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Bermuda's 2019 April History and News

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

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us).

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Benefit of website linkage to Bermuda Online while traveling

See at end of this file all our many History files

April 30

paragraphWestgate Correctional Facility has gone on “indefinite” lockdown, staffed by “a skeleton crew” after officers decided to work to rule in protest against conditions, the Minister of National Security said last night. Wayne Caines said the industrial action came after the Prison Officers Association met yesterday to discuss “working conditions and outstanding issues with reference to the prison service”. Prison officers imposed a lockdown last Friday after three officers were attacked by a group of prisoners. Now they have backed a work-to-rule, with no overtime — which means that prisoners will have limited recreation and visits. Education classes at Westgate will also be suspended. Mr Caines said the prison service would be supplemented by 18 police officers, who will transport prisoners to and from court appearances and for medical treatment outside the prison. About 20 soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment are on standby to assist the police if needed. Mr Caines admitted: “This is not an ideal situation — that is why we want to get both sides to the table as quickly as possible.” He said: “Our hope is that, as soon as possible, clear heads prevail.” Mr Caines declined to give details of the assault and added that a file was being prepared for the Department of Public Prosecutions. He said prisoners “will not be able to leave their cells as freely as they were before the work-to- rule was implemented”. Mr Caines hoped that the association would “immediately” accept the invitation of the labour relations manager to hold talks to resolve their concerns. Thad Hollis, lead negotiator for the Prison Officers Association, told The Royal Gazette last month that officers at Westgate were under stress because of low staff numbers, and the lack of adequate training to deal with violent or mentally ill prisoners.

paragraphA new education transfer pathway partnership has opened at Bermuda College. St. Francis Xavier University, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, recently signed a five-year agreement with the College to offer graduates a 2 + 2 partnership in its actuarial science concentration in the Department of Mathematics. The agreement allows Bermuda College students graduating with the Associate of Science degree in Actuarial Science to transfer credits seamlessly into St. Francis Xavier and complete their bachelor’s degree in two years. The Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a concentration in actuarial science is especially exciting because it is the first agreement negotiated for BC students to continue their concentration in Canada, providing geographical options. Academic Vice-President & Provost at St. Francis Xavier, Dr. Kevin Wamsley, who travelled to the Island for the signing, noted the significant links the two institutions shared. “StFX has a long history of accepting students from Bermuda and many wonderful, engaged alumni in Bermuda. In fact, it was a student from Bermuda, Jacqueline MacKay, Class of 2018, who approached the Chair of our Math Department about developing an actuarial science concentration at StFX. Through her leadership and initiative, we now have the concentration, so it makes sense that our first partnership agreement into this program is with a Bermudian institution. We are very pleased to be formalizing our relationship with Bermuda College through this pathway agreement. We hope that this will be the first of a number of agreements and look forward to welcoming more students from Bermuda to StFX.” Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs at the College, Dr. Phyllis Curtis-Tweed agreed, and noted another significant link. “Esteemed Bermudian educator, Dr. Clifford Maxwell, was a graduate of St. Francis Xavier (’57) and was posthumously inducted into StFX University’s Hall of Honour in 2017. We are pleased to provide the opportunity for another generation of Bermudians to follow his path at St. Francis Xavier University.” Currently, Bermuda College enjoys long-standing “2+2 Agreements” with Georgia State University and St. John’s University in the United States. Last year, the College provided additional US options for the study of Risk Management & Insurance at Eastern Kentucky University and at Temple University in Philadelphia.

paragraphThe president of the Bermuda Taxi Owners Association was banned from the roads yesterday for drink-driving. David Frost, 69, pleaded guilty in Magistrates’ Court to a charge of driving while more than 2½ times the legal limit. Frost admitted that he had made a mistake, but hoped it would not put the rest of the trade in a bad light. He said: “My bad choices shouldn’t reflect poorly on the rest of the taxi drivers. This was a one-time mistake.” Frost said the executive at the Bermuda Taxi Operators Association had voted that he should stay on as president, despite the driving ban. He added: “I have been dealing with the day-to-day governing for all this time. It takes up a lot of time and I had been doing it as well as working, but now I will be doing it full time.” The court heard that police responded to a report that a taxi had crashed into a wall on Middle Road in Southampton on February 21 at about 11.30pm. Officers spoke to Frost, who admitted that he was driving the vehicle, and noticed his breath smelt of alcohol. Frost, from Sandys, later took a breath test which showed he had 212 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80mg/100ml. Richard Horseman, Frost’s defence lawyer, said the defendant was extremely sorry for his actions. Mr Horseman said: “He drives for a living. Unfortunately, on this evening, there had been a death in the family and he had a few drinks.” Magistrate Maxanne Anderson banned Frost from driving all vehicles for 18 months and fined him $1,500. Frost told The Royal Gazette that he was not working, had no passengers when the crash happened and that he had paid for the damage to the wall. Mr Frost admitted he could have called a taxi to avoid driving. He said: “Everybody talks about it, but it doesn’t always happen like that.” Frost added that bars and other businesses that sold alcohol had to do their part and monitor the alcohol intake of their customers. He urged other road users not to make the same mistake he did. He said: “Think before you get behind the wheel. It doesn’t have to end the same way.”

paragraphA man who stole a police car at the weekend after drinking was remanded in custody for reports yesterday. Ross Parsons, 47, took the patrol car after officers carrying out a routine check at the Spinning Wheel bar on Court Street, Hamilton, left the car parked with the keys still inside the vehicle. The shocked officers reported the car stolen after the returned to the parking spot and found the car missing. Cameras in the area were checked and CCTV operators reported that Parsons, of no fixed address, had been caught on camera getting into the car and driving away. The abandoned car was later found on nearby Elliot Street with the keys missing. Police traced Parsons to outside the Spinning Wheel and arrested him with the keys still on him. The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning. Parsons admitted theft of the car and its keys, as well as drink-driving. He also pleaded guilty to a separate incident of driving without a licence on the same day. Magistrate Maxanne Anderson fined Parsons $200, to be paid by May 29. She also referred Parsons to the DUI Court and adjourned the case until June 10. A police spokesman said yesterday that officers were required to “secure vehicles and property at all times”. He added that the officers involved had received a written warning and notice of mandatory training as a result. The spokesman said: “We are grateful that little actual harm occurred but recognize the serious consequences that could have arisen.”

paragraphA woman raped as a 15-year-old schoolgirl decades ago said she still felt the affects of the violation today. The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said that she suffered “terrible emotional scars”. She added: “Today I still have nightmares over what happened to me more than 30 years ago.” The woman said that she had difficulty with relationships and had trouble sleeping. “Some days I suffer from extreme depression as a result.” The woman said that since the case went to court she had started counselling sessions to help deal with the trauma caused by the rape. “Day to day, I try my hardest to put this behind me, but it is no easy task. I cry every day and say ‘why me?’” The woman’s victim impact statement was read as Morris O’Brien was sentenced for rape yesterday. O’Brien, 53, was convicted of the offence by a Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict in February and remanded in custody. O’Brien, who was 23 at the time, raped the teenager, said to be a family friend, in 1988. The woman, now 45, told the trial that he had raped her on the living room floor as her sister slept in a bedroom. She said that she blacked out during the attack and that O’Brien was gone when she regained consciousness. The woman said that O’Brien had “stalked” her after the rape. O’Brien denied that he had raped the girl and insisted that he had “consensual” sex with the girl three times while she was underage. O’Brien said yesterday that he was “remorseful” for what happened. He added: “Looking back, it’s something that I regret.” Kenlyn Swan, for the prosecution, said O’Brien had to accept responsibility for the attack. She added: “He is solely to blame for the opportunistic attack.” Ms Swan said that the damage caused to the woman by the rape was “immeasurable”. She added that the woman was “a blameless victim”. Ms Swan said that the Crown wanted a prison sentence of between ten and 12 years. But Archibald Warner, O’Brien’s lawyer, said that the sentence had to be in line with what was “applicable and relevant” at the time of the offence. He added: “The starting point at the time in Bermuda was five years.” Mr Warner said that the appropriate sentence should be “no more than seven years’ imprisonment”. Magistrate Carlisle Greaves adjourned the hearing until Friday.

paragraphArgo Group International Holdings Limited has reported a 270.4 per cent jump in profit for the first three months of the year. The Bermuda-based insurer reported net incomes of $91.2 million, or $2.63 per share, which compares with $24.8 million for the same period in 2018. Gross written premiums were $760.8 million, a rise of 7.1 per cent year-on-year, while the combined ratio improved to 94.8 per cent, from 95.8 per cent. Adjusted operating income was $41.1 million, or $1.18 per share, beating the $1.07 expectation of a consensus of analysts. Mark Watson, chief executive officer, said: “Our strong first quarter 2019 results demonstrate our focus on delivering value to shareholders. Our annualized ROE [return on equity] of 20.1 per cent in the first quarter is an outstanding achievement. The 9.1 per cent annualized operating ROE for the quarter, a 100 basis point improvement year-over-year, reflects strong momentum towards our run rate objective of 10 per cent. In addition, book value per share increased 8 per cent from the beginning of the year. These results were enabled by a 7.1 per cent increase in gross written premiums, with a 10.2 per cent rise in the US operations, an improvement in our expense ratio, and a 26.6 per cent increase in our underwriting income. We expect our strategy to continue to deliver superior and sustainable returns to shareholders.” The first quarter net income included pre-tax gains related to changes in the fair value of equity securities of $54.2 million, compared to a corresponding pre-tax net loss of $30.9 million in the same period during 2018. Argo Group’s book value per share has increased 8 per cent since the start of the year, and was $55.23 at the end of March. Argo will hold its annual meeting on May 24. The company is involved in a proxy battle with activist shareholder Voce Capital Management LLC, which has questioned the use of Argo’s assets, such as corporate jets, housing, and has proposed changes to the board of directors. Argo’s shares closed at $74.61, down 34 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange, ahead of the earnings report.

paragraphThe parent company of Bermuda-based Qatar Re has reported $75 million net profit for the first quarter, an increase of $10 million, year-on-year. Qatar Insurance Group’s earning per share were 21 cents, compared with 18 cents for the same period last year, while its gross written premiums remained stable at $969 million, down $7 million. The Qatar-based group’s non-life combined ratio improved to 100.2 per cent, from 101.6 per cent. Khalifa Abdulla Turki Al Subaey, group president and chief executive officer of QIC Group, said the first quarter was a period of stability and consolidation. He added: “As part of our de-risking effort, we have adopted a more selective approach to writing new business, rewarded by an improving technical performance. QIC remains firmly committed to shifting to lines of business with lower volatility where we see a more attractive risk-return potential. In addition to underwriting, QIC’s investment prowess and commitment to operating efficiency continue to bear fruit and are essential to sustaining the Group’s overall profitability. Based on the strength and diversity of our performance engines, I remain confident in QIC’s future growth and profitability prospects, which should further benefit from what appears to be a slightly firming global re/insurance trading environment.” QIC’s international carriers, which include Qatar Re, Antares, QIC Europe Limited and Gibraltar-based carriers, now account for 76 per cent of the group’s gross written premiums, an increase from 73 per cent a year ago. In a statement, the group said its first quarter profit was driven by improving underwriting results and resilient investment income. Last week, Qatar Re confirmed Michael van der Straaten as its new CEO. He succeeded Gunther Saacke, who announced in January that he was leaving the company.

paragraphInsurance industry veteran Stephen Catlin is to lead a new Bermuda-based re/insurer with $1.8 billion of committed capital. Convex Group Ltd will have underwriting operations in Bermuda and London, and the holding company will be based on the island. In dollar value of capital it is the largest re/insurance start-up in the Bermuda market’s history. Mr Catlin, Convex’s chairman and chief executive officer, will be teaming up with some of his former colleagues from Catlin Group, including Paul Brand, deputy CEO, Benjamin Meuli, chief financial officer and Adrian Spieler, chief operating officer. In an interview with The Royal Gazette, Mr Catlin said the underwriting operation in Bermuda would be substantial, with “upwards of 50 people” once up to full staff by November. The diversified insurance and reinsurance company will write diversified specialty business with a focus on complex risks. It has regulatory approvals in Bermuda and London and an A- rating from AM Best. Convex will draw down on $1.6 billion to start out its business and will have access to further capital as the business expands. The invested capital comes from the Convex management team and Onex Partners V, a fund of Toronto-based private-equity firm Onex Corporation, as well as Canadian-based pension investment manager PSP Investments, in addition to a consortium of co-investors. Other members of the management team are Robina Malik, general counsel, Doug Howat, chief underwriting officer — insurance Matt Paskin, chief underwriting officer — reinsurance, and Mark van Zanden, head of portfolio optimization. Mr Catlin, a part-time Bermuda resident, launched Catlin in London in 1984. In 1999, the company re-domiciled to London and in 2015, it was sold to XL Catlin for $4.1 billion. He retired as executive deputy chairman of XL Catlin in April 2017. One of the factors that lured him back into the business is the state of the market. He sees parallels between today’s market and that seen after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which caused a dislocation in the market and sparked a slew of start-ups. “It helps if you’re starting with tailwinds,” Mr Catlin said. “In March last year, there were headwinds everywhere. I think the tailwinds will increase over time, because I don’t think the market is even close to recognizing the under pricing of casualty business. That tail is beginning to wag the dog and with casualty business, once that tail starts to wag, then it keeps going for at least five years.” While competitors would be struggling with the consequences of under priced casualty business, Convex, unencumbered by legacy, would be able to focus on the future. For Paul and I, this is the second time in our lives that the stars have aligned and we can hardly believe it. It happened after 9/11 and we [Catlin] were the only London business to raise significant capital. We raised $500 million in 2002 and while others were trying to sort out their back year, we were able to push the thing forward.” The company will focus on complex specialty risks and write a mix of about 40 per cent reinsurance and 60 per cent insurance, Mr Catlin said. The Bermudian underwriting platform, Convex Re, will write mainly reinsurance. Convex UK is the London-based underwriting entity. The start-up is structured to keep down expenses in a way Mr Catlin believes may be unique in the industry. “We will have an enormous amount of outsourcing on a horizontal basis, which means that we have one outsourcer for everything,” he said. That business is WNS, a massive outsourcer based in India that has nearly 40,000 employees, 11,000 of whom work in insurance, and state-of-the-art technology. “Lots of people outsource bits and pieces, but nobody in insurance does a horizontal outsource, as far as we’re aware,” Mr Catlin said. “It saves us about 3 per cent on expenses.” The risk of relying so heavily on WNS has been considered. Mr Catlin said Convex has a very detailed “Plan B”, which regulators demanded to see. The upshot of the outsourcing is an absence of back-office jobs in Bermuda, although the island gains many higher value roles. “Employment costs here are as high as they are anywhere,” Mr Catlin said. “Any people you employ here, or in London, have got to be adding value to the balance sheet. Those servicing the balance sheet can do it from elsewhere.” Mr Catlin made clear that Convex would be in no rush to deploy its capital or sacrifice underwriting discipline in the pursuit of market share. The investors were in it for the long term, which gave the company time to grow carefully over time. We have ten-year money. That means the earnings in the first two years are almost irrelevant. We need to get there in a five-year timeframe, obviously. But we don’t have to do it yesterday. This year we will write some business, but our primary objective is to fill the toolbox, so we have the right resources. One of the reasons we wanted to start by May 1 was that some of the people we are hiring have to give six months’ notice, as is the industry standard. People are resigning as we speak. Those people will then get on the payroll by November 1, so we will be fully kitted out for 2020, which is a far more important underwriting year for us than 2019.” Mr Catlin said he had no second thoughts about basing the company in Bermuda after the island was put on the European Union’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions on tax matters last month. Confident that the island will be removed from the list in May, he said: “The truth is that Bermuda is a much stronger offshore financial-services centre than any other. There are very few brass plates here and quite correctly, they are making that more difficult to do, whereas in the Cayman Islands there are thousands. It isn’t true to say that Bermuda is a tax haven. The tax take in Bermuda is something like 17 or 18 per cent of GDP — in the US it’s about 18 to 19 per cent. It’s just a question of how you’re taxed. I think Bermuda could do better at explaining at what it is and how transparent it is. The challenges here are more to do with social issues and the inefficiency of the Civil Service.” Mr Catlin said he was urged to start a new company by Mr Brand, who first suggested it over a beer two years ago, and then by investment banker Stuart Britton, of Evercore, at a dinner. Mr Catlin was initially unconvinced, but a phone call he received in March last year caused him to start thinking differently. “One Sunday morning, Mike McGavick [the former CEO of XL Catlin] rang me to tell me about the Axa transaction,” he recalled. “It took me a few hours to realize that I’d just been freed. Whatever my contract said, I could not have brought myself to compete with XL Catlin. My name was on the door, it was a business I’d grown over 32 years, I just couldn’t do it. For moral reasons and emotional reasons, it wasn’t on the table. The Axa deal changed all that.” In the week after Axa announced its $15 billion XL takeover offer, Lloyd’s posted huge losses. After that, Mr Catlin called Mr Brand to meet up and they decided the time was right. “I called up Stuart Britton and said, you’re right, I’m wrong. He said, ‘what do you want?’ I said, ‘I want ten-year money and I want a lot of it’.” The real work started in October last year, when a detailed business plan was drawn up. Mr Catlin decided to put in some calls to get his “ducks in a row”. Among those to hear of his plans were David Burt, the Premier, and Jeremy Cox, the CEO of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, who were both delighted. He also called Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England. “It’s very difficult to do something like this if you haven’t got support from on high, realistically,” Mr Catlin said. “The truth is that for UK Ltd and Bermuda Ltd, there needs to be some good news. This was a breath of fresh air for them.” The first meeting with UK regulator, the Prudential Regulation Authority, took place in early December. The rigorous preparation of Mr Catlin’s team — which included about 10,000 pages of compliance-related material — helped the process move along smoothly. Convex also got the green light from another UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority. “We got the whole thing done in 4½ months,” Mr Catlin said. “In think it’s the first time in ten years that they managed to get through it in less than a year.” Convex also received its BMA approval in principle before Christmas, he said. Some of Convex’s clients are likely to be some of Catlin’s former customers, Mr Catlin believes. “We led a lot of business in London — at Lloyd’s we led over half the business we wrote,” he said. “A lot of those people liked dealing with us over the years. They weren’t desperately happy about the transaction with XL and they were even less happy about Axa, because Axa’s not a London company. So we’ve kind of got a captive distribution and client base just by performance historically.” In an annual Lloyd’s survey, Catlin was top on claims paid for ten years, Mr Catlin said. “Part of our pitch was we may not have the cheapest price in the world, but if you’ve got a fair claim, we pay it and pay it quickly. It took us about 20 years to build that reputation.” In a statement, Mr Brand said: “Convex is designed for the evolving insurance industry, and combines years of experience, knowledge and history in this market. Stephen and I see a great opportunity; there is demand for an insurer to bring a refreshed and enhanced offering to market, one that puts fairness and honesty at the centre of its singularly client focused proposition. Convex will challenge the status quo to create value across the chain and provide a differentiated service in a personal way.”

paragraphA father-and-daughter disabled team crashed out of the triathlon at the weekend, but said they would still not have missed the experience. Stephan Couture broke a rib while his 13-year-old daughter Chloe, who has cerebral palsy, suffered minor injuries when their Team Ladybugs bike and wheelchair combination went out of control after a puncture. However, Mr Couture said: “We would just like to say a big thank you to everybody in Bermuda; it’s been an amazing experience. Everywhere we have been people have asked us questions ... it’s been an absolutely amazing adventure for us. I’m so glad we came. The island is so welcoming.” Mr Couture and Chloe travelled 3,500 miles from their home in Warwickshire, England, to compete in the event. Unfortunately, the special competition wheelchair and bike, which cost $18,000, will have to be written off. Mr Couture explained: “I got a puncture and the bike went from under me and sadly, once I lost the bike, the bike went one way and the chair turned the other way. For the injuries we have compared to the damage that has been done, it’s quite remarkable how we haven’t got more injuries.” Mr Couture added that courageous Chloe was undeterred by the accident and wanted to continue the race. “She said, ‘Dad, Dad, race. Dada go’,” he said. He added that Chloe had bounced back from the accident and danced at the triathlon party on Saturday night. Mr Couture said that, despite the accident on Park Road in Hamilton, the team had met one of its objectives. “We are trying to raise awareness for other disabled people to participate. We would love more people with disabilities, slight or severe, to be given a chance. Participation with able-bodied athletes is fantastic. It helps disabled people. It can help with anxiety, depression.” Mr Couture and his wife, Diane, who have both worked with disabled people, adopted Chloe when she was 5 after they read about her in a church bulletin. Mr Couture said Team Ladybugs had received a lot of support in Bermuda, particularly from people with disabled relatives. He added: “It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that you have done something that changes someone’s life.” It was the first major accident for Team Ladybugs, which has competed for nine years. Mr Couture said that Chloe already missed the wheelchair — named DD1 for Daddy Daughter 1 — and had asked where it was.  “It’s the only one of its kind. We would have to have another one built. That style of chair is the only one in the world that goes behind the bike.” Mr Couture thinks it will be unsafe to attempt to repair the badly-damaged wheelchair and bike. He explained: “My daughter, she is my life, for safety’s sake it’s easier to have a new chair constructed. It’s immaterial. It can be replaced. The main thing is we did not suffer any serious injuries.” He will make phone calls when he gets back to England to see what can be done to replace the combination. Mr Couture added that Team Ladybugs welcomed sponsorship or donations. "If anybody could help we would dearly love it. We would really, really appreciate it.” The team had earlier decided against travel to a triathlon in Japan next month after they were told transportation of their equipment could cost $8,000. The trip to Bermuda was sponsored by Massachusetts General Hospital, Hamilton Princess and Beach Club and British Airways. He added “We are so grateful to them all. That’s why we were here, to be able to race.” He hopes to have recovered from his injuries and get back to competition in six to eight weeks. Mr Couture also hopes to raise funds to buy a special wheelchair used for cross-country events for the use of disabled people in Bermuda.


April 29

paragraphA legal battle over Britain’s demand that Bermuda establishes a public beneficial ownership register will most likely be avoided. That is the view of Lord Tariq Ahmad, Britain’s Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories, who said the UK was pushing for public registers to become an international standard by the 2023 — the same deadline being imposed on Bermuda. In an interview with The Royal Gazette, Lord Ahmad also explained why the UK had not used its veto power to keep Bermuda off the European Union tax blacklist at a meeting of European Union finance ministers last month. He also expressed confidence the island would come off the list next month. Lord Ahmad was speaking during his one-day visit to the island on Thursday when he met with government and business leaders and other members of the community. David Cameron, the former British Prime Minister, first called on the OTs to introduce public beneficial ownership registries some six years ago. The Bermuda Government has opposed that ever since, on the grounds that if other countries are not required to do it, it would cause the island economic damage. Also, the island has maintained a beneficial ownership register for more than 70 years and has tax information exchange agreements with many countries, including Britain. Britain will issue an Order in Council in December 2020, requiring OTs to establish public registers. The Bermuda Government has argued that the order would breach the Bermuda Constitution. Lord Ahmad said Britain’s Conservative government had been opposed to taking this course of action, but was obliged to do so after Parliament passed an amendment to the Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill. “It was a clear government view that we did not want this amendment to carry,” Lord Ahmad said. “It was defeated in the House of Lords where I was navigating this Bill. Regrettably, the opposition to the Government’s position, including from the Conservative benches, meant it was clear that the numbers would not have stacked up, which was why the amendment was carried in the House of Commons.” He said the British Government had to “respect the will of Parliament” and that meant issuing the Order in Council at the end of 2020 for any OT without a public beneficial ownership register by then. “We then have defined that timeline to 2023 which will give those territories time to establish a public register,” Lord Ahmad said. Mr Cameron had first voiced the idea of an international standard for public ownership registers in 2012. Lord Ahmad said: “I’m very cognizant of the consistent position Premier [David] Burt has taken that we shall establish a public register when we have an international standard. We have set a timeline that reflects our ambition and are lobbying to get an international standard by 2023.” On Bermuda’s constitutional argument, Lord Ahmad said: “There is undoubtedly a difference between the constitutions of different OTs. The Bermuda Government’s interpretation and advice is that they themselves would have to issue this Order in Council. As I said to the Premier, we do not believe we will get to the stage where we have to get into some sort of confrontation with Bermuda over legal opinion and advice. Certainly there is precedent for both positions in terms of recent history. We will work constructively with Bermuda to get a solution that is reflective of Bermuda’s desire.” He said Britain was setting up technical working groups to help each territory to meet the deadline. “We will ensure that as we work towards that 2023 deadline, we will do so in a very inclusive way, a way which is consensual, and Premier Burt was very accepting of that. If we continue working in this way, I don’t think we’ll get to the point where we have to test issues of a constitutional point, because I think that would be unhelpful to both sides.” In March, EU finance ministers voted to add Bermuda to the bloc’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions on tax matters. Britain could have vetoed that decision, but did not. Asked why, Lord Ahmad described Britain’s traditionally cautious use of vetoes and added that the problem, related to Bermuda’s economic substance regulations, had been rapidly dealt with. “There was an anomaly which came to the fore very late in the day on the issue of intellectual property,” Lord Ahmad said. “That issue has been addressed.” He added: “Vetoes are there as a matter of last resort and they should be exercised at times when a resolution cannot be found. We regret that the resolution was not found in the first instance, but we have worked together with Bermuda to find a solution with the EU and the European Commission and I believe that’s been found. If you have the right to veto, exercise it with care and caution — that’s our view on vetoes wherever we are able to exercise them in the international community.” Lord Ahmad is the minister responsible for the United Nations and said Britain had not used its veto as one of the five permanent members of UN Security Council in decades. The last time that happened was in 1989. Britain had reached out to help its territories legislate for economic substance requirements, lending the diplomatic resources of the Foreign Office and the technical assistance from the UK Treasury “to ensure we could get all the territories in the right place”, Lord Ahmad said. So is he confident Bermuda will come off the list at the next meeting of EU finance ministers in May? “The issue that was identified by the commission has been addressed by Bermuda so I can see no reason why they would remain on the list,” he said. The island is frequently labelled as a “tax haven” around the world. Combating that perception requires a collective effort, from public and private sectors, Lord Ahmad said. “It’s very easy to label things,” he said. “Sometimes when you don’t want to delve into the detail, that’s an easy thing to do. That’s what’s happened with the Overseas Territories. We need to move away from the narrative that is not a picture of the reality.” He saw Bermuda having “a crucial role to play in terms of its business opportunities and offerings to the world” as well as a “member of the British family. Yes, there are some in the UK and Europe who need some insight and basic education on what our OTs represent,” Lord Ahmad said. “And the best people to sell that concept are the people themselves. It’s not the responsibility of the Bermuda Government alone; it’s also the responsibility of the businesses that define Bermuda today. I, as the minister responsible for the OTs, am seeking to do my bit in ensuring that we communicate and convey the correct nature of how our OTs, including Bermuda, operate and the fact they are seeking to build open, progressive economies and are committed to seeking new opportunities.” Reflecting on the modern relationship between Britain and its OTs, Lord Ahmad said it was “based on partnership”. He added: “This is not about us telling them what needs to be done. It’s about having practical and pragmatic working relationships, recognizing the needs and what can be delivered in each territory. There are times when we disagree, but when we do, we do it in a very respectful manner.” The OTs are “part of global Britain in 2019” and “bring incredible diversity in terms of people, resources, industries, perspectives — and that’s something that we in the UK value greatly,” the minister added. With Britain due to leave the EU, some in Bermuda are concerned that the island will lose its voice at the EU table and that the Brexit agreement will fail to regard the island’s interests. “Brexit will change the way Britain is defined within the European context,” Lord Ahmad said. “We still will have strong and important relationships with our European partners. When I say that, that includes our OTs. We have represented the interests of the OTs in terms of their access to EU markets. Whatever relationship and final agreement we have with the European Union, it will reflect the priorities that have been identified with the OTs.”

paragraphCraig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition, said the protection of Bermuda’s children had been discussed with Lord Ahmad. The British Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories met with Mr Cannonier and other members of the One Bermuda Alliance during his visit to the island last week. Mr Cannonier said: “Lord Ahmad spoke to the issues of the Children Act and made it very clear that Bermuda needs to have a plan in place that is comprehensive and which speaks to the vulnerability of children. “He was very aware that vulnerable children in our court system were not receiving the support and guidance from litigation guardians despite the Children Act mandating this protection. He brought up that it was a human rights issue. We echoed his sentiment and I presume he also raised this issue with the Premier.” Mr Cannonier said the OBA was concerned that the proposed amendment to the Children Act would reduce protection for children. He said that he and Scott Pearman, the OBA’s spokesman on legal affairs, had also met the Attorney-General to discuss the issue earlier this week. Mr Cannonier added: “I am confident that there is a shared concern with the AG that we must protect the rights of our vulnerable children.” The issue of Bermuda’s blacklisting was also discussed at the meeting with Lord Ahmad, Mr Cannonier said. He added: “Based on Lord Ahmad’s sentiments, it is very much hoped that Bermuda will come off the blacklist next month. Lord Ahmad recognizes Bermuda as a well-regulated and managed jurisdiction and said the blacklisting was unfortunate.” Mr Cannonier said the accessibility to registers of beneficial ownership was also discussed and that Bermuda, which has had a list since the 1940s, was ahead of the UK and the EU. Lord Ahmad also met David Burt, the Premier, and other officials during his visit to Bermuda last Thursday.

paragraphThe number of home healthcare providers has soared, resulting in an increase in abuse of the system, including scams such as time sheets submitted for patients who have died. Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, revealed the figures last week but said that the incidence of abuse was “low”. She added: “We are looking at further regulations down the line — there is some abuse happening.” Home-care benefits were introduced in 2015 against a backdrop of soaring healthcare costs and rest homes packed to capacity. Seniors in the old continuing care unit at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital were costing the system nearly $14,000 per patient each month. Ms Wilson told The Royal Gazette: “The ethos behind it was to help encourage people to age well at home, and not in the hospital or long-term care facilities. There is a shortage of places and it is expensive for the family.” The minister said that there had been an “exponential” increase in registered carers over the past four years. “It was not anticipated that it would grow quite as fast as it did. It was clear that it was very necessary, but the level of demand generated was much greater than was expected.” Ms Wilson’s remarks came after a town hall meeting on April 15 at Alaska Hall, the Progressive Labour Party headquarters, where she faced questions from carers hoping for an increase in rates. A single mother told her the $15 rate was “crazy”. She added: “I don’t know how I am going to survive.” She also told the meeting that Bermudians were losing out to foreign workers who were “seen as cheap foreign labour”. The minister said last week: “There is a perception that it is employment. But it is not a job — it’s part of the benefit of that particular individual that’s on the Health Insurance Plan or FutureCare.” Ms Wilson said “abuses” had crept in, but that people going on to the programme were being assessed, and that re-registration and greater oversight would cut down on misuse or errors. The ADS register of personal home-care benefit registrants has four categories, with the most basic — personal caregiver — receiving $15 an hour, up to 40 hours a week. Skilled caregivers, able to assist with dementia patients and help with personal care, get $25 an hour to a maximum of 14 hours a week. Registered nurses are eligible for $75 an hour, capped at 12 visits annually. Daycare programme carers, who assist with social activities and recreation, receive $25 per half day or $50 per day, up to $200 a week. Ministry figures up to April 24 show the steep climb in numbers for the first two categories, with the number of new registrants rising virtually every year. There were two personal caregivers registered in 2015, which soared to 299 by this year, with 2018 showing the steepest increase — a jump of 147 new applicants. For skilled caregivers, the nine registered in 2015 has risen to 272 this year. There are 15 registered nurses, as well as 15 home-care agencies, and 20 carers registered for the adult daycare programme. Ms Wilson said it was “an expensive programme to maintain” for those paying the premiums, and emphasised that insurance, not the Government, was footing the bill. But she added: “People are getting cared for that in the past might not have been, and could have ended up in the hospital as a result.” Patients receiving the benefit are assessed first for eligibility, then for the level of care required. She said misuse included examples of time sheets filed that showed suspect hours spent with patients. “You may see a situation where someone has knocked off at 8.30pm in one parish and then started at 8.30pm with another patient all the way down the country. There have also been situations where the recipient of the care has actually passed away.” Ms Wilson said oversight had proved “challenging”, but that “cases are isolated — there is no view that it’s rampant”. She added: “When persons are reassessed, that is when things can get disclosed.” The register of carers is maintained by ADS, and Ms Wilson said there were moves to make it “more readily available for people to search”. She said: “Eligibility criteria are also being reviewed to make sure that the funding available goes to persons most in need. We will be doing that during this fiscal year.”

