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Bermuda's 2018 July History and Newspaper Reports

Events that made newspaper headlines in the seventh month of the current calendar year

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

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See at end of this file all our many History files

Bermuda's Royal Gazette newspaper is not published on Sundays or Public Holidays but sometimes has some Sunday news online

July 31

paragraphBermuda was featured in a New York Times article about the race to become the “go-to destination for cryptocurrency firms” looking for shelter from regulatory uncertainty in the US and Asia. The article, published on Sunday, highlights Bermuda, as well as Malta and Gibraltar, as jurisdictions that have passed legislation to try to lure cryptocurrency businesses. The article, by Nathaniel Popper, quotes David Burt from an interview he gave in May at a cryptocurrency conference in New York, as saying: “We are 65,000 people, and 20 square miles, but we have a very advanced economy. We want to position Bermuda as the incubator for this industry.” The article goes on to describe Bermuda as “a leading player. Apart from passing the law to allow for fast approval of initial coin offerings, the British territory has a law in the works to open the doors to cryptocurrency exchanges and related services,” the Times reports. “Mr Burt said his government was modeling its approach on one it had taken with the insurance industry, in which Bermuda has become a major player.” Will McDonough, a the founder of a new cryptocurrency called iCash, told the Times that he had decided to base his company in Bermuda because of the island’s experience in international finance and the Government’s willingness to listen to the company’s input. “The largest issue blockchain companies have is not knowing how they’ll be governed or regulated,” Mr McDonough said. “Those markets that have made the rules clear have found many companies coming to play by the rules.” While he said he would continue to be based in Florida, he planned an office and a head of operations in Bermuda, which the island requires of all companies. The article also features a picture of Zhao Changpeng, chief executive of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, wearing Bermuda shorts at a press conference alongside Mr Burt and other members of the Cabinet, when Binance announced early this year an agreement to set up a compliance operation on the island.

paragraphAn MP snapped apparently asleep in the House of Assembly has called for an inquiry into the use of cameras in Parliament. Christopher Famous, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, was one of several politicians captured sleeping in the House of Assembly in pictures posted on the social-media site WhatsApp. He said: “The Speaker [Dennis Lister] has to investigate this. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to speak on it.” A video of Jeanne Atherden, Leader of the Opposition, was also posted and images taken from it appeared on Facebook. She appears to be sleeping during a session that is thought to have been held this month. Other pictures show MPs slumped in their chairs or with their heads falling forward, apparently with their eyes closed. Among those captured “on candid camera” were Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, as well as PLP backbenchers Kim Swan and Dennis Lister III. The images, which appeared to have been taken on smartphones, were met with a mixed reaction online — including criticism, amusement and empathy. It is not known who took the pictures or when, but the camera angles of some suggested they were taken on the floor of the House, while others as though they were taken from the public gallery. A notice to the public “by order of the Speaker” in the House makes clear a ban on the use of electronic devices. It says: “Please turn off cellular phones and pagers while in the chamber. The use of cameras of all types, tape recording and the reading of newspapers is prohibited.” The code of conduct for MPs also forbids the use of electronic devices. Standing orders say: “Members shall not use laptop computers, electronic devices nor read newspapers, books, letters or other documents, except as they may be directly connected with parliamentary business and as provided for under these Standing Orders.” Former Speaker Randy Horton said in 2015 that taking pictures in Parliament was “absolutely, totally unacceptable” after he saw an online photo taken from the public gallery. An official photographer was recently asked to obtain permission from the Speaker to capture the Premier’s debut question time. Ms Atherden said last night that concentration in recent days should have been on the murder of Taylor Grier, who was killed just blocks away from The Sessions House on Friday night, instead of the images. She explained: “Our core focus this weekend should have been geared towards the senseless violence occurring in our community and those within our community that are affected by these actions, so it is unfortunate that the video which took over social media this weekend has become news. For government officials to engage in this level of politics, when a family is mourning the death of a son, really speaks to the core values of the governing party. This is a new low, we should expect better.” A source close to the One Bermuda Alliance added: “I think everybody knows what happens in chambers and they think there’s nothing beneath the PLP when it comes to political tactics, so they always make sure they have something in their back pockets when these things happen. You see people sleeping all the time or just closing their eyes, they’re there for 12 hours sometimes.” Owen Darrell, the PLP chairman, said the images of MPs and their use on social media was “regrettable and unfortunate”. He continued: “Elected representatives from both parties work hard and sacrifice much to serve our country. House debates can last as late as until 3am. Many MPs must balance their parliamentary attendance with full-time jobs and responsibilities to their families and so often are operating on minimal sleep. This is not to excuse the behavior, but to provide some context. The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party will remind all our members of the proper decorum required inside the House of Assembly and encourage the Opposition to do the same.” Colonel Burch did not respond to a request for comment by press time. Mr Swan has contested that he is not asleep in the image that has been circulated, but is instead looking down into his phone. Dennis Lister III could not be contacted and Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House, was also unavailable.

paragraphThe Premier presented a $75,000 cheque to Somerset Cricket Club yesterday to back the club’s role in the “uniquely Bermudian celebration” of Cup Match. David Burt said the cash, donated by the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, will be used to cover the costs of setting up for the massive crowd expected for the annual cricket match against St George’s Cricket Club. Mr Burt said the holiday was a cornerstone of Bermudian culture and deserved government support. He added: “The Cup Match classic is so much more than a two-day cricket game — it is an event steeped in Bermuda’s history. This increased level of support from the Bermuda Government is essential to ensure that as a country we uphold our cultural traditions.” Mr Burt said the donation was the largest given to Cup Match by any government. He added: “in our platform we said that we will make sure that we support places that will enhance our culture and I think that Cup Match is a uniquely Bermudian cultural celebration.” Vashun Blanchette, president of Somerset Cricket Club, said the club was unused for much of the year and the cost of preparation for Cup Match often came from electrical, plumbing and structural maintenance. Mr Blanchette said: “There are many costs associated with Cup Match and this generous donation will go a long way to offsetting that and, ultimately, ensuring that the Cup Match classic is a financial success for Somerset Cricket Club so we can continue to service our members and youth programmes.” The Ministry of Finance also waived the duty on equipment used to build scaffolding for Cup Match stands. The Ministry of Public Works donated bins for recyclable material, trash bins, 1,000 blue bags for recyclables and carried out educational programmes to encourage vendors to recycle. Mr Burt said the donation will be given every year to the host club and arranged by the ministries of Social Development and Sports, Economic Development, National Security, and Public Works. Wayne Caines, national security minister, said that police and private security officers will be deployed at the ground to help ensure public safety. He added it would also be the first time CCTV cameras were used at the games. Mr Caines said: “We’re encouraging everyone to come, not only to the Somerset Cricket Club, but to any of our public spaces. As long as everybody understands that we can come together in a safe community event, we believe that we can continue to make it a safe space.”

paragraphA Bermuda Business Development Agency consultant caught using a forged document has had his contract with the agency terminated. A spokeswoman for the BDA said: “John Narraway is no longer working for the BDA. “The agency terminated its consultancy agreement with him as a result of the court matter reported on Friday.” Mr Narraway, a tech entrepreneur, appeared in Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and admitted he had used fraudulent documents. The court heard that Mr Narraway confessed to police during a traffic stop that he had forged a windshield Transport Control Document registration tag. The vehicle’s licence had expired in June 2017, but the forged tag listed an expiration date of June 2018. He was fined $300 for the offence. Mr Narraway, 47, had served as an emerging technologies consultant for the BDA, but his name was removed from the BDA website after The Royal Gazette reported his conviction. He earlier resigned from his position as chairman of the fintech Business Development Working Group on Friday.

paragraphXL Group Ltd posted improved net income of $319 million for the second quarter, but earnings fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer, which is in the process of being taken over by French insurance giant Axa Group, achieved top-line growth of more than 10 per cent in April through June period. The company reported rate improvement in its main businesses, with insurance rates up by 3.8 per cent for the first six months of the year and reinsurance rates for the year to date through July, up 3.7 per cent. XL made an underwriting profit, recording a combined ratio of 95.8 per cent for the quarter, compared to 92.3 per cent for the corresponding period of 2017. Mike McGavick, XL’s chief executive officer, said: “In the second quarter we have continued our progress towards a strong and diversified book, particularly as rate conditions improved across most lines. We grew top line by 10.6 per cent, maintained underwriting discipline and continued our shift of our book towards lower volatility business. Partially offsetting these positive trends was non-catastrophe large loss activity from the current quarter as well as prior-year development from short tail lines in insurance. Our investment results continue to improve as active portfolio rotation allows us to take advantage of rising interest rates. Overall, we are pleased with the results and look forward to continuing to realize the full potential of what we have built when we become part of Axa Group.” Net income of $319 million, or $1.21 per share, compared to $301.6 million, or $1.14 per share, in the second quarter of 2017. Operating net income of $220.3 million, or 84 cents per share, fell short of the 93 cents per share consensus forecast of analysts tracked by Yahoo Finance. P&C gross premiums written grew 10.6 per cent year over year and 7.8 per cent when the impact of currency exchange rates is stripped out. Natural catastrophe pre-tax losses net of reinsurance, reinstatement and premium adjustments for the quarter totaled $76.8 million, down from $92.1 million in the prior-year quarter. Net favourable prior-year development was $8.9 million during the quarter, compared to $86.7 million in last year’s second quarter. Investment returns positively impacted by ongoing portfolio rotations capitalizing on rising interest rates and a gain on the sale of one operating affiliate. Net investment income was $231.8 million, compared to $208.7 million in the second quarter of 2017. US tax reform has kicked in this year but there was no obvious negative impact evident in XL’s results. In its earnings report, XL said income tax expense was $27 million, down from $29 million in the second quarter of last year. The company said the decrease “is primarily attributable to the mix of profit by jurisdiction”. Axa’s $15.3 billion deal to acquire XL is expected to close in the second half of this year.

paragraphGovernment officials working to combat gun and gang violence have joined forces with a gospel reggae artist to send out a message of peace to the public. Wayne Caines, the national security minister, and gang violence reduction co-ordinator Leroy Bean are featured on a song by singer Septimus called No More Murder, which was written to highlight gun violence. The pair recorded the song at a radio station’s studios on Saturday — the day after Taylor Grier, 30, died and another man was wounded in a shooting at the junction of Court and Elliot Streets in Hamilton on Friday night. Mr Caines joined Septimus at the microphone and sang part of the song, re-recorded with Mr Caines and Mr Bean’s voices added to the original track. Mr Caines, who visited the scene after the shooting, sang: “Last night I was awoken from my sleep with that call — yes you know that call: another man shot and murdered in our streets. When will it all end? When will it all stop? This is a time where we are celebrating the emancipation of slavery. Over the next five days we will celebrate life, being together, our culture, our family and our friends. We have to commit to loving each other, fighting for each other, being there for each other — let this week and weekend go by without any loss of life. Brothers, I am going to ask that you to put down your guns. Brothers, I am going to ask that you value life. We have another mother grieving her son. We have a young girl that will never get to see her father again. This is our country we have to want to do better. This is our Bermuda — we have to end the gun violence.” Pastor Bean added: “We need to come together as one people, the violence must stop, the murders must stop, the killing must stop. This is a time to celebrate what our forefathers have done we need to celebrate freedom — true freedom requires us to be one people with one voice.” Mr Caines told The Royal Gazette: “Pastor Bean and I were preparing to do a public service announcement for the Cup Match weekend and our desire for it to be a peaceful weekend. Once the incidents of Friday night happened, we had a renewed focus. We met up with a local gospel reggae artist Septimus. I’d heard one of his songs and I thought it had a brilliant hook. We went into the HOTT 107.5 station and we laid the track. The song was so catchy and, as Bermudians say, I started to bust a skank and we started singing. We spoke about the serious side of a young man losing his life. We will have a significant police presence and we have our ongoing educational plan Operation Street Safe — the programmes in the school. We felt that a catchy tune would also resonate. This is along with the ongoing things that we are doing. We just had a good time in the studio and we were talking as men about the plight while keeping in mind the solemn and sacred nature of what we are doing. It was just a good experience.” The song can be heard on Bermuda’s radio stations.

paragraphGinny Ferson, the former Deputy Governor, made history last year by becoming Bermuda’s first female chief scout. Mrs Ferson assumed the post last year when she served as Acting Governor. Mrs Ferson said she was delighted to have filled the post, even on a temporary basis. She said: “My son really enjoyed his time with the Cub Scouts and, if I had had a daughter of the right age I would have encouraged her to try the scouting experience too. Scouts get involved in all sorts of activities, which are of interest to both girls and boys — it’s a shame to let the boys have all the fun.” And she told girls: “If you are a girl who enjoys trying new things like camping, archery, fishing, kayaking and lots more, then scouting is for you. Give it a try, I know you’ll love it.” A spokesman for the Bermuda Scouting Association said Mrs Ferson would be missed. The spokesman said: “Ms Ferson donated her time as a scout parent, volunteering to assist in camp set up and break downs, continuously providing support to the Scouting Association when needed.” Geoff Rothwell, chief commissioner for the Scout Association of Bermuda, added: “In the past, we were restricted to male scouts, but look forward to the growth of the female scouting contingent. Having Deputy Governor Ferson serve as our first female chief scout is a fantastic way to boost the growth of scouting with girls and young women across the island.”

paragraphWotten killed in Liverpool 1919A young Bermudian victim of an early British race riot has been highlighted in a blog on the Britain’s black history. The story of Charles Wooten was retold in the wake of controversy over the status of immigrants from the Caribbean. Lowdru Robinson, a former director of the Bermuda Government’s Department of Community & Cultural Affairs, included the little-known story of Mr Wooten in his online site the “Affable Curmudgeon”. The ship’s fireman was murdered in 1919 at Liverpool docks. Mr Robinson used Mr Wooten to highlight “examples of Africans who had unique and outstanding lives in Britain prior to 1948”. Mr Robinson said black people had lived in Britain long before the MV Empire Windrush brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants from British colonies to a new life in the United Kingdom in 1948. On board were 139 people who gave Bermuda as their last place of residence. Eight Bermudians were documented by the late journalist Ira Philip as stowaways on the ship, which made the island its final stop before heading on to London. The Windrush Generation made headlines this year after some were threatened with loss of benefits or deportation over their lack of official papers. Mr Robinson, who lives in Bristol, wrote that many in Britain believed that the arrival of the Empire Windrush marked “the beginning of large numbers of black people living in this country”. He added: “However, a careful study of the historical record proves this belief not to be true.” Details on Wooten’s case were sent to local historian Edward Harris in December 2016 from Seán Pòl Ó Creachmhaoil, a historian in Ireland who may be descended from him. Mr Robinson said a waterfront plaque marks the place where the 24-year-old seaman was “murdered by a mob in one of Britain’s first race riots”. Dr Harris said there had “of course been other Bermudians over there a long time before”, but that the information from Ireland on Mr Wooten’s murder had been “the first I heard of it”. According to the book From World City to the World in One City by Tim Bunell, racial violence broke out in Liverpool and other ports in the economic downturn after the First World War. Wooten, whose surname is variously spelt Wootton, Wotton, and Wootten, was drowned during a “fracas between black and Scandinavian sailors”. A marker, included in Mr Robinson’s blog, is a tribute to victims of the Liverpool race riots that claimed Mr Wooten’s life on June 5, 1919. Mr Robinson said he had continued to follow the “hot topic” of the Windrush Generation with “keen interest” since he posted the blog a year ago. The blog, on kemet36@.wordpress.com, was designed to show that parts of Britain were multicultural long before the Windrush brought the first wave of Caribbean immigrants to the country 70 years ago. Mr Robinson traced the significant presence of Africans in Britain back to the Third Century, when North African troops were among the Roman forces guarding Hadrian’s Wall.

paragraphA charity set up to care for the graves of seamen celebrated its 100th anniversary with a special service. The Guild of the Holy Compassion marked its century with a wreath-laying ceremony off St David’s last Friday. Derek Tully, guild secretary, said: “This was a very historical event. Along with the St George’s families we had representatives from all the shipping companies with us as well as former senior pilots such Harold Millett and Keith Battersbee. It was an excellent representation of Bermuda’s rich maritime history.” Among the guests on the pilot boat St David were descendants of St George’s men lost in 1929 when their pilot gig Ocean Queen 2 capsized in severe weather off Kitchen Shoals as they were en route to meet a freighter. Their bodies were never recovered. The crew of the cargo ship Lloyd Bermuda, which capsized in heavy seas en route from New Jersey to Bermuda in 1988, was also remembered. Memorials to the men of Lloyd Bermuda and Ocean Queen 2 are at the seamen’s plot in St George’s Cemetery. The St David met up with the cargo ship Somers Isle at Five Fathom Hole. Chief pilot Mario Thompson guided the cargo ship down the channel from Hamilton to meet the pilot boat. Mr Thompson was dressed in the 18th-century costume of pilot Jemmy Darrell, a freed slave who guided Admiral Ramsay’s warships through Bermuda’s treacherous reefs over two centuries ago. The replica pilot rowing gig James T Griffith also took part in the ceremony. The gig, built in Devon, England, is based in St George’s. Reverend Tom Slawson of St Peter’s Church in St George said prayers for those lost at sea before he blessed the wreaths. The guild was established in 1918 and is associated with the Missions to Seamen in the United Kingdom.

paragraphBELCO would like to advise customers that in light of the upcoming two day Cup Match holiday and in an effort to ensure meter reading cycles do not go beyond 34 days, Meter Readers will be taking readings on Saturday August 4th in areas throughout St. George’s and St. David’s; and Saturday, August 11th in areas throughout Devonshire and Pembroke. It may also be necessary for Saturday meter readings to take place in September. All BELCO Meter Readers will be in uniform and will be able to provide company identification upon request. Customer queries can be directed to Customer Experience on 299.2800 or e-mailed to info@belco.bm.

paragraphA 25-year-old man was charged with the creation and distribution of child pornography yesterday. The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was also accused of seven counts of extortion. The 16 offences are alleged to have happened between December 2013 and July 2015. The man, from St George’s, was not required to enter a plea at Magistrates’ Court as the case must be tried in the Supreme Court. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo released the man on $10,000 bail with the condition that he avoids contact with all seven complainants. The case was adjourned to the October sitting of the Supreme Court.

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July 30

paragraphA 6.4 per cent increase in the standard premium health insurance rate was caused by an increased need for healthcare rather than an increase in fees, the health minister said. Kim Wilson told the House of Assembly that Government will continue to work to address the root causes of the hike. Ms Wilson said: “We have been accused of reneging on our promise to contain healthcare costs but I think all informed parties understand very well that the 6.4 per cent rise in the standard premium was due to increased use of services in the previous year. That is utilization that could not have been prevented by this government.” She added: “Going forward, we have demonstrated our commitment to containing health costs by not increasing standard benefit fees, in particular for the largest provider, the hospital. And, rather, we have undertaken the difficult work to modernize BHB’s fees to be based on an international standard of relative value units with a local conversion factor.” Ms Wilson said the work was in its final stages and would be brought to the House later this year. She also gave MPs an update on the ministry’s work over the past year to improve the standards of care homes and daycare facilities through legislation. She said her ministry had introduced sugar tax legislation after consultation. Ms Wilson said: “The legislation allows for local producers of food to be exempted from the tax. This means local vendors like bakers, snowball stands and so on, won’t be impacted. In fact, local food producers are better off because the new concession can be used to purchase their equipment as well, not just the sugar. However, the initiative contributes to the Government’s commitment to incentivise the public to choose healthier options in order to battle Bermuda’s overweight and obesity problem.” Ms Wilson added the Government had established an obesity and diabetes scheme to tackle habits that lead to chronic diseases. She thanked the previous OBA administration for their efforts to deal with the island’s health problems. Ms Wilson said: “I want to acknowledge the good work of the previous administration, which established some great initiatives that we are happy to continue, such as the review of the mental health act and the long-term care action plan. They also advanced many initiatives that were started under the previous PLP government, such as FutureCare and the Bermuda Health Strategy, which have become central parts of our health system. This shows that bipartisan agreement and collaboration serves to achieve the country’s best interest and is an effective way to bring about long-term improvements in health and healthcare for Bermuda.” Ms Wilson urged the public to be safe and responsible over the Cup Match holiday. She said: “Without wanting to rain on the parade, I do have to pause and remind us all that drunk driving and sexual indiscretions increase dramatically during any public holiday. We relax, overindulge and take risks — risks that can cost us our life. Accidents go up during any public holiday, and visits to the Communicable Disease Clinic go up immediately after such holidays. So let us take heed of past experience and celebrate this Emancipation Day by freeing ourselves of thoughtless decisions that hurt us and our families.”

paragraphBorrowers could have greater protection from the unfair practices of debt collection agencies if new legislation is passed. The Minister of Home Affairs tabled a Bill to provide a “comprehensive licensing regulatory framework” for agents involved in recovering funds. Walton Brown explained why the Debt Collection Act 2018 was needed and told MPs on Friday: “Historically, consumer transactions were presumed fair because it was assumed that buyers and sellers bargained from equal positions of power. “Complaints by consumers, however, demonstrate that they are inherently at a disadvantage especially in the areas of consumer debt and the collection of that debt. Our current debt collection practices are creating further consumer indebtedness due to exorbitant interest and administrative charges. This indebtedness is compounded by the lack of transparency and accountability to the debtor within the industry.” He said the Bill “provides oversight by a licensing authority” in a bid to “eliminate abusive practices”. These could include circumstances when there is no proper verification of debt, predatory lending such as excessive interest rates or hidden charges, and making harassing phone calls. One of the “most egregious” actions, Mr Brown said, is communication with other individuals or organisations, for example “discussing the debtor or their debt with a third party or providing information about the debtor to anyone without verifying the veracity of the information shared”. He told the House: “I have heard complaints from Bermudians that they were refused a job because information was allegedly shared by a debt collection agency.” The Bill would offer protection through “accountability and oversight”, with the introduction of a licensing authority and debt collection officer. Mr Brown said: “Most importantly, it places the debtor on equal footing with creditors and collectors ensuring accountability by all parties who engage in the process of extending credit and debt collection.” A consultation period is to run for six weeks, ending on September 14, and stakeholders such as the Bar Council, judiciary, debt collection agencies and businesses will be asked for input. Mr Brown continued: “There will also be a public-relations campaign to obtain participation from the general public. At the conclusion of the consultation period the information will be reviewed and shared with the Attorney-General’s Chambers in order to consider amendments to the Bill, where necessary.” He added: “I would ask all interested parties to use the six-week consultation period to provide their input and concerns to assist in producing an Act that will benefit consumers who are debtors, companies that extend credit and the agencies responsible for collecting debts.”

paragraphThe Government is staying silent on its practical and financial plans to provide vulnerable children involved in court proceedings with legal representation, despite a judge’s recent criticism that not doing so breaches their rights. Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman said in a Supreme Court judgment last month that unless public funding was made available for such youngsters, hundreds of whom appear before the courts without representation every year, their “constitutional right to meaningful participation in decisions which may be of vital importance to their lives and wellbeing will often remain unrealized”. But questions put to social development minister Michael Weeks by The Royal Gazette about how much money would be allocated for legal representation, ten months after the Progressive Labour Party’s Throne Speech pledge to ensure greater “protection and care for children”, went unanswered last week. Child advocates said they were concerned the Government had yet to set aside money in its annual budget, table regulations on the issue or pay those professionals who have previously provided representation for children free of charge. They said they were worried that a representative from Britain’s Child and Family Court Advisory and Support Services was appointed by the Family Court as a representative in a recent case here — despite the presence of local social workers able to do the job. Bermudian social worker Tiffanne Thomas has acted as a “litigation guardian” in 31 cases since 2014 but has never been paid for her services. She said her concern was less about the money she was owed and more about the pressing need for children to have proper, independent representation in court whenever necessary. “Although the funding is relevant, the issue is the protection of children,” she said. “The litigation guardian’s role and responsibility is solely aligned with the child, with the child’s welfare being the paramount guiding principle.” Regarding the appointment of a Cafcass representative, she asked: “What does that mean for continuity for the child if they are not physically located in Bermuda? It is very important for the child to be able to establish healthy relationships that can be sustained.” Ms Thomas said section 35 of the Children Act 1998 required the court in certain proceedings to “appoint a litigation guardian for the child concerned unless satisfied that it is not necessary to do so in order to safeguard his interests”. But she said the law wasn’t being applied in most cases, as Mr Justice Hellman pointed out in his ruling. The judge said even when the Family Court made future orders for the appointment of litigation guardians and counsel they may not be complied with in “many cases ... for want of public funding”. He added: “For the present, at least, the legislative intent in enacting section 35 will continue to be frustrated.” Mr Justice Hellman said the state had a statutory duty to make sure every child who needed representation in court received it. He described the current situation as “deeply unsatisfactory”. The Government pledged in its Throne Speech in September to amend the 1998 Act “to achieve a greater degree of protection and care for children”. According to the speech: “In a great many cases involving care and custody disputes, parties each have litigators and advisers representing their interests, while the child often does not have the same. Accordingly, the Act will be amended to enhance the existing protocol that assigns a litigation guardian to children whose custody, care, or control is before the courts. The guardian will ensure the interests of the child are fairly represented in the courts and that any subsequent orders or findings are respected by all parties.” In an open letter sent to the Premier last week, Ms Thomas wrote: “Senior civil servants, as well as members of this sitting government, have acknowledged that the cost implication associated with ensuring that the rights of the children of Bermuda are protected continues to be the source of reluctance to fully embrace the spirit of the Act.” Mr Weeks, in a brief public comment on the recent ruling from Mr Justice Hellman, pointed out that the judge said it would be wrong of the court to use its power to “authorise statutory expenditure where the Legislature has not expressly done so”. He said Cafcass had been consulted to advance the Throne Speech pledge and a policy framework was now being drafted by the Attorney-General’s Chambers. Lawyer Katie Richards, who has acted without payment on behalf of children in several cases after being made aware of their lack of representation, said section 35 meant that in every case the court should assess the need for representation for the child — both at the start of proceedings and if any circumstances changed once the case was under way. “Mr Justice Hellman is saying the court has to give reasons [for not appointing representatives],” she said. “What the case has highlighted is that the true impact and applicability of section 35 is not being carried out in cases where it cries out for children to have a voice. The current lack of statutory structure and regulation is inadequate, resulting in cases continuing through the Family Court with no one advocating for the child concerned.” The judge made his ruling after the Human Rights Commission, on behalf of two unnamed minors, sued the Attorney-General, the Minister of Social Development and the director of the Department of Child and Family Services for failing to ensure that children were properly represented in court. The charities Childwatch, Curb, the Coalition for the Protection of Children, Scars and the Women’s Resource Centre joined the litigation as plaintiffs. Lawyer Saul Dismont, representing the complainants, said earlier this year: “Without a lawyer in court challenging the court’s decisions, there is a greatly increased possibility that children will be dealt with unlawfully.”

