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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online
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A series of subcontracts for the new airport have been handed out to local and overseas companies. Aecon’s Specialist Baggage Handling Systems and BIWIS Software System supplier Glidepath Limited, of New Zealand, has been awarded the installation contract along with Bermuda Aviation Services Limited. BAS Group will be supported on the project by BESCO, the CCS Group, and H&H Plumbing & Mechanical Limited to provide site installation services and support services to Glidepath for the BHS Project. Aecon’s subcontractor for the mechanical systems, Update Group, has awarded subcontracts to Bermudian companies: BAC Limited for water and refrigeration systems; Keen Limited for ventilation systems; Air Care Limited, in association with Troy Fire Protection, for fire protection systems; and SwitchWorx for access control, intercom and CCTV. The curtain wall system has been awarded to NR Windows of Florida, while local company Solid Rock Construction has been awarded the contract for concrete placing and finishing for the slab-on-grade. Bermudian company Trident Rebar Installers has been contracted to place reinforcing steel for the slab-on-grade. Dolphin Glass of Florida will supply the interior glazing and balustrades. Zoeftig of Exeter, Britain, specialists in airport furniture and airport seating, has been contracted to supply airport furnishings. Service contracts have also been awarded to the following Bermudian companies:
Frank Ross, Aecon’s executive director of infrastructure, said: “It’s always a pleasure to announce the various Bermudian companies we have awarded contracts to for the airport redevelopment project. We are excited to work with both our local and overseas subcontractors and as always, hire as many Bermudian companies as possible — as airport construction continues on budget and on schedule.” Aaron Adderley, president of Skyport, said: “We are pleased with the large — and growing — number of Bermudian companies who have been engaged to provide a variety of important services for the airport redevelopment project. We have been working closely with Aecon to ensure that continues throughout the project.”
A former accountant-general is the new Registrar of Companies. Ken Joaquin, who also served as permanent secretary for the health ministry, replaced Stephen Lowe, who retired this year. The Ministry of Finance said Mr Joaquin had more than 15 years of experience in the public and private sectors. His most recent role was as an independent financial consultant in Canada for international clients. Mr Joaquin is also a former president and chief executive of Stevedoring Services and Bermuda Aviation Services.
A 25-year-old man was banned from the roads yesterday for a refusal to take a breath test. Shaquille Codrington, of Hamilton Parish, pleaded guilty to failure to provide a sample of breath. Magistrates’ Court heard that Codrington’s car was pulled over by police on Palmetto Road, near Frog Lane, in the early hours on September 16. He was stopped after officers saw the car door open and close while it was moving. Police said Codrington’s eyes were bloodshot, his speech slurred, and that his breath smelled of alcohol. Codrington told police that he had drank two beers but refused a breath test. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo banned Codrington from driving for 12 months and fined him $800.
Roadside breath test checkpoints will be set up for the first time this weekend, the Bermuda Police Service has confirmed. The checks will be used in Devonshire and Paget on Friday, Saturday and Sunday after a series of false starts since the legislation to allow them was passed in July. Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes said that roadside breath test checkpoints were designed to cut down on deaths and injuries rather than “lock up hundreds of people.” Mr Weekes said: “What we want to do is change the culture. It is about reducing harm, it is about reducing damage, it is about reducing insurance premiums because there will be fewer people drinking and driving and getting into accidents. It is all about harm reduction not about locking up as many people as we can. If we can get people to think twice about having that last glass of wine after dinner or that round of shots in the bar, that is what we are aiming at with roadside sobriety checks.” Mr Weekes was speaking in a film posted on social media as the island prepared for the introduction of the checkpoints. Mr Weekes said the public should use public transport, cabs or the Let Us Drive service run by anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada, instead of drinking and driving. People can also use a designated driver or the HomeSafeBermuda service where a hired driver will drive them home in their own car. The Road Traffic (Roadside Sobriety Checkpoint) Amendment Act 2018 got Royal Assent in the summer. Officers can now set up checkpoints to assess the sobriety of every driver or rider passing through and use a hand held breathalyzer to check the level of alcohol in their systems. Refusal to give a sample of breath without reasonable excuse is an offence and will result in a road ban and fine in line with the penalties for a test failure. The film can be viewed at www.facebook.com/bermudapoliceservice/videos/2211582552412393/
Representatives from the Department for National Drug Control (DNDC) presented a plaque to Mayor Charles Gosling recognizing the City of Hamilton for its continued contributions to assisting those in recovery. September is recognized and celebrated as Recovery Month by the DNDC.
A 22-year-old woman who admitted smuggling $23,150 worth of drugs into the island was jailed for a year on Friday. Magistrates’ Court heard that Ashley Mussenden was detained after she was stopped by a customs officer at the airport when she arrived on a flight from London. She was arrested on suspicion of drug importation and taken to the King Edward Memorial Hospital for a CT scan, which revealed the drugs in her system. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo told Mussenden, from St George’s, that her offences were serious. Mr Tokunbo added: “You gambled; you knew what you were doing.” He sentenced Mussenden to 12 months in jail for importation of ecstasy and eight months imprisonment for the cannabis offence. He ordered the sentences to run concurrently, with time spent on remand taken into consideration. The offences happened in September last year. The prosecution recommended a prison sentence of nine to 18 months for the offence. Paul Wilson, defence lawyer, asked the court for leniency. He added his client had experienced a difficult childhood and had made recent attempts to turn her life around. Mussenden told the court: “I know what I did was stupid. I was desperate.” She said that she had been trying to move her life forward since her arrest. Mussenden added: “I am not my mistake.”
Vulnerable children who claim they were let down by the head of the Government’s child protection unit plan to sue him, according to a lawyer. Alfred Maybury, director of the Department of Child and Family Services, was placed on administrative leave over claims that he failed to properly handle complaints against his staff by youngsters in their care. His suspension and an inquiry into his actions were sparked by a letter to Michael Weeks, the Minister of Social Development, and Sport, from Saul Dismont, an associate at Marshall Diel & Myers law firm. In his August 10 letter, Mr Dismont claimed Mr Maybury, in addition to failing to protect children in the department’s care from allegedly abusive and negligent staff, unlawfully obstructed an independent social worker, representing one of the youngsters in the role of a litigation guardian. Mr Dismont told the minister: “In the coming weeks, expect a number of civil claims from a number of children relating to claims against the director. All of those claims have come to light due to the children having had the benefit of a litigation guardian and a lawyer.” The lawyer warned Mr Weeks against any attempt by the Government to amend the Children Act 1998 which, under sections 35 and 36, grants every child who needs it the right to representation in court and allows litigation guardians to access departmental files on their clients. The letter to the minister alleged that Mr Maybury banned litigation guardian Tiffanne Thomas from accessing the records of a boy she was representing, referred to as BC to protect his identity, after she uncovered reports that he had been violently assaulted by a male staff member at the youth residential treatment centre. Three other staff at the centre were reported to have neglected the children in their care. Mr Maybury is accused of failing to ensure the accused staff members were suspended and allowing them to continue to have contact with BC, despite a restraining order issued against them by a magistrate. It also detailed how he ignored orders requiring his attendance in the Family Court, in relation to a separate matter, leading to a warrant for his arrest being issued. “One of the great purposes of the role of a litigation guardian is to have access to the director’s records in order to oversee the director, who is otherwise unmonitored, and report their findings to the court,” Mr Dismont wrote. “The ... actions of the director are a clear attempt to obstruct that power.” He added: “Like the ... attempts of the director to obstruct the litigation guardian from effectively reporting to the courts, any attempts to meddle with section 35 or section 36 are likely to be interpreted as the minister and the Government trying to protect themselves from vulnerable children who may have a valid claim against them. Please also consider that if any amendments to the Act are made, this letter may be relied on as evidence that before making such amendments, the ministry was aware of pending lawsuits against it made by vulnerable children.” Mr Weeks told news website Politica, after it broke the story of Mr Maybury’s suspension, that though amendments to the Children Act were coming there were no plans to “dilute the duties of the litigation guardian”. He was quoted as saying: “As minister responsible for Child and Family Services, I recognize the need for having a voice for our children.” A Supreme Court judge ruled in June that unless public funding was made available for vulnerable youngsters, hundreds of whom appear before the courts without representation every year, their “constitutional right to meaningful participation in decisions which may be of vital importance to their lives and wellbeing will often remain unrealized”. Asked whether the Government had any plans to allocate funding for litigation guardians and lawyers, a ministry spokeswoman said: “The decision to provide funding for litigation guardians and lawyers has not yet been determined. Any budgetary allotments must be approved by Cabinet.” Questions about how long the investigation into Mr Maybury’s conduct was expected to last and whether he remained on full pay while suspended went unanswered, as did queries about whether the staff members accused of the abuse and neglect of children were still working with minors or when the inquiry into their behavior was expected to conclude. The spokeswoman said: “The ministry does not comment on personnel matters.” The Department of Child and Family Services has a budget of about $16 million, more than half of which is spent on staff salaries. It also spent $3.2 million last year on “professional services” which is thought to include the cost of outside legal counsel who represented the department in court. The spokeswoman could not provide a breakdown of the $3.2 million or disclose the cost of outside legal counsel by press time.
A man dubbed the Motorcycle Bandit this morning admitted a string of offences against elderly drivers. Troy Woods, 47, pleaded guilty to four counts of dishonestly obtaining property and three counts of attempting to dishonestly obtain property. Woods, of Devonshire, also admitted taking a motorcycle without permission and theft of a handbag. The incidents took place in Devonshire, Pembroke and Smith’s between August 6 and September 9. Magistrates’ Court heard that Woods flagged down motorists while on his motorcycle, claimed that they had hit him with their vehicle or caused him to crash and demanded money as compensation. The court heard that a total of $687 was taken from four victims. The handbag, stolen from a car in Smith’s on August 30, was valued at $370. Nicole Smith, for the prosecution, said that Woods had previous convictions for dishonesty and suffered from drug addiction. Woods told the court: “I was wrong for what I did.” Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo ordered reports on Woods and remanded him in custody until November 2.
Mazhye Burchall, the Robin Hood and Bermuda Under-20 footballer, was the ninth person to die on Bermuda’s roads after a crash early on Saturday morning. Mr Burchall, 20, apparently lost control of his motorcycle shortly before 4am near the Trimingham Hill roundabout in Paget. According to police, the vehicle struck a wall near the Railway Trail, about 100 yards west of the roundabout. Mr Burchall was taken to hospital but pronounced dead. Michael Dunkley, the shadow national security minister, gave a statement of condolence yesterday on behalf of the Opposition. Mr Dunkley said: “Life can be very tough at times and losing someone so young, with so much to offer and with a loving family and many friends, is as tough as it gets. This weekend, as the family and friends grieve, it is up to us as a community to comfort and support them during this very difficult period. As time moves, on there will be ample opportunity to seek answers and improve road safety.” Police are appealing for any witnesses, or anyone who can assist with the last movements of the Mr Burchall, to contact Pc Wilkinson on 295-0011.
Hundreds of people joined forces in a massive clean-up operation of the island’s coasts over the weekend. Ten Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers were among the teams that took time to tackle the waste blighting the country’s shorelines. In a blitz on Saturday, the RBR volunteers collected more than 200lbs of trash including plastic, glass and cans in an area of Sandys between Woody’s Bar and the West End Sailboat Club, near the new Boat Troop headquarters. Divers from the Regiment’s Underwater Task Force also retrieved several hundred pounds of rusted metal and machinery from the shoreline and waters. Keep Bermuda Beautiful ran the island-wide effort as part of the annual International Coastal Clean-Up organized by global charity Ocean Conservancy, which was expected to include more than 100 countries. About 740 people took part in 38 locations across Bermuda. Private Delgardo Pinto, from Warwick and a member of the RBR’s Guns and Assault Pioneers, said: “I volunteered because I wanted to help clean up my image as I help to clean up Bermuda.” The 30-year-old Watlington Waterworks employee added: “I was amazed at how much trash was out there. It was crazy. I found a lot of bottles, a car wheel and tyre, crates, ropes, a whole lot of stuff.” Private Kojo Darrell, from Pembroke, said: “I want to join the Boat Troop. I like doing volunteer work and it’s a good thing to get on your record.” The 19-year-old, who works in an administrative role in his sister’s Ahir Am I beauty salon in Hamilton’s Court Street, added: “It’s also a good way to show your commitment and it’s helping to clean up my home as well.” RBR Director of Music Major Dwight Robinson, who is acting chairman of the Regiment’s underwater task force, said: “We’re very grateful to the soldiers who came out. There are any number of things they could be doing on a Saturday morning. To help make Bermuda just a bit cleaner is a great thing to do and we appreciate their efforts. It also demonstrates the diversity of skills the Regiment is capable of and underscores that we’re not just bombs and bullets. The soldiers here came from across the battalion, not just the divers. We are a member of the community — we do whatever we can do to advance that community and we offer support in a number of areas.”
Drivers on North Shore Road in Smith’s will face some detours and closures over the next three days as a bridge is installed as part of the Bermuda Railway Trail restoration. The bridge will be installed near Gibbons Bay, according to a spokeswoman for public works, today through Wednesday, between 10am and 3pm. The pre-assembled bridge will be lifted into place by a crane during the road closure, which will restrict the road for normal traffic use. The following detours and closures will be in effect:
In case of bad weather, the road works will be rescheduled at a date to be determined.
An artist told yesterday how she was “livid” as her project to celebrate Gombeys with a mural in Hamilton fell apart. April Branco was close to completing her work on a wall by the City Hall car park when it was painted over. The Corporation of Hamilton removed the mural, claiming it had deviated from the original submission and represented only one specific Gombey troupe. However, Ms Branco hit back at the municipality and said she alerted a project administrator on discovering the wall space was too small for the proposed design and was told she had “creative freedom”. She has been shadowing the H&H Gombeys for four years as part of a book project she is working on and it is the only troupe she has painted. Ms Branco was chosen to produce a mural near the taxi stand on Church Street as part of the City Art Festival. The artist told The Royal Gazette she submitted sample images for consideration and eventually put together a sketch based on H&H members and regalia including drummers, dancers and a child’s portrait, which was approved. She continued: “When I got to the wall and I measured it, it was almost a foot shorter, instead of being five feet it was four feet high, that’s a huge difference.” Ms Branco said she was told by a festival administrator: “Use your best artistic judgment; it’s your project. You have creative freedom; do what you feel is best.” The artist sketched out the work that had been approved but felt it was not going to have the desired impact in the space available so returned to sample images the team had liked and came up with a new plan to show the captains of the troupe unmasked. Ms Branco said: “They are real people, they have names, they are identifiable so they deserve respect and public recognition. I’m trying to help push the conversation about our appreciation of Gombeys further from just the dancer to the man.” She said the change of layout was relayed to the same City employee without question. As the mural started to take shape, an article printed in the Gazette stated Ms Branco was painting H&H Gombey captains and had altered the original design of the work. An image of the first “man behind the mask” was also shared on the City’s Instagram account. With three out of four portraits on the wall, and days before she was due to move to London, Ms Branco was informed there was a problem. In a meeting with festival co-ordinators, the artist said it appeared her intention to alter the mural had not been made apparent to all concerned. She said: “I was livid, I was crying in the meeting. I was so angry and upset. I said, I’m a social artist and social commentator, I’m trying to achieve a social and cultural design here by appreciating our black history and black culture.” The City has since said it is not policy to “practice favoritism and Ms Branco’s decision to paint only members of a particular local Gombey troupe did just that”. A spokeswoman added: “She was offered the opportunity to paint the captains of each active Gombey troupe in Bermuda that would have still met the criteria and would have been seen to be more inclusive but she declined.” However, Ms Branco said the idea to show captains of several troupes was hers. She explained: “I put every ounce of myself in the heat of summer on to that wall. I said, how can I make this work? That other layout is not going to work in that space. The only thing I can think of, and I made the suggestion, was to paint the head captain of every troupe on the island instead of four captains from my troupe. She added: “I caveated the entire thing with this: I will paint all the Gombey troupes pending my H&H captain’s approval. I asked the head captain and the captain said no.” Ms Branco has been left “weary” by the affair, which sparked a social media row over the weekend. She said: “What was supposed to be a great celebration of Bermudian culture has been destroyed. For the first time in eight years as a professional artist I packed up my studio and got a full-time job.” The City was contacted yesterday but did not provide a response before press time. In a statement issued on Friday, the municipality said it was “with deep regret” it had decided to remove the mural. A spokeswoman said: “Painting over the mural was the last and least desired result of this unfortunate dispute and Ms Branco was offered the chance to revert to her original submission. She declined.” The statement continued: “There was no consultation with the City on the change and the City is of the opinion that the second image violates the criteria of the City Art Festival that follows the City’s policy.” This morning, a banner had been installed at the spot stating: “Creative freedom does not exist in a sanitized paradise.”
The Premier and his deputy were in Washington DC yesterday for talks with members of the US Congress. David Burt, also Minister of Finance, and Walter Roban will discuss energy, finance, economics and air service development in a series of meetings. They were scheduled to meet Gregory Meeks and Karen Bass, members of the House foreign affairs committee, Emmanuel Cleaver, a member of the House financial services committee and Gwen Moore, ranking member of the financial services sub-committee on monetary policy and trade. Mr Burt said: “Bermuda must consistently leverage and strengthen existing relationships in important political and economic centres. We must also take the opportunity to connect our engagement with political and business leaders overseas to issues right here at home. Our expansion into the fintech industry and the need to address energy costs are two areas we will focus on in Washington. Securing the growth and economic diversification we promised for the people of Bermuda depends on our ability to promote Bermuda as a well-regulated jurisdiction and to ensure that overseas policies, even those of friendly governments, do not harm our efforts here at home.” Mr Roban was also due to meet Abby Hopper, chief executive officer of the Solar Energy Industry Association, to discuss how governments have incorporated the use of solar energy and technology into their energy portfolios. The Premier was also listed to attend the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual prayer breakfast. The two are expected to return to the island on Monday.
The head of under-fire power company Ascendant said yesterday controversy over redundant staff was “the most mentally draining” experience of his professional career. Sean Durfy was speaking after three marketing staff lost their jobs at the parent company of electricity company Belco last week. Their roles were outsourced to design and marketing firm Cosmic. Mr Durfy wrote a letter to staff just before 1am yesterday morning that said: “I can’t sleep.” He added: “I have read stories, quotes, innuendo, conspiracy theories and outright lies in all forms of media. I have lived both my personal and professional life as an open book, sharing all parts of me and my thoughts — both the good and the bad — with whomever asked. I have made and will make decisions about how we run this company to the best of my ability. Some of those decisions will be very difficult. I will always make sure that I have the interest of all stakeholders in mind — and that is our customers, our employees, and our shareholders.” Mr Durfy said his staff were “the most important stakeholder I report to” and told them he would be available to speak to any employee who wanted to share concerns or ask questions. He added: “I know you may have questions and concerns about what has been reported in the media. You may also have questions about the company’s future given what you are hearing from all other sources.”
A mob threw bottles at police who tried to break up a brawl outside a cricket club in the early hours of yesterday. Four men were arrested after a fight involving several men broke out at the Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club in Hamilton Parish. A spokesman added officers used a Taser stun gun during the confrontation. Police went to the club after a report of several men fighting at about 1.30am. He added: “On arrival, officers attempted to calm the situation and get those involved to stop fighting. However, the fighting continued and at one point, bottles were thrown at police.” Police appealed for witnesses and said CCTV footage at the club was being reviewed. They also asked anyone with video camera coverage of the area to contact them. Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said that licensed premises had to take action to curb violence and antisocial behavior. Mr Corbishley said: “I wish to make it absolutely clear that I will not tolerate such behavior as that seen at Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club last night, not only on behalf of law-abiding citizens but my police officers who attended and were the subject of violence by a selection of patrons. Liquor-licensed premises must ensure that the antisocial behavior of a few does not affect the responsible socializing of the majority of responsible patrons and club members. It is imperative that liquor-licensed premises take social responsibility for the welfare and conduct of their patrons as this has a profound effect on the community that they are a part of and Bermuda as a whole. The Bermuda Police Service will be responding to any antisocial behavior linked to liquor-licensed premises with all of our law-enforcement options, which includes but is not limited to the temporary closure of offending properties.” Michael Dunkley, Shadow Minister of National Security, backed the commissioner’s views and praised police officers for their courage in a difficult situation. Mr Dunkley said: “Mr Corbishley echoes what was said after the recent murder outside another community club. Licensed premises must fulfil the conditions of the licence and patrons must be able to enjoy the surroundings without fear. I am pleased to note the commissioner has recognized one tool at their disposal is the temporary closure of a licensed premises. It can be effective if used in the correct manner and offending organisations are provided the help they require to deal with challenges faced.”
A mural of Gombeys by the City Hall car park has been painted over, sparking a row on social media. Artist April Branco said on Facebook she was “enraged, disgusted and heartbroken” that her almost-complete mural was removed by the Corporation of Hamilton. But the Corporation said Ms Branco had deviated from her agreed submission and the mural as painted highlighted only one specific Gombey troupe. A spokeswoman for the municipality said: “It is not the City’s policy to practice favoritism and Ms Branco’s decision to paint only members of a particular local Gombey troupe did just that. She was offered the opportunity to paint the captains of each active Gombey troupe in Bermuda that would have still met the criteria and would have been seen to be more inclusive but she declined.” The conflict was first publicized by Ms Branco in a Facebook post made yesterday afternoon. She wrote: “On the ludicrous grounds that it was ‘biased’ my nearly completed gombey mural, a tribute to the H & H Troupe, was removed from its location at City Hall car park today. Three upstanding black men were whitewashed because their ‘characters had not been vetted’. Despite continuous appeals to the administration and the mayor, Corporation of Hamilton refused to allow me to finish this mural and demanded I removed the portraits.” Ms Branco argued the decision was rooted in race, adding: “We like Gombeys but not black men. We think a mask is more worthy than a man. I live in a country that still in 2018 would rather tree frogs and butterflies to decorate the city than it’s own people. For the first time in my life I am ashamed to be Bermudian. For the first time in my life I’ve relinquished the belief that art is my life’s purpose.” In a response, the Corporation of Hamilton said: “It is unfortunate that Ms Branco has resorted to a campaign on Facebook to smear the City directly and completely violate its policy to remain apolitical and unbiased, especially when it comes to public art.” A spokeswoman said the city, through the City Art Festival, has tried to highlight local artists and beautify the city. It added that public art proposals were vetted to make sure it met the criteria of the festival based on the city’s policies. The spokeswoman said: “Ms Branco, in good faith and because of her supreme artistic talent, was selected to paint the mural as part of the City Art Festival’s public art initiative. She was chosen after careful consideration of her initial submission of her intended artwork. As the work started, the original submission was sketched on the wall but as installation continued, it came to the City’s attention that the work actually being painted was not what Ms Branco has originally submitted to the City and what had been deemed appropriate according to the criteria of the City Arts Festival in line with the City’s policies. Ms Branco admitted she had abandoned the initial submission and was painting a very similar yet different image. There was no consultation with the City on the change and the City is of the opinion that the second image violates the criteria of the City Art Festival that follows the City’s policy.” The spokeswoman added: “Painting over the mural was the last and least desired result of this unfortunate dispute and Ms Branco was offered the chance to revert to her original submission. She declined.”
Calvin Trott, a mainstay of the island’s Sea Cadet Corps, had died. Mr Trott was 83. Lieutenant Commander Michael Frith, commanding officer of the BSCC, said Mr Trott was the driving force behind keeping TS Admiral Somers afloat. Commander Frith added Mr Trott “simply loved what the Sea Cadets did” and “had a very quiet generosity”. He said: “When I say we would not be there without him, there’s a physical aspect — there were times when there really wasn’t anybody else who could have done what he did to keep the place ticking. But there’s much more than that. It has always been challenging, and I probably would not have remained as an officer, had it not been for his encouragement. He would tell me, point blank, that we needed to be doing what we were doing. He was uncompromising that way.” A service in celebration of Mr Trott’s life will be held today at 2.30pm in another institution he supported — Their Majesties Chappell, St Peter’s Church in St George’s. Commander Frith said Mr Trott “physically kept the unit running”. He added Mr Trott did not teach cadets, but maintained a presence at Friday drill nights, cooked food for sale, watched over youngsters and kept the building shipshape. Mr Frith said: “Anything that was needed, he was the one quietly co-ordinating it. For a lot of people, myself included, there’s a bit of ego behind things. With him, there was none. He had absolutely no interest in getting recognition.” Dwayne Trott, Mr Trott’s son, who preceded Commander Frith as commanding officer, said he was forced to join the unit in 1973 by his father but stayed on. The younger Trott posted online on September 12: “This morning we lost a great man, a great dad, a role model, an unselfish man who loved to help others.” Mr Trott’s grandson, Nathan Trott, a goalkeeper for West Ham United and England Under-20s, has returned to the island for the funeral. Mr Trott, a former prison officer, was also active in Youth Athletic Organisation baseball in St George’s. Grace Rawlins, a lay reader at St Peter’s, said Mr Trott attended Chapel of Ease in St David’s, as well as the former St Peter’s West near Wellington Oval. She added Mr Trott was on the church’s diocese and synod as well as a “very active” vestry member. Ms Rawlins said: “Calvin was a quiet-spoken person. Even when annoyed about something, he never raised his voice, but you got the full force of his feeling. He was outspoken, very frank, and didn’t play games. He was someone who quietly went about doing what had to be done. Unfortunately, we never notice these people.” She added Mr Trott was proud of his grandfather, the Reverend William Charles Trott, and pushed for her to start a historical record of the contributions of black Anglicans. Ms Rawlins added: “There were some that didn’t believe his grandfather could have been a black minister. Calvin was so glad that I was working on it — he would joke that people would know now that he wasn’t telling a lie.” Ms Rawlins said the record was still a work in progress, but included a tribute to William Charles Trott, “a fascinating man, a renaissance man”, who returned to the island from missionary work overseas in the 1930s.