paragraphThe island’s regulator for electricity and electronic communications has extended its call for feedback on new communications licences for one week. The Regulatory Authority consultation period for communication operating licences, as well as integrated communication operating licences, was set to expire today. The deadline has been pushed forward to midnight next Friday, after requests from interested parties, the RA announced. A moratorium on the licences was called off earlier this month by Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, to broaden the island’s telecommunications sector. The authority will pass on policy recommendations to the minister after feedback has been compiled. 

paragraphLocals and visitors turned out in force to make sure MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda 2019 was a great experience, even if the crowds may have fallen short of last year. Several spectators commented that it was a much larger turnout last year as Bermudians lined the streets to watch local hero Flora Duffy win in style. But it was still an amazing event despite Duffy’s absence from the main competition because of a foot injury. Among the spectators on Saturday cheering on the men and women in the elite races was Michelle Robinson, from Warwick. Ms Robinson said her day was “phenomenal” after she missed last year’s event. She said: “My children participated in the duathlon and they loved it, so I brought them back to see the full triathlon. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience Although Duffy was not participating in the main event, it was really interesting. I am happy that Bermuda got to host it. I have been here all day and I really enjoy it. I’m just happy to be a spectator at an international event.” Ms Robinson hoped Bermuda would carry on hosting international events. She said she had learnt about cycling, which also caught her daughter’s attention after their triathlon experience. Ms Robinson said: “It has really given her an interest that she would never have if the event was not held in Bermuda.” Century Robinson, 10, a student at Purvis Primary, also enjoyed the WTS Bermuda buzz. “It was fun and I went out and did my best. I felt nervous, but excited at the same time,” Century, a member of the Bermuda Pacers athletics club, said. She added: “I would love to do it again next year. It was a fun experience this year.” She said she also enjoyed seeing the adults in action. Another local, Dawn, said she chose not to work on Saturday in order to attend WTS Bermuda. She said: “I am super excited; the whole atmosphere, I just love it. I love the competition.” She added: “I’m sorry we didn’t get to see Flora, but it is what it is. We get to show off Bermuda.” Visitors also took advantage of WTS Bermuda — even tourists who had not planned on catching the races. Alicia Bowers, on holiday from Canada, told The Royal Gazette: “I love it. It’s my first triathlon. It just happens that we are here when the triathlon is on. It’s great.” Wilson McTaggart and his wife, Julia, visiting from Scotland, said they had booked their trip to the island with the triathlon in mind. Mr McTaggart said: “It’s great. It’s the first time I have been to Bermuda.” Mrs McTaggart added: “We chose to vacation during the triathlon so we could enjoy it while enjoying the island. Interacting with Bermudians has given us an amazing experience. The local people are really friendly here,” Mrs McTaggart said. Andrew Dunstan, a Canadian living in Bermuda, said that after experiencing part of the women’s event last year, he wanted to attend this year’s event. Mr Dunstan said: “I saw a little of the women’s race last year. I thought it was very interesting and great to watch.” Mr Dunstan, a former triathlon athlete, said the experience in Bermuda was great compared with other countries. “It is very friendly hospitality,” he said. Others found it a great day for family fun, despite a little rain. Karen Lendy said: “It’s very, very good; they need to have it every year. It’s a good place to bring the children.” Dorian Coninx, of France, won the Elite Men’s race in 1hr 50min 35sec, while Katie Zaferes, of the United States, won the women’s race in 1:59:42.

paragraphJamaica’s iconic Half Moon Hotel will pay tribute to Bermudian musician Lance Hayward by naming its new oceanfront bar and grill “Hayward’s”. Sylvia Hayward, Mr Hayward’s daughter, was delighted by the news. She said: “I immediately began to cry. I was really touched because the Half Moon Hotel has always had a lot of respect for my father and his music. He loved Jamaica. When I was 9, my first trip off the island was to go with my mom and spend some time there. He had many, many friends there. He liked Jamaica a great deal and was always very appreciative of the fact that he was able to get steady work there.” Ms Hayward said her father, a blind pianist, turned to Jamaica for work because of the difficulty making ends meet as a musician in Bermuda. She said: “In the off season in Bermuda there was no work for him. He had a family to support. Frankly, if he did not have his musicianship, he would have been lost in Bermuda as a blind man.” Mr Hayward began to work at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay in the late Fifties as part of a quartet. In 1959, he met Chris Blackwell, the son of a prominent white Jamaican family and a water-skiing instructor at the same hotel. Mr Blackwell fell in love with the music. Mr Blackwell launched Island Records and released its debut album, Lance Hayward at the Half Moon, the same year. The label later grew to international significance with the worldwide success of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Mr Hayward established himself as a household name among American jazz aficionados and drew standing room only audiences to his performances for decades. He died in 1991, but Ms Hayward said that her father was still remembered fondly in both Jamaica and New York, where he was a regular performer at the Village Corner. She added: “Bermuda doesn’t seem to have quite the same attachment to my dad as they do in New York and Jamaica. For years after dad died, they still had this huge portrait of him hanging over the piano at the Village Corner. In Bermuda, there was a mural of my father with Bob Marley on Jamaican Grill, but they cut a big hole in his face for the jerk chicken.” Ms Hayward said “Hayward’s” was expected to open to customers in November, and she hoped to have a contingent of Bermudians there to celebrate the occasion. She invited anyone interested in taking part to contact her on sihaya911@gmail.com. Ms Hayward added: “Maybe this is the time when we finally begin to connect with and honour our heritage.”

paragraphA team from Somersfield Academy has triumphed in an interschool maths competition. The six-strong squad from the Devonshire school beat Saltus Grammar School into second place. Mount St Agnes Academy and Warwick Academy came joint third, with Bermuda High School in fourth place. Richard Cunningham, a maths teacher at Somersfield, which hosted the event, said it was “a fun event enjoyed by everyone”. The Canadian Team Mathematics Contest, organised with help from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, was held on Wednesday. Teams of six from grades M1 to M5 battled through 2½ hours for the individual, team and relay challenges in categories including algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. Somersfield’s team, captained by M5 pupil Kate Tobin, included M4 students Aisling Homan, Gregg Mwangi and Thibaut Stefani, with Bella Crofts from M3 and Odin Heinz from M2.


April 28, Sunday

paragraphBermuda is soon to host an international parliamentary seminar intended to help lawmakers broaden their understanding of the legislative process. Dennis Lister, Speaker of the House, announced that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association had been invited to Bermuda for the seminar, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday. Along with local parliamentarians and senators, attendees will include Angelo Farrugia, Speaker of the Malta House of Representatives, Shirley Osborne, Speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly, Jacqui Sampson-Meiguel, clerk of the Trinidad and Tobago House of Parliament and Paul Belisle, former clerk of the Canadian Senate. CPA members traveling to Bermuda from the UK will include the CPA secretary-general, Akbar Khan. Mr Lister said: “This seminar and training programme will provide opportunities for Members of Parliament and Senators to learn more and deepen their understanding of parliamentary processes. When I took on the role of Speaker, one of my objectives was to ensure ongoing training was established for Bermuda’s parliamentarians. This training is one of several that has taken place over the last two years.” He added that the seminar will include sessions on the separation of powers and proper practice and procedure in the House.

paragraphCurtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, is leading a delegation of government, regulatory and industry leaders at the Risk and Insurance Management Society annual conference and exhibition in Boston, which got under way today. David Burt, the Premier, is expected to join the delegation on Tuesday. The event attracts 10,000 risk-management professionals, legal, compliance and finance directors, along with other senior executives from over 70 countries across a wide range of sectors. The Bermuda Business Development Agency co-ordinates the island’s presence at Rims, including meetings around the conference with civic and business leaders, a Bermuda networking reception, media interviews, and a trade-floor booth, all highlighting the island’s leading global insurance market. Mr Dickinson said: “Bermuda’s re/insurance market has a unique legacy that has long been recognized for its innovative solutions and significant contributions to communities around the world. This annual event is a platform to showcase everything Bermuda has to offer — from world-class industry expertise to innovative products to top-tier regulation. We look forward to promoting Bermuda’s well-established relationships, and making new ones.” Joining the Government at Rims will be representatives of Bermuda’s insurance industry, the BDA, and the Bermuda Monetary Authority, including Paul Scope, chairman of the BDA and Willis Bermuda, Andy Burrows, chief executive officer of the BDA, Jeremy Cox, BMA executive chairman, and John Huff, CEO of the Association of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers. Mr Burrows said: “Bermuda has been a high-profile participant at Rims for several decades, and we’re proud to represent the island and our insurance industry once again. Rims gives Bermuda’s leading market an excellent platform to showcase our companies, our pool of expertise, and our jurisdiction to relevant audiences — and Boston offers us additional opportunities to connect with corporate decision-makers in other industries as well.”

paragraphThe Government is to host a series of public meetings on the creation of a living wage or a minimum wage in Bermuda. The first of the meetings, organised by the Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, will be held at the St George’s Cricket Club on Thursday, with further meetings to be held in Hamilton and Somerset. The meetings come after Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, announced a plan to create a wage commission to talk with stakeholders about a living wage or minimum wage. A ministry spokeswoman said: “The aim is to provide more information and discussion on the topic. Legislation is currently in the works to enable the creation of the commission so that their work can begin. The commission will be responsible for conducting research, consulting and providing a report to the minister on their work which will include recommendations for the establishment of a living/minimum wage.” Panellists for the meetings will include Rolfe Commissioning, the government MP and chairman of the Joint Select Committee on the establishment of a living/minimum wage regime, Nathan Kowalski, chief financial officer at Anchor Investment Management, Cordell Riley, statistician, Philip Perinchief, lawyer, and Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union. The meetings will be held at St George’s Cricket Club on Thursday, St Paul African Methodist Episcopal Centennial Hall on May 9 and Somerset Cricket Club on May 16. All of the meetings will begin at 6.30pm.

paragraphAS Cooper & Sons is to close the second-floor retail space at its main store on Front Street. It will continue to operate the ground floor, where it sells cosmetics, jewellery and home items, and also the Reid Street level third floor, which features the women’s designer clothing department. The department store has decided to close the second floor, which is focused on children’s clothing, and is holding a sale this week, ending on May 5, to clear its remaining stock. “For the last few years, the second floor of our main store business on Front Street has housed our children’s wear, juniors and Missy ladies departments,” said Somers Cooper, managing director of AS Cooper. “While late last year we had planned to exit the juniors and Missy business, we wanted to continue with our children’s business, but unfortunately have not been able to find a suitable smaller location to relocate.” Three staff affected by the change will be relocated to different areas of the AS Cooper & Sons business. It is three years since the children’s department moved into the main store. It was previously in its own dedicated shop, opposite the Hamilton ferry terminal, before that location became a Vineyard Vines clothing outlet. Starting tomorrow and ending on Sunday, AS Cooper is holding a “Bye for now” sale on the second floor of its Front Street store that will feature savings of up to 75 per cent. What will happen to the second floor once it is vacated is not yet known, although one suggestion is that it could be repurposed as small offices. Mr Cooper said: “The landlord is open to overtures to lease part or all of the 7,500 square foot space for retail or offices. The space includes the Front Street balcony and a wonderful view of Hamilton Harbour.”


April 27

paragraphResearchers are checking if a rare variant of sargassum seaweed that has invaded Caribbean coastlines could make its way to Bermuda. Robbie Smith, the curator of the Natural History Museum at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, is working on a study with Dr Kerry Whittaker, the chief scientist aboard the Sea Education Association’s research ship Corwith Cramer. A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said that the variant had plagued beaches in the Caribbean for the past three years. Earlier work by Dr Smith found that the sargassum natans variant had been found in Bermuda occasionally but did not seem to thrive in the cooler waters around the island. The news came after large amounts of sargassum seaweed appeared on Horseshoe Bay and other beaches over the last week. But Dr Smith said it was not unusual and that healthy quantities of sargassum were important for the health of the seas. He added: “Sargassum is two species of marine algae, sargassum natans and sargassum fluitans, which generally show strong growth in the spring. The plants will look a light yellow-brown in colour and become more golden as they age through the summer. The plants are responding to longer day lengths and warmer water temperatures and grow quickly. But the amount of sargassum we see around Bermuda is really controlled by ocean currents and prevailing winds. In the winter months much sargassum is pushed from the north towards us and the prolonged southeasterly winds this past week seem to have brought sargassum up from the south. While sargassum tends to be more abundant around Bermuda in the fall and winter months, it’s not unusual to see large quantities stranding on our beaches at any time of the year.” Sargassum is crucial to many sea species, such as sea turtles, flying fish and mahi mahi. Accumulations of the seaweed also host about 100 species which live inside it. A parks spokeswoman said: “While the Department of Parks does what it can to clean our beaches of the substance, parks crews are limited in their cleanup efforts. At present, park crews are raking Horseshoe Bay Beach in the mornings on a daily basis and usually bury the excess seaweed at the back of the beach and dunes. This process assists with stabilization of these areas in the event of a storm or hurricane. To aid in clearing the beach, the department is exploring other options, such as trucking the sargassum away from the beach.” There have also been reports of Portuguese man o’ war tangled up in the seaweed. Dr Smith said people should be cautious and avoid contact with the venomous creatures, including their tentacles, which can extend up to six feet and give a dangerous sting. The Department of Parks said that lifeguards were expected to be on duty at Horseshoe Bay Beach from Wednesday.

paragraphWestgate prison was on lockdown yesterday after three officers, one of them a woman, were attacked by inmates, it was revealed last night. Prison officers locked inmates in their cells and took away visiting and recreation privileges after their colleagues were attacked yesterday morning. Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said: “The inmates involved in this incident have been put in segregation.” Mr Caines said one officer suffered minor facial injuries and had since returned to work. Another officer sustained a back injury and the third injured a knee. Both were treated at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital “as a precautionary measure”. Mr Caines said he was unable to say if a weapon was used in the attacks or how many prisoners were involved in the disturbance. He added that an investigation into the incident had been launched. Mr Caines said that extra security measures would be imposed at the prison if needed. He added: “This matter is under control. We have a contingency plan if things escalate. We do not believe they will escalate.” Mr Caines added that the safety and security of prison staff was a priority for his ministry. He said: “We believe that the protection of all of our officers in all of our facilities is paramount.” Mr Caines added: “We want to make sure that the officers involved in this are not only getting the support through treatment this afternoon, but making sure they are getting the necessary psychological help that they need directly after.” He admitted that the ageing Westgate facility had problems but that options were limited by budget constraints. He said: “We value our correctional officers. We understand that they work generally in a stressful environment. We will do whatever is necessary to make sure that they are safe and that the facilities they work in are put in their best state.” However, he admitted that upgrades were a work in progress and would not happen “overnight”. He said the prison’s alert system and CCTV coverage had been improved. Mr Caines added: “If there are any breakdowns in any of the security elements, we will look at it and it will remain our priority to make sure that our officers are covered and that their safety is paramount.” He said that he had met the Prison Officers Association six times and heard their concerns and that a plan was to be implemented to address them. Mr Caines added that acting Commissioner of Corrections Keeva-Mae Joell-Benjamin had drawn up a plan to tackle problems with the ageing buildings, security and how to deal with prisoners with mental health difficulties. He said national security officials were in talks with the Ministry of Health and the Bermuda Hospitals Board to try and set up a forensic mental health unit. Prison officers met last night after the attacks and the acting commissioner is expected to meet the Prison Officers Association on Monday. Officers from the prison system are also expected to hold a meeting next Friday, which was scheduled before yesterday’s attacks.

paragraphAn American man was fined $2,000 after admitting to drug importation yesterday. Daniel Dias De Faria, 26, pleaded guilty to bringing 37.45 grams of marijuana into Bermuda. Magistrates’ Court heard that the Paterson, New Jersey resident was a passenger aboard the Norwegian Jade berthed in Dockyard. Customs officers were on board the ship yesterday afternoon when they were alerted by ship security to a smell coming from one of the cabins. A suitcase containing a plastic bag of plantlike material was discovered under a bed inside the cabin. Police arrested Dias De Faria on Thursday night. He told the court that he was not aware of the marijuana laws in Bermuda. Dias De Faria added: “I would just like to say I’m sorry.” Magistrate Maxanne Anderson fined Dias De Faria $2,000.

paragraphA man accused of stabbing a restaurant worker 13 times in an attempted robbery told a jury he was robbed the same night. Alex Wolffe, 20, said he was on a borrowed motorcycle in the Keith Hall Road area of Warwick when he was confronted by two men, one wielding a knife. He told the Supreme Court: “One of the guys reached to my left and the other pressed a knife towards me. I pushed the bike away towards the guy on the right. I pushed towards him to get away and I ran through someone’s yard.” Mr Wolffe said he ran to a friend’s house nearby and when he was unable to wake him started to walk to the home of the friend who had lent him the bike. He added that he found the bike abandoned on its side with the keys still in the ignition when he took a short cut through a golf course. He said: “I looked around. I figured they had gone down on the bike after they took it for some time.” Mr Wolffe, from Southampton, denies charges of wounding Borislav Angelov outside his Paget home, attempted robbery and two counts of intimidation. All of the offences are alleged to have happened in the early hours of October 23 last year. The court earlier heard that two men on a motorbike — one in a helmet and another with his face covered — had chased another motorcyclist along Harbour Road just before the attack on Mr Angelov. When the rider sped away, the men chased Mr Angelov to his home where the bartender was stabbed as he tried to fight off the attackers. Mr Wolffe told the court he was at home watching television and listening to music with friends on the night Mr Angelov was stabbed. He said they were joined at some point by another friend — referred to in court as Niko — who Mr Wolffe said owed him $100. Mr Wolffe added Niko offered to get the money and the defendant joined him. He said: “Niko was on a bike. I’m not sure whose bike. I hadn’t seen it before.” Mr Wolffe got on the back of the bike and they rode to Niko’s home and the man left Mr Wolffe there while he went to a cash machine. He said Niko later returned without the money, but they hung out for a while and smoked cannabis in a shed near the house. Mr Wolffe asked Niko if he could borrow the bike to get more cannabis and the man had agreed. He said Niko went to visit a friend in the Khyber Pass area of Warwick before going to see someone who lived on Keith Hall Road. Mr Wolffe added he saw two men on Keith Hall Road — one with a helmet and another with a ski mask covering his face. He said: “As I was approaching them, they turned around to me and I thought I was going to get egged. I had been egged a lot in the past month while riding. I was thinking if I should turn around or try to go past them. When I got closer it was too late. They were right in front of me.” Mr Wolffe said after he shoved the bike at the attackers and ran, he realised his finger was cut. He said: “I figured it happened when the knife was thrust at me.” Mr Wolffe told the court that after he found the bike, he brought it back to Niko’s house and woke him to explain what had happened. He said: “As soon as he got out there he noticed the muffler guard was messed up. He started sighing. I tried to explain to him what happened and he kept holding his hand to his head and saying he didn’t want to hear it.” Mr Wolffe added that Niko gave him a ride home and he went to bed. The next day he received a message from Niko to ask what he had done. He said Niko later confronted Mr Wolffe at a party. Mr Wolffe said: “Niko told me that the police had been looking for him, something to do with the stabbing. I started telling him what happened and he told me that I needed to clear his name.” Mr Wolffe told the court that they agreed to turn themselves in to police the next day. But he said he did not wake up until late afternoon — after Niko had been arrested. He added he was told later that day that his bedroom in his mother’s home had been searched by police. He turned himself in the next day after his mother picked him up and took him to a lawyer’s office. Mr Wolffe insisted that he had not been on Harbour Road on October 23 and that he had not given anyone permission to use the bike he had borrowed. The trial continues.

paragraphThe 2018 World Triathlon Series was an economic win for Bermuda, a tourism review has revealed. According to the Bermuda Tourism Authority year-in-review report, a PWC study revealed that the event generated $4.4 million, a 152 per cent economic return on the $2.9 million investment by the Bermuda Government. Media coverage of the event netted an estimated 1.1 million viewers, generating $17.8 million in estimated advertising equivalent. In all 890 individuals travelled to the island for the event, 304 of them to participate. Among the major accomplishments highlighted in the review was the National Tourism Plan. Paul Telford, BTA board chairman described the 2018 industry performance as a “Victory”. In his chairman’s letter Mr Telford said: “The National Tourism Plan was rolled out during our annual tourism summit in October and work began instantly to execute with a series of town-hall meetings and working groups. As we head into 2019, we have a road map for success to 2025.” The National Tourism Plan, expected to create a balanced and growing tourism industry through to 2025, was formulated through consultation with members of the public. In addition to completing the plan, the report also highlighted major accomplishments in cruise ship arrivals outside the summer months last year. Cruise passenger arrivals outside of the summer months increased by 34 per cent as part of the BTA’s strategy to create a year-round travel industry that keeps tourism workers and entrepreneurs earning money every month of the year. The review also highlighted that Bermuda won the Conde Nast Traveler influential readers’ poll last year, finishing as the #1 island in the Caribbean and Atlantic Region, while simultaneously being celebrated in a spectacular photo on the cover of Conde Nast Traveler’s November issue. Bermuda also became the first island destination to have its entire jurisdiction on the Google Street view platform last year. The two-year project to have the country on the Google platform was completed with the upload of hundreds of photos, video and 360 images. The BTA revealed earlier this year that Bermuda had a record number of visitors to the island in 2018 with 770,683 visitors up by 84,775 people or 11 per cent on 2017. The year-in-review report indicated that of that number, there were 203,697 leisure air arrivals, exceeding the 2017 number by more than 21,000, and it was the highest the country has seen since 2002. 

paragraphThe island’s premier Catholic church will tomorrow hold a special service to commemorate the victims of a string of bomb attacks in Sri Lanka. The service will be held at St Theresa’s Cathedral in Hamilton in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks which targeted three churches, two of them Catholic, and hotels. At least 253 people were killed in the blasts in the country’s capital Colombo and elsewhere and many more were injured. Wieslaw Spiewak, the Bishop of Hamilton in Bermuda, said Sri Lankans resident on the island, many of whom are Catholic, wanted a special service to honour the victims of the attacks. Bishop Spiewak added: “We have a good number of Sri Lankan people in Bermuda who are Catholic. This was their initiative because they wanted to express their nearness to their people and their families. I said we would be happy to have a Mass and we also want other Sri Lankan people who are not Catholic to come as well.” The majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhist, but more than seven per cent of the population is Christian, mainly Catholic. Bishop Spiewak said it was hard to estimate how many Sri Lankans there were on the island, but there were “at least 100 and probably more. Sri Lankans are here and we, as the Catholic people of Bermuda, want to show our respect and compassion.” John Rankin, the Governor, is expected to speak at the service, which will be held at the Cedar Avenue cathedral at 6pm tomorrow. Canon Norman Lynas of the Anglican Cathedral will also attend the service. Bishop Spiewak said the service would feature readings in Sinhalese, the main language in Sri Lanka, as well as traditional music. He added that many Sri Lankans will also wear traditional dress to the Mass. Responsibility for the attacks was claimed by an offshoot of terrorist group Islamic State.

paragraphA top figure from the Church of Scotland is in Bermuda to help a church celebrate its 300th anniversary. The Right Reverend Susan Brown, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will preach at Christ Church in Warwick tomorrow as part of a weeklong series of events to mark the occasion. The Reverend Alistair Bennett, minister at Christ Church, said: “At the time of the church’s origin, Bermuda was Anglican. There were those who didn’t want to follow the Anglican style of worship and so land was granted for the building of the Presbyterian church. We don’t know the exact date of the anniversary but we know it was April and traditionally they have tended to mark it towards the end of April. As part of the celebrations, Ms Brown, who is minister for Dornoch Cathedral in Sutherland, Scotland when she is not moderator, will be preaching on Sunday to our invited guests, members of the congregation and others who will simply come along because of their association with the church over the years, like those who have been married here.” John Rankin, the Governor, David Burt, the Premier, Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition and US Consul General Constance Dierman are also expected to attend the service. Mr Bennett said: “We would very much like those who have a connection to Christ Church to join us.” The church, although now part of the Church of Scotland, was founded in 1719 by English Puritans who moved to Bermuda in the 17th century. Major rebuilding work took place in 1837 and 1858, but the original walls remain on the north side of the building. The church held a celebration dinner and dance at Fourways Inn in Paget last night and next week an updated history of the church, written by church member Douglas Dalrymple, will be published. Ms Brown spoke about some of the highlights of her year-long term as moderator with church members on Wednesday, and on Thursday the church held an afternoon tea for seniors. Mr Rankin held a reception on Tuesday at Government House for church leaders on the island to meet Ms Brown. Mr Bennett, who has been minister at Christ Church for three years, plans to place a time capsule in the church, to be opened by the minister and congregation in 100 years’ time. He said: “I gather that a time capsule was planted 50 years ago but no one remembers where it was buried. So this time we are putting one inside of the church and we will wall it off. There will be a variety of things inside including the updated history booklet, something to do with the history of the church and a letter written by myself to the minister of 100 years time.” Christ Church’s first minister was the Reverend James Paul. The congregation became part of the Free Church of Scotland in 1843. It later became part of the United Free Church of Scotland but joined the Church of Scotland in 1929. The association with the Church of Scotland, known as the Kirk, was formalized in 2000. Christ Church became part of the Presbytery of Europe, now the International Presbytery, in 2008. Francis Patton, later ordained a minister, was a worshipper at the church and became the president of Ivy League Princeton University — the only Bermudian to have held the post. Mr Patton, who died in 1932 and has an island school named after him, is buried at the church. Mr Bennett said that the church planned to look to the future as well as celebrate its past. He added: “The policymaking body is focused on developing our work. We already have an active involvement in the community including our Loads of Love programme supporting the homeless and struggling, our support of Lorraine Rest Home, and our work with Bermuda Overseas Missions. We are geared towards making an even greater impact.”

paragraphTwenty-four teams from eight schools—including a new team from Impact Mentoring Academy—met at the National Sports Centre for the 2019 Marine Advanced Technology in Education (MATE) Bermuda Regional Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Challenge. The program, hosted by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), is part of the organization’s Mid-Atlantic Robotics IN Education (MARINE) program. This year’s event was made possible with donor support from HSBC, who has partnered with BIOS in support of these two programs for the past five years, and the XL Foundation. Jacki Dodds, Head of Regulatory Compliance for HSBC, and HSBC spokesperson for the BIOS partnership, shared, “We are pleased to have supported BIOS for the fifth year of this robotics competition. The school teams demonstrated that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects can be fun, and that through teamwork and collaboration, common goals can be achieved. Although Bermuda is a small island, our efforts toward environmental protection and conservation are just as important. It is the drive and passion of these students that will not only point us in the right direction towards a more sustainable planet, but also introduce critical and innovative career paths in these fields to today’s generation to address these concerns. The ROV challenge reflects BIOS’s commitment to using underwater vehicles to understand engineering fundamentals and complex ocean processes,” said Kaitlin Noyes, Director of BIOS’s Ocean Academy. Building ROVs fosters critical thinking skills, enhances individual and group problem solving skills, and boosts technological fluency. It also supports island-wide education goals associated with STEM fields. During the competition, which lasted about four hours, teams of students sent their robots on a variety of missions centered around this year’s theme of “Ocean Zones and ROV Operations in Rivers, Lakes, and Dams.” Multiple courses were set up in the Sports Centre pool, each with pre-determined tasks for the ROVs, and their student pilots, to complete within an allotted time. Students competed at a variety of levels of difficulty, as designated by MATE and BIOS: Beginner, Scout (Intermediate), and Ranger (Advanced Intermediate). Students on the beginner teams were asked to build vehicles capable of conducting water sampling activities at depth, collecting deep-sea organisms and samples of marine debris, and assisting in the creation of bathymetric (seafloor) maps. Scout and Ranger teams were tasked with conducting routine inspections and repairs of a local dam, checking water quality parameters, restoring the health of the local waterway and fish habitat, and recovering historical artifacts from the riverbed. Teams of all levels also earned points from judges based on a marketing poster and team interviews about the design and engineering principles used in the construction of their respective ROVs. An Mei Daniels, a 15-year old Year 11 student at Warwick Academy, has participated in the MARINE ROV Challenge since 2015. “The best part of the event was watching our ROV complete the tasks and realizing that all our hard work paid off. It’s one thing to have ideas; it’s another thing to watch those ideas become reality.” Ayr Cannonier, a 13-year old M3 student at Clearwater Middle School and team member of CW ROV INC., has been a part of the school’s robotics team for three years now. He says the experience has inspired him to become a nuclear engineer and entrepreneur. “My favorite part of the challenge is driving. Before we get to the competition we do a couple of practice runs to see who is the best driver. We end up with two pilots, one for the gripper and one for the ROV.” BIOS would like to extend special thanks to La Trattoria and the Orange Bay Company for sponsoring a pizza lunch for all participants, mentors, and event volunteers. The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences is an independent U.S. not-for-profit marine research and educational organization with 501(c)(3) status and a Bermuda Registered Charity (#116). The 2019 ROV Challenge team winners are as follows:




April 26

paragraphCitizen rights such as the ability to vote are best dealt with by the Bermuda Government, a visiting politician said yesterday. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories, added that the extension of the right to vote to Britons and other UK nationals resident in Bermuda was one that the island needed to look at “very carefully”. Lord Ahmad said a Foreign Affairs Committee report that recommended the extension of the franchise in Overseas Territories had attracted “a lot of publicity and comment”. He added: “First and foremost, the FAC is not part of Her Majesty’s government. One shouldn’t be alarmist about these issues, it’s a recommendation of a committee. And like all recommendations of the committee, the UK Government looks at those recommendations and will respond accordingly. There will be an official response in due course.” Lord Ahmad, on his first visit to the island, was speaking after a meeting with David Burt, the Premier. Mr Burt said in February that Bermuda would fight a “tone deaf” recommendation made by the FAC to the House of Commons that British residents on the island should be granted the right to vote. The committee report, Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the Relationship, said: “While we recognise that the OTs are small communities with unique cultural identities, we do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally resident British Overseas Territory and UK citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office. This elevates one group of British people over another and risks undermining the ties that bind the UK and the OTs together in one global British family.” The recommendation was one of 14 made by the group, which also covered public beneficial ownership registries, same-sex marriage laws and access to treatment by the British National Health Service. Mr Burt said that he and Lord Ahmad had discussed passports, economic substance regulations, child protection and public registers of beneficial ownership. Lord Ahmad said that same-sex marriage had also been discussed and that the UK’s position was well defined. He added: “We have legislated for that within the UK. In terms of the matter here in Bermuda, I know that is something which is going through due legal process, and I think that has to be respected. The United Kingdom’s position on this is very clear, and we will continue to stress that in all our bilateral discussions as I did this morning with Premier Burt.” He dismissed the suggestion that the relationship between Britain and its Overseas Territories had broken down. He added: “There are points of difference, and it’s important that we have a discussion on those points of difference and agree a way forward.” Lord Ahmad said Britain’s relationship with its territories was “vibrant, open, but productive and progressive”. He added that the relationship that the UK had with Bermuda and the other territories was “part of what defines modern Britain today. It is valued, it is one we respect, and one of which is steeped in history. I also believe there is a very positive future and progress to be made in developing that relationship.”

paragraphThe island’s regulator for electricity and electronic communications has extended its call for feedback on new communications licences for one week. The Regulatory Authority consultation period for communication operating licences, as well as integrated communication operating licences, was set to expire today. The deadline has been pushed forward to midnight next Friday, after requests from interested parties, the RA announced. A moratorium on the licences was called off earlier this month by Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, to broaden the island’s telecommunications sector. The authority will pass on policy recommendations to the minister after feedback has been compiled.