paragraphShelly Bay Beach users will have the chance to sample food and learn about rental services that could be offered if plans for development go ahead. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, revealed a demonstration event will take place next month at the beach, where a former concession structure was knocked down last year. Colonel Burch said opinions on what should happen next at the beach “are as varied as the day is long”. He told the House of Assembly on Friday: “I have heard from some who would like to see a new building erected where the old structure once stood ... and I’ve heard from just as many who enjoy the open space the demolition created along the North Shore.” The Bermuda Tourism Authority presented plans for the site as part of its 2016 Beach Economy Vision, which was designed to create jobs for Bermudians, increase visitor spending and improve the experience for everyone who used the beaches. But the plans for Shelly Bay sparked controversy among some Hamilton Parish residents. Some said the beach was too small for the BTA proposals, which would see recycled shipping containers used as temporary concessions. Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly: “They would house relatively simple offerings that are non-disruptive to the traditional picnicking culture at Shelly Bay. This plan is a temporary measure that fits somewhere neatly between those who want to see a structure return and those who want to see nothing at all.” He said the BTA this week completed interviews with all applicants that responded to a request for proposals. Colonel Burch added that Ashley’s Lemonade, Simple Café — “a beachside deli-café idea”, Smokin’ Barrel food truck and Tarzan Boats, “an adventurous water experience” and beach equipment rentals from a local youth football coach had all expressed an interest. He said: “The shortlist of applicants I just mentioned are operating under the assumption that their main customer base will be current users of the beach — namely families. They will gear their offerings to Bermudian families. It will be critical to their success.” Colonel Burch added: “All the applicants I just mentioned have agreed to be on-hand to demonstrate their business ideas and earn buy-in from the community. This will take place Thursday. August 9 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Shelly Bay Park. Those aiming to provide food and beverage services will have samples for the public and those who are providing a service or experience will do their best to show all of us how their set-up is designed to work. Additionally, we will mark out with tape the proposed location of the containers. Feedback will be taken on the spot or e-mailed later.” He said: “This is a critical juncture in this consultative process. I look forward to a conclusion that helps improve the beach experience for everyone, while at the same time providing economic opportunity for our people.” Ashley Stephens, 15, of Ashley’s Lemonade, said the chance to operate on a public beach in Bermuda was one of her dreams. She added: “It’s on my vision board.”

paragraphThe Ministry of Public Works is advising that effective Monday, August 6th there will be some adjustments to the once a week trash collection map, resulting in an expansion of the map for some areas. Please note:

The Ministry of Public Works takes this opportunity to thank the public for their co-operation.

paragraphMillions of dollars are spent over Cup Match benefiting “those who are rich already” while people forget the true meaning of emancipation, according to government MP Christopher Famous. The backbencher also complained that the second day of the holiday is named after Sir George Somers, whom he described as a “slave owner”, and echoed his colleague Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch’s complaint that the trophy is presented by the Governor. Mr Famous and fellow Progressive Labour Party MP Kim Swan urged Bermudians to remember the true meaning of the Cup Match holiday during Friday’s motion to adjourn at the House of Assembly. Mr Famous said people were more interested in spending “tons of money” than “what emancipation is really about”. He said: “We spend all this money on looking good but we spend no time teaching ourselves and our children of the origins of Cup Match.” Mr Famous added: “Our ancestors, in their infinite wisdom, set us on a path of collective responsibility, self-determination. That is what Cup Match started off as. Somewhere along the line, we lost the script. We lost the script as to what Cup Match is really about, about what emancipation is really about.” Mr Famous said the wealthy benefit from the millions and said: “Yet the two clubs that were built from Cup Match are got to be sitting around here begging for grants.” He added: “Yet we don’t teach our children about friendly societies. We don’t teach our children about slavery. So mentally, are we free? Are we slaved to consumerism? I implore persons such as the education minister to ensure that our children know the true meaning of Cup Match. We cannot go another generation with people just addicted to consumerism.” Mr Famous added that “we are not free, we are not emancipated” until the Governor, as the Queen’s representative, no longer hands over the cup. He also pointed out that the second day of Cup Match “is named after a slave owner”. Mr Famous said: “For us as a people, we got to stop bowing down to the person that represents the Queen, number one. We have got to stop having our clubs depend on grants and do what we can to make them self-sufficient. We have got to stop being afraid to teach our children about slavery. And I am going to lastly say, stop naming the second day of our emancipation after a slave owner.” Mr Swan said: “I am sure that if we reflect on the mindset and the import of what our forefathers and foremothers wanted out of that day, materialism wasn’t the end result.” He said that since he had experienced Cup Match “we, as a collective people, are less together today than we were then. And if we are less together today than we were then and we are swimming against the tide of materialism, which is fuelled by those who look only to the bottom line as their salvation, then we need to figure out how we are all going to get on the same page.” Mr Swan said people who were benefiting from the current situation were “plotting” to make Bermuda the “same old, same old for another 120” years. He added: “That’s the tragedy. So this nicey, nicey, cosmetic, superficial façade of diversity cannot speak to the real challenge that this country faces.” David Burt, the Premier, stressed the importance of coming together over the holiday period. He said: “In 1834 on August 1, the slaves in the British colonies were freed. But as we stand here very many years after that fact, it is clear that there is a lot of work to do to ensure that the descendants of those slaves who were freed have equal access to opportunity, have equal access to education and have equal access to the tools to that can ensure that they can provide for their families and ensure a better living. That is the work that we have to be committed to in this House and that is the work of which is important that we remember during this holiday season. On Thursday most of us will attend the Somerset Cricket Club. Let us not forget the people who toiled to make sure that we could celebrate this holiday. Let us not forget the friendly societies who were the genesis of this holiday and let us also not forget the hard working men and women. Let’s celebrate the holiday in the fashion that it should be, with unity peace and love.”

paragraph“Loving father” Taylor Grier was caught in the gunfire when a man shot at a group of people congregated in the street, police said today. Police said the incident had some connection to gang activity but it is understood there is no suggestion Mr Grier, 30, was related to any gangs. One suspect is still at large following the incident at the junction of Court Street and Elliot Street on Friday night, at about 10pm. Police released an image from CCTV footage showing the shooter opening fire in the hope witnesses will come forward. A second person was with the gunman on the bike. One man was arrested shortly before midnight on Friday. Acting Chief Inspector Arthur Glasford told a press conference: “Two men on a motorcycle wearing dark clothing and full face visor helmets descended south on Tills Hill in the area of Elliot Street. The gunman got off the motorcycle and approached a group of men congregating in the area and began to open fire. The crowd rapidly dispersed, however, two men were caught in the gunfire.” Mr Grier, a father of one, was a founding member of dance group Bermuda Squad which aimed to empower other young men. Mr Glasford urged the community to take a stand against violence. He said: “This senseless act of violence took the life of one of Bermuda’s most prominent dancers and a loving father and the Bermuda Police Service is committed to bringing the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice.” Asked whether there were concerns of reprisals to Friday’s violence, Mr Glasford responded: “We do have a robust policing plan and we will act on it. We still have an additional suspect at large and we want to put the appeal out to witnesses to come forward and pass on their information.” Asked whether there were fears that gang activity was resurfacing, Mr Glasford responded: “We have been down this road before and we will put a plan in place. If that is an indicator that we are going back to previous years we will deal with any information we receive to suggest that gang tensions are rising or activity is increasing. The events that have just occurred have caused us to focus our efforts on reducing gang tensions and doing what we can to mitigate any other opportunities for violence. This is not something that the community should be tolerant of and the Bermuda Police are concerned but a confident with our policing plan. This event will cause increase in tensions within the community and within the gang community and people should be ensured that we have a robust policing plan in place.” Mr Glasford said that after the incident the gunman and his accomplice got on their motorcycle and travelled north on to Court Street, turning east on to Angle Street before escaping. Mr Grier and another victim were rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital via ambulance but Mr Grier was pronounced dead at 10.23pm. The other victim, a 55-year-old man, was treated for non life-threatening injuries. A family liaison officer has been assigned to the family of Mr Grier. The investigation is being led by Senior Detective Sergeant Dean Martin. Mr Glasford said: “Already officers have started canvassing the area, however, with limited information from the community. On the evening of July 27, there were a number of individuals who were in the area who witnessed this incident. Also, there may be someone who has information related to this incident either before or after the shooting took place. We honour Taylor’s memory by doing whatever we can to bring the perpetrators to justice. No matter how insignificant you believe the information you have is, we would like to hear from you. This will require individuals to be bold and to take a stand on violence in their community.” Anyone with information should contact Detective Sergeant Martin on 295-0011 or the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.

paragraphThe gun murder of a man who used dance to spread an anti-violence message was described yesterday by community activist Gina Spence as hurtful, painful and shocking. Taylor Grier used his platform as a founding member of dance group Bermuda Squad to empower other young men, according to Ms Spence, who was among the emergency responders team who attended the hospital after Friday’s shooting. Mr Grier, a 30-year-old father, who is known by the nickname “Taylor Made” was killed when a gunman opened fire at the junction of Court Street and Elliot Street at about 10pm. A second victim, a 55-year-old man, was treated at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. Ms Spence, founder and CEO of community outreach charity Gina Spence Productions, said: “I knew the young man, so it was very, very sad because he was one of those gentlemen who had a very positive attitude. During the last May 24 Bermuda Day Parade, he was really sending an anti-violence message out to the young people. He also mentored so many young men through his dance group, Bermuda Squad. That was his passion. But more importantly than liking to dance, he loved to encourage and empower young men through dance. That was his outreach. So for someone to send a message, trying to get young people to stay positive, to be gunned down in this way is really, really hurtful, painful and shocking. And on top of all of that, he was a great guy. He was the life of the party.” Ms Spence said Mr Grier, whom she described as a very involved father to his daughter, was always willing to pitch in with events hosted by Gina Spence Productions, a non-profit that specializes in bereavement services for children and families. She added: “There is no one answer. We don’t know why these young men are doing these acts, especially in a situation like this, where it appears to be mistaken identity or someone who really had no affiliation with gangs and all that sort of stuff. It just boggles the mind.” Ms Spence said Mr Grier’s murder would impact his immediate family as well as his “extended family” in the dance world. She added: “My message to the community is that we are here to provide that support. The broader impact are all of those young men and their families, all of the communities that Taylor was connected to, because as a dancer you are being invited to dance everywhere. He was well-known in the community itself, well-loved, well-respected, so it’s going to be a huge impact across the island. We definitely give our condolences to his parents and his daughter and Bermuda Squad.” Ms Spence encouraged anyone in need of help coming to terms with what had happened to reach out to the organisation. Cleveland Simmons, a veteran activist from North Hamilton, called on Government to take immediate action and warned that more lives would be lost to gun violence if the wrong approach was taken. Mr Simmons, a member of several community groups including the Young Progressives, said: “The community is suffering, coming apart at the seams and I am concerned. This is a state of emergency. We have a crisis. The powers that be need to sit down with me and my people and look how we can address this very serious issue right away, not next week, next month, but tomorrow, the next day, as soon as possible.” He added: “I am just concerned as an advocate for change and this is my area, that something is done immediately. If the wrong approach is taken, then we will have another shooting.” Mr Simmons said that part of the problem was that the responsibility for tackling gun violence and gang problems in Bermuda had been passed from minister to minister. “It’s taken seriously but everyone has their own agenda and in their agenda, they are going to work according to their agenda.” He said concepts such as his Caravan programme, designed to bring people together, had won favour with the former government. But he added: “Then came an election — the same problem again.” Police said Mr Grier was killed by a gunman who arrived on a motorcycle with another person. One witness described hearing about six gunshots during the incident. A suspect was arrested shortly before midnight on Friday and was detained at Hamilton Police Station. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said he was “extremely saddened by this tragedy. It is very disheartening that as we prepare to celebrate our Cup Match holiday, our community is rocked by this tragic act of gun violence. I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victim. Our thoughts are with them during this time.” Mr Caines said he had been briefed on the murder investigation and urged anyone with information about the incident to co-operate with police. He also said the Crisis Response Team was active on Friday in response to the shooting and revealed that extra steps would be taken to reassure the community over the weekend. Mr Caines, who on Friday outlined a policing plan for the Cup Match holiday, also reiterated Government’s commitment to ensure the safety of the community. He said: “We are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of our community by stepping up our public safety efforts. We will update our policing strategy for the holiday. And those who seek to disrupt should know that we will address any activity of violence with the appropriate measures.” A police spokesman said yesterday that a family liaison officer had been assigned to Mr Grier’s family and a “full investigation has commenced”. Witnesses should call police on 295-0011. For more information on the services offered by Gina Spence Productions, visit  ginaspenceproductions.com or call Gina Spence on 707-5224.

paragraphBlackwatch Pass will close for construction works for “an extended period of time”. The Ministry of Public Works said the closure begins next Monday. A spokeswoman advised people to seek alternative routes to avoid delays.

paragraphBermudians who plan to study or work in Canada will have to supply extra application information from the end of the year. Bermudians who carry any type of British passport — including British Dependent Territories Citizens — will be required to submit fingerprints and a photograph with their application for a study or work permit from December 31. The requirement will also apply to those who apply for permanent residence and refugee or asylum status. Applications received before December 31 will not need the additional documentation. The biometric information will have to be renewed once every ten years. The cost to provide the information is CAD$85 for individuals and a maximum of CAD$170 for family applications. There is nowhere in Bermuda where the biometric information can be provided. A spokesman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said that Bermudians could supply their information at one of 135 locations in the United States. He added that the Canadian Government was “constantly monitoring” its visa application centre network and “may decide to open a new VAC location at a later date”. Bermudians already in Canada as of December 31 who then apply for a visa, study permit or work permit from within Canada will not need to provide the fingerprints or photograph until the in-Canada biometric service has been set up next year.

paragraphPartnerRe Ltd profits fell by more than a third in the second quarter, as rising interest rates reduced the value of some of the Bermuda-based reinsurer’s fixed-income investments. The company said net income for the April through June quarter totaled $125 million, a figure that included the impact of $79 million of unrealized losses on fixed-income investments. This compared to a net income of $191 million for the corresponding period of 2017, which included net unrealized investment gains on fixed-income securities of $95 million. PartnerRe said the majority of its investments are accounted for at fair value, with changes in the fair value included in the net income figure. Emmanuel Clarke, PartnerRe’s president and chief executive officer, said: “We delivered an annualized net income return on equity of 8.4 per cent in this quarter, driven by solid underwriting profits in both our non-life and life and health segments and a 20 per cent increase in net premium written compared to last year’s second quarter. I am pleased to see our results reflect the efforts we have made, over the past two years, to gain relevance with our key clients and brokers, and to find new attractive business opportunities. Notwithstanding a competitive reinsurance market, we achieved a positive July 1 renewal where we continued to see increases in business margins. These results, in conjunction with continued improved efficiency in operating expenses, and the impact of higher reinvestment yields on our investment portfolio, position our company well to deliver improved underwriting and financial results during the remainder of 2018.” PartnerRe is a wholly owned subsidiary of Italian-based Exor, the investment vehicle of the Agnelli family. Underwriting profits, including both non-life and life and health operations and corporate expenses, were $36 million for the second quarter of 2018 compared to $37 million for the same period of 2017. Non-life net premiums written were up 21 per cent for the second quarter of 2018 and 17 per cent for the half year 2018 compared to the same periods of 2017. These increases were primarily due to new business written in both the P & C and specialty segments. The non-life underwriting profit was $65 million, with a combined ratio of 93.8 per cent, for the second quarter of 2018 compared to $108 million and a combined ratio of 87.7 per cent, for the same period of 2017. In the life and health business, net premiums written were up 19 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 and 24 per cent for the half year 2018 compared to the same periods of 2017, driven primarily by organic growth in the life business, a favourable foreign exchange impact and higher rates in the Health business. The increase for the half year also reflects the inclusion of the Aurigen life premiums for two quarters in 2018 compared to only one quarter in 2017, following the acquisition of Aurigen on April 2, 2017.

Spacer

July 29, Sunday

paragraphMinister of Health Kim Wilson saw through a sweep of amendments that aim to address matters “pertinent to Bermuda’s compliance with international standards”. Bermuda’s standards, set by the Financial Action Task Force will come under scrutiny in an upcoming national audit. MPs on Friday voted on nine changes to laws designed to protect the island from money laundering and terrorist funding activities. Law changes are proposed on proceeds of crime, charities, banks and the accountancy profession, as well as the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Ms Wilson said assessment of Bermuda’s anti-money laundering, antiterrorist financing regime has started and a team drawn from peer jurisdictions and led by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force will visit the island for two weeks from September 24 to carry out the on-site portion. Collectively, the bills amend an “extensive list of laws”, demonstrating “how entrenched the AML/ATF framework is within our wider body of regulatory laws”. Ms Wilson said: “This reflects Bermuda’s commitment to having a cohesive programme for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, which incorporates all relevant stakeholders. These amendments will continue to strengthen the respective powers and responsibilities of competent authorities and clarify the obligations of other stakeholders within the regime.” She continued: “As part of our ongoing efforts to enhance Bermuda’s compliance with FATF standards on combating money laundering and terrorist financing, these bills seek to achieve a number of important objectives, chief among which is to maintain Bermuda’s reputation as a premier international financial centre with a robust and effective regulatory framework.” Yet Opposition deputy leader Leah Scott said: “The legislation that’s being introduced today is just a continuation of regulations and impositions being imposed on us by jurisdictions that don’t follow the same rules. We have been besieged for the past three years with all kinds of things that we are required to do as a jurisdiction, mainly because the US and the UK see us as jurisdictions where people choose to profit-shift.” She explained that means a tax avoidance strategy that exploits “gaps and mismatches” in rules to artificially shift taxes to low or no tax jurisdictions. Ms Scott added: “Some of this legislation will achieve, I guess, the goals that it set out to do. I think that I’d like to see a summary of how a driver’s licence and a utility bill has stopped money-laundering and terrorist financing. I’m not sure how effective that is.” She went on to warn: “If we continue to comply with all of the things that they’re imposing on us, businesses are going to leave, there’s not going to be any reason for them to stay in this jurisdiction and we wonder whether the goal, from the EU and the US, is to put the jurisdictions out of business. They have no concern for the people of this country, they have no concern for the businesses and the continued impositions and the requirement to reveal and be transparent is going to cost the jurisdiction in terms of its business model.” And Ms Scott told members: “We have recently imposed legislation that requires us to provide a register of directors and officers to the Registrar of Companies and that is now a public document. I had a client call me last week who has been stalked by someone who found his name on the register of directors and officers of Bermuda, his home address was listed and he has now had to have protection because he had somebody stalking him. So this is the result of the things that are required by us to be transparent but those jurisdictions are not willing to carry out the same transparency. I have to applaud the Premier in terms of his efforts to keep the EU at bay with all of the things that they have been trying to impose upon us and I hope that as a jurisdiction that we can continue to try to withstand all of the pressure for as long as we can.” Ms Scott posed questions about the status of digital assets whether they are to be regulated by a financial institution by the AML/ATF regime. Ms Wilson said that the legislation was “evolving” and it would more than likely need to be revisited. “This legislation has moved very quickly — new technologies and financial instruments and so forth are moving very, very quickly so it is likely that this legislation will have to be amended as new technologies come on board. Right now, because the assessors have identified certain areas that were absent within our regime upon their review of our technical compliance submissions, we are trying to close that gap.” Ms Scott also took issue with the fact that private charities would be subject to the regime saying that was private money. Ms Wilson said the assessors identified private charities as a risk area and that Bermuda’s reputation was “paramount”. The $10m maximum fine for non-compliance, Ms Wilson said, was meant to be “dissuasive” in response to a question by Ms Scott as to whether there was any safety net for businesses that would be bankrupted by such a penalty. Any fines or disciplinary measures would have to be “appropriate and proportionate” according to the act.

paragraphFor the Bermuda Cup Match cricket public holiday from next Thursday, Somerset have named two colts in their team to defend their Cup Match title on home turf this year. Steven Bremar Jr and Kwasi James are the new faces as the champions made only two changes from last year’s squad. Experienced all-rounders Kamau Leverock and Derrick Brangman are both unavailable. Leverock is back playing in Britain for Nottinghamshire second XI while Brangman is serving a one-year Bermuda Cricket Board ban for breaching its Code of Conduct. Bremar, a solid middle-order batsman, and James, an all-rounder, had solid displays in Somerset’s final trial match. Bremar maintained his superb form with the bat with an attractive and unbeaten half-century for the Vice-President’s XI. Batting at No 5, the Cleveland County captain thumped 61 from 79 balls with nine fours and a six. James, who also featured for the Vice-President’s XI, only managed three runs at the crease but earlier produced a tidy spell with the ball that went a long way towards tipping the scale in his favour. He claimed one for 42 from 13 overs that included three maidens during the first innings in which the President’s XI posted 288 for eight declared. “Steven’s knock was very impressive and Kwasi bowled a very good line with effective lateral movement,” Michael Corday, Somerset’s cricket and selection committee chairman, said. “All things considered, these are the most sensible and appropriate additions to our team. I think the selectors have chosen wisely. We are satisfied this team is capable of winning the cup in Somerset.” Perhaps the biggest surprise in the camp was the glaring omission of Deunte Darrell who many predicted would be recalled this year. The top all-rounder produced a fairly decent bowling spell during the first innings but misfired with the bat as he only scored six runs for the Vice President’s XI, who were poised at 155 for seven when stumps were pulled thanks to Bremar’s brilliant innings. Another surprise omission might have been that of all-rounder Dalin Richardson who struck an unbeaten century that helped lay the foundation for the President XI’s total. The Somerset all-rounder blasted 15 fours and two sixes in a superb innings of 100 from 129 balls and featured in partnerships of 53 with Tre Manders (46) and 88 with Malachi Jones (72) as the President’s XI recovered from a precarious 67 for four. Richardson’s fine effort was not totally ignored, however, as he was named a reserve along with Southampton Rangers seam bowler Sheldon Caesar, who also made his presence felt during the final trial match. The Southampton Rangers seam bowler claimed brilliant figures of four for 43 from 11 overs that included two maidens after being brought into the President XI’s attack as first change. Also picked as a reserve for the second straight year was Alje Richardson, son of Somerset coach and former Cup Match batsman Jeff Richardson, who stroked four fours and a six in knock of 25 from 31 balls facing the new ball for the President’s XI.

paragraphFor the Bermuda Cup Match cricket public holiday from next Thursday, veteran Lionel Cann was dropped by St George’s, in one of six changes made by the challengers, despite leading the Vice-President’s team to a convincing seven-wicket victory over the President’s team in Saturday’s trial match at Wellington Oval. The selectors endured another long night before emerging from a four-hour meeting to reveal a team that included some surprises; Cann out along with Kyle Hodsoll and wicketkeeper Sinclair Smith, and opening batsman Mishael Paynter recalled after an eight-year absence following his top knock of 61 for the Vice-President’s team before he retired with his side on the brink of a comfortable victory. Seam bowler Hodsoll, just recalled last year, loses his spot after he finished wicketless in the trial match, going for 49 runs in his eight overs. The selectors made a bold move in bringing in four colts, with Chare Smith, of Warwick, the biggest shock as earlier in the week he was pencilled in to play in the Somerset trial match, before making a late switch to the East Enders. He shared the new ball with Charles Trott, of Southampton Rangers, and did enough to impress the selectors with his three wickets for 30 runs from 15.3 overs. Trott, who missed out on selection last year, got the nod this time after a six over spell yielded him one wicket for 14 runs. Performances in the final trial still count for something, with Mishael Paynter earning a recall and Temiko Wilson getting the wicketkeeping job ahead of Smith and Okera Bascome after scoring a patient 44 not out from 71 balls for the Vice-President team. Cann who was the other not out batsman with 25 from three fours and a six but it was not enough for him to keep his spot. Detroy Smith is the other big surprise, earning his place after taking three catches at the top of the President’s batting order and then scoring 17 in an opening stand of 36 with Paynter. He also claimed two for 36 from 13 overs as the President’s team was dismissed for 157 in 59.3 overs. Earning a recall is former captain Oronde Bascome who led the President’s batting with 41 from 93 balls before being caught and bowled by Detroy Smith. Next high scorer was captain Macai Simmons with 27. Paynter’s top knock means that he will appear in Cup Match for the first time since 2010 when he made 28 runs on his debut in the drawn match at Somerset. Interestingly only two other players remain from that 2010 team, Allan Douglas Jr, also a colt that year, while Oronde Bascome was the captain. He will be the vice-captain next week. Team: Macai Simmons (capt), Oronde Bascome (vice capt), Onias Bascome, Temiko Wilson (colt), Charles Trott (colt), Chare Smith (colt), Zeko Burgess, Allan Douglas, Detroy Smith (colt), Mishael Smith, Treadwell Gibbons. Reserves: Nzari Paynter, Isaiah Greaves, Q’Shai Darrell.

paragraphCiguatera fish poisoning is on the rise with more than ten cases reported between the end of June and mid-July. A spokesman said the health ministry’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit had received 13 reports between June 29 and July 17 — up from four reported cases for 2018 as of July 6. The news came as the ministry and Department of Environment and Natural Resources provided an update on the most recent outbreak and reminded the public about key facts of CFP. The spokesman said: “Between June 29 and July 17, the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health received 13 reports of CFP. The fishes implicated in this outbreak were large amberjacks and barracuda. However, it should be noted that large yellow jacks and cubera snappers have been implicated in past cases of CFP in Bermuda. Yellow jack and amberjack may both be mistaken for the almaco jack, which is locally called ‘bonita’. Almaco jack / bonita has not been implicated in any CFP cases in Bermuda.” Ciguatera fish poisoning is caused by toxins from microscopic marine plants that build up in large predatory fish. Symptoms, which can appear as little as one hour after eating toxic fish, include diarrhoea, itchy skin, numbness, burning skin, nausea, vomiting, pain to limbs and fatigue or weakness. The reversal of hot and cold sensations, which is absent in other types of fish-related food poisoning, is also a tell tale sign. The spokesman explained that CFP does not change the taste or smell of a fish, and it is not affected by cooking or freezing and there is no simple detection test. He added: “Whether or not an individual fish contains CFP toxins depends on the type and quantity of food that fish has eaten, as well as the prevalence of toxin-producing plants in the area where it has been feeding, so it is difficult to predict CFP risk. An older or larger predatory fish that has eaten many herbivorous fishes over a period of time has a greater risk of carrying CFP toxins than a younger or smaller fish of the same species. The fish themselves are not affected by the toxin, and the handling of the fish (i.e. how it was processed and stored post-catch) does not affect the presence of the toxin.” In a statement earlier this month, the health ministry said a total of four cases had been reported this year. It pointed out there was one case in 2017 and 20 in 2016. But ocean environmentalist Chris Flook warned last week that cases were on the rise and would continue to increase because of climate change. The spokesman for the health ministry said today: “ESU and the DENR will continue to collaborate to investigate any new reports of CFP and will provide an update if there are any ongoing concerns. If you or someone you know has experienced or may have experienced the symptoms listed above, please contact your physician. Prompt reporting of CFP makes it easier for the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit to track down the source and can help prevent further cases.”

paragraphThe man shot dead in Hamilton on Friday night has been named as Taylor Grier. Mr Grier, 30, was killed after a gunman opened fire at the junction of Court Street and Elliott Street after arriving on a motorcycle with another person at about 10pm. A second victim, a 55-year-old man, was treated at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. A suspect was arrested shortly before midnight on Friday and was detained at Hamilton Police Station. One witness described hearing about six gunshots during the incident. Witnesses should call police on 295-0011. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said today: “A family liaison officer has been assigned to the family and a full investigation has commenced.”

paragraphA man was killed and another injured in a shooting on Court Street at about 10pm last night. Police arrested a suspect before midnight and detained him at Hamilton Police Station. The gunman and another person are understood to have arrived on a motorcycle and opened fire at the junction of Court Street and Elliott Street in Hamilton. Bermuda Police Service spokesman Dwayne Caines confirmed that a 30-year-old died as a result of his injuries. Mr Caines said that a 55-year-old man had suffered injuries that were not life threatening and was being treated at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Shortly after the shooting, the two victims could be seen being attended to by bystanders until police and an ambulance arrived. The assailants rode north on Court Street. One bystander said he did not see the shooting or suspects, but had heard about six gunshots. He said: “First there were two shots then I heard bam, bam, bam, bam. There were two guys — an ambulance picked one guy then came back for the other. I think two people have been hurt.” Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area of Court Street, Middle Town, Deep Dale Avenue, Roberts Avenue or Happy Valley Road is asked to call the Police crime scene unit on 295-0011. Witnesses can also call the Confidential Crime Stoppers Hotline of 800-8477. Minister for National Security Wayne Caines was at the scene. He told The Royal Gazette: “This is deeply disturbing after a period of relative calm. This is not what we expected coming into the holiday period. We will make sure that we meet the violence with the appropriate force. The Bermuda Police Service has long term strategies in place but in the meantime I will ensure that this country is safe and we will do everything in our power to ensure the Cup Match weekend is safe. The police are trained and equipped to deal with it. The Coordinated Crisis Response Team has been activated — Leroy Bean, members of the social services and key volunteers will be back on the scene later and tomorrow to offer comfort and support to the families and anyone who may have seen anything disturbing.” Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area of Court Street, Middle Town, Deep Dale Avenue, Roberts Avenue or Happy Valley Road is strongly urged to call the Crime Scene Unit on 295-0011 or the confidential Crimestoppers hotline 800-8477.

