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Bermuda's 2018 June History and Newspaper Reports

Events that made newspaper headlines in the sixth 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.

June 30

spacerShade Subair Williams has been appointed as a Puisne Judge to the Supreme Court. Ms Subair Williams, who has often sat as an acting Puisne Judge over the past two years, was appointed to the role by John Rankin, the Governor. She was called to the Bermuda Bar in 2001, and has served as Registrar of the Supreme Court since May 2016. Government House pointed to Ms Subair Williams’s experience of civil, commercial and criminal law. She is a former chairwoman of the Bermuda Human Rights Commission, was regularly appointed Acting Magistrate from 2005 to 2016. She is also an executive member of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers and of the British Overseas Territories Judicial Training Committee. Mr Rankin said: “I am very pleased to approve the appointment of Shade Subair Williams to the Bermuda Bench. Ms Subair Williams brings with her a wealth of legal experience which I am confident will serve the Supreme Court well.”

spacerBermuda made a flying start to the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships in Aruba last night, capturing four medals, including one gold, and set a national and meet record. The highlight of the first session for Bermuda saw the foursome of Sam Williamson, Payton Zelkin, Caleb Ingham and Logan Watson-Brown set a meet record en route the winning the gold in the 13-14 4x50 metres mixed relay. The island’s team of Madelyn Moore, Skyler Powell, Brett Smith and Kai Legband also earned a place on the podium after clinching silver in the 15-17 mixed relay. Earlier, Brian Desmond opened the island’s medal account after securing the silver in the boys’ 15-17 1500 freestyle and establishing a national record. Bermuda had two podium finishers in the boys’ 15-17 1,500 freestyle as Adam Young touched the wall right behind compatriot Desmond to claim the bronze. “This was a great start to the competition,” Ben Smith, the Bermuda coach, said. Bermuda are being represented at the annual championships by a 20-strong squad spearheaded Jesse Washington and Moore. Bermuda clinched a fourth-place finish in the medals table at last year’s event in Trinidad and Tobago, capturing a total of 38 medals — 12 gold, 17 silver and nine bronze — as well as winning the under 11 and 12 girls category. The championships run until July 3.

spacerA softball league will return to its pitch after players were banned for allegedly drinking during games. Dean Williams, president of Softball Bermuda, said a dispute with the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation about wine bottles found at the Michael Preece softball diamond at Pembroke’s Bernard Park has been resolved. He added that both sides had promised to work together to ensure the sports field stayed alcohol-free. Mr Williams said: “I’m very happy. We had a meeting which was very fruitful and amicable. “Both of us are on the same team. We don’t want alcohol to be used at the ballpark, so we had some discussions around the table to come up with some things we can put in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” Mr Williams was speaking after players were told last week they were no longer welcome at the park after two wine bottles were discovered by staff in a trash bin near a dugout. He said: “Our players don’t believe it was them and that it could have been from the J’Ouvert but the Department said they didn’t think it was from that. In the end it doesn’t matter. We just want to put something in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Mr Williams said that warning signs would be put up at the entrance to the pitch and coaches would inspect the dugouts. Trash cans will also be removed from the dugouts and players will be responsible for keeping the area clean. Mr Williams said: “In our rules we have something to say you cannot use alcohol. Of course it’s one thing to put it in your rules and regulations but it’s another to police it.” Six games were cancelled as a result of the dispute as games scheduled for Monday and Thursday were not played. But Mr Williams said: “I’m just relieved we can go back to doing what 500 plus people love to do, which is play ball. I doubt very strongly that this situation will happen again.”

spacerRonald Lightbourne, an artist, activist and teacher, who died on Tuesday, was yesterday hailed as Bermuda’s “renaissance man”. An accomplished piano and trumpet player, Mr Lightbourne, who was 71, performed with top island artists in the heyday of Bermuda’s music scene. Gene Steede, a veteran musician who played with Mr Lightbourne at hotel venues for years, said Mr Lightbourne was a “brilliant” teacher. He added: “He was an excellent player and a writer and what made us friends is that I love comedy — he was a very funny man who loved to joke. He was a great guy who loved to travel — he spent time in Egypt, South Africa, you name it. He’d been there. Whenever I worked with him I had no worries. He was one of the best. “A great writer, generous and easygoing and soft-spoken — all the qualities of a great teacher and great friend.” Mr Steede added that Mr Lightbourne was also “a great cricketer” and “loved it, right to the end”. Meredith Ebbin, a journalist and historian, said Mr Lightbourne was “one of my dearest friends”. She added: “Our love of books, writers and writing established our friendship when we were young adults. A brief conversation would be all one needed to be aware of the breadth of his talents. He was a gifted writer, musician and a thinker.” Ms Ebbin added that Mr Lightbourne was a prominent member of Bermuda’s anti-apartheid movement and had lobbied for its abolition during his student teacher days in London during the 1960s, long before such activism became widespread. She said: “His friendship with the late Margaret Carter informed his activism on behalf of people with disabilities and his world view of inclusion for all, no matter your race, gender, nationality, ability or sexual orientation. Born in Guyana, he was a Bermudian, thanks to his Bermudian father, and a child of the Caribbean, because of his mother, who was from St Kitts. He did not live in Bermuda until he was a teenager when he entered The Berkeley Institute to do A-levels.” Mr Lightbourne’s parents Albert and Violet were Salvation Army officers who worked in several Caribbean countries during his childhood. Ms Ebbin said: “Their last posting before relocating to Bermuda was Jamaica, where Ron was educated at one of the island’s top schools.” She highlighted Mr Lightbourne’s “multifaceted” interests that made him “a poet, playwright, songwriter and mentor to writers”. Ms Ebbin said: “He spoke Spanish fluently. His wife Grisell was Cuban and he spent many summers in Cuba. He was a devoted son, husband, father, brother, and grandfather, and a friend to many, of all races and nationalities, both here and abroad.” Glenn Fubler, a community activist who taught alongside Mr Lightbourne at The Berkeley Institute, said he was “a renaissance man” mentored by musical great Lance Hayward. Angela Barry, a former Bermuda College lecturer and author, said Mr Lightbourne wrote plays like Dead Lines for the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society, and Wilson’s Weekend for Black Box productions. He was a member of the Bermuda Writers Collective, contributed fiction to several local anthologies, and received a James Michener creative writing fellowship at the University of Miami. Ms Barry said his poetry earned him invitations to overseas conferences. Mr Lightbourne was also a regular contributor to the Bermudian literature class at Bermuda College and presented a variety of classes at the Lifelong Learning Centre. Dale Butler, a historian and former Progressive Labour Party minister, said Mr Lightbourne was one of Bermuda’s “truly best” trumpeters and pianists. Mr Butler added: “I don’t think he ever received the recognition that he deserved. He was very humble, always trying to be of assistance.” Mr Butler said he had hired Mr Lightbourne as an English teacher when he was principal of St George’s Secondary School. David Burt, the Premier, said in the House of Assembly yesterday that Mr Lightbourne was “without question instrumental in the arts in Bermuda”. The Premier was among several MPs who knew Mr Lightbourne as a musician, a teacher and friend. Jeanne Atherden, the Opposition leader, told MPs that Mr Lightbourne had been an asset to the island’s West Indian Association, but was a special help to residents who wanted to visit Cuba at a time when travel to the Caribbean island was restricted. Michael Weeks, the sports and social development minister, said he was taught saxophone at Berkeley by Mr Lightbourne, who later became a friend. Rolfe Commissiong, a PLP backbencher, added that Mr Lightbourne was “a quintessential renaissance man”. Mr Commissiong said: “There were few of his generation that shone brighter than him.” In addition to Grisell, Mr Lightbourne is survived by his son, Jonathan, daughter, Jessica, and stepdaughter, Shirley.

spacerPolice have named an elderly woman tourist who died on a snorkel trip. Dolores Burke, 74, from Florida, was with a group near Hawkins Island when she experienced difficulties at about 11am on Thursday. The senior was visiting Bermuda on a cruise. A police spokesman said: “Despite life-saving efforts on the water as she was transported by police vessel to shore — which continued as she was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital via ambulance — Ms Burke was later pronounced dead. There were no suspicious circumstances, however, an autopsy is anticipated.” The spokesman added that a family liaison officer had been assigned to Ms Burke’s family.

spacerBermuda’s on-off relationship with same-sex sex marriage was a talking point on a top American TV comedy show. Trevor Noah, host of late-night The Daily Show, used a court reversal of a ban on gay marriage in a comic send-up that included a reference to the notorious Bermuda Triangle. The South African-born comedian told the show’s 1.5 million viewers that after legislation is passed on the island, it gets lost in the Bermuda Triangle then recovered by a deep-sea diver who returns it to the House of Assembly. Although he got the process wrong — Mr Noah and his “correspondents” are branded “The World’s Fakest News Team” — many saw the funny side although he was criticized by some disgruntled viewers. Bermuda hit the airways as Mr Noah featured a segment on same-sex marriage rights around the world in Thursday’s show on the Comedy Central channel. He said: “Although many are worried about the future of LGBTQ rights, let’s take a moment to celebrate how much progress has been made, and not just in America, but around the world.” Clips showed stories about Taiwan, Australia and Germany as same-sex marriage was legalized. But in footage about Bermuda, viewers heard how the country had “legalised same-sex marriage for a second time”. Gay couples again won the right to marry this month when Chief Justice Ian Kawaley upheld a constitutional challenge against the Domestic Partnership Act, which replaced same-sex marriage with civil unions. Mr Justice Kawaley ruled the sections of the Act that revoked marriage equality were invalid. An earlier court judgment paved the way for same-sex marriage but was overturned by the Domestic Partnership legislation. Mr Noah told his audience: “Yeah, that’s right, Bermuda legalized same-sex marriage twice, yeah, and I know that seems weird but that’s just how legislation works in Bermuda. You see what happens is, you pass it in Parliament and then it goes to the triangle, where it’s lost, then a deep-sea diver finds it and takes it back to Parliament.” The routine was accompanied by a graphic that included an image of Sessions House, with arrows pointing to a triangle then to a picture of a diver and back to the home of the House of Assembly. The joke earned laughter from the studio audience but brought mixed reactions from Twitter users when it was later posted on the social networking site. Taj Smith commented: “This wasn’t funny. It’s funny how America is more in the Bermuda triangle than we are but for some reason Americans think Bermuda is actually in it. Please do some research. And on our Parliament, do some research on that too, thanks.” But Joann Smith wrote: “I’m Bermudian and that was funny as hell.” Carlos Suarez added: “You can see Trevor Noah was so proud of that joke.” Mr Noah was named one of the 35 most powerful people in New York media by entertainment publication The Hollywood Reporter in 2017 and 2018. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world for 2018.  Mr Noah, The Daily Show and Comedy Central were asked for comment, but they did not reply by press time.

spacerA Bermudian who mowed his way around the United States yesterday announced a plan to take his charitable endeavors worldwide. Rodney Smith, founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Services, has already cut lawns for the elderly, disabled, single mothers and veterans in a marathon trip around the US. Now he plans to expand his 50 States, 50 Lawns scheme around the globe. Mr Smith said his next goal was a “7 Continents, 7 Lawns campaign”, in which he would travel the world tending to the gardens of people in need. But he added: “In Antarctica, I’ll have to shovel snow.” Mr Smith, who started the 50 States, 50 Lawns campaign two years ago, was speaking halfway through his second single-handed lawn-cutting trip around America, which is scheduled to finish on July 19. He said that he had decided to travel to all 50 states for a second time to, “encourage kids to do our 50 yard challenge,” where participants mow 50 lawns in their own areas. He added: “The long-term goal is to have chapters and kids all around the world taking part in our 50 yard challenge.” Mr Smith founded the not-for-profit lawn care service in Huntsville, Alabama, in 2016. He explained he was inspired to create the charity after he saw an elderly man mowing his lawn. Mr Smith said: “It looked like he was struggling, so I pulled over and helped him out. That night I decided to mow lawns for those in need.” He added that he had “asked God to use me as a vessel. He will always show you a way. It might not happen right away but it’s going to happen, just like me. And now I’m doing what I believe my purpose is.” His efforts gathered steam after his cross-country gardening trek was picked up by the media. Mr Smith said: “This time around, people are taking more notice, and kids are joining up. No matter how young or old you are, you can make a difference. I’m just trying to encourage kids to get out there and give back to their community.” Mr Smith wants to make the programme a “national organisation. I’d like to see the programme in schools, getting more people involved. There’s a big need out there, in some states I have more lawns than I can handle.” He plans to return to Bermuda and launch a 9 Parishes, 9 Lawns campaign. Anyone interested in taking part in the 50 States, 50 Lawns challenge can visit weareraisingmen.com. 

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June 29

spacerThe installation of speed cameras could feature in the Throne Speech later this year. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security said: “If I had to put something in the Throne Speech for November — if there was something that I could hang my hat on in the next parliamentary year — don’t be surprised if you see speed cameras from my ministry as part of our Throne Speech initiative.” With 140 plus CCTV cameras already installed, Caines said much of the hardware is already in place, so costs could be kept down. Mr Caines said: “It is not the cameras that cost the money, it is the infrastructure. The infrastructure exists and we don’t have the technical inhibitions that we would have had five years ago, so the key pieces we would need to work out would be legislative pieces.” Mr Caines was speaking at a town hall meeting at The Berkeley Institute on Wednesday alongside Walter Roban, the transport minister, to outline the five-year Operation Caution road safety plan. Mr Caines said that police resources had been targeted on Bermuda’s gun and gangs crisis in recent years, He added that the country was “not out of the woods” on gang violence, but the situation had eased, so meetings would be held to discuss potential reallocation of funds to road safety. Mr Caines said: “That is something we will discuss with the Bermuda Police Service. What we are looking to do is set up a meeting with the new Police Commissioner Stephen Corbishley and lay out the priorities for this government and for this country for the next six months — let’s put together a plan, including allocation of resources. Mr Caines added: “I don’t believe that we are going to police our way out of this. That is a part of it, but education and consistency is another.” The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign has asked for roadside breath tests, speed cameras and a graduated licensing programme for new road users. Legislation to introduce breath-test checkpoints was tabled in the House of Assembly last week. Mr Roban said that he had launched a review of the Project Ride scheme for young motorcyclists with a view to the addition of on-road training with qualified instructors. He added: “Road safety training in Bermuda has not been that comprehensive over the years.” Mr Roban said that a Green Paper was being prepared on the future of transport in Bermuda. He added: “A review of Project Ride is part of what we are doing and it will become a programme that reflects the needs that we have to deploy now in terms of driver education and safe driving instruction.” Other safety measures mentioned at the meeting included road-safety education from primary to adult level, an education programme for convicted drink drivers and a road-safety reporting hotline. The ministers were unable to give a budget for Operation Caution, but pledged the Bermuda Road Safety Council’s annual budget for this year of $25,000 as a start.

spacerThe standard premium for health insurance is to increase because demand for medical treatment has continued to rise. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said the standard premium rate, mandated for all insurance packages, would go up by $21.31 to $355.31 per month. The increase is in contrast to the $4 decrease put in place last year. Ms Wilson said: “Increasing premiums is not something any Government does lightly. “However, we have seen significant increases in the use of services caused by the high incidence of chronic, non-communicable diseases and the ageing of our population. The sicker our people are, the more it costs to care for us, and the higher premiums become. It is a simple and preventable cycle we have to get out of.” She was speaking as the House of Assembly debated the Health Insurance Amendment Act (No 2) 2018 last Friday. The minister said the Bill included changes to the Mutual Reinsurance Fund and its coverage for kidney health. The Bill will increase the coverage of kidney transplants from $100,000 to $150,000 to help more people get surgery. Ms Wilson said Bermuda Hospitals Board fees will not increase this year. Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, said members of the public would be unhappy to see insurance costs increase. She also asked the Government for updates on programmes designed to improve health, such as the enhanced care programme for people with chronic, non-contagious conditions. Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister of National Security, called the monthly cost increase “significant for anyone”. Mr Dunkley said that the Progressive Labour Party’s General Election platform had pledged to reduce the cost of healthcare. He added: “One of the first things that’s happened is the cost of healthcare has increased because the cost of insurance has increased. Where are seniors going to find that extra $21?” The comment drew a point of order from David Burt, the Premier. He said: “FutureCare is not going up, so there is no increase in health insurance rates for seniors.” He added it was “incredibly rich” to hear concerns from opposition members about the cost increase. He added: “We are here because they received advice that they had to increase rates for utilization and they ignored it. “So, when I hear a former premier say that ‘We will support the tough decisions’, I have a very simple question — why didn’t you make them?” Patricia Gordon-Pamplin objected to Mr Burt’s statement. She said: “To hear the Premier say that we didn’t want to make the tough decisions is not just disingenuous, it’s completely misleading.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “What I will not do is sit and listen to history be retold or reframed to suit the political narrative that the Premier wishes to advance.”

spacerThe voluntary retirement age could be increased to 67 as the Bermuda Government grapples with its “underfunded” pensions plan. David Burt told MPs the assets of the Public Service Superannuation Fund was valued at $574.1 million in March 2017, compared with $572.7 million three years previously. During that time, the unfunded liability increased from $796.6 million to $844.3 million of unfunded liability, the Premier told the House of Assembly. He said a number of actions had already been taken to improve the Fund’s position, including increasing contribution rates and suspending Cost of Living Adjustment increases for pensioners. But he said: “Despite these actions, the PSSF remains under-funded and there are no simple remedies to resolve the underfunded position of the Plan.” Mr Burt said a pension working group has proposed several changes to the pension system to ensure its long-term viability. They include:

• Change the final average earnings definition from “the salary payable to him immediately preceding the date of his retirement” to an average of his earnings over the five years preceding his date of retirement or termination.

• Increase the age at which an unreduced pension is payable from 60 to 65 (55 to 60 for special groups).

• Apply actuarial reductions on early retirement prior to age 65 (60).

• Increasing contributions

Mr Burt said the proposed changes, and a Government proposal to increase the voluntary retirement age to 67, would be sent for actuarial review to determine if they would have the desired effect. Those results should be brought to the House of Assembly later this year. Mr Burt told the House of Assembly: “The Government is sensitive to the challenges facing pension plans of this nature and will take the appropriate steps to ensure the long-term viability of this plan.” A review of the Ministers and Members of the Legislature Pension Fund, found the fund was valued at $12.5 million with $14.4 million of unfunded liability as of March 2017.

spacerA public inquiry into a government lawsuit against US medical group the Lahey Clinic would be a “huge waste” of time and money, the former Attorney-General at the centre of the case has said. Trevor Moniz, a former One Bermuda Alliance Attorney-General, claimed an inquiry would be embarrassing for the Progressive Labour Party government and any conclusion would be “something completely obvious”. Mr Moniz was backed by Michael Dunkley, the premier at the time, who said a suggestion by his successor David Burt for a Commission of Inquiry was “tough talk”. Both men were speaking after Zane DeSilva, a PLP backbencher and former minister, called for an investigation into the case in the House of Assembly this month. The call was supported by several PLP MPs and Mr Burt signaled he would consider the proposal. Mr DeSilva’s request centered on controversy over files related to the legal action against Lahey and allegations that Mr Moniz or others destroyed documents connected to the case. Mr Burt said at the time: “Maybe we can let an independent Commission of Inquiry find out the truth ... we will figure out how that truth is going to come out.” Mr Moniz, now Shadow Attorney-General, said he believed the Premier’s comments were a way to “get back” at him after he told the House he was aware of proceedings by HSBC that involved Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General. Mr Moniz added: “It’s nothing to do with the call for a Commission of Inquiry, it’s to do with me. He wanted to get back at me, he’s thinking, ‘how do I get back at Trevor Moniz?’” Mr Moniz said: “It was disingenuous, of course he can’t support it. When you think about it, is he really going to spend a couple of million dollars on a Commission of Inquiry that’s going to be, at the very best, extremely embarrassing for his government? Even the facts that exist in the public domain are hugely embarrassing for the PLP, damaging too. It would be an awful waste of $1 million for something completely obvious, for something shown to be true and a huge waste of public expense and time.” A US judge dismissed a case against Lahey in March. She said in her decision that a claim under the federal American Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act could not be considered because Bermuda had suffered no loss in the US. The former One Bermuda Alliance government alleged the medical group conspired with Ewart Brown, a former premier and doctor, to defraud the island of millions of dollars in healthcare charges. Mr Moniz said files were with Boston-based law firm Cooley, which handled the American case. He said suggestions that he had shredded documents related to the Lahey case were “nonsensical” and that he had “no fear”. Mr Moniz added the call for a Commission of Inquiry was a matter for the Premier. He said: “I can’t really say what he would do, my only remark is to be careful what you wish for, as these things have a way of turning back on people.” Mr Dunkley added: “If the Premier wants to go for a Commission of Inquiry, he has the ability, and the way his colleagues spoke that night in the House of Assembly, I believe they support him. They have the ability to do it; it’s their decision. I’m sure the PLP do not want to open up that hornet’s nest. The Premier talked tough in the House of Assembly, but if you’re going to talk full of vim and vigor and bravado, most of the time it’s very wise to back up your talk with some action. The Premier needs to put up or shut up.” Mr DeSilva said this week he had not discussed his call for an inquiry with Mr Burt since he spoke in the House. He explained: “The Premier spoke after I did. He certainly emphasized that he thinks the people of Bermuda need to know the truth. That’s what I was requesting. There’s too many unanswered questions; there’s too many clouds hanging over this whole thing. The Premier almost called for it himself; he has the power; it remains with him as to what or if he’s going to do anything.” An amendment to the Commission of Inquiry Act 1935 was passed in 2014 which meant the Premier, along with the Governor, can set up a hearing into matters of public importance and concern. A spokeswoman for the Premier said he stood by the statement he made in the House on June 15 and had nothing further to add.

spacerHundreds of families have signed up to an energy-saving programme, regulatory minister Walter Roban revealed today. Mr Roban said 220 homes have connected to the grid and 65 are using solar water heating, as a result of rebates to encourage residential solar power. The rebate is to be amended to install energy saving steps, including water heater timers and LED lights, for seniors and low income households. Mr Roban told the House of Assembly a sliding scale rebate will be introduced for properties to install solar photovoltaic power generators. It intends to create business and retain cash otherwise spent on fuel from overseas.

spacerThe Bermuda Government’s fintech plans have met “understandable resistance” from banking, David Burt told the House of Assembly today. The Premier spoke of the need to resolve the issue surrounding the new fintech which has been attracted to the island in recent weeks. He said legislation to create a “new class of bank” will be brought to the House to provide banking services to Bermuda-based fintech companies. Restrictive banking licenses will be introduced, and consultation has begun on expanding the types of banks that can operate in Bermuda to serve the public. “Bermuda must be nimble, or we will be left behind,” Mr Burt said, calling the proposals “critical”. The Premier said: “Yesterday afternoon, because this Government believes in consultation, I convened a meeting with the Bermuda Banking Association at the Ministry of Finance and I have their support.” He added: “The fact is that local banks do not currently have the risk appetite to accept persons in the digital asset space.”

spacerA long-standing dispute between Government and the Corporation of Hamilton over the city’s fire station has come to an end. The municipality agreed to write off $4.55 million in rental income owed in exchange for Government writing off $6.27 million owed to it by the Corporation, along with almost $3 million in tipping fees. Rental fees owed for the King Street station had mounted up for almost decade since a $1 “peppercorn lease” ended in 2008. Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said: “The Corporation wishes to thank this Government for agreeing to resolve, in part, a longstanding issue through the write-off of the potential debt related to the conclusion of the fire service agreement, its costs and loss of rents through the lack of a new lease. I am looking forward to a positive outcome in 2018 concerning this and other outstanding issues with Government, bearing in mind the monies being recorded here are for rents never received and liabilities never paid for. Mr Gosling added: “This changes the stated financial wellbeing of the Corporation as it removes a large piece of potential liability but has little if any impact on the cashflow or reserves.” The Corporation’s audited financial statements for 2017, released yesterday, show a growth in revenue at the municipality. Total year-on-year revenue rose by $1.2 million to 23.4 million, attributed to increased income from wharf and dock fees, parking fees and parking tickets. Increased expenditure on parks, gardens and road maintenance led to an increase in expenditure of $143,000 to $517,000.

spacerBermuda-based Limestone Re Ltd is providing nearly $700 million of capacity to US insurance giant Liberty Mutual. Limestone this week announced an issuance of $278 million in notes purchased by insurance-linked securities investors — the latest in a series of transactions for the segregated account company. Liberty, which owns Bermuda-based insurer Ironshore, said the private placement transaction would provide collateralized reinsurance for Liberty’s US property catastrophe programme, as well as its US homeowners and global property reinsurance risk. “Reinsurance through the Limestone Re platform forms an integral component of Liberty Mutual’s long-term strategy for accessing third-party capital,” James Slaughter, senior vice-president and chief underwriting officer of Liberty Mutual’s Global Risk Solutions strategic business unit, said. “Liberty Mutual is able to leverage our global distribution platform to provide, through reinsurance with the Limestone Re platform, insurance-linked securities (ILS) investors diversified pools of risk while concurrently bringing investors as close as possible to the underlying insurance risks. This latest transaction brings the total Limestone reinsurance collateralized capacity placed with ILS investors to nearly $700 million, demonstrating our commitment to the ILS market.” Investors positively responded to the Limestone Re offering, according to Matthew Moore, president, Liberty Specialty Markets, Liberty Mutual. “We’re pleased with the overwhelmingly positive market reception and look to continue to broaden our partnerships with ILS investors through future transactions,” Mr Moore said.

spacerA family said they were in shock yesterday after they were given six months to quit the land they have farmed for more than 50 years. However Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said he was open to discuss the matter. Richard Bascome Jr, 83, and his son, also Richard, were told at the start of this month that they must leave Westover Farm in Sandys, one of the island’s main dairy farms, which they have leased from the Government since the 1960s. The younger Mr Bascome said the short notice was “ludicrous”, and that the family had not been told what the Government planned to do with the land. He said: “They have not been open with what their plans are. Our concern is the land and the infrastructure here. The slaughterhouse is the island’s only one for large animals. There is the dairy, the butcher shop, and the vegetable gardens. On top of that, what’s alarming to all farmers is the loss of nearly seven acres of arable land, which affects food security in Bermuda. It’s no secret that we are critically low on land. We’re not just a family business. One of a farmer’s main things, other than the supply of food, is to protect the open space that we have left.” Mr Bascome said milk production at Westover had fluctuated over the years, but he estimated the farm provided a quarter of the island’s milk supply. He pointed out that the notice to quit meant an uncertain future for about 70 cows, 50 sheep and the farm’s poultry. Mr Bascome said “If they were going to move us to farmland somewhere else, a dairy would have to be set up immediately. Our cows are milked twice a day, but that’s if relocation is an option, which we haven’t been given.” The Bascomes said that 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. Mr Bascome added: “They can say our lease has lapsed, but that leads to another issue. There are several areas of farmland around Bermuda with leases that have lapsed. Some have not been renewed since 2015 and they still pay rent, but this is probably the biggest in jeopardy.” Mr Bascome said the silence from the Government was “deafening”. He added: “We’re willing to talk, if we have some idea of what they want to do. We understand that Bermuda has some of the most expensive real estate in the world. The push for development seems obvious, but you have to have a balance. It’s not just the farm — Daniel’s Head has been a special place for the people of Somerset for ever.” Mr Bascome said: “Maybe this area is its own downfall. It’s prime real estate.” The property’s sea views of the West End led to the British War Department using the area in the First World War and the farm is still dotted with radio- mast foundations from when Daniel’s Head was home to a military base. Neighboring land once used for a Canadian base was converted to the 9 Beaches resort, which was approved by the Bermuda Land Development Company in 1998. The failed holiday destination shut up shop in 2010 and the BLDC announced in March that it wanted to redevelop the site. The Bascomes emphasized they had no knowledge of development plans for Westover, but said the loss of farmland was his top fear. The older Mr Bascome said he was often late for school as a child because he delivered milk. He added the loss of the farm would spell the end of a lifestyle rooted in the area. He said: “It’s tough — you see so much, go through so much, put so much into the place, and then you have people tell you to get out.” Tom Wadson, a Southampton farmer, said he was “extremely disappointed” with “yet another hasty decision”. He added: “I just fail to understand why we would lose more farmland.” Mr Wadson pointed out that Mr Bascome Jr had been awarded the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour in 2014 for his service to the community. He said: “I don’t see how you can award the man for doing such a stellar job and then his life’s work, over three generations, is wiped off the board in six months.” The Royal Gazette asked the Ministry of Public Works for information about its plans for the land, and whether the family would be relocated. The Ministry initially declined to comment, but in a statement sent shortly after noon, Colonel Burch said he was open to discussion on the matter. Colonel Burch said: “The Estates Department of the Ministry of Public Works in the normal course of their duties wrote to the Bascomes on May 14, 2018, concerning their lease that had expired in January 2017. When I was contacted some time later by Mr Bascome III — I agreed to investigate the circumstances of their lease. Before I could do that, however, I received written communication that included their lawyer — I indicated that this required me to alert the Government’s lawyer — the Attorney-General. As is their right, the Bascomes have sought legal advice and I’m fine with that. My preference, and I remain open to this, is to discuss how we move forward. I have a duty to inform the Attorney-General about legal issues but let me repeat, I’m happy to talk about this. It’s good that people feel confident to speak up and challenge us — it’s what we asked them to do in July 2017. As a Somerset ‘bye’ — I am well aware of the Bascome’s contribution to both the Somerset community and Bermuda — I would never willingly simply ignore the opportunity to discuss any issue. This Government is working every day to help more black businesses get off the ground and so there is no way we or I would participate in destroying one.”

spacerRosewood Bermuda is partnering with Cliff Drysdale Tennis to launch a comprehensive programme at their facility after a $25 million renovation. Cliff Drysdale Tennis is one of the world’s most esteemed tennis management companies and through the partnership will elevate the hotel’s tennis programme to an internationally recognized level, with local player Ashley Brooks serving as the club professional. “The resort’s comprehensive renovation was an opportunity for us to enhance every aspect of the resort experience, and we are excited to be partnering with an internationally renowned management company at the forefront of tennis to transform the tennis experience at Rosewood Bermuda,” said Paul Telford, the managing director of Rosewood Bermuda in Tucker’s Point. As the first partnership of its kind on Bermuda, this will not only enhance the tennis experience at Rosewood Bermuda but will also elevate Bermuda as a larger tennis destination.” Cliff Drysdale Tennis will manage Rosewood Bermuda’s tennis facilities and oversee the resort’s programme. Experienced members and tennis-loving guests will be able to enjoy the adult and junior programmes, which include private and semi-private lessons, day camps, social events and tennis leagues. “Our partnership with Rosewood Bermuda is exciting on many fronts,” said Scott Colebourne, the vice-president of operations for Cliff Drysdale Tennis. “The great facilities and incredible location will allow for the ultimate tennis experience for both local players and resort guests. We’re ready to make Bermuda a premier tennis destination. In addition to the playing benefits, we see great opportunities for Bermudian junior players to travel to Cliff Drysdale programmes in the US on scholarships, as well as increased tennis professional training and employment opportunities.” The resort’s new programme will be headed by Yana Orlova, the newly appointed director of tennis. An accomplished player who has competed professionally on the ITF Pro Circuit, Orlova brings a wealth of playing, coaching and management experience to the resort. In her role as tennis professional, Brooks will facilitate lessons, day camps and clinics. She previously worked at Rosewood Bermuda as a guest professional before joining the team in a full-time capacity. The partnership will be the first of its kind in Bermuda. Drysdale is a former top-ranked professional player who was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013.

spacerBermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd’s profit more than doubled to $1.43 million in the first six months of its fiscal year — up from $550,000 a year earlier. The company, which owns The Royal Gazette, as well as commercial printing, real-estate and retail interests, said a combination of reduced costs and increased revenue boosted profitability in the half-year ended March 31, 2018. In its interim report, the company stated that “management has worked tirelessly over the past year to find operating efficiencies resulting in cost reductions of $845,000”. Operating revenue increased by $35,000 to $13.17 million for the period. Basic earnings per share for the six months were 85 cents, up from 23 cents in the previous year. BPHL said its real-estate holdings remained the most profitable segment with an overall occupancy rate of 98 per cent, with 57 per cent occupied by third-party tenants. The company has carried out a review of its Office Solutions operation, as part of its stated objective to stop funding loss-making parts of the business. “Office Solutions has three lines of business: retail arts, crafts and stationery supplies; commercial office supplies; and equipment sale and leasing,” BPHL stated. “The commercial supply business has been challenged owing to changing customer needs and various economic factors in Bermuda. In June 2018, the decision to exit the commercial office supplies business was taken. This will not impact our equipment operations as we will continue to supply toner and paper to our equipment customers.” Also this month, Cameron Poland has joined BPHL as chief financial officer, replacing Derek Winch. Mr Poland has worked in Bermuda for ten years, the past five of which were with a large local company. BPHL is the owner of the e-commerce website, eMoo, which has been upgraded with a focus on being mobile-friendly, integrated with social media and with improved functionality. Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed BPHL saw its share price rise from $5 to $6.15 during the six-month period. The company’s board decided to raise its dividend to 7 cents per share for the quarter ended March 31. The company said no shares had been repurchased under the $1 million buyback programme announced in March 2016. In March, the company began live video-streaming events and added: “We are expanding our business model to include video as part of the product offering for our readership and advertisers.” The report also highlighted the company’s sponsorship roles in the MS Amlin ITU World Triathlon Bermuda, XL Catlin End-to-End and the Bermuda Festival. It added that supplying the signage and branding solutions for ITU event had reinforced Bermuda Press Digital “as a key player in the sign-printing and solutions business in Bermuda”.

spacerWomen staff at an island dive shop are on a mission to create a sisterhood of ocean stewards. Dive Bermuda will host its second Professional Association of Diving Instructors Women’s Dive Day next month in a bid to get more women interested in the sport. Marlee Cram, senior dive instructor at Dive Bermuda, said: “Padi’s Women Dive Day is to build awareness and interest of the ocean so that the ladies meet and then fall in love with the underwater world. “It’s also to help change the gender gap in a small way. It strengthens and supports the dive community.” She added that they hoped to create “a bit of a diving sisterhood” and more “stewards of the ocean” by showing women what lies beneath the waves. “It means you’ve got this greater awareness that you know what’s going on under there, you’ve seen it, you’ve seen how beautiful it is and hopefully that encourages you to pass it on. I would like to get more divers from Bermuda involved. The history of the wrecks around here, the coral wrecks, are absolutely stunning.” Dive Bermuda, which has locations at the Fairmont Southampton and at Grotto Bay, will host a two-tank dive to a wreck and a reef on July 21 for certified divers and a discover scuba diving session for beginners. Ms Cram said: “We’re going to have all-female dive instructors, guides and leads. So it’s just really making sure that the new divers coming in feel comfortable in the environment. We are also offering a significant discount to our lady divers to encourage and push the fact that we want you on the boat.” Ms Cram said the event, which will be plastic-free, will also feature “girlie mocktails”, sweet snacks and dress up is encouraged. “We’re also going to be having some goody bags and paparazzi, so one of our male dive instructors will be following us around and taking some cool snaps.” Ms Cram said Dive Bermuda decided to host the event because half its staff is female, which she added was “quite unusual. I’ve been on dozens of dive trips and sometimes I’ve been the only female on that whole boat. Sometimes it can be a little bit intimidating when you’re getting into your wet suit and you’ve just got your bikini on, on a boat full of guys. We want to let the local ladies know that if they want to get into diving, we have a very female-friendly environment for them.” We want them to fall in love with the ocean. If that means that they get to go diving with a female instructor and that makes them feel more comfortable, then we’re ticking the boxes.” Ms Cram said diving was a very male-dominated sport in the past because it revolved around divers who had trained in naval services. She added: “But Padi made it more accessible to everybody and from then on we’ve had a lot of technological advances.” Ms Cram said there was still a misrepresentation of women in the diving industry. She added: “The women’s dive day helps to spread the word, garner more awareness that there are females in the dive industry and that it is actually changing. Seeing women divers in the media, such as Ashlan Costeau who took part in a documentary in Bermuda to solve the mystery of the Roanoke wreck, had also helped. It not only puts females on the map, but Bermuda for being the wreck capital of the world.”

spacerAn elderly swimmer died after she got into trouble yesterday. The victim was in the water off Hawkins Island when she got into trouble shortly about 11am. It is understood the woman, a 74-year-old cruise ship passenger from Florida, was on a snorkeling excursion on board the boat Restless Native when she began to suffer chest pains. A marine police boat took her to Barr’s Bay Park in Hamilton before she was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital by ambulance, but she was later pronounced dead. The Bermuda Police Service said the woman would not be named until the next of kin were informed.

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June 28

spacerThe Government is considering a proposal to lower the legal alcohol limit in an attempt to reduce road deaths by 25 per cent. David Minors, the road safety officer at the Transportation Control Department and executive officer of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, said at a public meeting last night that “research and analysis” would be conducted to recommend changing the legal limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood to 50 milligrams. The comments came during a town hall meeting to discuss Operation Caution, which is designed to address Bermuda’s deadly roads. The five-year plan was outlined to a small audience at The Berkeley Institute. Mr Minors detailed the five key goals, which include reducing road deaths by a quarter, achieving a 25 per cent reduction in total collisions and a decrease in drink-driving incidents. Mr Minors said that some people had criticized the 25 per cent target reductions as “low-hanging fruit”. He explained that there had been six fatal collisions in Bermuda this year and 15 in 2017. Mr Minors added: “By virtue of knowing that number you can see that it is not low-hanging fruit. This is something that we must work at and we must combat.” He listed an increased police presence, targeted marketing campaigns, and the introduction of traffic light cameras next year to help achieve the operation’s targets. Mr Minors said road safety education would target youths as well as adults in separate two-phased programmes. He said that changes would also be made to written and road tests. Mr Minors added: “There has been a malaise that people believe it is easy to come to TCD and get a licence. Once this plan is in place, that will no longer be the case.” A mandatory DUI education policy would also be developed for the ministry to consider. Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, was also in attendance and said the road safety plan was about “saving lives on the roads and saving the lives of our people”. He said that funding problems would not hinder the implementation of the new plan. “There is no budget issue with what we are doing. The plan for the next five years is totally committed to by the Government, so we’ll make sure that it’s properly funded.” In response to a question on drug-impaired driving, Mr Roban said: “The focus is on sobriety first and foremost. We’re dealing with that first. The other drugs will be included later.”

spacerSessions House is in line for a major revamp. Design companies have been asked to submit tenders to manage the work, which is expected to take a year to complete. The Government has invited proposals from experienced firms for “architectural interior design and project management services for the interior renovation and alteration of Sessions House” at the Hamilton landmark. A procurement notice said: “The objective is to contract for professional architectural interior design and construction project management services in order to provide the best interior design solution for the internal renovation of the Sessions House building. The design and associated consideration of works will be sensitive to the existing historic building features and provide contemporary and efficiently designed work environments.” Potential bidders were told in an online request for proposal that work under consideration on the ground floor, where the Supreme Court sits, included new rooms for prosecution and defence teams, as well as a new jury suite, kitchen and washrooms. Surveillance and security features could also be upgraded, with the possibility of a new “internal security monitoring station”. The House of Assembly, which sits on the second floor, could get a new library, refurbishment of historic ceilings and general improvement work. Floors in the building’s towers will be checked for “structural integrity” and improvements are also expected to be carried out in the southeast tower. The contract is for design and management only as the construction work will be carried out by a specialist contractor. A document attached to the bid after queries from interested companies outlined the concerns of one firm which said there was “a plethora of design issues” that could be tackled. It added that “without any understanding of budget it is near impossible to provide you with a package that will be conducive to your needs”. The potential bidder was told: “Use reasonable square footage allowance used in your experience from previous restoration work for similar public interest buildings.” A site visit was scheduled for May 30 and the submission deadline date passed earlier this month. The Government bid document said the work was “tentatively scheduled” to start at the end of July, with an anticipated finish date at the end of August next year. Sessions House, a Grade 1-listed building, dates back to around 1819 and has 17,188 sq ft of floor space on two levels. It has been used by the legislature since 1826 but the building has been plagued by maintenance problems in recent years, including faulty plumbing and leaks. Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons warned earlier this year that security at the Supreme Court needed to be improved and that court staff were working in “old, crumbling” buildings. She said, although renovations had been carried out to the lower floor of Sessions House and conditions for jurors had improved, employees still endured substandard conditions and she had been forced to work in a “pop-up” courtroom in the modern Magistrates’ Court building on Court Street. A Ministry of Public Works spokeswoman declined to comment.

spacerTwo men involved in separate road collisions died yesterday, becoming the fifth and six traffic fatalities of 2018. The deaths came after a spate of five serious crashes in the past five days and prompted a renewed warning from police for motorists to slow down and pay attention when driving. Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, was in attendance at a public meeting last night to discuss the role the Government can play in bringing an end to the loss of life on Bermuda’s roads. The first death yesterday was of a 59-year-old motorcyclist who succumbed to his injuries after losing control of his bike and crashing into a car coming in the opposite direction in Pembroke at about 10.35am. The second was of a 66-year-old cyclist who was seriously injured when his pedal bike collided with a motorcycle late on Saturday night in Devonshire. The identity of both victims had not been made public by press time last night. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said: “We see the greatest increase in fatalities during our summer months and Christmastime. Our message is very clear: speed kills, inattention on the road kills and alcohol consumption and drug consumption while operating a vehicle kills. We are asking people to slow down on the roads. The life you save may indeed be your very own.” Police also issued a plea to social media users in relation to yesterday’s fatal crash after social-media users posted pictures of the victim as emergency workers battled to save his life at the scene, near Gorham’s, on St John’s Road. The spokesman said it was a “very troubling reality for our community”, adding that family and friends saw photographs of the injured man online before they were notified about his death by police. “As the 59-year-old man was fighting for his life, members of our community took their phones, took images of that man in that compromised state and started to circulate those images on social media. Unfortunately, family members and friends got a hold of that information before they had the appropriate notification from the Bermuda Police Service. We are asking members of the community, if you come to a scene and a person is compromised, first of all, think before you act. Do not pull out your phone and take that image because that image puts us all at risk. It’s insensitive to the family and it could compromise the integrity of an investigation. We are simply asking you to think before you post. When you put that image online, it is a member of our community that can suffer from finding out that untimely message from that medium. We are asking people to be mindful of the sensitivities of a very small community.” He said those who received such images should not share them, as “titillating” as they may seem. “Simply keep it on your phone and hold it,” said the spokesman. “We are asking for you to be sensitive and ask yourself a question: what would you want to happen if it was your loved one or member of your community or family?” The spokesman said initial reports suggested the victim of yesterday morning’s crash, who was pronounced dead after being rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, may have been traveling at high speed as he headed west just past the entrance to Gorham’s. He added: “What we want to do is, for a fullness of investigation, wait for officers to do their investigation and to present that information in a coroner’s inquest, where the official cause of death may make itself known in a public and clear manner.” Asked to confirm if a public inquest would be held — a rare occurrence in Bermuda — the spokesman said: “An inquest, I apologise.” The driver of the car sustained non-life threatening injuries. St John’s Road, between Berkeley Road and the junction with Pitts Bay Road and Cox’s Hill, was closed to motorists while officers processed the scene. Saturday’s crash involving the pedal cyclist happened at about 11.50pm on Middle Road in Devonshire, near the junction with Vesey Street. Witnesses to either crash should call the main police telephone number 295-0011.

spacerA Government plan to build a maintenance yard at Botanical Gardens has been scrapped. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, confirmed the decision was made not to move forward with the controversial plan last August. Colonel Burch said: “You might recall there was a court case prior to us coming into government. People objected to it, and so there was a requirement to make a decision by sometime in August last year. When the date came, I decided that we would not proceed with building that facility.” Colonel Burch said he made the decision in an effort to improve efficiency in his ministry. He said: “I came into this job with the belief that we have to look at Bermuda as what it is. We are 21 square miles. We cannot have separate entities for every aspect in government, so when I first came in, I went to the quarry and asked if they were capable of fixing a parks truck if it has a blue label on the outside of it, and they said yes.” He added: “We are headed in that direction, not just in relation to maintenance, but across the board. The approach of this ministry is that we are looking at how we can reduce our expenses and the duplication of efforts.” Take Back Our Park, a campaign group launched in protest against the project, said they were relieved the Government had abandoned the “inappropriate and ill-conceived project”. A spokesman said: “We were aware that the Supreme Court ruled, in a private civil case, that the project did not comply with the National Parks Act and we are thankful that the Government was held to account and had to comply with that Act. While we agree that parks maintenance staff deserve to have modern facilities in which to work, any new facility should not be in one of our most important parks and tourist destination.” The group questioned why the public had not been notified of the decision sooner, and if there was any plan for the site — specifically the water tower already erected on the property. The Government had sought to install a new maintenance yard at the site, replacing one which was damaged by Hurricane Fabian. Members of the public expressed concern about the nature of the project given its location in the heart of a national park. An online petition against the project garnered about 3,800 signatures. Construction was halted in 2015 after a legal action against the project was launched by neighbors.

spacerGarbage will be collected on a weekly basis until at least the end of the year, the Minister of Public Works said yesterday. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said the new collection schedule would become permanent if it was up to him. He said: “That is where I am leaning, but I don’t want to make the decision on my own. I am required to get my Cabinet colleagues, in particular, and our entire caucus to buy into this because they’re going to be the ones basically selling it to folk.” The announcement came at a press conference held at the Tynes Bay Waste Treatment Facility. Colonel Burch said that overtime expenses for trash collection had been “significantly less” than the annual budget and that $25,000 had been spent on overtime in the past three months. Roughly $1 million is budgeted annually — $70,000 a month — for overtime wages. Colonel Burch said that there had also been savings in fuel, vehicle wear and tear, and worker illness and injuries. He added: “Not surprisingly, staff morale has improved.” Colonel Burch said that “virtually” the same amount of trash was being collected with the once-a-week schedule as during last year’s twice-a-week pickups. He said that there had also been a “steady increase” in public usage of the Tynes Bay facility. Colonel Burch added: “I have asked the plant manager to explore with the operator the feasibility of further extending the hours to make it even more convenient to members of the public. Staff were “adequately coping” with the new schedule despite the limited number of trash trucks. On  average, eight trucks were in service daily. The reality is we cannot contemplate a return to twice-a-week collection any time soon with the limited vehicles available, so once-a-week collection will continue until at least year end. We will not be hiring additional staff at this time. Five new trash trucks were expected to arrive in Bermuda in November. I must caution, though, that even with the five new trucks, we will still not be at a full complement of vehicles as many of the trucks currently in the fleet have surpassed their life expectancy.” He also used the press conference to announce adjustments to the collection schedule. For the Monday collection, the easternmost boundary will move from Church Road to the Waterlot Inn on Middle Road, to Sinky Bay on South Shore Road. The Tuesday collection will include from Cobbs Hill to Chapel Road, Ess Hill to Southcote Road. Trimingham Hill to Tee Street will be collected on Wednesday. On Thursday, garbage will be picked up from Tee Street to Devil’s Hole. The Friday collection zone will remain unchanged. Colonel Burch thanked waste management workers for doing an “outstanding job”. He added: “I encourage members of the public to give a thought and even express thanks to those workers who so efficiently collect our garbage every week.” A ten-week trial period for once-a-week collection was announced in February. It was extended in April and scheduled to end this week.

spacerThe island’s health watchdog has launched a feedback survey that gives the public the opportunity to weigh in on its future. The survey will also help the Bermuda Health Council prioritize the problems facing health in Bermuda, determine its future direction and identify policy opportunities to improve health outcomes. Tawanna Wedderburn, the council’s chief executive, said: “The Health Council works hard to ensure the voice of the people is represented in healthcare. As we continue to monitor the high costs of health insurance and quality health services, it is crucial to collect valuable feedback about our mission and vision, for the future. To do this, we have created an easy to complete survey. We will release survey results to the public and use the information to guide our strategic direction over the next few years.” Everyone in Bermuda is asked to participate. The survey takes less than five minutes to complete and can be found at www.bhec.bm/about-us/.

spacerA businessman, his wife and two leading figures from the Corporation of Hamilton were charged today in connection with the Par-la-Ville Road hotel plan. Michael MacLean, who planned to create the hotel, appeared in Magistrates’ Court along with his wife, Yasmin, former Hamilton mayor Graeme Outerbridge and corporation secretary Ed Benevides. Mr Outerbridge, who served as mayor from 2012 to 2015, was charged with corruptly agreeing to obtain property for the benefit of the MacLeans on or about October 24, 2014, by authorizing the release of $15,449,858 from an escrow account at the Bank of New York into their local account. Mr Benevides faced the same charge during his term as chief operating officer and secretary of the Corporation. Mr MacLean, Mr Outerbridge and Mr Benevides were accused of dishonestly obtaining the money in the account, belonging to MIF, while the MacLeans were accused of stealing $13,749,858 belonging to MIF between October 31, 2014 and November 7, 2014. The MacLeans were further charged with using stolen money between the same dates in 2014, knowing that it “in whole or in part directly or indirectly” represented the proceeds of criminal conduct. The defendants were not required to enter pleas because the charges are indictable and must be heard in Supreme Court. They were released on $250,000 bail each. The matter was adjourned to the September arraignment session.

spacerThe mother of a 21-year-old model killed in a road crash described the sentence handed to the man who caused her daughter’s death as “small justice” yesterday. Lisa Fraser-Smith was speaking after Clinton Smith, 41, was jailed for 18 months for killing Sophie Fraser-Smith by driving carelessly on Middle Road, Southampton, on July 18 last year. Ms Fraser-Smith said: “In light of everything that has gone on, I feel that a justice was served, a small justice.” She added: “I felt that the sentence was adequate and I feel that the courts were fair.” Ms Fraser-Smith said she would “probably” be able to forgive Smith “in time”. She added: “It’s just very difficult. Nothing anyone does or says is really going to make it better. Nothing will bring my daughter back but I feel he was genuinely remorseful. I don’t think he meant it to happen but it did happen and he was the cause of it, so I did feel that something had to be done.” A Supreme Court jury convicted Smith of causing the death by a majority verdict last month. Smith claimed during his trial that he had “dozed off” at the wheel of his Dunkley’s Dairy truck but woke while he was still in his lane. He said the truck did not respond to steering input and there was nothing he could do to avoid the collision. The prosecution accused him of making up the steering problem. Smith said yesterday that he was “sorry for what has happened, for my part that I played in the death of this young lady”. He said he wanted Ms Fraser-Smith to know that “that I never meant this to happen, that I never want it to happen to anyone”. Smith added: “I hope that she can find it in her heart to forgive me. It is not easy for me to forgive myself.” Prosecutor Nicole Smith called on the court to impose a harsher sentence “than has ever been imposed”. She said Smith should spend at least 24 months in prison, coupled with a five-year driving ban, for the offence, which attracted a maximum prison term of eight years on indictment. Ms Smith, who added that “something must be done about the bad driving culture in Bermuda”, said previous penalties for traffic offences “don’t seem to be deterring anyone”. She added that this offence showed how life could “be altered or snuffed out in a matter of seconds”. Ms Smith, who said the defendant was solely to blame for the collision, also said he had only shown “half-hearted remorse” during the trial. “He expressed remorse about the position he found himself in. Genuine remorse was never expressed in that same way for the victim of her family. Ms Smith also read the victim impact statement of Ms Fraser-Smith’s mother in which she described her daughter’s death as an “immeasurable” loss. Lawyer Elizabeth Christopher said yesterday that her client had no intention of causing the death of Ms Fraser-Smith and insisted that the community did not have to be protected from Smith. She said: “He has voluntarily stopped driving because he doesn’t understand what caused the part that he played in this accident to happen. He thinks the best thing for himself to do is not to drive. That is his way of ensuring that it never happens again.” Ms Christopher also told the court that her client had struggled with drug addiction but had been leading a “law-abiding life” with the help of the authorities at the time of the crash. She added that six months’ imprisonment would be appropriate. Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe said he found Smith to be “genuinely remorseful” but added that in the circumstances, the offence warranted a custodial sentence. Mr Justice Wolffe said he did not need to be reminded that “the manner of driving on Bermuda’s roads is deplorable — there is so much carnage on the roads as a result”. He agreed that a message had to be sent to persons “that they must take their driving more seriously” and if they failed to do so, they would be treated harshly by the courts. Mr Justice Wolffe, who also noted that Smith went through a full trial, added: “This was obviously a tragic case, one in which the life of a budding young individual was ended.” He sentenced Smith to 18 months behind bars, with time already served to be taken into account, and banned him from driving for five years.

spacerWomen in Reinsurance, the organisation for women working in the Bermuda reinsurance sector, announced three appointments. Rachael Afford, vice-president, specialty reinsurance, at Allied World, has been named head of WiRe’s Events Committee. Joelina Redden, general counsel, Athora Life Re, is the secretary, while Melissa Logie, manager of finance, Zurich Insurance, has been appointed treasurer. “On the heels of our tenth anniversary, these appointments reflect our vision to broaden our management team and build a foundation for the future leadership of WiRe,” Kathleen Reardon, chairwoman of WiRe and chief executive officer of Hamilton Re, said. “I would like to thank the outgoing officers, Julia Mather, Carmen Gracey and Susan Smith, for the significant work they performed in these roles and for helping to develop WiRe into the thriving organisation that it is today.” WiRe also announced the appointment of Deniece Gordon, assistant underwriter, specialty reinsurance, XL Catlin, to the Events Committee and Amy Peniston, catastrophe modeling analyst at Hamilton Re, to the Social Media Committee, which is headed up by Jeannine Menzies. “Since its inception in 2008, WiRe has moved from strength to strength, evolving from a small group of senior professional women to one that is now 266 members strong and represents women across all levels and disciplines in property and casualty reinsurance, life reinsurance, ILS, regulatory and service provider sectors,” Ms Reardon added. “It is exciting to welcome new committee members to our organisation as we strive to diversify the array of programmes we offer while increasing the conversations about topical issues in our industry.” She noted that today’s announcement follows the expansion of WiRe’s board of directors with the addition of Stephen Young, Sompo International, Peta White, Markel Global Re, and Tracey Gibbons, Allied World, to the board.

spacerCoin and cryptocurrency exchange Arbitrade has spoken of bringing hundreds of jobs to the island as it sets up its world headquarters and digital exchange in Victoria Hall, on Victoria Street. Members of its board have met on the island, and chairman Leonard Schutzman told The Royal Gazette that meetings have been held with David Burt, the Premier, and members of the Bermuda Government. The company plans to launch an initial coin offering this year, expected to be worth $500 million. Gold is to be used to back the cryptocurrency. “We feel that puts us in a unique position,” said Mr Schutzman, a former top executive with PepsiCo. He spoke about Arbitrade training Bermudians and creating jobs, and said the company could eventually have 400 employees on the island. Arbitrade was this morning set to hold a media conference call to detail progress towards establishing itself as a “world-class cryptocurrency exchange and coin company”.

spacerDue to the possibility of inclement weather, the organisers of the Canada Day Beach Party and BBQ scheduled for this Saturday, June 30th have decided to postpone the event. A press release from the Association of Canadians in Bermuda stated: We are pleased to report that we have been able to reschedule for Saturday, July 14th with all previously arranged sponsors, vendors and supporters able to reschedule as well. We have obtained Platinum Sponsorship of the event again through the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, and additional sponsorship with Freisenbruch-Meyer and Surface Trends. Special thanks go to Miles Market, Pitt and Co, the Parks Department, Works and Engineering and Keep Bermuda Beautiful for their support. We are also extending a complimentary sponsorship opportunity to The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda. As organized and as in previous years, we will be playing Canadian music with DJ D’Nice, will be offering a delicious BBQ lunch provided by IRG with two ice cold drinks for $25 and selling branded ACIB merchandise at the beach. An exciting addition this year is the presence of Jerrard Polk at polkfun.com, a local caricaturist, who will be doing caricatures for $25 person. Please contact us at canadiansinbermuda@gmail.com or call 504-5366 with any questions."

spacerThe North Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be near-normal this year, but warmer sea-surface temperatures closer to the US and in the Gulf of Mexico are presenting some uncertainty. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria made last year’s hurricane season the most expensive in history, causing $230 billion of damage in the US and Caribbean. Insured losses were estimated at $80 billion by Aon Benfield’s Impact Forecasting team. A number of agencies have presented predictions for how this year’s hurricane season might unfold, and sea-surface temperature variations point to a degree of uncertainty, particularly as there are warmer than average waters near the US mainland. The hurricane season officially lasts from June 1 to November 30. James Waller, a research meteorologist for Guy Carpenter, in a report, noted that predictions from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, UK Met Office and Colorado State University all suggest a near-normal hurricane season with around 12 to 14 named storms, of which six or seven are predicted to reach hurricane strength. The NOAA noted uncertainty related to possible El Niño conditions and sea-surface temperatures through August to October — the peak of the hurricane season. Mr Waller said key factors include cooler than average sea-surface temperatures in the far northern and eastern Atlantic and key areas of the Atlantic tropics and subtropics. He noted: “Sea-surface temperatures are warmer than average for areas adjacent to the US mainland and western Gulf of Mexico; this warrants some caution for potential development close to the mainland as the season unfolds.”