paragraphLooking west, down Hamilton Harbour, past Hinson’s Island and into the Great Sound, the view from Mitch Blazer's corner office on a beautiful spring day was clear and bright. Bermuda’s future is somewhat cloudier — but Mr Blaser, chief transformation officer and vice-chairman, Bermuda at Liberty Mutual Insurance, is hopeful that the business community and Government can create the conditions for a period of growth that will result in sunnier days ahead. Mr Blazer's firm, and Sompo International, have been invited by the Bermuda Government to take part in a fast-track work permit pilot programme designed to tackle delays in application turnaround times. Wayne Caines, the immigration minister, told the House of Assembly that Liberty Mutual was selected because it has a “firm and deep commitment to Bermuda” with a track record of progressing Bermudians through the company and a leadership team that understood the “tapestry” of the island. Mr Caines said “key performance matrices” in each company would be considered to decide if they were suitable for the accelerated permit programme. Factors such as training and development for Bermudians and the annual revenue the firms brought to the island would be taken into account, he said. The minister said the work permit process, currently considered cumbersome, had to move towards a more “risk-based approach”. Now, the parties must determine what a fast-track process should look like. Mr Blaser said: “We’ve got to do some research and development, some fact-gathering around criteria. We talk about track record — well, how do you measure track record? We have an intention to do it — but now we have to ask ‘what is it?’. We know it’s important so we need to determine how to execute it in a way that makes sense to all stakeholders. Engaging in dialogue is a critical way of partnering, of understanding and aligning the interests of the community with the interests of the business world. We won’t hire anyone who we don’t think is a great corporate citizen as well as being hugely qualified for the job. We think of it in context of the value they bring and contribute to the business, and how they fit into the community. The question is how much does that count towards efficiency and efficacy when we are dealing with the employment aspects. There is a lot to do to understand those dynamics. What is the process? Is it doing the same thing we did 30 years ago? Or what are the pain points that can be eliminated? How can we streamline the process?” Liberty’s record of charitable contributions includes support for the Relay for Life cancer fundraiser, Scars, and Western Counties and youth cricket. “Personally, and in our corporate approach, we have a citizenship of a different kind, a social citizenship,” Mr Blaser says. “If you are going to be here, participate, add some value, and help people out. That’s your legacy.” The company’s record of progressing Bermudian staff through the ranks is a result of preparing employees to take on leadership and more technical roles, he says. “We consider Bermudianisation one of our top priorities,” Mr Blaser says. “A whole bunch of Bermudians have come through the ranks into the underwriting world. You can only do that by making sure that you open up pathways. Being more of a growth company helps create opportunities so that people don’t have to wait until someone is run over by a bus or leaves the island. We are very open to sending people overseas for training and development — and I mean for actual assignments to New York and London to spend time in real jobs, not just hanging out. The way people develop is by working together, and understanding what each other does. That’s how you go from being an underwriting assistant to a junior underwriter, by not just doing clerical tasks, but by being involved in the underwriting process and being involved in value-added tasks and work. If you are a senior underwriter, you can allow other people to do things for you if you trust them, train them and develop them. That’s what we do here. That sounds easy but it’s not because people don’t like to let go of things. You have to have openness, you have to create a culture and you have to hold people accountable for getting these things executed.” Ultimately, Mr Blaser said, business and Government must work together if Bermuda is to recover from the 2009 to 2018 exodus that saw an estimated 6,000 people leave, many of them executives. “Someone here did the figures and reckons that constituted $500 million to $600 million of economic activity,” he says. “For 10 per cent of our GDP to walk out of the door is not good for anybody. For us, it’s about building something — you have to have that growth mindset, as the island must, to make it a win-win for everybody. We want to work in partnership to make this process faster, better, smarter. Data is omnipotent. We need to understand how to leverage that to create an efficient and modern process that helps facilitate business, which supports the economy, which supports everyone who lives here.” Being on a work permit fast-track, Mr Blaser said, would be advantageous. “Time is money,” he said. “We have usually gone through a lengthy internal process to identify somebody to hire, or to agree relocation. The more senior the person, the longer that conversation takes. Then we have to go through a somewhat repetitive process to try and get the work permit. It will create a great deal of benefit if we are able to make the process more efficient.” A spokesperson for Sompo International said: “Sompo International is pleased to have been selected to be part of this programme and we look forward to being an active participant.”

paragraphBermuda-based charter jet operator Longtail Aviation has sold a majority stake to a group of investors led by aviation industry veteran Fabian Bello. Mr Bello is the chief executive officer of Journey Aviation in Boca Raton, Florida. The infusion of capital from the acquisition will help Longtail to grow and “to offer the world a viable, first-world aircraft management solution with no passenger seat or maximum weight restrictions”, the company said. “My partners and I believe our investment will propel Longtail to the next level, and make them the ‘go-to’ operator of choice for large passenger and/or cargo planes,” Mr Bello said. “We can take on anything from a Boeing 737 or Lineage 1000 to an Airbus 330 or a 747-800 cargo aircraft.” With the acquisition, Mr Bello will serve as chairman of the board of the entities that own Longtail Aviation, while longtime CEO and accountable manager Marty Amick will continue in those roles. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Longtail’s history goes back to 1999 when Mark Byrne, the former chairman of Flagstone Re and a fully licensed pilot, set up Island Aviation. In 2004, the company rebranded as Longtail Aviation and received its Bermuda air operator certificate from the Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation. Longtail remains the only holder of a Bermuda AOC, which means it is the only company with the direct authority to operate charter flights with Bermuda-registered aircraft. The company operates out of a 70,000 square-foot hangar at LF Wade International Airport. “Through this acquisition led by Mr Bello, Longtail is now positioned to accommodate any customer, anywhere in the world from their strategic Bermuda location, and establish first-world operations in areas that have traditionally been underutilized,” Longtail stated. Longtail has operated aircraft ranging in size from turboprops and light jets to Boeing Business Jets, and was the first non-US carrier to achieve the ARG/US Platinum rating, an international charter operator’s safety standard. Aircraft from many countries are registered in Bermuda. The island’s registry includes 125 private aircraft and 625 commercial aircraft, according to the Bermuda Government website. “An aircraft which is being registered in Bermuda and added to our AOC does not need to come to Bermuda for its airworthiness inspection,” Martin Amick, Longtail’s CEO, said. “We believe that this new acquisition and partnership coupled with Mr Bello’s proven track record in aircraft management and his extensive contacts and friends within the industry, will enable Longtail to achieve new levels of success, market penetration and customer service.” Longtail added that with the growing globalization of businesses and overall strength of the economy, Mr Bello has identified opportunities to help satisfy the demand for additional aircraft and routes in cargo transport, as well as private aviation. Mr Bello is founding member of Journey Aviation, one of the world’s top Gulfstream operators. The company manages and charters more than 15 aircraft in the US. Under his leadership, the company has grown since inception in January 2014 to exceed $150 million in total revenue within its first five years in business. Mr Bello’s background includes having served in positions including executive vice-president and CEO of an international division as well as CEO of other related aviation companies that operated in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Mr Bello is also known for managing the introduction of Deer Jet’s BBJ and ACJ fleet into the Middle East. For Mr Bello, his involvement in Longtail represents a personal journey that has taken him full circle. “Life is very interesting,” Bello stated. “I became known in the market while successfully operating in BBJ/ACJ world almost a decade ago. To have the opportunity to acquire an entity that I started working with and learnt from back then, is truly remarkable. It shows that if you focus and consistently do the right thing, at some point, you’ll not only be recognized, but rewarded for it.” For more information on Journey Aviation, visit journeyflight.com 

paragraphThe heroic performance of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand in the ill-fated First World War Gallipoli campaign was marked at the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s Warwick Camp yesterday. Citizens of both countries and Bermuda residents joined together for a sunrise ceremony to honour the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, the Anzacs, who took part in the unsuccessful attempt to invade Turkey, a German ally, on April 25, 1915. Lord Ahmad, the UK Minister for the Overseas Territories, was among the VIP guests at the ceremony, which also included John Rankin, the Governor, Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, US Consul General Constance Dierman and Imam Bassim Muwaakkil of Masjid Muhammad Mosque in Hamilton. Lord Ahmad told the crowd on the lawn of the Officers’ Mess: “It’s a huge privilege for me to be here in Bermuda for the first time and indeed a great honour to join you in this poignant service of remembrance. Today we stand side by side in quiet reflection in prayer just as our countries’ servicemen stood side by side at dawn on April 25.” Lord Ahmad added that George Samson, a Scottish Royal Naval Reserve sailor who won the Victoria Cross, the highest UK award for gallantry, at Gallipoli was buried in Bermuda after he died of pneumonia in 1923. Seaman Samson, who was later promoted to Petty Officer, rejoined the Merchant Navy after the war and was one of six VC winners among the crew of HMS River Clyde, a landing ship that was beached at Gallipoli. Lord Ahmad also paid tribute to the 76 Bermudian servicemen, some of whom fought at Gallipoli, who died in the First World War. He added the commemoration of the Anzac sacrifice for freedom and shared values was particularly appropriate in the wake of terrorist attacks on mosques in New Zealand in March and last weekend’s Easter Day bombing of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. Mr Caines added that the ceremony allowed people of all backgrounds and nationalities to remember those who had lost their lives “not in war, but in places of worship” as well as those who died in conflicts. He said the service represented an “enduring commitment and belief that that which binds us is much more powerful than that which divides us”. The dignitaries, who also included Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley, and representatives of New Zealand and Australia, laid wreaths at one of the RBR’s 25-pounder guns before the Last Post was sounded. Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the RBR’s Commanding Officer, said afterwards the RBR had supported Anzac Day for two years. He added: “It’s quite fitting to see the 25-pounder gun with the wreaths around it at daybreak, which is when the soldiers went into battle at Gallipoli. We are honored to be able to help remember them and others who have lost their lives, whether in war or through acts of terrorism.”

paragraphFamilies who are unable to provide basic items could be susceptible to cuckooing, a charity said. Family Centre said many families do not have the support needed, and as a result, they may be susceptible and tempted by offerings from ill-gotten means. The charity was responding to a police report of possible cuckooing happening here in Bermuda. Cuckooing is a crime in which drug dealers take over the home of a vulnerable person in order to use it as a base for drug dealing or other criminal activities. Martha Dismont, the executive director of Family Centre, said “In these difficult and challenging economic times for Bermuda residents, this is not surprising. It sets a very dangerous precedent. Ms Dismont added: “Families whose basic needs are addressed are less likely to succumb to offerings of support in this way. A protective factor for families is for them to believe, and know, that they have a means of support that is positive and accessible when they fall upon difficult times.” Ms Dismont said Family Centre was unaware of the practice of cuckooing, but urged the police to encourage and help to set up neighborhood watch groups. She added: “It is unfortunate that the public is being increasingly urged to note the behavior of those around us. This sets up a very unhealthy and fearful environment for our most vulnerable, and we would like to encourage a number of things, including increased police support to protect our most vulnerable.” Ms Dismont said family members can also help to protect their loved ones from criminals. She said families should identify times when seniors or children may be at home alone, and secure additional supports to eliminate any risk of vulnerability to criminal behavior. She added that people should be paying close attention to unfamiliar movement around their property and alert the police. Ms Dismont pointed out that cuckooing was intimidating, and that the police presence would be needed if this occurs. She added: “If possible, an increase in police presence in neighborhoods — occasionally, and randomly walking about- would help residents to feel safer and encourage residents to be more proactive in reporting suspicious behavior.” Claudette Fleming, executive director of Age Concern also believed preventing cuckooing would take a community effort. She said seniors with diminished mental capacity may not be in a position to speak out. “It is really up to the people in the community who may observe things to report them. They (seniors) may not see it as abuse because they are getting help,” she warned. She added that it may take grocers, the mail delivery person or the neighbour to recognize that something is wrong. “It will be up to the community to help,” she added. Dr Fleming said, although she was not aware of recent incidents, cuckooing was not a far-stretched idea. She recalled dealing with a similar situation years ago with an elderly woman who had someone set up in her home. Dr Fleming said: “She didn’t see anything wrong because she was getting help.” Desmond Crockwell, director of YouthVision Promotions, said he was not aware of the practice, but said communities had to work together to prevent this. Mr Crockwell said: “ I would suggest that neighbours help those who are vulnerable and targeted as I would assume it has an impact on not only the targeted house, but also the innocent neighbours.” He added that vulnerable people needed extra eyes for support. Mr Crockwell also called on those targeting the vulnerable to desist from the practice and not to put others at risk. “The innocent should not suffer for the guilty,” he said.

paragraphThe island’s motorcycle clubs joined forces yesterday to condemn dangerous and illegal driving on public roads. Shane Simmons, the president of the Bermuda Long Riders Club and Motorcycle Association, said an epidemic of risky behavior was a cause for concern and was underscored by videos of reckless behavior. He added: “We’re seeing a lot of things going on, and it’s really getting out of hand.” Mr Simmons added that motorcycle riders and drivers had become “more brazen and callous with their behaviours.  Individuals seem to be getting a kick out of the videos. It’s not boding well with anyone.” He was speaking as representatives from Bermuda’s motor sports organisations teamed up with police to ram home a safety first message. Inspector Dave Greenidge, of the Bermuda Police Service, said that the event was held in response to several incidents of illegal motorcycle riding that had been video recorded and shared via social media. He warned that the police had a duty to enforce the rules. Mr Greenidge added: “We are not going to tolerate this level of behavior on the road. If these young men intend to run the gauntlet, then they will suffer the consequences. That is the clear message coming from the Bermuda Police Service today.” Herbie Alves, a member of the Bermuda Motocross Club, said that the club did not condone several recent “unsafe and illegal” incidents that featured motocross bikes. “Not only is it dangerous for the riders, as the vehicles are not designed to be ridden on the road, but it is also a danger for the unsuspecting public.” He said that motorcycles and motor sports were an important part of Bermudian culture and that a “large part” of the public had an appreciation and respected and supported the sport. Mr Alves added: “We would like to remind everyone to respect public roads and spaces where it is illegal to ride recreational motor sports vehicles. If you truly love the sport and want to show off your talent, we have the facilities available where you can pursue your passion in a safe and supportive environment. We are always looking to encourage and support our talented Bermudian riders, but it must be done in the right way.” Takara Dill, the president of the Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Club, said bike enthusiasts could take part in events at Motor Sports Park at Southside in St David’s. She added: “That facility has been purpose-built for motor enthusiasts to express themselves with their riding skills.” Ms Dill said that the safety of the public was the club’s primary concern. Dennis Lister III, the chairman of the Bermuda Road Safety Council, said that the viewpoints of the island’s riding clubs were important. He added: “These are stakeholders that feel that they have some knowledge to impart to our road users that can help them in their everyday use on our roadways.”

paragraphThe Town of St George will have to go to the polls on May 9 to elect a new mayor, it was revealed yesterday. Kenneth Bascome, a former mayor, and George Dowling III, a councillor, both put their names forward for the post on nomination day after Quinell Francis decided to step down from the top job. Mr Dowling said: “I want to continue the good work done by Ms Francis and stay the course to keep the municipality moving forward.” Mr Bascome, also a former One Bermuda Alliance MP, added: “I believe I had unfinished work from when I left when I was elected to Parliament. Since then, I don’t believe they have found any footprint to follow other than the one that Garth Rothwell and I left behind.” The election is to be held after the Senate rejected amendments to the Municipalities Act that would have turned the two corporations into quangos run by appointed members. Charles Gosling will continue as Mayor of Hamilton as his re-election was unopposed. Mr Gosling said: “I told the minister at the end of last year I was looking to retire and asked him not to do anything to motivate me otherwise. Unfortunately, their law amending the Municipalities Act ... I cannot let that lie. It’s just so, so wrong. There are a lot of faults the corporation has, we have been working on a lot of them, and I believe with a close relationship with Government, there is a lot we can do together.” Mr Gosling added he took the lack of opposition as a sign that people were happy with his leadership of the city. He said: “I will take that as a big thump on the back and see what we can do in the next period of time for Hamilton as a community and Bermuda as a whole.” The municipal residents election for Hamilton, used to fill four councillor seats, will also be uncontested as only four people put their names forward. Henry Ming, Roseann Edwards and George Scott will all continue on the city authority and newcomer Jenefer Brimmer will replace Carlton Johnson. Ms Brimmer said yesterday: “I was asked years ago to participate and I didn’t think the time was right. Now the time seems to be right. I would like to do something to help the residents and that’s why I’m running.” Business ratepayers will have to go to the polls to select four candidates from a slate of five. John Harvey, Dennis Tucker, Lawrence Scott and Nick Swan, all sitting councillors, will be joined on the ballot by Michael Branco, the chief executive of technology firm Fireminds. Philip Seaman and Andrew Roberts were uncontested for the two business ratepayers’ councillors seats in St George’s and five people were nominated for the six resident councillor roles. Elizabeth Christopher, Cyniqua Anderson and Lloyd Van Putten will all return to the corporation, joined by Andrew Smith Jr and Tania Stafford. Councillors Eakin McLaughlin, Faith Bridges and Jamie Sapford did not put their names forward for re-election. The new councillors yesterday said they looked forward to the opportunity to improve St George’s. Ms Stafford said: “I love the town. I appreciate the service that others have given in the past. Not that I have the time to give, so it seemed like the perfect thing to stand for.” Mr Roberts said: “My family have been in St George’s for generations. My grandfathers were past mayors, my uncles were past mayors. I have been involved in St George’s Rotary for a while, I am a past president, and I am very interested in the future of the town.” An extraordinary municipal election will be held to fill the remaining seat within the next two months.

paragraphA Bermudian missionary in Sri Lanka escaped death by minutes when Easter Day bombs exploded in the capital Colombo, The Royal Gazette can reveal. Delbert Pearman said a decision not to take part in a football match near the targeted Shangri La Hotel may have saved his life. He said: “Three of the blasts took place along the route I had just run. If I had stopped and played soccer, I would have gotten caught in the Shangri-La Hotel blast because we use the shadow of that hotel to keep the blistering sun off us during the game.” Mr Pearman added he had also walked past St Anthony’s Catholic Church in the city just minutes before a blast tore through the building. The former treasurer of Bermuda’s Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and wife Curdell are missionaries in Sri Lanka, where the death toll from a string of bomb attacks is thought to total more than 250 people. He said yesterday that an “eerie quiet” had taken hold in Colombo in the wake of the bombings, which terror group Islamic State claimed as their work. Mr Pearman, now president of Sri Lanka’s SDA mission, added: “Tensions are high as grief gives way to rage. Since it has been determined that the violent acts were carried out by Islamic extremists, innocent Muslims around the country are being harassed. With so much talk going on, it is difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Security is very tight because it is believed that there are still perpetrators waiting to strike again.” The Sri Lankan Government’s clampdown on social-media hampered efforts to reach the Pearman's yesterday. Mr Pearman said authorities in the country feared that the violence was “not over with yet”. Mr Pearman, who began his latest term in Sri Lanka in October, said he would not quit the country despite almost falling victim to the string of explosions after he set out jogging on Sunday morning. Mr Pearman said he was “no stranger to ethnic and religious tension”, because he had worked in “many troubled spots around the world”. The couple lived in Sri Lanka 20 years ago at the height of the country’s bitter civil war. The Pearmans also lived throughout the Middle East during the second Gulf War and in Ethiopia during domestic tensions between ethnic groups between 2005 and 2008. He said: “What was different about this one is that it came unexpectedly. In other places, one knew where the trouble spots were, but not in this case. Twenty years ago, during an uprising, people would run to church for protection, because they were considered sacred, even by the perpetrators, and there was a respect for foreigners. On Sunday, the churches and foreigners became the target.” Mr Pearman said his church had “a small following” in Sri Lanka with about 3,200 worshippers in a nation of 22 million. He added one of his office colleagues had lost seven relatives in a church blast in the coastal city of Batticaloa. He said: “The odds are in my favour — one person to 22 million. Despite the carnage, the Adventist church is still making advances, and our courage is strong.” Mr Pearman said he had written letters of condolence on behalf of the church to the Sri Lankan president and prime minister. “I invite Bermuda to pray for Sri Lanka, and the many Sri Lankan families that have residence in Bermuda. Also, let’s not forget to pray for Bermuda, and the tensions it faces.” A special memorial mass and a prayer for peace in Sri Lanka will be held at 6pm at St Theresa’s Cathedral in Hamilton on Sunday.

paragraphThe sound of the ten women hollering was remarkable. All senior citizens, they had decided to go to the Ag Show together to see what judges thought of their box garden filled with broccoli, kale, lettuce and green onions. The screams came when they spotted the blue ribbon. “When we saw the prize on our box we were ecstatic,” said Sherry Skinner. “We were like a bunch of children.” The win was particularly great as the women, who call themselves the Green Queens, only started gardening a year ago. They became involved through the Eastern Zone Community Centre, a government programme in St George’s, run by Tiffany Paynter. She put the gardening classes, which are led by Marilyn Trott, on the roster in September 2017 having seen similar projects operate successfully in the US. The women work on seven beds — each 5ft by 5ft — a butterfly garden and a banana patch. “The Eastern Zone Community Centre is one of the few local community centres with a bit of land,” Ms Paynter said. “We started with three beds then we had a donation of different plants from Tulo Valley Plant Nursery. We are flourishing.” The Green Queens range in age from 65 to 77. Most live nearby although one, Marva Bridgewater, drives in from Paget. Ms Paynter decided to include the classes because of the numerous benefits gardening offers to seniors. The women take home whatever they harvest and it is also an opportunity to get healthy food on their plates. “And they are getting fresh air and exercise,” she said. “We really are here trying to make sure that our seniors are taken care of. I think they become more youthful when they are in the gardens. That is a beautiful thing.” An added bonus was that the programme presented an opportunity for people to socialize. “You see some people stay home and just wither, but that was not my plan,” said Waverly Harvey, who signed up in October, having worked in housekeeping for many years. “With that type of work, I was on my feet all day and when I went home, it was about not being on my feet.” A friend told her about the Old Military Road centre and she signed up, eager to try something new. “It’s not something I ever thought I’d be doing. I have been involved now for just over a year and I’m loving it. It gives everyone something to do. You don’t have to stay at home and get old.” Barbara Jean Burgess made repeated attempts at gardening after she retired from BTC 15 years ago, but “everything” she touched died despite sage advice from her sister, Frances Eddy, a veteran gardener. Desperate, she joined the gardening programme and discovered the problem was not her, it was her soil. “I live in Bailey’s Bay,” Ms Burgess said. “The soil has a lot of clay in it. That’s why the area down there is called Claytown. You need to put more stuff in it to make it rich. That’s why I started the compost. The teacher says just take the top off a carrot, stick it in the ground and it will grow. Right now I have one carrot growing just from the top of a carrot. I have parsley, thyme, a pepper tree, pumpkins ...” She stayed on after her problem was sorted because the lessons were fun and she liked the other members of the group. They grow everything from bananas and lettuce to cilantro and tomatoes at the community centre. When it is time to harvest, they each get a bag to take home. The Green Queens also do art, knit, cook and go to lunch together every so often. They officially tend to their plots every Thursday between 11am and 1pm, but they are often there at 2pm doing some gardening, but mostly chatting and teasing each other. “We have become a family,” Bernette Cann said. “We have become very close from the garden. We look out for each other.” Erline Dowling lives across the street from the centre. The Green Queens would see her walk by and kept inviting her to join them. “I kept on saying I was coming,” she said. “I was at home relaxing.” In January she gave in. She jokes that the most difficult part of the programme is “getting the dirt out from under my nails afterward. I have to buy some gloves.”

paragraphA second round of awards to honour Bermuda’s women writers are to be handed out next month. Dale Butler, a former Progressive Labour Party MP, government minister and author, has organised the presentation of more Crystal Butterfly Literary Awards on May 5 after an awards ceremony earlier this month. Shaunte Simons, a lawyer and author, will be guest speaker at the ceremony, which commences at 1.30pm in the CedarBridge Academy cafeteria. Awardee Sharon Apopa’s 38-year career, from child abuse investigator to becoming the executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, has given her a unique viewpoint on the lives of women and children. Dr Apopa began writing after the death in 2009 of her twin sister, Caron Assan, who was the director of the National Drug Control department. She said: “She had a passion for women’s issues, I wanted to establish a scholarship in her name, to help young women go back to college.” Dr Apopa decided to write a book a year later and has produced a total of seven. She said she hoped the award would help her mission to inspire and motivate young people, and young women in particular. Dr Apopa added her next work would explore “living life intentionally”. The awards ceremony will be opened by island artists, with author and teacher Shangri-La Durham Thompson as patron. The event will mark the 25th anniversary of the publication of Mr Butler’s book Transitions: Voices of Bermuda Women. Joan K. Aspinall, an author and illustrator, said she had written all her life — and that The Royal Gazette Christmas story competition had launched her career in 1975. Ms Aspinall added: “My first books were created from art which I had on hand. The series of Tuppie the Cat used Bermuda scenes I created for the tourist print market. All I had to do was plop Tuppie in the design. His adventures came alive.” She has written more than a dozen books, and has a volume of stories yet to be published — along with an illustrated novel. Maxine DeSilva’s book, He Promised Me Heaven But Gave Me Hell, is an account of an abusive marriage that has sold almost 2,000 copies. She said her inspiration came from prayer. Ms DeSilva added: “I felt that my testimony would help many women. Many have travelled this road, but for some reason they would not write about it.” She said the recognition was “humbling” and was considering turning the book into a play. She added her daughter, Denise Ash, had started to turn the story into a screenplay. Meredith Ebbin is to be honored with the Triumph of the Spirit award as a veteran journalist and for her work to highlight the lives of key figures in Bermuda’s history. Ms Ebbin said: “I was the editor of The Bermudian magazine and I founded the Bermuda Biographies website. I write profiles of people who have contributed to Bermuda and I pull out bits of history that people have forgotten about.” Ms Ebbin’s next project for the online site is Charles Eaton Burch, a Bermudian who rose to prominence as a professor of literature at the prestigious Howard University in Washington. She said: “So many Bermudians have attended Howard; how come more people don’t know about him?” Ms Ebbin has also been awarded the Queen’s Certificate and Badge of Honour for services to journalism. Muriel Wade-Smith said her literary career was inspired by Bermuda Institute teachers Merle Brock Swan Williams and Beryl Manget. A keen letter writer and advocate for African education, Dr Wade-Smith turned to writing after her 25-year-old son, Ashanti Smith, died in 1998 in a crash. She wrote Let Justice Flow to describe her struggles with racism and segregation. Dr Wade-Smith said: “It is my account of the insults and indignities meted out to me as a Bermudian and as the island’s first internationally qualified curriculum co-ordinator.” She added: “Educating Bermuda’s children is my calling, my commitment and my legacy.” Conchita Ming and Lois Burgess will also be honored for their contribution to Bermuda literature.

• Tickets for the event are available in Hamilton at Island Kaddy, Music Box on Reid Street and the Leopards Club on Cedar Avenue.

paragraphA key player in the foundation of the Bermuda Folk Club has died. Howard Evans, who was 74, a musician and former long-term Bermuda resident, created the club with Annabella Fraser and Pat Griffin after a 1971 jam session at his Paget home. A past president of the folk club, he went on to record the popular song Bermuda Traffic in 1982, a humorous ballad, and remained in Bermuda with his family until 1988, when he returned to his native Scotland. He just missed, by a few months, obtaining a Bermuda Government Social Insurance pension. Tony Brannon, a longtime friend and island entertainer, said Mr Evans had come to Bermuda as an accountant for Butterfield Bank, worked in the computer department, but also left his lasting mark on the music scene. He said the father of three and his wife, Patsy, were living in Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland, at the time of his death from cancer on April 14. Mr Evans performed in groups as well as solo. He was part of Colonial Folk in the 1970s, and the Celtic session band Aff the Cuff in Scotland. Mr Brannon said the now demolished Old Colony Club in Hamilton was a hub for Bermuda’s folk performers in the 1970s. He added: “We have lost many of the original folk club crew; many were expatriates, with a few Bermudians like me. Howard was a great guy.” Chris Broadhurst, a friend and fellow performer, said he had been guided by Mr Evans as were “many fledgling singer/guitar players”, and added that Bermuda Traffic was recorded at his home with Mr Evans’s group Odds N Sodds and the song was played “countless times in the 1980s”. Mr Evans made regular trips to the island as a visitor and explored old favourites at a show in the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society three years ago. Jean Flath said Mr Evans “transformed” the folk club from a casual social event into a thriving organisation. He helped to attract the Fairport Convention here and other famous folk artists such as Tom Paxton, Ralph McTell, Stan Rogers and Peter Yarrow, adding: “What we offered was a free holiday for musicians to come and stay in one of our houses, and they came.” Ms Flath said Mr Evans was “a great raconteur” who also performed at Burns Suppers, a celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, organised by the Caledonian Society. Up to the time of his death he was a regular weekly contributor to a folk club in Carnoustie. Mr Evans’s funeral was held on Tuesday.

paragraphHundreds gathered in Hamilton last night for the opening ceremony of MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda and a special edition of Harbour Nights. Bermuda’s triathlon hero Flora Duffy performed the official countdown for the start of the competition tomorrow. Duffy, who is nursing a leg injury, told the crowd: “It’s very disappointing not be racing this weekend,.” She said, with the Tokyo Olympics next year, she could not risk doing further damage to her leg. She also announced that she intended to retire after the Grand Final of the World Triathlon Series in 2021. Triathlon fans said they were delighted that Bermuda was to host a major world event over the next few days, but were disappointed that Duffy would not race in an individual event. Geraldine Lee said: “It’s an excellent venture, especially now that the tourism season is in. I’m just disappointed about Flora’s incident.” Claira Simons added: “It’s amazing; it’s very exciting. I came last year and enjoyed the experience. It’s a good showcase for Bermuda,” . Debbie Simons said: “I think it’s a great thing for Bermuda. I’m sorry Flora can’t participate fully, but at least she is in two events. It puts us on the map in a positive way,” Duffy’s mother, Maria Duffy, was also among the crowds on Front Street. Ms Duffy, who will also take part in the event, said her daughter made the right decision not to participate in the big races. She added: “She is doing the right thing. Tokyo is next year. That is the goal.” She said with Duffy out of the main competition, people would see more of her at WTS Bermuda. It was a festive mood during the opening ceremony with entertainment from the Simons Brothers who started off the evening with entertainment. They were later joined by the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band & Corps of Drums and a Gombey troupe. Charles Gosling, Mayor of Hamilton, said Bermuda was ready to repeat putting on a good show this year after doing a great job last year. Greg Welch, the Voice of Triathlon, said he was very excited to be back in Bermuda. Mr Welch, who had commentated on the ITU’s live broadcasts for the past 18 years said: “Bermuda was one of my favourite stops on tour when I competed. Also, with the grand final being here in the next few years enables the athletes to scout the course even more and plot their race plans accordingly.” He added that this year, it will be “a completely different women’s race with the home-town hero out”. Mr Welch said: “Flora now has to refocus, get her injuries behind her and not look back. She is in the prime of her Olympic-distance career. She still starts favourite for Tokyo in my eyes, but she needs to get healthy first.” He said he expected the men’s race to be very competitive. Mr Welch said: “The Men’s race will be tight as normal and I don’t think a Norwegian breakaway will happen again as they will be watched carefully. This event will be won in the final metres of the run leg.” Duffy is expected to sign T-shirts at Gibbons today from 4pm to 5pm.

paragraphAfter two years in operation, the BruMae Caffé on Burnaby Street closed its doors today. But owners Ashly and Bruno Cucinotta said this is not goodbye. “We are relocating,” Mrs Cucinotta said. “I don’t want to say to where yet, but it will be out of Hamilton. We will be reopening in the near future, before the end of the summer, for sure.” She said the move was due to changes in their lifestyle brought about by having their first child, Alba, ten months ago. “We decided that now was the time to make a change,” she said. “Once they put the baby into your arms, your life changes. Nothing is the same.” But she said closing the café in town was still emotional. “We got married, and we had our baby, while running this restaurant,” Mrs Cucinotta said. “We have shared a lot of life changing events with the opening of this café, so it is a bit emotional.” They announced their closing on Facebook on Wednesday. We held off telling our customers until we were 100 per cent sure of the move,” she said. “Our customers are upset but everyone understands. They have all promised to visit.” BruMae was the couple’s first restaurant, and it has done well, in their view. “I think a lot of people love the freshness of our pastries and banana breads,” Mrs Cucinotta said. “I think we did well because of the fact that when they come in they know what they are getting will be fresh. Bruno knows who he is serving and what they are feeling.”