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paragraphBermudians should remember and celebrate the unique history of Cup Match, the social development and sports minister told MPs yesterday. Michael Weeks highlighted the historical importance of the 116-year-old event and its roots in the 1834 abolition of slavery by the British Parliament. Mr Weeks said: “Bermuda can take pride in the fact that our Cup Match tradition has been sustained for well over a century and can take even greater pride in the knowledge that the legacy of Cup Match lives on in the hearts and minds of all Bermudians and represents a cultural coming together through sport. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the friendly societies for passionately being the torchbearer for this great cultural celebration. Cup Match’s informal start was in the wake of Emancipation when people held picnics and cricket games in celebration, organized by Friendly Societies and lodges. Members of the friendly societies and lodges raised funds and in 1902 a silver cup trophy was introduced and played for annually.” The first official Cup Match took place that year and St George’s claimed victory by seven wickets. Two holidays were later introduced. Cup Match Day, which became Emancipation Day in 1999, and Somers Day, to commemorate the shipwreck of the Sea Venture and Sir George Somers in 1609.

paragraphPolice will conduct roadside sobriety checkpoints to crackdown on drink driving during Cup Match weekend. And a number of Bermuda’s bar and restaurant are backing the bid. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, announced the measure in the House of Assembly. Mr Caines said the checkpoints would be set up at strategic locations with details on their locations provided ahead of time. He warned would-be drink drivers: “If you are found to be under the influence and in control of a vehicle, you will be arrested.” Legislation allowing police to introduce checkpoints to screen motorists for sobriety was approved by MPs and senators this month. Donald Hassell, owner of the Somerset Country Squire, said that a “great job” had been done in getting roadside testing in place. Mr Hassell said that the news of next weekend’s sobriety checks would not affect how his customers were served by staff. He explained: “We look out for our people.” Mr Hassell said that he and his staff intervened when intoxicated customers tried to drive. He said: “We try and take the keys from them and take them home — because we’re a community.” Philip Barnett, president at Island Restaurant Group, said yesterday’s announcement would likewise not affect how his staff operated. He added: “We will continue to be as vigilant as we always have been.” Mr Barnett said that a key difficulty for his business — which operates four restaurants, including Dockyard’s Frog and Onion Pub — had to do with customers being able to make it home safely. He explained: “Buses don’t run much past 11pm, taxis are difficult if not impossible sometimes to get. We are constantly struggling up in Dockyard — even during cruise ship season — to have taxis respond to any of our calls. If people can’t get home, they are possibly going to make stupid choices. And there’s something wrong there when we’re making it difficult for people to make the right choices.” Saliya Alahakoon, manager at Henry VIII, said the restaurant supported the roadside checks. He said that ensuring intoxicated patrons were prevented from getting behind the wheel was already a restaurant policy. Mr Alahakoon added: “Our main concern is that we want to send them home safely.” Anthony Santucci, executive director of anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada said that he anticipated the “significant” announcement of the stops would have an immediate impact. He explained: “The natural result of that is that people will manage their consumption better. The fact that we know there are going to be sobriety checkpoints set up throughout the holiday weekend will in and of itself will send a message to people.” Mr Santucci said that sobriety checkpoints weren’t designed to catch people. He added: “They are designed to start changing the culture and people’s relationship with alcohol.” Mr Santucci said the reform of alcohol legislation in Bermuda was the next task on his organization's agenda. He said: “There needs to be an alcohol bureau of control to manage all alcohol sales and services. We thought that ten years ago, and we are still on that path.” The announcement of the roadside sobriety stops came as part of a ministerial statement on the policing plan for the holiday weekend. Mr Caines said that six Bermuda Police Services boats would also be on the water on continuous patrols. He added: “Boaters are encouraged to adhere to all maritime laws and exercise courteous and responsible maritime behavior.” Mr Caines said about 150 police officers would be deployed over the weekend, with up to 50 additional officers on overnight shifts. He added that stop-and-search powers would be actively used. Emancipation Day celebrations at Horseshoe Bay Beach would be patrolled by 31 BPS officers backed by Department of Parks Rangers. Mr Caines urged parents to help curb underage drinking. He added: “In addition to the increased risk of violent antisocial behavior following alcohol consumption, the heat and surf at the beach make intoxication especially dangerous.”

paragraphMore than 20 fintech companies have incorporated in Bermuda, the Premier said yesterday. David Burt, who is also Minister of Finance, provided the House with a list of 21 fintech companies. Organisations such as Binance, Unikrn, iCash, Hub Culture, DES Digital Currency Exchange and Omega One, which were earlier announced, are included on the list. Cryptocurrency firm Arbitrade is also included, with both Arbitrade Ltd and Arbitrade Mining (Bermuda) Ltd listed. But several unannounced companies are also included. Mr Burt was replying to questions from Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition. The complete list was: Blockchain Capital Ltd; Unikrn Bermuda Ltd; Crypto Markets International Ltd; XBTO International Holding; iCash Ltd; GeoCash (Bermuda) Ltd; DES Digital Currency Exchange Ltd; Ingot Ltd; Atlantic Digital Ltd; More Ventures Ltd; Arbitrade Ltd; Leila Holdings Ltd; Binance (Bermuda) Ltd; The Handshake (Bermuda) LLC; Uulala Ltd; Omega One Bermuda Ltd; Diamond Ltd; Ledger Ventures Limited; Arbitrade Mining (Bermuda) Ltd; Hub Culture Ltd; and IMI Holdings Ltd. Mr Burt added that 21 fintech companies have reserved their names to be incorporated in Bermuda, but that he could not identify them. He said: “The Registrar of Companies does not allow the public to access this information as there is no guarantee that the company will be incorporated and technically the company does not exist. Therefore it would be inappropriate to provide the names of the relevant companies.” Mrs Atherden also asked how many work permits the companies would require and how many jobs would be created — in total and for Bermudians. But Dennis Lister, Speaker of the House, said it was unlikely she would get answers these questions because they were “hypothetical”.

paragraphMPs approved a new type of banking licence to cater to Bermuda’s fintech industry last night. David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, told the House of Assembly that the restricted licence would allow fintech companies access to a Bermuda bank account and the chance to be part of the island economy. He said: “Despite the robust regulations put in place, to date our four local banks have been unwilling to offer services to newly incorporated fintech and distributed ledger technology companies. This is a problem that we must fix or else Bermuda will not be able to realize the possibility of economic growth that can come from a fintech industry on our shores.” Mr Burt added: “This Government believes that fintech companies that are licensed to participate in legal business ventures in Bermuda should not be treated differently and should not be shut out from participating fully in the local economy. It was therefore incumbent on this Progressive Labour Party government to find a solution to this problem.” Mr Burt said the amendments to the Banks and Deposit Companies Act 1999 would solve the problem. Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, the One Bermuda Alliance, asked how many banks would be set up under the restricted licence. Mr Burt said the number of banks would be driven by market demand. Cole Simons, the Shadow Minister of Education, backed the Bill but emphasized the need for it to be implemented in a manner that is “measured, intentional and acceptable by the regulators and industry so that our banking fraternity is not compromised and that we can still go to the international markets knowing that our banking industry is first-class, reputable and functional”. Mr Simons said he was also concerned “that we may be traveling too quickly in that we are over-promising and under-delivering”. He added some interested parties said the concept was right but were not satisfied that all the regulations and safety precautions were in place. But Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security said: “Yes, we are moving at a rapid pace but the steps are deliberate. The steps are consultative and they are in keeping with global best practices.” Kim Swan, a PLP backbencher, spoke in support of the Bill and encouraged opponents of a fintech industry to look at the opportunities it presented. Chris Famous, also a PLP backbencher, said innovation was important. He added that Bermuda’s strides in the fintech industry had been praised by finance ministers from across the Caribbean at the recent Caricom conference in Jamaica.

paragraphConvicted sex offenders should undergo mandatory treatment or spend more time behind bars, MPs heard yesterday. The recommendation was included in a report by a Joint Select Committee on the need for a public sex offenders register and related matters. Renée Ming, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, who tabled the report, said “all convicted sexual offenders should be required to participate in a mandatory treatment programme prior to their release from the correctional facility”. She added: “Treatment should not be optional. There should be consequences for those offenders who refuse treatment while incarcerated. The possibility of extended prison sentences should be considered.” Ms Ming said the group also recommended that sex offenders should be categorized in line with the seriousness of their offence. “Convicted sex offenders who are deemed dangerous and are categorized within the top tier should be placed on the sex register for life.” Ms Ming said the JSC, set up last year, had heard from witnesses who emphasized the need for “mandatory treatment during incarceration”. She added: “Most of the presenters were of the view that a convicted child sex offender who has not undergone any treatment and counselling is more likely to re-offend upon release.” Child sex abuse prevention charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets has called for mandatory treatment for convicted sex offenders. The Coalition for the Protection of Children, Women’s Resource Centre and the Centre Against Abuse also spoke out in support of denial of parole to prisoners who refuse to undergo treatment before the release of high-risk convicted sex offender Jonathan Cumberbatch in February. The four charities also called for the identities and locations of released sex offenders to be made public. They said: “Reluctance to make available to the general public the names and locations of such released untreated sexual offenders amounts to protecting them at the expense of our children.” Ms Ming said the JSC supported a tiered sexual offenders register with a mandated framework to notify the public of the release of high-risk, dangerous offenders. She suggested a tribunal to review and agree terms and conditions, classification and public notification of high and low-risk sex offenders.  “Additionally, the JSC believes that the relevant governmental department should produce an ongoing campaign on sex abuse and child sex abuse. Education and awareness should be a constant with public service announcements and related campaigns against sex abuse. Education and awareness are key to prevention of sexual abuse.” Recommendations for education included mandatory annual awareness campaigns and screening for those who care for or supervise children. Additional recommendations for managing sexual offenders included an update to existing laws and the sexual offences list The JSC said it also wanted to ensure that Bermudians convicted of sex offences overseas were placed on the Bermuda register. The JSC also recommended counselling should be provided for victims and their families and that those affected should be given “sufficient and timely notification upon an offender’s release”. Ms Ming pledged that committee members would ensure that the report would “not sit on the shelf after it has been discussed”. She said: “We have worked diligently and persevered to ensure that we do our utmost to protect our children, our people. We must look forward to real change. The suggestions and recommendations from this report must be acted on without delay. This has been truly an emotional Joint Select Committee. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the team of members that worked on this committee were professional. I think we all learnt a lot more than we started out knowing in December when we first started and we have worked hard. We’ve had differences of opinions at times but we do believe that this one topic ... we are uncomfortable talking about it but we need to be more comfortable talking about it. We need to create awareness, we need education, we would like to see the statistics that we currently have in this area reduced. We have learnt that many cases go unreported so we have many members of our public who are suffering silently.” The report is expected to be considered at the next meeting of the House.

paragraphA range of extra services could be offered at a new emergency housing centre for the homeless if a $3.5 million redevelopment goes ahead. The Government has prepared a draft memorandum of understanding for the Salvation Army in a bid to provide accommodation for homeless people at the old Bishop Spencer building in Pembroke. Michael Weeks, the Minister of Social Development and Sports, yesterday said the charity would be responsible for “capital redevelopment” of the disused building on The Glebe Road, where up to 100 beds would be available for emergencies and “transitional living”. He told the House of Assembly the agreement would commit the Government to seek legislative approval to embark on a 99-year lease with the Salvation Army, for $1 a year “if demanded”. Although the charity “would be responsible for ongoing capital and operational costs”, an annual $1.2 million grant — subject to yearly review — is expected to cover expenses. Mr Weeks explained: “The Salvation Army has provided housing opportunities to the homeless and marginalized members of the community at the North Street Shelter since 1982.” Members heard the previous Progressive Labour Party administration assessed various options for a new site and the former school on The Glebe Road was chosen. The minister continued: “Now this government is following up on a promise made by the former PLP government prior to the 2012 General Election to redevelop the Bishop Spencer facility. It gives me pleasure to announce to honourable members that Government has given its approval to the redevelopment of the former Bishop Spencer facility for use as a new emergency housing centre, and intends to work in conjunction with the Salvation Army to make this a reality.” He said existing programmes offered by the charity, such as food bank and daily feeding initiatives, would be relocated and enhanced. Mr Weeks told the House a three-month employment training programme for people who need additional support could help those individuals “have a sense of dignity, self-esteem and hope for their future” with possible training areas including janitorial work, basic retail services or farming skills. An on-site addictions counselor could offer group meetings and help assess what level of assistance people need to tackle their problems. Mr Weeks said: “The importance of offering people space to be quiet, reflect and in which to meditate is recognized. The Bishop Spencer facility would lend itself to such an activity, which could be augmented by introducing garden therapy.” There would be an area for exercise and recreational activities and further suggestions include a foot care clinic for people without access to medical services, and a 13-week course that helps individuals with daily tasks such as setting household budgets, cooking, parenting and personal hygiene. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, shadow home affairs minister, asked Mr Weeks how the draft MOU was different “from the 99-year memorandum of understanding and lease that was signed in February of 2017 for $1 per year”. Mr Weeks said: “On the face of it there is no difference but what I was saying and I wanted to make clear is that this current government started the process pre-2012, the OBA government from 2012 to 2017 didn’t move on it.” Michael Dunkley, One Bermuda Alliance MP, asked when a MOU would be signed. Mr Weeks said it has been given to the Salvation Army “to peruse, and it will be signed in due course”.

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July 27

paragraphA new tax will leave Bermuda’s least well off facing a “potentially huge bill”, an Opposition senator said this morning. The statement comes after the Payroll Tax Amendment Act was approved in the Upper Chamber on Wednesday. Justin Mathias, chair of the One Bermuda Alliance, said that the new tax is backdated to April 1. Mr Mathias added: “Those that have filed their tax returns are going to have to re-file them. It seems Government is desperate for revenue as it is not meeting its own revenue expectations. We have now essentially created income tax in our country and the only people that are affected are Bermudian, and not the rich ones, which is not like a labour Government which usually taxes the rich to help the poor.” The new law introduces payroll tax relief for some new employees which is intended to encourage increased employment. The act also addresses notional salaries — a loophole that enables self-employed persons and “deemed employees” who earn their income in whole or in part through a share of profits to declare less than they actually earn for tax purposes. But dividends related to shares in an exempt undertaking and any dividends relating to shares from a company listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange are not covered by the amendment. Mr Mathias expressed concerns the changes would negatively impact those in small and medium sized businesses in the Senate. He said in a statement issues this morning that the OBA had wanted to remove “discriminatory” exceptions that put the burden on Bermudian businesses. Mr Mathias added: “This preferential treatment, seen from the point of view of the European Union and the OECD, could get us classified as a tax haven.” Jeanne Atherden, leader of the party, said the Government had failed to reduce healthcare costs and introduced new taxes that would target small Bermudian firms. Ms Atherden added: “The Premier was happy to introduce some payroll tax relief in his Budget earlier this year and boasted about how it would give people more money. Would he like to tell us how much of his much vaunted relief has now been wiped out and how much extra people are paying because of all the cost of living increases?” She said the current administration was quickly becoming a “tax and spend” Government. Michael Dunkley, Shadow Minister for National Security, added: “With available economic indicators such as the recently released Retail Sales Index showing the potential slowdown or even retraction of the economy and the fact that business costs continue to rise, with general increases in overheads including electricity and Government fees, this hits local businesses hard. It is discriminatory, unfair and create inequity as exempt companies and companies listed on a recognized stock exchange are not liable for the new tax. This tax may not be felt straight away, but people need to start waking up to what is happening and ask: is this Government really putting Bermudians first?”

paragraphA public register of sex offenders will take a step closer today after a special report is tabled in the House of Assembly. The report, the result of work by a Joint Select Committee of the House, was asked to look at current legislation relating to sex offenders and make recommendations. A motion is expected to be moved to hold a debate on the report on August 10. MPs will also vote on nine changes to laws designed to protect the island from money laundering and terrorist funding activities. Changes are proposed to laws on proceeds of crime, charities, banks and the accountancy profession, as well as the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Bermuda will be audited by the Caribbean Financial Task Force later this year to check the strength of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism funding legislation. An amendment to the Defence Act will be tabled by Wayne Caines, the national security minister, to allow for the setting up of a coastguard unit drawn from members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch will discuss improvements and concessions at Shelly Bay in Hamilton Parish and there will be a review of the year for the health ministry by Kim Wilson, the health minister. Walton Brown, the home affairs minister, will make a statement on a new Act designed to cover debt collection.

paragraphLevels of child abuse and family problems are to be surveyed in an attempt to tackle a growing problem, a child protection expert has said. Stephanie Guthman, director of specialized training and assessment at charity Family Centre, added that abuse, neglect and problems in the home took a toll on children and led to developmental damage. Dr Guthman said that all children deserved the best start in life. However, she added: “Sadly, too many children in Bermuda don’t have access to this kind of healthy and stable start.” She was speaking during a presentation on her work at Hamilton Rotary Club this week. Dr Guthman said a US study on adverse childhood experiences highlighted the toll that early troubles could take later in life. Risk factors include physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as divorce or having a parent in prison — all of which could have a “negative, lasting effect on health and wellbeing”. Dr Guthman said adverse childhood experiences were the “biggest single issue facing children in the United States”. She wants to conduct a similar study in Bermuda to “address the rising issue in Bermuda for the benefit of Bermuda’s children”. A survey by charity Saving Children and Revealing Secrets earlier this year found that one in three Bermudians had been a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18. Dr Guthman said about 600 allegations of child abuse were reported to the Department of Child and Family Services in 2009. She added that a memorandum of understanding was being drawn up between Family Centre and the Bermuda Health Council to conduct the survey. Dr Guthman said pediatricians in the US were now carrying out universal screenings with “early and effective” action taken where needed. She explained: “These include mental health intervention, case management to help the family get the resources they need to overcome their situation or to prevent the child from being exposed to even more adverse childhood experiences. The next step would be to provide therapies that help to counter the effects of trauma on the developing brain and body of a child.” Dr Guthman said the aim in Bermuda was to “bridge research and practice”. Family Centre will host a two-day conference in Hamilton in October on problems that affect children. Dr Guthman said that preliminary statistics collected by Family Centre and the BHC on the problem would be unveiled at the event.

paragraphA school safety report will be published by the end of the year after work to fix problems has been inspected, the Minister of Government Reform said yesterday. Lovitta Foggo confirmed the document, which was intended for official use, will be made available to the public. She was speaking after Diallo Rabain, the education minister, backtracked on a claim that the report had yet to be finished despite the completion of health and safety reviews nine months ago. Ms Foggo said: “I wish to stress that by October 13, 2017, all public schools had been inspected. The initial high level preliminary report was received by my ministry at the end of the same month and following the logging and updating of the data, the report was transmitted to the Ministry of Works. I can also confirm that a series of meetings among technical officers ensued in the weeks and months following its receipt by the Ministry of Works.” Ms Foggo said “a great deal of time” has been spent by the safety and health co-ordinator to turn the findings into reports for individual schools that allow them to develop plans for maintenance and repairs. She added, any high risk problems were “addressed ... on an urgent basis. The public can rest assured that the safety and health of our students and teachers is paramount and this government is committed to maintaining a safe learning and working environment for our children and teachers. The Health and Safety Inspection Report for Public Schools, intended for internal use, will be released later this year following an audit of the corrective actions taken to address the findings.” In an update following the Progressive Labour Party’s first year in government, Ms Foggo said her ministry has aimed to “strengthen” administrative infrastructure to deliver “key services more effectively and efficiently”. The work included a technology boost for the Bermuda Post Office to pave the way for a new online shopping system. Mr Rabain said on Monday that a preliminary inspection report on schools safety was “still being compiled”, but confirmed the following day it had been provided to the Ministry of Public Works on January 23. Ms Foggo said she did not know why Mr Rabain appeared to be unaware that the preliminary report had been handed over to the education ministry. She added: “I can’t speak for the minister, but I can tell you that it was supplied, as it was supplied also to the Ministry of Works.” Ms Foggo said the “evolution of the Post Office” was a high priority and after a public consultation earlier this year, advancements in technology could allow island residents to have access to an international mailing address for e-commerce. She added: “Armed with the feedback from the general public, as well as the retail division of the Chamber of Commerce and coupled with the realities of declining mail volumes and an island-wide footprint in terms of physical infrastructure, this government has set out on an ambitious course to expand the product offering of the Bermuda Post Office. We aim to centralize the delivery of government services. In preparation for the change, the Government has procured an IT postal operations solution that will enhance technological capacity and reduce manual processes.” Ms Foggo said an “applications analyst” was added to the team in February. She added: “Implementation of this new system establishes the framework for the roll-out of the new online shopping product.” Ms Foggo said amendments to the Interpretation Act to lay the foundations for the Official Gazette to move from newsprint to online were also under way.

paragraphThe chairman of the island’s blockchain business development group was yesterday fined for forgery of his car registration. John Narraway admitted to using fraudulent vehicle documents in Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was fined $300 by Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo. Narraway, 47, said when contacted yesterday: “Are you trying to bring me down? No comment.” The court heard that Narraway was pulled over by police on May 28 after officers spotted his car had a defective tail light. Police cautioned Narraway over the light and examined the car, which had a Transport Control Department paper on the windshield with an expiration date of June 29, 2018. However, records showed the vehicle’s licence had expired on June 29, 2017. Narraway told police the car was insured, but admitted it was not licensed and that he had forged the registration papers. The start-up founder, tech entrepreneur and CEO of Airis Aerospace is an emerging technologies consultant at the Bermuda Business Development Agency. Narraway was part of delegations that travelled to New York and the Montgomery Summit in California earlier this year to promote the island as a fintech destination. He was unveiled as the head of the Government’s blockchain development team, set up to boost blockchain technology in Bermuda, in November last year.

paragraphThirteen jobs are to go at Butterfield Bank in Bermuda. A spokesman for the bank said staff had been told the news yesterday. “Butterfield today announced a restructuring at the executive committee level and involving several departments that will result in 23 employees being exited from Butterfield — 13 in Bermuda, six in the Cayman Islands and four in Guernsey,” the spokesman said yesterday. “Customer services will not be impacted by the changes announced.” The spokesman added that those losing their jobs were “a mix of work-permit holders and locals”, both in Bermuda and Cayman. As part of the restructuring, Michael Neff has been appointed to the new role of managing director, Bermuda. Mr Neff will join fellow managing directors, Mike McWatt in Cayman, and Richard Saunders in the Channel Islands, on an expanded Group Executive Committee, reporting to Michael Collins, Butterfield’s chairman and chief executive officer. The announcement came two days after Butterfield announced a second-quarter profit of nearly $50 million. Yesterday, Butterfield’s US-listed shares closed at a record high of $50.23 on the New York Stock Exchange.