A snowball stand owner called yesterday for abandoned cars to be shifted from land beside a play park so he can regenerate the area for local people. Alfred Butterfield said he wanted to make the area next to the Pembroke playground safe for children and also encourage other Bermudian businesses to set up near by. He added his goal was to run drive-in movie nights at weekends and workshops for young entrepreneurs. But Mr Butterfield, 53, said the vehicles that sit rotting in the car park next to his business had to be moved first. Mr Butterfield, who owns Jazzy Treats at the junction of North Street and Parson’s Road, said: “This is a playground and it’s being used as a dumping ground. It has been a problem for a good eight to ten years, but now it’s getting worse. People usually bring their cars down here and leave them; other people come down and take parts. They leave them for the Government to come and pick them up.” When The Royal Gazette visited the site, there were vehicles in various states of decay, including a Toyota, which Mr Butterfield said had been there for a number of years. An Opel, he says has languished for about nine months, is missing a door and has extensive damage to its front and rear, while a Volkswagen that was said to have been left on Wednesday was also in a bad state. Mr Butterfield, a grandfather of five, said: “I’m looking out for Parson’s Road and people that use the playground because this is a health hazard. The moment a child goes missing and gets trapped in one of those cars, the Government is going to want to do something, but let’s do something now. Prevention is better than cure.” The businessman said in his experience, officials from the Transport Control Department would put a notice on a car before a tow truck removed it to the government quarry for eventual destruction. But he claimed he has raised the problem recently with the parks department, which he said was responsible for the land, but was told there was no room at the quarry. Mr Butterfield said: “I think Government should find out who the owners are and send them a fine, like $2,500, or take them to court. When we start doing that, people are not going to leave cars all over the place.” Mr Butterfield, who grew up in the area, has outlined proposals for what he calls D’Vendors’ Village. He said that containers parked along the road would also need to be moved to create space for traders to set up about eight pods similar to his own to offer a “Harbour Nights Back of Town” experience. Mr Butterfield said: “The children can have a fun castle, a safe place for them, the vendors would be busy. It creates a whole atmosphere for the neighborhood, I want to create something positive for around here and give something back to the community.” He added: “I would love to get it up next summer, but I can’t do it if the cars are still here and containers are still there. I want to inspire other young people to be entrepreneurs and make their own money — with the vendors, we will have a workshop. I have everything on paper, the only thing I need now is for Government to do their part by cleaning up the cars.” The owner of one of the containers told The Royal Gazette that he planned to have it removed early next week. The Government did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.
A plan to axe middle schools in favour of specialist “signature” schools has to be backed with hard facts, a top international academic warned yesterday. Peter Cookson, senior researcher at the Learning Policy Institute, based in Washington DC, said statistics had to support a change to the education system. He added: “I would vote for hard data to support decisions of this magnitude.” Dr Cookson, who is also a sociology lecturer at the prestigious Georgetown University in Washington DC, has conducted extensive research on school choice, including the similar magnet schools in the United States. He added: “Data is essential for making strategic changes; otherwise it’s very hard to know where a policy is coming from and its most likely consequence. Measurement is one way we have for knowing the wisdom of a reform.” Dr Cookson was speaking after Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education and Workforce Development, announced in July that work had begun on proposals to introduce signature schools. The schools, designed to have a specialized focus on particular subjects, would be introduced at the secondary level with middle schools phased out. Mr Rabain said the signature schools plan was in line with other countries, including magnet schools in the US. The minister added that the Progressive Labour Party held “extensive” town hall meetings with the public and consulted with teachers after its defeat in the 2012 election. Mr Rabain said the Government’s plan came in response to the public view that middle schools were “seen as a problem” and that a “lack of trust” in the education system started at the middle-school level. But Andy Hargreaves, a research professor at Boston College and visiting professor at the University of Ottawa, said: “Simply saying the public is dissatisfied is not really adequate — unless you can point to what it is they’re dissatisfied with. Everybody has a right to know what is the problem to which this solution is the answer.” A two-page document called “FAQs on the Signature School Process” posted on the government website in July said the decision to phase out middle schools was in response to “community desires for change”. Mr Rabain said in July that the three-pronged consultation process was expected to last at least 18 months. Kelly Bucherie, director of magnet school leadership with Magnet Schools of America, said the Government’s plan to gather feedback was “thoughtful and in the right direction”. Ms Bucherie, a former middle and high school principal, said parents wanted to be involved in the decision-making process, but also wanted guidance from education professionals. She added: “It’s very important not to dumb it down. Nine times out of ten they’ll see right through it, they’ll walk away feeling disenchanted. The consultation process should be a collaboration. It shouldn’t be a room where someone is at the front and the rest are in the audience.” Dr Hargreaves questioned the amount of time allocated for consultation. He said: “This looks like a long consultation period for a pretty small system, to be absolutely honest. A system that is focused should be able to move it a bit faster than that, I would say.” Dr Hargreaves has written more than 30 books, including two on middle schools. He has also worked as an adviser for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, which created specialist schools in the UK and advised the Ontario provincial government on education policy. Dr Hargreaves said that two factors had to be considered, the likelihood of the success of signature schools and the impact they would have on mainstream schools. He explained that specialist schools worked best when “they are authentically based on the idea that some kids have special talents, that do not fit into regular schools. There’s a really good argument for that, especially when the schools can form partnerships with future employers and businesses and other organisations. It is important that Bermuda thought about the transition from middle schools to signature schools not as a school change, but as a system change. So, the result is the whole system should be better, not just these particular schools. Additional resources and the ability to attract top-class teachers would benefit signature schools, but might damage mainstream ones. The risk could be offset through the involvement of non-signature schools in discussions with other schools on how resources could be shared and professional development." Ms Bucherie said three components were “vitally important” to the success of magnet schools in the US. “Some of the biggest challenges involve transportation. The cost of setting up the schools also had to be considered. If you’re going to do a science, technology, engineering and mathematics magnet, there’s a hefty cost to that. Anytime you are going to do a theme, there is a cost assigned.” Ms Bucherie added that teacher support for the change was also crucial. She warned that failure in any of the components would “absolutely” be a roadblock to success. The education ministry did not respond to questions on whether the decision to move towards signature schools was supported by research.
Blockchain education in Bermuda will be boosted through a new partnership between ConnecTech and MLG Blockchain. Under the strategic partnership, MLG Blockchain, a global consulting and development firm, will provide educational Blockchain workshops. The educational series will begin with a public introductory session on blockchains and cryptocurrencies followed by executive blockchain workshops for business leaders. Coral Wells, founder of Bermuda technology training centre ConnecTech, said: “We are pleased to partner with MLG Blockchain to offer this training in Bermuda. Technology is a fast-paced industry that plays an enormous role in just about every business from large healthcare organisations to small retailers using online payment platforms. I feel it’s important for us to maintain the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry.” The first blockchain information session is open to the public and will take place on September 17 from 6pm to 7.30pm at ConnecTech, 41 Cedar Avenue, 2nd Floor, Hamilton. The session will provide a high-level overview of blockchain technologies. MLG Blockchain will then provide two full-day workshops on September 18 and 19 from 9am to 5pm at the same location. These workshops cover the introduction to the foundations of blockchain technologies and deep dives into global use cases for industries such as banking, insurance, government and transport implementations. “We are truly excited that Bermuda has embraced blockchain technologies,” said Kerem Kolcuoglu, head of enterprise consulting at MLG Blockchain. “We have engaged with numerous blockchain initiatives around the world and we see the value in Bermuda becoming a leader in this industry. We hope to bring our knowledge and experience from this emerging industry to empower Bermudian businesses, the community and especially the youth to be able to identify innovative opportunities in this sector.”
The home affairs ministry stepped into a row last night about three redundancies at power firm Ascendant. The move came after three Bermudian marketing staff lost their jobs last week at Ascendant, parent company of Belco, and their roles were outsourced to the design and marketing firm Cosmic. A post on Facebook claimed later that Belco had fired the staff after a work permit for the chosen overseas candidate for senior vice-president of marketing and corporate communications, Laurie Feser, was refused because there were Bermudians qualified for the job who were not considered. The post further alleged that an appeal against the decision was rejected by immigration officials, but that Ms Feser was working as a “marketing consultant” for Belco. A spokeswoman for the home affairs ministry said: “Earlier today a message was circulated on social media that alleges that senior management had retaliated to the refusal of a work permit by dismissing Bermudians. When the Department of Immigration learnt about the redundancies last week, inquiries commenced into the actions of the company. The department cannot speak to specific allegations until they have been completely investigated, however, the department will inform the public what action, if any, will be taken following the completion of its investigation. However, the Department would like to clarify that the person named in the message was not issued a work permit and does not have permission to work in Bermuda. Our records indicate that this individual is not in Bermuda and if any member of the public has information about actions that contravene our immigration laws, they are encouraged to call the immigration department.” Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said: “I am dismayed at the egregious actions of this company. I must add that this government has zero tolerance for such actions.” Mr Brown added: “In addition, there are other sanctions that have been imposed on the company that I will communicate to them directly tomorrow morning. I must also warn all companies that hold work permits and may be considering such action, that they must first inform the Ministry of Home Affairs and/or the Department of Immigration, prior to taking such action, to inform us on the number of jobs being made redundant and what plans are being made for Bermudians.” Mr Brown warned: “While there are a number of companies that have met with me when there are loss of jobs, it appears that others seem to take a cavalier attitude. This will not be tolerated and sanctions will be imposed.” Ascendant announced yesterday that, in addition to the three redundancies, two vacant positions at the firm had been axed. An Ascendant spokesman confirmed: “The marketing and communications department for the Ascendant Group Ltd has been outsourced, which will result in substantial cost savings to the company. The marketing and communications functions have been outsourced to Cosmic Ltd, a local, Bermudian-owned and managed company.” Cosmic, founded 16 years ago, merged in 2016 with The Foundation, a specialist in web design, development, print and online marketing services.
Union members staged a protest outside the headquarters of Belco yesterday after three staff were made redundant. The action came after three marketing and communications staff lost their jobs at parent company Ascendant last week, when their roles were outsourced to Bermudian design and marketing firm Cosmic. About 100 workers gathered outside Belco’s offices in Pembroke to hear Donald Lottimore, president of the Electrical Supply Trade Union, talk about downsizing and outsourcing. Mr Lottimore said: “We are keeping a close eye to make sure Bermudians’ rights are being protected. Regardless of the intent of dismissing non-unionized employees, this has affected morale and the term ‘good faith’ doesn’t seem like it is being honored. We need to make sure that our membership knew that those things are being discussed and that they don’t get the next call that you are no longer working at Belco. What you find in this parking lot is literally decades of service to this company. Anybody who has an idea about generating electricity is standing here today.” Mr Lottimore added: “We are not making a threat of industrial action; we are opening the lines of communication. I don’t want to predict anything. We understand that the cost of our island is high and the cost of our particular utility is high — we have not done anything to increase that, so the opportunities for us to help need to be an open and frank discussion.” Mr Lottimore said there was a possibility the redundant workers could get their jobs back. He added: “I am sure there are options but at this moment I’m not sure where management would stand.” One Belco employee told The Royal Gazette: “I’ve seen a lot of changes around here over the years.” Another staff member said: “When you have a turnout like this, it’s because everybody sees the writing on the wall. If we don’t stand up for them today, it’s going to be you tomorrow. It is an ongoing pattern — there have been 27 people let go in two years. The marketing department went from being necessary to unnecessary in two months. Every company has the right to ensure the bottom line but you are jeopardizing people’s livelihood to enrich the pockets of a few shareholders. You let go of ten people, you might save $1 million but now those ten people are facing foreclosure on their mortgages.” A post on Facebook under the name Hales Nicole, who appeared to be a Belco employee, claimed that the firm fired the staff after a work permit for Laurie Feser, the chosen overseas candidate for senior vice-president of marketing and corporate communications, was refused because there were Bermudians qualified for the job who were not considered. The post also alleged that an appeal against the decision was rejected by immigration officials, but that Ms Feser was working as a “marketing consultant” for Belco. Ms Feser no longer works for the company. Walton Brown, the home affairs minister, said on Thursday he was “dismayed at the egregious actions of this company” and that Government had “zero tolerance for such actions”. Ascendant said that, in addition to the three redundancies, two vacant positions at the firm had been axed. An Ascendant spokesman added: “The marketing and communications department for the Ascendant Group Ltd has been outsourced, which will result in substantial cost savings to the company.”
Bermuda-based property and casualty insurance and reinsurance run-off group, Premia Holdings Ltd, has announced the acquisition of Alan Gray LLC, an international claims, audit and risk management advisory firm. Alan Gray was established in 1988 as a claims and audit advisory firm, and offers its clients claims administration and audit services, actuarial, underwriting, legal bill auditing, reinsurance collections, and risk management services. The company has offices in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Bill O’Farrell, chief executive officer of Premia Holdings, said: “I have been a client of Alan Gray’s for over 20 years across a broad spectrum of services. I know first hand what a tremendous job they do for their clients. They bring tremendous expertise and cost-effective solutions to every assignment. We are thrilled to make them a part of our group and we look forward to working with them to accelerate their growth and create even more satisfied clients.” Michael Ceppi, CEO of Alan Gray, added: “All of us on the Alan Gray team are very pleased to join the Premia team. It will allow us to bring our traditional services to new clients while providing our long-standing clients expanded solutions to help them achieve their business objectives.”
A former judge from New York and his wife were devastated when a plan to revisit their honeymoon spot of Bermuda for their golden anniversary was disrupted by Hurricane Florence. Peter and Mary Boggia’s cruise from New York to Dockyard on the Norwegian Escape was rerouted to the Bahamas instead, but the Bermuda Tourism Authority and island hotels stepped in to make sure the couple had a 50th anniversary to remember. Mr Boggia, 75, said the gesture had reinforced their love of the island, which they had visited 12 times. “It rekindled our love for Bermuda. It is such a paradise. The people are fantastic. Everyone is so good. We were so glad to get to this tranquil, gorgeous area. That is why we have been here now 13 times and tell all of our friends to forget all those Caribbean islands. Come to Bermuda. It’s fantastic.” Mr and Mrs Boggia were unaware that their family had been in touch with the BTA before their ship was rerouted and that the BTA had decided they would celebrate their marriage milestone despite the hurricane cruise change. Glenn Jones, BTA director of strategy and corporate communications, said: “We were trying to put plans in place to celebrate them and then their cruise got diverted. After we were in the clear for Florence, because there was a minute where we weren’t sure, Kevin Dallas, our CEO, said the right thing to do would be to make sure they got the anniversary they wanted. When we talked to them, they really didn’t want to go to the Bahamas, so we made arrangements with Rosewood and the Fairmont Southampton so they could still come here.” The couple were able to cancel the rerouted cruise, which should have arrived in Bermuda on Wednesday and left tomorrow, and flew to Bermuda instead. Paul Telford, managing director of Rosewood Bermuda, met the couple at the hotel yesterday afternoon and presented them with a variety of Bermuda-themed gifts including perfume and rum swizzle. A spokesman for the Fairmont Southampton said: “We are delighted to have assisted with the Boggias’s visit after hearing of their diverted cruise and will be hosting them for their anniversary dinner at the Waterlot Inn.” Mr Boggia and his wife chose Bermuda as their honeymoon destination on the advice of a friend and fell in love with the island. He said: “I had never been on a plane. The furthest I had gone was Asbury Park in New Jersey. We were told the place to go was the Hamilton Princess, and it was so idyllic. I remember going to the beach, taking the bus. It was so fantastic, peaceful. No conventions, just people wanting to enjoy themselves.” Mrs Boggia, 75, added: “Just landing in Bermuda and seeing the colour of the water ... it was breathtaking.” The couple returned to the island on a regular basis and when their anniversary, September 21, was on the horizon, Bermuda was their destination of choice. Mr Boggia said they decided to take a cruise to avoid the hustle and bustle of JFK International Airport. But before they could board the cruise ship, they were warned that it would be sailing to Florida and the Bahamas instead of Bermuda. Ms Boggia said: “It was a bummer. We started thinking what would we do? Our daughter, Nina, and her husband were going to be in Bermuda. I resigned myself, but I was thinking it was not what we signed on for. The cruise was a means to get to Bermuda.”
An elderly female driver threatened by an extortionist dubbed “the motorcycle bandit” said yesterday that she had faced down the con artist. Christine Farrington, 86, was targeted by the man, who demanded money after he claimed she had hit his bike two weeks ago, but stood her ground. The retired schoolteacher said: “I wasn’t worried. I’m not the nervous type.” Ms Farrington was driving in Smith’s when the motorcyclist “rode up alongside me and made me stop” on South Road, near the Harrington Hundreds supermarket. She said: “He started shouting. He was very aggressive, saying, ‘I’m going to take you to court; you damaged my bike; you’d better give me money right now’. He was ranting and raving. I told him ‘I’ve never seen you, you’ll need to call the police and let them sort it out. His attitude changed. He was waving his arms, telling me that he had my number and he was going to call me later. He said ‘You hit me and you’re giving me money’ and he had his hand out, but there was no way I was going to do that.” Ms Farrington dismissed the incident, but reported it to police yesterday when she saw a report in The Royal Gazette on a spate of similar attacks. The suspect, described as a man in his fifties on a white motorcycle, fitted the description of her would-be assailant. Ms Farrington added: “If he is targeting anyone, he needs to be stopped, but especially if he is targeting seniors.” A 76-year-old man, who asked not to be named, was threatened on Chaingate Hill in Devonshire after he left the nearby Lindo’s supermarket. He said: “It goes back about six weeks. He followed me down Watlington Road. He was chasing after me, I was going at a reasonable speed. I pulled over on Chaingate Hill. He jumped off his bike and started shouting. He said I hit his bike and he had to go up on the pavement to avoid me, I kept listening because I knew there was no point arguing. This went on for a few minutes, he said he was going to the police and I told him to go ahead. I just kept calm. I knew I hadn’t hit his bike, I hadn’t heard anything. He said I’d damaged his bike, but he couldn’t show me anything.” The man could not remember if the motorcyclist had demanded cash. He rode off after he was told to contact the police. The victim said: “He must have been waiting outside the store for someone to go that way. When he drove off, it looked like there was another fellow who might have been helping him, who was on a bike as well, at the top of the hill. It seems strange that this is still going on. That was nearly two months ago.” Last night, a police spokesman said similar incidents had happened on Par-la-Ville Road in Hamilton; in the car park of the A1 supermarket at Collectors Hill, Smith’s; on Cemetery Road, Pembroke; and on South Road, Smith’s, near St Mark’s Church. Police warned the public about the fraudster, who they said had been sometimes successful in his demands for cash, on Tuesday. Police said yesterday that a 47-year-old man had been arrested in connection with motorcycle-related offences and that he was expected to appear in court “in due course”.
The former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados to Bermuda is on the island to meet fellow members of the Bermuda Financial Policy Council. DeLisle Worrell was recently appointed to the council, which was created to advise on the development of Bermuda’s financial stability framework. During his visit, he met with David Burt, the Premier. During today’s meeting, which took place at the Bermuda Monetary Authority, the discussion focused on the current financial climate and other key socio-economic areas of concern. Members of the council include Mr Burt, Sir Andrew Large, the former deputy governor of the Bank of England and Jeremy Cox, CEO of the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Other members are Michael Butt, chairman of Axis Capital Holdings; Dame Amelia Fawcett, chairwoman of the Hedge Fund Standards Board; and Gil Tucker, former Bermuda managing partner of EY, who is on the board of HSBC Bermuda. The council is supported by the Ministry of Finance and the BMA.
An “arrogance” shown by some Members of Parliament has led to disrespectful comments about women, the Opposition leader has claimed. Jeanne Atherden said an “overwhelming number of seats” won by the Progressive Labour Party meant some politicians felt they could “do whatever they want”. She added it was important to attract more women into politics and ensure they have opportunities to reach positions of power. Ms Atherden was speaking in the wake of Wayne Caines, the national security minister, coming under fire after he asked for “titty milk” in a cereal bar while on government business in London. Mr Caines landed in hot water after he posted the exchange with two young women staff on Instagram. Ms Atherden told The Royal Gazette: “That reflects what I believe is the unfortunate arrogance which is resulting, where you’ve got people that have gotten so arrogant about what they’re doing and where they are that they just actually think they can do whatever they want. That arrogance translates into ... ‘we got elected and we got an overwhelming number of seats, that means that we have a mandate’. With the consequence that the types of things that you see, the types of statements that you see, the type of comments that are being made are comments which are coming from a position of ‘hey, we’re golden’ and unfortunately it translates in some respects in terms of talking about women and making comments about women and shooting people down. It is rather unfortunate that more of the comments now are starting to be of a nature of talking about people from a gender perspective.” Ms Atherden said it was important to work on the male-to-female ratio in Parliament. She added that she had made a decision that will result in an all-women OBA team in the Senate when Parliament resumes in November. “If you’re going to talk about Parliament, you’ve got to really talk about the parliamentary process. It goes to what do you do about trying to get women involved in Parliament. And when they’re in Parliament what do you do about encouraging them and making sure they get to some of the highest leadership roles, whether it be minister, government leader, senate leader, because that’s all part and parcel of how women are being thought of with respect to taking their rightful position in the parliamentary process.” Ms Atherden declined to give specific details of comments made in and around Parliament. But she said they are made “sometimes in the coffee room” and “often enough” on the floor of the chamber “as a way to denigrate what you’ve said”. Ms Atherden added that the remarks were usually loud enough for colleagues to hear, but too inaudible to be reported in Hansard, the official report of House of Assembly proceedings. “I have heard people who have made comments which are definitely directed at the female members of the Houses of Parliament and they’re directed at them to demonstrate a degree of disrespect. The sad part about all of this is that we have to keep reminding ourselves that when we’re up there, we’re supposed to be role models. I used to say politics was petty and personal, but now it’s gone to another level. When you start to see these types of things which are undermining women, which are not raising them up when they should be but actually pulling them down, then I think it’s time for us to speak up. It’s time for us to say ‘not good enough’.” The Government’s department of communications and PLP chairman Owen Darrell did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.
Sexism exists in every walk of life and must be tackled across the whole of society, not just the political arena, it was claimed yesterday. Davida Morris, a former Progressive Labour Party senator, said it was important to tackle the problem as early as childhood to ensure boys did not grow up to believe “locker-room talk” was acceptable. Renée Webb, a former PLP Cabinet minister, added that sexist comments were part of the island’s culture and went beyond the world of politics. The two were speaking after Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, showed a lack of respect for women when he asked for “titty milk” in a café while on official business in London. But Ms Morris said: “It would be a huge disservice to women in general to think that sexism and sexist remarks need to be addressed only in the House and Senate. It needs to be addressed everywhere where men and women meet because it exists everywhere that men and women meet. We need to address how our boys are socialized to think that this so-called ‘locker-room talk’ is acceptable at all. We need to address why some men think that they are superior just because they are male. We need to scrutinize our conversations with our boys especially to ensure that we are not sending subliminal messages that make them think it is socially acceptable to objectify and degrade women.” Ms Morris added: “Catcalling is not acceptable, lewd comments are not acceptable, staring lewdly is not acceptable, invading personal space is not acceptable. If we choose to ignore these behaviors and laugh them off as women being overly sensitive, even though we can experience them on a daily basis several times a day, we will continue to have incidents of sexism everywhere we go.” Ms Morris, who became one of the country’s youngest senators at the age of 25 in 2006, said that where men are in the majority, such as government, business and sport, “there is a desire by a few to mark territory and keep women out or make them feel inferior”. But she added that was a reflection of individual insecurity and did not necessarily represent the views of an entire group. Ms Morris said: “I personally do not feel that kind of behavior is supported or encouraged by Parliament or the PLP, for that matter, who will be hosting their Women’s Caucus on the 29th of this month.” Mr Caines came under fire across Bermuda, and attracted media attention in Britain, after he posted a video of himself on Instagram asking a young woman server in a Cereal Killer Café outlet for “titty milk”. He later issued a public apology and David Burt, the Premier, said he was disappointed by the minister’s “extremely poor conduct”. Ms Webb agreed that sexism was widespread and although it might be found in Parliament, the focus should not end there. She said: “Women in Bermuda are subjected to sexist comments, I don’t think it’s confined to the House of Assembly. I think it’s part of the Bermudian culture. It happens in corporations, at the bank, on the streets. I don’t think you will find a woman in Bermuda who will say she has never been subjected to a sexist comment.” Ms Webb added: “I think that MPs should set an example for other men to follow. I can’t say that all members of Parliament have engaged in that behavior but there are definitely some, like some in the community, who engage in sexist comments, sometimes passed off as a joke.” The human rights activist said her criticism did not apply to all men. But she added there was a “certain cultural behavior among males, behavior that refers to a woman’s looks, her body, what he would like to do to her. It’s very common.” Ms Webb said that women often “brush off” sexist remarks. “If it’s her boss or somebody superior, obviously the reaction is going to be different because they want to retain their job.” Ms Webb said: “Bermuda is no different and it might seem more prevalent because it’s smaller but I think it’s something that happens all over the world.” Paula Cox, who led the country between 2010 and 2012 as PLP premier, said she was never subjected to sexist comments during her 16 years in the House of Assembly. Ms Cox added she could not speak for other women in the House of Assembly at the time. She said: “I think that it was a different time, I think if they did make inappropriate remarks they did them with persons they may have seen as more vulnerable.” Ms Cox added: “No female came to me in my capacity as premier to say that she had been inappropriately spoken to. If she had I would have been obligated to do something about it.” Another former PLP premier, Dame Jennifer Smith, who led the PLP to its landslide first victory in 1998, said: “Our personal experiences are very much like personal experiences elsewhere in the world. I’m not going to name and shame anyone.” Dale Butler, also a former PLP minister, said colleagues during his time in Parliament “behaved themselves”. He added: “I rarely had time to listen to any banter, in fact I had little interest in gossip or idle conversation, so I was always the last to hear any ‘hot or controversial news."