April 25

paragraphLord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the British Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories, will visit Bermuda today. His visit is expected to reaffirm the strong UK-Bermuda relationship. Speaking ahead of the visit, Lord Ahmad said: “The UK remains committed to strong and positive relationships with the Overseas Territories now and following Brexit. We will continue to work in partnership with Bermuda in support of its security and prosperity. I look forward to engaging with its government, business leaders and members of civil society during my first visit to the island.” During his brief visit, Lord Ahmad will meet members of the Government, including David Burt, the Premier, the Attorney-General Kathy Lynn Simmons and Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition. He will also meet business leaders, members of civil society and officials responsible for ensuring the island’s disaster preparedness and maritime security. A government spokeswoman said the meetings would provide an opportunity to engage on a range of matters relating to the island’s economy and opportunities for future growth, including in the post-Brexit context. The foreign office minister will also be briefed on the capacity for the Royal Bermuda Regiment and Bermuda Police Service to assist fellow Overseas Territories should a disaster occur. In his meeting with civil society, Lord Ahmad will discuss Bermuda’s implementation of International Human Rights obligations and the challenges facing vulnerable groups.

paragraphFrom Saturday, April 27 through to Monday, April 29, between the hours of 7am and 10pm, crews will be unloading materials at Marginal Wharf and trucking them to the airport redevelopment site for the construction works at the new airport terminal. A spokesperson said: “In order to allow long loads to cross St David’s Road, near Ricketts Street, into the airport site, traffic control will be implemented and intermittent stoppages will occur. This will affect traffic flow and we encourage people traveling to and from St David’s to allow extra time for travel. This may also impact noise levels near Marginal Wharf. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused and we ask for the cooperation of the public and local businesses. For further information, please call Skyport on 293-2470.”

paragraphThe new bus schedule is to be scrapped just six weeks after it was introduced, the transport minister revealed yesterday. Zane DeSilva said the timetable would be ripped up because of complaints about poor service and a lack of rest time for drivers. Canadian company Schedule Masters Inc was paid more than $1.6 million over the past 17 years to create the new bus schedule. Mr DeSilva said the old schedule will be used from Monday while changes are made to the new one. He said: “After six weeks of operating the new 2019 bus schedule it has been determined that the change is necessary to thoroughly address concerns with schedule trip times and rest times for bus operators.” Mr DeSilva added complaints from drivers and the public about the new schedule showed problems with service frequency and a lack of capacity and had forced a change of heart. He explained: “The reports include inadequate service during morning and afternoon peak times, over and above what was experienced in the previous schedule.” Mr DeSilva said the Barnes Corner and Grotto Bay routes will be reinstated to provide additional services to and from Hamilton. He added: “The new schedule did not provide sufficient rest time between trips, presenting health and safety concerns for bus operators and the traveling public and must be addressed immediately. This decision was not taken lightly but it is the only recourse to address concerns and safety of our operators and passengers.” He said adjustments made to the new 2019 schedule were designed to provide extra capacity, but that it required daily co-ordination of unscheduled work that did not tackle rest time for operators. Mr DeSilva added: “The reassessment process would take several months to complete and it is not anticipated that any further changes will occur prior to September 2019.” He insisted restoration of the bus fleet was a priority for the Department of Public Transportation. He said: “Further announcements will be made in due course and the Department of Public Transportation is grateful for your understanding and apologizes for any inconvenience” Leah Scott, the shadow transport minister, said she was pleased that the DPT had decided to reinstate the former schedule. Ms Scott earlier rubbished claims by Mr DeSilva that the new schedule was working and said that she had been flooded with complaints from constituents. He said: “I’m pleased that the ministry has listened to the voice of the public. I’m a bit disappointed that it took six weeks, but I’m glad they have listened.” Ms Scott added people had struggled to get to work or school on time, so going back to the former schedule was the best move. She said many of the problems with the bus service were financial and that modernization of the fleet was needed. Bus users told The Royal Gazette this month that the West End had taken the brunt of shortfalls in the new schedule. Passengers lined up for the No 7 bus to Somerset yesterday said they were pleased officials had gone back to the drawing board. A Southampton resident said that “high school kids” could have done a better job on a new timetable. He added: “I’ve been riding the bus twice a day and have for the last 20-odd years. How could these experts in Canada not know that with two cruise ships in Dockyard and this bus covering the whole of the South Shore, that running this bus every half-hour wouldn’t work?” An Elbow Beach employee said he finished his shift at midnight, but that the No 7 service had finished at 9pm under the new schedule. He said: “This is a main line for tourists and it’s the beginning of tourist season. So if they’re going back to the old schedule, that’s a very good thing. If you’re visiting the island and going out, you’ll be able to stay out longer.” Mr DeSilva said the closure of two bus stops in Dockyard was a joint decision by the DPT and the West End Development Corporation “This was something that has been talked about in recent times. It was going to happen inevitably, but we decided that we would just bring that forward because the goal is for Wedco to pedestrianise as much of the area as possible. It gives Wedco what they want; to get people mingling among the business owners before they actually get on the bus. The other thing that it does, it gives the bus drivers another five to seven minutes of rest time.”

paragraphA veteran Bermuda teacher and administrator has launched a lawsuit after she was passed over for a top job. Gina Tucker said in her affidavit that she had “not been fairly treated or properly considered” for the role of Commissioner of Education. She added: “It is my view that the permanent secretary has orchestrated this entire matter.” The Supreme Court civil case against the Public Service Commission and the Board of Education was filed last November, two months after Kalmar Richards was appointed to the post after she had been acting commissioner for nine months. Dr Tucker, a former principal at Victor Scott Primary School who has also worked in numerous other education roles in Bermuda, said news of the appointment was “painful”. She added: “I have more qualifications than Ms Richards and considerable experience in the department and Ministry of Education. The public perception since I was not awarded the position is that there ‘must be something wrong with me’ as more than one person has put it. Consequently, for my professional reputation, it needs to be demonstrated or admitted that the process was not carried out fairly and in accordance with the requirement under the Act and Regulations.” Dr Tucker wants the appointment of Ms Richards quashed and an order made for the application process to be held “fairly and in accordance with the Education Act 1996 and the Public Service Commission Regulations 2001”, as well as costs. She said that she had expressed interest in the job after the departure of Edmond Heatley in 2014. Dr Tucker added that three other candidates, Freddie Evans, Lou Matthews and Llewellyn Simmons, were all given the chance to serve as acting commissioner, while she was not. She said: “All the acting posts arose solely due to the decision of the permanent secretary, Ms Valerie Robinson-James.” In her affidavit, she said that her relationship with Ms Robinson-James had soured after a disagreement in June 2016 about the decision to offer the commissioner of education position to Paul Wagstaff, a British education expert. Mr Wagstaff turned down the job in 2017. Dr Tucker said that the position was then offered to Dr Evans “on the recommendation of the permanent secretary”. She added that she had been told by board members that they were informed that she was no longer interested in the job. Dr Tucker said: “This was clearly not true. At no point was I invited to meet, nor did I meet with the BoE to discuss my continued interest, or lack thereof, in the post after the overseas candidate declined.” She said that she had written to the PSC to complain about the hiring of Dr Evans after he was sacked in October 2017. Dr Tucker said: “In December 2017 the permanent secretary met with the senior team of the education department to inform us that she alone had decided to bring principal Kalmar Richards in to act as commissioner of education.” She said that she had again applied from the job last May and was told in July she had been short-listed. Dr Tucker said that she was “surprised” by the application process at the time “as it appeared far less rigorous than the 2016 application process”. She added: “Notably, during the most recent commissioner of education process, Ms Richards in no way acted as one might expect in an ‘acting’ position, instead setting executive leadership team meeting agendas and issuing education and department policy and directives that would extend well into the eventual full-time appointment of commissioner of education. Put another way, she acted at all times as if the post of commissioner of education was ‘in the bag’.” Mark Diel, Dr Tucker’s lawyer, said that the process to select Ms Richards, the former principal of CedarBridge Academy, “was flawed from the outset. It’s accepted in the affidavit evidence filed by the BoE that Kalmar Richards did not meet the minimum academic qualifications.” Mr Diel said there were provisions in the regulations for the PSC to recommend a candidate who did not meet the criteria. But he explained that a determination needed to be made based on merit that the applicant was the best candidate for the job. He added: “That process never happened.” Mr Diel said that the process to select a commissioner of education was based on recommendations made by the BoE that went to the PSC. He said that the PSC’s role was to consider the applicants and forward a recommendation to the Governor. Mr Diel said that there were seven applicants for the commissioner’s post, but that was narrowed down to two. But Mr Diel said: “The whittling down was done not by the BoE. It was done by civil servants.” He said that Dr Tucker and Ms Richards were then interviewed by a panel “which was not appointed by the BoE”. Mr Diel said that the panel then recommended Ms Richards to the BoE. The BoE went with the recommendation of the interview panel. The PSC did not conduct any interviews." Mr Diel represented Dr Evans in a legal action launched against John Rankin, the Governor, and the Government after he was sacked as Commissioner of Education. The Government agreed to settle with Dr Evans for an undisclosed sum, thought to be six figures. Mr Diel said that there were similarities between the cases. He added: “Unfortunately, it appears that there is almost a systemic problem with the process that has been — certainly in recent years — undertaken by both the BoE and the PSC in appointments in general.” The Government did respond to a request for comment by press time yesterday.

paragraphA Warwick man was remanded into custody this morning after being extradited to Bermuda to face a sex assault charge. The 22-year-old appeared in Magistrates’ Court after living in the United Kingdom for more than a year. Loxly Ricketts, the Crown prosecutor, told the court that the defendant had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a girl, who was under 16 at the time, and using a mobile phone to communicate with the same girl for the purposes of committing the sexual act. Both incidents were alleged to have occurred in 2015. Neither the defendant nor the victim can be identified for legal reasons. Magistrate Maxanne Anderson heard that the defendant was set to appear in court in January last year, but never did. When a warrant was issued for his arrest it was discovered that he had moved to Liverpool before his trial. When UK police found the defendant he forfeited his right to appeal and was sent back to Bermuda. Elizabeth Christopher, who appeared for the defence, argued that her client turned himself in to police and should be granted bail. But Ms Anderson denied him bail and remanded the defendant into custody until his next court appearance on May 2.

paragraphMore than 60 soldiers of the Royal Bermuda Regiment were on parade yesterday for the traditional Peppercorn Ceremony in St George. The troops and the RBR Band & Corps of Drums added to the spectacle as the Masonic Lodge of St George’s paid the annual rent for the State House — one peppercorn. Jose Urbano, a tourist from Florida, said the ceremony was “beautiful. I enjoy the people being so relaxed. It’s different in America. Everyone’s so tense.” Mr Urbano said he last visited Bermuda 30 years ago and was pleased to be back. He added: “We were so lucky to see that celebration today and that we were able to enjoy it.” Sandi Harries, from Paget, said: ”It was marvelous. It’s great to continue that tradition. It makes me very proud to be a Bermudian and to be able to witness something like this.” John Rankin, the Governor, told the crowds in the Olde Towne’s Kings Square that Bermuda was “fortunate that we live together with religious communities in harmony, respecting each other’s beliefs”. He added that this week’s Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka and a terror attack on a mosque in New Zealand last month highlighted the dangers of extremism and “the importance of standing together in a spirit of tolerance”. Mr Rankin thanked the Freemasons for their charitable work and the RBR “together with the Bermuda Police Service in ensuring the safety and security of this island”. Mayor of St George Quinell Francis said that plans to abolish the Corporations of St George and Hamilton meant the 203rd Peppercorn Ceremony was “the end of an era in Bermuda’s history”. Lieutenant-Colonel David Curley, the RBR’s commanding officer, said he was pleased by the performance of the troops on parade, who were drawn from the RBR’s humanitarian and disaster relief company, commanded by Major Dwight Robinson with Captain Kenji Bean as parade commander. He added: “They all looked very good and the band gave a great performance. It was a long parade, so they stood fast. There were a lot of spectators, which was very pleasing. I also spotted a lot of schoolchildren, which was good to see. It’s Bermuda traditions at their finest. We are delighted to support the Governor, the Government of Bermuda as well as the Corporation of St George and to add some pomp and ceremony to this occasion.” Colonel Curley added that the soldiers on parade were also undergoing extra training to prepare them for Exercise TradeWinds, a major international disaster training event, to be held in St Vincent and the Grenadines in the summer. He said: “The modern Regiment is flexible, adaptable and able to perform a wide range of roles in addition to the ceremonial one.”

paragraphA corporate jet that has been used by Argo Group International Holdings appears not to have flown for more than two months since it became a talking point in a proxy battle between the company and activist shareholders Voce Capital Management LLC. Flight logs during the past three years show that the 20-seat jet was used regularly every month until February 16 when it touched down in Chicago, at which point publicly available flight details stopped. Eleven days later, Voce launched its proxy battle with a letter to shareholders of Bermudian-based Argo, claiming the company has a “spendthrift culture” and misdirects corporate assets to support the chief executive officer’s “lifestyle and hobbies”. Voce, a San Francisco-based hedge fund, is the beneficial owner of about 5.6 per cent of the shares of Argo. It is seeking the removal of a number of Argo’s directors, and has put forward nominees to replace them. Argo responded to Voce’s claims on April 15, appealing to shareholders to support the board at the annual meeting on May 24. In a statement, it said Voce’s claims were “poorly researched” and had “little regard for the truth”. Yesterday, in a counter-response, Voce included further questions together with a link to a flight log for a G-5 corporate jet, which it has estimated costs the company $3 million per year. Voce said: “Shareholders will notice that the G-5 doesn’t appear to have flown a single time since the publication of our shareholder letter, which would be the longest stretch it has ever sat idle during Argo’s control of this asset. Either Argo has found a way to cloak these embarrassing flight logs, or else perhaps its extensive prior use was not, in fact, for legitimate purposes, as we suspect. Once again, we call upon Argo to solve the mystery for shareholders.” The aircraft is owned by Jetaway Air Service. Argo has previously stated that the plane was also used by third parties unrelated to Argo at various times during periods referenced by Voce. The Royal Gazette sent inquiries to US-based Jetaway and Argo asking why the plane appears to have been inactive for the past two months. In a statement issued last night, Argo accused Voce of making “misleading statements”. It added that “the flight log Voce refers to is for an aircraft that was neither owned by Argo, nor exclusively used by Argo. Lastly, when our executives use corporate aircraft for personal trips, they do so at their own expense”. Voce had asked five questions in its release yesterday. The activist investor asked whether Argo “truly believes” that the company’s stock price moving in tandem with peers justifies “the misuse of corporate assets, including a fleet of three aircraft and a global network of corporate housing, for personal use by its CEO?” It also wanted to know what percentage of flights on corporate aircraft were used to transport Mark Watson, the CEO, for personal purposes or a mix of personal and professional travel. Voce also asked why Argo does not disclose the exact amounts it spends on its various sponsorships, “so shareholders can assess whether they constitute a ‘modest cost’ as the company argues”. It mentioned a series of yacht regattas, and land and ocean racing teams, that Argo has sponsored. In addition, Voce asked: “Why will Argo not come clean about its corporate housing programme?” It claimed it has discovered three corporate apartments in Miami Beach, Florida that Argo either owns or appears to have acquired, and noted that while Argo has refuted having a penthouse apartment above its offices in New York City, it has previously referenced having corporate housing in New York. Argo responded: “Like so much of Voce’s poorly researched narrative, this latest representation is simply wrong. The properties identified in Voce’s press release are not corporate housing, but rather part of our investment property portfolio: they are income-producing assets purchased in connection with a Section 1031 like-kind real estate exchange following the sale of a commercial property in California.” Argo added that the company had spent on average less than $1 million per year over the past five years for named sponsorships. The company added: “We are committed to an open and constructive dialogue with all our investors.” Voce said it will release a detailed plan next week “outlining how to unlock significant additional value at Argo by dramatically improving operations and capital allocation”.

paragraphFront Street festivities tonight will signal the start of triathlon fever as the island marks the opening of MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda. Bermuda’s Flora Duffy will play a minor role this year because of injury, but fans will be able to see her compete in the bike stretch of the age group relay. Duffy will also feature as a guest commentator in both elite races. The Royal Gazette will stream the races live, and viewers can tune in to Triathlon TV by app. Kendaree Burgess, executive director of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the high-profile event, which “helps to underscore the Bermuda tourism strategy of increased sporting activity on island” with the “knock-on effect of increased economic activity. And, of course, the international visibility through broadcast keeps the Bermuda name up front and centre. Naturally, we are all interested in seeing Flora and wish her well. I encourage everyone to come out to watch the races, and to attend the retail event following on Sunday. It promises to be a fantastic weekend.” Stephen Todd, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hotel Association, said he hoped there would be a repeat of the “amazing” euphoria of last year, the first time the island had hosted the event. He added: “This bodes very well for Bermuda as an international destination. The media coverage was amazing — you can’t pay for the value events like this bring to Bermuda and our reputation. It’s an event of the highest caliber and we are really pleased that it’s once again gracing our shores.” Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said yesterday he “couldn’t be prouder or more thankful for the enormous effort that has been made by our staff to get Hamilton ready for its close-up and to receive the thousands of visitors, athletes and spectators to the streets of the city”. David Burt welcomed the return of the event and some of the finest triathletes in the world to Bermuda. “This is an international event in Bermuda, and I extend a warm welcome to all of the athletes and visitors from around the world who will be here for it. Bermuda is fortunate to once again experience the excitement of the World Triathlon Series and we are excited to watch some of the world’s best triathletes compete on our shores. Although our own world triathlon champion, Flora Duffy, will compete in a limited capacity, we are excited to see her and we will cheer her on. Hosting this event is part of the Government’s strategy to establish Bermuda as a venue for international sporting experiences, a perfect opportunity to showcase our beauty and hospitality. I extend a special note of thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who give of themselves on the day to keep the racecourse safe for all. We wish all of the athletes a great race and trust that all of our visitors enjoy their stay in Bermuda.” Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, asked residents to “line the streets on this fantastic occasion to give the athletes huge support and to demonstrate to all those watching elsewhere that Bermuda always rises to the big occasions. This event has helped raise Bermuda’s profile worldwide and proves again that we are capable of hosting large sporting events, which bodes well for the future. It demonstrates to other organisations that they can bring their events here safe in the knowledge that we have the expertise to make sure it is a success. It is unfortunate that Flora Duffy is injured. I am sure she would have repeated her success of last year and I wish her a speedy recovery. But all the athletes deserve our support.” The opening ceremony will start at 7pm today with a street festival on Front Street, where the event has been counted down on the flagpole clock. The city was extensively repaved in 2017 to prepare it as a racecourse for elite athletes and extra work was done this year on No 1 Car Park and Park Road, with several speed bumps removed along the route. Road closures to stage the races has meant a temporary relocation of the city’s bus terminal to Victoria Street. More than a hundred hanging baskets and flowers around Hamilton will get more than 5,000 gallons of water to keep the blossoms looking fresh — and more than 100 pairs of flags, the Bermuda flag and Union Jack, will flutter around the city. The Cabinet Office lawn on Front Street will be the venue for an international fun zone for spectators and athletes and the Belco family fun zone with vendors and entertainment will give families a free vantage point of the course up Corkscrew Hill. No 1 Car Park will also offer free viewing of the finish line, the scene of Duffy’s record-breaking win last year. Other highlights include the RenaissanceRe kids duathlon tomorrow at 6.30pm. Race Day will dominate Saturday with the harbour swim, biking up Corkscrew Hill and the run through Hamilton. The Amateur Age Group races kick off at 7am, while the Elite Men’s Race sets off at 1pm, and the Elite Women’s Race kicks off at 4pm. Telecoms firm Digicel has organized an after-race party scheduled to start at 6.30pm.

paragraphFlora Duffy conceded she had to “sacrifice” the ITU World Triathlon Series to preserve her aspirations of fulfilling a dream of Olympic glory. Having failed to recover from an injury in her left foot, that has kept her sidelined since August last year, the two-times world champion was forced to make the bitter decision last week to withdraw from MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda. However, while the decision was not taken lightly after her dominant victory on home soil in last year’s event, Duffy is adamant that her omission from not only the upcoming race in Bermuda, but for the foreseeable future, is a necessity in order to achieve a greater goal in Tokyo next year. “I had to think about what do I want most. Do I put the WTS events to one side and push for the Olympics or do I carry on struggling now and risk missing out on the Olympics next year,” said Duffy, who competed at the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016. “For me, the only decision was to go for the Olympics because I’ve achieved everything I’ve wanted to in the WTS events, particularity after last year’s event in Bermuda. The only thing left for me to achieve is a medal at the Olympics and so if I have to miss key WTS events to be able to achieve my ultimate goal, then that is what I have to do. I have to all but sacrifice the WTS events, including Bermuda, to make sure I give myself a chance of reaching the Olympics again, winning an Olympic medal was always a childhood dream.” Reflecting further on the decision to make a public announcement in the lead up to Saturday’s event, Duffy revealed the mounting self-imposed pressure has finally been eased after being forced to focus on the healing process on the tear in the posterial tibial tendon in her left foot. “It was a horrible position to be in and a very difficult decision to make,” she added. “I just felt like I was letting a lot of people down, but ultimately it was the best decision for me personally and for my recovery. It is incredibly difficult being injured and even more so being one of the high-profile people involved in the event and have to step away. In a weird way, though, the pressure is finally off in a sense because I’ve taken the decision to step away and try and heal fully. After making the announcement it felt like a big weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I had left it open and had been worrying about not being able to compete but now my situation is clear, I have to take things slower. Really, when I think about how things have gone, I should have stopped in June last year but it is so difficult when you are the best in the world at that time and winning. I knew I wasn’t fully fit at the time but I wanted to, and kept throwing everything at it. I was having treatment and fully expected to get back to full fitness; it’s hard to believe that more than eight months on I’m in this position. It’s the first time in my career I’ve had a prolonged period out injured and it’s certainly been a learning experience. It’s hard to think I could be and should be racing this weekend, but I’ve got to be patient. It’s hard to accept and I’ve definitely been humbled by the injury.” Finally accepting her predicament, Duffy is slowly adjusting to her new and much reduced training regime, conceding there is little she can really do to the affected area but be patient. “I’ve just being trying to deal with the situation and whatever comes up but it has been hard both mentally and physically. All I can do is let the injury heal in its own time. It’s like it has a mind of its own. It’s out of my hands, which is the most frustrating thing for an athlete, but all I can really do is go with the flow and take it day by day. There is also nothing I can do to really protect the area. It gets irritated with shoes on but also when I don’t wear shoes and so it’s a really fine balance as how to best heal. I’ve had differing opinions from different doctors and specialists and, while I wouldn’t say it’s a crazy injury, it is an issue to be able to run properly. It’s been incredibly difficult to adjust to doing such reduced training with the intensity cut massively. I’m only doing one light session a day and it seems like nothing compared to my usual routine. I’m still in good shape with my swimming and cycling but obviously the running hampers everything. I’m still training but it’s more focused on strengthening exercises and a lot of time in the gym.” While determined to return to action as quickly as possible, the 31-year-old, who won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, last April, is refusing to put added pressure on herself with timescales or deadlines for her return. “In terms of recovery, it’s hard to really know,” she added. “It’s a difficult process at the moment because it’s out of my hands, but my only real long-term aim is the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Of course, in an ideal world, I would want to be back before then, but that is what I’m gearing my full recovery towards. I’ll have to see how things go on a month-to-month basis. I haven’t given myself a timeline or specific date to be fit by. I’ve done that in the past and been let down, so whenever I can get fit will be a big bonus.” In her recovery process, Duffy revealed that her shift in mindset from immediate disappointment to determination had been aided by the incredible comeback by long-term friend and four-times world champion, Tim Don, who suffered horrific injuries after being hit by a car, before returning to compete again. Having seen his incredible recovery first hand while training together and receiving words of encouragement from Don — who backed the Bermudian as a “medal favourite” in Tokyo, while on a recent trip to the island — Duffy admitted to gaining a new perspective as well as inspiration. “I’m absolutely confident that I will recover and come back,” she added. We see sporting comebacks all of the time, and in some cases they have come from rock-bottom to get back on top. It’s definitely achievable; I’m still in great form in the other disciplines and I won’t be starting from square one, so it won’t be a total mountain to climb. It’s surreal to hear people like Tim Don still believe I can be a favourite at the Olympics next year despite my injury problems. I spent a lot of time with him after his horrific injury and watched him work back to a level where he was competing again. It was so inspiring watching that journey and when you are surrounded by people like him, you can only feel humbled about your own injury problems; it puts my situation into perspective. I know when I look back at this moment in years to come, it will only be a year that I’ve taken off; it’s just a small moment in my career, nothing more than an irritation.”


April 24

paragraphPremier David Burt insisted last night that his decision to sack Walton Brown from Cabinet and replace him with Wayne Furbert was “in the best interests of the Government” and was not because of a difference of opinion over the direction of the ruling party. The Premier told The Royal Gazette: “The [Progressive Labour Party] is blessed with talent. We have 30 persons in our parliamentary group. Without the Speaker, that’s 29. As the term in government goes on, you use the different talents on your teams at different points in time. We have a big squad and not everyone can be on the field at the same point in time.” Mr Burt added that Mr Brown, who served less than six months as the Minister for the Cabinet Office, after losing the home affairs brief last November, was not relegated to the back benches over a “question of policy”. He said: “Walton and I have been close for an incredibly long time. He is my family’s Member of Parliament; he represents my area. I’ve canvassed with Walton and been involved in the PLP with Walton for a long time, and I have the highest respect for Walton. But these jobs are never easy and the conversation, which we had yesterday [Monday] morning, is never an easy conversation. As the leader of the Government, the decision I made was in the best interests of the Government and, from my view, there were different skill sets that could be brought to bear.” Mr Burt said Mr Furbert, a former United Bermuda Party leader, had performed well as junior finance minister since October 2017. “The Cabinet Office has responsibility for economic development and Wayne will assist in those matters, just as Walton did,” he added. One PLP insider said Mr Furbert may have got the job because of Mr Burt’s crusade to open up the banking sector in an attempt to make the island a leader in financial technology such as bitcoin and blockchain. The source said Mr Furbert, an accountant who also has a degree in e-business, could be used to help to spearhead the fintech drive from inside the Cabinet Office. “Mr Furbert will be joining the Cabinet and you can see opportunities for his financial experience being deemed more significant than Mr Brown’s skills at this time,” the source said. A government insider said Mr Brown was effectively demoted in November, when he was replaced as the Minister of Home Affairs by Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier. That source said he was sidelined then because his approach to immigration and international business didn’t tally with that of Mr Burt. The source added: “I don’t know of any conflicts in terms of direction or vision now.” Several PLP supporters said they were not pleased to see another former UBP Cabinet minister join the PLP cabinet, along with Jamahl Simmons, the Minister without Portfolio. One said: “The PLP used to represent labour, workers. I am not sure where they even stand any more. To see two [former UBP ministers] in Cabinet, I don’t feel comfortable with it.” Two other party supporters queried Mr Furbert’s promotion, comparing how he switched political parties with Mr Brown’s lifelong commitment to the PLP. Mr Burt batted away that criticism. “Wayne Furbert has been a member of the PLP at least ten years,” he said. “Those are things which are more topics for social media and blog chatter. This is [the] serious business of government so, from where I stand, Wayne has demonstrated his hard work ethic as my junior minister. As we move forward implementing a lot of the items in government reform, he will be an excellent measure of assistance in the Cabinet Office as we deal with these particular matters.” The Premier added that the Government was looking at “making things more electronic, eliminating paper in public service”. He said: “There’s a number of things to make sure the public service can serve Bermuda more efficiently. That requires intense focus and, with his experience on the [Government] Efficiency Committee, Wayne will be able to greatly assist in driving forward that effort.” Mr Burt reduced the number of government ministries from 11 to ten in November, but the number of ministers rose to 12, increasing the Cabinet salary bill. Former PLP leader Marc Bean suggested yesterday that the Premier should get rid of two or three ministers and make Cabinet take a 20 per cent pay cut. He said there was “nothing to criticize” about the Premier’s decision to replace Mr Brown with Mr Furbert, as that was “his prerogative”. He added: “In terms of the Cabinet shuffle, what really needs to be done is for the size of Cabinet to be reduced, by at least two or three posts. In addition to that, by leading by example and showing fiscal responsibility, it would be wise for the Premier to have his Cabinet ministers take a 20 per cent reduction in their ministerial pay. That would indicate where the Government wants to take the country in terms of stimulating economic growth and jobs.” Mr Burt said: “The Government will be judged by how we deliver. We will not be judged by how many Cabinet ministers there are. We will be judged by how we deliver and that is what we are focused on.”

paragraphThe former president of Bermuda’s highest court told a clerk to turn off a court recording system so comments by judges could not be used by a woman who represented herself in a civil case, it has been alleged. Sir Edward Zacca, who retired from the Court of Appeal in 2014 and was knighted the following year, was heard in a recently discovered recording of a June 2011 hearing to whisper to the clerk to switch off the recorder. He said: “Please turn off the thing.” He added: “You have it on? ... she gets all these things that we’ve spoke of in the court. You’re not supposed to turn the thing on unless we ask you to.” LeYoni Junos, the appellant in the case, said Sir Edward was aware at the time that she had complained to the Governor in November 2009 about his conduct towards her in earlier proceedings. She added: “The importance of that is the context. He had sight of letters of complaint from 2009 which quoted things he said to me and he’s now saying he doesn’t want the hearing recorded.” She claimed: “His rationale for shutting off the system was to prevent me from having a record of what he was saying to me. That has to be the reason.” Sir Edward’s remarks were revealed after recordings, which he and former Supreme Court registrar Charlene Scott claimed did not exist and which police failed to find, were uncovered at the Judicial Department during an inquiry by the Information Commissioner’s Office. A group of litigants involved in several separate civil cases joined forces and fought to get the audio files for more than seven years, at first to help them prepare for further court appearances. But the litigants, the Civil Justice Advocacy Group, were repeatedly denied access and Sir Edward and Ms Scott claimed in a joint public statement in July 2012 that appeal court hearings were not recorded. All of the audio files requested by the litigants were later found during the ICO review, some on the primary recording system and all on a back-up system. An earlier police investigation had concluded that the recordings did not exist. Ms Junos said detectives failed to interview Sir Edward and accepted claims from Ms Scott and other staff at the Judicial Department that Court of Appeal sessions were not recorded. Sir Richard Gozney, governor at the time, did not investigate the 2009 complaint Ms Junos made about the judge and Sir Austin Ward, another member of the appeal court panel. She filed the grievance because of what she felt was the judges’ contemptuous behavior towards her in court. She discovered two years later, in 2011, that the president had called her a “crazy lady” and “stupid woman” under his breath during one hearing — remarks also captured on the court recording system. Audio of the insults was made public, including on YouTube, but did not spark action from the Governor, who is responsible under the Constitution for ensuring the independence and integrity of judges and the legal system. Ms Junos said if Government House had dealt with her 2009 complaint “perhaps he wouldn’t have shut off the recording in 2011 and we wouldn’t have gone through this”. The Bermuda Police Service refused to comment on calls by Ms Junos and the CJAG for the criminal investigation to be reopened in light of the discovery of the audio files. A police spokesman said the recordings were provided to the complainants under public access to information. He added: “In 2014, we conducted a full investigation into this matter, whereby we interviewed all the aggrieved persons and all relevant staff within the courts that manage these matters. The BPS recorded statements from these public officials to the effect that no recordings existed for the court sessions in question. This was also further tested by the investigators with the court IT department. “The complainants in the case made specific criminal allegations against members of the judiciary and, with the information in our possession at the time, we were unable to substantiate these allegations, namely that there had been an attempt to pervert the course of justice by members of the judiciary.” The spokesman added that the case was dropped because the allegations could not be substantiated. He said: “We have been made aware of the existence of back-up recordings that were found as a result of this most recent Pati application, and since the BPS is not the record holder for these matters, we will defer comment to that authority for comment.” The spokesman added: “Our response will stand on its own at this juncture and we have nothing more to add on the subject.” Alison Crocket, the Deputy Governor, said Sir Richard said at the time that because the complaint was “subject to Court of Appeal proceedings”, he could not comment. She added: “The Governor also understood that recordings were not available for cases in the Court of Appeal in Bermuda and that only the opening of the case and judgments were digitally recorded. This was, he believed, also usual practice in UK courts.” Ms Crocket added: “It was our belief that we had no reason to doubt the integrity of the court officials. I’m assuming the complainants, now furnished with the tapes, will be taking legal advice on next steps and we will, of course, be glad to be of any assistance we can, if asked, although I’m not sure what we could add.” Neither Sir Edward nor Ms Scott, who stepped down as registrar in 2016, could be reached for comment.

paragraphA union leader has warned the owner of power firm Belco not sell the company to Canadian investors. Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, highlighted rumors heard “through the grapevine” that Sean Durfy, the Canadian chief executive of Belco’s parent, Ascendant Group, may be “behind the scenes trying to make sure that Belco is sold to a Canadian company”. Mr Durfy’s role with Ascendant in October came under fire from the Electricity Supply Trade Union, which took industrial action over four Bermudian staff removed from Belco. The ESTU demands included the firing of Mr Durfy, but he remained at the helm of Ascendant, although Dennis Pimentel, a Bermudian, was appointed as Belco president. “There are some questions that Government needs to raise in relation to this sale to make sure Mr Durfy is not paddling his own canoe,” Mr Furbert said yesterday at a press conference. He added the Government should block the sale of Belco to a foreign company and make sure it remained “Bermuda owned”. Ascendant announced in January that it was examining options that included a possible sale of the company. The company has not identified any prospective buyers, although possibilities reported this month in The Royal Gazette included the Canadian utilities group Fortis. Mr Furbert highlighted Aecon, a Canadian construction company, which was granted a 30-year concession for the airport terminal in 2017. He said: “It seems like Canada is the place to go.” Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, has said the Regulatory Authority, was to be told that any potential new owners would be required to stick to the island’s Integrated Resource Plan for electricity supply.