paragraphVeteran civil rights campaigner Eva Hodgson admitted that she regretted not including white race advocates in her book Second Class Citizens, First Class Men, during an evening to celebrate her life and work. The race advocate, historian and author was speaking at a special lecture highlighting her contributions to her country at the Bermuda Industrial Union headquarters last night. Veteran journalist Meredith Ebbin interviewed Dr Hodgson at the event organized by the Bermudian Heartbeat Lecture. The 93-year-old expanded on her comment about her seminal book: “I never read about black people and there were no black authors, so to author a book about black people I felt was something that needed to be done.” When she was asked why she had not featured white race advocates or trailblazers such as Dr Barbara Ball, she responded: “White people didn’t recognize blacks so I didn’t recognize whites. I do regret that I didn’t recognize the white people.” There was standing room only at the Bermuda Industrial Union as a diverse crowd turned out to hear from the woman behind the activist. Dr Hodgson was honored in the annual Dr Kenneth E. Robinson/Cyril Outerbridge Packwood Memorial Lecture. Minister for Sport and Social Development Michael Weeks introduced her as “the outspoken champion of race relations who had helped to shape so many of us”. The event began with a short film by Milton Raposo of Method Media which included interviews with Curb president Lynn Winfield, who described Dr Hodgson as “an amazing mentor” and Maxine Esdaille of the Africa Diaspora Heritage Trail. Beginning the conversation, Ms Ebbin asked Dr Hodgson what had originally sparked her interest in race equality, to which Dr Hodgson replied: “I lived in Bermuda. My question is why isn’t everybody interested in race equality? I was living in a segregated society.” While many know her as a race advocate having founded the anti-racism organisation the National Organisation for Reconciliation and spoken widely on race, Dr Hodgson was a geography teacher at Berkeley Institute, former president of the newly amalgamated Bermuda Union of Teachers and was appointed an OBE in 2011 for her commitment to addressing racial inequality. Dr Hodgson said, without pause, that of all the things she had accomplished in her life, preserving oral history was what she had enjoyed the most. “I’m curious about people and it is interesting to have someone talk to you from their perspective.” Asked whether she ever considered running for Parliament, Dr Hodgson responded: “No. I was too much of a coward. I don’t like to be defeated.” Speaking on the future of race relations in Bermuda, Dr Hodgson did not appear particularly optimistic. The economic disparity is still very much there. We are flawed as human beings; we keep making the same mistakes and each generation has to fight for those reasons. Someone like [Rolfe] Commissiong might do it. What we need is positive, unabashed affirmative action policies. It is a dream of mine I don’t know if I would say it goes as far as hope.”

paragraphThree two-year-old children found playing on a “building site” after they wandered away from their nursery are lucky to be alive, the shocked mother of one of the toddlers said last night. Nallia Trott said it was thought the toddlers crossed a busy road and walked through a car park on Tuesday before they were spotted and rescued by residents in a Pembroke neighborhood. They are thought to have been missing from the First Church of God nursery on Pembroke’s North Shore Road for 15 minutes. However, Ms Trott, 22, said: “It could have been three minutes, they could have been hit by a car.” She added: “It would have been a shorter distance for them to cross the street and end up in the ocean than where they went. If they had just gone in a different direction, police would have been looking for my child in North Shore. They could have been gone 15 seconds and someone could have kidnapped them. They’re so tiny, if someone in a car had hit them they probably wouldn’t even know it was a toddler; they could have thought it was a cat, they’re just babies.” Ms Trott added: “I’m definitely traumatized. I don’t want to send her back to any school but I can’t quit my job and stay home with her until she’s ready for elementary.” She said she was so terrified by the incident she has hired a family member, who has given up work, to care for her daughter. Ms Trott said she chose the nursery because of its “great reviews” and her only child, Skylah, had been attending for only two weeks. She signed her daughter in at 8.50am on Tuesday before she headed for work at One Communications in Hamilton. She was contacted by a friend about two hours later, who sent a photograph of Skylah and two playmates and explained they had been found by a family “on a construction site”. Ms Trott, from Paget, said: “At first it really didn’t register what was going on, it just didn’t click, I was like, this has got to be a joke.” She tried the nursery twice before she got an answer and was stunned when staff played down the incident. Ms Trott said she was told: “Yeah, they slipped out, they were only in the parking lot.” She added: “The teacher kept saying to me, ‘oh, well, they were only gone for 15 minutes’ and ‘we didn’t think this was important enough to call you because we didn’t want you to worry because it’s not that big of a deal. I was so angry I hung up the phone because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.” Skylah had already been collected by her father when Ms Trott was reunited with the toddler. Ms Trott said: “When I got her and had her in my arms, I was crying a lot and she started crying then because she realised, something’s wrong with mama.” Ms Trott stayed at home with Skylah on Wednesday and arranged for her younger sister, Kellie, 19, to look after her niece until she returns to studies in Florida next month. The children had made their way to a property on nearby Crane Lane where building work is taking place and they were seen by Shirlequa Simons, who lives near by. The 21-year-old beauty therapist said she heard the toddlers’ voices, looked out a window and saw the children “in a trench”. Ms Simons added: “I dropped everything and just ran. I don’t know how or how fast, but they had got in it. As soon as two of the little boys’ heads popped up, I just ran.” She stood on a plank to lift the children out before she and her brother, Dashae, 29, returned them to the nursery. Ms Simons recognized Skylah from social-media posts from a cousin, who was also the little girl’s godmother, and was able to get in touch with Ms Trott. Miss Simons said: “It was just a whole crazy situation.” She added that her neighbour was building and that “he’s got a lot of stuff back there; he’s got metal rods, he’s got the mixer. Anything could have happened to them”. Ms Trott was later taken to the house by its owner to let her see where the toddlers were found “covered in dirt and sand”. She said the children must have “walked through a parking garage, on to the next neighborhood, then crossed the road. It’s a very busy road, it’s a turn right off North Shore.” Denniqua Matthew, the nursery’s director, confirmed yesterday that three children had left unaccompanied and was “made to believe” they were away for between ten and 15 minutes. She said: “Because there is still a current investigation going on with the Department of Environmental Health and [the Department of] Family Services, I’m not at liberty to discuss it at the moment.” Ms Matthew said she had sent parents of children at the nursery an e-mail to reassure them of their children’s safety. She added: “It informed them that there was an incident that occurred and that the children were back at the nursery safe and sound and that there were some things that were asked of parents.” She would not provide specific details about the requests, but it is thought they included closing doors securely when children are dropped off and collected, as well as delivering the youngsters — who can be aged between 12 months and five years — directly to a teacher to ensure they are accounted for. The Right Reverend Vernon Lambe, the church bishop, said: “We’ve been in this service to the community for 35 years. This is new to us. We extend our sincere apologies as well as our heartfelt sorrow over the event occurring and we are grateful that it wasn’t any worse than it was.” A government spokesman said: “The incident was reported to the Department of Health and the matter is being investigated. Independently of this incident, the Ministry of Health is in the process of reviewing the regulation of childcare providers, and that work is in development.” A police spokesman said that officers had started an investigation into the incident.

paragraphTwo wholesalers have confirmed that they have distributed no products currently under recall due to salmonella contamination in the whey powder. Pepperidge Farm in the United States voluntarily recalled more than three million packages of Goldfish crackers and Mondelez International recalled 16 varieties of its Ritz Cracker products. Bermuda General Agency imports Ritz products while Bermuda Imports and Exports brings in Goldfish crackers. Both companies confirmed that they have not distributed any products that were produced on the dates under question. While both wholesalers supply most of the major supermarkets in Bermuda, some smaller stores that bring in their own products could still be at risk. The Department of Health said that “officials are investigating”. US authorities have warned customers to look out for salmonella symptoms including diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and vomiting. Symptoms are likely to arise within six to 48 hours of consumption. Illness can last between four and seven days and is typically resolved without treatment. Regular hand washing is the best way to avoid contracting salmonella.

paragraphResidents near Shelly Bay beach at the centre of much-disputed development plans will have the opportunity to sample food and services that could be on offer. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch told the House of Assembly today that the interview process with all applicants who responded to a request for proposals at Shelly Bay were completed this week. The Minister of Public Works said among the businesses were Ashley’s Lemonade and a start-up offering “an adventurous water experience”. They will be part of an event in August that will allow members of the public to learn more about what they could offer. Tape will also be used to trace out where temporary containers that could host the new facilities will sit. Protesters have said they are against the proposal to develop the beach area because it “is too small for any commercial activity”.

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paragraphBermudians who travel to the UK for work have been warned their visits are most likely taxable — and British authorities are about to drastically increase penalties for those caught failing to report. Even those on vacation who occasionally send work e-mails could be liable, according to Ed Hobern, a director at professional services firm KPMG in the UK. KPMG gave a presentation to a group from the Association of Bermuda International Companies on UK tax changes that will take effect from October 1. In an interview, Mr Hobern said that because Bermuda and the UK have not signed a double tax treaty for income tax purposes, islanders on working visits to the UK are likely to be subject to British income tax. “The UK has a double tax treaty with most of the rest of the world, and people from countries with a treaty normally don’t have to do anything when they work in the UK,” Mr Hobern said. “Countries without a treaty include Cayman and Brazil, but Bermuda is particularly hard hit, especially in the insurance sector with the strong connection with the London market.” As Mr Hobern noted, the rules on UK working visits have long been in place. What is quite new is the HM Revenue and Customs’ enhanced capability to catch up with tax dodgers and in just over two months, increased penalties will kick in. “The penalties now are about 20 or 30 per cent of the tax due,” Mr Hobern said. “The new rules are very severe and the penalties will go up to 250 per cent. In the past, it was very hard to police. But two or three years ago, the HMRC spent about £1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) on a new computer system, which pulls in all the records it can get its hands on, including immigration records. So it knows when you have got off the Bermuda-to-Gatwick flight and when you go through border control, and when you’re back at the airport. It also knows who has a bank account in Bermuda and so it is able to piece together information quite effectively.” Armed with such data, the HMRC could reach out to an individual and ask what they were doing on a 15-day trip to the UK, for example. While there is no definition of “work” in UK tax legislation, there is a distinction between “incidental” and “substantive” duties. Incidental duties might include arranging meetings, attending training sessions and reading generic business e-mails. Such activities are not considered taxable, according to KPMG. Substantial duties, which are taxable, would include sending instructions to colleagues, information analysis, preparatory work for meetings and meetings with clients. Vacation e-mails could fall into that bracket, for example in the case of an employee going to the UK for Christmas and extending the stay by a week while being in contact with the office in contact. Employers should tally the number of days their staff are working in the UK, Mr Hobern added, to ensure UK tax liabilities are recorded. “You are taxed on your time working in the UK, so if an employee spends five days working in Britain and has a 220-day working year, then UK tax would be due on five 220ths of annual salary,” he added. Employers should also be aware of whether they have a Paye presence in the UK, which can occur if a company has a branch or agency there. Paye is collected through payroll and includes income tax, as well as national insurance. The HMRC’s target is not ordinary travelers, it’s very wealthy people in Bermuda who are hiding stuff offshore.” But many others could get caught up by the system, he added.

paragraphAn old HSBC building on Hamilton’s Front Street is in line for a transformation into shops and offices

old HSBC Bank of Bermuda building

The six-floor Albuoy’s Point building will also get underground parking if a planning application is approved. The application from MND Properties proposed a new façade for the former bank, still used as HSBC office space. The planning application said a revamp of the almost 50-year-old office block would “energise an underused area” of the city. The document added: “The proposed design uses the existing framework of the building while improving upon and enhancing the site and cityscape.” The developers said they hoped to begin strip-out work in November and construction in April 2019 with a completion date of December 2020 if planning officials back the proposal. The application said: “The building as designed was conceived in the early 1960s and completed in 1969. The building has commanded a focal point on the city skyline for the last 50 years. The existing building structure is in sound structural condition and will be kept. The existing façade will be stripped back to the base structure. The building envelope will receive a new upgraded façade. The building’s current mechanical and electrical services are beyond repair and will be removed and replaced with upgraded services in keeping with a class-A office building.” The existing double-height lobby would be turned into a multi-use retail area and the main entrance would be lowered to street level. The top five floors of the building would be turned into office space for rent and an underground car park would be created. The new façade would include new display windows on the corner nearest the ferry terminal and new public art would be installed as part of the project. The application said energy efficiency was a priority in the design and the use of renewable energy in the new-look building has been discussed. The developers said: “Wind turbines are being considered, but need to be discussed further with the Department of Energy.”

paragraphThe grave of a survivor of the 1609 wreck of the Sea Venture in Bermuda may have been discovered in Virginia, archaeologists have said. The last resting place of Sir George Yeardley is believed to have been found in what was the main church in Bermuda’s sister colony of Jamestown. Sir George commanded the soldiers on the flagship Sea Venture, which was part of the Third Supply Fleet sent to the starving colony in Virginia by the London Company. But the fleet was split up by a major storm and the floundering flagship was steered on to the reefs off St George’s in July 1609. Sea Venture survivors worked for the next ten months to salvage what they could from the wreck, and built two smaller ships, The Patience and The Deliverance to go on to their original destination. The crew also surveyed Bermuda and two men were left behind as punishment for mutiny, which marked the start of the first permanent settlement of Bermuda. The two new ships arrived in Jamestown in June 1610 just after a major famine and the supplies helped the colony to survive. Sir George became governor of the Jamestown colony three times and was in charge when the first representative government assembly in British North America convened in July 1619. Bermuda’s House of Assembly sat for the first time almost exactly a year later. Sir George was born in Surrey, England, in 1587 and died in Virginia, aged 40, in 1627. He was also one of the first holders of slaves in Virginia, who are thought to have arrived in 1619. Sir George’s remains were found in a prominent spot in one of the first churches on the Jamestown site. Archaeologists said that identification could take months as scientists have to compare mitochondrial DNA or Y chromosomes in either all-female or all-male lineages of Yeardley’s known descendants. They explained that the collection of DNA from living people is relatively easy, but the identification of genetic markers from long-buried bodies can be difficult as the DNA may be damaged.

paragraphA lawyer who led an inquiry into the police’s use of pepper spray on protesters represented the Bermuda Police Service before the findings of the investigation were released. Jeffrey Elkinson, the Police Complaints Authority chairman, appeared in Supreme Court on behalf of the BPS in relation to a separate matter on June 30 last year — before the PCA published its report on the controversial events of December 2, 2016. The authority was investigating if police officers should have deployed pepper spray against activists who had gathered outside Parliament to protest against a government plan to redevelop the airport through a public-private partnership. Mr Elkinson put his name to the report, released in August last year, which criticized police leadership and planning but rejected 26 complaints about the conduct of officers on the ground. The report said “no blame” could be attached to officers who used the spray. The objectors, represented by lawyer Delroy Duncan, have since asked for a judicial review of the PCA’s findings. The PCA report does not mention that Mr Elkinson had been hired by the BPS to represent it in court on a separate matter. It is understood that his limited role in that separate matter — responsibility for which soon passed to another lawyer in his firm — meant he did not feel it necessary to excuse himself from the pepper spray inquiry. William Francis, deputy chairman of the PCA, said the authority’s inquiry into the use of pepper spray had probably ended by June 30, even though the report had yet to be made public. “I don’t think in June we were still looking into this,” Mr Francis said. “I think we were well through with it by June. There was a pretty substantial gap between us completing the inquiry and the release of the report.” He said he was unaware that Mr Elkinson had represented the BPS in another matter, but got no sense during the inquiry of any bias on the part of the lawyer in favour of the police. “We were not really soft on the leadership of the police force,” Mr Francis added. “We were critical of the more senior police officers who oversaw [it all].” Mr Elkinson told The Royal Gazette this month that he is not the lawyer for the BPS in the other case, which involves a mobile phone seized by detectives from the home of a lawyer who died. The legal practice where the deceased lawyer worked, represented by Mr Duncan, brought a court case against the BPS to have the phone returned and a hearing was held on June 30 in front of Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman. Mr Elkinson represented the police at that hearing, although Ben Adamson, a fellow director of his at the Conyers Dill & Pearman law firm, then took over the case. A court ruling on the case quoted from an affidavit filed by the head of the BPS’s Organized and Economic Crime Department. The detective chief inspector said the police “instructed Jeffrey Elkinson to negotiate with Delroy Duncan” on the best way 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 judge who made that ruling has since sealed the case file. Mr Elkinson said: “I did assist both parties to the issue that arose concerning the items that needed to be held pending resolution of certain issues ... I was trusted by both sides to hold these items securely.” He added: “I am not the attorney for the police and the matter is dealt with by another attorney.” The case that involved the phone also led to a PCA inquiry, after a complaint from the deceased lawyer’s family that images from it had been leaked by police personnel. The PCA has never made public the findings of its investigation into the leak complaint. Mr Elkinson said he declared a conflict of interest in that case. He added: “I have long ago informed the members of the PCA that I would be unable to participate in the matter due to conflict.” He declined to comment on his brief representation of the BPS on June 30 last year, while he was tasked with leading an impartial inquiry into the police use of pepper spray at the Parliament protest. But Conyers Dill & Pearman said in a statement: “Many of Conyers’ attorneys carry out public duties, such as serving on committees and public bodies. They do so voluntarily and as a public service. Our attorneys are specialists in their fields and are often called upon to act and advise. This can give rise to potential conflicts, but Conyers has procedures in place and the Bar Association has strict codes regulating conflicts of interest, to which all attorneys must adhere.” The BPS said they had no comment on why they hired the PCA chairman to represent them in the mobile phone case. Judith Chambers, co-administrator of the Civil Justice Advocacy Group, highlighted Mr Elkinson’s representation of the BPS in a post on Facebook in March. Last week the CJAG called for Mr Elkinson’s resignation as chairman of both the PCA and the Bermuda Bar Association’s professional conduct committee because of conflicts of interest. Mr Elkinson dismissed the criticism and said the group had made “mean-spirited allegations, without setting out any justification for them”. The CJAG said in a statement: “So Mr Elkinson is counsel for the Bermuda Police Service at the same time that he is sitting in a key position of responsibility to investigate complaints from the public about the same Bermuda Police Service. Bermudians deserve more than this sham of an independent investigative body and must demand accountability, integrity and transparency from these positions of trust and privilege. We hope the Governor is taking note.” The PCA is an independent body appointed by the Governor that is tasked with investigating serious complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police. Mr Elkinson has been chairman since 2013. Alongside him and Mr Francis, the other members are Michelle Simmons, Major Barrett Dill, Andrew Bermingham and Winston Esdaille.

paragraphHoteliers, retailers and restaurateurs need the chance to raise concerns about the introduction of minimum and living wages “sooner rather than later”, a finance expert warned yesterday. Nathan Kowalski, chief financial officer at Anchor Investment Management, said the sectors were among the most likely to be affected if proposals in a report prepared by a parliamentary group get the go-ahead. If the recommendations are approved, some of Bermuda’s lowest-paid employees could triple their pay packets within three years as part of a plan to ensure all workers can afford food, housing, clothes, medical care, education for their children, and transport. The report by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on the establishment of a living wage, tabled in the House of Assembly last Friday by chairman Rolfe Commissiong, recommended that a minimum wage of $12.25 per hour be introduced from May next year. The report added that a living wage of $18.23 should be in place by 2021. Mr Kowalski said the report was “a good start” but believed “a lot of work” had yet to be done. He explained: “It’s important to see what effect it would have on jobs or employment or businesses involved.” He said retailers and members of the hospitality industry “are the major areas that need to be consulted at the very least”. Mr Kowalski added: “I think there should be an opportunity for anyone to come forward that could potentially be affected in a negative way so that they can voice their concerns. They’re going to have to deal with it if there’s any cost adjustments; it could be inflationary, it could cost jobs. Individual stakeholders have to be consulted. I think the process needs to start sooner rather than later if we are really going to start phasing things in by May next year.” The report accepted the need for “extensive industry/employer consultation” before any statutory minimum or living wage scheme is finalized. It added: “There must be a full assessment of the economic impact and the economic feasibility of establishing a minimum/living wage before any steps towards implementation can be progressed.” Mr Kowalski, who is also treasurer at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, suggested that a new wages policy could be offset by some kind of relief. He added: “I don’t think we want to penalize employment at all, we just really want to encourage full employment, we don’t want to make the cost of an employee higher.” Stephen Todd, chief executive officer at the Bermuda Hotel Association, said he looked forward to more discussions on the proposals. He warned “further analysis” as well as greater input from public and private organisations was needed. Mr Todd said: “The consultation to me is key and the piece that I would like to ensure is in place is that if this is intended to eliminate unscrupulous practices on the part of any entity, that’s fine. But I don’t believe we should all be painted with the same brush.” Mr Todd said members of his industry were expected to follow the collective bargaining agreement agreed with employee unions “to the letter”. Erica Smith, executive director of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, said examination of other countries that had introduced a living wage structure showed “there really hasn’t been this closure of businesses that was anticipated”. But Ms Smith added there was evidence of happier and more productive employees and that the extra cash in pay packets meant money went back into local economies. Ms Smith said a pilot programme could be beneficial. “The politicians, the people who are obviously deciding overall the policies for Bermuda, are seeing this as a serious and a timely issue that should be addressed, so in that regard I support wholeheartedly the work they are doing to research and come to conclusions.”

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paragraphNew electronic monitoring devices could be used to detect alcohol use as well as monitor the movements of criminals, the Attorney General said today. Kathy Lynn Simmons told the Senate: “The overall design and data are being reviewed to advance further recommendations on the programme. In addition, a request for proposal will be released next month for a new contractual agreement.” She added possible changes include the adoption of new devices which could detect the use of alcohol. The EMD programme allows people on parole or on bail to be monitored 24 hours a day. Ms Simmons said 26 monitoring devices were in use at a cost of $250,000 a year. She added: “The devices do not replace traditional supervision and surveillance regimes, but are an added resource to track and monitor the offenders more closely.” Ms Simmons said: “Since inception, this programme has been used to interrupt some gang activity with clients, provide alibis for persons wrongfully accused of misbehavior, pinpoint individuals involved in illegal activity and aid in monitoring curfews, to name a few benefits.”

paragraphWork on new bridges in the East End is under way, the public works minister has said. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch told the House that public presentations on the new Longbird and Swing bridges would be made soon. He told MPs last Friday: “Plans are being finalized for public presentation of the new designs and the launch of a campaign for members of the public to suggest names for the new bridges.” Colonel Burch added that the ministry had bought a drone to help conduct inspections of bridges and wharves across the island. He said this would save at least 600 hours of engineers’ time. Colonel Burch added: “It was most recently used to inspect the foreshore by Tobacco Bay and revealed the need for emergency repair works.” The Government earlier announced that British firm Ramboll will be paid $400,000 to design the replacements for Longbird Bridge and Swing Bridge, which are both expected to reach the end of their useful life in 2021. Swing Bridge, linking St David’s to St George’s, was built in the 1960s and has fallen into disrepair in recent years. The bridge no longer opens for passing boats. Longbird Bridge, a 60-metre twin-carriageway bridge at the east end of the Causeway, was built in the 1950s. It closed to traffic ten years ago when it was bypassed with twin Bailey bridges. Colonel Burch also said work to refurbish Kings Wharf in Dockyard was also planned and that tenders would be issued next week. He said: “The project is on schedule and is designed to rectify some minor deficiencies as well as upgrade the dock to accommodate the next class of cruise ships.” The temporary building used by Artemis Racing during the America’s Cup has been moved to the Government Quarry, where it was used to create two new buildings. One building has been used for stores and the other for a mechanical shop. Colonel Burch added that the ministry had also repaired demolished walls and rock cuts, along with the Devonshire Dock fishermen’s platform and Custom Wharf in St George’s.

paragraphA company poised to make tens of millions of dollars a year if it was awarded a controversial casinos deal has abandoned plans to be part of Bermuda’s gambling industry, The Royal Gazette can reveal. MM&I Holdings was at the centre of an agreement with the Government that proposed a contract for at least a decade to provide a cashless gaming network system for any casinos that open on the island. A special report by The Royal Gazette last year told how regulators raised concerns about people linked to the company’s associate, Florida-based Banyan Gaming. John Tartaglia, of MM&I Holdings, said: “MM&I has never had a contract with Government or any other company or organisation in relation to gaming. And MM&I no longer have any interest in participating in the gaming industry in Bermuda.” Ken Jarvis, chief executive of Banyan Gaming LLC, said: “I wish to state clearly that Banyan Gaming LLC has no intention of becoming involved in the Bermuda gaming industry.” The Royal Gazette reported last October that MM&I had pledged to give most of its profits to “churches, community clubs, vulnerable citizens’ programmes, etc” and assured island residents it was “100 per cent committed to establishing a legacy for Bermuda” by delivering safe and responsible gaming. The statements from the two firms come after speculation about whether either of them has links with the Progressive Labour Party government. A memorandum of understanding reached with the former One Bermuda Alliance administration was terminated two years ago. The declarations echo repeated assertions by Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, that the PLP administration had not entered into an agreement with the companies. It emerged last October that the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission feared an agreement was still on the table and the regulatory body had warned that individuals associated with Banyan had previously surrendered their gaming licences in two major gambling jurisdictions in the United States. MM&I entered a non-exclusive memorandum of understanding in December 2013 with the Government, signed by the late Shawn Crockwell, who was then tourism minister, and witnessed by Mark Pettingill, who was Attorney-General. The agreement, although not binding, laid the foundations for MM&I and Banyan to land a ten-year deal, with the option to renew for another ten years, that would reap 40 per cent of gross gaming revenue from all electronic gaming devices on the island, as well as an 8 per cent transaction fee on money exchanged for chips to use at dealer-operated tables. A government Green Paper in 2010 estimated that casino gaming could generate potential gaming revenues of between $84 million and $146 million a year. Around the same time, MM&I made a $30,000 donation towards a marketing campaign designed to persuade Bermudians to vote in favour of casino gaming in a planned referendum on the issue. However, the OBA announced it would not hold the vote ten days after the agreement was signed and the Casino Gaming Act was passed in Parliament in December 2014. The Government advertised for a qualified company to implement and operate a gaming network management system five months later, to which MM&I and Banyan made a joint application but the process went no further. The initial agreement was terminated in July 2016 by new tourism minister Michael Fahy, on the recommendation of Richard Schuetz, who was then BCGC executive director. Disclosures made under the Public Access to Information Act revealed that Deborah Blakeney, the commission’s lawyer, wrote to MM&I in May 2017 with questions about a firm previously run by Banyan’s then president Jason Seelig and his father and its “history of regulatory difficulties in markets” in which it was licensed. Public records showed that a predecessor company, AC Coin & Slot, voluntarily surrendered its gaming licence in New Jersey, which made it ineligible to apply for another licence for five years. She also asked about “fines and continued admonishments” imposed on AC Coin & Slot by Pennsylvania regulators for “failure to comply with the reporting requirements for the company’s financial statements”. Ms Blakeney also questioned a list of referees provided to the Government by MM&I and Banyan because the written and verbal responses were “generally less than glowing”. Banyan representatives were invited by the PLP, when in Opposition, to sit as panellists at a forum on “safe and responsible” gambling, which was held a day after Ms Blakeney contacted MM&I with her concerns. MM&I, which listed Bermudians Mr Tartaglia and Michael Moniz as directors, issued a statement after the findings of the special investigation were published. The firm said it would seek to earn a profit but added that “once MM&I reached the profit stage of its investment plan, 95 per cent of all profits would be donated to a government appointed Gaming Proceeds for Charity Committee.” The company added: “We are also 100 per cent committed to establishing a legacy for Bermuda in that we implement a safe, responsible and controlled environment for gaming, including stringent anti-money laundering and vulnerable player controls.” MM&I claimed its referees were never contacted by the BCGC. The statement added: “It was always the understanding that any decision to have a central/cashless system in place would result in a proper tendering process.” The company said: “We have always strived to do the right thing for Bermuda, as this is our home ... We are here to stay and make sure that Bermuda is not adversely impacted by the gaming industry.” Michael Dunkley, the shadow national security minister, asked in the House of Assembly this month if the Government had “any arrangement, commitment or MOU” with MM&I. Mr Dunkley said people involved with the company were in the gallery when amendments to the Banks and Deposit Companies Act 1999 were announced by the Premier in June. Mr Simmons told him: “All I will say is repeat what we’ve said before, there is no relationship with MM&I in gaming, none.” The minister said later a “full and formal update on gaming” to supplement information earlier provided in Parliament and through a broadcast news network “will be provided at the appropriate time”. Mr Simmons added that “MM&I is a company with which the OBA government had a relationship”.