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June 27

spacerMore than 90 buses have been cancelled this afternoon according to the Government Bus Alert website. As of this afternoon, a total of 94 buses were listed as cancelled. All of the cancelled buses had been scheduled to set out between 3.20pm and 8.20pm. Further cancellations took place this morning with 29 bused cancelled between 7.02am and 8.42am.

spacerReinsurance rates have increased this year after last year’s expensive catastrophes but momentum is fading and could vanish heading into next year. That is the view of analysts from Standard & Poor’s, who said some Bermuda-based reinsurers had seen an entire year of earnings wiped out by last year’s catastrophes which included hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The three storms alone racked up combined insurance losses of more than $90 billion. Wildfires also generated record losses of $14 billion, as global insured losses reached $138 billion. Bermuda-based insurers’ combined losses from hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes totaled $8.9 billion, S&P said — up from $2.1 billion in 2016. In its quarterly insight on Bermuda’s re/insurance sector, S&P described the 2017 catastrophe losses as a “one-in-30-year event”. But the rebound in rates was not as strong as many in the industry had hoped. “Following 2017’s record catastrophe year, global reinsurance pricing was up slightly to about 5 per cent, in aggregate, during the year-to-date renewals,” S&P reported. “Specific increases varied by line of business and region, and whether reinsurance contracts had experienced any losses. However, according to a JLT Re report, JLT Re’s Risk-Adjusted Florida Property-Catastrophe Rate-on-Line Index rose by only 1.2 per cent this year from 2017, failing to meet early market expectations. It seems that the Florida June renewals were highly competitive, reflecting abundant capacity and only moderate rate increases. Therefore, the reinsurance price increase momentum that the industry was hoping for at the beginning of 2018 is losing steam and may fizzle out heading into 2019.” The report added that insurance-linked securities, including catastrophe bonds, had been tested last year, “without major hitches”, and continued to expand. S&P expects to see more mergers in the Bermuda market, “as players look to offset some of the secular trends, as organic growth has been hard to achieve”. S&P has a stable outlook on the global reinsurance sector mostly because of re/insurers’ strong enterprise risk management and still-robust capital adequacy. The Bermudian reinsurers rated by S&P saw gross premiums written increase to $61.1 billion last year from $54.8 billion the year before. The trend continued in the first quarter when GPW totaled $20.7 billion, up from $17.5 billion in the first three months of 2016. S&P attributed the top-line growth to acquisitions and rate increases. The industry has focused on efficiency, the report added. “In a soft pricing environment, the Bermudian re/insurers continued to focus on creating efficiencies in their expense structure, which along with a cut to incentive compensation in 2017, led to a 2.1 percentage point improvement in the expense ratio to 33.9 per cent in 2017 down from 35.9 per cent in 2016,” S&P said.

spacerIn the second and final part of an interview with Stan Stalnaker, the founder of Bermuda-based Hub Culture speaks about the launch of the first digital asset exchange in Bermuda that islanders can sign up to, and a vision that could place the island “at the epicentre” of financial clearance for digital assets. Hub Culture’s Ultra Exchange went live last month. It is operating in a limited capacity until Bermuda’s Digital Asset Business Act 2018 comes into force. At present it trades bitcoin, ether, litecoin and ripple. Those who wish to trade can only do so if they already possess those digital currencies, and they must also pass KYC, AML and other regulatory legal requirements. Hub Culture has been domiciled in Bermuda since 2006. Among its functions is management of the world’s first digital currency, Ven, which it introduced in 2007. It is able to operate the Ultra Exchange in Bermuda as a limited exchange through pre-existing permissions. When the Digital Asset Business Act 2018 comes into force and new licences are issued, the aim is for Ultra to accept and trade other digital assets, including fiat currencies such as dollars. The Digital Asset Business Act has been passed by Parliament and now awaits the assent of the Governor and a notice of the Minister of Finance. Ultra is a three-stage project; a white paper is available from the website https://ultra.exchange/ The idea for Ultra emerged from the Hub Culture Innovation Campus and Beach Club, which was held over 12 weeks at Ariel Sands last summer. Mr Stalnaker said the exchange is currently at step one. He added: “It is designed to be a decentralized exchange that will trade hundreds of different assets. The first wave is this limited crypto-exchange. This year’s Hub Culture pavilion event took place in the south of France, near Cannes. It was focused on artificial intelligence. Plans are in place for Hub Culture to stage events in Bermuda in October. “We are doing something new called Hub Culture Bermuda Innovation Sprint,” said Mr Stalnaker. “If you are building a website or a technology, you go through these sprints where you work really hard to push something to market. It is very much like the innovation campus, but it will be focused more loosely all around the island, specifically focused on Hamilton.” He said it would be two weeks of activity centered on AI and blockchain, hopefully anchored around some crypto conferences. Another project in train is Bermuda Standard, which is described as a collection of globally applicable standards, which includes “human, company and object identity based on HubID, digital asset market data, and a rules and records repository anyone can contribute to”. Mr Stalnaker hopes it will feed into a future e-identity [electronic identity] ecosystem that has been spoken about by the Government. “You can build a digital identity for yourself or your company. Data onboarded can be sent to BMA, etc. Government can have the option to use it and save time by having a single location for onboarding data. We do not expect it to be the only onboarding port. For our customers and clients who want to come to Bermuda, we are giving them really easy tools to be able to direct the data to the right people here. It is a great way to bring and help new businesses to figure out how to come and do business here.” Mr Stalnaker also sees an opportunity for Bermuda to be front and centre in digital asset world through what he terms “Bermuda Standard Clearance”. Because cryptocurrencies are traded 24 hours a day, there is no global market close, which creates a problem if you are making a transaction or deal through a regular bank. Mr Stalnaker said: “How do you set the price?” He sees Bermuda Standard Clearance as the solution, where 12pm in Bermuda is the moment a global clearance price for that day can be recognized. He said Bermuda’s geographical position makes it a strong contender to be the place where such a clearance price is given at midday, as “it is almost the only hour of the day when everyone [around the world] is awake. In California it would be 8am, in New York 11am, in the UK 4pm, while in Hong Kong and Japan it would be around 11pm and midnight. It’s the one hour where you can have a clearance price and set your daily close for all these different currencies.” He said there would be a clearance price as well as a live market price. A Bermuda Standard Clearance would put the island “at the epicentre for financial clearance for the industry”.

spacerArgus Group is selling its private placement life business to Puerto Rico-headquartered Advantage Insurance Inc. Financial terms of the deal have not be disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of September. The sale includes Argus International Life Bermuda Limited and its subsidiaries, Argus International Life Insurance Limited, and Bermuda Life Worldwide Limited. Private placement life insurance, or PPLI, has been used as a wealth-preservation tool by the wealthy, according to a Bloomberg article last month. “It’s a strategy that’s perfectly legal and has existed for decades,” Bloomberg reported. “While insurance funds are typically a way to protect assets from lawsuits, the main appeal of PPLIs is that they can help investors avoid taxes on capital gains, ordinary income and high-net-worth estates.” Alison Hill, chief executive officer at the Argus Group, said: “The Argus Group made the business decision to reprioritize and focus on its core property and casualty and employee benefit businesses some time ago. We embarked on a search for the right purchaser for our private placement life insurance and annuity business. We are delighted to have found a suitable partner in Advantage Insurance and look forward to transitioning the private placement life business to them. Our shared business philosophy for service excellence, along with Advantage’s best-in-class practices and deep knowledge of the private placement life industry, gave us comfort that Advantage will provide our clients with the highest level of expertise, commitment and outstanding customer service that they expect and deserve.” Advantage Insurance is a speciality private placement life insurance company. It has 400 clients and administrates more than $2 billion of insurance assets from its locations in San Juan, Cayman Islands, the UK and US. Walter Keenan, CEO of Advantage Insurance, said: “We are pleased to be acquiring the companies that comprise Argus’ private placement life business and look forward to providing outstanding service to their policy owners. Advantage specializes in private placement life insurance and this acquisition demonstrates our commitment to the business. Argus’ clients can be confident in the quality of their new insurance provider, as Advantage is ideally positioned to assume this high-quality set of life insurance policies.” The transaction is subject to receipt of all required regulatory approvals.

spacerUsain Bolt said he was saddened to have his spotless record of nine Olympic gold medals ruined after Jamaican team-mate Nesta Carter was found to have used performance-enhancing drugs. Bolt had to hand back the gold he won with Jamaica’s 4x100 metres relay team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when an international court dismissed Carter’s appeal in May. Carter was among dozens of athletes whose samples from the 2008 and 2012 Games were retested, using improved methods, before the 2016 Rio Olympics. Bolt, who is in Bermuda on a promotional visit for Digicel, exploded on to the world stage in Beijing, where the Jamaica quartet, including Asafa Powell and Michael Frater, set a world record in the 4x100 in a time of 37.10sec. All four sprinters have been disqualified. “It’s always going to be hard to lose one of your gold medals,” Bolt said. “[Winning gold medals] was the main aim when I started. I got the first three, the second three and in my last [Olympics] I got the nine. Losing one is kind of sad. It’s just one of those things in life and I don’t think it takes away from what I’ve done throughout my career. I’m not going to stress about it. I’ll just move on.” Bolt is unequivocal in his damnation of drug cheats and believes his sport, which has long been tarnished by steroid use, is becoming more transparent with the introduction of rigorous drug-testing programmes. “I think [Sebastian Coe, the International Association of Athletics Federations president] has made a major step by making the sport more transparent. They are putting information on websites so you can see when athletes were tested and how many times they have been tested. He’s using other associations to also test us, so it’s not just our federation and the IAAF. He’s making it much easier for people to trust us because when people can see it they will believe it more. It’s now time for the athletes to prove to the world that they can do it clean.” The 31-year-old insists it never crossed his mind before a major race whether any of his rivals were doping. He said “getting the job done” was always his sole focus. “That’s not something I ever worried about; it doesn’t help the situation worrying about whether they are clean or not,” Bolt said. “If they are not [clean] you’re not going to know until three or four months’ time. You can’t sit and worry abut that. You have to go out and compete at your best and think ‘hopefully everyone in the race is clean and I can get it done’. That was always my focus.” It has been more than 14 years since Bolt previously visited the island for the 2004 Carifta Games. Aged 17, he was already considered a sprinting phenomenon and lived up to his hype by setting a world junior record of 19.93 in the 200 metres in front of a delirious crowd at the National Stadium. He returned to the scene of that triumph yesterday morning to speak to local schoolchildren and said the memories came “flooding back” to him. “It was wonderful,” he said. “I went to the track and reminisced a little bit — it was pretty cool. Back in the day it was all about who could get the most medals and break the most records for Jamaica. I didn’t even think I’d [one day] be running the 100. There was never any thought process of me thinking that I’d be the fastest man in the world. Surprisingly that was the [best] thing that happened to me that year as I got injured. After [Bermuda] it was pretty much downhill.” Despite hanging up his spikes last August, finishing third at the World Championships in London in his final race, Bolt very much remains in the limelight. His mesmerizing bursts of brilliance are gone, but the void he has left behind is unlikely to ever be filled — certainly not by one man. And certainly not in Jamaica, whose sprinters failed to win a single medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, in April — the first major competition since Bolt retired. “It’s going to be hard [to replace me],” he said. “I wasn’t trying to set a high standard for people to aim at. I tried to put track and field on the map and I think I did that. I had competitors over the years — Asafa Powell, Warren Weir and Tyson Gay — all these athletes who competed with me and pushed me to be the best. All track and field needs is for athletes to step up and keep pushing themselves to make it competitive. The more competitive it is, the more people will watch it.” Bolt spends much of his time traveling the world for sponsorship commitments or charity work. It is fun, he says, but just not as much fun as commanding the attention of 80,000 people on the biggest stage of all. “Knowing I’ll never be on the track again competing in front of millions of people anticipating what I’m going to do — that’s what I miss the most. When I was at the Commonwealth Games and the crowd got loud — well, I got chills. I miss that.” To celebrate Bolt’s return Digicel have a limited-time fibre offer. Get 50Mb or 100Mb fibre internet and get 50% off Variety TV (119 channels). Call 500 5000.

spacerTrack superstar Usain Bolt said memories of his first world record flooded back when he visited the National Stadium yesterday. Bolt signaled his future greatness at just 17, when he became the first junior athlete to break the 20-second mark over 200 metres at the Bermuda Carifta Games in 2004. He said: “For me it was good. Memories don’t start coming back until you actually get to the spot, so it was good to be here and experience this. It was wonderful.” The Jamaican was commenting as he spoke to island schoolchildren about his sport and answered questions. Bolt notched up a time of 19.3 seconds in 2004 and went on to win a total of eight Olympic gold medals and the accolade of fastest man on earth. He said he had watched videos of some of his performances on the island, including a relay, a few weeks ago. Bolt added: “I remember watching videos a couple of months ago because the 4x4 relay is very interesting, so it was really a good feeling. It had a lot of memories for me and I’m happy to be back in Bermuda.” Bolt is in Bermuda on a promotional visit for telecoms firm Digicel, where he is “chief speed officer”.

spacerThe greatest challenge to dementia caregivers can sometimes be the families of their patients. Many go through a period of denial, confused by the ups and downs of the disease. “They think mom is going to be okay,” said Yana Swainson of Bermuda In Home Care. “They say to me, ‘Yesterday, we had a conversation with mom and she was fine. Today, she is just pretending to forget things’.” Courtney Smith has noticed the same. “The family denies there is anything wrong with their loved one,” said the EMT, who is also a medical assistant. “The next thing you know, two weeks later, the person with dementia is in the doctor’s office because they’ve burnt their hand to bits while they tried to cook something.” They blame it on a lack of education. A lot of families simply don’t know what to expect. It’s because of that they are holding a workshop for anyone affected by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Both have experienced it in their families. Ten years ago Beverley Causey-Smith, developed dementia after a series of strokes. “I thought of my mother as a bit of a burden in terms of time and patience,” said Ms Smith, 26. It became her job to make sure her mother took her medication. Left on her own, Ms Causey-Smith would stash the pills under blankets or pillows, or hide them under her tongue until she could get rid of them. “She wasn’t a particularly patient person, and me, as her daughter, trying to reflect patience at her was a mess,” Ms Smith said. Ms Causey-Smith, 57, died in July 2011. Ms Swainson had a similar experience with an elderly aunt. “I was young and I was scared of her,” the 35-year-old said. “I pretty much just thought she was crazy and I needed to stay away from her. But it wasn’t her being crazy, it was just the disease — dementia. I feel bad that sometimes she wanted to talk to me longer and I just wanted to leave.” She feels Bermuda is behind the times when it comes to caring for the estimated 2,000 residents with dementia-related issues. The trend in the United States and in England is to keep them separate from other patients in rest homes and hospitals to meet their specific needs: quiet surroundings, familiar objects and specifically trained caregivers. “At present there is no facility dedicated to dementia,” Ms Swainson said. “Westmeath has a memory care section. Most people with memory issues are just lumped together with other patients in nursing homes. Sometimes the nursing home will call the family and say they can’t take care of the person any more. Then, the family has to hire a private caregiver.” Having short-term care would also be helpful. “In some places, you can drop your loved one off for a few hours,” Ms Smith said. “This allows the caregiver to rest. Dementia care is not about giving the patient their breakfast then leaving them for the rest of the day. It is constant. It is very taxing. It takes a lot of emotional effort. We are hoping that the more education you have about what to expect, the less likely you are to actually become burnt out.” With the Bermuda Census predicting 22 per cent of the population will be older than 65 by 2030 their course is timely, she added. “2030 is not very far away, and we are anticipating a big increase in dementia patients not just here, but also in the rest of the world. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, but other things can cause dementia as well. The greatest risk factor is age. As we increase in age, our risk of developing it increases.” The women are offering the course through Bermuda Health Education, an organisation they started that offers a range of medical courses. “As healthcare professionals, we all have to do ongoing medical education,” Ms Smith said. “It is very difficult to find local courses, and learning online doesn’t work for everyone. Some of us are more hands-on learners.”

spacerHenry DeSilva’s story is bittersweet. For decades he searched for his little sister Margaret Ann, who went into Bermuda’s foster care programme when she was 3 and disappeared with an American family soon after. Ancestry DNA helped connect the pair this month, however the reunion may have been lost on Mr DeSilva who, at 80, has dementia. “My dad had longed to have this happen for years,” said Andrea Felder. “He tried to get information and was always rejected because it was a closed adoption, but he and his brothers and their mother always wondered where she was — if she was alive, if she was OK.” The children were most likely in the house alone when social workers picked them up and took them to Government’s Ridgeway Home 75 years ago. Their mother, Silvia DeSilva, was “in and out of St Brendan’s”; her husband, Leonard DeSilva, was living with another woman. “I believe it may have been the reason why they were taken away from her,” said Mrs Felder, who moved to the US three years after she graduated from the Berkeley Institute in 1974. “Just because someone had a mental health problem didn’t mean they didn’t love their children. Back then, there was no real help for people except shock treatment and things that didn’t really work, and people with mental illness lost their children.” Mrs DeSilva was told she would get her daughter back once she left the psychiatric hospital. Margaret Ann was adopted before that could happen. The family does not know whether Leonard DeSilva “signed the papers or if the Bermuda Government just took her. My father was 5, his sister was 3 — that was basically the last time they saw each other,” Mrs Felder said. “They told him she was adopted to a military family. He didn’t know if they were British or American. All he knew was what he thought was the last name, Giuseppe.” With no leads to follow, Mr DeSilva and his siblings stopped looking. In 1987 he left the island for Florida; he moved to Virginia to be near his daughter in 2002. A stroke in 2001 inspired what became another unsuccessful search. In 2015 after a second stroke, Mrs Felder’s husband Lloyd “Richey” Felder encouraged her to get her DNA tested and start looking for relatives. “My husband said, ‘Let’s just go on AncestryDNA and maybe something will come up.’” She wrote to a man highlighted as a potential first cousin to see if he had any Bermuda connections. Her message sat untouched for 18 months. “On May 20 of this year something just told him to go and look and see what was going on and he saw the message from me,” Mrs Felder said. Scott Nelmes wrote that his Bermudian mother was named Margaret Ann. Her search for relatives had unearthed a surname: DeSilva. He had hunted down a Bermuda telephone book but was “too overwhelmed” by the number of listings under that name to start dialing. “He sent a message back, the gentleman from Chicago, and said, ‘Oh my God, I think my mother is your dad’s sister!’,” Mrs Felder said. “Within five minutes he called and we were on the phone for several hours exchanging information.” Still, Mrs Felder was skeptical. “I didn’t recognize the name Nelms, it’s not a Bermuda name,” she said. “We decided we weren’t connected, but I said, ‘If you really want to confirm, get your mom tested’.” Margaret Ann Stanley felt it was an unnecessary step. She hadn’t been back to Bermuda since she left under the surname Sasso in March of 1947. She had four children with her first husband in Chicago. Sixteen years ago she moved to West Virginia with her second husband, who died in 2015. “She thought she was an orphan, that she had no blood relatives except for her children,” Mrs Felder said. “She felt nobody cared about her. She said there was no way that we could know all this information if that wasn’t her brother. Once she knew he was in a nursing home and had dementia, she wanted to come right away and make a connection because time is not promised.” The 78-year-old spent June 10 to 17 in Virginia, renewing her ties with her brother and meeting his family. “We’d chatted on the phone and did some text messaging — I felt like I knew her already,” Mrs Felder said. “The connection was already there when we met in person and when she saw the photos of her siblings she said, ‘I just knew in my heart this was it’.” The obvious family resemblance helped. Mrs Stanley looks “a lot like” her late mother and sister, but whether it was enough to penetrate her father’s fog, Mrs Felder doesn’t know. “I don’t think he has the capacity to fully comprehend the magnitude of [finding his sister],” she said. “Everything I know is going on memory, things he told me before he had his last stroke. My father never really understood [what happened]. All he knew is that she was taken away. He spent a lot of time with her when she was here. Some days he would remember her and the circumstances, other times she’d ask him who she was and he’d say he didn’t know. The last time I left the nursing home he said he wished he could dig up his brothers and mother so they could see her too. So, there is some connection.” The goal now is to get Mrs Stanley and her four children to Bermuda. “That’s what we’re trying to do,” said Mrs Felder, who visits the island frequently to spend time with family here. “We’re planning for that next year. I summoned the help of a distant cousin who was able to pull up the Portuguese Registry. We have a copy of that, but we don’t know if that’s considered an official record or not. Her greatest desire is to have something written that tells her who her biological mother is. We’re trying to find out the right angle to go so that can happen. My aunt’s father is unknown as his name was not listed on her birth registry. Perhaps Ancestry DNA will reveal this in time. She’s an American citizen now, which she had to do at 21 in order to stay there and get married, but to me, she’s Bermudian.”

spacerTwo schoolchildren got the chance of a lifetime to represent the country at the World Cup. Amir Dill and Majesty Wilson, both 13, were picked to join international children’s programme Football for Friendship, which ran just before the world’s biggest sports tournament kicked off in Russia. Amir, a pupil at Dellwood Middle School in his home parish of Pembroke, said he was “shocked” to get a call-up for his country. He added: “At the time, my mother told me the World Cup was happening there and that the Football for Friendship Programme was running in tandem with that.” Majesty, a Warwick Academy pupil from Somerset, said she was first picked by the Bermuda Football Association to join the programme as a footballer, but changed to journalist after the BFA found it could not send two players. She added: “I told them that I can write and have done some articles before, so I was allowed to continue.” Amir said the grueling routine meant early starts at 5am for training, fitness classes and team-building work. He added: “The main thing I was really learning was how to better help and communicate with my team and new team-mates.” The regime also included regular matches to help the participants get used to dealing with different playing styles. Majesty worked at the Children’s Press Centre in Moscow and learned interviewing techniques and covered events for the programme’s daily newspaper under the pressure of deadlines. She added: “There were VIPs coming through into the press room and my team had to go with the actual journalists and try to push through crowds and ask questions. Since they didn’t all speak English they had translators and since we weren’t prepped for it, we had to find a way to remember what we were asking, what they were saying and how the tone was to see what they meant.” The pair were chaperoned by Crestant Williams, vice-president of the BFA and the organization's women’s coach Ricketta Warner for the seven-day trip, which involved working with delegates from more than 200 countries. Amir said he found the language barrier a problem, but used an app on his phone as a translation aid. Majesty added she used the same phone app, but admitted she was intimidated by the size of Russia, which is the largest country in the world. She said: “There were so many people. You don’t know what they’re saying and they’re speaking everywhere around you, but when you have no clue you just wonder what they mean.” One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the World Cup opening ceremony. Amir said: “It was amazing. To me the ceremony seemed like a parade almost with all the music playing and people dancing.” Majesty said the experience gave her a taste of the intensity of journalism. She added: “It’s not just writing and figuring things out, it’s going through the pressure of deadlines and trying to figure out detailed things by simple questions and answers.” Amir, who said he had kept in touch with the friends he made in Russia, added he also learned how to overcome communication issues. He explained: “I learned how to communicate with people that I hadn’t met before and I’m still communicating with them now.”

spacerDaredevil, evangelist and motorcycle stuntman Cyril “Big” Smith has died at the age of 75. David Jones Sr, the founder and former president of the Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Club, said Mr Smith was “one of Bermuda’s greatest stuntmen”. Mr Jones added that as a small boy he had watched Mr Smith perform motorcycle jumps over cars at PHC stadium in the 1970s. Mr Smith was well known for leaping his bike over a row of cars at the stadium in August 1974, as well as for performing stunts in a wheelchair. His daughter, Carleen Place, said that his nickname came from his days of motocross racing on Coney Island, where an early stunt included an unsuccessful attempt to jump across the pond. Ms Place explained: “He always pushed himself — no job was too big or too small.” Mr Smith also worked as an electrician, mason and plumber. His expertise as a contractor has endured in buildings such as the Bermuda Institute auditorium, the Rosedon Hotel and the Devonshire Seventh-day Adventist Church. He set out to make a name for himself with feats that included jumps over cars, trucks and riding through a wall of wood at PHC. Mr Smith told The Royal Gazette in 1987: “I didn’t get into it so much for the thrill of it as I did for the money.” He added he had launched his bike over four cars twice in one night at his first public show. He hired the field and built his own ramp and also handled all the publicity for the event. Mr Smith credited his religious faith for getting him through his hair-raising stunts when it “occurred to me that something might go wrong”. The worst injury in his career was a dislocated shoulder. Mr Smith in his later years organized evangelical events on Court Street and at the Rubber Tree in Warwick and became a lay preacher at the Seventh-day Adventist Church. His family said he was “a disciplinarian, generous, compassionate, perfectionist, and a story teller”.

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June 26

spacerPassengers and visitors at LF Wade International Airport should have plenty of food and drink options to choose from when the new terminal opens in 2020. Plans have been drawn up for almost 11,000 sq ft of food and beverage concession space, split between the airside and landside of the building. The largest of the five new concessions will cover 3,601 sq ft and be located in the non-US international departure area. At present, there is no food and beverage concession airside for passengers heading for Canada or the UK. The first stage of the process to find food and beverage concession operators for the new terminal has begun. Bermuda Skyport Corporation Ltd is inviting expressions of interest from qualified food and beverage concessionaires to finance, market, operate and maintain one or more of the concessions locations. Skyport is responsible for the LF Wade International Airport operations, maintenance and commercial functions. It is also overseeing the construction of the new terminal. A comprehensive plan for food and beverage outlets in the new terminal has been drawn up by London-based Pragma Consulting, which has worked on numerous airport projects, including London Heathrow and La Guardia in New York. Ken Hassard, Skyport’s commercial director, said there would not be a central food hall area for passengers — a concept found at larger airports. He explained that with less than one million passengers passing through the airport each year, and departing passengers being segregated between the US pre-clearance portion of the terminal and those on non-US flights, the airport does not achieve the critical mass of passengers needed to make a food hall a feasible option. However, the new terminal will have two food and beverage concessions on the ground floor landside, that is the public areas open to all. One unit is in the check-in area, while the other is in the “meet-and-greet” arrivals location. The other three units will be airside on the first floor of the new terminal. These are for passengers who have passed through the security screening area. There will be two concessions in the US departures side, totaling 3,824 sq ft, and one large concession in the international departure area. This month, Skyport also invited expressions of interest from qualified retailers to market, operate and maintain retail concessions in the new terminal. There will be ten retail units, split between the airside and landside of the building. The total retail space will be more than 9,500 sq ft. The call for expressions of interest for the retail units closed last Friday. Carrie Thatcher, Skyport’s commercial manager, said there had been quite a number of expressions of interest. Qualified food and drink concessionaires interested in operating one or more of the units at the new terminal should submit a summary of qualifications and experience to Skyport by Friday. Skyport has requested that those expressing an interest “should demonstrate capability to finance, design, implement, market, manage and operate a high-quality food and beverage concession”. Request for proposals will be issued to qualified parties in August.

spacerRoyal Gazette Editorial. "John Rankin has had a pretty rough time of it from the moment he was sworn in as Governor of Bermuda — a mere ten days after civil unrest, literally on the streets of Parliament. Starting from the fallout of December 2, 2016, a date that will be infamously and long recalled as the Pepper Spray Protests, “the man on the other Hill” has found himself catapulted from one contentious issue to the next. P.T. Barnum’s human cannonballs have had it better. George Fergusson, his predecessor, couldn’t have got out of Dodge soon enough. But before he left, the former governor might easily have penned a letter that pointed out what Rankin should expect: “Dear John, Bermuda is a wonderful place. Spectacular views, nine months of summer, with beaches and waters to die for. It is also full of interesting and highly intelligent people — some would say brilliant. However, please be prepared to expect an unhealthy dose of xenophobia, homophobia, Bible-bashing, political misconduct, arguments started in empty rooms and, the most egregious of all, governor-bashing. Yes, that means you. In between, you will be required to give assent to the very people who will stick it to you the hardest when your back is turned. Good luck. George.” In his introductory interview covered by this newspaper, Rankin had “the gall” to declare his support for same-sex civil unions. Big mistake when attempting to win over the masses in a new jurisdiction who had declared their distaste for all things gay. Whatever else he had to say in that interview was obsolete — this governor is one to be watched. History has shown that Rankin’s faux pas was not such a big mistake at all, but a reflection of a man who believes in all citizens being treated fairly. As they should be. Bermuda is much farther along the road of being universally accepting of all our people. However the government appeal goes against Chief Justice Ian Kawaley’s ruling that sections of the Domestic Partnership Act are unconstitutional — opening the door to same-sex marriage, again — we are much better off as a people than the embarrassingly homophobic recent past. This debate will stay the course of the Governor’s term in Bermuda. And if it were only same-sex marriage that has had him tossing and turning on Langton Hill, in between many of the other rather mundane ceremonial duties he has to perform, you would think he could negotiate that. Even the unpalatable thought of giving Royal Assent to the DPA — a full eight weeks after it passed through the Houses of Parliament, stopping off as it did at the doorstep of British foreign secretary Boris Johnson — would pass in the hope that progress is not so much in our distant future, but in our midst. But, no, this is Bermuda. We are rarely happy; at least not for any extended period of time. Put it down to the racial issues of the past, the perceived racial issues of the present, the struggle for economic parity among the races. Race, race, race. The Governor has also had to entertain:

• Controversy over new Civil Service rules and the role of the Public Service Commission

• A letter from Ewart Brown, requesting a commission of inquiry over the police investigation into him that has gone on since he officially left politics as premier eight years ago

• The calamitous debacle of Freddie Evans, the former Commissioner of Education, who ultimately took an unspecified government payoff before being stuck in a back office in one of the Government’s least high-profile departments in budgetary terms

• Request for Royal Assent to the Domestic Partnership Act — belatedly given

• Public criticism from the Premier over the naming of Narinder Hargun as the next Chief Justice — no reason was given, but it was eventually made clear by Members of Parliament, who referred to Hargun first as a South African and then as an Indian

• Being tarred with guilt by association by the Minister of National Security in the naming of a non-Bermudian as the next Commissioner of Police

• Being uninvited to Cup Match, if a certain Cabinet minister has his way

• Being called on to pardon a man for a “wrong” committed more than 100 years ago

Let’s focus on the last two, shall we? The rest have been done and dusted — on the presumption that Brown’s request for a CoI has fallen on deaf ears. Having already created and been afforded emotional funding for running the Ministry of Rubbing People The Wrong Way, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch has outdone himself by openly promoting enmity with Government House. Over a wall. Somerset Cricket Club have been right to resist Burch’s personal grudge with the British over the years, and it is to be hoped that Vashun Blanchette will not mark his first Cup Match as club president by making a decision that at its heart would serve only to sow the seeds of division — not the inclusion that the Annual Classic has come to be known for. What would be next? We accept tourists but no white Bermudians allowed through the gates of Somerset CC and Wellington Oval; in particular, those descendants of slaveholders? That would be as odious as the unwelcoming signs that can be seen at one of our long-established private clubs: “Members Club Only. Keep Out. Tourists Welcome”. Burch hopes a precedent could be set, with St George’s Cricket Club to pay it forward in 2019, thus airbrushing the Governor and his successors from the centerpiece of the most cherished period on the Bermuda calendar. Rankin, who could no doubt do without the hassle, said he would respect the wishes of the clubs. But he should not be put in such an invidious position. Not in 2018. Not in the age of Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda, for all that group’s shortcomings. Not when we want to be having “the conversation”. After all, the Progressive Labour Party election slogan reads “Putting Bermudians First”, not “Putting Black Bermudians First”. If the latter is indeed the intent, someone needs to be upfront and say so, for only that can explain Burch’s obsession with making life uncomfortable for the Queen’s emissary. Slavery was a horrible thing. Just dreadful. It is a stain on this country’s past that lingers on into the present. While it is right that we should never ever forget, and also that we educate our youth of its origins and impact, it is not right that we act out looking for vengeance like tempestuous schoolchildren. The Premier’s ambition to right the wrongs of a clearly racist past by having the Reverend Charles Vinton Monk pardoned posthumously, now that’s an attempt at revising history that we can all get behind — black and white. Central to David Burt’s urgings was his seeming support of the fourth estate: “ ... journalists have a job to do and where they do it, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, their work should be respected and a truly democratic society cannot be said to prosecute, persecute or move to silence the media ...” A collector’s item of a passage for local hacks, especially those in this parish, to enshrine and hang above the mantelpiece. It is difficult to see the Governor turning up his nose in typically British fashion to such a well-argued and well-researched request; likewise it is difficult to foretell that the Premier or another member of his Cabinet will cease taking potshots at Langton Hill when they don’t get their way. The thin line between love and hate, which is so Bermuda, will endure. Rankin recalled his previous posting as British ambassador to Nepal as a “baptism by fire”, having arrived only six days before a 7.8 earthquake rocked the South Asian outpost in the Himalayas. Those who commit fully to the notion that Bermuda is another world would have retorted with a cryptic cheekiness: “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

spacerA collapsed wall at a cricket club has been rebuilt with the help of the One Bermuda Alliance. Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister of National Security and a big Somerset Cup Match fan, went in to bat for the cup-holders after a controversial House of Assembly debate over the repair. Mr Dunkley said materials for the job at Somerset Cricket Club were donated by members of the public. He added: “We are pleased to be able to support Somerset Cricket Club in building the wall. Every OBA MP and former ministers Bob Richards and Grant Gibbons also chipped in to donate for the purchase of supplies. It is pleasing to see a community effort make it happen.” Mr Dunkley acted after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, told the House of Assembly this month that he had been approached to repair a hurricane-damaged wall at the club before it hosts Cup Match in August, but would only do so with conditions. Colonel Burch said he would help out the club if the Governor was not invited to present the trophy to the winners of the annual event and if proper recycling was introduced at the game. Cup Match, a two day holiday, is played to mark the British Act of Parliament which led to the emancipation of enslaved people across the British Empire in 1834 and Somers Day, which commemorates Sir George Somers, who claimed the island for Britain in 1609. Colonel Burch, a member of Somerset Cricket Club, told MPs: “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?” Trevor Moniz, the Shadow Minister of Public Works, later said the conditions “almost amounted to blackmail”. John Rankin, the Governor, said he would comply with the decision of the club. A Government House spokeswoman said: “The Governor will be happy to support the event respectfully and in the way judged most appropriate by the club and Cup Match organisers”

spacerBermuda-based Everest Re Group Ltd has launched a new transportation and logistics business segment within Everest Insurance, led by Jeff Engelbrecht. It will offer customers multiple lines of coverage, including workers’ compensation, employers’ liability, and up to $5 million in capacity for automobile liability and general liability. Mr Engelbrecht said: “We are excited to establish and develop a sustainable, high-quality casualty operation built to meet the needs of our clients in the transportation and logistics industry. We believe this is an opportunity for us to add distinct value to this marketplace by combining underwriting excellence with a unique mix of loss control services, a deep set of complementary products, customized claims handling, and the Everest commitment of stability, leading financial strength and long-established credibility.”

spacerBermuda-based insurance holding company Sirius International Insurance Group Ltd is to merge with asset management company Easterly Acquisition Corp. The combination will result in Sirius becoming a publicly listed company, with shares to be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. The move comes as Sirius, which is controlled by Chinese investors, announced that its agreement to buy a controlling stake in Israeli insurer Phoenix Holdings is set to be terminated by next Monday. Sirius was sold two years ago for $2.6 billion by White Mountains Insurance Group to China Minsheng Investment Corp. Sirius Bermuda Insurance Company is the main operating company in the group, which wrote $1.44 billion of gross written premiums last year. The group also has offices in London, New York and Stockholm. Easterly is based in Beverly, Massachusetts and under the terms of the deal the US asset manager would merge with a subsidiary of the Sirius Group. On closing of the merger, Easterly’s common stock would be exchanged for Sirius Group’s common shares at a price of 1.05 times Sirius Group’s pro forma diluted book value per share as of June 30, 2018. The all-stock transaction would yield a combined entity with a market capitalization of about $2.2 billion at closing, with Easterly stockholders owning approximately 7 per cent of the combined company. We are pleased to become a public company though our partnership with Easterly,” said Allan Waters, chief executive officer and chairman of Sirius Group. Access to the public equity markets will facilitate and accelerate our future growth via M&A transactions and organically.” Easterly has scheduled a special meeting of its stockholders for June 28 to approve an extension of time to complete a business combination through November 30, 2018. Assuming that Easterly’s stockholders approve the extension period, Sirius Group has agreed to lend to Easterly 3 cents per month through the extension period for each public share that is not redeemed at Easterly’s special meeting of its stockholders on June 28, 2018,” Sirius stated. Avshalom Kalichstein, CEO of Easterly, said: “We are excited to bring a company of the scale and stature of Sirius into the public markets. We believe this transaction will offer tremendous value to our shareholders.” Easterly will deposit such loan proceeds into its trust account upon receipt. The loan will be forgiven if the merger does not close by November 30, 2018.

spacerMore details have emerged surrounding a new international circuit featuring the racing class used in the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda last summer.  

AC50 America's Cup yachts

The Royal Gazette revealed last October that plans were in the works for the launch of the new series, which will use the wing-sailed AC50 multihull racing yachts, with the island among the potential host venues. Speculation over the proposal heightened after various reports from sources suggested that Larry Ellison, the team principal of 34th and 35th America’s Cup defender Oracle Team USA, “is believed to be close to announcing the series”. Tom Ehman, a former America’s Cup sailor and vice-commodore of the 34th and 35th America’s Cup defender Golden Gate Yacht Club, has taken matters a step further after shedding more light on the key aspects of the new circuit in a recent Sailing Illustrated video broadcast. Ehman, who described the venture as a “fabulous pro-sailing league” claimed that Sir Russell Coutts, the Oracle Team USA chief executive officer and seven-times King Edward VII Gold Cup winner, is heavily involved in the new project backed by Ellison. He also said that several key players from France, the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Britain, who were part of the previous America’s Cup, have already been signed. As for the AC50, the smallest class raced in the America’s Cup and capable of speeds approaching 60mph, Ehman claimed that the multihull is to be converted to a strict one design and rebranded as the F-50. He said electrical power will be used to provide the necessary hydraulic pressure to run the on-board systems on the high-performance catamaran that will be operated by a crew of five. Ehman also suggested that the teams would be fitted with one set of all-purpose daggerboards optimized for winds exceeding ten knots. According to Ehman the F-50 construction and modification project is taking place at Core Builders Composite who are based in Auckland, New Zealand, and owned entirely by Oracle Racing Inc. Local authorities have yet to comment on the new circuit. However, Pat Phillip-Fairn, the Bermuda Tourism Authority chief product and experiences development officer, stated in a press release announcing this year’s BTA Bermuda sailing calendar that “ongoing talks continue, potentially adding more events for 2018 and 2019”. The new circuit will be based on the same concept that software billionaire Ellison used to change the face of America’s Cup racing, with the introduction of the high-speed hydrofoiling catamarans and spectator-friendly courses for the previous two editions of the America’s Cup in San Francisco and Bermuda. An official announcement and launch of the F-50 series is expected in a few weeks, with Australia, Europe and San Francisco among the remaining host venues being considered.

spacerA former senior military officer said yesterday he feared the Government’s decision to end conscription would weaken the island’s defence force. Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Rance, leader of the Nine Colonels, a pressure group of former Commanding Officers of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, said he believed the “vast majority” of former officers and Non-Commissioned Officers would view the Defence Amendment Act “with great concern”. Colonel Rance said: “Obviously, we’re going to hope it succeeds, but we think that there are some pretty big risks here that it may not.” He said the group would continue to act as a “friend and advocate” for the Regiment and “hold the minister’s feet to the fire”. Colonel Rance added: “If we see it failing, we’ll point that out too, publicly. If at the end of the day it all goes well, wonderful, but if the strength does fall off, as we think it may, we will ask the hard questions of the Government of the day. They will have created the problem. They will have to fix it.” Colonel Rance was speaking after Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, piloted a Bill to end conscription through the House of Assembly last Friday. The former CO of the Regiment said he felt the decision to end conscription was based on “false premises”. Colonel Rance dismissed arguments from anti-conscription campaigner Larry Marshall and group Bermudians Against the Draft that conscription was a violation of human rights. Colonel Rance said: “Those claims have all been rejected in the courts when there have been challenges made to the law, but people have bought into it. In a sense, the Government’s been duped.” Colonel Rance said the Nine Colonels were also concerned about the Regiment’s ability to fill its ranks using volunteers alone. He added the RBR would have to compete with other organisations, including the Bermuda Police Service and the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service, for recruits. Colonel Rance said: “There are only so many people to go around and we are a small community at the end of the day.” He added that plans to downsize and restructure the RBR were “implicitly recognizing” the risk. Colonel Rance explained: “When you downsize, you don’t need as many people to begin with. You’re trying to solve the equation from the demand side as much from the supply side in this case.” He said he believed downsizing was being done to cut operational costs so extra cash could be used to attract volunteers. Colonel Rance said he thought the move would work in the short term. He added: “What I think is going to happen in the longer term is the inducements to make better offers to compete in the job market will have to lead to higher costs if they want to attract top-class talent.” Colonel Rance said the group was also concerned about plans for an RBR Coast Guard to assume responsibility for policing Bermuda’s waters. Mr Caines told the House of Assembly the Coast Guard was expected to take over Marine Police duties in April 2020. Colonel Rance said: “What we’re concerned about is that it could turn into a fantasy without adequate funding. The minister knows this, and he will have to work very hard to make sure the funding is available.”

spacerUsain Bolt greeted students at the National Stadium as he began a whirlwind tour of Bermuda today. The superstar sprinter delivered a speech to excited pupils at the venue where he set his first world record in the Men’s Under-20 200m race at the 2004 Carifta Games. Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, offered words of inspiration by telling students: “Hard work is everything.” He said: “Never give up on your dream. To be one of the best you have to keep pushing yourself.” Also today, the Jamaican will sign autographs and pose for pictures at the Digicel store on Church Street from 12.45pm to 1.45pm. He is on the island in his role as “chief speed officer” for phone firm Digicel.

spacerJesse Washington and Madelyn Moore will spearhead Bermuda’s 20-strong squad for the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships in Aruba. Also competing at the event, which will run from June 29 to July 3 are Jaedyn Judd, Josephine Duerden, Giada Dudley-Punn, Logan Watson-Brown, Taylor White, Gaby Pitman, Payton Zelki, Skyler Powel, Vanessa Esposito, Shannon Hassel, Brian Desmond, Sam Williamson, Jack Harvey, Adam Young, Caleb Ingham, Brett Smith, Kai Legband and Evan Farrow. Accompanying the team will be coaches Ben Smith and Richard Goodwin, and team managers Diane Moore and Tori Powell. Doug Patterson, the Bermuda Swimming Association president, said: “I ask you to join me in wishing the team good luck in all their races. I know each of them will swim to the best of their ability and will represent Bermuda well.” Bermuda clinched a fourth-place finish in the medals table at last year’s event in Trinidad and Tobago, capturing a total of 38 medals — 12 gold, 17 silver and nine bronze — as well as winning the under 11 and 12 girls category.

spacerThe last three horses left homeless by the closure of a riding school were flown last night to a new future overseas. The animals were transported free of charge by EquiJet, a specialist in horse transportation by air, who worked closely with the Bermuda Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The SPCA took in the horses at the end of last year after Spicelands Riding School, in Warwick, went into liquidation. Many horses were placed locally in foster homes, with several housed temporarily at the newly completed Stempel Stables at the SPCA’s Paget shelter. Sarah Tarfur, the president of the SPCA, said the future of the horses had been uncertain, but that the help from around the island had been nothing short of “extraordinary”. Ms Tarfur said: “There was an outpouring of support to care for the horses that was both heart-warming and shows how a community can come together in times of need. Each person’s contribution counted and resulted in fantastic care. Some volunteers did early mornings, some raced off from work to do lunch shifts, some after work, some gave up their weekends, some did week after week and some did shifts here and there, and, surprisingly, even some visitors to the island did shifts and offered to help to find new homes for the animals.” Four of the horses were shipped out to the United States last month, while a further five went to “for ever foster homes” on the island. Ms Tarfur said the locations were confidential, but SPCA staff were sent pictures of the horses at their new homes. The SPCA thanked EquiJet for its help, along with the “extensive” list of those who helped with stabling horses and the delivery of feed, farrier services and veterinary care. Mrs Tafur added: “As the island’s only animal shelter, the SPCA found homes for 200 animals and reunited dozens of lost pets with their families in the past year. Our work is dependent upon the generosity of individuals and the corporate community and is greatly assisted by a strong team of volunteers.”

spacerA garage owner claimed he was being persecuted by the Government after double yellow lines were painted on the road outside his business and home. Mark Sousa, who owns Cardoza’s Auto Group on Mission Road, Paget, and lives next door, said he received no notice of the new road markings, which prohibit parking or waiting at any time. He now plans to sue Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, for contempt of court for an alleged breach of a 2015 undertaking given to the Supreme Court on use of the road. Mr Sousa, who hit the headlines after footage of a verbal clash he had with Colonel Burch was posted on social media, has been locked in a dispute with neighbors about parked cars outside his business for years. He claimed recent actions by the public works ministry had less to do with placating other Mission Road residents and more to do with an attempt to shut his business. Mr Sousa said: “This is not about the road. This is about getting rid of the garage. They are not doing all this work for three votes in a safe One Bermuda Alliance seat.” Mr Sousa bought Cardoza’s in the 1980s in the belief that Mission Road was not a public highway and that he would own the road outside the garage. He parked cars on the road like the previous owner, which angered some neighbors. Craig Cannonier, the One Bermuda Alliance Minister of Public Works at the time, served an abatement notice in an attempt to get the vehicles removed from the roadway in 2015, which Mr Sousa challenged in the courts. The minister agreed not to enforce the abatement notice while the court case was underway — an undertaking detailed in a Supreme Court order made in March, 2015. Mr Sousa lost his Supreme Court bid to get the abatement notice overturned in February this year when the Chief Justice concluded that Mission Road was a public highway. Mr Sousa has appealed the judgment and a hearing at the Court of Appeal is expected to be held in November. He claimed Colonel Burch ordered Works and Engineering staff to remove vehicles owned by him and his customers from Mission Road after the February judgment, when the minister should have waited until the case was decided. Mr Sousa added the double yellow lines should not have been painted on the road until the appeal hearing had concluded. He said he would instruct his lawyer Cameron Hill to launch an action against the minister for contempt and seek compensation for the seized vehicles. Mr Hill suggested at an earlier court hearing that the Government’s real motive for its pursuit of Mr Sousa was to develop land on South Shore behind the garage. Mr Sousa repeated the claim yesterday and alleged the plan was to force him to close his business and use Mission Road for access to the development site — but he admitted he had no evidence to prove it. He said that would explain why the Department of Health had ordered him to reduce the hours his paint shop was open under the Clean Air Act and why the Government ended a lease he held on a patch of public land on Mission Road several years ago. Mr Sousa added: “All they are doing is applying pressure from many corners. This started about parking and it has ballooned. It’s about the rights of an individual.” The Ministry of Public Works did not respond to a comment by press time.

spacerManuel Raposo does not pass up an opportunity to relive his period as one of Bermuda’s daredevils. In the summer of 1963, he signed up for the first Around the Island Power Boat Race with his brother, John. They were at the starting line in Yellow Bird, the brightly colored boat they built from a kit, when they learnt of a hurricane 200 miles off Bermuda. “There was not that much wind, but the waves were like mountains,” the 81-year-old said. “They had a sailboat acting as a crash boat. When my brother and I went past the sailboat we were on one wave and it was on another, and I could only see the top of his mast.” Yellow Bird was the first across the finish line. The experience gave the brothers an advantage the following year. Conditions then were even worse, with 30 knot winds. Seventeen boats “chickened out”; others floundered during the race. The Raposos had the time of their lives. “Scared? No! When you have a thing you love, fear doesn’t come into it,” he said. “My boss said to me, ‘There’s some pretty big waves off the South Shore’. I said: ‘I’ll see them when I get there’.” In the end, only three boats crossed the finish line, with the Raposo brothers again in first place. The win, however, did not come without consequences. According to Mr Raposo: “After the second race I couldn’t stand up properly for a week because I’d taken such a beating from the wind.” During the third Around the Island race, Yellow Bird’s engine caught fire. The Raposo brothers had to be towed in. “These things happen with boats,” Mr Raposo shrugged. The next year, he slipped a disc in his back trying to lift something heavy and his glory days were over. Today, framed photos of his early racing career line the walls of his St David’s home. Each summer he watches the race. Having his grandson, Ryan Resendes, win in the B-Class last year made it all the more interesting. “You have to be very disciplined to win a powerboat race,” he said. “You have to know the limits of your boat. If you push it past its limits everything will start breaking off it.” Mr Raposo arrived in Bermuda in 1950 from São Miguel in the Azores with his mother, Diamontina, and his younger siblings, Maria and John. Their father, Miguel, had come nine years earlier to work as a gardener. “I loved Bermuda from the first day I got here,” Mr Raposo said. “I loved the freedom. In the Azores it was a dictatorship. Back then, they were just for the rich and didn’t care about the poor.” The 12-year-old took some night classes but had to go to work almost immediately, gardening for the Mayor of St George, Leon Fox. After two years he went to work for Meyer & Co, where he learnt welding. “I wanted to be a motor mechanic at first, but that didn’t happen,” he said. “But I loved welding. In the shop we were repairing ships for Meyer & Co. We’d repair boilers, engines, all sorts of things. At that time the ships came to Bermuda to get repaired.” After 17 years, he and his brother formed Raposo Welding Service. “I don’t do it as much any more,” he said. “My brother is still at it. As long as he’s happy, I leave him to it. He’s four years younger than me. I still go in the mornings and pay bills and that sort of thing.” He married his wife, Marta, in 1967. They had two daughters, Marina and Sophia. It took him a year to build his Narrows Lane home by hand, in 1995. He did a lot of the metalwork, such as stairs to his dock, himself. His wife died in 2011 after a battle with ovarian cancer. “It was hard on everyone,” he said. “I certainly never thought I would marry again [but] I don’t think any man should be alone.” He remarried in 2013. He and his wife, Evangeline, spend a lot of time with his four grandchildren. “He is a wonderful grandfather,” said Felicia Da Sa, a student at Toronto’s Seneca College. “My grandfather is wise. Every time I have a problem, he always has some solution. He is just awesome. If you call him and you need something, he’s there in five minutes.” As for Mr Raposo’s old boat, Yellow Bird, he burnt it a few years ago. “The wood had gone rotten,” he said. “I gave it a great send off. I didn’t want to just chuck her in the trash.”

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June 25

spacerCensus results have confirmed a wage gap based on race, a Cabinet member told MPs. Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Government Reform, said that income differences had not leveled out and that legislation requiring equal pay for equal work had “limited impact”. She added: “There is an absolute difference between white wages and black wages.” Ms Foggo was speaking in the House of Assembly last Friday on the Population and Housing Census Report for 2016. Ms Foggo told MPs the document “tells the story of income disparity, wage gap, inequality in pay and unequal distribution”. She said: “Call it what you will. The facts are the facts. The racial wage gap is real.” Ms Foggo said analysis of the census results by race and sex showed income increases across every category except for black men “who experienced a decline in median annual gross incomes from main job”. She added the income difference between white men and black men remained huge. Ms Foggo said that the census also found seven per cent of Bermuda’s population was unemployed. She added: “The unemployment rate for blacks — nine per cent — is triple that of whites.” Ms Foggo said she was “stumped” and “floored” by the racial earnings divide. She said the issue was one that “we were all elected and put here to deal with”. Michael Dunkley, the former Premier, said the numbers showed areas in which a “great deal” of work needed to be done. Mr Dunkley said: “This census accurately portrays some of the challenges that we face. We will support whatever initiatives that can be put in place to deal with some of the challenges.” Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said the 13 per cent decrease in median income for black men since 2010 was “dramatic”. Mr Brown added: “That speaks to a practice of institutionalized discrimination, there is no other explanation and it is a serious cause for concern.” Trevor Moniz, the Shadow Attorney-General, said that it was important to examine job losses not only in terms of race, but also sectors in which people are employed, as well as in terms of Bermudians and non-Bermudians. Mr Moniz said: “There are interesting factors in the Bermudian society that will affect this.” He highlighted a trend where farm laborers now came from Jamaica rather than the Azores. Mr Moniz added: “They were white, they’re now black. None of them are Bermudian. Therefore, in terms of what people are doing in terms of Bermudians, to my mind it doesn’t really matter if those workers are black or white. If you change their colour tomorrow it’s not going to make Bermudians better off or worse off, but it will affect your statistics.” Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said the census underlined two “glaring” issues — a lack of healthcare and an ageing population. Rolfe Commissiong, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, said that the “very destructive and negative impacts” among Bermuda’s black population was because “the black community largely doesn’t have the resources, the income and the wealth to insulate them from those impacts”. Jeanne Atherden, the Opposition Leader, said that tackling employment issues in Bermuda should be a cross-party issue. Ms Atherden added: “I believe that some things such as workforce development and having a long-term plan, sometimes you have to say politics has to come out of that.” Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, said he was surprised how little the poverty level had changed since the previous census. He blamed part of the problem on institutional racism in Bermuda. Mr Simmons said he told his sons: “It’s my job to ensure that you will never have to beg for a job or beg for a loan.” He added: “We must change our thinking. We have to tackle the structures of institutional racism.”

spacerThe Institute of Directors Bermuda Branch is partnering with Informa PLC to host a governance conference at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club on November 2. The conference theme, “A New Era in Board Governance, Are You on Board”, is expected to attract more than 200 company directors, business leaders, experts and professionals who will deliver thought leadership on topical issues impacting current and aspiring directors and boards. Rochelle Simons, chairwoman of IOD Bermuda, said: “We are delighted that Dr Roger Barker, head of corporate governance at the IOD London, will be a keynote conference speaker. Dr Barker is a respected governance professional who is engaged in key governance organisations in the UK and Europe. We look forward to hosting and introducing Dr Barker to the business community.” Dr Barker is managing director of Barker and Associates, a corporate governance advisory firm. He previously served as the director of corporate governance and professional standards at the IOD for almost a decade. Dr Barker is a UK Member of the European Economic and Social Committee, senior adviser to the Board of the European Confederation of Directors Associations (ECODA) and chairman of the ecoDa Education Programme for European Directors. He is also a former investment banker, and spent almost 15 years in a variety of equity research and senior management roles at UBS and Bank Vontobel, both in the UK and Switzerland. Mrs Simons said: “The creation of a substantive signature event was part of the original vision for the Branch when we launched in 2013. However, first steps focused on providing value-added formal and informal professional development platforms and networking events to the membership. During the past five years, the IOD Bermuda Branch has successfully focused on bringing quality professional development to current and aspiring resident directors through the IOD Chartered Director programme. The training, led by chartered directors from the IOD London, has been delivered to more than 150 delegates in public courses and private trainings to company boards. The Bermuda cohort of certified directors include 46 certificate and 14 diploma in company direction holders, and three chartered directors. We are pleased with this result and the creation of the conference is an exciting next step.” Sara Schroter Ross, a member of the Bermuda Branch executive committee, is chairwoman of the conference committee. She said: “We are excited to partner with Informa in the creation of this inaugural governance conference. Informa is a leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events business operating in the knowledge and information economy. “The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 100. The Informa team is experienced in producing quality events and they understand the Bermuda market having recently delivered the Transcontinental Trusts: International Forum at the Fairmont Hamilton.” She said the IOD conference will provide “a global platform for Bermuda which is a leading jurisdiction with an internationally respected regulatory regime. The conference will offer attendees a dynamic and engaging format with a distinguished line-up of speakers”. She added: “Conference content will be structured around topical issues that high performing boards must understand, assess for impact, apply for success and monitor for performance and compliance. Session topics will examine current governance trends; crisis management for boards; technology — are directors tech-savvy; the board’s role in risk management oversight, innovation, creating corporate culture, sustainability and more. At its core, the goal of this event is to stand at the edge of the new era of business excellence in board governance and all this encompasses.”

spacerThe Transport Control Department closed early because of a plumbing problem. A spokesman said: “The matter is being addressed by the Department of Works and Engineering. TCD hopes to return to normal operating hours tomorrow at 8.30am.”

spacerClarien Bank Limited has donated $5,000 to The Flora Fund to help aspiring and talented local athletes reach their goals. The fund was established by Flora Duffy, the two-times ITU world champion triathlete and Commonwealth Games gold medallist. The donation was presented to Flora’s father Charlie Duffy during the awards ceremony at Saturday’s 30th annual Clarien Iron Kids triathlon — the event where Flora first began her competitive career more than 20 years ago. Ms Duffy, who was off island training for the World Triathlon Series Hamburg event on July 14, in a statement said: “The Iron Kids triathlon is where I did my very first triathlon. I think I was seven years old. It is wonderful that the race has continued to be held every year, and the fact that this year’s event had a record 300 kids entered, is simply amazing. I wish I could have been there to witness it in person.” She added: “I’d like to thank Clarien Bank for sharing my passion for triathlon, and the positive impact sport has on the youth of Bermuda. I’m humbled by the donation to The Flora Fund and pledge to direct the funds to deserving talent later this year.” Ms Duffy has also won the ITU Cross Triathlon world championships, and is a multiyear winner of the Xterra world championships. She was awarded the OBE this month for her services to sport in Bermuda. Michael DeCouto, Clarien’s chief digital and marketing office, presented the donation. He said: “Clarien is honored to make this donation to The Flora Fund. Flora has been an inspiration to everyone in Bermuda, not just for her spectacular world-class athletic achievements but for her humility and humanity off the race course. Those qualities are epitomized by The Flora Fund and her willingness to give back to the community. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Clarien Iron Kids and its continued success as one of the island’s leading youth sports events. Flora has shown what can be achieved with determination and hard work and we look forward to more of our Iron Kids following in her illustrious footsteps.” (Contributions to The Flora Fund can be made online through the Bermuda Community Foundation’s donation page or offline by completing a Gift Intention Form. For more details contact the Bermuda Community Foundation at 294-4959).

spacerThe contributions of the Azorean community were yesterday celebrated at an event in Victoria Park. It was one of the monthly Bermuda Heartbeats events put on by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs. Sunday’s event was put on in with the help of House of Azores, Bermuda. Michael Weeks, the Minister of Social Development and Sport, said it was “an honour and a pleasure” the be part of the event. Mr Weeks said: “The people of the Azores have a unique and vibrant culture, and as part of our Bermudian community this rich culture is a part of our national cultural fabric. Bermuda has indeed benefited significantly from the contributions made by our Azorean family over many, many years. From education to agriculture, commerce, construction and of course, cuisine, the Azorean influence is an integral part of our national identity. Today, this culture is showcased through live entertainment, traditional arts and crafts, film, dance and more.”

spacerA St George’s man was critically injured after crashing his rental scooter into a wall and a metal post last night. The 44-year-old rider suffered a serious leg injury in the incident on Wellington Slip Road, St George’s, at about 10.50pm. Police say he struck the low wall before continuing on to an area of grass near the roadside, where he struck the post. He was taken by ambulance to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, and was listed in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit this morning. Meanwhile, a 66-year-old cyclist from Devonshire injured in a crash on Saturday night remains in critical condition in the ICU. His vehicle collided with a motorcycle on Middle Road, Devonshire, near the junction with Vesey Street, at about 11.50pm. The 46-year-old motorcyclist, from Hamilton Parish, was recovering in stable condition on a general ward today, after receiving non-life threatening leg injuries. All vehicles involved in the two crashes have been impounded. Witnesses should call police on 295-0011.

spacerA 66-year-old pedal cyclist is fighting for his life after his bicycle was in collision with a motorcycle at the weekend. The man suffered serious head and neck injuries in the crash, while the male motorcyclist sustained leg injuries. The collision happened on Middle Road, Devonshire near its junction with Vesey Street just before midnight on Saturday. The injured were rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where the cyclist is “critical” in the intensive care unit. Police said the motorcyclist, aged 46, had “non-life-threatening injuries.” The collision was said by police to have happened when the bicycle rider joined Middle Road from Vesey Street. Middle Road between Hermitage Road and Vesey Street was cordoned off while officers examined the scene.

spacerThe future will be a friendlier place for Bermuda’s gay people, churchgoers heard yesterday. The Reverend Meredith Fraser said: “It may not be this year or next, but there will likely be the day when in the month of June the rainbow flag is flown across the street at Sessions House, or in front of the Cabinet building on Front Street for all the world to see. “The world is changing, my brothers and sisters, and there is room for all.” Ms Fraser was speaking at a Pride Service organized to show support for gay people at Wesley Methodist Church in Hamilton. She told members of the congregation “the world is changing”. She added: “Although when we click on the evening news it may seem that we are regressing — particularly in ways of compassion and tolerance. Then we see the immediate, though sometimes eventual backlash, to shameful practices and policies.” The service included a rainbow proclamation in support of gay people, as well as songs, bible readings and a poem from writer Tiffany Paynter. Ms Paynter said her poem god gap was influenced in part by a battle with the Government last December over the removal of the right to marriage for gay people and the substitution of civil partnerships. Ms Paynter earlier said the piece was a “sociopolitical critique of homophobia in Bermuda”. She added: “That’s really just a fancy way of putting it. Really, it’s not a sociopolitical critique — it’s a love poem. I’m talking about what it means to be in love in the face of homophobia — in the face of a battle with the Government for my right to be seen as equal. I believe there is a God, a creator, a power, a source behind all this that knows that I am equal. I’m not a mistake.” She said her poetry was a bid to show people they do not exist in isolation. “When we connect, these stereotypes fall, these barriers fall and I think our fears are weakened.” Representatives from the Human Rights Commission, OutBermuda and the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda were at yesterday’s service. A Rainbow Alliance spokeswoman said she turned up to show support for Wesley Methodist Church. She added: “The support that they are showing for Bermuda’s LGBTQ community — they are really putting themselves out there as a safe space.” The spokeswoman said that she hoped the service showed Christian LGBTQ people that they do have a home. “It’s really awesome that Wesley can be that place.” Ms Fraser said she was excited by the “amazing” response to the service, which included a lot of visitors. She added that she hoped the congregation knew that Wesley was “a place of welcome. I hope that anyone would feel that they could come through these doors and be welcome. It is a very grace-filled, receptive community.”

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June 24, Sunday

spacerBermuda Thoroughbred Racing left the Royal Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England empty-handed on Saturday after their star filly disappointed. Queen Of Bermuda was sent off the 11-2 favourite for the Windsor Castle Stakes, broke well from the stalls and looked poised to challenge at halfway before fading to trail home 17th of the 28 runners. Connections had faced a difficult choice in the run-up to the big meeting and decided to switch races from their original target of the Queen Mary Stakes. Simon Scupham, BTR chairman, said: “We thought the Windsor Castle was the safer option, but the gods conspired against us. She was clear leader out of the stalls but a 50-1 shot seemed intent on imposing himself on our small filly and forced her over to the far side before she was sandwiched between horses. The positive is that she showed great speed and will have her day.” Queen Of Bermuda is set to be kept busy this year with her next race likely to be the Weatherbys Super Sprint on July 21 before a scheduled trip to Glorious Goodwood in August.