paragraphBank workers need union protection, a labour leader said yesterday. Chris Furbert, head of the Bermuda Industrial Union, said the Butterfield Bank decision to shed staff and close the Rosebank branch underlined the case for trade union representation. Mr Furbert said: “I encourage all workers to get organized — I’m not saying they should join the BIU. There are other unions you should join that would give you some protection.” He told workers: “Become organized. That will hopefully give you protection against employers that are going to behave like the Bank of Butterfield.” He was speaking after the bank announced last Wednesday it had made 11 staff across two departments redundant and that 30 staff had opted for early retirement. Mr Furbert said: “I’m not sure where Butterfield has any kind of compassion.” He added that workers were not given “reasonable notice”. Mr Furbert said: “That has to be a cold feeling. I don’t envy the position those workers found themselves in. Bear in mind, in 2009 the Progressive Labour Party government gave Butterfield Bank a $200 million guarantee.” The Government bailed out the bank with a guaranteed preference share issue in the wake of the 2008 financial crash.

paragraphThe lead officer in an investigation into a brutal stabbing denied yesterday that a witness had asked for probation in exchange for evidence. Detective Sergeant Jason Smith told the court he spoke to the witness while he was behind bars, but that no promises were made. Mr Smith said: “I thought it was an honourable thing to tell us about the case as a witness.” The witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court last week that Alex Wolffe, 20, admitted his involvement in the stabbing of bartender Borislav Angelov. Mr Smith said that, even though the witness had said there was another inmate in the area when Mr Wolffe made his confession, he did not try to question him. He explained that might have exposed the identity of the witness. Ms Mulligan asked if Mr Smith was aware the witness had a history of dishonesty offences and that he “made a living from being dishonest”. Mr Smith said: “He does have a criminal history, yes. What led me to believe what he was saying was accurate was, even if he knew the content of the newspaper, there were things that were not reported that, as the senior investigating officer, I was aware of, and my team was aware of. It could only come from a person who was at the scene of the incident.” Mr Angelov was stabbed 13 times on the patio of his home on Harbour Road, Paget, in the early hours of October 23 last year after he was chased along Harbour Road by two men on a motorbike, as he returned from work in Dockyard. Mr Smith said some examples were the description of one of the suspects wearing a “mask” and that the suspects had chased another motorcyclist before they targeted Mr Angelov. He added the timing of events given by the witness tallied with what investigators believed happened. Mr Smith said: “I knew there was less than five minutes between following the first vehicle and when Mr Angelov was coming down. What the witness said in the interview was [that] Mr Wolffe and another man tried to stop one man first and then a moment or two later there was Mr Angelov and they followed him.” Mr Smith denied that the witness had asked for probation. Mr Smith said: “If anything, he might have mentioned that he was going up for a court mention the next day. In any event, I cannot give him probation, so I couldn’t help him. It’s not about making him any promises or giving him any other false hopes. We were talking with him about another matter and that was it.” However Mr Milligan highlighted Mr Smith’s notes of the meeting, which included a reference to probation and the name of the probation officer for the witness. Mr Smith said the subject of probation may have been brought up. He added: “In terms of me offering him any probation or about me speaking on his behalf about probation, that didn’t happen.” Mr Smith also confirmed that items seized in Mr Wolffe’s bedroom, including a black-handled knife, were sent to a laboratory to be tested for blood. He said that the tests did not find blood traces, so no further tests were ordered. Mr Wolffe denies charges of wounding, attempted robbery and two counts of intimidation. The trial continues.

paragraphA Sri Lankan restaurant worker in Bermuda said yesterday he feared for his family’s safety in the wake of a string of Easter Day bomb attacks that killed at least 321 people in the country’s capital city of Colombo. Joseph Ariyawansa said his wife and two adult sons, as well as other family members, escaped injury in the attacks, which targeted churches and hotels packed with people celebrating Easter, although they lived just a mile away from the carnage. Mr Ariyawansa added his family now feared to go out, in case of further attacks by an offshoot of terrorist group Islamic State. He said: “People go to church for help. They never expect this thing would happen to them. Families are now suffering. Some families, the entire family is gone. Children have no parents. We are still questioning why this happened to us.” Mr Ariyawansa, 53, added: “The whole country is in a bad situation. My family is in danger. They can’t go out.” He said people now avoided public spaces because they feared more attacks. Mr Ariyawansa added: “It’s really sad. Because of the security and things happening, I wish I could be with them.” He said he visited his family last summer and expected to visit again this year. Mr Ariyawansa added he and his family were Catholic and had worshipped at St Sebastian’s Catholic Church, one of the bombed churches. He added: “I have been to that church many times. Whenever I go on vacation, I go there.” He said: “These churches are very helpful in the community. Every ethnic group goes there.” Mr Ariyawansa said when he heard of the attacks he feared for his brother, who is a regular attender at 8.30am Mass at St Sebastian’s. “When I called him, he said he was OK, but he was helping people to the hospital.” Mr Ariyawansa said he knew his wife and sons were not at St Sebastian’s because they attended mass in their home parish at 6am. He also had a friend who attended Mass at one of the churches, but escaped death or injury because they left just before the bombs went off. Mr Ariyawansa said: “They wanted to go somewhere, so they left a few minutes before the attack.” He added the attacks had devastated Sri Lankans, who had enjoyed peace for about ten years after three decades of violence. He said the attacks appeared to be a co-ordinated assault on Christians, particularly Catholics, although one of the bombed churches was Protestant. He explained that many Catholics would have gone to Mass on Easter Sunday and gone to hotels for breakfast afterwards. Mr Ariyawansa added: “Catholics have been very peaceful people. We haven’t had any issues with any religion.” He said people had asked: “Why Sri Lanka? Why Catholics?” Mr Ariyawansa added he wished he could have his family in Bermuda with him. He said: “I wish I could bring them here, but I can’t.”

paragraphVulnerable people’s homes are being used as cover for drugs barons and other criminals, police revealed yesterday. Police said intelligence suggested that older people and other at-risk groups were being used by “cuckoos” — criminals who use violence or threats to get access to people’s homes to sell drugs or plan crimes. A police spokesman said: “Members of the community most susceptible to ‘cuckooing’ are those suffering from drug/alcohol addiction, mental or physical health problems, our seniors, as well as those living in poverty with limited financial resources. It is common for offenders involved in this type of criminal behavior to have access to several addresses, allowing them to move quickly between locations for both short periods of time or multiple days, which can reduce opportunities for them being detected by police.” He said some signs of “cuckooing” include an increase in the number of strangers visiting a home, more vehicles on a property, an increase in antisocial behaviours and litter and evidence of drug use. The spokesman added that anyone with suspicions that homes may have been taken over by crooks should contact the police Vulnerable Persons Unit at 247-1678 or the independent and anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.

paragraphProminent defence lawyer Elizabeth Christopher has been elected the new president of the Bermuda Bar Association. Ms Christopher had previously served as vice-president under former president Karen Smith Williams. According to a statement by the BBA, Cindy Clarke, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, has been elected vice-president and George Jones will serve as secretary. Other members of the newly elected committee are Kehinde George, Helen Cooper, Lorren Wilson, Jerome Wilson, Saul Dismont, Sara-Ann Tucker, and the Attorney-General in an ex officio capacity. Ms Christopher was Called to the Bar in England and Wales in 1990 and the Bermuda Bar the following year. She has since appeared in all courts at all levels including the Privy Council and Court of Appeal. Ms Christopher has also made numerous submissions to both the courts and the Government on issues including criminal law, PACE, sexual offences and legal aid.

paragraphNomination day for the municipal elections will be held tomorrow. The Seventh-day Adventist Church Hall on King Street, Hamilton, will be the location for both municipalities, from 11am to 1pm. The elections are due to take place on May 9. Seats available are as follows:

Nomination forms and information are available via elections.gov.bm or from the Parliamentary Registrar’s Office on the third floor of Craig Appin House, on Wesley Street, Hamilton.

paragraphReinsurers’ profitability has been in decline over the past five years and the industry’s total capital fell in 2018, according to a report by Willis Re. However, alternative reinsurance capital — including insurance-linked securities such as catastrophe bonds — continued on its growth trend last year. Willis Re, a global reinsurance broker and adviser, said profitability, measured by underlying return on equity, was 2.7 per cent last year, having fallen from 6.7 per cent in 2013. Underlying return on equity was calculated by stripping out the impact of both losses from natural catastrophe claims and gains from reserve releases. In its Reinsurance Market Report, published yesterday, Willis Re said total capital dedicated to the global reinsurance industry measured $462 billion at the end of 2018. The largest component of this figure is the total shareholders’ equity of the 32 reinsurance companies tracked in the Willis Reinsurance Index which was down 10 per cent to $335.7 billion, reversing growth of 8 per cent in 2017. The second largest component is alternative capital which grew by 6 per cent to a record high of $93 billion, or just over 20 per cent of total reinsurance capital, according to Willis Re’s calculations. Alternative capital has risen by 43 per cent since 2013, while total reinsurance capital has risen by just 6.3 per cent over the same period. The continuing influx of capital markets money has been credited with smoothing out the peaks in the pricing cycle that would traditionally follow major catastrophe loss years like 2017. Many Bermuda-based reinsurers now have their own alternative capital management arms, which can earn fees for their underwriting services, but this has apparently not proved to be as profitable as underwriting against their own balance sheets. Willis Re said two Bermuda companies, Validus Holdings and XL Catlin, had left its index through being acquired by AIG and Axa respectively, causing a reduction of $13.7 billion in index capital. Index companies made $20.5 billion in net income and paid out $17.6 billion, or 86 per cent of it, in the shape of dividends and share buybacks. “The overall decrease in index capital was due to unrealized investment depreciation of $21.4 billion, mainly due to falling equity markets and rising bond yields,” Willis Re’s report stated. “Notably, National Indemnity reported $10.2 billion of unrealized investment depreciation.” James Kent, Global chief executive officer of Willis Re, said: “Overall shareholders’ equity figures for the index suffered a negative impact due to unrealized investment losses, owing to external factors largely beyond the control of risk carriers, as well as shareholder buy backs and dividends. The report’s findings show that the remedial actions taken by many risk carriers in 2018 were essential and we are seeing an acceleration of these actions in 2019 as companies seek improved underwriting terms and rates to drive RoEs.”

paragraphPublic bus stops will be closed in Dockyard beginning this week as part of an attempt to improve traffic congestion. A spokesman for the transport ministry said that stops by the North Rock car park and National Museum of Bermuda would no longer be used effective from tomorrow. He added that all buses would now end their runs at the Clock Tower Mall. The spokesman said: “All buses will turn around in front of the Clock Tower Mall and service the bus stop on the waterside of the roadway. All passengers disembarking and boarding in Dockyard will do so at this bus stop.” He said that signs would be placed at the three stops to alert the public to the changes. He said the change was “part of an initiative to improve the traffic flow and pedestrian experience in Dockyard”.

paragraphLaKiesha Wolffe’s goal is “to change Bermuda” for the disabled. Now Ms Wolffe, who lost a leg after a crash six years ago, is ready to launch her consultancy service for the disabled. It came after she won a place last month among eight businesspeople on the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s Enterprise Bermuda incubator programme. She said: “BEDC provided an office, laptops, down to pens and notebooks. The advice is amazing, especially for somebody like myself who is a little temperamental.” Ms Wolffe was at first wheelchair-bound, used crutches, and now has an artificial leg. She said she made no apology about campaigning for more special parking bays, ramps and other aids for the disabled. Ms Wolffe added: “I have come out of wanting to die every single day to wanting to help other people to live in a sustainable, functional way. At the end of the day, I am here to help. I’m going to push, and push hard. I hope Bermuda can see the this company being here.” Her firm, New Life Consulting, was set up to give guidance on mobility problems and dealing with care providers, as well as checking the accessibility of residential and commercial buildings and helping people lead independent lives. Ms Wolffe said: “It’s not just consulting for those who are challenged, but for everybody.” She has gained qualifications in social work, mental health and management through online courses, and said she hoped to enlist students looking for summer work or community service hours to help in her campaign. The move is a timely one, with two assisted para-triathlete teams competing this weekend in MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda. Team Ladybugs from the UK, with Chloe Couture helped by her father, Stephan, will take part in the Individual Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, as well as ThumbsUp International, Kerry Gruson and her coach, Erinne Guthrie. Ms Gruson founded the charity ThumbsUp International in 2015, and has called the disabled “front line warriors” in a new civil rights movement. Ms Wolffe said work needed to be done all over Bermuda, from accessibility at the recent Agricultural Exhibition, to the “nightmare” of parking in Hamilton. She said: “The reason I hate coming to town is parking and having to walk long distances. “As an example, I would like to provide a service where people could be taken out shopping, instead of having to keep coming back to your car.” Ms Wolffe met Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, on Thursday, to discuss accessibility. which she said was “awesome”. She added: “I have big plans to help change things in Bermuda through this company.” Ms Wolffe said the BEDC had also advised her to apply for a charitable division because many of her clients would struggle with financing. The majority of clients on financial assistance are seniors and the disabled. Ms Wolffe, a 38-year-old mother of two daughters, said she looked forward to the official launch of A New Life Consulting on May 1. She added: “Throughout this journey, I have had the strong support of my family and my friends. My family are amazing. They have stood by me wholeheartedly.” She also thanked her insurer, BF&M, for an allowance of up to $100,000 to cover the cost of her “life changing” prosthetic leg that has enabled her to walk again by herself.


April 23

paragraphGovernment minister Walton Brown was ousted from Cabinet last night. Mr Brown, the Minister for the Cabinet Office for less than six months, will be replaced by Wayne Furbert, the junior finance minister, effective today. Mr Brown, viewed as on the Left wing of the Progressive Labour Party, was elected MP for Pembroke Central in 2012, when the fledgling One Bermuda Alliance defeated the PLP by a slim margin. He was appointed to Mr Burt’s first shadow Cabinet in 2016 responsible for home affairs after Marc Bean stepped down as Opposition leader because of illness. Mr Brown then became the minister for the portfolio after the PLP swept to victory in the July 2017 General Election. He was replaced in the job by Walter Roban in November last year, taking the Cabinet Office job instead. Mr Brown was a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage in Bermuda, despite steering through the House of Assembly the Domestic Partnership Act, which replaced a court ruling to allow marriage equality with domestic partnerships. He said when the Act was passed in the House of Assembly in December 2017: “On the ground, the political reality is that if we do not lead we would have a Private Members Bill tabled to outlaw same-sex marriage. That Bill would pass because more than 18 MPs are opposed to same-sex marriage. If that Bill passes same-sex couples have no rights whatsoever. This is tough for me. But I don’t shy away from tough decisions.” Mr Brown could not be contacted for comment last night. Wayne Furbert, who once led the former United Bermuda Party, has been in politics since 1993 and represents Hamilton West. He held several ministerial posts in UBP administrations, but crossed the floor to the PLP in 2010 when the UBP was in Opposition. He was appointed Minister of Tourism and Economic Development in 2011. Mr Burt appointed Mr Furbert junior finance minister in October 2017. Mr Furbert was an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage and his threat to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to outlaw gay marriage was a major driver behind the compromise solution on domestic partnerships. Same-sex marriage has since been reintroduced by the courts, but the Government is to appeal that decision to Bermuda’s final court of appeal, the Privy Council. David Burt, the Premier, said last night that Mr Brown “brought a reasoned and thoughtful approach to the discharge of his ministerial responsibilities and I am confident that he will continue to serve the people of Bermuda well in other areas.” He added that Mr Furbert “has worked extremely hard and has provided significant support of the ministry’s core functions as well as leadership of the Government’s Efficiency Committee. I look forward to him joining the Cabinet team and bringing the same energy to this new role.”

paragraphBermuda’s nearly 30-year record of being measles-free could be under threat after a drop in vaccination rates, and a surge in cases abroad, the Minister for Health warned yesterday. Kim Wilson said the number of young children receiving the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was below the global target — which left the island vulnerable to outbreaks of disease. And she signaled that the Government might consider a mandatory vaccination programme to ensure maximum coverage. Ms Wilson said: “Our excellent track record is no reason to be complacent. Not only is measles at our doorstep, being one flight away considering the recent outbreaks in New York City, but also because in Bermuda we have detected high levels of vaccine hesitancy, which means that not enough people have been vaccinated to give our people herd immunity.” She added that outbreaks of measles in Europe could also be a threat. Ms Wilson said statistics for last year showed increased vaccination rates for some diseases, such as diphtheria, polio and tetanus, in the first six months after birth, which now stands at 95 per cent. But she added there was concern about immunization coverage for the first dose of the MMR vaccine given at 15 months. Ms Wilson explained: “Only 87 per cent of the children at that age received the vaccine, falling below the 95 per cent global target. Low vaccination coverage increases our community’s vulnerability to re-emerging vaccine preventable diseases, such as measles.” There have been more than 17,000 cases of measles in the Americas since 2017, which declared itself measles free in 2016. Measles cases have been reported in countries such as Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela. Ms Wilson said because Bermuda is a major travel destination, there was an increased risk for importation of vaccine preventable diseases. She pointed out that measles was a contagious disease and could quickly spread through Bermuda’s unvaccinated population and cause disruption to schools and businesses. She added that a measles outbreak could also put lives at risk and put extra strain on the healthcare system. The minister said the island had developed a national plan to tackle too low vaccine rates and aimed to increase coverage by 10 per cent by 2021. Ms Wilson added the plan will include the use of a web-based electronic immunization registry to accurately record reporting of immunizations from in the public and private healthcare sectors. She said the plan was backed by the Pan American Health Organisation, which carried out an assessment of the island in February. Ms Wilson added Bermuda would also adopt the World Health Organisation’s guidelines to deal with lower take-up levels for vaccines. She said: “Bermuda and the world are now at risk of diseases which medical science and public health eradicated over a generation ago. “This is a terrible indictment on our population. We must try and we must do better.” Ms Wilson added she got a letter signed by every child medicine specialist in Bermuda last December asking Government to ensure all children had the needed vaccinations by the time they started school. Ms Wilson said that it was “not out of the question” that mandatory vaccinations could be introduced. She added research had shown that fears about health problems as a result of vaccination were unfounded. Ms Wilson said: “I implore all young parents in particular to follow the footsteps of your parents and grandparents, who welcomed preventive measures and made Bermuda free from diseases.” She added the Department of Health will tackle fears over childhood vaccination as part of Vaccination Week in the Americas and World Immunization Week, which both start this week. Ms Wilson said parents and the public could visit health centres this week for updates on vaccine cards.

A forum will be held on vaccines with a guest speaker from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia at the St Paul Centennial Hall in Hamilton on May 7 at 5.30pm

paragraphThe use of wind power to generate electricity is off the table until a feasibility study is done, the head of Bermuda’s energy watchdog has said. But Denton Williams, the chief executive of the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda, said that soon-to-be released integrated resource plan on the future of power generation in Bermuda would plan for an increase in the use of solar power. Mr Williams added: “To make wind investments you usually require investment-grade wind studies, which are yearlong and conducted at the installation site. It is an expensive study. Provided the IRP says it is a good candidate, we would start looking at how we would do that and proceed to do a detailed evaluation into feasibility.” Mr Williams added: “Provided there are no issues with licence applications and so on we will have the solar finger at the airport come online plus additional resources. There will be further solar on top of that, I am comfortable saying it will increase beyond that.” Wind power was the main source of generation featured in the proposal by Bermuda Engineering Company, which attracted the most support from a public consultation, The survey also showed that a huge majority of those who took part wanted to see less use of fossil fuels and most power generation to come from renewable sources. Mr Williams said that a balance had to be struck in terms of providing cleaner energy, affordability and reliability. Nine proposals were submitted for consideration as part of the IRP, which included wave energy, a floating ship-based regasification power and water plant, wind and solar energy, multi-fuel power using liquefied natural gas and oil, biomass technology using wood pellet fuel and hydrogen-based steam generation with water recovery. The plan submitted by traditional oil-burning power firm Belco proposed the use of liquefied natural gas, which produces less carbon than oil, for about 80 per cent of its power generation over the next 20 years and a slower move towards renewable sources. The RAB asked Belco to include “significantly more” renewable energy than at first proposed. Mr Williams, a former chief operating officer and senior vice-president at Belco, explained: “The original proposal from Belco, while it was a good traditional IRP, wasn’t a complete match with where the country wants to go. “Certainly, there has been a lot of support for many of the independent submissions so we have considered that. The public at large wants something a little different. We asked Belco to consider additional resources and we asked for the analysis of some very high renewable penetration scenarios so that we could understand how far we can go in the 20-year timeframe that the IRP has laid out. We also looked at different penetrations of renewable — we had 35 per cent, 50 per cent and a 70 per cent by the end of the study period.” Mr Williams said that Bermuda would have to use fossil fuels for the foreseeable future to “keep the lights on”. He said: “Traditional fossil fuel base load, some of which will remain for a while, is essential to keep reliability high. The one thing we can’t compromise on its quality of service so we are looking to maintain that and improve the environmental footprint. It is going to be a hybrid of a bunch of different views on how an IRP can be delivered. This is only based on what we know today — this is an iterative process so later on we will launch another IRP which will be updated based on new pricing and new technologies that come on to the market. Statutorily we have to do that every five years but we could do it sooner.” The IRP is expected to be published at the end of June.

paragraphE-cigarettes seized at two schools this month did not contain drugs, police announced. A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said that devices confiscated at Dellwood Middle School and CedarBridge Academy “do not contain any nicotine, tobacco or other controlled substances — nor can they be easily converted to consume other substances”. The spokesman explained the service “is aware of the concerns that this matter has raised in the community” and will be speaking at the affected schools. Police said this month that staff at the two schools “reported confiscating a quantity of e-cigarette-type devices that were allegedly being sold by one student at each school to their respective peers”. The devices are designed to heat a liquid until it is vaporized and can be inhaled. The liquid often contains nicotine, as well as flavors and other additives.

paragraphA PHC Zebras footballer has admitted causing the death of a bartender in a fight outside a nightclub. Rakeem DeShields, 26, pleaded guilty at Supreme Court yesterday to a charge of the manslaughter of Dejon Simmons, who was 30, after an altercation on Front Street. Mr Simmons was injured in an early-morning fight near the Cosmopolitan nightclub on March 18 last year. He was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but died as a result of his injuries four days later in the intensive care unit. The case was adjourned and DeShields, from Paget, was ordered to return to court on June 3.

paragraphPolice seized a knife from the bedroom of a man accused of stabbing a bartender 13 times, a court heard yesterday. Anneka Donawa, a police officer, told the court that she was involved in the search of Alex Wolffe’s home days after the stabbing. Ms Donawa said that in addition to several items of clothing, officers also took a black-handled knife found on a bedside table in Mr Wolffe’s room. She added that several of the items, including the knife, were later sent for forensic tests. Mr Wolffe, 20, denies charges of wounding, attempted robbery and two counts of intimidation in connection with an incident on October 23 last year. The court earlier heard that two men on a motorcycle chased Borislav Angelov along Harbour Road as he returned home from work in the early hours. The chase ended in Mr Angelov’s yard and a fight broke out, which ended in Mr Angelov being stabbed in his back and his sides. Ms Donawa said she spoke to Mr Angelov on the afternoon after the attack happened and was able to get a description of the attackers. She added: “We had a brief conversation with him but, because he was in a lot of pain, we were unable to collect a statement from him.” Ms Donawa said she was later involved in the official interview with Mr Angelov when he said he was stabbed after he attempted to fight off his attackers. Susan Mulligan, the lawyer for Mr Wolffe, suggested that Ms Donowa had brought up in the interview the idea that one of the robbers had worn a scarf. But Ms Donawa said that Mr Angelov had mentioned a scarf in their original conversation on the day of the stabbing. Ms Mulligan also questioned the officer about the police interview with a witness who claimed Mr Wolffe confessed to the crime while in custody at Westgate. Ms Donawa told the court the witness, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had contacted police the previous week because he said he had information about another case. She said that after he had discussed the other case, he added that he had information about Mr Angelov’s stabbing. Ms Donowa said: “He told us that he was housed with Mr Wolffe and he confessed to being involved in the Harbour Road stabbing. “He probably provided some details but I cannot say verbatim what he said. I can tell you what he said the next day in the recorded interview.” The officer denied a suggestion that the witness had asked for probation and said he did not seem to be “overly eager” to give evidence. Ms Donawa also told the court that she had first met the witness in September 2018 — about two months before the interview about the stabbing because he wanted to give information about an unrelated case.

paragraphA Bermuda footballer was charged yesterday with assault on a police officer at a sports ground at the weekend. Cecoy Robinson, 31, from Hamilton Parish, denied the charge at Magistrates’ Court. The incident is alleged to have happened on Saturday as police carried out a liquor-licence check at the Bermuda Athletic Association in Pembroke. Magistrate Tyrone Chin adjourned the case against Mr Robinson, who has captained the national side and is also the captain of Premier Division champions PHC Zebras, as well as the Bermuda Under-17 coach, until May 13.


April 22

paragraphUnpaid fines hit almost $2.4 million last year after thousands of criminal and traffic warrants remained in force. The total owed has risen by about $300,000 over two years although judicial authorities said agencies worked together to find people wanted by the courts, and the number of outstanding warrants has gone up by more than 2,500 since 2014. The figures were revealed in the Judicial Department’s Annual Report. The report said: “For five consecutive years, the total number of outstanding warrants has steadily increased. In 2018, there were 11,684 outstanding warrants within Magistrates’ Court, which is an increase over the 2017 figure.” The report explained that outstanding warrants fell into three categories: committals, summary jurisdiction apprehensions and apprehensions. Committal warrants are issued when a defendant was convicted of an offence, did not pay the fine, asked for more time to pay but did not meet the deadline. If a defendant has been fined by a magistrate, but failed to meet the payment deadline, a summary jurisdiction apprehension warrant can be issued. Apprehension warrants are used where defendants do not show up to court for criminal and traffic offences. The Judicial Department’s report, which was published in February, said: “The total amount of unpaid fines that have accrued as a result of warrants not being executed has escalated to $2,395,312.32 as at December 31, 2018. Inter-agency collaboration has been beneficial for the execution of warrants. The report concluded: “Magistrates have made payment orders so that offenders could pay their fines over a reasonable period of time thereby removing the possibility of incarcerating them for default.” Figures in the report showed that the number of outstanding warrants increased from 9,178 in 2014 to 10,923 in 2017. The 2017 annual report, published last year, said the total amount of unpaid fines that had built up due to outstanding warrants was $2,096,167.51 at the end of December 2016. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said that officers were asked to find and detain people wanted on warrants on a regular basis. He added: “When police officers come into contact with members of the public, it is normal practice for them to check to ascertain if there are any outstanding warrants which have been issued by the courts for the arrest of that person. On a regular basis, officers are tasked to engage with persons who are wanted on warrant and when located, these individuals are detained in accordance with the instructions contained within the warrant.”

paragraphA plan to serve free drinks at the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s new visitor centre has been put on hold. The Liquor Licensing Authority said the Front Street premises will have to wait to see if Parliament approves the amendments to the law, which were tabled in the Senate last month by Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and Minister for Legal Affairs. The Bill was designed allow owners of mobile restaurants to get licences for events and restaurant licence-holders to sell or supply alcohol at outside events. The BTA was among several organisations that appeared before the authority last week, but was unable to get a licence. Magistrate Maxanne Anderson said charities, such as the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, should apply for an occasional liquor licence instead. The Government of Bermuda website said that “occasional liquor licences shall only be granted for social, charitable or benevolent purposes”.

paragraphThe new Hamilton Visitor Services Centre was officially opened today. The Bermuda Tourism Authority facility, on Front Street, will give tourists information on activities and entertainment across the island. Tourism minister Zane DeSilva, Hamilton mayor Charles Gosling and centre operations manager Jakai Franks took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

paragraphA Hamilton Parish club has said the authorities should concentrate on people who cause problems at clubs rather than on the clubs. Arrim Perinchief, the president of Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club, told the Liquor Licensing Authority during a hearing on Thursday that a handful of people were responsible for trouble at bars and clubs around the island. He said: “It feels like the clubs are on trial for the behavior of these individuals.” Mr Perinchief suggested that when people were convicted for offences at a club or bar, the courts should be able to impose an island-wide ban on entry to licensed premises. He added: “These individuals go to clubs to fight. The same persons in fights at Southampton Rangers are in fights at Docksider. This way, when they go to these places, they can be addressed by the police.” Mr Perinchief said his club was forced to close for 24 hours after a disturbance on the property, but those involved in the fight had not been customers. He explained: “It was unfortunate because we’re closed. The individuals that did this weren’t patrons at the club. They came specifically to cause a problem. It seems like nothing is being done to address these individuals that are causing the problem.” Mr Perinchief added that those who were involved in the incident, in which a bottle was thrown at police officers, had been sent registered letters to ban them from the club. Magistrate Tyrone Chin suggested that the club owners could share the identities of troublemakers among them and all send registered letters to ban those involved. He said: “Come together in this. Once they breach the letter, that’s when the law comes in, but you have to do some heavy lifting first.” Stephen Tucker, the vice-president of St David’s County Cricket Club, was questioned about violence in the wake of the gun murder of Ronniko Burchall on club premises last December. Mr Tucker said: “We had security in place. Unfortunately, it happened as the gentleman was leaving the bar. It happened outside. It was tragic.” He said the club had decided to concentrate more on community and family events. Mr Tucker added that reggae “sessions” at the club would be “few and far between” in the future. Hamilton Parish Workman’s Club was praised for what the authority said was a turnaround after past incidents of violence. Earnest Lathan, the vice-president, said they had cut back on parties and built a stronger relationship with the Bermuda Police Service. But members of the club at the hearing told the authority that the club had not held an annual meeting for several years. Mr Lathan admitted there had not been an AGM for three years, but explained the club had difficulty in reaching a quorum. The authority said it would hold a secondary hearing on the club’s licence in light of the comments. The authority also questioned Alfonso Harris, owner of Churchill’s cigar and liquor store in the Town of St George, about complaints that the store had caused congestion. Mr Harris said he was annoyed by the problem and had put a sandwich board outside the store to prevent people parking on the sidewalk, but the Corporation of St George had ordered him to remove it. He added: “It might get worse because the new Visitor Information Centre is right next door and they are giving away free wi-fi.” St George’s Cricket Club and Gombey’s in St David’s were praised by the authority for their work to improve safety and security. Derek Robinson, assistant manager at Gombey’s, said the business had mostly stopped hosting parties and had seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting the premises. He said: “We do very little in terms of promoted events. Our days are filled by tour buses now.”

paragraphThe Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers welcomed industry supervisors from multiple international jurisdictions to Bermuda last week. Insurance regulators from the US, Europe, the UK, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, among other jurisdictions, travelled to the island to attend the International Association of Insurance Supervisors Supervisory Forum on April 15 to 18. Established in 2011 and held annually in different locations, the event provides a platform for thought-leadership and networking over supervisory practices. The Bermuda Monetary Authority, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, served as the host insurance supervisor for the 2019 meeting. Abir member companies presented a panel discussion for forum attendees on market trends and observations of Bermuda’s international reinsurance market. Participating Abir executives included Kean Driscoll, chief executive officer, Validus Reinsurance (the reinsurance business of AIG); Stephen Weinstein, chief legal officer for RenaissanceRe and chairman of the RenaissanceRe Risk Sciences Foundation; and Jonathan Gale, chief executive officer, Bermuda reinsurance, Axa XL. “Abir appreciates the opportunity for its member-company reinsurance executives to meet directly with these leading, global insurance supervisors,” said Abir CEO John Huff. “Bermuda’s pre-eminent position in international reinsurance markets allows us to give a front row perspective on industry outlook, emerging trends, and opportunities including climate change, risk diversification and closing the protection gap between economic and insured loss.” Focusing on large insurers and insurance groups, the IAIS forum promotes discussion of trends and risks, sharing of ideas between supervisors on methodology practices, and evaluation of potential impact scenarios on insurers and insurance groups. Comprising high-level senior supervisors with expertise in supervisory practice, the forum is chaired by Gareth Truran of the UK’s Bank of England Prudential Regulatory Authority.

paragraphA large mural celebrating Bermuda has been completed on a building in Hamilton

2019 Bermuda Mural

The painting on the side of the Dorchester building, in Church Street, was commissioned by the Green family, which owns the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. It evokes a vintage postcard, featuring Bermudian landmarks and symbols such as a longtail, the Hamilton Princess moongate and Tobacco Bay. The piece was created by the Greetings Tour team of Victor Ving and Lisa Beggs, an engaged couple from New York who specialize in retro murals. They used Colours found throughout Bermuda to inspire their pastel palate for the piece. The mural is about 35 feet long and 25 feet high, and is painted with acrylics designed to withstand Bermuda’s climate and get better with age. A smaller version is on the wall at the selfie spot in the courtyard at the Hamilton Princess, so guests can take photo souvenirs. Alexander Green said: “We’re so pleased to unveil this incredible mural by Greetings Tour which is a fun and modern celebration of Bermuda. It’s in the perfect spot to draw people’s eye and adds a great pop of colour to the neighborhoods. This comes as part of our commitment to the arts, and we hope that the public enjoys it.” Victor Ving and Lisa Beggs, the artists, said: “We are so excited to have completed our first overseas mural in beautiful Bermuda. We have been inspired by the locals, their friendliness and their laid-back charm. Even while painting the mural in the sun, we’ve been struck by the beauty and tranquility of Bermuda and we hope that the public agrees that the mural captures the island’s spirit.” Tim Morrison, general manager of Hamilton Princess, said: “We’re thrilled to have such a striking piece of art celebrating Bermuda so close to the hotel and to be hosting a smaller version at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club for our guests. We think that it offers a great photo opportunity for guests and locals alike and will be a hit on social media, providing a perfect memento of visitors’ time in Bermuda.” Hamilton Princess arranged for five students from Dellwood Middle School’s Design Group to meet with the artists and ask questions.

paragraphA bungling robber left a calling card at the scene of an armed robbery in Southampton. Three men, aged 19, 18 and 16, were arrested after a police manhunt in the Rockaway area on Thursday. It came after two men reportedly held up a bystander at knifepoint at about 2.30pm. During the incident, one of the suspects was said to have dropped his phone and his calling card. The victim is said to have picked up the phone. According to a police spokesman, the teens targeted a lone man sitting on a wall outside the Port Royal Gas Station, brandishing the weapon and taking cash. The spokesman said that the assailants “briefly entered the gas station”, but that the premises were not the target. A member of staff at the gas station confirmed that the victim had entered the station “roughed up from the scuffle” and saying he had been robbed, but holding a phone. She added: “The mobile phone dropped was said to be owned by one of the culprits. He came into the station yelling and screaming to get his phone back. I told him to leave, that there are cameras everywhere, and we hit the panic button. The police came and the culprit ran.” Staff were unfazed by the incident, she said, adding: “We are just trying to keep the peace.” Anyone with information is urged to call the Criminal Investigation Department on 247-1744.


