American life coach accused of stealing $56,000 from an elderly Bermudian client was thrown out on technical grounds. Melissa Burton walked free from court after Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts on all counts after a prosecution mistake on the defendant’s indictment. Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that the Crown had charged Ms Burton, 53, with five counts of theft under Section 337 of the Criminal Code. Mr Mussenden said the Crown had “historically” used Section 337, which defines the penalties for theft. He added: “However, the offence of theft is defined in Section 331. So the judge was not prepared to allow amendment for that point.” He said the second problem was that the indictment charged Ms Burton with the theft of money from a bank account. Mr Mussenden added: “The judge accepted defence lawyer Mark Pettingill’s submission that it should not have been described as money, but it should have been described as a credit balance.” He added: “The Crown replied that those technical points were not fateful to the case, and that we should be allowed to amend the indictment.” Mrs Justice Simmons decided that the case should not proceed. Ms Burton was also charged with one count of financial exploitation of a senior. Mr Mussenden said the Crown “strongly” disagreed with the judgment. He added: “On that basis, we’re going to file an appeal with the Court of Appeal right away with the view of having this matter sent back for trial.”Mr Mussenden said he hoped to have the matter set down for the November session. “It would be for us to try and urge that this matter be heard, so that there’s not a huge passage of time.” Mr Mussenden said he felt Mrs Justice Simmons “took into account the wrong things, and come to the wrong conclusion”. Mr Pettingill said he was pleased with the verdict. “We took the position from the outset that there had been no dishonesty on the part of Ms Burton. I’m sure this is a tremendous relief for her and I’m pleased for her.” He said that he was prepared for an appeal. Mr Pettingill added: “When there are issues of law, then questions of appeal can arise. That’s just the way that the game goes.” Mr Pettingill made a no-case submission after the Crown had closed its case, but Mrs Justice Simmons ruled that there was a case to answer. Closing statements were then made by the Crown and the defence. Mr Mussenden said that indictment problems were identified afterwards by Mrs Justice Simmons and Mr Pettingill made a second no-case submission. Prosecutors earlier told the Supreme Court that Ms Burton had transferred thousands of dollars out of Katherine Trimingham’s bank accounts while she was dying. Mr Pettingill said there was no evidence Ms Burton had done anything that was not in Ms Trimingham’s best interests. Ms Burton, from Sag Harbour, Long Island, New York, was a life coach for Ms Trimingham, who died in December 2016 at the age of 72. The court heard that in the days before and after her death, Ms Burton made a series of transfers from Ms Trimingham’s personal account into accounts she controlled .Ms Burton did not take the stand in her own defence and did not call any defence witnesses.
A year after the Progressive Labour Party’s landslide General Election victory, it continues to measure itself against the One Bermuda Alliance, critics claimed yesterday. Exactly 12 months since the PLP hammered the OBA at the polls, analyst Denis Pitcher said it has still to shake off the attitude of opposition and Phil Perinchief suggested there was an air of trying to “out-OBA the OBA”. The Royal Gazette asked the two observers to look back on the first year of the PLP government headed by David Burt, the Premier, and outline their views on achievements and areas that need further attention. Mr Pitcher, an independent commentator, said the party had delivered on many of its first 100-day pledges as well as “quietly ticking off” a number of its platform promises. Mr Perinchief, a political scientist, added that the administration had done “extremely well” and brought “renewed vigor and hope” to the country. However, both highlighted an apparent tendency in the party to set itself against its rival, which could harm its ability to tackle the problems facing Bermudians. A total of 34,060 people took to the polls on July 18 last year and 20,059 voted for the PLP against 13,832 for the OBA. That boiled down to 24 seats in Parliament for the victors, double that of their predecessors. The scales tipped 25-11 in favour of the PLP last month with a victory in one of two by-elections. Despite the massive majority, Mr Pitcher said: “The party seems to have a hard time shifting from the role of Opposition to that of incumbent. The OBA and their record continues to be a strong focus versus that of focusing on delivering what they pledged to do. They act as if they barely grasp the reins of power rather than the near absolute control their strong majority provides.” Mr Pitcher warned: “The honeymoon period is gradually wearing off and the people are waking up to the realization that the PLP have complete control to deliver on their pledges. The OBA, by contrast, are on life support at the moment and any focus on them seems like a distraction and wasted energy that would ultimately be a poor excuse for the PLP failing to deliver.” Mr Pitcher said he “strongly supports” a bid to build a fintech industry on the island, but Mr Perinchief claimed it was an “at times faddish cryptocurrency craze”. Mr Perinchief, a PLP Cabinet minister in 2006-07, added: “Unless properly and convincingly communicated to Mr and Mrs Joe Public, it appears to a growing number of people in the PLP’s support base that this ‘new and vibrant’ leadership are attempting to out-OBA their immediate predecessors, the OBA, in entrepreneurial activities, with correspondingly lesser attention paid to their day-to-day challenges. From the drivers of this initiative, this may be good international press. However, such press must be tampered or balanced with how this initiative is being received by those who put the PLP where it is. There is unquestionably some shifting of the sands in this regard from a sector of the PLP’s support base.” Mr Perinchief predicted the party has both the numbers and the time to deal with problems old and new “and turn them to advantage for many years to come”.
A long honeymoon period has been filled with hope and promise, but the Progressive Labour Party has yet to scratch the surface when it comes to some of Bermuda’s longstanding problems, a former PLP minister said yesterday. Phil Perinchief, a political scientist, applauded the Government’s delivery of election platform targets and highlighted an apparent shift among some voters in what were seen as One Bermuda Alliance heartlands. However, he questioned whether enough focus was being given to the problems Bermudians faced on a daily basis 12 months since the PLP’s landslide General Election triumph. Mr Perinchief explained: “Nothing starts from ground zero. Accordingly, the PLP have inherited some initiatives, both positive and negative, from the former OBA administration, and indeed, the former PLP administration. However, it must be said that the PLP under Premier David Burt has done extremely well in the relatively short period of 12 months articulating, and to a reasonable extent, achieving or delivering the election platform initiatives it said it would deliver. Added to that, the PLP, during this lengthy honeymoon period, has enjoyed electoral successes in legacy constituencies that heretofore would have run labour out of their neighborhoods on a rail. There appears to be a curious shift in the demographics, favorably one hopes, towards the PLP’s voting base.” Mr Perinchief added the passing of time would bring expectations and new questions for the Government to deal with. He asked: “Here’s the rub, as things are settling down and the rubber is beginning to meet the road. Can, in an acceptable timeframe, other election platform promises feasibly, economically, or realistically be delivered, given the continued reliance on a trickle-down, elitist designed and rewarding economy that was severely Balkanized and placed into the hands of 2 to 4 per cent of the population who owned the economy in the first place? More substantively, did the election platform identify, or contemplate, sufficient of the initiatives that would address the day-to-day challenges their supporters are facing on the ground?” Mr Perinchief also questioned new, “out-of-the-blue” initiatives that had not been considered by either party a year ago which had now entered the arena and brought about a change in perceptions of a labour-based party that must “carefully manage the economy and simultaneously retain its political base”. The former Attorney-General also queried whether the PLP would have to look further into, or even outside of, its membership and support base “in order to acquire the resources and capacity to deal with these challenges old and new”. Mr Perinchief said: “The old challenges have not to date been scratched, let alone firmly addressed. For example, I speak of Bermudians, seniors and too many black middle-class families in particular, losing their life’s possessions and homes that they have built from ground up to financial institutions who repossess them having more favourable buyers in the wings. These private banks, rather than our public regulatory authority, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, have the ultimate discretion, unlike other democracies, to charge interest rates, which in the economic climate and high cost of living of Bermuda, put the monthly payments of these mortgages and loans outside of the reach of many of our Bermudians, particularly those on fixed incomes such as pensions and the like.” Mr Perinchief added that more financial institutions sympathetic to people in these categories needed to be licensed to offer mortgages with rates of around 2 to 5 per cent so that monthly payments are more manageable. “The new challenge is the, at times, faddish cryptocurrency craze. Everything is blockchain and bitcoin. No question, it is exceedingly important for an economy to be in a position one day to funnel profits from this sector back into the community in the form of jobs, business and the like. However, unless properly and convincingly communicated to Mr and Mrs Joe Public, it appears to a growing number of people in the PLP’s support base that this new and vibrant leadership are attempting to out-OBA their immediate predecessors, the OBA, in entrepreneurial activities with correspondingly lesser attention paid to their day-to-day challenges. From the drivers of this initiative, this may be good international press. However, such press must be tampered or balanced with how this initiative is being received by those who put the PLP where it is. There is unquestionably, some shifting of the sands in this regard from a sector of the PLP’s support base.” Mr Perinchief added: “On balance, however, the PLP, not only through the renewed vigor and hope its leadership currently has brought to the political landscape of Bermuda, but also when juxtaposed against the current, self-inflicted for the most part, shambolic and traumatized state of the United Bermuda Party-influenced OBA, appears to have the numbers and the time to successfully address the challenges, old and new, and turn them to advantage for many years to come.”
A barrister who heads up the Police Complaints Authority, as well as a committee that investigates the conduct of lawyers, should resign from both roles because of a conflict of interest, a pressure group has said. The Civil Justice Advocacy Group, which describes itself as a “grassroots” organisation, alleged that Jeffrey Elkinson had “put himself in an impossible position of conflict” by representing another lawyer whose conduct was criticized in a claim for damages filed in the Supreme Court. Mr Elkinson, a director at law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman, hit back at the group, which he accused of hiding behind a “very grand-sounding name” to make “mean-spirited allegations, without setting out any justification for them”. The CJAG said the matter that involved another lawyer could end up before the Bermuda Bar Association’s professional conduct committee, which investigates and adjudicates on complaints about the legal profession. Mr Elkinson has been a member of the committee since 2006 and its chairman since 2009. He has been chairman of the PCA, which investigates serious complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police, since 2013. The CJAG claimed Mr Elkinson’s recent involvement in a Supreme Court matter that involved the Bermuda Police Service also represented a “blatant” conflict that should require him to step down as PCA chairman. Mr Elkinson said neither situation was a problem, as members of both the PCC and the PCA had to declare any conflicts of interest. He added that “it would appear that vested interests are at play” in CJAG, although he did not elaborate. The grievance about the other lawyer was detailed in a damages claim lodged at the Supreme Court in February by a member of the public, with the help of the CJAG. Mr Elkinson wrote to the plaintiff at the end of June to state that CD&P was now representing the lawyer. LeYoni Junos, a spokeswoman for the CJAG, said the damages claim concerned a conflict of interest — and now another conflict of interest had arisen because the lawyer had hired Mr Elkinson to represent him. Ms Junos added: “Out of all the 400-odd lawyers in Bermuda, we have the chairman of the professional conduct committee representing the lawyer. It sets a bad precedent. The Bar Association is not accountable. It’s too incestuous.” Mr Elkinson said: “In relation to the PCC, we are a group of eight lawyers and I chair the committee. If there is a complaint concerning a lawyer and a member has a conflict, that member stands down and does not participate in making any decision. This is as applicable to me as it is to anyone else on the committee. I do not see how my firm’s representation of a party to a case, who happens to be a lawyer, presents any unusual problem. No professional conduct complaint exists against [the lawyer] ... in relation to the allegations. What is being alleged in Supreme Court proceedings against [the lawyer], who is the client ... cannot be said to raise a conflict in my role as chairman of the PCC.” Ms Junos claimed the BPS case was also a matter for concern. A PCA investigation was launched into complaints last year over allegations that police personnel leaked images from the mobile phone of a lawyer who had died. The PCA has never made its findings public. The legal practice where the deceased lawyer worked brought proceedings against the BPS to have the phone returned from police custody. Ben Adamson, another director at CD&P, represented the police. A ruling in the case detailed how the BPS instructed Mr Elkinson to negotiate with counsel for the law firm where the deceased lawyer worked on how best to produce a copy of the phone’s hard drive data. The hard drive and phone were then left, by agreement, in Mr Elkinson’s possession. The CJAG said it was “regrettable” that Mr Elkinson had taken instructions from the BPS while he sat in a “key position of responsibility to investigate complaints” about the police. Mr Elkinson said he did assist the police and counsel for the deceased attorney’s law firm regarding the items that needed to be held. He added: “I was trusted by both sides to hold these items securely. There is nothing regrettable about that. Further, I am not the attorney for the police and the matter is dealt with by another attorney. In relation to any complaint to the PCA concerning the matter in question, I have long ago informed the members of the PCA that I would be unable to participate in the matter due to conflict.” He said there was no substance to the group’s “vitriol”. He added: “I do think that it is unfortunate that individuals, who hide their identity under a grandiose name of a group which only seeks to malign those they have chosen to target and seeks to attack either individuals or bodies that do good work in the island for little or no reward, are given a platform.” Ms Junos said: “We are just trying to highlight what we see as injustices in the community. There is a bar to people getting their cases independently scrutinized.” She and CJAG co-administrator Judith Chambers declined to share details of their group’s membership with The Royal Gazette on the basis that their complaint was about a matter of public interest and the names were not relevant.
Food poisoning caused by fish infected with a toxin is on the rise, an ocean environmentalist warned yesterday. Chris Flook said cases of ciguatera, which is triggered by the consumption of contaminated fish, had increased in Bermuda. He added that warming of the oceans, which produces more algae, could be one reason for the increase in confirmed cases. Mr Flook explained: “It’s always been here, but all of a sudden the climate is changing. The deck has been shuffled and we’re going to see a lot more of this.” Mr Flook, who is boats and docks supervisor at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and former head collector of marine specimens at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, said that ciguatera appears to have become more common recently. He explained that certain algae produces the toxin, which is eaten by small fish on the reef that are prey for larger fish eaten by humans such as amberjack, bonita and grey snapper. Other large fish, including barracuda and rockfish, are also possible carriers of ciguatera. Mr Flook, a board member of the Ocean Support Foundation, said: “It’s also not just a warm-water problem. Ciguatera takes years to build up to toxic levels and won’t improve unless there is a cooling period of several years. In the meantime, large reef fish are a risk.” The toxins do not affect fish, but humans can suffer vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and numbing and burning sensations. Other symptoms include a reversal of hot and cold sensations, and neurological problems. Symptoms can start as early as an hour after consumption and can continue in episodes for years. Department of Health figures released this month showed there have been 25 reported cases since the start of 2016. Mr Flook said the symptoms were similar to food poisoning, but highlighted nerve damage — paresthesia — as characteristic of the disease. Alex Hunter, dive safety officer and boats manager at Bios, added that offshore fish were not a problem. He said: “It’s the predatory reef fish eating other fish that have consumed the algae. Fish with longer life cycles that accumulate the ciguatera are unsafe.” Patrick Caton said he and his family contracted ciguatera about two weeks ago after they ate bonita caught inshore and bought from an island grocery store. Mr Caton, from Smith’s and president of an engineering firm, said he, his wife and daughter became “violently ill” after eating fish he had bought the day before. Mr Caton added: “Since then, we have been dealing with the neurotoxin aftereffects. We have symptoms such as reversal of hot and cold sensations, intense joint pain, and profuse itching.” He said that their family doctor had prescribed drugs, but they had little effect on the symptoms. The family was also told to drink a lot of fluids and let the infection run its course. Mr Caton added: “My wife and daughter were out of work for a week. They were completely incapacitated by it.” He said that the family still had symptoms and that he knows of other people who had become ill but not reported it. Mr Caton added: “There’s no real warning. You’ll be fine for a couple of hours and suddenly feel it. “Consumption of various proteins can trigger it and for us, we cannot eat nuts.” Mr Caton thanked the Department of Health for its fast reaction. He said: “They have been following up and are looking into treatments.” He said that the family would not eat fish for at least a year after their health scare. Mr Flook explained that many people south of Bermuda did not eat large reef fish because of the risk of ciguatera and that many Bermudians were not aware of the disease. Mr Flook said: “The last thing you want is to poke a hole at our traditional Bermuda fishery, but the proper information needs to get out. People need to be aware.” He added that the specific reason for the increased presence of the toxin was not clear. Mr Flook said: “There are all sorts of reasons ciguatera may be more prevalent. People always want simple answers, but there isn’t one.” The Department of Health added that Bermuda has not had the ciguatera risk experienced by other warm-water countries. A spokesman said: “Bermudians need to be more aware of ciguatera fish poisoning because we have seen cases in 2018, 2017 and 2016 linked with locally caught fish after decades of only sporadic cases.” The department added that it aimed to “manage the risk by educating consumers, retailers and fishermen”.
The Parliamentary Registrar’s office has called on the Opposition to amend “inaccurate statements” by former Opposition leader Patricia Gordon-Pamplin. The day after the One Bermuda Alliance renewed charges of the alleged sharing of voters’ information with a political party, the registrar’s office released a statement saying that the matter had been dealt with already by the Governor, John Rankin. The OBA held a press conference yesterday calling for a report into the matter to be made public, saying that it appeared that voter contact details had been shared with the Progressive Labour Party over the past five years. The Gazette reported in August 2017 that the present registrar, Tenia Woolridge, had found that in 2012, the then registrar Randy Scott, provided the details in response to a PLP request. Ms Woolridge said she “took immediate steps” to stop the sharing of details once it was brought to her attention. The statement follows: “The Parliamentary Registrar’s Office would like to inform the public, that four days prior to the last General Election the OBA raised their concerns with respect to the sharing of voter information by the Parliamentary Registrar. Less than two weeks after the election, the OBA felt it necessary to write directly to His Excellency the Governor, John Rankin CMG, about this matter. The office of the Parliamentary Registry falls under the supervision of His Excellency the Governor, who has responded directly to the OBA regarding this matter. Therefore, as far as the Parliamentary Registry is concerned this matter was appropriately dealt with by His Excellency in his letter to the OBA communicating the results of the Parliamentary Registrar’s review. The points of the Parliamentary Registrar’s review, as communicated by His Excellency were:
“His Excellency has more recently requested a correction of inaccurate statements made on the floor of the House of Assembly by the former Opposition Leader on June 8, 2018 in respect to this very issue. The request made by the Governor, is still an outstanding matter for action by the former Opposition Leader. “Until such statements are corrected, the Parliamentary Registrar is not prepared to respond further to comments made via press release by the former Opposition Leader that builds on inaccuracies already released to the public on the floor of the House of Assembly.”
Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, has called on David Burt to release “an unpredicted version of the deal to build a new hospital wing”. The challenge was raised by Ms Atherden on Friday, during the inaugural Premier’s question time segment of the orders in the House of Assembly. During the half-hour of questions, the One Bermuda Alliance head asked the Premier to issue the full public private partnership (PPP) for the Acute Care Wing at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, saying Mr Burt had made an earlier commitment to release the contract. The Acute Care Wing opened in September 2014. Under the PPP, its construction was financed by Paget Health Services, which incurred the debt for the project, with the Bermuda Hospitals Board then paying the company in installments. BHB’s service payments also cover maintenance of the building. In a statement issued today, Ms Atherden said the project’s total cost to the taxpayer was “still unknown”. During the Friday sitting of the House, Mr Burt told the Opposition that he did not recall making specific reference to the hospital contract, but added that he was “more than happy to keep that commitment”. Ms Atherden said today that the pledge had been made while Mr Burt was Opposition leader, during an interview with Bernews in which he said he would release the contract unredacted if the Progressive Labour Party returned to the Government — adding that there “cannot be too much transparency inside Government’. She said that a year had passed since the July 2017 General Election. Ms Atherden added: “The OBA was derided over the airport plan — which continues to create jobs for Bermudians — but had released every bit of detail regarding the contract into the public domain that was possible.” She said the release showed the party’s “absolute commitment to transparency” and asked if Mr Burt would “do the same”.
Fake social media profiles are being used to ask for money in return for five-figure Government grants. Police said fraudsters had urged people to send $700 to an undisclosed location via FedEx so that they could receive a $50,000 grant. A police spokesman warned residents to verify any online messages they receive that claimed to be from a Member of Parliament by calling the Government on 295-5151. He added people should speak to a Department of Communications representative about any online proposal said to be from politicians before they divulged any personal information. Anyone with any information about the scam should contact police.
Tobacco Bay beach should not have been closed to the public at the weekend, the public works minister said yesterday. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch explained Beach Boys Ltd, who run the concession at the St George’s beach, were given a permit to host an event on Sunday. But he said: “At no time did the parks department grant exclusive rights to the beach. In fact, at the top of the second page of the application it clearly states: ‘Special Event Permits do not give exclusive rights to a particular spot; they merely grant permission to have an organised event’.” Colonel Burch said the permit was intended to cover a private function “on a number of days”. He added: “As a result of this violation of the policies of the special permit along with the public outcry, the parks department have rescinded the permit, effective immediately. The parks team will be meeting with representatives of the operators to make it clear that closing the beach to members of the public is not allowed under their terms of lease.” Mikaela Pearman, who tried to go to the beach on Sunday, was frustrated by the lack of notice but felt the event could bring the island positive attention. She said: “The situation could’ve been mitigated had the information been shared ahead of time. The beach could’ve had a sign out front or someone to let people know it was closed — a sign was put out front later on. It wasn’t a big deal to me as the event was great exposure for Bermuda. It was just a bit frustrating in the moment.”
A man who stayed in Bermuda for three days last week is to be put on the country’s stop list after his criminal links were exposed. Ruben Yarzagaray arrived on the island from Canada — but when he flew back he was denied entry to the country on the grounds of “criminal activity”. Mr Yarzagaray was returned to Bermuda where authorities also refused him access and sent him on to Britain for transfer to Cuba. A government spokeswoman said yesterday that Mr Yarzagaray arrived on the island on July 9 on an Air Canada flight. She added: “He was landed in the normal manner. He departed Bermuda en route to Canada on July 12, 2018 and upon his arrival, he was refused entry by the Canadian officials in relation to an application for a Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization — he failed to report criminal activity.” The spokeswoman said that before Mr Yarzagaray visited Bermuda he had travelled to Canada “without incident” on July 7 and stayed there for a day. The spokeswoman added: “Of note is that on both of his arrivals — in Canada on July 7, 2018 and in Bermuda on July 9, 2018 — Mr Yarzagaray had nothing on his person which would have alerted airport officers to his criminal activity.” She said that in line with “airline protocols”, Canadian officials deported Mr Yarzagaray back to Bermuda on July 13. The spokeswoman added: “Bermuda Immigration officials refused him entry and immediately arranged for his departure on British Airways to London Gatwick and then on to Cuba. Mr Yarzagaray paid for the airline ticket.” She said the Department of Immigration had confirmed Mr Yarzagaray took the BA flight. The spokeswoman added: “Due to his criminal activity and his admittance of same to the Canadian officials, he will be placed on the Bermuda Stop List.” The Bermudian authorities can consider the entry to Bermuda of anyone who does not have Bermudian status, is outside the country, and when it seems that they are “a person whose landing in Bermuda appears undesirable in view of information or advice received from any official or other trusted source” under the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956. The Act adds that the relevant authorities “may cause that person’s name to be entered on a list (in this Act referred to as the ‘stop list’). The law can also be used against anyone from overseas who commits an offence while on the island. No further details were provided about Mr Yarzagaray’s “criminal activity”. An Air Canada spokeswoman said the company was unable to provide any comment and referred inquiries to the Canada Border Services Agency. The CBSA did not respond to a request for comment.
A charge of careless driving against government senator Crystal Caesar was dismissed by a court yesterday. Ms Caesar, 44, from Pembroke, was accused of running a red light at the junction of Court Street and Reid Street in Hamilton. The police constable who issued the ticket told Magistrates’ Court that he “assumed” that the traffic light was red when Ms Caesar drove through it. Marc Daniels, Ms Caesar’s defence lawyer, argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge. The incident was alleged to have happened at about 3.45pm on January 26. Ms Caesar is junior Minister of Home Affairs and Economic Development for the ruling Progressive Labour Party. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo discharged the defendant.
A 41-year-old cruise ship passenger was today fined a total of $1,300 for drugs offences and resisting Customs officers. Rene Rosengart, from New York, admitted importing cannabinoid oil and what she believed to be ecstasy pills — although the pills were later found not to contain illegal drugs. Magistrates’ Court heard Rosengart travelled to Bermuda on the Norwegian Escape to attend a wedding with her husband. Customs officials found an e-cigarette cartridge that contained cannabinoid oil which led to a search of the couple’s cabin. A container of pills was found and Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo was told Customs officials had to struggle with Rosengart, who tried to grab the pills and swallow them. Rosengart admitted importation of the oil and what she had believed to be ecstasy. Maria Sofianos, Crown prosecutor, said: “In her mind, she was bringing into Bermuda a controlled drug.” The court was told Rosengart’s husband had cancer and that they were on their first holiday together. The court also heard that the defendant was unsure about drugs laws in Bermuda as there had been several changes in US laws. But Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo said that was not a valid excuse. Rosengart was fined $500 for importing cannabinoid oil, $500 for resisting Customs officials and $300 for importation of what she believed was ecstasy.
The case against an American life coach accused of stealing $56,000 from an elderly Bermudian client was thrown out today. Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons directed jury members to return not guilty verdicts on all counts against Melissa Burton. Ms Burton, 53, was charged with five counts of theft and one count of financial exploitation of a senior. Prosecutors told the Supreme Court that Ms Burton had transferred thousands of dollars out of Katherine Trimingham’s bank accounts while she was dying. Defence lawyer Mark Pettingill said there was no evidence Ms Burton had done anything that was not in Ms Trimingham’s best interests. Ms Burton, from Sag Harbour, Long Island, New York, was a life coach for Ms Trimingham, who died in December 2016 at the age of 72. The court had heard that in the days before and after her death, Ms Burton made a series of transfers from Ms Trimingham’s personal account into accounts she controlled. Ms Burton did not take the stand in her own defence and did not call any defence witnesses.
A teenager killed in an early-morning crash in Hamilton Parish over the weekend was named by police yesterday. Jen-Naya Simmons, 18, died after she lost control of her motorcycle on North Shore Road at about 3.30am on Sunday. She was rushed to hospital, but was pronounced dead a short time later. Ms Simmons is the seventh person to die on Bermuda’s roads this year. A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said that a family liaison officer has been assigned to the family. He added: “The service would like to extend our sincere condolences to family and friends of the deceased.” Dennis Lister III, chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, offered condolences. Mr Lister said: “Any life lost is a life too many.” He added: “The Road Safety Council will continue to work hard to implement the Government road safety plan Operation Caution, encouraging timely conversation and action around creating safer roads for a safer Bermuda.” Police have appealed for witnesses to the crash.
Bermuda’s new Chief Justice, Narinder Hargun, was sworn in at Government House this morning. Mr Justice Hargun said it was a “great honour and privilege” to be named to the post. He added: “I am grateful for the confidence shown in me by his Excellency the Governor and members of the judicial and legal services community.” John Rankin, the Governor, who swore in Mr Justice Hargun, said: “I am confident Mr Hargun will carry out his responsibilities dutifully and well, helping to maintain this island’s standing as a legal jurisdiction of the highest order.”
Land owners will be able to register their property without going through a lawyer after a change in legislation was passed in the House of Assembly. The Land Title Registration Amendment Act 2018 will allow members of the public to carry out voluntary registration, although initial or compulsory registration of deeds will still need to be handled by a lawyer. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, told MPs on Friday that other changes to the principal 2011 Act would remove the need to advertise registration before it can take place and to give the land registrar the power to appoint an external adjudicator. He said: “The amendments will smooth the transition to registering title to land and open the door to allow the public to register their property voluntarily.” Colonel Burch explained: “Under voluntary registration, the applicant already owns their property and the likelihood is that they have owned it for many years. To protect their property interests, it would be safer to keep it on the land title register. This amendment will also allow Bermudians who do not have the financial means to pay lawyers’ fees to register their properties, thus the benefits of land title registration will be enjoyed by all land owners.” He said repealing the need for public notices in the Official Gazette was because “stakeholders inform that the procedure does not work and could further delay the conveyancing process”. Trevor Moniz, Shadow Attorney-General, said the moves gave less protection to a genuine owner if title deeds are falsely registered by someone else. He added: “What was required initially was that there would be a notice posted so that when you first register a piece of property, a notice is published, that notice will alert relatives of that person and neighbors of that person that something is being done with this piece of property and it may be that they have some real claim over the property, some interest in the property or a mortgage. None of these things are far-fetched, these are all things which I have seen in my time in the legal profession.” Michael Scott, Progressive Labour Party backbencher, supported the Bill. He said: “It’s an addition to what has been historically an honest transfer of land that is fairly routine.” Mr Scott added that the measures put forward were not new, having been used in the UK since 1925, and were drawn up to “remove the high cost of conveyancing, to have more open, blue skies accountability by just having an open register.” Colonel Burch also told the House: “I have been greatly encouraged by not only the competency of the registrar, who has been in this job for ten years and who has overseen the insertion into the land title registry of all of the Government’s estate. I’ve also been impressed by the recruitment of competent, committed, dedicated land title officers, four of them.” Colonel Burch said last month that property owners would “finally” be able to secure their real estate, and “the land that they worked so hard to obtain, their piece of the rock that they want their children and grandchildren to inherit and maintain after they are gone, their legacy, will for ever be safe”. He added: “It is unconscionable to this government that land owners would have to pay lawyers’ fees for this service, so we will amend the Act to remove the requirement for a lawyer to examine the deeds.”
Animals will have greater protection from cruelty after legislators gave the go-ahead for animal welfare officers to enter and inspect places where they are kept. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, told the House of Assembly that a law change means animals can be seized and housed safely while investigations are carried out. The Care and Protection of Animals Amendment Act 2018 came in the wake of recent legislation to safeguard the welfare of dogs. Mr Brown said those measures should be extended to “all domestic animals”. Mr Brown told MPs on Friday: “This amendment will empower officers to seize animals, enter and inspect premises in relation to a suspicion of cruelty. This Bill affords immediate protection to animals found to be suffering cruelty.” Mr Brown highlighted the five freedoms of animal welfare, which are freedom from hunger or thirst, discomfort, pain, injury or disease, as well as the freedom to express normal behavior and freedom from fear and distress. He added the five freedoms would be applied to all animal keepers including breeders, transporters, retailers, pet owners and marine mammal parks. Mr Brown said that “absolute attainment” of the five freedoms was unrealistic and the context in which an animal is being held must be taken into account. The House heard the Bill will strengthen the Care and Protection of Animals Act 1975 to benefit all animals “under the care of an individual”. Mr Brown said there were other parts of that legislation that needed attention and that further amendments were expected to follow. Cole Simons, of the One Bermuda Alliance, said he supported the legislation, but urged the Government to carry out a “wholesale review” of the 1975 Act to bring it up-to-date. He also asked the minister to consider the introduction of a specialist vet for cattle on the island. Mr Simons said: “The challenge we have had in the past is that we have a dairy industry but we don’t have a robust veterinary team that will address the dairy industry.” He added: “It’s important that we have a proper bovine vet either in the private sector or on staff at the ministry to support that industry.” The OBA member also suggested the introduction of an animal abuse register that would list people who have breached the law or treat animals poorly. He argued that when animals are imported or sold, this would enable checks to be made to ensure they are being handed over to someone who is “responsible and will look out for the welfare of the animal and adhere to animal protection legislation”. Mr Brown said that careful consideration would be given to the possibility of a bovine vet as well as updating other parts of the Care and Protection of Animals legislation.
The Department of Corrections is to begin an internal security review of prisons, Wayne Caines told MPs in the House of Assembly last Friday. Mr Caines, the Minister of National Security, said he would also meet representatives of the Prison Officers Association over the organization's concerns about the review. He was speaking after an attempted escape at Westgate Correctional Facility this month. ZBM news also reported four inmates were arrested after an alleged bid to smuggle contraband into the prison. Timothy Seon, the POA president, has said safety at the prison has also been undermined by staff shortages and budget cuts to programmes. Mr Caines said: “Despite challenges faced by the department, it strives to maintain high standards of security as this is essential to the safe operation of any corrections regime. The department will begin an internal security review aimed at identifying any areas of weakness and strengthening current security procedures and protocols. It should be noted that our statistics record only one escape from Westgate Correctional Facility since its opening 24 years ago in 1994. Additionally, in comparison to other jurisdictions, the number of major incidents such as riots and deaths in custody is considerably lower.” Mr Caines added: “The Acting Commissioner of Corrections and the Senior Management Team take security and safety of staff seriously and have a no-tolerance approach to threats to security. In light of this, a security plan with stringent measures is in place to manage and mitigate the inherent risks that are associated with Corrections. The management and staff remain committed to meeting their objectives of rehabilitation, while ensuring the safety and security of the island’s correctional facilities. On Monday coming, I will be meeting with the Prison Officers Association to advance discussions surrounding their recent concerns.” Mr Caines added that 15 new recruits began training on July 2 and are expected to take part in a passing out parade on September 11.
A Bermudian businessman has been accused in a $135 million fraud claim in the United States. Great Western Insurance Company, based in Utah, has launched allegations against seven insurers and investment funds in Manhattan federal court last week. Gregory Tolaram, from Bermuda, is listed as one of the defendants alongside parties from the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, the United States and Canada. The complaint said: “This is an action for damages stemming from systematic breaches of fiduciary duty, fraud and other misconduct resulting in losses to Great Western that are in excess of $135 million.” Mr Tolaram, a 54-year-old father-of-one from Paget, is the managing director of Mercury Group Ltd, Hamilton, which provides specialized management and administrative support to its family office and corporate clientele. He has held a number of roles in Bermuda, including co-owner of the Louis Vuitton store, director of Atlantic Luggage Co Ltd, managing director of Hamilton Capital Ltd, and director and vice-president at Solar Enterprises Limited. He is also on the board of trustees at Saltus Grammar School. Offshore Alert, an online newsletter about the offshore financial world, outlined the documents filed with the Manhattan court. The site said Great Western deposited $152 million into a trust account in return for reinsurance, at first provided by Ability Reinsurance (Bermuda) Limited and later Cayman-based Alpha Re. Great Western said it “does not know the whereabouts” of more than $135 million of the money that should be in the trust account. It accused the defendants of providing false accounting statements to hide “misconduct, breaches of fiduciary duty and fraudulent activity”. Alpha Re was formed in Cayman in 2011 and its website lists Mr Tolaram as one of its directors, along with Edward Lynch, of the Bahamas. The Alpha Re page said: “Mr Tolaram is managing director of Mercury Group Limited, based in Hamilton, Bermuda since 1996. “Mercury Group is a management company which provides corporate and specialized support to its funds and family office clientele.” Offshore Alert reported that Alpha Re went into voluntary liquidation in January after the federal court in Manhattan upheld a $127 million arbitration award Great Western obtained in New York. Saltus Grammar School’s website said: “Gregory Tolaram has been involved in the financial services industry for over 25 years and in the private equity industry since 1986. Gregory’s passion is design and building and during his long career in finance, he and his counterparts sponsored and developed several commercial and residential projects in London and Europe. Gregory is married to Molly and they have one young son. They support a number of charities and travel often to see contemporary art and design exhibitions.” The other defendants in the case are Mr Lynch, Alpha Re Limited, Alpha Re Holdings (Cayman) Limited, Atlantic Specialty Finance, Blue Elite Fund LP, Blue Elite Fund Ltd, Blue II Ltd, and Sancus Capital Blue Credit Opportunities Fund Ltd, all of the Cayman Islands, Also included were John Drake, of Ontario, Canada, Mark Graham, Donald Solow, Ability Insurance Company, Blue Alternative Asset Management LLC, Blue Capital Management Inc, Christiana Trust, Cygnet 001 Master Trust, Cygnet 001 Master Trust Series 2011-A, Cygnet 001 Master Trust Series 2011-C, Cygnet 001 Master Trust Series 2013-A, Regatta Holdings LLC, and Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, all of the United States.