Racehorse Queen of Bermuda

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June 23

spacerRestrictions on car ownership will make it easier for homeowners to earn extra income through a rental property, the House of Assembly heard yesterday. Walton Brown, the home affairs minister, said that one-bedroom and studio apartments will be given assessment numbers, but will not be allowed to have a private car registered at the address. Mr Brown said: “Many homeowners have space to create an additional unit, but are unable to create additional parking spaces. This new type of unit can provide additional income for homeowners with smaller properties who previously were unable to create a rental unit.” The minister added that the move fulfilled a Throne Speech pledge from the Progressive Labour Party. He added it was hoped the move would also provide a boost for the construction industry. Mr Brown said: “There was no mechanism available to issue an assessment number to an address that would not automatically confer the ability to register a car against the unit, thereby limiting the creation of dwelling units to those properties that were able to provide the required car parking and maneuvering spaces on their site.” He added that minor changes to existing rules will be needed, but no legislation was required. Mr Brown said the public would be notified of the start date of the new policy.

spacerThe Speaker of the House of Assembly questioned yesterday if race had played a part in the United Kingdom’s decision to impose public registers of company ownership on its Overseas Territories. Mr Lister, one of four Bermudian MPs who attended a regional meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in the Caymans this week, said British Crown dependencies, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, had not been asked to create public registers. He said: “The territories in this region that were affected by this aren’t the only territories that fall under the Crown. Let’s accept that. Let’s accept the fact that the territories that haven’t been affected by this do similar business as those in this territory that have been affected by this registry.” Mr Lister was speaking after former finance minister Bob Richards highlighted that Crown dependencies had not been told to take the same measures as Bermuda and British Caribbean territories. The Speaker said: “They are territories just like us, even though they fall in a different category as far as naming, meaning they’re not Overseas Territories, they’re called Crown Dependencies, but the business model is the same.” He said: “Let’s look at the racial make up of those countries that have been affected and those that haven’t. That’s a simple question I’m putting to you, look at it, you draw your own conclusion.” Mr Lister said that the racial make-up of the Crown Dependencies compared to most Overseas Territories may account for the different treatment. He added: “I can’t put myself in the mind of anybody else, I’ll put that on the table, but I can look at what’s obvious in front of me and until somebody can justify why, then you have to look at the obvious and try and make a decision on the obvious that’s in front of you.” Mr Richards, who retired from politics after he lost his One Bermuda Alliance seat in last year’s General Election, earlier said the British Parliament’s decision to make the OTs reveal the owners of all their registered companies by the end of 2020 was a “huge retrograde step and totally unacceptable”. He added that it was obvious why Crown dependencies were not told to take the same measures. Mr Richards compared the difference in treatment to Britain’s “kith and kin” policy towards the former Rhodesia under the rule of white leader Ian Smith, who made a unilateral declaration of independence from the UK in 1965 in a bid to stave off black majority rule. He said: “In other words, because the Rhodesians who were in charge of Rhodesia were the descendants of the white British, they were kith and kin. They had a different approach towards kith and kin. The folks in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey are also kith and kin.” Mr Lister said on Thursday the work of the CPA conference, which included delegates from the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic region, was to discuss how small territories can prepare for “global impacts”. He added the enforcement of beneficial ownership registers would affect Overseas Territories in different ways, But Mr Lister said: “The collective decision was that we have to recognize that we’re one and the same when it comes to the impact that this would have on our respective economies, as the individual territories. And we need to stand as a united front saying that this isn’t the way that these things should be forced down on any of us.” Members of Bermuda’s Youth Parliament took part in debate on Britain’s decision to leave the EU at the conference yesterday. Taj Donville-Outerbridge, 18, said the conference was “really interesting” the chance to spend time with parliamentarians was “a really great experience”. Tierrai Tull, 17, added: “It was definitely an amazing experience to see other youth delegates and hearing their voices.” The UK’s Foreign Office did not respond to a request for comment.

spacerA pastor thrown into jail after he wrote about the unfair treatment of Jamaican workers in Bermuda more than 100 years ago could be granted a pardon. David Burt, the Premier, told the House of Assembly yesterday that the case against the Reverend Charles Vinton Monk, who was locked up for libel after he exposed the poor conditions endured by people imported to work on the Royal Naval Dockyard, was rigged. Now he has asked the Governor to grant a posthumous pardon in a move welcomed by church leaders. Mr Monk, an African Methodist Episcopal Church minister and journalist from the United States who was based in Somerset, was found guilty of criminal libel in the early 1900s after he highlighted the conditions of workers brought from the West Indies to extend the base. Mr Burt said: “During his tenure, he witnessed harsh and terrible conditions imposed on Jamaican workers brought to Bermuda to work in the construction of the Royal Naval Dockyard. In keeping with the doctrine of the AME Church and its commitment to social justice, Reverend Monk took to writing about these conditions and exposed the company responsible for them in the hope that this would bring about a change to the benefit of the workers. Instead of accepting the truth of the obvious state of the workforce, the rampant disease and dangerous working conditions at the site, the principals of the company saw to it that Monk was arrested and charged with criminal libel.” The Premier said Mr Monk was jailed “for simply reporting the truth”. He added: “A review of the case indicates that the whole affair was laced with shocking bias.” The House heard the pastor was unrepresented in court after his counsel died the day before the original trial date — amid speculation he was poisoned. Sir Brownlow Gray, the trial judge, was the father of prosecutor Reginald Gray and the pair were also related to the assistant justice, while the Crown’s two witnesses compared to more than 100 called to defend Mr Monk’s reports. The House heard the Premier, with the approval of the Cabinet and backed by the AME Church, has asked the Governor to consult the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy with a view to granting the pastor a “full and free posthumous pardon”. Mr Burt said: “Some may say ‘why this and why now?’. To that, there is a simple answer, Mr Speaker: ‘It is never too late to do the right thing’.” The Premier said the case was brought to the attention of the modern public by the late Ira Philip in his book Freedom Fighters: From Monk to Mazumbo. Mr Philip later said the conviction could “only be characterized as a miscarriage of justice”. Reverend Nicholas Tweed, pastor of St Paul AME Church, thanked the Premier for “having both the historical understanding of the importance of this case and also the moral courage to correct a historic wrong”. He added: “Seldom in the life of a community do we have the opportunity to correct historic injustices. The move represented the best of what we can hope to become and I hope that it will be utilized, as the Premier said, as a teaching moment to begin teaching our children and the rest of the island about the importance of our history and also to develop the courage to change those things that need to be changed about our history so we can move forward in a productive and beneficial way for the common good.” Mr Burt did not rule out similar applications in the future. He said: “For anyone who has been observing this government for the past 11 months, we are not afraid of using the mandate which we were given by the people of this country and where there are things that need to be changed, we will press forward and do that.” A Government House spokeswoman said: “The Governor will consider the request in line with his responsibilities under the Constitution.”

spacerDrop-off points at the LF Wade International Airport will change for the next week due to construction at the existing terminal. Mechanical upgrades began last month with the installation of nine air handling units (AHUs). The AHUs are large fans that circulate air around the terminal and cool the area and are in the process of being replaced along with structural roof curbs that support the AHUs once they are installed. It is essential that the failing, old air handling units are replaced to ensure comfortable air flow through the current facility while it remains in operation. The next phase of the project will begin on Monday and as a result, drop off points at the airport will move to the front of Café Boulevard beside the short-term parking lot. This includes private vehicles and taxis. The normal drop off location will be closed and inaccessible to all vehicles to ensure safe passage through the area. When entering the airport, vehicles are advised to follow the road to the long-term car park then turn left opposite the bus stop to drop off passengers. This is normally a one-way exit, however during construction, it will be used to enter the temporary drop off location. For those who take the bus to and from the airport, a temporary bus stop will be set up at the staff parking lot located towards at the entrance of the airport. This location will be used in the short term only during this phase of the project. Signage will be installed at the temporary bus stop to avoid confusion. Mikaela Pearman, marketing and communications officer, Skyport, said: “We would like to thank the public in advance for their patience as we complete these necessary upgrades to the terminal. It is important that all drivers to the airport follow these restrictions until this phase of construction is completed as safety is our top priority.” The new air handling units will greatly improve air quality within the building and will be more energy efficient than the old units. Additionally, the units are made of stainless steel, which will provide much more resistance to the harsh Bermudian environment. This phase of the project is expected to last for a week. So far, seven AHUs have been installed and six are fully operational. Two more are expected to be installed by the end of the month with the project likely to be completed the first week of July.

spacerLegislation to end conscription into the island’s military was passed in the House of Assembly last night. Wayne Caines, Minster of National Security, said the Defence Amendment Act was “a once-in-a-generation chance to transform the Royal Bermuda Regiment into a bespoke hybrid organisation, which is more efficient, effective and professional”. Mr Caines, a former officer in the RBR, said that conscription had “served Bermuda well over the years”. But he added: “That said, the modern era dictates that the time has come for conscription into the Royal Bermuda Regiment to end, as is the case in each of the other Overseas Territories. I am confident that Bermuda will be the better for ending conscription.” Mr Caines said his ministry had worked with the RBR to make sure the regiment would be able to sustain its volunteer numbers. He added: “The RBR will continue its extensive public relations campaigns and incentive programmes in order to attract men and women to serve.” Mr Caines said a review by the RBR had been conducted over the past six months. He added the report found that a total of 327 personnel, 28 officers and 299 soldiers, could carry out the work of the RBR. The number is down from the 400 soldiers recommended in a 2014 report. Mr Caines said the review also focused on the creation of a coast guard. He added: “The plan for the RBR Coast Guard is for the RBR to commence training now and perform the role alongside the Bermuda Police Service until the RBR Coast Guard is fully trained and completely take over the function.” The new Coast Guard is expected to take over maritime security duties in April 2020. Mr Caines said the RBR would recruit with “a promise to invest in those officers and soldiers who volunteer to serve Bermuda”. He added: “Through training partners in Bermuda and overseas, the regiment will deliver a pathway of education and training that is second-to-none. In short, this is a very exciting time to be a member of the Royal Bermuda Regiment.” Mr Caines said that he had met pressure group the Nine Colonels who “remain steadfast in their belief that conscription should not end”. But he added that they were “open” to the recommendations of the latest review. Mr Caines said: “They have made it clear that they would like to see a clear time continuum and firm undertaking by the Government that shows a commitment to enacting the key recommendations.” Michael Dunkley, a former premier and shadow national security minister, said that he had always felt “very uncomfortable” about conscription. He added: “I am glad that the day has come where we can deal with it.” But Mr Dunkley added: “At the same time, we need to make sure that the RBR is in a position to effectively fill out their mandate.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works admitted he was a “reluctant member” of the Regiment when he signed up. He said he had been opposed to the abolition of conscription, but that he could see the benefits of the Act. Colonel Burch added: “My own view on this has evolved. I get that times change and situations evolve. In order for this to be successful in terms of the survival of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, we require people who are in service to have the ability to convince young people that this is something they want to do. It must be aggressive and talk to young people where they are.” Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, a One Bermuda Alliance backbencher, said: “There are some of our young people who didn’t want to be there but who will tell you in retrospect that they could not have had a more positive experience. I’m going to miss hearing the positive experiences from those who didn’t want to do it.” Jamahl Simmons, the economic development minister, admitted he had been a “reluctant” conscript, but that the Regiment helped to “instil basic life skills”.

spacerA new code for government buying will help small businesses bid for public contracts, a minister said yesterday. Lovitta Foggo, the government reform minister, told the House of Assembly that Government would “use its purchasing power” to help create opportunities for historically disadvantaged groups. The Code of Practice for Project Management and Procurement will come into force on July 2. Ms Foggo said: “The code is reflective of the Government’s commitment to improve good governance standards. This is a notable achievement. This government promised the completion of the code and we have now delivered. Through the implementation of the code we are effectively raising the standards of governance in this country as that is what the voters expect. This is a true example of accountability. Others promised, but we have delivered.” Ms Foggo added officials were prepared for the code to come into force. She said: “The Office of Project Management and Procurement conducted training sessions on the code for permanent secretaries, heads of departments, comptrollers and the Accountant-General’s Department during the period November 2017 to March 2018. Thereafter, heads of department were required to ensure the distribution of the code to all officers who are engaged in the purchasing process within their respective departments.” Government also organized information sessions for contractors, vendors and suppliers. The training and information sessions have yielded valuable and constructive feedback. We have been reminded of the importance of ensuring that the Government’s procurement processes are as efficient as possible and that its documentation is readily accessible by all prospective suppliers. We have been encouraged to be more flexible in providing for advance, stage or interim payments and to reduce the time required to process payments made to small business owners.”

spacerThe Minister of Transport yesterday tabled legislation to allow police to carry out roadside breath tests. Walter Roban said the Road Traffic (Road Sobriety Checkpoints) Amendment Act would deter drink driving. He told the House of Assembly the Bill would allow the senior magistrate to authorize the police to set up breath test checkpoints. He said notice of checkpoints would be published in the Gazette and they would be “highly visible with signage posted alerting drivers” of their presence. Mr Roban told MPs: “Road safety is essential for all road users. “Every year we are faced with the daunting reality of poor riding and driving practices that result in loss of life and many horrific injuries and lifetime disabilities — the vast majority of which are avoidable. This can no longer be tolerated — road safety is paramount in ending this dilemma.” Mr Roban added that the Road Safety Strategy 2018-2023 aimed to:

spacerA work-to-rule that disrupted bus services more than a week was called off yesterday. Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, said industrial action at the Department of Public Transportation had been lifted “effective immediately”. Transport minister Walter Roban added: “DPT and the BIU have agreed to commence talks early next week to discuss policy issues that will assist in clarifying work practices, on both sides, going forward.” The DPT said it was working around the clock to restore the available fleet of buses to a normal schedule inside the next 24 hours. BIU members voted in favour of industrial action June 12. Mr Furbert said the move was the result of anger over problems that staff felt had not been tackled by the Government. He said some of the complaints — including the poor condition of the bus fleet — dated back “three to five years”. The Government has said it had met with the union about the members’ concerns. The work-to-rule resulted in hundreds of bus cancellations. Services came to a complete halt on Monday as the island celebrated National Heroes Day. The Government said 119 routes were cancelled before yesterday’s announcement.

spacerBehind every victorious yacht there is an amazing story. The story of how Jim Grundy’s Columbia 50, Grundoon, was raised from the seabed and went on to win the biggest prize in this year’s Newport Bermuda Race is no exception. The 64-year-old Pennsylvania skipper won the revered St David’s Lighthouse Trophy after topping the 85-strong fleet in the St David’s Lighthouse Division on corrected time — ten years after restoring the 50-year-old yacht previously owned by his late father, James, that had been left to rot away. “The boat sank at the dock at my father’s home in Chester and when I came on board in the middle of winter the water was up to the bunks in the cabin, so I had to chop a hole in the ice to pump the boat out,” Grundy recalled. “I was ashamed because I’d gone on to high-performance boat racing and my father, who was quite old at the time, went on to a powerboat but we never sold this boat. Neither one of us cared for it, so seeing the boat sunk in I was extremely ashamed of myself. I owed it to this boat for all the years that we have had it to restore it." By the time the restoration work was completed Grundy’s father’s health had deteriorated. “At the time my father was going through the third stage of Alzheimer’s disease and was quite unaware,” Grundy said. “We got the boat all done and took it and tied it up to his dock and called my mother and asked her to bring dad down to the dock. It all came back to him that day and when he put his hands on the wheel his eyes went from grey to blue. “He knew where he was and how to sail this boat, which he did all day, and it was the greatest thing because he passed away a week later. I know he’s looking down with one mighty proud smile on his face.” The triumph was Grundy’s first in seven appearances in the 635-nautical mile race and was achieved with his daughter Gwendylyn and sons Joshua and Sam among the crew. “I’m ecstatic.” Grundy exclaimed. “It’s overwhelming and an accomplishment of a lifetime of sailing. The whole thing is magical for us. I have cried about three times so far.” Grundy’s crew also comprised of Phillip McKee, Owen Miller, Chuck O’Mally, watch captain David Schwartz and navigator-naval architect Harry Dunning, who has worked with five America’s Cup syndicates as a boat designer. “We didn’t have any professional sailors,” Grundy stressed. “Everybody on this boat, including our famous naval architect, who is really one of the legends in modern yacht design, are all just good friends of mine, which adds to it because it’s much more a team than a professional effort. It’s just a bunch of guys who enjoy sailing together and pushing every inch of the way.” After savoring the sweet taste of success, Grundy had to live up to a promise he made to his crew before setting sail from Newport, Rhode Island, on June 15. “Weight is critical, even on an old heavy boat, so everybody’s carry-on gear had to fit into a duffel bag ten inches in diameter and two feet long,” he explained. “That’s all that anybody can bring on the boat. They asked ‘what if we win and have to have a blazer and tie’ and I said ‘well, if we win I will buy you all blazers’. So we went to the old English Sports Shop and I bought six blazers, which cost more than it did to enter the race.”

51st Newport Bermuda Race division winners

spacerA softball league has been banned from using a public pitch after wine bottles were found in a trash can. Softball Bermuda was ordered to keep off the WMC Preece Softball Diamond in Bernard Park until further notice after the bottles were found in a bin next to a dugout. But yesterday Dean Williams, president of Softball Bermuda, cried foul and said the move by the Department of Youth Sport and Recreation was an overreaction. Mr Williams added: “I hope that this can be sorted out very quickly — in fact I am waiting to have a meeting with Government now. The department knows that I am tremendously aggrieved about the way it went down — they had no conversation with us. I don’t know who the culprits are but as an association we are doing everything in our power to stamp out these sorts of things.” Mr Williams also pointed out that it was unfair to penalize the entire association. He said: “I don’t understand how you can find alcohol in a dugout and say that it is our fault as an association. If somebody is trying to keep something away from you in terms of doing something nefarious, they are going to do it. All I can do is put in harsh penalties for people who want to circumvent the rules.” Mr Williams was speaking after a letter from the department was sent to him on Thursday to announce the suspension. The letter said that teams were warned in April about the drinking of alcohol at softball games. It added the bottles were found in the away team dugout during a site visit after a game on Wednesday at the park’s softball diamond. The letter said: “This is confirmation that drinking persists during games and this letter serves as an official notice that the Michael Preece softball diamond will be closed to Softball Bermuda until the situation is rectified.” But Mr Williams insisted that anyone caught drinking alcohol at the park would be banned from playing for the remainder of the season. He added if anyone was drunk and or committed a serious infringement of the rules their membership would be revoked. Mr Williams said: “That is as strong as you can get. We sent out a very strong and terse e-mail to our members weeks ago, after we got the original e-mail, saying if this is happening and we find out who it is those penalties will be implemented. Since that time nothing has happened until that particular night. I spoke to the groundsman who was unaware of anything taking place and I was the umpire of record and I saw nothing.” Mr Williams questioned how the department could be sure it was softball players who had left the bottles. He said: “How do they know it wasn’t the J’Ouvert they had down there? The Government may say that the trash can was empty when softball started at 6pm on Wednesday but the groundsman doesn’t know when the bottles went in there nor do I. It may have been a softball player but you need some evidence of who the perpetrator is. I’m not going to search everybody’s bag when they come in.” Mr Williams added: “I think we can collaboratively think of ways to arrest this problem if it happens again — which I doubt, based on the teams now knowing how serious this is.” The Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation did not respond to a request for comment.

spacerThe world’s fastest man said yesterday he looked forward to meeting Bermuda’s up-and-coming athletes next week. Usain Bolt, who will fly in to the island on Tuesday, said: “I’m excited to meet some of the local young athletes and getting to know them, giving them a few speed secrets and just inspiring them in their budding track and field journeys. I can still remember the cheers of the Bermudians when I won my first world junior record in 2004. Hopefully in another few years I’ll be watching these kids set some new records.” Mr Bolt set his first world record in the Men’s Under-20 200m race at the Carifta games at the National Stadium in 2004. The eight-time Olympic gold medallist, “chief speed officer” for phone firm Digicel, will sign autographs and pose for pictures at the Digicel store on Church Street from 12.45pm to 1.45pm on Tuesday.

spacerHelena Pipe had no idea the challenges she would face when deciding to leave home and pursue a career in British theatre. The hardest part? Trusting God in the midst of uncertainty. However the experience helped the 30-year-old grow her faith. She’s now in her biggest role to date as part of the ensemble cast of the long-running Broadway musical, Oklahoma! Ms Pipe was “overwhelmed with joy” on opening night at the Grange Park Opera this month. “I didn’t let it show as I didn’t want to be an emotional mess in the dressing room. However, as I journeyed back home on the bus I couldn’t contain the tears,” she said. “I reached one of my dreams and I was overwhelmingly thankful to God. Everything He promised had happened and nothing I had gone through had been in vain.” She went through some dark and lonely days after moving to England nearly 18 months ago. Finding work was tough in the beginning; she had to rely on her family for financial support. “I applied for jobs that would work well for the schedule of an actor and I wouldn’t hear anything back or I’d simply not get them,” she recalled. “One place turned me down because ‘I didn’t have the right energy’. I’m still scratching my head at that one. I needed to work, so I humbled myself and signed up with an agency to clean houses. Having to clean houses was potentially my worst nightmare, but I did it and I’m very glad I did. I grew so much in my faith during that time. I would listen to sermons every time I cleaned a new house. I literally worshipped my way through scrubbing toilets and I would do it again if I had to.” To cope with some of her anxiety and depression, she started seeing a therapist who she described as a “true Godsend.  All these things happened before I got on the stage in Oklahoma!, and that’s exactly why I speak of God’s strategic and perfect timing. Each one of these things has prepared me for where I am now. He knows all things.” Her agent got the audition for Oklahoma!. Although she felt confident, she wasn’t sure if she would get the job after she missed a chorus in her audition song. She was shocked when her agent called and said she had a role in the month-long production. It was her first official casting since leaving Bermuda. The experience has taught her a lot. For starters, God is in control. Every situation she’s been through has served as a lesson, test, or opportunity to grow her faith. “Even the darkest days have aligned me to His glory and for that He will always receive all of my praise,” she said. “When I first moved, after all the excitement of moving had worn off, I was very closed-off. I didn’t really want to go anywhere and being alone was my safety. Now I’m learning to be more open to saying yes to things, making connections with people of different backgrounds, challenging myself to share more of who I am with strangers, and experiencing life overall. Life is about experiences and there’s so much to learn from people who aren’t like you.” She’s also more self-aware than she’s ever been and has found that no matter how weak or down she feels, God’s strength can always carry her through. “Listen to God. If He tells you to stop, then stop, and when He tells you to go, go,” she advised. “Trust the process, if it doesn’t happen the way you intended that’s okay. God’s plans are greater than we can imagine. Stand strong in your faith, remember who you are in Him and never forget that He has the final say. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, be good to people, and trust your journey."

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June 22

spacerLegislation to enable insurtech experimentation and innovation to be trialled in Bermuda is being tabled today by the Bermuda Government. Not everyone will be able to play in the sandbox environment as eligibility criteria has also been proposed. It is for use by licensed insurers or licensed insurance intermediaries. The testing of financial technology will be to a limited number of clients in a live environment for a limited time period. David Burt said the purpose of the Insurance Amendment Act 2018 is to create an insurance regulatory sandbox “which will further position Bermuda to maintain its status as a leading centre for insurance innovation”. In a ministerial statement, the Premier said: “Technology-enabled innovations in the insurance industry or ‘insurtechs’ have emerged to offer simpler products and streamlined customer experiences. The challenge for many insurance companies is to determine the best way to embrace the financial technology imperative given their strategic vision and business objectives.” Mr Burt, who is also Minister of Finance, noted that $724 million had been invested in insurtech during the first three months of this year, according to Willis Towers Watson and CB Insights’ Quarterly Insurtech Briefing. “One of the largest hurdles facing the global insurance sector is the challenge of bringing developments to market amid an insurance regulatory landscape that does not always provide the flexibility necessary to accommodate new concepts at the same speed as the technology develops,” said Mr Burt. In an effort to overcome these hurdles, the Bermuda Monetary Authority has proposed establishing an insurance regulatory sandbox. The proposed sandbox eligibility criteria will be:

• technology must be new or use existing technology in a different way;

• research must be conducted in advance of the application;

• testing objectives must be clearly defined;

• an insurer or an insurance intermediary must demonstrate its understanding and assessment of the relevant risk;

• an insurer and/or an insurance intermediary must demonstrate that policyholders and counter parties are adequately protected against loss during the testing stage;

• an insurer and/or an insurance intermediary will be required to have a well-defined exit or transition strategy in case the testing is unsuccessful or discontinued; and

• an insurer and or an insurance intermediary must demonstrate that it has the intention, ability, and resources to deploy the relevant product, service or distribution channel upon successful testing and exit from the sandbox.

Mr Burt said the Bill will allow the BMA to “implement a prudential regulatory regime in relation to insurtech business by making a number of changes to the Insurance Act 1978 to introduce a new class of innovative insurers and innovative managers, brokers and agents”. He added: “The global financial services market is highly competitive and companies will seek to use a variety of elements to support their business objectives at any given time — that includes the choice of domicile. The expansion of the insurance sector supports the Government’s mandate to expand the economy, to create jobs for Bermudians, and to increase revenue through the continued promotion and development of Bermuda as a first-tier international financial centre. This Bill will assist Bermuda in advancing its fintech ambitions, ensuring that we remain a centre of insurance innovation, by providing the opportunity for new and existing companies to create and perfect innovative insurtech products here in Bermuda.”

spacerEU flagBermuda has to guard against being “bullied into cutting its own throat” amid European Union demands over companies based here that are deemed to lack economic substance. Bob Richards, the former finance minister, made the warning as it became clear that the island has committed to enact legislation by the end of this year to address EU concerns and stay off the bloc’s list of “non-co-operative jurisdictions”. However, “lack of economic substance” has yet to be defined publicly by the EU, creating potential for an economic threat to the island, Mr Richards said. “Offshore financial centres provide significant tax competition to EU member countries, as do the US, UK and many other countries,” Mr Richards said. “But typically, offshore financial centres are small countries with very limited political clout on the world stage, unlike the US, and therefore can be bullied into cutting their own throats. And make no mistake, blacklisting and other such extra judicial actions are indeed state-sponsored bullying.” On its website this month, the EU published a letter of commitment from Bermuda. Dated last November and sent by David Burt, the Premier, to the European Council’s Code of Conduct Group, the letter detailed the actions the Government would take in order to avoid being blacklisted. In the letter, Mr Burt states: “I commit the Government of Bermuda to address the Code of Conduct Group’s concerns relating to a de facto lack of substance for entities doing business in or through Bermuda ... We will pass legislation to implement any appropriate changes by December 31, 2018.” The Government also committed to quarterly progress reports to the group. Mr Burt told the House of Assembly on June 8: “Bermuda’s commitment letter was sufficiently clear and we therefore were not entered on the list of non-co-operative jurisdictions by the European Council.” Bermuda is one of about 40 jurisdictions that have kept off the list by making such commitments. The Ministry of Finance declined to comment in response to our questions, which included whether the Government had received a definition of economic substance from the Code of Conduct Group, when Bermuda representatives were next due to meet with EU officials, and whether work on drafting the promised legislation had yet started. The EU’s intention is to clamp down on international companies that reduce their tax bills in Europe through the use of legal, multinational corporate structures, utilizing low-tax domiciles. As of the end of the third quarter last year, there were 16,283 companies registered on the island, of which 12,919 were classed as “international companies”, according to Department of Statistics data. How many of these could get trapped in an EU “economic substance” net remains to be seen. But it seems likely that those companies who employ no one, whose physical presence is limited to a drawer in a law firm’s filing cabinet and which nevertheless book large amounts of profit will be the major targets. Google, AbbVie, Forest Laboratories and Nike are among those that have made international headlines through the volume of tax-free earnings booked by such entities in Bermuda. Mr Richards argues that holding of assets by a company, whether intellectual or physical, amounts to a legitimate and substantial economic purpose. He added that the EU “would like to say that a Bermuda company that, say, was a holding company whose only assets are patents and other intellectual property, lacks ‘substance’ because it doesn’t employ anybody or trade locally. Of course, such assets could be worth billions of dollars, but if you define substance as employing people or trading locally, then that definition would be highly discriminatory and will cause great harm to Bermuda’s international business sector.” Mr Richards added that while such entities did not directly employ people in Bermuda, the administration of this group did provide work for many Bermudians and, indirectly, millions of dollars in tax revenue for the Government. And he said any agreement should include the same rules being applied to holding companies in the EU as in offshore centres. Among the other jurisdictions facing similar pressure from the EU is The Bahamas. Peter Turnquest, the Caribbean country’s deputy prime minister and finance minister, gave some clues as to what will constitute “economic substance” and suggested the end result could be positive for The Bahamas. “This is an issue that is still under active consideration, but at the end of the day it will involve physical presence, employee count, mind of management, paying taxes locally and other characteristics of substance considered evidence of more than just an attempt to set up tax shelters,” Mr Turnquest told the Nassau Guardian in April. It will require legislation but it also presents an opportunity. If done right we may be able to take advantage of the ‘fair competition’ and ‘transparency’ aspects of this development to boost our home office initiatives and for other MNEs [multinational enterprises] to set up here with real substance, creating real jobs and real activity.”

spacerEmployment income in Bermuda jumped by almost $100 million last year, with international business, construction and public administration seeing notable rises. The figures were released by the Bermuda Government in its Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics covering the fourth quarter, and also including full-year totals. Total employment income was $3.369 billion for 2017, a rise of about $93 million on the previous year, with all sectors seeing year-end higher totals. International business was the largest single sector in terms of employment income, at $1.131 billion for the year, up $40 million on 2016. Public administration and defence rose by $14 million to $422.5 million, with a $7 million increase spike in the third quarter. Construction of hotels and the new airport terminal was reflected in the construction sector employment income total, which rose $9 million year-on-year to $124.3 million. There was an $11 million increase in wages paid to hotel and restaurant employees, with total employment income for the sector reaching $181.2 million for the year. The bulletin also showed a 45,000 increase in total cruise and air visitors for the year, while total imports in the fourth quarter were $236.7 million, down 5.3 per cent year-on-year, largely due to a $9.3 million drop in imports of fuels. The hotel sector employed 2,548 staff, as of October 31, an increase of 137 year-on-year, with an additional 95 Bermudians and 42 non-Bermudians. Separately, the Government also released the Consumer Price Index for April, which showed inflation up 0.2 percentage points to 2 per cent, compared to March. Health insurance premiums increased by an average of 4.1 per cent as the health and personal care sector rose 2.9 per cent. The average cost of insurance and licensing fees for motorcycles and private cars jumped 9.2 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively, with the transport and foreign travel sector up 1.4 per cent. Subscriptions to recreation clubs went up by an average of 3.1 per cent, which was one of the factors that led to a 0.4 per cent increase in the education, recreation, entertainment and reading sector. Higher prices for grapes, pork loin rolls and green peppers were noted in the food sector, which was 0.3 per cent higher. The tobacco and liquor sector advanced 0.6 per cent, and clothing and footwear was 0.1 per cent higher. The only sector that dipped was household goods, services and supplies, which was down 1 per cent, with the average cost of domestic cleaning service decreasing 14.3 per cent. The all-items index was 104.9 in April. This means that a basket of goods and services that cost $100 in April 2015, now costs $104.90.

spacerLegislation designed to end conscription into the island’s military is to be debated in the House of Assembly today. The Defence Amendment Act 2018, tabled by Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, was drawn up to fulfil a General Election promise last year. Mr Caines, a former Royal Bermuda Regiment officer, said the end of compulsory service is “a critical step in the modernization of the organisation and transforming it into a broader career choice for Bermudians”. But a group of former commanding officers predicted the end of conscription would be the “death knell” for the defence force. The Nine Colonels, who fought a rearguard action to block the plan to end conscription, said a volunteer-only service would not attract enough volunteers. The One Bermuda Alliance administration ended annual conscription in 2015, but left it on the law books as a “last resort”. The RBR has run several volunteer-only recruit camps since then. The House of Assembly is also expected to have a take-note debate on the 2016 Housing and Population Census Report.

spacerThe public was warned today to check their measles vaccinations are up-to-date, especially if they have plans to travel this summer. The Department of Health said measles had returned to some areas of the world because people are under-vaccinated or unvaccinated. The World Health Organisation reported the disease rebounded in Europe last with 22,000 cases reported and more than 11,000 cases in January and February of 2018 after a record low in 2016. The WHO also said that 11 countries including Canada, the USA and countries in South America, had 1,685 confirmed cases of measles in the first months of 2018. Measles is a highly contagious virus that can live in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread through coughing and sneezing and droplets can stay airborne for up to two hours. Up to 90 per cent of people close to an infected person who are not immune will also catch the disease. Measles can cause serious health problems including pneumonia, blindness, and inflammation of the brain and is particularly dangerous in children aged under five. The Department of Health said people should make vaccinations are up to date for themselves and any children. People can get MMR vaccine at their doctor’s office or the Adult Immunization and Travel Health clinics at the Department of Health. People who go to the Travel Health Clinic should visit www.gov.bm/health-clinics-bermuda to download the trip planning questionnaire. Vaccines are country-specific and should be booked at least six weeks before departure. More information about immunization can be found at www.gov.bm/immunization-schedules-children-and-adults.

spacerThe voluntary retirement age could be increased to 67 as the Bermuda Government grapples with its “underfunded” pensions plan. David Burt told MPs the assets of the Public Service Superannuation Fund was valued at $574.1 million in March 2017, compared with $572.7 million three years previously. During that time, the unfunded liability increased from $796.6 million to $844.3 million of unfunded liability, the Premier told the House of Assembly. He said a number of actions had already been taken to improve the Fund’s position, including increasing contribution rates and suspending Cost of Living Adjustment increases for pensioners. But he said: “Despite these actions, the PSSF remains underfunded and there are no simple remedies to resolve the underfunded position of the Plan.” Mr Burt said a pension working group has proposed several changes to the pension system to ensure its long-term viability. They include:

• Change the final average earnings definition from “the salary payable to him immediately preceding the date of his retirement” to an average of his earnings over the five years preceding his date of retirement or termination.

• Increase the age at which an unreduced pension is payable from 60 to 65 (55 to 60 for special groups).

• Apply actuarial reductions on early retirement prior to age 65 (60).

• Increasing contributions

Mr Burt said the proposed changes, and a Government proposal to increase the voluntary retirement age to 67, would be sent for actuarial review to determine if they would have the desired effect. Those results should be brought to the House of Assembly later this year. Mr Burt told the House of Assembly: “The Government is sensitive to the challenges facing pension plans of this nature and will take the appropriate steps to ensure the long-term viability of this plan.” A review of the Ministers and Members of the Legislature Pension Fund, found the fund was valued at $12.5 million with $14.4 million of unfunded liability as of March 2017.

spacerNew Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said he will work with the public to address the problems that concern them. Mr Corbishley said: “I want to work with local people, but particularly I want to work with local communities. I want to listen to their concerns, listen to what they need from the service to ensure they are safe, they feel safe and to address the challenges that they face, whether they be antisocial behavior, drug use, organized crime or indeed anything that requires the service of the police.” Mr Corbishley said he had already spoken to the Government and Government House about their expectations. He also said proactive communication would be key to building a relationship with the public. Mr Corbishley said: “A lot of my track record with policing is to build very proactive relationships with communities. Quite often communities are lead not by people in government and politics, but local people who know what’s going on. It’s important that we engage with those people to listen, understand and respond to their concerns.” He said road safety will be a priority under his watch with a focus on speed and intoxicated drivers. Mr Corbishley added that while there had been concern about his appointment as a non-Bermudian, his international experience will benefit the service. He said: “The issue for me is as much about the value that I offer as the challenge of understanding the issues that affect Bermuda. I will give you reassurance that I will listen. My family are moving to Bermuda. We want to be part of the community. I’m not coming over here on a contract to perform a role and clear off.” Mr Corbishley added: “On top of that I bring perhaps a different viewpoint, some objectivity, some experience around international policing and some of the challenges in the UK, some of the partnerships, so I add value to the BPS. While it’s not about me, I think the role I will perform with my deputy in going forward gives not only the right direction moving forward, but an exciting journey ahead for the BPS in being able to serve Bermuda.” A British police officer, Mr Corbishley most recently worked as acting Assistant Chief Constable, the equivalent of acting Assistant Commissioner, with Kent Police. He was formerly in charge of the partnership directorate at the force headquarters in Maidstone, with responsibility of strategic crime reduction, partnership and community relations. A Government House spokesman previously said: “He has considerable strategic experience, including a secondment to the National Crime Agency, which will serve the Bermuda Police Service well as it adapts to emerging global security threats.” One of his priorities will be to establish a programme for developing talented Bermuda Police officers with leadership potential to prepare them for senior command positions within the next five years. Mr DeSilva retired last Friday after nine years in the job.

spacerIncreased police presence, stop light cameras and better education will aim to cut traffic deaths by 25 per cent, transport minister Walter Roban announced today. Mr Roban revealed the measures as part of the five-year Road Safety Plan 2018. He also told a press conference that a Bill to introduce roadside sobriety testing will be tabled in the House of Assembly tomorrow. Mr Roban was joined by Minister of National Security Wayne Caines, the Transport Control Department’s road safety officer David Minors and the chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council Dennis Lister III in announcing a raft of measures. Mr Roban said: “The issue of road safety is a consistent problem for the island of Bermuda. Thousands of road users annually are involved in avoidable traffic collisions due to speeding, drunk driving and carelessness on our roads. Without question this government is extremely concerned with the amount of road collisions that have occurred over the past few years. With the introduction of the Road Safety Plan, it is our aim to introduce measures which will bring awareness, shape behavior and yield safer road conditions.” Mr Roban thanked The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign for its efforts since it launched in January. He said: “I wish to thank you for the work that you have been doing in the area of road safety for quite a bit of time that has been helpful in our discussions.” The Road Safety Plan 2018, titled Operation Caution, takes a two-tiered approach to what is now commonly described as a national health crisis. Phase one includes public awareness through a series of town hall meetings and phase two — a “substantive portion of the plan” which seeks to curb unsafe road behaviors through the education of good road safety practices. Mr Minors outlined details in the plan which include an increased Bermuda Police Service presence throughout the island, the introduction of stop light cameras, speed limit warnings, several targeted marketing campaigns focused on the causes of collisions and curbing dangerous behaviors. The baseline for a pilot education programme including youth education from preschool to high school will be ready as soon as September with a view to implementing in 2019. They are also working on additional adult active learning and re-education and say the fully fledged education programme will be completed by 2023. Additionally, a road safety video competition aimed at youths between 13 to 18 has been created. Teenagers are invited to submit a 30- to 90-second video on the topic “Why is road safety important?” It can be submitted to bdaroadsafety@gmail.com with the entrant’s name, age and a parent contact by the deadline of July 6. Mr Minors said: “Both the youth and adult education tiers include establishing a working group to develop/source road safety curriculum for primary level, reviewing the existing Project Ride programme, engaging the business community on road safety and establishing a mandatory DUI education policy to name a few.” Mr Minors said that full details of the plan would be revealed in a number of town hall meetings this month. The public are strongly advised to attend the meetings which take place across the island. The western parish meeting will be next Monday at Sandys Middle School; the central parishes meeting will take place next Wednesday at the Berkeley Institute; and the eastern parishes meeting next Thursday at Penno’s Wharf. All meetings begin at 7pm. A number of street interviews are also scheduled to take place in the City of Hamilton from July 2 to July 4. Mr Minors said: “Just look out for the chair and the camera if you want to share your views.” The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change road safety campaign and its supporting agencies have called for the introduction of roadside sobriety testing, speed cameras and a graduated licensing programme including on road training for new bike riders while raising awareness of road safety issues in Bermuda. Mr Caines said that government would be taking a “systematic approach” to the introduction of speed cameras which would need a change in legislation to implement. But he said it was certainly something under consideration.

spacerThe Government has backed the introduction of speed cameras on Bermuda’s roads in a bid to cut down on speeding. Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said there was “a strong will” to use speed cameras to help cut the grim toll of death and injury on the roads. Stephen Corbishley, the new Commissioner of Police, also threw his weight behind measures to slow traffic and said he supported the Government’s approach to tackling the problem of speed in Bermuda. Mr Caines was speaking as Government’s Road Safety Plan 2018 — dubbed Operation Caution — was unveiled. Speed cameras were not mentioned in the plan, but Mr Caines said that a process had to be followed before the cameras could be installed. He said: “The plan has a phased and graduated approach and the first part of it is an education campaign. When we talk about speed cameras they are not something we can just bring into force.” Mr Caines said discussions had been held with other ministries on speed cameras. He added: “Now we need to make sure the legislative arm of it is right and this will take an act of Parliament — an amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1947. There is a strong will to do this but we need to make sure the legislation follows that which we wish to do in this space.” Mr Corbishley said: “Speed alongside drink or drugs are significant contributors to crashes and serious and fatal injuries so from my position I fully support the Government in that regard and we will work closely with them to make sure that we are able to deliver their strategic intentions around that.” The UK introduced roadside breath tests more than 50 years ago, while speed cameras were first installed in the London area in 1992 and have since spread all over the UK. The news came as Government prepared to introduce legislation to approve the use of roadside breath tests. Walter Roban, the transport minister, said: “Roadside sobriety is here. Tomorrow that will begin the legislative process in helping us to begin to change behavior on our roads. This whole campaign is about saving lives.” Anthony Santucci, executive director of anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada, has campaigned for non-selective roadside sobriety testing for a decade — where vehicles are pulled over on a random basis and without specific grounds for suspicion. Mr Santucci said: “We have been working a long time — we have been talking about it, advocating for it, explaining what non-selective is, had many partnerships over the years I’ve seen board members come and go. Premier Burt said he wants to have a Cabinet of action and if this comes to fruition and we end up with the application of this legislation before Cup Match it would be a job well done.”

spacerA 21-year-old man accused of causing serious injuries to two men in a crash last year was banned from driving at the time, a court heard yesterday. Cavin Francis admitted in the Supreme Court that he was “off the road” when the collision happened and also that he did not have a licence to drive a car. Prosecutor Takiyah Simpson said: “You were disqualified from driving in May that year.” Mr Francis responded: “Yes, I guess so.” But he added: “I have been to court for all my matters and I have never been told I was off the road. I didn’t receive anything about being off the road.” The self-employed mechanic from Devonshire denies two counts of causing grievous bodily harm to Shachkeil Burrows and Dakai Grant by driving without due care and attention on South Road in Paget on July 30 last year. The court heard that Mr Burrows had his right leg amputated above the knee and Mr Grant lost part of his right foot as a result of the crash. The Crown alleges that Mr Francis was in the wrong lane when the crash happened and that his driving fell below the standard expected of a “reasonable and competent driver”. Javone Rogers, for the prosecution, said CCTV footage of the incident showed that Mr Francis was “over the centre line only four or five seconds before the collision occurred”. He added: “We say that when the defendant rounded that corner, he was still on the wrong side of the road.” Mr Rogers also pointed out that the “lion’s share” of debris from the crash was in the eastbound lane. He accused Mr Francis of making up evidence because he was “so desperate to distance himself from the collision”. But defence lawyer Kamal Worrell argued that his client’s driving at the point of collision was the only important factor. He added: “The accident did not happen on that bend. The question is what was his standard of driving at the time of the collision?” Mr Worrell insisted that debris and tyre tracks at the scene, as well as the CCTV footage, showed that his client was in the correct lane. Mr Francis told the court yesterday that he was on his way to Somerset at the time to drop off two passengers. He said he knew he was in the westbound lane because the car had swerved into the opposite lane on the bend before the crash happened and he had used his mirrors to correct the car’s position. Mr Francis added his passenger alerted him to an oncoming bike. He said he “looked up” and “did the next thing I could possibly do, which was to swerve left”. He added that he went to check on Mr Grant and Mr Burrows after the crash. Mr Francis said: “On approaching the rider, I was lashed with profanity from the rider, which started an argument with my passenger. He was cursing so much I left him alone.” Mr Francis said he also ran to the passenger, shouting at him to sit up if he was alive. “He sat up and as I approached, I saw a pool of blood and a dislocated leg.” Mr Francis said he ran back to the car to find his phone and realised one of his passengers was also injured. He said he shouted to a taxi driver who had pulled up to call an ambulance but she failed to do so. Mr Francis said he asked Mr Grant to help him put Mr Burrows in the car so that he could take him to hospital but Mr Francis said Mr Grant was still locked in an argument with one of his passengers. He said he drove to the hospital, helped his passenger inside and asked security staff to send an ambulance to the scene. Mr Francis added that a woman in the emergency department later told him Mr Burrows had been brought in. He said: “She then told me that police was on the way and that I should wait, which I did.” Mr Francis denied leaving the scene of the crash because he knew he should not have been behind the wheel. He said: “I wouldn’t have gone to the hospital if that was the case.” He conceded that “a little bit” of the car was in the eastbound lane just before the accident and that he had “no good reason” to be there, but denied careless driving. The trial continues.

spacerMore overseas multi-industry executive forums to showcase the island’s world-class talent and myriad business opportunities are being planned by the Bermuda Business Development Agency. Last month the BDA held a cross-sector event in New York, featuring Brian Duperreault, president and chief executive officer of American International Group, as keynote speaker. Two further events are planned this year. One will be held in Miami in mid-October, aimed at capitalizing on already-established business links in the region. The other is scheduled for London at the end of November, mirroring the BDA’s first such event the same time last year. “We have found these forums to be a very effective vehicle to bring all Bermuda’s industry talent together to make a compelling, collaborative case for our jurisdiction,” said Sean Moran, BDA interim CEO. “By producing these events ourselves, the BDA can leverage our impressive pool of industry stakeholders, focus on timely themes and trends, and combine the breadth of sectors that make Bermuda so unique, from shipping, funds, captives and reinsurance to fintech and family offices. It’s a successful formula — and a powerful story to tell.” The event in New York last month saw more than 300 attendees fill the forum location on Seventh Avenue, where more than 60 industry executives detailed Bermuda’s message to an audience of investors, entrepreneurs and C-suite executives on a dozen moderated discussion panels. Topics included cross-border tax, mergers and acquisitions, next-generation wealth, blockchain and insurtech. Keynote speaker Mr Duperreault highlighted the island’s unique combination of experience, quality and innovation. He said: “Today, if you’re at the height of your game, you’re in Bermuda. If you want to get to the height of your game, you’re going to Bermuda. Bermuda has the most amazing talent base in my business that you can ever assemble.” The BDA’s first international multi-industry forum in London last November, attracted more than 200 delegates, encompassing a wide range of industries. Robert Childs, deputy chairman of Lloyd’s and chairman of Hiscox, was the keynote speaker. This year’s Miami and London events will follow a similar format and feature top-level experts across different industry spheres. Jereme Ramsay, the BDA’s interim head of business development, said: “We’re already attracting a lot of interest from industry representatives in those markets, which are both critical to different global businesses operating from the Bermuda platform. “Miami is our gateway to Latin America for captive insurance, emerging technologies, and high-net-worth business, and major law firms with influential decision-makers there have Bermuda on their radar. London is a longtime partner market for re/insurance, asset management, trust and private-client business, so it’s important to enhance those relationships and keep our presence felt.” The BDA will announce dates, venues and registration details for both fall events next month.

spacerBermuda-headquartered Nordic American Tankers (NAT) has decided it will not conduct a bond offering to raise additional capital. In an open letter to shareholders and investors, the company noted improving conditions in the tanker market. The company has a fleet of 33 Suezmax tankers, including three new tankers that are being delivered this year. It has two of its fleet vessels up for sale. NAT has not made a profit during the past two years, and reported a net debt of $266 million at the end of the first quarter. The company previously announced it was planning a re-capitalization programme — to be finalized by the end of the second quarter — designed to replace its existing revolving credit facility that dates back to 2004. However, in a letter to shareholders and investors this week, the company said: “In the course of the last nine months, the financial position of NAT has changed much to the better. It is worth noting that the expected improvement in the tanker market is becoming clearer. We also brought this up in our February 2018 report. We have now decided that it is not in the best interest of NAT shareholders to conduct a bond offering. NAT has financial flexibility through a large Suezmax fleet and a long standing co-operation with our customers; oil and energy companies, including oil traders. Our lending and investment banks in the US and Europe play key roles in NAT. The debt per ship of NAT is low — below the scrap value of each ship.” The company said that “when conditions change” it is its policy “to retain its expansionary business model that has been rewarding over many years”. It said it expects to immediately reap the benefits of an upswing in the tanker markets. Shares of NAT rose 21 per cent on Monday when the letter to shareholders was released, to $2.62.

spacerOld shipping containers could be given a new lease of life at an island beach. The Bermuda Tourism Authority has proposed temporary concessions based in recycled containers at Shelly Bay as part of a plan to make Bermuda’s beaches more attractive. The BTA unveiled the proposals at a meeting for residents in the area last Tuesday and has posted an expression-of-interest form online. Glenn Jones, BTA director of public and stakeholder relations, said: “Residents who attended gave us their viewpoints and, along with help from our government partners, we began making adjustments. Our next step is to determine what level of interest exists among local entrepreneurs and then we’ll return to the same community to report our findings.” Mr Jones said the community meeting was organized by MPs to keep residents informed and find out what they think. He said: “It was important for our Bermuda Tourism Authority team to consult with the community in the surrounding area because we consider local buy-in to be a critical part of creating something that is appealing to visitors and locals alike. Mr Jones added the move is to improve the offerings available to both local and visiting families, “once concessionaires that meet their needs are in place”. The BTA held an information session for entrepreneurs at Francis Patton School, North Shore Road, Hamilton Parish, on Tuesday.

spacerResidents and tourists yesterday vented their frustration over a work-to-rule at the island’s bus service. A 17-year-old girl said bus cancellations meant she and friends had to cancel their plans to visit the Parade of Bands in St David’s on National Heroes Day. The Southampton girl, who asked not to be named, said: “Me and my friends were supposed to go out, and we couldn’t do so. So we had to cancel all of our plans.” She said she often relied on the buses to get around — but the service was “unreliable”. She added: “It really does affect you because the timing and the bus schedules are most of the time off.” A 34-year-old man, also from Southampton, said the service had deteriorated since the work-to-rule started last week. He added the service, which he used as his primary transport, was “inconsistent”. He said: “When it’s running frequently, it’s not bad — it’s actually pretty efficient. But when it’s not, it could be a major inconvenience, especially when cruise ships are in.” But Keturah Trott, 15, said she had not noticed a difference in service since the work-to-rule began last week. The Smith’s resident said that she took the bus about three times a week and found the service reliable. A 64-year-old woman from Hamilton Parish said she rode the bus daily. She added she had not experienced problems either. But she explained that there was an hourly service on the route she used to go to work. She added: “The route that I use is not a heavily used route during the day.” Roger and Myra Harrison, from Indiana, said they had experienced problems with bus service since they arrived in the West End on a cruise. Mr Harrison added: “We were sitting at a bus stop and a lady told us that the next two buses had been cancelled.” He said the pair waited 45 minutes for the next bus. Mr Harrison added: “It’s not uncommon to have to wait half an hour. If you’re trying to get somewhere in particular and back at a certain time, you can’t count on it.” He said the couple had relied on the island’s bus service because taxis were “real expensive”. Gina Callahan, from St Louis, Missouri, predicted she and her husband Tony would spend less time at tourist spots because of bus delays and cancellations. The cruise ship passengers, on their first visit to Bermuda, said alternative transport was “too expensive”. Ms Callahan added the couple would “definitely have to be careful” about planning activities while transport services were disrupted. Mr Callahan said the bus service disruptions were “inconvenient”. Both couples said they had not known about the work-to-rule before they were approached by The Royal Gazette. A tourist couple from Maine, who were at the Hamilton bus station, said they were forced to change their plans on Tuesday after a bus failed to show up. The woman said: “We caught a cab instead.” Her husband added the pair had waited for “at least” a half-hour before they decided to take a taxi. But the man said Tuesday’s experience had not dissuaded them from using the buses. He explained: “We just adjust.” The Government announced yesterday that 65 morning bus routes had been cancelled. Another 110 routes were cancelled in the afternoon and evening.

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June 21

spacerAn Opposition senator said a bid to have a Commission of Inquiry into a Government lawsuit against US medical group the Lahey Clinic was a “Trump-esque” attack on political opponents. Andrew Simons said: “I found that a bit unsettling in that it seemed to be a Trump-esque attack on political opponents through the use of inquiries and courts. We’ve seen that in the US where you have a report by some investigator-general, inspector general, which is then used to advance a political agenda.” Mr Simons was speaking in the Senate yesterday after Zane DeSilva, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher and former minister, asked in the House of Assembly on Friday for a Commission of Inquiry into former Attorney-General Trevor Moniz and the handling of the Lahey case. Several PLP MPs, including former Attorney-General Michael Scott and David Burt, the Premier, backed the bid. Mr Simons said: “I do note that in another place the Member of Parliament advancing this idea of a Commission of Inquiry was really looking out for his own business partner, or was rather business partners, by someone who had been subject to that Lahey lawsuit. “I’m not sure if that point was highlighted clearly enough.” Mr Simons also called for better communication over problems with the bus system after transport workers voted to work-to-rule, which saw the services grind to a halt on Monday. He said: “It would be useful to have some more proactive communication before they stopped running and immediately after as to what happened and how that can be avoided.” Mr Simons also backed comments by Senator Anthony Richardson, who commended the organisers of the Bermuda Heroes Weekend festivities. But he added that there had been some concern that there was a “missed opportunity to connect with the National Heroes Day. If you are going to have the day then we should really respect that day.” He suggested that the work in the run-up to Bermuda Day continue into June “so there is at least a connection to what that day is supposed to mean”. PLP senator Anthony Richardson emphasized the importance of people being accurate about what they say. He told the Upper House: “Words do matter.” Mr Richardson said a comment he had made about black Bermudians not being able to own property in certain areas in the past had not been accurately reported in The Royal Gazette. He said the words “in certain areas” had been left out. Mr Richardson added: “And as normally takes place from the blogs, there was a litany of comments that came in talking about Senator Richardson is ‘trying to rewrite history’ and the whole nine yards. We have to be very mindful of what we read, what we use as our source of information and also to apply a degree of common sense before we make comments.” Vance Campbell, a PLP senator, encouraged people to get to know their neighbors to help strengthen communities and build a better Bermuda. He said: “Yes there are going to be differences, ethnic differences, cultural differences. But the more we know our neighbors, the more likely we are able to look out for them, build better relationships and also understand that despite those differences, we hold many things in common. I also believe that the more we know our neighbors then we can start to build strong neighborhoods and if we build strong neighborhoods then we are also going to have a stronger community.”

spacerA teacher-turned-lawyer said she hoped to make the same kind of difference to people’s lives in her new career. Sharon Rampersad-Ible was speaking as she was Called to the Bar on Friday before Chief Justice Ian Kawaley. Ms Rampersad-Ible, who taught English language and literature at CedarBridge Academy and Berkeley Institute from 2001 to 2009, said: “For me it is about seeing justice done and seeing it done in a timely fashion while making the layman as comfortable as possible with what can be a daunting experience. I would like to specialize in corporate law and I am interested in civil and commercial as well.” Ms Rampersad-Ible, born and brought up in Trinidad, was a teacher in the 1990s in her home country and came to Bermuda in 2001. She later studied law at Bermuda College and completed her degree at the University of Kent in England. She graduated in 2011 and worked at Harshaw and Co, the former firm of lawyer Paul Harshaw, who is now with Canterbury Law. Ms Rampersad-Ible completed a post graduate diploma in legal studies at the College of Law on London before gaining practical experience in Trinidad in 2016. Mr Kawaley said he was married to a Trinidadian and joked it would have been nice to hear the soca song Trini to the Bone as Ms Rampersad-Ible celebrated her success. Mr Kawaley said: “You are a valuable addition and I have no doubt you will blaze a legal trail and brighten the Bermuda legal scene.” Ms Rampersad-Ible said her parents told her when she was growing up that education was the passport to life. She added: “There are two sets of people I am grateful for. My husband — this started with his blessing and I am eternally grateful for his constant support. Also my parents who couldn’t be here. She added: “I promise to uphold everything this robe represents.”

spacerBelco has signed a $107.5 million financing deal to fund the construction of the new North Power Station. The utility’s parent company Ascendant Group Ltd said in a statement issued by the Bermuda Stock Exchange that both loans had been arranged by HSBC Bank Bermuda Ltd and HSBC Securities (USA), Inc. The financing includes a US$91.4 million, 12-year export finance loan, guaranteed by EKF, Denmark’s Export Credit Agency, paying floating interest based on six-month Libor, together with a US$16.1 million, five-year commercial loan paying floating interest based on three-month Libor. Libor, the London Interbank Offered Rate, is a widely used interest rate index. Ascendant said Belco will also use an interest rate swap, fixing the above floating rates for these loans. “Due to EKF’s support, the finance package yields extremely competitive terms for Belco, whilst extending Belco’s debt profile for this important capital investment in Bermuda,” Ascendant added. Belco has contracted a consortium of Burmeister and Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S and MAN Diesel and Turbo SE for the construction of the replacement generation and Saft America, Inc, for the battery energy storage at the site. “We are very pleased to announce the completion of Belco’s financing of its replacement generation and battery energy storage, and can now proceed with the construction phase,” Sean Durfy, Ascendant’s chief executive officer, said. “Once completed, a number of advantages will benefit our customers and Bermuda, in general. As Belco decommissions and disposes of nine older engines, and commissions four new, more efficient engines — the cost for maintenance and fuel will be less. The replacement generation will also lead to better system reliability, cleaner operations for the environment and a significant decrease in the vibration and noise levels currently experienced by nearby residents.”

spacerA 62-year-old Bermudian was held yesterday in connection with an extradition request from the United States. Paul Martin appeared in Magistrates’ Court after he was arrested under a provisional warrant. Loxly Ricketts, Crown prosecutor, told the court that Martin had pleaded guilty to vehicular assault in the second degree in connection with an incident in New York in December 2005. But Mr Ricketts said that Martin had absconded while on bail pending sentence. Jonathan White, who appeared for Martin, argued that his client should be granted bail. But Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo remanded Martin in custody for another court appearance on June 27.

spacerA man convicted of two sex offences against a schoolgirl has had his conviction overturned by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled the magistrate failed to explain why he did not doubt the victim’s story after he found one of three allegations was false. But the man — who cannot be named for legal reasons — is still behind bars serving a ten-year sentence for a separate sexual offence involving another young girl. Mr Justice Kawaley said: “Strong suspicion that the appellant may well in fact have committed the offences could not justify upholding these convictions in all the circumstances of the present case. The practical result is that the appellant remains in custody serving a sentence for other offences which is far longer than those which would likely have been imposed in the Magistrates’ Court in relation to the present charges.” The man was charged with two counts of sexually touching a girl under the age of 16 and one count of intruding on the privacy of the same girl. All three offences were alleged to have happened between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012. The victim was said to be ten years old when the first incident took place. The two touching incidents were said to have taken place a few weeks apart, with the second taking place in a hotel pool. But the court heard the pool had been drained before the girl claimed the incident happened. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo in January 2014 found the defendant not guilty of the incident in the pool, but guilty on the remaining two charges. The man launched an appeal, but before it could be heard he was charged in Supreme Court with separate offences involving a seven-year-old girl. He was later convicted of those offences and jailed for ten years in July 2014. The appeal against the Magistrates’ Court convictions only returned to the courts this month. Kamal Worrell, for the appellant, argued that once the magistrate found the incident in the pool could not have happened when it was alleged, doubt should have been raised about the truth of the other allegations. He said: “Although the magistrate rightly acquitted the appellant of the second count on the information, he ought to have concluded that the testimony of the complainant on this point adversely and fatally affected her credibility generally so that the third count should likewise have been dismissed.” Mr Justice Kawaley found it was unclear if the incidents took place when the Crown alleged, with the convictions being “unsupportable” and “unsafe”.

spacerIsland courts have adopted new guidelines in a bid to ensure equality. The bench book is intended to equip the courts to deal with cases where a person’s differences could put them at a disadvantage. A spokeswoman for the court service said: “Traditionally, it was assumed that treating persons appearing in court equally simply meant that justice had to close its eyes to people’s differences. That principle is still valid in general terms today.” But she added: “Judicial officers must not be prejudiced against litigants or witnesses because of, for instance, their personal characteristics, be they race or religion, physical or mental disability, age, language or sexual orientation. However, it is now recognized that judges managing cases must sometimes actually recognize the differences of persons appearing before the courts where a person’s unique characteristics make it difficult for them to participate on a level playing field in the court process.” Chief Justice Ian Kawaley said he was proud to announce the publication of the bench book and its adoption by Bermuda’s Judiciary. He said the book was designed to make sure that the courts were a “safe space” where people would not hesitate to disclose problems so they can get appropriate judicial support.

spacerA 49-year-old teacher has been banned from the roads for 18 months for drink driving. Dwight Jackson, from Hamilton Parish, pleaded guilty at Magistrates’ Court yesterday to providing a breath sample above the legal limit. The court heard that Jackson was pulled over by police on Palmetto Road, Pembroke, after he overtook a police vehicle on his bike on May 18. Police noticed a strong smell of alcohol on his breath and that his eyes were glazed. Jackson told officers that he had been drinking while aboard the Uber Vida yacht an hour before. A later breath test showed 90 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. The legal limit is 80/100. Jackson told the court he was “totally embarrassed” by his arrest. He added: “I didn’t think I had exceeded the legal limit.” Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo fined Jackson $1,200 in addition to the ban.

spacerSarah EismannAn actress took a bow yesterday after finishing a grueling 31-hour swim around Bermuda. Sarah Eismann completed the 63-kilometre non-stop attempt at Gates Bay in St George’s on the day before her 40th birthday. Ms Eismann, from New York, said she was “swollen and pruney” but happy to have achieved her goal. She added: “That was the hardest, the most challenging thing I have ever done in my entire life. We finished south side just as the sun was going down [Tuesday]. The night was very scary because I couldn’t see the boat very well. We had to hang a bunch of glow-sticks on the side.” Ms Eismann’s online tracker recorded her swim as 62.9km, which took her 31 hours, 34 minutes. The epic open-water swim was the culmination of a year-long Swimming for Shakespeare campaign. Ms Eismann said she wanted to support Shakespeare Behind Bars, a programme designed to help rehabilitate prisoners through theatre. She set out on her voyage about 5.30am on Tuesday, diving off the boat Miss Katie off Fort St Catherine, on the northeastern tip of St George’s Island. Her father, Roy Eismann, and several friends were on board the boat which shadowed her on her marathon swim. Mr Eismann said when his daughter told him she wanted to swim around the island he thought she was crazy. He said: “Over the last three years, she has been doing marathon-type things — Ironmans, half Ironmans — but I still thought she was crazy.” Mr Eismann said he and others on the boat became concerned near the end of the swim after her lips and eyelids began to swell. He said: “We started Goggling the possible outcomes of the swelling. We were worried about her tongue swelling up. There was a constant concern since the morning when we could actually see her.” Mr Eismann said he was extremely relieved for the feat to have his daughter safely back ashore. He said: “From a dad’s point of view, I just wanted my daughter safe, but the fact that she accomplished this was amazing.” James Adams of In Depth Bermuda Ltd said he didn’t initially realize the scope of what Ms Eismann wanted to do when he agreed to guide her with the Miss Katie. He said: “I actually didn’t think it would take as long as it did. I don’t think I realised how big of an ordeal it is. That’s a lot of swimming. It’s a long way. It’s hard enough to sit in the boat that long.” Ms Eismann is not the first to fully circumnavigate the island, but she is in a very elite group. Seán O’Connell was the first to complete the feat in 1976. He later detailed the 43-hour marathon swim in his book Shark Bait: How I Battled Tides, Fins and Fatigue to Complete the First Non-stop Swim Around Bermuda. American open-water swimmer Lori King successfully broke Dr O’Connell’s record in 2016, swimming counterclockwise around the island in 21 hours.

spacerA private school is to start a $6 million expansion programme this summer to widen its curriculum. Somersfield Academy aims to provide the full International Baccalaureate at the school, which was founded as a Montessori school in 1991. Carlos Symonds, principal of the Devonshire school, said that the IB diploma marked a “natural progression” after 14 years of provision at the middle school level. Mr Symonds added: “We are simply maturing as a school and coming of age. “Most importantly, however, we are looking to give our students the choice to complete their final two years here in Bermuda at the school they have come to love.” Mr Symonds said the introduction of the two extra years of the IB programme had been asked for by students as well as parents. He added: “We are looking to provide them with the opportunity to complete their pre-university studies without having to endure a disruptive change of schools.” The construction plan, however, has still to be given planning department approval. The school, which has about 500 pupils, said it expected a gradual increase in enrolment with the two-year IB diploma programme. Mr Symonds said Somersfield would “start with a very small cohort, around 15 students in the first year, which will enable the team to give them the very best attention”. He added: “We’ll work our way up from there. With the two additional years, there will be some growth. However, we are committed to preserving the special culture of our small school as these characteristics are what make our school special.” Somersfield adopted the IB middle school programme in 2005, and Mr Symonds said students were familiar with the diploma. He added the IB was “arguably the most respected international programme”. Mr Symonds said: “While we are always pleased to see our kids excel and demonstrate that they can compete and meet the highest academic standards at the schools to which they transfer locally and globally, given that we do not offer the final two years, we cannot lay full claim to their successes, even though they may have started with us in our Montessori Children’s House at age 3.” He added: “This will change ... and provide us with a true and loyal alumni base.” The new building, to be called the Centre for International Education is expected to open by September next year. Mr Symonds said: “After about 28 years, we will come of age as a school, which is pretty significant along our journey.”