April 21 Easter Sunday

paragraphThe Muslim community in Bermuda condemned deadly attacks in Sri Lanka today. More than 200 people were killed and hundreds more were hurt in eight explosions at churches and hotels. A spokesman said: “The Muslim communities in Bermuda strongly condemn the violent acts carried out in Colombo, more so those against the places of worship of our Christian brothers on their day of their Easter celebration. We offer them our condolences and mourn the tremendous loss of lives. We wish the hundreds of injured speedy and full recovery. We extend the same to the Sri Lankan community in Bermuda. All religions preach peace, harmony and Justice. We pray that the authorities will identify and prosecute all those responsible.” At least 207 people were killed and 450 hurt in the explosions at churches during Easter services and at luxury hotels in the Sri Lanka capital. The vast majority of victims are thought to be Sri Lankan nationals. Most of the attacks are thought to have been carried out by suicide bombers. Thirteen people have been arrested. The attacks are the deadliest seen in Sri Lanka since the end of the civil war in 2009. Sri Lanka’s biggest religious group is Theravada Buddhism, which makes up more than 70 per cent of the population. Hindus and Muslims comprise another 20 per cent, while the country has about 1.5 million Christians.

paragraphNew bus routes will be in place and a temporary bus terminal set up during the MS Amlin World Triathlon. The Central Bus Terminal will close to all traffic and pedestrians next Saturday, between 6am and 11.30am. The cashier kiosk will also close. A temporary bus terminal will be in place, with buses arriving and departing Hamilton from both sides of Victoria Street, between Cedar Avenue and Brunswick Street. According to the Department of Public Transportation, new bus routes are:

paragraphBermuda’s combined teams enjoyed a fine start to the Carifta Swimming Championships in Barbados yesterday with a haul of eight medals, including four gold. The girls 11-12 team representing Bermuda-Associated Group, or BERAG, in the 4x100 freestyle relay brought the evening’s racing to a roaring end with a thumping victory in a time of 4min 20.11sec. Runners-up Bahamas were more than 6.5 seconds behind in 4:26.68, with Trinidad & Tobago third in 4:27.50. Giada Dudley-Pun, who earlier captured gold in the 200 breaststroke, swam the anchor leg in 1:03.82. She was joined by Pippa Charleson (1:06.16), Bella Howes (1:03.86) and Imojen Judd (1:06.27). Dudley-Pun’s breaststroke win, in 2:52.74, was joined at the top of the medal podium by Sam Williamson in the boys 13-14 200 breaststroke (2:29.15) and Imojen Judd in the girls 11-12 50 backstroke (32.38). Elan Daley’s 31.45 in the girls 13-14 50 backstroke was 14 hundredths of a second shy of gold in headlining the three silver medals won yesterday. Also finishing second were brother Elijah in the 11-12 butterfly (1:05.50) and Logan Watson-Brown in the girls 15-17 100 butterfly (1:06.55). Elan Daley’s first medal of the day was a bronze in the girls 13-14 200 breaststroke in 2:52.72. There were a number of close calls with four fourth-place finishes: Elijah Daley (2:51.01) in the boys 11-12 200 breaststroke, Watson-Brown (30.67) in the girls 15-17 50 backstroke, Elan Daley (1:06.21) in the girls 13-14 100 butterfly and the Bermuda Age Group girls 13-14 4x100 freestyle relay team of Taylor White (1:013.13), Josephine Duerden (1:04.55), Emma Kittleson (1:04.35) and Elan Daley, whose 59.13 split was the second-fastest in the race. Their combined time of 4:11.16 was less than three seconds outside of bronze, which was taken by Barbados. The contingent headed by national coach Ben Smith compiled 104 points in total — 57 for Bermuda Associated Group and 47 for Bermuda — and is back in action today with heats in the morning session and finals in the evening. The championships will come to a close in earnest on Tuesday.

paragraphTwo men were arrested after a fight among a group of men at the Bermuda Athletic Association last night. A police spokesman said that around 10pm Saturday, a police officer was conducting a liquor licence check at the BAA on Woodlands Road in Pembroke “when a scuffle occurred between a group of men at the front of the clubhouse”. Other officers attended the premises to assist in defusing the situation. Two men, 31 and 24 years old, were arrested in connection with the incident. The older man remained in police custody on Sunday, while the younger man has been released on police bail pending further inquiries. Witnesses are asked to call the main police telephone number 295-0011.


April 20 Holy Saturday

paragraphResidents from St George’s to Somerset took part in Good Friday celebrations under sunny skies yesterday. Horseshoe Bay was packed with kite flyers from the early morning, when windy weather made for perfect conditions. Ranjini Patton described the event as “a great way to spend the day”. She added: “The beach is beautiful, everyone is having a good time.” Ms Patton said the annual beach event was exciting and relaxing. She added: “It’s a good time for meeting friends.” The Paget resident was joined by her husband, Victor, and children, Vishan, 16, Rajan, 14, Amar, 12, Avani, 10, and Ajana, 8. Ms Patton said the family had attended the event for about the past four years. She added that her children had been up into the early-morning hours yesterday to create their homemade kites under the tutelage of a family friend. Rajan said it was the second time he had made a traditional kite, and that his project this year took about four hours to complete. He explained: “If you don’t take that long, it doesn’t come out right.” Rajan said that there was a sense of pride that came with building a kite. He added: “Once it’s in the air, you feel that satisfaction.” His sisters, Avani and Ajana, also worked together to build a traditional kite. Avani said that it was the first one she had made. Brent Twidale was at the beach with his son, Noah, 5, who had a Superman kite in the air. The Paget resident described the conditions as a “perfect day for flying”. Mr Twidale said the pair usually took part in the event which offered a chance to be close to loved ones. He added: “It’s just a nice way to spend some time with the family. “These are our friends here, and they have two kids — so it’s just a nice way to spend the Easter Good Friday.” Jodie Floyd-Modi and husband Paul were out with their four children, Joshua, 8, Noah, 6, Jacob, 4, and Evie, 2. The family lives in Manchester, England. Ms Floyd-Modi, who grew up in Bermuda, said that she wanted and her husband wanted to share the experience with the young members of the family. She added: “We wanted the kids to experience it. It’s their first time for Good Friday in Bermuda.” The family had two store-bought kites in the sky yesterday morning. Ms Floyd-Modi said: “We did make one, but we are going to save that for tomorrow.” Other events yesterday included the Good Friday Walk to Calvary in St George, a family-friendly walk around the Olde Towne organized by the St George’s Cricket Club, and the Gilbert Lamb Fun Day, hosted by the St David’s Cricket Club. In the West End, the Open Your Heart Foundation’s Good Friday fun day was held at Royal Naval Field, in Somerset.

paragraphEaster Message from Premier David Burt. "Easter is the most significant season of the Christian church: a time of renewed hope and optimism, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. This is a season of new beginnings. Warmer weather, abundant sunshine and the freshness of spring. In Bermuda, the Easter weekend is an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. A time to embrace our unique culture and special traditions, flying kites, playing marbles and jacks, feasting on hot cross buns and fishcakes and simply enjoying the outdoors. It is also a time to warmly remember those who are no longer with us and those who have recently lost loved ones. This weekend, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, let’s count our blessings and be thankful for each and every one. Many will rise early on Easter morning to attend church and celebrate this wondrous occasion — to hear the message of renewal, faith, and compassion. A message that is worthy of repeating throughout the rest of the year. However you spend this Easter, I encourage you to celebrate with peace and love, remember those less fortunate and please be extra careful while driving and riding around Bermuda. From my wife, Kristin, and our family to yours, I wish you peace, joy and a happy and safe Easter holiday."

paragraphEaster Message from Leader of the Opposition Craig Cannonier. "Let us use this Easter as an opportunity to pause and think about the issues affecting our society and how we can come together to right the wrongs we see around us. Let us come together as one people, united by a simple ideal: to make all our lives better and to help those less fortunate. In short, to create a Bermuda that is better for all. Our unique Easter traditions of kite flying and fishcakes help to bind all of us together in a way that is not reflected anywhere else. We should not forget that when we wake up on Monday. That spirit of goodwill — that spirit of camaraderie — should be carried forward because, if it is, Bermuda will be a better place and will prosper as a result. I will be spending Easter with my family, flying kites and attending church, but whichever way you spend the holiday please make sure you stay safe. Happy Easter, Bermuda!"

paragraphHealth complaints from staff and a pupil at a now-closed middle school cannot be linked to the building without further medical information, a new report has claimed.  The Cabinet Office report, from the Office of the Safety and Health Co-ordinator, said that symptoms reported by eight teachers and one pupil at TN Tatem Middle School were “very general in nature”. It added: “The symptoms that were reportedly being experienced were also not deemed specific enough to determine any specific etiology, any direct cause and effect relationship, or reliable and objective associations in the absence of any doctor’s report or other medical information from a trusted source. All the symptoms described will require further investigations and objective medical diagnosis to validate”. The report, released today, is based on inspections performed at TN Tatem Middle School last week. Titus Gordon, the Cabinet health and safety officer, conducted the inspections at the Warwick school. The 26-page report includes a breakdown of the symptoms described by the nine complainants. Symptoms reported by teachers included breathing difficulties, headaches and eye irritation. The complaint from the student described itchy and watery eyes over the last four months. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said that the health concerns detailed in the report did not have medical documents to support them. Mr Rabain added: “As we review the forms and we get the proper documentation we will act upon it.” The report said that health and safety problems previously identified at the school “that were previously addressed for the most part have apparently resurfaced in and across certain areas of the school’s facilities again. Additionally, earlier reports did warn that if timely proactive steps were not taken to remedy the litany of minor outstanding findings that had remained to be resolved that they would eventually morph into greater and more serious issues. This now appears to be the case.” The report provided the findings of inspections done in 20 parts of the school, including several classrooms, and the school’s library and auditorium. A backstage room of the auditorium was found to have “mould-contaminated ceiling tiles, floors and walls”. Store rooms were also found to have “mould-contaminated walls and ceiling tiles”. More mould-contaminated walls were discovered in an IT server closet located between the school’s music room and auditorium. The music room was also found to have “poor indoor air quality” and a “lingering mould stench”. Early mould growth was noticed along window sills in the school’s science labs. A “dirty and mould-contaminated air conditioning unit” was reported in the design and tech lecture room. A custodial closet and outside storage area were found to have “mould-contaminated walls”. Mr Rabain provided excerpts from the report at a press conference today. He pointed to reports carried out in 2013 and 2016, which he said “outlined concerns related to the general maintenance and upkeep of the school’s plant concerning roof and ceiling leaks, excess fugitive moisture intrusion into the building via damaged areas of the building envelope, poor housekeeping and general cleaning, sanitation and hygiene practices”. All public schools, including TN Tatem, were inspected between August and October 2017. Subsequent inspections were performed at all public schools between September and October 2018. An additional assessment was made at TN Tatem this February. Mr Gordon’s report found that “outstanding works were still yet to be completed from the time of the previous inspection reports”. It added: “These incomplete works have now served as the catalyst for further damages, even to the areas that were previously rectified. Leaking sections of the roof/ceiling continue to plague the school, although intermittently in most cases, and has caused water damage to areas previously addressed, as well as new areas that previously had no damage.” Mr Gordon found that “inconsistencies in the scope, frequency and quality of cleaning” at the school remained a problem. Also highlighted was the “improper storage of materials and supplies. Some teachers continue to hoard outdated, obsolete and infrequently used materials and supplies and of which they have failed to properly keep and maintain.” Mr Rabain said that the issue of the improper storage had started to be addressed at the school before it was closed last week. He said that Mr Gordon’s report would now be reviewed to determine if necessary works could be completed by the end of August. The minister added: “The students, parents and teachers will be kept up to date on these works.” Mr Rabain announced last Friday that the school would remain closed for the rest of the year. It was closed last Tuesday after a walkout by teachers and pupils over health fears. The closure order was sparked by a letter from the Parent Teacher Student Association to education officials that highlighted “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”.

paragraphSupport staff at CedarBridge Academy fear their hours could be cut by 40 days a year. Employees said they were told the reductions were needed to prevent job losses and that the cost-saving exercise came after years of “money mismanagement”. Administrative, office, IT and maintenance staff were among up to 25 people who it was believed will be affected and concerns were raised about the impact on salaries and the time available to fulfil workloads. The school’s board of governors said “nothing has been finalized” and that it was committed to preserving jobs and the long-term financial security of the school. It was understood employees were informed about the move in a meeting with Jason Wade, the chairman of the board, and Kenneth Caesar, the principal. One staff member heard that the measure had already come into effect, although the board denied that suggestion. The employee told The Royal Gazette: “We were called into a meeting and informed that effective April 1, which had already gone, they would be changing our days from working full-time, which is 260 days, to 220, and we’re really losing about six weeks worth of pay. And if we don’t accept that they’re going to go to redundancies. What they’re saying is that they want us to give up six weeks but some people won’t have summers off to get other employment, they would be getting some Fridays off, for example. We were told that money has been mismanaged for about ten years or so — now we have to sacrifice or we’re going to lose staff members.” The board responded: “Several media queries have sought to determine if employees’ hours had been reduced. This is not true. We can confirm that in our meeting with employees on Monday that we announced our commitment to our employees and to finding solutions that would preserve jobs and the long-term financial security of CBA. With union negotiations set to begin in May 2019, nothing has been finalized and any decision will be made in collaboration with our union partners and with a shared goal that neither faculty nor students will be negatively impacted.” It was feared some monthly salaries could shrink by hundreds of dollars and that students could also be affected if staff have less time to carry out their work, such as upgrades to computer systems or deep cleans of school infrastructure. The staff member added: “The majority of us are not too happy about it, it’s going to affect our livelihoods — what people can take home to their families, and also the services we provide to the children. By the middle of the month we’re already scraping for money, so that could be happening by the first week of the month. We’re working with our unions and in the process of starting negotiations but it’s a Catch-22 because we don’t want to say ‘we’re not going to accept this proposal’ because then people are going to lose their jobs and we don’t want people to lose their jobs.” Collin Simmons, the Bermuda Industrial Union’s education officer, said he could not comment because the union was “still involved in negotiations”. Kevin Grant, the Bermuda Public Services Union’s assistant general secretary and education division chairman, did not respond to requests for information.

paragraphWhen Cher-ann Brangman picks up her saxophone to perform, something incredible happens: any nervousness disappears and she’s filled with a great sense of purpose. “Playing gospel music has given me a bold confidence that I’ve never experienced with secular music. When I pick up a horn I transcend. I just give in to God and allow the gifting to take over.” She will take the stage today for Uplift Bermuda, a two-day celebration that began yesterday. Organisers Pastor Russell Tomlinson and Cindy Trimm-Tomlinson will give words of encouragement during the free event; local gospel artists will perform. Easter is an exciting time of year for her family, the 41-year-old said. Not only does it offer a chance to take part in Bermuda traditions like flying kites and eating hot cross buns, it holds a lot of spiritual significance. To me, Easter represents something very revered and holy, when Jesus gave His life for us, so how could we not pause and give thanks?” she said. Ms Brangman encouraged people of all ages to join her at Uplift Bermuda. She hopes they leave with a renewed belief in their God-given mandate/assignment. “When I look back on my life I know that music has always been my calling,” she said. “I first realised that God had given me this talent at age 7. I began on the flute at my mother’s request, but convinced my teacher that I was more suited for the drums. A few years later at age 11, I found what would eventually become my true love. Under the instruction of Vernon ‘Ghandi’ Burgess I began on the saxophone. The following year it really hit me that this talent was truly a gift from God.” For her first solo performance, music teacher John Woolridge asked her to play Centre of My Joy. While practising she felt a focus she had never known — from then onwards she was “hooked”. She began playing her horn every Sunday at church. In her teens, she signed up with the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band and the National Youth Jazz Ensemble. She later played in her university’s marching band and Jazz band. “I’m a true ‘band geek’,” she said. Ms Brangman has also played at various church and private events around Bermuda. Throughout her ministry career, people have always called her ‘an anointed player’. She didn’t know what that meant as a child, but as an adult can see how God is using her through this platform for His glory. “I’ve heard numerous people say my music has ministered to their soul,” the musician said. “My family always pass on messages from people who stop them to ask when I’m playing next. I had this one lady who takes every opportunity to encourage me and let me know how I’ve impacted her through my ministry. I’ve even had people stop me when I’m out shopping at stores. They tell me they love to see my name on an event flyer because they know if they come to hear me they will be blessed. I didn’t think I had that kind of effect or impact on people, but just this past Sunday, a lady said her mind was soothed by my playing. I believe this is really why I’m here on this Earth. I want people to see God and know that He is there to comfort and provide peace.” As the music she plays is instrumental, it’s left to her audience to interpret the meaning behind the notes themselves. Ms Brangman describes it as “the only language that everyone can understand. It’s up to the listener to reflect on what God may be telling them through the music or to give them a free space to hear from Him,” she said. “With instrumentals, you don’t have to worry about getting the words wrong. You can free your mind and let God take you where you need to go in that moment. That’s why I say I never step on stage in my own strength. Whatever comes out of my horn is from Him. Sometimes I’m even surprised by what happens when I get on stage.”

paragraphA sports club marred by violence in recent months has stopped hosting parties “for the foreseeable future”. Southampton Rangers posted a “public service announcement” on Instagram today to inform its supporters of the move. Below an image of the club’s logo, it said: “Please be advised due to recent events there will be no parties at the club for the foreseeable future.” The cricket and football club was told by police to shut down for 24 hours from midnight last Saturday night after two reported antisocial incidents there the previous weekend. It was the second closure order of its kind issued on Southampton Rangers in less than three months. A shutdown in February came after an early hours brawl that left several men injured. Two football matches scheduled for the club’s grounds were moved elsewhere as a result of the closure. Southampton Rangers was asked about flyers advertising functions at its premises when representatives appeared among several venues in front of licensing chiefs yesterday. Magistrate Tyrone Chin explained that the Liquor Licensing Authority was concerned about events — which could be construed as “nightclub” — being held at a members’ club. A full hearing was set for next month. The club declined to comment on the social media announcement today. A later post on Instagram promoted a Good Friday community day. Images of a bunny and decorated eggs were accompanied by a comment from the club that said: “For all members in the community, looking for something to do tomorrow. Feel free to join us at the club for fun castles, Easter egg hunt and free fish cakes and hot cross buns. We would like to take this time to wish everyone a safe and blessed holiday.”

paragraphThe Fresh Air Films Drive-In Movie Night has been moved from Bull’s Head to City Hall Car Park because of forecasted high winds. Allison Tucker, the senior events and marketing co-ordinator for the city, said: “The LED screen that we are using cannot withstand the wind conditions that are predicted on the top level of Bull’s Head Car Park. “City Hall Car Park is lower-lying and will work better, as it is a much more protected, less vulnerable area. The event will have the same layout and experience, just in the new locale. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there.” The first film, Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, will screen today at 5.30pm followed by DC Comics’ Aquaman at 8pm. Admission is free. Food and beverage vendors will be on site.


April 19 Good Friday public holiday

Bermuda kite flying

paragraphHundreds of people took advantage of the warm but windy weather to head to the beach for Good Friday. Horseshoe Bay was packed with kite flyers as early as 10.30am, and many more beaches, parks across the island are gearing up for a busy weekend of Easter celebrations.

Other events included:


April 18

paragraphComplaints about children riding motorcycles without helmets in a public park have prompted the Department of Parks to contact police. An angry mother called The Royal Gazette after seeing the children, some riding alone and others accompanied by adults on the bikes, at Clearwater Beach Park on Sunday afternoon. She said about 30 children, some as young as 3, were playing nearby. The mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said that she was concerned a child could be injured or killed. One of those present sent videos and photographs of the children to The Royal Gazette. They show the youngsters, who looked to be as young as ten, riding motorbikes. One photograph showed a man holding what appears to be a beer bottle while riding a bike with a child in front of him. The mother, whose children were attending a birthday party, told the Gazette that when she informed police, they told her they could not take any action. She said: “There were children riding a scooter and a motorcycle with no helmets and there were three separate children’s parties happening at the park. They were speeding inside of the ring in the park, which is for kids to ride their pedal bikes. They could have killed someone’s child, they could have lost control. It is irresponsible of the parents and adults to let underage children drive motorcycles with no helmets, especially when there are little children running around. When I spoke to them about it, they came to me with attitude saying they can do whatever they want to do. They think it is normal behavior. I contacted the police but they said they couldn’t do anything about it. I also contacted the parks department but I am not getting any answers.” She said she contacted the Parks Department, which has ultimate oversight of the area. She also spoke informally to a worker at Bermuda Land Development Company which issues the special permits for use of the park for events and activities. Another mother at the park said: “It was upsetting to see a couple of the motorcycles where the playground was because there were so many kids there.” A third woman added: “I didn’t have any children there, but my friend’s children were and it is very concerning. It is risky allowing a child to ride a bike and the child have no helmet, and to ride a bike under the influence. The children on the bikes were very young — they looked between 10 and 12.” It is an offence for an adult to allow a child under the age of 16 to ride a motorcycle and it is an offence for anyone to ride or be a pillion on a motorcycle without a helmet. A spokeswoman for the Department of Parks said: “It should be noted that the Department of Parks and its park rangers works in conjunction with the Bermuda Police Service to address any issues of concern that arise within our national parks. That said, the department is aware of the incident and will be liaising with the Police Community Action Team and Parish Constable to address the matter.” The Bermuda Police Service encouraged members of the public to submit photographs and videos of the incident to police. A spokesman said: “The Bermuda Police Service works in conjunction with the Department of Parks and its park rangers to address any issues reported within Bermuda’s national parks. We encourage the concerned members of the public to submit the photos and videos they have of the incident to police so that we can ascertain the specific offences that may have been committed under the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986, including amendments, and the Bermuda National Parks Regulations 1988, including amendments. It should be noted that offenders under those Acts face, on summary conviction, a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment of up to three months or both.” Witnesses or members of the public with any information regarding the individuals involved are asked to call the main police telephone number 295-0011.

paragraphEleven people have lost their jobs, and 30 more have accepted early retirement packages, in sweeping changes at Butterfield Bank. The 11 positions were made redundant over two departments, the bank said in a statement released yesterday morning by the Bermuda Stock Exchange. “As retiring employees leave the bank over the next several months, their responsibilities will be reallocated within existing operations locally and internationally to foster further improvements in operating efficiency,” the statement said. In addition, Butterfield’s Rosebank banking centre and drive-through teller services in Hamilton closed yesterday, the bank said. The statement said the moves “completed a multifaceted streamlining initiative that reflects the changing banking environment and positions Butterfield for improved operating efficiency”. Michael Collins, Butterfield’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Following the release of our 2018 earnings, we advised the market that we would be streamlining operations to take better advantage of our international footprint and improve expense management. These are key steps in that process. While it is never easy to implement such changes, we are pleased that most of the headcount reduction in Bermuda was achieved through voluntary early retirements, and our employees are being well supported through this process. We are confident that these are the right changes to position Butterfield for continued growth and development as we seek to become the world’s leading offshore bank and trust company.” Closure of the banking centre and drive-through teller, the bank said, reflect “Bermuda customers’ changing banking preferences, which have resulted in a substantial reduction in the volume of in-branch transactions”. Commenting on the Rosebank closure, Michael Neff, managing director, Bermuda, said: “Reflecting customers’ preferences to increasingly conduct their banking transactions through electronic channels, we have seen in-branch volumes drop by over 50 per cent during the last decade. There is no longer enough volume to justify the continued operation of two full-service banking centres in Hamilton, and we have therefore made the decision to discontinue in-person services at Rosebank. Later this year, Butterfield will begin renovations to its head office at 65 Reid Street in Hamilton, which will include improvement of all customer areas and the development of a modern, expanded banking hall on the Front Street level, designed to make customers’ experiences more efficient and enjoyable.” Going forward, the statement said, Rosebank customers wishing to conduct in-branch transactions are advised to visit one of Butterfield’s three other banking centre locations: Reid Street in Hamilton, St George’s or Somerset. Walk-up and drive-through ATMs will remain in place at Rosebank. The statement said that premium banking services will relocate to the Reid Street banking centre effective Monday, April 22. Safe deposit customers may continue to access their lockboxes at Rosebank until 4pm today, after which time they will be accessible at Butterfield’s Reid Street banking centre on the ground floor, Front Street level. In response to enquiries by The Royal Gazette, a Butterfield spokesman said that employees of Butterfield Trust and the other departments currently located in the bank-owned Rosebank Centre will continue to work from that location. The former banking centre space, the spokesman said, may be used in the near term as department “swing space” to allow for renovations at Butterfield’s head office building on Reid Street. Long-term plans are still to be determined, the spokesman said. The parking lot at Rosebank will remain as short-term parking for Butterfield Trust clients and visitors to the building, the spokesman said. Butterfield also announced that headcount in the bank’s Channel Islands subsidiaries was recently reduced by 15 positions. This change, the statement said, was effected to right-size the organisation following the onboarding of clients and staff from the acquired Deutsche Bank banking and custody business in the Channel Islands. It reflects Butterfield’s more automated back-office environment, which allows for efficient transaction processing with fewer employees. Last year, Butterfield Bank’s Bermuda workforce shrank by 18, ending at 572. As a group, Butterfield had 1,373 employees at the end of the year, including 99 temporary staff. That figure is measured on a full-time equivalency basis, and compares to 1,190 in 2017, 1,240 in 2016 and 1,141 in 2015. The details were contained in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

paragraphSports venues and a restaurant were questioned about flyers that advertised events when they appeared in front of liquor licensing authorities yesterday. Southampton Rangers Sports Club and Somerset Cricket Club were among the venues at a hearing in the Magistrates’ Court. Magistrate Tyrone Chin asked their presidents about adverts for functions held over the past few months. He raised a copy of a flyer promoting a Bartender’s Edition Blue Flame Friday event at Southampton Rangers on February 1, which cost $10 and was open until 3am. Mr Chin said: “It is a members’ club. That’s nightclub. That’s the concern that this authority has.” Lawyer Shannon Dyer said he was enlisted by the sports club “in large part” as a result of an objections notice served by the Bermuda Police Service. He told the court that Southampton Rangers wanted the chance to submit evidence to the Liquor Licensing Authority in response. The BPS ordered the club to shut down for 24 hours from midnight last Saturday after two reported antisocial incidents the previous weekend. Mr Dyer added that after “introductory conversations” with Jason Wade, the club president, who attended the hearing, responses to all concerns were expected to be provided at a full hearing, which was scheduled for next month. Sergeant Andrew Exell, a BPS liquor licensing officer, reserved comment until then. Mr Chin also asked Vashun Blanchette, the president of Somerset Cricket Club, about the possibility that the premises was leased or rented for events. He cited flyers for two functions — one scheduled for tonight — and described the issue as “a concern”. Mr Blanchette replied that was “duly noted”. The parties will return for a full hearing next month. Mr Chin was also concerned about whether Henry VIII restaurant, in Southampton, was “being used as a nightclub” and presented the eatery’s Paul King and Saliya Alahakoon with a copy of a flyer. Mr King said: “It’s nothing to do with Henry VIII. That is a DJ that we do employ and I thought we had spoken to him about not doing these sorts of things.” Mr King explained the business had taken steps to change the control of its social-media sites but added: “We have no control over what a person puts on his private page.” A full hearing for the restaurant will be held in May. Other premises scheduled to return to the panel include the Newstead Golf Resort’s Divots bar and grill, which sought to expand its al fresco offering. Site visits will be carried out at Robinson’s Marina gas station and The Media Lounge, both in Sandys, before hearings to consider new liquor licence applications.

paragraphThe community looks west tomorrow for Good Friday as a home-grown celebration of togetherness marks its seventh year. The Open Your Heart Foundation’s free festivities, starting at 11am at Warren Simmons field in Somerset, is especially poignant this Friday. Tianna Saltus, one of the core organisers, said the group had “taken a hit” with the loss this week of volunteer barber Antoine Seaman, 21, whose life was cut short in a crash early on Monday. The Somerset group will also feel the absence of Taylor Grier, 30, lost to gun violence in August. Mr Grier helped out by hosting its Good Friday dance competition. “They will both be a big miss,” Ms Saltus said. But the foundation sprang, and thrived, from a heartfelt desire to bring people together at a time when gang violence had fragmented the community. Ms Saltus, who will start cooking tonight with a team of volunteers, compared its success to the biblical feeding of the 5,000 from loaves of bread and fish. “We don’t have a lot, but we always make it work — it amazes me every time we do it,” she said. “We do so much; we are genuinely blessed.” She explained that the foundation is not a charity but a grassroots movement that rose from a discussion in 2011 at Woody’s Bar in Sandys about “things happening in the community, gang violence, how nobody was leaving their neighbourhoods to go to big events. It came from young black men committed to a better Bermuda, that genuinely care about the direction the island goes.” She added: “Girls joined in because females make everything better. But the heart of it is young black men.” Beyond its community celebrations on Good Friday and providing gifts on Boxing Day, the group helps needy families with everything from funeral costs and hospital bills to back rent. Ms Saltus said: “Every dime we collect goes into the community. We don’t make any money; it’s all about giving back and fostering love and togetherness.” The group donates to charities, adopts schools, and sponsors youth sports and events that are “inclusive and island wide”. In September, the foundation held a camp for youngsters from around Bermuda on Paget Island in St George’s. “We were hoping to create friendships outside their comfort zone,” Ms Saltus said. “At the end, nobody wanted to go home.” There are many free offerings tomorrow in Somerset. After a long night of preparations, thousands of fish cakes will be given out and the full meals in the afternoon will include roast lamb. Xtreme Sports and Play Games Entertainment will offer fun activities, including an inflatable castle and a 40ft slide. DJs will bring the music, and in addition to haircuts and braiding, children can have their faces painted. Mr Grier’s dance group, Bermuda Squad, will have a stage this year for the popular children’s dance competition, with the adults pitching in for the prize money. Fresh Breath Dental will offer dental screening, while kite- maker Patrick Pedro will fly his creations. Ms Saltus said: “We genuinely try to think of everything and everybody so that nobody feels left out.” She added: “The best feeling is on the day of the event. I always make a point of going up the hill and looking out. Seeing all the people and the children, it warms you. You don’t need people to thank you.”