A team of 37 students has begun summer employment within the various sections of the Ministry of Public Works. The high school and college students were recruited through the Government’s summer employment programme, a joint effort by the Department of Workforce Development and Community Development. They were welcomed last week by Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, who discussed opportunities for career development within the students’ fields of interest. Students will take up work in sections including Estates, Works and Engineering, Parks, the Bermuda Housing Corporation and the West End Development Corporation. Colonel Burch told them the ministry was keen to help them reach their full potential, and would offer the chance to showcase their talents.
A total of 23 new soldiers passed out of the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s first summer recruit camp last Friday. The soldiers were cheered on by friends and family as they marched on to Warwick Camp’s parade ground to be presented with their rank badges — and prizes for the outstanding recruits and instructors. Private Carl Simmons-Albuoy, 22, from Warwick was stunned when he was told he had won the medal for top recruit. The chef at Flanagan’s Irish bar in Hamilton said: “I was kind of aiming for it. It was a tough competition and I’m excited and ecstatic to win, but I know I will be held to a very high standard when I come back in September.” Private Simmons-Albuoy added that he had tried to do his best and encouraged other members of his section to do the same. He said: “All round, I’ve been trying to keep the camaraderie up and push everybody to do their best.” Private Simmons-Albuoy added he was keen to apply to join Boat Troop or “work my way up the ranks to Drill Sergeant”. He said: “Drill was one of my favourite parts and the highlight of the camp for me.” Sergeant Kenton Trott, platoon sergeant for the recruits, added new and streamlined instruction techniques had paid off. Sergeant Trott, 24, seconded from his job as full-time diplomatic driver for John Rankin, the Governor, said: “We will make it to where the Regiment and its role is perfected so we can better serve the country. I’m looking forward to that and being a part of it.” Private Stevontae Somersall, 24, from Pembroke, added: “I feel great. I hope everything I’ve gained out of here continues.” Private Norman Sharp of Southampton, originally from Kenya, said he was looking forward to getting home. He added: “There are mixed feelings because we’ve all become very close over these two weeks. Everybody has 22 more friends than they had and there’s also the officers, Corporals and all the trainers — and the chefs. In fact, the chefs are the best.” The 40-year-old software engineer said: “It’s brought out my potential. I never knew I could do all these push-ups, sit-ups and running. I’m still shocked at myself.” Lance Corporal Vaughan Smith, 22, a construction worker from Warwick, picked up the award for best section commander. He said: “It’s not something you can put down to an individual — once you get everyone working as a unit and working to each others’ strengths, everything becomes easy. I’m proud of my babies.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the RBR commanding officer, said the modern RBR was developing and that the training methods had been adapted to give “more time to undergo less training in order to attain a higher standard.” He added: “With the support of the Ministry of National Security and Government House, the next 12 months will see big changes. A restructure will be undertaken this fall to maximize operational effect in the areas of assisting the civil authority, disaster response and in the maritime domain. We will work even more closely with our partners in Bermuda and overseas and we will increase our investment in the training and education for our soldiers. This recruit class plus all ranks of men and women of the Regiment, and the people of Bermuda, will be the beneficiaries of these changes. As they serve in our Regiment, we demand the best of them and they have been challenged to uphold our values of selfless commitment, discipline, courage, integrity, loyalty and respect for others. It is these values that they will need to fall back on when the times get tough and they are forced to make difficult decisions.” Ginny Ferson, the Acting Governor, told the troops they should be proud of their efforts over “two weeks of grueling, hard work and activities”. She added the recruits had accepted “a major challenge”. Ms Ferson said: “I hope what you have found going through that two weeks is that you have grown and developed as individuals. You have learnt to work as a team and begun to learn about leadership skills. These are very important things, here in Warwick Camp but also in life generally.” Wayne Caines, the national security minister and a former RBR officer, added he had been asked on an overseas trip what was best about Bermuda. He said: “I’m reminded this afternoon what makes Bermuda great, what makes this country great are the men and women in front of us, men and women who have volunteered, men and women who have sacrificed to make this country great.”
A teenage woman died in the early hours of yesterday after a motorbike crash. The 18-year-old was on North Shore Road in Hamilton Parish when the smash happened at around 3.30am. A police spokesman said it appeared that the woman was “travelling east on North Shore Road when she lost control of her motorcycle and crashed”. He added: “The woman was rushed to the hospital via ambulance where she later was pronounced dead.” He said further information would not be released until next of kin were informed.
Bermuda’s French community celebrated as their team claimed the World Cup trophy yesterday. Dozens of supporters packed the Boundary Sports Bar at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel and waved French flags as France secured a 4-2 win against Croatia. Among the cheers were the sound of a bugle, played by Marc Morabito, the president of L’Alliance Française. Mr Morabito said the original World Cup, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was French. He added: “We’re all very happy that the trophy is coming home. I had some doubts in the first half, but the French played well and came into their own in the second half.” Serge Leibowitch, who wore an afro-wig with the blue, white and red stripes of the French flag, said he was proud to see France take the trophy. Mr Leibowitch said: “It means we are the best in the world for the next four years. We weren’t doing very well in the first half, but I think that was part of the plan. They wanted Croatia to come to us.” He added: “It’s great to see all of the Frenchmen in Bermuda come together and winning It feels amazing.” Nicole Haziza, honorary French Consul to Bermuda, said it was a wonderful day to represent France. She said: “It’s a very proud day, and I’m happy to be able to come out with all of the Bermudian French. I think we are all just filled with joy. With this coming so soon after Bastille Day on Saturday, this is just a wonderful weekend for us.” Marie Berengere Chapoton, hotel manager at Fairmont Southampton, said she was thrilled to have the Boundary Sports Bar become the home of French supporters during the World Cup. She said: “The World Cup is something that brings everyone together. Four years ago I was living and working in Brazil, so I have seen how important the World Cup is, wherever you are from.”
A teenager was killed this morning when she crashed her motorbike. The young woman was on North Shore Road in Hamilton parish when the smash happened around 3.30am. A police spokesman said: “It appears that an 18-year-old woman was traveling east on North Shore Road when she lost control of her motorcycle and crashed. “The woman was rushed to the hospital via ambulance where she later was pronounced dead.” He said further information would not be released until next of kin had been informed
Lawmakers have approved changes to legal aid legislation that should result in savings for the Government. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, told MPs yesterday that the amendments would increase the focus on in-house counsel to reduce costs. She said the Legal Aid Department had been difficult to budget because it was hard to predict how many cases it would need to handle in a given year. Ms Wilson said the Legal Aid Amendment Act 2018 would allow three new full-time staff members to be hired, including a senior counsel, a junior counsel and a paralegal. The posts would cost a total of $319,780 a year but would also reduce the department’s reliance on external lawyers. Trevor Moniz, Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, raised concerns about how the move could affect Bermuda’s already-small defence Bar. He supported the legislation but said he was concerned about the long-term effect of growing the Civil Service. OBA MP Scott Pearman hoped the amendment did not mark a move to a “public defender” system. He said such a system — in which the Government pays for both the prosecutor and the defence lawyer — has come under fire in other areas as a “second- rate” justice system. Mr Pearman said: “I hope that this is not a slippery slope to an office of public defender.” Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, said the amendment struck the right balance between the protection of rights and fiscal prudence. Michael Scott, PLP backbencher, said more needed to be done to fix the “overly punitive” legal system which has jailed a disproportionate number of black males. He continued: “It is a fit-for-purpose Bill and it is commendable that we’ve come to a solution that has moved beyond this question of ever-ballooning legal aid budgets as a consequence of crime spiraling out of control and gun murders that left us facing $5 million of legal-aid kinds of requirements.” Mr Scott added: “Being tough on crime, being tough on the causes of crime would be a good policy, because if we address the causes of crime we’re going to materially address the number of accused that end up in front of a jury and a judge in our system.” He supported the Bill, which he said was “an important, accurate, practical and just” step. Ms Wilson added there would still be “quite a substantial amount of work being distributed to the outside Bar” due to factors such as trials with multiple defendants and issues surrounding possible conflict of interest.
Bermuda’s legal community came together to thank outgoing Chief Justice Ian Kawaley at a special sitting of the Supreme Court. Larry Mussenden, director of Public Prosecutions, said that Mr Justice Kawaley had provided “stellar service”. He added: “We will be for ever grateful for your service as counsel, judge, and Chief Justice.” Karen Williams-Smith, president of the Bermuda Bar Association, said: “In your six short years on the bench as Chief Justice, we have seen sound judgments, fair hearings of extreme research and preparation by you on each case by attorneys that appeared before you.” Ms Williams-Smith added: “We have been comforted by the judiciary and our legal system and its progression, all while you were at the helm.” Victoria Pearman, Bermuda’s Ombudsman, said that Mr Justice Kawaley had “pressed us to improve our standards”. Ms Pearman added: “You pushed us to want to do things better. You have encouraged us to lead the way to receive the rigor of international standards without losing ourselves.” Lawyer Saul Froomkin said the ceremony marked both a “sad and a special day”. Mr Froomkin explained: “Sad because we are losing you — your wisdom, your experience, your kindness.” Mark Diel said that Mr Justice Kawaley had “infected the bench with positive qualities”. Mr Diel added: “There is no question you are leaving the jurisdiction of this island better than you found it.” Charles Richardson, another lawyer, thanked Mr Justice Kawaley for helping him find his path in law as a “desperate” young man at Westgate in 1995. Mr Richardson said: “The world wouldn’t have heard of Charles Richardson if it wasn’t for you.” He said that Mr Justice Kawaley should be remembered as a public servant “who rolled up his sleeves to touch people’s lives”. Mr Justice Kawaley replaced Sir Richard Ground as chief justice in April 2012. In his time as the island’s top Supreme Court judge, he made several groundbreaking rulings. A judgment in 2012 upheld the rights of parents to have a say on teacher transfer in the education system. In 2014, a decision by Mr Justice Kawaley paved the way for some Permanent Resident’s Certificate holders to gain status. Last month, he upheld a constitutional challenge against the Domestic Partnership Act, delivering a judgment that declared invalid the parts of the legislation which revoked marriage equality. Mr Justice Kawaley was called to the Bermuda Bar in 1980. He divided his time in the early part of his career between Bermuda, the Seychelles and London. Narinder Hargun, the new Chief Justice, will be sworn in at a ceremony at Government House on Monday.
A total of 23 new soldiers today (FRI) passed out of the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s first summer recruit camp. The soldiers were cheered on by friends and family as they marched on to Warwick Camp’s parade ground to be presented with their rank badges – and prizes for the outstanding recruits and instructors. Private Carl Simmons-Albuoy, 22, from Warwick was stunned when he was told had won the medal for top recruit. But the chef at Flanagan’s Irish bar in Hamilton said: “I was kind of aiming for it. It was a tough competition and I’m excited and ecstatic to win. But I know I will be held to a very high standard when I come back in September.” Private Simmons-Albuoy added that he had tried to his best – and encouraged other members of his section to do the same. He said: “All round, I’ve been trying to keep the camaraderie up and push everybody to do their best.” He was keen to apply to join Boat Troop or “work my way up the ranks to Drill Sergeant. Drill was one of my favourite parts and the highlight of the camp for me.” Sergeant Kenton Trott, platoon sergeant for the recruits, added new and streamlined instruction techniques had paid off. He explained the schedule had been changed to allow more time for core military skills to make best use of the time. Sergeant Trott, 24, seconded from his job as full-time diplomatic driver for John Rankin, the Governor, said: “We will perfect it to where the Regiment and its role is perfected so we can better serve the country. I’m looking forward to that – and being a part of it.” Private Stevontae Somersall, 24, from Pembroke, added: “I feel great – I feel an improvement. I just hope everything I’ve gained out of here continues.” Private Norman Sharp of Southampton, originally from Kenya, said he was looking forward to getting home. But he added: “There are mixed feelings because we’ve all become very close over these two weeks. Everybody has 22 more friends than they had and there’s also the officers, Corporals and all the trainers – and the chefs. In fact, the chefs are the best.” The 40-year-old software engineer said: “It’s brought out my potential – I never knew I could do all these push-ups, sit-ups and running. I’m still shocked at myself.” Lance Corporal Vaughan Smith, 22, a construction worker from Warwick, picked up the award for best section commander. But he said: “It’s not something you can put down to an individual – once you get everyone working as a unit, working to each others’ strengths, everything becomes easy. I’m proud of my babies.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the RBR commanding officer, said the modern RBR was developing and that the training methods had been adapted to give “more time undergo less training in order to attain a higher standard.” He added: “With the support of the Ministry of National Security and Government House, the next 12 months will see big changes. A restructure will be undertaken this fall to maximize operational effect in the areas of assisting the civil authority, disaster response and in the maritime domain. We will work even more closely with our partners in Bermuda and overseas and we will increase our investment in the training and education for our soldiers. This recruit class plus all ranks of the men and women of the Regiment – and the people of Bermuda – will be the beneficiaries of these changes. As they serve in our Regiment we demand the best of them and they have been challenged to uphold our values of selfless commitment, discipline, courage, integrity, loyalty and respect for others. It is these values that they will need to fall back on when the times get tough and they are forced to make difficult decisions.” Acting Governor Ginny Ferson told the troops they should be proud of their efforts over “two weeks of grueling, hard work and activities.” She added the recruits had accepted “a major challenge. I hope what you have found going through that two weeks is that you have grown – grown and developed as individuals. You have learned to work as a team and begun to learn about leadership skills. These are very important things, here in Warwick Camp but also in life generally.” Wayne Caines, the national security minister and a former RBR officer, added he had been asked on an overseas trip what was best about Bermuda. He said: “I’m reminded this afternoon what makes Bermuda great, what makes this country great are the men and women in front of us, men and women who have volunteered, men and women who have sacrificed to make this country great.”
A game designer has set out to make a new adventure game based on the story of the man who claimed Bermuda for Britain. Adrian Lodge, of Bermuda Island Games, hopes The Legend of Sir George Somers will introduce more people to the story of Bermuda, and give young Bermudians a taste for video game design. Mr Lodge said: “There are a lot of kids who have gone through coding camps, but what I have found is that while they have gone through that walk-through, they don’t get that sense of achievement. They don’t get that experience of starting a game from scratch and not knowing what’s going to happen or where it’s going to go. This is about putting together a real build of a game.” Mr Lodge, who previously developed the Hidden Gems of Bermuda tourism app, was an avid gamer growing up on the island. He said: “I had a computer since I was 5, so I have always loved playing games. Growing up here in Bermuda, we never had any kind of coding class, so I really didn’t get into programming until I got to Bermuda College, where I started doing website development.” He added: “There’s not really a game industry here yet. It doesn’t exist, so there’s no real representation of Bermuda from a digital standpoint. I have been working on mobile apps, and Bermuda isn’t really represented in apps either. There are some apps for local services, but there’s nothing that really promotes Bermuda that you can sell on the app store.” Mr Lodge said when he launched Bermuda Island Games, he had planned for The Legend of Sir George Somers to be his lead project, but he put it on the back burner when working on Hidden Gems. He hopes to recruit up to five young Bermudians to help develop the game. Mr Lodge said: “The game itself starts off with you as Sir George Somers, and it’s designed to teach you the skills he needed to be an admiral, like how to sail and how to navigate. Obviously you are going to learn about Bermuda’s history as you go. It is a point-and-click adventure game with lots of dialogue to help people get more familiar with the characters they may not really know from Bermudian history.” Mr Lodge has started fundraising for the project and already has some sponsorship as well as a GoFundMe page. He added: “It is stressful, particularly to get the funds for this kind of initiative. If I was game designing for a hobby it would take longer, but I wouldn’t be as stressed.” Once Mr Lodge has secured financial backing he hopes to have a playable “first draft” completed within six months. He said: “From there, we will want to get a couple of friendly players outside of the team to test it out and get feedback. After that, we will have the actual release.” Sir George Somers was on his way from England to Virginia when his Sea Venture was wrecked off Bermuda in 1609 — the start of the permanent settlement of the islands.
Student interns are gaining work experience this summer thanks to a local programme. The Ascendant Group Ltd’s Summer Student Programme will place 15 pupils in positions at the company. The students taking part in the summer scheme are Ellington Elrico Weldon, Chanah Bremar, Charnae Richardson, Tiffany Bean, Azra Smith, Anthony Bailey, Eric Desilva, Cameron Lee-Ming, Taye Thompson, Zuhri Burgess, V. Santee Symonds-Dill, Jordon Lindsay, Sekai Wainwright-Baisden, Daniel Pinto and Stephon Paynter. The students are placed in departments at Ascendant, Belco and Aircare. Mr Weldon, who is studying Mechanical Engineering Technology at the New England Institute of Technology, has taken part in the programme for multiple summers. He said the experience was not provided anywhere else in Bermuda. Mr Weldon added: “The skills that we learn while being here are essential for any job that we choose in the future.” Ms Smith, who recently completed her undergraduate studies in Architecture Design at Temple University, said the summer internship had been “superb” so far. She explained: “It’s a very welcoming environment with friendly employees. I definitely expect this internship to assist me in getting a job in the future as it helps me get more experience under my belt entering the workforce. For those still in university, it would help them improve their studies and techniques as well.” Sean Durfy, president and chief executive at Ascendant, said the company was “delighted” to have the 15 student interns join the team. Mr Durfy added: “Investing in Bermuda’s youth continues to be a critical component of our corporate citizenship. These carefully selected interns will be able to use the insights and skills acquired during their internships to supplement their formal education and to enhance their career prospects upon graduation.” Students apply for the internships in February, with returning students and recipients of BELCO scholarships and awards are given first preference. For more information about the programme e-mail email@example.com or visit www.belco.bm/careers/internships.
Two young people will sail round the island after they won scholarships for a summer voyage on sail-training ship Spirit of Bermuda. Massassi Smith and Quentin Vaucrosson were selected as this year’s recipients in awards made by the Bermuda International Shipping Association. Massassi is 14 years old. The Pembroke resident will be attending Saltus Grammar School this fall. Quentin is 13 years old. The Sandys resident will be attending The Berkeley Institute this fall. Both students were pleased to be given the opportunity to sail on board the training vessel and are looking forward to the experience. The scholarship will allow the pair to take part in the Youth Skiller Voyage, in which students circumnavigate the island and have an opportunity to develop their navigation, seamanship, teambuilding and leadership skills. A spokeswoman for Bisa said this was the second year of the scholarships and in keeping with the aims and objectives of the association, which are to assist students with an interest in sailing. Bisa offered two scholarships this year in partnership with Spirit of Bermuda operators the Bermuda Sloop Foundation. Branwen Smith-King, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, thanked Bisa for supporting the Spirit of Bermuda’s summer Skiller Voyage programme. She said: “Massassi and Quentin are very deserving of this scholarship, they both have demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities. This award will help them improve their sailing skills. The Sloop Foundation is committed to youth development in Bermuda through our middle-school and summer sail-training programmes. On behalf of our board of directors, staff and crew, many thanks to Bisa for their investment and commitment to Bermuda’s youth.”
A low pressure system left over from Hurricane Beryl could redevelop as a subtropical storm to the north of Bermuda, weather forecasters said today. But the Bermuda Weather Service added that the system would not pose any threat to the island. Beryl, the first hurricane of the season, which began at the start of June, was upgraded to a hurricane from a tropical storm just over a week ago and headed towards the Caribbean. But the storm collapsed before it made landfall.
Those seeking to conduct initial coin offerings in Bermuda will be required to provide information on everyone involved with their companies, David Burt said today. The Premier told the House of Assembly regulations would also specify they must give details on the product envisaged, the target market and the amount of money intended to be raised. Mr Burt said a host of Bills would be tabled before the summer break enhancing Bermuda’s laws against money laundering and terrorism. He said the island has “expeditiously” developed a regulatory environment to address the “legal ambiguity” facing the developing fintech industry. He told the House minimum required information, as outlined in the ICO Regulation, includes:
There will be seven AML-ATF Bills tabled for debate. Mr Burt said that the island had so far successfully met two key deadlines, on March 23 and May 25, in the ongoing assessment of its anti-laundering and antiterrorist financing regime.
Teachers accused of misconduct on the job have been paid to languish for months on leave and “go through stuff emotionally”, only for investigations to reveal no wrongdoing. Education minister Diallo Rabain revealed improvements to administrative leave yesterday in Parliament after MPs were told that 13 educators had been put on paid leave in 2017-18, at a cost of $250,000, with only one teacher dismissed. Mike Charles, general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, welcomed the policy changes. He said incidents of student complaints, some of which were believed to be “frivolous”, appeared to have risen. “That was one of the major issues of the last school year,” Mr Charles said. “I don’t know what took place to cause such a rash.” Mr Rabain said in the House that any educators cited in a referral were required to take administrative leave while inquiries were conducted. But the protocols had been deemed “not adequate”, with a need to cut down on “the amount of time that educators are out of the classroom”. Meanwhile, the BUT head cited the example of four staff at Dellwood Middle School, including the principal, who were put on leave this year for investigation and ultimately cleared. Mr Charles told The Royal Gazette: “There are teachers who go through stuff emotionally because of this.” He added: “It’s what individuals go through while waiting. I know of one teacher who didn’t even want to go to the grocery store in case he would see kids from the school. He just didn’t want to exacerbate the situation.” Mr Charles said cases appeared to have escalated where “students say to one another that I can get so-and-so fired. All a student has to say is a ‘you touched me, or you hit me’. Once the allegation is made, there is a process that has to take place.” Mr Rabain said a committee was updating the policy and new guidelines would be given to staff from all schools at the start of the next school year in September. Under the old policy, educators had to stay at home while on leave but revised procedures will allow teachers to report to their department and be assigned tasks to “support their students and their respective school”. Mr Rabain revealed the details in response to questions from Cole Simons, the shadow minister. The minister told MPs that $247,563 of public money was paid to educators on administrative leave in 2017-18. One teacher was fired after allegations of inappropriate discipline — but the remaining 12 returned to school at the end of their imposed leave. Of those, seven had faced accusations of physical abuse, four of emotional abuse, and one of verbal abuse. Mr Simons asked how teachers guilty of “no malfeasance whatsoever” could wait as long as eight or nine months to be cleared. Mr Charles said that the Department of Child and Family Services was required to conduct immediate and time-consuming investigations into any allegations against teachers. “They are dealing with the entire island,” Mr Charles said. “They have to find the students and talk to them, and get permission from parents — it must take some time, especially when they have other clients. We don’t want there to be abuse. But by the same token, if every frivolous complaint means that a teacher is out for five or six weeks, it doesn’t do any good to the students or the teachers who feel looked upon as being terminated. It could be a case of a tap on the shoulder and a student decides ‘you hit me’. On the other hand, and teachers have complained, if the complaint is frivolous, nothing happens.”
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said he would investigate “all sorts of questions” arising from the Westover Farm saga. The public works minister confirmed yesterday that the notice to quit the Sandys farm had been cancelled after he talked with tenants Richard Bascome Jr and his son, also Richard. The family had faced an uncertain future after they were told the Bermuda Government would take back the land on December 1, because their agreement on the farm had run out 17 months previously. Colonel Burch told the House yesterday: “So it was earlier this year that I learnt of a Bermudian farmer whose lease had expired prior to the General Election in 2017. Ministers would not naturally know about this lease, or any lease, until they are presented for signature because leases come under the remit of the Estates Department. The fact that the Bascome family were only told in May of this year that their lease had expired 17 months ago and they were then given six months, from June 1, 2018, to leave — raises all sorts of questions. It would be appropriate for me to investigate why the Bascome family were not told much earlier that their lease would be up in 2017 and it would also be appropriate for me to find out why they were being given a date to relocate.” Colonel Burch pointed to the role of senior civil servants when a new government takes over. He said: “The Civil Service has an important role in readying themselves for a change whenever a General Election takes place. Usually the Secretary to the Cabinet prepares two dossiers, explaining how they will accommodate each party’s agenda. Such preparation would allow a new government, if there was a change, to be presented with a full outline of government projects currently under way and of those still awaiting decision in each particular ministry. This would enable a new minister to determine how his or her ministry could accommodate the newly elected government’s agenda.” Colonel Burch said of his meeting with the Bascome brothers: “We discussed the potential development of the 9 Beaches property next door and their farming plans for the future. We also discussed advances in farming technology to better manage the smell from cow manure and I offered and they accepted to meet with specialist technical officers in the ministry who have some expertise in waste management and disposal. That introduction has already occurred and a meeting is scheduled for this very afternoon. I indicated to them that this government would not displace them or cause their business to close and that I believed there was a way forward that required discussion with my Cabinet colleagues and that I would be in further communication following and we agreed to meet again. I am pleased to report that Government has taken the decision and instructed the Bermuda Land Development Company who have oversight of the 9 Beaches Property to inform, up front, to any potential developer that the farm will not be moved and its presence next door must be considered with any development. Yesterday, I informed Mr Bascome III that the notice to quit had been cancelled and arranged to meet next week to discuss the way forward.” Colonel Burch also refuted the Bermuda Farmers’ Association’s claim that all land leases for all government-owned farm lands had not been renewed for more than three years. He said 13 out of 45 leases appeared to be lapsed.
Thousands of people at home and abroad have been canvassed for thoughts on the future of Bermuda tourism. Tourism minister Jamahl Simmons told the House of Assembly the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism and the Bermuda Tourism Authority have been carrying out research as they develop the National Tourism Plan. Consultation has included:
Mr Simmons told the House: “The goal is to gather as much input as possible, from as many vantage points as possible, so that the end result is a National Tourism Plan that the whole country can get behind. This cannot be a plan crafted in an ivory tower, it must be crafted, collaboratively, with the people whose help is required to make it a success.”
A One Bermuda Alliance MP has claimed the “living wage” report being tabled in Parliament today is “fundamentally flawed”. Leah Scott, the Opposition’s deputy leader, said recommendations on a statutory living wage for Bermuda have been drawn up before full discussions with businesses have taken place. She was a member of a bipartisan Joint Select Committee — chaired by Rolfe Commissiong, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher — set up to explore whether or not such a measure would be effective. Ms Scott last night told how the JSC met statisticians and groups including faith-based organisations and charities. She continued: “Following the various consultations and presentations with those particular parties the report was prepared and set out suggested recommendations in respect of the establishment of a statutory minimum/living wage. The JSC, as a whole, agrees that Bermuda’s rising income inequality and stagnating standards of living must be addressed. However, the report is fundamentally flawed, as it is bringing forward recommendations before any proper discussions have taken place with all employers, particularly small and medium businesses, budding entrepreneurs and new start-ups.” The Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on the Establishment of a Living Wage in Bermuda is to be tabled in the House of Assembly today. Ms Scott pointed out that International Labour Organisation guidelines on minimum wage policy, which was a source document used to help compile the report, state all employers’ and workers’ organisations should be fully consulted before implementing any kind of wage regime. She continued: “We believe that all workers should receive a wage for a regular work week (before overtime) that allows him/her to afford a decent standard of living for themselves and for his or her family. Ultimately, though, it is the stakeholders, including the unions, who will be required to adjust the pay of workers found below the established living wage. It is the understanding of the JSC, that before any steps will be taken to implement any of the recommendations in the report, the Government will conduct industry-wide consultation across all employment sectors to thoroughly understand the full ramifications on the economy and job creators of implementing a minimum/living wage. It may be that following such consultation, some of the recommendations set out in the report may have to be adjusted, modified or even rejected.” She agreed with comments made by Mr Commissiong in The Royal Gazette yesterday that “we will get there” when it comes to economic equity. However, the process must be done right in order to achieve the end goal,” Ms Scott said. “Therefore, I urge the Government to commit to the community that they will carry out the much needed, broad consultation before even considering implementing any of the recommendations contained in the report.” Mr Commissiong earlier told The Royal Gazette that affirmative action-style policies would be backed by other “non race-specific” proposals, focusing on living wage, a reduction in the cost of living and tax reform. Last night, he declined to comment. In Senate on Wednesday, Jason Hayward, a Progressive Labour Party senator, said the living wage report would “fundamentally seek to improve the wages that many of our Bermudians are making”. He added that low-income earners would be ensured a “dignified wage so that they can maintain a decent quality of life in Bermuda”.
The Senate’s newest member used her maiden speech to question efforts to bridge the gap between “the two Bermudas”. Robyn Swan told members of the Upper House that she was “greatly concerned about the lack of social and economic empowerment” promised before last year’s General Election. Ms Swan, the One Bermuda Alliance replacement for Andrew Simons, said: “Our schools and many government facilities are still riddled with mould.” She added: “I acknowledge the efforts of our current government, but many of our people are still without employment. The cost of living in Bermuda is catastrophic, yet our current government has introduced two new taxes. Where do our seniors fit into this picture? Laws, policies and procedures for mental health are still left behind.” Ms Swan said that it was her “honest opinion” that there are more than two Bermudas. She explained: “I do understand in order to resolve an issue, one must quantify its existence — only then can a resolution be met with success. If the notion of two Bermudas is alive and well, then surely a vision uniting them must exist." She questioned whether there was a vision. Ms Swan said that both parties had to put differences aside and “forge a future together”. She added she was committed to upholding the ideals of the Constitution. Ms Swan said she would challenge injustices and any legislation “that might hinder the rights of my fellow Bermudians”. She also thanked Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, for her appointment and her fellow senators for welcoming her with “warmth and kindness”. Ms Swan was announced as Mr Simons’s replacement earlier this month.
Residents near Shelly Bay beach proposed for family-friendly improvements can still air their views on the plans, the tourism minister said yesterday.
Jamahl Simmons said yesterday a consultation process on the plan had not yet ended. He added: “This consultative process will only conclude after proposals surrounding potential offerings at Shelly Bay have been received and shared with stakeholders. “The Government is committed to stimulating the economy, enhancing opportunities for small business growth, and to creating new and innovative opportunities for entrepreneurs. As part of that commitment, in our 2017 platform we advocated for the creation of a beach economy that would enhance our tourism product and create opportunities for so many entrepreneurs long denied the opportunity to do for self.” Mr Simmons was speaking after the Bermuda Tourism Authority plan for Shelly Bay sparked controversy among some Hamilton Parish residents. Some in the area claimed the beach is too small for the BTA proposals, which could include bike or inflatable toy rentals and the sale of food and drinks. The BTA said recycled shipping containers could be used for temporary concessions and advertisements designed to attract people interested in the provision of services at the beach. Mr Simmons said: “Yet as we seek to create more opportunities for Bermudians, we are equally committed to protecting and sustaining our culture, our traditions and the positive aspects of our community that generations past built for today’s Bermuda. That’s why we have engaged in an extensive consultative process in reference to Shelly Bay and why we will continue to consult with the community. It is important that all views are heard, all views are respected and all views are considered. We encourage the community to express your views, share your ideas and offer solutions that are focused on the greater good.” LaVerne Furbert, who lives in the area, said yesterday: “I, along with others, have started a petition against the BTA’s plan to commercialize Shelly Bay Beach. In our opinion the beach is too small for any commercial activity. We are not opposed to something like a lunch wagon or food truck being in the area, but not on the beach. We would also like to see proper toilets available to beachgoers.” The BTA said that, although there had been some opposition to the proposals, others in the area were supportive and had even applied to deliver the proposed services. Glenn Jones, a BTA executive, wrote in an open letter: “Concessionaires lining up for the chance to offer their products and services are smartly gearing it towards children and families. The Bermuda Tourism Authority team has recommended concessionaires think about Popsicles, ice cream and snowballs. In other destinations we’ve seen children dazzled by tepees that double as small tents, sandcastle building activities and kayaks — safely miniaturized to work for adventurous little children. Meantime, on the programming side, we’ve seen interest from a variety of locals interested in providing family-friendly activities. A culinary expert wants to do a once monthly family fish fry. There’s a massage therapist who’d like to try a twice-weekly experience at the beach under a pop-up tent at dusk. A food truck operator who has been parked for more than a year without serving a single customer is optimistic about hitting the restart button at Shelly Bay.” In a list of frequently asked questions published on its website, the organisation said half of the applicants for approval to sell services at the beach were from Hamilton Parish. The site added: “Applicants are still making themselves known to the BTA, but of the submissions thus far, as of July 10, half of the applicants are from Hamilton Parish. While it has been reported that Hamilton Parish doesn’t want services at Shelly Bay, it seems residents neighboring the beach not only want these services but are raising their hands to provide them.” The website added: “Destroying the natural beauty of the beach or its family culture is not an option. It would ruin the opportunity. Therefore, the plan for Shelly Bay is to use modular containers that are 100 per cent non-permanent, temporary, removable. They provide sensible storage and can serve as an aesthetically pleasing storefront. The plan has received no objections from environmental lobby groups.”
The warmth of Bermuda’s people is “extraordinarily special”, the new United States Consul General said at the weekend. Constance Dierman said her work as a senior diplomat for the last 30 years had taken her to “wonderful” locations around the world. But she added: “The degree that almost every single person I have met has been so outgoing, so welcoming, it stands out. I think it says a lot about Bermuda as a country and its values. And certainly the reputation has been earned.” Ms Dierman arrived on island last month to take over as Consul General from Mary Elling Koenig — her first visit to the island. Ms Dierman said: “I had only heard about it and read about it. I never had the opportunity to come.” She said her experience so far “totally exceeds any expectations, and my expectations were high”. Ms Dierman served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State before she was appointed to the Bermuda post. She has served in a variety of diplomatic roles in several US outposts, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Australia and Switzerland. Ms Dierman said her approach to the job had always been the same. She explained: “Diplomacy is all about people, and how do we relate with people, how do we collaborate, how do we promote? That basic element stays the same regardless of the position.” Ms Dierman said the job of Consul General was to “foster and nourish” the relationship between Bermuda and the US. She added: “We have a unique and special relationship that has been in existence for 400 years. Throughout the centuries, Bermuda and the United States have had common interests that have really defined who we are as countries.” Ms Dierman said that she and David Burt, the Premier, had already had “introductory” talks. She added: “You always want to have that opportunity to get to know someone a little bit before sometimes you have the harder discussions.” Ms Dierman said that she and Mr Burt had discussed economic opportunities and youth development. She added: “I would very much like to be able to partner with the Government, non-governmental organisations, business leaders and others to look for ways to promote the next generation of Bermuda with opportunities that the US may be able to contribute to or partner in, such as our educational and cultural activities.” Ms Dierman said that, despite popular belief, there was no US “stop list”. She explained that like other jurisdictions, the United States has restrictions on visitors who have criminal convictions. Ms Dierman said: “What we advise individuals is to seek a waiver.” She said that a “large number” of waivers are recommended and approved. Ms Dierman added: “Obviously if there are convictions involving serious crimes or repetitive convictions, that can be different. The waiver process can take one to three months. That's something we would really like people to be aware of. There is that opportunity to make the process work, but they do have to plan and be prepared.” The Hamilton Parish resident said that she would attend events connected to the Cup Match long weekend. She added: “It’s been described to me with such passion that I have got to experience a bit of that.” Ms Dierman said she would use her diplomatic skills in any decision to support either St George’s or Somerset. She explained: “Maybe I could have one team one day and one team the other day.”