Somersfield addition planned

Somersfield addition planned, see above story

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June 20

spacerBermuda should not get complacent over a lull in gang violence, the outgoing police commissioner has warned. Michael DeSilva said it is “not a time to be lulled into a false sense of security” and said the social problems at the root of gangs needed to be confronted. Mr DeSilva added: “Gangs have not been eradicated — they are still active, and we have to anticipate the huge potential that there will be tensions that reverse the trend.” He said: “The reality is that we have not had any significant gang violence this year. Part of that can be attributed to strong law enforcement and to strong government support as well as individual people taking responsibility. But a lot of it has to do with the absence of tension.” Mr DeSilva was speaking as he stood down on Friday after nine years in charge of Bermuda’s “thin blue line”. He took charge of the police service in 2009, just before a significant spike in gun crime and other gang-related violence. Bermuda has recorded 35 gun murders since then. Mr DeSilva said: “Where there are fights brewing, we are counting the days before a shooting. When there are tussles, confrontations, chains being snatched and instances of disrespect, and when you have that cycle repeating itself, it causes a chain reaction of attacks and counter-attacks. As a community, we have to be careful when things are quiet — that’s the time to work harder to fix the social problems that create an environment where gangs flourish. There’s no better time to do that than when things are not heating up. We have to be prepared that if things do heat up and people resort to violence that we continue to work across the community spectrum, to keep holding people to account while rehabilitating those involved and stopping young people from getting involved at all.” He added the “telltale signs” of a build-up of tension coincided with the start of Mr DeSilva’s tenure. We had four murders in 2009. That having been said, we had deployed armed officers to Cup Match in 2004 for the first time. We had already had obvious signs of tensions rising, and activity rising.” The ex-commissioner added there had been “a slow burn into this — but we never would have been able to contemplate what would happen in 2010. Someone got shot every ten days. Seven tragically resulted in loss of life. What that did for our organisation was give it a singular focus. There was nothing else of equal importance — there was no second place and we could not have afforded to get that wrong.” Mr DeSilva said there had been early recognition that “we can’t arrest or legislate our way out of the problem — we have to build our way out. Although we’re dealing with criminal behavior, it comes from a place of social dysfunction. If we don’t fix the things that drive people to violence, there will be more behind them.” Significant arrests and court cases resulted in long jail sentences for people convicted of gang violence. But Mr DeSilva said the service by 2014 found itself confronting “younger people we had never seen before whose first offence was with a firearm. We called them the version 2.0. Exactly what was predicted was what happened. You take out the main players, but because the environment remains the same, more people are coming along resorting to violence. For the last few years, our focus has also included community involvement and government agencies, and putting energy and effort into solving the underlying social issues. Without a doubt, Bermuda has had a success story. We have seen collaboration and co-operation and entities working together that previously didn’t have relationships.” Mr DeSilva added “the famous adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure had proved to be true. There is clear evidence that the plan has a strong chance of being hugely successful.” Mr DeSilva said he was “proud of us as a service. The way we have sustained almost a decade of dealing with incredibly violent crime against a backdrop of shrinking resources and actually making a significant difference and winning support from the public has been exemplary. From the command team right down to the officers walking the beat, they have done an exemplary job.”

spacerThe Minister of National Security today highlighted Bermuda’s history to a class of pre-school pupils. Wayne Caines read from children’s book Goodnight Bermuda by JK Aspinall, where a child looks at the island and its culture, at Devonshire Preschool. Mr Caines also told the youngsters about his role as a Government minister. Mr Caines was invited to the school by teachers Katiuska Guerrero-Durrant, Tyra Simmons and Johnelle Booth and got a signed card from the class to thank him for his visit.

spacerHurricane and storm losses brought record claims for BF&M Ltd last year and their impact continued to be felt by the company in the shape of higher reinsurance costs during the first quarter. The company has reported a net income of $3.1 million for the first three months of the year, down from $6 million in the same period last year. “BF&M reported solid earnings for the first quarter of 2018, after one of the most challenging years in the group’s history. While impacted by higher reinsurance costs driven by the 2017 storms, our results reflect strong earnings in our life and health business and a return to profitability in our property and casualty lines,” said John Wight, president and chief executive officer. He added: “The BF&M group continues to hold the highest ratings of any domestic insurer in Bermuda or the Caribbean. The company’s performance in 2017, after the most active storm season ever in the Caribbean, attested to the significance of our financial strength ratings. With the 2018 hurricane season under way, our customers can be confident that BF&M will be there for them when. The BF&M group consists of four main insurance operating companies, AM Best has assigned financial strength ratings of A (excellent) to Bermudian-based BF&M General Insurance Company Limited and BF&M Life Insurance Company, and Cayman Islands-based Island Heritage Insurance Company Ltd, with an A- (excellent) to Barbados-based Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited. Equity attributable to shareholders at the end of March was $262.7 million. General fund assets totaled $1.7 billion of which $267.5 million was held in cash and cash equivalents. The group had gross premiums written for the period of $77.9 million, down 3 per cent year on year. This was due to a reduction in premiums on certain commercial properties and from premium rates pressure in some territories. Investment income for the year reflected a $10 million decrease in the fair value of investments for the period. BF&M said in a statement: “As a result of the company’s disciplined asset liability matching policy, which looks to limit volatility of reported earnings as a result of interest rate swings, the company reported a negligible net loss on the difference between the fair value of investments which support certain liabilities and reported reserves.” Commission and other income increased from the prior year by 26 per cent to $12.9 million. The company said the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria, last year “continued to negatively impact commission income in the current year, but the impact was more than offset by additional reinsurance coverage and higher levels of proportional reinsurance ceded due to changes in our reinsurance programme and profit share reported on non property business”. Short term claims and adjustment expenses decreased 11 per cent to $5.8 million from favourable claims experience. Life and health policy benefits decreased by 42 per cent to $16.2 million. Operating expenses decreased 6 per cent to $15.3 million for the year.

spacerRum maker Gosling’s has sued its chief financial officer, accusing her of making more than half a million dollars in unauthorized transactions during a three-week period in March. Gosling’s Ltd and Gosling’s Export (Bermuda) Ltd filed a complaint against Trudie Ottolini at the Supreme Court on May 16. Gosling’s said in its writ that Ms Ottolini had changed resolutions relating to two company bank accounts — both with HSBC Bermuda, one of them linked to a bank account in Boston — to give herself sole authorization to make the payments. The writ alleged that Ms Ottolini “unilaterally and without the plaintiffs’ and/or the directors’ knowledge or consent changed the terms of the Resolutions, instead granting herself sole authorization on the bank accounts”. News of the case was first published by the Offshore Alert website. Gosling’s detailed five transactions to a total of $572,788.91 that it said were unauthorized and were paid out between March 9 and 29. The amounts varied from $18,420 to $244,746.91. The complaint said that recipients of the payments were Kanofan Trade Ltd, HK Rambo Electron Technologies, Webber Logistics Co Ltd, Scottie R. West, and Jian Sheng International Holdings. The writ added the Hong Kong companies had accounts at Hang Seng Bank, Bank of China and Santander Bank (USA). Gosling’s alleged in the writ that “the defendant paid sums of money totaling $572,788.91 from the bank accounts to entities that the plaintiffs had not authorized the defendant to make payments to”. Public documents show that a company named Kanofan Trade Ltd was incorporated in Hong Kong on January 23, 2018. It is alleged Kanofan Trade received a payment for $47,304 from Gosling’s less than two months later on March 9. Companies with the same name as three of the other alleged recipients — HK Rambo Electron Technologies, Webber Logistics Co Ltd and Jian Sheng International Holdings — were also incorporated in Hong Kong, between November 2012 and September 2017. Gosling’s claimed in the complaint that Ms Ottolini acted in breach of her employment contract, which required her “not to act with dishonesty” and “not to act in a negligent manner”. Gosling’s has claimed damages, interest, further relief and costs. Charles Gosling, of Gosling’s Ltd, said the company would not comment on matters before the court.

spacerAthene Life Re Ltd has donated nearly 100 laptops to 18 public schools through an initiative called “Computers for a Better Education”. The laptops are scheduled to be sent to eight primary schools and 10 preschools. Last year, Chip Gillis, CEO of Bermudian-based Athene Life Re, a subsidiary of Athene Holding Ltd, attended a meeting in which David Burt, the Premier, spoke about the need for wi-fi and computer equipment in Bermuda public schools. Athene said this meeting was the impetus for Mr Gillis to seek donations of used computer equipment from Athene as well as from Bermuda International Long-Term Insurers and Reinsurers company members in an effort to support public education. “This equipment can enhance and empower teachers, improve the learning experience for the students and better prepare the students for a world full of opportunity,” said Mr Gillis. Diallo Rabain, Minister of Education and Workforce Development, said: “This generous donation by Athene will enable public schools like Victor Scott to support their students in their computer education and provide general learning support. These laptops also provide an invaluable resource for students’ STEM education. We are grateful to companies such as Athene for their investment in Bermuda’s students and their future.”

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June 19

spacerBuses were off the roads on National Heroes Day after drivers took part in industrial action over working conditions. Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert said members continued a work-to-rule over numerous issues including bathroom breaks, air conditioning and mechanical problems. Taxis were in high demand yesterday as thousands of residents and tourists attended public holiday festival events in Hamilton and St David’s. The industrial action came despite Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, stating any strike or irregular industrial action by drivers would be unlawful. Mr Brown said he had referred the matter to the Labour Disputes Tribunal. The bus service is expected to resume today, but an urgent meeting is scheduled to take place either today or tomorrow with Roger Todd, the Director of the Department of Public Transportation. The work-to-rule will remain in place until after that meeting. Mr Furbert said workers would demand a timeframe for issues to be addressed. He told The Royal Gazette: “There are numerous outstanding issues, some of which have been going on for years, that the management team know about. “I understand the Government is trying to order new buses but there are many other issues including working conditions, bathroom breaks, air-conditioning issues, mechanical issues and problems continue at the Dockyard and St George’s depots. We have an aged fleet — they have done their time. If the Government could buy ten new buses every other year then things would get better. We have been patient with management but some of these issues go back four or five years. What our members want is a timeframe for when these issues will be addressed. They want deadlines and for those deadlines to be met. We need to get these issues sorted out so that they can do what they were hired to do.” A DPT spokesman said that management was advised by the BIU of a work-to-rule starting at 10am on Friday. He said: “The BIU membership has interpreted this to include holiday work, regardless of whether or not it forms part of the employees’ weekly work schedule. Management does not agree with this interpretation and distinguishes between regular shift work taking place on a holiday and overtime for those working more than their normal 37.5 hours per week. As with many other service providers, the bus service is a 365-day per year operation, which necessitates working holidays, weekends and shift work. DPT apologizes for the inconvenience to the traveling public and is committed to restoring full service as soon as possible.” Taxi driver Shari-Lynn Pringle said she was extremely busy coping with demand. She said: “When I stop, I pick up right afterwards. We have cruise ships in and tourists trying to move around, we have the Newport to Bermuda Race, then of course it’s Bermuda National Heroes Day. Planes are coming in heavy. It is just busy — it’s really busy. Anybody who wants to make money today can make it, but it is unfortunate that we have to make it like this. Fares are at the highest rate because it is a holiday rate and some people are hard-pressed to afford a taxi on a regular-rate day.” Ms Pringle said she saw people waiting at bus stops and gave a free ride to one person who had no idea the buses were out of operation. “I understand the plight of the drivers but I don’t think it is a public issue — if it is such a big issue I would like to know where they are gathered and demonstrating. I can understand them not working today if they are trying to demonstrate something, but if they are at home taking a day off then that’s not right.” Mr Brown published a Notice of Declaration of Labour Dispute in the Official Gazette on Saturday, which stated: “I declare that a labour dispute exists between the Department of Public Transportation and the Bermuda Industrial Union. In accordance with section 19 of the Labour Disputes Act 1992, after the publication of this Notice, any lockout strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike is unlawful and any person who takes part in, incites or in any way encourages, persuades or influences any person to take part in, or otherwise acts in furtherance of, a lockout, strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike that is unlawful under this section is guilty of an offence.” The DPT attacked the media on Saturday for reporting the public holiday service was under threat due to industrial action. However, it later backtracked admitting there would be “a risk” the bus service would not run. Three cruise ships were in Bermuda yesterday — Norwegian Dawn and Grandeur of the Seas in Dockyard, and Veendam in the Hamilton, with a potential total of 6,000-plus passengers on board.

spacerThe shadow transport minister has slammed the Department of Public Transportation for its statements on the National Heroes Day bus service. Leah Scott this morning called communications from the department this weekend “confusing”. Ms Scott said: “Despite receiving reassurances that there would be no disruption in the bus service and no inconvenience to the general public in respect of the bus service on Bermuda National Heroes Day, there was no bus service. The DPT stated that there is a dispute ongoing between the DPT and its unionized workers, but confirmed that notwithstanding that dispute, the bus service would operate yesterday as per the holiday schedule. Following that statement, we learnt that due to an ‘impasse in the interpretation of overtime’, there was a risk that the bus services would not run. Bermuda Industrial Union president, Chris Furbert then said the BIU took the decision to work to rule, which meant no overtime and no bus service.” Ms Scott said the situation demonstrated a “communication problem” within the DPT. She said: “Both locals and our visitors were inconvenienced because of it.” Ms Scott added: “There was an obvious disconnect between the workers and management and as a result members of our community and our guests suffered the consequences of the lack of clear direction and leadership.” The Royal Gazette reported on Friday how multiple sources close to the dispute had said buses would be off the road for the public holiday because employees were planning to work to rule. Government failed to respond to requests for comment for that article. After the article published, the DPT said it wished to correct “information circulating in the community, fuelled by media” and insisted that the Monday service would run “per the published holiday schedule”. On Sunday, the DPT issued another release admitting there was “a risk” that buses would not run, before confirming on Monday that the service was down. Ms Scott said the bus service was “deteriorating, not improving” despite previous promises it would be bolstered from Walter Roban, Minister of Transport. She said: “So many members of our community rely on our public transportation system to get to work, to get to the grocery store, to get home, and for their overall transportation needs. We are entering the height of our tourist season, and the majority of our guests utilize our public transportation for many reasons, including cost efficiency.” She said that ongoing problems with the service were having an economic impact on everyone and must be addressed. Ms Scott questioned when additional buses promised by the Government would arrive, and why daily cancellations were “increasing instead of decreasing”. She also asked questioned when the bus schedule would be brought to arbitration. Ms Scott added: “It is incumbent upon the Government to bring a speedy and satisfactory resolution to this issue.” Home affairs minister Walton Brown, who has stated any strike or industrial action by drivers would be unlawful, has referred the matter to the Labour Disputes Tribunal. An urgent meeting is to take place either today or tomorrow between the BIU and Roger Todd, the Director of the DPT.

spacerTop technology journalist Kara Swisher will be one of the keynote speakers at the Bermuda Convergence 2018 event, organisers ILS (Bermuda) Ltd announced today. Ms Swisher is executive editor of the Recode Decode podcast and co-executive producer of the Code Conference. Before co-founding Recode and Code, Ms Swisher co-produced and co-hosted The Wall Street Journal’s technology conference, “D: All Things Digital,” with Walt Mossberg. It was the major high-tech conference with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other leading players in the tech and media industries. Ms Swisher and Mr Mossberg were also the co-executive editors of a tech and media website, AllThingsD.com. Swisher previously worked in The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco bureau and for many years wrote the column, “BoomTown”, which appeared on the front page of the Marketplace section and also on at WSJ.com. Ms Swisher has worked as a reporter at The Washington Post and as an editor at the City Paper of Washington, DC. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her graduate degree at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. Ms Swisher is the author of aol.com: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads and Made Millions in the War for the Web, published in 1998. The sequel, There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future, was published in 2003. Greg Wojciechowski, CEO, Bermuda Stock Exchange, and ILS Bermuda chairman, said: “On behalf of ILS Bermuda, I am pleased to announce that we have opened registration for Convergence 2018. We are also fortunate to have Kara Swisher as our keynote speaker. The ILS Bermuda steering committee is focusing on continuing to enhance the Bermuda Convergence networking event and we have no shortage of great topics and speakers again this year.” More than 300 delegates are expected to attend this year’s event on October 3 and 4. Last year delegates from 13 countries attended the annual Bermuda Convergence event — a networking event covering the alternative reinsurance, insurance-linked securities (ILS) and collateralized reinsurance landscape. Mr Wojciechowski said: “2017 saw the BSX reinforce its position as the listing venue of choice for global ILS vehicles. Bermuda has been at the forefront of the global boom in this asset class and there is no place on earth with a greater concentration of expertise when it comes to ILS and alternative risk transfer. Bermuda has been in the risk industry for more than 70 years. Innovating products that work for our clients around the world is what we do best. The continued growth in this sector speaks volumes. I’m thrilled to welcome our returning and new guests to the island in October for Convergence 2018, the networking event you can’t afford to miss.” The Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) reported a record number of ILS listings in 2017, a 69 per cent increase in the number of new securities listed in the year and an 87 per cent increase in the nominal value. At year-end, the total number of ILS securities listed stood at 227 with a total nominal value of $25.99 billion. Bermuda’s global market share reached record levels of over 80 per cent, cementing the Island’s continued position as leader in the innovative asset class. This year’s event promises an exciting line-up of speakers and ‘Bermuda Shorts’ topics including: confidence in the maturing asset class, bridging the protection gap, transparency in the market, technology shaping the industry, tax and regulation in focus, as well as the popular annual panel with leading investors. Kathleen Faries, deputy chairwoman of ILS Bermuda and head of Tokio Millennium Re’s Bermuda branch, said: “With everything that’s happened in the cat market, 2017 was an interesting and important year. There is no doubt Convergence 2018 attendees will have plenty to talk about and also learn from during our Bermuda Shorts informative talks. With continued support and participation from the across the industry, we are sure to provide another fantastic event in Bermuda.”

spacerAbbVieMultinational companies’ practice of booking profits in low-tax jurisdictions like Bermuda to avoid high corporate taxes elsewhere may become more lucrative as a result of the US tax reform. That was the finding of a Reuters report that highlighted pharmaceutical giant AbbVie’s use of Bermuda as home for most of the patents for its best-selling drug, Humira. Before the US reform, backed by Republicans including President Donald Trump and enacted at the end of last year, companies like AbbVie had to pay 35 per cent on profits they brought home from abroad. Under the new rules, the overall corporate tax rate has been slashed to 21 per cent, and income from overseas is taxed at a much lower rate, as low as 10 per cent. The change to a territorial tax system means that only profits of US subsidiaries are subject to US tax at the full rate. Richard Gonzalez, AbbVie’s chief executive officer, told investors earlier this year that the Lake Bluff, Illinois-based drug maker expected its tax rate to fall to 9 per cent from around 22 per cent in recent years. Many other companies who use this similar profit-shifting strategy, known as transfer pricing, will benefit similarly — despite the stated intention of the authors of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to dissuade companies from shifting profits from US sales overseas. Transfer pricing is particularly popular with drug makers. Typically it involves patents for drugs being owned by a subsidiary in a low-tax or no-tax domicile. Then royalty fees are paid to the subsidiary from other divisions of the company generating sales elsewhere. Among companies that have been highlighted in international media for using Bermuda in a similar fashion are Google, Forest Laboratories and Nike. While the island’s international reputation is damaged by this type of tax avoidance, Bermuda gains no taxes from it and usually the subsidiaries based here employ no one. Bob Richards, the former finance minister, in his February 2017 budget, singled out international companies without a physical presence for a hefty permit fee increase — from $1,995 to $25,000 — and signaled that the island did not place a high value on them. As MPs backed the legislation in the House of Assembly, Mr Richards said it was expected that some companies would “pack up and leave”. He added: “Those that really want to be here are going to have to pay. Those that don’t — see you later.” Reuters said its analyzed 88 of the patents for Humira, a drug used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and found that two-thirds of those patents were assigned to the Bermuda subsidiary, AbbVie Biotechnology Ltd, which was incorporated in 2001 and whose registered address is Clarendon House in Church Street, Hamilton. Most of those patents were developed by teams of researchers entirely or somewhat based in the US, according to details in patent filings. Reuven Avi-Yonah, director of the International Tax at the University of Michigan Law School, told Reuters: “This is the blueprint. The illusion that you would see more patents kept in the US [under the new tax law] is unreal as long as there are places you can keep them offshore where you pay zero.” Despite recording more than half its $28.2 billion in 2017 sales in the US and basing most of its research facilities there, the company has never reported a profit in its home country. In 2017, AbbVie reported foreign earnings before income tax of $10.4 billion on international revenue of only $9.97 billion. Yet, between 2013 and 2016 AbbVie had to pay around $1 billion a year of taxes in the US, when it took the profits reported by foreign subsidiaries home to help cover expenses from its US operations. Democrats in the US Congress are looking at how the new tax law actually encourages companies to use patents to shift profits overseas. Ron Wyden, an Oregon senator, plans to publish a report later in the summer that will partly refer to this issue. “The US shouldn’t get suckered into a race to the bottom with a bunch of no-tax, resort-lined islands to please the tax avoidance industry and their lobbyists,” Sen Wyden, who is the Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member, said. Other US companies likely to benefit from the territorial tax system include Pfizer, Expedia Group, Boston Scientific, Synopsys and Microsoft. Reuters reported that Microsoft and Synopsys have both experienced eight-year runs of reporting around half their sales in the US but less than a quarter of their profits there. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did include anti-tax avoidance measures. For example, the new Global Intangible Low Tax Income provision, if a company generates untaxed profits in a low-tax jurisdiction, it will be liable to have that profit taxed as though it arose in the US. However, the effective tax rate that will apply is half the US tax rate of 21 per cent, or 10.5 per cent. And if a company reports a loss in the US, this can be set against the Gilti provision, potentially reducing the tax liability further.

spacerThree Bermudian medical students have been selected for scholarships by the Bermuda Health Foundation. Chioma Nwasike, Jennifer Ross and Amber White were picked out as this year’s recipients by the Foundation, which has awarded more than $450,000 over the past 15 years. The Foundation is headed up by brothers Philip Butterfield, Ewart Brown and Vincent Hollinsid and their cousin, Charles Brown. The Foundation provided the following information on the three recipients: Chioma Nwasike — a student at Howard University was inspired to study medicine by her grandfather, Dr. Bertram Ross and her aunt, Dr. Fiona Ross. A graduate of the Berkeley Institute, Chioma intends to qualify as an Emergency Room physician by the time she completes her training. Chioma began her university studies at Dalhousie University transferring to Howard University in 2016 where she remains an outstanding student. In addition to excelling academically, Chioma has volunteered at various community organisations in the Washington D.C. area. Jennifer Ross — a student nurse at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, Jennifer is scheduled to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing with a minor in Psychology. Jennifer was also inspired to enter the medical field by her grandfather, Dr. Bertram Ross and her aunt, Dr. Fiona Ross. Jennifer graduated from Bermuda College and then Dalhousie University where she completed at degree in Biology. While medical school hasn’t been ruled out for Jennifer, she plans to first embark on a nursing career specializing in Neonatal nursing. She has performed superbly, earning A- grades and higher for the past two semesters which has earned her an invitation into the National Society for Collegiate scholars. Amber A. White — a second year dental student at Dalhousie University, Amber completed her first degree at Dalhousie with a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Biology in 2015. Amber was inspired to study dentistry by her own dentist, Dr. Rhonda James who provided her with excellent dental care when she was primary school student. Additionally she has work-shadowed at the Hamilton Dental Clinic for the past four summers. In addition to her studies, Amber also volunteers for various charities both in Bermuda and in Halifax.

spacerHoliday turned to horror when Canadian tourists had their belongings stolen in their beloved Bermuda, where they have enjoyed visits for nearly 40 years. However, one local couple was determined to show John and Darlene Kersey the generous spirit of the island, by gifting the strangers $200. The visitors, both 65, were in the water at Shelly Bay when they looked up to discover their bag was missing from a bench on the beach. Mrs Kersey explained: “We weren’t far out. We were in the water just minutes and constantly kept an eye on the bag. There was a guy, I guess another tourist, right beside us on another bench, so I thought, even better. I turned my back and when I turned around it was gone. I’ve never gotten out of the water so fast.” The couple ran to the beach and nearby car park, frantically searching for their belongings, which included a wallet with $1,000 Canadian and $1,000 US, the key for their rented bike, credit cards, a camera containing holiday photographs, and some items Mrs Kersey had bought on the island. Borrowing a phone from a taxi driver, they called police. When a concerned onlooker, a man named Brian in a company work van, learnt what had happened, he revealed he had seen a man running towards a motorbike, looking over his shoulder and carrying a bag that matched the description of the one missing. Officers attended the incident on June 7, and took details from the pair, who also provided information for written statements at a police station the following day. Mrs Kersey added: “The police said you should never carry that amount of money. John won’t even put his wallet in a safe when we go to Cuba as he wants it with him, but he has learnt his lesson, big time.” Their fortunes changed days later when they visited John Smith’s Bay with son Adam, 30, and his wife Aleasha, 26, who were holidaying with them on the trip. Mrs Kersey told how her family exchanged pleasantries with a “lovely couple” and the stolen bag came up in conversation. The gentleman who had heard this story returned to Mr Kersey around half an hour later and handed him an envelope, which read: “Enjoy a meal on us, The Burchalls.” It contained $200 and the tourists now believe the man’s first name is Roddy. Mrs Kersey said: “I went running back up the hill because he was just getting into his car. I thanked him big time. He said he didn’t want us to think all Bermudians are like that.” She and her husband, from Kleinburg, Ontario, have been visiting Bermuda for 37 years, taking trips once or twice annually until ill health struck, and she insisted they will return. “We will just be extra cautious,” she said. “We will do things differently, that’s for sure. We hadn’t been for six years because John had cancer and chemo, this had to happen on our first time back. It happens anywhere and everywhere but we just really didn’t think it would happen there, we’ve been there so many times. We’ve been to lots of places but nothing compares to Bermuda.” Telling her story in a bid to warn other tourists, Mrs Kersey added: “I still feel traumatized by it all. It’s weird, maybe, but you still feel violated. It’s just stuff but it’s our stuff.” A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said inquiries into the matter were ongoing.

spacerA local entrepreneur hopes to revolutionise the treatment of Bermuda’s tank water. Twenty-nine year old Ananda Hill, owner of the mobile business AquaCare, believes Bermuda’s water standard is worse than a Third World country. “The current state of affairs is a bit embarrassing,” Mr Hill said. “I saw how gross the water in many people’s homes was.” He also believes there are better ways to treat drinking water than using chlorine, which is what the Department of Environmental Health advises. Chlorination is effectively “poisoning the water supply in a way that doesn’t even kill the microorganisms”, Mr Hill claimed. “I decided instead of complaining about it, I’ll just take action,” he said. “Complaining is for suckers, that’s just the cloth I’m cut from. We have a responsibility to the children and visitors to Bermuda whose immune system isn’t as seasoned as ours when it comes to microorganisms in the water supplies to ensure their safety. Bermuda has a large void regarding affordable, effective, safe maintenance of water that holds up to an international standard. Our standard is worse than that of the so-called Third World, I will change that standard.” Mr Hill says chlorination is poisonous in that it produces by-products called trihalomethanes and bromates. These have been found, in laboratory experiments, to be carcinogenic to animals. “Chlorine will also not remove biofilm which is used by many microorganisms as a protective barrier to stay alive, but it’s also corrosive, environmentally unsound, shouldn’t be used in temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius or higher, and has a narrow pH band in which it works against some bacteria in a mediocre way, between 6.5-7.5 pH. It’s unsafe and ineffective for your tanks, wells, plumbing and body,” Mr Hill added. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates disinfection of drinking water and has set a maximum allowable annual average level of 80 parts per billion. Mr Hill said AquaCare has the exclusive rights to import and use what is deemed to be and environmentally friendly oxidizing biocide. Mr Hill mentioned that it is recommended by the World Health Organisation as the best and safest means of rainwater sterilization in the world. “It penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms and inhibits protein synthesis,” Mr Hill said. “This occurs regardless of the present metabolic state of the micro-organism. Because of this it’s also effective against dormant organisms and spores like Giardia cysts and poliovirus.” Mr Hill said he researched all the information himself, and believes it is his responsibility to do something about the problem. “The oxidizing biocide is biodegradable and doesn’t hurt people at all,” he assured. He also mentioned that there is no treatment standard locally. “There is no kind of certification for people to treat the water system in Bermuda,” he added. The process for AquaCare to diagnose and treat your water problem takes time. Mr Hill will test a customer’s water supply for various bacteria, using a colour-coded test strip. This process takes 48 hours. Once completed and the problem is diagnosed he will treat it, which takes 15 to 30 minutes. “After your water supply is treated we can provide certificates that will be given out quarterly with testing,” Mr Hill said.

spacerA teacher honored in the Queen’s Birthday Honours used to stand outside Buckingham Palace and wave at the Royals on trips to London. Judith James, 76, never thought that she would one day be awarded the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour for services to education. Ms James told how she would “never forget” the moment she was told she had won the award. She said: “I could not get over that — it makes you want to cry with happiness.” Ms James, a teacher for almost 50 years, retired in 2016 but still heads the kindergarten group at Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church. She said: “I just love taking care of people.” Ms James, who at first wanted to be a nurse, decided instead to train as a teacher in Canada and taught for 47 years. She said: “I wasn’t ever thinking about me, not at all, it was for the children. It just lifts me.” Ms James explained many of her pupils came from broken homes and needed help. “Teaching made me feel there was something I could do. I could see a lot of little people who needed not just scholastic help, but needed help emotionally, physically and spiritually.” She added that she often invited youngsters and their parents to her church and her own home to “sit around the dining room table and talk”. Ms James said people sometimes asked if she was bothered by the constant presence of pupils. She said she told them: “We’re striving to make a better Bermuda”. Ms James added she had often visited London and “would stand outside the palace gates and wave to the Queen, she was so precious. To think we waved at her, and now this.” Ms James, one of three children, was brought up on Angle Street in Hamilton. She said: “Growing up we were poor, but didn’t realize it.” Ms James attended Ord Road School, where she would one day teach. She said the school roof collapsed while she was a pupil and the school was forced to look for temporary accommodation. A children’s centre at St John’s Church in Pembroke was off limits in racist and segregated Bermuda, so the youngsters were taken in at Northlands Primary School instead. Ms James said decades later when was established as prominent teacher, she was invited to the St John’s children’s centre to speak as an honored guest. She added: “We need to appreciate how far we’ve come, look out for others and encourage them to do their best. In Bermuda we’re all connected, its one beautiful island. We’re trying to make a better Bermuda, that is my goal.” Ms James moved to Northlands Primary School, Pembroke and went to high school at the prestigious Berkeley Institute. She later went on to a teacher training college in Ottawa and worked part-time to help support her through the course. When she returned to Bermuda, she returned to Northlands as a teacher, and also worked at Ord Road School, Elliot Primary and Victor Scott Primary. In addition, she was a volunteer at the Red Cross and acted as custodian of traditional Bermudian culture at home and overseas, including a folk life festival at the world-famous Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. She was also superintendent of the Sabbath school at Southampton Seventh-Day Adventist Church for the children’s divisions before she retired in 2016 to head the kindergarten section. Ms James said she was still approached by former pupils whose lives she had touched “everyday, everywhere I go”. She added: “My three grandsons joke ‘don’t go grocery shopping with Gran — you’ll never get out. Everybody knows her. I’m glad I could be a little light in my students’ lives.”

spacerAny mention of Bermuda by John Schultz would inevitably lead to an eye roll from family members. It had been 64 years since he was posted here with the American Air Force, but he could not stop talking about it. A few months ago his daughter-in-law, Nancy Schultz, decided she had had enough. “She suggested they take me to Bermuda to celebrate my 90th birthday,” Mr Schultz said. “I just couldn’t believe it. Those were positively the good days; the living was good. I got married a few months after I arrived in Bermuda in 1952, and brought my wife, Grace, to Bermuda. We had our first child, John, on the island. It was a beautiful place.” Thirty years after his last visit, he arrived in Dockyard on the Norwegian Escape on Wednesday, accompanied by his daughter-in-law and son, John. The first thing they did was go hunting for Sunnyside, the Hamilton Parish house Mr Schultz and his wife, Grace, lived in. “We rented a taxi and our driver took us all over,” said Mr Schultz, whose actual birthday is on July 9. “I tried hard to find the place where we stayed. I remember you could walk to the aquarium from the house but everything is so built up now. We couldn’t find the place.” A search of the telephone directory revealed a listing and on Thursday, the family paid a visit. They spent an hour with its owner, Carolyn Armstrong, looking at old photographs and newspaper clippings. “Coming back to Sunnyside and meeting Carolyn was the best part of the trip, for sure,” Mr Schultz said. “I really couldn’t believe this. It was wonderful to see the place and meet Carolyn.” She provided a fresh ear for his stories about working with the US Air Force’s Air Sea Rescue Squadron. The operation used repurposed B29 bombers to search the ocean around Bermuda for vessels that were missing or in difficulty. It was Mr Schultz’s job to keep watch from the back of the plane, in a place once used by gunners. It had not been the Second World War veteran’s plan to come to Bermuda in the 1950s. “In 1951, the Korean War was on and I was still single and adventurous,” he said. “I volunteered for Korea because that was where all the action was.” At the shipping out point, he was told they didn’t need anyone else in Korea and given the option of going to England, Newfoundland or Bermuda. After a year of training, he arrived on the island. “I’d heard of it, but I’d never been,” he said. “It looked a lot different then. You don’t seem to have as many cedars now.” Mr Schultz helped in several high-profile rescues of that time. Ruby Zuill and Wilfred “Indian” Outerbridge went missing in their fishing boat Sea Venture after a series of heavy gales on February 8, 1954. “They searched for them for quite a while to no avail,” Mr Schultz recalled. “Then one day we were on a training mission and we flew right over the top of them. We turned around and dropped some supplies that they never got.” The US Coast Guard was notified and eventually picked the men up. Mr Schultz still has a copy of The Mid-Ocean News detailing the rescue with the headline: ‘They Never Lost Hope’. “They’d been lost about five days,” he said. “They weren’t in too bad a condition. They were self-sufficient. They could fish and they had enough water.” Mr Schultz met the pair and shook hands. “They were more than grateful,” he said. On another occasion he helped rescue six Air Force search and rescue men after their plane crashed into the ocean. “We had a hurricane alert, and we used to evacuate our rescue aeroplanes to Florida or Georgia,” he said. “We had four planes. After the alert passed we all came back to Bermuda. Halfway back to Bermuda, a piece of the prop went into the fuel tank and started a fire. Six people got out of the back. They got burnt because the fire was on the same side as the exit door. The other six guys went down with the aircraft. I knew those men.” The men who made it out, were rescued by a passing cruise ship. Mr Schultz and his family left Bermuda soon after, when his tour of duty ended. “We were expecting our second child and my wife wanted to go home.” he said. They settled in New Windsor, New York, and had two more children, Michael and Melissa. Mr Schultz worked for 37 years as a foreman in a gas company. His wife died in 2014. While here, the Schultz's visited Horseshoe Bay, ate at the Lobster Pot and met the Captain of the Norwegian Escape on the ship’s bridge. “It’s been a wonderful trip,” he said. “This will probably be my last visit anywhere, given that I’m almost 90.”

spacerA Bermudian bartender returned to work yesterday after being dismissed following his involvement in a public disturbance. Kenry Thorpe was let go from the MEF Group after an altercation at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club on June 10, which he later said was provoked by a racist slur made against him. Mr Thorpe has publicly thanked TNN Bermuda and Michael Dunkley, the former premier, for their involvement in him getting his job back. Mr Thorpe said the confrontation at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, which was filmed and widely distributed online, cost him his job with the MEF Group, which is contracted out to Rosewood Bermuda. He maintains he reacted to the racist slur through a heated exchange and should have approached the hotel’s general manager. He has since told TNN Bermuda “this is definitely a lesson learnt”. Trevor Lindsay of TNN Bermuda told The Royal Gazette that Mr Thorpe had confirmed to him that he was back at work as of 10am on Monday morning. TNN Bermuda reported: “Word coming to TNN confirming that Kenry Thorpe, the young Bermudian bartender who was involved in an altercation which was caught on video has received his position back at MEF Group which is contracted out to Tucker’s Point Resort here in Bermuda.” The Royal Gazette approached Rosewood Bermuda last week and was told that the altercation Mr Thorpe was involved in was “one of the reasons” he was let go. TNN Bermuda quoted Mr Thorpe as saying: “I am grateful to be able to resume my employment and pick up the pieces from this life-changing incident.” Mr Thorpe also thanked the community at large for supporting him, saying he appreciated everyone’s “input and support”. Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister of National Security, posted on Facebook that Mr Thorpe had been reinstated but declined to comment on his involvement, if any. He wrote: “Glad to see that this has been resolved and MEF has reconsidered the position. I am very pleased Mr Thorpe will be back to work next week. I will not comment on any meetings or conversations undertaken this past week in regards to this matter. They remain private but suffice it to say this was a most unfortunate incident and in hindsight many can review their actions.” The hotel’s manager and The MEF Group were unavailable for comment yesterday.

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June 18, Public Holiday

spacerSt David’s was a cacophony of colour this morning as thousands gathered to watch and take part in the National Heroes Weekend Parade of Bands. Soca music pumped out from the main roundabout into Southside all the way to Clearwater Beach where the festivities began. Band members were dressed in brightly colored feathers and dazzling jewels for Bermuda’s fourth National Heroes Weekend carnival. One reveler, Shayleen Morales, traveled from Philadelphia to participate for the second time. Ms Morales said: “I love the carnival for the colors, the fun and the dancing. I heard about it through my friends. Bermuda is beautiful — there’s no other country like it. The people are so warm and welcoming and the place is so clean.” Locals and visitors lined the parade route on the day to watch what is fast becoming one of Bermuda’s most impressive spectacles. This year there are three bands — Nova Mas International, Nirvana Mas and Code Red.

spacerLarge crowds partied in the early hours to ring in National Heroes Day today. Thousands of people packed out Bernard’s Park for the Cirque Du Soca J’Ouvert, one of the showpiece events from a long weekend of public activities. The party, from 3am to 8am, was the beginning of a long day for some revelers, with the Parade of Bands due to kick off at Southside, St David’s, at 10am. Music, dancing and spectacular carnival outfits will form the entertainment in the East End, beginning with a parade from Clearwater Beach to Number One Gate. Opposition leader Jeanne Atherden issued a statement wishing people a happy National Heroes Day. She said: “Whilst we are watching or taking part in the Parade of Bands in St David’s or while we are just enjoying some time off to relax or to be with our families, it is important to reflect. We should reflect on the progress that our country has made, the individuals who have helped us to get to where we are and therefore who our heroes include. National Heroes Day is, to me, about celebrating our National Heroes as well as those individuals who continuously make a difference in our lives, who silently make sacrifices in order to help others and who go the extra mile time and time again. These are people who have no expectation of praise or recognition and are there to support and assist others, come rain or shine. I am asking you therefore, as part of your celebration on National Heroes Day, to acknowledge and reach out to those persons who are your heroes. We are here today, because of all of the heroes who have gone before and who are also around us now. Today I salute all of Bermuda’s heroes.”

spacerThe public bus service is to resume tomorrow according to The Department of Public Transportation. The department’s management team is due to meet with the Bermuda Industrial Union to “return to discussions in an effort to resolve the matters outstanding”. A work-to-rule remains in place until further notice which could still result in route cancellations if drivers are unwilling to work overtime. A department spokesman said: “The DPT apologizes for the inconvenience to the traveling public.”

spacerThere will be no bus service on Bermuda National Heroes Day, the president of the Bermuda Industrial Union confirmed today. Chris Furbert said that bus drivers are continuing a work-to-rule over numerous issues including working conditions. It comes despite home affairs minister Walton Brown stating any strike or irregular industrial action by drivers would be unlawful. An urgent meeting is scheduled to take place either tomorrow or Wednesday with the director of the Department of Public Transportation Roger Todd. Mr Furbert said workers will demand a timeframe for longstanding issues to be addressed. Mr Furbert told The Royal Gazette: “There are numerous outstanding issues, some of which have been going on for years, that the management team know about. Some of these issues go back four or five years. All our members want is a timeframe for when these issues will be addressed.” Mr Brown published a Notice of Declaration of Labour Dispute in the Official Gazette yesterday, which stated: “I declare that a labour dispute exists between the Department of Public Transportation and the Bermuda Industrial Union. In accordance with section 19 of the Labour Disputes Act 1992, after the publication of this Notice, any lockout strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike is unlawful and any person who takes part in, incites or in any way encourages, persuades or influences any person to take part in, or otherwise acts in furtherance of, a lockout, strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike that is unlawful under this section is guilty of an offence.” Mr Brown said he had referred the dispute to settlement to the Labour Disputes Tribunal. The DPT has published conflicting statements over the matter throughout the weekend. On Saturday, the DPT insisted the bus service would operate on Monday, per the published holiday schedule. On Sunday, the DPT conceded there was a risk the bus service would not run on Monday. The DPT has not responded to a request for comment today. A spokesman said yesterday that management was advised by the BIU of a work-to-rule starting at 10am on Friday. He said: “The BIU membership has interpreted this to include holiday work, regardless of whether or not it forms part of the employees’ weekly work schedule. Management does not agree with this interpretation and distinguishes between regular shift work taking place on a holiday and overtime for those working more than their normal 37.5 hours per week. As with many other service providers, the bus service is a 365-day per year operation, which necessitates working holidays, weekends and shift work. Owing to this impasse in the interpretation of overtime, there is a risk that the bus service will not run tomorrow, Monday, June 18. DPT apologizes for the inconvenience to the traveling public and is committed to restoring full service as soon as possible.” Three cruise ships are scheduled to be in Bermuda today — Norwegian Dawn and Grandeur of the Seas in Dockyard, and Veendam in the City of Hamilton, with a potential total of 6,000-plus passengers on board. Norwegian Dawn has a capacity of 2,340 passengers, while Grandeur of the Seas can carry 2,446 passengers. Veendam can take up to 1,350 passengers. The Public Transportation spokesman said: “DPT stopped providing charter services last year. For the second year, the main transportation out of Dockyard will be ferries, minibuses and taxis. Only regularly scheduled buses serve Dockyard, and, as stated, the normal Sunday/public holiday schedule will apply.” The bus service ground to a halt for several hours in March after drivers took action in what was said to be a show of support for mechanics, who had stopped work over a series of complaints, including staff shortages. Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said in October that 14 maintenance positions had been left vacant — “almost half” the required staff.

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June 17, Sunday

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June 16

spacerA UK minister has vowed to tackle concerns over public registers of company ownership in Bermuda and other Overseas Territories. Lord Ahmad, the UK’s Minister for the Overseas Territories, said he recognized the “strength of feeling” over the proposed register and a spokeswoman yesterday said the UK Government would consider any proposals for reform. The Foreign Office official said the gathering was a “valuable opportunity to talk about EU exit and to have a constructive dialogue with the delegates on topics of mutual importance”. She added: “The Minister for the Overseas Territories, Lord Ahmad, reiterated the UK Government’s commitment to work collaboratively with the territories to address concerns raised about the potential adverse impact of public registers of beneficial ownership. The spokeswoman added that “the UK Government would give due consideration to any reform proposals put forward.” The commitment came at the annual meeting of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in London, attended by Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier. Mr Roban, also the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, was due to arrive back in Bermuda last night. He underlined Government’s position that it does not recognize UK legislation designed to enforce public registers of company ownership in Overseas Territories after the meetings. A spokesman for Mr Roban said: “As a result of the passing of an Order in Council under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act, together we stand with Governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK Government that we will take all necessary measures to ensure that the UK Parliament does not interfere in the domestic affairs of an Overseas Territory. “Discussions on upholding democracy were strong. It is clear the domestic affairs and legislative process are the responsibility of the local elected officials.” The spokesman added that the existing agreement between the UK National Crime Agency and the Bermuda Monetary Authority to provide beneficial ownership information within 24 hours will remain in force. He said: “Together with the recent developments of UK Parliament’s interference and the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Prime Minister has recognized the need for all Overseas Territories to begin discussions on constitutional review and advancement.” He said Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has appointed David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, to “oversee constitutional discussion or review with any Overseas Territory which desires change”. Overseas Territories were also assured a “rapid response” from the UK to restore law and order after a major disaster. The promise came in the wake of criticism of the reaction to Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year. The Foreign Office spokeswoman highlighted the views of Lord Ahmad, Junior Minister for the Commonwealth and United Nations, who visited Caribbean islands two weeks ago, which made clear the UK Government’s “strength of focus on hurricane preparation”. Lord Ahmad said: “The UK has provided critical aid and support across the region to assist in recovery from last year’s widespread devastation, and we can already see this help from the UK has made a real difference on the ground. However, there’s more that needs to be done. We will continue to work extremely closely with the British Overseas Territories, as well as the rest of the Caribbean, to make sure that the region have plans in place to prepare for, and better withstand, future hurricanes.”

spacerPitbull terriers were taken off the banned list of breeds by MPs yesterday. The controversial dogs are now on the restricted category, along with American bulldogs and American Staffordshire terriers. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said: “This means that dogs of these breeds are eligible for importation and breeding, but done under the strict guidelines and conditions set out by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. I can assure you that Bermuda will not have a scenario where anything goes. We will still have laws, and they will be enforced, and the penalties are severe.” Mr Brown was speaking as the House of Assembly approved the Dogs Amendment Act, which will have to be approved by the Senate before it becomes law. He said breed-specific policies have reduced the number of dog attacks, but resulted in household pets being seized and killed because of their breed. Mr Brown added: “The animal wardens spend an inordinate amount of time confiscating and authorizing dogs that have committed no acts of aggression. This detracts from their efforts to deal with truly dangerous dogs or dogs that have endured abuse and improper care.” Mr Brown said the killing of dogs because of their breed was “abhorrent”. He added that he had worked with charity Angels Helping Animals to take seized dogs to the United States instead of them being put down. He said the government kennels have often become full because of continued seizures of prohibited dogs. Mr Brown added that breed-specific legislation will remain in place, with dogs such as large mastiffs and also wolves still prohibited breeds. “The step of re-categorizing the pitbull breed comes as a result of an acknowledgement that these dogs are already in the community, albeit that they are illegal. Therefore, the community is already feeling the impact of the dog’s presence.” The re-categorization is also based on our own data, which shows that only a minority of pitbulls have been a threat to public safety. Not most of them, and certainly not all of them.” The act also creates civil penalties related to dog ownership so offences can be dealt with faster and without the use of the courts. The legislation also introduces new animal welfare regulations, including a ban on cosmetic surgery. Clipped ears, docked tails and the use of heavy chain collars will also be outlawed, while dogs will not be allowed to be tied up for longer than four hours. The new law also enshrines rights for dogs. These are freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behavior and freedom from fear and distress. Cole Simons, the Shadow Minister of Education, who worked on the legislation while environment minister under the former One Bermuda Alliance government, said the amendments were “very long overdue”. The amendments also include a provision to put a dog down if it attacks another animal. Mr Simons told MPs his own dog was mauled and killed by another dog. He said. “I’m saying this from personal experience. When you go through it, it changes your world. I think that the community will support this aspect of the law.” The legislation also makes it mandatory for all dog bites to be reported to the director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Mr Simons said: “If we are to get close to the problem and identify the real source of the issues, we need to get good data. Veterinarian professionals should report their findings to the director.” Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, said dog ownership was similar to caring for a child. He added that all dog owners should be aware of good training practices for their pets. Mr Scott said: “It is irresponsible practices that lead to pitbulls getting a bad reputation." It is about the responsibility of the owner themselves. “The Act helps to guide them in the right direction without being too punitive.” Mr Scott said he had a “personal concern” about dogs being tied up for long periods. He added that not all owners are able to fence in their pets. Reacting today, campaign group Punish the Deed not the Breed declared itself “extremely happy” that the legislation passed. A spokeswoman said: “We are extremely thankful to everyone who supported our petition and cause through out the years leading up to this change. We are very thankful the government has taken the steps to address this inhumane dog legislation to now promote a healthy happy lifestyles for our islands pitbull population. Responsible ownership is key, and we couldn’t be more excited that we’ve finally got some positive change.”

spacerA new register of land ownership will crack down on people who try to cheat vulnerable owners out of their property, MPs heard yesterday. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the new land title registry would end a “sorry and deplorable” history of real estate agents and lawyers swindling clients. Colonel Burch explained: “This system will provide for the guarantee of legal ownership of land and the simplification of conveyancing transactions.” He added the register would become “the definitive record of title” and that any further transactions could be carried out quickly and at low cost. Further, once a title is registered, title to that land is guaranteed, and cannot be lost or stolen.” He said that land exchange on the island came with a “long and sad history”, in which many had been cheated by “unscrupulous professionals, and even at times by family members. Landowners who opt to register their deeds would obtain absolute title. 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. It is unconscionable to this Government that landowners 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.” Staff at Government’s Land Title Registration Office will instead carry out searches and grant registered titles. The modernized system will come into force at the start of next month. Colonel Burch said the change will complete the move from a deeds-based registration system that dated back to 1999. Shady practices in the real estate market sparked a debate in the House of Assembly in 2014, when the Progressive Labour Party was in Opposition. A Commission of Inquiry was approved by Parliament, but it was never authorized by the Governor. Colonel Burch predicted “great interest” from the public and that voluntary registration would start by appointment only to allow the office to handle the workload.

spacerA law to crack down on illegal construction was backed by MPs yesterday. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said the Development and Planning Amendment Bill 2018 was designed to penalize construction firms who carry out work without planning permission. Mr Brown added it had become common for landowners and contractors to “build now and ask for permission later. One of the more egregious cases involved someone who built a swimming pool and an apartment so he could profit from the America’s Cup. He didn’t ask for permission, but as we were going to issue a demolition order he filed for retroactive approval.” The new legislation will allow the Department of Planning to slap fines of up to $100,000 on both the landowner and the contractor for breaches of planning law. Criminal penalties could result in fines of up to $100,000 and two years in prison. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin of the One Bermuda Alliance, said the Opposition supported the purpose of the legislation. She told the House that breaches of planning regulations could present serious public safety risks. Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, said he had received complaints about construction work which had not been granted planning permission. He added some contractors knew they were in breach of regulations but started work anyway. He said: “They know they will be fined. They would pass that fine onto their client.” But Mr Scott added that a $100,000 fine would be much harder to hide on an invoice. The MP said he knew of a 17ft wall built without permission which collapsed because it was not structurally sound. Mr Scott said: “The planning process might be a frustrating process, but it has been put in place for the public’s safety. Retroactive planning approval will still be available, but it will be much more difficult to get after this bill is passed and that’s a good thing.” Cole Simons, OBA MP, said he backed the amendments. He added that the Government should consider a campaign to make sure the public understood the regulations. Mr Simons also suggested the Government look at the rules for listed buildings, which can be expensive and difficult to maintain, as well as rules governing quarries.

spacerThe bus service may not run on National Heroes Day after all, the Bermuda Government conceded today. The Department of Transportation, which previously attacked the media for reporting the public holiday service was under threat due to industrial action, admitted this afternoon “there is a risk” the bus service will not run tomorrow. It comes despite home affairs minister Walton Brown stating any strike or irregular industrial action by drivers would be unlawful. This afternoon, a DPT spokesman said management was advised by the Bermuda Industrial Union of a work-to-rule starting at 10am on Friday. He said: “The BIU membership has interpreted this to include holiday work, regardless of whether or not it forms part of the employees’ weekly work schedule. Management does not agree with this interpretation and distinguishes between regular shift work taking place on a holiday and overtime for those working more than their normal 37.5 hours per week. As with many other service providers, the bus service is a 365-day per year operation, which necessitates working holidays, weekends and shift work. Owing to this impasse in the interpretation of overtime, there is a risk that the bus service will not run tomorrow, Monday, June 18. DPT apologizes for the inconvenience to the traveling public and is committed to restoring full service as soon as possible.” Mr Brown published a Notice of Declaration of Labour Dispute in the Official Gazette yesterday, which stated: “I declare that a labour dispute exists between the Department of Public Transportation and the Bermuda Industrial Union. In accordance with section 19 of the Labour Disputes Act 1992, after the publication of this Notice, any lockout strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike is unlawful and any person who takes part in, incites or in any way encourages, persuades or influences any person to take part in, or otherwise acts in furtherance of, a lockout, strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike that is unlawful under this section is guilty of an offence.” Mr Brown said he had referred the dispute to settlement to the Labour Disputes Tribunal. In spite of Mr Brown’s warning and the DPT’s denial that the service was under threat, the Chamber of Commerce wrote to its members last night: “Although the government has published a Declaration Notice in today’s daily, the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce has been advised that there still remains a possibility that buses will not run on Monday 18 June. Members are advised to have alternate travel plans in place as an added precaution to ensure adequate staffing numbers.” The Royal Gazette reported on Friday how multiple sources close to the dispute had said buses would be off the road for the public holiday because employees were planning to work to rule while a long-running row rumbles on over working conditions for mechanics. Government failed to respond to requests for comment for that article, but did issue an e-mail saying 147 bus routes had been cancelled on Friday afternoon and evening. No updates on cancellations have been received since then. After the article published, the DPT said it wished to correct “information circulating in the community, fuelled by media”. A spokesman said: “There is an outstanding dispute between DPT and its unionized workers. DPT and the Bermuda Industrial Union are working through the issues, based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Royal Gazette in today’s paper quotes unnamed sources that buses will not run on the public holiday Monday because mechanics will not be working. This is not true. Monday is a public holiday and as a result, the majority of bus mechanics will be off on holiday, as per normal. This does not determine whether the service operates. Notwithstanding the ongoing labour dispute, the bus service will operate on Monday, per the published holiday schedule.” He added: “As has been the case for many months, there may be route cancellations due to a shortage of available buses. Any cancellations will be informed per the twice-daily bus alerts. The work-to-rule means drivers will not work overtime. If there is a shortage of drivers, this may result in route cancellations. It’s difficult to say in advance if, and to what extent, cancellations will occur.” Three cruise ships are scheduled to be in Bermuda tomorrow — Norwegian Dawn and Grandeur of the Seas in Dockyard, and Veendam in the City of Hamilton, with a potential total of 6,000-plus passengers on board. Norwegian Dawn has a capacity of 2,340 passengers, while Grandeur of the Seas can carry 2,446 passengers. Veendam can take up to 1,350 passengers. The Public Transportation spokesman said: “DPT stopped providing charter services last year. For the second year, the main transportation out of Dockyard will be ferries, minibuses and taxis. Only regularly scheduled buses serve Dockyard, and, as stated, the normal Sunday/public holiday schedule will apply.” A voice message on social media on Friday warned of service disruption on Monday, saying buses would not run because mechanics were due to down tools. Glen Simmons, the Bermuda Industrial Union’s vice-president, said he had “no idea about that” when questioned on Friday. Mr Simmons referred questions on the dispute to Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Mr Furbert did not respond to requests for comment. The bus service ground to a halt for several hours in March after drivers took action in what was said to be a show of support for mechanics, who had stopped work over a series of complaints, including staff shortages. Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said in October that 14 maintenance positions had been left vacant — “almost half” the required staff.

spacerThe bus service will operate on National Heroes Day, the Bermuda Government said today. The Department of Public Transportation acknowledged it is “working through issues” with the Bermuda Industrial Union, but insisted a dispute with mechanics will not affect the usual public holiday bus timetable. Bus users may still face cancellations, however, due to a continued shortage of available buses and drivers operating a work-to-rule. The Royal Gazette reported today how multiple sources close to the dispute had said buses would be off the road for the public holiday because employees were planning to work to rule while a long-running row rumbles on over working conditions for mechanics. Government failed to respond to requests for comment yesterday, but did issue an e-mail saying 147 bus routes had been cancelled yesterday afternoon and evening. Today, the Department of Public Transportation said it wished to correct “information circulating in the community, fuelled by media”. A spokesman said: “There is an outstanding dispute between DPT and its unionized workers. DPT and the Bermuda Industrial Union are working through the issues, based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Royal Gazette in today’s paper quotes unnamed sources that buses will not run on the public holiday Monday because mechanics will not be working. This is not true. Monday is a public holiday and as a result, the majority of bus mechanics will be off on holiday, as per normal. This does not determine whether the service operates. Notwithstanding the ongoing labour dispute, the bus service will operate on Monday, per the published holiday schedule. As has been the case for many months, there may be route cancellations due to a shortage of available buses. Any cancellations will be informed per the twice-daily bus alerts. The work-to-rule means drivers will not work overtime. If there is a shortage of drivers, this may result in route cancellations. It’s difficult to say in advance if, and to what extent, cancellations will occur.” Three cruise ships are scheduled to be in Bermuda on Monday — Norwegian Dawn and Grandeur of the Seas in Dockyard, and Veendam in the City of Hamilton, with a potential total of 6,000-plus passengers on board. Norwegian Dawn has a capacity of 2,340 passengers, while Grandeur of the Seas can carry 2,446 passengers. Veendam can take up to 1,350 passengers. The Public Transportation spokesman said: “DPT stopped providing charter services last year. For the second year, the main transportation out of Dockyard will be ferries, minibuses and taxis. Only regularly scheduled buses serve Dockyard, and, as stated, the normal Sunday/public holiday schedule will apply.” A voice message on social media yesterday warned of service disruption on Monday, saying buses would not run because mechanics were due to down tools. Glen Simmons, the Bermuda Industrial Union’s vice-president, said he had “no idea about that” when questioned yesterday. Mr Simmons referred questions on the dispute to Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Mr Furbert did not respond to requests for comment last night. The bus service ground to a halt for several hours in March after drivers took action in what was said to be a show of support for mechanics, who had stopped work over a series of complaints, including staff shortages. Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said in October that 14 maintenance positions had been left vacant — “almost half” the required staff.

spacerThe fun has begun for one of Bermuda’s most popular holiday weekends. Hundreds of people gathered on the sand and water at Shelly Bay for the Bermuda Heroes Weekend Raft Up this afternoon. A steady stream of beachgoers and more than a dozen boats were still arriving as of 1pm to enjoy the music and the emerging sun. Tashi Smith said: “I was a bit worried with all the rain last night but the sun is coming out, its getting brighter. I love the whole Heroes Weekend atmosphere. It’s great seeing everyone come out and celebrate.” Joseph Andrews added: “The music is great, folks are starting to dance. This is what Bermuda is about.” Island and international DJs are scheduled to provide entertainment at Shelly Bay from noon to 6pm. The party will continue tomorrow with the Pan in the Park, a range of steel pan drum performers, on stage at Victoria Park in Hamilton between 3pm and 7pm. The Cirque Du Soca J’Ouvert will ring in National Heroes Day on Monday and bring music to Bernard’s Park in Pembroke from 3am to 8am. The weekend will climax with the Parade of Bands, which will feature music, dancing and spectacular carnival outfits at Southside, St David’s, on Monday. The parade is set to kick off at Clearwater Beach at 10am with revellers dancing their way to Number One Gate. Masqueraders will set out again at 2pm, returning to Clearwater Beach along Southside Road. For the full schedule, visit bermudaheroesweekend.com.

2018 National Heroes weekend

See above story

spacerA controversial government minister told MPs last night he had refused to repair a wall at a Cup Match venue unless the club agreed to not invite the Governor to present the trophy. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch told the House of Assembly that he had given the ultimatum to Somerset Cricket Club, this year’s venue for the annual cricket match and where he is also a member. Colonel Burch said that he disagreed with the Governor handing over the cup as it is a celebration of the emancipation of slaves in the then British Empire, which came into force in 1834. He added: “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.” Colonel Burch, speaking during the motion to adjourn, said he had often asked the club to dismiss the Governor as presenter of the trophy. He added he had been approached about repairing a wall in the area before the club hosts Cup Match in August. He said he gave the club two conditions — that the club should provide adequate recycling measures and that the Governor should not present the trophy to the winner. Colonel Burch added: “They have been unable to find the fortitude to tell the man on Langton Hill thank you very much, but watch the cricket on television. I figured I should stand on the floor of the House and give them some cover.” He later added: “Cup Match is seven weeks away. We could build a wall in a lot less than that, but we are going to need some courage.” Colonel Burch received some support from the Opposition. Michael Dunkley, the former OBA premier, said the Premier should present the trophy. He said: “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.”

spacerThe combination of a light southeast wind and more than one knot of current flowing out of Narragansett Bay pushed the fleet of sailboats starting the Newport Bermuda Race on the way towards Bermuda yesterday afternoon with few incidents of note. “In spite of the light conditions,” said Jonathan Brewin, chairman of the Bermuda Race Organising Committee, “the New York Yacht Club race committee did a stellar job of starting our 17 classes safely.” Only one boat among the 170 entries in the race failed to start, Araucaria, a 55-footer sailing in the Finisterre Division for amateur boats using cruising sails. Setting a pre-race course past Whitehawk, the 105-foot starting line boat anchored in the East Passage, a misjudgment of the strong current resulted in a collision between the boats and the retirement of the smaller vessel. During the starting sequence, a McCurdy & Rhodes 38-footer named Selkie came too close to Whitehawk and was hung up for a while on Whitehawk’s massive bowsprit. Fortunately, after taking its penalty turns, Selkie was able to continue with the race. The most exciting start was among the largest boats in the fleet, Class 15 in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division. In this group of high-tech, high-speed, professionally crewed boats, the 88-foot Rambler 88, a former record holder for the Newport Bermuda course, started a little behind several smaller boats and made a breathtaking pass, threading its way right through the middle of the fleet. “It was also exciting to watch all the starts of this race on social media for the first time,” Brewin said. The race continues for the next three to six days. How long depends on the size of boat and the strength of the winds. The forecast is for lighter winds. “Preliminary projections are for a very strategic race, which could involve several restarts when the wind dies and the fleet compresses,” Brewin said.

2018 Newport Bermuda race start

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spacerRoyal Caribbean Cruises, which sends cruise ships to Bermuda, has announced the acquisition of a significant stake in ultra-luxe small-ship cruise line Silversea Cruises which also cruises to Bermuda. The agreement includes the acquisition of a two-thirds equity stake in Silversea based on an enterprise value of $2 billion, with the purchase price of the equity valued at approximately $1 billion, according to the company. RCL said it would finance the purchase through debt. “Silversea is a crown jewel, and the acknowledged leader in luxury and expedition cruising, two key markets that are poised for growth,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Uniting our two companies presents an extraordinary opportunity to expand vacation options for guests and create revenue in strategic growth areas.” The move means a major new luxury brand for Royal Caribbean. The move comes as the luxury cruise market continues to see drastic changes, most notably by the planned entry of Ritz-Carlton to the market. Ritz-Carlton just launched bookings for its first cruises, which will launch in 2020. “We are proud to welcome aboard [Silversea executive chairman] Manfredi Lefebvre, a visionary leader whose high standards and history of innovation we deeply respect. Manfredi will remain Executive Chairman of Silversea, continuing to lead its strategy long term,” Fain said. In a statement, Royal Caribbean said strategic rationales for the agreement included driving long-term capacity growth in the luxury cruise market; diversifying Royal Caribbean’s portfolio; leveraging the global footprint of both companies to “generate demand and increase vacation and destination options” and realizing what the company called “significant synergies” related to global market access, supply chain, purchasing power and other economies of scale. Silversea CEO Roberto Martinoli will continue in his role, the company said. Silversea operates a fleet of nine all-suite ships sailing around the world. The brand joins Royal Caribbean’s existing portfolio, which includes its namesake brand, along with Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and the regional TUI and Pullmantur brands.

spacerThe cricket community is in mourning after the death this week of George Trott, the former Hamilton Parish all-rounder and umpire, on his 90th birthday. Trott earned a reputation during his playing days at Parish as an early-order batsman and seam bowler, who occasionally took the new ball. However, his biggest contribution to local cricket is perhaps as an umpire who upheld the principles of the gentleman’s game and maintained high standards that earned him the respect of players and peers alike. Trott was the first Bermudian to officiate in a World Cup qualifier, having done so at the 1990 ICC Trophy in the Netherlands, and also stood in the middle in an unprecedented 11 successive Cup Match classics. “George was Bermuda’s best umpire,” said former umpire George Francis. “He always conducted himself as a decent human being on and off the field and brought a lot of professionalism to an organisation [Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association] which wasn’t there before. He was always on time for the start of his games and after the game he would leave the area. He never hung around to discuss any decision he made or anything with players or hung around drinking in the bar. He was a great ambassador for Bermuda and a big loss that will never be replaced in Bermuda cricket.” Francis was among many umpires who were taught their craft by Trott. “George definitely had a big influence on me and many others,” Francis said. “He always had a word of encouragement and never had a bad word. He was a man of great integrity, high credibility and a very high standard who was always willing to help.” Trott was also a mentor of Steven Douglas, the BCUA president. “I recall my first meeting with George back in 1997 when I started my umpiring,” Douglas said. “Actually, George was the person who took me out to my first game and taught me the craft of the game. During those early days when it came to the rules and laws of the game George had the ability to simplify the terms. Easily described as a quiet gentleman, he was not one to be underestimated. His commitment and service to the BCUA has been recognized within the cricketing community of Bermuda. He was recently honored by The Bright Temple AME Church for his service to Cup Match. On behalf of the officers and members of the Bermuda Cricket Umpires Association we extend our sincere condolences to the family of Mr George Trott.” Ralph Hill, father of former Bailey’s Bay and Somerset Cup Match players Ricky and Corey Hill, recalls playing with and against Trott, who was his uncle. “I played a good bit of cricket with him at Hamilton Parish in the 1960s and we got along quite well on and off the field,” Hill said. “He was a very dependable early order batsman and a good bowler but I really recognized him more as a bowler. Sometimes he opened the bowling attack or was first change. I kept behind the wicket for him a lot of times and he was straight on the button. If you missed, he hit. He was very strict and reminded me of guys like ‘Bummy’ Symonds. He was mentor to me and I also played against him when he went to play for Warwick in his later years.” Speaking on behalf of the Bermuda Cricket Board, Neil Speight, the chief executive, said: “The BCB extends its sympathies and condolences to the family of the highly respected umpire George Trott who recently passed away. A full tribute will be delivered at his funeral next week.” A funeral service will be held at Bright Temple AME on Tuesday, beginning at noon.