Open Your Heart Foundation’s Good Friday fun day starts at 11am.

Other Good Friday events

paragraphVolatile weather events that brought extreme flooding to North America, Southern Africa and Asia caused economic losses estimated at up to $8 billion in March — including up to $1 billion of insured losses in the US. (Not known yet is their impact on Bermuda-based insurers). In light of the sizeable impact of those events, resilience and risk mitigation planning in public and private sectors will be key to dealing with possible repeat occurrences. “The major catastrophe events of March highlighted the continued vulnerabilities which exist in both developed and emerging markets,” Michal Lörinc, senior catastrophe analyst at Aon’s Impact Forecasting, said. “The multibillion-dollar impacts from flooding in the United States, Iran, and Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa were each enhanced by infrastructure unable to handle the large scale of water inundation. In an increasingly volatile era for weather events and their impacts on a growing exposure, it will be critical that resilience and risk mitigation planning will become more pronounced in the public and private sectors.” More than 1,100 people were killed when Idai, with winds reaching 115mph, brought storm surge and heavy rain to Mozambique and flooding to Zimbabwe and Malawi. It affected more than three million people and caused economic damage of about $1 billion to the infrastructure of Mozambique alone. Last month, the US suffered economic losses of $4 billion, with up to $1 billion in insurance claims, after weather events across the country, including historic river flooding across the Missouri and Mississippi River basins. Torrential rain and flooding caused major losses in other parts of the world, including Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia and Canada. The impact of the natural disasters are included in Aon PLC's Global Catastrophe Recap for March. Winter storm Eberhard, which brought strong winds and flooding to Germany, and parts of France and Denmark, last month, caused insured losses estimated at between €900 million ($1.01 billion) and €1.5 billion, according to catastrophe risk-modelling company AIR Worldwide.

paragraphResearchers have found lionfish grow faster and larger in Bermuda than elsewhere, but have greater challenges breeding. A newly published scientific paper, The life history characteristics of invasive lionfish in Bermuda, suggests the island’s cooler waters have helped to slow the invasion of the invasive species. Lionfish, first recorded in Bermuda in 2000, are considered a serious threat to reef fish in the Atlantic where they have no natural predators. Corey Eddy, a Bermuda-based researcher and one of the paper’s authors, said: “It appears the waters get just cold enough in the winter so that lionfish are not reproducing year-round as in other places. “Even though Bermuda was the first country outside of the US that lionfish invaded, it seems we have not yet experienced the population explosion typical of invasive species. While they’re certainly common, they’re not yet superabundant like people find in Florida and the Bahamas. We have been curious to learn why this might be and this short reproduction season may help explain things.” Lionfish are native to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but it is believed the species was accidentally introduced to the waters off the coast of Florida in the 1980s. The species have since spread to reefs around the US Southeast, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Dr Eddy said that as part of their research into Bermuda’s invasive lionfish, scientists studied more than 1,500 lionfish caught in Bermuda’s waters between 2012 and 2016. He added that the fish were measured and by examining their otoliths — small “ear bones” — researchers were able to determine the ages of the fish caught. Dr Eddy explained: “These otoliths have growth rings just like a tree, which you can count to figure out the age of a fish, which is the general science we relied upon for much of the work. Although it is generally assumed that one growth ring is laid down each year, its really a good idea to verify that and we did. In fact, we are the first to do this for lionfish.” He said the study found that lionfish in Bermuda’s waters live about nine years and males can reach 18.5 inches — although even larger fish have been reported around the island. Dr Eddy said: “Compared to lionfish from other locations in both the invaded and native ranges, lionfish in Bermuda appear on average to reach larger sizes — in both total length and weight. I’m not saying we’re setting world records, but just that the population in Bermuda has a whole lot of monster-big lionfish.” He added the researchers also compared the lionfish found in both deep and shallow water, and found them to be similar in both size, age and reproductive behavior.

paragraphA Bermudian woman has described her maiden modelling job as a fantastic international experience. Taylor Barit said: “It was so amazing. I got to travel with some Bermudians, I got to meet some new people and experience a new place and culture. I loved it.” Ms Barit, 31, was one of three Bermudians selected for the Spring 2019 photo-shoot for American lifestyle apparel brand Vineyard Vines. Mackenzie Cooper and Shomari Warner were the other local models who took part. Mr Cooper, an accomplished sailor, was the Team BDA skipper at the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in 2017. Mr Warner, who joined Mr Cooper on Team BDA, is a former amateur boxer. The four-day shoot was held in St Kitts in January. Ms Barit, who holds five world records in women’s spear fishing, said it was the first time she had been to the island. She said the trip combined a number of her passions and that she hoped to have the opportunity to do more modelling work in the future. The Paget resident said: “I love to travel and I love to meet new people and get immersed in different cultures — and of course I love to dive.” A spokeswoman for Vineyard Vines said that the three models were chosen to take part “because they not only exhibit their own entrepreneurial spirit — something that Vineyard Vines was founded upon — but they are natural brand ambassadors embracing their community and water a focal point of their lives”.


April 17

paragraphPremier David Burt said this afternoon that the Bermuda Government was “disappointed at the loss of Bermudian jobs announced today by Butterfield Bank” — and would prioritise the diversifying the island’s banking sector. The Premier’s remarks came after 11 staff were axed, and 30 more have accepted early retirement packages. The cuts were announced by the bank in a statement this morning issued by the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Mr Burt voiced regret at the news, “especially in light of their recently announced record profits for 2018”. He added: “We are also concerned about the impact that these redundancies and early retirements have had on the affected employees. It is clear that Bermuda requires greater diversification in the banking sector to create more employment opportunities for Bermudians and more banking choices for Bermudian consumers. Consequently, the Government will increase our efforts to diversify our banking sector as a matter of national priority. In 2009 the Government of Bermuda stepped in to assist Butterfield Bank when its future, the security of depositors deposits and Bermudian jobs were in jeopardy. For the Bermudian workers who have been made redundant today, the Government intends to be there for you, just as we were for Butterfield Bank in 2009. I have asked the minister responsible for Workforce Development to make available the full array of services at her disposal to ensure that the affected employees are aware of and where applicable, paired with suitable employment opportunities, training or retraining needed to get them back to work. As Butterfield Bank has obligations to their shareholders, the Bermudians who now find themselves out of work have obligations to their families. We will do everything in our power to ensure that those former employees of Butterfield have the support needed to get through this difficult period.”

paragraphContracts worth more than $300 million to redevelop a rundown wharf in St George’s are to be financed by their developers. But the Bermuda Land Development Company declined to be specific on whether the deals would be funded through a public-private partnership like the controversial contract to redevelop the island’s airport. A BLDC spokeswoman said the RFQ was seeking “developers and investors to finance the development whereby BLDC leases the land to investors/developers who will finance the project themselves”. Government wants the area developed to provide a power plant and cargo port. Each project will cost more than $150 million to build. The power plant is expected to generate at least 20 megawatts of power — a fraction of the island’s capacity last year of 160 megawatts. The news came as the watchdog Regulatory Authority puts together an integrated resource plan, expected to be completed later this year, to create a blueprint for future energy production in Bermuda. The spokeswoman said bidders for the energy plant contract were expected to provide “input to the RA for consideration for inclusion in the integrated resource plan in the near future”. A spokeswoman for the RA said that the authority had liaised with the BLDC over its plans for Marginal Wharf, also called Ship’s Wharf, which is now largely unused. He added: “We hope to be in a position to launch public consultation on the integrated resource plan shortly.”

paragraphA lawyer for patients whose files were seized by police has called for an investigator to be removed from the case over allegations of contempt of court. Mark Pettingill told the Supreme Court yesterday that the police officer approached a patient at her workplace and questioned her. He suggested the officer had accessed medical files — seized in a raid on Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget and the Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s — despite a court order. But Mark Diel, the lawyer for the Bermuda Police Service, said the officer had approached the patient to find out if patient information had been leaked. Mr Pettingill told the court that last year the officer questioned a patient whose files had been seized as part of an investigation into allegations that the clinics ordered unneeded diagnostic scans. He said the officer had asked the patient if she attended a meeting held about the file seizures and how she had heard about it. Mr Pettingill said the only way the investigator would have known she was a patient was if he had used information in her medical files. He said: “The fact is, he has the knowledge and he’s not supposed to do anything about the knowledge. He cannot utilize it for any purpose. His purpose was to glean further information about the patients whose files were seized. It’s the approach that causes contempt. It’s using the knowledge to go and talk to her.” However, Mr Diel said that the police inspector did not access the woman’s files. He explained that police had drawn up a list of patients who had received a high number of scans before the files were seized. He said: “We are taking all possible steps to protect patient confidentiality. The list that was generated was generated by the police. It was nothing that was seized from the clinics.” Mr Diel told the court the officer had approached the patient about concerns that people whose files were seized had been contacted in breach of an “undertaking” agreement made with the raided clinics. He added that submissions before the court “tacitly admitted” that the clinics had breached the order when they contacted the patients. Mr Diel also argued during the hearing, held in chambers, that Mr Pettingill and Victoria Greening, who also represents the patients in the case, had a conflict of interest. He said Mr Pettingill, a former attorney-general, and Ms Greening, a former Department of Public Prosecutions lawyer, had both received privileged information while in those posts. Mr Diel added that when Mr Pettingill’s and Ms Greening’s Chancery Legal first became involved in the case, it was understood they were focused only on the confidentiality of the medical records. He said that the parties were working to set up a protocol on how the records would be handled at the time. Mr Diel added that if the clinics and Mahesh Reddy, a doctor with the clinics, dropped out of the case because of the protocol, the patients had made it clear they wanted to continue with the judicial review. He said: “Once we knew their intention was to substitute themselves for the applicants, we properly raised the issue of conflict.” Mr Pettingill explained the medical files were not seized until two years after he quit as Attorney-General and Ms Greening had no privileged information on the case. He added that Mr Diel had failed to say what confidential or privileged information either he or Ms Greening had, or how it would benefit their case. Mr Pettingill said: “Patients have a right to privacy of their medical records and our position is the Bermuda Police Service had no right to come and remove them, much less review them. I don’t for a second begin to see where Ms Greening or myself have any type of conflict or advantage in that representation. It cannot be just the inference that we have confidential information or that confidential information was discussed. There has to be the definition of some confidential information and there is nowhere in any of the affidavits that my learned friends indicate what this information is.” Mr Pettingill also argued that it would be “onerous, outrageous and unfair” for his clients to have to find new lawyers after the case had started.

paragraphThe mother of a pupil forced out of a mould-plagued middle school may refuse to send her child to another school to finish the academic year. The concerned parent warned yesterday that other parents and pupils could also stage a strike in protest at the emergency transfer of pupils from TN Tatem Middle School because of health fears. The woman, who asked not to be named, said that she had not made up her mind on whether she would allow her daughter, an M3 pupil, to report to another school. She added: “I doubt it.” The woman said she had spoken to other TN Tatem parents who said their children would not go to the schools assigned to them. She added: “A lot of people are saying they are not sending their children back to school.” She told education officials: “You cannot tell parents where their children are going. You have not even consulted us, as parents, to see how we feel about this whole situation. You cannot put something like this out on the table without a plan.” The woman was speaking after a meeting on Monday night at Bermuda College, attended by dozens of TN Tatem parents, set up to outline plans for the school. It was organized after it was announced last Friday that the school would remain closed for the rest of the year. The Warwick school was closed last Tuesday after a walkout by teachers and pupils over health fears. The closure order was sparked by a letter from the Parent Teacher Student Association to education officials that highlighted “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”. Parents of M1 and M2 pupils were told at the meeting that their children would begin classes at either Dellwood Middle School, in Pembroke, Sandys Secondary Middle School, or the Whitney Institute Middle School, in Smith’s, beginning today. The meeting was closed to the media. A meeting for M3 parents is scheduled for Monday. The woman said she had already received a letter that said her daughter was to finish the year at the Whitney Institute in Smith’s. However, she said: “You’re not going to tell me where my child is going. You have to consult with us parents. Give us a choice, give us an option.” The woman said that she wanted to see the Government “do their job right”. She added: “I would like for them to show these children that they care about their education.” The woman said that she also wanted increased health and safety staff numbers so schools could be inspected more often. She added that she was tired of problems at the school being treated as a political football. The woman said: “It’s time for all of them to come together and show these children that even though they are different parties, they can come together and help sort out this situation.” Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said on Monday that the meeting had gone “very well”. But he admitted: “I would not say that all parents were pleased, but I think the main thing is that everyone understood where we are and why we are doing what we are doing. Of course, we anticipate that there will be some teething pains with this transition ... but I do believe that we will come out of this with a better system.”

paragraphBeing on an EU blacklist, and ten months of declining retail sales, are among the chief concerns for businesses on the island, according to Dennis Fagundo, the new president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. The joint manager of D&J Construction has succeeded John Wight to head up the Chamber, after Mr Wight stepped down following more than three years in the role, at yesterday’s annual meeting. In 2018, retail sales dropped 2.1 per cent compared with the previous year when the island hosted the America’s Cup. The most recent monthly Retail Sales Index showed a 5.3 per cent decline in the volume of sales in December, marking the tenth consecutive month of falling sales. The sector employs more than 3,500 people and heavily uses the services of local businesses and tradespeople. Asked by The Royal Gazette for his view on the declining sales, Mr Fagundo said: “The retail sales numbers are always a concern, it tends to be an indicator of overall economic activity and confidence going forward. The Chamber will continue to work to address that in many different ways. “In some ways, it is related to population numbers and other factors outside of our control. We will continue to work on trying to spur that economic growth so that everyone can be successful.” Last month, Bermuda was placed on a European Union list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions after a drafting error in its Economic Substance Regulations submission to the EU. The Bermuda Government has expressed confidence that the island will be removed from the blacklist when the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council meets next month. Mr Fagundo said: “The Bermuda economy is threatened by a number of external factors, economic substance being one. We’ve done very well lately with the anti-money laundering assessment last year, so we need to continue to build on that momentum. Temporarily sitting on the EU’s blacklist for the economic substance has given us a little bit of a stumbling block. We can overcome that quite quickly. I’m very hopeful that we will be off the blacklist as of the May 17 meeting, then we can continue to grow the economy and moving forward.” Yesterday, Butterfield Bank announced 30 early retirements, the loss of 11 positions, and the closure of its Rosebank banking centre — with the major switch by customers from in-branch to online banking cited as a reason why the bank felt it could no longer justify two full-service centres in Hamilton. Coincidently, the broader impact of technology was highlighted in the Chamber’s annual report, released yesterday. Kendaree Burgess, chief executive officer, wrote: “There are so many new and more efficient ways to do things that now result in less human interaction. This is both good and bad. Good in that we will be able to delegate routine tasks to machines and focus on other aspects of work. This is bad news for persons in those industries where tote tasks will give way to machines.” On the real estate market, the Chamber also reported that prices last year “dropped beyond anything we have seen in recent years”, with some houses and condos on the markets well below $600,000. Those low prices had proved a trigger for “several sales”. Waterfront properties with docks, and properties selling for $2 million or more, did well in 2018, according to the Chamber. However, it said: “The lower end of the market, below $1 million, hasn’t fared as well — this due to tighter controls on bank lending, higher interest rates and a downturn in the economy which is seeing further cutbacks and job losses, which has a knock-on effect as people curb spending.” Looking at the year ahead for the Chamber, Mr Fagundo said: “Our role is focused around doing everything we can to create an environment in which business, and through business the rest of the social-economic fabric of Bermuda, can prosper. Our focus will continue to be on working with Government and the other stakeholders to help optimize that environment.”

paragraphThe draft plan for the future of Bermuda’s World Heritage Site at the East End is to be released this summer, the home affairs minister pledged today. Walter Roban said: “The Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Committee, through the coordination of the Department of Planning, is working diligently to develop a consultation draft of the 2020-2025 Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Plan.” He added: “Additional public consultation sessions are also planned once the consultation draft is released, following up an initial session held in St George’s in January.” Mr Roban said that the World Heritage Site Management Plan is “a critical tool to maintain and utilize our Unesco World Heritage status”. He added: “It’s important that our 2020-2025 plan for the World Heritage Site is co-created with the community.” He was speaking ahead of World Heritage Day, which is marked tomorrow. Mr Roban said: “Bermuda and other UK Unesco World Heritage Sites will mark the occasion by raising awareness of the Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications and nearly 1,100 other World Heritage Sites of outstanding universal value to humanity.” He added that the five-year review of the Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Plan “aims to ensure proper management” of the Olde Towne and fortifications. To learn more about our Bermuda World Heritage, please visit the “Town of St George and its Related Fortifications World Heritage Site” Facebook page.

paragraphThe Duperreault Fellowship, an endowment fund that supports the professional development of Bermuda residents working or studying in the field of substance abuse invites applications for 2019. Applications for the 2019 Fellowship are due the last day of this month - April 30th 2019. Applications can be obtained online. Duperreault Fellowship Chair Katherine Watson stated, “I encourage individuals involved in alcohol and drug treatment to apply for funding to further your skills as you help us heal.” 2018 Duperreault Fellow Dayla Burgess a graduate of CedarBridge Academy, is a Registered Allied Health Professional and Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California, a bachelor of science degree in sociology from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida; an associate’s degree from Valencia College, Orlando, Florida; and an associate’s degree in social work from George Brown College, Toronto, Canada. “Being awarded the Duperreault Fellowship allowed me to further connect with my community by debunking the stigma attached to chemical dependency and spread much needed community awareness. I am proud to say I will participate in the graduation commencement ceremonies in May with a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University Of Southern California (USC). I encourage my colleagues in the field exploring their own professional development to apply now”. Ms. Burgess is currently employed at the Women’s Treatment Centre where she provides direct services. The Duperreault Fellowship was established in 2004 when a $500,000 donation contributed by insurance industry veteran Brian Duperreault and his wife, Nancy, was supported by a $1 million donation from The ACE (now Chubb) Foundation.

paragraphA Bermudian actor booked a spot in a Netflix series a week after she submitted a video audition. The tape landed Jordan Claire Robbins a major role in the first season of Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, which premiered in February. Ms Robbins landed the role as Grace after a friend suggested she audition for it. She explained: “She thought I would be a great fit and, since I loved the role and project, I asked my agent if casting were open to me auditioning for it.” She submitted a tape because she was in Vancouver on Canada’s west coast at the time and casting was in Toronto on the opposite side of the country. Ms Robbins, 28, said: “I heard back within a few days that I was on their shortlist and then, about a week later, I found out I’d got it.” Grace is an Artificial Intelligence robot built to be the perfect mother for seven young children born with superpowers. Ms Robbins said: “I absolutely loved every moment of playing Grace. It was a challenge in the best way, as I wanted to constantly give the audience that little something that made them wonder what was going on under the surface for her.” She added: “This was my first experience of being able to develop a character from the very beginning of the show, which meant I was able to build the world of these characters with the other actors and our show-runner, Steve Blackman.” Grace was created in the image of a “perfect 1950s housewife” by Sir Reginald Hargreeves who “adopted” the children to turn them into a team of superheroes. Ms Robbins said: “It was important that I moved and spoke in a way that accurately represented women from that time period as well as being non-human.” She said she took ballet classes, danced around her apartment with books on her head, took voice coaching, watched series and movies which portrayed that era and researched artificial intelligence in preparation for the role. She added: “It was such an amazing experience getting to learn and grow through playing such a fun and challenging character and I completely fell in love with each of the charming, troubled, quirky characters.” Ms Robbins added that the show, based on a comic book by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, had pleased audiences and won good reviews. She said: “This is really the best thing you can hope for as an actor, to see the story you helped tell affect and inspire your audience. I have absolutely loved hearing from fans all over the world and social media has created a great opportunity to be able to connect with audiences.” Ms Robbins added that aspiring Bermudian actors should get as much experience as possible. She said: “Acting classes are an important way to practise and learn, but 2019 is an exciting time because there is also so much available to us without even leaving our home. Reading books, taking online master-classes by professionals in the industry, and watching YouTube interviews such as Inside the Actors Studio are all great ways to expand your knowledge.” Ms Robbins acted in school plays while at Saltus Grammar School and went on to do a degree in drama in Toronto. She also took film and TV classes for a year before she signed up with an agent. Ms Robbins added: “I think it’s very important that you have taken the time to practise and learn before you get an agent because it’s a very competitive industry and experience gives you that extra confidence to carry you through the more difficult times. There's no such thing as quick success — it is a very rewarding career, but it requires a lot of hard work, patience, determination and grit. There is no clear path, everyone’s journey in this industry is different, so you have to love it so much that you can hear ‘no’ over and over and never lose sight of why you’re doing it.” Ms Robbins will guest star on Netflix’s iZombie next month. She also produced and co-starred in a short film she wrote called Driver Is Arriving Now, a dark comedy about a woman forced to relive a past relationship, which will screen at festivals this year.

paragraphThe man who died in a collision involving a motorbike and a police car this week was a promising athlete and a volunteer with youth development programme Mirrors. Antoine Seaman, 21, who died early on Monday after a crash in Somerset, was a Somerset Trojans footballer. He also played cricket and had represented Bermuda overseas as a teenager with the Bermuda Cricket Board National Academy. Mr Seaman, a former Bermuda Institute and CedarBridge Academy pupil, worked as a barber and pitched in to give free haircuts to youngsters. Friends said he had changed after he was involved in an incident that led to a court case in September 2017. Mr Seaman and another man, then both 19, were injured by two cruise ship passengers when a fight broke out after a chain was snatched from a visitor’s neck. Mr Seaman dedicated himself to community service after the incident. Lieutenant Josonne Smith of the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, Mr Seaman’s cousin and an elder at the Rockaway Seventh-day Adventist Church where he worshipped, said he had “a quiet, unassuming and very genuine personality” and was “going down a positive road”. Mr Smith added that Mr Seaman, from Granaway Heights, Southampton, had become a regular at the church’s Sabbath class. He said: “I was seriously proud of him. He was very friendly and loving with people, just trying to understand life and where he should go. He was a kind guy, very respectful, and discovering that person in himself. Everyone was so happy to see him coming to church and completely opening his heart up to God.” Danvers Seymour Jr, the coach for Trojans, said: “As I reflect on the life of Antoine, I remember the first time I saw him play. A very lively, energetic character full of pace and hunger ... I quickly asked who he was so I could keep an eye on him. As I got to know him, I found he was a very passionate young man who brightened up any room in the blink of an eye — full of confidence and very committed to whatever he was doing.” Mr Seymour added: “He recently started to help me to coach the Somerset Under-11 Youth Football Team, where the young boys looked up to him as a senior player and always took advice to heart.” The young players made their haircut appointments at the same time, he said. “We are completely heartbroken and Antoine will be truly missed. He will live for ever in all our hearts.” Kim Jackson, a Mirrors co-ordinator, said Mr Seaman was “a giant who is gone too soon”. She added that young men on the programme formed a circle talk on Monday as a tribute to his life. Ms Jackson said: “Antoine Seaman came to Mirrors during the latter part of 2017 looking for support in transforming his life. He knew the road would be tough as his incident was publicised, but this did not deter him from learning from his mistakes. Mr Seaman brought a “determination to give back to the community” and that his desire for “a purposeful life positively impacting young people shone through, Antoine owned his life, the foundation that his family provided, his community support and the mistakes he made. It was amazing to see a young man awakening to his calling and making a choice to be different. Although not physically large, we watched him transform into a giant in his desire to be impactful in our community.” Mr Seaman was due to join in the Open Your Heart Foundation Good Friday to give free haircuts to youngsters in need. Ms Jackson said Mr Seaman had also put in long hours at the Mirrors office to give administrative support and was a team leader at the SuperCamp Junior Forum in February last year. The camps work with at-risk young people to help with relationship skills and character development. Ms Jackson said Mr Seaman had a “great” rapport with the youngsters and the programme’s overseas consultant. She added that the camp’s leadership team had tipped him to take on a bigger role with Mirrors. Ms Jackson said: “The consultant shared how impactful he was with young people and that he should be considered as a potential candidate to be a Mirrors facilitator. Antoine’s gift of leadership and impact extended beyond Mirrors’ walls. He was a positive influence in the Somerset community as he provided free haircuts to young people and coached a junior football team. His transformation was remarkable and truly noticeable in every aspect of his life. He will be missed by the Mirrors family and the community at large.” The crash in Sandys involved a marked police car, which was traveling in the opposite direction on a call to a disturbance. The incident, which occurred at about 1.50am on Somerset Road, near Wilson Place, is now under investigation by the independent Police Complaints Authority as well as the police. A spokesman said today that CCTV footage showed Mr Seaman riding alongside an “as yet unknown motorcyclist who the BPS believe is a critical witness to the collision. We are urgently appealing for that rider, or anyone who knows the identity of that individual, to come forward by calling the investigating officer Sergeant Dorian Astwood on 247-1009 or 717-0849 at the earliest opportunity.”

paragraphCub Scouts got into the Good Friday spirit by assembling kites. Boys from the Bermuda 22nd Cub Scouts glued pictures of planets to their kites to make a model of the solar system. It will help the cubs achieve their astronomer activity badge.


April 16

paragraphA homeless man who threatened to cut off the Premier’s head pleaded guilty to two charges of making death threats yesterday. Jared Gordon, 29, admitted he sent two threatening e-mails to David Burt. But he denied a count of blackmail, and the prosecution said it would not proceed with that charge at this stage. The first of the e-mails said: “Ignoring me asking for a budget is driving me to a point of wanting to tell you this to your face ... I would really put a hole in your head.” The sentence was followed by a series of images of guns. The later e-mail said: “I’m going to end up coming back like a thief in the night, pulling you out of your house and chopping your head off with a hacksaw.” The offences happened on October 12, 2017, and March 28, 2018. Gordon was charged in Magistrates’ Court last May and remanded in custody after he was unable to come up with a guarantee for bail. Simone Smith-Bean, for Gordon, asked that his bail conditions be changed to remove the need for a guarantee. Acting Puisne Judge Juan Wolffe extended Gordon’s bail, but left the need for a guarantee. Mr Justice Wolffe asked for a psychological assessment and a social inquiry report on Gordon and ordered him to stay at least 100 yards away from the House of Assembly, the Cabinet Office and Camden House, the official residence of the Premier.

paragraphChildren at a middle school plagued by mould will be taught at three different schools for the rest of the school year, parents were told last night. The pupils in M1 and M2 at TN Tatem Middle School will begin classes at Dellwood Middle School, in Pembroke, Sandys Secondary Middle School, or the Whitney Institute Middle School, in Smith’s, beginning tomorrow. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said after the meeting, which was not open to the media, that it had gone “very well”. However, he added: “I would not say that all parents were pleased, but I think the main thing is that everyone understood where we are and why we are doing what we are doing. Of course we anticipate that there will be some teething pains with this transition ... but I do believe that we will come out of this with a better system. Our students will be in school, where they need to be, and they get the resources that they need to fulfil their potential.” Dozens of TN Tatem parents attended the event at Bermuda College. The meeting came after it was announced last Friday that the school would remain closed for the rest of the year. The Warwick school was closed last Tuesday after a walkout by teachers and pupils over health fears. The closure order was sparked by a letter from the Parent Teacher Student Association to education officials that highlighted “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”. Mr Rabain said on Friday that inspections had been carried out at the school by Titus Gordon, the Cabinet health and safety officer, the day before. He said at the time that a report would be completed that day and released to staff at the school yesterday. But Mr Rabian said last night that the report had not yet been finalized. He added: “What we are waiting for is some documentation from the teachers themselves.” Mr Rabain said that the results of the report would be released as soon as it had been completed. Albert Wilson, the president of the TN Tatem Middle School PTSA, did not respond to requests for comment by press time last night. But Mr Wilson said last week that he was concerned about disruption to pupils’ education. He added: “The parents have not been a part of the conversation before these decisions were made.” Mr Wilson also said that at least 15 people at the school — 11 teachers and four pupils — had become sick. Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said last week that emergency accommodations for TN Tatem pupils had been arranged. Pupils from the M3 class were yesterday to go to Purvis Primary School in Warwick and M2 pupils were to attend Heron Bay Primary School in Southampton. Ms Richards said that M1 pupils would be taught at Hamilton Fire Station. A further meeting for the parents of M3 pupils is scheduled for Monday.

paragraphA new Visitor Services Centre has opened in St George’s. The facility, in York Street, gives visitors electronic information on the Olde Towne and across Bermuda, helps them book activities and sells Bermuda-branded products. It was set up as part of the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s plan to make information more readily available for tourists. Tourism minister Zane DeSilva said: “St George’s is one of the best places in Bermuda to spend the day wandering through the town, shopping at locally owned businesses, visiting the beach, and mingling with the locals. One of the biggest challenges that has faced the Town of St George’s is how to share the wealth of information and activities in and about the Olde Towne with our visitors. We needed a location with the necessary technology and features, while maintaining the Olde Towne’s architectural charm. We needed a location that was more aligned with our younger, fresher Bermuda brand. Our visitors now have a central location in the heart of St George’s to learn about the history of St George’s and to plan and book their personalised Bermuda experience. The new VSC will encourage visitor spending and enhance awareness of the incredible experiences available in the East End and across Bermuda. It provides a place where our visitors can discover all that is on offer and make purchases or reservations with the touch of a button.” Mr DeSilva said visitor satisfaction levels had improved since the opening of the Dockyard Visitor Services Centre.

paragraphJohn Wight has called for “frank discussion” on the major issues facing the island as he prepares to step down as president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce tomorrow. Mr Wight, who took over as the Chamber’s head in December 2015, said proactive dialogue on areas including public education and the ageing population was critical to the island’s future viability. Although efforts to find solutions to the long-term issues facing the island tended to stir up strong feelings on different sides of the debate, Mr Wight said it was critical that the community faced up to the task. “Differences of opinion are part of a healthy democracy,” Mr Wight said. “The failure to address and discuss them is not.” From public education to immigration reform, from the removal of the restriction on foreign ownership of local businesses to caring for our elderly — these issues will not go away without proactive engagement. And they will have huge consequences for the future viability and success of Bermuda. We must work together to craft solutions that benefit Bermudians and Bermuda’s businesses.” He stressed why the key issues mattered. “I am concerned for young people in our community who, for various reasons, are not receiving the education and training that they need to succeed in Bermuda’s new reality. I am concerned for the many people without jobs who were made redundant through no fault of their own. I am concerned about seniors in our community who have raised families and contributed many years in the workforce, who deserve a happy retirement.” He said top priorities were public education and the implications of the ageing population. Also high up on the lists of priorities is boosting business confidence. As I have said before, we urgently need more people paying into the financial system.” At the Chamber’s annual general meeting tomorrow, Mr Wight will step down from the post in which he has been the main spokesman for the business community for nearly 3½ years. Next month Mr Wight is set to take on an increased workload at insurer BF&M Ltd, when he adds the responsibility of chairman to his current role as chief executive officer. Heading up the Chamber had been a great learning experience, he said, in particular in finding out the differing challenges of businesses of different types and sizes. “It has been a tremendous honour to work with a committed executive team over the past few years on behalf of Chamber members,” Mr Wight said. “It has been a great learning experience for me. In particular, I was able to understand the risks and opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses — critical to the future success of Bermuda. I am gratified that the Chamber has continued to provide a voice on behalf of our members and the broader business community on a wide range of events and topics, from the Bermuda Government Budgets to Pathways to Status, and many more in between.” Despite the island’s challenges, Mr Wight said the future could be bright. “While there is much to be concerned about, it strikes me that we have so much to be thankful for.  If we are truly committed to doing what is best for our community, our best days may yet be ahead. It takes the willingness to work together.”

paragraphButterfield Bank announced 30 early retirements, the loss of 11 positions, and the closure of its Rosebank banking centre — with the major switch by customers from in-branch to online banking cited as a reason why the bank felt it could no longer justify two full-service centres in Hamilton. 