Police vehicles were involved in a crash every two weeks on average in the first eight months of this year, the service has revealed. Since the start of 2018, at least 17 collisions have been linked to the Bermuda Police Service fleet — an average of 2.1 incidents a month. The crashes were among nearly 340 recorded from 2011 to date but senior officers said the majority were minor damage collisions and injuries were rare. The figures were released by the BPS after a Public Access to Information request from The Royal Gazette. They show that police cars, vans and motorbikes were involved in 337 crashes from the start of 2011 until the middle of last month. Not all of the incidents listed show who was at fault, although many resulted in “no further police action”. Some were attributed to members of the public and in at least four instances the police vehicles were parked at the time. Assistant Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes said it should come as “no surprise” that the fleet was involved in so many collisions. He explained: “The Bermuda Police Service puts more miles on to our vehicles than any other vehicles belonging to the Bermuda Government. The BPS operates on a 24/7 basis and has patrol cars on the roads at all times throughout the day and night, often operating at high speeds and under stressful conditions when attending emergency calls from the public. It should be no surprise therefore that our vehicles are involved in more collisions than the average car and certainly more than most other government vehicles.” Mr Weekes added: “That said, the majority of collisions involving police vehicles are minor damage only and rarely involve injury.” BPS vehicles were involved in 38 crashes in 2017, up three on the total of 35 for each of the two previous years, but down from the four years before that. The figures for 2011 to 2014 were 67, 57, 49 and 39 respectively. Most of the records show the name of the driver and the list includes the highest ranks, including now retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Mike Jackman for two incidents in 2012 and 2013 that resulted in no further police action. Deputy Commissioner of Police Paul Wright was an assistant commissioner when he was the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash in 2014, and Assistant commissioner Antoine Daniels was listed among the 2015 collisions. Robert Cardwell, now an Acting Chief Inspector and head of roads policing, was listed in the same year as the driver of a vehicle involved in a collision. No fault was given for any of these in the information provided and there was no explanation of the circumstances. The response included different levels of detail on incidents, but the statistics showed five of the crashes last year resulted in injury. There were 11 such collisions in 2013 and two were said to be the fault of police officers. Mr Weekes said all crashes associated with BPS vehicles were investigated by an officer of the rank of sergeant or above. Each case is assigned a Traffic Collision Investigator, who can establish from skid marks, vehicle position and other evidence at the scene how the incident happened and can determine contributory factors such as speed, road surface condition and camber. Mr Weekes added: “Where serious damage or injury occurs a Forensic Support Officer will also attend to take photographs of the scene to capture anything of evidential value. All collisions were recorded, even if they were minor. A lot of our collisions involve when our officers are trying to negotiate in and out of unfamiliar driveways or trying to find unfamiliar residences during calls for service. Some occur during our driver training when we are striving to improve the skills and abilities of those assigned to response duties. All police drivers take part in “rigorous” training, which covered four grades. These are authorised, standard, response and advanced. Each level has a maximum speed at which the officer is allowed to drive. In order to travel at high speed when attending emergency calls, the driver must have been trained to at least ‘response’ grade. Police motorcyclists must have achieved all driver grades before taking the advanced motorcycle course.” Investigations were launched earlier this year into two accidents involving police cars that happened only hours apart in Hamilton Parish and Devonshire. Mr Weekes said inquiries into the two crashes continued. However, he added: “Where any offences are identified as possibly being committed by our drivers involved in a collision, a report is sent to the Service Discipline Officer, the Deputy Commissioner, who makes an assessment of conduct. Where the evidence points to offences being committed, a file is sent to the office of the Department of Public Prosecutions for their review. Where the DPP decides it is appropriate for an officer to be charged with offences, they are put before the courts in the same manner that any other driver would be.”
It could take 18 months to build the necessary independent infrastructure for American International Group’s Bermuda-domiciled legacy risk unit to compete for third-party business, AIG's CEO Brian Duperreault said. The AIG chief executive officer spoke at a breakfast briefing at the Rendezvous de Septembre networking event in Monte Carlo and described legacy risk as a hot area of the insurance market. AIG set up DSA Re in February this year to act as a Bermudian-based composite reinsurer of its own legacy risks, backed by some $40 billion in invested assets. Last month AIG announced that private-equity firm Carlyle Group was to acquire a 19.9 per cent stake in DSA and that the plan was for DSA to become a stand-alone provider of reinsurance, claims management and run-off solutions for long-dated complex risks. In Monte Carlo, Mr Duperreault said that DSA “gives me great optionality”, according to a report by The Insurance Insider. Insurers or insurance portfolios that have ceased writing new business are described as being in run-off. According to a report by PwC, global run-off liabilities amount to some $730 billion. Several Bermudian companies have become specialists in acquiring and managing run-off assets and liabilities, including Enstar Group, Catalina Holdings and Randall & Quilter. At the same Monte Carlo briefing, Mr Duperreault said recent acquisitions of reinsurance specialists by major insurance carriers are a recognition of the quality of the Bermudian reinsurance industry. He cited his own firm’s acquisition of Validus Holdings and Axa’s buyout of XL Group as examples. Mr Duperreault added: “This isn’t a new trend, it comes and goes. The reinsurance market is a bit of an accordion – [it goes through] waves of formations and consolidations.” Reinsurance buyers should view such deals positively, he added, as putting a wholesale reinsurer into a huge insurance balance sheet gives cedants more faith in the stability of that carrier, the Insider reported. For AIG, the attraction of the Validus deal was that it gave the firm capital flexibility and a source of market intelligence. “There are times when the reinsurance market is where you want to deploy,” Mr Duperreault said. “If you don’t have both [insurance and reinsurance capabilities], you can’t move the capital around.” The reinsurance market is here to stay despite being in a phase of transition, driven by insurtech and ILS disruption, he added.
The Bermuda High School for Girls (BHS) today announced its GCSE/IGCSE results for the academic year 2017/2018. 87% of all GCSE/IGCSE grades received by BHS students this year were A*-C. Top scorer, Katie Grainge, earned 11A* grades - an outstanding achievement! The percentage of A* and A grades earned by BHS girls was 40%, well above the 23% achieved by girls in the UK (Joint Council for Qualifications, 2018). This highlights the value of a BHS education with teachers who have in-depth experience educating girls. The majority of our students sat 9 to 11 GCSE/IGCSE examinations. Other top students were as follows:
The Head of School, Mrs. Linda Parker, commented, “I am very proud of these excellent results, and particularly the high percentage of A* and A grades. All of our Year 11 students have balanced their rigorous workload with various extra-curricular activities, and we are proud of their hard work, commitment and determination to succeed. Appreciation is extended to our dedicated teachers who have encouraged, guided and challenged the students to reach their potential.”
The Trustees of the Bermuda Fine Art Trust (Bermuda National Gallery) have announced that Mr. Peter Lapsley has been selected as the BNG’s new Executive Director. Educated at Saltus Grammar School and St. Francis Xavier University, Canada, Lapsley’s visual arts career spans over fifteen years in Bermuda and New York, including five years as Director of the Bermuda Society of Art. He went on to receive a Masters degree in Fine Art from Parsons School of Design in New York, where he then worked for seven years, going on to lead their Design and Fabrication Facilities Management Team prior to returning home to Bermuda. In addition, he undertook project management for two internationally recognized public artists in the US, taught at the City University of New York and exhibits his own artwork at the international level with representation by New York based gallery Victori+Mo. Gary L. Phillips, BNG Chairman said: “We feel that Peter’s diverse and successful visual arts experience both in Bermuda and internationally as an artist, arts administrator, educator and non-profit director, make him an excellent advocate and Director for both the BNG, arts and culture in Bermuda. Following an exhaustive recruitment process, the Trustees are delighted that Peter has accepted this position and we look forward to working with him and the rest of the staff to further develop Bermuda’s National Gallery”. Lapsley said: “I am deeply honored to have been selected for the role of Executive Director of the Bermuda National Gallery. The BNG is an engaged and progressive cultural institution and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the local donor and wider community to further enhance its relevance.”
Bermuda’s new education chief must fix the island’s public schools, which are failing young black men, a former acting commissioner said. Lou Matthews said Kalmar Richards faced a variety of problems. He added that the island had to make a “radical change” in education funding to give more power to schools. Dr Matthews said a “drastic rethink” was also needed because public schools “are ill-suited for the development of black men and healthy, trauma-free communities”. He said: “My big hope is that we can move through to this and that Ms Richards can lead our system courageously into this space.” Dr Matthews was speaking after Ms Richards, former principal of CedarBridge Academy, was confirmed as Commissioner of Education on Tuesday. Ms Richards was appointed as Acting Commissioner last December after Freddie Evans was removed from the post two months earlier. Dr Matthews said Ms Richards’s appointment came as no surprise and that she was a “consummate professional and leader, with a great deal of experience, passion and expertise in public education”. Dr Matthews added: “She will be great for the country.” He said the greatest challenges Ms Richards faced was the same as her predecessors. Dr Matthews added that past commissioners had “always been confined by political meddling and shortsightedness, budget instability and bureaucracy”. He said that Ms Richards would have to “wade through these waters”. But Dr Matthews added: “She is more than capable of doing so.” He warned that Ms Richards had a mountain of work ahead of her. Dr Matthews said: “We have to improve the learning conditions that teachers and students are required to work in and shift to more culturally responsive education. The biggest challenge is whether we can give her and her teams the full fiscal and strategic autonomy and support to lead education beyond political and bureaucratic interests. I wish her the very best and will support the nation’s efforts where I can.” One Bermuda Alliance senator Nandi Outerbridge said that she was “confident Ms Richards has what it takes to be an excellent Commissioner of Education. I congratulate her on this opportunity to lead all students in Bermuda and towards the successful implementation of Plan 2022. Although there may be challenges ahead, Ms Richards has a record of excellence and I wish her every success as good leadership and stability in education is what our children need.” Ms Richards’s 35-year career in education began as a high school teacher in 1983. She has also worked as a primary school principal before moving on to CedarBridge.
Kalmar Richards was named as the Commissioner of Education yesterday. Ms Richards, the former CedarBridge Academy principal, had acted in the role since last December after Freddie Evans was removed from the post two months earlier. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education and Workforce Development, said that Ms Richards had shown “continuous and determined commitment” to Bermuda’s public schools. Mr Rabain added: “With the operationalisation of the Public School Strategic Plan 2022 in train under her leadership, we anticipate greater transformation of public school education and sustained success for our students and their future.” Lorren Wilson, acting chairman of the Board of Education, said: “We look forward to working with her and pledge our support as she leads the Bermuda public school system.” Dr Evans was appointed as commissioner in March 2017, but was removed seven months later after a public dispute with the Department of Education. Previously, the position had been vacant since the short and controversial tenure of Edmond Heatley ended in 2014. A statement said Ms Richards “has acquired extensive experience teaching students, as well as leading, coaching and mentoring teams of instructional leaders and support staff at all school levels in the public school system. During her time as senior school principal, she demonstrated transformative leadership at the CedarBridge Academy, a school initially rejected by the broader community, successfully steering its international accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in the United States in 2007 and again in 2017.” Ms Richards’s 35-year career in education began as a high schoolteacher in 1983. She has also worked as a primary school and senior school principal, most recently at CedarBridge. Kenneth Caesar, the former principal at Sandys Secondary Middle School, has served as acting principal at CedarBridge since January.
The chairman of an anti-alcohol abuse charity was stunned by news that the start of roadside breath test checkpoints had been postponed for the third time. Anthony Santucci, head of Cada, said yesterday that repeated delays to the introduction of handheld breathalyzers at checkpoints were “tiresome”. Mr Santucci was speaking after checkpoints scheduled for Paget and Devonshire this weekend were called off because of a problem with the wording of the needed notice in the Official Gazette. However, he added: “We’re still a lot closer today than we were a decade ago. It’s amazing to me that they don’t have a more appropriate channel to make sure that the wording is correct.” Both police and the Government’s Department of Communications declined to comment yesterday on the nature of the problem with the announcement. Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes, whose name appeared on the notice in the Official Gazette, said: “The Bermuda Police Service advises that due to an administrative error by the BPS, regarding the publication of the road sobriety checkpoint notice, the road sobriety checkpoints specified in that notice will not be conducted this weekend.” The notice was published yesterday and on Monday in The Royal Gazette. Mr Weekes added: “I would like to reiterate the message that the BPS will continue to actively address drinking and driving on the roads this weekend using existing legislation.” Mr Santucci said it was “critically important that this be done, and done right. We have had eight fatalities — we are still on course for the average of 12 a year.” Mr Santucci added that Cada was still “cautiously optimistic” about the effect of the roadside checkpoints. He said: “If more people talk about this issue, that’s a good thing. We’re one step closer. We can see light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t say we are not disappointed — nor can I say we are surprised.” Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister of National Security, said: “It is disappointing to learn that once again roadside sobriety testing had been postponed.” Mr Dunkley said there had been no explanation of what the error was, or when it would be amended. “Curiously now both the Minister of Transport and National Security have been silent on the inability to actually start the checkpoints; this after having rushed the legislation through the house in July. It’s time that the Government, Chambers and BPS get together and sort this out so this good initiative can be launched.” The notice, the “Roadside Sobriety Checkpoint No. 3 Notice 2018”, said: “Road sobriety checkpoints will be conducted by the Bermuda Police Service on the dates and in the parishes provided below:
Legislation allowing roadside sobriety tests was passed by the House of Assembly in July and transport minister Walter Roban said it would be the first step to tackle Bermuda’s high rate of death on the roads. Wayne Caines, the national security minister, later pledged that checkpoints would be set up for the first time over the Cup Match holiday at the start of August. The plan was dropped because MPs had to return to the House to get legal approval for the use of handheld breathalyzers. Mr Caines afterwards announced testing would begin last weekend but the checkpoints were delayed again because of “technical issues”. Mr Weekes said later that the technical problems had been resolved and testing would go ahead this weekend.
Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, will live with his family in temporary accommodation until next month, the Bermuda Government said last night. A government spokeswoman said: “To provide some clarity regarding recent media reports, in accordance with the Government’s overseas recruitment protocols, the Commissioner of Police is eligible for accommodation/housing.” She was speaking after online news site Bermuda Real reported that the commissioner was living in “a local hotel” with his wife and family. The spokeswoman said the costs of housing for the commissioner were approved in the 2018-19 Budget, which also included travel costs for an officer’s spouse and children. She declined to give the cost of temporary accommodation or say if the family had turned down an offered house. Mr Corbishley was sworn in at the start of last month. The spokeswoman said: “The Government can confirm that the commissioner will be moving to permanent accommodations during the first week of October.”
French insurance giant Axa has completed its $15.3 billion acquisition of XL Group, a deal that was announced in March. As a consequence XL’s shares were de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange and the Bermuda Stock Exchange before the start of trading today. The combination of Axa’s and XL Group’s existing positions is said to have moved the group to the top global position in P&C Commercial lines. Thomas Buberl, chief executive officer of Axa, said: “The completion of this transaction marks a significant milestone in our strategic ambition to further improve the balance between technical and financial margin. This transaction accelerates our transformation, allowing us to deliver enhanced solutions and services to a greater number of clients, and provides opportunities for significant long-term value creation for our stakeholders, with increased risk diversification, strong underwriting discipline, higher cash remittance potential as well as reinforced growth prospects. Today, as Greg Hendrick steps up to lead Axa XL as its CEO and joins Axa Group’s management committee, I personally welcome him and all XL Catlin colleagues to the Axa family. With the enthusiasm and shared vision of Axa and XL Catlin teams, extensive preparatory work has already been conducted to ensure a smooth integration of our businesses within the Axa Group.” Greg Hendrick said: “This announcement marks the culmination of a great deal of work and vision. We have our sights focused on success and together with Axa, our offering is truly compelling: we have the right geographical footprint, expert teams, and a culture that constantly strives for innovation. And innovate is what we will continue to do, so that we can be the partner of choice for our clients today and well into the future.” XL Group has also announced its intention to voluntarily de-list its outstanding debt securities from the New York Stock Exchange. The series of securities being de-listed are: 2.3 per cent senior notes due 2018; 5.75 per cent senior notes due 2021; 4.45 per cent subordinated notes due 2025; 5.25 per cent senior notes due 2043; 5.5 per cent subordinated notes due 2045; and the fixed to floating rate subordinated notes due 2047.
A hero former lifeguard and his wife rescued a surfer caught up in a rip tide and high seas before they hauled him a mile and a half to safety, it was revealed yesterday. Alex Marshall, a reggae and hip-hop artist who performs as Fiyah Marshall, was thrown against rocks in a bay off Paget after he got into trouble while out on his board. But Beau Franklin, who has worked as a lifeguard in Bermuda and Australia, and his wife, Ali Watlington, spotted he was in trouble and went to his rescue. Mr Franklin said: “My opinion, based on what was going on, is that he was probably going to drown. Unfortunately, he lost his surfboard and found himself in a particularly dangerous part of the bay. He was unable to get himself into the bay or out from the rocks. He was not involved in any misadventure; he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Mr Marshall said: “Despite being able-bodied, it proved extremely difficult to escape from what became a spinning vortex of waves and rip tide, which proceeded to throw me against the rocks several times. I released myself from the surfboard thinking it would alleviate me being dragged by the waves back on to the rocks but this worsened the situation as I was pummeled by the large waves and the rip tide.” The 33-year-old added: “Many thanks to those who assisted.” The drama began as Mr Marshall and friend Mohamed Hamza surfed in Hungry Bay last Sunday at lunchtime. Mr Marshall, who said he was not an experienced surfer, but a strong swimmer, explained that the weather did not appear too rough for surfing. However, a strong rip tide formed and smashed him into rocks several times. Mr Hamza was picked up by the swell and deposited safely on top of the rocks. Ms Watlington, 40, swam to Mr Marshall and pulled him away from the rocks, but the swells were too rough for her to get him all the way to shore. Mr Franklin said: “He was being pulled out to sea and was too fatigued — there was too much risk of crashing waves and submerged rocks. The waves coming in were washing him on to the rocks. Ali brought him out through the swell and at that point we swapped. I elected to paddle him down the coast to a safer place to get him out. Ali swam into the bay and located a boogie board and swam it to us. He floated on the board and held on to me as I paddled and towed him about a mile and a half out to the base of Kent Avenue and Ocean Avenue.” Mr Franklin, 49, from Paget, said: “It was very safe — I did an assessment of him. He was coherent but fatigued. He wasn’t in danger of passing out, he hadn’t swallowed too much water, he wasn’t going into shock. I paddled him outside the reef line dodging the big ocean swells, down to Kent Avenue and navigated the reef line to get him into the beach at the bottom, where it was calmer.” Mr Franklin, who was involved in the creation of the Bermuda Lifeguard Service, warned that extra care was needed in Bermuda’s small bays, especially when there are major storms in the area and where there are steep shorelines. He said: “If there is a named storm the safest places to swim are the patrolled beaches. If there are warning flags, people need to abide by them. When there are big swells on South Shore, stay away from small bays like Hungry Bay where there are dangerous rip currents.” Mr Franklin added that Warwick’s Southlands and Warwick Long Bay were the most dangerous places to swim, even on a calm day because of the combination of steep shorelines and the quick formation of rip tides. He said: “Before you swim, look and see where you can see the water running back out — sometimes you will see seaweed going back out to sea. Don’t go there because it is a rip current. That’s where the water forced on to shore is finding its way back out to sea.” Mr Franklin added that experienced surfers had rescued a lot of people over the years. He said: “The surfing community really does supplement for the lifeguard service.” A spokeswoman for the national security ministry said yesterday: “As Hurricane Florence passes Bermuda on its approach to the US East Coast, the island’s beaches will experience dangerous rip currents, especially on the south shore. Coastal flooding is possible along the south shore and harbours that have inlets on the South Shore as southeasterly winds increase. She added that the public should pay attention to several warnings issued in the past two weeks about the danger of storm-fuelled seas. The Department of Parks have placed high surf warning signs on all public South Shore beaches from John Smith’s Bay to West Whale Bay, but Hungary Bay is private. A department spokeswoman said lifeguards are on duty at Horseshoe Bay from 10am to 6pm. She added: “The Lifeguard Service finished at Clearwater Beach and Turtle Bay the week ending August 26. There is an existing small staff of five full-time lifeguards and a Lifeguard Superintendent and they will operate until October 31 seven days a week. In the interest of safety, park and beach patrons should use extreme caution and common sense especially on the South Shore beaches where the dangerous rip currents are more prevalent.” A spokesman from the Bermuda Police Service added that members of the public should observe weather and marine condition warnings. He added: “To not do so puts their life — and the live of any potential rescuer — unnecessarily at risk.”
Flora Duffy will end her ITU triathlon career on home soil in 2021 as the island hosts the World Triathlon Grand Final. Duffy revealed her plans yesterday as Bermuda was announced as the host of the race, one of the sport’s biggest events. “Having the Grand Final in 2021 sets up the perfect way to end my ITU career,” Duffy told The Royal Gazette. “For me, it’s incredibly special. It’s fabulous; the global triathlon community will get a taste of Bermuda and get to experience the island.” Duffy did not say she was retiring from the sport after the Grand Final in 2021. The Bermuda Tourism Authority welcomed the news and the Grand Final is expected to attract about 3,000 athletes to Bermuda and put the island back in the international spotlight. The announcement came after Bermuda hosted a successful ITU World Triathlon Series event in April, which was won by home-grown star Duffy. BTA chief executive Kevin Dallas said: “While winning the ITU World Triathlon Series was an awesome achievement, winning the Grand Final has been our ambition from the beginning. This is an amazing milestone in Bermuda’s journey to become a premier sports tourism destination. I have full confidence that Bermuda will seize this incredible multiyear opportunity to show the world how we skillfully execute high-profile events out here. These triathlon events shine a spotlight on Bermuda and, importantly, have positive and lasting impacts for our tourism economy, as well as for athletes, families and volunteers.” The BTA said 450 local workers and volunteers had earned high praise for their work at the event. Bermuda will host World Series events in 2019 and 2020, but the Grand Final is expected to draw a much larger crowd and even more media attention. A study from PricewaterhouseCoopers said: “Based on prior WTS Grand Final events, approximately 3,000 athletes are expected to participate in the age-group race, with 55 men and 55 women in the elite race and 100 para-triathletes. The estimated incremental on-island spend for the WTS Grand Final is $13.4 million, which results in an anticipated overall impact on GDP of $16.6 million.” The study estimated the total cost to host the event would be $3.5 million, with $1.6 million in government cash and the balance expected to come from corporate sponsors. The BTA said the estimate from PwC was a tenfold return on the $1.6 million investment of public money. Justin Mathias, the OBA spokesperson for tourism in the Senate, said the event would bring “significant revenue” to the island. “The World Triathlon Series earlier this year had a $4.4m impact on the island’s GDP and generated a 152 per cent return on investment. The final will have an even bigger impact that will benefit the entire island. PwC, in its World Triathlon Series Bermuda 2018 Impact Study, said that spending on-island as a result of hosting the Grand Final could be in the region of $13 million. That will be a tremendous boost for the economy.” Tim Morrison, general manager of Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, was delighted by the news. He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Bermuda as both a travel and sporting destination.”
A start-up company in Hamilton that is building a licensed fiat and cryptocurrency exchange and bank is being headed by two executives with backgrounds that include banking and securities. Quantex Ltd is led by Canadian-based Manie Eagar and John Willock. Its aim is to have an exchange before becoming “the world’s first licensed fiat and cryptocurrency financial services provider with a full suite liquidity enablement platform”. In July, the Bermuda Government paved the way for a new type of banking licence to cater for the fintech industry. Amendments to the Banks and Deposit Companies Act 1999 were passed in Parliament. David Burt, the Premier, said the move was necessary as local banks had been unwilling to offer services to newly incorporated fintech and distributed ledger technology companies. Quantex intends to be “much more” than an exchange, and to have a focus on licensed fiat [traditional currencies] and token banking, custody and asset tokenisation. Mr Eagar is executive chairman of Quantex, he is also CEO of DigitalFutures consultancy and said he has previously worked for Barclays. Mr Willock has worked for Nasdaq and the Toronto Stock Exchange, which he left this year in order to pursue the Quantex project. At the Blockchain Futurist Conference in Toronto last month, Mr Willock was interviewed about Quantex. He said: “We have spent most of our careers in traditional financial services; we are coming from the security exchange business to bring the learning of Nasdaq, the learning of the like of that sort, to the crypto exchange space.” He said that meant it would be able to facilitate “not only a regulated exchange venue, but also one that is institutional grade in terms of tools, client experience as well as the trust factor with the platform itself”. Mr Willock was interviewed by John Furrier of TheCube, and he and Mr Eagar later took part in a panel discussion on blockchain developments that also touched on Bermuda’s engagement with the sector. Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, was on the panel. Next week, Mr Willock will be a panelist at the “Navigating the Insurtech Revolution” event in Bermuda. It is being hosted by international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright and will feature discussions on insurtech and fintech. Mina Matin, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, will be one of the presenters. She also took part in the panel discussion at the blockchain conference in Toronto. Speaking to The Royal Gazette, she said insurtech and fintech are increasingly being used across all economic sectors, including healthcare, marketing, advertising and insurance. The afternoon event on September 20 is expected to attract a wide range of attendees, from the insurance and banking sector, to regulators. Mr Burt will give the keynote address, while Ms Matin, along with Norton Rose Fulbright colleagues Nicholas Berry and Andrew James Lom will present the “Navigating the Insurtech Revolution” discussion, looking at blockchain and smart contracts, the value impact on new products, distribution claims and administration, and the relationship between the crypto ecosystem and insurance. This will be followed by a panel discussion, titled “The Insurtech Capital Markets Transformation”, featuring Mr Willock along with Fredrico Nassire, chief strategy officer of Shyft; Stuart Lacey, CEO of Trunomi; and Ari Chatterjee, chief underwriting officer of Envelop Risk.