June 15

spacerThe Deputy Premier asked the British Government yesterday to ensure “appropriate succession planning” is carried out for roles appointed by the Governor. Walter Roban said the Bermuda delegation to the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council had raised controversy over the new Chief Justice and Commissioner of Police, neither of whom were born in Bermuda. Mr Roban, also the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said: “We raised the point around the recent appointments of the new Commissioner of Police and of the Chief Justice. We did raise some points directly with the minister on that, I also raised it as part of the conference deliberations.” He added: “In relation to the position that the UK Government currently holds, their position is linked to the 2012 White Paper which discusses constitutional reform. It says there is no interest at this time of pursuing major constitutional reform with the Overseas Territories. With that in mind, our view is that if that is the case, where the UK Government has responsibility such as the appointment of constitutional positions, such as the Chief Justice and Commissioner of Police — which is under their prerogative of security, foreign affairs and internal security — that they should also ensure that the appropriate successor planning within each territory is also properly deployed. They are in support of our sustainability as a jurisdiction of their governance and opportunities that will ensure that they will have less responsibility for our affairs. They should ensure that the appropriate succession planning around these appointments is done in the meantime and that should come with their responsibility.’ Mr Roban was speaking as he and Kimberley Durrant, the director of Bermuda’s London office and the official island representative in the UK, held a series of meetings in London. He said discussions were dominated by the implications of the UK’s decision to quit the EU — Brexit — but that Constitutional affairs and disaster management were also on the agenda. In a statement released today, a spokesman for the Deputy Premier said that the Bermuda Government stands alongside its counterparts and will “take all necessary measures to ensure that the UK Parliament does not interfere in the domestic affairs of an Overseas Territory”. He said: “The main issue that was raised by a number of territories was this concern about the British Government’s overreach further into domestic matters, contrary to the path that many have been on ... since the early 2000s — continuous constitutional reform, greater domestic responsibility for affairs and just a more partnership-type arrangement with the British.” Mr Roban said the subject caused a “quite heated discussion”. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, two weeks ago criticized the Bermuda Police Service’s management for its failure to prepare a Bermudian successor for Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva, who will retire today. The appointment of British Chief Superintendent Stephen Corbishley was announced on May 30 by John Rankin, the Governor. David Burt, the Premier, earlier claimed the appointment of Narinder Hargun as the next Chief Justice was “an affront” to the Government. Mr Roban said the talks also raised the possibility of British Overseas Territories citizens applying for British passports if they feel their rights in the EU are reduced compared to British people after a deal is reached on Brexit. He explained: “We received clarification from the minister and the Cabinet Office that as far as they’re concerned there is a guarantee to a right of access to those Overseas Territories citizens to the Schengen area, which should not be affected by Brexit. But here’s the other part of it, as we all know that Brexit negotiations aren’t finished and we don’t know what they’re going to look like in the end. The British Government did also say that if, at the end of a deal with the UK and the EU, that British citizens have different rights or more rights than British Overseas Territories citizens, the British Government has welcomed the possibility of Overseas Territories citizens applying for British citizenship. “So if they find themselves in a situation where they have a difference in rights — there are more rights for British citizens post-Brexit — they can apply for British citizenship. But it is the British Government’s position that the status quo will remain upon conclusion of Brexit negotiations.” The Deputy Premier’s visit to London also included a meeting with Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK’s Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations. Mr Roban said Lord Ahmad “understood” the Bermuda Government’s position that it did not recognize UK legislation designed to enforce public registers of company ownership in Overseas Territories. He said: “We don’t recognize the authority of the UK Parliament to legislate over Bermuda outside of the prerogative powers that already exist in our constitutional order section 62 — that is understood by the elected minister and agreed with.” He added: “Bermuda will only do what is passed in the Bermuda Parliament. Bermuda is already adhering to international standards that meet the criteria that is required.” In a statement, a spokesman for the office of the Deputy Premier and Ministry of Transport and Regulatory Affairs said today: “As a result of the passing for an Order in Council under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act, together we stand with Governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK Government that we will take all necessary measures to ensure that the UK Parliament does not interfere in the domestic affairs of an Overseas Territory. Discussions on upholding democracy were strong. It is clear the domestic affairs and legislative process are the responsibility of the local elected officials. “Moving forward there will be a collaborative approach and the existing Exchange of Notes with the National Crime Agency and the Bermuda Monetary Authority to provide Beneficial Ownership Information within a 24 hour period will remain in effect. Together with the recent developments of UK Parliament’s interference and the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Prime Minister has recognized the need for all Overseas Territories to begin discussions on constitutional review and advancement. The Prime Minister has appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Rt Hon David Lidington CBE, MP to oversee constitutional discussion or review with any Overseas Territory who desires change.” He added: “The Minister raised the issue of a succession plan of qualified Bermudians to senior appointments under the responsibility of the Governor. This is relevant where the UK Government requires all Overseas Territories to be self-governing and self-sustainable as stated under the 2012 White Paper.”

spacerHurricanes will be met with a more rapid response from the British Government, Bermuda’s Deputy Premier was told yesterday. Walter Roban was given the commitment during a meeting of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in London. He said the pledge came after complaints about the speed of the reaction by UK leaders after 2017 hurricanes devastated parts of the Caribbean. Mr Roban said: “There was significant criticism of the British Government’s response with Irma and Maria last year. It has been directed by both the Prime Minister and the minister that this will get a much more proactive support on their part and they will be much more rapidly responding to any disasters that might occur in this upcoming hurricane season. They have started to raise the level of attention to these matters to that of the Prime Minister as well as the minister responsible.” Mr Roban went on to say that Bermuda’s level of assistance to those affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes would match that of 2017. He explained: “We committed to certainly the same support that we gave last year around the areas of security and recovery that we gave to the territories.” Mr Roban said these included the deployment of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, police and private partners. John Rankin, the Governor, thanked the regiment and police last December for their work to aid people in hurricane-hit UK Caribbean territories. Mr Rankin held a reception for the 30 troops sent to Turks and Caicos and the six police officers stationed in the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma’s 185mph winds brought “severe devastation” to the territories last September. David Burt, the Premier, was among those who asked the British Government to “fulfil its obligations” to the people of Britain’s Caribbean territories after the catastrophic storm. Mr Burt, president of the UK Overseas Territories Association, said he welcomed a British commitment to provide immediate resources in the event of a disaster. But the association questioned Britain’s response in other areas, including a regional reconstruction fund and the two-week wait for the arrival of the Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean in the Caribbean in the wake of Irma. Mr Burt said: “Now, more than ever, we need the United Kingdom to fulfil its obligations by providing comprehensive and lasting support to ensure a sustainable future.” Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, a few days earlier had increased the country’s aid package for the Caribbean region to $42.5 million. The UK Government did not respond to request for comment by press time.

spacerThe Bermuda Government’s partnership with PwC will “change the way that the Government delivers its services”, Lovitta Foggo said today. Ms Foggo, the government reform minister, gave the House of Assembly an update on its public service reform plan. Global firm PwC is working with the government free of charge on the project. Ms Foggo told MPs the draft strategic plan is to be completed this summer and, subject to approval, will commence “immediately thereafter”. It includes an overhaul of government human resources and the Office of Procurement and Project Management.

spacerThe performance of the Customs Department got a boost from its relocation this year, according to Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security. Mr Caines updated Parliament on the department’s activities in the first and second quarters of 2018. Customs was moved from its former headquarters across Front Street from the Cabinet Building, to Customs House at 131 Front Street. Mr Caines told MPs that an advertisement for ten trainee officers in March had drawn 487 applications, with short-listed candidates now being interviewed. Meanwhile, two senior level promotions were announced: Senior Customs Officer Ahmed-Troy Caines was promoted to Principal Customs Officer, while Sharmette Pond was promoted from Principal Customs Officer to Assistant Collector of Customs.

spacerHoliday Ferry Schedule June 18. 

For ferry scheduling information please visit www.marineandports.bm.

spacerThe Bermuda Government has spent $125,000 sponsoring BHW Limited for Bermuda Heroes Weekend this year. Tourism minister Jamahl Simmons told the House of Assembly that the assistance would bring significant yields from “the world’s fastest growing carnival”. Mr Simmons told MPs: “This dynamic new partnership will ensure that Heroes Weekend Carnival is sustained long into the future and will be cemented into Bermuda’s social and cultural calendar. Under the agreement, the Government will provide the human and financial resources to ensure a solid foundation that underpins the event’s operations and assists in addressing old debts. All the while the leadership of BHW Ltd continues to execute their unprecedented and hugely successful promotional, logistic and organisational operation.” Mr Simmons said that visitor numbers showed the island attracting “younger and more diverse visitors to our shores”.

spacerA Bill to create a fintech development fund to invest in training Bermudians is to be introduced in Parliament today. David Burt, the Premier, told MPs that the fund would support software engineering educational programmes for Bermudians, as well as the development of regulations.

spacerA new land title registry will protect vulnerable people from being swindled, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch told Parliament today. Colonel Burch, the public works minister, said a modernized system for land title registration will be in operation from July 2. He said that the launch would begin with voluntary registration by appointment. The public works minister said the new registry has been a work in progress since 1999. Among the benefits will be the elimination of land being “swindled” off vulnerable persons.

spacerBermuda’s water infrastructure is to be boosted, public works minister Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch told Parliament this morning. A third extraction well at the Tynes Bay reverse osmosis plant and a new pumping station for the Cedar Park and Mary Victoria area should bring “significant financial savings”, Colonel Burch said. Colonel Burch also announced the installation of a remote monitoring control system for the island’s central areas and the replacement of 2,000 feet of corroded iron pipes in the Fort Prospect area. Rainfall is below normal this year, with a total of 20.82 inches by June 3, 1.43 inches below the normal average.

spacerHiscox has accused Yuval Abraham, a former executive who was based in Bermuda, of misappropriating more than $1.8 million. The Bermuda Supreme Court ordered a worldwide freezing of Mr Abraham’s assets on April 25 this year, on the same day that three Hiscox entities — Hiscox Services Ltd, Hiscox Agency Ltd and Hiscox Insurance Company (Bermuda) Ltd — had sued him. A spokesperson for Hiscox, the Bermudian-based insurer and reinsurer, said yesterday that the company was working with law enforcement authorities to pursue repayment of the money. The Bermuda Police Service has confirmed that it is investigating the matter. The company has also petitioned the US District Court for the Southern District of New York for an order to issue subpoenas to Montres Journe New York LLC for the production of documents to support its proceedings in the Bermuda court. In its application, Hiscox states: “In 2017 and 2018, Mr Abraham falsified invoices and used his position to cause Hiscox to pay over a million dollars to Montres Journe New York in exchange for luxury watches. It is unknown whether the watches were purchased for the benefit of Mr Abraham or a third party, but it is certain that they were not for the benefit of Hiscox.” Hiscox details a schedule of seven payments, which it describes as the “Montres Transactions”. Varying in amount from $43,300 to $750,000, these were paid out by Hiscox between June 2017 and April 2018 and related to invoices that described “consulting services”. Montres Journe is described in the application as a dealer of luxury watches and jewellery. The freezing injunction from the Bermuda Supreme Court orders that Mr Abraham must not “remove from Bermuda any of his assets which are in Bermuda up to the value of $1,847,960.00”, or “in any way dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of any of his assets whether they are in or outside Bermuda up to the same value”. The freezing injunction specifically references watches purchased from Montres Journe as being among the assets to which it applies. The company said it has obtained similar freezing injunctions in England and Wales and South Africa. The case was reported earlier by the Offshore Alert website. A spokesperson for Hiscox told The Royal Gazette yesterday: “Hiscox is currently pursuing the repayment of funds which we believe were illegally obtained by one individual who no longer works here, and are working with law enforcement on this matter. Hiscox operates to the highest standards and takes such incidents extremely seriously. However, as this is an ongoing investigative and legal matter, Hiscox cannot comment further at this stage.” Hiscox’s head office, as well as reinsurance and alternative capital management operations, is in Wessex House on Reid Street, Hamilton, and the company is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Mr Abraham was terminated from his job as CFO of Hiscox Services Ltd, the service company that manages expenses for Bermuda legal entities for the Hiscox Group, on April 27 this year, Hiscox stated in its US court application. The company added that Mr Abraham had left Bermuda and was believed to have traveled to London, South Africa and then Israel in early May. According to an affidavit filed in the Bermuda Supreme Court by Marc Wetherhill, Hiscox’s group company secretary, Mr Abraham was employed in Bermuda on a work permit issued “pursuant to a Polish passport”, and he also holds South African and Israeli passports. Mr Wetherhill stated that the law firm Carey Olsen Bermuda had hired KPMG to conduct a detailed investigation into the transactions in question.

spacerCourt reports were ordered this morning after a 68-year-old man admitted growing marijuana. James Dallas, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to the cultivation of cannabis. The court heard that Dallas was arrested after police were called to investigate trespassing at the old prison headquarters on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke. Officers discovered 25 styrofoam cups on a window ledge during their search. Dallas told officers: “They are my tomato plants.” The cups were later found to contain 30 cannabis plants. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe ordered court reports on Dallas because he wanted “to know more about him”. The case was adjourned until July 27.

spacerThe list of companies publicly supporting same-sex marriage has grown, with a raft of new additions after an article in The Royal Gazette earlier this week. We reported on Wednesday that 58 businesses — from bars and luxury hotels to law firms, global banks and brokerages — appeared on the online directory of “diversity-friendly” firms. And our story prompted many more to contact marriage equality campaigner Tony Brannon. As of last night, another 35 companies and organisations had asked to be added to the list. Many business owners offered words of support for the campaign for marriage equality, which got a boost last week when the Chief Justice ruled that a new law outlawing gay marriage was unconstitutional. Zoë Hanson, director of Zobec Trust Company, told Mr Brannon in an e-mail: “Zobec, as a local Bermuda business owned and run by Bermudians, fully supports same-sex marriages.” Elaine Murray and Richard Hartley, from the Irish Linen Company, e-mailed: “Who doesn’t love a beautiful rainbow?” John and Alison Young, from the Ledgelets Cottage Colony, wrote: “We stand proudly with you and all the other businesses.” T.J. Armand, executive director of the Bermuda Festival, said: “I am happy to confirm that Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts would like to join the list of diversity-friendly organisations and businesses. Thank you for your efforts to build this list.” Mr Brannon said he was thrilled the list was growing, as the island waits to find out if the Government will appeal the most recent Supreme Court ruling. “The continued affront to deny marriage equality by the Bermuda Government must be resisted at every level,” he said. Our article prompted the removal of the Bermuda National Library from the list, after a request from the director of the Department of Libraries & Archives. The director explained in an e-mail to Mr Brannon that the library should not have been included because “as a government department it is not appropriate for us to publicly advocate for a public policy position that is contrary to that of the government of the day”. She added: “The library has been and will continue to be a supportive and welcoming place for all Bermuda residents, regardless of their religion, political views, sexual persuasion or gender identity.” Mr Brannon said the library was added a year ago when he first created the list, because he mirrored one maintained by the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda. Its “rainbow-friendly directory” — set up in 2012 — lists social spaces, shops and services which welcome gay people, as well as local resources for them. One international company on Mr Brannon’s list is cruise giant Carnival, which registers many of its ships in Bermuda and was offering on-board same-sex marriages until the law banning gay marriage, the Domestic Partnership Act, came into force on June 1. Carnival part-funded the recent court challenge against the DPA. According to Pink News, Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said this week that the company was delighted with the Chief Justice’s ruling. “We will now be working closely with the Bermudan (sic) authorities to understand when we will be able to resume marrying same-sex couples on board,” he was quoted as saying. Chris Bryant, a UK Labour MP, raised the court judgment in the House of Commons the day after it was delivered. He said on June 7: “A British Government in Westminster should not abrogate to themselves powers willy-nilly, but why are the Government adamantine about not intervening when human rights issues affect British citizens? It was the same in Bermuda: the Government refused to say anything about same-sex marriage being banned, but the Supreme Court in Bermuda decided yesterday that the British Government were wrong and that same-sex marriage should be reintroduced.”

spacerThe sister of two of the founders of the Non-Mariners Race said the end of the annual event was not a surprise. Jill Raine said that the modern event “didn’t in any way resemble the beginning”. She added: “It became something totally different.” Ms Raine was a teenager at the time of the first Non-Mariners Race held nearly six decades ago. The event was the brainchild of her older brothers Eric and Anthony Amos and a group of their friends. Ms Raine said: “They were full of crazy ideas at the time.” She said the idea behind the event was to poke fun at the disciplined world of yachting. Ms Raine added: “They just wanted to do a spoof on it and that was to show a non-mariners race where everything was wrong. It was silly fun. There was no start and there was no finish.” Non-vessels in the early days of the event included an antique bed, a refrigerator and a cello case. A chamber pot was presented as a race prize. Ms Raine added: “It was taken away immediately because it was a non-prize.” Non-Mariners was first held in Hamilton Harbour. It later moved to St George’s and Ferry Reach before it settled on Mangrove Bay in 1972. Sandys Boat Club confirmed the cancellation of the event in a statement this week. A spokesman for the club said fewer entries, a change in the economics of the event, and a shortage of volunteers were behind the decision. The raft-up parties in Mangrove Bay will go ahead. Ms Raine said she did not think the event would be refloated. She added: “I think it’s a finished idea, but 60 years is pretty good.” Ms Raine said the world had changed since the event was first held. She added: “In those days we entertained ourselves. Today we let the internet entertain us. In those days I think we were more creative in doing and using things.”

spacerA man filmed in a poolside argument with tourists at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club has mounted a social media defence in an attempt to clear his name. Kenry Thorpe said he suffered racist abuse before he lost his temper after a row broke out at the hotel’s poolside. He was speaking after police said on Tuesday that a man — later identified as Mr Thorpe — had entered the hotel last Saturday and “behaved in a threatening manner towards guests”. But Mr Thorpe later wrote a statement posted on WhatsApp and Facebook that said he had visited the hotel to see a friend. He claimed he was having a conversation with another man before they were “rudely interrupted” by a woman. Mr Thorpe said the woman asked the man: “Why are you talking to this n*****?” Mr Thorpe said: “I lost my temper, I will admit.” Members of the public filmed the confrontation, including one man who said the tourist should have hit the “moolie” — an Italian-American racial slur. Mr Thorpe said in his post: “My name is Kenry Thorpe, I’m a bartender. That is me in the video that’s gone viral. I think it’s time people hear the truth about that video. I was at HP to visit a friend. As I was leaving, a gentlemen spoke to me, so I went over to talk to him. We had a brief convo until we were rudely interrupted by a female who asked him, ‘Why are you talking to this n*****? I immediately lost my temper, I will admit. I had never felt so disrespected in my life in my own country.” He added that the man had acted in a “hostile manner”, but that people had blamed him because he was black. Mr Thorpe said he had lost his job as a bartender at the Rosewood Bermuda resort and his good reputation as a result of the incident. Rosewood Bermuda confirmed that Mr Thorpe had been dismissed and that the controversy was “one of the reasons” for his dismissal. News site TNN Bermuda interviewed Mr Thorpe yesterday. He said he had worked hard to achieve a job at Rosewood Bermuda, including attending college, and had completed training for intervention procedures for bartenders. He told TNN he was “dumbfounded, shocked and upset” by the woman’s comments but added that if he could go back he would have “handled it better” and reported the incident to the hotel. American tourist George Power, who was featured in the video, said he went over to the group to try to calm the situation but Mr Thorpe became aggressive. Mr Power added: “It seemed a fight was a few seconds from breaking out. I yelled from my seat with an unbiased approach, ‘Why are you guys fighting? Is everything OK? At this point the young man from Bermuda started yelling at me and my fiancée asked me to stay in my seat. After some more time passed with them arguing, I saw the cameras being taken out and filming the situation. I thought as I walked over there, I was going to have to break up a fight, as you see me cracking my neck, getting ready to possibly pull people apart. I never said anything to the young Bermudian citizen but when he looked at me he started to verbally attack me.” He said the couple involved in the argument left him to deal with it. A Hamilton Princess spokeswoman said: “We are currently conducting an internal investigation and continue to co-operate with the Bermuda Police Service. As the police has an open investigation, we are unable to comment further at this time.” Mr Thorpe did not respond to a request for comment.

spacerChildhood staple Tiny the Treefrog is back on bookshelves with a new colouring book. Tiny’s Bermuda Colouring Book, was designed to give children a new way to interact with the popular cartoon character. Elizabeth Mulderig, the author and artist, said: “I am an artist and loved colouring as a child. Still do, as a matter of fact. So a Tiny colouring book seemed much overdue, especially one that shows Bermuda off by land and by sea.” Mrs Mulderig said as well as giving children an artistic outlet, the book also included questions to add educational value. “At the bottom of each page there is a question pertaining to the illustration and a line for the child to write the answer. The questions ask about numbers, shapes and letters. This idea of having an interactive book was tested out two years ago on my book of manners, Bum Bum Bananas — Oh! Do Mind Your Manners. Because I received so much positive feedback from parents concerning this book — a school in the States ordered a few hundred of them to use for anti-bullying purposes — I have decided to make most of my work going forward include an element of teaching.” The back page of the book also includes a historical explanation of the various sights in Bermuda. She added: “Teachers in Bermuda really like this as it’s a fun way to teach children about the island.” Tiny’s Bermuda Colouring Book is available in local stores and online at tinythetreefrog.com. 

Tiny's Bermuda Colouring Book

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June 14

spacerThe Ministry of Health has warned the public about sexually transmitted infections after a “notable increase” of gonorrhea. It said gonorrhea rates had tripled compared with previous years and there have also been increases of chlamydeous, herpes and syphilis. A spokesman said: “The increase in reported gonorrhea cases began in April, with more cases being reported weekly. “As of June 9, there have been 37 cases reported. In the last five years, an average of 11 cases were reported in the same time period.” About 65 per cent of the new cases are reported in female patients, while the average age of those infected is 30. The spokesman also warned: “There is evidence that a strain of gonorrhea seen locally may be resistant to treatment by one of the most common antibiotics. If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a healthcare provider to be checked again.” The spokesman said the Communicable Disease Control Clinic put in place new guidelines last November requiring routine screening of females under 25-years-old attending the clinic using more advanced and sensitive testing requirements. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, the anus and the throat, and it can be spread by having sexual contact with someone carrying the infection. Pregnant women with gonorrhea can give the infection to their baby during childbirth, and untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems. Patients can suffer a range of symptoms, including painful urination and discharge from the genitals. However, some patients with the infection show no symptoms at all. The spokesman said: “Gonorrhoea can be cured with the right treatment. If diagnosed with an STI, you must return to your doctor for treatment and notify your sexual partners so that they can be diagnosed and treated as well. It is vitally important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. It is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhoea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhoea are increasing. If you have been diagnosed and treated for gonorrhoea, to avoid getting reinvested or spreading gonorrhoea to your partners), you and your sex partner(s) should avoid having sex until you have each completed treatment. Re-infection is possible.”  For more information, contact your doctor or the Communicable Disease Control Clinic at 67 Victoria Street, Hamilton, or visit the Ministry’s website.

spacerSenators unanimously backed Bermuda’s sugar tax yesterday as a “good first step” in promoting healthier lifestyles. However, Crystal Caesar, Junior Minister of Home Affairs and Economic Development, said the tax would not be a solution to all the island’s health problems. The Progressive Labour Party senator said: “The sugar tax will not fix obesity on its own. It will not eliminate lifestyle-induced chronic disease by itself. The sugar tax will not magically reduce healthcare costs. But it is a fundamental part of the broader government commitment to reduce these conditions, which are costing us so dearly.” Money generated by the tax has been earmarked to promote healthy lifestyles. Ms Caesar estimated that $10 million could be raised by the sugar tax in a full year at the 75 per cent duty rate. Michelle Simmons called the tax a “good first step” in discouraging consumption of excess sugar. However, the independent senator added: “We have many more to make.” She said that Bermuda should not be apologetic about the tax. Ms Simmons explained: “I know that it is something that will negatively impact on people who cannot afford to pay the increased tax — but isn’t that what we want? We want people to stop purchasing food and drinks that have extremely high sugar content.” One Bermuda Alliance senator Nandi Outerbridge was worried about the “unintended consequences” of the tax that would “hurt businesses”. Ms Outerbridge said: “Small businesses, black businesses, Portuguese businesses, small bakeries — what are we going to do to ensure that those businesses are not hurt by this Bill?” She was also concerned about a promised drop in the duty on water. Ms Outerbridge asked: “My question is why not? And when will the duty on water be decreased?” She said that she did not believe that the sugar tax would “make the difference that we want to see”. Ms Outerbridge added: “Maybe initially — but not long term.” PLP senator Anthony Richardson agreed there would be unintended consequences of the tax. However, he added: “But I hope that we are able to think more along the lines of the big picture.” Mr Richardson said the Government had put in place an exemption process for manufacturers, including business owners. He described the sugar tax as “appropriate and timely” legislation that would impact everyone. Mr Richardson added: “This should represent a fundamental change in lifetime habits for all of us. What we decide today will have an impact on every household.” The 75 per cent sugar tax was originally scheduled to take effect this month. An amendment to the Bill brought to Parliament by Kim Wilson, Minister of Health, will introduce a 50 per cent duty rate on sugar on October 1. The tariff will rise to 75 per cent next April.

spacerA relaxation of advertising rules has been proposed to encourage local cable television production. Under policies in place since 2008, local cable operators can lease up to ten channels but they cannot insert or allow advertisements on the leased channels. A draft interim policy, unveiled yesterday, would allow approved content producers who lease channels to play local advertisements. The move is intended to encourage the creation of more Bermudian programmes while a wider policy is developed. A public consultation document on broadcasting reform is being prepared to hear the views of stakeholders and the public. However, the draft policy recognizes the Government’s commitment to promoting the creation, production and distribution of local Bermudian content on television and wants to discuss the issue of advertising on leased channels in advance of full broadcasting reform. It proposes a relaxation of advertising restrictions to “support the growth and development of content that is local, diverse and of high-quality”. The document added: “This relaxation would give independent producers access to a source of funds currently unavailable to them. It is intended to be an interim measure as the Government considers, and consults with the public on, the future of broadcasting in Bermuda.” Under the draft policy, content producers would have to get government approval to be designated as qualified Bermudian independent producers. The applicant would have to demonstrate the ability to produce and distribute quality local content. No more than 14 minutes per hour of advertisements would be allowed.

spacerCommissioner of Police Michael DeSilva has warned that picking a Bermudian successor for the top job was not as simple as it appeared. Mr DeSilva, who retires tomorrow, told The Royal Gazette that the notion of succession planning had been “confused” in the clamor over the new appointment. The departing commissioner also pointed out that the “particularly strong candidate”, Deputy Commissioner Paul Wright, had not gone for the job. “In the civil service, it doesn’t mean the same as it does in the private sector,” Mr DeSilva told The Royal Gazette. The commissioner was speaking after questions were raised about the appointment of Chief Superintendent Stephen Corbishley, a British officer, over local candidates for the top police job. Three Bermudian applicants failed to make the cut in the selection process. In Parliament, Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, castigated the Bermuda Police Service’s management for “failings” in developing a Bermudian successor. The commissioner, who has held the post since 2009, emphasized that it was not his intent to “go out in a blaze of glory and be seen contradicting the minister. You can’t identify specific people in advance because the principle is that everyone must have equal access to opportunity. We don’t pick people individually and put them on a fast track. We provide opportunities for all staff as part of their professional development. Ultimately we are trying to create as wide a pool as possible for succession. We always want to move people up the ladder. We can’t pick a group or person over another. That does not apply in the civil service.” Mr Corbishley’s appointment was announced on May 30 by John Rankin, the Governor. The next commissioner is not yet on the island, and Mr DeSilva said he was “still waiting to hear” when Mr Corbishley would take the helm. Mr DeSilva added: “The next in rank to me is the Deputy Commissioner, but he chose not to apply. That left the two assistant commissioners and one superintendent. There is context here that’s important and that has been lost.” Assistant commissioners fall two ranks below the top post, while the superintendent is three steps down. The commissioner said: “While it’s not unheard of to jump ranks, it is not the norm. The context, while disappointing, is that we didn’t have anyone in rank to take the job, and we should not be shocked if we don’t have people ready two or three ranks below the commissioner’s rank.” Mr DeSilva outlined wide-ranging professional and career development available to all officers. He added: “The reason we do it that way is because, when it comes time to have the selection process, we have to be fair, and to be seen to be fair, and to give all candidates equal access to promotion. That’s an issue of good governance.” After 8½ years in the hot seat, in which the force contended with a surge in gang-related violence shortly after Mr DeSilva took the job, the commissioner said he had been “asked repeatedly why I’m leaving. It’s as if there’s a single answer. There isn’t. The reality is that once I reached eight years, I knew I had to think about retirement. It would be highly unusual to go more than ten years. I made my decision a year ago last May. I slowly started to feed that out, and I told the Governor at Christmas.” Mr DeSilva added: “I feel I’ve done my part and made a meaningful contribution. It was not without its bumps, but I would like to think I’ve made a difference to the organisation through my leadership, and a difference to policing in Bermuda. A couple of scorecard numbers have been very positive, particularly public perception and our results with serious crime. We have learnt a lot as an organisation and I leave behind an incredibly solid team of very experienced people who will continue at the same level of work without me.”

spacerA leading Bermudian insurance executive yesterday called for the private sector to make bolder efforts to address the lack of diversity in workforces, management and boardrooms. In a powerful speech at the Bermuda Captive Conference, Jonathan Reiss said he believed his skin colour and family connections had helped him progress in his career. He said white-male dominance continued to prevail in the executive teams of companies whose workforces failed to mirror the diversity within their communities and “we all need to do much more. We in the private sector need to lead,” Mr Reiss, the chief financial officer of Hamilton Insurance Group, said. “We control vast swathes of wealth creation, and, more crucially, we control who gets the best opportunities.” He added: “If we don’t vastly improve and get it right, then governments here and in other countries will ultimately have to step in and do it for us. If that happens, I can assure you, we will deeply regret our failings.” On the lack of racial diversity in Bermuda’s insurance industry, he argued that the reasons were complex, ranging from education to recruitment methods and deep-rooted, unconscious bias. He added: “The point I’m making is that the reason there aren’t more black Bermudians in our industry, particularly at senior levels, is much more complicated than outright discrimination. 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.” He added: “I believe we’re at an inflection point. Attitudes have changed for the better, but, as I’ve explained, the current rate of progress is not good enough. More and more organisations are realizing that they must work harder at diversity and inclusion and, frankly, be much more fearless in changing the status quo.” Delegates in the Amphitheatre at the Fairmont Southampton resort gave him a loud ovation, after which Malcolm Butterfield, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Insurance Institute, took the microphone and said: “I’ve lived in Bermuda all my life and listened to many speeches. From my perspective, you have delivered one of the most courageous speeches on diversity and inclusion that I have ever heard. You deserve a standing ovation for what you have said today.” Mr Butterfield expressed the hope that others across the industry would follow Mr Reiss’s lead. Mr Reiss drew from his own experience of living and working on the island to make his points on diversity. He moved to the island from the US in the 1970s as a toddler. His mother was a flight attendant and his father Fred Reiss, who had set up the first captive insurance operations on the island in the 1960s, was from a working-class background in Cleveland, Ohio. “My father was, to a large extent, not welcomed by the business community here,” he said. “The economy in Bermuda was dominated by the white minority, racism and segregation were prevalent — the environment was anything but inclusive.” While there were some forward-thinking individuals, the business community was collectively an “inward and protectionist boys’ club”, Mr Reiss said. “Bear in mind that my father was a white male whose ideas brought prosperity to the island. If he was shunned, can you imagine what it was like to be a woman or a person of colour in that environment?” Mr Reiss said the expansion of the insurance industry and the arrival of world-class leaders like Brian Duperreault, Audette Exel and Don Kramer, began to change Bermuda much for the better. However he added: “Unfortunately, the shameful legacy of the past, its patriarchy and the economic disparity it fostered remain unresolved today. There’s work to be done.” As a child, Mr Reiss said he had been blissfully unaware of what his father had had to overcome, and his father’s business success meant he had grown up “in privilege and comfort”. In 1993, he entered the workforce. “Doors were opened to me, just because of who my dad was and incredibly, just seven years after graduating from college, I was made a partner at a Big Four accounting firm. That was incredibly fast. I like to think that eventually I earned the right to that partnership. But I know that only a white male with inherited connections could have been recognized so quickly.” In 2012, a Forbes columnist described the C-suites and boardroom of typical corporations as male, pale and stale — still largely an accurate description today, he said. “A quick check of the boards of directors of major insurance and reinsurance companies in Bermuda show that women are still a distinct minority. Persons of colour are virtually non-existent.” Lack of diversity was not just a Bermuda issue, however. In the US and in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, the story was much the same, he said. “If establishing diverse, inclusive companies is the right thing to do, and it makes business sense, why haven’t we done a better job of mirroring the diversity of our communities in our workforce?” There were financial reasons to get it done, he added, referring to a McKinsey report or more than 1,000 companies. Companies with more diverse decision-makers, in terms of gender, ethnicity and culture, were strongly more likely to outperform on profitability and value creation, the report found. He conceded that solving the problem was “devilishly complex” and used the example of race in Bermuda. “Bermuda has struggled with race relations for decades,” Mr Reiss said. “Attitudes have changed for the better, but the economic disparity and the unfairness of how that disparity arose remains largely unresolved.” He recalled how, as a teenager, he and his friends befriended a black commercial fisherman named Wyman. “Wyman would listen to our banter about our lives and aspirations and he would say, ‘You white hopes have all the hope — black hope has no hope’. We knew what he was saying, but as a white teenager in the 1980s, in truth, I didn’t properly understand it. I understand it now. Since that era, I believe we’ve made tremendous progress in eliminating outright discrimination, but that’s not enough. Every Bermudian, regardless of colour, should have an equal chance at a good job with good pay, as well as an equal chance at promotion to the C-suite. Everyone should have the same hope. But the number of persons of colour in our C-suites is minuscule, compared to the demographics of our local population. And, as with the broader issue of D&I [diversity and inclusion], the reasons are complex.” Education was a key factor, he said. “More white Bermudians attend private schools than black. This experience opens doors to colleges and universities in a way that isn’t offered to students in public schools. It’s that ‘old boys’ network’ at work. We need to figure out how to provide better visibility and access to those who have not been born into privilege. Please understand I’m not advocating for a private school education; I’m just explaining one of the traditional factors that has fed into a process that can’t be described as inclusive. Another reason for the lack of representation of black Bermudians in our industry is its relatively insular nature. How you hear about a job too often depends on who you know. Our recruiting policies have often been driven by using a word-of-mouth process rather than one that would invite a broader range of applicants. And the Bermuda industry, and the captive industry generally, has relatively few entry-level positions. We aren’t a labour-intensive market. Many of the positions we hire for are mid to senior-level management.” Many companies and industry organisations were working hard to make the industry more welcoming and accessible for minority groups who wanted to pursue a career in insurance, he added. Mr Reiss said Hamilton Group had set up its own D&I Forum, made up of a cross-section of employees. One of the forum’s first recommendations was to expand data sets beyond age, gender and position. Hamilton intends to conduct company wide training led by Christie Hunter Arscott, a Bermudian who has set up her own global practice as a gender and generations strategist. Mr Reiss said steps companies could take included setting D&I goals, ensuring it targeted diverse candidate pools, checking recruitment policies and practices and train the managers interviewing candidates to try to tackle unconscious bias.

spacerPlans to install new generators at Belco have been given the go ahead. The application proposed four new 14 megawatt dual-fuel diesel engines, to be installed in a new powerhouse with a 65-metre chimney on the Belco site between Cemetery Road and St John’s Road in Pembroke. A report to the Department of Planning said: “Given the compliance with current planning policies and an addendum to the original environmental impact study that adequately demonstrated the revised scheme results in lower level impacts than the previous approval, the application is supportable.” The installation of the new generators would allow Belco to decommission three engines that are beyond their service life. The report said: “The size and scale of the project, particularly the exhaust stack and power plant structure, have long-term and potentially significant visual impact implications for the broader surrounding area. It must be acknowledged, however, that this is an industrial site already containing a nationally critical industrial use. Any expansion for diesel engine facilities will require the scale and scope of the type of facilities proposed to the North Power Station, and the associated emissions stacks are large and inevitably unattractive structures.” In a meeting of the Development Applications Board on May 30, the technical officer recommended the application for approval. He told the board the new engines would have an operational life of 30 years. Belco gained permission in 2011 to build the North Power Station. At the time, the company sought to install four 18 megawatt engines. The application was revised the following year to propose five 14.3 megawatt engines. The revised application, submitted in March, would include a smaller powerhouse and an updated design. Construction on the project is expected to take 18 months and involve about 100 workers.

spacerA two-day international medical summit featuring world-class specialists started at the Fairmont Southampton today. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, met with some of the leading cancer doctors participating in the Pink and Teal Conference on Breast and Ovarian Cancer yesterday. William Keegan, president of Innovative Medical Conferences and the event organizer, said last month that the conference would be more than triple the size of the first “pink conference” on breast cancer held on the island in 2013. The 2013 meeting attracted about 200 medical experts and physicians. The conference will wrap up tomorrow.

spacerDrinks giant Bacardi has won Bermuda’s corporate blood drive campaign for a second year in a row. Eighteen companies took part in the sixth annual drive, which saw the highest number of donations since the competition began. Lisa Frias, Bacardi’s manager of global finance, said: “We are excited to have won for a second consecutive year, our second year of participating in the corporate blood drive. “Our staff, their families and friends, and even a few of our consultants, responded well, showing the caring that our company is known for. While we’re happy to have won the trophy, we realize it is a competition in which no one loses. We’re proud to have contributed along with all the other Corporate Blood Drive participants to providing for a record number of donations in the competition.” Bermuda Hospitals Board said there were a total of 484 donations in this year’s drive. A spokeswoman said this was 14 per cent more than last year and represented about a quarter of all donations over the year. Dr Eyitayo Fakunle, BHB’s consultant hematologist, said: “While someone has to win, every donation counts and all our competing companies have saved lives. Every person who donates is there in someone else’s hour of need — they are unsung and anonymous heroes for countless people in Bermuda. It is with gratitude as well as congratulations that we thank the competitors.” Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Ministry of Health announced the winner as the island marked World Blood Donor Day. Kim Wilson, the health minister, said: “Congratulations to Bacardi and thank you to all the competing companies! The Ministry is proud to partner with the Bermuda Blood Donor Centre and BHB for this competition. It’s a great way to encourage blood donations and there is no better return on investment for a company’s community giving than saving lives. Thank you to all the support from our local companies to encourage and support those donating.” Wholesaler Butterfield & Vallis came second and insurance firm Hamilton Re Group took third place. The other companies that took part were Argo, Argus, Bank of Butterfield, Bermuda Police Service, BF&M, Bermuda Monetary Authority, Department of Corrections, Department of Customs, Department of Health, Fidelity, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Kitson Group of Companies, Lancashire Insurance Company Ltd, SunLife Financial International and Zurich Bermuda.

spacerA new duty-free shop launched yesterday at the LF Wade International Airport. Bermuda Duty Free, run by beverage producer Gosling’s, has been open since April but held its official launch yesterday. The shop’s previous concession holder left after its lease came to an end, said Charles Gosling, managing director of Gosling Brothers Ltd. Mr Gosling said: “When the previous owners’ lease came to an end they decided rather than renew it, they would offer us the opportunity to expand. Rather than selling just what are our core items right now, such as alcohol and tobacco, we will also be selling fragrances and some clothing. We have been working with AS Cooper. We have a lot of local products here and we are looking to expand upon that.” Mr Gosling said the firm was looking to meet with individuals and vendors offering authentic Bermudian products to potentially sell within the store. With the new airport terminal scheduled to open in 2020, Mr Gosling said that he estimated having the shop for the two years before that happens. “I’m sure there will be other businesses who will apply, because of what we have done, once the new airport is open in 2020,” he said. The store, in the departures area, has an array of items, and is looking to increase its selection of cigars and large displays. Mr Gosling believes that the turnaround in tourism is continuing. “After the America’s Cup last year, I thought this would be a fairly glum year but it has just been really good and rising,” he said. Mr Gosling has mentioned that the process has been fairly smooth. “I have a pretty good working relationship with Skyport and customs have been very supportive — our staff has been magnificent.”

spacerPress Release by Supporting Fair Immigration Group. "The individuals behind the “Supporting Fair Immigration Reform” Facebook group and our members applaud Premier David Burt for honoring and recognizing the Portuguese community by announcing November 4, 2019 as a public holiday in Bermuda to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda. The Portuguese community has made a large contribution to Bermuda. However we remain concerned about the current dilemma of immigration reform that many Portuguese families face and that this holiday is being used to distract from the need for substantive reform. Some Portuguese nationals were born in Bermuda and have lived here their entire lives. Some Portuguese families are divided between status holders, permanent residents, belongers and work permit holders. These situations remain fundamentally unfair. When looking back at what has been done in the terms of immigration reform since the Consultative Immigration Reform Working Group submitted their report on October 31, 2017 to the current minister and previous member of the team, Walton Brown, nothing further has been released to the public. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs had advised that interim reports would be released but a time frame was not specified. In addition to these reports, the group would be holding public meetings when they reached certain milestones. As of today, no meetings or reports have been release and this leaves us to assume that no milestones have been reached and no interim reports have been written. This process seems to not be progressing as it should be. Immigration reform cannot continue to be stalled as it is just getting more and more complex and unfair as time goes by. In a speech made in the House of Assembly on June 1, 2018, Premier David Burt stated: “We are unique in the world as we have no true native people. We all came from somewhere else and have individually and collectively committed to this series of islands called Bermuda.” We once again implore and urge the Government to continue to work on completing comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform to correct the injustices and divisions that it has created within families.

spacerOpinion, by Michael Dunkley, Shadow Minister of National Security, MP for Smith’s North (Constituency 10) and former Premier.  "A succession of memorandums of understanding with cryptocurrency firms is starting to sound like the promises made by the Progressive Labour Party during the failed “platinum period” when plans for new hotels failed to materialize. The Government has signed a raft of MOUs, which are non-binding, with companies amid promises of investment in jobs and training. The terms of each MOU were non-specific and never stated what a minimum requirement was. There also appears to be discrepancies between public announcements and the terms of some of the MOUs. In addition, one MOU almost mirrors an MOU recently announced in another jurisdiction. The One Bermuda Alliance is a party of empowerment and diversity, so we would naturally welcome any initiative that creates new opportunities for our fellow Bermudians. However, more detail on these MOUs needs to be provided and more assurances given that this industry is here to stay before we can give it our full backing. At the moment, it resembles the previous platinum period when the PLP government granted special development orders left, right and centre, and promised new hotels only for nothing to materialize. Cryptocurrency has created a buzz in some areas, but we should not forget that more than 80 per cent of initial coin offerings are scams and that 92 per cent fail to reach the trading stage. This does not say that there isn’t potential business for Bermuda, but the hype has outpaced substantive sober discussion. The Premier tweeted about Arbitrade after a presentation last month: “The team demonstrated their cryptocurrency platform and explained plans to create more job opportunities in Bermuda for Bermudians”. But in a lengthy statement, Arbitrade, when it announced it would domicile in Bermuda, made no mention of any jobs being created. We hope that was an oversight — it would be helpful if that can be clarified. Likewise, the details of an MOU with Binance, which states that it will “create at least 40 jobs in Bermuda”. When this was originally announced by the Premier, he said in a statement that Binance would “develop its global compliance base in Bermuda, creating at least 40 jobs in Bermuda, with at least 30 jobs for Bermudians”. We hope that the omission in the MOU about the jobs for Bermudians is another oversight and can also be clarified. If there are no jobs for Bermudians, we would have to question the PLP’s stated position of putting Bermudians first. The MOU with Medici Ventures promised the creation of 30 jobs over three years, but failed to say who these jobs were for, or at what level. The announcement of an MOU involving B-Seed Partners, FinHigh Capital and BFS Holdings as partners in a new Bermuda venture, Bermuda FinTech Accelerator spoke only vaguely about the creation of jobs. Shortly after announcing the MOU with Medici, the Premier also announced an agreement with Bitt.com and Gabriel Abed for free consultancy, but never mentioned that Medici has invested $7 million in Bitt. No agreement has been tabled with Bitt.com. In life, nothing is free and one must ponder if the relationship between Medici and Bitt.com allows them to agree to a “no cost” consultancy or is Bermuda really “another world”. The MOU with Omega One states that the firm will “provide favourable consideration of Bermuda residents and Bermuda-based businesses as part of internal employment and onboarding policies and procedures, with the expectation of adding 20 local jobs in Bermuda over three years”. That is hardly a resounding commitment to employing Bermudians. What all the MOUs have in common are vague references to something — up to $10 million in training, or a “potential investment” of up to $10 million. What they also have in common is no apparent minimum requirement, whether in terms of investment or jobs. There are many questions that need to be answered:

Many will remember the dot-com crash when so many companies went bust. Can we be sure that this is not going to happen in the field of cryptocurrency? As I stated, the OBA is a party of hope and opportunity, and we will support initiatives that are designed to do that, but we need more details other than the vague promises made in a series of MOUs."

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June 13

spacerThe Premier said last night that an announcement by cryptocurrency exchange company Binance that it had struck a deal with Jersey was consistent with the firm’s global strategy. The move came after Bermuda signed a memorandum of understanding with Binance in April with a view to creating a cryptocurrency industry on the island. David Burt said: “The execution of a memorandum of understanding between Binance and Jersey is consistent with Binance’s stated goals of positioning the company on the global stage. The Jersey Evening Post reported that the deal could pump millions into the largest of the Channel Islands — the same claim made about Bermuda’s own deal. Mr Burt said: “As Binance said, ‘We have chosen Jersey to be the next big step in our global expansion strategy. The important thing for Bermuda is that we were the first — others are following our lead. The Government of Bermuda continues to work with them to ensure that the undertakings set out in the MOU signed with the Government of Bermuda are fulfilled. Bermuda’s lead may well be followed by other jurisdictions and this makes it all the more important for us to continue to provide the sound regulatory and compliance framework in place to stay at the head of these global developments.”

spacerThe Deputy Premier is in London to represent Bermuda in meetings with Britain and the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council. Walter Roban and Kimberley Durrant, Bermuda’s London Office director and representative in the UK, are attending the meetings focused on European negotiations. A government spokesman said discussions were expected to include an update on Britain’s constitutional relationship with the Overseas Territories. He added: “The JMC is focusing on issues relating to the Overseas Territories and Britain’s impending exit from the European Union. Formal discussions are expected to include an update on the Brexit talks and Britain’s constitutional relationships with the Overseas Territories. There are a number of other matters up for discussion including disaster management.” Mr Roban, who is also the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, attended a pre-JMC meeting, chaired by the Falkland Islands and hosted by the UK Overseas Territories Association, this morning. The spokesman added: “He and Ms Durrant were then scheduled to meet in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK’s Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations. Lord Ahmad also hosts a reception for the visitors in the Map Room of the FCO tonight, in advance of tomorrow’s JMC.” The Guardian reported this morning that representatives from the British Virgin Islands were headed to London for talks about the British Government’s decision to compel OTs to make their company ownership registries public. According to the newspaper, the BVI group is led by its deputy premier, Kedrick Pickering, and has instructed legal counsel to prepare a challenge on the basis that the British Parliament has overreached itself. The move came after the British Government accepted an amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill last month. The key new clause in the Bill states that: “For the purposes of the detection, investigation or prevention of money laundering, the Secretary of State must provide all reasonable assistance to the governments of the British Overseas Territories to enable each of those governments to establish a publicly accessible register of the beneficial ownership of companies registered in each government’s jurisdiction. The Secretary of State must, no later than 31 December 2020, prepare a draft Order in Council requiring the government of any British Overseas Territory that has not introduced a publicly accessible register of the beneficial ownership of companies within its jurisdiction to do so.” David Burt said last month that the move marked a “significant backwards step” in relations between Britain and its Overseas Territories. The Premier added: “The Government of Bermuda has a strong constitutional position and the people of Bermuda can rest assured that we will take the necessary steps to ensure our constitution is respected.” But The Guardian reported that Andrew Mitchell, the former Conservative international development secretary and a leading MP behind the rebellion, said on Tuesday: “The Overseas Territories share our Queen, they travel under our flag and they must also share our values.” The newspaper added that he intends, with the former chairwoman of the public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge, to press Crown dependencies to accept the same regime.

spacerCaptive insurance organisations are under pressure to keep up with evolving risks, amid mounting regulation, and are experiencing difficulty finding professionals with the right skills. Those were some of the challenges expressed to AM Best TV in a string of interviews at the Bermuda Captive Conference, taking place at the Fairmont Southampton this week. Paul Owens, chief executive officer of Willis Towers Watson’s global captive practice, stressed two challenges, acquiring talent and regulation. “It is increasingly difficult to get the right staff in the locations you need them,” Mr Owens said. “The locations are becoming very expensive. The other challenge is regulation. In Bermuda, we’ve seen increasing regulation, with the code of conduct — all the right things to do. Also there is BEPS — base erosion and profit shifting — the OECD is very serious about that. And for domiciles, it shouldn’t be seen as an inhibitor, it should be seen as a good thing where everyone can be on the same level playing ground.” Brad Meindersma, vice-president at JLT Insurance Managers (Bermuda), said: “I think there are a number of factors that combine to make it a larger challenge in the ever-evolving tax and regulatory regimes. The global look at offshore and onshore domiciles and their benefits, as well as staying on top of the changing nature and environment of the regulatory and tax worlds is quite challenging.” Mike Parrish, head of business development, Marsh Management Services, Bermuda, said, captives need to focus on remaining relevant to the corporation. “Many captives have been in operation for a number of years, and the risk and insurance environments have changed,” Mr Parrish said. “Captive managers and captives generally must ensure to stay abreast of developments, which are relevant to the parent.”

spacerGerman insurance giant Allianz has been eyeing two Bermuda insurers as potential takeover targets after it lost out on a deal to acquire XL Group Ltd, according to an international business news service. Bloomberg News reported that Argo Group International Holdings and Aspen Insurance Holdings have both been looked at by Allianz. A spokesperson for Argo Group declined to comment yesterday. A spokesperson for Aspen on Monday said the company does not comment on rumor and speculation. Allianz, which is Europe’s largest insurer and valued at about $94 billion, is in the early stages of evaluating a variety of acquisition targets, sources told Bloomberg. French rival Axa beat Allianz to buying another Bermudian company, XL Group, in a $15.2 billion deal. A series of deals have transformed the Bermuda insurance market over recent years, as insurers seek growth through acquisitions at a time when capital is abundant in the industry and market conditions are very competitive. After AIG secured a $5.4 billion deal to buy Validus and Axa snapped up XL, only a small number of stand-alone Bermudian insurers remain. Aspen is rumored to be up for sale and The Insurance Insider has reported that the deadline for the final round of bids is June 29, with buyout firms Blackstone and Apollo, as well as Argo Group, among parties to have expressed interest, the trade publication added. Allianz is also being linked with much larger targets, including Zurich Insurance, worth about $46 billion, to bolster earnings, reap cost savings and be more competitive in key markets, Bloomberg reported. Others on Allianz’s reported target list include RSA, Hartford, Aviva, Nordea Bank and QBE.

spacerThe City of Hamilton has advised the motoring public that there will be car park and numerous road closures in the lead-up and throughout the duration and break-down of Friday night’s Five Star Friday event in City Hall Car Park. The car park will be closed from 6:00pm on Thursday, June 14th and will not reopen until 6:00am on Sunday, June 17th. Dismont Drive will be closed from 6:00am on Friday, June 15th and will reopen at 6:00am on Sunday. Wesley Street will close from 12:00pm on Friday, until 6:00am on Saturday. Church Street will be closed between Par-la-Ville Road and the Bus Terminal starting at 5:30pm on Friday and will reopen at 4:00am on Saturday morning. Commuters that are parked in PLV Car Park will be able to exit that car park and head westbound on Church Street after 5:30pm. Victoria Street will be closed between Washington Street and Wesley Street starting at 12:00pm and will reopen at 4:00am on Saturday morning. Reid Street will be closed between Burnaby Street and Queen Street from 5:30pm on Friday until 4:00am on Saturday and Queen Street will be closed from 5:30pm on Friday until 4:00am on Saturday. As a result of the road closures there will be no parking on the affected streets during the times noted. Parking restrictions on lower Reid Street will be in place starting at 4:00pm on Friday. Motorists exiting from the Washington Mall parking lot will have access to Church Street. Security personnel, diversion notices, signage and barricades will all be in place. The City apologizes for any inconvenience caused during these closures and restrictions and kindly askes the motoring public to exercise patience and understanding as the Bermuda Heroes Weekend celebrations get underway.

spacerClarien Bank said today it would raise its Bermuda dollar mortgage rates by quarter of a percentage point, while Butterfield will increase Bermuda dollar corporate loans and US dollar loans by the same amount. The announcements came after the US Federal Reserve said it would raise its influential fed funds rate by quarter of a point. Clarien said the Bermuda dollar base rate for personal mortgages would increase from 4.25 per cent to 4.5 per cent and from 4.5 per cent to 4.75 per cent for commercial mortgages, effective tomorrow. Butterfield said its base rate for Bermuda dollar corporate loans and US dollar loans will increase from 5.25 per cent to 5.5 per cent, effective Friday. However Butterfield said it would not increase Bermuda dollar residential mortgages or consumer loans. Clarien added: “The bank is issuing notices to all lending clients regarding their repayment details. “We continue to work with all of our clients on a regular basis to understand their current financial position, and encourage clients to contact their lending officer to discuss the changes to their repayment terms.” Butterfield urged customers seeking more information to contact the bank’s Consumer Credit department on 298-4799 or their relationship managers. Both Clarien and Butterfield will also make some rate increases to deposit products.

spacerDozens of companies across Bermuda, both local and international (incorporated in Bermuda), have lined up in support of same-sex marriage and joined a list of “diversity friendly” businesses. A total of 58 businesses — from bars and luxury hotels to law firms, global banks and brokerages — have signed up, with several new additions since last week’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of gay marriage. Same-sex marriage activist Tony Brannon said: “People are asking to join the list. Right now, it seems to be catching on. We seem to be adding to the list every day.” Jay Correia, from the Swizzle Inn, which signed up on Monday, added: “We are proud to be on the right side of history.” Campaigners set up the list to underline how many island firms are in favour of marriage equality. The Reefs hotel joined the list yesterday, along with the Phoenix Stores group and department store Brown & Co. Real estate firm Kitson & Company, the Rosedon Hotel and its Huckleberry Restaurant joined the list on Monday. Mr Brannon explained some business owners had told him they supported the campaign for marriage equality but wanted to do so “quietly”. But he challenged them to stand up for what they believe in and add their names to the list. Mr Brannon highlighted cruise giants Carnival, which registers some of its fleet in Bermuda, as an example of a company doing the right thing. The shipping firm gave financial and public relations support to the plaintiffs involved in the court battle for same-sex marriage. Many international firms with a presence on the island, such as insurance company AIG, have supported LGBT rights elsewhere, but stayed silent on them in Bermuda. But Mr Brannon hoped they would have the courage to join the list in the wake of Chief Justice Ian Kawaley’s ruling last week and a Supreme Court judgment last May, which first paved the way for gay couples to marry on the island and on Bermuda-registered cruise ships around the world. Mr Brannon said: “I’m not going to stop until Premier David Burt knows many companies have joined the list.” Mr Justice Kawaley’s ruled that the new Domestic Partnership Act — which outlawed gay marriage and came into force on June 1 — was inconsistent with constitutional protections giving the right to freedom of conscience and outlawing discrimination on the basis of creed. Walton Brown, the home affairs minister, said the Government would appeal “subject to any legal advice we receive”. The Government has six weeks to decide whether to appeal before the Mr Justice Kawaley’s judgment takes effect. Mr Brannon said: “They are mad not to just accept this. They have lost two Supreme Court cases. There is the politics of it all but I hope at the end of the day what the Premier does is accept the legal advice.” Mr Brannon predicted some international companies might vote with their feet if the Government continued to try to reverse marriage equality in the face of a barrage of criticism in Bermuda and overseas.

spacerA water safety organisation board has not met for almost a year, an insider said yesterday. A source said the Bermuda Water Safety Council was in limbo as a result. The source, who asked not to be named, added: “The fact is that there is no presence at the moment. “The summer has already started. We don’t have any radio or television ads, we’ve got a dormant Facebook page cum website. All of those things are not good. They need to start happening — and they should have started happening in February.” The source was speaking as the island prepared for the National Heroes Day long weekend — a busy few days on the water. Two tourists have died in water-related incidents this month. The source said the last meeting of the BWSC board took place last summer and that, before the change in government last July, meetings were held every month. The insider added: “In between, the projects were set. We did things like host a water safety day at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.” The source emphasized the importance of the board’s work. The insider said: “Most Bermudians don’t even think about taking a power boating course. They just get in the boat, turn the key and go. And I see terrible, bad habits on the water.” The BWSC’s website said the organization's mandate was to “identify issues in respect to water safety and to develop local strategies to prevent accidents and injuries on the water by means of relevant marine safety regulations, public education and the promotion of good water safety practices and initiatives throughout the community.” Michael Weeks, Minister of Social Development and Sport, is listed as the chairman of the board in government publications. But Mr Weeks said yesterday: “I never was able to take it up because I became a minister.” He was appointed to Cabinet in February after the resignation of Zane DeSilva. Mr Weeks said: “I was not even able to attend any meetings because I was transitioned to a minister so quickly.” An employee at Marine and Ports identified Scott Simmons, the Progressive Labour Party MP for Southampton West, as the new chairman of the BWSC. An official announcement in May said Mr Simmons took over about the middle of that month. Mr Simmons said his first meeting with the board would be held in two weeks’ time. But he added he was not sure if other board members had been told of the meeting. Mr Simmons said: “That is something you would have to get from the ministry.” He added: “It is my intention to meet as regularly as possible so that we can meet the mandate of the council.” The insider said: “I think they plain forgot about it. I really do. Guys — you’re not awake here. You’re asleep at the helm.”

spacerDesigner Rene Hill became an international style guru after basketball superstar LeBron James wore a suit with shorts. Ms Hill was asked for her views after James and fellow player Draymond Green turned up at the NBA finals sporting matching shorts and jackets. News agency Canadian Press contacted Ms Hill after the two caused a sensation — and she gave the basketball stars her seal of approval. She told the agency: “I love the look, as it’s a great run on the Bermuda short. The look has taken a tried and true Bermudian tradition — spring, summer and fall staple — to a trendy and excitable new level. Loads of fun.” James, a star for the Cleveland Cavaliers, repeated the look for Game 2 of the finals. Ms Hill was delighted to be asked to offer her professional opinion. She said: “The reporter researched Bermudian designers, rang me and asked if I had seen the coverage. Truth is, I am the least sporty person ever, so I hadn’t seen anything. He sent me several links and questions and I responded. I used to refer to it as a drive-by.” Ms Hill said since the story ran in Canadian newspaper the National Post and several American newspapers, her website has logged a boost in visitors — although she does not sell Bermuda shorts. She said: “It is pretty cool to be back in the international media. After we did a show in New York, we received a few mentions, which was great. Every bit of publicity is good in that it helps to get your name out there.” The National Post story also featured a potted history of the island fashion staple, including the shorts as an adaptation of British military tropical uniforms. Ms Hill told Canadian Press that island shorts were tapered with couture hems and the ideal look is two inches above the knee. Ms Hill added: “Bermudian men wear mainly pastel-colored and darker-hued shorts paired with a navy blazer, a long-sleeved shirt, sometimes a tie and knee length socks.