paragraphMore changes to the law on cannabis could be in the works, the Minister of Social Development and Sport has signaled. Michael Weeks said that more discussions on the island’s attitude to the drug would take place — with further liberalization of the law not ruled out. He added: “A larger conversation eventually will come.” Mr Weeks said: “Legalisation is something that’s going to have to be talked about and may have to be sooner rather than later. There’s an almost worldwide trend. Right now, here, it’s medical use, but some countries have legalized for recreational purposes.” Two licences have been issued to local doctors to prescribe the drug for medical reasons. Parliament approved the decriminalization of 7g or less of cannabis last December. Mr Weeks said the decriminalization move was driven by the plight of “young men, especially our young black men, who were highly represented on the stop list. We’ve heard horror stories of people caught many years ago with one joint who, up to now, still have to apply for a visa to get into the United States. Educational opportunities for young people have been trashed. That was a main impetus.” But Mr Weeks emphasized that cannabis was still illegal. He said that the ministry was contemplating a “summer campaign” on driving home the facts. Mr Weeks added: “As minister, I still find myself having to explain the difference. The powers that police had are still there. They can arrest, they can take the drug from you, and if they suspect you have further drugs they can search your person and your home.” Mr Weeks said a Green Paper — a discussion document — to look at drug use in Bermuda and the public’s views was now in draft form. He declined to reveal its contents but said the Cabinet would consider the paper in the next few weeks and it would be published by the end of December. Mr Weeks, a former government whip, was speaking six months after he took over the ministry after Zane DeSilva resigned. On the topic of the change in date for the Bermuda Day holiday from May 24 to the last Friday in May, he said it happened last November, before he became minister. However, Mr Weeks said that a change in the date had been “a project of mine going back about six years”. He added: “I tried to get it passed a few times. Even though it had the support of both sides, I couldn’t get it passed on the floor. When this government took over, that was one of the things this ministry wanted to champion.” Mr Weeks said that as well as attracting more support for the parade and associated events, the change helped more schoolchildren get involved in the celebration. He added: “School attendance the next day had a marked drop when it was May 24. I never had hard evidence for employees, but one can assume that happened as well after all those libations. That was a driving force.” Mr Weeks said: “As a tourism product we were looking at enhancing it and we hope it catches on with East Coast Americans who are looking for a long weekend, because right around that time it’s their Memorial Day holiday. Once every two or three years we’ll have Bermuda Day on the Friday and Memorial Day on the next Monday.” Mr Weeks added that family mediation legislation, also a Throne Speech commitment, was passed in the House of Assembly earlier this month. He added that “litigation guardians” — trained advocate appointed for children going before the courts — were expected to become the norm soon. Mr Weeks said: “That’s in train right now.” He added that changes to the financial assistance system to make it “more 21st century compatible” were in the final stages. The proposals will be reviewed by the minister and taken to Cabinet. Mr Weeks said the demand for help had been “consistent. What we are continuing to see is seniors reaching out, more and more.” Mr Weeks said another group that could get more help was jobless Bermudians coming back home from overseas who may need financial assistance “until they get on their feet”. He added: “The issue with the legislation as it now stands is that they have to be in Bermuda for a year before they can qualify for financial assistance. With the current economic climate worldwide, that’s a challenge that is being looked at.”

paragraphA new addition to Bermuda Hospitals Board’s cancer care staff will bring decades of experience to Bermuda. Christopher Price was named as the new consultant medical oncologist by BHB this afternoon. The addition of Dr Price brings the number of full time oncologists on staff to three. Michael Richmond, chief of staff at BHB, said that the organisation was “delighted” to welcome Dr Price. Dr Richmond added: “The addition of Dr Price to the team is evidence of our commitment to provide treatment locally for our cancer patients. We recognize the ability to be at home and close to family and friends is an important aspect of cancer care and it is one that Dr Price has much experience in.” Dr Price said he had been impressed by both Bermuda’s beauty as well as the “obvious pride of staff in the excellent local health services” during a visit last November. He added: “The ambition of BHB and the KEMH Oncology Department to offer high-quality cancer care to local residents on the island wherever possible, in partnership with local charities and where appropriate with external institutions in North America, was very clear. “I was delighted to be given the opportunity to contribute.” Dr Price served as director of research and development at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals from 2014 to 2018 and clinical service lead for oncology from 2017 to 2018. He worked the Worcestershire Royal Hospital to help develop a new oncology department in 2014. He served as director of medical oncology training to the UK’s South West region from 2003 to 2013. Dr Price was appointed consultant medical oncologist at University Hospitals Bristol in 1995.

paragraphThe ferry schedule for the Cup Match weekend was announced today. The Department of Marine and Ports Services said that the fast ferry service would operate on Thursday, August 2 and Friday August 3: The blue route will operate on the weekday schedule between Hamilton and Dockyard, beginning in Hamilton at 7.10am. The last departure from Hamilton is 8.30pm. The orange route will operate on the weekday schedule between Dockyard and St George’s. On Thursday, the first departure from Dockyard will be at 9.30am. The departure from St George’s will be at 5.45pm. On Friday, the first departure from Dockyard will be at 9.30. But the last departure from St George’s will be at 3.45pm. The pink route will operate on the public holiday schedule between Hamilton, Paget and Warwick, starting from Hamilton at 10am. The last departure from Hamilton is 6pm. There will be no service on the green route on either day. For more ferry scheduling information and alert notifications visit www.marineandports.bm.

paragraphThe education minister backtracked yesterday on a claim that a schools safety report had yet to be completed. Diallo Rabain said that the preliminary inspection report had been provided to the Ministry of Public Works on January 23. Mr Rabain said on Monday that the report was “still being compiled”. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Government Reform, said last October that the Government’s health and safety co-ordinator had carried out school inspections from August 21 to October 13. Mr Rabain added: “The Office of the Safety and Health Co-ordinator, following consultation with the Ministry of Works team, then began the necessary task of translating the high-level report into geocentric individual school inspection reports that are to be included in work plans for school upgrades this summer. These works are currently in progress.” Mr Rabain said the inspections had found that “generally, all schools were deemed to be relatively safe, within time and scope, comparative to their operations and related practices”. He added: “The public is assured, however, that any health and safety observations deemed high or medium-risk were addressed as a matter of priority during the process. Many of the lower-level findings have also already been addressed throughout the course of the academic year as a part of routine maintenance in schools. The Government remains committed to the safety and health of its students, employees, and, by extension, the general public.” At Monday’s press conference, Mr Rabain said that he was sure that “parts of it will be released, or the entire report will be released”. The Government did not respond yesterday to a question on when the preliminary report would be made public.

paragraphA British career diplomat was today sworn in as the island’s second woman Deputy Governor. Alison Crocket takes over from Ginny Ferson, who is moving on to a Foreign Office post in Indonesia. Ms Crocket said she was delighted to be given the chance to work in Bermuda and that nothing had prepared her for the island’s beauty. She added: “I am committed to serving this island to the best of my ability.” Ms Crocket was the head of the Foreign Office’s Anti-Corruption Unit based in London. She also has experience in counter-narcotics work, justice reform, international organized crime and HIV prevention. Ms Crocket thanked her predecessor for her support. She said: ““I have big shoes to fill and I will do my best to match her professionalism and dedication. As the second female Deputy Governor, I will continue to contribute where I can and to continue to celebrate equality and diversity.” Ms Crocket was sworn by John Rankin, the Governor, at a ceremony at Government House. Mr Rankin thanked Ms Ferson for her work, which included helping to safeguard children and promotion of women’s concerns.

paragraphLords in the UK have suggested that Britain should force Bermuda to legalize same-sex marriage in the same way it forced the island to adopt public registers. Baroness Elizabeth Barker, a Liberal Democrat, questioned the Minister for the Overseas Territories Lord Tariq Ahmad on the issue and asked him: “Why the double standards.” Lord Ahmad said he believed there was no double standard and told the baroness that he had made a “vociferous defence” of the overseas territories to retain autonomy over the issue and domestic issues in general. “The will of the other place was such that the actual will of Parliament was upheld by the Government. We would rather have not been in that position,” he said. Labour Lord Ray Collins of Highbury spoke on the issue, declaring his interest as a half Bermudian. He said: “Bermuda did pass SSM laws … and then we had that overturned. It was agreed to by this government which it shouldn’t have been. When I go out there with my husband will I be able to exercise the same rights? I hope the noble Lord, the minister will stand up for SSM in Bermuda.” Lord Ahmed said that the Government of Bermuda was now appealing that particular decision and the issue would be determined later this year. “We need to ensure that those local issues of justice are played out properly,” he said.

paragraphThe life and work of a veteran campaigner for civil rights is to be celebrated tomorrow. Eva Hodgson will be honored in the annual Dr Kenneth E. Robinson/Cyril Outerbridge Packwood Memorial lecture. Meredith Ebbin, one of the organisers, said that Dr Hodgson was well known as an equal rights campaigner, but that she had made her mark on island life in other ways as well. Ms Ebbin explained: “She is a race advocate but she is much more than that. She was a geography teacher at Berkeley Institute, earned a PhD in African history and African-American history and headed an oral history project in Bermuda for the Ministry of Education. She founded an anti-racism organisation called the National Organisation for Reconciliation, was president of the Bermuda Union of Teachers and was appointed an OBE in 2011 for her commitment to addressing racial inequality.” The event, to be held at the Bermuda Industrial Union headquarters on Hamilton’s Union Square, will start with a film about Dr Hodgson by Milton Raposa of Method Media, followed by an interview with her by Ms Ebbin. “The lecture honours the contribution of two eminent Bermudian historians,” said Ms Ebbin, a member of the Bermudian Heartbeats Committee, which organizes the Bermudian Heartbeat lecture series. Presenting A Conversation with Dr Eva Hodgson is fitting because of her work as a teacher, activist, historian and author. Like Dr Robinson and Cyril Packwood, she has written about events in which black Bermudians played leading roles. Like Dr Robinson and Cyril Packwood, she filled gaps in the record that had long been overlooked, even neglected.” Ms Ebbin highlighted Dr Hodgson’s book, Second-Class Citizens; First-Class Men. She said: “That covered a pivotal period in Bermuda’s political history — the period between 1953 and 1963. That period ended with the vote given to people who were not property owners.” Dr Hodgson said: “A feature of my life has been addressing the racial divide and, looking at the recent census, we haven’t really made much progress in that regard. This government should be thinking in terms of pushing unabashedly affirmative-action policies.” She added: “Our government needs to have courage, determination and true commitment. I have very cautious optimism.” The event, which starts at 6pm, is free and light refreshments will be served.

paragraphPolice today warned boat owners to beware of thieves. The alert came after a string of break-ins on private and commercial vessels. A police spokesman said: “In some cases, large amounts of alcohol, boat parts and other valuables such as fishing equipment have been removed and these occurrences have been island wide.” He added that owners should make sure valuables are under lock and key and if possible, remove them from their vessels. The spokesman said: “We are also requesting that if you see anyone acting suspiciously please make note of the vessel, get a description of the suspects and notify 2950011.”

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paragraphLegislation to protect those with insurance policies and boost solar energy adoption were approved in the House on Friday. The Insurance Amendment (Number 2) Act and the Electricity Amendment Act both garnered support from both sides of the House. David Burt, the Premier, said the Insurance Amendment Act would ensure those who hold insurance policies are given priority in the event that an insurance company is wound up. Mr Burt said: “This will protect policy holders by giving them higher priority in the winding up of an insurer.” Jeanne Atherden, Opposition leader, said the One Bermuda Alliance supported the amendments because they would help to protect members of the public and give them greater confidence that their interests were protected. The Electricity Amendment Act meanwhile reopened the door for those with solar panels to sell their excess electricity, putting it back into the grid. Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, said a 2016 Amendment meant that contracts to put energy into the grid could only be put in place if they were consistent with the Integrated Resource Plan. But he said the IRP was still going through the consultation process and Belco had taken the legal position it could not sign additional contracts until it was in place. Mr Roban said the amendments would allow contracts to be signed before the IRP was in place. He added that both Belco and the Regulatory Authority had been consulted about the amendments.

paragraphThe Government has been accused of “discriminatory” payroll tax reforms that will increase costs for small to medium businesses and “kill jobs”. The attack came from the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance as the House of Assembly debated an amendment to payroll tax law on Friday. A major part of the Act was designed to tackle notional salaries — a loophole that enables self-employed persons and “deemed employees” who earn their income in whole or in part through a share of profits to declare less than they actually earn for tax purposes. But dividends related to shares in an exempt undertaking and any dividends relating to shares from a company listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange are not covered by the amendment. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, shadow home affairs minister, said: “I can’t underscore enough how inequitable this appears to be on the face of what it is that some people will have to pay and others won’t. The small painting contractor, the small plumber would end up having to be penalized whereas others in a far more lucrative environment are literally being left scot free.” She was speaking before the Payroll Tax Amendment Act (No 2) 2018 was passed in the House. One of the changes made was the introduction of a $10,000 deductible on dividends paid to each shareholder earning low dividends. Junior Minister of Finance Wayne Furbert explained: “The thought behind this is that this should provide significant relief to those earning low dividends.” But Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “It would seem to me that a small business would start to think very seriously about their financial planning to say ‘if I am not going to be able to get any money out of my company without being subjected to tax and I have only got a $10k exemption, why don’t I just take all my excess money, invest it in the stock exchange then I can get dividends on that money? I’m free’.” Michael Dunkley, a former premier and shadow national security minister, said the change in the law was “inequity and discrimination”. Scott Pearman, an OBA backbencher and lawyer at Conyers Dill & Pearman, said the changes would increase the cost of doing business in Bermuda. He added: “That is the same as killing jobs. This is an anti- competitive piece of legislation and unfair. The Bermudians that this taxes are those who are least able to pay.” Mr Pearman said that the people the legislation did not tax “were exempted companies doing international business”. He warned that the legislation could result in Bermuda being blacklisted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He said: “We will be ring-fencing foreign exempted companies and the OECD will come down hard on us for doing so because they will say it is unfair economic tax competition.” But David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, insisted the legislation was designed to “make sure that we address the economic inequities in this country and there were people in this country who were skirting the law by paying themselves a little bit and declaring dividends in another way”. He said: “The little man that the opposite members decide to speak for don’t have that opportunity but if you are Dunkley’s Dairy you might be doing that — at BAS or Conyers, Dill and Pearman you are certainly doing that. Their tax racket is coming to an end. That is the reason we are doing this.” Other amendments in the legislation, which passed the House, included new concessions for those earning less than $96,000, for employers who hire people with disabilities, new business entrepreneurs and taxi operators. The amendment also provides payroll tax relief for the tax periods for employers who increase their total number of full-time employees. The relief is for the employer portion of payroll tax.

paragraphLegislation designed to make it cheaper for property owners to register their title without a lawyer was passed in the Senate yesterday. Vance Campbell, a Progressive Labour Party senator, said the Land Title Registration Amendment Act would “smooth the transition to registering title to land and open the door to allow the public to register their property voluntarily”. Justin Mathias, an OBA senator, said he viewed the legislation as a “general housekeeping Bill”. Mr Mathias added: “We applaud the Government for finally getting this piece of legislation done and getting the ball rolling.” He said it was important because of the “emotive” nature of the issue that the Government “tread lightly”. Mr Mathias added: “We need to comfort people and make them understand that this is the best way to move forward.” The Family Mediation Act and the Care and Protection of Animals Amendment Act were also passed without objection in the Upper Chamber. The Family Mediation Act expands the powers of the Co-Parenting Mediation Council to help resolve a range of family law matters. It also changes the name of the council to the Family Mediation Council and makes it responsible for regulating mediators. Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, said the stand-alone piece of legislation was the result of policy development. Ms Simmons added it would “provide support and protection for our children, while empowering families in Bermuda”. She said the new approach to resolving family matters “should be welcomed by all, as it is a vitally important direction the country must move towards”. Nandi Outerbridge, a One Bermuda Alliance senator, said her party welcomed the “well-thought-out” legislation. Independent senator James Jardine called the legislation “very well put together”. The Care and Protection of Animals Act provides greater protections to animals from cruelty by their owners. Crystal Caesar said amendments were “brief but significant”. Ms Caesar added: “Currently, under the principal Act, there exists no authority of the officers to immediately protect the animal should cruelty be found. This Bill does precisely that.” Robyn Swan, an OBA senator, said that her party understood the need for the Bill. Ms Swan added: “It is our hope that this Act will assist in the protection of animals and prevention of cruelty. We look forward to future developments.”

paragraphMembers of the public will retain access to a St George’s beach near the new hotel development. The news came as the House of Assembly repealed an earlier Act to develop the new St Regis hotel in the Olde Towne, which had given “reasonable” access to Fort St Catherine beach, also known as Gate’s Bay. The replacement St George’s Resort Act took out the word “reasonable” to reassure people that they would still have unrestricted access. Lovitta Foggo, who represents an East End constituency, explained: “We couldn’t explain to our constituents what that meant in a real-life situation.” The original legislation, passed by then ruling One Bermuda Alliance in 2015, caused concern in the Progressive Labour Party Opposition that the beach might be declared off limits. But Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, shadow home affairs minister, on Friday accused the PLP of playing “political football”. She highlighted that no concerns were raised by the PLP in 2008 when the same wording was used in legislation for the Park Hyatt development at the same site when the party was in government. Jamahl Simmons, the tourism minister, said the people of St George’s trusted the PLP as a “government that listened”. He added: “The people of St George’s didn’t trust the OBA.” Mr Simmons said the “difference between then and now was the presence of Renée Ming”, the St George’s North PLP MP who contested the original wording. She said during the House debate: “Access was key. It was never answered by the former administration.” The new Act does allow for limited access to the beach by the general public “at specified times and to specified areas” for hotel events or for maintenance and repairs with the agreement of the minister. Kim Swan, MP for St George’s West, said he supported efforts to “increase commercial business viability” in the Olde Towne.

paragraphDockyard has been named the top cruise ship destination in the region by Cruise Critic for the second year. The Royal Naval Dockyard was named the top destination in the Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda based on consumer ratings and reviews published on the Cruise Critic website. Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation, said: “It says that what we have done at Dockyard, and continue to do, in terms of improving the facilities and adding more activities is paying off. It also shows us that we are keeping ahead of some very stiff competition. Dockyard is an extremely important tourist hub so to know that we are favoured above other cruise ship ports is not only positive for us, but positive for Bermuda as whole.” Mr Dias said Wedco continues to invest in Dockyard, and that the relaunched Destination Dockyard and a new trampoline park will only make the area more popular.  “Wedco has invested millions of dollars into Dockyard and we will continue to invest to ensure we are able to serve the needs not only of our visitors, but also the locals who come to visit us. I thank the entire Dockyard community for their tireless efforts and support as this combined effort has made us successful and contributed to this achievement.” Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer with the Bermuda Tourism Authority said it is the local hospitality that has made the difference. “Bermudian hospitality is legendary and that’s because across the island we focus on providing a high quality, memorable experience for our visitors. At the BTA we offer our congratulations and gratitude to all the people who made this Cruise Critic accolade possible. It further proves Bermuda out performs its peers in cruise travel year after year and we are happy to support all on-island tourism industry partners dedicated to raising the bar even higher.” Rickeisha Burgess, who runs gourmet popsicle business Duch Pops Bermuda, said: “I love it here. Dockyard keeps changing for the better with more things to do. The staff do an incredible job keeping it really clean and tidy and I always see them out making sure the place looks good. I am not surprised they have won this award twice, everyone here works hard to make Dockyard special.”

paragraphA school safety report promised last year has still to be completed, the education minister said yesterday. Diallo Rabain explained that the report based on health and safety inspections last autumn was “still being compiled”. Mr Rabain said: “And so I can’t comment on exactly when and if they will be made public.” Lovitta Foggo, Minister of Government Reform, said last October that the Government’s health and safety co-ordinator had carried out inspections from August 21 to October 13. Ms Foggo said at the time that the Health and Safety Office “is currently in the process of preparing a summary report of all inspection findings”. Mr Rabain confirmed at yesterday’s press conference that all schools had been inspected. But he added: “Those examinations are ongoing.” Mr Rabain declined to comment on why Ms Foggo had said last year that the inspections were completed. He said: “That’s a question you should be asking Minister Foggo. But I do know the report is still pending. And once I have sight of the report, then I will be able to comment on the report.” The pledge to conduct an urgent review of health and safety in all public schools was included in the Progressive Labour Party’s election platform last year. Mr Rabain added that he was sure that “parts of it will be released, or the entire report will be released”. He added that the Government wanted to make sure “that our schools are absolutely safe”. Mr Rabain said: “So if the report takes longer than we expect it to take — just to ensure that the schools are safe — then the report will take longer than we thought it should have taken. But I can assure you that the report will be compiled and it will form part of the conditions survey.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch gave an update on school condition surveys in the House of Assembly last Friday. Colonel Burch said that the surveys had been contracted out but had been hit with a “number of issues” over the bidding process. He said that a test survey would be completed on one school to “iron out the issues”. Colonel Burch added: “In the interim, a project is under way to get as-built drawings for all schools as well as numbering of rooms for ease of reference on both help desk and reports.” Mr Rabain promised that schools “will be ready to go” for the start of the new school year. But he declined to comment on whether Gina Tucker, acting assistant director for curriculum and assessment, and Kalmar Richards, the interim Commissioner of Education, were in the running for the commissioner’s job. Mr Rabain said he could not discuss who had applied for the post. He added: “I can let you know that we intend to have a commissioner in place by September.” Freddie Evans was fired from the post last October but won a substantial payout after he launched legal action against the Governor and the Government over his dismissal. It was announced in April that Dr Evans would take a job at the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation.

paragraphHamilton’s town crier has won a top award in Britain. Ed Christopher beat 19 other competitors in the National Town Crier Competition, held at Helmsley Castle in North Yorkshire — and also picked up the award for best-dressed crier.  

Hamilton Town Crier with trophy

Mr Christopher said: “I feel great, I love it. Everybody comes to win it. It is good camaraderie. There are a different group of characters and we all support each other. Everybody enjoys it.” He had to perform a “home cry” about Bermuda and then a cry about Helmsley’s strong links with the Magna Carta, the 1215 declaration of rights that King John was forced to sign by rebel barons. Mr Christopher said: “For the home cry, I talked about fun in the sun in Bermuda, a little bit of rum, swizzle in and you will swagger out, pink sand and the beaches and our blue waters. I had a bit about everything and a little bit about the City of Hamilton and the people with warm and friendly smiles. We also had to write and cry about Sir Robert De Ros — the first lord of Helmsley who was one of the 25 barons and guarantors of the Magna Carta with King John.” Mr Christopher added: “The Yorkshire Post headline was ‘A wink and a swagger helps town crier sail to the top’, which they must have picked up from my home cry.” The criers competed before a panel of specially selected judges under the rules of The Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers. Mr Christopher said: “You have to speak loudly and to be heard with clarity. You need to be understood — every word — so I wasn’t my usual Bermudian self. You also need to know what is true and what is fiction. Personality might help a little bit.” Mr Christopher — a regular competitor at overseas competitions and familiar sight on the streets of Hamilton — designed his prize-winning costume himself. He said: “The one that I wore is about five years old; it is not the one I wear on my tours. I keep this one for the official duties and competition. It was made by a young lady in Exeter called Tania Boddy. I designed it a while back, I got the gold braids from London. I didn’t want it to look like anyone else’s.”

paragraphColonial Group International Ltd has been awarded a top cybersecurity business protection certification. The Bermuda-based holding company received Cyber Essentials Plus certification from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a UK Government organisation that helps public and private-sector organisations protect themselves from cyber attacks. Cyber Essentials Plus is the highest accreditation offered by the NCSC, requiring the implementation of key controls to defend against cyber attacks. These include:

Colonial’s defences against cyber attack were tested in all its operating jurisdictions including Bermuda, Cayman, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Barbados and the Turks and Caicos Islands. “Cybersecurity is a big and growing challenge for virtually all businesses today,” Ben Mobley, Colonial’s technology security officer, said. “It requires vigilant, proactive management, and the Cyber Essential Plus certification — a first for Bermuda — reflects our approach to the challenge.”

paragraphBermuda Forwarders is merging with BEST Shipping. The combination will result in BEST moving into Bermuda Forwarders’ Canal Lane location this year. In a letter to customers, Nick Kempe, president of Bermuda Forwarders, said the merger would enable the companies “to reduce costs, improve economies of scale and centralize operations and freight collections in one convenient and efficient location”. Mr Kempe said in a press release: “Bermuda Forwarders Ltd is thankful that after more than 60 years in the business of shipping to Bermuda it has found a trading partner it trusts in BEST Shipping to carry on the good name and established culture of full-service shipping solutions. The immediate goal is to consolidate physical operations in Bermuda which will create a centralized distribution hub for faster deliveries and collections. All overseas warehouse addresses will be maintained so both Bermuda Forwarders and BEST Shipping clients can rest assured that their freight will continue to arrive in Bermuda exactly as it presently is.” Joe Vieira, BEST president, will be taking over the management of the combined organisations with Mr Kempe staying on in an advisory capacity through the end of the year to assist with the merger of operations. Customers will not need to change shipping addresses and will be dealing with the same Bermuda team and overseas partners, Mr Kempe said. However, there will be some changes to banking details that will be communicated to customers in the coming weeks. “Our merger will add the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Far Eastern, Asia and worldwide specialization we offer to BEST’s fine North American products such as BEST Direct air express courier, expanding the variety of services available from us,” Mr Kempe said.