Stronger links between Bermuda College and overseas institutions will be a “tremendous opportunity” for island students, a college academic said. Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, the vice-president of academic and student affairs at Bermuda College, added that she was excited by the school’s 29 revamped agreements with colleges in Britain, the United States and Canada. She said: “It creates the kind of pathways that we need in Bermuda to help Bermudians attain the higher qualifications they need. It really promotes this institution as one of excellence.” Dr Curtis-Tweed said that while some of the partnerships had been in place for some time, all were revised over the course of the last year to be “two-plus-two agreements”. She explained: “What this means is if a student comes to Bermuda College and completes their associate degree, they can complete that baccalaureate degree within two years.” Dr Curtis-Tweed said that the arrangements would allow students to save a “considerable amount” of money by completing their associates degree in Bermuda and then move to a college or university abroad. She added that the schemes also removed uncertainty about which colleges students might be accepted at. Dr Curtis-Tweed said: “Students are assured that they’re going to be able to get into that college — provided that they meet the requirements.” She added that some programmes required a higher grade point average than the 2.0 mark students needed to graduate from Bermuda College. Dr Curtis-Tweed said that several of the colleges Bermuda College had agreements with offered incentives for Bermudian students. Georgia State University had agreed that Bermuda students would pay the same tuition fees as a student from the state — which was less than the international student rate. Dr Curtis-Tweed added: “There are a number that are like that.” She said that during the past year, school officials had examined government job reports to identify areas of need, which included the healthcare field. Dr Curtis-Tweed explained the school was in the process of a transformation of its nursing division “to start offering programmes that will help us to fulfil areas of need in Bermuda”. A pre-health programme scheduled to start next year will offer two courses — a general clinical track for students interested in physical or occupational therapy or public health and a medical track for those interested in a pre-medicine degree. Partnerships for both tracks are being developed with academic institutions in Grenada and Canada. She said: “That’s really an exciting piece of news, because we have a lot of expatriates in the healthcare area. We need to make sure we are training Bermudians.” Dr Curtis-Tweed said that access to training abroad had been restricted in the past, in part due to the cost. She added: “Having at least the two-year programme here provides that foundation.” A diagnostic medical imaging course is being considered for 2020.
A family were plunged into mourning after their oldest daughter was found dead in her dorm room only days after she started university in Canada. Shiloh Roberts, 18, a former Bermuda High School pupil, was discovered by police on Saturday at Brescia College, University of Western Ontario, in an unresponsive state. The cause of death is unknown. Linda Parker, head of school at BHS said: “While this news is very sad and we are grieving the loss of Shiloh, we will remember a joyful, kind and happy young lady who had a beautiful smile. We are so thankful for having had the opportunity to know her and for her to have been part of the BHS family.” A family friend, who asked not to be named, said Ms Roberts was “a beautiful kid, really friendly and looking forward to going away to school — a very happy child from a very close- knit family”. The friend added: “She was a vibrant, beautiful girl from a loving family, well loved, well liked and well known. Her mother and father worked so hard for those girls. We are not supposed to question God, but why take the good?” Ms Roberts, the older of two girls, finished her studies at BHS only this summer. Ms Roberts told The Royal Gazette in an interview with her class in February that her aspiration was to “excel in the field of dentistry”. Brescia, a liberal arts college with about 1,100 undergraduates in London, Ontario, is Canada’s only university-level women’s college. The college said: “With the sudden death of an international student at Brescia University College, the university’s primary focus during this difficult time is to remain respectful of the student’s family and of the process. The university will not be sharing further details at this time. We have the appropriate counselling and support resources in place and readily available for our students, faculty and staff on campus, who are suffering through this loss.” Police told a reporter at The London Free Press newspaper they were working with the coroner’s office in the investigation, but that the death was not considered suspicious. The news also devastated former colleagues at the Harrington Hundreds supermarket in Smith’s, where Ms Roberts, who lived near by, packed groceries for several years. One grief-stricken store employee said: “She was a beautiful girl who was always friendly. She was a pleasure to work with — people really liked her.”
Cruise passengers who expected a sunshine cruise to Bermuda were disappointed to find themselves sailing to Halifax, Nova Scotia, instead because of fears over Hurricane Florence. The diversion was a big blow to one passenger on the Norwegian Dawn because he had just driven 660 miles to Boston for the cruise — from Halifax. Passenger Paul Cunningham told the Star newspaper in Halifax: “The ultimate story for anyone interested was the fellow that drove down from Halifax to Boston, got there and they announced the change and he’s now coming home to let the dog out, I guess.” The Norwegian Dawn was due to set sail to Bermuda on Friday, but the ship went to Canada because of concerns about the hurricane. The change of itinerary was not popular among some guests. Elaine Imbrogna told the newspaper that customers should have been given a chance to switch ships. She said: “We got voicemails, we got e-mails, but nothing about a chance to change. I’m very frustrated, very frustrated. I have six deposits on future cruises that I’m contemplating canceling because ... we just experienced too much. It’s just a hassle from the minute we checked in.” Samuel George and his wife had been to Halifax the previous year. He said: “We took a back-to-back so we were here for two weeks and we expected to go to Bermuda, so kinda disappointed. You don’t really have a choice. I understand Norwegian’s safety is first, we understand that, but we’re just a little disappointed. We just came from here.” Shipping agent Meyer Agencies said six cruise ships decided to go elsewhere due to weather worries. Joe Simas, vice-president of the Meyer Group of Companies, said: “They made the decision last week to be proactive. Lo and behold, the hurricane isn’t going to affect us at all. It is what it is.” George Butterfield, vice-president of Meyer Freight, said the Bermuda Islander was still scheduled to set sail for Salem in New Jersey last night. He said: “She will experience adverse sea conditions, however it is our hope that she will arrive safely on Thursday. The Somers Isles arrived in Fernandina Beach, Florida, yesterday afternoon and is scheduled to make the return trip on Friday. She should arrive in Bermuda on Tuesday.” Hurricane Florence reached Category 4 strength yesterday but is forecast to remain at least 350 miles from Bermuda. The Bermuda Weather Service said this morning that the storm was still a potential threat to the island as it was expected to pass inside the threat threshold of 460 miles in the next 72 hours. The hurricane was 390 miles south of Bermuda, moving west-northwest at 16mph at noon today. The storm is expected to pass 360 miles off the island at 11pm today. The US-based National Hurricane Centre said Florence was packing 130mph winds with higher gusts. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 40 miles from the centre of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extend 150 miles. Bermuda is expected to escape the storm’s winds, but marine conditions are expected to remain dangerous. The NHC said: “Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and portions of the US East Coast. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
An American man was fined $2,200 yesterday after he admitted the importation of drugs to the island. Magistrates’ Court heard that Semyon Pustylnik, 30, was stopped by customs officials after he left the Norwegian Escape cruise ship in Dockyard. He told them that he had a medical marijuana card after they discovered he had a grinder and vape pen. A search of his cabin found two glass jars containing a plant substance, later found to be marijuana. Pustylnik, from Cranston, Rhode Island, told officers: “Since you found everything else, do you want the package on my thigh?” A clear plastic bag strapped to his inner thigh was discovered during the search. He told police while in custody that he had a medical marijuana card. Pustylnik added: “I am very sorry, it’s my medication.” The court heard the customs haul, which happened on September 6, totaled about 30 grams of marijuana. The vape pen was found to contain traces of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. Pustylnik said that he meant “no disrespect” to the island. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo asked Pustylnik why drugs were found strapped to his thigh. Pustylnik claimed that they had actually been discovered in his pocket, not strapped to his person. Mr Tokunbo fined Pustylnik $2,000 for importing the cannabis and $200 for importing delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. Pustylnik was ordered to pay both fines before he left the island.
A 55-year-old man charged with threatening to kill a government MP was freed on $10,000 bail yesterday. Perry Smith, from Sandys, was charged in Magistrates’ Court with two counts of making written threats to kill Michael Scott, MP for Sandys North, on or around August 10 and 19. Mr Smith is also charged with possession of a knife in Sandys on September 8. He was further charged with stalking Mr Scott between August 10 and September 8. Mr Smith did not have to enter a plea because the case must be heard in Supreme Court. He was ordered to have no contact with Mr Scott and must also report to Hamilton Police Station three days a week. The case was adjourned until October 1.
All government services will remain in operation today as Hurricane Florence passes to the south of the island. This morning the storm grew to Category 4 strength, and was predicted to intensify — but Florence was sticking to a course that would send it south of Bermuda over the next 24 hours. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of National Security said: “The ministry is reminding that all public services, including government offices, public transport and public schools will be open and operational. As a public safety note, the South Shore will experience unsettled surf conditions associated with Hurricane Florence and the public is encouraged to use caution on those beaches.” The ministry said the Emergency Broadcast station on 100.1FM was in operation, and official information would continue to be released by the Bermuda Weather Service, the Emergency Measures Organisation, the Ministry of National Security and the Department of Communications. Florence regained Hurricane strength yesterday morning and is considered a potential threat as it is expected to pass within 460 miles of the island in the next 72 hours. At noon today, Florence was 580 miles south-southeast of the island, moving west at 13mph. Its closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours was forecast to be 360 miles to the south-southwest tomorrow at 7pm. According the US-based National Hurricane Centre at 1pm, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 130mph. The hurricane has turned west-northwestward, and high pressure is forecast to propel Florence on a course putting it on track for the southeastern coast of the US. Swells churned up by the storm, which began to affect Bermuda on Friday, have reached portions of the US East Coast, with life-threatening surf and rip current conditions anticipated. A BWS spokesman said: “Bermuda should remain outside the radius of tropical storm force winds and the only significant impact is expected to be rough to very rough southeasterly swells, which could create hazardous rip currents, especially along the South Shore.” The storm is forecast to continue towards the United States, and approach the southeastern coast by Thursday. Meteorologists are also tracking two tropical storms which formed off the coast of Africa. Both Tropical Storm Isaac and Tropical Storm Helene are expected to reach hurricane strength but neither is considered a threat to Bermuda.
New rules to protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices have been welcomed, but could meet “resistance” from the industry. Henry Tucker, a litigation attorney, applauded the objective behind the proposed Debt Collection Act 2018 and described the drafted legislation as “well thought through”. Members of Bermuda’s business community have been reviewing details of the proposed law since public consultation opened last month, when the Government said the Bill aimed to “eliminate abusive practices” through a regulatory framework for creditors and debt collectors. However, it has raised questions among industry operators and a meeting to discuss concerns was expected to take place this week, before the Friday deadline for written submissions to Consumer Affairs. Mr Tucker, counsel at Carey Olsen Bermuda, said: “This is a very strong piece of legislation that, if properly implemented, is going to bring long-needed structure to debt collection practices here and hopefully alleviate some of the burden on the Magistrates’ Court.” He said the Act’s aim, which was in line with international practice, was important. He continued: “The debt collection agencies, in my experience, have operated with varying degrees of professionalism over the years but have been uncensored by the ethical obligations of law firms and attorneys, and the reality is that the Debt Collection Act is designed to change the way they all do business.” Practices likely to be affected include keeping lists of debtors to use when determining whether or not credit will be granted by another organisation. The legislation also aims to ensure collectors properly identify themselves in phone calls and do not harass borrowers when trying to recover funds. Mr Tucker believed there would be “significant resistance” from the island’s collection companies. He said: “All of the existing agencies will have to fundamentally change the way they do business, and this will create a new opening for debt collection compliant agencies to enter the market.” He told how local enterprises had been worried about an “ambiguity” arising from ministerial statements on the Bill. Business operators feared any company — from a self-employed handyman to utilities and telecommunications providers — would be subject to the regulation and require a debt collector’s licence. However, in response to a query from The Royal Gazette, a government spokeswoman explained: “The draft Bill, which is out for consultation, proposes to regulate agencies where their sole business is collecting debt.” She said companies providing other goods and services recover funds as “a consequence of offering credit” to customers. “If they cannot successfully collect the debt, those companies may choose to use a debt collection agency,” she added. “It is the debt collection agency that would be regulated by this Bill.” Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, earlier told MPs the Act was needed as “exorbitant interest and administrative charges” in collection practices were creating greater debts for consumers and this was compounded by a lack of transparency and accountability. He said oversight by a licensing authority would tackle issues such as debt without proper verification, predatory lending — including hidden charges, and harassing phone calls. One of the “most egregious” actions, Mr Brown said, was communication with other individuals or organisations, for example “discussing the debtor or their debt with a third party”. However, Shirlene Nisbett, general manager at the Bermuda Credit Association, said the company’s policies were based on confidentiality. She added: “We are dealing with people’s lives and it’s very sensitive information.” She believed the association and similar bodies should have been consulted before the Act was drafted. Ms Nisbett said: “This business is two-sided ... When it comes to trying to collect outstanding debts this is not the easiest job to do, I just feel we should have been approached, we could have at least had our input.” Among her concerns were the need for a clear definition on what constitutes “harassment” in the Act. Stuart Lawrence, assistant manager, said the association’s clients were contacted to ensure they were aware of the Bill. He added: “We wanted them to know that this is something that affects how you do business.” Kendaree Burgess, executive director at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said the organisation was reviewing the proposed legislation and had asked its members to respond to questions in a survey. She added: “The chamber has met with the Department of Consumer Affairs and with member groups as part of the discovery period and will respond to the ministry’s request by the deadline.” The Bermuda Debt Collection Agency has notified its clients and sought legal assistance in responding to the consultation. Eintou Carmichael, the president, said: “From our perspective I wouldn’t want our fees to be lesser; for collection agencies, that’s all we make.” She added: “We’re trying to work with people, we were even doing counselling with some people and trying to help people who have other problems, trying to sort out their bills and write letters on their behalf. We even tell people if you come in and pay $25 we see you are doing the best you can.” It is understood collection agencies and their partners planned a meeting for tonight to discuss the Bill. In July, when the legislation was tabled in the House of Assembly by Mr Brown, he asked “all interested parties” to use the six-week consultation period “to provide their input and concerns to assist in producing an Act that will benefit consumers who are debtors, companies that extend credit and the agencies responsible for collecting debts”.
Opposition leader Jeanne Atherden has called for an apolitical women’s forum to promote female empowerment in the light of the Wayne Caines “titty milk” affair. Ms Atherden also urged women and men in the Progressive Labour Party to break their silence over the national security minister’s “sexist and inappropriate” behavior while in London on government business last week. Mr Caines came under fire across Bermuda, and attracted media attention in Britain, after he posted a video of himself on Instagram asking a young female server in a Cereal Killer Café outlet for “titty milk”. David Burt, the Premier, declared himself disappointed by Mr Caines’s “extremely poor conduct”, while the minister issued a public apology. Ms Atherden argued this was not enough. She said: “I know that as a woman and mother of daughters, I am outraged at Mr Caines’s actions.” She said of Mr Burt: “I wonder if, before making his statement, he asked any women how they felt not just about Mr Caines’s inappropriate and sexist statement, but also the fact that Mr Caines thought that it was either OK or funny enough to put out on Instagram? From his comments it does not look as if the Premier did canvass the opinion of women because how can you say that you represent all of Bermuda without reflecting the outrage that women feel not just about the minister’s conduct but the thinking behind the conduct? We need to let everyone and most importantly our community — our men, women and children — know that this is not who we are or where we want to be regarding women. We have an opportunity to seriously look at where we are in relation to women in this community and what we can do to move our community forward. A first step would be for Mr Caines to do the right thing and resign and consign himself to the back benches where he can reflect on the error of his ways. Premier, I urge you to take a second giant and meaningful step and join with me to establish an apolitical women’s forum to discuss women’s issues and promote the development and empowerment of women here in Bermuda. That, Premier, would be a meaningful and appropriate response to Mr Caines’s behavior and thinking.” Ms Atherden added: “Did the Premier ask the women in the PLP for their thoughts? I would call on them to say something publicly about this issue, to condemn it and insist that there is no repeat. Their silence so far sends out a message that either they actually think this behavior is OK or that they are too afraid to speak out publicly. I have heard men say that women need to speak up but we also need to hear the voices of the men in this community. Men need to speak up not just as it relates to how they want their daughters to be viewed and treated, but also how they want their sons to think and behave. So where do the men of the PLP stand on this? They are silent.” Ms Atherden said she was aiming to get more women involved in politics. “Premier, our women are the glue that holds this country together. They labour in our businesses and then they come home and are the primary care givers in families. We need to be doing things to promote them, not demean them.” Mr Burt did not respond when invited to comment on Ms Atherden’s statement.
The 52nd annual Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament was a huge success yesterday, despite fears of the effects of Hurricane Florence. Organizer John Barnes said that about 30 boats had signed up to take part in the competition. Mr Barnes said: “The conditions have been great. There has been some communications going around on WhatsApp that people were very pleased with the weather. We were definitely watching out for the storm earlier this week, but the timing of these things can be difficult. It’s one of those things where if you push it to next weekend, we might have to cancel again because of another storm.”
A 55-year-old man charged with threatening to kill a Government MP was freed on $10,000 bail today. Perry Smith, of Sandys, was charged in Magistrates’ Court with two counts of written threats to kill Michael Scott, MP for Sandys North, on or around August 10 and on or around August 19. Mr Smith is also charged with possession of a knife in Sandys on September 8. He was further charged with stalking Mr Scott between August 10 and September 8. Mr Smith did not have to enter a plea as the case must be heard in Supreme Court. He was ordered to have no contact with Mr Scott and must also report to Hamilton Police Station three days a week. The case was adjourned until October 1.
Three Americans were charged today with the importation of more than $250,000 worth of drugs. It was alleged in Magistrates’ Court that Julian Mendez, 22, Jahad Waldron, 27, both of Brooklyn, New York, and 31-year-old Margil Mireles, of Houston, Texas, conspired to import controlled drugs to Bermuda. The drugs were alleged to have been seized on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship on September 5. The court heard the alleged haul included cannabinoid oils and a substance called “shatter”. The men made no plea as the case must be heard in Supreme Court. They were remanded in custody until October 1.
Bermemes and SheHub.tv have joined the Media Council of Bermuda. Veteran journalist Carla Zuill, who previously ran the news site Today in Bermuda, is the founder of SheHub.tv, a website dedicated to women. Dejon Simmons founded Bermemes, which won The Bermudian magazine’s Best of Bermuda Award and had won numerous other Best of Bermuda awards. Don Burgess, the CEO for the Media Council of Bermuda, said: “We are proud to have these two excellent digital outlets join us. The media landscape is quickly changing as more people continue to get their news from online sources. “Bermemes has branched out from its humble beginnings and regular post interviews with politicians, artists, and cultural pacesetters in Bermuda.” Mr Burgess added: “Shehub.tv is exploring a road less travelled by other media in Bermuda and focusing solely on women’s issues, which I think is innovative.” Mr Simmons said: “I am more than humbled to have Bermemes a part of Bermuda’s Media Council. I look forward to working with the experienced members of the Media Council and offering my expertise where possible.” Ms Zuill added: “I am pleased that SheHub.tv has been accepted into the Media Council and I am hoping that women in Bermuda and beyond will benefit from its content. I am looking forward to growing this brand in the years to come.”
Warwick Academy students will hold a special concert tomorrow in memory of Rhondelle Tankard, whose life was claimed in the September 11 2001 terror attacks. Proceeds raised from the anniversary will go towards a scholarship in Ms Tankard’s name. The school hopes to honour her love of the piano and singing by aiding students of music. Ms Tankard, 31, had just begun work at the World Trade Centre, in the New York offices of the Aon insurance company, the day before the attacks. Tomorrow marks the 17th anniversary of the atrocity — the same age as many of the sixth-form students performing music and reading poems. Rhondelle’s mother, Cheryl, will attend, as will her cousin and alumnus Radell Tankard, and his daughter, Malikah, a Year 9 student. The idea sprang from a school trip to New York to attend the United Nations International School Conference last year, when the group of Warwick Academy students were snowed in. Now sixth formers, students Nathan Cabral, Jackson McDonald, Joseph Arrowsmith, Samuel Brangman and Benjamin Pettit were abroad with teachers Shelly Grace and Anne Coakley, both of whom had taught Ms Tankard, when they visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Jackson, 17, said he had just been born at the time of the attacks, and the group had not known of Ms Tankard or the two other Bermudians killed that day. Saltus alumni Boyd Gatton and Robert Higley also perished at the World Trade Centre, where 2,977 people died. Nathan said the group settled on the idea of “different musical performances and songs with readings poems to make people think about what happened”. He added: “We are also going to have some of the teachers talk about Rhondelle.” Ticket prices for tomorrow’s concert in the main school hall are $5. The funds raised will support Warwick Academy jazz band students excelling in music who cannot afford to attend the Litchfield Summer Camp in Connecticut, which the jazz band has attended for the past four years.
Warwick Preschool is set to open today as scheduled, despite a fire on the property yesterday morning. But the Ministry of Health announced that the Warwick Health Centre — located in the same building — would not be open for baby clinic services today or Saturday. The Ministry blamed the closure on smoke damage and the investigation into the cause of the fire. A spokesman said: “The ministry would like to apologise to the public for any inconvenience. Clients may attend the Hamilton Health Centre, 67 Victoria Street, Hamilton, between the hours of 2pm and 4pm while the clinic is closed. They may call 278-6460 if they require further assistance.” According to Sergeant Allan Wilkinson, a spokesman for Bermuda Fire and Rescue Services, officers received reports of a structural fire at the school at about 7.15am. He said: “Two firefighters entered the premises wearing breathing apparatus. Upon entry, the preschool and clinic areas were heavily smoke-logged. Firefighters focused their efforts on ventilation, as the fire was smouldering. Inquiries are being made as the cause of the fire is under investigation.” The Department of Education said the school will open for an initial group of students as scheduled, while a second group are scheduled to start class next Monday as previously arranged with parents. Kalmar Richards, Acting Commissioner of Education, said: “I am very grateful to Department of Education staff, the Preschool Administrator and staff who were on-site since early this morning to access the situation, implement contingency plans and notify parents. Any additional communication will be made directly with parents by the Preschool Administrator, DeRosa-Holder and her team.” Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education and Workforce Development, thanked the team for their quick response. He said: “The Education team has responded swiftly by putting plans in place to provide a safe and clean environment for students. I wish to thank the administrator, staff and parents who have assisted with getting the school ready for our students.”
A United States veteran called for more testing to determine if toxic chemical Agent Orange was burnt at the Kindley Field Air Force Base. Ronald Slater, from Washington, said outcry in the United States about the use of “burn pits” has given him hope that his claims will be investigated further. Mr Slater, 75, said: “I’m asking for the sake of the people of Bermuda, particularly the people in St David’s who were exposed to and braved that smoke. The smoke was so black and thick I could barely find my way from the truck to the machinery. We are not talking about burning trees and landscaping debris. Someone needs to take the initiative and take a drill sample at least 20 feet, and they need to know where the pits actually were. I would be happy to put together a map.” Mr Slater, a former US Air Force serviceman, first went public with his claims in 2007 that about 200 barrels of waste — including dangerous defoliant Agent Orange — were burnt on the Kindley Field Air Force Base and bulldozed into the sea between 1965 and 1967. He has said the chemicals, together with the toxic smoke caused by the fires, caused him and fellow veterans serious medical problems. Agent Orange was widely used during the Vietnam War to clear jungles, but has since been linked to a number of health problems including leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and various kinds of cancer. However, Mr Slater’s attempts to gain compensation have been unsuccessful because the US has not recognized that Agent Orange was used anywhere other than Vietnam. Toxicology tests conducted in the mid-1990s found no evidence of Agent Orange, and nor did later soil tests by Bermuda Water Consultants. The BWC report stated that they tested 15 sites around the baselands, collecting samples from the top ten centimeters of soil to be analyzed. Mr Slater said that while his past lawsuits had been dismissed by the courts, recent comments by General David Petraeus had given him hope his case would be given another look. General Petraeus, who was a commander during the Gulf War, spoke out about the use of “burn pits” to get rid of trash, chemicals and medical waste during that conflict. He told Fox News: “Over time, in that tour in particular, you start noticing other issues. So, yes, there is serious combat going on. But you’re noticing that there’s this massive burn pit that is upwind of us. So it blows over this huge base, Camp Victory, where we had 25,000 or more soldiers based and stationed.” General Patraeus added: “We had a number of other locations, again, where we had these burn pits. And you start to notice it more and more. And I got more and more concerned during that time — I mean, it’d been something I’d noticed previously, but now I realize that we’ve got all these soldiers who are, on really bad days, inhaling whatever it is that’s being burnt in these pits.” Dozens of burn pits were used during the Gulf War and more than 140,000 active service members and retirees have put their names on a Burn Pit Registry to say they were affected. Mr Slater said the comments by General Patraeus — combined with the growing number of veterans suffering from health issues linked to burn pits — had given him hope that the issue would be properly addressed. He said the testing conducted by Bermuda Water Consultants was inadequate because it might not have tested the correct areas and did not dig deep enough. Mr Slater said: “They got a shovel full of soil, took it to the lab and tested it. All of these pits were 20 feet deep. When someone is doing proper testing, they drill down and get samples from 15, 20 feet deep. I have no doubt that these pits were filled in with coral sand.” Mr Slater has also renewed claims to the US Veteran’s Association as a result of the warnings about burn pits. He said: “The US Navy and Air Force refused to protect me and my fellow veterans and we paid a very high price.” Mr Slater added that he was not the only one who had described the burn pits in Bermuda. Sergeant James Kustush wrote in a sworn statement that he was assigned to Kindley Field in 1965 and was Mr Slater’s neighbour. He said: “Trash, garbage, building materials, steel barrels, wood, metal roofing, siding from old barracks, insulation from hangers and asbestos covering from pipes. All of this was dumped in that one ravine, and all was set on fire. Ron would run a bulldozer or tractor over all this rubbish and push it into the ocean.” Sergeant Kustush recalled that he saw Mr Slater crushing barrels at the landfill with a bulldozer. He added: “The tracks on the bulldozer had some sort of liquid all over them. I asked Ron what the liquid was and he said it was Agent Orange. Ron told me he worked around Agent Orange when he was on active duty with the Navy in Puerto Rico.” Air Force veteran Andrew Moore claimed his cancer was brought on from his job dumping tons of human waste in a deep pit at the baselands in 1963-64, while other veterans have claimed substances such as mercury and hydrochloric acid were disposed of in the same manner. The Ministry of Public Works was contacted about this story, but had not commented as of press time last night.