A One Bermuda Alliance senator was tight-lipped yesterday about the employment of a Democratic New York State Assemblyman as a public relations adviser. Justin Mathias, the new chairman of the OBA, refused to comment on the role of Michael Blake, a former aide in Barack Obama’s White House, with the party. Mr Mathias said: “We don’t discuss internal matters, especially consultancy agreements, as they are private and confidential.” Mr Blake’s Bermuda role was revealed in his financial disclosure to New York State, which sparked controversy over whether a state legislator should work for a foreign political party. Mr Mathias said: “Both parties hire a slew of consultants and it’s up for the individual consultant to find out if they have any conflict of interest.” Mr Blake reported in the mandatory disclosure that he was paid between $20,000 and $50,000 by the OBA in 2017. The 36-year-old, who is also vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, listed his position as “consultant” and job description as “communications strategy”. His 2016 disclosure also revealed similar work and payment from the OBA. Mr Blake did not respond to a request for comment. A source close to the OBA said that Mr Blake may have been hired through American political consultants Hilltop Public Solutions, who have worked for the party. The source added: “I think that’s how he came on board.” Hilltop’s website said it provided “business, non-profit and other entities the strategies and tactics it takes to win modern campaigns”. The company also did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. The source added that Mr Blake had visited Bermuda “occasionally”. The insider said: “He gave a couple of presentations to the whole parliamentary group. I think there were some that thought he was a good thing and others didn’t have much time for him.” The source said he did not know how much Mr Blake was paid. The insider added the use of consultants by political parties in Bermuda was common. The source said: “They always feel the need to get experts from overseas.” Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, a non-partisan public affairs watchdog, said Mr Blake’s appointment was “highly unusual, if not unprecedented.” He told The New York Daily News that it was not clear if his contract here was a conflict of interest for Mr Blake, adding: “Bermuda, as far as I know, does not have an aggressive legislative agenda in New York.” Mr Blake was criticized in 2015 for his acceptance of a job with Hilltop and later turned down the offer.
Students were honored last night at the annual Ministry of Education and Workforce Development Scholarships and Awards Reception. Education minister Diallo Rabain announced the winners in the House of Assembly today. They were:
Mr Rabain said: “I share the pride of the 46 recipients, their families, educators and other mentors, and would ask that Members of this House support me in congratulating them and wishing them future success as they further their studies.”
A jury will decide the fate of an American life coach accused of stealing $56,000 from an elderly Bermudian client today. Prosecutors told the Supreme Court Melissa Burton, 53, was a gold-digger who transferred thousands out of Katherine Trimingham’s bank accounts while she was on her death bed. Defence lawyer Mark Pettingill said there was no evidence Ms Burton had done anything that was not in Ms Trimingham’s best interests. Mr Pettingill said: “If she came back for one minute, could you be sure she would want to see Ms Burton sitting in the box for stealing her money and abusing her? It’s important that we drill down on that relationship and what it was.” Ms Burton, from Sag Harbour, Long Island, New York, was a life coach for Ms Trimingham, who died in December 2016 at the age of 72. The court had heard that in the days before and after her death, Ms Burton made a series of transfers from Ms Trimingham’s personal account into accounts she controlled. She denies five counts of theft and a single charge of financial exploitation of a senior. Ms Burton did not take the stand in her own defence and did not call any defence witnesses. Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court the Crown’s case was “clear, reliable and strong”. He said Ms Burton knew about Ms Trimingham’s 2014 will, which gave financial services firm Fiduciary Partners power of attorney for Ms Trimingham’s estate. Mr Mussenden added that Ms Burton knew that a “letter of wishes” produced by her a month after Ms Trimingham died was not enough to transfer power of attorney to her. He said: “What the defence is going to seek to persuade you is that Ms Burton was not acting dishonestly, that she was making these transfers she believed she had the authority to do so. We say no. Not at all.” He told the court the “letter of wishes” was one of several red herrings introduced by Ms Burton to confuse the case. Mr Mussenden similarly said there was no evidence of a handwritten will or an oral promise to grant Ms Burton additional powers, despite the defendant’s statement to police. The court heard Ms Burton told police Ms Trimingham’s housekeeper was a “gold-digger”, although the housekeeper did not benefit from any version of Ms Trimingham’s will. Mr Mussenden asked: “She gets nothing in the ‘letter of wishes’ and she was getting nothing in the will, so who is the gold-digger?” He added that Alan Dunch, a lawyer at MJM, had warned Ms Burton to “stay in her lane” and away from Ms Trimingham’s finances. He said the life coach still transferred thousands from the elderly woman’s accounts into her own. Mr Pettingill said the Crown’s case was a series of red herrings and there was no evidence to prove Ms Burton was dishonest. Mr Pettingill said it was unclear who held power of attorney for Ms Trimingham and that even experienced lawyers like Mr Dunch had been confused. And he said there was nothing to suggest Ms Trimingham ever disapproved of how Ms Burton used her accounts. Mr Pettingill told the court Ms Trimingham was closer to Ms Burton than anyone and had given her medical power of attorney in 2014. He added: “This is the lady she gave the power of life to.” Mr Pettingill said it was not unreasonable that Ms Trimingham would want to change her will to benefit Ms Burton, and it was not disputed that Ms Trimingham signed the “letter of wishes”. Mr Pettingill asked the jury what they would have done in similar circumstances. He said: “You had no children, you have stepsons who have nothing to do with you, you have a lawyer who didn’t make it to your funeral and wasn’t involved in your personal life on a day-to-day basis ... who would you want to leave it to?” Mr Pettingill added there was no evidence on what the money transferred from Ms Trimingham’s account had been used for, but WhatsApp messages from Ms Burton claimed she had paid for Ms Trimingham’s bills in advance for the next two months. He added: “There is nothing crystal clear about all of these issues.”
A plague of rats “as big as kittens” yesterday sparked a call for a return to twice-weekly trash collection at the West End. Janet Cann said, if once-a-week collection continued, residents in her area of Sound View Road in Sandys should stop putting out rubbish before the Monday pick-up day. Ms Cann said: “I can see families of rats about 70 feet from my house. There must have been about 20 of them the other day up by Heathcote Hill.” Ms Cann added that, despite reminders from Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, people had continued to put waste out in advance of trash truck visits. She said: “People are bringing their garbage down before Mondays and we get people who don’t even know the neighborhood dropping their trash here.” Ms Cann, who runs a daycare centre at her home, said problems with vermin started before the reduced collection schedule, which was adopted in February and confirmed for the rest of the year in June. Ms Cann added staff from the Department of Environmental Health had laid poison to control the rats since last year. She said: “Now it’s getting worse.” Ms Cann said that apart from live rats, which have attracted children, who throw rocks at them, rodents killed by poison created a smell. She emphasized no rats had come on to her property, where she runs a daycare centre. She added that she had started to keep the youngsters in her care indoors as a precaution. Ms Cann added: “They need to pick up more trash. They talk about keeping it this way until the end of the year, but imagine what the trash will be like over Cup Match.” She said: “I’m really looking out for the children with this — that’s my thing.”
The Bermuda Sloop Foundation was exceptionally touched by the generosity of the organisers and participants of the Bermuda Billfish Release Cup on July 10. For the last 8 years, the organisers of this event have donated at least $5,000 each year to BSF through the Adam Goodwin Mariner Mentor Scholarship fund which is designed to help young Bermudians advance their maritime career by furthering their education or experience. This year the BSF was incredibly humbled when the second and third placed teams of this years tournament; Team Uno Mas and Team Flyer donated their winnings to the foundation as well, for an additional $15,575, making the total donation to the BSF $20,575! Both team owners expressed how happy they were to support youth development programs in Bermuda. This money will go directly towards bursaries and scholarships of youth development voyages.
A 37-year-old Jamaican national appeared in court this morning accused of smuggling $647,000 worth of heroin into Bermuda. Omar Davy was charged in Magistrates’ Court with importing the drug and possessing it with the intent to supply. Mr Davy is alleged to have imported 220.88 grams of the drug at LF Wade International Airport on Tuesday. He did not have to enter a plea because the case must be heard in Supreme Court. He was remanded into custody for a further appearance next Monday.
A 17-year-old schoolgirl-turned businesswoman has launched a service to take the hard work out of clients’ lives. Paige Martin’s Life Assistance will take care of day-to-day drudgery like booking appointments, babysitters and dog-walkers, as well as grocery shopping, collecting dry cleaning and prescriptions. Life Assistance will also look after other administrative details, including summer camp registration for youngsters, organisation of schedules and party planning. Paige, said: “I’ve seen friends and family having to shift their schedules to fit in tasks such as their weekly grocery trip because they’re simply too busy to do that.” She added that she was “someone who is always willing to help people in any way” and was happy to turn it into a business. Paige, a Bermuda High School pupil, explained Life Assistance would help people delegate routine tasks, especially at busy times, to help simplify their lives. She said: “I want people to work less and enjoy the pleasure of their lives and Life Assistance is one way I can help them achieve this.” Paige, from Sandys, is enrolled in the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s summer student entrepreneurship programme, but said she had wanted to be an entrepreneur since primary school. She said: “Ever since I was 8 years old, my dad began telling me that the best way to earn a living was by working for yourself.” Paige was also inspired by watching her mother multitask and helped out by going to the store for family groceries. She decided to take the plunge with her own business after she had “a mini catharsis” when a teacher forwarded her a BEDC summer student entrepreneurship e-mail sent out to publicize the scheme. Paige said she looked at various business options before she drew up her plan. She added: “Life Assistance was my final decision because I know that people are constantly trying to meet deadlines.” Paige said she also planned to create a website with online information and a payment system, as well as introduce membership options and different packages for customers. Paige said the level of support provided was up to clients. She added: “It’s completely up to them, they can contact me and I’ll give them a quote regularly or weekly.” Paige said: “I’m at the early stages of launching this business and have tried to price my services so they are as affordable as possible. “I’m hoping that people will support this venture and if successful, the plan will be to continue running it in the future to help fill a void in the Bermuda market.” For more information, call 705-2565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
People will be able to apply for a new category of dwelling unit from Monday. The new units will have an assessment number but will be restricted from having a private car registered to the address. The change means homeowners with smaller properties will be able to get rental income, fulfilling a pledge from the Progressive Labour Party’s Throne Speech. Previously, there was no way to issue an assessment number to an address that would not automatically include the ability to register a car against the unit. That limited the creation of dwelling units to those properties that were able to provide the required car parking on their site. Home affairs minister Walton Brown said: “Many homeowners have space to create an additional unit, but are unable to create additional parking spaces. This provides a new opportunity for homeowners, who would otherwise not be able to build additional units because of parking constraints, to maximize their potential for rental income.”
Bermuda should tackle its domestic plastic problem before it imports the material to fuel the island’s waste-to-energy plant, a Shadow Minister said last night. Trevor Moniz, the One Bermuda Alliance spokesman on public works, said trash that blighted the country should be focused on before it was brought in from overseas. Mr Moniz was speaking after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, revealed last month that Government is examining the importation of plastic waste to burn in the Tynes Bay Incinerator. Colonel Burch added the move could generate revenue for the country as well as electricity. But Mr Moniz said: “Everyone sees the vast amount of plastic deposited under our hedges, on the Railway Trail and on our roads and sidewalks. Perhaps Government could focus on collecting that first? Generating more electricity is a good idea but we need to see more details of how Government plans to increase the number of streams from Tynes Bay. There are three streams from the incinerator to Belco but we have only usually used one. Are there plans to utilize another stream? We also need to know what the extra revenue the Minister talks about will be used for. Will it be used to pay off the horrendous debt that previous PLP Governments built up?” Mr Moniz pointed out that China, which recycled about half of the world’s plastic and paper waste, said last year it no longer wanted to be the “world’s garbage dump”. China imposed a ban on the importation of plastic and paper waste from January. Mr Moniz asked if Bermuda wanted to be “the world’s garbage dump” instead. He said: “I am not sure that is a good look for Bermuda. I am also unsure about potential public health risks of burning more plastic. Plastics matter cannot be destroyed, only changed in form, so where will the end product of burning plastic end up?” Colonel Burch also announced last month that five new trash trucks should be on the island by November and that “once a week garbage collection will continue until at least year end”. But Mr Moniz said: “We are now into the hot summer months and the peak of our tourism season. The health risks posed by trash left out at this time of year are far greater than over the winter.” In response, a ministry spokeswoman said Colonel Burch had “extensively” addressed the once-weekly collection schedule. She added: “In fact, the ministry notes that since the revised schedule was introduced, the ministry has seen a leveling off the amount of waste collected when compared with last year’s twice a week figures. One of the significant benefits of this new scheduling is the reliability factor and consistent collection of waste on the day scheduled. Concurrently the ministry points out that there has been a steady increase in those using the Tynes Bay public household waste drop off. In fact, the ministry announced just this week that Tynes Bay has extended its public drop off hours for household waste. Alternatively if members of the public do not wish to use the extended drop off hours, they are encouraged to store their trash in waste bins until their collection day. Of course, with the summer months upon us there is an increase in the amount of garbage produced, with a peak over the Cup Match weekend. The Minister confirmed that collection for those two days will occur on Saturday August 4. And following the holiday, on August 6, the Ministry reminds that there will be some minor adjustments to the collection schedule for some areas.” The collection adjustments were listed as:
A map of the new boundaries will be published to advise of the changes. The spokeswoman added: “As it relates to plastics, the ministry is seeking to put in place the best and most energy efficient practices. Plastic is considered an ideal fuel for Tynes Bay which turns waste into energy. The public can be assured that the Ministry of Public Works is committed to ensuring sustainable solutions aimed at preserving and protecting our community and our environment.”
The important role Bermuda plays in managing insurance and reinsurance risk globally was emphasized during a gathering of the island’s past and present insurance leaders. As the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) celebrated its 25th anniversary with an event at Rosewood Bermuda, it also looked forward to “the next leap forward in Bermuda’s risk management leadership”, said Kevin O’Donnell, Abir chairman. Mr O’Donnell, who is president and chief executive officer of RenaissanceRe Holdings, Ltd, added: “Bermuda reinvented the management of extreme event risk in liability and catastrophe markets. In the future, Abir companies will continue to innovate to benefit insurance consumers and communities around the world, supported by Bermuda’s sophisticated regulator scheme, robust yet nimble governance framework, and the critical mass of diverse talent we have built here over this quarter century.” John Huff, president and CEO of Abir, noted that Abir members and Bermuda broader insurance market has contributed more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in claim payments to US and EU consumers since 1998. He said: “Insurance consumers benefit globally by our risk spreading diversification that makes insurance markets more competitive.” Among the keynote speakers was David Burt, the Premier, who said: “Abir doesn’t just represent its companies’ interests in Bermuda, but it also represents their interests globally. So when Abir is representing its members’ interests in the US, the UK, or Europe, it is also representing Bermuda, because our interests are intertwined. The government has an excellent working relationship with Abir and we’ll continue to work with business leaders to make sure the Bermuda market remains the leading market for risk in the world.” Mr Burt also said that looking at the organization's first 25 years showed it has contributed to the island’s economy through employment, physical assets, taxes, philanthropy, education, scholarships and community work. “It’s clear the member companies of Abir have demonstrated their commitment to assisting in Bermuda’s development. Without a doubt, Abir companies are the cornerstone of Bermuda’s economy. It is the government’s hope that collaboration, that partnership, will continue for many years to come.” Fiona Luck, a former XL executive and currently a director on the Lloyd’s Franchise Board, said: “The formation of Abir was transformational for the industry here in Bermuda. It professionalised everything and everything it does in this community is of the highest quality. I don’t think we can underestimate how powerful that’s been for Bermuda.” Albert Benchimol, chairman of Axis Capital and chairman-elect of Abir, said: “It’s a time to feel good about what we in Bermuda have accomplished. When I say ‘we,’ I mean everybody here. I mean the government, the regulator, the industry, and the incredible talent in Bermuda that’s really helped us achieve this milestone. And we must carry it forward — we have to make sure we don’t sit on our laurels, that we’re not afraid to risk a little bit, and see what kind of new frontiers we can breach.” During the keynote sessions Mike Consedine, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, noted the value of bilateral regulatory agreements that ensure efficiency in regulation which spoke to the quality of the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s regulatory regime. David Altmaier, Florida insurance commissioner, spoke on the important role Bermuda’s reinsurance business plays in spreading Florida’s hurricane risk around the world, funding recovery from events like Hurricane Irma, and fostering reliability, affordability and accessibility coverage for Florida consumers and businesses. Meanwhile Julian Enoizi, CEO of the UK’s Pool Re, spoke about the necessity of public-private partnerships to insure against terrorism threats and boosting post event economic recovery. Sir John Swan, who was premier from 1985 to 1995, gave the closing remarks at the event. Sir John’s administration presided over the development of Bermuda’s commercial insurance and reinsurance sector and its second wave of consolidation in the 1990s.
The ruling Progressive Labour Party has discussed new policies to tackle the racial wealth gap, a government MP has revealed. The move came after Government passed procurement legislation to take race, gender and disability into account when allocating contracts. Rolfe Commissiong, a PLP backbencher, said: “Discussions are ongoing behind the scenes, but we’re not at a point yet where we’re ready to move to the action phase or operationalized that objective as we are with the procurement Bill.” Mr Commissiong said he hoped for a “two-pronged approach” to break down inequality, with the just passed procurement Act a first step. He said the second stage would tackle employment inequality and is being discussed at party and House of Assembly level. Mr Commissiong added he hoped legislation to tackle employment inequality will be implemented within a year. He said the employment equality policy was intended to replace the 2007 Workforce Equity Bill, designed to level the playing field between black people and white people. The Bill, drafted before the 2007 General Election but never brought to Parliament, planned to introduce fines of up to $50,000 for companies which blocked the progress of black Bermudians. But the Bill faced a backlash from employers, who warned it could harm international business and instead blamed the education system for the failure of black people to rise up the corporate ladder. Mr Commissiong said it was “allowed to die a slow death” because of the backlash. He added: “The Bill was made to ensure that black professionals were going to get the same opportunities to be hired, and if they were hired that they’re going to get the requisite benefits and pay as their white peers within their respective industry and corporate sectors. The latest proposals, Bermuda’s first affirmative action-style policies, would be backed by other “non race-specific” proposals. These will be centered on a living wage, a reduction in the cost of living and tax reform." Mr Commissiong said the proposals were being discussed by a variety of committees and a final report on a living wage was expected to be discussed by MPs before the House of Assembly summer break. He added that he hoped that, with the use of the procurement legislation, up to 50 per cent of annual spending will be directed to companies owned by black people or with a majority of black workers within a decade. Mr Commissiong said companies had to be given “all the tools that they will need to succeed, although ultimately their success or failure will be up to them”. He said the Government spent about $150 million on goods and services in Bermuda with around 85 per cent going to white-owned companies. Eva Hodgson, a veteran social activist, who has urged the PLP to enact affirmative action legislation, said recognition of the problem was welcome. But she added she had only “guarded optimism” due to slow progress in tackling inequality. Dr Hodgson said: “For somebody like me, I’d like to see all-out unabashed affirmative action all around, not just in procurement but also in workforce equity.” Renée Webb, a former PLP minister whose research on affirmative action in South Africa helped create Bermuda’s procurement office, added it was important to be quick and direct with equity policies. She said: “It is clear that the will is there to bridge the economic disparities, but the Government has to be clear about their policies instead of discussing them behind closed doors.” Mr Commissiong admitted the pace of legislation could be slow but pointed out the PLP administration had only been in power for a year. But he added: “We shouldn’t allow this to dissuade us from doing the right thing. I think we should demonstrate more clarity because all of the various research and statistics I think help us to make a powerful case on the necessity of these types of initiatives. I’ve always been impatient around these issues but I’m confident that we’ll get there. The reality is, as evidenced by the latest census data which is only from 2010 to 2016, we’ve seen the racial disparities widen in terms of income.” Mr Commissiong added: “If we’re going to create a healthier Bermuda then these policies are going to play a critical role in helping us achieve them. Again, the racial disparities are just so profoundly disillusioning and so profoundly disturbing that, unless we begin to be honest about the impact that it’s having, we’re not going to have the type of Bermuda we would like to see.”
The Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies awarded $230,000 in scholarship funding to ten students focused on careers in Bermuda’s insurance sector. This brings the total amount of funding that the foundation has awarded since the charity was founded 22 years ago to nearly $6.5 million. The total number of current BFIS scholars now at college is 31, which is a funding commitment of $480,000. BFIS has now assisted 189 students with scholarship funding and, with ten BFIS scholars graduating this year, 152 alumni are now employed in the insurance sector and related industries. The BFIS Scholarship Awards Reception, attended by over 80 guests including BFIS donors, trustees, committee members, mentors, alumni, the new awardees and their parents, was held at O’Hara House, courtesy of XL Catlin. Gail Martin, BFIS chairwoman, started the event by highlighting the reason BFIS was created, which was to provide financial support and guidance for Bermudian students so that they would have the opportunity to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to pursue an insurance-related career. She went on to thank the Scholarship Committee for their difficult task in selecting the recipients. Duranda Greene, chairwoman of the BFIS Scholarship Committee, in presenting the BFIS awards, said: “We received 75 applications of which 34 were freshmen, 18 sophomores, 20 juniors and three seniors and from those 27 students were interviewed. The standard was extremely high and the committee looks for students of outstanding ability, not only extremely sound academically, but also well rounded, excelling in their individual pastimes of sports, music and philanthropic endeavors. They need to be able to clearly articulate their interest in a career in the insurance sector so both the essay and the interview are extremely important to the review process.” BFIS Overseas Scholarships were awarded to: Grace Francoeur (finance, McGill, Canada), Ava Marshall (finance, Queen’s, Canada), Sydney Mason (politics and international relations, Southampton, UK), Malini Romeo (economics, British Columbia, Canada). This year there were six “named” awards from BFIS donor companies: the BFIS Argo Scholarship awarded to Somer Froud (IT management, West of England, UK); the BFIS Aspen Scholarship to Amon Wedderburn (insurance and risk management, St John’s, USA); the BFIS Axis Scholarship to Busayo Salawu (actuarial science, Southampton, UK); the BFIS MS Amlin Scholarships were awarded to Rajah Steede (insurance and risk management, Georgia State, US) and Miles Cave (actuarial science, Queen Mary, UK). The BFIS Alumni Association Scholarship, funded with money raised by BFIS Alumni mostly though their annual Denim Day, was awarded to Zya Fraser (finance, Georgia State). Closing speakers were Jonathan Allen, co-chairman of the BFIS Mentor Network Committee and BFIS Scholar 2000, who spoke about the work the committee does and how important it is for students to network at every opportunity. He also highlighted the opportunity students have to learn from their mentors — not only their career successes but also any missteps they made along the way. Meagan Stecko, BFIS Scholar 2016 and BFIS Bermuda Intern 2018, highlighted the importance of taking advantage of all BFIS has to offer in terms of support and programmes from networking to resume reviews and finding employment. She encouraged the new scholars to take full advantage of Cathy Lapsley and Jane Bielby at the BFIS office, who are available for advice and assistance. BFIS president Stephen Jones congratulated the new scholars and thanked Cathy Lapsley, BFIS executive director, and Jane Bielby, BFIS administrator, for their continuing hard work, professionalism and dedication in the running of BFIS and all its programmes.
Bermuda’s medical expertise has been boosted, courtesy of nine scholarships. This year’s grants came from the Bermuda Hospitals Board with funding from the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Trust, with a GlaxoSmithKline scholarship that BHB administers. The announcement came as BHCT and BHB declared a second $350,000 donation to support scholarships and staff training. The trust’s similar donation last year enabled BHB to unroll new awards for mental health nursing, finance and, in memory of BHB nurse, Dashunte Furbert, scholarships for students studying nursing at the Bermuda College. The remainder supported training for more than 140 BHB staff. Lisa Sheppard, executive director of BHCT, said the support for training and education was “an important area our donors have said they want to support”. The trust was thanked by BHB’s chief executive, Venetta Symonds, who called the scholarships and training “critical” as BHB works to improve services and facilities. This year’s scholarship recipients are:
A family who feared the closure of their farm after a lease on government land expired has been told there is no threat to it. Richard Bascome Jr and his son, also Richard, were warned in June by the Estates Department that their agreement on seven-acre Westover Farm in Sandys had run out 17 months earlier and were given notice to quit by December. But Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, last night explained that when he was “able to review the facts” and meet the family, he “found that there was no issue so significant to the Cabinet that his tenancy needed to be threatened”. He said: “Let me repeat what I have stated repeatedly over the past two weeks — the Westover Farm will not be closed down, suspended, or in any way interfered with. Mr Bascome Sr has been a welcomed, quality and reliable tenant on government land for decades and both the farm and Mr Bascome are a rightful source of pride for Somerset residents. In fact, Westover Farm’s sausages can be found gracing the menus of authentic restaurants throughout Bermuda that are committed to promoting Bermudian products.” The Sandys site has been run by the family for more than 50 years and supplies around a quarter of the island’s fresh milk. The younger Mr Bascome said after the shock news was delivered that the short notice to quit was “ludicrous”. He also pointed out that eviction meant an uncertain future for about 70 cows, 50 sheep and the farm’s poultry. But Colonel Burch said yesterday: “This government is determined to support and uplift black, small and medium-sized Bermuda businesses, not shut them down.” He added: “I am grateful to the civil servants who acted to ensure government assets were protected and I am equally appreciative of the tone and tenor of the Bascomes’s representation of their interests. I believe we have achieved a win/win for all parties and look forward to the presence of Westover Farm in the community for many further decades.” Last month, The Royal Gazette told how the Bascomes said representatives from the government’s estates division called at the Daniel’s Head farm to give them until December 1 to leave, but there had been “no dialogue” since. After the article was published, Colonel Burch insisted the Government was committed to helping more black businesses get off the ground. He added: “So there is no way we or I would participate in destroying one.” The family had leased the land since the 1960s but that expired in January 2017. They contacted Colonel Burch and he agreed to investigate but said: “Before I could do that, however, I received written communication that included their lawyer. It indicated that this required me to alert the Government’s lawyer — the Attorney-General.” The Bermuda Farmers Association added its voice to support the Westover farmers and Stephen Dunkley, the general manager of Dunkley’s Dairy, also watched developments with interest as the closure of Westover would “definitely impact our supply of milk if all of a sudden it disappears”. On Monday, Colonel Burch met members of the Bascome family and later described the meeting as “cordial, instructive and productive” with an agreement made to discuss the matter further. Neither Mr Bascome could be reached for comment.
Bermuda commemorates the centenary of the late Nelson Mandela’s birth with a host of community events next week. The South African activist and former president, who died in December 2013, would have turned 100 next Wednesday, the group Imagine Bermuda announced. A “Bermuda adventure” will set out from the Cenotaph on Front Street at 6.50pm with a 20-minute Hamilton walk that closes at the Harbour Nights festivities on Front Street. Short stories of significant local events will accompany the walk, which is to be followed on July 26 with a “community dialogue” at the Bermuda College library, from 6pm to 7pm, on the theme of heroism and vision — ending with a draw for a $100 prize to enjoy a “friends and family meal” at either Chopsticks or Rosa’s. The Front Street festivities on Wednesday will end with the singing of “Happy Birthday” in the style of the Stevie Wonder version, at 8.27pm — symbolizing Mandela’s 27 years in prison. Participants are encouraged to hold up their lit mobile phones to mark the occasion. The celebration will be a collaboration between the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, with the Chewstick Foundation and Walk Together Bermuda. Glenn Fubler, founder of Imagine Bermuda, said the events sprang from discussions on June 29 between 16 different stakeholders on practical ways to revitalize the community. Mr Fubler’s statement: “Bermuda Adventure is also promoting friends and families ‘kicking back’ to enjoy any reading of choice over the summer period. Residents are invited to set a goal of four or so books over this vacation time and encouraged to look for opportunities to have discussions on those books. This could be done along with the free opportunity being offered by the Adult and Youth Libraries. The Bookmart is also on board with a ‘special’ — 15 per cent off — for the initiative, and The Barn is receiving used books and will have special offers for buyers. Over the summer, families are encouraged to engage in ‘old school’ games; learn ten phrases in any foreign language and make a game of using their ‘other’ hand in some simple activities at home. There will be further communal activities in the Bermuda Adventure through to the end of August. Residents are asked to make note of a gathering at the Aquarium, early-evening, Monday, July 30th; all free of charge to friends and family. The stakeholders attending the collaborative session on 29/6/18 included the Adult Education School, the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo; the Bermuda Chess Association; the Bermuda Education Network, Bermuda National Library; Bermuda Sloop Foundation; Department of Workforce Development; Family Centre; Franklyn Covey Bermuda; Imagine Bermuda; MIRRORS; Raleigh Bermuda; the Reading Clinic; the St George’s Foundation, and Waterstart. Groups unable to attend, but who have subsequently joined the collaboration include the Department of Education and Kaleidoscope.”
Outgoing Chief Justice Ian Kawaley launched his newest book at a party to mark his retirement from the bench. Mr Justice Kawaley said he hoped the second edition of Offshore Commercial Law in Bermuda would continue to be a “useful resource” for new and experienced legal professionals. He also presented a copy of the book to the Bermuda Bar Association, which organized the event in advance of his official retirement tomorrow. Mr Justice Kawaley said: “Although Bermuda’s legal system is over 400 years old, all local practitioners obtain their formal legal qualifications overseas. I hope the second edition of this book will, like the first, be a useful resource for both experienced practitioners and young practitioners alike.” Mr Justice Kawaley said the book aimed to give “theoretical and practical insights into the main areas of international commercial law practiced in Bermuda”. He added: “I also hope the book will be of interest to overseas lawyers who interact with Bermuda and will, more broadly still, help to promote Bermuda as a legally sophisticated offshore jurisdiction. A copy of the book is being donated to the Bermuda Bar Council in the hope that it will in some small way assist their important continuing legal education programme.” Karen Skiffington, who edited the book, added: “I am honored once again to be selected as the editor of this fine work on Bermuda law. If I have helped in some small way to add to the body of law for Bermuda, I have achieved my purpose. Bermuda is an important, albeit small, jurisdiction in the area of commercial law and I know that Dr Kawaley’s books are anticipated and respected.” The book was published by Wildy Simmonds & Hill, one of the leading legal publishers in England. Mr Justice Kawaley is also the editor of Cross-Border Judicial Co-operation in Offshore Litigation and contributed to Cross-Frontier Insolvency of Insurance Companies. Mr Justice Kawaley has been chief justice of Bermuda and senior commercial judge for six years. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Bermuda in July 2003 and was a founding member of Bermuda’s Commercial Court when it was established in 2006. Mr Justice Kawaley was appointed as a part-time judge of the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands in April last year. He has also served short stints as an acting justice of appeal of the Court of Appeal for Bermuda and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. In October last year, Mr Justice Kawaley became an Overseas Master of the Bench of Middle Temple in London, one of the four Inns of Court and where he was Called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1978. He was Called to the Bermuda Bar two years later and worked as a government lawyer on the island and in the Seychelles. Mr Justice Kawaley has also worked as a criminal legal aid lawyer in Bermuda and London, and he was a commercial litigation lawyer on the island before becoming a judge. The celebration for Mr Justice Kawaley was held at Fourways Inn in Paget and guests included members of the legal profession and the bench. Karen Williams-Smith, president of the Bermuda Bar Association, said the event was held to recognize “the significant contributions made to our legal system and judiciary” by Mr Justice Kawaley.
The solar energy industry has seen a 70 per cent decrease in installations over the last year — a fall that supporters of renewables put down a slashing of the rate that Belco is required to pay to solar producers for what they supply to the grid.
In response, the Solar Energy Association has been formed to promote the case for producing more of the island’s electricity from sunshine. The SEA, which argues that plans for the future of Bermuda’s electricity supply are leading towards a long-term reliance on fossil fuels, will hold its first general meeting at St Paul’s Church Hall in Paget this evening at 6.30pm. The meeting is open to the public. In response to questions, the advocacy group said the timing of the launch of the SEA was in response to the Regulatory Authority reducing the amount power utility Belco has to pay for electricity purchased from solar producers by 61 per cent, from 44 cents per kilowatt hour to 17.36 cents/kWh. The reduction means existing solar photovoltaic customers have seen their expected payback period of between seven and ten years doubled, a scenario that has also deterred potential new customers. “Recent rafts of regulatory orders enacted by the recently formed Regulatory Authority of Bermuda have had a disastrous impact on the growth of residential solar installations in Bermuda such that there has been an almost 70 per cent reduction in the growth of new installations,” the SEA stated. “This, coupled with a utility energy plan that seems to be aggressively steering Bermuda towards a long-term reliance on traditional fossil fuels, and in particular LNG, to the detriment of growing our base of renewable energy generation. The trend in Bermuda, away from the growth of renewable energy, is in complete contrast to worldwide trends where renewable and in particular solar energy has seen rapid and continuous growth and deployment. It is essential to Bermuda’s long-term interests to have an organisation that recognizes the importance and necessity of developing an energy policy that is both sustainable and environmentally responsible rather than simply serving the protectionist and economic interests of a monopolistic utility framework that is not in step with modern trends in energy generation and deployment.” The SEA was set up with four main aims: to promote renewable energy as a cost-effective and clean energy option; to conduct research and lobby policymakers; to champion the use of renewable energy through advocacy and education; and to be a source of information, influence and interconnection for businesses involved in the industry. The SEA sees enormous untapped potential for the industry. “At present, the total deployment of solar PV in Bermuda, including the few commercial installations, represents only around 3 per cent to 4 per cent of our total peak demand, which by the standards of other developed and developing nations is minuscule, and by no means can it be regarded as a mature generation technology,” the SEA stated. “Despite this extremely low penetration, the future deployment is being regulated, via the latest Feed in Tariff, as if the total penetration was similar to nations where PV installations are widespread and offset a ‘significant’ portion of peak demand. For these reasons, there is huge potential for the future growth of solar energy in Bermuda, but that growth is totally dependent on a properly structured regulatory framework and clearly defined energy policy, neither of which currently exist.” The SEA has more than 100 signed-up members and this evening’s public meeting is a first step towards growing public participation. The SEA said it would follow up with a series of informational broadcasts to support the organization's objectives. Walter Roban, the regulatory affairs minister, last month signaled that the Bermuda Government intends to re-establish rebates for solar installations. The previous programme ended four years ago and Mr Roban said the new scheme would seek to provide the most support to lower-income homes, for energy efficiency installations, as well as solar systems. The SEA said this was “certainly a positive sign but it needs to be coupled with the streamlining of the so called ‘soft costs’ associated with solar installations, which are typically the planning and permitting procedures and costs”. The SEA added: “At present, smaller residential installations are unnecessarily expensive, when compared to larger installations, due to the high administrative costs of the permitting process. It is essential that any rebate is targeted directly at those who would otherwise not be able to afford the initial investment that is needed to reduce their energy costs in the longer term.” According to the SEA’s website, its executive committee members include chairman George Masters, deputy chairman Peter Parker, treasurer Kevin Gunther, secretary Liam McKittrick. Other committee members include Damion Wilson, BAE Solar, AES Solar and BE Solar. For more information, visit the SEA website at SEA.bm.