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paragraphA commission to investigate the island’s history of “land grabs” could still take place years after it was controversially turned down. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, told The Royal Gazette that a Commission of Inquiry into the issue remained “a priority of the Government”. Mr Brown was an Opposition MP when he led the call for a formal investigation in the House of Assembly in May 2014. The motion pushed for a review of “the historic losses in Bermuda of citizens’ property”, and sparked a march on Government House after it was turned down by the Governor of the day, George Fergusson. In an interview to mark the Progressive Labour Party’s first year back in power, Mr Brown said the matter was “still very much on the agenda but it’s a question of having the budget put aside”. He added: “It all emanates from the fact that we had lawyers and realtors who conspired to deprive Bermudians of property. We know there is a fundamental injustice there and it needs to be rectified. We will have a commission that will take testimony from people who had land stolen from them, which will give its findings and proposals for a resolution.” The call for a Commission of Inquiry in 2014, when Mr Brown was Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, cited instances of land grabs as late as the 1970s, through what Mr Brown termed “illicit practices by a cabal of lawyers, real estate agents and banks”. The motion passed, but Mr Fergusson dismissed it by stating its concerns were “neither so clear nor so urgent”, as well as on grounds of expenditure. That refusal led to a PLP boycott for the rest of the summer session, as well as calls by the party for the Governor to be recalled. However, four years on, Mr Brown said he was “very confident that this will happen in due course and hopefully not too far in the future”. Mr Brown said he planned to table a Bill for the licensing of debt collection agencies in the House of Assembly on Friday, the last session before the summer break. He said: “It is designed to bring them under control, including the extraordinary rate they charge, and it is an initiative we are very proud of”. Other priorities for the ministry are immigration reform and labour relations, he said. Mr Brown said that the working group on immigration reform meets each week, and “we are ploughing through the legislative initiatives required”. He added that he hoped for legislation to be tabled by November, with top priorities being clearer policies on the extension of Permanent Resident’s Certificates and the granting of Bermuda status. He added: “It’s a remarkable balance that we have to strike, which is part of the challenge. We have to recognize that Bermudians should come first, and at the same time offer some measure of comfort to people that have been here for 20 to 25 years.”

paragraphA cap of 450 recreational lobster divers will be in place for the 2018-19 season. Home affairs minister Walton Brown said the cap is being reduced from 500 last year, when only 412 lobster divers applied. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it remained concerned about the long-term health of Bermuda’s lobster population, particularly in the shallow areas closer to shore. She said: “Bermuda’s lobsters are a resource shared between both the recreational lobster divers and the commercial lobster trap fishermen. Although commercial fishers operate in both deep and shallow water, the recreational divers can only catch lobsters in areas shallow enough for free-diving. This past season was the fifth consecutive season of below average commercial catches. While the number of lobsters caught per trap in the inshore areas was slightly up from the previous season, it was still 19 per cent lower than the 15-year average. The catch per trap is a standard measure that is an indication of the lobsters’ abundance.” The lobster season opens on September 1. Licences will be issued on a first come, first served basis from August 6. The deadline to report catch data, including nil catches, for the 2017-18 season was April 30. The ministry said divers licensed last season will only be able to re-licensing if they have already submitted their statistics to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The spokeswoman said 93 divers had not submitted any statistics. Mr Brown said: “The number of lobster divers and commercial trap fishermen allowed in the fisheries during the upcoming season was decided in consultation with stakeholders after an analysis of the 2017-18 data. In addition to the reduction in lobster diver licenses, the commercial trap fishery will have one less participant, meaning that there will be 27 trap fishermen this season. These numbers will be reviewed and adjusted as necessary with the sustainability of the fisheries in mind”. For more information on recreational lobster fishing licenses, visit www.gov.bm/online-services/apply-recreational-lobster-diving-licence.

paragraphMembers of the Supporting Fair Immigration Reform group tonight said the Premier’s claim that his party’s 21 electoral pledges have been completed as misleading. David Burt’s Progressive Labour Party promised in its election platform to complete comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform to “ensure that the rights of Bermudians are advanced and protected, while recognizing the need to grow our economy with fair and balanced work permits and residential policies.” A spokesman for SFIR said: “As we have stated before, nothing has been released to the public since October 31, 2017 about immigration reform and we have speculated that this promise may never be completed if the government continues to stall with a resolution. Immigration is affecting Bermudians. We have Bermudians who cannot pass their Bermudian status to their children. If the PLP is to uphold their slogan of ‘Putting Bermudians First’ they have to look at correcting this injustice. It is also affecting people born in Bermuda who have become thoroughly Bermudianised and who know no other home.” The group said that any reform should be designed to assist people born in Bermuda or who arrived at a young age and those with a substantial family connection to someone who already has Bermudian status. SFIR added those who are integrated into Bermudian society through long-term residence and people who have otherwise made a significant contribution to Bermudian society should also be included.

paragraphAlmost half the Bermuda’s population has one or two chronic disease challenges, and that is a major factor in the $701 million annual cost of healthcare on the island. Data shows that 45 per cent of the island’s residents fall into that category, and 20 per cent of the population with a chronic disease consume 80 per cent of island’s healthcare dollars, according to Alison Hill, chief executive officer of Argus Group Holdings. As one of Bermuda’s major providers of health insurance, the company is at the forefront of efforts to address the rising cost of healthcare — a problem that is being faced around the world. Argus is taking a two-pronged approach that is partially focused on supporting people to look after their health, and partially on finding ways to reduce healthcare costs. Kim Wilson, Minister of Health, highlighted rising health insurance premiums — up as much as 18.5 per cent — when she spoke about the impact of the soaring costs in the House of Assembly on July 6. The Bermuda Government is working on health reform proposals, including a draft benefit package. Ms Wilson blamed the rising costs in part on the population being sicker, older and receiving more healthcare. Against that backdrop, Ms Hill has described efforts by Argus Group to address the challenges. She said healthcare inflation globally is about 8.4 per cent, “about three times the level of inflation. It is just not sustainable”. Healthcare costs in the US are projected to increase 6.5 per cent this year, while the standard health benefits in Bermuda have increased by 6.4 per cent. For comparison, Bermuda’s inflation rate was 1.9 per cent last year. Ms Hill explained that of the $701 million the island spends on healthcare, 12 per cent goes to overseas health providers, 46 per cent goes to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the rest to local healthcare providers and administration. “So there is a lot that we can do in Bermuda to bring that cost of healthcare to a more sustainable level,” said Ms Hill. One of the things Argus is doing is working in partnership with local providers to create “a fee for health outcomes model” rather than a fee for service model. Ms Hill said Argus was proud of the diabetes-reversal programme it is doing in partnership with Hamilton-based Premier Health. “We are delivering real, tangible benefits. It is in its early stages, but for the cohort that has gone through we are seeing on average $1,000 per head saving on prescription drugs and we have seen an average weight loss reduction in that group of about 12.7lbs,” she said. Another example of how the insurance company is advocating for health is its nurse case management programme, which assists insured clients with multiple chronic conditions to better manage their health. Ms Hill said that as people go through the programme the company has seen annual healthcare reductions of more than $6,500 per individual. “So we know if we use technology and that personal touch and work with our insureds and encourage them to really adopt positive changes to their health, the economics of it work — and we offer all of this stuff essentially for free. We know that a short-term cost will generate a long-term benefit,” said Ms Hill. A healthier population and a reduction in the cost of healthcare will also have wider benefits for the island, as it would make Bermuda a more attractive place for job creation and foreign investment, according to Ms Hill. She said: “Attracting healthy people to the island really helps address that demographic change of an ageing population and chronic disease. Health insurance is a huge part of the cost of employing someone. Making those health dollars work as efficiently and as cost effectively as possible is what we are constantly striving to do.” Peter Dunkerley, chief financial officer, said: “For the company we are very optimistic for the future. The position we are in now, having taken some of the actions we have taken, is good for a very long time.” He was referring to, in part, a restructuring of the company’s balance sheet, which included moving out of a number of noncore, illiquid assets. This involved write-downs of $19.5 million. On Friday, Argus reported a net loss of $18.6 million for the year end. Mr Dunkerley said taking a short-term loss would “generate the best long-term value for our shareholders and all our stakeholders”. He also said: “We can also really focus on dealing with some of these key issues that Alison has highlighted — creating seamless, cost-efficient back-office infrastructure, and working more with our clients to improve their physical health and financial health.” Beyond health insurance, Argus Group also offers a number of other services, including property and casualty insurance, pensions and investments, and wealth management.

paragraphThe number of births in Bermuda decreased in 2017 for the first time in three years. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, told the House of Assembly last Friday that there were 578 births in 2017, down from 591 in 2016. In 2015, the figure was 583. Mr Brown highlighted a string of figures as he tabled the annual report from Registry General Aubrey Pennyman. Of those born in 2017, 440 had at least one Bermudian parent and 138 had two non-Bermudian parents. The number of deaths in 2017 was 481, down from 492 in 2016. An additional 13 non-residents died during the year. There were 440 marriages, down from 450 the previous year. The figure included ten same-sex marriages, eight of which were performed at the Registry General as civil ceremonies, with the others at a hotel and a home. There were 452 marriages on board 23 Bermuda registered ships in 2017, including two same-sex marriage ceremonies. Mr Brown noted that the report was tabled five months earlier than in 2017, but was “still later than it should be”. He said: “We will be working on improving the processes associated with the delivery of this report in a timelier manner closer to the legislated requirement.”

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paragraphRepair work on schools this summer will cost an additional $3 million, the minister of public works said yesterday. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said the works kicked off immediately after the end of the school year and were in “full swing”. He said: “All schools have been inspected by both Ministry of Public Works and Ministry of Education facilities management staff with a list of tasks agreed and assigned to various work crews. In addition to these, any issues identified by the Health and Safety Co-ordinator are being included with the tasks.” He made the announcement as part of a near hour-long ministerial statement made in the House of Assembly. Colonel Burch said that the cash would be spent on works including private sector contracts for painting, floor refinishing and roof replacement. He added that it was intended that all personnel within the department would be involved in the works. Colonel Burch added: “This means that there will be seven work units with a total of 102 tradesmen working in schools.” He said that seven summer students were assisting. Colonel Burch added: “They are tackling some 1,081 tasks and 26 capital projects. In addition, there are numerous small and large private contractors engaged in this project.” Colonel Burch also provided an update on the status of school condition surveys. He said that the surveys had been contracted out but that there had been a “number of issues” with the bids and concerns from the bidders over pricing for unknowns. Colonel Burch said that a test survey would be completed on one school to “iron out the issues”. He added: “In the interim a project is under way to get as-built drawings for all schools as well as numbering of rooms for ease of reference on both help desk and reports.” Colonel Burch said that surveys on other government buildings would follow. He announced the condition surveys would be undertaken this year in a ministerial statement made last December.

paragraphA Litigation Guardian Council will be set up by the Bermuda Government. The body will provide regulatory oversight of the recruitment, management and administration of litigation guardians on the island, according to social development minister Michael Weeks. It comes after a Supreme Court ruling that magistrates must consider appointing legal representatives to protect the rights of children who appear in court, if money is available. In June, Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman ruled that the Children’s Act required the Family Court to consider the appointment of a counsel or “litigation guardian” for children. Mr Weeks responded today that policy development around litigation guardians has been “under way for some time” in his ministry. He said the Progressive Labour Party had pledged to enhance the protocol for litigation guardians in the Throne Speech last September. Mr Weeks said his ministry had consulted with the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service in Britain, which provides oversight of litigation guardians. He said: “As a result, the Ministry of Social Development and Sports has formulated a policy framework which Cabinet has now approved, and for which drafting instructions have been issued to the Attorney-General’s Chambers. “The policy framework calls for the establishment of a statutory Litigation Guardian Council to provide regulatory oversight of the recruitment, management and administration of litigation guardians in Bermuda.” Mr Weeks said a litigation guardian from Cafcass was recently appointed by the Family Court in Bermuda on an unpaid basis to provide an objective review of the circumstances related to a family matter in the best interest of the child concerned.

paragraphBermuda could become a centre for specialist colon removal surgery, a surgeon at the Bermuda Hospitals Board has said. Fitzroy Hamilton said results in Bermuda were better than those of top European clinics that use single-incision laparoscopic surgery for colon removal. Dr Hamilton said: “What we have seen from reviewing 186 cases we have done is that we have the outcome to show that we are very much on par with the guys in Europe and even better.” He added: “We are leading in our outcome and I think we should explore making Bermuda the destination for patients for Sils colon surgery not only for medical tourism, but also the possibility to train surgeons in the diaspora. We should try to make Bermuda a centre of excellence for Sils colon surgery.” Dr Hamilton said Bermuda is already a leading centre for the procedure on this side of the world. Dr Hamilton explained that the procedure involves the use of a single point to get into the abdomen and remove the diseased part of the large intestine. He said the method shortens the amount of time patients have to spend in hospital and “significantly” reduces the risk of complications. Dr Hamilton said: “It is widely expected that you are going to have complication rates roughly up to 13 to 14 per cent in any population that does this procedure. He added: “Our complication rate was 11 per cent.” Dr Hamilton said operating times were also faster, at an average of about 130 minutes, “which is the bottom of normal”. He added: “Everyone knows the procedure now, so it flows, so your operating time is less, the patient stays on the table less, there is less anesthesia, less operating time, less risk.” Dr Hamilton explained that male patients and those who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of complications. “In Bermuda, we are dealing with two out of three people with a body mass index over 25 so we have a third obese, a third overweight. So off the bat, we are expecting worse outcomes. Not so based on our findings.” He explained that patients can be rejected for the surgery in other parts of the world if they are too sick or overweight. “We don’t have that luxury. We are in the middle of the Atlantic. There is no second or third-choice hospital.” For the patients, who for the most part we think are fit enough for surgery, we do the procedure with excellent outcomes.” Dr Hamilton said the results showed that this surgery “can be done in patients who are sick, who are advanced in age, who are a little heavier than normal, with great outcomes”. He put Bermuda’s success down to skilled surgeons performing the procedure on-island and experienced operating-room staff. Dr Hamilton added: “Safety comes first. We have a safe procedure, great outcomes and very capable surgeons so nobody needs to go overseas for colon surgery.” He said Sils surgery, widely used in Europe but less so in the United States, had become the mainstay for colon removal in Bermuda since it was introduced on a large scale in 2012. “Dr Boris Vestweber, who is world renowned in this procedure, was integral in getting the procedure accepted here. Now there are five surgeons in the hospital and they all do the procedure in varying degrees. Four of them learnt the procedure here on-island.” Dr Hamilton said the team are now looking to publish their results. He added: “This procedure has never been studied in any population this size, in such a remote setting with such a small population. But this population is rich for this procedure because of the diseases we find, because of the age of the patients, because of the size of the patients. The main focus of this and what we want everybody to see is that this can be done anywhere once you have surgeons who can be trained in the use of the port.”

paragraphNearly half of Bermuda’s eating-out spots have been awarded “A” grades after inspectors checked their food and hygiene practices. A scoring programme published on the Government’s website lists 203 establishments, with 92 of those achieving the top grade. The Environmental Health section’s “grades on licences” scheme was introduced last year, with the online publication of rates for restaurants, cafés, supermarkets, bars, bakeries and delicatessens. It shows the results of food premises’ annual inspections in letter grades — A to D. After the unannounced visits, the 2018 list shows 86 eateries secured a B and five ranked C. None were marked D but 19 establishments were “approved”, which is understood to be a grade for new premises when they are licensed before a follow-up inspection takes place when the business is open and operating. One remained blank on the list and a government spokesman said yesterday it was among 27 establishments with grades yet to be confirmed, with these expected to be finalized by the end of the month. Last year, when only 180 eateries were listed as a phased roll-out of the programme took place, 77 were awarded As and 88 received Bs, with the remainder either Cs, approved, satisfactory or upgraded. Among those to improve their ranking from a B to an A was fast-food outlet KFC on Queen Street in the City of Hamilton. Ginene Haslam, its general manager, told how the importance of food safety is instilled in staff through online and hands-on training. Yesterday, she said the grade improvement was the result of unnecessary equipment being removed from the site. Ms Haslam added: “It’s good for the public to know where they are eating and that they’re eating somewhere safe. I don’t think it affects us very much because we are very focused on it anyway but it probably inspires some businesses to do better.” Long-established seafood favourite The Lobster Pot, also in the city, saw its grade fall from a B in 2017 to a C this year after an inspection in March. Owner Lynn Bardgett said nothing has changed at the restaurant in its 45-year history and claimed her licensing certificate did not explain why the rating slumped. She added: “They write down what we need to do, the different things that need to be addressed, those things are done.” Among them, she said, were more regular and thorough deep cleaning and ensuring that food can be stored in a refrigerator below 40F. Ms Bardgett said the issues were largely “the normal things that we do day in, day out” and continued: “Like everybody dealing with the public, we want to make sure that everything is done correctly. Sometimes there are slip-ups but at the end of the night, I make sure that everything is wiped down and cleaned.” Chris Garland, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s restaurant division, told how it was a great achievement for busy Bermudian venues, including spots on Front Street such as The Pickled Onion, to retain top grades. He said: “The volume of people some of those do ... for them to keep A and B, it’s a testament that something positive is being done. Between visits you can build up a lot of dirt.” Voicing his support for the list’s publication, he added: “Anything that publicly displays information usually keeps people on their toes. It tells you exactly what you want to know as a consumer and restaurateurs take it in the respect of, be careful what can happen if you don’t get a good grade.” An explanation accompanying the list online states that it allows people to see how well the island’s food establishments “are maintaining sanitary standards in accordance with the Public Health (Food) Regulations 1950”. Environmental Health officers score businesses on items such as temperature control of food, personal hygiene practices, protective clothing for staff and vermin control. A 100-point scale is used and violations result in a deduction, with a greater points tally resulting in a better grade. Anything below 70 points means a D grade, which would usually mean “urgent action or consideration of closure”. A Ministry of Health spokesman said: “The list includes all food establishments in Bermuda except those which only sell pre-packed foods as these are very low risk.” He added: “Bermuda enjoys a good selection of quality foods for sale to the public. Ensuring the safety of our food and the highest standards of hygiene in our food establishments is a key priority for the Department of Health. In order to enhance consumer confidence in our food establishments and to encourage those establishments to continually improve their hygiene standards, last year the system of displaying grades on licences was introduced. These licences must be displayed at establishments. In this way potential customers can know before they decide where to eat, what the standard of hygiene was at the last inspection carried out by Environmental Health Officers. The Department would encourage everyone to look at the website when deciding where to go. We hope that this in turn will encourage proprietors of establishments to always put hygiene at the top of their priorities.”

paragraphMore than a year after firefighters were assured a new ladder truck was on its way, they were told yesterday it would be at least another 12 months before a replacement would be ready for use. The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service’s efforts were hampered by the absence of the hydraulic ladder platform vehicle, which was out of action as a result of maintenance issues, when they tackled a massive blaze on Front Street in July 2016. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, told the House of Assembly yesterday that negotiations to secure a replacement are nearing an end but it will take another year to manufacture. A spokeswoman later added the appliance would be bought by the close of 2018-19. The statement came 16 months after Mr Caines’s predecessor in the role, Jeff Baron of the One Bermuda Alliance, said talks with a supplier in Europe were complete and it was hoped the ladder truck would be on island “as soon as possible”. Sergeant Allan Wilkinson, the president of the Fire Service Association, highlighted firefighters’ worries yesterday that “essential” machinery cannot be relied upon for operation. He said: “There’s some concern over the vehicle we have in service and available to us. If we don’t have it, the approach to fighting fires is going to be more risky.” Mr Wilkinson explained: “It’s an essential piece of equipment. We were minus it during the Front Street fire because of mechanical issues.” Extending up to 110 feet, the 20-year-old ladder truck allows teams to be able to spray water from greater heights and access taller buildings. It took 16 vehicles and more than 30 fire personnel to battle the Front Street blaze in 2016 that started at around 4.30am and destroyed a number of buildings. At the time, sources told The Royal Gazette that the ladder truck had been long out of service and that a host of other mechanical problems had grown into a longstanding source of frustration for firefighters. It later emerged the vehicle was unavailable because of issues with its electronic circuitry and the BFRS spent $47,696 to service and repair the truck during the fiscal period 2015-16. Mr Wilkinson said yesterday: “It’s one of those pieces of equipment that doesn’t get utilized on a daily basis. However, there are critical situations when its use is required.” He spoke after the minister told MPs the BFRS needs “to update some of its emergency vehicles”. Mr Caines continued: “To this end, the fire service management team is completing negotiations with an overseas vendor to start the building process for a new ladder truck to replace the current vehicle, the 20-year-old ‘Bronto’. Manufacture of the new vehicle will take approximately one year, to commence once a contract agreement has been reached and signed.” In March 2017, Mr Baron, then national security minister, said that upon approval of the 2017-18 budget, a new hydraulic ladder platform vehicle could be shipped from overseas and it was suggested that would be done by the end of that fiscal year. At the time, he said: “Negotiations have been ongoing for some time between the fire service and the supplier in Europe and they are now complete. Everyone is primed to start the process of getting a new ladder truck to Bermuda as soon as the budget has been debated and passed. We would like to see it here in Bermuda as soon as possible.” Although cost details to replace the Bronto were unavailable in the House yesterday, one source believed a new vehicle would be priced in the region of $800,000 to $1 million. Mr Caines also told members the fire service has started talks about the purchase of a new ambulance, to help with its East End service. He said after 25 weeks of training, the 13 newest firefighting recruits would today travel to Canada for a month-long course at Pearson Airport in Toronto. Further measures are being considered to improve fire-fighting capabilities in the City of Hamilton. The minister said: “The existing hydrant system requires repairs and upgrading to keep pace with the fire safety and extinguishing requirements of a modern city. This may mean the purchasing of another portable hydrant system. The BFRS will continue to work with the Corporation to ensure that the city’s fire safety needs are met in an efficient and cost-effective manner.” The House was told that a fire service “recharge” to the Corporation of Hamilton, totaling $6,270,950 had been written off as a gesture of goodwill. When a government spokeswoman was asked for further clarification from Mr Caines on a timeline for the Bronto replacement, she replied: “The process to source and acquire a ladder truck is a lengthy one, which began under the previous administration but was far from complete at the time of the election, on July 18, 2017. After the election, under the current government the BFRS has made significant progress, to the point that they intend to purchase and take possession of the new appliance during the current, 2018-2019, financial year”. No one at the BFRS was available for comment and Mr Baron could not be reached.

paragraphLegislation to introduce quad bike tours was approved by the House of Assembly, despite the opposition of environmental groups. Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport, said tours will be limited to seven vehicles and will only be allowed on paved roads or service roads. Mr Roban told the House that vehicles will only be ridden as part of a guided tour operated by a licensed operator, and the licence will be granted for one year on a trial basis. Cole Simons, the Shadow Minister of Education, expressed concerns that allowing the vehicles into Hog Bay Park would set a precedent. He said: “If they start up in one park, what’s stopping other businessmen starting a business in other parks in Bermuda. I’m looking down the road to our future. To me, the parks should be preserved as one of the gems of this country.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said he had come under fire for saying the opinions of those who live east of White Hill should not get a say. He added that while the Government received hundreds of objections, the majority focused on noise. Colonel Burch said: “I’m not sure how you could hear the sound of anything riding along the tracks if you live in St David’s, where one of the objectors were.” He said others had objected to “things that were not in fact going to take place”. Colonel Burch said he had met with the family planning to operate the tour business and was impressed by their professionalism. He added the family had decided to launch the venture because their son could not find work on the island despite having a degree in actuarial science. Colonel Burch said he believed the Government had taken a “measured and reasonable approach”, and the objections stemmed from the action being taken by a Progressive Labour Party government. Sylvan Richards of the One Bermuda Alliance said that he had come under fire over quad bike tours while he was minister. He told the House that he had been approached by the family and supported their proposal on the grounds that they get all the proper permits and permissions. Mr Richards said he later saw debate on social media that completely mis-characterized the proposal. He said: “I got slammed for weeks and weeks. I was called all sorts of names by our own supporters.” Mr Richards said he still believed the proposal would work for Bermuda. He said: “I support ATVs. I support the people behind it. I know they will do a very good job because they are professionals.” Michael Scott, a PLP backbencher, said the proposal had been criticized by some because the entrepreneur behind it was black. However, Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister for National Security, said this was not a racial issue. He said: “This is about a change a lot of people are uncomfortable with and that’s why they have objections.” Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said he initially had concerns about the proposal after seeing the outcry on social media, but he said the right precautions have been put in place to protect the environment and the public. Mr Caines said a “false narrative” had developed that the Government did not care about the environment. He added: “At the end of the year, if the requirements are not met, we have an opportunity to come back, discuss it further or scrap the idea all together.” Jamahl Simmons, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, said those who have complained about the noise have not raised issues about the noise caused by those who ride motocross bikes along the same trails. He added that he had worked with community officers to address that issue, but the lack of a similar outcry made him question people’s intentions. Mr Simmons said he was satisfied the legislation addressed the public’s concerns and the end result would be a successful business that attracts tourists and locals. He said: “It’s something different. It’s something for people to enjoy. It’s a beautiful part of Bermuda and we have an opportunity to share that with the world.” Leah Scott, the deputy Opposition leader, said the Government was in a “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” situation. She added: “If there’s something that isn’t working, we can change it. If we find that something needs to be enhanced, we can do that. I also believe that no one is going to pass a piece of legislation with the intention of destroying Bermuda.”

paragraphParents will be appointed for two-year terms to committees working closely with the school system. Education minister Diallo Rabain said a Parental Involvement Committee had been meeting monthly with the Commissioner of Education to improve relationships within schools. Efforts in the coming year will include a parents survey, parents’ newsletter, and engagement sessions. Mr Rabain said he wished that more fathers had become involved and said their greater engagement would be worked upon.

paragraphA group of motorcycles parked at Bulls Head Car Park was set alight this morning, along with propane cylinders. The incident caused damage at the western end of the lot and affected ramp access from the ground floor to the additional floors above, according to the Corporation of Hamilton. A structural engineer is on site today to assess the damage. No injuries were caused, the Corporation statement said. Bull’s Head Car Park will remain open from both the Elliott Street ramp at the east end of the lot as well as the ground floor entrance on the western end, and there will be no interruption of commuter parking by Monday morning. A police spokesman said the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service and police officers responded at 5.30am. “It was ascertained that three motorcycles were set on fire. However the fire was subsequently extinguished by the fire service.” Police have asked that anyone with information about the incident, or who may have seen someone acting suspiciously in the area, to call 295-0011.