Health impact claims. Ronald Slater said he was being treated for a range of conditions be believed were caused by exposure to burn pits in Bermuda. Among those conditions are:
Mr Slater said he also suffered prostate cancer. He underwent medical treatment, including a radical prostatectomy, but the impact of the surgery continues.
Two men with bladed weapons robbed a Four Star Pizza deliveryman on Friday night. The two suspects approached the deliveryman near the top of Bostock Hill East in Paget and demanded money at about 10pm. A police spokesman said: “A small quantity of cash was handed over and both suspects made their escape, running down the hill. The Four Star employee was not hurt. An extensive search for the two offenders, described as approximately 5ft 8in of slim build wearing dark colored clothing was conducted, but they remain at large.” Marico Thomas, who owns the pizza franchise, said the driver was shaken by the incident but unharmed. Mr Thomas said: “Any time that you have an incident where someone is trying to take something away from you, you are going to be somewhat shaken up. It’s not a positive experience. It’s something that we know is a possibility. It is something that we train for, and there are procedures in place for it.” Mr Thomas said that deliverymen carry as little cash as possible. He said: “All you are going to get is $25, and hopefully police action that will be swift.” Mr Thomas added: “I’m pleased that we have precautions in place. Unfortunately, this is the type of thing we have to deal with sometimes. We are very aware of this, and that we have to be responsible to our employees my making sure we are keeping them safe.” Witnesses should call the Criminal Investigation Department on 247-1744 or Crimestoppers on 800-8477.
Bermuda finished in 50th position at the World Amateur Team Championships in Maynooth, Ireland, yesterday. The island’s trio of Jarryd Dillas, Walker Campbell and Mikus Ming dropped two places in the final round in which they shot 146 for a total score of eight-over-par 588. Campbell fired an even 72 while Dillas and Ming both carded 74 at the O’Meara course at Carton House Golf Club, with the best two scores counting to the overall total. Bermuda shot an opening round 144, second round 155 and a third round 143. Denmark won the competition with an overall score of 541, with United States second with 542 and Spain posting 544.
Premier David Burt said that a video posted by Wayne Caines in which he asked a young woman server in a London restaurant for “titty milk” displayed a “lack of respect for women”. However, the Premier did not indicate whether the comment would cost Mr Caines his job as Minister of National Security. Mr Burt said last night that he had spoken with Mr Caines about the incident, which he said displayed “poor judgment conveyed by the actions in the recording”. The Premier said that Mr Caines had expressed regret over the matter. Mr Burt added: “I am disappointed that the incredibly hard work Minister Caines does every day on behalf of the people of Bermuda, including on his trip to London, has been overshadowed by this extremely poor conduct.” He said that he regularly referred Cabinet members to the Ministerial Code of Conduct and the requirement that “ministers are expected to behave according to the highest standards of constitutional and personal conduct in the performance of their duties”. Mr Burt added: “Moments like this provide a valuable opportunity for each and every one of us to pause and reflect to ensure that we individually and collectively serve the people of Bermuda in a manner befitting our responsibilities as leader.” The Premier said he was proud to lead a party that “has been led by, and continues to benefit from the contributions of exceptionally strong women at every level. This government respects and values the role of women in this community.” The One Bermuda Alliance dismissed Mr Burt’s response as a “smack in the face for every woman on this island” and called for Mr Caines to resign from Cabinet. Mr Caines continued to attract headlines yesterday in response to the controversial video he recorded and uploaded to his Instagram page on Wednesday, while on government business in London. In the clip, he is heard to ask a female employee at a branch of the Cereal Killer Café if the store had “titty milk”. His actions received a backlash from across the political divide before Mr Caines issued an apology on Facebook on Thursday afternoon. The article was picked up by British newspaper the Evening Standard. It said: “Wayne Caines, Bermuda’s minister of national security, recorded a video of himself making the enquiry as a ‘joke’ before posting the footage to his 4,000 followers on Instagram earlier this week.” The newspaper noted Mr Caines was in London to meet with National Crime Agency officials to discuss Britain’s work on child sex abuse and exploitation overseas. The Centre Against Abuse yesterday called for a “change of mindset” after the incident. Laurie Shiell, executive director of the charity, said the public need to be aware of sexual harassment. Ms Shiell said: “It’s time perpetrators of sexual harassment change their mindset. It’s time perpetrators of sexual harassment control their hands and words. It’s time for us to no longer accept sexual harassment as a joke. It is time sexual harassment ends in Bermuda, and we can start today.” Mr Caines, whose Facebook and Instagram pages have now been deleted, said in his apology: “What was meant to be a funny, is now anything but. I know better. This is an unnecessary own goal.” Ms Shiell said people should consider if they would make comments, statements or gestures to their daughter, mother, grandmother pastor or boss. She said: “Sexual harassment is a mindset that believes that it is OK for a person to make sexually inappropriate and obscene remarks and actions with strangers and acquaintances. Bermuda, our dirt is showing, and we are tired of sexual harassment being swept under the carpet. We need to clean up our act. We need to firmly unite and say we are tired of this behavior. We need to address it immediately and directly. No it’s not a joke. It’s sexual harassment.” Responding in a statement today, OBA chairman Justin Mathias said: “The use of the phrase ‘titty milk’ is demeaning to all women and to hear it coming from a senior government minister is shocking though not surprising — but for the Premier to admit that he was only ‘disappointed’ is truly appalling and is a smack in the face for every woman on this island. Perhaps, like the OBA which has a majority all-female leadership team, the PLP would benefit from more women in its leadership team. Minister Caines has apologized but it was not a real apology, as he says the worker did not hear him. I find it hard to take seriously because if he was at all serious he would never have issued those words in the first place, let alone take the premeditated action of posting it to his many thousands of followers on Instagram. As a former CEO, would the minister condone this type of phrase if one of his male employees had uttered it to a female employee? What would he have done? Would he simply have asked for an apology? I hope not — I hope he would have severely sanctioned that employee. As the CEO equivalent, we were left wait to see what the Premier would do? Well we found out. He expressed his ‘disappointment’. What kind of CEO does not sanction an employee for such demeaning language? This sends out the message that what the minister did is effectively OK. What this reveals is not just a weak leader who pays lip service to issues such as equality, but also a lack of depth in the PLP Cabinet. The Premier knows he cannot dismiss Minister Caines as there is no one to take his place who can take on the complicated fintech business. I note that the Evening Standard, a newspaper with an audience of some two million people a day in print and online in London, has now covered the story which portrays not only the minister in a poor light because of his actions, but by association the government and Bermuda. The minister has apparently now shut down his private Instagram and Facebook accounts, but that is too late. Despite what our Premier says, someone must be made accountable for these actions. This is not the type of behavior we expect and we, as a people, should receive better from our elected officials, including the Premier. Enough is enough and if he had any ounce of dignity, Minister Caines should do what the Premier does not have the guts to tell him to do — resign and take a time out to reflect on his actions.” The Royal Gazette has invited Mr Burt to respond to Mr Mathias’s comments. Mr Caines could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The implementation of roadside sobriety checkpoints has been delayed again due to “technical issues”. The first of the checkpoints, which were previously expected today, are now scheduled for next Friday and Saturday. Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Martin Weekes said: “Unfortunately, due to a technical issue, the required gazetting of the notice informing the public about the use of roadside sobriety checkpoints did not occur in time for their deployment this weekend as the relevant legislation requires the public to be advised at least five days in advance. However, that issue has since been rectified and approval has been given by the senior magistrate for roadside sobriety checkpoints to be in effect next weekend.” The Road Traffic (Road Sobriety Checkpoints) Amendment Act 2018 was given Royal assent on July 23. David Burt, the Premier, had aimed to have checkpoints implemented in time for Cup Match at the beginning of August. However, the Ministry of National Security said that they did not go ahead as the handheld breathalyzers had not arrived on the island. Roadside sobriety checkpoints can still be implemented without devices using field tests and the breathalyzer at Hamilton Police Station. On August 23, the Commissioner of Police, Steven Corbishley, said the checkpoints would likely be implemented “within seven days”.
A pioneering scheme that would put church volunteers on the streets to help tackle gang culture could be operational by the end of the year. Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, explained that a plan to introduce Street Pastors to Bermuda is in the works. Mr Corbishley said Street Pastors had been successful elsewhere and that there had already been an “overwhelming response” from island churches. He told The Royal Gazette: “From my perspective, we’ve got to get out of the cycle of just dealing with the consequences and start to look at some of the root causes. I’ve instigated three Street Pastors schemes. It allows us to mobilize church support in dealing with some quite significant community issues.” Teams are made up of trained volunteers from churches. The programme first ran in London 15 years ago with a team of 18 and has evolved into a network of around 15,000 volunteers across Britain and beyond. Pastors usually carry out their work on weekend nights, but they now also operate during the day in community settings such as parks, schools and colleges. The organization's website said a street pastor is someone who is “willing to engage with people, whatever their perspective on life and wherever they hang out”. Mr Corbishley said: “It’s not a group of people that evangelize on the street, it’s people who offer real pastoral care to those that are vulnerable. It may be direct care or pointing them to other agencies that can assist. They’re a really effective tool to work alongside not just the police but a variety of partners that exist in Bermuda.” He said the scheme’s structure and approach meant volunteers often had greater opportunities to meet people who might be reluctant to talk to police. Mr Corbishley said one street pastor in the UK had a conversation with a “significant gang member”, who “broke down in tears and surrendered a weapon and the drugs he possessed”. He added it was the breakthrough needed to steer the individual away from some of his associates, treat dependency problems and find help to get his life back on track. The commissioner, who joined the Bermuda service from Kent Police, admitted not every night would have a similar result. However, he added: “I think there’s a community duty to support them, not just penalize them.” He said Bermuda’s gang violence reduction co-ordinator Leroy Bean and police chaplain Kevin Santucci had backed the introduction of the programme, which would be among only a handful of international Street Pastor schemes. Mr Corbishley said: “We’ve already been overwhelmed by the number of churches that want to get involved. It i hoped training could begin “in the near future” and funding will be earmarked to get the scheme off the ground. It is my ambition that we achieve a Street Pastors structure towards the end of this year. I’m keen to get them recognized and supported by local communities and get them to work in areas where we think there are some challenges, where communities lack confidence or there are issues with young people congregating on street corners. It is not simply to support those that perhaps are troubled or vulnerable or even involved in criminal activity. They are not a replacement for the police, this is a programme that works in partnership. There are very clear protocols for the safety of those involved and quite clear guidance, but additionally they can be utilized in other environments, like community events.” Mr Corbishley took charge last month, a week after a gunman opened fire at a group on Court Street in an attack that claimed the life of Taylor Grier, 30, and wounded a 55-year-old man. Danshun Swann, 25, died after he was stabbed during a fight involving more than 20 men outside Southampton Rangers Sports Club just weeks later. Chaplain Santucci described Street Pastors as a “wonderful initiative” and hoped its introduction will help encourage a culture of respect among all island residents. He said one of its benefits is that volunteers come from different denominations and continued: “That in itself shows us that there is diversity, but at the same time there is unity because we all have the same thought and view working towards strengthening our community.” The chaplain added: “We are at a crossroads of something great within Bermuda, working with all that we have. I think it’s time that we challenge ourselves and be willing to say, what we have done has carried us so far, but we need extra to help us over the mountain.” He also supported a farm initiative planned by the Government, as reported in the Gazette on Wednesday, to provide opportunities and support for “at-risk” young people. They would work the land and sell produce at market but also have access to mental health professionals and help to find employment. A Street Pastors representative said the teams have “a significant positive impact in any area where they operate”. She added: “We are equipped and able to get alongside local churches in extending the network of initiatives for the benefit of all and this can only happen with the close working relationships of the churches together, police and government agencies.”
Tropical Storm Florence is predicted to regain hurricane strength today but Bermuda should be spared severe winds. Florence is labelled a potential threat to the island because its centre is expected to pass within 460 miles in the next 72 hours. The Bermuda Weather Service said the island is likely to remain outside Florence’s radius of tropical storm force winds but warned of potentially very rough southeasterly swells which could create hazardous rip currents, especially on the South Shore. At 6am today, Florence was 770 miles southeast of the island, moving west at 6mph. Its closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours was forecast to be 360 miles to the south-southwest on Tuesday at 6pm. It had maximum winds of 70mph with gusts of 85mph. A BWS spokesman said: “Tropical Storm Florence is expected to re-intensify to a Category 1 hurricane today, then to a Category 4 storm before passing to our south on Tuesday. Bermuda should remain outside the radius of tropical storm force winds and the only significant impact is expected to be rough to very rough southeasterly swells which could create hazardous rip currents, especially along the South Shore.” The storm is forecast to continue towards the United States, and approach the southeastern coast by Thursday. Ken Smith, a meteorologist at the BWS, said that thunderstorms of the past few days were “not at all associated with Florence”. In keeping with September’s status as the height of hurricane season, Florence was one of four systems dotted around the Atlantic — including a trough of showers and thunderstorms southwest of Bermuda, Tropical Storm Helene near Cape Verde, and Tropical Storm Isaac which appears on a track towards the Caribbean. Neither Helene nor Isaac are deemed a threat to Bermuda at this time. Mr Smith said that a hurricane’s strongest winds lie in the storm’s “right forward quadrant” from its direction of movement. Florence, moving east to west, packs the strongest winds in its northwestern quadrant as a result. The Emergency Measures Organisation has said it is prepared to meet tomorrow. However, the first day of school was expected to go as scheduled. The National Hurricane Centre in the US said this morning: “Florence is expected to become a hurricane today and rapid intensification is likely to begin by tonight. Florence is forecast to become a major hurricane on Monday. On the forecast track, the centre of Florence will move over the southwestern Atlantic between Bermuda and the Bahamas on Tuesday and Wednesday, and approach the southeastern US coast on Thursday.”
Victoria Pearman, the Ombudsman for Bermuda, voiced “significant concerns” on the communication of school bus services to the public last night. Her remarks came as the Department of Public Transportation announced that the autumn bus schedule would be posted on Sunday, the day before schools open. Ms Pearman said she was aware of bus availability issues, and the interim arrangements in which school services had been given priority. She said it was “important that full and accurate information be provided” by the DPT, and given the widest possible distribution, including to parent-teacher associations. Ms Pearman called for details to be included such as the time span of the interim arrangements, and a contact for questions to be directed. She advised the public to check media outlets for further information. According to a DPT spokeswoman, the schedule was being completed, with the final version posted on the Government website on Sunday. The schedule would combine with the public bus timetable to ensure that “all schools are serviced”, with CedarBridge Academy and the Berkeley Institute to have “dedicated buses at the end of each school day”. Jonelle Christopher, the assistant director of operations at DPT, would work with schools and the Ministry of Education “to ensure that open lines of communication are established”. She added: “The ministry will continue to provide daily updates on the status of buses via the Government portal and the media. The DPT is making steady progress with repairs to the existing bus fleet, and is working with the Ministry of Transport and Regulatory Affairs to secure needed investments to sustain the fleet into the coming years.”
Opinion. By Scott Simmons MP, a government backbencher and MP for Southampton West (Constituency 32). "Everyone knows the history of the United Bermuda Party and its ideological and political descendant, the One Bermuda Alliance. It is a history of using economic terrorism via blackballing, pulling mortgages and altering legislation to punish those who stood against the oligarchy and fought for freedom, justice and equality for black Bermudians. The irony is that after performing these despicable acts, the UBP/OBA would mock the very victims of their economic terrorism as being unable to hold a job or run a business. In the context of this historical pattern of behaviour, one can truly understand why the OBA deliberately and wilfully ignored the advice of technical officers within the Ministry of Health in an effort economically to destroy yet another person who stood against the oligarchy and fought for freedom, justice and equality for black Bermudians — former Progressive Labour Party leader and premier Ewart Brown. An injustice was done by the OBA’s decision to go against the advice of paid professionals within the Civil Service. It was a disservice not only to Dr Brown, but to the taxpayers of Bermuda. This deplorable act also exposed the Government, and by extension the taxpayer, to legal action that would have depleted any savings made by making this reckless, irresponsible and politically motivated decision. The decision to make right what the OBA made wrong was not an easy one for the PLP. We knew that the OBA and its surrogates would paint this as a “friends and family” deal and would attack our character and our integrity, as they have done so many times over the years. Whether it was our former leader or not, what the OBA did was wrong. These economic injustices have happened to many in our community over the decades of UBP/OBA rule, and sometimes tough decisions will be required to right these wrongs. Not everyone will like it or appreciate it, but as the Government we must correct wrongs that have unfairly penalised many. One year ago, Bermudians overwhelmingly rejected the OBA’s anti-Bermudian, economic terrorism model. And just a few months ago, given the opportunity to maintain the status quo, the people chose again to reject the OBA at the polls in Warwick North East. Make no mistake, this was a tough decision that many, including Dr Brown, did not feel went far enough. Yet, as a government committed to correcting injustice, we could not and would not let this OBA decision stand. There may be even more tough decisions as we intend to take on the forces that continue to escalate our cost of living and as we continue to transform Bermuda into a place that truly works for Bermudians."
The Minister of National Security apologized last night after he posted a video where he asked a young woman server in a London restaurant for “titty milk”. Wayne Caines, in London on government business, told The Royal Gazette he was “deeply disappointed” in himself. Mr Caines said: “This has been a learning exercise for me. The Premier has asked me to speak with him tomorrow and he and I will have a difficult discussion, but make no mistake that I am 100 per cent apologetic for my comments and this will never happen again.” Mr Caines added he regretted that the controversy had threatened to overshadow the work at his London meetings and the Caines family’s Back to School Extravaganza held yesterday. The recording, posted on Mr Caines’s Instagram account on Wednesday, was shot at a branch of Cereal Killer Café, a cereal bar business with two shops in London. Mr Caines asked a female staff member what milk is available and said he was lactose intolerant. He asked: “Any titty milk?” The employee did not respond and Mr Caines said he would have Cap’n Crunch. The video expired from Mr Caines’s Instagram Story yesterday afternoon, but it had already been shared on other social media and sparked a flurry of comments and memes. Mr Caines apologized on Facebook yesterday afternoon for what he described as an “inappropriate joke”. He said: “To be clear, I did not make the comment to the clerks, it was said jokingly into my phone. They did not hear the comment. Having said that, I apologise without reservation to everyone in Bermuda. I am an elected official who must always conduct himself appropriately. On this occasion I fell way below the mark. What was meant to be a funny is now anything but.” He added: “I know better. This is an unnecessary own goal. I will stand and take my licks. On this occasion I deserve each lash.” Both London branches of the Cereal Killer Café, one in Camden Market and the other on Brick Lane in the East End, were contacted yesterday, but neither responded to a request for comment. The video was a major source of debate on social media. Posters called the video “vile” and “unacceptable” in one Facebook thread. Other posters claimed that Mr Caines had said “tin milk” or “tinned milk” and dismissed the video as a “political attack”. Cheryl Packwood, the former director of the Bermuda Government’s Washington office and managing partner of a communications agency, wrote that she had verified that the post was on Mr Caines’s Instagram account. She added: “It is there and it is unacceptable.” Marc Daniels, a former Progressive Labour Party senator, said on a Facebook post of the video: “People have to be honest and stop making excuses. The words are clear as was the intent ... just be honest. As stated above, man is man, All are fallible and all fall short and there is no point putting any man or woman on a pedestal because they carry a title. It is their actions which prove whether the title holds weight.” Bryant Trew, a political commentator, said: “If one of my sons did this, there would be severe repercussions. What makes a grown man think that this is appropriate conduct? Plus, this embarrasses Bermuda big time. How do you travel the globe trying to promote Bermuda when this kind of harassment, chauvinism and immaturity are being practiced?” Kristin White, a writer and blogger, added: “In the past I’ve done a backflip triple salchow trying my best to maneuver away from ‘bashing men’, acknowledging that we are all dealing with generational trauma, and how, in men, that often presents as an inability to communicate and connect with women in a real and genuine way. But not this time. The act of harassment towards this woman, who was just trying to serve this man some f***ing cereal, has to be called out.” Susan Jackson, the Shadow Minister of Health and Seniors, said she hoped the Premier, would “publicly reprimand” Mr Caines. She added she was pleased when Mr Caines apologized for his “appalling” comment. Ms Jackson said: “There is no place for offensive comments like this, which can’t help but have a demeaning impact on young women, and young mothers in particular. The minister is out promoting Bermuda as a place of integrity to attract upstanding professionals. He’s promoting Bermuda to businesses that are working hard to increase diversity and equality within their workplaces. His comment shows remarkable disrespect and I am sure companies, including the fintech sector, will take note.” Toni Daniels, a former One Bermuda Alliance senator, said the #MeToo movement had improved awareness about sexual harassment, but more progress was needed. She added: “It’s extremely unfortunate that we have a leader of the country who has perpetuated this and seems to not understand that it was not only inappropriate, but felt that it should be passed along on social media and promulgated.” Ms Daniels said: “There was a time when this kind of conduct was tolerated and I think there has been a growing awareness of what is acceptable and the Minister should really know better. Some people are saying this is just politics, but it really isn’t. The evidence is there. What he says is obvious. We cannot misinterpret that.” The video also spawned several internet memes. One featured a photograph of Mr Caines and the words: “I don’t always drink milk ... but when I do breast is best.” Mr Caines was in Britain this week for a forum on the blockchain industry and a meeting with the UK National Crime Agency.
A social worker who blew the whistle on allegations that government child protection staff abused and neglected youngsters said yesterday the case highlighted the need for vulnerable youngsters to have independent representation. An investigation into the abuse claims was launched by the Ministry of Social Development and Sport after Tiffanne Thomas raised concerns about four Department of Child and Family Services staff members accused of mistreating children, as first reported by the Politica news website. It is claimed the staff members were allowed to continue working by department director Alfred Maybury, despite the allegations. An inquiry is under way into Mr Maybury’s handling of the complaints and he has been suspended. Ms Thomas, an independent social worker who acts as a litigation guardian for children involved in court proceedings, told The Royal Gazette: “A case like this completely underscores the significance of a litigation guardian. They give a voice to children who would normally be silenced.” She discovered reports of the alleged mistreatment when she reviewed the files of a boy she represents, referred to as “BC” to protect his identity, who is in the care of the department. The reports revealed that department social workers had made two separate child protection referrals concerning allegations of physical abuse of BC by a male staff member. Ms Thomas later discovered that other children had complained about neglect by staff at the department’s residential treatment centre. Staff were accused of being drunk on duty, leaving children unattended at a youth group and transporting children while intoxicated. Ms Thomas, on behalf of BC, instructed lawyer Saul Dismont to apply for a restraining order against the male staff member. Mr Maybury challenged the application on the grounds that it was based on an accusation not yet determined to be true. However Magistrate Tyrone Chin issued the restraining order against the male staff member and three other department employees on July 19 to prevent them having any contact with BC. Ms Thomas later asked Mr Dismont, of law firm Marshall Diel & Myers, to write to Michael Weeks, the Minister of Social Development, about the allegations and the way they were handled by Mr Maybury. She said: “I had an ethical responsibility to ensure this was raised and hopefully addressed. Outside of that, because there are active investigations pending, I have a professional duty to allow that process to be carried out by the people who have the responsibility for exploring these types of allegations.” She said the allegations only came to light because BC had a litigation guardian, an independent representative for children involved in court proceedings, which minors are entitled to have but often do not get because of a lack of funding. The Human Rights Commission and several charities launched a legal action against the Government and the Family Court last year. The groups accused the authorities of a failure to ensure children were adequately represented in court. They wanted a declaration that the courts and the Government were required to provide representation for children in the majority of cases, but the judge found that the requirement may not be complied with in “many cases ... for want of public funding”. The plaintiffs plan to appeal. The letter to the Minister, seen by The Royal Gazette, detailed the “physical assault, bullying and harassment” that BC is alleged to have suffered and the complaints made by the other children. Mr Dismont wrote: “It is extraordinary that none of the staff were suspended.” He said yesterday the problems raised by Ms Thomas were “alarming” and that it was lucky that BC “had the rare benefit of having been appointed a litigation guardian”. Mr Dismont added: “It is sincerely hoped that the issues raised reaffirms the importance of children having the protection of the appointment of litigation guardians and lawyers.” A Ministry spokeswoman confirmed that Mr Weeks received Mr Dismont’s letter and an investigation had been launched into the allegations of abuse. She said: “The Ministry ... takes any accusation of abuse towards a child in their care extremely seriously. A thorough investigation into this particular matter has commenced. If any claims are substantiated following the investigation, immediate steps will be taken to remedy the situation. The safety and wellbeing of children in Bermuda is the paramount concern of the Ministry.” Mr Maybury said: “I’m letting the process go its way. I wish not to discuss it.” Shadow social development minister Ben Smith said: “This investigation must be as thorough as possible and should take place quickly. Its results should be made public as the public needs to be reassured that if there are issues within this department they have been identified and will be fixed.”