spacerThe family of a young woman who took her own life are to take part in a charity walk in America at the weekend to raise funds for suicide prevention. Susan Wakefield and Chris Gibbons, parents of Jessica Gibbons, who was 25 when she died, will co-captain the Walking with Jessica team for the Out of Darkness Overnight Walk organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They said: “Jessica’s suicide has left us devastated and changed the lives of our families for ever. Although our hearts are broken, we are committed to doing everything we can to support organisations like the AFSP and the valuable work they do to prevent suicide. We know that the spirit of our beloved Jessica will be with us every step of the way … and is no doubt amused that her mum and dad — long divorced — are coming together in the fight against suicide.” They will be joined by Jessica’s aunt, Meredith Wakefield, in Philadelphia for the event, which will see thousands of people come together to walk 16 to 18 miles in one night. Jessica took her own life in 2016 and Mr Gibbons later helped found the support group Loss — Losing Someone by Suicide — to assist other people bereaved by suicide. The Walking with Jessica team have raised more than $19,000 so far and Mr Gibbons explained that the funds would benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Mr Gibbons said: “Net proceeds will help those affected by suicide and mental health conditions by supporting research, advocacy, survivor resources, education, and awareness programmes. Here in Bermuda we are only just beginning the drive to improve resources, education and awareness and we rely on organisations like AFSP for ideas, guidance and inspiration. AFSP has set a bold goal to reduce the suicide rate 20 per cent by the year 2025, and I’m proud to be part of that mission.” Ms Wakefield raised more than $10,000 by taking part in the walk last year and she outlined her reasons for joining the event again on the charity’s fundraising page. She wrote: “I just wish I could talk to her one more time and let her know that I loved her no matter what she was struggling with and that we would get through this together. Through your pledges and my walking, we can make that happens for other families whose kids are thinking of ending their lives in a state of despair. Suicide is complicated; it is insidious; and no family is protected from this happening to them. It strips you to the core when you lose a loved one to suicide.” She added: No one ever expects to lose someone they love to suicide. No one ever expects to outlive their child. Always remember to be kind to those around you as you never know what emotional load they are carrying.” If you have attempted or are considering suicide, please seek professional help or call the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute’s 24-hour hotline at 236-3770. For more information about Loss, visit www.loss.bm.

spacerChateauguay, Quebec, is the last place you would expect to find a Bermudian journalist, let alone one who has blazed quite a few trails during a distinguished career in Canada. But Ernest Scott Tucker has lived in the Montreal suburb for nearly 50 years. Mr Tucker, now 87, got his start at the Bermuda Recorder, but made his name in Canada, where he interviewed celebrities as a trainee reporter, among them Broadway singer and dancer Josephine Baker and others such as actor and singer Bing Crosby during his 34 years as a broadcast journalist. Other highlights of his career included his Canadian Broadcasting Company interview with Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael in Montreal in 1968 and coverage for the same station of Bermuda’s Black Power conference in 1969. Mr Tucker said that Mr Carmichael “encouraged the oppressed to get guns”. He added his coverage was seen across Canada, as was his work on the Quebec separatist movement’s kidnapping of British diplomat James Cross in 1970. Mr Tucker said: “As the CBC reporter for Montreal, I was heard on radio almost every day and occasionally on television.” Although long retired, he is currently writing a third novel, which is set in Bermuda. He was born into a family of teachers in Warwick, but followed a different career path. He became the first black graduate of The Ryerson Institute of Technology’s journalism school in Toronto, was The Royal Gazette’s first black journalist and was also the first black reporter to be hired by the CBC. He interviewed entertainers during his student days at Ryerson and covered the Beatles’ visit to Toronto in 1964. Mr Tucker said: “I got a chance to speak to Ringo before they pulled me off the tarmac.” One of seven children, he is a son of Benjamin Tucker and the former Eleanor Anderson. He was named after his grandfather Ernest Scott Tucker, a prominent teacher who served on the first executive committee of the Bermuda Union of Teachers. His aunts Elmira Tucker Hunt, wife of cricket great Alma “Champ” Hunt, and May Johnston, and cousin Esther DeShields Pitt taught him at Spring Hill School in Warwick. Because of those family connections, he eliminated teaching as a career early on. He said: “There were so many teachers in my family, I didn’t want to be a teacher. All of these people were teaching me. I hated teachers. They were always on to me because I had to know everything.” His first job was as a waiter at Belmont Manor Hotel, where his father was maître d’. But he said he had written from his days in primary school as a way of getting revenge from bullies. Mr Tucker explained: “They used to beat me up so I wrote stories about them.” He attended the Berkeley Institute, but left when he was 14 for Toronto with his older brother, George, who had won a teacher-training scholarship as his brother decided both of them could live off the scholarship money. Mr Tucker completed high school in Toronto and enrolled at Ryerson, now Ryerson University, where he graduated with a diploma in journalism in 1954. In Toronto, he roomed with Walter Brangman, the future architect and MP, and hung out with other Bermudian students, among them future Cabinet Minister Quinton Edness. He also gained first-hand experience working with newspaper reporters in his third and final year. Hanging out in clubs was his favourite beat. With his backstage pass, he got access to celebrities such as singer and pianist Nat King Cole, entertainer Vic Damone, Ms Baker and boxer Joe Louis and interviewed them for the college newspaper, the Ryersonian. Mr Tucker said it was great experience, but he struggled to get a job after his graduation. He was offered a position in Sudbury, Ontario, but when he got off the bus, he was told it was not available — his first experience of racism in Canada. He returned to Bermuda, worked for the Bermuda Recorder, and then returned to Canada to continue his studies at Montreal’s McGill University. He was keen to write for McGill’s student newspaper, but unwilling to wait until his second year to become eligible, he transferred to Sir George Williams College, now Concordia University. He was appointed news editor of Sir George’s newspaper and promoted to editor-in-chief the following year. He also worked at nights at the Montreal Gazette as a proofreader. While at Ryerson and Sir George, he found time to produce and act in school productions. He was president of the Ryerson Opera house workshop and wrote and sang calypsos for Ryerson’s annual song and dance review. In 1958, he graduated from Sir George with a bachelor of arts degree but, unable to find a job, he again returned to Bermuda. Mr Tucker worked first for the Recorder, then The Royal Gazette, where the editor gave him work on a freelance basis. He said he was paid “a penny a line for every story they used”. Mr Tucker added: “So I went out and I worked and worked and that first week they had to pay me something like 70 pounds. I covered every black funeral, every baby that was born. The editor said ‘Look, how would you like to come on staff, and work for 35 pounds a week?’ So they gave me a scooter. I was running around covering everything.” He was on the staff at the Gazette for about two years, until he got his first big career break, which be put down to luck. Mr Tucker said he was in a bar one night and met two young Australians who had made a stop in Bermuda while traveling around the world by motorcycle. The story he wrote about them for the Sunday Gazette caught the eye of the Ernest Bartlett, travel editor of the Toronto Telegram, who was in Bermuda and he tracked him down to the newspaper. Mr Tucker said: “We went out to dinner, had a few drinks and he said, ‘How would you like to work for the Toronto Telegram?’ I said, ‘great’. So he set it up.” He was flown to Toronto for an interview with the newspaper’s publisher John Bassett, who Mr Tucker said “had this great big office over Bay Street. In this office, a girl was doing his nails, the barber was trimming his hair, he was dictating a letter to his secretary and his lawyer was there saying: ‘You can’t say it like that.’” Mr Bartlett had lent Mr Tucker a tie, jacket and shirt, which were too big for him, but Mr Tucker made an impression because he was hired. Mr Tucker was a married man by then. His wife, Jeanette Jarvis Tucker, from Montreal, had moved with him to Bermuda, but returned to Canada after a year as the island’s racial climate was not conducive to interracial marriages. He worked at the Telegram for a short time, but left to join the CBC in the Toronto Radio newsroom in October 1961. He got his second big break on November 22, 1963. He was left alone in the newsroom while his three supervisors were at lunch off the premises. The bells on the Teletype machine began to ring “furiously” and the wire copy he pulled off the machine said US President John F. Kennedy had been shot. Unable to reach his supervisors, he consulted the newsroom “bible” for guidance on how the death of a head of state should be reported, but it was of no help. So he ran into the cafeteria to find an announcer, who put the story on air. When the supervisors made their way back to the newsroom, Mr Tucker was reprimanded. Among other things, he was supposed to wait for confirmation by a Canadian press agency. Mr Tucker said: “They gave me heck. I had no right to put this on the air. The next day the Toronto Star comes out — CBC news was on top of it all the way.” The result was a promotion for the new man in the newsroom and Mr Tucker became producer for an afternoon news show Across Canada, writing for new announcers Alec Trebek, now famous as the host of Jeopardy!, and Lloyd Robertson, who became a CTV news anchor. Mr Tucker also edited the West Indian Reporter, Toronto’s first black newspaper, while at CBC. He later transferred to CBC in Montreal and started work on a master of arts degree at the city’s Sir George, which he completed in 1975. Bermuda and Montreal would not escape the political turbulence of the 1960s, so Stokely Carmichael and the Bermuda Black Power conference were among his assignments. Mr Tucker began to teach broadcast journalism at John Abbott College, outside Montreal, became a full-time lecturer and cut back his hours at CBC. He taught at John Abbott College for 36 years. Mr Tucker and his wife, Jeannette, have been married for 60 years. They moved to Chateauguay in 1970 and raised five children. Their daughter Jasmin lives in Ontario, while Rebecca and Julien live in Montreal. Michael and Krista are deceased. While at John Abbott, Mr Tucker began work on his first novel, Underworld Dwellers, which was published in 1994. His second Lost Boundaries, which is about police harassment of black Montrealers and set against the backdrop of the 1995 Quebec referendum on independence, was published in 2004. The second book has Bermuda references — Cobbs Hill, cassava pie and a DaCosta scholarship, a nod to George DaCosta, the first head teacher of Berkeley Institute. Mr Tucker’s accomplishments have not gone unrecognized. In 2013, Ryerson’s diamond anniversary year, he was among 12 journalism school alumni honored for “Making A Mark” during their careers. NBC newsman Kevin Tibbles was a fellow honoree. Mr Tucker was also granted Emeritus faculty status by John Abbot College in March. He was last in Bermuda to attend the funeral of his sister, Vivian Pearman, in 2013. Four of his six brothers and sisters are deceased. A sister, Eleanor, lives in Virginia and his brother, Benjamin, lives in Connecticut. Mr Tucker said he planned a visit to Bermuda to launch his third novel, which he is expected to finish this year. The novel is set in a hotel and is inspired by events at Belmont Manor Hotel where he and his father worked many years ago.

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June 12

spacerDeputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs Walter Roban opened the Bermuda Captive Conference today at the Fairmont Southampton Resort. A spokesperson said, “He participated in an honours ceremony that recognized eleven corporations who have held a captive insurance company in Bermuda for more than a quarter of a century. They join an additional 200 such companies who had already been elevated to Bermuda’s Captive Hall of Fame. The Deputy Premier also presented Bermuda captive industry pioneer Brian Hall with the Fred Reiss Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Hall was a prime mover in establishing Bermuda as the global leader in captive insurance.” Deputy Premier Roban was introduced to Santiago Garcia of Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services, one of the companies recognized for having a captive in Bermuda for more than 25 years. The company is a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc. Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.  In his opening remarks, Deputy Premier Walter Roban said: “I’d like to begin by welcoming those of you returning for this event, as the Bermuda Captive Conference is one of the most important captive insurance gatherings for the industry. Today, it is an essential stop on the list of annual meetings where captive professionals can gather to discuss the latest developments in the captive insurance industry, and, network with peers and those seeking captive solutions. So those of you who find yourselves here every year to share old and new knowledge with old and new friends, are the very heart and fabric of the Bermuda Captive Conference – and, a key part of what makes the captive industry a growing phenomenon to an increasingly wider segment of the world’s business community. That growth is reflected in the record attendance at this year’s event. Congratulations to the organisers! Growth in attendance means more corporations seeking solutions to their risk management needs are learning of Bermuda market opportunities. Congratulations also to the many companies, some being recognized today, who determined the Bermuda advantages many years ago. Those who are new to the industry, or even new to Bermuda, have come here this week in search of something – an education on some aspect of the captive business, a partner to help you resolve outstanding issues in your company, or even the expertise to help you set up your own Bermuda captive. You couldn’t have come to a more beautiful place on earth to get the job done. And, you couldn’t have found a more knowledgeable gathering to get your questions answered. Bermuda’s insurance market is incredible. For decades now, it has been providing the world with unrivalled expertise across several disciplines of the insurance industry. The global leader in captives, Bermuda is also a major player in high-end, commercial insurance markets. Many of those who form captives here, find on-island commercial market solutions, as well. Even captive owners in other jurisdictions have found reinsurance options in Bermuda. The reinsurance community in this island is a force in its own right. A leader in catastrophe reinsurance, these companies help communities across the globe get back on their feet after some of the worst natural disasters. As the world’s largest captive domicile [both in terms of licences held and business written], Bermuda also holds 75% of global outstanding capacity of catastrophe bonds produced by Insurance-Linked Securities – $23 billion out of $31 billion at 2017 year-end. The island’s globally significant property/catastrophe reinsurance market is paying 30% of the claims of 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Captive insurance, commercial insurance and reinsurance, together with other financial services companies and a variety of support professionals – in areas such as law, accounting and banking – provide anyone interested in captive insurance with a significant cushion of expertise; and they can find it all within a city known for walkable distances. Together, these market segments are providing solutions to companies, institutions and governmental organisations across more than 100 countries. As a Government, it is important to us that we support these industries and provide what they need to keep them making the most of the Bermuda platform to the benefit of the wider, global community. That means facilitating the flow of global commerce in any reasonable way possible to enable local industries to offer their leading edge products and services. We recognize the need to maintain global standards, and, we must commend the Bermuda Monetary Authority, which has been an impressive supervisory stalwart across all of our financial service undertakings. We believe the BMA’s integrity, sterling reputation even among the world’s other regulators, their forward thinking and a continued emphasis on their own development, has given Bermuda businesses the confidence as global providers. Furthermore, the Authority continues to incorporate new technology into its supervisory processes with the introduction of an electronic statutory filing system in 2017 to allow for more robust data collation on filings for Bermuda captives and Special Purpose Insurers. The BMA has continued an emphasis on developing its global regulatory standards and continued its cooperation with other international bodies. This includes the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Group of International Finance Centre Supervisors. I hope you enjoy the Bermuda Captive Conference. It is a great opportunity to learn and grow in ways that can be of great benefit to your organization. It’s an opportunity to network with the leaders in the captive industry. And it’s an opportunity to do all of this in one of the most beautiful places on earth.” Deputy Premier Roban presented Brian Hall with the Fred Reiss Lifetime Achievement Award, as audience members rise to their feet in appreciation. Introducing the Fred Reiss Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Chairman of the BCC Mike Parrish said: “The Fred Reiss Lifetime Achievement Award was first launched back in 2016. It’s named in honour of a pioneering Ohio engineer who conceived of the idea of “self-insurance.” We’ve come full circle, because Fred’s son, Jonathan, who is now CFO at Hamilton Group, will be our industry keynote speaker here tomorrow morning at 10:30. So, starting with American steel companies, Fred Reiss pursued the concept in Bermuda and launched the first captive in 1962. As you all know, captive insurance recorded exponential growth over the next five decades, distinguishing Bermuda as the world captive leader. It also laid the foundation of the island’s entire insurance industry. We created the award to celebrate the collaboration of outstanding captive insurance industry professionals. The inaugural winner in 2016 was Jill Husbands, the former chairman and managing director of Marsh IAS Management Services [Bermuda]. Last year’s awardee was leading Bermudian corporate lawyer Michael Burns. And we’re very proud to present the third Fred Reiss Lifetime Achievement Award to Brian Hall. Brian is probably well known to many of you for his notable insurance career spanning more than four decades on the island. Born in 1941 in Denton, near Manchester, UK, Brian moved to Bermuda in 1958 to join his parents, and got a job at age 17 working for American International Group [AIG]. In 1964, he was hired by Fred Reiss as a captive account manager for International Risk Management, Reiss’s company, where he spent five years. Brian later launched his own firm, Inter-Ocean Management, that began running captive operations for global insurance brokerage Johnson & Higgins. He was named CEO and president in 1979, and later chair. J&H Global Captive Management grew to 17 offices and 400 employees worldwide. I’m proud to say I was one of them—and had the privilege of working with Brian before J&H merged with Marsh & McLennan in 1997. A Bermudian, Brian is a graduate of Saltus Grammar School. He served as chair of the Insurance Advisory Committee, was a board member of Renaissance Reinsurance, and also helped create the Bermuda Insurance Management Association [BIMA], today the captive sector’s primary industry organisation. Today, he remains professionally connected to Bermuda through his continuing partnership with Oyster Consulting. Importantly, Brian helped develop the industry’s future through educational initiatives. Among his many roles and achievements, he founded the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies [BFIS] in 1996 and became its Chairman Emeritus. BFIS provides opportunities for Bermudian students to gain necessary education and training to enter the insurance sector. He also led the Board of Governors as chair of the Bermuda College. In 1998, Brian was nominated by Bermuda’s government to receive an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [an OBE] by the Queen, for his services to the insurance industry. Brian is a true pioneer in our captive industry. His contributions to both insurance and educational organisations in Bermuda have demonstrated his long and sincere commitment to the island—and to generations of Bermudians who have followed him into the industry. Indeed, much of the success we enjoy as a sector today can be attributed to Bermuda-based entities he led and inspired. We are proud to be able to welcome Brian back to Bermuda this week to attend our conference. It is my personal honour now to ask him, on behalf of the Bermuda Captive Conference, to say a few words and receive the 2018 Fred Reiss Lifetime Achievement Award.”

spacerA 4.5 per cent fee on guests using Airbnb-style holiday rental properties could raise up to $750,000 this financial year, MPs heard on Friday. Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, told MPs the new levy would be given to the Bermuda Tourism Authority to help offset its costs. But he added “that this vacation rental fee is 4.5 per cent of the gross paid by the guest for the accommodation and is not a fee imposed on the proprietor of the vacation rental property”. Mr Simmons explained that hotel guests pay a Bermuda Tourism Authority fee of 4.5 per cent of the gross room rate charged by the hotel. He said: “This direct revenue contributes over $7 million in income to the BTA annually, which in return reduces the taxpayer burden of funding the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Mr Simmons added: “The ministry concluded that adding a similar fee for guests staying in vacation rental properties would enable the Government to further reduce grant funding to the BTA.” He was speaking as MPs backed legislation to create the new tax. Mr Simmons said the finance ministry estimated that the fee could raise $750,000 during the 2018/19 financial year. He explained the fee would be collected from guests on or before departure by the owner or operator, or the owner’s agent. He added: “This additional fee would also incentivise the authority to directly support the growth of this important sector of our tourism economy.” Opposition MPs questioned whether the extra charge would put tourists off visiting Bermuda. Leah Scott, deputy Opposition leader, said she had “mixed emotions” about the legislation. Ms Scott said: “Although the tax is to be paid by the visitor, will they want to pay that tax?” She added: “Is that enough of a deterrent to prevent people from wanting to come to the island?” One Bermuda Alliance backbencher Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, who has an Airbnb property, said she would rather pay the 4.5 per cent herself. She added: “I would not have a problem paying the extra 4.5 per cent as the host, as opposed to saying, let my guests who are going to come, pay 16 per cent now. They might decide not to come. Whereas I might have 80 per cent occupancy, I might go down to 50 per cent occupancy.” Progressive Labour Party backbencher Zane DeSilva said that Ms Gordon-Pamplin could lower the rental price of her Airbnb by 4.5 per cent. He added: “Maybe that would make up for it.” Mr DeSilva added that “anyone that travels knows that whether you are staying at Motel Six or you are staying at Bellagio, when you get your room bill at the end of your stay, you are going to have some taxes tacked on”. He said that by the time visitors experienced the hospitality Bermuda is known for “I don’t think that this small fee is going to stop them from coming back”. Junior finance minister Wayne Furbert, and PLP backbenchers Kim Swan and Christopher Famous also backed the Bill. Mr Famous said that the BTA had failed to live up to its promise of becoming self-sufficient within three to five years and was instead a drain on the public purse. He added: “We, as a responsible government, have to balance the budget. If this money is used towards balancing the cost of the BTA, then I am all for it.”

spacerBuyers in the market for a used car should beware, the founder of a motor repair shop warned yesterday. Fernando Oliveira said almost a quarter of second-hand vehicles examined by his Noble Automotive in the last 18 months had serious problems. He said: “About 50 per cent we would say were in good shape, and about 25 per cent were horror stories. We have had people come to us in tears. I would say every couple of months we get some sad story about someone who has either been purposely taken advantage of or someone who knew there was an issue and tried to patch it over.” Mr Oliveira was speaking after the Supreme Court ruled against a man who sold a car which broke down minutes later. He said buyers should do their homework before they parted with cash. He said Noble Automotive in Devonshire and sister firm Peugeot Bermuda in Pembroke would examine cars for prospective buyers to help them make sure they get a good deal. Mr Oliveira said: “It is a community service that we do. And if someone tells you they don’t want their car examined by a garage, that should be a red flag.” The Supreme Court heard that in a recent case that driver Janice White bought a 1998 Hyundai Atos from Damon Burgess in 2015. She said Mr Burgess told her he was still working on the vehicle, which he said needed a new windshield and rusted areas repainted. But Mr Burgess added he would need to be paid in full before he tackled the jobs. Ms White paid Mr Burgess $4,500 in cash for the car. The receipt said: “As is, after repair to windscreen and rust.” The court heard Ms White was forced to pull over after the brake warning light came on minutes after she picked the car up in November 2015. She found the brake fluid reservoir was empty. She filled the reservoir with two bottles of brake fluid and contacted Mr Burgess. Ms White asked him to take the car back and refund her money, but he refused. Ms White filed a legal action against Mr Burgess after more problems surfaced but Mr Burgess still refused to refund her money. An angry Ms White had the car examined by a mechanic a month after she took delivery. The mechanic found it needed at least $4,420 worth of repairs and that it was “not fit for daily driving”. He also said some of the problems could have developed after she bought the car. Mr Burgess told the court the car had been transfer tested, passed by the Transport Control Department and Ms White was satisfied with the condition of the car when she bought it. But Magistrates’ Court found there were “major latent problems” with the car and it was not in satisfactory condition at the time of sale. The magistrate also found that the words “as is” on the receipt were not enough for Mr Burgess to avoid liability. He awarded Ms White $2,285, about half the cost of the car, to reflect her use of the car for a month and the fact the car was destroyed and could not be returned to Mr Burgess. Mr Burgess launched an appeal last year on the grounds that the magistrate had “overlooked relevant facts”. But Assistant Justice Delroy Duncan backed the Magistrates’ Court decision. He said: “Mr Burgess confirmed he has been in the business of buying and selling used cars for four years and at the time of the appeal hearing Mr Burgess said he had sold 250 cars over the last four years. Mr Burgess was subject to the implied term that the car he sold Ms White under their agreement was of a satisfactory quality.” He added: “I do not accept the words ‘as is’ on a sales receipt for a second-hand car sold in the course of a business to mean that a seller can sell a second-hand car with latent defects.” Glen Smith of Pembroke car dealers Auto Solutions said anyone in the market for a used car should use caution. Mr Smith said: “When you are buying a car from ourselves or another reputable dealer there is a warranty so in the event that something goes wrong, the warranty will back the car. When you are buying a second-hand or pre-owned vehicle there’s no guarantee. You have no idea what is the history of the vehicle.”

spacerThe island’s oldest environmental charity backed yesterday a redevelopment plan for a former golf course. The Audubon Society said it supported the proposal to create a nature reserve on the site of the old Riddell’s Bay Golf Club. Karen Border, president of the Bermuda Audubon Society, said that nature reserve status would allow “a great deal more protection for the land” than its present designation as recreational land. The golf course’s new owners proposed to build houses on part of the site, but create a 66-acre conservation zone on the rest of the course. Ms Border said: “While we are loath to see any of our precious remaining open space given over to development, we accept that in this case there is a pragmatic need for the new landowners to sell some lots for development in order to be able to set aside a sizeable area as a reserve which will benefit Bermuda as a whole.” She added the society had reached its decision based on information given to David Wingate, a committee member. Ms Border said two factors had influenced the group’s position. She explained: “One is that the new development will not be high density but is on large lots, which will retain the rural character of the area. The other is that the proposed nature reserve will be of much greater environmental value than the existing golf course, which, while valued open space, is relatively sterile in terms of biodiversity.” The comments come after one of the property’s owners told The Royal Gazette that they wanted to create a conservation zone combined with “very-low-density residential areas”. The spokesman said the project was being undertaken “in consultation with Bermuda’s leading environmentalists”. Jonathan Starling, executive director of environmental charity Greenrock, said the organisation did not have any “major concerns” about the majority of the land being protected. Mr Starling explained: “If anything we saw that as a potential planning gain for the people of Bermuda in terms of expanding the land back to protected green space.” He said that “important biodiversity spots” on the property would be strengthened by the rezoning. Mr Starling said he understood concerns about rezoning as being a “double-edged sword”. He added: “However, we don’t have an issue with changing land use from one zoning designation when it strengthens the protection of that area in terms of going from, say, commercial to nature reserve or woodland reserve. The opposite direction would be problematic and the prejudice should be strengthening protections and expanding protected nature areas.” But other environmental groups said they had adopted a wait-and-see approach. Bill Zuill, executive director at Bermuda National Trust, said his organisation was “monitoring the proposals” for the site. Mr Zuill added members of the trust had met the property’s owners as well as people concerned about the prospect of houses being built on the site. He said: “The trust has not seen detailed final proposals for the property and has therefore not yet taken a formal position.” Mr Zuill added the trust looked forward to “continued dialogue with all parties”. Kim Smith, executive director of the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Task Force, said the organisation would wait for the results of the owners’ consultation with planning officials before they commented. The Riddell’s Bay Members’ Committee has raised concerns over an application to subdivide the property into two plots. The group claimed the move would lead to “at least” 42 acres of recreational land being turned into private homes. It also said the move would create a legal precedent allowing other recreational areas to be built on. A petition launched to protect the property has attracted 700 signatures — although these included Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Fidel Castro, the late prime minister of Cuba.

spacerThe voice of the axed Non-Mariners Race said he hoped the event could be refloated in the future. Bruce Barritt, emcee for the event for 30 years, explained: “Hopefully some other group will want to resuscitate it, whether it’s this year or next year. It’s up to a group of individuals who have some energy and dedication.” Mr Barritt said he was told late last week that this year’s race had been cancelled. He added it was possible that the news might create a “groundswell” of grassroots support. He said: “There may very well be an independent group — whether from the West End, or the East End, or even from Dockyard — who might say ‘This is too much fun, we don’t want to give it up’. “Everything has life cycles — perhaps this is a chance for someone else to take it over. This may actually galvanize a new generation of non-mariners.” Sandys Boat Club confirmed the cancellation of the event in a statement issued yesterday. A spokesman for the club said fewer entries, a change in the economics of the event, and a shortage of volunteers to organize and run the race were behind the decision. Mr Barritt accepted the club’s reasons were “pretty valid”. He said: “If you don’t get participation — people making the effort to put something together and float it out and do something — then there isn’t an event.” He added the cancellation “probably doesn’t matter much to 85 to 90 per cent” of raft-up participants in Mangrove Bay. Mr Barritt said: “Their eyes are all towards the next boat or on the horizon. They’re not much looking at the shoreline where the non-race is.” Mr Barritt said finding volunteers for the event had always been a challenge. He said: “When the people from the boat club say it’s harder and harder to find volunteers to assist — yeah, I’ve seen that first-hand.” Sandys Boat Club said the cancellation included the race as well as the other events like a “non-penguin fly-by” and a “non-calypso pipe band and dancers”. But the raft-up parties in Mangrove Bay will go ahead as usual. The club spokesman thanked the Bermuda Tourism Authority for its offer of assistance. He said the club hoped that the event will be revived with the BTA’s assistance. A spokesman for the BTA confirmed that the club had contacted the organisation about problems with the organisation of this year’s event. He said: “The BTA offered to connect the boat club’s leadership with potential sponsors — not only because of the charitable mission of the event, but also because the event is a part of our event-marketing brochures for visitors. In the end, Non-Mariners Race organisers decided to scrap the event before we could make any connections.” The spokesman said that the BTA had not offered to sponsor the event. He added: “While it’s unfortunate to see the event cancelled and for local charities to miss out on this fundraising opportunity, we’re confident the other traditions on the Sunday after Cup Match will continue — providing visitors with a truly Bermudian celebration.” Johnny Peacock, of Mariners rugby club, said he and the club had backed the event for many years. He added: “I think it’s sad in general.” Mr Peacock said that club members had already started discussions about this year’s event. But he added: “There’s never really a lot of planning involved.” Mr Peacock said that a decision on a theme for the club’s race entry was usually made up to two weeks before the event. He added: “It’s just a good laugh. It’s one of those things that become tradition. It’s what you do every year.” Non-Mariners was first held in the early 1960s in Hamilton Harbour. It later moved to St George’s and Ferry Reach before it settled on Mangrove Bay in 1972 and grew over the years. The boat club spokesman said charities like Bermuda Sailors Home, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, and the St John Ambulance service had benefited from the event. He added the event had “not been of financial benefit to the club in many years”. Anyone interested in helping run the event should contact the Sandys Boat Club secretary at sbcsecretary@logic.bm.

spacerRosemont City Place units are now up for sale with a starting price of just over $1 million. Nikki Thomas, real estate assistant at Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty, said the properties have been on the open market since the beginning of last month and already have a unit in contract. The two- and three-bedroom homes are located on Rosemont Avenue, next to the Ascots restaurant. The properties have previously been rented for around $6,000 to $9,000 a month. Ms Thomas said owner WhiteCross Development Ltd believes it’s the right time to sell. “We have the first apartment in contract and now the ball has started to roll,” Ms Thomas said. “All apartments are on the market and ready to be sold. Right now we currently have about a dozen left.” Ms Thomas argued that it was an attractive investment, as the location is within walking distance of the city. “It is so close to the city, you can walk to work if you choose, but you don’t feel like you’re directly in the city. The area is green, you hear the birds, so you don’t feel like you’re in a city-centre residence.” Another benefit of Rosemont City Place is the parking lot. “We have the underground parking, there’s not a lot of places that give that option,” Ms Thomas said. “The first four residences are being sold with free parking space, but any units sold after that can pay for the underground parking with an elevator that takes you directly to your apartment floor, which costs $30,000. This is a great opportunity for people from the rental side of things. The buyers we see that come through here are mostly people who want to downsize from a larger home in a few years, which will give them a great return on investment.” The apartments are available to locals, PRC holders and international buyers. The two-bedroom apartments start at $1.075 million and the three-bedroom units start at $1.45 million. Other amenities beside the underground parking, are a fitness centre, access to the private pool and sundeck, extra storage space, elevator access and secure access with security card system. There is a quarterly maintenance fee for the upkeep of the elevators, common space, pool, gym and parking. Each residence has a large private balcony, is furnished with major appliances, including a microwave, refrigerator and dishwasher. They are also centrally air-conditioned and heated.

spacerPeople honored in the Queen’s Birthday list said yesterday they were shocked to be singled out. Flora Duffy, star triathlete, who was awarded the Order of the British Empire medal for her sporting achievements, said she was “honoured” to at the recognition. She added it was “an unexpected and humbling moment”. Ms Duffy, a Commonwealth Games gold medal-winner in Australia this year, was one of eight people recognized in the annual summer list of awards. The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Major Ben Beasley, given the British Empire Medal for services to the island in the military and for other public service, said he was surprised to be honored. He said: “It’s humbling to know that someone or a few people have thought what you have done is worth discussing, let alone spend their valuable time writing you up for an honour. Major Beasley, in addition to his RBR duties, which included last year’s America’s Cup, was recognized for his work with young people’s adventure charity Outward Bound and in the island’s rugby world. He said: “I hope that my role in these different areas have, in some small way, made a positive impact into the fabric of Bermuda’s society." Major Beasley also thanked the people who had supported him and helped in his community work. He said: “Nothing that appears in the citation is for an exclusively individual effort, they have all been group activities: military duties, America’s Cup, Outward Bound, and rugby. I have been fortunate to work through the years with some truly dedicated people who shared my belief in our various causes.” Neil De Ste Croix was awarded a BEM for his work with the Tri-Hedz Junior Triathlon Club. He said: “I was quite honored. Shocked. You never expect to be honored. You do it because you believe in it, you volunteer because you love to see children improve and develop, not just in sports but also as people.” He said he was particularly happy to be honored in the same year as Ms Duffy, who was involved in Tri-Hedz as a young athlete. Mr De Ste Croix said: “I was very, very honored. It’s an honour just to be mentioned in the same breath as Flora Duffy. She’s a fantastic person, and an amazing role model.” Chief Inspectors Na’imah Astwood and Jerome Laws were both given with Overseas Territories Police Medals for their contributions to the police service. Ms Astwood, the highest ranking woman officer in the service, said: “It is indeed an honour to be chosen for such an esteemed award especially during my holy month of Ramadan. This award is a true blessing from God and I thank my family, friends and my community who have continuously supported me." She added: “When I see the quality of individuals that were honored with me, it reminds me of a quote from Shirley Chisholm who stated ‘service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth'. I am cognizant of my role as a police officer and it is a role that I do not take lightly as I continue to serve my community.” Mr Laws added: “I set out on an adventure 31 years ago as a cadet. Little did I know the Bermuda Police Service would have a profound impact on my life. Today, I am just as committed to serving my community as I was the very first day that I put on this uniform. I am humbled to be included in this year’s Queen’s Honours listing.” Judith James, who was given the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour for contributions to Bermuda public schools, said she was “very pleasantly surprised” by the distinction. Ms James, who retired in 2016 after a 47-year career in the classroom, was recognized for her work in the promotion of literacy, and representing Bermudian traditions overseas, said: “I was chuffed.” She joked she had been doing “old Bermuda stuff for 300 years, but I was not expecting the recognition”. Lindsay Simmons, recognized for her foster care work with a Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour, also said she was surprised to find out she would be among those honored. She said: “When they called me, at first I thought they were just telling me I had been nominated, and I thought that was nice. Then she told me I had actually won the award. I was shocked.” She added: “I never did any of this for recognition. Hopefully it will help to inspire other people to help children.” Also honored was Major Leslie Lowe, who was given a Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour for his services to music and the community. Major Lowe could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

spacerPolice are investigating a threatening confrontation at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess that was posted on social media. Pictures and video of the incident were shared on Facebook on June 9 after the intruder arrived at the hotel’s pool and began accosting guests. A police spokesman confirmed that a man had come onto the hotel property and “began behaving in a threatening manner”. The spokesman added: “An investigation into this incident is now under way and officers are also liaising with the relevant hotel personnel to minimise the likelihood of a recurrence.”

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June 11

spacerLieutenant-Colonel David Burch has criticized coverage of his controversial speech about the next Chief Justice. Colonel Burch was responding after he came under fire for referring to status Bermudian Narinder Hargun’s Indian heritage in the House on June 1. The Minister of Public Works said: “I spoke for around 17 minutes. It wasn’t quite the whole 20 minutes. “I say that because I must have spoke more than one word, but it seems as if several people who sit in this place, who were present last week and heard all 17 minutes about what I had to say, only heard one word and only remembered the word five days later.” Colonel Burch said he had spoken at length about issues including independence, succession planning and Bermudianisation, but no one had discussed those elements of his speech. He also took aim at a critical editorial in Friday’s edition of The Royal Gazette and unfavorable comments by anonymous bloggers. Colonel Burch went on to say the Government would be working to provide affordable housing for Bermudians. He told the House the majority of requests he had received since becoming minister had been about the need for housing, but the OBA government had not built a single home during their time in office. Colonel Burch had come under fire after he accused Chief Justice Ian Kawaley of failing to nurture a successor, resulting in the controversial appointment of status Mr Hargun. He said that if the Chief Justice wanted his legacy to be “something people remember fondly regardless of their political persuasion, you must produce somebody to take your place other than an Indian”. Michael Scott, PLP backbencher, said Mr Hargun was an able and skilled Bermudian lawyer who was born in India. However, he said Colonel Burch was addressing an important and valid issue but a single comment became the focus in media reports and headlines.

spacerA former attorney-general and government MP has lost an attempt to stop a bank from seizing a piece of land after he defaulted on a $315,000 mortgage. The Supreme Court heard that Michael Scott, Progressive Labour Party MP for Sandys North, signed an agreement in 2016 where he admitted a $223,000 debt and agreed to repay it. But the court was told Mr Scott had not made any payments on the $248,000 now owed to Clarien Bank after interest was added. Alexandra Wheatley, acting Supreme Court Registrar, found in favour of the bank and rejected Mr Scott’s application to suspend execution of the writ to repossess the land. Ms Wheatley said in a written judgment: “I would have been more sympathetic for the defendant had he been compliant with the terms of the consent order, but for Mr Scott to state in the face of the court he had no prospect of paying at the time he entered into the consent order is alarming. Moreover, the fact Mr Scott — particularly taking into account he is senior counsel — made no efforts subsequent to the signing of the consent order to negotiate amended payment terms with the plaintiff or to make an application varying the terms of the consent order, in my view speaks volumes.” She added: “Had the defendant been compliant with the terms of the consent order, or at the very least provided evidence supporting a change in financial circumstances which rendered him unable to make payments, I would have been more easily persuaded to grant a stay.” Mr Scott said last night that he was working to settle the matter. The court heard Mr Scott took a mortgage with Clarien in 2006. Mr Scott was given $315,000 secured against land on Sound View Road in Sandys. But a judgment was entered against Mr Scott for $223,109.17, with interest at a rate of 7.75 per cent a year, in 2016. The court heard Mr Scott later signed a consent order but failed to comply with the terms. The amount owed had risen to $248,216.18 by the end of April this year when interest was added. Clarien later filed a writ in a bid to repossess and sell the mortgaged property. But Mr Scott applied for the writ to be suspended. He told the court his main concern was that if the writ was allowed it would result in him losing his home, which is separate from the mortgaged property. Mr Scott proposed repayment of the debt at $2,000 a month — $500 per month less than in the 2016 consent order. He submitted evidence he would be paid $5,715 a quarter for a board position to show he could make the payments. But lawyer Richard Horseman, for Clarien, said the proposed payments would cover little more than the interest and reduce the debt by about $7,000 a year. Ms Wheatley said the Sound View Road property was valued at $225,000 in 2013 but an updated appraisal from 2016 estimated the value had fallen to $140,000. The court heard Mr Scott turned down an offer for $115,000 in October last year. Ms Wheatley said: “While Mr Scott averred to have family members interested in purchasing the mortgaged property, no evidence was submitted to support this being a real prospect.” The acting Registrar said she also had concerns about Mr Scott’s failure to fulfil the consent order. Ms Wheatley added: “When Mr Scott gave evidence as to why the terms of the consent order were not complied with, he stated ‘there was no real prospect to pay’. She said: “Mr Horseman understandably raised his concerns as to why Mr Scott had entered into the consent order in those terms in the first place if there was no ability to pay in accordance to the terms of the order. “Mr Scott did not answer this.” Ms Wheatley found in favour of Clarien, refusing Mr Scott’s application to stay the execution of the writ and awarding Clarien costs.

spacerThe Human Rights Commission said the Bermuda Government can cater for both the rights of the gay community and those with competing views in the church. The HRC gave its backing to the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse the ban on same-sex marriage, and offered to help Government address both sides of an argument that has divided Bermuda. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley upheld a constitutional challenge to the Domestic Partnership Act, which was put in place by the Progressive Labour Party government after church groups campaigned against same-sex marriage. HRC chairwoman Tawana Tannock said: “It is our hope that any further action taken by the Government will be done so with a view to solidifying the rights and expectations confirmed in the judgment, while also addressing what some may view as competing religious rights. Both can be upheld, one does not have to negate the other, as we have seen modeled in other jurisdictions. This is not always a simple task, but it is a necessary one in which the HRC stands ready to provide the necessary advice and assistance to the Government and community stakeholders.” Ms Tannock said it has previously spoken about the importance of maintaining mutual respect while handling competing rights. She said: “The Human Rights Commission is pleased by the outcome of the recent court decision and judgment on same-sex marriage. We are equally as heartened to read the judgment Chief Justice Ian Kawaley in which he stressed the importance of the acknowledgement and protection for competing rights. This is often a passionate topic of discussion for the Office and Commissioners as we seek to maintain this approach to rights-based issues. To see our concerns elucidated so clearly by the Chief Justice was reassuring and it is our hope that members of the Government and public alike will read the judgment in full, as the issue of competing rights is one that must be approached with mutual respect for all parties involved.” Ms Tannock added: “The judgment is also significant in its confirmation of the necessity of the primacy of the Human Rights Act, which effectively seeks to establish, clarify and solidify rights that were not included in our Constitution, a document which is reflective of the period in which it was drafted, but not the Bermuda of today or tomorrow.” Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, has said the Government will appeal the decision “subject to any legal advice we receive”.

spacerThe Netherlands Ambassador to London, Dr. Simon J. H. Smits paid a courtesy call on the Premier and Minister of Finance the Hon. E. David Burt JP MP at the Premier’s office, today. During the cordial visit, the Premier provided the Ambassador, and Netherlands Honorary Consul, Marijke Peterich a tour of the Cabinet Office. The Premier is photographed with Ambassador Smits and the Honorary Consul.

spacerSam Strangeways, a senior reporter for The Royal Gazette, has won a second Best of Bermuda award. Ms Strangeways was delighted to win the award for journalism from The Bermudian magazine — a title she first won in 2014. She said: “I am really grateful for the recognition and even more so to the people willing to share their stories, news tips and opinions with me.” Ms Strangeways joined The Royal Gazette in 2006 after working for several newspapers in the North of England and winning North-East Journalist of the Year in 2005. She said: “I got into journalism purely due to a love of writing, not realizing how good a fit news reporting would be for me. It’s a very rewarding job. Part of the reason I love it is because I believe completely in the importance of the news media — telling human stories, shining a light in dark corners and holding those in charge to account. Ms Strangeways added: “Even in a very small community like this, those things matter. I am constantly amazed at how many stories there are to be told in 21 square miles.” Dexter Smith, Editor of The Royal Gazette, said: “I am very pleased for Sam. She is very deserving of this accolade. What sets her apart from the pack, here and island-wide, is not only an indefatigable desire to uncover truth and promote equality for all, but the ability to transfer her findings to the Bermuda public in a coherent and uncomplicated manner. She would grace many a newsroom in bigger jurisdictions. The country is lucky to have her.”

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June 10, Sunday

spacerA record 845 delegates have registered for the Bermuda Captive Conference which starts tomorrow at the Fairmont Southampton. Now in its fourteenth year, the three-day conference brings together captive insurance owners, risk managers, captive managers, sponsors, and vendors from the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the United Kingdom, in addition to Bermuda’s own industry representatives. Moderated panels and roundtables will focus on insurtech, cyber-risk, climate change and healthcare liability, as well as the industry’s growing diversity around risk types, products and talent. “We’ve had a terrific response to this year’s event and we expect the numbers to climb even higher over the next few days,” said Mike Parrish, chairman of the conference. “We’re offering dynamic speakers and a full, interactive agenda that should prove very informative — as well as lots of social events for delegates to get the most out of their Bermuda visit. We’re looking forward to a busy three days.” The conference opens with a morning of social activities, including the choice of a glass-bottom boat tour, golf tournament, or fitness walk along Bermuda’s South Shore dunes and beaches. The trade floor, featuring 47 booths showcasing industry support services, related organisations and other vendors, opens at noon, followed by the first sessions. Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, officially opens the conference on Tuesday morning, when new inductees into the Captive Hall of Fame and the winner of this year’s Fred Reiss Lifetime Achievement Award will be honoured. Eleven companies with a quarter-century commitment to the Bermuda market will be recognised, and industry veteran Brian Hall, a former director and president of Johnson & Higgins whose career spanned more than four decades on the island will receive the third Fred Reiss Award. With “Diversity” as its 2018 theme, the conference features human-rights visionary Derreck Kayongo as keynote lunch speaker on Tuesday, and Hamilton Group CFO Jonathan Reiss as industry speaker on Wednesday. Agenda sessions will explore the topic, too, including diversity on corporate boards, the perspective of millennials, and female viewpoints on leadership. A first time community component of the conference will see participation by Friends of Hospice, the Bermuda Human Rights Commission, and the Bermuda Insurance Institute — 10 of whose students have been offered free passes to network and attend educative sessions. All three non-profits will have booths where delegates can donate, meet charity representatives, and learn about the work they do.

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June 9

spacerThe annual Bermuda Queen’s Birthday Parade will take place along Front Street today. Traffic restrictions will be in place early on Saturday before the parade begins at 10.30am. The event will feature the pomp and pageantry of the marching units from the Royal Bermuda Regiment, Royal Bermuda Regiment Band and Corps of Drums, Bermuda Police Service and Bermuda Police Reserves, Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, Royal Bermuda Regiment Junior Leaders and the Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps. Always an event for visitors to watch Bermuda's British militia salute Her Majesty for her Official Birthday,  Traffic will be limited on Front Street. The Governor, Premier, and other VIP guests will in attend.  Begins at 10-1030 am Bermuda time. The public is encouraged to come out and view the event which will feature the pomp and pageantry of the marching units.

Queen's Birthday Parade, Bermuda

spacerThe Queen’s Birthday Honours list has been announced. Awardees for the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and British Empire Medal:

Awardees for the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour:

Awardees for the Overseas Territories Police Medal:

Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire awardee:

British Empire Medal awardees:

Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour awardees:

Lindsay Kathleen Simmons. Ms Simmons began fostering children when she was 24. Throughout the past 12 years she has fostered many children, some long-term and others short-term or emergency placements. She has been a board member of the Foster Parents Association for the past eight years, the last three as president. As part of her commitment to foster children and with the support of her employer, Bermuda Restaurants Limited, Ms Simmons has raised funds for the Foster Parents Association and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda through the sale of a speciality drink — the Winter Wonderland — at Rosa’s Cantina and Chopsticks as well as organising an Angel Tree which where each angel represented a child in foster care and the public were able to buy gifts for the children or donate money towards a gift. Ms Simmons has also raised money for others including to support scholarships for children of those individuals who have passed on, to support a family to bring a loved one home to bury them and to help support a family whose loved one has cancer among others. Ms Simmons is a certified Bermuda Tourism Ambassador who volunteers her time teaching students at Dalton E Tucker and Whitney Institute Middle School about the island’s hospitality industry through Bermuda Hospitality Institute’s educational programme. She was awarded the Best of Bermuda Award for “Unsung Hero” in 2017.

Overseas Territories Police Medal awardees:

spacerAn amended version of a proposed tax on sugar won cross-party support in the House of Assembly yesterday. But Opposition MPs questioned if an extra charge on sugar-laden products would drive people to make healthier choices. Susan Jackson, the shadow health minister, said there should be a “war on sugar” as she gave Opposition support of the Customs Tariff Amendment (No 2) Act in a debate that lasted more than five hours. She said: “If we could just get this right and become more healthy, then we have an opportunity to reflect to the entire world that we can recover and be an example for those also trying to become more healthy, that it is possible.” Ms Jackson said manufacturers invested large sums in “keeping us addicted”. She also suggested that sugary items should not be distributed in some public places, like “pivotal” restrictions on tobacco had cut down on its consumption. Ms Jackson said the removal of candy from supermarket checkouts could also be considered. She also called for a committee or council to “follow the data” and track whether the legislation improved health. Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, also called for measures to be put in place so that the results could be tracked. She also repeated concerns she said she had as a former health minister that a tax on sugar would only lead to increased revenue instead of changed behavior. Ms Atherden warned that an “increase in cost does not automatically decrease consumption”. Craig Cannonier of the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance welcomed the amendments brought by health minister Kim Wilson, which he said would help save black and Portuguese businesses. Mr Cannonier told MPs “that the Bermudian diet is killing us” and asked for a “massive” commitment to health education. He added: “We cannot legislate behavior but what we can do is educate, educate, educate.” David Burt, the Premier and Finance Minister, repeated that the Government would “ensure that we earmark all of the funds that are generated from the sugar tax to the promotion of healthy living initiatives”. He added: “The best way to do that is to lower the cost of healthy options and that is what we need to make sure we are trying to target.” Mr Burt said: “We have taken a first step into that to eliminate customs duty on many healthy food items.” He added that another option was to encourage more local production of healthy options. He said the Business Development Agency and an external investor were looking at the “conversion of certain buildings at Southside which could be possibly used for vertical farming”. Mr Burt also acknowledged concerns of businesses who felt that the sudden duty rate increase would put them out of business. He said the Government had agreed to delay the implementation, phase the increase and also offer concessions to local manufacturers. But Mr Burt also suggested that they take the opportunity to take the time to reinvent what they do. He said: “If you have a retail store that is just selling candy, maybe in addition to selling candy, you might want to sell healthier snacks, different options, fruit-based snacks.” Lawrence Scott, the Government whip, said businesses such as soft drinks producer Barritts, which had opposed the tax, should see it as an opportunity to create jobs. “As it says in the bill, there is a concession for foodstuffs made here in Bermuda, produced here in Bermuda.” He added that if Barritts were to bring its bottling operation back to the island “they would then be able to say that we are actually producing it here in Bermuda”. Mr Scott said this would mean they could apply then for the concession. But Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said simply relocating the manufacturing side would defeat the purpose of the bill. She said: “It is the consumption, not the place of manufacture, that is causing the health problems to which the minister has referred.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin also stressed the need to recognize the addictiveness of sugar. She warned: “If the desire for serious, hard sugar is greater than your love for fruits and vegetables, then you are going to buy the sugar.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “It’s only going to be an awareness of the health outcomes that we will suffer as a people, that we can actually make choices that will help to benefit us.” But Wayne Furbert, the junior finance minister, said taxes on cigarettes had led to a reduction in the number of smokers over the years, which showed that “behaviour patterns can be changed based on prices”. Several Government MPs pointed out the absence of OBA MP Michael Dunkley, who had spoke out against the legislation on social media. Diallo Rabain said: “When I noted that Member was not here I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to see what he would say in these halls.”

spacerFormer minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin revealed yesterday to the House of Assembly she had recently had a cancer scare. But the One Bermuda Alliance backbencher said she was “fine” in the wake of surgery and precautionary chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She added: “The tests are all behind me. I have come out on the other side of it well, thank God for that.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin told MPs she had just gone through “major surgery” as she spoke during the debate on a proposed sugar tax designed to improve public health. She said the treatments she had after surgery had revealed that she had endometriosis — a condition where uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus. Ms Gordon-Pamplin said she did not know “whether it could have been avoided by my lack of consumption or my controlled consumption of significant amounts of sweets”. She added that she was happy to speak about her experience if it helped others because not speaking about it could mean that “our suffering could conceivably be in vain”. Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “But if we take the time to be selfless and to share with others what we are experiencing, then I think it may give other people an opportunity to say ‘well, maybe there is something good that will come out of this if I am mindful of my area of consumption’.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin said that people should control their sugar intake. “We also have an obligation to ensure that we keep on top of our health crises and our health challenges and that we take the time to know our bodies. Because, in the absence of my knowledge of my body, I may not have been able to look at something that was diagnosed as a stage 1A, which is probably as early a diagnosis as one could get.” Ms Gordon-Pamplin said that because of a “macho” outlook and “mindset that happens” people might not take the necessary tests and medical checks needed to ensure good health. She added: “All of that is predicated upon what we consume and the impact of what we consume on our bodies.

spacerThe outgoing Chief Justice mounted a spirited defence yesterday of a judicial system free of political interference. Ian Kawaley also told a conference that the constitutional foundation for the judiciary was “deficient” and needed urgent reform. Mr Justice Kawaley said: “Judicial independence matters, because every legal person that appears before court has a fundamental right to appear before an independent court. Judicial independence matters because the judiciary’s constitutional role is to serve as a third branch of government, independent of the executive and legislative branches. Judicial independence matters because it forms part of the central underpinning of the rule of law and Bermuda’s economy needs and depends upon a legal and court system that manifestly upholds the rule of law.” He added: “The constitutional dispensation for the judiciary, 50 years after it was last defined, is now woefully out of date. It needs and deserves reform now.” Mr Justice Kawaley highlighted a lack of security of tenure for judicial officers and the lack of a constitutional judicial and legal services commission. He added that the absence of a constitutional requirement for the executive to financially support judicial administration, as well as a lack of constitutional provision for a minister of government charged with upholding the rule of law and judicial independence were also major gaps in the system. Mr Kawaley was speaking at a conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bermuda Constitution, organized by the Centre for Justice at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. The event included local and international speakers. Mr Justice Kawaley said that a proposal for a judicial services management committee had been submitted to Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, last September. But he added the proposal was “rejected without explanation”. Mr Justice Kawaley and Acting Registrar Alexandra Wheatley said in a joint statement last month that successive attorneys-general had failed to tackle a staffing crisis, which had left the court system crippled. Last week, Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said that Mr Justice Kawaley had not made it his “first port of call” to meet Ms Simmons or the director of human resources to highlight his concerns about staffing levels. Mr Justice Kawaley said: “I would suggest here, had that proposal been accepted — it was a proposal that two Governors have found favour with — it might have alleviated some of the recent brouhaha.” He added that the creation of a political Attorney-General in 1998 created “no real improvement on the prior arrangement”. Mr Justice Kawaley explained: “The constitutional role of the Attorney-General is to be the Government’s principal legal adviser. Her chambers represent the Crown in litigation before the courts. It is inconsistent with that role for the same minister to purport to represent the interests of an entirely separate and independent branch of government in Cabinet and the House. It is undesirable for the chief justice to be negotiating concessions with a constitutional actor who is a regular counsel and or party in litigation before the courts. And so I say to those who suggest I should have had a meeting with the Attorney-General at a time there was a major case before me, that not in a month of Sundays would I have entertained that.”

spacerThe Chief Justice hit back yesterday at a claim by a government minister that dealing with him was like dealing with someone with a mental illness. Ian Kawaley said: “I don’t think that I’m bipolar — as one politician recently described me. I think the correct medical term would be schizophrenic.” The comments drew laughter and applause from his audience. Mr Justice Kawaley told attendees at a conference on the Constitution that he grew up in a “diverse” household. He explained: “It taught me that just because you like somebody, doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with them.” Mr Justice Kawaley said his mother was a liberal and his father was a conservative. He added that his parents’ views on religion also differed. Mr Justice Kawaley said: “With this background, you can see that it might be said, by some, that I’m bipolar ... I think the correct medical term would be schizophrenic.” The Chief Justice was speaking after Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works, mounted an attack on him in the House of Assembly last week over a public statement on staff shortages in the courts. Mr Justice Kawaley and Acting Registrar Alexandra Wheatley said in a joint statement that successive attorneys-general had failed to tackle a staffing crisis that had crippled the court system. Colonel Burch accused the Chief Justice of sitting “silent and mute for five years” but “all of a sudden, as you are about to exit stage left, you find your voice”. He added: “Will the real Chief Justice please stand up — it’s like having a bipolar person in the post.” Colonel Burch added he believed it was “something to do with who is sitting on government benches”. The attack came despite Mr Justice Kawaley’s concerns being aired in public in 2013 under the former One Bermuda Alliance government. The Chief Justice spoke out again about the problem in January last year, six months before the General Election that propelled the Progressive Labour Party to power.

spacerThe Premier today announced the signing of another memorandum of understanding designed to build Bermuda’s financial technology industry. David Burt said the agreement involves B-Seed Partners, FinHigh Capital, a South Korean fintech firm, as well as BFS Holdings, Ltd from Britain. Mr Burt added the organisations had “indicated their desire to join with us in growing the fintech industry in Bermuda through the establishment of a fintech accelerator”. He said the investment would be worth “up to $10 million”. Mr Burt added: “The MOU we signed today sets out our agreement to work collaboratively towards that goal.”

spacerThe public have been warned to stop defacing public and private property to reserve spots for the Bermuda Heroes Weekend parade. A spokesman said: “While we encourage everyone to be excited for the upcoming Bermuda Heroes Weekend, we cannot support and ask that those of you defacing public and private property in an attempt to save a space for the parade immediately stop. “Doing this is illegal and the authorities in charge have clearly expressed to us that they will be pursuing all and every corrective measure available to them. Now we want everyone to have a good time, but we want you all to do so without defacing any property.” The spokesman added: “It is all of our jobs to keep Bermuda beautiful, so we ask you our loyal patrons to do your part and not mark your spots before the parade. There is room for all once we are kind and courteous to one another. Let us all continue to work together to make this Bermuda Heroes Weekend one of the best ever, even as we maintain our magnificent island throughout this celebration.

spacerShaki Easton, Errin Butterfield and M’Kai Hodsoll will add a new chapter to local powerboat racing history at tomorrow’s Fortitudo Property Poole Bay 100 Offshore Powerboat Race in the United Kingdom. The trio are the first Bermudians to compete in the British Offshore Racing series and will be keen to cap the historical occasion with solid displays in the cockpit. Pilot Easton is competing in class A with navigator/co-pilot Hodsoll, the former St George’s and Bailey’s Bay cricketer, in a 19ft Phantom monohull owned by 2016 UIM 3A world champion Jack Bobin — who is racing in the same class and boat design. Butterfield is competing in Class B as a co-pilot for Bobin’s son, Kerry Bobin, the Motorvated Racing team owner and United Kingdom Offshore Powerboat Racing Association founder, in the latter’s 20-foot Twister catamaran. The 71 nautical mile race, to be held in the Poole Bay area, is sanctioned by the UKOPRA and is the opening round for both the 2018 British Offshore Racing series and World Offshore Championship. The local trio of Easton, Butterfield and Hodsoll have been busy making the necessary adjustments coming to grips with the handling of their new rigs and acclimatizing to the local conditions since their arrival in the UK on Wednesday. “The boat I am in is completely different but I’m getting it down and it should be a very interesting race,” Easton told The Royal Gazette. " I am driving with M’Kai who is a real navigator. He just had a crash course this morning. There are two late entries so the field is stacked. At the moment it’s flat, but I’m hoping for rough water. Errin and Kerry are praying for calm, but their Twister is by far the fastest boat in the class.” Last summer Easton and rookie co-pilot-owner Butterfield dominated the local powerboat racing scene, winning all but one race they entered and were the first boat to complete the Rubis Around the Island Power Boat Race. Meanwhile, local powerboat racing resumes tomorrow with the second round of the 2018 Bermuda Power Boat Association season being held at Ferry Reach, starting from 12 noon. Tomorrow’s round was originally scheduled for June 3 but was cancelled because of a low number of entries.

spacerAn American tourist who rescued two snorkelers stranded on rocks played down his heroics as just “doing the right thing”. Allen Yannone sprang into action after two fellow Americans got into trouble after they were battered against rocks by waves at Southampton’s Church Bay. Mr Yannone was relaxing on the beach when he thought he heard faint cries for help. He said: “The thing I remember about it the most was I thought it was a bird. It didn’t sound like a person. So I was kind of confused.” But he went to investigate and found a “frantic” woman on the shoreline who told him two people were trapped on the rocks. Mr Yannone swam out and found two people standing on rocks offshore bleeding from cuts. He said: “I think they had been thrown on to the rocks. The waves were coming in — there was no way they could get back into the water.” Mr Yannone thought the injuries to the man and woman were not serious and decided to walk the pair, Paul Trenholm and his sister Anita, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, along the rocks back to the safety of the beach. However, after 20 minutes, he saw calm water and decided it was safe to swim. The man and woman were very appreciative when they arrived safely back on the shore. Mr Yannone, who was in Bermuda on a cruise, said: “Never in my mind did I feel like it was out of hand or that we were in any grave danger.” The incident happened on May 29. The grateful pair launched a social media search for their rescuer after they returned home and Mr Yannone’s mother contacted him after his face was “plastered all over the internet”. A picture of Mr Yannone and the two people he had rescued were posted on Facebook in an attempt to identify him. Mr Yannone, from Massachusetts, said: “They were very scared. And I didn’t realize really how scared they were until last week when they reached out and they thanked me.” He described the way he was thanked as “humbling”. Mr Yannone said: “Realising that these people were trying to find me for four days was incredible. It is such a humbling, humbling experience for something that I would do ten out of ten times.” But he added that his actions required no thanks. Mr Yannone said: “For them to reach out the way they did — it was incredible. I thought I would never see them again or even hear from them again — never mind have a manhunt on the East Coast trying to find me. I can’t thank them enough for doing that. That’s very unnecessary, but it makes me feel very good about what happened and what I did.” He said he had spoken with the family “a few times” since their ordeal and that the group hoped to meet later this year. Mr Yannone added: “They know they have a friend in Boston and I know I have a friend in Philly when I do go.”

spacer An American tourist who died at Horseshoe Bay was named today as Jacolbe Fleming. Mr Fleming, from Jonesboro, Georgia, ran into difficulty while swimming yesterday, shortly before 2.30pm. Lifeguards performed CPR but  he was taken to King Edward VII Memorial, before being pronounced dead at 3pm. A family liaison officer has been assigned to his loved ones.