The Governor will present the trophy at Cup Match this year — despite a controversial call for him not to by a government minister. John Rankin confirmed last night after he had received an invitation from the Somerset Cricket Club to hand over the cup to the winner of the annual East versus West clash. A spokeswoman said: “Government House is pleased to confirm that the Governor has kindly been invited to attend and present the Cup. He will be pleased and honored to do so.” The move came after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, told the House of Assembly that he had refused to repair a wall at the Somerset ground unless they agreed to not invite Mr Rankin to present the trophy. He also linked the repair work, needed because of hurricane damage two years ago, to the introduction of proper recycling at the club. Colonel Burch told MPs last month: “I think if people look at it historically, this is a celebration of emancipation of slaves. So why would we still accept, in 2018, inviting he who enslaved us to come and not only celebrate with us but also be the person who presents the cup. I would really like to help our club, but they have to work with me.” He added: “They have been unable to find the fortitude to tell the man on the Langton Hill ‘thank you very much, but watch the cricket on television’.” Michael Dunkley, a former One Bermuda Alliance premier, said last month the head of government should present the trophy. He added at that time: “This is an important Bermudian holiday, a community holiday. We should never forget our past, our history. It’s appropriate that the Premier present that cup at the end of the day.” Slavery in the British Empire was abolished by a UK Act of Parliament which came into force in 1834. Mr Rankin said after Colonel Burch’s speech in the House that he would abide by the decision of the club. The damaged wall was repaired by members of the public and members of the One Bermuda Alliance, who helped to purchase supplies, after Colonel Burch delivered his ultimatum.
Qian Dickinson and Carla Zuill have accepted positions to the Media Council of Bermuda. Both are joining the Media Council’s Working Group. Executive officer Don Burgess said it is essential to diversify the people who are part of the Working Group, that not only includes colour, but age, sex and non-traditional media. “When the Media Council Working Group was formed 11 years ago, it was the bastion of traditional media. Time has quickly changed the media landscape since then, and it is essential that the Working Group reflect that. Both Qian and Carla have a wide variety of experience in both old and new mass communication forms and will provide valuable input to the Council.” Mr Dickinson’s appointment started in April, and Ms Zuill’s began in June. Mr Dickinson is an eChannel specialist at Clarien Bank, a radio personality on Hott 107.5 and a partner of Bermemes who is well known for his video interviews for the social media group. He has more than 15 years of web and social media experience. Mr Dickinson said: “As an active member of various media outlets, I am happy to be a resource to help protect Bermuda’s freedom of expression and to resolve complaints against the media.” Ms Zuill has been a journalist in Bermuda since 2002. A graduate of the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, she initially started working as an assistant video editor in 1998, under the guidance of respected local filmmaker, the late Errol Williams. After joining The Royal Gazette, she became its first special sections editor. She then went on to work as a public affairs officer for the Bermuda Government for several years before joining Bermuda Broadcasting News as its assistant news director. In 2014, she founded todayinbrmuda.com but closed the site in 2017 before launching women’s lifestyle website, sheHub.tv in May 2018. She is also a social media strategist. “It’s an honour to be asked to be a part of this committee,” Ms Zuill said. “I am committed to ensuring that journalism is carried out with professionalism and integrity in Bermuda.” Mr Burgess added that several other people had also been approached about joining the Working Group over the past three months.
England crashed out of the World Cup yesterday after the team lost 2-1 to Croatia. Fans, both expatriate and Bermudian, packed bars around the City of Hamilton as England launched its bid to reach its first World Cup final in more than 50 years. But an extra-time goal from Croatian Mario Mandzukic sealed England’s fate and propelled the European side to the final against France on Sunday. England scored in the first few minutes of the semi-final, but Croatia pulled one back to ensure extra time. One English resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We can have no complaints. I knew it was too good to be true in the first half. It just seemed too comfortable. Once Croatia scored, there was only going to be one winner.” But he added: “I’m proud of this young team — they surpassed expectations by a long way, but they just didn’t have the quality to go all the way.” Ben Saunders, Sports Editor of The Royal Gazette and an England fan, watched the game in a jammed Flanagan’s Outback Sports Bar on Hamilton’s Front Street. Mr Saunders said: “It was packed, raucous and good fun. There aren’t the recriminations there were when England lost to Croatia to miss out on qualifying for Euro 2008. The vast majority of fans are really proud of the way England played. Everyone’s disappointed but proud. Fans realize they’re a young team and there were some really good performances from a lot of young players playing at their first World Cup. England fans in Outback were still singing after the final whistle and that speaks volumes as to how fans see them.” England fans packed Docksiders bar, also on Front Street, as the teams took to the field. Tyrone Flood, 32, from Paget, said he was an on-off England supporter. He added that reaching the semis was a standout moment for the team. Mr Flood said: “This is the furthest we’ve made it in, what, 30-plus years?” He added before the final whistle: “If England wins then I’ll book a flight to England. If they lose though, I’ll still be happy for them because this is the farthest we’ve made it in a long, long time.” Ed Redmond said: “This World Cup is probably the best World Cup we’ve had in so many years. The underdogs and the winners have all done really well.” The 56-year-old Paget resident added: “I’m a neutral fan because I’m Irish. My team’s not in it, so I’m just supporting football, but I’d like to see England go through and win.” Dragan Pavkovic, 38, cut a lonely figure as the sole Croatian in the bar. But Mr Pavkovic said: “As the only Croatian coming to a game full of English supporters, I can only hope to see them cry. At home, football is the most important secondary thing in your life right next to family — it’s close to a religion. You’re brought up with football.” He added: “I’m not afraid of the English fans. My friends are English and my girlfriend’s English so I don’t feel intimidated. If Croatia wins I’m going to party like crazy. For a country of just four million people even reaching the semi-finals is a huge success, never mind the final.” Ashton Bell, a Docksiders bartender, said the bar was a winner whoever won. He explained staff had seen a boost in both sales and camaraderie leading up to the crunch match. He added: “The atmosphere has a really nice vibe that brings in a lot of customers, and it does impact business in a positive manner. Everyone looks excited to be here and partake in watching the game as best as they can.” Mr Bell, added that, although he was an England fan, he was happy to see people of all nationalities and walks of life enjoying games together. He said: “The World Cup’s always been a positive vibe; you can’t get upset watching football.”
Football fans backing France in the World Cup final can watch the big game in Southampton on Sunday. L’Alliance Francaise des Bermudes will host a World Cup viewing party at Boundary Sports Bar and Grill at the Fairmont Southampton. France will play Croatia to decide who takes the trophy home. The match begins at noon.
A company that Arbitrade said would be its partner in a $10 billion gold bullion deal in Dubai is not a member of that city’s gold exchange. It raises a question over a claim by the founder of Arbitrade, Troy Hogg, who said the company was in partnership with Sion Trading FZE of Dubai to be granted title to $10 billion worth of physical gold. In a telephone press conference on June 28, he described Sion as “one of the only licensed gold traders on the Dubai Gold Exchange”. However, the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange, in a response to an enquiry by The Royal Gazette, said: “We can confirm that Sion Trading FZE is not a member of Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange and we have no affiliation or relationship with them.” Arbitrade is a cryptocurrency exchange and coin company that is relocating to Bermuda. It has said it is in the process of acquiring Victoria Hall, the $6.5 million seven-storey office block on Victoria Street, as its new headquarters. The gold bullion mentioned in the press conference is to be used to back five crypto tokens. Arbitrade plans to bring gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion to a vault on the island. Arbitrade has also said it will donate $1 million towards the refurbishment and launch of a Bermuda Government co-working incubator space for the fintech sector. It has expressed a desire to donate a further total of $125,000 to a variety of charities and programmes on the island. The Royal Gazette has made an enquiry with Arbitrade’s media contact regarding the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange’s comments about Sion Trading. We are awaiting a response. Arbitrade has said it has incorporated in Bermuda, and has passed the KYC/AML [Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering] process. The Royal Gazette has made an enquiry with the Bermuda Monetary Authority about the status of the company, and is awaiting a response. Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, during an interview with ZBM’s Bermuda Tonight on Monday, said three directors of Arbitrade had met with the BMA and had gone through the vetting process. “At the end they were given permission to incorporate, but that is only the first part,” he said. The minister explained that the company would go through a further regulatory process and vetting regarding its business plan. The company did not appear on the Bermuda Registrar of Companies website yesterday, however eight directors of Arbitrade Ltd do appear on the Directors Register. There is no listed address for the company. Separately, the Limited Liability Company (Initial Coin Offering) Regulations 2018, and the Companies (Initial Coin Offering) Regulations 2018 were gazetted in the Bermuda Government official notices yesterday. In a statement, Mr Caines said that all companies wishing to launch an initial coin offering or run a digital exchange are subject to a stringent assessment and review process. He said: “To be clear, once the Acts fully come into effect, any company will need to follow the application process. Therefore any discussions about potential offerings or exchanges are premature.”
XL Catlin’s operations will become part of new division of French insurance giant Axa, to be named Axa XL. Details of the rebranding and operational combination of the two companies comes after the announcement of Axa’s $15.3 billion acquisition of Bermudian-based XL Group four months ago. Axa XL, which will be dedicated to large property and casualty commercial lines will operate under three main lines, Axa said in a statement today:
In addition, XL Group’s primary Lloyd’s syndicate will continue to be known as XL Catlin Syndicate 2003. Thomas Buberl, chief executive officer of Axa, said: “We are very pleased to announce another important milestone in the integration planning process with XL Group, which will see Axa become the #1 global P&C commercial lines insurer. “Behind this new common branding and naming, I am excited to see the future creation of Axa XL, a division based on Axa’s and XL Group’s shared culture around people, operational excellence, and innovation. The combination of these attributes will position us perfectly to establish an even stronger brand leadership and bring a unique value proposition to our customers.” Greg Hendrick, president and chief operating officer of XL Group, said: “We recognize the opportunity we have ahead to take the unique mix of elements that make XL a success — our talent, our approach, our tools — and bring them into the Axa family. I believe we will be stronger together and will be ambitious. We are going to continue to put our clients and brokers at the heart of what we do, while staying firmly focused on the future of risk and the solutions needed to advance.” Last month XL shareholders approved the sale of the company to Axa. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year, subject to conditions, including regulatory approvals, which remain pending. Until the acquisition closes, XL and Axa remain two separate companies.
Hundreds of Guernsey workers turned up at their offices in Bermuda shorts last week. It was not meant to be a fashion statement. The hope was to change the lackadaisical attitude men take towards their health. Former Bermuda resident Chris Walker came up with the idea. He was certain that if enough people walked around in long shorts and socks, somebody was bound to question why. “Women do everything right; they get mammograms, pap smears, tests every year,” he said. “Whether they like having them done or not, whether they want to have them done, they do them. We’re trying to get men to be as proactive as women and have regular checkups.” The former Athletic Club manager got the initiative going through Male Uprising Guernsey, the charity he has been involved with since 2012. “When you get to my age — I’m in my late 50s — you tend to have a lot of friends that start getting cancers, unfortunately. It’s a sad situation, but that’s the way it goes. The charity is all about raising awareness of male cancers so we try to get men to be more open about any problems they might have and go get themselves checked out; early detecting increases survival rates enormously. We particularly focus on prostate, testicular and bowel cancer, but this year our main initiative is on skin cancer “We want to encourage men with any problems; if they notice anywhere where things aren’t working well or happening properly, then go see a doctor or talk to somebody about it. Talk to your wife, talk to your girlfriend, but do talk.” This was the second year that MUG invited Guernsey’s business industry “to swap their usual work attire for the traditional Bermuda summertime wear of shorts and long socks”. About 500 people participated in Bermuda Shorts Week in 2017; Mr Walker estimates that as many as 600 were involved in this year’s event, held last week. Butterfield Bank (Guernsey) signed on as sponsors and people paid £20 to take part. The money raised will be used to supply sun cream dispensers in Guernsey schools. “[MUG] has had a few very successful campaigns,” Mr Walker said. “We try and do things that are different as opposed to a sponsored race or walk or something like that. Ours is more an awareness campaign as opposed to raising money for cancer research. One of the first things we did, which we got a little bit of flak for, was a campaign called ‘Check Your Balls’. We ran pictures of guys who were naked holding [various sports items] so [their private parts] couldn’t be seen. I’m a golfer so I had a couple of golf clubs in the right place; there was a rugby guy who used a rugby ball, a guy with a basketball and so on. We also did a video with a football club that showed teenagers how to do a proper medical examination using words that they would understand and use.” Bermuda came up as the group brainstormed for new ideas. “Basically, I consider myself from Bermuda,” said Mr Walker who moved here with his wife, Nicola, in 1985 and stayed for 19 years. “Both our kids [Sasha and Paget] were born there and, having been there for so long, we have a lot of friends there. It’s always nice to come back and see everybody. I came last year for the America’s Cup. I can’t make it every year, but we still send the kids, who are now 17 and 15. I always say, ‘Once you got Bermuda in you, you can’t get Bermuda out. So, we came up with this idea and got all the corporates in town to wear the whole Bermuda office look. It raises money for us so we can do other marketing campaigns. And word of mouth is also extremely powerful. If you’ve got 500 or 600 people walking around in Bermuda shorts and long socks, people will ask questions. And then they say they’re doing it as part of a campaign for MUG.” Guernsey, a British Crown Dependency and one of the Channel Islands, has many things in common with Bermuda, he said. “We have a population of 65,000. We’re basically almost an identical island, just a couple of square miles bigger.” It was incredible to see so many people walking around Guernsey’s business centre in Bermuda shorts, Mr Walker added. “People are honking horns, waving to each other. It raises huge awareness — when you tell them why you’re doing it, it gets our name out there and gets the whole campaign running.” It’s also a good advertisement for Bermuda, he said. “I think people obviously do know about Bermuda, but I don’t think they know a lot about it. It definitely sparks people’s interest. What we want to do eventually, if people raise enough money, is do a prize, which could include a trip to Bermuda.” For more information on Male Uprising Guernsey visit mug.gg.
Deputy Governor Ginny Ferson yesterday backed same-sex marriage in Bermuda “before too long”. Ms Ferson added that the island’s showdown on the issue helped her see perspectives she disagreed with. She admitted that the subject of same-sex marriage could put her at risk of being seen as “controversial”. Ms Ferson said: “I do not agree with that viewpoint, I believe in equal rights for everyone and I very much hope that it will be achieved in Bermuda before too long. But I do appreciate why it is a difficult issue for many people.” Ms Ferson was speaking at Hamilton Rotary Club as she looked back on the “ups and downs, the legacy and the lessons learnt” of her 4½-year tenure on the island. Same-sex marriage in Bermuda was highlighted in April 2015 by entertainer and activist Tony Brannon, who organised a petition in support. But a non-binding referendum in 2016 found a majority against the introduction of both same sex marriage and civil unions. The referendum had a turnout of less than 47 per cent with 14,192 against same-sex marriage and 6.504 in favour. A Supreme Court ruling in May 2017, however, paved the way for same-sex couples to wed. Same-sex marriage was again outlawed by legislators in December that year, when the Domestic Partnerships Act, which offered civil unions to both gay and straight couples, was passed by Parliament. The Act came into effect on June 1 this year but was successfully challenged in the Supreme Court on constitutional grounds less than a week later. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley’s ruling, however, is to be appealed by the Bermuda Government. Ms Ferson told Rotarians that “in the spirit of opening minds and embracing alternative viewpoints”, she wanted to recommend the 2016 BBC documentary Just Call Me Martina. She said the “heart-warming story” was about gay former tennis champion Martina Navratilova, who married her girlfriend in 2014. Ms Ferson said that “regardless of what our parents or church elders have told us about same-sex marriage, I suggest we ask — is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build good will and better friendship, will it be beneficial to all concerned?” She said that living and working in a small community like Bermuda came with “its delights and its restrictions”, but that she and her husband had been enriched by the island’s diversity. Ms Ferson said that hurricanes also stood out, with four major storms hitting Bermuda during her time on the island — the “double whammy” of Fay and Gonzalo in 2014, Joaquim in 2015 and Nicole in 2016. She added that last year’s America’s Cup was proof of the island’s “talent and professionalism to stage a truly world-class event”. Ms Ferson also mentioned Bermuda Day parades and the camaraderie of Cup Match. She added: “I know I am not the first one to say it, but if only we could bottle that community spirit and apply it to everything we do, Bermuda would be an even more beautiful place to live.” The Deputy Governor, who arrived in Bermuda in December 2013, will leave the island on July 27 for a new diplomatic post in Indonesia — where same-sex marriage is not recognised. She will be replaced at Government House by Alison Crocket, an anti-corruption expert from the UK Foreign Office.
Customers who bought frozen vegetables imported from Waitrose in the UK at a Bermuda supermarket have been told to return them amid fears of a listeria outbreak. The move came after a recall notice was issued for packets of sweetcorn and other foods after a recent outbreak of listeriosis across Europe that has been linked to nine deaths. Supermart in Hamilton yesterday confirmed it had removed some products made for British supermarket Waitrose from its freezers and asked people who had bought the affected items to return them to the shop. The items involved are 1kg packages of Waitrose Essential Supersweet Sweetcorn and Waitrose Essential Vegetable Mix. Tredick Gorham, Supermart owner, said: “When we were advised of it on Friday, we took them out so they’re no longer for sale.” He added: “It has been listed as a voluntary recall. It’s an essential recall, really. It’s pretty rare to have a recall in the first place. If there is a recall, we take stuff off the shelves, we don’t sell it, we have it destroyed.” Listeriosis is a rare infection caused by the bacteria listeria and can be serious for vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, the elderly, newborns or others with a weakened immune system. Symptoms in most cases are mild, often short-term and include high temperature, aches and pains, chills, vomiting and diarrhea. Mr Gorham said a notice on the shop’s Facebook page alerted customers to the problem and flyers have been posted on its freezers See page 19 of today’s edition of The Royal Gazette for an advertisement from the Supermart. Mr Gorham added: “We just respond as fast as we can.” He said “a few cases” of potentially tainted products had been sold, with each made up of around 12 packages. Mr Gorham said anyone who had bought the recalled products should “bring it back, we will give them a refund — we want them to bring it back because we want to destroy it. There must be thousands and thousands of these all over the EU.” A report on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) website said: “Frozen corn and possibly other frozen vegetables are the likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that has been affecting Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom since 2015. Experts used whole genome sequencing to identify the food source, which initially was thought to be limited to frozen corn. As of 15 June 2018, 47 cases including nine deaths had been reported.” The statement added the same strains of the bacteria had been found in frozen vegetables made by a Hungarian company in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and suggested these have “persisted in the processing plant despite the cleaning and disinfection procedures that were carried out”. The report, issued last week, added: “On 29 June 2018, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products produced by the affected plant between August 2016 and June 2018 and ordered their immediate withdrawal and recall. This last measure is likely to significantly reduce the risk of human infections and contain the outbreak. All freezing activity at the plant has been stopped.” But EFSA warned: “New cases could still emerge due to the long incubation period of listeriosis, up to 70 days, the long shelf-life of frozen corn products and the consumption of frozen corn bought before the recalls and eaten without being cooked properly.” Efsa said to help reduce the risk of infection consumers should thoroughly cook frozen vegetables.
Former professional wrestler turned finance guru John Layfield yesterday apologized after he posted a photograph of himself with a controversial British politician. Mr Layfield, the founder of the Beyond Rugby programme for young players, put a picture of himself with Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK Independence Party and prime mover behind the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, on Twitter on Monday night. A Bermuda-based businessman last night revealed the Brexiteer had been on the island to enjoy its “world-class” fishing. However, Mr Layfield’s tweet led to a backlash on the social media site — and he took the photograph down by yesterday afternoon. Mr Layfield, who is from the United States, wrote: “An absolute wonderful evening at my home with @Nigel_Farage. He has promised Brexit and he delivered. A great guy.” But he tweeted on Tuesday: “Want to apologise to anyone who was offended by my last post. Nigel Farage needed a TV studio, I was asked and he used mine to talk Brexit and he was a perfect gentleman to me and my family and that was the essence of my post.” Hundreds of posters responded to Mr Layfield’s original tweet. One, Simon Clark, said: “The way to alienate your UK fan base in one tweet.” Matt Walker added: “He was a figure of derision for most in the UK. He’s a cowardly little traitor who would rather see Britain in flames than accept it’s not the 1800s any more.” Mr Layfield said some of the comments generated by the tweet had been “quite shocking”. He said: “Unfortunately, that’s social media.” Mr Layfield, a financial commentator on Fox News, has lived in Bermuda since he retired as a professional wrestler in 2009. He created the non-profit organisation Beyond Rugby Bermuda in 2011 as a bid to boost personal development for at-risk youths. Mr Layfield told The Royal Gazette yesterday that the Fox network had asked him to let Mr Farage use his home television studio for segments for the network. He said: “Fox called me and said, ‘Would you mind if Nigel used your studio?’. When he came out, he was an absolute perfect gentleman to me and my family. I enjoyed the evening with him talking about Brexit. He couldn’t have been more gracious.” Mr Layfield said that Mr Farage had used his television studio again yesterday morning. He said that Monday night was the first time the two had met. Mr Farage founded UKIP in protest at Britain’s continued membership in the EU and campaigned for the country to quit the bloc — dubbed Brexit. Mr Layfield said that he was against Brexit. He explained: “I don’t think it’s a good idea.” Mr Layfield said his post had “absolutely nothing to do with politics” and was not intended as an endorsement of Mr Farage. He added: “I try to never post anything about politics.” Mr Farage has also been accused of xenophobia and racism, as well as of making anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic statements. Mr Layfield said that he believed his track record “spoke for itself, as far as inclusivity”. He added: “I’ve been very outspoken on same-sex marriage — I’m very much in favour of it. I’m very much in favour of women’s rights. And I’ve been very outspoken on race. I took a picture with a gentleman that used my studio. I thought it was cool to talk to him about Brexit at a time when Brexit is one of the biggest things. I’ve taken thousands of pictures over the years.” Mr Layfield said that he had “absolutely no idea” in what capacity Mr Farage was in Bermuda. He added: “And to be fair, if I did know, I wouldn’t say.” Chris Maybury, a businessman and long-time island resident, last night explained: “Mr Farage is a very keen fisherman and he’d heard from me that Bermuda is world class. We had a wonderful day today, caught a lot of fish and he asked me to express his thanks for the hugely warm welcome that was extended to him by Bermudians and the fantastic, world-class quality of the fishing.” Mr Farage was joined by Arron Banks, a British businessman and political donor, and it is understood Andy Wigmore, another key figure in the Leave campaign, was also with them. When asked if the trio were on political business, Mr Maybury replied: “To my strong knowledge they were not.” Agreeing it was a trip for pleasure, he added: “Bermuda did a wonderful job letting its magic out, as it always does.” On Monday Mr Banks, a co-founder of the Leave. EU campaign, wrote on twitter: “In Bermuda with @Nigel_Farage saying he will come back as UKIP leader if Brexit not back on track, Tories in marginally seats watch out! Lightening (sic) storm hit studio shortly afterwards — omens ...”
Farage in his own words. Nigel Farage was the leader of UKIP, the UK Independence Party, as it battled for Brexit ahead of the EU referendum. Some of his comments drew accusations of racism and xenophobia. "Before the Brexit referendum result, days after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death by a far-right fanatic who yelled “Britain first”. We will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired.” On another culture: “Any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door.” During a radio discussion about political power in the US: “There are about six million Jewish people living in America, so as a percentage it’s quite small, but in terms of influence, it’s quite big.” He added: “Well, in terms of money and influence, yep, they are a very powerful lobby ... the Jewish lobby, with its links with the Israeli Government, is one of those strong voices.” On the gender pay gap: “A woman who has a client base, has a child and takes two or three years off — she is worth far less to her employer when she comes back than when she went away because that client base won’t be stuck as rigidly to her portfolio,” On breastfeeding: “I think that given some people feel very embarrassed by it, it isn’t too difficult to breastfeed a baby in a way that’s not openly ostentatious. Or perhaps sit in the corner, or whatever it might be.”
A man who tried to flee customs at LF Wade International Airport was last night in police custody on suspicion of drugs importation. A police spokesman said the 37-year-old visitor was caught on the Causeway and arrested. He added: “It appears that an arriving passenger fled on foot from the local Customs area for arriving passengers inside the airport." The incident happened on Tuesday about lunchtime.
Tynes Bay will have longer hours for public trash drop-offs from Monday. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the number of people using the drop-off service had increased. He added that the plant manager had agreed to extend opening hours. Colonel Burch announced in June that once-a-week trash collection, which replaced a twice-weekly schedule, would remain in place until the end of this year. The new schedule resulted in more residents dropping off their trash at the Tynes Bay Incinerator. The waste to energy plant’s new hours will be 7am to 7pm Monday to Sunday and 9am to noon on public holidays.
Tropical Storm Chris is predicted to become a hurricane by this afternoon, according to the Bermuda Weather Service. The storm, which has lingered to the west of Bermuda, is forecast to come within 347 miles of the island at 1pm on Wednesday, it’s closest point within the next 72 hours. But the BWS warned it may move closer after that, depending upon its track. It said: “As high pressure increases, the cold front to the north of Tropical Storm Chris will weaken, reducing wind shear and allowing the storm to intensify so that it is likely to become a hurricane at some point today.” The BWS added: “Models are in good agreement for Tropical Storm Chris to move quickly north-eastward through Wednesday as it gets caught in the flow of a short-wave trough.” The BWS expects “no significant impact” on Bermuda, “with the exception of seas increasing to steady moderate and chance of sustained winds of 20kt towards dawn”. A small craft warning has been issued for this morning and into this afternoon. The BWS said the island should see “fairly stable conditions with sunny spells” and possibly a few showers today as the Bermuda-Azores High extends a ridge over the area. But it added: “Once Chris is north of Bermuda, as the surface ridge of high pressure starts to decline, a trailing cold front associated with TS Chris will move across during Wednesday night and Thursday.” At 6am, Chris was 530 miles west of Bermuda, with winds of about 70mph and higher gusts. The US National Hurricane Centre yesterday said the Chris was headed towards the northeast at about 2mph, with the storm forecast to pick up speed. “Chris is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane later today and some additional strengthening is expected through Wednesday night. Chris is forecast to become a strong post-tropical cyclone by Thursday night or early Friday.”
A cricket club president insisted last night an early-morning attack near the home of his organisation had nothing to do with the sport. Vashun Blanchette said it was unfortunate that the incident, which left a man in hospital, happened outside the gates of Somerset Cricket Club. But he pointed out the clash happened when the venue was closed. Mr Blanchette was speaking after three men were hurt in two separate assaults near Somerset’s ground and at St David’s Cricket Club over the weekend. Both incidents saw groups wield weapons and in one it is believed blades were used. Two of the men injured were treated in hospital after a brawl in the early hours of yesterday outside the St David’s club. Officers were called to reports of a disturbance at around 1.15am. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said: “It appears that a function was being held at the premises when an altercation took place in the parking lot involving a group of men, some said to be brandishing bladed articles. “Two men believed to have been hurt in the incident — thought to be a 36-year-old man and a 23-year-old man — attended the hospital for treatment and were later discharged. Police officers at the scene shortly after the incident occurred were only able to ascertain limited information from those in attendance, as the majority were uncooperative.” The fight came less than 24 hours after the Somerset incident, where a 34-year-old Sandys man was attacked outside the gates of the club by several men with “blunt objects”. The incident on Cricket Lane happened just before 3am on Sunday. The injured man was rushed by ambulance to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. His condition was said to be “stable” yesterday. Mr Blanchette said the assault happened in an area that is often used by people unconnected to the club. He added: “It occurred outside of our operational hours — we were closed at 9pm on Saturday night. I’m made to understand it happened outside of our premises. While unfortunate, we wish the victim a speedy recovery and essentially we view this as a police matter.” Mr Blanchette said he became aware of the incident when he attended the club on Sunday afternoon and a member told him the police had visited. Mr Blanchette added Cricket Lane was “a pretty common thoroughfare. It’s just unfortunate that whatever transpired happened in our area — it wasn’t following an event that we were hosting. It could well have happened 100 metres up the road.” The president of St David’s CC could not be contacted for comment yesterday. A police spokesman said the two incidents did not appear to be linked and appealed for witnesses to both incidents.
Newlyweds from New York are to be reunited with a lost wedding ring thanks to the efforts of a Bermudian metal detector. The couple lost the treasured ring on a trip to Tobacco Bay in St George’s, but veteran treasure hunter Andrew Roberts came to the rescue. Sean Hickey lost the ring while he played volleyball in the waters off the bay. He said he “knew immediately” after striking the waterlogged ball that his ring had come off. Mr Hickey added: “I just froze in place and told everybody what happened.” He described it as a state of “shock and disbelief”. Mr Hickey added: “I thought that we would be able to find it just by swimming around — so I had some immediate hope.” But an hours-long search which involved close to a dozen people and snorkeling gear failed to locate the lost ring. He said: “I was depressed that it was the ring that she put on my finger just a month ago. There isn’t another ring like that.” Mr Hickey, 33, was on the island with wife Sara, 31, and family members when he lost the ring on July 3. The couple had married only weeks earlier in Madrid, Spain. A frantic Mr Hickey said he scoured the internet for information about rings lost in the sea. He came across an article in The Royal Gazette about the recovery of Brazilian supermodel Natalia Borges’s ring just weeks earlier and Mr Roberts’s recovery of the family heirloom. Mr Hickey said an internet search led him to Mr Roberts and he contacted him the next day. Mr Roberts, who was in New York City on a trip organized as a reward for finding Ms Borges’s ring, promised to help when he returned to Bermuda. Mr Hickey said: “He said he would give it all he had. He seemed optimistic. I was not optimistic, but I was just trying to grab onto any hope that I could find. He offered me some hope in that moment.” Mr Roberts returned to the island two days later and called Mr Hickey the same day to say he’d found the missing ring. Mr Hickey said: “I was just shocked. A tear came to my eye of thankfulness that he was able to do this.” Mr Hickey confirmed the inscription on the ring and a staff member at Tobacco Bay traveling to New York this weekend offered to reunite Mr Hickey with it. He added that Mr Roberts had asked for nothing in return for his help. Mr Hickey said: “He didn’t mention anything about that, ever. That’s one of the things that impressed me the most. There are really good people that are looking to help others out there.” Mr Roberts, 38, said that his recovery work was about trying to give back. He added: “It’s stressful enough to lose something that’s that valuable, important and cherished.” Mr Roberts, who owns a tyre and battery business, said he had carried out search work for the past two years. He added he had got a couple of calls a week from people who had lost valuables since the article about Ms Borges’s ring was published last month. Mr Roberts said that being able to reunite people with lost items was rewarding. He added: “It’s an emotional experience for everybody.”
The island’s top dairy business said it was watching developments over a closure-threatened farm that provides around a quarter of Bermuda’s milk. Stephen Dunkley, the general manager of Dunkley’s Dairy, said he was “in a holding pattern” over the potential loss of Westover Farm in Sandys, one of the island’s three main milk suppliers. Mr Dunkley said he was not yet “overly concerned”. He added: “I need to see more — something has to be worked out.” But Mr Dunkley said that the closure of Westover would “definitely impact our supply of milk if all of a sudden it disappears”. He was speaking after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister met the owners of Westover Farm, who have been ordered to quit their land by the end of the year. Richard Bascome Jr and his son, also Richard, was told in May by the Estates Department that their lease on the seven-acre farm, which the family has run for more than 50 years, expired 17 months earlier. The land is owned by the Bermuda Government, and the Bascomes were given six months from June 1 to leave. Colonel Burch said his meeting with the Bascomes yesterday morning was “cordial, instructive and productive”. The minister added: “I am not at liberty to discuss the specifics yet but suffice to say that we see a way forward and have agreed to meet again.” Green Land Dairy in Smith’s is the island’s top milk supplier, responsible for around half of island milk production, with Westover and Almeida Dairy Farm in St George’s producing about a quarter each. Mr Dunkley added that the firm’s whole milk and 2 per cent milk come from island suppliers and were the most popular varieties. Other dairy products, like filled, skimmed and slim line milk, are reconstituted from powder and other ingredients. Mr Dunkley said: “The fresh milk supply in Bermuda has been pretty steady, and I give credit to our farmers. There hasn’t been any shortage.” He called the Bascomes “a good, hard-working Bermuda family” that had worked their farm for three generations. Colonel Burch said in the House of Assembly last month that he was prepared to look into the Bascomes’s lease. He added: “My preference, and I remain open to this, is to discuss how we move forward.” The Bermuda Farmers Association defended the Bascomes over the weekend and said that leases on “all government-owned farm lands” had not been renewed over the last three years. Carlos Amaral, the chairman of the Board of Agriculture, confirmed last night that problems with farmers’ leases needed examination. He said: “Farmers have been paying rent but with no leases in place, regardless of the government of the day. They don’t come up for renewal that often. Realistically, there is no tangible excuse for that backlog.” Mr Amaral added that the leases did not need immediate attention but that “three years is getting kind of ridiculous”.
A life coach accused of stealing more than $56,000 from an elderly member of the Trimingham department store family told police she only ever acted in the senior’s best interest, Supreme Court heard yesterday. Melissa Burton, 53, told officers: “Everything I did was for her. I was the only person she trusted on this planet.” However, Ms Burton refused to comment when questioned by police about a series of transactions that took thousands of dollars out of Katherine Trimingham’s account just before and after her death. One of the transactions she refused to comment on was paid out in her name and three others were paid to the Enso Media Group in late 2016. Officers told Ms Burton they understood the Enso Media Group was a company incorporated by her in 2008 and dissolved in 2011, but she again refused to comment. She claimed to police that she had Katherine Trimingham’s power of attorney, was the trustee of her estate and questioned how law firm MJM was able to get access to the senior’s accounts. She told officers: “I don’t know how they did it and I don’t know why they did it.” The claims came in a February 2017 video interview with Ms Burton played in court. Ms Burton, from Sag Harbour, New York, denies allegations that she stole $56,284 from Katherine Trimingham, who died, aged 72, in 2016. She also denies a charge of financially exploiting the senior. Ms Burton said in the interview she and Ms Trimingham met in New York in 2012 or 2013. Ms Trimingham had been taken to a rehab centre in the city for treatment for alcoholism. Ms Trimingham returned the next year for further treatment and hired Ms Burton as her life coach. Ms Burton said she made monthly trips to Bermuda and was in constant contact with Ms Trimingham. She added she did personal shopping for both Ms Trimingham and her pet King Charles spaniel Belle. Ms Burton said: “If she wanted something in New York, she would just ask me to bring it down when I came next. I would set up her doctor’s appointment, I would take her to the dentist.” Ms Burton said Ms Trimingham was “anxious” and “lonely”. She added: “She had all the money, more than she ever needed, but she had no family. She had nothing. She was probably the loneliest person I have ever met.” Ms Burton later told officers: “She didn’t trust anybody except for me, Belle, and John DeSilva, who was her personal friend and property manager.” She said Ms Trimingham received money from a trust, but did not want the trust involved in her personal finances and had told her someone had stolen money from the trust and, over the years she worked with Ms Trimingham, the payments made by the trust were reduced. Payments to Ms Trimingham from the trust started in 2012 or 2013 at $20,500 a month, but had been reduced to $10,000 at the time of her death. Ms Burton said the Meritus Trust, who made the payments from the trust, looked at Ms Trimingham’s savings account at the end of each year to decide how much to pay out. She added in the police statement that in March 2016 she sat down with Ms Trimingham to write a “letter of wishes” to detail changes in her will. Ms Burton claimed Ms Trimingham gave her power of attorney and named her the executor of her will. Ms Burton said the document was sent to MJM lawyer Alan Dunch, which she told police would be enough to grant Ms Burton power of attorney under the terms of the will. But Mr Dunch told the court earlier that he had not seen the document until more than a month after Ms Trimingham’s death in December 2016.