Heavy showers caused localized flooding in the city today and the bad weather is expected to continue into the weekend. A film is being circulated via social media showing slow moving cars traveling along Front Street with their wheels submerged in rain water. Since thunderstorms began last night, 1½ inches of rain has fallen at LF Wade International Airport but it is likely double that in other areas according to a Bermuda Weather Service spokesman. He said thunderstorms and heavy rain are typical for this time of year and are unrelated to Hurricane Florence. The spokesman said: “You get slow moving showers and thunderstorms that produce a lot of tropical rainfall at this time of year. It is not unusual to see inches of rain falling in a short amount of time and that is enough to cause localized flooding as it always does. Don’t be surprised to see more hefty thundery rain and localized flooding.” The spokesman said it would be wise to take extra care traveling on the roads considering wet weather draws out slick oil from the road surfaces. He also pointed out a positive side to the poor weather conditions. “We have been lacking in rainfall for some time and people have been complaining. Up until this morning we were averaging close to four and a half inches below average — we are still probably below average now so some might look at this as welcome tank rain.”
British Airways (BA) has launched an investigation after the financial and personal details of customers were hacked from its website and mobile app. The airline that flies to Bermuda daily said the theft of customer data was being investigated “as a matter of urgency”. It added on its website that the stolen data did not include travel or passport details. The airline said that the breach involved customer bookings made between August 21 and September 5. It added that the matter “has been resolved and our website is working normally”. British Airways said that police and other authorities have been notified. The airline apologized for the “disruption that this criminal activity has caused”. It added: “We take the protection of our customer’s data very seriously.” British Airways urged anyone who may have been affected by the hack to contact their bank or credit card provider. The airline added that it would make direct contact with affected customers. In the UK authorities are considering whether to inflict a fine of millions of pounds on BA.
A Bermuda-born company that uses high-tech drones to produce useful data for the agricultural and construction industries has launched a new product to help with crop insurance claims. Skymatics, a Canadian-based sister company of Bermuda Aerial Media, was founded by Bermudian entrepreneurs EJ Burrows and Connor Burns. This year it was nominated for Product of the Year by Tecterra, a Canadian non-profit organisation that assists small Alberta companies with the use of geomatics technology. The product in question was SkyClaim, software designed to help farmers and insurance companies to better assess crop insurance claims — and to help speed up the process through the use of drone data. Skymatics has grown strongly from its Bermuda roots and now has clients in 46 countries. It offers drone data services for use in activities including agriculture, construction, emergency response and surveying. Mr Burrows said of SkyClaim: “Commercial farming is a bigger business than most people think. It’s not uncommon for farmers to grow seven figures worth of crop in a single year. But just like any other business they want to have insurance policies to protect their ‘inventory’ that sits in fields and not on warehouse shelves. So farmers have insurance policies protecting against a wide variety of things like hail storms, flooding, wildlife damage and more.” The initial inspiration for SkyClaim came as a result of an international entrepreneurship competition that the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation had urged the company to enter. “We represented Bermuda and participated in the 2014 Future Agro Challenge, a competition for start-ups from all over the globe to pitch new technology for the agricultural industry,” Mr Burrows said. At that event we pitched the idea of using drones for assessing crop damage for farmers and to our surprise we won.” Mr Burrows mentioned that business is booming and they are continuing to develop. “Our goal is to have SkyClaim be the global go-to solution for crop insurance companies to help them automate the claims process. With all the data partners we have, we’re also exploring the waters of large scale risk analysis and forecasting for government entities and reinsurance companies.” In agricultural applications, Skymatics’ drones enable farmers to manage fields from the sky by identifying problems early on, tracking changes over time and measuring field performance variability. In surveying, the drone data can create highly accurate and precise maps with high resolution imagery. Mr Burrows and Mr Burns’ original start-up, Bermuda Aerial Media, is an aerial photography, video and photogrammetry company that uses GPS-controlled multi-rotor drones. The firm shot the aerial footage of the island that appeared in the America’s Cup promotional film.
On the back of strong International Baccalaureate (IB) and Business & Technology Education Council (BTEC) results released in July, where the school achieved an outstanding 94% pass rate for the IB Diploma Programme and 100% pass rates for the IB Individual Subjects and BTEC programmes, Warwick Academy continued to celebrate student success with their recent IGCSE results. The school’s 5A* - C/4+ percentage at IGCSE was 93.4% and is the highest the school has ever achieved. Anna Francoeur is the first student in the school’s history to achieve an outstanding 10 A* along with 1A across distinct subjects. Mr. Dave Horan, the school Principal, said: ‘We know how much work goes into the preparation for these examinations and are proud of all our students and what they have achieved. I would also like to recognize the hard work and skill of our faculty and their collective efforts to support the students in reaching their potential. We are very fortunate at Warwick Academy to have staff who go above and beyond on a daily basis.’ Head of Curriculum Mr. Mark Thorpe added: ‘For the third year in a row IGCSE results are substantially above the benchmark for students gaining 5A*- C, including Mathematics and English, with the majority of our students sitting anywhere from 7 to 10 distinct IGCSE subjects. Whilst we have some fantastic individual results, we are particularly pleased with the consistent progress all of our students have made, irrespective of their ability and starting point. Our flexible approach to our curriculum gives our students a strong foundation for moving on to their preferred pathway in our vibrant and successful Sixth Form.’ Other top results are as follows:
Mr. Horan added: ‘We are also very pleased with the University destinations and degree courses our graduates are placed in. This is one of our most import benchmarks and again shows that the flexibility of the Sixth Form programme delivers results.’ In the Sixth Form Warwick Academy allows students the opportunity to create their unique flight path using one of three pathways available to them. Warwick Academy Sixth Form graduates accepted offers this summer from the following Universities:
Their choices include a diverse range of degree programmes: Philosophy, Politics & Economics; Commerce; English; Modern Language & Business; Journalism; Business; Sociology; Football Development & Coaching; Psychology; Accounting & Finance; Product Design; Interior Architecture & Design; Banking Finance; Engineering; Medical Sciences; Law; Forensic Science; English Literature; Neuroscience; Rehabilitation Science; Physics; Networking & Information Security; and Hellenic International Studies.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, met yesterday with representatives of the National Crime Agency during his visit to Britain to promote Bermuda’s fintech business development. Mr Caines discussed investigation procedures for child sexual offences, and observed the child exploitation and online protection division’s threat leadership and insight teams, the partnership delivery team, education team, child protection advisory team, and others tasked with investigating child sexual abuse and exploitation. The minister also met with Simon Mason, the senior officer who leads work in the British Overseas Territories on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Mr Caines said there had been an increase in the reporting and prosecution of such offences in Bermuda. Talks included “how we could strengthen our ties concerning investigation protocols, cross-border policing, and taking a closer look at their current procedures. We were able to see how the National Crime Agency worked and discussed the potential of members of the Bermuda Police Service who specialise in this area of travelling to the UK to train. We’re pleased with how this relationship is progressing, and we’re continuing our focus on making sure our systems are current and having the most active elements of investigation in place for offences against children.” Mr Caines is scheduled to return to Bermuda tomorrow, a ministry spokeswoman said.
Police body cameras are to arm prosecutors with new tools to tackle domestic violence and protect victims, commissioner Stephen Corbishley has revealed. The move was welcomed by the Centre Against Abuse, which is fielding greater numbers of reports this year, according to Laurie Shiell, the executive director. Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the office was “keen to expand the use of CCTV or bodycam footage in a variety of cases — including where witnesses are reluctant to make a statement or give evidence”. Mr Corbishley told The Royal Gazette that body cameras introduced in 2015 have now been issued to all frontline officers. Officers wear the cameras over their body armor and it uploads to a server. He said police were “seeking increased resources to deal with vulnerable people, whether victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or other forms of exploitation. Officers will quite often come into contact with a victim who has injuries, who is clearly distressed, and the camera is able to capture that. On occasion, the victim will want to withdraw their statement for a variety of reasons, not least that they may have gotten back together with the offender. What video evidence allows us is to consider the safety of the victim, and in some cases consider progressing the prosecution solely on the basis of the video evidence that we have secured.” Ms Shiell, who said she had never seen the devices used to prosecute domestic violence offences, said the video would provide “a great help”. Ms Shiell said there had been “a lot of sexual assault cases this year — and it’s been drug and alcohol-related, even with children. Every case we see, we know there are way more out there. Victims would be spared having to give extra statements after recording their exchange with officers at the scene. More victims will be more likely to move forward with prosecutions if you have that video where they don’t have to be in court.” According to Mr Mussenden, the DPP has used video footage from CCTV “for several years now, including in cases where there were reluctant witnesses. We take domestic violence cases seriously, as does the commissioner. We are keen to support his views about the use of video footage in cases where witnesses are reluctant to participate in the process. Further, we wish to see a decline in such cases as people in relationship difficulties should seek assistance from families, friends or professional counselors.” Mr Corbishley said he had arranged to speak with Ms Shiell, and would discuss the matter further with the DPP. The commissioner added: “In my experience in the UK, we often find with domestic abuse victims that their immediate response to police is powerful evidence to demonstrate not solely the physical abuse suffered, but to identify psychological and other trauma.”
C.V. “Jim” Woolridge was given tribute yesterday in a packed funeral service at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, where dignitaries from across the political spectrum gathered to pay their respects. Mr Woolridge, the former tourism minister and cricket commentator who served as MP for Smith’s South for more than 30 years, died on August 28 at age 92. Flags at government buildings were lowered to half-mast for his funeral. Jonathan Marion, Mr Woolridge’s grandson, told the congregation: “My grandpa genuinely believed all Bermudians to be part of his family. If he didn’t know everyone, he seemed expected to — for they certainly knew him.” Hundreds attended, rising to their feet as Mr Woolridge’s coffin, draped in a Bermuda flag, was brought in by soldiers of the Royal Bermuda Regiment. Guests included John Rankin, the Governor, Acting Premier Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Opposition leader Jeanne Atherden, former premier Sir John Swan, Chief Justice Narinder Hargun, Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley, and Charles Gosling and Quinell Francis, the mayors of Hamilton and St George. Delivering the obituary, Mr Marion said: “He always reminded me that there are so many reasons to be proud to be Bermudian. Papa loved our island and our way of life. A devoted and dedicated family man, he was determined to give his family the opportunities that he never had.” The congregation broke into applause as Mr Marion closed: “Papa, we do have a better life — and Bermuda is a better place.” Sean Tucker, who has inherited Mr Woolridge’s nickname of the “Voice of Summer”, said his old friend “had this country mesmerized for close to 50 years as Bermuda’s pre-eminent cricket commentator”. Mr Woolridge’s turns of phrase “became part of the tapestry of Bermuda’s culture”, Mr Tucker added. “Jim Woolridge loved cricket. He felt it was the greatest character builder there was, and if you followed the tenets of the game you were ready for life. He wanted everyone to love the game as much as he did, and that’s why he broadcast it.” Charles Webbe, who served as public relations manager for the Department of Tourism, worked closely with Mr Woolridge, recalling “a huge man with huge hands whose stature and personality were made the more striking by his command of the English language”. Mr Woolridge was “not just the Voice Of Summer but of every season when it came to his beloved Bermuda”, he added. Mr Webbe described the former minister’s “unabashed and unashamed commitment to quality tourism” — but the speaker also shared light-hearted accounts of his famous wit. He remembered staying with Mr Woolridge in an expensive hotel in the American South, in a place where “the Confederate flag flew”, as the two travelled on a tourism junket. Staff were unaccustomed to black guests, and a star-struck butler who brought Mr Woolridge his freshly shined shoes told him they had “never had a brother stay in the presidential suite before”. Mr Webbe closed: “With that warm and engaging smile, Jim put his huge hand on the man’s shoulder, took possession of his shoes, and told him: ‘My brother, they don’t come any bigger’.”
The apparent illegal capture of at least seven black grouper fish is under investigation by the Government’s fisheries department. A short video clip on social media shows a boat with the protected species, also known as rockfish, lying motionless on the deck. Conservationists noted the legal limit is one grouper per boat per day, and expressed concerns of the impact of over-fishing. Conservationist Choy Aming has said it is likely the grouper were caught on their spawning grounds, where it is illegal to fish. A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it was aware of the film circulating, adding its Marine Enforcement Section has “an active investigation in progress”. The spokeswoman added the law is designed “to limit the harvest for the protection of the species”. An illegal catch could result in a fine of up to $50,000 and up to two years in prison as well as the possible seizure of boats and equipment. The film showed at least two men, one with a tattoo on his upper arm, aboard a boat with the fish pictured on the deck. A separate photo was taken of seven groupers lined up on the deck. A photograph of a boat being boarded by police in the St David’s area is also circulating but police have not confirmed that it is the boat in question. Mr Aming, a team member for the conservation group Ocean Vet, said that over-fishing grouper could cause a collapse in the black grouper population in Bermuda, similar to the loss of the Nassau grouper which is no longer seen in our waters. He told The Royal Gazette: “Considering they had caught rockfish of that size in a single night, it is pretty much guaranteed that they went out to one of the two grouper spawning grounds which is illegal. And then, you have your one per boat, per day rule as well. The grounds are completely protected because that is where they go to spawn and they only spawn after the full moon in the warmer months on a few specific days. The full moon was on Sunday and this video appeared on Monday, it seems like a premeditated, targeted incident. It has got to be protected because that is literally the only time they will reproduce. It is key to protect those sites — if you just let people fish there willy-nilly it would be a very easy way to wipe out groupers or drastically diminish the grouper population. It is also unfair to all the hard-working, honest fishermen who are trying to follow the laws and not pillage the ocean. This is a real slap in the face for them and their livelihood as well.” Ocean Vet has touted the idea of setting up a policing patrol assisted by the public to help authorities ensure that fishing laws are adhered to. “Patrolling the reef line is challenging,” Mr Aming said. “But there are only really a dozen places where most boats come in and out of. You could potentially have something set up in those areas. It’s also a timing thing — a lot of fishing takes place around the full moon so maybe we could do something in that regard. I filmed what looked like a wall of grouper about ten years ago and I was asked not to post it publicly because it would give the impression that the grouper are really plentiful. But we have two spawning sites that we know of so that video shot could have represented a large per cent of our entire population.” The Bermuda Police Service did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
In June 2018, the Bermuda Health Council conducted a survey to capture the public’s opinion about healthcare issues and the Health Council’s role in tackling these issues. Over 550 people responded, representing varied education levels, professional backgrounds, races and genders, but with one resounding unified message - Healthcare in Bermuda is too expensive and it needs to be at the top of the Council’s list to do something about it. Over 75% of respondents felt the role of the Health Council is to protect the public by making healthcare affordable, particularly with health insurance premiums, cost of care and the price of medications; and to monitor and report on Bermuda’s healthcare state of affairs. Respondents felt that the Health Council is a source for useful information and evidence based policy, with “valuable insight” (53%). However, it was noted that the information could be communicated more effectively with improvements in the frequency and availability of information to the public and healthcare providers (both were prioritized by over 68% of respondents). Respondents also felt that there are opportunities for stronger regulation of healthcare. Overall, the Council needs to do more in these areas to make it clear what their role is and how they act on behalf of Bermuda. As one concerned respondent stated, “I have heard of the Health Council, but that’s it.” The Council is committed to ensuring transparency and reliability of messages and that appropriate actions are taken towards improving the affordability of healthcare. In support of the feedback, the Council recently held a strategic planning session which saw the team prioritizing its work on health legislation to ensure care can be delivered in more cost effective community settings, and expediting regulations to control the price of prescription medicines. Tara Hines, Healthcare Data Analyst stated: “The results we received from the 2018 Bermuda Health Council Feedback Survey confirm much of what we are seeing on a daily basis in our research, with regard to healthcare costs. In order to make sure more people know about the work that we are doing and that they can access information they may need, we have created a Data Request Form on our website (www.bhec.bm) and we provide regular updates online about what our team is working on in our Behind the Scenes Activity Log. We are also using data, in collaboration with the broader healthcare community, to find ways to provide more public value for the dollars being spent.”
BEST Shipping Ltd. and Joe Vieira Trucking Ltd. announced again, having first done so on July 24, this time in more detail, the “acquisition of Bermuda Forwarders, an established member of the shipping and haulage business in Bermuda for over 60 years” saying that “now, with over 100 years of combined experience, the team at BEST Shipping promises its customers enhanced products and services.” Mr. Joe Vieira, President of BEST and JVT, said: “At BEST Shipping, we pride ourselves on our product and efficiency of service. Now that we have acquired a Company with respect and credibility throughout the island, we can continue to grow BEST using all the resources available. The acquisition allows us to better use the global network that has been developed to better serve our customers. Our immediate goal is to consolidate physical operations in Bermuda, creating a centralized distribution hub for faster deliveries and collections. Our ultimate goal will be to take the best practices from each organization and transform these to provide a broader and better set of services to our clients. This will add an expanded global penetration and specialization to BEST’s existing products and services, improving the variety of services available across the US, Canada, the UK, Continental Europe, the Far East and Asia”. Mr. Vieira ends by saying, “I will be taking over the management of the two organizations, but Nick Kempe will be staying on in an advisory capacity through the end of the year to assist with the transitioning and integration of the combined operations”. Mr. Toby Kempe, Past Owner and President of Bermuda Forwarders stated, “On behalf of the Kempe family, we wish to extend our sincere congratulations to BEST Shipping Ltd. on the purchase of the Bermuda Forwarders’ freight business. After over 60 years in business, we are comfortable that Joe Vieira and his team will continue the family spirit, dedication to quality and full-service offering that we strived to achieve during our time running the business. This, and all other pertinent information, will be made available to our clients, and members of the public, over the next few weeks. Despite the buyout, you will be dealing with the same Bermuda Team and the same overseas network of agents and business partners.”
Chaka Khan, the “Queen of Funk”, and Grammy-winning jazz vocal group The Manhattan Transfer will star at the 2019 Bermuda Festival. Festival executive director T.J. Armand said. Chaka Khan, whose well-known hits include I’m Every Woman, was the perfect performer to highlight the festival’s theme of Empowerment of Women. During a career which began in the 1970s, her other songs include Ain’t Nobody, I Feel For You and Through the Fire. Mr Armand said: “Chaka Khan is one of the world’s most gifted and celebrated musicians with a rich musical legacy. The ten-times Grammy Award winner is a songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur and activist. She has the rare ability to sing in seven music genres, including R&B, pop, rock, gospel, country, world music and classical.” Chaka Khan previously appeared at the Jazzscape concert in Dockyard in 1997.The Manhattan Transfer also boast a long history of critical and commercial success in their more than 40 years in the music industry, including 12 Grammy Awards. Their top hits include Chanson D’amour, Walk in Love and Spice of Life. Mr Armand said: “As one of the most important and innovative vocal groups in the history of popular music, The Manhattan Transfer accrued worldwide sales in the millions, Grammy Awards by the dozen, and are veterans of sold-out world tours.” He added that other local and international acts will also take the stage for the festival, which will run from January 19 to March 9. Performance dates and venues will be announced next month.
Saltus today announced the results of this year’s Advanced Placement (AP) and (I)GCSE examination results. AP is an internationally recognized program offering college-level curricula and examinations to high school students, enabling them to potentially secure placement and course credit at universities around the world. The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a set of exams that form part of university preparation in the UK and is taken in Years 10 and 11. Saltus supports the learning opportunities AP and the GCSE provide as part of the school’s enriched academic programme. This year’s AP results were outstanding. Seventy-seven senior students took a total of 173 of the high-level subject-based examinations, with 78% of the students scoring a 3 or higher (5 is the highest score). A score of 3 is typically standard acceptance level as a subject credit in North American universities. Globally, 2.8 million students took over 5 million AP examinations. Saltus students ranked 16% higher than the global average for scores 3-5. The average percentage of global students with a score of 3 or higher was 62%. Saltus top AP performers were: Kaya Vogler who achieved six 5’s and 3 4’s; Logan Krueger had five 5s, and Rhys Kittleson was awarded five 5’s, two 4s and a 3. Kaya summed up the experience from a student’s perspective: “What made my experience with APs great was that I always felt challenged but also interested. I enjoyed the courses, even when they were hard and maybe even more so because they were difficult. The most important part for me was teachers that always gave the extra 20% above and beyond what was expected. They were integral to my enjoyment of SGY.” This year the Saltus (I)GSCE pass rate was 100%. Saltus top (I)GCSE performers were: Ryan Topple with eight A*s and 2 A’s; Kieran Malott with seven A*s and 3 As; and Eleanor Dunleavy with six A*s and 4 As “Our outstanding students exemplify the results of a robust academic programme, the dedication of skilled teachers who support their journey, and a community that champions individual students’ aspirations,” says Head of School at Saltus, Deryn Lavell. “Our goal is to offer a programme that provides a pathway to higher achievement and opens the door to further opportunities as our students’ progress in their academic lives.” The US Collegeboard has awarded their highest designations to a number of Saltus Advanced Placement students:
A St George’s woman was charged yesterday alongside her brother with the 2006 murder of Marcus Gibbings. Katrina Burgess, 47, was accused in Magistrates’ Court of the premeditated murder of Mr Gibbings with Cleveland Rogers. Mr Gibbings, from Trinidad, was found stabbed to death at a Devonshire apartment on October 26, 2006. Mr Rogers, 51, was charged with the fatal stabbing of the 31-year-old this July. Neither Ms Burgess nor Mr Rogers has entered a plea, as the charges must be heard by the Supreme Court. Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo released Ms Burgess on $200,000 bail with a like surety on the condition that she surrender her travel documents, avoid contact with any witnesses, wear an electronic monitoring device and report to the police three times a week. Both she and Mr Rogers will appear before the Supreme Court on October 1.
The island’s gang violence reduction co-ordinator is in line to get his one-year contract extended, the national security minister said. Leroy Bean, a pastor, was appointed to the $92,000-a-year job last October. Wayne Caines said at the time that Mr Bean brought 20 years of experience working with gangs and confirmed the process had started to consider whether his contract will be renewed. Mr Caines added: “He is out all hours of the night, he is called to many different people’s homes, he has to manage a team here in the office but, more importantly, he is required to be at incidents that people never see. So, when there is gang tension or somebody needs to get some assistance or somebody is in a really bad predicament, they are calling him at all hours.” Mr Caines said an extension had to be discussed by Cabinet. He added: “When I have the opportunity, it will be my recommendation that his contract is extended.”
A farm scheme will be the next tool to steer young people away from a life of violence in Bermuda. Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said the initiative was a “phenomenal opportunity” that would provide therapy and support as well as entrepreneurial skills. He added that up to ten people could be involved in the project at a time, amid wide-ranging efforts to tackle antisocial behavior and gang culture. Mr Caines said the plan is to call the programme “Redemption Farm”. Those taking part will grow crops, care for chickens and sell cut-price eggs at the farmers’ market. Mr Caines told The Royal Gazette that the Government’s public works ministry donated three acres of Devonshire land, where young people will also have access to mental health professionals, a case manager and help to find employment. He explained: “In their day’s exercise, they will be able to work in the garden, they will be able to sow and six weeks later have a harvest. When they have a harvest, we’re looking at this being organic and for them to take the goods to market. We’re looking at doing a chicken farm, we’re looking at doing crops and hydroponics — three parts to it.” Mr Caines added: “This will be a therapeutic exercise that will not just be a farm. It allows them on a daily basis to be in an environment where it’s controlled, where they are getting mental health treatment, where they are being given coping skills, where they are being given opportunities to learn about how to live their life without being connected to violent activities. It’s a phenomenal opportunity not just for the people in the programme, but for the community leaders as well. Can you imagine us being at the farmers’ market? We want to call it ‘Redemption Farms’.” The minister said he hoped the scheme would start this month and it is thought the first ground could be cut in the coming days. Leroy Bean, the Government’s gang violence reduction co-ordinator, said recruits to the programme would be young people deemed to be “at risk”. He added: “When you’re actually tilling the soil ... it has a real calming effect and it does something within the individual. We wanted to teach them not only the farming aspect, the growing, but we wanted to teach them how to actually market the products that they’re actually selling. A garden initiative takes anywhere from 75 to 80 days ... we want to bridge that up. Chickens, once they mature, they can lay anywhere between two to three eggs a day. The idea was to sell the eggs at a reduced cost, lower than the average in Bermuda, which would also provide the wages for those that are part of the programme.” It is also planned to sell the chickens’ manure or use it as fertilizer. Members of the public will also get involved through a schools competition to design a logo for merchandise such as T-shirts, mugs and biodegradable bags. Mr Bean said land has already been offered in other parts of the island to develop the scheme. He added: “We’re looking to see something spark these young men’s lives.” Cryptocurrency exchange and coin company Arbitrade announced in July it planned to donate $45,000 to a chicken farm project in Bermuda. Mr Caines said the project would be funded by his ministry.