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June 8

spacerBy-election winners Curtis Dickinson and Scott Pearman were sworn in as MPs today. Mr Dickinson, who won Warwick North East for the Progressive Labour Party last night, and Mr Pearman, who held Paget East for the One Bermuda Alliance, were straight into action at the House of Assembly. Politicians on both sides applauded as each took their oath of office before Dennis Lister Jr, the Speaker if the House. It marked the beginning of the day’s activities in Parliament

spacerThe Progressive Labour Party seized Warwick North East last night in an emphatic victory over the One Bermuda Alliance. Curtis Dickinson of the PLP notched up a 75-vote majority over Justin Mathias with 375 votes to 300. The OBA retained its hold on Paget East, with Scott Pearman winning the seat by a majority of 161 with 461 votes against 300 for Curtis Richardson of the PLP. A delighted Mr Dickinson said after his victory: “I am really excited by the challenge. I am looking forward to serving the people of Constituency 25.” He added: “Tomorrow, for me the work starts in terms of coming up to speed in how to behave in Parliament and helping to move the Government’s agenda forward. I’d first like to thank the voters of Constituency 25 for endorsing my candidacy and helping to deliver a victory for myself and the party this evening.” The PLP took 55.56 per cent of the Warwick North East vote to the OBA’s 44.44 on a turnout of 53.8 per cent of the 1,254 registered voters. Warwick Workmen’s Club erupted into a party as PLP supporters welcomed Mr Dickinson. A sea of green greeted him when he arrived and party supporters chanted “PLP all the way”. David Burt, the Premier, told the crowd: “The Progressive Labour Party has a long history of putting forth quality candidates at elections and this by-election was nothing different. We had two fine candidates named Curtis. One was victorious this evening, the other was not, but both are winners.” Mr Burt added: “The lessons from the voters is very simple — that they have seen the work the Progressive Labour Party has done over the last ten months and they have made sure that in Constituency 22 the margin from the last election was cut in half and in Constituency 25 there was a reversal and we got more votes this time around. From that perspective, that means that the voters in this country support the Progressive Labour Party and we take this as a vote of confidence to continue to execute on the platform which we laid out in the election.” Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, put a brave face on the Warwick North East defeat. She said: “I think that tomorrow we will be in our seats ready and be very strong because we continue to be the Opposition, a viable Opposition and we will be talking about the things that are important to Bermuda.” She added: “This is a transition — we have a team of young people and they will be out doing things that are important to Bermuda. We will be back on the doorsteps, Justin will be on the doorsteps and so will we.” Jeff Baron, whose decision to quit politics sparked the Warwick by-election, won the seat for the OBA at last year’s General Election by 493 votes to 428 votes over the PLP’s Kathy Lynn Simmons, a majority of 65. The result means the PLP has increased its number of seats in the House of Assembly to 25 and the OBA now stands at 11 seats. A disappointed Mr Mathias said: “I will continue doing what I am doing. I think the people of Warwick North East had a big win tonight. They are going to have two strong voices for Warwick North East. I know that there were a lot of people that were away. There are a lot of people that didn’t make it out today but there are reasons why some people didn’t come out and that’s OK.” Ms Atherden said: “It is my intention that he will continue to be in the Senate and work for us both in the House and the Senate.”. The OBA held on to a traditional stronghold in Paget East, with Scott Pearman triumphing over Curtis Richardson. Mr Pearman said after the results were announced that he was “extremely grateful to the voters of Paget East”. He added: “We need to make sure that we have an effective Opposition and I am in the proud position to start tomorrow on that.” Mr Pearman told those who voted PLP: “I will do my best to earn your trust as your MP.” Mr Richardson said after the results were announced: “It’s been an awesome experience once again. Constituency 22 is in fact a marginal, the margin has been narrowed in both elections. My work will continue in Constituency 22.” He thanked his team for a “tough month of good, hard work” and added: “I am really grateful to you.” Ms Atherden said: “Obviously I’m very proud of Scott, and we look forward to him being in the House tomorrow. Tomorrow we will get on with doing business.” Mr Pearman took 60.58 per cent of the votes in Paget East, with Mr Richardson on 39.42 on a turnout of 51.6 per cent of the seat’s 1,475 registered voters. Grant Gibbons, who has retired from politics, held the seat for the OBA at the last election with 704 votes to Mr Richardson’s 397 — a majority of 307.

spacerBermuda is keeping a close eye on European Union developments around requirements for jurisdictions with low or no income tax. The European Council is considering finalizing criteria for those jurisdictions, and an update is anticipated later this month according to David Burt. The Premier gave MPs an appraisal on the situation in the House of Assembly this morning. In his ministerial statement about the EU list of non co-operative jurisdictions, he said the Bermuda Government keeps a regular “watching brief on these matters and Bermuda can be assured that at every turn we are prepared to meet the issues that may arise”. Mr Burt, who is also Minister of Finance, said: “As soon as the EU has produced the documents which our legislative amendments will be required to meet by December 31, 2018, we will engage in industry-wide consultation on the next steps for Bermuda.” At the end of last year, the European Council published a list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in taxation matters. Mr Burt said the island’s “commitment letter” to the EU was sufficiently clear to keep Bermuda off the list. The letter along with commitment letters from another 40 countries appear on the EC’s website. Mr Burt said: “Bermuda along with other low/no income tax jurisdictions are in dialogue with the EU Code of Conduct Group (Business Taxation) and the European Commission both of whom are assisting the European Council to manage its list of non-cooperative jurisdictions.” The Premier said there was no room for negotiation of special treatment, carve-outs of exemptions “as the EC is adhering to a level playing field approach”. Bermuda and other UK crown dependencies and overseas territories are also in consultation with the British Government. Mr Burt said he has been keeping Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, fully briefed on the matter. Mr Burt added: “Let me take this opportunity to thank members of the Insurance Advisory Committee and also stakeholders from the local and international business community who are serving as an ad hoc advisory committee on this important issue. These two committees have provided valued advice and support during these past months and continue to do so.”

spacerBermuda’s new sugar tax will be introduced gradually after a backlash from businesses. An amended version of the Customs Tariff Amendment (No 2) Act has gone before MPs at the House of Assembly today. The Bill now proposes a new duty rate of 50 per cent on sugar on October 1. The originally planned 75 per cent tariff will come into play on April 1. The legislation targets sugar drinks and sweets. Some businesses had claimed the tax on high-sugar sweet products would harm their business and encourage shoppers to buy “even worse food alternatives” than home-made, baked goods. Health minister Kim Wilson said today amendments have been adopted after further consultation and feedback. But Ms Wilson said the “phased implementation does not detract from this Government’s determination and commitment to this progressive step”. Opening the debate, Ms Wilson told the House that legislation had been globally shown to reduce consumption of sugar-rich carbonated drinks and other products that fuel non-communicable disease such as diabetes and obesity. She said: “I can’t emphasize enough that these preventable diseases are crippling our country physically and financially.” According to surveys, 52 per cent of respondents supported the tax, while 44 were against. Retail prices will not be marked up 75 per cent: prices could increase by 20 to 50 per cent in various products, with bread possibly going up 5 per cent and bakery items by 15 per cent. She said that locally-made foods such as fudge, which was “almost 100 per cent sugar”, could increase 50 per cent at retail. An amendment will be proposed to exclude diet soda, Ms Wilson added. Another amendment proposes allowing local preparers of foodstuffs to apply for concessionary rates. Ms Wilson said taxes would be proposed for chocolate at a later date. Chocolate is currently not targeted in the legislation. Shadow health minister Susan Jackson called for a “war on sugar”. She said: “If we could just get this right and become more healthy, then we have an opportunity to reflect to the entire world that we can recover and be an example for those also trying to become more healthy, that it is possible.” Ms Jackson said manufacturers invested large sums in “keeping us addicted”. Ms Jackson also suggested that sugary items not be distributed in certain public places, much like “pivotal” restrictions on tobacco had cut down on its consumption. Conceding it was “sensitive”, Ms Jackson said removing candies from the checkouts at supermarkets might be considered.

spacerA proposed sugar tax could cause “painful price hikes”, a soft drinks producer warned yesterday. Bruce Barritt, general manager of John Barritt & Son, said higher costs faced by distributors would be passed along to customers and hit island producers of food products. He added: “Local bakeries and ice cream manufacturers will have to pay increased costs for sugar — currently at zero per cent duty and due to go to 75 per cent — while imported cookies, cakes, pies and ice cream have no hikes to their duty. We view the sugar tax as a government revenue-raising Bill not a health initiative, especially as the Government has committed to earmark ‘a portion’ of the revenues raised from the tax to support health programmes rather than ring-fence those revenues and ensure they all go to fight obesity, which was ostensibly the original reason for the tax.” Mr Barritt said the increase of duty on sodas from 35 per cent to 75 per cent will increase the cost of cases of sodas by a few dollars. “After stores add their mark-up, I expect that a can or bottle of soda will go up by fifty cents or so. We have no control over retail prices as they are determined by the individual stores and each has their own business costs to address. The really painful price hikes will come in the juice drinks, sports drinks and iced tea categories as the current duty for them is 15 per cent and they too will be hit with a 75 per cent duty rate.” He said the company expected to increase the cost of a case of those soft drinks by $5 to $7. Mr Barritt added: “The likely result is that the retail price for a cold bottle of iced tea will cost more than a cold bottle of beer at a grocery or convenience store.” He said he understood the increased tariffs, if approved, would come into effect at the start of next month. “I am hopeful that there will be some effort made to separate diet sodas out of the tax as these beverages contain no sugar or sweetener that adds calories and should therefore be exempt from any added duty.” The Customs Tariff Amendment (No 2) Act 2018, tabled in the House of Assembly last month, proposes a range of tariff changes intended to improve health. The legislation would slap higher duty rates on sugar, sweetened drinks and non-chocolate candy.

spacerPremier David Burt urged against a culture of fear as he claimed the time is right to consider constitutional change. The Premier kicked off a conference on the Bermuda Constitution of 1968 today by calling for debate on the set of principles many have claimed are out of date. He said: “We cannot meet every mention of constitutional change or independence with the same, tired arguments from 25 years ago. We cannot stifle debate on legitimate issues that are caused by our constitutional status with threats of economic ruin or rumored angst from those who do business in Bermuda. The mature society considers arguments for and against, respects the views of all stakeholders and ultimately decides on whatever the next steps will be. Fear or an endless supply of ‘what if’s’ is not an argument for or against anything.” Mr Burt said Bermuda’s leaders must determine how constitutional change will help create a better society. “Just as the world has forced us to change how we market Bermuda to tourists, just as the global economy has dictated that we diversify our local economy, we must be open also to constitutional change that will play its part in improving the lives of our people. I look forward to that debate and my hope is that as you discuss these issues throughout the day, a focus for our next chapter of constitutional development will emerge.” The conference, organized by the Centre for Justice, took place at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, and featured speeches from Chief Justice Ian Kawaley and Martha Dismont of the Family Centre. Mr Burt said the 1968 Constitution is outdated and did not reflect the true Bermuda. He said: “The factual matrix through which the passage of the 1968 document must be viewed makes the reality of it unassailable. Bermuda was imperfect, still racially segregated, ruled by an oligarchy whose principal objective was to lower the temperature of black empowerment and awareness by giving a little in the push for greater enfranchisement. That legacy of imperfection still persists today. Under the guise of universal adult suffrage, the 1968 Constitution was the legal mechanism to cement gerrymandering. Its crafty boundaries and imposition of dual seat constituencies assured victory after victory for one Party over another. Only in 2003’s General Election did we finally achieve one man or woman one vote, each vote of equal value. If we truly believe in democracy and the freedoms and rights of the individual, one of those fundamental freedoms is to challenge the authority of the State and its institutions. An active citizenry, who refuses to settle for the status quo should be encouraged. Life itself is founded in testing boundaries, growth and change.”

spacerBermuda’s new airport building will be raised by four feet to protect against storm surges, it was revealed yesterday. The new terminal will also include an outdoor porch upstairs so travelers can eat and enjoy views over Ferry Reach before they board their planes. Skyport, operators of the two-floor terminal, scheduled to open for business in July 2020, said the airport would be larger than the structure now visible from Kindley Field Road. Moe Kamleh, project manager, said: “It doesn’t look that big of a construction site as you drive by, but as you stand inside you can see how large the site really is.” The original building facing Castle Harbour is vulnerable to flooding during hurricanes and the new terminal at Stone Crusher Corner is still being raised with gravel and infill to keep it above the reach of surges. Carrie Thatcher, commercial manager for the project, said the airport’s almost 10,000 sq ft of retail space was “still at the expression of interest stage”. A bid to open a McDonald’s franchise at the airport created a political storm that led to the Prohibited Restaurants Act in 1996. Ms Thatcher said that Skyport officials were “just seeing what’s in the local market”. Roofing work at the terminal started this month and the installation of the building’s curtain walls is also scheduled to start soon. The terminal building is expected to be watertight by next January. The road to the new terminal will extend from the roundabout at the end of Longbird Bridge, with the entrance at what is now a bus terminal. Aaron Adderley, president of Skyport, said the airport has 872,000 passengers a year. He said it was “only a matter of time before we break the one million mark” as the island’s tourism market continues to pick up.

spacerThe company behind plans for a solar plant at the airport has met with the Ministry of Finance to explore avenues for Bermudians to invest, Walter Roban told MPs. The transport minister said Canadian-based Saturn Solar Bermuda 1 will build the project under a build-own-operate model. He told the House of Assembly the project, which was formally agreed to this week, “will not be the last of its kind”. Mr Roban said the solar farm idea for the “finger” runway had been introduced in 2010 by the previous Progressive Labour Party administration, when it was separated from the airport to ensure it would remain in the portfolio of government lands. Mr Roban also sought to allay public concerns over the wireless “smart meters” being installed by Belco as part of its infrastructural improvements, which he said had been contemplated as early as the 2011 energy White Paper. Assuring MPs that the devices presented no threat to public health, Mr Roban said a report by the Regulatory Authority would be released within the next ten days.

airport finger for solar power

Airport finger for solar power

spacerBermuda could show how progressive it is on a world stage if it allowed a Supreme Court ruling in favour of marriage equality to stand, a human rights lawyer said yesterday. Venous Memari, managing director of civil rights group the Centre for Justice, said: “If left alone, the effect of this decision will be that Bermuda will be able to boast about having one of the most, if not the most, progressive laws in the world on marital equality. All couples, same sex and straight couples, are entitled to enter into a domestic partnership and enjoy the rights conferred by the Domestic Partnership Act or get married, if they so wish.” Ms Memari was speaking after Chief Justice Ian Kawaley reversed a same-sex marriage ban that had been in force for less than a week. The judgment was the latest twist in a long-running legal battle fought by campaigners for marriage equality. The Supreme Court ruled last May that a denial of marriage rights to gay couples was discrimination under the Human Rights Act. There have been 14 same-sex weddings on the island and six maritime weddings on Bermudian-registered ships since then. Parliament passed the Domestic Partnership Act last December to revoke marriage equality and offered civil unions instead. The law came into force at the start of this month. Gay Bermudians Rod Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson, along with the charity OutBermuda, challenged the legislation on constitutional grounds and won their case against the Attorney-General on Wednesday. Mr Justice Kawaley’s ruling has not yet taken effect because the Attorney-General was given a six-week stay to allow time to decide whether to appeal the decision. Critics of the earlier Supreme Court judgment suggested it was wrong for a lone judge to make a decision which appeared to go against the will of Parliament. Ms Memari said the case was about constitutional law and the judgment was timely, given the discussion about the Constitution as the island marked the 50th anniversary of universal adult suffrage and the 1968 Constitution Order. She explained: “The judgment makes it clear that Parliament’s power to legislate is limited to acting within the confines of the Constitution. In other words, in Bermuda, it is the Constitution that is supreme, not the Legislature.” Mr Justice Kawaley said in his written judgment that the legislative effect of a reversal of last year’s ruling on marriage equality was “wholly or mainly about a supposedly secular Parliament privileging majority beliefs about how marriage should be legally defined over minority beliefs”. Ms Memari said: “The Chief Justice was guided by Commonwealth authorities on the secularist approach to governance, which our Constitution requires. Mr Justice Kawaley said in his written ruling that ‘Parliament may not validly promulgate laws which are motivated by a religious purpose’. He goes on to explain the broader principle that the ‘laws of a secular state may not validly impose the beliefs of religious majorities on minorities’.” Mark Pettingill, Mr Ferguson’s lawyer, agreed it was important for people to understand that Bermuda was a constitutional democracy. He said: “That is the guiding principle and that is above what may be the will of Parliament.”

spacerPeople who campaigned against marriage equality will come to feel “shame and regret” in the future, former Attorney-General Mark Pettingill predicted yesterday. Mr Pettingill, who represented gay Bermudian Rod Ferguson in a successful Supreme Court bid to have the ban on same-sex marriage reversed, told The Royal Gazette: “Twenty years from now, some people’s children are going to, at dinner, say: ‘how could you?’ “It’s going to be, in years to come, for some of those people, a position of shame and regret, like it is with many people in our society on the race issue. They are ashamed of what they didn’t do. It’s the old classic, isn’t it? Bad things happen because good people stand by and do nothing. History is made by people having the courage to bring about change and we have, in many instances, lacked that courage.” Mr Pettingill was speaking after the island’s top judge, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley, upheld a constitutional challenge to the new Domestic Partnership Act on Wednesday. Mr Justice Kawaley declared that sections of the Act designed to revoke the right to same-sex marriage were invalid. He made the ruling after the Act was challenged by Mr Ferguson, Maryellen Jackson and gay rights charity OutBermuda. The case was brought against Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons. Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said the Government would appeal “subject to any legal advice we receive” just after the judgment was made. Mr Pettingill asked the Government not to go down the expensive appeal route and instead to draw a line under the debate. He said: “The judgment is so legally sound, that it would be folly for the Government to launch an appeal. It should be over. If common sense prevails, it should be.” He added the judgment, which ruled that the DPA went against a constitutional right to freedom of conscience and a provision against discrimination on the basis of creed, as “one for the ages”. Mr Pettingill said the decision reflected Bermuda’s “excellent judicial process” and a “democratic system that is working very well”. He added he was pleased that Mr Justice Kawaley picked up on a comparison he made to the days of racial segregation when black people were allowed to enter theatres but had to sit in different seats to white people. Mr Pettingill said: “This was always the crux of my case. What the Crown tried to argue was ‘but you still have ... all of the same legal rights, what are you complaining about? The argument back then was: ‘you still get to see the movie, we just don’t want you sitting in the same place’. This was ‘you still get to have a legal relationship that the state is calling a domestic partnership but you can’t have marriage, even though other people can’. It’s a perfectly analogous situation.” Mr Pettingill praised Mr Ferguson for his courage as the face of the marriage equality campaign and said he took personal pride in the case, which he argued for the plaintiffs alongside lawyers Rod Attride-Stirling and Ronald Myers. He added: “You want, as a lawyer, to have a legacy to what you do. You want to have done something really meaningful. It’s not just about winning cases — we all want to do that and earn a good living. It’s the ability to do something that means something in such a tremendous way on a human rights issue. It’s something your kids can be proud of. That is, kind of, what I’m most pleased about because my youngest children — not just the older ones, but the younger ones, aged 8 and 6 — get it.” Mr Pettingill said the DPA was a compromise Bill from the Progressive Labour Party administration drawn up because so much of its support base opposed marriage equality. He criticized the three independent senators who backed it — Joan Dillas-Wright, James Jardine and Michelle Simmons. Mr Pettingill said: “These are the people who are supposed to be sitting in the middle, looking at things sensibly and not guided by any kind of political persuasion. So for them — en masse, as they did — to come out and say ‘oh, Bermuda is not there, we are not ready for this’, was appalling. If I had been the Governor, they would have been fired, just for even that approach to it. I thought that was shameful from the independents.”

spacerCoin and cryptocurrency exchange Arbitrade is bringing its world headquarters to Bermuda. The company, which is also in the process of buying solid gold casts of Nelson Mandela’s hands, palm and fist for $10 million, held “strategic meetings with several major countries” in January and February before deciding where to domicile. It chose Bermuda after a number of visits to the island, and meetings with David Burt and other members of the Bermuda Government, the Bermuda Monetary Authority and the Bermuda Business Development Agency. Arbitrade said it is registered on the island and expects to be a legally licensed and insured company in Bermuda later this month. “The company made numerous visits over several months and a considerable amount of work was done to securing our incorporation,” Leonard Schutzman, chairman of Arbitrade, said in a statement. Bermuda is justly regarded as the gold standard in the fintech and reinsurance industries globally and Arbitrade’s goal was always to domicile its head office in this exacting jurisdiction before registering subsidiaries in other countries around the world.” Once it is legally licensed in Bermuda, Arbitrade intends to commence an eight-week initial coin offering, followed by the launch of the Arbitrade platform in late August and early September. The ICO could be the first to take place in Bermuda after the passing of ICO legislation by the Government, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks. In his statement, Mr Schutzman said the company welcomed the cryptocurrency legislation and associated regulations “that form a strong foundation in developing the best strategies to advance its business model into other countries”. He said Arbitrade also welcomed the stringent know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering process. “It seemed to us the only way our industry will receive global acceptance. With this thoughtful and timely structure of Bermuda’s laws to guide and support us, Arbitrade can now move forward into over 12 additional countries quickly and then continue to introduce our platforms to more jurisdictions,” he said. Arbitrade held a presentation about its business at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute on May 31. The event was attended by the Premier who, in a tweet the same day, said: “The team demonstrated their cryptocurrency platform and explained plans to create more job opportunities in Bermuda for Bermudians.” Arbitrade plans to be “in all segments of the cryptocurrency business, including currency mining, trading, gift cards, debit cards, money transfer and points of sale processing”. Last Friday, the House of Assembly passed the Digital Asset Business Act 2018. Referring to the legislation in his statement, Mr Schutzman said: “This thoughtful and timely action demonstrates, once again, why Bermuda is a world leader in regulating financially related services. The progressive legislation sets the highest standards for those companies who have chosen to establish digital assets businesses on the island and validates the company’s decision to incorporate and domicile our global headquarters in Bermuda.” A separate and unusual piece of company news is Arbitrade’s decision to agree to buy the Nelson Mandela Golden Hands Collection. The collection consists of solid gold casts made of Mr Mandela’s hands, palm and fist. Arbitrade completed the $2.5 million purchase of the first item, a cast of the former South African president’s fist, last month.

Arbitrade has a website at arbitrade.io.

spacerA retail park tucked away at Southside in St David’s is a popular place for East End residents, and business owners are hoping to welcome more locals to shop at the out-of-town location. A number of the retailers have spoken about what it is like to be part of the small community of businesses on Waller’s Point Road, adjacent to the northern edge of LF Wade International Airport’s airfield. Home furnishings business Big Savings Zone opened at the location 18 years ago. Ashley Wilson, a sales representative, said general traffic throughout the week is steady, and as it stays open until 7pm it is convenient for people popping by after work. Saturday is also popular with customers. “People often say they haven’t heard of us, or don’t come to this side of the island often. People who come down this way live down here, and it’s convenient for them,” she said, adding that the benefit of being in the Southside location is that there are no other furniture businesses in the area. Christopher Smith is a salesperson at Atlas Home Improvements. It is a one-stop shop for kitchen, baths and renovations needs. He believes owning a business in Southside is better financially, and said: “The benefits of having a business up here is the rent is a lot cheaper.” Atlas Home Improvements opened eight years and attracts customers from across the island. Mr Smith said: “We do anything to do with kitchens, cabinets, counter tops, tile, appliances and more.” John Powell, is the owner of Powell’s Marine Limited. The company won a Best of Bermuda award from The Bermudian magazine two years ago It specializes in repairing boats, outboards, inboards, and diesel motors. In addition it services boats and paints them. “We also have retail where we sell parts such as batteries, belts and more. We order special parts as well,” said Mr Powell. The business opened ten years ago and has a steady customer base, but it is always looking for more. Mr Powell said: “A big advantage for us in the east is the yachts that come in. We have been servicing them, but because we do not have enough mechanics we turn some away.” He is looking to hire more staff, and is seeking people with at least five years’ experience in marine mechanics. One of the newer businesses in the area is Quality Tires and Services. It opened a year ago. Owner Andrew Roberts said business has been going well. “We sell tires and batteries, which is cost-effective. We also change tires for customers and the location is perfect because we are right across the street from TCD [the Southside satellite inspection centre]. If someone’s car hasn’t passed because the tires need to be changed, then we can change them here,” Mr Roberts said. “I am trying to cater to the East End as much as possible so customers do not have to go into town.”

spacerA scheme to get around the expiry of a restaurant’s liquor licence by use of a private members’ club next door was slammed by the Liquor Licensing Authority yesterday. Juan Wolffe, chairman of the LLA, said Mad Hatters restaurant in Hamilton had served food with alcohol available at the neighboring Mariners Club after the restaurant’s licence expired last Friday. Mr Wolffe said: “You knew you weren’t supposed to serve alcohol from June 1 to now, but it seems you have some sort of arrangement with Mariners Club where you would move all your tables into their premises and your customers would be given two different bills — one from your establishment and one from Mariners Club.” Mr Wolffe warned: “We are going to be calling on the Mariners Club because being a members’ club does not cover that. It may be that Mariners Club loses their licence if they are found in breach. I don’t know what kind of arrangement you have, or if you are trying to be clever, but that attempt to be clever might result in you both not getting your licences.” Mark Turner, for Mad Hatters, admitted that the restaurant had moved tables into the club and served food there while Mariners Club served the customers drinks. He said Tempest in St George, which also lost its licence, was empty on Friday night, which hurt the business and staff. Mr Turner added: “We were trying to keep everybody happy and succeeded in upsetting somebody. We did try to stay on the right side of the law. I wasn’t aware we overstepped.” Mr Wolffe said he was concerned that if the authority were to give Mad Hatters a new licence, it would encourage their conduct. The chairman added that Mad Hatters had not collected their 2016 licence, which meant the restaurant could not have displayed the licence as required by law. He also said the restaurant had applied late for their licence several times in recent years. Mr Wolffe told Mr Turner they would be contacted when the authority had made its decision. The Happy Valley and Vesey Street branches of Belvin’s Variety also came under fire for a series of late submissions. Mr Wolffe said: “You have two establishments and almost every year for the last five years, you have filed late applications. The LLA still went ahead and gave you a break and still every year it seems you are late.” Mr Wolffe said the applicants would have to return to the courts on June 28, with the stores unable to sell alcohol until then. Yellowtail Ltd, represented by lawyer Richard Horseman, apologized for late applications for three Hamilton restaurants — Astwood Arms, Ruby Murry’s and Cafe Ten. Mr Horseman said the mistake had been his in all three cases. Mr Wolffe said Astwood Arms had only recently opened, but Cafe Ten had been late with previous applications. He said: “On all these other occasions, the LLA stretched itself to hear the applications. It seems as though your client still was in non-compliance. The LLA was not unreasonable in any sense of the word.” Mr Wolffe said the LLA would need to consider the applications, but said the Supreme Court had given the restaurants the ability to sell alcohol until the authority makes its decision. Esso City Tiger Mart and Esso Collectors Hill also came under fire for late applications. Representatives from both stations apologized and told the authority the inability to sell alcohol had affected their incomes. Mr Wolffe said he did not support the sale of alcohol in gas stations so the businesses had to be careful to stay in line. He added: “I don’t want to find a reason to say you are not getting your licence.” Further hearings will be held today.

spacerSteam education will be implemented at primary schools across the island, education minister Diallo Rabain said. Mr Rabain said children would benefit academically and behaviorally through the Steam method, which focuses on a collaborative approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. He said the Department of Education had identified the “Engineering Is Elementary” curriculum, which is aligned with the Cambridge International Science Curriculum, as the best fit for primary school students. Mr Rabain told the House of Assembly: “The Engineering Is Elementary curriculum was selected because the curriculum is universally designed to meet the needs of all learners. Students move step-by-step through a goal-directed problem-solving process.” The programme has already been piloted in West Pembroke, Paget, Northlands and Prospect Primary Schools. An additional two primary schools will be included this September. Other primary schools will be added with the aim that all will be included by 2020-21. The annual cost of implementing each phase is about $125,000. Mr Rabain added that a Stem 101 programme is already under way in middle and senior schools. In a separate ministerial statement, Mr Rabain also spoke about fintech opportunities for young people. He said: “Discussions have already begun with various companies who have signed MOUs, to establish their training needs and representatives from one of the organisations will be on island next week for further talks. Other companies will also be visiting the island to discuss their training needs over the next few weeks. The idea is to provide training opportunities that will cover a wide cross-section of our community from high school students to professionals looking for potential career changes.”

spacerA 38-year-old American tourist died yesterday after he fell ill at Horseshoe Bay. Richard Bean, a beach attendant, said the man was pulled from the water at the popular tourist beach after he suffered breathing problems. Lifeguards performed CPR on the man before he was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but he was later pronounced dead by doctors. The incident happened at about 2.30pm when the Southampton beach was packed with about 1,000 tourists. Nathan Trott, lifeguard superintendent, said that five lifeguards were on duty. Mr Bean was also on duty at the time of the incident. He said he saw a group of people huddled around the man as he lay on the beach after being pulled from the water. Mr Bean said that a woman was “devastated and in tears” beside the man as lifeguards battled to save him. Dave Arthurs and Clare O’Connor, from Toronto, said they were eating lunch at the beach bar when the ambulance arrived. The couple added there was “a lot of commotion” as the man was transported from the beach on an all-terrain vehicle to a waiting ambulance. Police said yesterday that the man would not be named until next of kin were informed.

spacerOn the last day of her first Bermuda Powwow, Carol Wynne wandered over to the vendor stands. She wanted to pick up a special souvenir to take home to Massachusetts. “But I didn’t have enough Bermuda money to buy anything,” recalled Ms Wynne, a member of the Wampanoag tribe. “I only had plastic.” But Bermudian vendor, Patricia Raynor, stepped in to give her something special, a long blue feather. The two became instant friends, talking about the annual powwow in Ms Wynne’s home town of Mashpee, and people they both knew from the Bermuda Powwow. “It was her friendliness, calmness and naturalness that I liked,” Mrs Raynor said. “She had no put-ons.” “I just knew right away that I could talk to Patricia,” Ms Wynne said. “She is very friendly and hospitable, and very soothing to talk to. Talking with her is like talking to an aunt I had years ago.” Their friendship continued over social media, and that summer Mrs Raynor and her husband Steven, went to Mashpee to stay with Mrs Wynne and attend the Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow for the first time. People at the powwow welcomed Mrs Raynor and other Bermudians as long lost cousins. Many people in Bermuda believe their ancestors were bought to Bermuda as slaves during the Pequot wars in the 1630s. “The tribal leaders called the Bermudians into the middle of the circle and told everyone who we were,” Mrs Raynor said. “It was like your mother invited you over to have supper. It felt that comfortable. And people there kept saying we looked like their uncle or their friend.” Mrs Raynor has attended the Mashpee Powwow several more times since 2012 and was eventually given a Wampanoag name, Blue Blanket. “The medicine man said he saw a healing spirit around me that represented the blue,” Mrs Raynor said. “He also felt I had a very comforting spirit and people could talk and feel comfortable with me. That is where the blanket came in.” Mrs Raynor said the name fitted, because she has been growing her own food since she was 17, and often providing healing herbs like rosemary to friends and family. And vice versa, Ms Wynne continued attending Bermuda Powwows, and staying with Mrs Raynor’s family and sometimes with the family of Sinclair “Brinky” Tucker. She is here again for Bermuda Powwow 2018 this weekend at the St David’s Cricket Club. Ms Wynne feels just as at home here, as Mrs Raynor does in Mashpee. “I swear some of my friends and relatives from back home have carbon copies here,” Ms Wynne said. “That is our ancestors DNA traveling. That is why it is so important that we all stay together. That little DNA is in each one of us keeps saying, hello, don’t forget who you are.” The friendship has been a healing one for the two of them. “In Bermuda, way back when, our ancestors couldn’t talk about having Native American blood,” Mrs Raynor said. “The government would have stopped them. But the information started coming out.” The 57-year-old started researching her Native American heritage in 2007. Mrs Raynor said years ago, watching old cowboy and Indian movies, she was always on the side of the Native American, without really knowing why. “I think it was just something that came from my DNA,” she said. “That is the way it goes. That is how I felt.” When she reconnected with her Massachusetts cousins, she felt like a circle had been completed. “I felt ‘I am with my ancestors. I know what my culture is’,” she said. “You just feel complete inside.” She started dancing in powwows a few years ago. “My spirit felt really good,” she said. “When I was able to get my regalia and wear it to a powwow I felt complete. You order it online from different people. You ask questions about who makes what. Believe it or not, the first ceremonial blanket I made was a dark purply blue. This was quite a few years before I got the name Blue Blanket. When I got my name everything came full circle.” Now she’s proud that one of her granddaughters, Keyahanee Burgess, 10, dances at the Bermuda Powwow. The last Bermuda Powwow was in 2015. There was none last year because of the America’s Cup. “I have been looking forward to it,” Mrs Raynor said. “Nobody is happier than me when I get to a powwow. I like everything about it, the drums, the socializing, talking with my foreign cousins. Just being together is wonderful.” Today, Ms Wynne says she still has her friend and cousin’s blue feather. “I keep it in a special place on my bureau,” she said. Bermuda Powwow 2018 is on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10,  rom 2pm to 6pm on the St David’s Cricket Club grounds in St David’s. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. 

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June 7

spacerGay couples won the right to marry yesterday for the second time in little more than a year, but the Government said it would appeal the Supreme Court decision to reverse the ban on same-sex marriage. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley upheld a constitutional challenge against the Domestic Partnership Act, delivering a judgment that declared invalid the parts of the legislation which revoked marriage equality. His ruling was greeted with a round of applause from a packed public gallery and joyful celebrations outside the courtroom. Several hours later, Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, announced the judgment would be appealed “subject to any legal advice that we receive”. Mr Justice Kawaley’s ruling does not take immediate effect because he agreed to an application by Solicitor-General Melvin Douglas, representing the Attorney-General, for a six-week stay to allow the Government to decide whether to appeal. During that period, gay couples will only be able to apply to enter into domestic partnerships. Mr Brown said: “We are pleased that the Chief Justice has stayed the decision until an appeal can be submitted.” Mr Justice Kawaley said in his ruling that the sections of the Act that revoked the right to same-sex marriage were invalid because they favored one set of beliefs about marriage over another and were inconsistent with provisions in the Constitution that gave the right to freedom of conscience and creed. After the hearing, gay Bermudians Rod Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson, who launched the civil proceedings, along with charity OutBermuda, said they were delighted with the outcome. Mr Ferguson said: “Obviously the stay is disappointing, but the win is amazing. The feeling is incredible. I’m so excited. This is a win for equality, for Bermuda, for all of us.” Ms Jackson added: “It is amazing to be a part of it and everyone wins.” Mark Pettingill, lawyer for Mr Ferguson, said: “We’re thrilled. I can’t say there’s any other way to put it. This is justice prevailed. We fought so long so it would prevail and the right thing has been done.” He added that he was optimistic the matter would not return to the courts, despite Mr Brown’s statement. Mr Pettingill said: “I remain hopeful common sense will prevail after they take advice as the minister indicated they would do before appealing.” Rod Attride-Stirling, who represented Ms Jackson and OutBermuda, said: “Human rights mean rights for all humans and there is no question that the decision has been correctly decided. As for the appeal, it will be a short wait, but I think that we will be vindicated.” In his written judgment, the Chief Justice said the complainants were not seeking the right to compel people of opposing beliefs to celebrate or enter into same-sex marriage. “They merely seek to enforce the rights of those who share their beliefs to freely manifest them in practice,” he said. "Persons who passionately believe that same-sex marriages should not take place for religious or cultural reasons are entitled to have those beliefs respected and protected by law. But, in return for the law protecting their own beliefs, they cannot require the law to deprive persons who believe in same-sex marriage of respect and legal protection for their opposing beliefs.” The DPA was passed by Parliament in December to reverse a Supreme Court ruling from May last year which enabled gay couples to tie the knot. The new legislation came into force on Friday, revoking the right of gay couples to marry and offering them — and heterosexual couples — legally recognized civil unions. The Chief Justice found the DPA was inconsistent with provisions in the Constitution giving the right to freedom of conscience and outlawing discrimination on the basis of creed. He quoted an analogy he said was put forward “evocatively” by Mr Pettingill during last month’s hearing on the case. Mr Pettingill argued that same-sex couples being allowed to participate in domestic partnerships but not marriages was akin to people of colour in Bermuda being permitted to enter the theatre but required to sit in special seats. It wasn’t an answer, Mr Pettingill said, for the Crown to say being let into the theatre meant no discrimination was taking place. “No reasonable court, properly directing itself, could possibly find that providing differing types of legal recognition for same-sex and heterosexual couples was not differential treatment in general terms,” said Mr Justice Kawaley. Mr Attride-Stirling asked the court to consider the advantages the DPA conferred on those who believed in traditional marriage. Mr Justice Kawaley agreed that those advantages “took the form of the state solely recognizing a form of marriage which that clearly identified group of believers adhered to…this group was clearly preferred on grounds which were wholly or mainly attributable to their beliefs.” He said his decision “vindicates the principle that Parliament cannot impose the religious preferences of any one group on the society as a whole through legislation of general application”. The Chief Justice added: “The present case was aggravated by the fact that the DPA took away legal rights which had only recently been recognized by the courts ...” The passing of the DPA made Bermuda unique as the only country in the world to have allowed gay marriage and then revoked that right. It prompted a firestorm of criticism here and abroad, leading to Mr Ferguson’s decision to sue the Attorney-General. Global news media reported on yesterday’s decision, with The Independent, BuzzFeed, Metro Weekly, Travel Weekly and the Daily Beast among the outlets publishing stories.

spacerPatients with serious mental disorders will be given the opportunity for overseas treatment in specialized facilities thanks to the passing of the Mental Health Amendment Act in the Senate today. Junior Minister for Home Affairs Crystal Caesar said the act aims to “provide for a patient who is liable to be detained and who needs to find criteria to be transferred to a hospital overseas for detention and treatment where such treatment is not available in Bermuda”. Ms Caesar said: “When considering the need for making such arrangements for mentally disordered persons it became apparent that while the Mental Health Act provides for a person suffering from a mental disorder to be lawfully detained in any hospital, the authority granted to the Minister of Health … is limited to local facilities only. In order to establish authority to provide the necessary treatment overseas it is proposed to introduce a new section to enable the Minister of Health to discharge a patient detained in a hospital in Bermuda and conveyed to a hospital overseas.” The arrangement is for those who are sectioned and in need of intensive treatment not available on the island which is about four to five patients currently. Ms Caesar added: “It is akin to needing acute medical care in tertiary hospital centre for a stroke or premature baby. Bermuda cannot provide all hospital treatment — it is neither cost effective nor safe. “The need to transfer overseas for specialized medical care is a natural consequence for our size, location and isolation. The clinical, technical and legal teams have made the necessary accommodation to assure the safety and human rights of such persons and that they are protected including some family visitation and medical coverage.” Senate president Joan Dillas-Wright took the opportunity to welcome the amendment as a former administrator of Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute when it was St Brendan's. “This was an issue that was long standing and that was discussed at length. I am very, very pleased to see this come to fruition because it was certainly something that I along with the psychiatrist at the time were trying to arrange.”

spacerAndrew Simons attacked the Progressive Labour Party for its approach to a wide range of issues in the Senate yesterday. In a speech made during the motion to adjourn, the One Bermuda Alliance senator declared “hypocrisy is real” in the PLP. Mr Simons told the Upper House: “Last week, we acknowledged the 50th anniversary of Bermuda’s constitution. Our constitution does not protect queer Bermudians and it doesn’t protect women — the protections for women only come in the Human Rights Act, which is really a piece of anti-discrimination legislation.” While the debate took place, the Supreme Court upheld a constitutional challenge to the Domestic Partnership Act, ensuring gay couples again have the right to marry. No senators responded directly to the issue of marriage rights for same-sex couples. Mr Simons also described the “bemused” reaction of members of the PLP to the announcement by David Burt that a national holiday would be granted to recognize the Portuguese community. Mr Simons, who described the move as “political pandering”, said the community should be celebrated but questioned “the absence of meaningful pathways towards citizenship in Bermuda”. In response, PLP senator Anthony Richardson described the move by the Premier as bold and highlighted why it had been met with “mixed emotions” by some in the black community. He said: “You have a black Premier taking a very active step to recognize the Portuguese community in the context of the black Bermudian community still having many unresolved issues that stem from discrimination. Some of those realities still exist today." Mr Richardson pointed to the example of black people in the past not being permitted to buy property in certain areas. PLP senator Vance Campbell said that his party had helped the Portuguese by giving them a pathway to PRC status, but added: “That should not be the final stopping place for that Portuguese community.” Turning to healthcare costs, Mr Simons said increased fees for diagnostic imagers will push up health insurance premiums. Mr Richardson interjected to say that his party had moved towards the “containment of costs in Bermuda”, including the formation of the Cost of Living Commission and the Living Wage Committee, while reviewing taxes. Mr Simons then raised the issue of finance, highlighting that there had been “a lot of action by the PLP in the area of foreign investment”, including the Bermuda Infrastructure Fund and numerous memorandums of understanding. Mr Simons said: “When the OBA negotiated foreign investment on the island, it was the source of protests and endless criticism. When the PLP negotiates foreign investment there is silence from those same civil society entities.” Mr Campbell responded that the protests surrounding the airport redevelopment “wasn’t anti-investment, it was anti-giving away a major asset of this country for a significant period of time”. Mr Simons clarified that it was control of the asset, not the asset itself. Mr Simons also expressed concerns over “an issue of anti-democratic behavior” towards the independent judiciary. He said: “The current government has been quite hostile to the notion of an independent judiciary for a number of months and I highlight the two subjects of immigration and same-sex marriage. In both instances the PLP took steps to cut the legs from under that judiciary by removing the supremacy of the Human Rights Act over other pieces of legislation.” Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons responded: “The judiciary is actually the sitting judges, the judicial department is the administration of that bench, so he needs to be clear before he makes inflammatory remarks as to what the system is in terms of structure.” She later accused Mr Simons of using the motion to adjourn to “advance frivolous, inaccurate and unsubstantiated rhetoric”.

spacerThe Bermuda Constitution of 1968 was crafted to “maintain the status quo”, even as it advanced voters’ rights, a visiting academic has said. Nicola Barker, an expert on human rights and constitutional law, is among the speakers at a conference on the constitution hosted by the Centre for Justice tomorrow. The 50th anniversary of the May 22 General Election, Bermuda’s first with universal adult suffrage, has been marked with a special session of Parliament. Dr Barker, from the University of Liverpool, emphasized that she was speaking “from an outsider’s perspective, but looking at what happened in the UK at the time”. Bermuda’s political future came up for debate in Britain in 1966, when a Bermudian delegation joined a constitutional conference to push for change. From her study of the UK parliamentary debates in 1966, Dr Barker detected “a certain feeling in the UK that civil rights was an American issue that might migrate to Bermuda if they were not careful”. She said: “There seems to be a general consensus that this constitution was about maintaining the status quo of the power dynamic in Bermuda at that time. My argument is not that the constitution created racial inequality, but it was certainly never created to do anything to resolve that problem.” Bermuda’s new constitution did “just enough”, Dr Barker added. Venous Memari, managing director at the Centre for Justice, pointed out that while the constitution’s chapter of fundamental rights “prominently” featured racial discrimination, it has “nothing to do about the structural issues already in place — you are not solving the systemic issues”. Dr Barker said: “Historians are pretty united about that. There was essentially a stitch-up between the Governor, Lord Martonmere, and Sir Henry Tucker, the government leader at the time, that created quite a conservative variation of constitutional change — and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office rubber-stamped that.” She said that “a constitutional reform process should be led by Bermudians”. Dr Barker plans to speak on the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution and its uncertain relationship with the European Convention of Human Rights. “Another part that I will argue should be looked at is the power of the Governor,” Dr Barker said, citing the appointment of a British officer over Bermudian candidates as the island’s new Commissioner of Police. Granting the governor power over the police service “seems like a relic of the colonial era, when the UK wanted to retain an almost physical control over its colonies. There are ways you could discharge that responsibility by putting in place the appropriate constitutional mechanisms,” Dr Barker said. David Burt, the Premier, will deliver the opening speech at the conference, which will then hear from Dr Barker and other speakers from 9am and 4.30pm at the BUEI.

spacerThe first blockchain transaction for marine insurance has been delivered, according to Willis Towers Watson. The global advisory, broking and solutions company was involved in the breakthrough, together with partiers XL Catlin, EY, MS Amlin, A.P. Møller-Maersk, ACORD and Microsoft. It is expected that the blockchain technology will be used in other insurance sectors in due course. Alastair Swift, head of corporate risk and broking GB, Willis Towers Watson, said: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of blockchain technology which has the potential to revolutionise the insurance industry. This is the first insurance transaction that has been undertaken through blockchain, simplifying and streamlining the transactional process and creating added value for our clients. We strongly believe this is an industry game-changer and that all carriers and brokers should adopt blockchain technology to drive improved transactional efficiency and innovation for their clients.” The technology will support more than half a million automated blockchain transactions and help manage risk for more than 1,000 commercial vessels in the first year. Willis Towers Watson said that by connecting participants in a secure, private network with an accurate, immutable audit trail and services to execute processes, the platform establishes “a first of its kind digital insurance value chain”.

spacerGlobal professional services firm PwC is to help the Bermuda Government complete its public service reform plan free of charge. Government reform minister Lovitta Foggo, the government reform minister, said Government officials will also be asked to contribute to the plan in a process expected to be complete this summer. Ms Foggo has had talks with key players for several months over the plan to improve the efficiency and quality of the public service. She said: “We have made some significant and meaningful strides since the planning process began. I have engaged with many of our valued stakeholders, including my Cabinet colleagues, key internal Government personnel and representatives from Government’s various union partners. The meetings have been encouraging. Ultimately our strategic reform agenda will be guided by the tenets of transparency, agility, accountability, innovation, empowerment and sustainability. Our vision is a future-forward Government for the people of Bermuda. I wish to thank PwC Bermuda for their support in this regard and we look forward to the public service’s engagement in this process.” Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda leader, said: “Governments around the world face many complex issues and are constantly challenged to deliver quality public services in the most efficient way. Public services reform is one of the critical challenges and opportunities facing Bermuda today. Central to the PwC network’s purpose - we work to solve important problems and build trust in society. Given our long-term focus on the success of Bermuda and evident momentum towards change we decided to contribute our services and expertise without any charge to the public purse. We are therefore pleased to work with the minister and the Public Service to deliver impactful and sustainable solutions which will benefit the people of Bermuda.”

spacerA woman jailed for importing cannabis to treat her seizures has been released on bail. Natasha York, a 41-year-old mother of two, was released from custody last Friday, four days after she was sentenced to serve three months behind bars. Lawyer Paul Wilson said it is common for those appealing sentences to be given bail until the appeal is decided, if the courts do not believe there is a risk of the person fleeing the country or committing further offences. Mr Wilson said: “The rationale is that the court doesn’t want someone behind bars if they can avoid it. Sometimes there are many conditions to bail. In Ms York’s case, her travel documents have had to be submitted, she will be made to report to Hamilton police station until she can be fitted with an electronic monitoring device and she has had to provide a $40,000 surety, among other things. But at least she is out and can be with her children.” Ms York was arrested at LF Wade International Airport after she was found with 1,430 grams of cannabis. Magistrates’ Court heard she had been suffering intractable seizures for several years with anti-seizure medications having little effect. Kyjuan Brown, medical director at Northshore Medical and Aesthetics Centre, said cannabis had completely halted her seizures. York applied for a licence to import medical marijuana, but decided to illegally bring the drugs to the island after her application was refused. Her licence has since been approved. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo sentenced York to 12 months in prison, but suspended nine months of the sentence for a year. Ms York filed an appeal against her sentence on the grounds that, given her unusual circumstances, the magistrate should have used his discretion to suspend the entire sentence.

spacerA family who fled a hurricane-devastated Caribbean island last year to find refuge in Bermuda are on their way home. Mark and Jeannette Forte and their three children were welcomed by the island after the British Virgin Islands was hammered by Hurricane Irma last September. Now, as the family prepare to resume their lives in BVI, they thanked Bermuda for coming to their rescue. Jeannette Forte said: “We cannot begin to thank you all enough for the way we have been treated by each and every person we have encountered.” Her husband, Mark Forte, added: “I don’t think we felt that we were imposing on Bermuda and I think Bermuda in that sense made us feel very welcome.” Mr Forte said that they would either have been split up, or back in England, had it not been for Bermuda’s help. He added: “We have been extremely fortunate.” Ms Forte relocated to Bermuda with children Leo, 18, Nina, 17, and Jasper, 14, in September last year after Irma battered the BVI with 185mph winds after cutting a path of destruction through other Caribbean islands. Mr Forte, a lawyer with law firm Conyers Dill and Pearman in the BVI, joined them and the children started at Warwick Academy two days after arriving. As they settled into life on the island, the youngsters spoke about their experience and the damage caused by the Category 5 storm. Nina said the aftermath of the hurricane was “surreal. It was scary. It was like a bomb went off on the entire island and there wasn’t a tree standing.” Mr Forte, who left the island with Leo yesterday, said their home would take years to recover. He added: “In terms of infrastructure it’s a big task — it’s a five-year plan.” Nina, who returned home for two weeks in April, said she had seen some progress, although a lot more work needed to be done. Ms Forte added that their house also needed more work but she said: “I’m looking forward to going back and seeing what needs doing and then helping out with that. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again and then establishing a routine.” She said she would miss the close friends she had made on the island. She added: “That’s going to be the bittersweet bit.” Nina said: “I’ve loved the fact that Bermuda is so organised, accessible and advanced. I am going to miss how efficient everything is because when I go back home I know it’s not going to be as efficient.” The family, originally from Manchester, England, have lived in the BVI for more than 14 years, stayed in Bermuda for nine months so the children could finish their school year. Nina said she had loved her time at Warwick Academy and thanked her teachers, as well as her school friends for welcoming her into their lives. She added: “It’s what I needed coming here, the transition being a bit choppy. Having that filled a gap and made it a lot easier to relax. All in all, we are incredibly proud of how the kids have dealt with everything because had it been more difficult for them, then it would have been much more difficult for us. They have been absolutely strong and sensible.” The family also thanked taxi driver Troy Bassett, who took them under his wing, and Conyers for making the transition as smooth as possible.

spacerTwo snorkelers were saved in an incident at a Southampton beach last week, according to news organisations in the United States. However, a representative with the Maritime Operations Centre in Bermuda was not able to find a report of the incident at Church Bay when contacted yesterday. According to Massachusetts newspaper The Enterprise, Allen Yannone, of West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was at the Southampton beach with his wife on Tuesday when he heard a woman calling for help. The woman told Mr Yannone that her husband and her sister-in-law had become trapped against a rock while snorkeling. Mr Yannone told The Enterprise: “I said to her, ‘I’m going to get them and I’ll be right back. I went into the water and as I’m swimming over I noticed there was a couple on the other side of a rock face about 20-30 yards into the water. They were trying to stay on it and the waves were hitting them.” Mr Yannone said the pair was “bloody and cut up”. He used a life vest to help get them back to the shore. Mr Yannone said it was not until he arrived back home in the US and received a call from his mother that he learnt news of the rescue had made it on to social media. He said that he saw a picture that had been snapped of the three after the rescue when he logged into Facebook. Mr Yannone said: “It was the coolest feeling to know these people really wanted to reach out and that just means the world to me.” He told The Enterprise that he did not see himself as a hero. Mr Yannone added: “If anyone takes anything away, it’s just do the right thing.”

spacerThe Government advised yesterday that there is no need for alarm after the sighting of a hammerhead shark at Shelly Bay. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued its response three days after the six-foot shark came close to the shore at the popular Hamilton Parish beach on Sunday. A spokeswoman said: “While sightings of sharks are rare in inshore Bermuda waters, especially along our beaches, it is not unheard of and there are a number of accounts in the records. The ministry would like to state that there is no need for alarm in these types of events. Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that swimmers exit the water in a calm manner and wait for the animal to leave the area before entering again. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to approach or handle the shark in anyway.” An officer from the ministry attended the scene 30 minutes after the shark was spotted, but the animal had already left the area. The spokeswoman said it is likely to be the same shark sighted over the past few months. The Royal Gazette reported this week that hammerheads are not considered aggressive unless provoked. The government spokeswoman said: “There are only a few instances of unprovoked attacks in records worldwide and these are attributed to much larger animals than the one sighted. It is not known why this animal is moving around Bermuda’s inshore water, but it is likely due to the abundance of prey items notably fish, rays, crustaceans and cephalopods such as squid and octopus.” She added there are nine species of hammerhead sharks globally, including several classified as endangered on the World Conservation Union’s 2008 Red List of Threatened Species. Anyone who spots a shark can call the Bermuda Aquarium and Museum and Zoo on 293-2727.

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June 6

spacerOne Bermuda Alliance by-election candidates said ahead of the voting tomorrow that education is the major concern of constituency households. Justin Mathias, who is up against the Progressive Labour Party’s Curtis Dickinson in Warwick North East, said education remained the “number- one issue” among constituents. He said: “A lot of people have been disappointed because of the recent statement from the Bermuda Union of Teachers saying they have lost confidence in the minister.” Mr Mathias said education had been the top issue for the last 20 years. He added: “It’s about time we take politics out of education. “It’s time to consider having a full-on approach, shaking the system to its core, and creating an authority to take politics away from the education system and come up with a strategic plan that’s going to benefit our country for the next 20 years — no matter who is in government.” Scott Pearman, the OBA candidate for Paget East, described education as a “fundamental”. Mr Pearman said: “Obviously, Bermuda needs a strong economy, yes, and Bermuda needs jobs, but we need to focus on Bermudians and we need to have an education that prepares Bermudians for those jobs. Mr Mathias and Mr Pearman said they had got a good reception on doorsteps. Mr Mathias added: “People like the fact that I am a young person getting involved in politics, trying to raise the level of political discourse.” He added his party had “received the message” sent by voters in the last General Election. Mr Mathias said: “We are going back to our values and principles. We are forming a party that is going to go towards the future and is going to benefit the country.” Mr Pearman said constituents had also highlighted the need for an effective Opposition. He added: “The PLP has quite a significant proportion of the House, but it’s important to Bermuda and Bermudians that we have a strong Opposition.” He said the OBA was currently going through a process of “renewal and reform”. Mr Pearman added: “You see two new candidates in this by-election, both of whom are new to the front line of politics. The Opposition is a party in transition. It’s healthy for Bermuda and it’s healthy for Bermudians to have a strong Opposition to hold the PLP to account fairly, but also firmly.” Mr Mathias said that the OBA would be more vocal in its role as Opposition now that the “rubber was starting to meet the road” as the Government launches new legislation, including the proposed sugar tax. He explained: “Just like everybody else, we’ve given them the opportunity and the honeymoon is over.” David Burt, the Premier, said at a PLP rally last Sunday that voters in Paget East should not let the OBA pull an “oil-shuffle”. Mr Burt explained: “That means they take one member of the oligarchy, Grant Gibbons, and replace him with another member of the oligarchy, Scott Pearman.” Mr Pearman dismissed the comment as “politics”. He added: “People are going to make stereotypical judgments and easy attacks. I think it’s unfortunate that the Premier chose to attack me personally, but that’s politics. The reality is, I think Bermudians are better than that — they’re going to judge me on who I am.” Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, said both OBA candidates represented the type of new blood needed in the party. Ms Atherden said: “They represent the diversity and the young people that will be transitioning into the Opposition.” She said Mr Mathias and Mr Pearman are both resident in the constituencies they are contesting, so they had a “direct interest” in serving their voters. Ms Atherden said that politics “was all about being on the doorstep and they have been on the doorstep”. Ms Atherden added that her party understood its responsibility to be a strong Opposition.  “These two members will be on the doorstep, in the House and be able to talk about the concerns of Bermuda.”

spacerDavid Burt, the Premier, distanced himself yesterday from a statement made in the House of Assembly by one of his Cabinet ministers, which involved a reference to the ethnic origin of the next Chief Justice. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, mentioned Indian-born Narinder Hargun, who has Bermudian status and will take over the island’s top legal job next month, during an attack on outgoing Chief Justice Ian Kawaley over his criticism of staffing levels in the court system. Colonel Burch told MPs on Friday: “In all of these things that we do, at least as I see it, you must leave a legacy and if you want that legacy to be something people remember fondly, regardless of their political persuasion, you must produce somebody to take your place other than an Indian.” Mr Burt said last night: “In the course of debates in the House of Assembly, members often express themselves in terms which, upon reflection, are not best-placed to convey the point being made. This is not unique to one political party and I have discussed with the minister and my colleagues generally the need to elevate debates and communicate effectively on the good work we are doing on behalf of the people of Bermuda.” Mr Burt was speaking after he posted a picture of himself on Twitter yesterday with Suresh Nichani, of RootCorp, a firm that describes itself as a “leading Indo-Western investment manager”. RootCorp, according to the website of its spin-off company Real Assets, was incorporated outside of the United States in 2007 as an “Indo-British partnership founded by the Nichani Group, an Indian family office and investments powerhouse” and Savills Investment Management, a subsidiary of Savills plc. Mr Burt tweeted: “After meeting at Ethereal Summit in NYC, I welcomed Suresh Nichani of RootCorp who is setting up a company in Bermuda, creating more jobs and opportunities for Bermudians.” The Premier said after Mr Hargun’s appointment was announced by John Rankin, the Governor, that it was an “affront” to the Government but did not say why he objected to his elevation to Chief Justice. His statement last night came as the Human Rights Commission revealed it had contacted the Government after members of the public “expressed concern” over Colonel Burch’s comments. HRC chairwoman Tawana Tannock said the commission “invited the Government to join us in promoting public discourse that does not devolve into inflammatory, vexatious or harmful words in respect of an individual’s actual or perceived national origin, race, political opinion or any other protected ground under the Human Rights Act.” She added: “Ever mindful of the nature of many of the comments that The Royal Gazette allows online, we also invite The Royal Gazette to join us in encouraging healthy and respectful public debate on issues of importance to our island home.” Lynne Winfield, president of anti-racism charity Curb, denied Colonel Burch had been xenophobic or racist. She said: “This is not racism or xenophobia rearing its head, as if Colonel Burch had referred to an Englishman, American, Canadian instead, would the reaction be the same? Being pro-Bermudian does not make you anti-foreigner, and he stated [on ZBM News] that Bermuda would always need foreigners. Given our history of exclusion, wanting born Bermudians trained and prepared to have access and opportunities is not being racist, it’s being realistic given the history of discrimination and marginalization and cognizant to the fact that you need proactive actions in place to ensure this, eg succession planning.” Jeanne Atherden, leader of the Opposition, said: “It is difficult to understand Minister Burch’s remark as anything other than a slur against Mr Hargun based on his ethnicity. If this is what he means, then his statement is completely unacceptable and he must explain himself. If he cannot, or if he refuses to explain himself, then the minister needs to be called out, both by his PLP colleagues and by the wider Bermudian community. Mr Hargun’s appointment is within the appointment guidelines and the language and reference made by minister Burch was offensive.” Trevor Moniz, the Shadow Attorney-General, said Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House, should have ordered Colonel Burch to withdraw his remarks. Mr Moniz said: “It was obviously out of order. What did his ethnicity have to do with it? He is eminently qualified.” Mr Moniz added: “The Progressive Labour Party are a black nationalist party, so they are looking at people who originated here. That’s what they want to see.” Colonel Burch told ZBM News on Monday: “I didn’t make comments against non-Bermudians. I take a little bit of offence at the suggestion that I’m anti-foreigner because I’m pro-Bermudian. You are never going to get me to apologise for that.”

spacerThe island’s Portuguese population said they hoped a public holiday on November 4 next year to mark the first arrival of people from Madeira is a step towards a more inclusive approach. Milton Raposo, a video producer of Portuguese descent, said the announcement came as a surprise. He explained: “In the last several years, the Progressive Labour Party haven’t been known to be an inclusive body and have mostly relied on inward nationalist policies to convey certain messages they had at that moment." Having said that, if this is a change of direction and a genuine indication of inclusivity from the leadership, then I applaud Premier [David] Burt. ”Mr Raposo is the creator of the film project Fabric, which is designed to focus on the history of the Portuguese in Bermuda. He said recognition of the impact the Portuguese made in helping to shape modern Bermuda was overdue. Mr Raposo added: “I don’t know if that manifests as a public holiday, a statue or some other means.” Alicia Davis predicted the Portuguese community would have mixed views on the holiday announcement. Ms Davis, whose family own Café Acoreano, said: “You’re going to have people that are proud of this and think it’s a great thing and they’re just going to leave it at that.” She added others would feel more should be done to deal with immigration problems. Ms Davis said: “There are people that feel scorned having to send their children who have been born and brought up here back to the Azores.” She said she believed the announcement would be seen as a possible “first step” to addressing problems such as the need for immigration reform. Paul Franco, president of Vasco da Gama Club in Hamilton, said that the organisation welcomed the announcement. Mr Franco added: “Portuguese-Bermudians have made their mark over the generations, becoming an important part of Bermuda’s social fabric. It is therefore important to recognize their contributions, which this public holiday will do.” He said the club hoped the one-off holiday would serve as a further step in the direction of “greater collaboration” between Bermuda, Portugal and the Azores. Mr Franco added: “We note that this announcement comes two years after an historic memorandum of understanding was signed between the Azores and Bermuda, which sought to formalize the historical, cultural, educational, environmental and commercial ties that unite the two communities. As a longstanding pillar of the Portuguese community, with a protocol in place with the Acorean Government, the club stands at the ready to support the Government wherever we can.” Mr Franco said the organisation looked forward to working with the Government on a host of issues to bring about “more meaningful inclusion”, including immigration reform, greater recognition for the Portuguese language and greater promotion of Portuguese culture in Bermuda. Zane DeSilva, a PLP MP, said last week’s announcement of the holiday was “phenomenal”. Mr DeSilva added that the move was a “great reach out” by the PLP government. He said: “I think it shows we do want to embrace and we do recognize all cultures that live in the island because we’re a melting pot at the end of the day.” Mr DeSilva said credit was due to the late Dame Lois Browne-Evans, a PLP politician and Attorney-General in the party’s first government, who “fought for the Portuguese people” in the 1990s. He added: “There was certainly a movement, for lack of a better word, to send a lot of Portuguese back home.” Mr DeSilva said worries over immigration policy were not confined to the Portuguese community. He added that Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, had immigration reform “very much on his agenda”. Mr DeSilva said: “I believe the PLP has certainly made it known that we are for comprehensive immigration reform.” Trevor Moniz, shadow Attorney-General, added the holiday announcement was “bittersweet”. Mr Moniz said immigration remained the “big issue”. He added: “It’s like it’s your birthday and you’re expecting a cake, and someone gives you a tin of icing. There’s got to be justice for these people. “Until there’s justice, what is there to celebrate?” Mr Moniz said that there needed to be “substance” attached to the holiday. He added: “I’m hopeful that there will be some substantive relief for the injustices of people sitting out there who are members of this community and at the present moment don’t have any rights. I’m not so much into holidays and parades — I’m more into the substance of people’s human rights.”

spacerEleven captive insurance companies have been admitted to Bermuda’s Captive Hall of Fame after completing 25 years of business from the island. The Hall of Fame was created by the industry in 2016 to highlight captive entities with a quarter-century commitment to the Bermuda market. More than 200 Bermuda-based companies now share the honour. The new inductees, who were established on the island in 1993, are: Comerica Assurance, Griffin Insurance Co, ICW, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ International Insurance, Surrey Reinsurance Company, Traders Insurance, Tyson International Company, VMC Indemnity Company, Windsor Insurance Company, XPO Bermuda Captive (formerly Con-way Insurance Company), and GIG Reinsurance Company. They will be celebrated at the Bermuda Captive Conference, which starts on June 11. Mike Parrish, chairman of the conference, said: “Our Captive Hall of Fame not only is a tribute to companies that have made a significant contribution to the island’s economy, community and reputation, but also reflects the evolution of Bermuda’s globally significant insurance market. “It’s a testament to the spirit of innovation that is the foundation of this industry.” This year’s fourteenth conference at Fairmont Southampton is expected to attract close to 800 delegates, including captive insurance owners, risk managers, captive managers, sponsors, and vendors from the US, Canada, Latin America, and the UK. Three days of moderated panels and roundtables will focus on hot topics like insurtech, cyber-risk, climate change and healthcare, as well as the industry’s growing diversity around risk, products and talent.

spacerFour months after stepping into a leadership position vacated by one of the insurance industry’s giants, Pina Albo has spoken about the road ahead for Hamilton Insurance Group. Technology and a multigenerational outlook are important considerations for the Bermudian-based group, and while “there is no rush” for it to become publicly-listed — something that was mentioned in 2014 — it is a consideration that remains on the radar. Ms Albo took up the reins as chief executive officer of Hamilton Insurance Group in February, becoming the permanent replacement to founder Brian Duperreault, who left in May last year when he was appointed CEO of American International Group. Despite losing the services of an industry veteran of Mr Duperreault’s stature, the Hamilton group “never missed a beat”, according to Ms Albo, and she said that continuity and focus is a testament to the quality of the team that Mr Duperreault put in place. “David Brown will be the first to tell you that the team remained rallied and committed to the vision that we are writing the future of risk,” she said, referring to Mr Brown who guided the group as interim CEO before her appointment. As an example, Ms Albo mentioned Kathleen Reardon, CEO of Hamilton Re, who diversified by acquiring the renewal rights of Canopius Underwriting Bermuda’s excess casualty book of business, and built out Turing Re “which is our first foray into the alternative capital management space”. Ms Albo added: “She continues to execute this vision of bringing technology and talent to her team.” Likewise, she said Dermont O’Donohue, CEO of Hamilton Underwriting Ltd, the Lloyd’s operations of Hamilton Insurance Group, continues to repurpose and rebuild Syndicate 3334, which was bought in 2015. “I had the good fortune of joining this very talented, focused and driven organisation that welcomed me with open arms,” Ms Albo said. AIG bought the Hamilton USA unit for $110 million in May 2017. When asked how this had impacted the group, Ms Albo said that building out an insurance platform in the US is expensive and not easy. “The expense for a company the size of Hamilton hits our pocket more than it would a company like AIG. Brian was very keen to continue down this path of technology-driven solutions to the insurance industry.” She said it was opportune for Hamilton to sell the platform to AIG. As part of the deal, Hamilton USA’s share of Attune was transferred to Hamilton Insurance Group. Attune is a technology-enabled company established with Two Sigma and AIG to use data science and analytics to transform the underwriting process. Ms Albo described the Hamilton USA deal as a pivoting of focus. She said: “We may rebuilt a platform in the US, or do something else. It was a pivot and an opportunity, but still a commitment to using technology to underwrite business in the small commercial space.” Ms Albo worked at Munich Re for 25 years. When approached to become the CEO of Hamilton she met with the founders, including Mr Duperreault, who she had known for many years. “Having met them and other board members, I knew some of the talent here. It was an amazingly powerful team. Add to that the start-up mentality, very entrepreneurial, nimble, innovative — so that draw of something new and building something on the basis of this platform was very attractive.” At Munich Re, one the world’s largest reinsurers, she saw almost every aspect of the insurance and reinsurance business, across different markets and through various market cycles. As she took on increasingly senior roles she set strategies that included the opening of new businesses, the re-purposing of businesses, and acquisitions. “Then, in the last few years at Munich Re, I was on a committee involved in innovation and investing in and partnering with insurtech. The circle closed for me [by coming to Hamilton]. I was able to bring the experience I had and the forward-looking things I was doing at Munich to a very forward-looking company.” Technology, talent and scale are levers that will be used by the Hamilton group to achieve what Ms Albo calls “Strategy 2025”. This is aimed at building out a multi-platform, profitable, global operation. Mergers and acquisitions in recent years have created a number of significantly larger insurance sector companies. However, Ms Albo believes there is still a place for smaller entities. “We are finding opportunity in all this. As the market gets disrupted, players that are still there as independents are often the ones that people go to,” she said, particularly when a degree of uncertainly is created as a result of big merger. Hamilton appeared to be gearing up for an initial public offering four years ago, but it did not happen. When asked if the group might still become publicly-traded, Ms Albo said: “When we do go public I want to have a compelling story to tell to investors and the market. We have another initiative that we want to get rolling. There is no rush to do it [go public], but it is still very much on the radar.” Challenges ahead for Hamilton and the insurance sector as a whole include the abundance of capital in the market, which has suppressed renewal rates “The fortunate thing at Hamilton is that we have very talented underwriters; they know how to navigate these things and they know to keep their discipline, and that client service is important.” Other challenges are increasing digitization and interconnectedness, emerging risks, and attracting new, younger talent. Ms Albo said: “We have an industry that is ageing and we are losing many talented people, so it is important to have multiple generations in your office and be able to deal with that and service it in the right way. We embrace technology in everything we do here. We have a very multigenerational workforce. We have a very strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. All these things will serve us well.” Hamilton Insurance Group’s commitment to technology and the younger generation is also evident in its decision to place a charity funding focus on ConnecTech, specifically to provide two coding courses — one for primary schoolchildren and another for girls. Ms Albo visited a ConnecTech session at Prospect Primary School last week. She also met with David Burt, the Premier. She is enjoying getting familiar with the island. Together with her family she mingled with the crowds on Bermuda Day, and commented on the friendliness, pride and welcome she encountered. “One of the things I like about Bermuda is that is has a small town feel, but in a very global, international sophisticated way.” As for the future of the island’s insurance and reinsurance sector, she said: “It is clearly the third largest reinsurance market in the world, so it is very strong and respected in that capacity. On top of that you have a regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority, that is world class. You have got regulations and legislation that strike a very healthy balance between diligent oversight and flexibility. That is a rare and very welcome combination.” She added: “You have a Premier who is very forward-thinking and who has grasped the concept of blockchain and digital currencies. What I like about Bermuda is that you have a very mature market on one hand, but also a very forward-looking sophisticated market that knows it has to change and is capable of that change.”

spacerKathleen Bibbings has been appointed president of the Bermuda Insurance Management Association. She takes over from Grainne Richmond who has completed her two-year term. Ms Richmond said: “Kathleen is a very well respected, knowledgeable and well known industry professional in the captive and insurance industry, and will bring a fresh perspective to BIMA and its industry stakeholders. “I have very much enjoyed my two years as Bima president, and appreciate all the support of my fellow executive members and industry counterparts. I’m confident the leadership of Bima is in very good hands going forward.” Ms Bibbings has more than 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry and currently heads up American International Group’s Bermuda captive operations. She said: “I’m excited to have been elected president by the executive of BIMA and I look forward to continuing the work initiated by our past president.” Ms Bibbings, who is a dual citizen of Bermuda and Canada, added: “Bima works diligently to ensure Bermuda maintains its position as the pre-eminent domicile for captives. “It’s also important that we provide education to attract young Bermudians to our industry to ensure Bermuda’s continued success. I look forward to working with government, the regulator and various industry groups to guarantee a strong future for the Bermuda captive insurance industry.” Bima is an association of professional insurance managers whose mandate includes engaging membership to increase new captive business to the island and encouraging awareness of Bermuda as a captive domicile. At its annual meeting, other officers elected included: Adrienne Hintz, secretary; Nicole Hallett treasurer; and Page Rouse and William Wood as vice-presidents. 