Nearly $25,000 of travel expenses racked up by David Burt, the Premier, have now been published on the Government’s dedicated webpage. Costs for ten foreign trips he made were added to the site after The Royal Gazette revealed ministers had been failing to keep the information up to date. Last night, the total overseas travel expenses incurred by Mr Burt since the Progressive Labour Party came to power last July, stood at $46,677.11. Of those, $24,762.84 were added to the online Travel Calendar over the weekend. It came after a report in The Royal Gazette highlighted that costs for many trips made by ministers were unpublished and a string of new entries were made that same day. A government spokeswoman had said updating the site was “an administrative task” and that it would be completed by the end of last week. The latest costs published for the Premier include $7,512.13 spent during a visit to London and Berlin spanning the end of November and beginning of December. Mr Burt attended a Joint Ministerial Conference in the UK before going on to meetings at the German Ministry of Finance ahead of an Economic and Financial Affairs Council gathering “to confirm the European Union’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax”. His airfares totaled $4,259.70, with $3,224.28 spent on accommodation and $28.15 listed under “miscellaneous”. A trip to Texas in April brought expenses of $4,402.07 as the Premier led a delegation to the annual Risk and Insurance Management Society conference in San Antonio. He then joined the Bermuda Business Development Agency for meetings in Dallas. And in May, Mr Burt was in New York for the Bermuda Executive Forum, where he “delivered remarks and hosted a reception for business leaders”, as well as taking part in a number of media interviews. His $2,318.19 expenses for that two-day trip included $734.96 on accommodation, with the rest made up of airfare and ground transport. According to the online calendar yesterday, PLP ministers have spent $137,402.47 on overseas travel since their election win last year. That compares to the $113,864.29 expenses published in relation to the former One Bermuda Alliance government for its final 12 months in power. It was during the previous administration that the online travel calendar first went live and it was re-launched by Lovitta Foggo, the Minister for Government Reform, in October. At the time she said: “The new page contains current and historic information and will be continuously updated as ministers travel overseas.” Ms Foggo added: “I am committed to full transparency and this page will detail the location and reason for a minister’s international travel together with how much they spent while traveling.” However, although expenses for some politicians such as Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, as well as Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, seemed to appear in good time, more than a dozen for others were outstanding at the start of last week. On Tuesday, Mr Burt said: “Ministerial travel is hardly a secret and there is absolutely nothing to hide, but we can and will do a better job of keeping the information on the travel website updated.” The Premier continued: “Growing and diversifying this economy, creating educational and employment opportunities for Bermudians and reversing four years of OBA neglect of the people has been our priority for almost a year. With the hectic pace demanded of this work there have been times that filling out forms and ticking boxes have taken a deserved second place. The people of Bermuda fully understand what we have been doing and what we have had to do to ensure that they have greater opportunities for success in this country.” Mr Burt was yesterday asked for comment but none had been received by press time.
Bermuda has been invited to collaborate with Caribbean jurisdictions aiming to promote fintech. David Burt, the Premier, made a presentation on the subject to the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Jamaica on Friday. Progressive Labour Party MP Christopher Famous, who also attended the three-day meeting, said: “Bermuda was applauded for the pioneering regulations. “Many have asked for future collaboration with the Government of Bermuda offering to share knowledge and experiences in establishing similar frameworks and regulations. Of key importance was the offer from the Government of Bermuda for information sharing on taxation, governance, financial compliance and other service issues.” Mr Burt said: “We reviewed our progress to date, encouraged regional collaboration, discussed how regtech can assist with the challenges of the cost of compliance, and recognised the progress being made by the Governments of Barbados, St Lucia and Bahamas in this space. We also discussed how distributed ledger technology more generally can assist with challenges in servicing citizens and increase government efficiency in areas of healthcare, social insurance and licensing. The presentation was welcomed by the conference, and there will be future collaboration.” The Premier added that he had invited Caricom CEO Irwin LaRocque to visit the island for the first time. Mr Famous added that Government was pushing for more educational opportunities through its Caricom connections. He said: “The Government of Bermuda has scheduled discussions with the vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies to determine how more Bermudians can take advantage of what that institution has to offer.”
Michael Dunkley called on the Government to provide an update on Bermuda’s fledgling casino gaming industry. The One Bermuda Alliance’s shadow national security minister and former premier said he had seen “very little progress” on gaming since the Progressive Labour Party came into power. Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Tourism and Economic Development, countered that the Attorney-General’s chambers had been working diligently to get the necessary regulations right. Mr Dunkley said: “I am more concerned now than ever before simply because time has moved on and we have seen very little progress.” He emphasized that appropriate legislation and regulations were key as the island worked towards introducing gaming. Mr Dunkley added that “unfair criticism, misinformation or unwarranted personal attacks by the PLP while in Opposition has impeded and slowed the progress of the opening of the first casino in Bermuda. Now the shoe is on the other foot and we have allowed the Government to move forward. But after nine months seemingly without progress, because there have been very few public pronouncements, I must rise again and actually question what has taken place.” Mr Dunkley said Mr Simmons had announced more than three months ago that regulations would be introduced “without further delay”. He questioned where these regulations were, why there was a delay and if they would be tabled during this legislative session. Mr Simmons responded that “the Honourable Member seems to forget the delay occurred under their administration, new leadership had to be appointed to free the delay”. He added: “We have been working diligently at the Attorney-General’s chambers to get these regulations right.” Mr Dunkley also asked if a new executive officer had been appointed to the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission and if not, what progress had been made to fill the post. “No doubt the executive office is critical to the effectiveness of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission and it would be appropriate that we knew that somebody was on the ground doing the necessary work.” Mr Dunkley also noted reports of the Government taking action against the commission’s former CEO Richard Schuetz and asked how much money had been spent on this. He added that “rumours abound that it is a significant amount of money”. But Mr Simmons said he could not speak to matters “that are before the courts or may potentially be before the courts”. Mr Dunkley also questioned whether options for gaming would be included in amendments to the Banks and Deposit Companies Act 1999, which were announced by the Premier last month. He said there was no mention of gaming in the statement but he added that people involved with MM&I Holdings, the company named in The Royal Gazette’s Special Report on casino gaming last October as having lined itself up to land a hugely lucrative government casinos contract, were in the gallery when the statement was read. Mr Dunkley, who described this as an “interesting development”, asked if the Government had “any arrangement, commitment or MOU with this group at the time”. But Mr Simmons responded: “The Honourable Member, the former premier, continues to raise the specter of MM&I, the company that his government had a memorandum of understanding with, the company that his government was in bed with. All I will say is repeat what we’ve said before, there is no relationship with MM&I in gaming, none.”
A who’s who of Bermuda’s insurance and reinsurance sector from the past 25 years will gather at Rosewood Bermuda tomorrow to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers. John Huff, who took over as president and CEO of Abir last year, will welcome the attendees, including Brian O’Hara, the founding CEO of XL Group, Stephen Catlin, the founder of Catlin Group, and Michael Butt, former CEO of UK and Bermuda insurers and chairman of Axis Capital. Other panellists will include Pina Albo, the new CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group, Albert Benchimol, president and CEO of Axis Capital, Dino Iordanou, chairman of Arch Capital Group and Kevin O’Donnell, president and CEO of RenaissanceRe Holdings. David Burt, the Premier, and Sir John Swan, the former premier, will also address the afternoon gathering. Topics to be discussed are what the future holds for the sector, lessons learnt from the pioneers, and disrupting risk — natural disasters, cyber and terrorism.
An office above what was once a small dress shop in a tiny beach community in Canada seems an unusual place to find a crypto company that is set to take over a seven-storey office block in Bermuda and be granted title to $10 billion of gold bullion in Dubai.
But the upstairs floor of the property that once housed the Skirt shop at 38 Main Street, Grand Bend, Ontario, is the given address for the headquarters of Arbitrade, which has said it will donate $1 million to the Bermuda Government. That donation was to have been made in the early part of last week. Arbitrade’s office location in Grand Bend was a perplexing oddity to some who had looked it up on Google Maps and found the dress shop on the street view image. The company issued a statement to explain the situation. It said the original creator and owner of Arbitrade owned the large office above the shop and used the address as a temporary headquarters “until more suitable accommodations could be acquired”. The statement on May 24, added: “Very shortly, Arbitrade will officially announce that it has placed an offer to purchase a seven-storey office tower in the country where the business will ultimately be domiciled. The new headquarters will house 360 employees and be the head office of operations.” Speaking to The Royal Gazette on June 27, Len Schutzman, Arbitrade’s non-executive chairman, said the company had chosen Victoria Hall, on Victoria Street, for its global headquarters. At the time, the building was on the market for $6.5 million. The following day, Arbitrade founder Troy Hogg said the property deal was set to close during the following two weeks, with renovations to be carried out during the summer. The Royal Gazette has taken a closer look at the company after it made bold statements regarding its ambitions for its future path as it establishes its global headquarters in Bermuda. Arbitrade said it would donate $1 million to the Government to help pay for the refurbishment and launch of a fintech co-working incubator space in a Hamilton building. It has also expressed a desire to donate a further $125,000 to a variety of projects including the Mirrors programme, Family Centre, and two programmes that have not been announced by the Government — one an Alice programme for active shooter preparedness in schools and charities, the other a gang violence reduction proposal that is to include gang members being paid to work on chicken farms. Arbitrade said it has incorporated in Bermuda, but as of Friday its name did not appear on the Bermuda Registrar of Companies website. In its May statement to “followers, investors and token holders” that explained the Grand Bend office, Arbitrade also gave an explanation of how the purported multibillion bullion deal will work. It referred to acquiring $8.7 billion of bullion, comprising gold, silver, platinum and palladium, to back four crypto tokens. That total was subsequently increased to $10 billion to back five tokens, when Mr Hogg spoke during a telephone press conference on June 28. In the earlier statement, Arbitrade explained: “This gold acquisition is similar to that of a house purchase and a mortgage. In a nutshell, the entities that are selling us the bullion are giving us title upon closing, meaning we own it like a person would if they purchased a house. “Then they place a debt against said bullion under a structured financing over a certain period of time, which would be similar to a mortgage. Fifty per cent of the daily mined proceeds is applied to that debt. The only difference between a house mortgage and the Arbitrade bullion acquisition is that every day a certain amount of the bullion becomes wholly owned by the tokens each of the four bullion represents. This wholly owned bullion is what can be redeemed each year during the utility token swap period if desired.” Arbitrade said last week that as the bullion debt is paid off the gold and other precious metal bullion will be shipped to a vault in Bermuda. It said it would take title of the bullion through what is called a SKR [safe-keeping receipt]. The Royal Gazette is attempting to establish secondary verification of the other company mentioned in the bullion deal, Sion Trading FZE of Dubai. The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange, where Sion is said to be a licensed gold trader, has not yet responded to an e-mail enquiry about the company. During Arbitrade’s telephone press conference, where no questions were allowed, a man identified himself as being from Sion Trading and said its parent company was Scotia International in the US. Scotia International of Nevada, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been identified by a number of people, including the Medium.com website, as the company mentioned. The Royal Gazette has phoned Scotia International and sent e-mails seeking verification that it has a subsidiary in Dubai, and that it has an agreement with Arbitrade. We are awaiting a response. In its news update last week, Arbitrade said Mr Hogg was one of the first people to meet the Premier and ministers in charge of the fintech space, and that Arbitrade had made ten visits to the island. A question to Government to confirm the meetings and how many had taken place has not been answered. Mr Burt did post a message on Twitter at the end of May to say he had attended a presentation by Arbitrade at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Arbitrade said last week it is awaiting licences to operate in Bermuda, which “might take as long as September”.
The Bermuda Farmers Association urged the Government yesterday to ditch its plan to remove West End farmers from their land amid concerns over the island’s dwindling farming industry. The association claimed less than 400 acres is now being farmed across the island, down from 3,000 during agriculture’s peak years. It said it was “deeply troubled” by the Government’s plan to order the Bascome family, which has operated Westover Farm in Sandys since the 1960s, to quit the land by December 1. It called for the family to instead be given a secure lease, allowing them to upgrade, and added that a working farm would present an attraction at the West End. “We are deeply troubled by the Government giving Westover Farms six months’ notice to vacate their farm,” the group said. “This farm produces not only approximately 25 per cent of milk for our island, but also food crops as well. This farm has been run by the Bascome family for over 50 years. It is iconic in the Somerset area, well respected, visited by school groups and tourists alike.” The Government has yet to comment on its intentions for the property. Under the Bermuda Agricultural Strategy 2016, domestic crop production was to be promoted for “greater food security, increased employment and preservation of a historically important industry”. The association argued that objective “flies in the face of the Government kicking the Bascomes off the farm”. It said: “During the last 60 years, a significant proportion of prime agriculture land has been lost to tourism and residential development. At its peak, Bermuda was farming some 3,000 acres. Today there are only 738 acres of protected arable reserve, and of that approximately 50 per cent is being farmed. The Bermuda Farmers Association is very concerned about the loss of these seven acres that are in production. These acres will never be regained. What are the plans for the farm? If the PLP government believe in what they say, they will invest in our industry and help us produce more local food.” Richard Bascome Jr and his son, also Richard, contacted The Royal Gazette over the matter last month. While the farmers’ lease expired 18 months ago on the Government-owned land, the family called the short notice to leave “ludicrous” and said nothing further had been communicated. In response, public works minister Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch announced on June 29 that he was “happy” to discuss the matter with the Bascomes. Colonel Burch added that he had opted to wait after being notified that the Bascomes were seeking legal advice on the matter. But the Bascomes said they were far from being the only farmers whose leases had lapsed — and the farmers association claimed that “all land leases for all government-owned farm lands have still not been renewed, despite continuous efforts by farmers for more than three years”. The farm runs a slaughterhouse and vegetable garden, and locals from across the island call there on Fridays and Saturdays for produce. The association quoted from the ruling Progressive Labour Party’s 2017 election platform, which pledged to make use of arable government land to boost domestic food production, with the aim of modernizing equipment and raising profits. The farmers association, which said the leases had expired under the previous One Bermuda Alliance administration, asked why farmers’ leases had not been updated under the new government — adding: “Certainly Mr Bascome would love to modernize his equipment, but how could he given he has no lease security?” Mr Bascome, whose father is 83, previously acknowledged that the Government owned the land and was within its rights to reclaim it — but bemoaned the loss of food-producing land. Over the weekend, Mr Bascome Jr said the family had yet to meet with the minister. The farm adjoins the obsolete 9 Beaches resort, which the Bermuda Land Development Company is seeking to revamp. The association asked whether the two might “coexist side-by-side”. The Royal Gazette has asked the Bermuda Government for comment but received no response so far.
A man was taken to hospital after the Spirit of Bermuda and another boat crashed in Hamilton Harbour. The 63-year-old was believed to be a passenger on a smaller vehicle that collided with the well-known sail training vessel on Friday. Bermuda Police Service officers were last night investigating the crash, which was thought to have happened near the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club shortly after 9pm. A spokesman yesterday said: “First responders were dispatched to the scene Friday night after initial information indicated that a collision occurred between the sailing vessel Spirit of Bermuda and a smaller boat in waters off Albuoy’s Point. “Apparently a passenger on the smaller boat, now believed to be a 63-year-old Warwick man, was hurt. He was transported, conscious and breathing, to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital via ambulance for treatment. His injuries are not believed to be life threatening but an update on his medical condition is anticipated in due course. The extent of any damage to either vessel involved remains unclear at this time.” However, Branwen Smith-King, executive director of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, which operates the Spirit of Bermuda, yesterday explained: “Spirit was in a collision with a privately owned boat. There were no serious injuries and no major damage to either vessel. Spirit just has a scratch, about an 8ft scratch I believe, on the port side. It’s something we can repair. Police took a statement from our captain and the driver of the other boat.” She added: “Our primary concern is always the safety of our students and our crew.” Adult passengers from a charter trip had just been dropped off at Albuoy’s Point from Spirit of Bermuda and it was heading back to Dockyard when it and the smaller vessel collided. Both boats were able to continue on their journeys. Further details about the other vehicle were unavailable last night but it was described by one person online as “a slow-moving pleasure boat”. It is thought around seven crew members were on the Spirit of Bermuda. None of them were hurt. A Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre spokesman confirmed: “We were made aware of an incident in Hamilton Harbour with the Spirit of Bermuda and we understand there was one injury.” The Spirit of Bermuda is a purpose-built sail training vessel that has become a national icon as it helps to develop learning in young people. Offering a “floating classroom” — in the shape of a tall ship — the Bermuda Sloop Foundation aims to “provide character and educational development” for children who may not get the most out of a traditional school setting. Friday’s incident comes ten months after the Spirit of Bermuda was involved in a crash with a government ferry. Its bowsprit was damaged in the collision with the Resolute in Dundonald Channel in Sandys last September. Police later said an 18-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man suffered non-life threatening injuries in that crash. And as well as the impact to vessels, three motorcycles on the ferry were damaged. Witnesses or anyone with information about the latest incident were asked to call police on 295-0011.
Press Release from Corporation of Hamilton. "The public are advised that No. 1 Car Park as well as Par-la-Ville Car Park are scheduled to go live on Monday, July 9th with a one-ticket system; they will operate using a single ticket for entry, payment and exit. The one-ticket system is gradually being implemented in all of the City’s barrier lots with Bull’s Head and Elliott Street already in operation. Motorists must take a ticket upon entry. When they have completed their stay in the lot and ready to return to their vehicle, scan the ticket at the pay station and make their payment. This Entry ticket (the ticket they received when they came in) is now valid to use to scan at the exit gate and leave the lot. The new system will have no effect for EasyPark users and those will operate as normal. The City reminds the public that it now offers monthly and annual parking permits in all of its long-term car parks using a swipe card for entry and exit, eliminating the need to visit a pay station or use EasyPark Mobile. The monthly charge ranges from $100.00 to $400.00 and the annual rate ranges from $1100.00 to $4400.00. Monthly permits will be valid from the first of the month till the last day of the month. No prorated permits will be issued. Applications can be obtained from the City offices in City Hall as well as on the City website — www.cityofhamilton.bm — under the City Permits heading. Applications may take up to 48 hours to process so motorists are advised to submit their application in plenty of time before the first of the month. There is also an option to apply online on the City website."
Tropical Storm Chris is expected to bring swell and showers to Bermuda towards the middle of this week. The storm is forecast to come within 395 miles to the west-northwest of Bermuda at 2pm on Wednesday, its closest point within the next 72 hours. The Bermuda Weather Service warned it may move closer after that, depending upon its track. Chris has the potential to strengthen into a hurricane because of warm sea surface temperatures and favourable winds. The BWS said at 6pm today: “Tropical Storm Chris is expected to make its north-northeastward advance on Wednesday, but Bermuda shall remain similar to Tuesday with generally fair skies with only a shower or two in the area. But, as Tropical Storm Chris kicks out, it will drag a cold front on its backside which will send increasing cloudiness and decreasing stability Wednesday night and into Thursday.” At 6pm today, Chris was 571 miles west of Bermuda, with winds of about 52mph and higher gusts. Tropical Storm Beryl, downgraded from a category one hurricane, remains on a slow course towards the Lesser Antilles. It is forecast to bring tropical storm conditions to Dominica and Guadeloupe tonight and strong gusty winds in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico tomorrow. The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, spared Bermuda last year, but battered the Caribbean as well as the United States. Recovery efforts are still under way in islands across the Caribbean, and an above-average season is expected again this year with seas warmer than usual.
Bermuda’s entrepreneurial energy and outdoor appeal has been highlighted in the fifth edition of guide book Moon Bermuda. Author Rosemary Jones, a Bermudian journalist, said: “There’s a fresh vitality borne out by a slew of debut activities and attractions — from adrenalin-spiking watersports and haunted-history tours to food, fashion and full-on carnival festivals. Bermuda is courting fintech, virtual currencies and digital start-ups, and apps now offer Uber-style taxis and ‘insider’ curated experiences for visitors.” She added: “We’ve got celebrity mega-chefs and a speakeasy serving up craft cocktails down Chancery Lane. Electric vehicles, Cessna tours, the prospect of casinos — this is not your parents’ Bermuda. But it’s genuine ‘Bermy’. And it’s capturing the imagination of brand new millennial audiences.” The latest 336-page edition of the book, published by Avalon Travel, includes experiential attractions and promotions to appeal to younger visitors. The guide book, which has sold close to 25,000 copies, has been updated with new photos and text every three years since Ms Jones published the first edition in 2006. The latest edition’s cover photograph was shot by Bermudian photojournalist John Manderson, of Luminous Imaging. Moon Bermuda is for sale online and at bookstores throughout North America and is currently available at The Bookmart in Hamilton for $25.75.
Legislators last night approved the introduction of police checkpoints to screen motorists for sobriety, in a bid to curtail drink-driving. Transport minister Walter Roban told the House of Assembly that while the Bill was “not the cure-all — but it’s a start”. Police would first require training at checkpoints in Britain, Mr Roban said, and the requisite equipment would have to be bought. Under the legislation, officers above the rank of superintendent can get written approval from the senior magistrate if they have “reasonable suspicion that an incident may take place”. Notice of the checkpoint’s date and parish would have to be gazetted five to 15 days prior, and all vehicles passing through the checkpoint would be required to stop — although not every driver would be subjected to testing. Officers would have the power to administer a breath test or check for impairment, with an offence incurred if the driver failed or refused to comply. He conceded that drinking was part of “island culture around the world. This Bill will be the first step in our strategy,” he added, telling MPs a “robust” campaign would be rolled out to educate residents on the checkpoints. Shadow national security minister Michael Dunkley signaled the Opposition’s approval, saying many drivers nowadays were putting their lives at risk. “It’s out of control,” Mr Dunkley added, making an additional plea for greater personal responsibility. Mr Dunkley acknowledged that bringing the legislation had been “held up by constitutional issues — that’s a lawyer’s job”. He noted that even with training delivered in the UK, Bermuda’s legislation looked “quite different from the UK model”. Mr Dunkley also asked how the equipment would be budgeted for, and whether testing for other drugs had been contemplated. Opposition MP Sylvan Richards voiced concern over police profiling at the roadside checkpoints. Leah Scott, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and shadow transport minister, said it is important the legislation has a “strong education component”. She told the house: “With a community effort, I think that we can get the message out.” Ms Scott compared the notification element of the law to “riding a bike with training wheels” and continued: “You’re getting people used to the process and then there will come a point where there will not be a notification about the checkpoints, or I hope that we will get to that point, so that people are not readily prepared, they don’t go out anticipating that they can bypass a checkpoint because they’ve been out drinking.” Kim Wilson, Minister of Health, addressed concerns that specific groups in the community could be unfairly targeted for roadside testing, referring to Section 315F of the Criminal Code that allows police to stop and search without probable cause. She said: “This legislation has a number of provisions in it which will allow for the issues concerning potential racial profiling and the like to be diminished.” Among them are the written authorization from a senior magistrate on application from a high-ranking officer, prior public notice, and that “all vehicles traveling through that road sobriety checkpoint will be stopped and checked”. Ms Wilson said: “The inherent provisions that I’ve just referred to in this legislation will eliminate that and ... it will eliminate the issue of racial profiling and further marginalization of some of our members in our community.” Another factor is that the police officers need to have “reasonable and probable grounds to suspect that that person is committing an offence, ie, driving whilst impaired, before they can go on to the next step”. The minister added: “So unlike 315F that you don’t need probable grounds, this provision allows for the situation where the police must have a reasonable and probable grounds before they can go ahead and pursue, so again it will help minimize the effect of prejudice or racial profiling with respect to this legislation.” Susan Jackson, shadow health minister, said: “I can’t help but consider the fact that we are talking about what ultimately should become a cultural, behavioral shift, that we can put all of these individual restrictions or these pieces of legislation in place, but until we’re able to actually start to change the mindsets of the people who are using our roads to be more mature and to be safer, then really we could be just dropping a pebble in a very big bucket. So with that my big concern is that, again, education, starting with our youth, is huge and certainly I personally believe that the educational programmes that we have introduced for various topics in our community have had a positive impact. And so I would very much like to see the sobriety issue a conversation that is introduced at a young age and is something that our young people can begin to understand and believe in and we, as a community, can start to make that cultural shift.” The House also heard from Diallo Rabain, Minister of Education, who said the Government was “making history” with its legislation and stressed the importance of having appropriate data to review the number of accidents that involved alcohol. Jeanne Atherden, the Opposition leader, said it was also important to track statistics “test and make sure that systems are working”. She also questioned if the police would “charge an establishment who has served the person who failed the test”. But Mr Roban responded: “No, the Bermuda Police Service does not have such legislation in place.”
Members of the House of Assembly told powerful stories about the impact that impaired driving has had on their lives and the wider community. Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, recalled: “I’ve been there in the hospital, on the ICU ward when a friend of mine has had to have the plug pulled on him. “I’ve been there in the hospital to visit friends that have lost limbs, that have had their lives for ever impacted because they felt as though there was no consequence. Their focus was whether they were going to get caught by the police, not whether or not they got home safely, if they got home at all. So I can say I am directly impacted by drunk driving.” Mr Scott went on to recall an occasion on a night out in Florida when he was the designated driver and a university friend left early, insisting he did not need the ride that was offered as he “wasn’t that drunk”. He continued: “That classmate never made it home, he literally wrapped his BMW around a tree. And there was a while that I felt responsible because I was the designated driver.” Mr Scott added: “We can’t save everybody, but yet with this Bill, adding a level of consequence, allowing the police to be able to help protect us from ourselves, we can save lives.” Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, said: “I’ve had situations in which I have actually had occasion to speak at the funeral of somebody who’s very, very dear to me, who was lost on the road. And one of the things that I do as a pastime is to write poetry and I can remember writing a poem as a tribute to this young man who had lost his life.” She described him as a naturally talented tennis player and continued: “Every time I have the opportunity to think about that tragedy and others whom we have lost along the way, it doesn’t matter who, where or how the extent of alcohol has had an impact. It’s important that there could be a situation in which we are burying somebody far too soon.” She said “the idea of doing whatever we can to help to prevent the incidents of loss of life and mangling of bodies and impairment ... we clearly want to make sure that we do all that we can.”
Health insurance premiums have spiked as much as 18.5 per cent, health minister Kim Wilson told MPs yesterday. In some cases this will mean residents having to pay an additional $100 a month, which Ms Wilson said “can’t be easy for most working families”. She cautioned: “We are not here to blame insurance companies or the previous government.” Ms Wilson blamed the rise in part on the population being “sicker, older and receiving more healthcare”. The island’s most basic package, the standard health benefit, covers only hospital and “a few non-hospital services”, MPs heard. The rest, she said, was priced in “tiny pools among small and medium-sized employers, or individuals without group coverage — they are the most exposed of all”. Bipartisan health reform proposals to stabilize health costs have left the Government with two options for advancement, as well as a draft benefit package now under review. That draft package, dating back to 2012, envisaged a “solid, decent” health plan requiring around $450 a month per person. Although prices had risen in the five years since, Ms Wilson said changes to the “basic package and pool” of health insurance would avert small groups taking sudden steep premium rises. She added: “That is what my technical teams are working on, and I will be pleased to come back to my honourable colleagues and update you again in the coming months.” Ms Wilson noted smaller reforms achieved over the last three years, such as the “dramatic” reduction in fees for long-term hospital care. In particular, the enhanced care pilot programme targeting chronic disease such as diabetes, in place since February 2017. had seen 206 patients enrolled to date. Participants had “substantial” reductions in emergency department and hospital admissions, Ms Wilson said, praising the “bipartisan genesis” of the scheme.
Asbestos has forced the temporary closure of the Criminal Records Office, police announced this morning. The closure will mean the immediate halt to vetting requests. A police spokesman said that the move was made “out of an abundance of caution” after test results showed asbestos-containing material in some files at the office. He said: “The safety, health and wellbeing of our staff and that of the public remains a main priority for the BPS.” The closure will last until additional testing and assessments can be conducted. The spokesman added: “The BPS recognizes the important role that vetting plays in employment, immigration and other related areas and sincerely regrets this necessary suspension of services at the Criminal Records Office. The public is being assured that everything is being done to restore services in a safe and healthy environment for our staff and the public in the shortest possible time.” Requests submitted before July 2 should contact staff on 247-1513 or email@example.com
Four people have reported ciguatera fish poisoning this year.
The health ministry issues a warning about the illness which causes vomiting, diarrhea and neurological issues such as tingling sensations and reversal of cold and hot sensations. It pointed out there was one case in 2017 and 20 in 2016. Ciguatera fish poisoning is caused by toxins from microscopic marine plants that build up in large predatory fish. CFP does not change the appearance, taste or smell of a fish and it is not affected by cooking or freezing. Telltale signs include the reversal of hot and cold sensations, which is absent in other types of fish-related food poisoning. Vomiting and diarrhea may be severe, moderate or absent. Additional symptoms include nausea, vertigo, joint and muscle pain, weakness, and numbness or burning in the mouth. The poisoning is not fatal. Symptoms may begin as little as one hour after consuming toxic fish and can persist for an extended period of time. CFP is unpleasant, but most people that are affected recover fully over time. The fish identified in the outbreaks to date are large amberjacks, large yellow jacks, barracuda and grey snapper. The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health and Department of Environment and Natural Resources are investigating the reports. Anyone who may have experienced the above symptoms listed should contact their physician. Physicians should then call the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit on 332-8932 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opinion, by Martha Harris Myron. "It is a scenario that will be familiar to thousands of Bermuda residents — a letter arrives regarding your accounts at local institutions. It contains requests to complete a new set of forms to verify who you are, where you live, where your tax residency is, citizenship, and so forth. Providing all the information will mean certification (or notarisation) of documents such as passports, social insurance, taxpayer identification numbers, or driving licence. Established deadlines are noted along with appropriate measures to be implemented if the account holder does not respond in a timely and appropriate manner. Bermuda residents with local financial accounts have been providing varying degrees of these types of information to their banks for almost two decades. Needless to say, the frustration levels of continually providing repetitive information is not always well-received. “How many times do I have to tell the bank I’ve lived here 50 years?” said one exasperated client. Why all this? The first high-profile global tax compliance initiative, in my humble layman’s remembrance, came from the United States under the Qualified Intermediary Programme in early 2001. Foreign banks and financial institutions in other countries, Bermuda being among the first, signed on to the programme to identify investor clients in US securities, withhold taxes, and report/remit to US Internal Revenue Service. It was an audacious programme. The introduction of US Fatca regulations followed as countries emulated and were facilitating new or improved regulations regarding anti-money laundering, Know Your Customer, and financial intelligence divisions modelling intergovernmental agreements for further tax reporting efficiency. We now have Common Reporting Standard rules. The reasoning for this newest set of regulations, which is imposed on all manner of financial institutions, is summarised in such terms as protection of the integrity of tax systems, verifying where an individual is a tax resident, and providing such information in a sharing structure to other national tax authorities if an individual is not actually tax resident in the country where an account is held. The standard is called the Common Reporting Standard, or CRS, and it is a global finance compliance agreed by the 147 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. According to the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, “its members support the fight against tax evasion by ensuring the effective implementation of the international standards on tax transparency and exchange of ownership, accounting and financial account information — both on request’ and automatically. International tax is technical in nature and in high political focus. The media and civil society pay close attention to international tax matters, and governments are taking decisive action to tackle tax evasion and avoidance and ensure all taxpayers pay their fair share. Central to this effort is ensuring that countries implement the internationally agreed standards for co-operation between tax authorities, including providing particular information for specific tax investigations and a broad range of information automatically on financial accounts and assets held offshore. There are also further minimum standards to ensure multinational enterprises pay appropriate levels of tax.” The OECD website provides an overview on the rules governing tax residence and applicability in jurisdictions that are committed to automatically exchanging information under the CRS. Tax residence is determined under the domestic tax laws of each jurisdiction. There might be situations where a person qualifies as a tax resident under the tax residence rules of more than one jurisdiction, and therefore is a tax resident in more than one jurisdiction. For the purposes of the CRS, the account holder (or controlling person) must disclose all its tax residences in the required self-certification. The mere right to reside in a given jurisdiction on a permanent or temporary basis, or the fact of holding citizenship of a given jurisdiction does not automatically mean that a person shall be considered a tax resident in such a jurisdiction or that, upon obtaining residency or citizenship, the tax residency is extinguished in the former jurisdiction(s) of tax residence. In summary, in my humble opinion all of these varying initiatives have created confusion, complexity, additional costs, and frustration for the ordinary individual financial account holder residing in Bermuda. The mere concept of declaring a tax residency in a country that does not have an income tax regime is beyond the average layman’s comprehension. And why would they want to know? Misunderstandings and errors occur when information is incorrectly categorised, as when a foreign investor has a US rental property, for instance, files a US tax return every year to report and pay the appropriate US tax on the net rental profit. This action does not make the foreign person a US tax resident, since further computation of the US substantial presence and other tests are employed. Confusion often arises over the correct submission of various US information forms, such as the obscurely, almost unintelligible W-8BEN and its related forms, the application for an ITIN number (not the same category as a US social security number), and more directed availability of US State Department (consulate) assistance, with some services now directed through Costa Rica. The cost to foreign financial institutions has been enormous. It is estimated that large institutions each will spend $100 million or more for implementation of Fatca alone, with further increases for CRS. Nevertheless, tax compliance, the sharing of tax residents’ data among countries, and discrimination against small country economies is never going to stop due to the ever moving global tax compliance goalposts. Regardless of whether we feel positive or negative about these financial complications, they will remain with us. It is no wonder that the autonomous, cryptocurrencies have risen on centre stage. They, too, are nowhere near perfect, but that is a topic for another day.This article is general in nature. The matters of fact it contains only touch upon the complexity of these global tax compliance initiatives. Any information readers may wish to share with me regarding your experiences in these areas is welcomed. Confidentially and anonymously, of course. Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Dual citizen: Bermudian/US. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Finance columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. Contact: email@example.com.
A tropical depression west of Bermuda has strengthened into the third named storm of the season. Tropical Storm Chris is forecast to come within 420 miles to the northwest of Bermuda at 6am on Wednesday, its closest point within the next 72 hours. The Bermuda Weather Service warned it may move closer after that, depending upon its track. The BWS said no significant impact is currently expected for the island, except for some swell and showers towards midweek. Chris has the potential to strengthen into a hurricane because of warm sea surface temperatures and favourable winds, but the BWS said at 6am today: “Fortunately, the broad high pressure ridging will keep the storm at a safe berth from the island, thus making the only potential impacts of this system being shower activity and large long period swell.” At 6am, Chris was 623 miles west of Bermuda, with winds of about 40mph and higher gusts. Tropical Storm Beryl, downgraded from a category one hurricane, remains on a slow course towards the Lesser Antilles. At 6am, Beryl was about 1,400 miles south-southeast of Bermuda. Winds have decreased to about 46mph. The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, spared Bermuda last year, but battered the Caribbean as well as the United States. Recovery efforts are still under way in islands across the Caribbean, and an above-average season is expected again this year with seas warmer than usual.