It was another dark day on a sunshine paradise, as Bermuda woke again to the news of a young life lost. The death of 25-year-old Danshun Swann moved the island’s national security minister to work harder for harmony — and he has now called on the public to “rise up” and help. Wayne Caines said that policing alone will not rid the country of a gang culture and asked the public to play its part. He spoke to The Royal Gazette in the days after Mr Swann was fatally stabbed outside Southampton Rangers Sports Club during a fight between more than 20 men. Joined by Leroy Bean, the Government’s gang violence reduction co-ordinator, Mr Caines said: “This community must rise up together and say that we’re going to solve this problem.” He continued: “We cannot see another man die, to be anaesthetized to the pain of that mother. Pastor Bean and I sat in the house with Danshun’s mother and it was an experience that, when I left that house, I was reminded why I’m here. I sat in this house with my heart heavy, listening to a mother talk about the death of her son, his sister crying in another room next to me, the stench of death permeating through that house. That’s what motivates Pastor Bean and I to continue to work for this community. When I was in that room, I knew that I had to do more, I knew that we had to focus harder because that’s what seeing death like that in this country does. We’re not divorced from it; we live in these communities and that’s what motivates us, knowing that we have a responsibility in our community, that we live among the people and that we are better together than we are separated.” Mr Caines added: “It’s very easy to be on a chat group on Facebook or on a blog and say what we need to do, but I defy anybody to say that talking about a solution will change it. We have to all now get in the trenches and try to solve this problem.” He said Mr Bean’s team was “in the midst of the storm” every day and can have more than 260 meetings a month with those affected. Mr Caines added these ranged from “a general check-in” to de-escalating tensions, mediation or the offer of coping mechanisms. The Progressive Labour Party minister explained: “When people want to leave Bermuda, when they want to get counselling, when they’re having a problem in their neighborhood, when there’s a dispute between gang nominals or gang operatives, very discreetly our team are handling a myriad of methods. Those are the things that the public do not see and do not understand. We cannot thump our chests and say, ‘this is what we did last night’, but the public has to rest assured that we are constantly moving to make this thing work better.” It has been estimated around 500 of Bermuda’s schoolchildren are at risk of being drawn into gang life. Schemes like the Gang Resistance Education And Training programme as well as police projects that link in to sports clubs aim to help young people avoid the gang lifestyle. Team StreetSafe workers also play a role in easing tensions and community groups like Mothers on a Mission offer forums to express grief and access to trained counselors. Mr Caines highlighted a “direct correlation” between lack of opportunity and antisocial behavior. He said the 100 Jobs programme, which ran earlier this year, secured 72 long-term posts for Bermudians. Mr Caines added a motor mechanics programme at Westgate Correctional Facility will equip offenders with useful trade skills, while some inmates are on yoga programmes. The Devonshire North West MP admitted budget constraints meant there were not “enough soldiers” and called for “more community buy-in”. Mr Caines said: “You do not have to be a gang interventionist. You can be somebody that mentors, you can be somebody that cuddles. You can be somebody that goes in our community and joins one of our peace-builders programmes. You can be a person that goes to your football club and, a young man at your team, his mom and dad are not coming, you can take them home with you for Saturday dinner.” He added that the island’s churches “need to become havens where young people can feel safe” and it was important to highlight programmes already under way in houses of worship. Mr Swann’s death came just a month after Taylor Grier, 30, was shot dead at the junction of Hamilton’s Court Street and Elliot Street on July 27. Candlelit vigils held in the wake of each of the recent tragedies shed light on the depth of emotion among the public. Mr Caines said: “All hope is not lost. We’ve lost two lives in Bermuda and our hearts bleed with the mothers and all of those families. What we are saying is that we have a plan. It is a long-term plan and we’re going to continue to work the plan.”
Four people charged in connection with a failed hotel development on Hamilton’s Par-la-Ville car park are scheduled to return to Supreme Court next month. Michael MacLean, who planned to build the hotel, appeared in Supreme Court yesterday along with his wife, Yasmin, former Hamilton mayor Graeme Outerbridge and Ed Benevides, the Corporation of Hamilton secretary. The four were scheduled to enter pleas to a range of charges, but Chief Justice Narinder Hargun adjourned the case until October 1 so that further applications could be heard. Mr Outerbridge, Hamilton mayor from 2012 to 2015, is 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 island account. Mr Benevides faces the same charge from his term as chief operating officer and secretary of the Corporation. Mr MacLean, Mr Outerbridge and Mr Benevides are also accused of dishonestly obtaining the money in the account, belonging to Mexico Infrastructure Finance. The MacLeans are further charged with stealing $13,749,858 belonging to MIF between October 31, 2014 and November 7, 2014. The MacLeans are also accused of using stolen money between the same dates in 2014, knowing that it “in whole or in part directly or indirectly” was the proceeds of criminal conduct. Mr Justice Hargun also adjourned the arraignment of Cleveland Rogers, 51, who is accused of the premeditated murder of Marcus Gibbings, who was found stabbed to death at a Devonshire apartment on October 26, 2006. Mr Rogers is also expected to appear on October 1 to enter a plea.
Member companies of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers employ nearly 16,000 people in Europe and operate in 20 EU member states. The information is highlighted in a release from Abir, based on its annual economic impact survey. The survey found that Abir re/insurers had 15,865 employees in the European region. The top five jurisdictions with the most employees were the UK, with 9,762; France, with 1,148; Ireland, with 1,123; Germany, with 814; and Poland, with 453. Additionally, in Switzerland Abir companies employ 1,011 people. “The European Union is a very important market for Bermuda re/insurers, and our members continue to take on increasing amounts of risk in EU member states,” John Huff, chief executive officer of Abir, said. “Our member companies remain strongly committed to the European market, European ceding companies, and European policyholders.” Bermuda’s regulation regime for commercial insurers was found “equivalent” by the EU to Solvency II in March 2016, one of just two non-EU jurisdictions to hold that distinction. Through equivalence, Bermuda’s commercial reinsurers and insurance groups have access to the EU market, and Bermuda’s financial regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority BMA, is recognized as group supervisor for its insurance groups that operate in the EU. BMA supervisors are internationally respected and regularly hold supervisory colleges with international peers, including those from EU member states and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (Eiopa). In 2017, the BMA attended seven colleges of EU groups, with EU member state supervisory participation on 17 of 20 supervisory colleges of Bermuda-based groups. More than 90 per cent of Bermuda-based insurance groups regulated by the BMA have an EU presence. BMA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Eiopa in January 2017, and participates in annual Eiopa bi-laterals. To stay ahead of regulatory developments, it also participates on many International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) committees, including holding co vice-chair positions on the IAIS Policy Development Committee and Macroprudential Committee. A study released by the BMA late last year reported Bermuda re/insurers paid a total of $72.8 billion to EU policyholders and cedents over the past two decades. Of this amount, $36.8 billion was paid to UK policyholders, while $56.3 billion was paid to EU policyholders in the last ten years alone. “As Abir marks 25 years of innovation and leadership, we are working to expand the Bermuda market’s successful, international leadership with continued optimism for growth in key jurisdictions, including the European Union,” said Kevin O’Donnell, CEO of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd and current chairman of Abir. We are proud to provide this vital partnership of preparation and resilience for European communities and by doing so, helping individual consumers and regional economies to recover from catastrophes, and go on to rebuild and prosper. As risks continue to accelerate as a result of factors including economic expansion, technological innovation and climate change, level-playing field access to Bermuda’s capital and expertise will benefit European policyholders, insurers and taxpayers.”
A Bermudian woman has created an online platform to highlight and list businesses owned by people of color. Tanya Jones, who has a background in IT, saw a niche to start a Facebook page called The Bermuda Black Dollar. “My friend from university, who works as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry overseas, was about to visit Bermuda but wanted to support black-owned businesses. She asked me if there is anywhere on the island that has a black business directory,” Ms Jones said. This sparked Ms Jones’ passion of supporting the businesses that are not often highlighted. Shortly after she decided to start the Facebook page. Coming from a multiracial background, Ms Jones received backlash from peers in the non-black community. “I am of Portuguese and West Indian descent, and some of my friends in the Portuguese community are offended by the Facebook page,” Ms Jones said. “One of my friends asked me how would I feel if they had a Bermudian white dollar Facebook page and my simple reply is that the white dollar has already been established for centuries, so do not be offended if we want something of our own to promote.” Ms Jones stressed that the Facebook page is not intended to offend anyone, just to highlight and promote these businesses. “The goal of the Facebook page is to not just promote what is already there but to encourage others to create new businesses and build generational wealth for our community,” Ms Jones added. The name Bermuda Black Dollar was created when Ms Jones saw another Facebook group called The Black Dollar so she decided to add Bermuda and use the name. “I found this name fascinating,” she said. The symbol used for the Facebook page is an triangular gold coin which was minted by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. “When I was working at BMA I became intrigued with this coin because the triangle shape to me represents the Bermuda Triangle,” Ms Jones said. She mentioned through this Facebook page she would like to see more input from locals. “I want this to be an interactive and dynamic page on which others can post and share content and support each other.”
Florence — the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season — has continued to gain strength today as it drifts towards the island. The storm was upgraded to a Category 4 this afternoon, with maximum sustained winds topping 130mph. Forecasts suggests the storm will weaken in the next 24 to 48 hours due to wind shear, but the United States-based National Hurricane Centre warned the storm is expected to remain a strong hurricane “through early next week”. The storm was predicted to generate “large swells” that would reach the island starting Friday. At 6pm, Florence was just under 1,300 miles east-southeast of the island, moving west-northwest at 13mph. Its nearest point of approach to Bermuda within the next 72 hours was forecast to be 700 miles to the east-southeast on Saturday. But the storm is expected to come closer to the island after that time. The Bermuda Weather Service said it was not considered a threat to Bermuda at this time but the Emergency Measures Organisation announced it is monitoring its track. A national security ministry spokeswoman said: “While the Bermuda Weather Service notes that the storm’s track will continue to fluctuate as the week progresses, the ministry takes this opportunity to remind the public that Bermuda is in the midst of hurricane season, and encourages the public to use this opportunity to update their storm supply kits. The ministry notes that the EMO is prepared and stands ready to convene should Hurricane Florence’s forecasted track pose a threat to Bermuda.” A BWS spokesman said: “Hurricane Florence is expected to weaken slightly over the next 24 hours. However, by the end of the long range forecast, Florence is expected to re-intensify as it tracks across warmer seas and an area of less shear. This complex pattern leads to uncertainty in the track and intensity of Florence beyond five days and although Florence is not a threat to Bermuda at this time, it will need to be monitored.” The ministry advised people to adhere to official information from official sources regarding all public services, such as itself, the EMO and the Department of Communications. The Emergency Broadcast Station on 100.1fm is operational and people can also visit www.weather.bm. Tips from the ministry include:
Bermuda’s reinsurance market is facing multiple challenges, but it attractiveness to companies remains strong, says ratings agency AM Best. In a report on the global reinsurance sector, Best said challenges faced by the island’s flagship industry include US tax reform, a shrinking pool of reinsurers due to mergers, competition from rival jurisdictions and the impact of Brexit. However, Best pointed out that financial-services regulator the Bermuda Monetary Authority takes a proactive approach to tackle emerging risks. The report adds: “In a period of increasing regulatory uncertainty, the BMA’s experience and ability to deal with different jurisdictions may even make it a more attractive jurisdiction for re/insurers. Bermudian re/insurers have played a critical role in fulfilling their promises and have aided in the recovery of the local economies that they insure.” Soft catastrophe reinsurance pricing, low interest rates and the continuing influx of competing alternative capital resulted in “anaemic returns” for island reinsurers, Best added. "Mergers and acquisitions became a preferred tactic for reinsurers to diversify, increase their relevance and compete in the market. The US tax law provides yet another impetus for M&A activity, resulting in a shrinking pool of reinsurers to regulate,” Best stated. “However, these pressures are partially offset by the larger balance sheets of the reinsurers.” Looking at the global scene, midyear renewals proved a “tremendous disappointment” to reinsurers as pricing optimism fizzled, the report said. Best added that alternative capital was having an increasing influence on market pricing as it continues to grow its share of total market capacity. The report adds that conditions remain ripe for further consolidation within the industry, and it notes an “accelerating trend” of alliances between traditional and alternative capital providers, exemplified by Markel’s proposed takeover of Bermudian ILS manager Nephila Capital. “To the dismay of many observers, a series of catastrophe losses totaling over $100 billion did not dent the market’s capacity to fill orders at January 1 and the renewal season ended with only modest relief for pricing,” Best commented. “Nonetheless, optimism prevailed for a rebirth of the underwriting cycle for the June/July US catastrophe renewal. We now know how that ended and while there was some improvement in pricing for loss-affected accounts, overall, the midyear renewal was a tremendous disappointment as any residual optimism fizzled. The reinsurance sector continues to skip along the bottom of the market with no clear trigger for a meaningful and widespread hardening. At the same time, the capital markets’ influence on the reinsurance sector continues to expand, replacing capacity lost in 2017 and then some.” Alternative capital, comprising insurance-linked securities such as catastrophe bonds and collateralized reinsurance products, were having a growing influence on the market, Best added. “AM Best is concerned that property-catastrophe pricing is somewhat at the mercy of the alternative capital market and is not as heavily influenced by the traditional reinsurance market as historically has been the case,” the report stated. “This is an important distinction with respect to current market dynamics. Any hope for near-term improvement in the market is directly correlated to the current level of excess capacity in the overall market today. This is compounded by the continued inflow of alternative capacity that was seen in the fourth quarter of 2017 and through 2018, which has helped offset the collateralized capacity that is currently trapped until losses from 2017 work their way through the settlement process.” Best said the “new normal” for reinsurers looks to be one where returns are less impressive and underwriting and fee income become larger contributors to profits. “Better risk selection, greater diversification of product offerings, a wider geographic reach, and conservative loss picks are keys to survival,” the report concluded. “Those factors, combined with the ability to take advantage of the new ‘cheaper’ capital coming into the market by investors that may not have the reinsurance and underwriting expertise, could lead to significant success for some. Not everyone will win in the end. The solid players will be the ones that have been conservative in underwriting and in reserving; have been able to develop a book of business that remains relevant for today’s market and allows for quick shifts in and out of lines of business depending on market conditions; and have created expertise in managing third-party capital to their own advantage.”
A construction firm was charged today with breaches of the Health Insurance Act and false accounting. RMS Construction, represented in Magistrates’ Court by owner Ricky Sousa, denied dishonestly making $1,100 of deductions from an employee’s pay by falsely claiming the money had gone to health insurance. The firm also denied failing to “effect and continue in force” a contract with a health insurance company and failing to notify an employee that they had no health insurance. Mr Sousa, 56, earlier denied the same charges against himself. The matter is expected to return to Magistrates’ Court on September 28.
The Premier and the Minister of National Security launched a dual financial technology charm offensive in Europe. David Burt, also the finance minister, told a blockchain policy conference in Paris that Bermuda had become “a world leader in regulation of the fintech industry”. Meanwhile in London, Wayne Caines, spoke about Bermuda’s role in the blockchain industry at a forum in London. Mr Burt emphasized Bermuda’s advances in initial coin offerings and digital asset legislation, including two laws passed in May to govern ICOs. The Premier also discussed the Digital Asset Business Act and related legislation, which are administered by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Another topic for discussion were amendments to Bermuda’s banking laws to create the Restricted Banking Act which allows banks to set up in Bermuda and serve companies providing digital asset services. The Premier was speaking at an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development conference, hosted by Ángel Gurría, the Secretary-General of the OECD. The forum, called “Distributed Ledgers: Opportunities and Challenges”, was chaired by Anne McElvoy, a senior editor at the respected business magazine The Economist. Mr Burt, speaking after the forum, said the island was “already well known as the risk capital of the world” and the world’s leading catastrophe bond market. He asked international organisations, including the OECD, to “not only do the work to combat financial crime, but ensure that innovations like distributed ledger technology can make that fight more effective while not causing the collateral damage to citizens, business, and countries”. Mr Burt said the island was “on track” to introduce electronic identification, or E-ID, later this year. He added: “We plan to leverage our ability to be nimble, our experience in crafting and enacting quality regulation and our business-friendly environment to continue to deliver to the world a prime jurisdiction for digital financial assets. The world’s future will be fuelled by continued technological innovation of digital assets based on the trusted nature of distributed ledger technology. Bermuda is committed to building a model platform that will prepare us for that future and we look forward to working with the OECD to ensure that Bermuda can serve as an example for how other states can help their populations achieve the OECD’s mission of improving the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world.” Wayne Caines gave a keynote address called “The New Bermuda Triangle: fintech, Blockchain & ICO’s” at London’s World Blockchain Forum. Mr Caines said leaders in the industry “want to learn more about our innovative strategy”. He added that it had been “good to share the Bermuda story with industry experts”. The three-day forum, which concludes today, brought together industry leaders, economists and investors from around the world.
Bermuda’s strides in the blockchain industry have been shared by Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, at the World Blockchain Forum in London. The conference, which runs from Monday through tomorrow, brings together leaders, economists and investors from around the world. Mr Caines, who was invited by organisers, gave a keynote address today titled “The New Bermuda Triangle: fintech, Blockchain & ICO’s”. Leaders in the industry “want to learn more about our innovative strategy”, Mr Caines said, adding that it had been “good to share the Bermuda story with industry experts”.
The Regulatory Authority has asked the public for input on what should be the service standard for energy providers. Drafts of the Service Standards have been published online to help the public have a “meaningful role” in the process. Aaron Smith, RA interim chief executive, said: “The Authority is primarily concerned with ensuring that consumers receive safe and reliable services at just and reasonable rates.” He added: “This work by the Authority contributes to a robust regulatory framework for the electricity sector and establishes clear guidelines for the public when dealing with BELCO and other providers. The Service Standards are a requirement of the Electricity Act 2016.” Mr Smith said stakeholders, including Belco, the Tyne’s Bay Waste-to-Energy facility and other potential energy suppliers have also been asked to provide input. The authority said the standards, when complete, will identify:
The authority will also consider monitoring the performance of licensees, comparing energy generation companies against each other and establishing performance incentives. Mr Smith said: “Performance Standards will need to be met while ensuring that end-user tariffs are reasonable, without significant increases year to year.” hose interested in giving input can do so online at rab.bm/electricity-public-consultations.
Four people charged with offences related to the failed Par-la-Ville Hotel project will return to Supreme Court next month. Michael MacLean, who planned to create the hotel, appeared in Supreme Court this morning along with his wife, Yasmin, former Hamilton mayor Graeme Outerbridge and Corporation secretary Ed Benevides. The four were set to enter pleas to a range of charges, but Chief Justice Narinder Hargun adjourned their arraignments until October 1 so that further applications could be heard. Mr Outerbridge, who served as mayor from 2012 to 2015, is 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 from 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 Mexico Infrastructure Finance, 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 proceeds of criminal conduct. None of the four defendants have entered pleas to any of the offences. Mr Justice Hargun also set back the arraignment of Cleveland Rogers, 51, who is accused of the premeditated murder of Marcus Gibbings. Mr Gibbings, 32, from Trinidad, was found stabbed to death at a Devonshire apartment on October 26, 2006. Mr Rogers will return to the court on October 1 to enter a plea.
An immigration reform group said last night that its members had “mixed feelings” over a decision to grant British Overseas Territories citizenship to four Uighur Chinese men who have lived in Bermuda for nearly a decade. The statement from the pressure group came after the men, who were brought to Bermuda from the United States’ prison on its Guantánamo Bay base, in Cuba, in secret in 2009, had been made British Overseas Territories citizens. The move was announced by the home affairs ministry. The men had been captured in Afghanistan during the US invasion in 2001 and 2002 but were later deemed to not be a threat. Supporting Fair Immigration Reform said: “Some members are pleased with this news as these men can now travel. They were brought to Bermuda through no fault of their own and were promised citizenship but never received it. They now have achieved a major step to becoming naturalized.” But the group added: “They cannot receive Bermuda Status as there is no provision in our current immigration laws that would allow this.” The campaign group said that the decision was praised by some of its members, but that others were not pleased that the situation was “pushed to be resolved” faster than other immigration matters. A group spokesman said: “Currently, we have so many different classes of people in Bermuda. There are some that are given partial rights and some that have no rights. We have people that were born or came to Bermuda 20 to 25 years ago and have absolutely no rights. They are treated just like a dependant of a work permit holder until they no longer become a dependant. Once they are no longer a dependant they must either go back to where their parents came from or find somewhere else to live.” The group said that the ministry had advised in July that the Immigration Reform Group were in the final stages of creating recommendations to be in their document to be reviewed by Cabinet. But the spokesman added: “As of today, nothing further has been released to the public about immigration reform. We once again implore and urge the Government to fulfil its own stated promise of comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform to correct the injustices and divisions that exist within many families in Bermuda.”
French reinsurer Scor has bluntly denied reports that it has been in discussions over a potential tie-up with Bermuda-based firm PartnerRe. The rumor was published on the website of French business publication BFM. Scor said: “Formally denies the claim on the BFM business website that the group has been in discussions with another partner for several months. Contrary to this assertion, Scor has held no discussions with PartnerRe or any other company.” PartnerRe is owned by Exor, the investment vehicle of Italy’s Agnelli family.
A former high school principal has questioned whether the move to axe middle schools is in the best interests of Bermuda. Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, who was at the Berkeley Institute until last year, said she wondered how the Government’s decision to phase out middle schools in favour of signature schools at the senior level had been made. Signature schools would focus on specialist subjects, for example, science or arts. Dr Curtis-Tweed asked: “What data have we used to look at our island, number one?” She also highlighted Bermuda’s ageing population and decline in the birthrate, and asked how many students would be expected in a new school system. Dr Curtis-Tweed asked: “How many signature schools do we need, and how will that work over time? I haven’t seen a clear plan presented.” She said that she had questions about how the signature schools would be funded, the resources they would have, and who would be employed as teachers. Dr Curtis-Tweed added: “Are you going to retool your current teaching staff so that people have the skills required?” She also asked how pupils would be assessed for signature schools. Dr Curtis-Tweed said performing arts instruction at primary and middle school levels was “fading away”. She added: “There aren’t that many programmes that support that. Most people send their children to music, or dancing, or voice lessons external to the school system. How would anyone know that someone should be funneled into a performing arts high school if you are going from elementary school from high school? If we don’t really have science in the elementary school labs and that sort of thing — how will you know if the student should go from elementary school into the science high school?” Dr Curtis-Tweed said a focus on workplace development was merited. She added: “We do want to make sure people are prepared and have jobs. But you have to be careful because a lot of the jobs are kind of temporary. You train someone to help to build the airport — but then once that job is over, are those skills going to be needed and transferable to another job? Or are we again going to have to retool and retrain?” Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education and Workforce Development, announced in July that work had begun on proposals to introduce signature schools — defined as giving students a specialized focus. Mr Rabain said the three-pronged consultation process was expected to last at least 18 months. He added at the time: “We understand that there are many questions about what this will eventually look like, and firmly believe that the answers are in our individual and collective voices.” Mr Rabain said the consultation period would “provide the time for everyone to voice the opinion for or against, so that in the end, the final product is one that is in the best interest of our students and the future of Bermuda”.
Two Bermuda traffic police officers have undergone intensive training in the use of handheld breathalyzers with a British force. Acting Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, head of the roads policing unit, and Acting Chief Inspector Dorian Astwood spent a week on the beat with Essex Police in the South East of England. Mr Cardwell said: “The purpose of this attachment was so that we could observe first hand how they initiate their roadside sobriety checks and how they use their roadside breath-testing devices. It quickly became apparent to us that the legislation in the UK is less restrictive than our newly created legislation.” He added: “On a sliding scale of 1 to 10, this means that in the UK they are on 1 or 2 whereas we are at 10.” The Bermuda law means that once an officer has pulled over a vehicle, he will need “reasonable or probable grounds” to use a handheld breathalyzer, but in Britain a police officer only needs to suspect an offence has been committed. Legislation to allow breath-test checkpoints to be set up in Bermuda was approved earlier this year and the first are expected to be operational in the next few days. Mr Cardwell also highlighted that British police can also carry out roadside drug tests — unlike Bermuda. Mr Cardwell said he and Mr Astwood attended a checkpoint and watched the arrests of two impaired drivers inside 20 minutes. Both drivers passed a breathalyzer test but failed a roadside drug test. Mr Cardwell said: “The roadside drug test is a very simple device. A swab of the tongue is done with the device and within eight minutes it returns a positive or negative indicator for cannabis or cocaine. Both of the arrestees were taken into custody where a demand for blood was made and both agreed to supply. It is the blood analysis that is the evidence of the impairment by drug rather than the positive indicator on the roadside device. Similarly in Bermuda, whilst we are carrying out roadside breath-testing initiatives, if we stop someone and we suspect that they are impaired by something other than alcohol we will make a demand for blood for drug testing. This legislation has been in place for some time. We will just not have the benefit by law of being able to do a roadside drug test.” Mr Cardwell and Mr Astwood also visited the Essex Police Serious Collision Unit and the Forensic Collision Unit to see to see how the services conduct fatal collision investigations. The two saw techniques that could improve fatal crash investigations in Bermuda and discovered at least one new forensic technique to judge the speed of vehicles. Mr Cardwell said: “We were taken through a process of working out the speed of a vehicle that is caught on CCTV. This is not simple — to get a speed there is quite an elaborate testing and retesting process.” A trip on the Essex Police helicopter allowed Mr Cardwell and Mr Astwood to have a bird’s-eye view of the interception of a firearms suspect on a motorway with use of a technique that involved the use of three police cars to bring the target car to a halt. The Bermuda officers also identified several training opportunities for Bermudian police.
Tropical Storm Florence was upgraded to hurricane strength this morning. But the storm, the third hurricane of the 2018 season, is not considered a threat to Bermuda at this time. At 6pm, the Bermuda Weather Service reported Florence was 1,567 miles east-southeast of Bermuda and moving west-northwest at about 12mph. By 6pm on Friday the storm is expected to be 812 miles east-southeast of the island, but advanced forecasts suggest it will come closer after that time. Florence boasts sustained winds of 75mph and, while it is expected to weaken over the next three days, it is then forecast to pick up strength again next weekend. A BWS spokesman said: “Over the next 24 to 48 hours, Hurricane Florence is expected to encounter increased wind shear which should prevent further intensification and is likely to cause weakening. However, by the end of the five-day period, Florence is expected to re-intensify as it tracks across warmer seas and an area of less shear. This complex pattern leads to some uncertainty and although Florence is not a threat to Bermuda at this time, it will need to be monitored.” The US-based National Hurricane Centre said hurricane force winds extend 15 miles from the centre of the storm, while tropical storm force winds can be felt up to 105 miles from the centre.