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paragraphA single platform pledge out of 21 made by the Government for its first one hundred days remains uncompleted, Bermuda’s Premier has claimed. However, an in-depth interview with David Burt suggested that some promises said to be fulfilled are only works in progress. Mr Burt told The Royal Gazette that 20 of 21 pledges made by the Progressive Labour Party were “substantially complete”. The commitments, outlined in last year’s General Election platform, were to be achieved in the first 100 days as Government. Mr Burt said that a pledge to implement a code of conduct for MPs had been approved by the House of Assembly’s Standing Orders Committee. He added that the establishment of three permanent parliamentary oversight committees had been backed by the House of Assembly. Mr Burt said: “When we say substantially complete — there will be some people who say ‘well, those things aren’t there yet’, but what I can say is that from the Government’s perspective we’ve done our bit of it and that is it. But implementing a code of conduct for Members of Parliament and oversight committees is in the ambit of the House of Assembly.” He added that a promise to finish negotiations with public sector unions on terms and conditions was also mostly completed and that negotiations with the Police Association continued. The Prison Officers Association and the Bermuda Public Services Union principals division also still have to strike a deal with Government. The Premier highlighted a promise to provide access to funding for community clubs through a loan guarantee programme as the uncompleted pledge. He said that work was taking place behind the scenes. “We will continue to work to finalise that particular issue.” Mr Burt said the PLP’s 100-day plan had not been over-ambitious. He explained: “I think that it’s a question of you set a target that is high. I don’t want to set a target of ten and only meet ten. We set a target of 21 and we’ve done a decent job in advancing most of these particular issues.” The One Bermuda Alliance this week criticised the PLP on its first-year performance. In a full-page advertisement run in The Royal Gazette on Wednesday, the Opposition graded the Government’s performance from A to F on 22 items, including many platform pledges. It gave the Government F grades on pledges to establish three permanent oversight committees and implementing the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. Grades of A were given for financial support provided to Bermuda College students and the doubling of the loan guarantee to the Bermuda Economic Development Commission. A single A+ was awarded to the review performed on the redevelopment deal for the airport, which the OBA said “wasted $186,950 to reiterate the OBA government’s message that this is the best deal for Bermuda”. The OBA “report card” gave the Government an overall grade of D+. The advert added that the grade “indicates more time should be spent this summer refocusing on issues raised in this report”. It told the Government: “Your focus has strayed, but your success is Bermuda’s success. Feel free to call us for help or advice.” Mr Burt claimed in November that all 21 pledges were “completed or significantly completed” in a speech made in the House of Assembly. He later said in the House that the number of pledges completed was 14. Analysis of the pledges made by Mr Burt and his colleagues by The Royal Gazette at that time suggested that only ten of the promises had been completed, with work under way on nine. The status of the final two pledges was not clear.

Premier's Promise

The Progressive Labour Party made 21 pledges in its General Election platform for its first 100 days in government.

Completed

In Progress

paragraphRolfe Commissiong pledged “relief is on the way” as he tabled a report on a living wage in Bermuda. Mr Commissiong, chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on the establishment of a living wage, urged MPs to consider the plight of the poorest sections of society. He asked fellow MPs: “Could any of you live on $27,000 or $30,000 a year?” The Progressive Labour Party MP told the House of Assembly recommendations will include scrutiny of “occupations that are most affected by low wages in this country”. Mr Commissiong said he looked forward to a vigorous debate in the coming weeks on an issue that he said had left “thousands of Bermudians with their backs literally against the wall”. A copy of the report was not immediately available.

paragraphAn immigration policy for entertainers in Bermuda comes into effect on July 30. The move, intended to strengthen opportunities of local entertainers, will mean Bermudian musicians and entertainers must be included in promotional campaigns featuring non-Bermudian entertainers. Non-Bermudian entertainers will also be required to maintain membership with the Bermudian Entertainment Union before work permits will be granted. Home affairs minister Walton Brown gave the announcement at the House of Assembly today on the pre-election pledge from the Progressive Labour Party. Mr Brown said the Bermuda Festival will get a special exemption from the enhanced policy. The policy was drafted in tandem with the BEU, which will have input in the vetting of work permits for entertainers. The policy was circulated for feedback during June and July.

paragraphLieutenant-Colonel David Burch issued an apology to a farming leader today as he conceded farming leases had been neglected. The public works minister also told the House of Assembly all leases for arable lands would now be extended to 21 years less one day. Colonel Burch had previously refuted Bermuda Farmers Association’s claim that all land leases for government-owned farm lands had not been renewed for more than three years. But today he revealed he had not been given the full story by his ministry officials and delivered an “apology without reservation” to Carlos Amaral, chairman of the farmers group for his erroneous statement last week. Colonel Burch said his rebuttal of their objections had been mistaken. He said the statistic he had previously given to Parliament, that just 13 leases had expired, had been technically correct — but only since June. He warned Cabinet colleagues: “Don’t assume that you know or are being told everything that is happening in your ministry.” Colonel Burch said that other than vacant lots all the land is being farmed, and there is no intent to use the properties for anything other than farming. He added that he had ordered the timeline to address outstanding leases as a matter of priority, and the longer leases would be implemented “unless there is a compelling reason not to”.

paragraphIt was a landslide victory for the Progressive Labour Party, which had chosen David Burt as its leader just eight months earlier. Now, after the high of triumph, the Premier has told how the cut-and-thrust of life at the top of politics has affected his personal life. Mr Burt, at 38, became Bermuda’s youngest premier in July last year, but the father-of-two said age was not a factor in the job and the greatest challenge was juggling the demands of work with home life. Mr Burt told The Royal Gazette as he reflected on his first year in office: “It has been incredibly difficult on my family. “I think that’s the biggest thing. I have a very young family, a two-year-old and a three-year-old, a wife who works, who has a career. So it has been hard.” Mr Burt and wife Kristin are parents to toddlers Nia and Edward. Mr Burt explained: “I think the biggest challenge in this particular job, which is all-encompassing, is balancing the needs of doing the job for the people of this country and balancing the need of a very young family. They miss their daddy, all the time.” Mr Burt added he and his team had gone full throttle to tackle their legislative agenda. He said: “If I were to say what the year has been, I would say it has been difficult because I push myself at a high pace and I push my ministers at a high pace. I was joking with some of them the other day that I’m sure they cannot wait for the House to rise because I think that everyone needs vacation.” Mr Burt added: “We’ve really accomplished a lot.” He dismissed the notion his relative youth could affect his work. The Pembroke West Central MP, who is also Minister of Finance, said: “I don’t think that it actually matters, to be completely honest.”

paragraphThe Premier delivered a national address last night and pledged “a Bermuda that can, and will, work for all of us”. David Burt unveiled new plans to benefit seniors and students, and looked back on the Progressive Labour Party’s first year back in power. The Premier announced that the Government, with the Bermuda Housing Corporation, planned to introduce “interest- free home-improvement loans” of up to $15,000 for families in need of help to modify their homes to accommodate elderly relatives. He added fixtures and fittings for units to accommodate the elderly at home would be duty- free, with the exemption also extended to “existing or new rest homes”. Mr Burt raised the deterioration of the Lefroy House rest home in Sandys and said a new building would be necessary with a site already under consideration. He said: “This new facility will combine the Mangrove Bay clinic under its roof, providing the West End with much needed improved community health services.” Mr Burt singled out the high cost of electricity as a significant problem and said that the days of “continued unsustainable electricity increases must come to an end”. He added height restrictions on buildings in Hamilton were under review and that plans would be complete before the end of this year with a view to boosting development in the City. He also said: “Before this session of Parliament is over, we will have “consumer debt-protection legislation”. Mr Burt also highlighted education in his 18-minute ‘state of the onion’ address. He said that his daughter would start public school in September, Mr Burt added that improvements had been made in science, technology, art, engineering and maths courses at the primary level, which were piloted by four schools this year. He said: “We will now introduce the Steam curriculum to six primary schools per academic year over the next three years.” Mr Burt added that consultation was under way on an end to middle schools, in keeping with the PLP’s pledge to phase them out. He said efforts to diversify the economy by embracing new fintech businesses were also under way. Mr Burt claimed that the PLP’s “decisive action” has positioned the island as a world leader in the emerging industry, with a fintech business unit set up. He said: “It is the next wave of how the world will do things.” The Premier added that ratings agency Standard & Poor’s had upgraded its outlook on Bermuda’s economy to positive in April for the first time in 12 years. Mr Burt said the General Election last year had left the PLP with an “unprecedented mandate”. The Premier added that civil servants had been “denigrated” under the One Bermuda Alliance and that austerity measures had harmed services and brought trust in the Government to “an all-time low”. He said the 2016 Census showed the rift between races in earning opportunities. Mr Burt added that “black people in this country have a right to demand that their government address the systemic inequalities that see black people over-represented in the criminal justice system, or always battling against historic inherited wealth for fairness and equality”. He praised the de-criminalisation of small amounts of cannabis that had reduced the number of young black men going before courts. Mr Burt closed with a list of the administration’s achievements over its first year. He added: “The Government I lead is not perfect and we will make mistakes, but trust and believe that your government’s heart is in the right place. This journey is only beginning.”

paragraphA trash bin pilot project is in the pipeline, the public works minister pledged today. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch made the announcement during a near hour-long Ministerial Statement in the House of Assembly this morning. The trash bin pilot project was mentioned as part of an update provided on a number of waste management issues. Details on when the project would launch and whether there would be any out-of-pocket cost to the taxpayer were not immediately provided. Colonel Burch also said in the statement that about 50 containers worth of asbestos had been shipped to the United States. He added: “Regular shipments will continue as budget allows.” Colonel Burch said that more than 200 derelict cars had also been removed from the Government quarry near Harrington Sound.

paragraphThe number of births in Bermuda decreased in 2017 for the first time in three years. Home affairs minister Walton Brown told the House of Assembly there were 578 births throughout the year, down from 591 in 2016. In 2015, the figure was 583. Mr Brown highlighted a string of figures as he tabled the annual report from Registry General Aubrey Pennyman. Of those born in 2017, 440 had at least one Bermudian parent and 138 had two non-Bermudian parents. The number of deaths of residents in 2017 was 481, down from 492 in 2016. An additional 13 non-residents died during the year. There were 440 marriages, down from 450 the previous year. The figure included ten same-sex marriages, eight of which were performed at the Registry General as civil ceremonies, and two marriages religious ceremonies at a hotel and a home. There were 452 marriages on board 23 Bermuda registered ships in 2017, including two same-sex marriage ceremonies. Mr Brown noted that the report was tabled five months earlier than in 2017, but was “still later than it should be”. He said: “We will be working on improving the processes and the technology associated with the delivery of this report in a timelier manner closer to the legislated requirement.”

paragraphThe Bermuda Tourism Authority has hired five new staffers as part of a restructuring plan. A BTA spokesman said: “The changes were designed to make the organisation more responsive to market trends and better positioned to improve its return on investment for Bermuda.” The spokesman added three of the new employees are Bermudian, while the other two are spouses of Bermudians. And the restructuring is said to be “budget neutral”. Among the new team members are Hazel Clark, a three-time Olympian who has become the BTA’s first director of sports business development. Nadia Hall, a former reporter for The Royal Gazette, has been hired as a content specialist to create articles and social media content. Rohan Shastri has also been hired as a content specialist, with a focus on video and photo content, while Kristin McSweeney has been named a business analysis and CRM specialist. Keisha Webb rounds out the new hires as a destination services manager with the product and experiences team. The spokesman said the changes are intended to help the BTA further develop sports tourism, shift towards market intelligence-driven sales and strengthen content creation. Kevin Dallas, BTA CEO, said: “I hope all tourism industry stakeholders will join us in warmly welcoming these talented professionals into the Bermuda Tourism Authority. They are a critical part of our ambitious plans to continue what is now the third consecutive year of growth for Bermuda’s tourism industry.”

paragraphInsurance company Argus Group suffered a $18.6 million loss for the year, impacted by a large number of major medical claims, and a decision to exit a variety of illiquid investments. There was $19.5 million of write-downs associated with disposing of illiquid, noncore assets as the group restructured its balance sheet. Argus’s results were also impacted by claims in its health business that were $10.4 million higher year-on-year. Among the major medical claims was an unusually high number of difficult pregnancies and premature babies. Elsewhere, the group’s general portfolio of investments generated positive results; 84 per cent of its investments are fixed income bonds, of which 98 per cent are investment grade. Alison Hill, chief executive officer of Argus, said: “At the core of the group’s investment philosophy is our commitment to careful and diligent custodianship of policyholder and shareholder assets. The group’s investment portfolio is designed to ensure funds are readily available to satisfy our obligation to policyholders and to enhance shareholder value by generating appropriate long-term risk-adjusted yields.” Regarding the move out of the noncore asset positions that resulted in the significant write-downs, Ms Hill said: “Exiting these assets frees up resources and creates additional liquidity that can be used to drive further diversification and growth. These decisions have not been made lightly; after an exhaustive process to explore and evaluate the various options, it’s clear that now is the time to implement our strategy.” Peter Dunkerley, chief financial officer, added: “We have a conviction that taking the short-term loss is going to generate the best long-term value for our shareholders and all our stakeholders.” The group’s financial strength rating was upgraded to A- (excellent) by AM Best in December. Ms Hill said: “We have continued our balance sheet optimization strategy during the year with the sole focus of putting our capital to its best use while ensuring long term sustainable value. We are pleased that our diligent capital planning means that, despite our reported loss for the current year, the group remains in a healthy capital position and we are able to sustain our dividend to shareholders at 9 cents per share.” Argus Group’s three core divisions remained positive, with wealth management operating results improving from $0.1 million to $0.4 million, global property & casualty rising to $7.5 million from $4.7 million. However, the operating earnings from employee benefits in Bermuda dropped from $13 million to $0.2 million — this division includes health insurance. During 2015 and 2016, Argus saw a plateauing trend in health claims inflation and passed on premium savings to customers. In hindsight, the group believes that it made that move too quickly, which contributed to the loss in the health business this year. Looking ahead, Argus has signed an agreement to sell its private placement life business, a noncore business segment that is described as a drag on the group’s resources. Ms Hill said: “The terms of the deal will mean a gain of up to $6 million will be reported over the next three years, based on the persistency of the business.”

paragraphA film shot in Bermuda has won top awards at an international film festival. Mother of all Secrets claimed two prizes at the California Women’s Film Festival. Director Lucinda Spurling has been amazed by the achievement of winning. She added: “I just feel gratitude that we were able to get some recognition for all the people that worked really hard on the movie.” The picture claimed the Best Feature and the Best Director honours at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles. It was also nominated in three additional categories — Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. The movie, shot last year, features several Bermuda attractions and resorts. The cast included Emmy award-winner Kate Mansi, Top Gun star Kelly McGillis, Real Housewives of New York star Luann D’Agostino, as well as Bermudian performers, including The Royal Gazette’s Owain Johnston-Barnes, who plays a police officer. The thriller follows a young couple on vacation in Bermuda before the birth of their first child. The trip takes a sinister turn when the father-to-be disappears. Ms Spurling said that the Bermuda Arts Council had helped to fund the film’s entry in the festival, which was held last weekend. Ms Spurling said she was unable to attend the awards ceremony. She explained: “I knew that we were going to get the best feature award, but I only found out about that a week before. That didn’t give me enough time to get all the way out there, unfortunately.” The competition is open to films that have at least one woman in a key production position such as director, writer or cinematographer. Films produced or directed by men are accepted if there is a lead female protagonist or the story is based around women. Ms Spurling said: “It also puts a magnifying glass on the issue of gender parity in our industry.” She added she was on a search for a production company for new screenplays. Ms Spurling said: “I was still quite shocked at how many companies there are out there that are totally run by men.” She added that festivals designed to recognise women in film were “really important”. She explained: “There is an audience out there. Movies by women, for women, actually make more money. There’s a whole viable financial model which is not being widely used.” Ms Spurling said that an additional festival announcement for the film was in the works, but that she could not reveal more. She added it would provide a “great opportunity” for the movie. Ms Spurling said she was also in the early stages of a new comedy-drama project called Me and Jezebel. The film will focus on American film star Bette Davis going into hiding in 1985 to avoid the media after the publication of a tell-all book by her daughter. Ms Spurling added: “It’s about how she bonds with her biggest fan and kind of turns this suburban family upside down, but then, eventually, more right side up.”

paragraphA redevelopment of the former Ariel Sands hotel could still be on the cards with a group from North America said to be heading to the island to look at the property and talk to movie star owner Michael Douglas.  

ArielSands

Lou Maroun, a US developer and adviser who has been associated with the Ariel Sands redevelopment project, said: “There is a possibility something is going to happen. “There is a group coming from North America to see if it is viable and to speak with Michael.” The South Shore property is on the market for $12.5 million. The 14.5-acre former Ariel Sands hotel and cottage colony in Devonshire closed in January 2008 and the site was later cleared in anticipation of redevelopment. Despite several resort development plans for the location over the past decade, including interest from the Hilton hotel group, none came to fruition. The Bermuda home of Mr Douglas and his actress wife, Catherine Zeta Jones, is also for sale. Longford House, in Warwick, was put on the market in 2016. The eight-bedroom house has a guest cottage, apartment and caretaker’s cottage. The luxury home is advertised for $10.6 million by Rego Sotheby’s International Realty, which is also advertising the Ariel Sands site and took the photo of it. The Ariel Sands property was used for a three-month pop-up innovation campus and beach club hosted by Bermudian-based Hub Culture last year. Mr Douglas, 73, is the son of Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas and the late Bermudian actress Diana Dill. The Dill family’s ancestry in Bermuda dates back to 1630. The family first owned the Ariel Sands property in the 1840s and it opened as a hotel resort in 1954. Mr Douglas and Ms Zeta Jones also own properties in the US and Spain. He was in France this week to promote the release of his latest movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

paragraphAn expatriate worker could face a bill of $500,000 after he hit a motorcyclist while drunk behind the wheel, he revealed yesterday. The worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was so drunk he could not remember the crash and only realised he had seriously injured a man on a bike when he was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. Mr A said: “If I could go back, I definitely wouldn’t have got into that car.” He added: “I couldn’t say what had happened in court because I was far too drunk when it happened.” His car swerved into the opposite lane and smashed into a man on a motorbike, which left the biker with injuries that needed major surgery. Mr A was later banned from driving for three years and fined $3,500 for the offence. He said the court sentence was just the beginning because his decision to drink too much and drive had caused him severe financial and emotional problems, as well as difficulty in getting transport or car insurance. The victim of his irresponsible action has also sued for damages that could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, which has left him unable to travel home to see family or go on vacation. Mr A said: “This was a few years ago now, but I am still paying lawyers; it is still ongoing. The guy wants to sue me because he can’t work any more. So far, I have had to pay out about $30,000 including fines and lawyers’ fees. Trying to live with yourself, that’s the hard part. I don’t think people realize the repercussions of what can happen if you drink and drive and get into an accident. I had to go and see a counselor about it. I couldn’t sleep at night worrying about the other guy. Then, when it came to an insurance claim, they only paid the minimum. Because I was off the road for driving under the influence, they refuse to insure me. I’m proof that it does all come back to haunt you.” He said he welcomed news that the Progressive Labour Party had passed legislation to introduce breath test checkpoints on the island’s roads. He explained: “It will stop people who go to Front Street after work, drink for three hours and think, ‘I’ll just get in my car, no one’s going to stop me’. With breath testing they won’t need a reason to pull you over. It should have been done a long time ago. Alternatives are key, the guy can’t be bothered to get a taxi if he has to stand at a rank for hours and the taxi might not even come. That is a big reason why people do it — convenience. Where I lived in the UK, every night they would run buses to get everyone home so they wouldn’t drink and drive. Stuff like that needs to be done, definitely.” Mr A said that he had learnt his lesson and has signed his name on a safe driving pledge wall launched by car dealer Auto Solutions in February. Mr A added: “Just think about the repercussions before you do it. Your job might involve having to drive every day and if you are banned from driving, you can’t provide for your family. The more people I can put off doing it, the better. If it does come down to the court ruling, I might have to pay $500,000 over the next 40 years. It has definitely had an impact on other people because I like to tell people this is why you don’t drink and drive. I have had to stop friends from getting in their car and tell them ‘listen, it’s not worth it’.”

paragraphThousands of people across the island lost power after two generators at electricity firm Belco shut down yesterday. The outage happened at about 8.30am and caused 24 circuits to go down, which affected 16,000 customers. A spokeswoman for the firm said power was restored to all customers just after 9.30am. Belco’s online outage map showed several areas across Bermuda had lost power, — although St George’s and St David’s appeared unaffected.

paragraphA 51-year-old man was charged today with the premeditated murder of Marcus Gibbings more than a decade ago. Cleveland Rogers appeared in Magistrates’ Court over the murder which happened on or before October 25, 2006. Mr Gibbings, 32, from Trinidad, was found stabbed to death at a Devonshire apartment on October 26, 2006. Mr Rogers was not required to enter a plea as the matter must be dealt with in Supreme Court. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo remanded Mr Rogers into custody. He was appear at the arraignments session in Supreme Court on September 4.

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July 19

paragraphThe Government has done an “admirable” job of increasing opportunities for Bermudians, the Premier claimed yesterday. David Burt highlighted the amount of legislation that has gone through Parliament since the Progressive Labour Party took power and insisted all but one of its 100-day pledges is largely complete. In an interview with The Royal Gazette as he marked his first anniversary at the helm, Mr Burt assured voters of the hard work being carried out. However, he remained tight-lipped on controversial issues such as the appointment of Narinder Hargun, the new Chief Justice, and whether he would set up a Commission of Inquiry into a row over legal action launched by the previous government against the American-based Lahey Clinic. A lawsuit brought by the former One Bermuda Alliance government alleged Lahey conspired with Ewart Brown, a former premier, to defraud the island of millions of dollars in healthcare charges. The United States District Court in Massachusetts later allowed Lahey’s motion to dismiss the case. Mr Burt said of the 21 pledges to “bring immediate change to Bermuda’s society” in the PLP’s first 100 days, 20 were “substantially complete”. He added the one remaining pledge was the provision of access to funding for community clubs through a loan guarantee programme. Mr Burt explained: “I know the Ministry of Social Development and Sport, along with the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, are working to complete that, through the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. It is our aim to complete things as quickly as possible so we will continue to work to finalize that particular issue.” He admitted: “As someone who has a background in community clubs it’s a disappointment that has not been able to be completed substantially and that community clubs are not able to enjoy those guarantees to get that work done, but I am certain that it will be done in the very near future.” Mr Burt said two other items, the implementation of a Spending and Government Efficiency Commission recommendation to establish three permanent parliamentary oversight committees, and the drawing up of a code of conduct for Members of Parliament, fall under the scope of the House of Assembly. He admitted: “We cannot actually do them.” But he added: “From the government perspective, we’ve done our bit of it.” The Premier said: “I push everyone incredibly hard. The amount of legislation which has gone through the House of Assembly this year has been significant. It’s not as though the people who are at the House have not been doing anything, they have a number of committees as well, so it is not my intention to say that they are not advancing in the way which they should, it’s just certain things take longer time than others, so from that perspective that’s where I would say that challenge would lie. I think overall when you look at the things that are written inside of our Throne Speech, which we said we would like to accomplish in this parliamentary year, I think we’ve done an admirable job in advancing those items.” Mr Burt promised some “meaty items” were still to come to the table, including feedback from the Bermuda First economic and social advisory group and a report from the tax reform commission. He added there also was work to be done in healthcare finance and reform, the cost of living, which was “without question a challenge” and access to banking services to generate competition in the face of rising interest rates. The Government confirmed earlier this month it is to appeal a landmark Supreme Court decision to reverse the island’s ban on same-sex marriage. Mr Burt shied away from calling the case a “priority”, but said the Government would continue “in the direction” in which the party was elected. He added that, despite calls from inside the PLP for a Commission of Inquiry into the government lawsuit against the Lahey Clinic, which he suggested he would think about when it was raised in the House of Assembly, there were more important things to deal with. Mr Burt said: “We consider all things and then we make a decision based on merits, but I think that right now the most important thing at this point in time is to focus on making sure we continue to deliver the things which we laid out in our election platform.” He also avoided reopening controversy over the appointment of Narinder Hargun as the new Chief Justice, which he said was “an affront” to the Government after the appointment was announced. Mr Burt said: “I don’t wish to go down that rabbit hole right now. What I would say is that the Chief Justice has been appointed under the Constitution which we have as a country and I wish him well in his service.” Mr Burt summarized his view of his party’s 12 months in charge. He said: “We stated that we were going to put in place policies that were going to allow Bermudians to have more education, to be better trained, to have better opportunities for entrepreneurship and better opportunities inside of the corporate sector. I think in all cases we have done an admirable job in that, so I think the ethos of the Progressive Labour Party shines through.” Mr Burt will give an overview of his first year in office in a national address today. The address, at 6.40pm, will be carried by CITV, One Communications channel 2 and Wow channel 102 as well as the website www.gov.bm/whats-on-citv and the Government of Bermuda Facebook page.