One of Bermuda’s favourite cocktails has won a few more admirers thanks to the drinking habits of an undercover spy. Lord Alexander Hawke, the protagonist in a series of novels by New York Times best-selling author Ted Bell, frequently visits Bermuda and drinks only Gosling’s Black Seal 151. Author Mr Bell, on the island to promote the publication of his tenth book in the series, Overkill, said the obsession has rubbed off on his loyal readers, who have developed a taste for the Dark ‘n Stormy. “Hawke’s trademark is Gosling’s Rum,” Mr Bell told The Royal Gazette. “Black Seal 151 neat is the only thing he ever drinks, he loves it. I did it because I discovered Gosling’s Rum when I first came here and thought it was fantastic. I can’t tell you how many people have written me saying, ‘Thank you for introducing us to the Dark ‘n Stormy, it’s our favourite drink’.” Mr Bell even included the Dark ‘n Stormy recipe in one of the novels. The author, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, developed an affinity for Bermuda when he first visited the island in the early 1970s. Speaking at a book signing at Gosling’s Wine Cellar on Thursday, he said: “I just fell in love with Bermuda. I couldn’t believe it existed, it’s an amazing place.” Mr Bell, who honeymooned at Coral Beach Club, visits the island annually. He said: “I never stopped coming because I’ve loved it since the first time, and it hasn’t changed much at all since then.” Regarding Hawke, Mr Bell said: “In every single book, there’s something that brings him back to Bermuda.” Although Hawke’s adventures take him all around the world, he returns to his fictitious South Shore residency in Bermuda, Teakettle Cottage, in each book. “People are always asking me if Teakettle Cottage is real and where to find it,” Mr Bell said, “I just tell them that Hawke enjoys his privacy.” Mr Bell added: “In spy novels, people come and go, but one constant that remains at the heart of each book is Bermuda, it’s Hawke’s safe haven”. Despite having written 12 novels and two novellas, Mr Bell said: “I’m going to continue writing until I go blind.” Overkill, as well as the rest of the Hawke books, are available at The Bermuda Bookstore.
Caribbean Journal. Disney Cruise Line’s long-awaited debut in Bermuda will come next year, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Disney will be sailing five-night cruises that feature two days in Bermuda, beginning in the fall of 2019. Bookings are already open to the public, according to the BTA. All of the Bermuda cruises will sail out of New York City, with an initial string of three special cruises to the Atlantic island, sailing on Disney’s Disney Magic cruise ship. Disney had originally been slated to sail to Bermuda this year.
A 72-year-old man yesterday admitted sexually assaulting a young girl more than 40 years ago. Bernard Marshall, of Smith’s, pleaded guilty to unlawfully and indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 14 in Magistrates’ Court. The incident took place between January 1, 1970, and September 14, 1972. The court heard that Marshall was between 24 and 26 years old at the time. The victim was aged between 8 and 10. He apologized for his actions in the court. Prosecutor Maria Sofianos said that the Crown would be seeking a custodial sentence. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe ordered a social inquiry report on Marshall and granted him bail in the amount of $15,000 with one like surety. Marshall will return to court on August 17.
The House of Assembly will today debate the introduction of roadside breath test checkpoints. The Road Traffic (Road Sobriety Checkpoints) Amendment Act will allow the senior magistrate to authorize police officers to carry out roadside breath tests in a bid to combat drink driving. Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport, said last month that the public would get advance warning, and that the checkpoints would be “highly visible” to alert drivers. MPs will also discuss the Insurance Amendment Act 2018, brought by David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance.
Government ministers yesterday continued to spread the message that Bermuda is open for digital business. David Burt, the Premier, is to highlight the development of financial technology in Bermuda at a regional leaders conference in Jamaica. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, is in France to promote Bermuda’s views on regulations for digital assets at a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Mr Burt, who is also the Minister of Finance, is representing Bermuda at a meeting of the Conference of the Caribbean Community heads of government in Montego Bay. The meeting, from today until Friday, will discuss topics including factors that affect the implementation of the Caricom Single Market and Economy, disaster preparedness, crime and security. Mr Burt will lead a discussion on how fintech might help diversify economies and promote economic growth in the region. He said: “Our links to the Caribbean continue to be strong and I am pleased to have the opportunity to share Bermuda’s story with fellow members of Caricom. This meeting takes place against the backdrop of the region continuing to deal with the effects of last year’s hurricanes as well as economic issues. There are some common experiences that can yield common strategies that help all of us and Bermuda can play a part in fostering resilience in the region’s approach to these issues.” Progressive Labour Party MPs Christopher Famous and Curtis Dickinson have joined Mr Burt on the trip, with Mr Dickinson due to take part in a discussion on banking. Mr Caines was invited by the OECD to its headquarters in Paris for its “Roundtable on Digital Financial Assets: Actions and Approaches” conference. He spoke during a panel session on regulation and was joined by international regulators from groups including the Financial Action Task Force, the International Monetary Fund and government, business and technology leaders from around the world. The panel looked at regulatory and policy matters and approaches adopted at country and regional levels. It also discussed possible actions to achieve public policy objectives, including market integrity, consumer protection, privacy, cybersecurity, financial stability, and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. Mr Caines said: “Bermuda has captured the attention of global leaders in blockchain technology and the field of fintech because of an innovative raft of legislation that prioritizes compliance on multiple dimensions, has a demonstrated history as a consistent and reliable jurisdiction and has led the charge in digital asset legislation. I look forward to joining leaders in the field and showcasing Bermuda’s approach to building a framework for this new class of asset with our initial coin offering legislation as well as the Bermuda Digital Asset Business Act.”
The island’s general hospital, King Edward VII Memorial, logged 430 incidents that resulted in harm to patients over less than five years, Bermuda Hospitals Board statistics have revealed. Of those, 28 fell into the three most serious categories of harm — 14 patients died unexpectedly, 5 needed life-saving treatment and 9 suffered permanent harm as a result. The figures were included in statistics released by BHB that showed there were 4,090 incidents reported by staff at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital between March 28, 2011 and December 31, 2015. The number of reported incidents that involved patients is far higher than earlier reported by the hospitals board. The most common events involved falls or slips and medication errors. BHB released data in December 2015, in response to a public access to information request from The Royal Gazette, which logged only 13 events between 2011 and 2015. Michael Richmond, BHB’s chief of staff, said yesterday that the number of reported adverse events at the hospital was comparable with similar institutions overseas, based on his experience, although there was no established international benchmark. He added that any adverse events had to be viewed as potential for improvement and were taken seriously. Dr Richmond said it was unwise to over-interpret the data, because it only included incidents that staff reported. He explained that some incidents would not be reported and that many credible articles suggested only 15 percent of events were picked up by hospital reporting systems. He said: “Reporting systems are notoriously weak and inconsistent in identifying all harm events.” A total of 534 incidents were reported at KEMH amid about 6,000 hospital admissions, 30,000 emergency department attendances and 6,300 outpatient procedures last year. There were 900 reported events in 2012, against a backdrop of similar hospital activity. The World Health Organisation says European data consistently shows that medical errors and healthcare-related adverse events occur in 8 to 12 per cent of hospitalizations. Dr Richmond said he was unable to provide the numbers to enable a comparable rate to be calculated for KEMH but it may be possible in the future. He said he was less concerned about how the figures compared internationally and more worried that the number of reported events at KEMH was falling because of a failure to report. He said: “I’m very worried that we have got a reduced level of reports.” He added that his aim was to create a culture at the hospital where reporting was encouraged because that would lead to improvements in patient safety. “We are putting a system in place where the frontline staff are the eyes and ears of the organisation.” He added that specific projects had been launched to target the most common kinds of accidents and errors. The chief of staff said the figures released to The Royal Gazette in 2015 included only those incidents in the “sentinel events” category — those that could have or did lead to unnecessary death or major harm and could have been prevented. “There was no effort to mislead. That was the way it [the Pati request] was interpreted by whoever. It would appear that the numbers were low.” He said the 13 sentinel events were a subset of the 4,090 reported adverse events. Dr Richmond added that the board did not have data showing how many of the remaining 4,077 events were preventable or had involved hospital error —although each logged incident was reviewed to determine what happened and action was taken if needed. Dr Richmond, who joined BHB last July, said “many” of the incidents probably were preventable and the board was working towards a system where it was possible to identify the exact number. He admitted the sentinel events category was “probably ... too narrow” to provide the public and the board with the information it needed about avoidable incidents. Dr Richmond said: “We clearly have events that are happening that are preventable. We are an organisation that has a clear ambition to be the safest hospital we possibly can. The way to do that is to interrogate your data, to share your data and to learn from your data. Are we an exemplary organisation? I am saying 100 per cent not. We are an organisation that has to reduce harm. That is in our quality improvement strategy. We have a system that is maturing and improving. I would like for our systems to be able to give us that data.” Dr Richmond, who is responsible for quality of care at the hospital, pledged that BHB would publish its incident statistics twice-yearly on its website in the future. He said: “Our aim is to be fully transparent. Really, as a consequence of you pushing and trying to get the information, we have said ‘why aren’t we putting our data on the website to allow the public to be informed?’ And we will. This is information we must be held accountable for and the public have a right to know it.” As well as the information on reported adverse events for 2011 to 2015, BHB’s new figures provided more up-to-date statistics. They show that between March 28, 2011 and May 31 this year, 5,483 adverse events were reported at KEMH, with the majority — 3,644 — involving no harm. There were 663 events that did involve harm, with 41 incidents that fell into the three most serious categories of harm. A total of 18 patients died unexpectedly, 8 patients needed life-saving treatment and 15 suffered permanent harm over the period. There were 1,167 incidents where the severity level was unknown or not identified — it is not mandatory to assign a severity level. There were also nine deaths which were “not caused by a safety event”. Dr Richmond said after the incident log was reviewed, it was probable that the severity levels would have changed in only between 5 and 10 per cent of cases. The Royal Gazette first asked BHB for statistics on “serious untoward incidents” at KEMH in the previous five years in September 2015. The request listed terms which the events could have been recorded as — phrases used in healthcare to describe incidents involving avoidable harm, including “sentinel” and “adverse”. The request was aimed at ensuring the broadest possible range of incidents was disclosed. After BHB released information on only 13 events, The Royal Gazette asked for an internal review by Peter Everson, then the BHB chairman. Mr Everson upheld the board’s decision, but The Royal Gazette appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The latest disclosure followed a request from the ICO to BHB as part of a negotiated resolution.
The first hurricane of the season has formed in the West Atlantic. Hurricane Beryl, upgraded overnight from a tropical storm, remains on a slow course towards the Caribbean. However it is expected to dwindle before it reaches the Lesser Antilles late on Sunday. It is said not be a threat to Bermuda. At 6am today, Beryl was nearly 2,000 miles south-east of Bermuda, with winds of 75mph, and gusts of more than 90mph. The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, spared Bermuda last year, but battered the Caribbean as well as the United States. Recovery efforts are still under way in islands across the Caribbean, and an above-average season is expected again this year with seas warmer than usual.
Bermuda College is “heavily involved” in discussions with the Government on financial technology education, the college president said yesterday. Duranda Greene added that she and two other college staff were part of a task force set up to look at fintech training. She said: “We’ve had individuals, organisations that offer training in fintech and training and development in fintech overseas; they have been to the island to meet with us.” Dr Greene said that a request for proposal would be put out so training could be provided at the college’s Paget campus. She added: “We are very much involved in those discussions.” Dr Greene said that some Bermudian students would be well-suited to careers in the fintech field. Dr. Greene added: “I don’t think that it’s going to be the be all and end all for everyone. You’re going to have to have a certain level of computer skills or IT skills to get into that area.” She said the school was looking at programmes that could cater to a “broad range” of students with different skills, including technical and compliance education. Senators this week passed the Fintech Development Fund Act 2018 in the Upper Chamber. The legislation created a fund to raise cash from partner companies to support education and training initiatives related to the field. Some of the money will also be used to pay for social services. The Bill was passed without objection.
Property owners who want to register holiday accommodation were left baffled after there were no official forms available. In a bid to comply with the new Vacation Rental Act 2018, which introduced a 4.5 per cent tax on Airbnb-style rentals, landlords have asked for the appropriate paperwork from the tourism ministry. However, despite the start of the legislation earlier this week, the forms were not expected to be ready until today. Justin Mathias, a One Bermuda Alliance senator, said he was concerned that the law had been “rushed”. He said: “I’ve been getting some phone calls, people have been trying to apply for their vacation rental certificates and the forms aren’t ready yet. I said, this is the unintended consequences of rushed legislation, that the administrative staff can’t keep up and the intent of the legislation doesn’t meet the reality.” Mr Mathias added: “People don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing.” Government announced the start of the Vacation Rental Act 2018 on Monday and advised homeowners to view an online fact sheet. It explains that vacation rental certificate application forms “are available at the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism”, but to contact the Department of Consumer Affairs if the property falls under Rent Control. Proprietors were told that among the benefits of registration was “promotional support” from the Bermuda Tourism Authority. The webpage added: “All vacation rental units are required by law to be registered with the appropriate minister. Any vacation rental owner who fails to register their property or remit the 4.5 per cent vacation rental fee to the BTA is liable on conviction to pay a fine not exceeding $10,000 in accordance with Section 15A (8) of the Vacation Rentals Act 2018.” The rate is expected to bring in $750,000 for the BTA. One frustrated Airbnb host yesterday said he went to the ministry for an application form on Tuesday. He added: “There are no forms to fill out, they said there are no forms for people to register their property. The accommodation owner claimed that holiday lets had boosted the economy and community spirit all over the island. He said: “These people come and stay in neighborhoods, so we’re going back to good Bermuda, back to the old Bermuda experience, we see them walking in all different neighborhoods.” A government spokeswoman said the application forms would be available by the end of today and anyone who contacted the ministry would be informed.
Gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion will be shipped to Bermuda and held in a vault to back a number of crypto tokens, according to Arbitrade. The cryptocurrency exchange and coin company, which is setting up its global headquarters in Bermuda, has given further details about a purported deal to acquire title to $10 billion in gold bullion. The bullion will be used to back five crypto tokens with a variety of precious metals. The tokens are Dignity, Namaste, Oretic, Honor, and the Arbitrade ICO token. In a telephone press conference last Thursday, Arbitrade’s founder Troy Hogg expressed a desire to support a number of unconfirmed Bermuda government projects, ranging from chicken farms employing gang members to an active shooter preparedness programme for schools and charities. He also said it was donating $1 million to the Government to help pay for the refurbishment and launch of a fintech co-working incubator space in a Hamilton building. In an updated news release yesterday it added details about its plans, including the $10 billion gold bullion deal. “Arbitrade Ltd has made a definitive deal with Sion Trading FZE Dubai to acquire $10,000,000,000 in gold bullion. The bullion will be held at Brinks’ vault at the Dubai Gold Exchange. Arbitrade will have the title certificate, which is called an SKR, in hand in the next two weeks,” the company said in a statement credited to the “Arbitrade Team”. “The company will have the bullion audited by a major accounting firm that operates in both (sic) Bermuda, Dubai and the United States before the end of September or as the accounting firm’s schedule permits. The audit is not an important factor and is only being done to satisfy US regulators.” The company outlined how the gold bullion will be divided up to provide backing in gold, silver, platinum and palladium, for its tokens. “As Arbitrade pays off the gold bullion debt to Sion, the gold can be traded for the appropriate metals backing each token before being shipped to the vault in Bermuda, where it will be audited once a year, again, as the reserves build up,” the Arbitrade Team said. The company said it had been told that it may take until September for it to receive licences to operate in Bermuda and launch an initial coin offering, with the delay being due to “regulatory issues”. In the meantime, it will oversee the buildout and upgrades to Victoria Hall, the seven-storey office block on Victoria Street that is to be its headquarters. Arbitrade has said the purchase of the building, on the market for $6.5 million, is expected to be completed in the next two weeks. Michael Dunkley, the former Premier who is now Shadow Minister for National Security, yesterday raised concerns about press comments made by Arbitrade, particularly regarding the unconfirmed government initiatives and the $1 million donation. He also questioned Government’s silence on Arbitrade’s comments, the decision by Mr Hogg to open his presentation by defending himself against social media and online attacks, and the conference ending with no questions being allowed. In yesterday’s update, Arbitrade said its representatives had made ten visits to Bermuda, with Mr Hogg being “one of the very first people that met with the Premier and ministers in charge of the new fintech space”. Arbitrade said its partnerships and agreements require approvals from all partners and the Government “before we can release anything”. It apologized for its “rushed” press conference on June 28. Included was a photograph of Arbitrade’s directors in a meeting held at the Hamilton Princess, along with pictures of an Arbitrade event at Elbow Beach. In a list of questions and answers printed at the end of the update, one unattributed question asked why Arbitrade did not show up on a list of registered businesses in Bermuda. The company replied: “It should show up on the registry as Arbitrade Ltd, now. If it doesn’t, it will soon.” As of yesterday, Arbitrade did not feature on the Bermuda Registrar of Companies website. In a statement that arrived too late to appear in yesterday’s print edition, a government spokesman responded to Royal Gazette questions about Arbitrade. However, the statement did not mention the company by name, nor did it address any of the firm’s specific claims, such as the Alice programme [active shooter preparedness] or any plans for gang members to be paid to work on a chicken farm. The statement said: “The Fintech Development Fund was passed in the Senate today. When the fund is set up and contributions can be received, the Government will make such contributions public. We are pleased that companies are looking to set up in Bermuda, planning to invest in building our fintech industry and supporting community initiatives. The same way insurers assisted with developing our insurance industry while supporting community organisations over the years.”
Bermuda-based Brookfield Property Partners LP is in talks to buy Waterside Plaza on the East Side of Manhattan for about $600 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The property, which includes apartments, stores and space rented to the British International School of New York, is owned by Richard Ravitch, a former New York lieutenant governor and onetime chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. A deal has yet to be finalized and it’s possible it could fall apart, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the transaction is private. A Brookfield representative didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Ravitch, reached by phone, said he is in talks with numerous parties and that the property isn’t for sale. Brookfield has been stepping up its investments in New York commercial real estate. Last month, it agreed to acquire Vornado Realty Trust’s stake in 666 Fifth Avenue. Earlier this year, it spent $165 million for a residential development project in the Bronx.
Seadrill Ltd, one of the world’s largest offshore drilling companies, has emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy after completing its plan of reorganization. Conyers Dill and Pearman has been advising the Bermuda-registered company on the plan and related judicial proceedings on the island since February 2016. The law firm said Conyers’ directors David Cooke and Niel Jones advised on the corporate aspects of the restructuring, along with associates Jennifer Panchaud, Sarah Lusher, David Stubbs and William Cooper. Robin Mayor and Christian Luthi, directors in Conyers’ litigation and restructuring department, advised on the Bermuda judicial proceedings. Conyers said its BVI and Cayman offices were also engaged. “The successful emergence from chapter 11 was a good outcome for all stakeholders,” Mr Cooke said. “This was an extremely complicated and multifaceted restructuring, and I think it is a testament to the sophistication of Bermuda as a jurisdiction and the hard work of all those involved that we were able to get this across the line.” John Fredriksen, the Norwegian-born billionaire who is chairman of Seadrill, said: “We are pleased to be emerging from chapter 11 and moving forward with a solid financial foundation on which we will continue to grow and strengthen our business.” Through his investment companies, Mr Fredriksen also owns stakes in some other Bermuda-registered companies, including oil tanker giant Frontline, dry-bulk shipper Golden Ocean Group and liquefied natural gas shipper Golar LNG. The Seadrill plan equitised some $2.4 billion in unsecured bond obligations, more than $1 billion in contingent new-build obligations, substantial unliquidated guaranty obligations, and approximately $250 million in unsecured interest rate and currency swap claims, while extending near-term debt maturities. This provided Seadrill with more than $1 billion in fresh capital, leaving employee, customer, and ordinary trade claims largely unimpaired. With re-profiled debt and substantial liquidity, the company has announced that it is in a strong position to execute its business plan. The figures below highlight key financial metrics as of the effective date of emergence:
• Total cash of about $2.1 billion.
• Secured bank debt of about $5.7 billion with the first maturity in 2022.
• New secured notes of $880 million maturing in 2025.
• 100 million common shares to be allocated in accordance with the Plan.
Seadrill’s new common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the same NYSE ticker symbol, “SDRL”, as the old ones.
Insurance brokerage Intrepidus Insurance Services (Bermuda) Ltd has had its registration cancelled by the Bermuda Monetary Agency. The BMA took the enforcement action after investigating a complaint made about the company’s business practices and conduct. In a statement, the BMA said it was satisfied that the company had “provided false, misleading or inaccurate information; not complied with the requirement made of it under the Act, and not fulfilled the minimum criteria”. It said the broker had not appealed against the action during a ten-day appeal period that ended on Monday. Intrepidus Insurance Services gained its registration from the BMA in January 2016. In announcing the enforcement action, the BMA stated it was taking the action “to safeguard the interests of former, current and potential clients of the company” and it said it viewed the breaches as serious because of their nature and extent, and because “they demonstrated systemic weaknesses of the company’s internal controls in all regards”. The BMA said it investigated the complaint against the company and based on the findings it “no longer had confidence in the company’s ability to manage its affairs to the benefit of its clients or satisfy the minimum criteria as detailed in Schedule 1 of the Act. The cancellation of the company’s registration highlights the importance of the Authority’s role in protecting the reputation of the jurisdiction and protecting the interests of clients of the Authority’s regulated entities.” The BMA added: “If any former or current clients of the company wish to make a formal complaint to the Bermuda Police Service, please contact Paul Ridley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 247-1375.” The Royal Gazette has attempted to contact Henry Sutton, president and chief executive officer of Intrepidus Insurance Services, by phone and e-mail.
Two people charged with a conspiracy to import 1,729g of cannabis on a container ship have had their convictions and sentences upheld. Kimisha Perinchief and Jermaine Butterfield were both jailed for two years for the 2015 plot. Perinchief argued successfully that mobile phone evidence that linked her to both Mr Butterfield and co-conspirator Romanito Adlawan should not have been admitted. Appeal Judge Sir Scott Baker said: “In the circumstances, however, I do not think that it significantly prejudiced the appellant and I am satisfied that, absent the error, the verdict would have been the same.” Perinchief, Butterfield and Adlawan were arrested in May 2015 for a plot to import cannabis on board the container ship The Somers Isles. CCTV footage recorded Adlawan leaving the vessel with a backpack. Prosecutors said Perinchief called Adlawan, directed him to the western side of a parking lot and left the area on Butterfield’s motorcycle. Butterfield then arrived in the area in Perinchief’s car, where Adlawan got into the passenger seat. Police then stopped the vehicle, with Butterfield seen throwing $8,000 in US cash out of the car window. Both men were arrested, and a search of the bag revealed 1,729 grams of cannabis. Perinchief denied any knowledge of the drug plot and told the court she was not the person seen on the motorcycle in CCTV footage. A jury convicted her by a unanimous verdict of conspiring to import the drug, but found her not guilty of possessing the drugs with intent to supply. In her appeal, she argued that mobile phone evidence from the United States — which showed she had been in phone contact with her co-defendants — should not have been admitted. The Court of Appeal found the Crown had not properly proven the mobile phone evidence, but given the rest of the evidence in the case, it was unlikely to have changed the verdict. The Appeal Panel also dismissed appeals by both Perinchief and prosecutors against her sentence. Mr Justice Baker said: “With a starting point of three to four years and the modest mitigation of a previous good character, I regard the sentence of two years’ imprisonment as rather low. In light of the regrettable delay in bringing this case to trial, which was due in part to an unexplained delay of over five months for a decision from the judge on whether to quash the indictment, and the fact that the appellant now has a young child, I do not regard it as, in all the circumstances, manifestly inadequate.” The panel similarly upheld Butterfield’s sentence, which was appealed by the Crown. Mr Justice Baker said: “The case against Butterfield was that he was responsible for organising Adlawan and that he arranged for the mobile phones for himself and Adlawan. He recruited Perinchief because he could not travel to the United States due to his previous convictions. Those convictions were for drug offences, but were relatively minor. Perinchief’s involvement in the conspiracy was greater than Butterfield’s, but he was closely involved with the arrival of the drugs and was also guilty of conspiracy to supply. The judge heard the evidence and was well placed to form a view about the relative culpability of the two appellants and her view accorded with that of the Crown. We do not think that in those circumstances we should interfere.”
A man caught by police in a drug deal has won an appeal against a cannabis conviction — but remains behind bars on a cocaine conviction. Sabian Hayward, 35, was jailed for two years after he was convicted by a jury of possessing cannabis resin and cocaine with intent to supply. But the Court of Appeal found neither conviction was safe. Appeal judges dismissed the cannabis conviction and replaced the cocaine conviction with one for “simple” possession. A judgment written by Appeal Judge Anthony Smellie said: “When viewed at its highest, the circumstances show no more than that the illicit drug transaction was interrupted before it was completed. Yet it was that completion which would have imputed to the appellant the possession within the meaning of the law needed to give rise to the further inference of his intention to supply the cocaine on to others.” Hayward was arrested alongside Daymon Simmons in August 2014 in a drug sting operation at the Somerset Bridge ferry dock. Officers saw the men go inside the disused shelter and saw Simmons and Hayward pass a white plastic package back and forth. Police raided the shelter and one officer saw Hayward throw a white package out of a window. Officers later found three packages — one white and two brown — outside the shelter window. The white package held 56g of crack cocaine and the others held a combined total of 63g of cannabis resin. Simmons pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs with intent to supply. Hayward maintained his innocence at a Supreme Court trial, but was found guilty in March, 2018. He argued at appeal there was not enough evidence to support the conviction. Mr Justice Smellie said no witnesses saw Hayward with the cannabis resin, only the white package found to contain cocaine. He said: “There simply was no basis for speculating that the appellant might also have thrown, and so must have come into possession of, the packets containing the brown rocklike substances. There was no basis for excluding the reasonable possibility that those packets were thrown through the shelter window by Simmons, who admitted and pled guilty to his possession of them and notwithstanding that the packets were found close together.” The Court of Appeal also found the conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to supply was not sustainable. The court did find there was enough evidence to show Hayward handled the cocaine. Mr Justice Smellie said: “In particular, the inference is unavoidable that when the appellant retained the packet which he must have known or believed contained cocaine despite the onrush of the BPS and then threw it out the window of the shelter, he did so for the purpose of concealing the controlled drug.” The court set aside the cocaine conviction and substituted it with a conviction for handling the drug and allowed the two-year sentence to remain unchanged. Simmons was sentenced to two years in prison in 2017.
A lawyer told Supreme Court yesterday he had nothing to do with a document intended to make a life coach the main beneficiary of a wealthy senior’s will. Alan Dunch, a lawyer for MJM, said he had not seen the document until after Katherine Trimingham’s death and if he had, he would have been extremely suspicious. Mr Dunch said: “This is so entirely inconsistent with anything she had ever said to me before and I would have been deeply suspicious about what was going on.” He said if he had seen the document before Ms Trimingham’s death, he would have gone to see her to confirm if it was genuine. Mr Dunch said: “I would also ask her if she was prepared to be medically examined to make sure she was of sound mind, because this document didn’t reflect the Katherine Trimingham of sound mind that I knew.” He added: “The whole thing stinks.” Melissa Burton, 53, denies stealing $56,284 from Ms Trimingham, who died, aged 72, in 2016. The New Yorker has also denied a charge of financial exploitation of the senior. The jury heard on Wednesday that Ms Trimingham died on December 1, 2016 after more than a month in hospital. Neil Halliday, the vice-president of Hamilton-based Winchester Global Trust, which held power of attorney over Ms Trimingham’s estate, later found a series of transactions after she was admitted to hospital. Ms Burton later sent him a “memorandum of wishes”, claimed to have been written on the instructions of Mr Dunch, and dated March 9, 2016. The document called for Ms Burton to be given Ms Trimingham’s financial power of attorney and her certificate of deposit account at Clarien Bank on her death. The memorandum added that the fund for Ms Trimingham’s dog should be increased from $50,000 to $100,000 and any cash that remained after the dog’s death should go to its carer — Ms Burton. Mr Dunch said he first saw the document when Mr Halliday sent it to him in January 2017 and he was concerned by the contents. He told the court the document would, if valid, give almost the entirety of Ms Trimingham’s estate to Ms Burton. Mr Dunch said: “To put this in context for you, the biggest asset of Katherine’s estate was the certificate of deposit account at Clarien Bank. She had no legal right to the assets of the trusts once she departed life. Giving Ms Burton the certificate of deposit account in effect gave her the bulk of her estate. “With $100,000 for the care of her dog, which was in Melissa’s possession, that would have, in effect, meant there was nothing left.” Mr Dunch added the date of the document raised questions. He told the court he had been in touch with Ms Trimingham on March 7, two days before the document was supposedly written. Mr Dunch said the only change she mentioned to her will at that time was the addition of a grandchild. He added that Ms Trimingham also mentioned that she was to undergo dental surgery the next day. He said: “This is a lady, on the evidence I had before me, who just went through surgery, was under the influence of drugs and had a caretaker who said she would do her best to round up her wishes.”
The Bermuda Government has filed an appeal against the Supreme Court decision to reverse the ban on same-sex marriage. The Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed it has commenced proceedings against Chief Justice Ian Kawaley’s landmark ruling on June 6 to declare parts of the Domestic Partnership Act invalid. Minister Walton Brown said: “We have filed an appeal in this matter. We look forward to having this matter heard by the Court of Appeal.” Reacting, campaigners OutBermuda said: “We will never surrender equality for all Bermudians, and especially the LGBTQ families and couples who deserve it.” Mr Justice Kawaley had ruled in favour of gay Bermudians Rod Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson, who claimed the legislation was unconstitutional. The DPA was passed by Parliament last December to reverse a Supreme Court ruling from May last year which enabled gay couples to marry. The new legislation came into force on June 1, revoking the right of gay couples to marry and offering them, and heterosexual couples, legally recognized civil unions. But the Chief Justice found it was inconsistent with provisions in the Constitution giving the right to freedom of conscience and outlawing discrimination on the basis of creed. The passing of the DPA made Bermuda the only country in the world to have allowed gay marriage and then revoked that right. Mr Ferguson said today: “Just one month ago, LGBTQ Bermudians inched closer to our goal of restoring marriage equality. We regret this ill-advised and costly decision to appeal the Supreme Court’s finding, and we will summon our voices and resources again as a united community to prevail.” OutBermuda, which served as a co-litigant in the original lawsuit, will join again with Mr Ferguson, Ms Jackson and other allies. Adrian Hartnett-Beasley, one of OUTBermuda’s directors, said: “We have strength not only in justice but in our numbers, including our respected faith leaders like Sylvia Hayward-Harris, along with citizen-activists including Julia and Judith Aidoo-Saltus, Chai T., Wesley Methodist Church, and Douglas NeJaime. “We’ve made outstanding progress with our business advocates led by Carnival Corporation and many encouraging Bermudian-owned/based businesses and employers.” Rod Attride Stirling and Mark Pettingill will again provide legal counsel for OutBermuda.
The public has been asked to blow the whistle on suspicious fishing activity “as soon as they observe it”. A Government spokeswoman has confirmed that the Department of Fisheries had launched an investigation into reports of illegal fishing at protected sites. The move came after Chris Gauntlett, owner of Blue Water Divers, revealed that baited lines and boxes had been found at the Eastern Blue Cut dive site off Dockyard. The spokeswoman said: “The Fisheries Enforcement Section of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is currently investigating several incidents of illegal fishing in protected dive sites involving similar fixed fishing gear.” She added: “The public should be reminded that it is illegal to fish within a protected dive site, use fixed fishing gear and use scuba gear for the purposes of fishing. Members of the public are encouraged to contact the Marine Enforcement Officer on 535-4615 to report any suspicious fishing activity as soon as they observe it. The department would like to thank members of the public, specifically the diving community and Blue Water Divers, for their vigilance.” Mr Gauntlett said divers had found the illegal contraptions at the popular dive site on three occasions in the past month “from zero before that”. The spokeswoman, who said “reports of illegal fishing were on par with a normal summer season”, confirmed that the department suspected that the bait boxes found by Blue Water Divers were targeting rock fish. She explained: “The metal cages reported by Mr Gauntlett are not fish traps. They are in fact submerged bait boxes secured at depth with hook and line attached.”
Vulnerable Bermudians will carry less of the burden of sustaining the pension system under a “more progressive system” to be introduced next year. David Burt, the Premier, said the Bermuda Government will begin to move away from a flat rate as part of its plan to create a fairer tax system. It comes after Government announced people would face a 4.2 per cent increase in social insurance contributions from August 1. Mr Burt noted seniors received a pension benefits increase of 1.7 per cent last December, backdated to the previous August. He said: “To maintain the long-term viability of the Social Insurance Plan, whenever benefits are increased, contributions are increased as well. However in 2017 the Ministry of Finance was sensitive to the fact that contribution rates had already been set by employers for the current fiscal year, therefore, the increase in contributions was delayed until August 2018. Government will keep our pledge to our seniors by ensuring their pension benefits keep up with the increase in Bermuda’s cost of living. Next year, in conjunction with our pledge to create a fairer tax system, Government will begin the process to change pension contributions from a flat rate to a more progressive system ensuring that our most vulnerable Bermudians will carry a lower share of the burden of sustaining our pension system.” The current combined rate per week for both employer and employee is $68.94 or $34.47 each. From August 1, this will be increased to a combined rate of $71.84 or $35.92 each.
Bermuda’s transport minister took to the streets to talk to residents about a new road safety strategy. Walter Roban and Dennis Lister III, chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, hosted a series of street interviews to get opinions on Operation Caution, the BRSC’s road safety plan. The street interviews followed three town hall events held last week to outline the plan. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, also attended the events. Topics covered at the town halls included the implementation of speed cameras and roadside sobriety testing. Members of the public can review Operation Caution and complete a survey here.
A Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship equipped for natural disasters is to be stationed in the Caribbean region throughout the hurricane season this year and next year. The announcement came as the British Government unveiled new measures to ensure its Overseas Territories in the area were supported if there was a repeat of last year’s devastating hurricanes. A statement revealed that Mounts Bay, deployed to the region since 2017, had also been stocked with thousands of collapsible jerry cans, hygiene kits and temporary shelters. Mark Lancaster, the UK Minister for Armed Forces, said: “Our armed forces are committed to supporting our Overseas Territories and we have worked alongside our colleagues across government to ensure we are fully prepared in the event of a natural disaster or other crisis. RFA Mounts Bay, which played a vital role during the 2017 hurricane crisis, remains ready in the Caribbean and will be supported by specialist forces from the UK if required.” Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated parts of the Caribbean last year. The British Government committed £72 million in September to help Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands but the islands criticized the speed of the reaction by UK leaders. Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, committed a further £70 million for reconstruction efforts and £300 million of UK loan guarantees in November. A ministerial statement yesterday said that British government departments had put plans in place to combine humanitarian, military support and diplomatic work in a joint unit co-ordinated by the Foreign Office. Experts have also been sent to the region to lead talks on commercial contracts to deliver essential recovery needs in advance of the peak of hurricane season. The UK has also co-ordinated meetings with representatives from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency to ensure a joint approach to hurricane preparedness. Other measures include military reconnaissance and analysis in the area to build links with local and regional disaster management personnel and inspect critical infrastructure. There are also plans for a multinational group in the Caribbean to co-ordinate countries and organisations to ensure efforts are not duplicated across the region and to make first responses more efficient. The UK Department of International Development also sent a team to the region last month to co-ordinate UK preparations with national and regional institutions. The UK has also helped to make sure all islands affected by last year’s hurricanes are now insured under the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Fund. The fund provided more than $50 million of payouts to hurricane-hit Caribbean countries and territories in 2017. Hurricane preparedness was one of the key topics of discussion at the Joint Ministerial Council with the Overseas Territories in London last month. Walter Roban, deputy Premier and the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said after the JMC that the UK had pledged a more rapid hurricane response. Lord Ahmad, the Foreign Office Minister for the OTs, visited Anguilla, the Cayman Islands and Montserrat as part of a regional tour to discuss hurricane preparedness in May. He said: “The UK has provided critical support and help with recovery efforts and I have seen for myself the huge impact that this has had already. The UK continues to work closely with the governments of the Overseas Territories in their recovery efforts and in helping to rebuild their economies. Moreover, we have also been working hard with key partners across the region to ensure an even more effective and strategic response in the event we see a repeat of last year’s hurricane season.” Lord Bates, the International Development Minister, added: “Britain continues to stand by those people whose lives were devastated. Not only have we been working with the islands’ governments to make sure they are more resilient to natural disasters but we are also well prepared to respond and provide humanitarian relief if a hurricane hits again.”