Neil Inchcup Sr, a self-made businessman who pioneered gambling in Bermuda, has died at the age of 82. Mr Inchcup took the island by storm in 1994 with Freeport Bingo, which was broadcast on TV but ran afoul of the law. Other ventures included longline fishing, gambling machines and the casino ship The Niobe Corinthian. Dawn Hanley, a friend and business associate and broadcaster who called out the numbers for Freeport Bingo, said Mr Inchcup was “an entrepreneur who was always looking to the future”. Ms Hanley added: “Neil was always thinking of new businesses, looking for things that would benefit Bermuda and bring employment for Bermudians. He always thought ahead and he was ahead of his time on a host of things. Neil also did a lot for people in need — family and non-family. He was a kind soul. His own mother had passed away years ago, and when he met my mother, Lofay Darrell, he adopted her as his. He moved heaven and earth for her.” Ms Hanley said her friend, nicknamed “Inchy”, was “a natural comedian who could crack a joke in a heartbeat”. Mr Inchcup’s first business was a laundromat in Pembroke in the 1970s and he opened the New Freeport restaurant in Dockyard in 1993 with his son, Neil Jr. But his bingo venture, which was aired from the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard, was an instant and controversial success. Residents flocked to the premises, where an Autotronic Bingo King machine jumbled numbered balls. TV bingo also drew hundreds of viewers, but other establishments quickly protested that Mr Inchcup was breaking the law. Police told The Royal Gazette in 1994 that bingo outside of sports and workmen’s clubs did not appear to break regulations. Ms Hanley said her colleague had consulted lawyers and been assured it was “above board”. A case was brought to court in 1995 and Mr Inchcup and DeFontes Broadcasting Company Ltd lost after a magistrate ruled that bingo was only permitted in places licensed to serve alcohol. Mr Inchcup introduced gaming machines to local bars in 1997 and ran a private gambling club from his house on Collector’s Hill — both of which caused controversy, including legal battles, as well as new legislation, the Prohibition of the Importation of Gaming Equipment Act in 1999. Mr Inchcup also branched out into a different venture — longline fishing for swordfish and tuna, which was a new practice in Bermuda. John Barnes, a fishing expert, columnist for The Royal Gazette and former director of Agriculture and Fisheries, called it “a different form of fishing, which Bermudian culture doesn’t do — we like to sleep in our own beds, but this meant weeks at sea”. Mr Inchcup struggled to recruit island fishermen and had to hire a Cuban crew. His charter vessel, the Jurel, arrived in Bermuda in 1998, and began sales the following year. Some residents protested that Mr Inchcup was hurting Bermudian businesses. Joyce DeRosa, the 1974 Miss Bermuda and another close friend and colleague of Mr Inchcup’s, said his business ventures faced constant opposition. Ms DeRosa said: “It was unfortunate. The Government always seemed to be dead against everything that he did. They would give us hope and then destroy it. Governments across the board, from the United Bermuda Party on, have done him wrong.” Ms DeRosa added the longline fishing business attracted “serious wharfage fees — they were really cold on us”. She said: “Neil was a self-made man. He had so many firsts in Bermuda but just has not been recognized. He didn’t go to college, but he had insights that the average college graduate didn’t have. When it came to maths, he just shone. He didn’t have to use a calculator.” Ms DeRosa said Mr Inchcup’s laundry thrived off hotel business and caused animosity among the island’s establishment. She added: “White people felt that he was making too much money. In the end, they bought him out. That must have sparked something in him.” Mr Inchcup tried another gambling venture with The Niobe Corinthian — a casino ship bought to take patrons offshore for gambling. Ms DeRosa said Mr Inchcup had “done his homework” and was promised that he would be able to run the business, but the ship was dogged by legal battles after it arrived in 2005. The Niobe Corinthian was laid up in St David’s by 2007. After rusting for years at Marginal Wharf, it was taken offshore last year and sunk as an artificial reef. Ms DeRosa said: “Neil was really crushed by that. If he had just had help, he would have been able to make Bermuda a better place.” Mr Inchcup died last Wednesday. His funeral is scheduled for today at 5pm at Christ Anglican Church in Devonshire.
The month of September this year is shaping up to be a momentous one for the Kiwanis Club of St George - the service club will mark 30 years in existence with various celebratory events. The highlight will be a gala banquet on Saturday 29 November. It is anticipated that several ‘charter members’ of the club will be in attendance, five of whom are still active members. Those five active charter members are Evadne Caesar, Fanny Churm, Gary Kent-Smith, Harold Millett, and Lily Oatley. Under Kiwanis bye-laws all officers and directors take office on October 1, but clubs can have their formal installations at any time. This banquet will have three features – first will be the end-of-year report with various awards being presented; the 30-year celebration follows; and the evening will wrap up with the installation of the incoming Officers and Directors. For administrative purposes, the Kiwanis Club of St George’s, along with all the Kiwanis organizations in Bermuda, is part of the New England & Bermuda District of Kiwanis. One special guest for the banquet will be the Governor of the New England & Bermuda District, Dan Bennett, who will be here especially for the event. He will be accompanied by his wife, the District’s “First Lady”, Janet Bennett. The incoming leadership team will be President, Gary Kent-Smith; Vice President, Daron Lowe; Treasurer, Craig Outerbridge; Immediate Past President: Scarlett Pottinger; along with Directors David Burgess and Buddy Fleming. With the overall thrust of Kiwanis being “Serving the Children of the World”, Kiwanis St George has carried out many projects aimed at improving the life of children around Bermuda. These projects have included financing the supply of hundreds of atomizers for children suffering from asthma; the purchase of a car for the mother of a fully disabled child; and helping a child suffering from cancer to fulfill a ‘dream’ (a visit to Disneyworld). In addition to projects aimed directly at children, the Kiwanians in St George’s have also assisted other charities in such things as tag days, and they have also provided recognition to some who have accomplished major achievements, and those who have made contributions to the community at large. For the past few years, in November/December, Kiwanis St George has arranged a “grief counseling” workshop aimed at those who have lost loved ones. The philosophy behind this is that while losing a loved one at any time is traumatic, when that loss occurs late in the year (close to the Christmas season) the loss feels even heavier. The club does not ignore the younger members of our society and has helped established a K-Kids Club at the St George’s Preparatory School. These youngsters have undertaken numerous projects including one which involved the securing, wrapping, and delivering scarves to residents at some of the Seniors’ Homes in St George’s. Last fall, the club arranged to send two containers of relief goods – adult and children’s clothing, household items, and bottled water – to the hurricane-stricken island of Barbuda. Kiwanis St George Vice President Buddy Fleming stated that “it would have been difficult to stand by and do nothing while our fellow islanders to the south were suffering”. In November the club honored war veterans at a special dinner, and presented each of the veterans with a certificate of appreciation for their service. Earlier this year, Kiwanis St George re-instituted the “Hero of the Year” award, by presenting a plaque to Sydney Mello, who has actually risked his life in saving three persons who fell into difficulty while swimming. Club Secretary Daron Lowe explained that it was important “to honour those deserving while they were still young enough to appreciate it”. In mid-September Kiwanis St George will hold an evening of Jazz Under the Stars – this will take place on Saturday, 15 September, at the historic Fort St Catherine. This will serve as a launch for the club’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Various local jazz artists will be featured, including “Paradise”, “Downbeat”, “Dos Amigos”, and “Wave”. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.
An elderly man was taken to hospital yesterday after an apartment fire in Hamilton. A spokesman for Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service said firefighters were called out to a blaze in a one-bedroom apartment on the city’s Dundonald Street yesterday morning. He said: “Upon arrival, smoke was coming out of the kitchen door of the apartment. Firefighters entered the residence wearing breathing apparatus and quickly extinguished the blaze.” The spokesman said the fire was confined to the kitchen, but that the entire apartment had been damaged by smoke. The occupant, who has not been named, was treated at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for the effects of smoke. The fire broke out at about 10.45am. A call about a second fire on Paget’s Harbour Road came in as firefighters tackled the Dundonald Street blaze. The spokesman said: “Firefighters noticed smoke coming from beneath the front door of an apartment. The fire was confined to the living room area, but the apartment received smoke damage throughout.” No injuries were reported. A total of 11 firefighters in two trucks attended both fires. An investigation in the cause of both fires has been launched.
Bermuda’s workers are the “lifeblood” of the community, the Minister of Home Affairs said today. Walton Brown said that without the dedication and service of the workers “Bermuda simply wouldn’t run. I wish to salute each and every worker for your contribution to Bermuda.” Mr Brown, who also celebrated his birthday today, thanked the island’s unions for protecting workers. He added: “You play a critical role in advocating for the rights of workers and ensuring a harmonious working environment.” Mr Brown said that he hoped employers who invested in their staff continued to “maintain a competitive advantage of those employers who do not work as diligently in providing employees with the skills they need or empowering them to perform their jobs in the workplace. Regular and respectful dialogue was needed in labour relations. Simply put, it’s good for the country when the Government and the unions have a positive working relationship. And this Government strongly values that relationship.” Jeanne Atherden, leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, said that all residents “should stop for a moment and reflect on what we take for granted” on Labour Day. She added that modern Bermuda had “only been made possible by the hard work and sacrifices made by unions and the people who have laboured in this country”. Ms Atherden highlighted employment contracts, improved working conditions and health and safety improvements as just a few of the advances earned through the work of the unions. She added: “A strong work ethic and service commitment by Bermuda workers forged a partnership with employers which benefited the country as a whole. Advances in technology would create new challenges for the labour movement. She added: “Just as in the industrial revolution, workers in the future will have to realign themselves with the changing labour demands directed by technological advances. Workers will have to retool and unions will be required once again to establish new relationships and forge new agreements. History should serve as the blueprint for the future. We have shown that labour and employers can successfully work together and therein lies the hope for the future.”
Spectators lined Union Street this morning for the annual Labour Day rally and march. Hundreds in attendance heard speeches from representatives of Bermuda’s trade unions and politicians. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Acting Premier and the Minister of Public Works, said that as minister he was proud to work alongside men and women of the island’s trade unions. Colonel Burch said: “Their union membership makes them better workers, it makes us better managers and, in the end, helps us to provide the services to Bermuda that many often take for granted.” He added that the Government was a labour government. Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, told the crowd it was time for change. He added: “Bermudians have seen their earned income seriously eroded over the past several decades.” Jayson Hayward, president of the Bermuda Public Services Union, said that the day was important to recognize previous generations of labour activists. He said that their “blood, sweat and tears” had helped to create the “gem of Bermuda that we have today”. A march through the streets of Hamilton followed the speeches.
A teenager arrested after a report of prowling outside a Hamilton Parish home has been released on police bail. Two 15-year-old boys were arrested in connection with an incident on Aubrey Road, Hamilton Parish, early last Wednesday morning. The incident was captured by a security camera on the property and shared through social media. Another youngster arrested in connection with the incident was earlier bailed. Police have appealed for witnesses.
Sand sculpture creations took over a Southampton beach this weekend. Hannah Strang, organizer of the Bermuda Sandcastle Competition, said it was a huge success. Ms Strang added: “I feel like the levels of sculpting are going through the roof. The level of entrants is definitely making it harder and harder for the judges.” Ms Strang said entries included a variety of actual and mythical animals, a pool table, and a Star Wars spacecraft. She added the competition, held at Horseshoe Bay on Saturday, had attracted a lot of repeat entrants. Ms Strang added: “There’s a lot of teams that come and improve every year.” A total of forty-one teams took part in this year's competition across five different categories. Five teams went head to head in the children’s category, with seven teams each in the family, teen and visitor divisions. Ms Strang added that 14 teams took part in the open competition. Cash prizes worth $3,000 were handed out for first, second and third place in each category. Team Amazon, made up of staff from the Fairmont Southampton, took the top honour in the open category. Ms Strang said the team — whose entry this year depicted a mermaid and merman — always presented top-level entries. She added: “They’re the reason I‘m glad I don’t compete any more. They really rocked it.” Ms Strang said that a dragon wrapped around a lighthouse from Sand Queens took second place in the open division. She described: “It really blew the judges away with its detail, with its composition, with the whole shape of it. It was wonderful.” A pair of feral chickens relaxing in the sun created by Michelle Lindo earned third prize. Ms Strang said: “It was hilarious. It was just something completely random and different.” She also highlighted entries inspired by social concerns. Ms Strang explained: “There was a team that entered a shark in a rubber ring with a gay pride flag with the slogan ‘wading for rights’.” An entry from Chewstick Foundation used coffee grinds to create black and white hands exchanging a fist bump with the word ‘Respect’ underneath. She said the competition welcomed such entries each year. Ms Strang added: “We look forward to people expressing themselves.” The Best of the Beach award went to team Sand Canada’s Craig Mutch and Andreas Dittrich. A number of free workshops were held last week in the lead up to the competition for participants to hone their skills were well attended Ms Strang added: “It’s amazing what people don’t think they can do with sand and then accomplish at the end of the day.” She thanked event sponsors Hamilton Princess Beach Club, jewelers Alexandra Mosher Studio, insurance firm OIL Group, and drinks company Barritt’s for their support.
Bermudians must stay ahead of the curve in the face of new technologies such as artificial intelligence if they are to thrive in the workforce of the future, a top lawyer said tonight. Delroy Duncan said: “Bermuda stands at an extraordinary moment of tension and possibilities. Artificial intelligence can meet the current tensions we face with job losses if we grasp the possibilities. The spirit of the age that we live in at present speaks to the urgency of addressing the future employment of Bermudians. In this brave new technological world, Bermudians must be prepared to pull away from safe moorings and grasp the new world working conditions that we all face.” Mr Duncan was speaking as he delivered the keynote address at the 37th annual Labour Day banquet, held at the Fairmont Southampton. The director of law firm Trott & Duncan highlighted an experiment using artificial intelligence. He said an AI system tested against qualified lawyers challenged them to predict the outcome of personal injury cases submitted to the legal ombudsmen in Britain. The computer beat the lawyers. The system was correct 86 per cent of the time while lawyers were right only 62.3 per cent of the time. Mr Duncan questioned whether there would be a need for lawyers and judges in the future, He said it was important that Bermudians embraced technology and that employers encourage employees to learn the relevant skills. He added: “I urge the government, the private sector, unions, the Bermuda schools system, individuals and the nation to embrace this technology as a way of life because that is what it will become for everyone. Employers, encourage and support employees who want to advance their knowledge and learning.” Mr Duncan touched on block chain technology congratulating the Progressive Labour Party government for putting Bermuda on the global stage for innovation. “They see the way things are going and they are trying to equip us for what is coming. It is going to be the way that we pay our bills in the future and the way that we interact with local businesses,” he said. David Burt, the Premier, was unable to attend the banquet but did give a speech on video outlining his government’s intent on “creating an atmosphere of fairness and equality at every job and every job site”. When introducing Mr Duncan to the stage, former Bermudian Industrial Union president Derrick Burgess said the lawyer was “predestined” to represent the BIU. He mentioned the 1992 Sequestration case in which the BIU, represented by Mr Duncan, successfully defeated attempts by the Attorney-General to strip the union of its assets. Mr Duncan’s recent legal cases include representing members of the public who were pepper-sprayed during protests in 2016. While he made no direct reference to the events, he did mention a string of legal cases he had fought on behalf of the BIU. Speaking of an initial loss in a 2002 case against an employer attempting to force dockworkers to do overtime, he said: “Defeat can be a platform for victory. We lost in the Supreme Court, we lost in the Court of Appeal, we had 24 hours to file our application in the Privy Council and we ended up winning in the Privy Council. That is a significant victory. These battles establish a strong tradition to be proud of.”
Sales at Dockyard’s Clocktower Mall have plummeted by up to 30 per cent after a road closure cut off access to stores, angry shopkeepers said yesterday. The drop in business came after Dockyard operators, the West End Development Corporation, pedestrianised the Clocktower Parade between the fountain outside the mall to jewellery store Diamonds International. Wedco said the pedestrianisation was designed to make the area safer and more attractive — but the shopkeepers said concrete barriers have stopped the flow of people. Boyd Vallis, who runs Fairtrade Bermuda, said: “We are losing sales in a big way. The traffic flow is not encouraging people into the mall. There are concrete barriers out there in the road. It just doesn’t look inviting.” He added that shopkeepers in the mall were told about the traffic change just before it came into effect. Mr Vallis added: “This is the worst time of year to do it. It’s still the busy season and our sales are down 20, 30 per cent depending on the day. This is when we are supposed to save enough money to make it through the winter because we have to pay rent regardless.” Carole Holding, an artist who has a store in the mall, said her business had also suffered. She said: “We had hired staff for the season. If Wedco don’t do something, we might have to let people go. Bermuda needs to give people work, but this decision is taking work away from them.” Ms Holding criticized the lack of notice for the change and the decision to implement it in the busy summer season. She said: “They claimed they have been working on this for ten years. I think we all fell off our chairs. Why hadn’t we heard about it? Why do it suddenly midseason? It’s ridiculous. Are they going to give us free rent for the whole winter? I don’t know, because we have lost four weeks and if they don’t revert it, we will continue to lose.” She said the concrete barriers installed on the road outside the mall had discouraged visitors from visiting the Clocktower. Ms Holding said: “The building looks like it’s a construction site. After they put up the barrier, we had the possibly the worst Tuesday we have ever had. It’s just so frustrating.” She added that the pedestrianisation had also taken away valuable parking spaces and that the lack of parking spaces was worsened by Wedco renting out spaces for events. Ms Holding said: “We have been told on Saturday and Sunday the car park is not available because they rented it out to some company. Wedco could have used the former America’s Cup village or Moresby Plain on Ireland Island North for events." Wedco announced last week that it would pedestrianise Clocktower Parade and traffic has now been rerouted along Apprentice Lane and Smithery Lane. The mall had a steady flow of people yesterday afternoon, but shopkeepers said it was only because both cruise ships in port were preparing to leave. Burton Jones, owner and manager of the gift store Littlest Drawbridge, said: “There has been no explanation about why they are doing this and what impact it’s going to have on our businesses. We haven’t been in the loop at all. We need to be part of the planning process.” He added that concerns about the Dockyard Train Shuttle’s ability to get to the front of the mall had been dealt with. But he questioned why Wedco would implement the road layout change while the season was still busy. Joanna Cranfield, business development manager for Wedco, said the pedestrianisation plan had been on the table for years and the corporation waited until late in the summer season to test it. She added: “Earlier this year, we were given the go-ahead by the Wedco board to implement the plan. We need to test it when it is busy in order to properly gauge its effectiveness. We did wait until the end of August to implement the pedestrianisation plan which is towards the latter half of the season.” Ms Cranfield said Wedco had heard complaints from some tenants in the mall once the road changes were made. “I immediately arranged to meet with their representative to see how we could effectively make changes to address their concerns. I met with the representative of The Mall retailers on Monday morning at 8.30am by which time we carried out tests with the Dockyard Train Shuttle to ascertain its ability to navigate the roundabout in front of the mall. We did have to relocate the taxi zone and some parking spaces to achieve this, but it was the main area of the mall tenants’ concern and therefore implemented immediately.” Ms Cranfield said the traffic changes were a pilot scheme. She added: “I do appreciate that there may be some kinks that need ironing out and we will address them as we find them. We will not attempt any major structural change to the roadways until we know if this scheme will become permanent. We will be monitoring and reviewing this scheme — but I’d like to add that so far the majority of the feedback received has been extremely positive.”
Tropical Storm Florence is moving closer to Bermuda. But forecasters said the storm does not pose a threat to the island at the moment. The storm’s closest point of approach to Bermuda in the next three days is expected to be 804 nautical miles east south east of Bermuda at 6pm on Thursday. But the Bermuda Weather Service warned: “However, this system may move closer to Bermuda after this time period depending upon its track.” The storm was about 1578 nautical miles east south east of the island this evening. Florence was moving west at 13 knots packing 60 knot winds with gusts of up to 75 knots.
The director of development at a solar energy firm has won a top scholarship to the UK to help him boost the renewable energy industry in Bermuda. Stratton Hatfield, of BE Solar, won a Chevening Scholarship, which will allow him to take a master’s degree in sustainability, entrepreneurship and design at prestigious Brunel University in London. Mr Hatfield said: “I am honored to be a recipient of the Chevening award and to represent Bermuda on an international level. I look forward to making new connections with my peers and identifying ways to help Bermuda be a model for change with regards to sustainable development and innovation.” Mr Hatfield was presented with the award, given to just 1,500 applicants out of 61,000 worldwide, by John Rankin, the Governor, at a ceremony at Government House. Mr Rankin said: “I am delighted that we, once again, have a Bermudian Chevening Scholar and I wish Stratton well for his studies in the UK. And I very much hope that we will see another set of Bermudians applying now for scholarships for 2019 to 2020.” Pahn-ya Ratteray, a previous recipient of a Chevening award, was also at the ceremony. She completed an M.Sc in project management at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland from 2015 to 2016. Chevening Scholarships are awarded to people with leadership potential and strong academic backgrounds. The scholarship offers full financial support to study for eligible master’s degrees at any UK university and give access to a wide range of exclusive academic, professional, and cultural experiences. Applications for future Chevening Scholarships will be accepted until November 6 and should be submitted at www.chevening.org/apply. Applications for Chevening Scholarships to study in the UK are now open until November 6, with applications to be submitted via www.chevening.org/apply.
When Rhea Gibbons returned to Bermuda for the summer she felt she had work to do. Now she, with the assistance of other volunteers, has cleared more than a tonne of trash from the island’s coastline in a series of cleanups. Ms Gibbons said: “It was something I could do to apologise for my own impact on the environment, for doing the things I have done without thinking about the repercussions. Honestly, it didn’t really matter if I was out on my own, whether anybody else showed up, whether anyone else validated it. It was something I was doing because it felt right.” Ms Gibbons, 24, an English language and art teacher in Spain, who is also studying for a master’s degree in art therapy, said she decided to step up after she saw the trash build up in popular tourist destinations she had visited such as the Philippines and Bali. She said: “In Bali, because it’s an island similar to Bermuda in a lot of respects, it really struck me the state of things and how people were dumping their trash. There were gutters lining the road and there was just trash, the waterways were littered with trash and the beaches were littered with trash.” Ms Gibbons, from Paget, added: “I was thinking about people doing the same thing to our beaches, people walking past trash and pretending it isn’t there, letting it be buried under the sand. I thought that when I do go home, I want to do something about this. Something impactful that will benefit my island, my parish.” Ms Gibbons said she organized the clean-ups through Facebook with the help of Weldon Wade. She said the first clean-up targeted Southlands after she noticed the trash while swimming with her mother in early July. Ms Gibbons said: “I remember going to that beach growing up and there was never any plastic, but then I saw pieces of plastic tangled up in the sargassum. There were big pieces, but the little pieces were really frightening as well. A couple days later, I reached out to Weldon and said we were going back that Sunday. It all went from there.” She said the clean-ups have grown, and that more than a dozen people came to a recent effort in St David’s. Ms Gibbons said: “It feels great, to have this joining of like-minded people to do something we care about.” The surge of volunteers has also meant an increase of waste collected. About 940lbs of trash was collected at Old Bridge Park in St David's, while more than 700lbs of waste was found at Daniel’s Head. Ms Gibbons said volunteers had picked up abandoned air conditioners, boat parts, octopus traps, fishing gear and household waste. She added that Bermuda should take action to prevent the build-up of waste not just to beautify the island, but to protect the environment. Ms Gibbons said the island should consider a ban on single-use plastics and establish a paid clean-up task force who could help pick up trash. She said the clean-ups will continue this weekend, with volunteers going to Coney Island Park in Hamilton Parish on Sunday. Further cleanups will be announced on Facebook and Instagram.
Sailors were warned yesterday to watch their speed after a turtle died as a result of being hit by a boat. Karen and Andrew McKeown found the injured male green turtle near Robinson’s Marina in Somerset and rushed it to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo for treatment. Ms McKeown, of Somerset, said: “We found it in the shallow waters and we could see that his shell was damaged, so obviously he was hurt. He was coming up for air but he wasn’t actually moving. He didn’t swim away from us which made us think that he was obviously hurt.” The couple and their 16-year-old daughter, Keri, took the juvenile animal, one of an endangered species of turtle, to the Flatts aquarium for medical attention. Ms McKeown said: “When we turned him over, we could see that all the underneath of him had also been hit. What we saw on the top of the shell wasn’t too bad, but when you turned him over he had gashes and bits of skin missing.” Ian Walker, principal curator at BAMZ, said staff attempted to save the animal, which was found on Thursday evening, but it was too badly injured and died yesterday morning. Dr Walker said: “He was put on pain relief, antibiotics and fluids, but the extent of his injuries were too severe. It’s almost certain it was a collision with something, most likely a boat or jet ski.” Dr Walker added: “We get collision injuries more regularly during the summer. In all instances, there is signage where there are usually larger congregations of sea turtles. Mariners must observe those signs and slow down, and if you’re close to land, observe the speed limit because often in those shallow areas you’re more likely to come into contact with sea turtles that are feeding in those areas. It’s just a matter of slowing down, taking a moment to enjoy Bermuda’s beauty, and work with the animals that are also using the area.” Ms McKeown added: “It was very sad. Keri was quite upset, because we had all hoped we’d be able to set it free back into the ocean. We live around the area. We see loads of turtles swimming in the waters and the boats are just going much too fast. They’re supposed to be watching their wakes and speeds. You never know what’s underneath you and I’m sure most of the boats could hit a turtle and not even feel it. At the end of the day, he was God’s animal and he had every right to be living in that area unharmed.”
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September 19, 2018
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