paragraphA new law to introduce roadside breath tests at mobile checkpoints was said to be a victory for road safety yesterday. Lauren Wilson, the mother of Wolde Bartley, who was left bed-ridden after he was injured in a 2004 drink-related crash while traveling as a passenger, said her son could be living a normal life today if the legislation had been in force then. Ms Wilson has provided around-the-clock care for Mr Bartley, now 37, since the crash. She said: “My son’s life, my life, and my whole family’s life would be different. It changed our lives for ever. My son has a daughter who is grown up. He is missing everything in her life by not being there. She’s missing out on growing up with her father, especially when she was a little girl.” Ms Wilson said she was convinced the new law would help save lives. She added: “I expect that it will be very effective, this should have happened a long time ago. Ms Wilson pleaded: “To the public, please be safe when driving, including passengers. Please make sure you have a designated driver. Look where my son is today.” Anthony Santucci, the executive director for anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada, said the new law would be an “effective” weapon in the battle for safer roads. He said: “Ten years ago on July 8 was when we first recommended we should have roadside testing. A decade later we are one step closer.” Mr Santucci added: “Sobriety testing is not for the purpose of catching the public but for changing behavior. I know this law will be effective because it is well publicized to change people’s behavior. In countries where they have successfully implemented checkpoints, the number of road fatalities has gone down.” Roadside breath tests and effective enforcement is one of the three main objectives of The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign, with partner group A Piece of the Rock. A Drive for Change spokeswoman said the legislation appeared to strike a good balance. She added: “The Drive for Change campaign sees this move by the Progressive Labour Party as a victory for road safety in Bermuda. The legislation is carefully designed to act as a deterrent by providing prior notice of when the checkpoints will be and giving a general location. More precise information would have alerted the community to where the checkpoints were not present and give impaired drivers a get out. This general information about active checkpoints will hopefully be enough of a deterrent, as has been proven to be the case in the UK, Australia and many other jurisdictions.” A spokesman for A Piece of the Rock said the move was “a bold step towards stemming the epidemic of road injuries and deaths on Bermuda roads caused by driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Without the proper execution of the road side sobriety checkpoints, the Roadside Sobriety act will be merely ink on paper, so we are hopeful that the sobriety checkpoints will be instituted consistently and properly.” Rod Farrington, senior manager for the Drive for Change campaign’s title sponsor Gorham’s, added: “Knowing the fact that there will no longer be a grey area for drink driving, people will now think before they sit down behind the steering wheel of their car or get on a motorcycle after drinking.” Susan Jackson, the Shadow Minister of Health, has raised the issue of road safety several times in the House of Assembly over the past few months. She said: “I always want to make sure that this is not going to become an excuse for profiling members of our community based on subjective observations of our police force and that when the sobriety testing is taking place there are very clear procedures in place. Ms Jackson said: “The gazetted notice should be broad enough that it doesn’t give the option for people to find an alternate route to drive while intoxicated. We need as much awareness as possible — I would like to see some sort of educational component that exposes them to the effects of alcohol and other drugs in the system. It should be mandatory.” Chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council Dennis Lister III added: “The BRSC fully endorses the Bermuda Government and the introduction of roadside sobriety checkpoints. We fully understand that drinking and driving or driving under the influence is prevalent in Bermuda and a part of the wider culture of bad road behaviors. Implementing this will help change the driving habits of those that choose to drive under the influence of alcohol and potentially cause accidents on our roads. As with the recently released Road Safety Plan Operation Caution, the BRSC is looking to address all factors of bad driving on the roads and this is a step forward for us, as a country, to change the driving culture and ultimately to save lives.”

paragraphDetails on how government policies will affect ordinary Bermudians need to be clearer, the Leader of the Opposition has claimed. Jeanne Atherden said ministers have had plenty of time to deliver on everyday issues that affect the people of the country after a year of Progressive Labour Party power. The One Bermuda Alliance leader added the public now wanted substance to accompany a checklist of guarantees 12 months after the Progressive Labour Party’s General Election victory. Ms Atherden said: “I think the people of Bermuda have been looking at the promises that they made and been trying to assess whether those promises have actually been kept and what impact it has had on them. I think they are now starting to realize a number of these promises have not been kept, a number of these promises have had a detrimental effect on them and that some of the things they had been given have been taken away.” She explained: “The increases in social insurance for seniors are now offset by the increase in health insurance premiums, or the fact that there’s a reduction in payroll tax has been offset by the fact that there are some more taxes which are going to hit the bottom line and so it’s like, ‘hey, you give it to me, you take it back. So I think that they’re now starting to say, ‘I need to look a little bit more closely at what’s being suggested’ because in addition to that, some of these things do not have enough information about how it’s going to impact on them and therefore they’re being asked to say, ‘let’s support this’ without realizing what’s going to happen.” Ms Atherden claimed the Government was “definitely not transparent enough. I think that it’s a combination, they’re rushing, with a consequence that some of the legislation they’re putting in is rushed and we have to make changes.” Ms Atherden told The Royal Gazette: “I think any government has to understand that from the time you’re elected you need to make sure that the contract you’ve made with your electorate ... that contract is subject to review and they’re going to be looking at your performance.” She highlighted “buses and trash and all sorts of things” the party had mentioned. Ms Atherden added: “They said, ‘give us this amount of time and we will have it in place and we will order more trash trucks, we will make sure we have maintenance’. Well they’ve been in place now, they had money which was left in the budget last year and so if you look right now we still have trash service which is one day a week, we used to have two days a week before and now you have the indication that this is going to be delayed even further, especially when we’re coming into the summer months when one would have thought that this was the time, even if it was only temporary, that you could have dealt with it from a health issue. There was the talk about issues with the buses, we didn’t leave enough money for them, even though there was provision to buy buses. There was a plan to update the fleet, they had this whole issue of ‘we didn’t leave them enough money with respect to manpower’, well they’ve had enough time. There was the concern about the bus schedule — we were trying to implement a new bus schedule which, if implemented, would have solved many of these problems with respect to the numbers of buses that you need with respect to routes. So they’ve had it, they’ve had it on their plate, now it’s time for them to deliver. They cannot go back and blame the former government, they have to say, ‘this is us’.” Ms Atherden said ministers claimed they were checking off a list of pledges but that some needed closer inspection, pointing to a more progressive pensions system recently announced by the Government, which will see a shift away from a flat rate in contributions as part of its plan to create a fairer tax system. It was said that the most vulnerable will carry a smaller share of the pensions burden but Ms Atherden questioned how the measures would be implemented and the impact it would have on all Bermudians “not just the people at the low end of the scale. So I think that the devil is in the detail. Therefore, we, as the Opposition representing the people of Bermuda, have to ask the questions, but more importantly, the people of Bermuda have to start saying, ‘tell us some more, you promised to be transparent, you promised to collaborate, we’re not seeing enough of this’.” Ms Atherden said: “You can’t just tick a box without looking to see if has any substance to it?”

paragraphThe Reefs has been listed among the top hotels in the Caribbean region by Travel & Leisure magazine readers. David Dodwell, the owner of The Reefs, said he was happy to see the hotel in the list — and to see a picture of the hotel used as the lead picture for the story. Mr Dodwell said: “We are of course very thankful to all of our guests who voted for us and especially proud of all of our team members here without whom this recognition would not be possible.” He added: “The interactions our staff have with our guests every day, and how they go above and beyond to help create special memories for every visitor and give them an authentic Bermudian experience, is what we feel resonates with each and every guest we have stay with us.” The Reefs was listed at 14 in the magazine’s top 25 list with a score of 91.34 out of 100. The South Shore, Southampton resort beat popular destinations like the Zemi Beach House in Anguilla, the Rockhouse in Negril, Jamaica and The Cove in Eleuthera, Bahamas. The Frangipani Beach Resort in Anguilla topped the list with a score of 97.88. Jade Mountain in St Lucia and Curtain Bluff Resort in Antigua rounded out the top three.

paragraphConservation groups have vowed to continue their fight against proposals for quad bike tours on the Railway Trail. They were speaking as the House of Assembly prepares to debate an amendment to the law to allow the tours to go ahead. Bill Zuill, the executive director of the Bermuda National Trust, said the group was “disappointed” to see the Government go ahead with legislation and urged MPs to vote against the change. He added environmental groups had protested against the use of the Railway Trail, Fort Scaur and Hog Bay Park, in contravention of the National Parks Act which “expressly forbids the use of vehicles in National Parks”. Mr Zuill said a petition against the tours had attracted “hundreds” of signatures. He added: “We believe that Bermuda’s parks are for the peaceful enjoyment of the public and these ATV tours will shatter that peace and tranquility. While we support innovative tourism ideas and agree that Bermuda’s environment is an asset to be shared with our visitors, this proposal is not the answer. We are also concerned that this will set a precedent for similar tours throughout the island, again using Bermuda’s Railway Trail and other national parks. We call on Bermuda’s legislators to oppose this legislation and not to ignore the mass of public opinion who took the trouble to submit objections in the belief that they would get a hearing.” The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Task Force has filed an application for a judicial review into the proposal. BEST’s application to the Supreme Court, dated July 12, named Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, along with Rudolph Hollis, one of the backers of the venture. Colonel Burch has defended the plan for the all-terrain vehicles to be used for “guided educational tours” on the trail and other protected areas at the West End. The proposal got 402 strikes against it in a public survey revealed in February of this year, while only two votes were said to be in favour. The Motor Car Amendment (No 2) (Tour Quadricycles) Bill 2018 will permit licensed quad cycle rental schemes, as well as amend the definition of a motorcycle to include three-wheeled vehicles. A maximum of seven ATVs, including a guide, would be permitted for a tour. The machines would have a maximum engine size of 150cc

paragraphPolice have warned the public about cyber scams that target seniors after an increase in reports. A spokesman said the scam involves the target being called by someone falsely identifying themselves as being with Logic Communications or One Communications. The spokesman said: “The caller is said to have an Indian accent and is identified as using 937-555-0183, a telephone number also used during the recent Microsoft Windows scam. As a means to add authenticity, the caller will identify the resident personally. If the resident challenges the caller, they might be threatened with disconnection of service or worse.” The scammer asks the target to look at their Windows Event Viewer and claims there is a serious problem with the victim’s computer. The target is then asked to download Team Viewer, which gives the scammer remote access to their computer, and access their internet banking. The spokesman added: “With remote access, the caller now has full access to the resident personal bank account and is now able to transfer funds from the account at will.” Those who fall victim to the scam should contact their bank as soon as possible and report the incident to the Organized and Economic Crime Department at 247-1757. They should also remove any software installed at the request of the scammer and change any passwords. The spokesman said: “Be suspicious of any person asking you to install software and especially so if you are then asked to access your personal bank accounts. If in any doubt as to the authenticity of the caller, disconnect and call the business number listed in telephone directory. Do not call any telephone numbers given to you by the caller.”

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July 18

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphDavid Burt will give an overview of his first year in office in a national address tomorrow. The Premier’s address, at 6.40pm, will be carried by CITV, One Communications channel 2 and Wow channel 102 as well as the website www.gov.bm/whats-on-citv and the Government of Bermuda Facebook page.

paragraphA 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”.

paragraphMinisters have kept a careful eye on the public purse strings in their first year at the helm, despite a “curious” list of government priorities, a political observer claimed last night. Denis Pitcher said he believed spending has been curbed in comparison to previous Progressive Labour Party administrations and welcomed a move to expand the financial technology industry. The independent analyst also explained that external influences, particularly the global economy, could bring about “considerable disruption” and highlighted the need for Bermuda to continue to manage risk. Mr Pitcher said: “The PLP has performed a reasonably positive job in their first year in government. While they did not manage all of their first hundred-day pledges, they have continued delivering on many of them as well as quietly ticking off a variety of their platform promises. The first year has not been without controversy, however, and the priorities of the Government have certainly raised eyebrows for some. A noticeable and welcome change from the previous PLP administration is that they appear far more restrained with regard to money management. The Budget was encouraging and the PLP are hopefully on track to keeping spending below estimates. We simply cannot afford to add any further debt and there is a sense that this reality is understood by the current administration. The administration’s priorities have been curious. They have focused a considerable amount of energy on placating and rallying their core supporters as if they’re still campaigning. While the same-sex marriage legislation was a platform pledge, it has been curious that it has been such a top priority. Similarly, the rush to take ministerial control of the gambling commission created a considerable amount of controversy and yet there has seemingly been no progress since. Then, there are the ongoing mentions of independence. It is odd that these issues are so prominent versus more immediate ones. The Premier’s longstanding pledge to develop a fintech industry on the island shows promise and is one which I strongly support. The number of companies incorporating and the raft of memorandums of understanding demonstrate that there is potential opportunity to be had.” He added he was concerned by recent “odd and confusing” announcements by cryptocurrency exchange and coin company Arbitrade, which included a promise that it would donate $45,000 to a programme to put gang members to work on chicken farms. Mr Pitcher went on: “It is hoped that the Government will do thorough due diligence to ensure that any prospective cryptocurrency business represents a well audited and upstanding business rather than a scam. We desperately need to attract credible and viable businesses to grow this industry.” Meanwhile, he said: “The PLP faces considerable external challenges that could cause considerable disruption.” Mr Pitcher warned: “The global economy is increasingly looking to be in the later stages of the economic cycle with another global recession looming on the horizon.” He added the Government had to be “very wary” of the risks of borrowing more money. Mr Pitcher said the Government “faces an ongoing challenge of being composed of a diverse range of political ideologies. This will likely create a growing tension within the party in the absence of a credible opposition if each ideological group fails to see enough progress. How the PLP will balance the pro-business efforts of Premier Burt and Minister of National Security Wayne Caines with the desires for policy to address income and racial inequality is unknown. Maintaining and growing our economy while also significantly addressing income and racial inequality will be a delicate task that may not keep everyone satisfied.”

paragraphA 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.”

paragraphRoadside breath tests were backed by the Senate today. Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, told the Upper House that the legislation covered the setting up of checkpoints, as well as obtaining breath testing equipment and the formalizing of preliminary testing procedures — including adding an offence for drivers who refused tests. Ms Simmons added that all vehicles going through checkpoints would be “checked and treated the same” to stay in line with the island’s Constitution. She said that the checkpoints would be manned by at least five police officers. A “balancing act” would be required for concerns over the invasion of drivers’ privacy. Motorists would be asked for their licences and registration, and could be questioned on whether they had been drinking. “As the officer is looking at these documents and talking to you, he will be looking for obvious signs of impairment,” Ms Simmons said. Drivers could be breathalysed if police were “not satisfied with your behavior”. Physical tests would include walking in a straight line, touching the tip of the nose by hand and following a moving object with the eyes. “If you pass the test, you move on,” she said. “If you fail the test, you will be arrested.” The Attorney-General conceded that checkpoints could cause delays, and police would also manage the flow of traffic at the stops. Breath testing devices, which had already been identified, would initially require $25,000, starting with five to six units. Training for officers in Hampshire in the UK would come out of the service’s normal training budget, Ms Simmons added. Statistics heard in the Senate included a total of 1,240 collisions reported to police last year: 606 were damage only, 555 entailed minor injury, 64 were serious and there were 15 deaths. There were 1,557 people treated in hospital in 2016 for traffic collisions, costing $2.65 million in health insurance claims. Senator Justin Mathias of the One Bermuda Alliance suggested breath testing all drivers for consistency, while Senator James Jardine, the independent senator, welcomes having the procedures of preliminary tests spelled out. Mr Jardine queried the circumstances in which officers could set up checkpoints “as a matter of urgency”. Ms Simmons said police could set up checkpoints without the prior written permission of the senior magistrate for “unplanned, unorganized pop-up events” such as sports teams celebrating a win — in which case, officers could get the magistrate’s verbal approval down the phone. Anthony Richardson, the government senator, said the Bill represented “common sense”, and was “preventive as opposed to punitive”. Senator Michelle Simmons, the independent senator, said that Bermuda had one of the world’s worst rates of road deaths, but expressed reservations over officers in a small community falling subject to bias at checkpoints — with the possibility of some impaired drivers getting “waved on”. But the Attorney-General said that training in Britain would specifically address the issue of police dealing with people they knew personally. Senator Jason Hayward of the Progressive Labour Party said the life-saving legislation had been “a long time coming”, and recalled a “near-death experience” this Christmas when a “clearly” impaired driver came “speeding and weaving on my side of the road” as he drove home from a family dinner, with his two sons in the car. “I almost felt like I was playing chicken,” Mr Hayward recalled. “I slammed on the brakes, held onto the wheel and closed my eyes.” Mr Hayward said the shock had reduced him to tears, knowing that “my life could be taken from me through no fault of my own”. He also saluted the Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign, which included a push for the introduction of roadside testing. Transport minister Walter Roban commented on the Bill’s approval: “It is our aim to introduce measures which will bring awareness, shape behavior and yield safer road conditions for all motorists.”

paragraphA new catastrophe bond that will transfer some US flood risks from the public sector to the private market is being hailed as “another significant first for the Bermuda market”. The bond will be issued through FloodSmart Re, a Bermuda-based special purpose insurer, and will seek to provide $275 million of reinsurance protection. A report on the alternative risk transfer website Artemis said the FloodSmart Re bond was the first to be launched by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover certain risks of the National Flood Insurance Programme. FloodSmart Re will also be the first catastrophe bond to solely provide reinsurance coverage for flood risks. According to Artemis, the reinsurance coverage will apply only to FEMA and the NFIP’s exposure to flood events caused by US named storms. The news was welcomed yesterday by John Huff, chief executive officer of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers. Mr Huff said: “Another significant first for the Bermuda market. Bermuda is the world’s leader in property-catastrophe reinsurance expertise. Fema and NFIP should be applauded for their efforts to begin de-risking the US federal government from disaster risks. There is much more work to be done with abundant private-market capital available through traditional reinsurance, partner capital and capital markets. The US Congress should do more too and give consumers lower premiums by allowing private flood insurance options.” Artemis reported that Hannover Re is acting as the ceding reinsurance firm for the transaction, fronting the coverage for the NFIP. Fema also purchased $1.46 billion of private reinsurance on January 1, 2018, having benefited from the $1.04 billion of private coverage in bought in 2017, when hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria caused major damage in the US and its Caribbean territory, Puerto Rico. The NFIP paid out $8 billion in flood claims last year. The Reinsurance Association of America also welcomed the news yesterday. “The RAA has long advocated for the NFIP to utilize the private market to provide financial backing for the government’s flood risk,” Frank Nutter, president of the RAA, said. Along with its second successful placement of reinsurance coverage earlier this year, the cat bond issuance confirms Fema’s continued commitment to expanding private sector backing and the financial protections it will afford the NFIP and American taxpayers.” Mr Nutter added: “Fema recovered the full $1.042 billion of reinsurance coverage it placed with the private reinsurance sector in January 2017.” The notes are due to be sold in two tranches, according to Artemis, each of which will offer double-digit coupons to investors.

paragraphAmerican International Group Inc has completed its acquisition of Bermuda-based Validus Holdings Ltd. The deal was first announced in January and has now close following receipt of regulatory approvals and approval of Validus shareholders. Brian Duperreault, president and chief executive officer of AIG, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Validus to AIG. Validus’s experienced team and complementary businesses will help us deliver sustainable, profitable growth as we continue to build value for our shareholders.” In a statement, AIG said Validus adds “attractive and diversified franchises” with reinsurance platform Validus Re, an insurance-linked securities asset manager AlphaCat, Lloyd’s syndicate Talbot, together with Western World, a specialist in US small commercial excess and surplus underwriting, and Crop Risk Services, which provides access to the North American crop insurance market. Peter Zaffino, AIG’s CEO, General Insurance, said: “We look forward to working with the Validus team on the expanded capabilities and value we can deliver to our clients and broker partners. The Validus businesses will be immediately accretive to our performance in General Insurance now that they are officially part of AIG.” Validus was among the Bermuda “Class of 2005” reinsurance start-ups that followed in the wake of the major insured losses from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma that year.

paragraphA 28-year-old man was fined $800 and banned from driving today after he refused to provide a breath sample to police. Magistrates’ Court heard that Christopher Brown was stopped after a police car was forced to swerve to avoid a collision with his car. Police said that Brown’s breath smelled of alcohol, his speech was slurred, and his eyes were bloodshot. He told police when questioned: “I had two drinks.” Brown, of St George’s, was ordered out of the vehicle and asked to take a breathalyzer test. But he said: “No, I don’t agree. I know my rights, you have to prove it.” Brown pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to the incident, which happened on Mullet Bay Road, St George’s, on June 15. He apologized for his actions in court. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo disqualified Brown for a year in addition to the fine.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphConstruction at the St Regis hotel project in St George’s has continued to progress. Developer Hotelco Bermuda Holding Ltd said yesterday that 55 workers are employed at the site and 70 per cent are Bermudians. 

St Regis Hotel, Bermuda

Crisson Construction completed piling work at the site last week with foundation work now under way. Project manager Juan Cordova said: “This is a stage of every development where progress is hard to see because it is mostly under the ground and out of sight. However, this completion was critical. Real, hard and professional work has been done here.” Miguel Purroy, principal of Hotelco, added the company was committed to the project. Mr Purroy said: “We have decided not to build staff housing on the site. Instead, we will rent idle properties and we will buy in the local stores and we will celebrate all that St George’s does for this community. “Day-to-day life in the Olde Towne will certainly be championed in what we say and do.” Mr Purroy added: “We have enjoyed great support from the community and from the Government. It makes us very confident when we realize everyone on the island is enthusiastic about this development. They want us to succeed.” Laura Purroy, general manager of Hotelco, said the developer had focused their first efforts on the construction of the hotel, with work on residences to follow. Ms Purroy added: “It is the policy of St Regis and of Marriott International that no branded residences can be occupied and lived in until the hotel is fully operational. Also, from a commercial and marketing point of view, this sequencing of hotel first and then residences makes complete sense.” The first phase of the project will include the 120-room hotel and amenities including two infinity pools, a spa, a children’s club and two restaurants. Two condominiums are also included in the first phase of the project, with 15 residences apiece. Ms Purroy said: “We are proud to bring one of the most renowned high-end luxury hotel brands in the world here to Bermuda. The St Regis brand will contribute greatly to enhancing Bermuda’s well-deserved reputation as a high-end, celebrated tourist destination.” She added: “We are developing in one of the most beautiful sites in Bermuda, situated in a World Heritage setting. This is a winning combination.”

paragraphFood 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”.

paragraphA woman tourist and taxi driver were rushed to hospital tonight after a cab overturned on South Shore. A police spokesman said the injured pair’s condition was unknown, but not thought to be life-threatening. He added: “The driver exited the taxi on his own accord however the female passenger had to be extricated from the taxi by the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service.” The crash happened just after 7pm on Lighthouse Hill, Southampton, near the Henry VIII restaurant. Lighthouse Hill has been cordoned off while the scene is examined by accident investigators.

paragraphA colony of bees that has laid claim to a tree on Dundonald Street is set to be evicted tomorrow evening. A City of Hamilton spokeswoman said the hive, located near the Church of God Heritage Worship Centre, will be removed by Passion Fields at 7pm. Signs have been placed in the area to warn the public until the hive can be removed. Spencer Fields, beekeeper at Passion Fields, said: “I need to extract the bees when traffic and pedestrians are at a minimum. This hive has caused anxiety as it is only about four feet up from the ground. I’m hoping to safely extract as many bees as possible.” Steven DeSilva, superintendent of parks, said: “Whenever we have a hive or swarm in the City, we call upon professionals, so that the bees can be removed safely. Mr Fields is a passionate bee keeper and will do his utmost to save as many bees as possible during the extraction and move them to a safe place. I urge the public to please steer clear of the affected area until the hive has been removed and under no circumstances is anyone to kill or tamper with the bees. He added: “We require a favourable outcome for both the public and the bees.” The spokeswoman for the City asked the public to contact them if they notice any potentially threatening bee activity in the municipality at 292-1234 so that it can be addressed. She said: “Any dispersal or relocation of bees should be handled by a bee professional that can assure the protection of the bees. The public are encouraged to educate themselves and others of the importance of bees in any community.”

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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.”

paragraphJeanne 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”.

paragraphFake 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.

paragraphTobacco 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.”

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphA 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.

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paragraphBermuda’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.”

paragraphLand 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.”

paragraphAnimals 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.

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.”

paragraphA 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.

paragraphBermuda’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.”

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paragraphA 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

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July 14

paragraphLawmakers 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.

paragraphBermuda’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.

paragraphA 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.”

paragraphA 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.

paragraphStudent 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 internships@belco.bm or visit www.belco.bm/careers/internships.

paragraphTwo 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.”

paragraphA 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.

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July 13

paragraphThose 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.

paragraphTeachers 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.”

paragraphLieutenant-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.

paragraphThousands 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.”

paragraphA 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”.

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphResidents near Shelly Bay beach proposed for family-friendly improvements can still air their views on the plans, the tourism minister said yesterday. 

Shelly Bay area

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.”

US Consul General Constance DiermanparagraphThe 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.”

paragraphA 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.

paragraphStudents 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.”

paragraphA 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.”

paragraphA 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.”

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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 lifeassistance@yahoo.com.

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paragraphPeople 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.”

paragraphBermuda 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.”

2018 ABIR eventparagraphThe 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.

paragraphThe 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.”

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphBermuda’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:

paragraphA 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.

paragraphBermuda 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.”

paragraphOutgoing 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.

paragraphThe 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.  

solar energy Bermuda

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.

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphQian 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.

paragraphEngland 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.”

paragraphFootball 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.

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gold barsparagraphA 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.”

paragraphXL 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.

Bermuda shorts in GuernseyparagraphHundreds 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.

paragraphDeputy 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.

paragraphWaitrose food recallCustomers 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.”

paragraphA 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.

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paragraphTynes 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.

paragraphTropical 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.”

paragraphA 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.

paragraphNewlyweds 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.”

paragraphThe 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”.

paragraphA 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.

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July 9

paragraphNearly $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.

paragraphBermuda 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.”

paragraphMichael 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.”

paragraphA 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.

paragraphAn 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. 

Arbitrade Canada and Bermuda intention

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”.

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphA 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.

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July 8, Sunday

paragraphPress 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."

paragraphTropical 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.

paragraphBermuda’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.

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July 7

paragraphLegislators 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.”

paragraphMembers 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.”

paragraphHealth 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.

Health insurance

See above

paragraphAsbestos 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 vetting@bps.bm

paragraphFour people have reported ciguatera fish poisoning this year. 

Fish poisoning warning

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 jdwilson@gov.bm.

US Tax filingOpinion, 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: martha.myron@gmail.com.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphOne 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.

paragraphCaribbean 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.

paragraphA 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.

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paragraphThe 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.

paragraphGovernment 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.”

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphBermuda 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.

paragraphProperty 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.

paragraphGold, 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.”

paragraphBermuda-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.

paragraphSeadrill 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.

paragraphInsurance 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 pridley@bps.bm 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.

paragraphTwo 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.”

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.”

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paragraphThe 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.

paragraphThe 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.”

paragraphVulnerable 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.

paragraphBermuda’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.

paragraphA 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.”

paragraphSilence 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphThe 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.”

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paragraphExpenses 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.

paragraphAn 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.”

paragraphThe 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 chamberrealestate@gmail.com.

paragraphVictoria HallFrom 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphFive 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

paragraphA 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.

paragraphA 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.

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paragraphGlobe-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.

paragraphThe 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.

paragraphA 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.”

paragraphA 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.

paragraphIllegal 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.

paragraphA 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.

paragraphIt 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.

paragraphDivers 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.”

paragraphWilliam 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.

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paragraphThere 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.

paragraphBus 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”.

paragraphThe 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

paragraphClyde 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.”

paragraphTwo 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.

paragraphPopular 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.”

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paragraphThe 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.”

paragraphFifteen 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”.

paragraphGuests 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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Last Updated: October 25, 2018
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