Silence is not golden when it comes to the Bermuda Government’s lack of response to claimed initiatives mentioned in a conference call by crypto exchange and coin company Arbitrade. Instead it is “disconcerting,” according to Michael Dunkley, the former Premier, who is now Shadow Minister for National Security. “The press comments by Arbitrade raise more red flags than a hurricane on the South Shore,” he said. Arbitrade intends to base its global headquarters on the island at Victoria Hall in Hamilton. During a telephone conference call a week ago, its founder Troy Hogg said it would make a $1 million donation to the Government for the refurbishment and launch of a fintech co-working incubator space at the Park Place building, which it said Government has bought for $4 million. It is unclear if the Park Place mentioned refers to the office block with that name on Par-la-Ville Road, or the IAS Park Building on Church Street. Mr Hogg also said Arbitrade would like to make donations totaling $125,000 to a number of projects on the island, including Family Centre, Mirrors programme, and a government gang violence reduction programme that involves gang members working in “therapeutic farming and plant husbandry” and being paid to work on chicken farms. A further programme mentioned was Alice — an active shooter preparedness taught by the FBI at schools and charities. Mr Dunkley wants to know if the Government can confirm Bermuda is involved in the Alice programme, or that five acres of arable land has been given to Government for a gang violence reduction programme. “These are initiatives that the Government has not rolled out. Why has Government not come back and clarified right away?” Mr Hogg began his portion of last Thursday’s conference call by defending himself against social media and online attacks. Mr Dunkley felt that making such opening remarks was “a red flag”, he also took issue with the conference call ending with no questions being allowed. He said: “That goes against the grain of getting off on the best foot. Bermuda has always been a good place to do business. By the conduct of this press conference, I think many people will question if they can meet the high standard that Bermuda has built.” Mr Dunkley said the donation of $1 million towards the Government’s fintech incubator project, which Mr Hogg said would be done early this week, makes him wonder if it violates any legislation. He said he had been left scratching his head by the conference call comments. “I find it disconcerting that the PLP have said very little. I thought the Government would be quick to say something. Does it support this? Has it met with the individuals? They have been eerily silent.” He added: “I behove the Government to say where they stand on this and what they expect going forward.” The Royal Gazette contacted the Government and the Bermuda Monetary Authority on Tuesday to seek details on the status of Arbitrade and its reported comments. NB. Last night, after our print-edition deadline, a government spokesman responded to Royal Gazette questions about Arbitrade. However, the statement did not mention the company by name, nor did it address any of the firm’s specific claims, such as Government’s alleged purchase of a building, the Alice programme or any plans for gang members to be paid to work on a chicken farm. The statement, in full, reads: “The Fintech Development Fund was passed in the Senate today. “When the fund is set up and contributions can be received, the Government will make such contributions public. We are pleased that companies are looking to set up in Bermuda, planning to invest in building our fintech industry and supporting community initiatives. The same way insurers assisted with developing our insurance industry while supporting community organisations over the years.
A leaflet on Bermuda’s Constitution has been released for the public by the Centre for Justice. Next month, the Centre plans to assess the public’s awareness of the Constitution through a phone and internet survey. It follows a conference last month on the Constitution’s past and future, held after the document’s 50th anniversary. More consultation is set for September, and the Centre plans to publish a more comprehensive document compiled from papers presented at the conference.
A conspirator in an international operation to smuggle nearly $1 million worth of cocaine soaked into shredded paper packaging has lost an appeal against his conviction. Curtis Swan, 55, was sentenced to spend 21 years behind bars last year after being found guilty of drug importation and money laundering. Swan appealed both his conviction and the sentence on the grounds that he had been treated unfairly. But in a judgment written by Appeal Judge Anthony Smellie, the court rejected both appeals. Mr Justice Smellie said: “This was a highly sophisticated and persistent enterprise, with clear evidence from which it could be inferred that there had been at least one earlier successful importation. And whilst the learned judge accepted that the appellant could not be placed at the very apex of the conspiracy his role, as the judge also accepted, was clearly very significant, and went beyond being that of a foot-soldier.” Swan, a former employee of The Royal Gazette, claimed in his appeal that acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe had not properly directed the jury and had delivered an “unbalanced” summary of the case. He also alleged the jury had been placed under undue stress and inhumane conditions during the trial and final deliberations. But the Court of Appeal found the claims did not stand up and that there was no evidence that jurors complained about conditions. Mr Justice Smellie said: “It is now notoriously public knowledge that the physical conditions at court are far from ideal. However, nothing from the record of this trial rises anywhere near to the level of convincing this Court that the jury’s deliberations were in any way compromised or hampered by the physical conditions at court so as to bring into question the fairness of the appellant’s trial.” The Supreme Court heard that on May 20, 2015, a package was mailed from Panama City, Panama, to Bermuda which was said to be vases valued at $365. But a drug dog at US Customs in Tennessee alerted officers to the package. They found a large amount of shredded paper which had been soaked in cocaine after it was examined. Experts told the court that the paper contained about 2,598 grammes of crack cocaine. The cocaine-soaked paper was removed and the package continued to Bermuda after the Bermuda Police Service were informed. Swan, together with Aaron Johnston, collected the package from courier firm FedEx on May 27, 2015 and gave staff a typed note that claimed to be from the person the package had been addressed to. The pair then went to Bermuda Paint in Devonshire, where they bought bottles of ammonium hydroxide — which witnesses said could be used to extract the cocaine from the shredded paper. Police arrested the two men when they returned to Swan’s home in Warwick. A search of the property turned up pieces of shredded paper, which were later found to contain cocaine. Swan told police he bought and sold vases as part of his business and he knew nothing about the drugs in the package. Prosecutors said Swan’s bank account had a series of suspicious transactions including deposits in “vast excess” of his known income and $72,852 of withdrawals in Panama. Swan claimed the suspicious overseas activity was the result of scammers and the extra income was the result of various “hustles”. But a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine into Bermuda and money-laundering by a majority verdict.
A woman who swallowed 19 pellets containing cannabis and ecstasy with an estimated street value of $23,150 admitted trying to smuggle drugs into the country. Ashley Mussenden, 22, was caught by a customs officer when she arrived in Bermuda from a flight from London last September, a court heard yesterday. Mussenden, who was 21 at the time, was going through customs when an officer found a pellet containing a brown substance in her luggage. When questioned about what it was, she said: “Hash, I was smoking it out there.” She denied that she had swallowed more pellets and told customs officers: “I don’t have any more”. Mussenden was arrested on suspicion of importation of drugs and was taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital where she was given an X-ray and ultrasound examinations. A CT scan found there were “several foreign objects” inside her. Mussenden was discharged from hospital three days later and taken to Hamilton Police Station, where she declined to comment during an interview. Her iPhone was examined and was found to contain messages about “getting high” in England. The court heard how she believed she would be paid between $4,000 and $5,000 for bringing the drugs into the country. Mussenden admitted concealing the controlled drugs inside her body on September 8 last year. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo heard that she swallowed 19 pellets containing 185.2g of cannabis resin and 46.5g of ecstasy. Mr Tokunbo ordered a report from the anti-drug abuse Bermuda Assessment & Referral Centre and a social inquiry report after a submission from defence lawyer Paul Wilson. The case was adjourned until September 11.
A life coach charged with stealing $56,284 from an elderly client appeared in court yesterday. Melissa Burton is alleged to have made a string of purchases with Katherine Trimingham’s credit cards after her client had died. Ms Burton, 53, was later claimed to be a major beneficiary of Ms Trimingham’s estate — including a $100,000 fund to care for the deceased’s dog. Prosecutors alleged in Supreme Court that Ms Burton used her position of trust to access the senior’s funds without her knowledge. Neil Halliday, the vice-president of Hamilton-based Winchester Global Trust, which held power of attorney over Ms Trimingham’s estate, told the court he contacted police when he discovered a series of transactions after she was admitted to hospital. He said: “I felt I had no choice.” Ms Burton, from Sag Harbour, New York, denied five counts of theft from Ms Trimingham, a member of the wealthy department store dynasty. She also denied a charge of financial exploitation of the senior, who died in 2016, aged 72. Mr Halliday told the court Ms Trimingham was admitted to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in October 2016. Ms Trimingham’s condition deteriorated by late November and he said he was notified by her doctor that she was “physically and cognitively incapacitated”. He added: “It was clear that Ms Trimingham was no longer capable of taking care of her finances.” Ms Trimingham died on December 1 and the next day money in Ms Trimingham’s accounts was transferred to an account at law firm MJM Ltd, which acted for Ms Trimingham. Mr Halliday said bankers HSBC told him one US dollar account had a balance of $49,000 on November 28, but only $29,000 was in the account on December 2. It was found that two $10,000 withdrawals were made from the account between the two dates. Mr Halliday said he also reviewed Ms Trimingham’s credit card records and found a string of online purchases that had been made after her death. He told the court he received an e-mail from Ms Burton, who said she had a document which detailed how Ms Trimingham wanted her assets to be distributed. Mr Halliday said: “I had what I took to be a valid will, and I was bound to follow that will unless someone could show me a document that superseded that — a later will. I said that as far as I was concerned, I had a valid will and if she had anything to make me think otherwise, she should show it.” A month later he said Ms Burton sent him a “memorandum of wishes”, purportedly written under the direction of MJM lawyer Alan Dunch, dated March 2016. The document said Ms Burton had been regarded as Ms Trimingham’s “loving goddaughter” and should be treated as such. The memorandum added that the fund for Ms Trimingham’s dog should be increased from $50,000 to $100,000 and any cash that remained after the dog’s death should go to its carer — Ms Burton. The document also said two trust funds should be created to care for Ms Burton and the dog, with Ms Burton to act as trustee for both. Mr Halliday said: “The effect of the document would be to substantially alter the terms that I had in the will with the result that the beneficiaries would be changed.” Mr Halliday accepted in questioning by defence lawyer Mark Pettingill that the holder of power of attorney in the case had been a subject of confusion. He said Winchester Global Trust received power of attorney after it bought Fiduciary Partners, which previously held the role. He added that he only became aware of his company’s power of attorney over Ms Trimingham’s estate months before her death. Mr Halliday said: “Mr Dunch apologized to us because he thought he had power of attorney. He went and pulled it out of the vault at MJM and found that it was in fact Fiduciary that had it, not himself.” Mr Halliday said that several other trusts were also involved. One was responsible for Ms Trimingham’s home and another provided her with a monthly allowance. He added that on the same day in 2014 that Ms Trimingham gave Fiduciary her power of attorney for her financial affairs, she gave Ms Burton power of attorney over medical matters. Mr Halliday agreed that the move showed a degree of trust in the defendant by Ms Trimingham. Mr Halliday said he was “not surprised” that Ms Burton had access to Ms Trimingham’s credit cards as a result of his personal experience with the senior. And he confirmed that Ms Burton had also given him the combination for one of the safes in Ms Trimingham’s home.
The Warwick Gombey troupe has followed the example of one of its youngest members to help families in need. The traditional dancers acted after kind-hearted Xenai Savery, aged 10, asked for donations to the Family Centre instead of gifts on his birthday. After Xenai raised $1,000 for the charity, Irwin Trott, the troupe leader, and Harley Place, the captain, chipped in and donated their collections from Bermuda Day. Mr Place said the troupe wanted to spotlight Xenai’s generosity with their $417 cheque, which they handed over yesterday. Mr Trott said: “Xenai is very mature for his age, very focused and disciplined — not just from a Gombey perspective, but in his academics and drumming. Whatever he starts, he’s committed to. When his mother told us the story, I said wow, we’ve got to show our support for that kind of thinking.” Mr Trott added: “As the leader of the group, I am very proud of him. When I heard about his giving heart, I had to attribute that to his parenting.” Martha Dismont, executive director of Family Centre, said when Xenai handed over the donation in April: “If our youth are our future, then our future is very bright.” Xenai’s mother, Xenia Williams-Savery, said her 10-year-old son had asked for donations to mark his April 29 birthday. She added: “Xenai was so touched at the age of 7 when we, as a family, decided to anonymously provide a Christmas to a family through Family Centre.” Ms Dismont said yesterday that Xenai’s generosity was “truly inspiring”. She added: “His efforts shed a light on what young people can do when they put their minds and hearts to it.” Xenai said after yesterday’s presentation that he had been moved to help by the thought of children in need. He added: “There are people in this world that need help, and I wanted to help them.” Xenai, a Year 5 pupil at Warwick Academy, has been a member of the troupe since he was four and Mr Trott said he had been practising as a bowman — the dancer who leads the group with a bow and arrow. Mr Trott added: “We have been trying him even though he is young. We see leadership qualities, even at his age. For some performances we have given him responsibility and he has enjoyed it.” Ms Williams-Savery said a letter of thanks from Family Centre to Xenai had been shared with Xenai’s class. His teacher also asked him to tell the class about why he had decided to help other people. Mrs Williams-Savery said: “Her hope was that he would inspire his classmates to do the same.”
Expenses of $40,000 were added to the Government’s online travel calendar yesterday after it was revealed that globe-trotting ministers had not kept their accounts up to date. Details of nine overseas trips made by Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, were added to the webpage after a report in The Royal Gazette yesterday highlighted that many costs for travel abroad remained unpublished. Mr Caines’s costs included a $9,449.64 bill for a trip to London in April for “fintech presentations”. He spent $4,954.70 on air fare, $164.50 on ground transport, $4,256.39 on accommodation and $74.05 on meals. Mr Caines made presentations on Bermuda’s fintech plan at a series of meetings, including one at the House of Lords, and gave media interviews during the weeklong visit. A string of entries added to the website yesterday amounted to expenses of $32,858.57 for Mr Caines’s overseas trips, in addition to the $2,132.14 already attributed to him before The Royal Gazette highlighted that several were missing. Yesterday, he said: “The delay in updating the website was due to an administrative oversight, which has been addressed. Moving forward, the site will be updated regularly. I believe in complete transparency and my travel on government business will at all times be available for the public to view.” Expenses were also racked up by Mr Caines on trips to Las Vegas to attend a London Trust event and Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, both in January. He also attended a fintech/blockchain conference in New York in February, the Montgomery Summit on innovation in Santa Monica, California, and a science, technology, engineering and maths event in New York, both in March. Mr Caines visited New York for the Bermuda Executive Forum and reception in May, and returned to the city less than two weeks later for a Consensus 2018 Conference on blockchain. The Government website said he “met with key stakeholders, law firms and key business partners”. Mr Caines attended the CogX convention in London last month, where he met companies looking to set up in Bermuda. The travel calendar said Mr Caines had no airfare costs on that trip because the ministry had an airline credit from a previous flight and his $36 ground transport bill was “lower than average because the minister used the London Underground”. Details for a trip made by Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, to Geneva, Switzerland, were also published on the webpage yesterday. Mr Brown’s attendance at the International Labour Conference on behalf of the Government from May 28 to June 8 cost $7,053.69 in total. The site on Monday showed $70,641.94 in overseas travel expenses for Progressive Labour Party ministers since they came to power a year ago. The figure compared with $113,864.29 said to have been spent by the former One Bermuda Alliance administration during its last 12 months in Government. David Burt, the Premier, was among those with several trips still unpublished on the site last night. They date as far back as last October, when he traveled to Miami for a special meeting of the Caribbean Overseas Territories to discuss the regional effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and a trip to the UK and Europe in November for meetings with the Joint Ministerial Council and tax officials. Costs for Mr Burt’s trip to Jamaica for the Caribbean Infrastructure Forum in December have also yet to be listed. A government spokeswoman said on Monday that updating the travel expenses page was “an administrative task” and that the information should be up to date by the end of this week. Mr Burt added last night: “Ministerial travel is hardly a secret and there is absolutely nothing to hide, but we can and will do a better job of keeping the information on the travel website updated. Growing and diversifying this economy, creating educational and employment opportunities for Bermudians and reversing four years of OBA neglect of the people has been our priority for almost a year. With the hectic pace demanded of this work there have been times that filling out forms and ticking boxes have taken a deserved second place. The people of Bermuda fully understand what we have been doing and what we have had to do to ensure that they have greater opportunities for success in this country.” The statement from Mr Burt also included a list of more than a dozen press releases and interviews about Bermuda’s push to become a leader in fintech.
An axed opposition senator has claimed his support for same-sex marriage could have contributed to a decision to dump him from the Upper House. Andrew Simons — who will be replaced by Robyn Swan, the One Bermuda Alliance caucus chairwoman — said yesterday that the decision “took me by surprise”. He added that he had spoken to Jeanne Atherden, the Opposition Leader, “a few times” about his future in the Senate and asked if she had concerns about his performance. Mr Simons said: “She said, ‘none’, although she did seem uncomfortable with my strong support of marriage equality. That was the only specific thing she could point to.” Ms Atherden voted in favour of Progressive Labour Party backbencher Wayne Furbert’s Private Members’ Bill of 2016, which was designed to restrict marriage to between a man and a woman. Mr Simons was speaking after Ms Atherden announced two new faces in the three-strong opposition team in the Senate. Justin Mathias is to move from a Senate seat to take over as party chairman and will be replaced by Victoria Cunningham, vice-president of underwriting at reinsurance firm Tokio Millennium Re. Mr Simons, who has served in the Senate for 16 months, said he was told he would be replaced at the weekend. He added: “I sort of learnt about it on late Saturday night and then had a few conversations with the leader on Sunday and I guess a little bit on Monday. But she had already made her decision.” Mr Simons said the timing was “a bit strange” because six more weeks remained in the legislative session. He added: “There is legislation that is in train over that period, so it caught me by surprise.” Mr Simons said he was “not sure” about a future role in the OBA. He added: “The simplest explanation is I’ll take a back seat.” But Mr Simons was “grateful” for the chance to serve in the Senate. He said: “There are clearly areas I have taken an interest in or have a background in and I’ve tried to use the platform of the Senate to advocate good policies and highlight bad ones. It’s given me the opportunity to advocate for human rights and better treatment of women and for a number of issues that affect the island — unsustainable debt levels, long-term care needs and needed reforms to the healthcare system.” Mr Simons said that the appointment and removal of senators was at the party leader’s discretion. “I completely respect her decision to exercise that power. When you go into the Senate, you know that you can be removed at any time — that’s just the way it works,” he added. “Instead of stressing about being in or not being in, I am thankful to have been in for a spell because it does give you an opportunity to highlight important issues. It’s more a sense of gratitude than getting hung up on whether I am in or I am not in.” Ms Atherden thanked Mr Simons for his “sterling work” in the Senate. She said she hoped he would “continue to offer his sage advice and contribute to the future success of the OBA”. Mr Mathias, who replaced Nick Kempe as a senator in November last year, will step down near the end of the Parliamentary session. He said he would deal with the party’s day-to-day operations — “all those background things that nobody sees” — as chairman. Mr Mathias added: “We are in the middle of transitioning, creating a plan to show our members and then to the general public that we are transitioning, rehabilitating our party, getting more people involved. The work that’s being done in the background will be reflected shortly.” Mr Mathias, 25, is one of the younger politicians in Bermuda. He said the chairman’s job was “an opportunity for me to show what I can do”. He said there was unity in the OBA and that the mood of the party was “really positive”. Mr Mathias added: “We’re starting to turn the corner. We’ve reflected on our loss last year, a lot of people are interested — a lot of women are interested — in front-facing politics. This summer is going to be very critical for us to go and showcase everything we have in our organisation. We will be revealing everything we plan, hopefully by the end of the year.”
The real estate division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the implementation of the Land Title Registration Act. The Land Title and Registration Office is responsible for registering land and property ownership in Bermuda. Its duty is to record any legal right or interest affecting parcels of land and to provide an up-to-date report of the evidence of land ownership. Individuals, businesses or organisations who become land owners or own interests in land must apply to the LTRO to: register unregistered land, register a new owner of a registered property following a sale; and register an interest affecting registered land, such as a mortgage, lease or a right of way. Once the information is recorded, the LTRO will provide an accurate, accessible and comprehensive record about land and property ownership and any interests affecting land as well as provide land owners with a land title certificate/registered title. In a statement, the Chamber said: “For those carrying out property transactions, this new process will not only save time, but will also decrease legal costs.” It noted that Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works, said: “Once the land is guaranteed, the land/property cannot be lost or stolen.” In a message to the public, the Chamber’s real estate division said its real estate members hold themselves “to a high standard; they are guided by provisions set out in the Chamber Handbook for Real Estate as well as being fully compliant with the Real Estate Licensing Act. All agents have police clearance certificates and are committed to serve their customers and clients fairly”. Any member of the public with concerns about their dealings with members of the Chamber’s real estate division should contact the division’s chairperson at email@example.com.
From expecting to be granted title to $10 billion in physical gold, to a pledge to support programmes in Bermuda that will see gang members paid to work on chicken farms, it is hard to know where to start with the latest news attributed to Arbitrade. The cryptocurrency exchange and coin company has said it will set up its global headquarters in Victoria Hall in Hamilton, purchasing the $6.5 million seven-storey office block. Some bold statements have been made in a reported telephone press conference about what Arbitrade would like to do for Bermuda, including:
• A donation of $1 million to what is claimed to be the Bermuda Government’s $4 million purchase of a Park Place building for a fintech incubator space;
• A $45,000 donation to a gang violence reduction proposal that is to include gang members being paid to work on chicken farms.
• A $30,000 donation towards the ALICE programme for active-shooter preparedness taught by the FBI at schools and local charities.
• A $25,000 donation to the Mirrors programme.
• A $25,000 donation to The Family Centre.
It makes for an impressive list, together with prior talk by Len Schutzman, chief executive officer of Arbitrade, about plans for hundreds of jobs for the island as a result of Arbitrade setting up its global HQ at Victoria Hall. So far, there has been no comment from the Government on Arbitrade’s presence in Bermuda or its intentions, other than a message on Twitter by David Burt, the Premier, who in May said he attended a presentation by Arbitrade at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. The latest details from Arbitrade emerged after a telephone press conference conducted by the company on Thursday. The Royal Gazette had tried to connect to the call-in live, but the attempt was aborted 20 minutes after the scheduled start due to inactivity on the line. The reason for the delayed start was later given as technical difficulties. The Royal Gazette was told it would receive an audio recording of the conference, but this has not happened. However, in reported recordings and transcripts of the conference call posted online, Troy Hogg, the founder of Arbitrade, begins by defending himself against social media and online attacks, and saying he does not have the time to argue online and “defend myself”, however, he adds that he will be creating his own website and blog “giving full occurrence of everything through my attorneys, through my publicists, and through our agents”. Regarding Arbitrade, he said it had passed through the KYC/AML [Know-Your-Customer/Anti-Money Laundering] process with Bermuda, and the business has built “the most robust system in the entire crypto sector, and we will be revealing that in early September”. He said: “We are building an infrastructure that allows for payment merchant services. It allows for trading of cryptocurrencies. It allows for interest payments on cryptocurrencies held within our platform. I guess you could call it the all-in-one merchant banking platform.” Mr Hogg also said: “In partnership with Sion Trading FZE, out of Dubai, which is one of the only licensed gold traders on the Dubai Gold Exchange, we will be granted $10 billion worth of physical gold, which we are receiving title to. Agreements are in place and signed.” A man then introduces himself as being from Sion Trading. He said the parent company was Scotia International in the US. He said: “We’re a gold trading facility, in-ground asset facility, mining clone concept 224, and trade on an open market. We’re 100 per cent committed behind and thoroughly ecstatic about what’s been afforded us the opportunity to be a part of Arbitrade.” Mr Hogg extended gratitude to the people of Bermuda and detailed how Arbitrade will assist the island. He said it had been asked to allow the people of Bermuda “the first right of a free ICO [initial coin offering] position when we launch our ICO. We accept those terms”. He then mentioned a $1 million donation to “the Government’s state-of-the-art co-working space, an incubator for the new fintech sector. The Government has purchased a building at Park Place for $4 million, and Arbitrade will be donating $1 million for the refurbishment and launch of that facility in the coming months ahead.” The donation was expected to happen early this week. Mr Hogg then spoke about how it would like to help Bermuda with a number of donations. “The Government has launched a gang violence reduction proposal with the BDA [Bermuda Business Development Agency] and the Government, and Arbitrade would like to help them in their therapeutic gardening initiative, where five acres have been given to the government where gang members are taught therapeutic farming and plant husbandry. And then, also chicken farming. Gang members will be paid to work on the chicken farms, but this costs money, and Arbitrade would like to assist in that as we help Bermuda develop the most advanced student and young person learning process into the fintech sector, and to help them get off the streets and into education, Arbitrade will donate $45,000 to that initiative.” Mr Hogg continues by speaking about Arbitrade’s desire to make donations regarding the ALICE and Mirrors programmes, and to The Family Centre. He concludes the conference call by saying no questions will be taken “but that will come at a later date”. The Royal Gazette has contacted the Government and the Bermuda Monetary Authority to seek details on the status of Arbitrade and its reported comments, and is awaiting responses. The Bermuda Business Development Agency said it has not been involved with the group. The Royal Gazette has reached out to New York-based Marston Webb International, which is the media contact for Arbitrade, and is awaiting a response.
A bid to boost road safety appears to be making a difference after police reported a 37 per cent reduction in the number of crashes in the first half of the year compared with 2016. However, although police welcomed the improvements, they highlighted a sharp rise in the number of people caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There were 429 crashes — down from 686 over the same period in 2016 — between January and June. But the number of people killed in collisions has remained almost constant at six, compared to seven in the first half of 2017. There were 21 crashes that resulted in serious injury between January and June this year, compared to 43 in the same period last year and 33 in the first six months of 2016. Minor injury crashes dropped by 100 to 206 in the first half of this year compared to two years ago. And the number of incidents resulting in “damage only” dropped from 341 between January and June, 2016, to only 196 over the same period this year. The figures were published on Twitter by Bermuda Police Service’s Roads Policing Unit yesterday. The BPS roads policing unit tweeted: “Overall collision data continues to trend down but we still have a lot of work to do to get these numbers even lower. Sadly, fatals consistent year on year with average of one per month.” Yet the number of motorists reported to be under the influence of drink or drugs spiked by nearly half in only a year, from 76 for the first six months of 2017 to 113 over the same period in 2018. The roads unit added: “Impaired driving numbers are concerning.” Campaigns including the A Piece of the Rock documentary and The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change have now been joined by the Government’s Road Safety Plan 2018. A Piece of the Rock sparked the latest drive to cut deaths and injuries on Bermuda’s roads in 2016. The Royal Gazette launched Drive for Change this year to promote the use of speed cameras, roadside breath tests and a graduated licensing programme for new drivers. Walter Roban, the transport minister, later announced a five-year plan designed to cut traffic deaths by 25 per cent. Included in the proposals are an increased police presence on the roads, stoplight cameras and better education. The Road Safety Plan 2018, dubbed Operation Caution, will take a two-pronged approach to what is regarded as a national health crisis. The first phase is designed to boost knowledge of road safety through public meetings. Mr Roban said the second phase, “a substantive portion of the plan”, would target unsafe driving through education. Campaigners welcomed the proposal of new legislation to allow roadside breath test checkpoints, which they said was “long overdue”. The downward trend in collisions has slowed slightly since earlier this year, when a 41 per cent reduction in crashes was reported for the first four months of 2018 compared with the same period in 2016. Police have issued 3,911 tickets for traffic-related or parking offences in the first half of the year — the same as two years ago — but the number of advice notices has plummeted from 1,649 in the first half of 2016 to only 660 over the same period.
Five top overseas designers have been lined up for this year’s Bermuda Fashion Festival. Michael Costello, Lisa Nicole Cloud, Mitchell “Mickey” Freeman, Evelyn Lambert and Thomas Lavone will showcase their creations in the International Designer Show on July 12 as part of the festival. Mr Freeman, whose brand Freemen by Mickey is inspired by history but with a futuristic flair, will take part in the festival for the first time. He said: “This will be my first time traveling there and I’m super excited to thoroughly explore its vibrant and dynamic culture with rich heritage and such deep-rooted traditions. I travel extensively around the world and my designs are influenced by different cultures so I can’t wait to be inspired by such a beautiful place.” Mr Freeman, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, added: “It really is an honour to showcase my fashion line in Bermuda.” Mr Costello, a favourite in TV’s Project Runway season eight, will also be on the main stage this year after he was featured in last year’s fashion expo. He shot to fame after he dressed singer Beyoncé for the Grammy Awards, which he said was the turning point in his career. His celebrity clientele also includes Lady Gaga, Meghan Trainor, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Gwen Stefani and Queen Latifah. Mr Costello has also taken island designer Desireé Riley under his wing as part of the mentor programme. This year will mark Ms Lambert’s fourth appearance at the Bermuda Fashion Festival. The New York-based designer, whose brand is defined by classic-yet-modern designs, started creating clothes at the age of 12. Her ambitions took her to London where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design and marketing from Westminster College. Thomas Lavone is an award-winning New Jersey-born fashion designer and entrepreneur known for his talent in ready-to-wear gowns and suits. He has worked for top fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Nautica, Jones New York, Victoria’s Secret, Ralph Lauren and Anne Klein. Lisa Nicole Cloud, star of Bravo TV’s Married to Medicine, is an author, motivational speaker, direct sales expert, the founder of the Women’s Empowerment Network and since 2013, a fashion designer. The Lisa Nicole Cloud Elevation Collection premiered earlier this year at New York Fashion Week and was presented by luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce. Ms Cloud will also mentor island designer Charda Simons.
• The International Designer Show will start at 6.30pm on July 12. General admission tickets cost $45 and VIP tickets $60. Tickets are available at ptix.bm
A man who died after a crash last week was a motorcycle enthusiast who shared his passion with young people, friends said yesterday. Navell “Beetle” Darrell, 59, was a veteran racer, said Takara Dill, president of the Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Club. Ms Dill said: “He was credited with being the eldest member on the grid during our 2017 circuit.” She added that Mr Darrell had attended a family event organised by the club the Sunday before the fatal crash. Ms Dill said: “Once it was confirmed that it was our beloved club member we were understandably upset.” She added that Mr Darrell had helped to publicise the work of the club when it was founded in the early 1990s. Ms Dill said that he also helped with the club’s Spark programme for young riders, which included driving floats in the Bermuda Day and Santa Claus parades. She added: “He made sure that the truck was picture perfect and his exuberance was easily picked up on by those around him. He played a huge part in introducing and reintroducing the sport to some of our well-known riders who have gone on to be veterans in their own right.” Rick Hill, a former racer and a mechanic, said that he had known Mr Darrell for about 20 years. Mr Hill said the two first got to know each other as rivals but that the relationship grew over the years into a lasting friendship. He explained: “I opened up a bike shop, and he started to shop from my store. I started bringing in stuff for his bike and helping him out. That’s how we connected.” Mr Hill said Mr Darrell was “humble, kind and friendly” — but a fierce competitor. He added: “He just liked good competition. He’d help you out or do whatever — he just wanted to see good competition. He would even help his rivals.” Mr Hill said that Mr Darrell was godfather to his daughter. Sylvan Richards, the One Bermuda Alliance MP, spoke about his close friendship with Mr Darrell in the House of Assembly last Friday. Mr Richards said he had known Mr Darrell “since I was about 16 — and we are both very fond of motorcycles”. He added: “It’s amazing, since his passing, how many Bermudians have reached out to talk about the sadness of losing Beetle. He touched a lot of lives. I have lost a childhood buddy.” Mr Richards — who emphasised he was not speculating on the cause of Mr Darrell’s crash — added that road users should exercise caution on the roads. He said: “There is no room for error out there — and a lot of the time, we have to just slow down.” Navell “Beetle” Darrell died after a crash on St John’s Road, Pembroke, near Berkeley Road, at about 10.30am on June 27.
A woman staff member of Big Four professional services firm Deloitte was sexually assaulted by a partner from its New York office in a Bermuda hotel room, it has been alleged in an Australian financial newspaper. The Bermuda Police Service launched an investigation after the woman reported the alleged incident and was said to have found enough evidence to question the male senior partner when he visited Bermuda. A file was prepared for the Department of Public Prosecutions and reviewed by Crown lawyers. But the police spokesman said: “The suspect resides in another jurisdiction and there are currently insufficient grounds to satisfy an extradition request — as such, the matter is held in abeyance.” The Australian Financial Review said the woman was allegedly attacked when the New York partner visited the island on business and invited island employees out for a drink at his hotel in August 2015. The woman claimed the US partner invited her to his room to discuss work matters. She said she believed another partner from the US was also going and agreed — but found the other staff member was not in the room when she arrived. She said the man groped her under her clothes before she was able to get out of the hotel room. The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said she did not report the incident to colleagues for several weeks because she felt “too traumatized”. She said: “I went straight to the office the next the morning and buried myself in mindless paperwork to shut down my brain. I went for long runs every day to get the alarm bells blaring in my mind to stop. I wanted it to go away. I didn’t want to make it more real by reporting it.” She contacted the Bermuda Police Service three months after the alleged incident when the New York partner, said to be in his 40s, returned to the island on business. She said: “I realised only the police could properly investigate this and only the criminal court could properly adjudicate it.” The woman said the company later made her redundant and promised to investigate her claims. But she was told the result of the company investigation was “inconclusive”. The firm told The Australian Financial Review that they hired a law firm to carry out an independent investigation and that “many of the allegations were contradicted by witnesses”. But the company admitted the woman who made the complaint was not interviewed during their investigation. A BPS spokesman confirmed they had received a report of a sexual assault from a business woman involving a male co-worker in 2015. The spokesman said: “The victim has initially reported the matter internally to her company some time before reporting it to the police. The BPS takes all matters of this nature very seriously and immediately commenced a comprehensive investigation.” The spokesman said the matter was “fully investigated” and a file was passed on the Department of Public Prosecutions for review. He added: “The suspect resides in another jurisdiction and there is currently insufficient grounds to satisfy an extradition request — as such the matter is held in abeyance.” Police also confirmed the alleged attacker has not returned to Bermuda since November 2015.