Redevelopment plans for the former Riddell’s Bay Golf Course will create Bermuda’s biggest conservation zone, one of the property’s owners has said

Former Riddells Bay Golf & Country Club

The businessman said the area would be combined with “very low-density residential areas, but the plan would set a new benchmark for Bermuda in sustainable development”. The man, who asked not to be named, added: “When completed, Bermuda will have a new reforested 66-acre conservation zone larger than any existing park or protected space on the island, including Spittal Pond, the Botanical Gardens and the Arboretum. This is a unique opportunity to undertake an unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime conservation project for the benefit of all Bermudians.” He added that the project was drawn up in consultation with the island’s “leading environmentalists” and “highly respected landscape architects”. He was speaking as a petition launched by the Riddell’s Bay Members’ Committee to protect the property passed 700 signatures — although these included Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Fidel Castro, the late prime minister of Cuba. The committee has raised concerns over an application to subdivide the golf course into two plots of land. The group claimed the move will lead to “at least” 42 acres of recreational land being turned into residential property. A statement said: “Words and descriptions appear to be purposely confusing and buried in the details of their planning applications. No further explanations of their motives have been given, other than their initial presentations to residents more than a year ago, which clearly showed at least 17 acres of waterfront lots marked to be sold off, in addition to selling the clubhouse — a protected, historical landmark building.” The group also raised fears that, if allowed, the move would create a legal precedent allowing other recreational areas to be built on. The statement added: “Bermuda does not need any more houses, nor does it need any more concrete, tarmac, waste, trash or over usage. We need open, green, recreational land now more than ever.” The committee identified the golf course’s owner as Castile Holding/Equilibria Capital. The representative of the owners’ group said that was wrong. He added: “This is false and, once again, misleading the public as there is no fund management business that owns Riddell’s Bay. “The property has been purchased by a small group of Bermudians whose primary objective is to preserve the land for conservation purposes. The owners are not developers.” He added that the petition had “limited” support from the general public and area residents. He said: “Moreover, many of those that have signed it have done so based on materially misleading information. The promoters of the petition have not seen the owner’s plans for the property and are therefore basing their claims on no substantial information.” The businessman said that the course’s status as recreational-only land provided “limited protection to the land, the flora and the fauna”. He added: “If the land remains zoned recreational, it could potentially allow for the building of, among others, a hotel, a casino and/or sporting facilities. This conservation zone will be open to the public and will benefit all Bermudians rather than the select few members of an exclusive private golf club.” He said the conservation zone would be privately funded and maintained, “meaning that the Bermudian taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for its ongoing maintenance”. The Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club closed in 2016 after nearly a century in business. Residents in the area were told later that year the purchaser planned to rezone a portion of the property for residential development. However, the proposal also included using the majority of the property as a conservation or green zone, with provision for a 50-acre nature reserve.

spacerThe odds are stacked heavily against Bermuda when they face the United States in the Concacaf Women’s Under-17 Championship in Bradenton, Florida, at the IMG Academy Stadium tonight. Bermuda lost their opening group B match 3-0 to Canada, while the US beat Costa Rica 4-0 in Nicaragua last month before violence in the Central American country forced the remainder of the tournament to be rescheduled. It will be the first meeting between Bermuda and the US in the Concacaf women’s under-17 age group. The match starts at 6pm Bermuda time. The US are three-times Concacaf Women’s Under-17 champions with a perfect 8-0 record against Caribbean opposition, conceding just two goals, against Trinidad and Tobago in 2008 and Jamaica in 2016. However, in LeiLanni Nesbeth, Bermuda have a striker who can penetrate tough defences, as she demonstrated last year when she was the top scorer at the Caribbean qualifiers. Other key members of Bermuda’s team are captain Danni Watson in defence and Trinae Edwards, who traveled with the senior team to Guyana for the Concacaf Women’s Championship last month, along with Jaden Masters and Nia Christopher, who will support England-based Nesbeth in attack. The US have conceded just two goals in their last 21 Concacaf women’s under-17 matches, winning 24 of 26 and scoring 141 goals while conceded just five. They have kept clean sheets in 21 of the 26 matches and have never conceded more than one goal in a game. They also have also scored 11 goals in their previous three games — a 5-0 win over Canada, 2-1 victory over Mexico and 4-0 win over Costa Rica where three of the four goals were headers. Bermuda have been forced to make one change from the squad which traveled to Nicaragua five weeks ago. Katelyn Mederios is unavailable because of school commitments and has been replaced by Che Chulae Dowling. Bermuda, who are coached by Aaron Denkins, will take on Costa Rica in their final group match on Friday. The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals, with the winners and winner of the third-place play-off match qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup to be held in Uruguay from November 13 to December 1.

spacerBelco has just completed electric vehicle training for its fleet team as it moves towards a 100 per cent electric fleet. The five-day training was carried out by Craig Van Batenburg of Massachusetts-based Automotive Career Development Centre. Jason Simons, Anton Daniels, Nigel Lewis, Aesop Smith and Andrew Cabral completed the training session and Belco hopes to move to City and Guilds qualifications for all Belco participants. Mr Simons, fleet manager, said: “Ultimately, our goal is to be Bermuda’s number one service provider for electric vehicles. Already, our technicians have gained valuable insight from this training. While this will obviously help our fleet, we also aim to be the example of what is possible for the transition of corporate fleets to electric vehicles in Bermuda.” Belco began the electric conversion of its fleet in 2016, when it replaced 12 diesel vans with Renault Kangoo Maxi ZE vans. To date, 13 internal-combustion engine vehicles have been replaced with full electric vans. By June 2018, all of Belco’s bucket truck fleet will comprise hybrid vehicles, and 78 per cent of the van fleet will be electric by the end of the year. Mr Simons said: “We are on track to realize our goal of a 100 per cent electric fleet by 2025. In the near future, five of the remaining gasoline vans will be replaced by the Peugeot Partner Electric and we have begun receiving our hybrid bucket trucks. The bucket trucks will allow the aerial device to operate with electric power while the truck engine shuts off.”

spacerAn American tourist who drowned after she fell off a jet ski was named by police yesterday as Yvonne Aites. The 62-year-old cruise ship passenger, from Massachusetts, is believed to have fallen into the water off Cambridge Beaches in Sandys and lost consciousness at about 11am on Monday. The woman was rushed to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and efforts were made to revive her en route, but she was later pronounced dead by doctors. An autopsy confirmed the cause of her death as drowning. A police family liaison officer has been assigned to Ms Aites’s family.

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June 5

2018 Bermuda Airport emerging

spacerWhen the new airport terminal opens in the summer of 2020, there will be more than 9,500 sq ft of retail space, split between the airside and landside of the building. The first stage of the process to find store and concession operators for ten retail units has begun. Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited is inviting expressions of interest from qualified retailers to market, operate and maintain the retail concessions. Skyport is responsible for the LF Wade International Airport operations, maintenance and commercial functions. It is also overseeing the construction of the new terminal. There will be four specialty retail units on the ground floor landside of the terminal, that is the public areas open to all. One unit is in the check-in area, while the other three will be in the arrivals location. On the airside of the arrivals area, also on the ground floor, there is to be a 1,220 sq ft duty-free retail unit. The other five retail units will be airside on the first floor of the new terminal. These are for passengers who have passed through the security screening area. The units are duty free/specialty retail, and the largest is 2,193 sq ft. Any qualified retailers that are interested in operating one or more of the retail units should submit a summary of qualifications and experience to Skyport by June 22. Skyport has requested that those expressing an interest “should demonstrate capability to finance, design, implement, market, manage and operate a high quality retail concession”. Request for Proposals will be issued to qualified parties in August.

spacerA massive solar power plant is to be built on a vacant runway at the airport. Saturn Solar Bermuda 1, a part of Canadian-based Saturn Power, will develop the six-kilowatt power plant on “the finger”, a runway and munitions pier when the airport was run by the US Navy as a Naval Air Station. The generating plant will be the first large-scale renewable energy resource on the island. Walter Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said: “Out of nine candidates, six being Bermudian, Saturn Power came in as the lowest bidder at 103 cents per kilowatt hour.” He added: “The replacement of fuel costs with solar power will also keep an estimated $20 million or more in our local economy over the course of this project’s lifetime.” Mr Roban said: “Also, it will stabilize a small part of every ratepayers’ electricity bill by replacing fuel costs with solar energy, allowing part of our electricity bills to remain stable for the next 20 years.” The runway has been earmarked for development since 2012. Mr Roban said the power plant will be a separate project to the airport redevelopment and will not offset the airport’s energy use. He added the deal includes an agreement that all bidders “were required to have Bermudian content in regards to labour during construction and operations, and maintenance personnel post-construction”. Mr Roban said the agreement, signed yesterday with Doug Warner, president of Saturn Power, was preliminary. Mr Roban added that the start of construction would be decided when the peninsula at LF Wade International Airport was cleared of vegetation. He added an “intense, transparent and inclusive” selection process for the development started in 2016 Mr Roban said the deal will allow for “sustainable and sensible” competition in the electricity sector. The Bermuda Government will be paid rent for the site, charged at $5,000 per acre. Mr Roban said The power generated will supplement Belco’s output but rates would be a matter for the Regulatory Authority. Mr Wagner said that Saturn had watched renewable energy evolve from alternative power to become “mainstream worldwide”. Mr Wagner said the island could serve as “an example to the Caribbean”. He added: “Let the sun shine.”

spacerBars and hotels across the island have been left high and dry after they failed to get their alcohol licence application in on time. Liquor stores have also been affected and Juan Wolffe, chairman of the Liquor Licensing Authority, said more than 30 applications had failed to meet the March 14 deadline. Mr Wolffe added: “Because they were late in applying for their liquor licences, the LLA were unable to hear their applications until after the expiration date of their licences. There were about 32 late applications and their hearings are set down for June 7 and 8, 2018.” Some places have been given temporary liquor licences after applications to the Supreme Court, which has allowed them to sell alcohol until their hearing dates. Lawyer Richard Horseman, who represents several affected businesses, said a loss of revenue from alcohol sales could have devastated smaller establishments, although large hotels had also been affected. He said: “There were a couple of the bigger hotels that would have been left without licences, which would have been a problem. There are also a couple of bars where, if they cannot sell alcohol, they essentially have to shut down which makes things difficult when you consider their staff. We said in the application that it was unreasonable not to help these businesses.” Mr Horseman added his clients would be careful to have their applications in on time in the future. He said: “It’s brought it home for all of us.” Mr Horseman added the liquor licensing process may need to be updated because of the heavy workload experienced by the court system. He added: “We have never had this problem in the past, but this particular LLA are being very thorough, which is a good thing, but it still seems a bit unreasonable for businesses to be put in this position. It also seems kind of archaic to keep it before the courts. By law, the senior magistrate has to sit as the chairman. That might have been appropriate when the Act was established in 1974, but the senior magistrate has tremendous responsibilities these days running the business of the courts. One might think that the time has come to release the courts from this responsibility, except in cases of appeals. The court’s resources are stretched to say the least, and this is an additional burden it likely does not need.” Wahoo’s restaurant in St George was among those who applied for a licence renewal late, but the business was able to win a temporary liquor licence before the end of May. A spokesman for Wahoo’s said: “It was our mistake and we apologized for it. The temporary licence was very much a relief for the staff because it came in the height of the season. It’s very busy and there are a lot of people coming to St George’s and coming to Wahoo’s. It would have had a negative impact if we were not able to operate under the full licence.”

spacerRosewood Bermuda is holding a grand reopening and roof-wetting ceremony on Friday to mark the completion of $25 million of renovations. The resort on Tucker’s Point Drive, Hamilton Parish, closed in January to allow the work to be done. It had a soft reopening in April. Paul Telford, managing director of Rosewood Bermuda, believes it was the right time to enhance the property to not only meet expectations of travelers, but also help to continue raising the bar for luxury travel on island. The resort underwent a full reimagining. Each of its 92 guestrooms have been transformed into residential-style retreats that “honour the island’s culture and natural surroundings”. Mr Telford said: “Our three restaurants now offer new, unique culinary concepts that celebrate local ingredients and cooking traditions. We have even unveiled The Conservatory Bar, which is a brand new bar located in our lobby that serves creative, unique cocktails and offers unrivalled views,. Our renowned Beach Club, Golf Clubhouse and Sense, A Rosewood Spa, have also been refreshed to provide an exceptional vacation experience.” Mr Telford hopes the changes will reinforce Rosewood Bermuda’s position as the leading luxury resort on the island, while providing their guests with an unsurpassed luxury experience that allows them to create a lifetime of memories of their time here on our beautiful island. Rosewood Bermuda’s Beach Club sits on one of Bermuda’s largest private beaches and caters to golf lovers and vacationers. The resort has been recognized by leading travel and consumer publications and organisations as one of the best in Bermuda, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic, as well as one of the world’s most romantic getaways. It opened in 2009 as Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa, which was then changed to Rosewood in 2011.

spacerThe pledge by the island’s Catholic Church to tackle racism has won praise from a government MP. Rolfe Commissiong, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, said other institutions should take the same approach to “continue this process of healing”. Mr Commissiong said during Friday’s motion to adjourn in the House of Assembly: “I just want to commend the Right Reverend Wesley Spiewak, the island’s Roman Catholic Bishop, who this week announced that the Roman Catholic Church of Bermuda will make a concerted effort to address the racism that has bedeviled the church.” He added: “This is important. While people talk about creating a ‘One Bermuda’, usually it means a Bermuda by which their privilege and their prerogatives are not challenged. But to create really a ‘One Bermuda’, this is what has to happen — we have to be honest about this and about this issue which has bedeviled Bermuda for centuries. That’s how we become one Bermuda.” Mr Commissiong said a “front-door approach” was the only way to create this “one Bermuda that many want to achieve.” Mr Commissiong was speaking after Bishop Spiewak announced that the Church was to launch a six-month anti-racism drive and admitted Catholics had not done enough in the past to tackle the problem. The head of the Catholic Church on the island added that the low number of black Catholic Bermudians “gives me a clear idea that we were never very welcoming to these persons”. Bishop Spiewak said the Church historically “did not do enough” globally to combat racial prejudice. He said: “We have been, and we are still, a very white church. This does not reflect what Catholicism means. Catholic means universal; we never became universal in this sense.” Mr Commissiong said there were a number of black members of the Roman Catholic Church in Bermuda from its inception “some of whom were very prominent, such as Dr E.F. Gordon”. He added that his father, who was from Trinidad, was a Roman Catholic. Mr Commissiong said he had attended the Catholic Mount Saint Agnes Academy and been an altar boy. He added: “So I am glad that the Roman Catholic Church in Bermuda has taken this course.”

spacerA six-foot hammerhead shark spotted cruising close to the shore is unlikely to be a threat to humans, marine experts said yesterday. Choy Aming, who has researched the creatures for 12 years as part of the Bermuda Shark Project, said that it is not unusual for hammerheads to swim close to the beach. He added sightings close to beaches were rare in Bermuda because of the low numbers of hammerheads, but that they were not considered aggressive. Mr Aming was speaking after a young hammerhead was spotted off Shelly Bay at the weekend. He said: “I wouldn’t panic but would err on the side of caution. Shelly Bay is a giant sand flat — you will see it coming. If you have a kid in the water, get them to shore and show them the shark. If the shark is startled, it will probably take off.” Mr Aming added: “Outside of us chumming up the water and trying to get close over the years, I have never seen an aggressive move by a hammerhead. I think if you had kids in the bay swimming, it would probably cruise around and not bother them. There are tons of pictures of the Bahamas and Florida where there are people swimming with sharks. Mr Aming said the shark could be the same one spotted at Flatts Inlet, St George’s and Admiralty Park in Pembroke in the past few weeks. He was backed by Thaddeus Murdoch, chief scientist for the Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Assessment and Mapping Programme, who said the shark probably came close to shore to feed on marine life. Dr Murdoch said: “When I heard about the shark turning up in Flatts Inlet, I would have thought it was a one-off but if it is the same juvenile, it appears to be settling in. We have a good population of turtles and eagle rays he could be feeding on. Both of them are protected and in pretty good shape, so he could have cruised into the reef and saw there were no competitors. He added: “I’m sure the shark is looking for food. Shelly Bay has a school of red-eared herring, some mullet and the occasional eagle ray at this time of year. I’m sure it would rather avoid people. It is hard to say if it’s the same guy.” Dr Murdoch agreed the best approach is not to panic if the shark is sighted. He said: “I would calmly move out of the water if it returned but otherwise just keep a watch out.” Mr Aming dismissed speculation that the shark was looking for a mate. He said: “It is six feet long, a juvenile, so it’s not looking for a mate.” Mr Aming added: “A few people have said why can’t you put it back out to sea? Just because it decides to come into Shelly Bay, it doesn’t mean it is out of its home. Even if it is in two feet of water in Shelly Bay, that is its home. Others have said maybe it’s injured. If it is the same shark swimming happily after three months that it highly unlikely.” Jason Sukdeo, organizer of National Heroes Weekend, said the raft up scheduled for Shelly Bay on June 16 is to go ahead as normal. Mr Sukdeo said two lifeguards and a St John Ambulance crew would be on duty, but emphasized they were recruited before the shark sighting. The Royal Gazette contacted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for information and advice but did not receive a response by press time.

spacerPupils on the autism spectrum disorder programme at a primary school have been guaranteed transport to therapy sessions at WindReach Bermuda. The Department of Education hired a minibus for pupils of Paget Primary School after complaints about regular cancellations of Wednesday trips to WindReach because of mechanical issues with the department’s own bus. Penny Ingram, parent advocate for the ASD programme, said: “I am very pleased that the ministry has committed to providing minibus transportation for the ASD programme students at Paget Primary. While I was not informed by the ministry directly, a teacher confirmed that the children were all smiles when told that they would be attending Wind- Reach on Wednesday as usual. This is now the second consecutive week that they have attended the WindReach programme and I am hopeful that the ministry will follow through with this.” The Department acted after The Royal Gazette reported last week that the ministry’s bus was out of service. That meant youngsters from the autism programme missed four of their scheduled trips to WindReach. The education department sent an official to the school to discuss the problem and this week a hired minibus was used to get the youngsters to the special needs centre. The official also told the school that the regular bus would be available every week from now until the end of term. Ms Ingram said: “As for the repairs to the previous bus, I have no idea what the status of that is. I am very happy that the children are happy and that is all that I care about.” Ms Ingram said that last-minute cancellations of the trip had upset the autism class, many of whom need a consistent routine. WindReach volunteers were also affected by the no-shows as they turned up to assist with the class only to find out that the trips had been cancelled. A spokeswoman for the education department said: “The school is aware that there is only one vehicle currently serving the students.” The programme at Wind- Reach is a major part of the pupils’ educational programme. Parents paid $300 a term for their children to attend therapy sessions at WindReach — that money will not be reimbursed. The Department did not respond to a question on whether it would reimburse parents for the missed sessions.

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June 4

spacerPublic criticism of court staffing by Ian Kawaley, the Chief Justice, was branded “cowardice” in the House of Assembly last Friday. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, slammed the island’s top judge as Progressive Labour Party politicians accused Mr Justice Kawaley of failing to create opportunities for Bermudians. The views were made public after Mr Justice Kawaley and Acting Registrar Alexandra Wheatley said in a joint statement that successive attorneys-general had failed to tackle a staffing crisis that had crippled the court system. Mr Caines said that Mr Justice Kawaley had not made it his “first port of call” to meet with Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons or the director of human resources to highlight his concerns. Mr Caines said: “Like a thief that comes in the night, whilst he is on vacation, the Acting Registrar sends out a missive in a press release. That, with the greatest of respect, is not how a leader, a Chief Justice, conducts business.” He added that the PLP administration would not tolerate Mr Justice Kawaley trying to blame the judicial system’s “disarray” on the Government. Mr Caines told MPs that court administration was the dominion of the Chief Justice. He added: “Anything short of that is an abdication of his responsibility.” Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch accused the Chief Justice of sitting “silent and mute for five years” and “all of a sudden, as you are about to exit stage left, you find your voice”. The Minister of Public Works told MPs he believed it was “something to do with who is sitting on government benches”. Colonel Burch accused Mr Justice Kawaley of failing to nurture a successor, resulting in the controversial appointment of status Bermudian Narinder Hargun. He said that if the Chief Justice wanted his legacy to be “something people remember fondly regardless of their political persuasion, you must produce somebody to take your place other than an Indian”. Colonel Burch added: “I am always disappointed actually when we have successful and successive Bermudians leave a job and have to be replaced by somebody you have not nurtured and cultivated in order to take your place. That means you are a failure.” He called on Mr Justice Kawaley to create opportunities for “some of those competent people that are currently knocking on the door”. Colonel Burch added: “You have people in this court who are over the age of retirement, who on an annual contract come into this country and disrespect our people from the bench. Send them into retirement.” He also told MPs that the closure of 113 Front Street, which housed the Court of Appeal until last month, for health and safety reasons was “reflective on the occupants of that building”. He said a health inspector had identified 20 issues on May 29 “that were also identified in September 2016”, which included a “highly poor state of housekeeping, summarily unacceptable state of hygiene and sanitation”. Trevor Moniz, Attorney-General under the One Bermuda Alliance Government, said that it was “laughable” for PLP MPs to suggest that it was the first time that Mr Justice Kawaley had criticized the Government. Mr Moniz said that during his three years as Attorney-General, it had seemed that the Chief Justice was “criticising me constantly”. He urged the Government not to take offence but to focus instead on solving the problem. Mr Moniz added that the real issue with the Supreme Court was that it was “fragmented”, with “a lot of duplication of tasks.” David Burt, the Premier, called it “very funny” for Mr Moniz to suggest the Government should not be defensive, and said the 22 vacant court posts “didn’t happen in the last ten months”. He added that out of the 18 requests received to approve hires for the courts, he had approved 17. Mr Burt added: “The only request denied was a request for a parking ticket clerk.” Mr Justice Kawaley issued a statement on Friday thanking Ms Simmons for new court rules and legislation to improve court proceedings. He acknowledged his earlier broadside, which had prompted Ms Simmons to respond that 52 of the 66 posts at the Judicial Department had been filled, but added that it was important to publicly express his appreciation “for enhanced legislative support the Honourable Attorney-General and her Chambers have provided to the Judiciary since her appointment in relation to the Evidence (Audio-Visual Link) Act and the drafting and publication of new Court rules”.

spacerBermuda will be able to send prison inmates with mental disorders overseas for treatment under legislation approved last week in Parliament. Health minister Kim Wilson told MPs the legislation would help persons requiring “special psychiatric treatment in a medium or high-security unit not available in Bermuda”. The Mental Health Amendment Bill 2018, which had Opposition support, was developed in consultation with the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, the Department of Corrections and the Ministry of Legal Affairs. The island is “still looking at various options”, Ms Wilson said, noting that Caribbean islands have similar “challenges” in dealing with mentally ill offenders. The Bermuda Government signed an agreement for the transfer of inmates to the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust in Britain in 2010. In March 2017, another agreement was under discussion with St Andrew’s Healthcare in Northampton, England — but “complex legal considerations” had to be dealt with, the Bermuda Hospitals Board said. Prisoners sent to Britain would be covered under the National Health Service, Ms Wilson said, but the Bermuda Government would foot the bill for jurisdictions where insurance was not included.

spacerFamilies gathered at Paget Primary School yesterday in a show of support for the Progressive Labour Party’s by-election candidates. The crowd enjoyed a party atmosphere, complete with music, fun castles, refreshments and speeches at the Family Fun Day and Rally ahead of Thursday’s elections. Curtis Richardson, who is running against One Bermuda Alliance candidate Scott Pearman in Paget East, introduced himself as a man with “deep-rooted family values”. He said: “You are my family. You are my brothers, my sisters, my uncles, my aunts, my grandparents and my neighbors. I want to bring back community in this village, because it’s missing it.” Mr Richardson, who pledged to bring community spirit back to the constituency, said he was keen to continue what he started during the General Election last year. He added: “That is to represent every constituent in the constituency of Paget East.” Mr Richardson said he was inspired by the PLP’s mandate “to provide a better Bermuda for Bermudians. I am part of the solution. You are part of the solution. I come to the doorsteps of constituency 22 with an open heart and a clean and honest mind and I say they can believe in me. This government has made headway in the 11 months it’s been in government and we are going to continue forward.” Mr Richardson was announced as the PLP candidate for the by-election, which was called after the OBA’s Grant Gibbons resigned. Curtis Dickinson, PLP candidate for Warwick North East, contests the seat previously held by Jeff Baron. He is up against the OBA’s Justin Mathias. Mr Dickinson told the “sea of green” yesterday that his professional experience had prepared him to do the job “really well.  I’ve had the benefit of a great education, great professional experience and I think now is the time for me to give back.” Mr Dickinson said that connecting with the people and hearing their concerns on the doorstep had reinforced his decision to step into the front line of politics. He added: “Positive feedback needs to translate into votes and I would encourage you not to take for granted that we are the government of today.” David Burt, the Premier, encouraged all those present to do their part to ensure the party candidates were victorious. He said that while the PLP had held Warwick North East before, “we have never, ever won a seat in Paget.  As hard as Curtis has been working, I don’t think the people in 22 should let the OBA pull what I call an oli-shuffle. That means they take one member of the oligarchy, Grant Gibbons, and replace him with another member of the oligarchy, Scott Pearman. Don’t let them pull the oli-shuffle because the thing is that Curtis actually cares. We have two very fine candidates that are running for seats in the people’s House. When we talk about the people’s House, the most important thing to remember is the only way they get there is if people vote.” Mr Burt encouraged supporters to “help in whatever way you can to ensure that on Thursday night we can celebrate two new PLP MPs in Parliament”.

spacerAll eyes are on Paget East and Warwick North East this week as a double by-election on Thursday stands to deliver a verdict on the One Bermuda Alliance. Political commentators Phil Perinchief, the former Attorney-General, and former National Liberal Party leader Charles Jeffers said the by-elections can be compared to the recent vote in Barbados, where the Barbados Labour Party won all 30 seats in a General Election last month. Mr Jeffers said it would bode poorly for Bermuda if the island travels in the same direction as Barbados. Both analysts deem it likely that OBA candidate Scott Pearman will hold Paget East after the retirement of Grant Gibbons, but the Progressive Labour Party could add to its 24-seat majority in Warwick North East, where newcomer Curtis Dickinson appears well served by a strong canvassing team. Mr Jeffers told The Royal Gazette: “My concern is that our lack of a strong Opposition could really mislead the governing party, who might feel they have carte blanche to do whatever they wish. It would be interesting to see what percentage of swing voters there are. There are some who, if one party is in power, would vote the other way just to change things around. If the Opposition are diminished much more, it will be difficult for them to rebuild.” Mr Jeffers added: “The position of Leader of the Opposition, Jeanne Atherden, could be in difficulty if the PLP took Warwick North East.” Ms Atherden’s support for young contender Justin Mathias might also come into question, he added. Mr Perinchief said a victory in Warwick would result in little more than bragging rights for the PLP. “This win will not by one iota increase or enhance the ability of the PLP to successfully prosecute its agenda in the House of Assembly, or cause the Premier to feel burdened or threatened by his back bench,” Mr Perinchief said. “For the OBA, as a political party, a loss in this constituency is but one more nail into the coffin fashioned for this comatose party which has been laying in state awaiting a proper burial since the last General Election.” The BLP’s clean sweep in Barbados under Mia Mottley, the new Prime Minister, had risked creating “the first one-party state in the Commonwealth, or even the so-called democratic West”. The May 24 elections there had effectively shown the electorate’s wishes to usher in “a one-party democratic state”. Mr Perinchief added that Bermuda had electoral barriers to democracy in the form of “the undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system working in conjunction with the safe-seat regime largely defined along historically prescribed racial lines”. Mr Pearman was “guaranteed” Paget East, he said, as would Mr Mathias, had Ms Atherden been granted “the permission of the powers-that-are in that constituency. Accordingly, the focus is on Mr Dickinson in the other contested constituency by-election, where the PLP should come away with a win.” Mr Perinchief said the OBA’s chances had been scuppered when Ms Atherden, whom he described as a “politically inept” holdover from the United Bermuda Party “missed the chance to rebuild as best it could from the tattered election remains” around former MP Jeff Baron, former senate leader Nicholas Kempe who was ousted for Mr Mathias, and MP Sylvan Richards. “What’s left of that party is old diehard Urbanites currently carrying the media appearances, and political neophytes and yuppies, devoid of a political philosophy or history of social struggle, untested by, and deathly afraid of frontline, street-level, door-to-door politics, and no, or very little, Cabinet-level experience,” Mr Perinchief said. “This is hardly an Opposition qualified to be considered a serious government in waiting — unless, of course, you have about 15 years to wait.” Mr Perinchief predicted the rise of a new political party from elements in the PLP, the OBA and the general population. “Bermuda will begin to follow the trajectory of political maturity that countries like Bahamas have embarked on years ahead of us,” he said. He likened Ms Atherden or any successor to “a new captain of the Titanic” and called the OBA “politically spent”. Mr Jeffers said he was reluctant to predict, but noted that Mr Dickinson could be hampered by his “very serious” demeanor, asking: “Can he get people out to vote? The PLP has the momentum and the OBA has the need,” Mr Jeffers said. “The question is, can they turn that need into momentum?”

spacerA businessman and a former Mayor of Hamilton appeared in Magistrates’ Court yesterday. Michael MacLean, who planned to create a hotel on the Par-la-Ville Road car park, and his wife Yasmin appeared alongside ex-mayor Graeme Outerbridge. Ed Benevides, Corporation of Hamilton secretary, was also scheduled to appear, but Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo heard he was off the island for medical reasons. No charges were read in court. Charles Richardson, representing Mr MacLean, said he had filed an application for judicial review. Mr Tokunbo adjourned the hearing until June 21.

spacerA shark caused excitement at Shelly Bay yesterday after cruising close to the popular beach in Hamilton Parish. Swimmers and kite surfers spotted the shark, including its dorsal fin breaking the surface, as it came in close to the shore. Shark expert Choy Aming is “pretty sure” it is the same hammerhead shark sighted by a family paddle boarding in Flatts Inlet in April. The shark appears to have “found a comfortable spot in and around the reef” and was unlikely to present a threat, he said. “We have been seeing it consistently for a few months — it’s found a niche and is just doing its thing.” Mr Aming rushed to the beach at midday but the shark had moved on. “People are excited and they said it was cruising around for a good hour,” Mr Aming said. “It’s still a novelty to see them. People had their children on the beach and just wanted to share it with them. “It just swam in and out with people cautiously watching it. As soon as it left, people went back in. That’s definitely the reaction you want.” Hammerheads are more likely to be seen in deeper water, and the sharks are a rarity inside Bermuda’s reef.

spacerA 62-year-old woman died after falling from a jet ski into the water near Cambridge Beaches in Sandys this morning. It appears that the cruise ship visitor, from Massachusetts, fell into the water before losing consciousness, according to the Bermuda Police Service. CPR was performed as she was taken by boat to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital where she was later pronounced dead. Police said no further information would be given until the next of kin is notified.

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June 3. Sunday

spacerChief Justice Ian Kawaley issued a statement this afternoon thanking Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, for new court rules and legislation to improve court proceedings. Ms Simmons, the Government Senate Leader, “safely piloted” the Evidence Audio-Visual Link Act 2018 Bill through the Upper House on Wednesday, Mr Justice Kawaley said. The Act will allow remote testimony from vulnerable witnesses during court cases. Mr Justice Kawaley’s statement came after he issued a broadside on Thursday that laid the blame for declining court staffing on successive Attorneys-General. Acknowledging the criticism, which prompted Ms Simmons to respond that 52 of the 66 posts at the Judicial Department had been filled, Mr Justice Kawaley said: “In light of recent complaints made by him about the lack of support on the administrative front, the Chief Justice considers that it is important for him to public express his appreciation for enhanced legislative support the Honourable Attorney-General and her Chambers have provided to the Judiciary since her appointment in relation the Evidence (Audio-Visual Link) Act and the drafting and publication of new Court rules.” The Act will cut costs, protect witnesses and address “security concerns about bringing certain prisoners to court”, he said. “It is an enhanced version of an outline legislative proposal first made by the Judiciary in December 2012. The Chief Justice acknowledges the dynamism shown by the Attorney-General in bringing this longstanding legislative project to a successful conclusion in the first year of her present term of office.” The Chief Justice announced that as of Friday, two sets of court rules had come into effect: the Human Rights (Appeals) Rules 2018, and the Supreme Court (Bermuda Immigration and Protection) (Appeals) Rules 2018. The Development and Planning (Appeals to the Supreme Court) Rules are expected to come into effect on June 15.

spacerA car and an ambulance collided at a junction on Front Street this afternoon. The crash occurred at about 4.40pm at the foot of Court Street, by the entrance to the docks. A police spokesman said: “Initial information suggests that a car driven along Court Street and an ambulance driven along Front Street — which had its emergency lights on at the time — collided. Apparently there were no reported injuries. However, both vehicles were damaged. Inquiries are underway and any witnesses are asked to contact the main police telephone number 295-0011.”

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June 2

spacerJob creation and up to $25 million of investment, including job training, are among pledges given to the Government by four technology companies establishing a presence on the island. Details of the signed memorandums of understanding were tabled in the House of Assembly by David Burt. One of the MOUs is with Binance Holdings Limited, which has undertaken to provide up to $10 million for training and another $5 million in investment in Bermudian-based blockchain companies. Omega One, in a separate MOU, has promised to donate 10 per cent of venture philanthropy to support “community sporting clubs in Bermuda”. In another MOU, Shyft Network Inc has pledged to spend up to $10 million on investments in Bermudian-based companies and education. The fourth MOU was signed with Medici Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Overstock.com. It intends to create 30 jobs in Bermuda. The Premier told the House of Assembly: “These MOUs outline the beginnings of solid working relationships with leading companies in this new area of development. Our commitment is to work with these partners in the implementation of these undertakings as we develop Bermuda’s fintech industry. This government is determined to diversify this economy and it is becoming clear that the fintech industry can become another source of economic growth for Bermuda’s economy.” Mr Burt, who is also Minister of Finance, added: “Bermuda is a global leader in digital asset regulation and we are creating an environment in this country where legitimate companies can establish a presence to provide services to the world. Based on these commitments, we stand to create 120 jobs for Bermudians over the next three years. Most significantly, we believe in investing in our people and the institutions that strengthen our communities, so we are encouraging these corporate partners to tangibly do the same with education, our community sporting clubs and in training Bermudians.” A memorandum of understanding is a non-binding agreement between two or more parties that outlines terms and details of each participant and their requirements and responsibilities. It carries a degree of seriousness and respect and is often the first stage in the formation of a formal contract.

spacerThe Regulatory Authority has backed hi-tech smart meters installed by power firm Belco. The authority said yesterday that the meters comply with safety standards set by the United States Federal Communications Commission. The authority will carry out tests because of “public concern” this month to ensure that the meters used in Bermuda are in line with approved standards. The devices are being installed by Belco as part of its modernization plans. About 2,700 meters are now in place at homes and businesses around the island. The Royal Gazette reported this week that some people have challenged the move on the grounds that electronic emissions from the meters are harmful to health. The authority confirmed yesterday that it had authorized the use of the radio frequency or RF bandwidth used for metering. It added: “The smart meters use RF only to transmit data from the meters. The RF feature is not used to monitor electricity usage. The smart meters used in Bermuda homes transmit meter data once every four hours, which equates to a total transmission time of less than one second per day.” The Authority pledged to test the meters’ maximum permissible exposure standards this month and report on its findings.

2018 Belco smart meter map

2018 Belco smart meter map

spacerWayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, again accused Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva of poor succession planning yesterday after three Bermudians were overlooked in the hunt for his replacement. Mr Caines said they had applied to replace Mr DeSilva, who is due to retire this year. They were beaten to the position by Englishman Stephen Corbishley, an acting Assistant Chief Constable with Kent Police, who was appointed this week. Mr Caines told the House of Assembly: “I am concerned that the police commissioner did not come from the rank and file of the Bermuda Police Service. Based on the lack of a suitably qualified Bermudian, we must challenge the Governor’s oversight and management of the leadership of BPS, and this sentiment is not directed at the current governor. There were also obviously failings by the current commissioner and his human resources manager in the areas of leadership, talent management and succession planning.” MPs heard that there were six candidates for the post, three of whom were Bermudian — two assistant commissioners and one superintendent. The BPS have two assistant commissioners: Antoine Daniels, who is Bermudian, and Martin Weekes, an English-born officer with Bermuda status. All three superintendents, Sean Field-Lament, James Howard and Darrin Simons, are Bermudian. Mr Caines said that the police service had suffered cuts under the One Bermuda Alliance government. He said: “As with most government departments, the first budget line that was sliced was training, which included overseas attachments and training. Because of the decrease in the budget, staffing levels were also reduced. During the period from 2012 to 2017, the staffing level in the BPS fell from 460 to 400 now. This is a 13 per cent reduction, a significant decline, in an organisation charged with keeping Bermuda safe for both residents and visitors. You cannot expect stellar performance and development, without investment and training.” Mr Caines said John Rankin, the Governor, “must make a clear priority for the new commissioner to identify, highlight, train and develop high flyers in the BPS”. Opposition MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin pointed out that the police training budget for 2017-18 had been $948,000, and cut to $889,000 for 2018-19. She also challenged Mr Caines on the lack of funds available for police during the One Bermuda Alliance administration, which she blamed on spending restrictions caused by the massive debt inherited from the Progressive Labour Party government. Mr Caines said that the PLP had plans in place that would allow funds to be allocated with “laser-like precision”. The minister called for a Bermudian candidate to be ready for the job in five years’ time. Speaking during the motion to adjourn, shadow minister Michael Dunkley outlined a reduction in the training budget from 2007-08 to 2011-12. He also highlighted the police budget for the same timeframe, which he said showed that the “PLP got it wrong every year”. He added: “The first point I made shows that the PLP cut training and my second point shows the PLP during their last tenure never funded the BPS properly.” Mr Dunkley also pointed out that the deputy commissioner had not applied for the position, which he said was “illustrated clearly in the minister’s statement when he alluded to the three local applicants”. He added: “It is our hope and our wish and we will try to hold everyone accountable to it — that the new Commissioner of Police, whenever he arrives to assume the mantle, gives it his top priority to ensure that all officers at every rank and every level of service have that requisite training and experience to enable them to have very early consideration as future candidates to fill this role.”

spacerBermuda’s Portuguese community was “ecstatic” after it was announced yesterday that a public holiday next year will mark the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first immigrants from Madeira. Andrea Moniz-DeSouza, the Honorary Portuguese Consul, was in Parliament to hear David Burt declare the commemorations for November 4, 2019. Ms Moniz-DeSouza said: “I am stunned, in a very pleasant way. Like any other minority in Bermuda, we are always looking to be acknowledged and accepted. Being acknowledged and having the Government thank us for the contribution to the island of many generations of Portuguese people makes us very happy.” She said: “It comes at an important time. After the election, you couldn’t help but feel we were a bit divided. I appreciate what the Premier is trying to do and we are hoping this is only the beginning.” Bermuda’s links to Portugal date back at least to 1543, a year marked in an inscription on a rock near Spittal Pond made by shipwrecked Portuguese sailors. Next year’s event will commemorate the November 1849 arrival of Portuguese people from the island of Madeira aboard the Golden Rule. Local agriculture had gone into decline and Bermuda had to find agricultural workers in the wake of the abolition of slavery in 1834. The Premier told MPs that later Portuguese immigrants came mostly from the Azores. He said: “From the original families and those subsequent immigrations, Portuguese culture has become a part of Bermuda’s cultural fabric.” He said that fostering understanding of Bermuda’s racial relationships had been part of the Progressive Labour Party’s 2017 electoral platform. Mr Burt added: “This Government is a government for everyone, and we are determined to forge a society where our differences are celebrated. We must have meaningful inclusion if we are to chart a future of success for our children and future generations. This is consistent with the ideals of the founders of the PLP who, when Portuguese people in this country did not have a voice, spoke on their behalf, never more powerfully than on the issue of long-term residency.” A series of events to accompany the anniversary might include an official visit from representatives of the Azores and Madeira. Mr Burt added the celebration could also include a sporting event with a visiting team and the installation of a commemorative plaque.

spacerThe electoral clean sweep in Barbados was democracy in action, according to Carl Neblett, president of the Barbados Association of Bermuda. Mia Mottley, the daughter of former Bermuda Attorney-General Elliott Mottley, and her Barbados Labour Party took all 30 seats in the country’s House of Assembly as the former Democratic Labour Party was hammered at the polls. Mr Neblett said: “All I can say is it’s a welcome change as the incumbent party ran that country into the ground.” The clean sweep came on May 24. Mr Neblett said: “The population has spoken. We have never had a whitewash of the election like that in our history where you have no Opposition. That’s a serious message — when you’re voted into office you’re supposed to listen to the people and take care of the problems, not doing as you please and acting like you can’t be spoken to.” Mr Neblett said he had no worries about the one-party Parliament. He added: “Barbados was in a quandary. It was one of the leading countries in the Caribbean despite its size, and then it became the laughing stock of the Caribbean. That’s sad, but now I think we will get out of this mess.” The global recession of 2008 hit Barbados badly and the DLP was unable to turn around the island’s economy in the decade since. Mr Neblett said the landslide gave the BLP “the mandate to sort things out”. He added the result echoed the 24-12 landslide for the Progressive Labour Party last year, which ousted the One Bermuda Alliance administration. Mr Neblett said: “You have to have that degree of accountability and some form of Opposition. You also have to remember that the Opposition put themselves in that position. It’s happening everywhere, not only on small islands. When constituents are up in arms with how the country is being run, they will execute what they are supposed to do, and that’s by the vote. Not violence. Just cross that X and vote.” Mr Neblett added that Ms Mottley’s administration showed promise in its first week in power. He said: “She is leading from the front, unlike the previous PM, who was never anywhere to be seen, like a phantom. Ms Mottley is going to be a great PM. She has a lot of good people in her corner and the country’s interests at heart.” He added the BLP triumph left the new ruling party with “a long road to travel”. Mr Neblett added: “I am hoping and praying.”

spacerTwo men denied separate murder charges at the Supreme Court arraignments session yesterday. Khyri Smith-Williams, from Sandys, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Colford Ferguson, who was fatally shot on February 4, 2011. The 27-year-old also denied using a firearm to commit the offence. Mr Ferguson, a 29-year-old father of one, was shot while doing construction work on a house at the junction of East Shore Road and Somerset Road in Sandys. Mr Smith-Williams was remanded in custody for a further appearance. Former Bermuda footballer Rakeem DeShields, 25, denied the unlawful killing of Dijon Simmons in an incident on March 18 this year. Mr Simmons, a bartender, died in King Edward VII Memorial Hospital days after being involved in a fight on Front Street. Mr DeShields, from Paget, was released on bail until the next arraignments session on July 2. A 53-year-old Pembroke man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied two counts of sexual exploitation of a young girl aged under 14 while in a position of trust. He also pleaded not guilty to a charge of unlawful carnal knowledge involving the same girl. All three offences are alleged to have happened on an unknown date between June 15, 1997 and June 15, 1998. The defendant was released on bail for a further appearance later this month. Edward Albouy, from Southampton, denied a series of drug and money-laundering charges. The 24-year-old pleaded not guilty to the importation of 2,956.8 grams of ecstasy, 1,643.4 grams of cannabis and 12,095 grams of cannabis resin on September 3 last year. He also denied charges of possessing the drugs with intent to supply and two counts of money laundering. He was released on bail and is expected to return to the court on June 8. Anthony Williams, 20, denied breaking into a Friswells Road home with a knife on April 8. Mr Williams, of Sandys, was ordered to make a further appearance on June 15.

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June 1

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spacerA new law to ban same-sex marriage but give gay and straight couples the ability to enter into civil unions comes into effect today. The controversial Domestic Partnership Act 2018 becomes law as marriage-equality campaigners await a ruling from the Supreme Court on their attempt to have part of the legislation struck out on constitutional grounds. The DPA was approved by Parliament in December, sparking criticism from human rights activists and British MPs, including Prime Minister Theresa May. John Rankin, the Governor, gave the legislation Royal Assent on February 7. The Act reversed a Supreme Court ruling in May last year that paved the way for gay couples to get married in Bermuda and on ships registered to the island. There were ten same-sex marriages on the island up to the middle of February, plus four at sea on Bermuda-flagged ships. Banns were also posted for two more maritime marriages. The latest civil proceedings in Supreme Court were brought against Attorney- General Kathy Lynn Simmons by gay Bermudians Rod Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson and the charity OutBermuda. The plaintiffs claimed the part of the Act that reaffirmed that a marriage is void unless the parties are male and female was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley reserved judgment in the case until a later date. Same-sex couples had until yesterday to marry. Couples who want to apply for a domestic partnership can contact the Registry-General on 297-7739 or 298-7199.

spacerBermuda will hold a public holiday next year to mark the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Portuguese immigrants. David Burt announced November 4, 2019, would include a series of events to celebrate the Portuguese culture which “has become a part of Bermuda’s cultural fabric”. The Premier told the House of Assembly: “This Government is a government for everyone, and we are determined to forge a society where our differences are celebrated. “We must have meaningful inclusion if we are to chart a future of success for our children and future generations. This is consistent with the ideals of the founders of the Progressive Labour Party who, when Portuguese people in this country did not have a voice, spoke on their behalf, never more powerfully than on the issue of long term residency.”

spacerNational security minister Wayne Caines accused Michael DeSilva of poor succession planning after three Bermudians were deemed not worthy of replacing him as Commissioner of Police. Mr Caines noted a Superintendent and two Assistant Commissioners had applied for the job being vacated by Mr DeSilva, only to be overlooked when Englishman Stephen Corbishley was appointed this week. He told the House of Assembly: “I am concerned that the Police Commissioner did not come from the rank and file of the Bermuda Police Service. Based on the lack of a suitably qualified Bermudian, we must challenge the Governor’s oversight and management of the leadership of the BPS and this sentiment is not directed at the current Governor. There were also obviously failings by the current Commissioner and his human resources manager, in the areas of leadership, talent management and succession planning.” Mr Caines said that the police service had suffered cuts under the One Bermuda Alliance government. “As with most Government departments, the first budget line that was sliced was training, which included overseas attachments and training. Because of the decrease in the budget, staffing levels were also reduced. During the period from 2012 to 2017, the staffing level in the BPS fell from 460 to now 400. This is a 13 per cent reduction, a significant decline, in an organisation charged with keeping Bermuda safe for both residents and visitors. You cannot expect stellar performance and development, without investment and training.” Mr Caines said John Rankin, the Governor, “must make a clear priority for the new Commissioner to identify, highlight, train and develop high flyers in the BPS”.

spacerMore than two dozen boats have been removed from Bermuda’s shoreline, a Government representative said yesterday. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said that 25 “abandoned and derelict vessels” had been scrapped. She added: “This represents approximately one third of the total ADVs that are currently located around Bermuda’s coastline. Their removal has enhanced the beauty of our shores in addition to addressing some of the threats to the health of our marine environment.” Boats were removed from Ferry Reach, Mullet Bay and Coney Island. A number of vessels at Mills Creek have also been cleared. The spokeswoman said that batteries, oil and fuel were removed from the vessels before they were shipped to the dump and added that other vessels would be removed from other areas “as funding permits. A working group is looking to amend legislation so that the cost of salvaging sunken vessels is borne by boat owners and not the Government in the future. The working group includes representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Marine and Ports Services and the Ministry of Public Works. DENR and the working group are committed to pursuing the short-term salvage of existing ADVs and, more importantly, the necessary amendments to the legislation to ensure that the removal and disposal of sunken vessels are addressed shortly after they become wrecked and without using funding from Government.” For more information, call 239-2356 or e-mail pollutioncontrol@gov.bm.

spacerExtra cash from a proposed sugar tax should be used to boost health education, experts said yesterday. Annabel Fountain, a diabetes specialist, and the Bermuda Diabetes Association warned that use of only “a portion” of the new tax’s revenue would not be enough to tackle the health epidemic. Dr Fountain said: “Considering the tremendous cost that diabetes and its complications has for the Bermuda community both economically and across all of society, limiting the diversion of funds gained through taxation of sugar would be short-sighted.” She said other countries had set up “total population screening, prevention and management programmes for non-communicable diseases”. Dr Fountain, a former director of endocrinology at the Bermuda Hospitals Board, added: “Bermuda can ill afford to continue on its current track where health expenditures are set to bankrupt our economy. A penny of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The opportunity presented by this sugar tax to support evidence-based initiatives to improve the health of our population should not be underestimated.” This parliamentary session, MPs will debate the Customs Tariff Amendment (No. 2) Bill, which includes hikes to duty rates on sugar and sugar products. David Burt, the Premier, outlined the Government’s commitment to the proposed sugar tax in the Budget 2018-19 and said “a portion of the revenues from the sugar tax will be earmarked for educational programmes to improve health outcomes”. She warned: “This may not be sufficient to reach those at highest risk for chronic diseases.” She explained that 74 per cent of Bermuda’s adult population was overweight or obese and rates of diabetes and complications were rising “exponentially”. She said she had also treated obese children and children with type 2 diabetes. Dr Fountain added that studies had proven that heavy sugar consumption was associated with higher rates of chronic disease, including cancer. She said: “Taxation of sugar would send the right message to reduce consumption.” Dr Fountain also highlighted “inappropriate taxes on water and fruit and vegetables that increase costs and deter healthy choices”. She added: “I hope that the tax on sugar will be accompanied by reductions in the costs of healthier options.” The legislation was tabled after the Government ran an eight-week consultation on proposed duty rate changes, which concluded that 52 per cent of the 345 respondents supported taxing the included items. Kim Wilson, the health minister, told MPs in March that amendments had also been developed to eliminate the duty on healthy essential foods such as some fresh fruit and vegetables. She said: “This is all in an effort to help Bermuda eat a healthier diet to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes.” Sara Bosch de Noya, diabetes educator with the Bermuda Diabetes Association, agreed that education was a vital part of health improvement. She said: “There is no doubt in our mind that making something more expensive may limit some people’s purchasing. In Bermuda, in our affluence, generally my concern is that people will still buy it if they want it.” Ms Bosch de Noya said other countries had focused on sugary drinks and combined a tax on these with health education. She added: “It has to come hand-in-hand with some form of education. And the education, I believe, is more impactful in the long run. We want the public to have a positive buy-in to this so that they, and we as health professionals, feel that there is going to be revenue coming back into education, which is vital.” Ms Bosch de Noya said just part of the expected revenue from a sugar tax would not be enough to fund proper programmes. She added she would like to see a stronger commitment from Government. “For people to understand the seriousness, they’ve got to realize that the Government is putting it back into making our population healthy. We’ve got one opportunity to make a real impact here and we want to do it in the most productive way.

spacerLegal Opinion. By Attorney Jessica Almeida, an associate and a member of the Dispute Resolution Team at Appleby. "A shift in the interpretation of a key section of employment and immigration legislation has put the onus on companies to justify why their senior executives should qualify for a Permanent Resident’s Certificate. Currently, the only pathway to obtain PRC status is through the Incentive for Job Makers Acts 2011 and 2013 (Job Makers Act), which amended section 31A of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 and inserted section 3B of the Economic Development Act 1968 (Economic Development Act). The Job Makers Act provides exemptions to senior executives or those responsible for creating job(s) for Bermudians and who are critical to the continuity of the company in Bermuda, from needing a work permit. While there have been no updates to the legislation since 2013, since the current government came into power in 2017 there has been a shift in the interpretation of section 3B. Section 3B(2) of the Economic Development Act sets out the requirements that a company must meet in order for its senior executive employees to be eligible for exemption. These requirements are that the company:

The shift in interpretation comes into play in respect of section 3B(3) of the Economic Development Act, which provides that the minister may, after taking into consideration various criteria, lower the number of persons with Bermudian status that a company should have on its staff for the purposes of section 3B(2). Under the previous government, section 3B(3) was used as a catch-all discretionary section for government to investigate further into a company whose application did not quite meet the criteria for the exemption under section 3B(2). Currently, under the new government, where a company does not meet the criteria for the exemption under section 3B(2), such company must provide submissions as to the criteria set out in section 3B(3), namely:

While in the grand scheme of things, this change in interpretation does not significantly alter the application process, it puts the onus on the company to set out the considerations that the minister should have in respect of the section 3B(3) criteria and may result in delays in the processing of a company’s application — ie, where such submission is not included in the initial application. Considering that the Job Makers Act is the only way for non-Bermudians with no real Bermudian connection to remain on the island and engage in gainful occupation indefinitely, this extra step ensures that applicants that are granted a PRC have proven to be of benefit to Bermuda’s overall community and economic health."

spacerA mother of two jailed for importation of cannabis to treat her seizures has lodged an appeal against her sentence. Natasha York, 41, was sentenced to a year in prison on Monday for bringing in 1,430 grams of cannabis, but magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo suspended nine months of the term. Lawyer Paul Wilson, who represents York, said her licence to use medical marijuana arrived on Wednesday. Now he has launched an appeal to argue the full sentence should be suspended. He said: “Ironically she is now incarcerated for attempting to import the very thing she now possesses a licence to have. The licence came through on Wednesday morning. I reviewed the licence itself, and it has been taken down to the Co-Ed Facility. Given the unusual circumstances, I would argue the sentence that she should be incarcerated is excessive.” Magistrates’ Court heard York has suffered intractable seizures and, while she was prescribed high doses of several medications, her seizures continued unabated. Evidence from Kyjuan Brown, medical director for Northshore Medical & Aesthetics Centre, said cannabis had been shown to stop the seizures. York applied for permission to import medical marijuana, but was at first refused. Mr Wilson said: “Between when that application was refused and when she made a second application, that’s when she did the act. The magistrate must have felt like his hands were tied. At the end of the day, she was guilty of importing a controlled drug. At the time she imported the drug, she did not have that licence.” Mr Wilson said the initial licence, granted last August, allowed York to use cannabis products with CBD, which reduced the number of seizures. However, as of Wednesday, Mr Wilson said he was only able to bring her Lamictal and Dilantin, anti-seizure medications that previously failed to improve her condition. He said: “It was a real horrific situation that she is in, especially when you consider the children have to revive her, or when she’s having a seizure they have to turn her a certain way when she’s sleeping. “It would be dangerous to incarcerate her because she needs someone to be there to make sure during the night she is breathing properly.” Mr Wilson said York has been given a new licence for medical marijuana to allow her access to drugs with a higher level of THC, which Dr Brown said halts the seizures altogether. He added: “She was upset on Monday night. I think that was when things were starting to set in, but when I spoke to her after court all she really wanted to know from me was if she could get her medication. That has been my number one priority since then. We now have the licence allowing her to bring it in. Once it’s here, it can be administered. The harder part right now is getting the medical grade marijuana from Canada to Bermuda because they are quite strict. They say eight weeks, and they mean eight weeks.” Dr Brown asked the Government to help York in a letter sent to David Burt, the Premier. He wrote: “We cannot allow this lady to spend one night in jail without her cannabis.” The letter warned that York could have as many as five or six seizures a day and “will likely suffer irreversible brain damage”. Dr Brown added: “This is not a case of a recreational user who just likes to get high. This is a case of a mother of two who is desperate to live for herself and her two children.”

spacerPolice seized drugs, cash and jewellery yesterday after two searches with warrants. A spokesman said the search warrants were issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act after officers arrested two men on Court Street on unrelated matters.

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