Globe-trotting government ministers have failed to post their expenses on a webpage designed to reveal the cost of overseas trips. David Burt, the Premier, is among the worst of those who have not updated the cost of their foreign travel and has not yet listed at least eight overseas trips. Heather Thomas, the Auditor-General, said: “Transparency is at the heart of how the Bermuda electorate holds public officials accountable. It provides an important opportunity to demonstrate the public interest is being served and its elected or representative officials are acting in their best interests. As part of any commitment to accountability and transparency and to report the highest levels of transparency and accountability, proactive disclosure of information by departments and agencies, access to information and compliance with acts and regulations are all measures to enhance transparency and accountability of public resources.” Michael Dunkley, who was One Bermuda Alliance premier when the website was set up, claimed the expenses site was something the Progressive Labour Party “hasn’t paid attention to”. The public was told the information would be “continuously updated” when the page was re-launched last year in a commitment to “full transparency”. But costs for foreign travel dating as far back as last October have yet to be posted, with a string of visits to New York and London among those unavailable. The former OBA government published expenses totaling $113,864.29 relating to overseas trips during its final year in power. In comparison, the online Travel Calendar yesterday showed only $70,641.94 spent on foreign visits by PLP ministers since the party swept to power a year ago. The Royal Gazette has identified at least a dozen examples when ministers traveled abroad on government business that have not been included in the list. Among them were Mr Burt’s visit to Miami for a special meeting of the Caribbean Overseas Territories last October to discuss the regional effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and a trip to the UK and Europe in November for meetings with the Joint Ministerial Council and tax officials. Expenses for Mr Burt’s visit to Jamaica for the Caribbean Infrastructure Forum in December have also still to be added to the website. The costs for a further five trips made by the Premier to the US have also still to be published: — Miami in December, Washington DC and San Antonio, Texas, both in April, and two to New York in May. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, visited Switzerland in January as part of a team of Bermudians who attended events connected to the annual World Economic Forum. His expenses for the trip were not available — despite the publication of those of his travel partner, Mr Burt, who listed total costs for the event at $7,156.29. Visits by Mr Caines to London and twice to New York for work in connection with the island’s bid to build a fintech and blockchain industry on the island had also yet to appear on the webpage by yesterday. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, was part of a delegation at a meeting of the International Labour Conference in Switzerland last month. No expenses have been uploaded for that trip, even though costs of $5,060 have already been published for a more recent trip made by Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, to the UK for Joint Ministerial Council talks. Mr Dunkley said: “I started the travel website because I thought it was important for transparency and accountability, and it had the full support of the Cabinet.” He added that the PLP suspended the webpage when the party first came to power but later restarted it “and now it’s dropped off the radar”. Mr Dunkley said: “We live in an age of transparency and accountability and if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Clearly it’s something that the PLP hasn’t paid attention to. I think there’s more and more people who look at that information and don’t even believe it’s accurate.” Lovitta Foggo, the Minister for Government Reform, re-launched the ministers’ travel expenses page in October. She said at the time: “The new page contains current and historic information and will be continuously updated as ministers travel overseas.” Ms Foggo added: “I am committed to full transparency and this page will detail the location and reason for a minister’s international travel together with how much they spent while traveling.” Randy Horton, former Speaker of the House of Assembly, who stood down before the 2017 General Election, said the Government had to maintain open access to travel cost information. Mr Horton added: “If there is any travel it should be transparent. It’s the people’s money so they deserve to know how it is being spent.” A government spokeswoman said last night that updating the travel costs page was “an administrative task” and that trip expenses should be up to date by the end of this week.
The Government had to pay out $650,000 in redundancy packages to BAS Serco staff after they did not renew the company’s contract to run the airport. BAS Serco staff argued they had lost “continuity of employment” even though CI², who took over the role, hired the majority of existing staff. The news came as the Court of Appeal considered a bid by BAS Serco to get the Government to pay its legal fees associated with settling the workers’ claim. An arbitrator earlier found that the Government was liable for the $650,000 under the company’s contract, but BAS launched an appeal to argue that the Government should pay for further legal costs. But the Court of Appeal dismissed the BAS Serco appeal in a judgment. Appeal Judge Geoffrey Bell said the arbitrator’s decision not to order the legal costs to be paid could only be overturned if it was “obviously wrong”. He added that the panel found the appeal fell short of that mark. Mr Justice Bell wrote: “I find it impossible to say that the award was obviously wrong, the test which I have indicated is in my view the appropriate one, and for my part I would dismiss the appeal.” Fellow Appeal Judges Anthony Smellie and Sir Scott Baker agreed with Mr Justice Bell’s written judgment. BAS Serco’s contract with the Bermuda Government said that if it did not extend the company’s contract beyond March 31, 2016, the Government would indemnify the company against “all liabilities” that the company may have to its employees on the termination of the contract. The Government chose not to extend the contract past that date, and awarded the contract to CI², based in Atlanta, Georgia, instead. The Court of Appeal decision said: “The majority of the workforce employed by BAS at the airport accepted employment with the new facilities management company, but did so without the continuity of their employment being preserved. This led to a large number of those employees bringing claims for severance against BAS under the Employment Act 2000, the value of such claims being said to amount to approximately $800,000. The claims for severance had originally been approximately $900,000, but were settled by the Government, acting on behalf of BAS, according to BAS’s submissions, for approximately $650,000.” But BAS was hit with legal costs to deal with the claims and argued the terms of the indemnity deal should cover those as well. The arbitrator found that the clause was not wide enough to cover the legal fees — valued at around $80,000 — on the grounds the costs did not arise from any liability the company had to the employees.
A Progressive Labour Party backbencher has called for more to be done to address income inequality and racial disparity in Bermuda. Rolfe Commissiong told MPs on Friday that data from the 2016 Census highlighted that the gaps between blacks and whites had widened. He explained: “Black males experienced the largest decrease in median income of 13 per cent, $7,281, followed by black females at 12 per cent, corresponding to $6,569. The income levels of white males exceeded those of black males by 70 per cent and were 17 per cent higher than the income level of white females.” Mr Commissiong said the number of black Bermudians without health insurance had increased from 2,480 in 2010 to 4,085 in 2016. He added: “So the level of socio-economic insecurity has only continued to increase in Bermuda. The racial disparity gaps have widened and it is something we can no longer ignore.” He added that the statistics “graphically” belied claims that progress had been made. Mr Commissiong said the 2016 Census also highlighted that a programme was needed that would lead to black economic empowerment “in a real way”. He said the Government’s new Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement marked an “historic milestone”. He added: “Last fiscal year for example, our government spent $150 million on goods and services locally. Most of that spending went to white-dominated companies.” But he added that the affirmative-action policy, in which the Government pledged to use its purchasing power to promote equality of opportunity with regard to disability, gender or race, could “play a significant role in reducing racial disparity around the procurement spend”. Mr Commissiong said an educational campaign would be created to ensure everyone “is up to speed and educated about these opportunities and what it will take to take advantage of them. There is too much at stake here to have companies fail. Ultimately, it is going to be up to them but we are going to ensure that there are not going to be stumbling blocks in front of them.” Mr Commissiong also highlighted a call by insurance executive Jonathan Reiss for the private sector to make more effort to tackle the lack of diversity in workforces, management and boardrooms. Mr Reiss, who spoke at the Bermuda Captive Conference last month, said the reasons for a lack of racial diversity in the island’s insurance industry were “much more complicated than outright discrimination”. He said they ranged from education to recruitment methods and unconscious bias. Mr Reiss added: “It’s the legacy of white supremacy, slavery, and how this legacy continues to permeate our institutions despite the monumental shift in attitudes and intentions.” Mr Commissiong pointed out that Malcolm Butterfield, CEO of the Bermuda Insurance Institute, said Mr Reiss’s speech was “one of the most courageous speeches on diversity and inclusion that I have ever heard”. Mr Commissiong said: “Malcom Butterfield must be deaf, blind and I will let you fill in the rest ...Because how many Bermudians of high esteem, from Dr Eva Hodgson to so many others, Cyril Packwood, go down the list, Ira Philip, people still alive today, spoke about the same disparities?” He added: “He felt comfortable to put his feet in the water because he had a very powerful white Bermudian who has said what many of us have been saying for so, so long.”
A group of the largest commercial re/insurers in the Bermuda market wrote nearly $100 billion in gross premiums last year. The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers released its underwriting survey, in which 21 of its 23 member companies participated. And despite a year of huge payouts on catastrophe claims related to hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes, the group reported combined net income of $4.1 billion for their global businesses. The companies write insurance and reinsurance business out from underwriting centres in Europe, Asia, North and South America, as well as Bermuda. The group wrote $97 billion in global gross written premium on a capital and surplus base of $122.1 billion. The gross premium to equity ratio for the group was .79 to 1. John Huff, president and chief executive officer of Abir, said: “2017 natural disaster activity was a significant test for global re/insurers and the Bermuda market passed with flying colors. The Bermuda market is estimated to shoulder about $30 billion of losses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Members are capitalized and seek to close the insurance protection gap in developed and emerging markets to put risk capacity to work. Expense reduction and exploring new product development opportunities continue to be a focus of Abir members.” Abir is preparing to stage a forum to celebrate its 25th anniversary next week. The July 10 event will feature some of the best-known characters in the industry over the past quarter of a century, including executives past and present, alongside global regulatory leaders. An impressive who’s who of Bermuda’s global insurance market will discuss the state of the industry and major trends affecting risk management at an upcoming leadership forum marking the 25th anniversary of the Abir. The event, scheduled July 10 in Bermuda, will see high-profile executives past and present alongside global regulatory leaders participate in an afternoon of panel debates focused around big themes impacting the industry. For more information on the event, please contact Priscilla.Briones@abir.bm. Past reports are available on the Abir website at www.abir.bm.
Illegal metal fish traps have been found in a protected area, a top diver revealed yesterday. Chris Gauntlett, owner of Blue Water Divers, said that the baited lines, which indiscriminately kill fish, had also been discovered at Eastern Blue Cut off Dockyard. Mr Gauntlett added: “There have been three occurrences in the last month from zero before that.” Fishermen and fisheries staff who have seen the contraptions said they were probably designed to target rockfish. “It is in all ways, as far as what you can legally do there, against the law,” added Mr Gauntlett. It’s just a situation where you look at what’s being done and it’s pretty difficult to imagine that the people that are doing it, don’t know what they are doing is wrong. And that’s a pretty troubling state of affairs.” He added: “You’re looking at a circle of damage coming from all kinds of different directions. It hurts the environment, it hurts the private person who may want to use that area for what it is intended for. And it hurts the people that are trying to run businesses, whether it is a fishing business or a diving business. It hurts everybody.” Mr Gauntlett said it also painted Bermuda in a bad light for tourists who see the contraptions in protected areas because it “creates the view that Bermuda has an illegal fishing industry”. He added: “That is a very negative image that everyone on all sides of the combined industries and government departments would absolutely want to avoid.” Mr Gauntlett, one of the island’s most experienced divers, thought the lines and fish pots had been installed by scuba divers because of the complex types of knots used to anchor them to the reefs. He explained: “For someone to be holding their breath and doing it seems unlikely, especially if the bait is a live fish. If they are doing it with scuba gear, that’s definitely illegal because you are not allowed to hunt anything with scuba gear unless you are hunting lionfish and for that you have to have the specific permit.” He added: “So it’s probably the same people and they are going out there frequently to set whatever they are setting.” Mr Gauntlett explained that the area had markers to show dive spots, including the popular Blue Hole site. He added: “It’s a large area that is protected and what that means is that they can’t fish there and fishing includes spear-fishing, lobster diving when they are in season, and so forth. This is not the activity that is happening though. What is happening is that they are putting bait lines out there and cages out there with bait in them.” Mr Gauntlett said the contraptions were found 30ft to 50ft in deep waters and at about 15ft in shallower areas. The finds have been reported to the Department of Fisheries. He said: “Fisheries are keen to do something about it. They have been very responsive. They are obviously keeping a closer eye on that area as a result of what the reports are.” But Mr Gauntlett felt the best way to deal with the problem was to prosecute the culprits. His divers had done all they could do — remove the traps and share them online to make people aware of the problem. Mr Gauntlett said: “If it is the one per cent chance that the person doesn’t know what they are doing is illegal, then hopefully social media will correct that problem.” A Department of Fisheries spokeswoman said it would comment on the issue today.
A woman cruise ship passenger was fined $500 today after she admitted an attack on another woman on board the ship. Gina Martell, 36, of Kingston, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to assault in Magistrates’ Court. The court heard that victim Alexandra Thornton was at dinner in a restaurant on the cruise ship berthed in Dockyard last night. Martell began yelling at Ms Thornton outside a restroom at about 9.30pm. She then pulled the woman to the floor and punched her on the back of the head several times and pulled her hair. Ms Thornton suffered head pain and bruises to both knees. She told police that Martell was a complete stranger. Ship security intervened and contacted police. Martell was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital where she was assessed and discharged. She was later arrested by police. Martell told the court that she was sorry for her actions. She added: “I will never do it again.” But Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe said that he did not believe Martell had any regret or remorse for the attack before he imposed the fine.
It is not often that air travelers have the option to take a short, direct walk from their hotel into the airport terminal to catch a flight. But island residents and visitors to Bermuda who use New York’s JFK International Airport will have that choice from next spring. The new TWA Hotel, which incorporates parts of the iconic former TWA Flight Centre, will have 512 guestrooms. A crosswalk links it to the entrance of Terminal 5, alternatively guests can use enclosed tube-like walkways that directly connect the hotel to the terminal. JetBlue Airways uses Terminal 5, from where it operates flights to and from Bermuda. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines also fly direct to Bermuda from JFK; American Airlines uses Terminal 8, while Delta uses Terminal 2. All the terminals are linked by the free AirTrain elevated railway. The TWA Flight Centre was designed by Eero Saarinen and opened in 1962. Its futuristic exterior and interior made it a landmark building. It closed in 2001 and portions of the complex were demolished, however, the birdlike head house was kept and has since been listed on the US National Register of Historic Places; it will be the hotel’s lobby. Two low-rise, glass-fronted curtain wall hotel buildings have been created, and partially wraps around the rear of the head house. Many of the guestrooms feature views of the airport runways. The “ultra quiet” rooms feature glass windows that are the second thickest in the world — seven panes and 4½ inches thick. The guestrooms are Sixties-inspired with mid-century furnishings, including a working vintage rotary phone in every room and Hollywood-style bathroom vanity fittings. There is a rooftop pool and 10,000 sq ft observation desk, a similarly sized fitness centre, and a conference facility. It is projected the hotel will have 10,000 daily visitors. The development is being led by MCR and Morse. MCR is the seventh largest hotel owner-operator in the US. Robin Hayes, chief executive officer of JetBlue, which flies twice daily between Bermuda and Terminal 5, said: “This is one of the most highly anticipated hospitality developments in memory and we couldn’t be more excited to have JetBlue be part of it in partnership with MCR.” Carlo Scissura, CEO of the New York Building Congress, said: “The redevelopment of that space into an on-airport hotel will rectify a major deficiency at JFK.” While Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR and Morse Development, said: “From the moment guests and visitors arrive they will find themselves immersed in the ethos of 1962’s rich culture, architecture, sights, sounds and ambience. The attention to the smallest of details permeates the entire guest room experience, paying homage to the magnificent landmark and special time in American history. “The rooms will provide unparalleled style and comfort to our guests as well as powerful views of Saarinen’s terminal or flights preparing for take-off through floor-to-ceiling, full-width, soundproofed windows.” For further details, visit twahotel.com.
Divers searching for the last resting place of an American Civil War Confederate ship may be a step closer to solving the 150-year-old mystery. Mark Diel, owner of Dive Bermuda, said divers looking for the Roanoke wreck as part of an American TV show had discovered an anchor and chain that appeared to match the missing ship. Mr Diel said: “We found a beautiful anchor with significant amount of chain that looks like it came from that era and would be about the right size for that boat. Pictures of that are being sent off to people who have a lot more knowledge than we do about this to see if they can shed some light on it. Some wreckage in the right area was found but it’s heavily buried in the sand so it’s going to need some excavation. But it’s exciting and promising.” Mr Diel was one of the divers who teamed up with underwater explorer Philippe Cousteau — grandson of undersea exploration giant Jacques Cousteau — and his wife, Ashlan, in April to try to find the wreck. The couple were inspired by an article Mr Diel wrote on the mystery for an American-based diving magazine. Their search was filmed for the Travel Channel series Caribbean Pirate Treasure and aired on Wednesday. Mr Diel said the Cousteaus were “so pleasant and helpful to those of us who hadn’t done this sort of thing before”. He added: “It was a really pleasant experience — a lot of fun.” Dive Bermuda worked with Chris Gauntlett’s Blue Water Divers and other local divers, including Philippe Rouja, the Custodian of Historic Wrecks, on the shoot. Mr Diel said: “I thought it was very well done and, as Dr Rouja said, they handled the historical aspect of it really well.” He added: “The footage that they got just about Bermuda in general and the aerial footage is a great plug for the island, no question.” Mr Diel explained that about 20 divers took part in a one-day search in the Five Fathom Hole area to the east of Fort St Catherine in St George’s. “We were ever hopeful of coming across the paddle wheels or the boilers or the smoke stacks or something really definitive — but we haven’t yet,” he said. "The wine bottles in the Mary Celeste were there for 150 years and people were diving on that wreck for 40 years until after one particular storm, they were found. This stuff could be under eight inches of sand and we would never know it.” Mr Diel said if the anchor belonged to the missing ship, the chain attached to it would give a good indication of where the wreck might be. But he added: “It’s baby steps at this stage. It’s amazing how difficult it is to find something out there even when you know the general area you should be looking at. We know it’s there. That’s the funny part about it. We know it’s in Five Fathom Hole but it’s about a square mile of area so it’s just a question of being able to locate it.” The divers also found other anchors but they did not appear to be the right period or size for the Roanoke. The Union steamer was hijacked en route from Cuba to New York by Confederate sailors who had joined the ship in Cuba in disguise. The Confederate seamen diverted to Bermuda for coal and to disembark the Union crew and passengers. But the Governor of the day refused to resupply the ship because he regarded its seizure as an act of piracy and Bermuda, as a British territory, was neutral during the US Civil War. Confederate Lieutenant John Braine, who had taken command of the Roanoke, put the passengers and crew in lifeboats and scuttled the ship to avoid its recapture by Union forces. Dr Rouja said the show gave people “a nice taste of how interesting and entertaining Bermuda history can be”. He added: “Bermuda has played an integral part in maritime history and, as a consequence, there are literally shipwrecks and stories from every century since 1500. We have many more stories to tell.”
William Moniz, better known as Dennis, was remembered yesterday as a passionate and prolific performer who lived for music. Andrew Chamberlain, a veteran musician, said he was introduced to Mr Moniz’s music as a teenager. Mr Moniz’s band Life Sentence played at Mr Chamberlain’s Mount Saint Agnes school dance. Mr Chamberlain said: “Here was this revolutionary funk band, mostly all black guys, not playing rock and roll but blasting out this amazing funk sound very loudly in an all-white school chaperoned by all these nuns. They left an impression, believe me.” Mr Chamberlain was speaking after Mr Moniz, who was 66, died last week, days after his bicycle was in collision with a motorbike on Middle Road, Devonshire. Mr Chamberlain said he later recorded some tracks with Life Sentence and also performed with Mr Moniz in a band called Better Half. He added the two had played together since 1978. Mr Chamberlain said his good friend was a “typical artist”. He added: “To say we always got along would be a lie. You couldn’t argue with him, but he was one of the most influential people in my music career.” Mr Chamberlain said Mr Moniz was fearless and an old-school Bermudian performer. He explained: “He could engage with the visitors and really get them on his side. Those who saw him perform as a percussionist would be treated to something truly special. He literally could make his congas talk, and he had more rhythm in his pinky than I had in all ten of my fingers. Like many of the great artists, we shall speak of him as one of a kind.” Dale Butler, author of Music on the Rock, said that he greatly admired Mr Moniz and that his passing was a “great loss to Bermuda”. He added: “I just regret never having the opportunity to interview him.” Mr Butler’s book detailed many of Bermuda’s most prominent musicians. He said Mr Moniz played a key role in getting local band The Unit into the 2009 Havana International Jazz Festival. Mr Butler added: “Dennis was key in winning the audition, although unfortunately he was unable to go.” Kandyelyn Pimentel said her older brother had been a performer since he was a child. Ms Pimentel said: “The stage was his world.” She added when they were children he would perform James Brown songs at the former Clayhouse Inn on North Shore. Ms Pimentel added: “The crowd would just go crazy.” She said that music was all her brother ever wanted to do and was “his calling, his passion, his life”. Danilee Trott, Mr Moniz’s niece, added he was an outgoing man who was “always on stage, even when he was home”. She said: “He was playing music, or he was practicing music, or he was dancing with my grandmother, or singing to her or writing a song. There wasn’t much else, it was all just entertainment. He lived to perform.” She added her uncle was a “true Bermuda ambassador”. Ms Trott said: “He loved tourists and he loved visitors. He was the musician that others could count on when acts needed support. He didn’t have his own transportation, but he was so valuable to everybody that they would literally come to the house and pick him up. He could just pick up anything — he just knew it.” Ms Trott said that her uncle was also passionate about animals and fishing, and was a devoted and loving son. She added: “He was just a genuine person. He had his challenges, but he had a good heart.” Mr Moniz was father to one son, also named Dennis.
There is “no need to be concerned” about the island’s ongoing push to regain the printing of Bermuda passports from the British Government, home affairs minister Walton Brown told Parliament. “We do believe we will make progress — it’s time consuming, but we will,” Mr Brown said. The switch led to travel havoc for some Bermudians attempting to enter the United States. Mr Brown said that on May 24 he had shared a report on the challenges to Her Majesty’s Passport Office. It followed a meeting with UK authorities in February, he said. The details came in response to parliamentary questions from One Bermuda Alliance MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin. Britain’s decision to take over passport printing resulted in travel problems from May 2016.
Bus drivers who worked to rule on the public holiday on June 18 broke the law, according to Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs. However, unionized bus operators are now “talking through all their issues”, Mr Brown told Parliament. The work-to-rule industrial action, which was called off on June 22, came because of “an impasse over 12 outstanding issues”, Mr Brown said. Frustrations included ongoing maintenance problems with the ageing fleet. The details came in response to parliamentary questions from Opposition MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin. She asked whether the longstanding contentions over developing a new bus schedule had been addressed. But Mr Brown told MPs that the scheduling issue was “beyond my ministerial responsibilities”.
The public will now have until the middle of August to weigh in on a proposal for the future of the island’s electricity supply. The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda has received approval from the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs to extend the deadline for public consultation on the integrated resource plan for power until August 17. Aaron Smith, the authority’s interim chief executive, said: “We are keen for as many stakeholders as possible to participate in this public consultation process. “We believe that this extension will permit further public review and comment as well as an opportunity for other interested parties to submit alternative proposals for bulk generation or demand side resources for potential inclusion in the IRP.” The IRP consultation was published on May 3 and requested views and alternative proposals for bulk generation or demand-side resources by July 2. But the RA asked for the deadline to be extended after members of the public and interested groups asked for more time. The RA will set out the strategy and lay the foundation for the future of Bermuda’s electricity sector using the public consultation process. The IRP proposal is available at http://www.rab.bm/index.php/ele-consultations/irp-proposal-consultation
Clyde Best called on Bermudians to look each other in the eye and bridge their racial divide. Mr Best, the island’s famous footballer, said: “One thing my mother always told me — and I carry it in life today — if you treat people the way you want to be treated, you don’t have a problem. And I believe in that. Whatever problems we have here, it’s high time we solve them and get them straightened out.” Mr Best spoke to The Royal Gazette at the Grateful Bread’s monthly dinner at St Andrew’s Church. The event provided community members in need with a meal, clothing, household necessities and toiletries. Juliana Snelling, the founder of Grateful Bread, said the event was about community members with more helping those with less. Ms Snelling said the events, which began in 2017, were about trying the bridge the racial divide. She explained: “Bermuda tends at five o’clock to go its separate racial ways, socially. For some reason, you go to your parties and we’re split again on racial lines. Tonight shows we’re not just busy white people going to work, or busy black successful people going to work.” Ms Snelling said the events were about showing a “hate” for the divide. She added: “We come together to celebrate with you as friends — to give and to share — together.” Mr Best said the racial make-up of Bermuda mandated addressing divisions. He added: “For those people that harbour those feelings and don’t want to deal with them — I think a lot of them need to have their heads examined. It takes all types to make it work.” The former West Ham United forward suffered racist abuse when he played for the East London club in the 1960s and 1970s. He said that dialogue was needed. Mr Best added: “It’s something that’s not just going to go away overnight. You have to sit down and talk — like we are talking now — and be honest with one another and look one another in the eye. If we can do that, we can help solve the problem. Let’s learn to live and love and respect one another — and then we can go ahead and do what we need to do.” Ms Snelling described Mr Best as the “Jackie Robinson of football” and a hero to Bermuda. She said he immediately jumped on the opportunity to help when contacted. Ms Snelling added: “It was that simple. It’s a huge thing to us to be graced by him coming.” Ms Snelling said that she hoped the organisation could continue to attract guest speakers and volunteers in the year ahead. She said the group wanted to reach those “who wanted to give back in a meaningful way that’s not just writing a cheque”. Ms Snelling said that several guests at the Grateful Bread events had gone on to become hosts, which she was “wonderful”. Jamel Hassell attended his first event last year for the food. But the 37-year-old Pembroke resident said: “Once I found out that I could be a team player, that’s when I joined. It’s a good way of giving back to my community. Ms Snelling said that Mr Hassell had become one of the organisation’s official cleaners. He also helped hand dinner tickets to guests and other duties as needed. Mr Hassell said he took pride in being able to assist. He explained: “The energy is good giving back — what you sow is what you reap. It’s beneficial long term and it’s good for the community and for society.” Mr Best said taking part in the event was also about trying to give back. He added: “My one message to everyone — always look out for those that are less fortunate than yourself. And don’t be afraid to help.”
Two female industry veterans who have made it to the top in male-dominated businesses will be the speakers at an event to promote the professional development of women in the re/insurance sector. The Bermuda Insurance Institute is organising a 12-month series of events to discuss solutions to problems that are preventing more women rising to the top of the industry ranks. In the second of the series, the speakers are Anne Chalmers, who rose from an administrative position to being the first female manager, now vice-president, in Canada’s oldest mining, smelting and exploration company, and Cathy Duffy, who started as summer intern at Wilcox Baringer and is now senior vice-president, underwriting manager at XL Bermuda Ltd. Ms Duffy said: “Anne is considered a visionary risk manager in the traditionally male-dominated mining world. She has been handling a diverse world of risk management and global insurance programmes for over 33 years — her journey almost synonymous with the Bermuda insurance market journey. Anne was one of the early clients in the Bermuda market and most certainly one of the first mining accounts that bought insurance. Anne and I have known each other and grown together since we met in the early 1990s. A relationship that has spanned many cycles, changes and catastrophes in her mining industry, our Bermuda insurance industry and for that matter the global insurance industry. We’ve seen a cycle or two and have many war stories that we could share.” Malcolm Butterfield, chief executive officer of the BII, said: “Cathy has a wealth of insurance experience touching many aspects of the industry including being the first Bermudian woman to gain her CPCU and one of the two first underwriting trainees hired by XL in 1988. She holds a bachelor of business administration degree in insurance and is the author of Held Captive: A History of International Insurance in Bermuda, the first comprehensive book tracing the historical development of the international insurance industry in Bermuda. Anne and Cathy will be having a fireside chat and will talk about their journey in the context of their respective careers. It will be an inspiring conversation providing insights on career development and how to overcome and tackle challenges along the way.” The session is being sponsored by JLT Insurance Management and the firm’s chief financial officer, Melissa O’Sullivan, said: “We are excited to have Anne share her expertise and experience with us. She has over 32 years of experience covering multiple overseas insurance jurisdictions and is a well-respected role model for women in the re/insurance sector and the global mining industry.” The first in the series was held last week with Kathleen Faries, Head of TMR Bermuda, and Fiona Luck, a long-time industry Executive who has been recently appointed to the Lloyds Franchise Board. They spoke about “What We Wish We Had Known….” and drew on their extensive experience in the re/insurance industry to give the attendees advice on how to prosper. “Own your own career development,” said Ms Luck. “The organisations you work for may not know what your aspirations are. We have all the skills, all the training, strong emotional intelligence, but we are not always confidant enough. You will feel nervous about things but get the confidence to just give it a shot.” The second event is on Tuesday, July 10 from 11.45am to 1.30pm at O’Hara House, on Bermudiana Road. A light lunch will be provided. Price is $100 for members and $125 for non-members.
Popular St George’s resident Neville Swainson, known as Chop-Chop, has died at the age of 84. Opposition leader Jeanne Atherden said Mr Swainson was a popular figure from her childhood in the East End, when he worked in her father’s packing business. Ms Atherden told Parliament: “He was a very diligent individual — I never thought about it, but that’s how he got to be known as Chop-Chop.” Renée Ming and Kim Swan, Progressive Labour Party MPs for St George’s, added their condolences, while PLP backbencher Rolfe Commission said Mr Swainson was “an amiable and kindly gentleman”. Mr Commissiong added Mr Swainson had close links to his own family. He said he was “the type of man you could envision would have no enemies”. Mr Commissiong added: “He was also a well-known taxi driver for decades.”
The Royal Bermuda Regiment welcomed 24 new recruits to its first summer camp today. The rookie soldiers will spend the next two weeks learning the basics of military life in preparation for a choice of special roles at the end of their training. Shosun Durham, who comes from a family which has served in the island’s military for generations, said: “There is a sense of brotherhood and there’s discipline. It’s also a place where I can learn new skills.” The 23-year-old crewman on Longtail, a catamaran cruise boat based in Hamilton, added that the recommendations of friends helped convince him to join up. He said: “It was mainly how highly my friends spoke of it. I’m also big into fitness — I’m an exercise physiologist — so that side of the training really interests me. I’d like to continue my education here.” Andrea Warren, 31, from Devonshire, is one of eight women who joined up for the second recruit camp of the year. Private Warren, a food service supervisor at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, said she wanted to boost her management credentials. She added: “I joined to further my leadership skills, help out the country and learn a new trade. I spoke to someone when I signed up about mechanics but I don’t know what else they have to offer, so we’ll see what happens.” Vidal Papina — originally from 9,000 miles away in the Philippines — said joining the military was a boyhood dream. Private Papina, from Pembroke, who works for Hamilton’s Supermart, added: “I heard about the regiment and thought I would try my best. I play drums, so maybe I’d like to join the band, but I’ll wait and see.” The 43-year-old, who has lived in Bermuda for several years, added: “I’m not nervous at all — I’m very excited to be here.” The recruits’ first day was taken up with lectures on the conduct expected from soldiers and the issue of unfamiliar kit that will become like a second skin by the time they finish basic training. Sergeant Major Jason Harrell said: “This recruit camp is built from the ground up and based on modern needs. It’s an updated syllabus designed for modern soldiering.” He added: “The recruits will, for example, get more time on the weapons. They’re not doing any more than before, but getting more time for lessons. The way we used to do it worked for our old rifles, but not for the new ones.” But he said: “Some things never change — the basic soldiering skills, discipline, teamwork and self-reliance.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, RBR commanding officer, added: “It’s a great pleasure to see yet another intake of recruits in a July recruit camp for the first time ever. It’s nice to see them taking on the challenge of the military life. We’re on the verge of issuing a strategic review which these soldiers will be introduced to — and they will be adopting these new training procedures throughout their careers. Colonel Curley added: “Our training team has shown a lot of zeal and energy in preparing from January for this. They’re ready to roll and they will push this two-week programme out, which is streamlined to get recruits up to speed a lot faster. Our recruiting team did a lot to get these new soldiers through the door and we are grateful to them for all their hard work and dedication.” Colonel Curley added that the training schedule had been amended to take account of the latest thinking on instructional techniques and will also include an allowance for the summer heat. He said: “This is a modern-thinking and changing organisation and our training system will evolve to keep pace. I personally commend all our soldiers, present and future, for their commitment to service to their country.”
Fifteen new officers will start work with the Department of Corrections tomorrow, the Minister of National Security revealed today. Wayne Caines made the announcement as he acknowledged concerns about safety and a lack of manpower that were raised by the Prison Officers Association. Mr Caines said that while the department was 39 officers short, 15 new “basic” officers would start tomorrow, “essentially boosting our ranks”. He added: “Further recruitment will continue over the coming months.” His comments came after Timothy Seon, president of the POA, told ZBM last week that staff shortages and budget cuts meant programmes had been delayed or cut, which had led to “disgruntled inmates”. He said: “If you have disgruntled inmates, you’re not going to have a safe environment. The truth of the matter is, they allow us to run those facilities.” Mr Caines acknowledged safety concerns at the Westgate Correctional Facility in Sandys. He said he had met with the Acting Commissioner of Corrections and her team last week to put together a plan to address the problems. Mr Caines added: “I would have shared that plan with the chair of the Prison Officers Association but he did not attend the meeting, when he agreed to do so.” He pledged to continue working with the Acting Commissioner, the senior leadership team and the POA to ensure that “the Department of Corrections and all its facilities are safe, secure, and measure up to international standards and best practice and are fit for purpose”. Mr Caines said he was also aware of inmates’ concerns and added that “earlier this week we met with the Ombudsman and the Chairperson of the Treatment of Offenders Board to ensure that inmates are treated humanely, that they are aware of all the tools, services and options available to them, and that their concerns are addressed in a timely manner”. Mr Caines said a facilities management consultant had also been hired to address problems with corrections buildings. He added: “We plan to conduct a comprehensive structural review of all Corrections facilities which will include a plan and a timeline for corrections building repairs in the very near future.” Mr Seon also described attempts to have prison officers pay into the Government Employee Health Insurance fund as “an ongoing attempt to reduce officer’s benefits”. Mr Caines said he could not speak to GEHI matters “as this is currently part of ongoing discussions between the POA and the Public Service Negotiating Team”.
Guests at Grotto Bay Beach Resort got a stormy surprise this morning as a waterspout made landfall. The vortex formed just off the dock in the bay and dissipated as it hit land — but not before sending furniture flying. The hotel’s duty manager added: “The good thing is that no one was hurt. We were able to retrieve all the furniture and the sun is shining again at Grotto Bay.” The duty manager said the waterspout hit the hotel property as a squall passed through the area around 11am. She said: “We could see it coming. We tried to get the guests off the beach and away from the windows.” The manager added that some guests were worried but most just wanted to see the waterspout and film it. Footage of the waterspout shows the beach at the hotel being lashed by wind and rain. An umbrella can be seen taking to the skies, followed by a deck chair lifting off as guests scream. Michael Stevens, owner and operator of Blue Hole Watersports, helped alert guests on the water. He said: “It formed just off the dock here and came ashore. It happened really quickly. We tried to get everyone off the water.” Mr Stevens said it was over and done in “maybe a minute” but added that it came right ashore before it dissipated. Mr Stevens added that he had seen waterspouts in the bay before but had not had one come ashore. Andrea Pedrini, forecaster at the Bermuda Weather Service, said: “From our location in St David’s we were able to record a waterspout near the Grotto Bay area at 11.27am local time. “We subsequently received a few feeds about another possible funnel cloud/waterspout that we cannot confirm at this stage.” According to the BWS website, a waterspout is a tornado over a body of water. They most frequently form in the subtropics during the warm season.
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