paragraphA giant postcard-style mural is taking shape on the wall of a Hamilton office block. The massive sign — with Greetings from Bermuda on it — is being painted on the side of Dorchester House on Church Street by US-based company Greetings Tour. The mural is being created by artist Victor Ving and his photographer fiancée Lisa Beggs, helped by Dominic Corry from Britain. The mural will have different elements of Bermuda’s culture inside the letters. Ms Beggs said: “Whatever makes Bermuda unique, that’s what we are painting in the letters.” She added that Bermuda’s distinctive architecture would be featured. Ms Beggs said the team was pleased to be able to paint their first mural outside America. She added: “It feels like a dream. It’s really amazing being here. Everyone is friendly. We are here just adding a little art to the city.” Greetings Tour, owned by the couple, has created 36 murals in American 18 states. They came to Bermuda in January, toured and took photographs in preparation for the work. The company was hired by the Green family, owners of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, to create the artwork. The family are expected to make an announcement on the project later this week. Ms Beggs said work on the mural, which started on Sunday, would be finished by the end of the week. Greetings Tours is a nationwide mural project in the US which creates landmarks through public art. The couple said they used classic large letter postcard styles and artwork to capture the pride of people in their hometowns and to spark the interest of visitors. Ms Biggs said: “I am a photographer and he is an artist, so we just put our talents together and made up this project.” She said she takes photograph of landmarks which are then incorporated into the murals. The couple has travelled across America in their recreational vehicle to paint their murals for the past four years. Ms Begg said: “Our goal is to paint a mural in every state in the United States.” The couple collaborate with artists, businesses and residents in each location to create the custom murals. Ms Begg said that after the couple completed a mural in Alaska last year, they decided to go international.

paragraphCaribbean Journal. Home sharing giant Airbnb, now in partnership with Bermuda Tourism, has completed its acquisition of last-minute hotel booking company HotelTonight, the two sides announced. Airbnb, whose vast global portfolio focuses on short-term home rentals, said it was “working to re-imagine travel by building an end-to-end travel platform that combines where you stay, what you do, and how you get there, all in one place.” HotelTonight, which several years ago launched in Caribbean markets like Nassau and San Juan, will continue to operate as it does today. Sam Shank, the company’s founder and CEO, will lead Airbnb’s “boutique hotel category,” the company said. “When we founded HotelTonight, we sought to re-imagine the hotel booking experience to be more simple, fast and fun, and to better connect travelers with the world’s best boutique and independent hotels,” Shank said. “We are delighted to take this vision to new heights as part of Airbnb.” In recent years, HotelTonight had expanded from same-day, last-minute bookings to longer-term discounted bookings. “We want Airbnb to be the place where travelers plan all of their trips, whether they are booking one year or one day in advance,” said Airbnb President of Homes Greg Greeley. “The HotelTonight team has a tremendous passion for helping guests and rich industry expertise. We are more than thrilled to have them on board.”

paragraphThe island was asked yesterday to turn out and create a fun-filled atmosphere at the MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda, even though Bermudian star Flora Duffy will not compete in the elite women’s race. But fans will still get the chance to see Duffy perform in next week’s event when she takes part in the bike leg of the age-group relay, despite an injury that has ruled her out of competitive running. The Commonwealth and two-times former world champion has struggled with a tear in the tendon on the bridge of her left foot in recent times. Duffy said: “I’m beyond disappointed to be missing out on WTS Bermuda, where my community have rallied around the event.” The Bermuda organising committee added later that she planned to form a relay team to compete in the amateur age-group race, which will be held on April 27. Steven Petty, the Bermuda Triathlon Association president, said that, without Duffy, the elite women’s event was “anyone’s race”. He added: “We’re confident that Bermuda’s uplifting cheers will carry our visiting athletes to the podium, just as we did for Flora last year.” Pat Phillip-Fairn, the World Triathlon Bermuda committee chairwoman, said: “Fans will still be able to cheer for Flora Duffy as she flies through the streets of Hamilton and up Corkscrew Hill on her new bike. It’s going to be a great show with an amazing atmosphere and we all love that feeling of the community once again coming together to do what we do best — that collective Bermudian spirit of celebration and support.” She said Duffy would visit the Tri-Club Viewing Deck hospitality venue and be a guest commentator during the elite races. Ms Phillip-Fairn added: “No one knows her competitors like Flora does and she’ll provide insights about their style and strengths.” Kevin Dallas, the chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said the organisation was “thrilled” that fans could still watch Duffy in action. He added: “This means we all get to express our love for Flora, like we’ve been waiting to do since last year’s dominant performance. I’m confident Bermuda will show up in large numbers, air horns ready. Last year visiting competitors in the age-group categories glowed, almost uniformly, about how inspired they were by the number of spectators lining the course to cheer. They told us it’s Bermuda’s fans who made the experience a memorable one for them because they don’t find the same level of support for amateurs when competing in other places. Our community is what makes Bermuda’s World Triathlon one of the best travel-for triathlons on the planet.” Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, added: “Bermuda is still going to be able to see her out there and they’re seeing some of the world’s finest athletes performing in the streets of Hamilton — what better experience to have? You have three great sports to be able to watch, whether you’re interested in the swimming, the speed of the bikes or the running part, each has its own technique and its own fascination. The more people we can get out, there the greater it’s going to be and hopefully Bermudians as a whole will come on out. Bermudians are great at being audience participants and there’s always somebody with a great sense of humour making the odd comment.” Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, said Duffy’s decision to cycle in the relay event was “a demonstration of her true competitive spirit. I think, as a community, it’s important that we recognise the significance of the World Triathlon Bermuda. Despite its small size, Bermuda will be seen as a country that can host top-tier sporting events with confidence. This event will showcase the beauty and appeal of our island to thousands around the world, feature the hospitality of our people and highlight all that we have to offer as a premier leisure and business destination. A significant amount of hard work and planning has gone into organising this event by some incredibly talented Bermudians and they deserve our support. This is an opportunity to not only cheer on the athletes, but it’s an opportunity for us to celebrate our island and the great things that can be accomplished when we work together to achieve success. “I will be in attendance at the World Triathlon Bermuda supporting the competitors and I look forward to seeing members of our community lining the race route showcasing their pride.” The festival weekend will start on April 25 with a pasta party and Harbour Nights celebration. A children’s duathlon will start at 6.30pm the next day before a full schedule of races on April 27.

paragraphEaster lilies picked at a Bermuda farm will be sent to the Queen tonight. Governor John Rankin took part in the annual picking event at J&J Produce.  The flowers will be on the British Airways flight to Gatwick this evening, and are expected to reach Windsor Castle tomorrow morning.

paragraphA 21-year-old man killed in a crash with a police vehicle in the West End in the early hours of yesterday morning has been named. Antoine Seaman, from Granaway Drive, Southampton, was killed when his motorbike was in collision with a police car on Somerset Road, Sandys, near the Willowbank resort at about 2am. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said the crash happened as a female police officer headed west in a marked patrol car on her way to a report of a disturbance. Police denied social-media claims that Mr Seaman was being chased by police when the crash happened. Mr Seaman was taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but was pronounced dead at about 2.30am. He is the fourth road death of the year. The scene was cordoned off as police launched an investigation led by roads policing unit officer Sergeant Dorian Astwood. Mr Astwood said yesterday: “The BPS confirms that a full notification has been passed to the independent body the Police Complaints Authority. However, this is normal practice as required by legislation and ensures full transparency. This applies to incidents involving death or serious injury where an officer acting in the execution of his or her duty causes, or appears to have caused, death or serious injury to any person. The Commissioner of Police shall, as soon as practicable, give the authority a written notice setting out particulars of the incident in which death or serious injury was caused.” Mr Astwood declined to comment on the circumstances of the collision. He said: “We understand that this collision occurred less than 12 hours ago and there is a family mourning at this time, so it is correct we show compassion and don’t pre-empt any decisions or suggestions as to the circumstances at this time.” Mr Astwood added that the officer, who was uninjured, was alone in the patrol car at the time of the incident. He said police wanted to speak to anyone with knowledge of Mr Seaman’s whereabouts from 11pm on Sunday. A family liaison officer has been assigned. Anyone with information that could help the inquiry should contact Mr Astwood on 247-1009 or 717-0849.


April 15

paragraphHealth minister Kim Wilson will make a presentation on healthcare costs at a town hall meeting. The Progressive Labour Party’s political education committee is organising the event at Alaska Hall on Monday, from 6pm to 7pm. Ms Wilson has said changes to the island’s health financing would save millions for the hospital while the Government’s mandated premiums remain unchanged. Insurance sources have warned the overhaul effectively shifts costs from government-backed insurance schemes to private healthcare insurance.

paragraphA pilot programme to give problem drinkers a chance to avoid a driving ban could be discriminatory, an addiction counsellor has warned. Fiona Elkinson, who runs her own drink-driver education programme, said the new Driving Under the Influence Court, pioneered by senior magistrate Juan Wolffe, allowed drink-drivers who admitted they had an alcohol problem to keep their licences if they underwent an intensive treatment course. Ms Elkinson said the scheme could penalize drink-drivers who do not have an addiction problem if they were not given a route to allow them to retain their licences as well. Ms Elkinson, who has run her DUI education programme for 20 years, added: “I stand by mandatory education courses for everyone convicted of drink driving-related offences, but it wouldn’t be sensible if people who have a drinking problem can get on the road while people who do not have a drinking problem cannot.” She said that the DUI Court’s pilot programme had good intentions, but if motorists who did not have a serious problem had no way to avoid a ban, it would be unfair. Mr Wolffe did not respond to a request for comment on the DUI Court, how it would be organized and how eligibility would be assessed. The Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Ministry of National Security also declined to comment and referred questions to Mr Wolffe. Mr Wolffe said in February: “DUI Court is not for people who want to stay on the road. It’s for people who want to deal with their drinking problem. If you don’t have a problem, then it’s not for you.” Ms Elkinson, who met Mr Wolffe to discuss the drink-driving court but is not part of the pilot, said: “I think the reason it was set up was to get people the treatment that they need and allow the court to have power to make people get the level of treatment that they need and that is a positive thing. Mr Wolffe knows that people can change and with counselling and education they do step up and make change.” Statistics from the Coroner’s Office show about 75 per cent of road deaths in Bermuda involve alcohol or drugs. Magistrates’ Court deals with hundreds of drink-driving cases every year. Mr Wolffe said last year that he wanted to break the cycle of repeat offending with the new court and that fines and bans on their own were not a sufficient deterrent. He added that the DUI Court would be similar to the Drug Treatment and Mental Health Courts and give magistrates more sentencing options. But Ms Elkinson questioned why the drug court could not deal with the DUI defendants. She said: “It seems to me that the DUI Court is the same programme — you are doubling up on the same thing. If it is only for people with problems then why are they not in the Drug Treatment Court?” Ms Elkinson added that several of her clients had complained that problem drinkers would be able to retain their licences after a conviction, but they could not. She said one client, a truck driver who did not have a serious drinking problem, had told her he wanted to go through the DUI Court and was prepared to follow the same regime as problem drinkers to keep his licence. Ms Elkinson said some of her clients convicted of drink-driving could have their roads bans reduced by three months if they completed her course. But she added there was no way for them to avoid a ban, other than through the discretionary power of a magistrate. Ms Elkinson said that there should be a range of drink-driver courses designed to reflect the seriousness of the offences. She explained: “There needs to be a level one DUI programme for first offenders and a level two DUI, which is more intensive, for second offenders. Level three would be virtually probation with drug testing because they have had three alcohol-related arrests.” Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley declined to comment on sentencing policy because it was a matter for the courts. But he said: “There has been significant progress in tackling drink-driving since Bermuda’s introduction of roadside sobriety tests. Culturally, we see far more awareness of this agenda and I am encouraged by some of the changes taking place. We need to do more to continue to tackle this problem ... and in turn to support partners and the media in getting the message across that drinking and driving is dangerous and has serious consequences.”

paragraphA dozen driving offences cost a teenager $7,270 in fines and an 18-month ban at Magistrates’ Court on Friday. Chez Rogers, 18, also had 57 points added to his driving licence. Rogers, from St George’s, admitted dangerous driving, failure to stop for police, driving an unlicensed motorbike and not having insurance on September 3 last year. He further admitted speeding at 58km/h, failure to wear a helmet and having no driving licence. Rogers also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failure to stop for police, driving an unlicensed motorcycle and not having insurance on July 25 last year. Magistrate Maxanne Anderson heard that the defendant was also stopped on May 12 last for speeding at 59km/h. The legal limit is 35km/h. Ms Anderson ordered Rogers to pay the fines by May 13..

paragraphAn energy plan will include a mix of ways to generate power, the Minister for Home Affairs has signaled. Walter Roban said the energy blueprint would take elements from all eight energy generation proposals submitted to the Regulatory Authority of Bermuda to get ideas for an integrated resource plan, expected to be unveiled in the summer. Mr Roban said: “It needs to be appreciated that there is no one plan that has been submitted that is going to be endorsed. It will not be BeSolar’s plan or Belco’s plan, in fact it should look very different. The RAB is going to come up with an IRP that is going to incorporate a number of them — a hybrid incorporating the submissions.” Proposals included the use of wave energy, a ship-based regasification power and water plant, wind and solar energy, multi-fuel power using liquefied natural gas and oil, biomass technology using wood pellet fuel and hydrogen-based steam generation with water recovery. Public views on the submissions showed overwhelming support for a plan drawn up by UK sustainable energy firm Etude on behalf of the Bermuda Engineering Company, the parent firm of BeSolar. The submission proposed that 64 per cent of Bermuda’s electricity should come from wind and solar power by 2038. Monique Lister, senior legal analyst at the RAB, said: “The authority has taken the alternative proposal submissions and public comments into account when performing analysis and developing further scenarios.” Mr Roban added: “Part of the impetus of the RAB is to promote the uptick of renewables. It is a legal objective so we can’t go back towards more fossil fuels. That is not legally the objective or the purpose of the RAB. Part of their remit is to diversify the energy market and also to pursue cleaner, more affordable and more renewable forms of energy for the country as well. Two years from now we could be doing this again, technology changes as advancements come. Perhaps there will be more opportunities to do wind and marine types of generation and it will create an opportunity for us to do a new IRP to see how we incorporate other new energy technologies as well and further move away from fossil fuels.” Mr Roban said that there would still be a need for traditional forms of power generation and Belco staff trained in old technology would also get the chance to retrain in new types of energy production. He added: “It is our desire to expand the energy market so the fact we have been running on one type of energy for the past 100 years doesn’t mean there are no opportunities for diversification for some of the people currently working in the energy business. There will be new jobs but also Belco is not going anywhere. They may not dominate the energy generation market in the way they have in the past, but they are still going to be a necessity until we can go 100 per cent renewable.”

paragraphIndependent directors who sit on the board of Bermuda-based Argo Group International Holdings Ltd have written to the company’s shareholders asking for their support in an ongoing proxy battle with activist shareholders  Voce Capital Management. The 3,144-word letter has been filed with the Securities Exchange Commission in the United States. Argo’s annual general meeting of shareholders will be held May 24. Writing that Voce’s principal, J. Daniel Plants has “put forward a series of poorly researched claims with little regard for the truth”, Argo’s independent directors appealed to shareholders for support to “prevent the short-term interests of an activist hedge fund from disrupting the steady growth and superior shareholder returns you have come to expect”. Voce Capital Management is a San Francisco-based hedge fund that owns about 5.6 per cent of Argo. Last month it attacked what it called a “spendthrift culture” at Argo by citing what it called “inappropriate corporate expenses”. Among examples given were the use of corporate aircraft, housing allowances and sponsorships, with Voce claiming that company resources were being used to support the lifestyle of Mark Watson, Argo’s chief executive officer, at the expense of shareholders. Voce has put forward a slate of five directors for consideration at the annual meeting. It has also claimed that two director appointments made by Argo are invalid under company bylaws and Bermuda law. Argo addressed those claims in an earlier filing with the SEC. The letter to shareholders outlines Argo’s shareholder returns for the one, three and five-year periods ending on February 1, 2019, “the last trading day before Voce Capital made its campaign public”. In the letter, the directors wrote: “As part of our engagement with our shareholders, we are correcting Voce Capital’s misrepresentations, careless errors and outright falsehoods. The company did not build, nor have we ever had, a penthouse apartment above our New York offices. While we do, on occasion, allow our executives to arrange for use of corporate aircraft for personal trips, they do so at their own expense, in which case no incremental cost is incurred by the company. Contrary to Voce Capital’s uninformed claims, the company did not use corporate aircraft to transport our CEO to all of the destinations described by Mr Plants in Voce Capital’s initial press release. Like so many other assertions in its initial press release, Voce’s representations to shareholders on this topic are rife with material misstatements of fact and demonstrate either a reckless disregard for the truth, gross negligence in fact-checking, or a combination of both.” According to the directors, the firm’s sponsorships “are effective marketing tools that provide exceptional client relationship-building opportunities at a modest cost”. The directors claimed the board had twice offered to meet with Voce’s director nominees, but in both instances Voce Capital refused to allow its nominees to meet with the board. Through the letter, the directors asked shareholders to vote wit the “white” proxy card “to end Voce Capital’s destructive and distracting campaign”, adding: “We urge you to discard any and all blue proxy cards sent to you by Voce. If you have already returned a blue proxy card, you can change your vote by signing, dating and returning the white proxy card. Only your latest-dated proxy card will be counted.” Argo shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 11, 2019 will be entitled to vote at the annual meeting.

paragraphEverest Insurance Claims Medical Management group has added two new medical management solutions for select Everest workers’ compensation policyholders, according to Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer Everest Re Group Ltd. The company said Everest Nurse Triage and Everest Telemed join the group’s suite of client-based services. The company said the programme streamlines the first report of injury process, reducing claim reporting lag time, and advises employees of necessary self-care or additional medical care

paragraphHundreds of people turned out for the Bermuda National Trust Palm Sunday Walk under sunny skies in the West End yesterday. Bill Zuill, the executive director of the BNT, said the annual walk was a huge success and that about 2,300 people took part. He said: “The response has been overwhelmingly positive. The weather was definitely on our side and we got a very good turnout.” The event, which started in the 1970s, provides a chance for participants to see parts of the island that might not be often opened to the public. Mr Zuill said that much of this year’s walk took participants over West End Development Corporation property “which is generally fairly accessible”. But he added: “Even then, there are parts of Ireland Island, and Boaz Island, that most people never go to.” The five-mile route took participants past several points of cultural and natural heritage, including cemeteries, historic buildings and secluded nature spots. The circular route started and ended at Cross Island in Dockyard. Mr Zuill said that the length of the walk was tailored to make it easy to finish. He added: “You see many families, several generations, all out walking together. It’s also extremely diverse with people out from all walks of life.” This year’s event was sponsored by insurance firm Sompo International. A spokesman for Sompo said the company was proud to support the trust in “preserving the island’s open spaces and rich heritage. Sompo International supports numerous local services, projects and events that benefit the broader Bermuda community and looks forward to the annual spring walk as a way to promote both environmental awareness and physical and mental health.” Drinks firm John Barritt & Son supplied refreshments to walkers.

paragraphIdeas from members of the public could help to shape the Agricultural Show in the next few years, one of the organisers said at the weekend. Jeff Sousa, a spokesman for the event, predicted that after its successful 80th anniversary, the show would only get “bigger and better”. He said: “There’s no place that you truly see the mosaic that makes up Bermuda more than the Ag Show, in my opinion. It’s part of the fabric that makes this beautiful island.” Before the event closed and visitor numbers were totaled on Saturday, he said the committee was “very pleased” with the turnout but attendance did not appear to be the “record crowds” of last year. Mr Sousa said: “What’s so nice about a community event like this — and people know the principles involved — I received in the last few days, let alone in the last few years, so many ideas from the general public. This is truly Bermuda’s community event so we will put these things to the board and see if we can get them implemented. Bermuda has changed over the 43 years since I was entering. You had so many vegetables, so many flowers — that’s starting to be rekindled. The poultry barn has been packed all day because it’s right in the middle of the show and it’s very popular. People are amazed to see how many different types of chickens and ducks there are. And the pigs have always been a fan favourite.” Mr Sousa thanked all the corporate sponsors and credited insurance firm Axis Capital and HSBC for helping to ensure entry was free for children and seniors. He said the international attraction The Canine Stars dog stunt show from the US was a “huge draw” that delighted visitors of all ages. Sharon Smith, 53, watched the performance with her twin sister Karen Smith, who was with her 11-year-old son, Dakari Zuill-Smith. She said the dog act added variety to the traditional event. Ms Smith, from Warwick, said: “It was terrific, I liked when they were competing in the racing and also the dancing. I love dogs, I’m a dog lover.” Erica Minors, 35, from Sandys, said it had been several years since she attended the Ag Show but hoped her one-year-old son, Caiden, would enjoy it. She said: “We’re out today because of him, he loves animals and it’s some Bermuda culture.” Her husband, Darrin, 42, added: “We were all raised up on coming to the exhibition so this keeps the tradition alive, we bring the little one and get him introduced to it. It has been a great atmosphere and you run into friends you don’t tend to see regularly. They’re with their children and it becomes a big family outing.” Hugh and Sheelah Hassell, from Sandys, also found themselves meeting people they had not seen for a while. Mrs Hassell, 76, said she looked forward to seeing the roses and vegetables on display. Her 80-year-old husband said: “The animals are looking good, so are the flowers and the fruit. It’s a lovely atmosphere, everybody seems to be talking friendly to each other.”

paragraphA Cup Match legend and former Progressive Labour Party MP passed away at the weekend. Lloyd James died at the age of 82. Betty James, Mr James’s wife, said her husband of nearly 59 years was a sincere man, but that he knew how to joke around. She said: “He could tell a story and make things up as he went along.” Joanne Rego, Mr James’s daughter, said her father was a “real family man” with a great sense of humour. She said: “He loved to tell tales, jokes, make people laugh, pull pranks. He liked to spin tales.” Ms Rego said, in addition to his noteworthy cricket career, her father played golf, gardened and had enjoyed fishing with his brothers in his younger years. Tim James. Mr James’s nephew, said his uncle was a “gentle giant”. Mr James explained: “He never had to raise his voice. He was very tender, very kind. He was always pleasant, he always had a smile on his face. He was always Mr Optimistic.” He added that his uncle was a “true gentleman and a true sportsman”. Mr James held the record for the highest individual score in Cup Match in 1962 with 173 not out for St George’s, which passed the previous record of 170 not out set by Timmy Edwards. Mr James’s record stood for 39 years before Janeiro Tucker passed the milestone in 2001. He scored 988 runs from 28 innings in a Cup Match career that spanned 19 years before he retired in 1974 — only 12 runs short of being the first batsman to score 1,000 runs in the annual classic. Mr James was inducted into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He was elected to represent Warwick East alongside Walter Brangman in December 1980 under the former two-seat constituency system. A PLP spokeswoman said the party “joins the community in mourning” Mr James’s death. David Burt, the Premier, said that Mr James was a “true gentleman”. He added: “His dominance in the game of cricket was matched with his time in representative politics when he served the people of Warwick at a time when to do so on behalf of the PLP required unique sacrifice. Whether in business, education or sports, Lloyd James served with distinction.” Sports minister Lovitta Foggo said: “Mr James was admired as an icon of our sporting fraternity. He was an outstanding cricketer who represented Bermuda with dignity and grace. Lloyd James was not only a great cricketer he was also an outstanding golfer and his poise on the greens was truly admired. Bermuda and our sporting community have lost a legend.” Craig Cannonier, the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, said that the death of Mr James was a loss for the island. He said: “We have lost a great ambassador for Bermuda and for Bermudians.” Mr Cannonier added: “Lloyd was a good friend of mine and I grew up admiring him as one of the best cricketers Bermuda produced.” He also founded James Water Services with his older brother, Winfield, in 1979. Mr James had five brothers and sisters — Elvin, the former PLP Cabinet Minister and Cup Match player, Leon and Winfield, Lillian Grant and Cynthia Lightbourne. He is survived by Betty, daughters Joanne and Ria Mayes, and four grandchildren.

paragraphA 21-year-old man killed in a crash with a police vehicle in the West End in the early hours of this morning has been identified. Antoine Seaman of Granaway Drive, Southampton, was killed when his motorbike was in collision with a police car on Somerset Road, Sandys, near the Willowbank resort about 2am. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said the crash happened as a woman police officer headed west in a marked patrol car on her way to a report of a disturbance. Police denied social media claims that Mr Seaman was being chased by police when the crash happened. Mr Seaman was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but was pronounced dead by doctors at about 2.30am. He is the fourth roads death of the year. The scene was cordoned off as police launched an investigation led by roads policing unit officer Sergeant Dorian Astwood. Mr Astwood said this morning: “The BPS confirms that a full notification has been passed to the independent body the Police Complaints Authority. However, this is normal practice as required by legislation and ensures full transparency. This applies to incidents involving death or serious injury where an officer acting in the execution of his or her duty causes, or appears to have caused, death or serious injury to any person. The Commissioner of Police shall, as soon as practicable, give the authority a written notice setting out particulars of the incident in which death or serious injury was caused.” Mr Astwood declined to comment on the circumstances of the collision. He said: “We understand that this collision occurred less than 12 hours ago and there is a family mourning at this time, so it is correct we show compassion and don’t pre-empt any decisions or suggestions as to the circumstances at this time.” Mr Astwood added the officer, who was uninjured, was alone in the patrol car at the time of the accident. He said police wanted to speak to anyone with knowledge of Mr Seaman’s whereabouts from 11pm on Sunday. A family liaison officer has been assigned to the family. Anyone with information that could help the inquiry should contact Mr Astwood on 247-1009 or 717-0849.


April 14, Sunday


April 13

paragraphAt least 15 pupils and staff at a middle school plagued with mould have become sick, the head of the parent teachers association said yesterday. Albert Wilson, the president of the TN Tatem Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association, said he was aware of 11 teachers and four children who had reported illness at the school — which is to be off limits for the rest of the academic year. Mr Wilson said: “If people are getting sick, what is causing them to get sick? That’s the grave concern.” He added that the total number of teachers was “about 11” and that the education ministry had been informed. Mr Wilson said he did not have an exact figure for the number of children who reported feeling ill. He added: “I know just from parents complaining to me, that by my own estimate there’s four.” But he said: “There probably is more, but parents haven’t come forward yet.” Mr Wilson was speaking after Diallo Rabain, the education minister, said yesterday that the Warwick school, which was closed on Tuesday after a walkout by teachers and pupils over health fears, would stay shut until the end of the school year. The closure order was sparked by a letter from the PTSA to education officials that highlighted “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”. Cole Simons, the shadow education minister, claimed earlier this week that mould had made two teachers sick and questioned if pupils at the school had suffered similar problems. Mr Rabain said yesterday that he was unable to say if conditions at the school had led to pupil or staff sickness. He insisted: “We are unaware of any teachers that have been made ill, based on the reports that we have received.” Mr Rabain said that school staff had provided health and safety reports this week. He added: “We are in the process of reviewing them.” Mr Rabain said that the health and safety of TN Tatem staff and pupils was of “paramount concern We are taking these steps with that in mind.” Mr Rabain said most of the work needed to fix problems at the school — including structural and water problems — were scheduled for the summer. He added: “If we are able to repair, we have a reasonable understanding that they shouldn’t occur again.” He said that surveys would be conducted to see if the school could be made ready for the next school year. “If we cannot get the school ready for September subsequent announcements will be made.” Shannon James, the president of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, said that the union backed the closure of the school for the rest of the year. We do ask that the necessary attention be given to the school so that the teachers and students do not find themselves in this predicament two years from now. There are so many variables involved but the Government must ensure that they do everything in their power to ensure that the building is properly remediated. This cannot continue to happen.” But Mr James questioned the use of Hamilton Fire Station as a temporary location for some TN Tatem pupils. He said: “Since it will house the youngest of the students, the M1s, we do hope that things like how they can adjust with the new bus routes were taken into consideration.” Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said emergency accommodation for the school had been arranged. Pupils from the M3 class will go to Purvis Primary School in Warwick on Monday and M2 pupils will attend Heron Bay Primary School in Southampton. Ms Richards said that M1 pupils would be taught at Hamilton Fire Station. She added that Garita Coddington, the TN Tatem principal, would meet parents of M1 and M2 pupils at Bermuda College on Monday at 5.45pm. “At that time, she will provide specific details of next steps.” Ms Richards said Ms Coddington would meet the parents of M3 pupils a week later. She added that Ms Coddington would meet school staff on Monday to discuss the relocation. Ms Richards said “All of the staff will be given some time to plan and to prepare for the transition, which we certainly hope will be a smooth one. We hope that the transition to other schools will be smooth for students and staff.” But Mr Wilson said that he was concerned about disruption for pupils and that parents should have been consulted. “The parents have not been a part of the conversation before these decisions were made. A political blame game on who was responsible for the crisis at the school was a total waste of time. What happens is that we get caught up in the politics and we forget about the children. Whether you’re OBA or PLP, all your kids are part of this education system.”

paragraphSchoolchildren alleged to have sold e-cigarettes to classmates at two public schools have been identified, the education minister said yesterday. Diallo Rabain added that “appropriate actions were taken”. He said: “The students were brought in, their parents were brought in.” But he added: “I can’t talk about what happened to the students.” Mr Rabain said that he could not comment on the intended use of the vapor pens or how many had been confiscated. He added that police had launched an investigation. Police announced on Wednesday that vapor pens, often used as a cigarette substitute, had been sold at Dellwood Middle School in Pembroke and CedarBridge Academy in Prospect. The pens are designed to heat a liquid until it is vaporized and can be inhaled. The liquid often contains nicotine, as well as flavors and other additives, although products without nicotine are also produced. The US Surgeon General has warned products can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead, ultra fine particles that can be inhaled into the lungs. E-cigarettes also contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to lung disease. The devices have also been linked to the consumption of illegal drugs, including marijuana.

paragraphA 53-year-old man was convicted yesterday of sex offences against a schoolgirl more than 20 years ago. Pernell Brangman committed a string of sex offences against the woman, who was aged 10 and 11 at the time. The Supreme Court jury returned a unanimous verdict after less than two hours of deliberation. They found Brangman, from Southampton, guilty on two charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of unlawful carnal knowledge. The offences happened between June 1997 and September 1998. Brangman was aged 31 and 32 at the time and a footballer for Southampton Rangers. The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the court that Brangman “manipulated me into doing some hideous sexual acts”. The woman told the court that over the two summers she had been left home alone and the defendant would stop by on a regular basis. She told the court that she had complained several times about only having bologna sandwiches for lunch and the defendant offered her fast food and “trinkets” if she let him perform sex acts on her. The woman testified that she eventually told him to stop and revealed her ordeal to no one for more than a decade. She said she did not file a police report until 2017 because she felt “ashamed” and that she had done something wrong. She told the court: “I kept seeing him in public. It just ate me up every time. I finally knew that it was time to report it so I can continue to heal and move on with my life.” Brangman did not give evidence and remained silent as he was taken from the court in handcuffs to a waiting prison service van. He will be sentenced at a later date.

paragraphA woman tourist seriously injured her leg after a rental bike collided with a car. The 35-year-old American, a passenger on a bike driven by a US man, also 35, was hurt after a crash on Malabar Road, near Craddock Road, in Sandys. The driver of the bike and the car driver were uninjured, but the woman was taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for treatment. The crash happened about 2.30pm on Thursday. A police spokesman said yesterday the woman was “stable” on a general ward. Police have appealed for witnesses.

paragraphA bartender screamed for his wife to call the police as he was stabbed 13 times in an attempted robbery outside his home, Supreme Court heard yesterday. Borislav Angelov said he was attacked by two men after they chased him along Harbour Road. He said he was stabbed several times from behind as he fought with one of the attackers on his patio. Mr Angelov told the court: “I just started to feel hot, very hot in my body. I felt some heat come all over my body in seconds. The blood started coming out on to my shoes and everywhere. I got a chair and started to put the chair to the head of the guy. I started screaming to my wife to call the police, call 911.” Mr Angelov said his wife turned on the patio lights and the men retreated. He added that the man in the red scarf pointed something that looked like a handgun at him and warned: “If you move I will shoot you.” The men got on their bike and fled. Mr Angelov said after the men left he took off his shoes and they were filled with blood. He tried to take off his jacket and helmet, but was unable to remain on his feet .Mr Angelov said: “I lost a lot of blood. I asked my wife to throw me some towels because I could feel the blood just pumping out from all of the stabbing which I had. Just before I laid down, I screamed to her — she was on the 911 call — I shouted the number of the bike. I told her ten times to make sure they knew it.” Alex Wolffe, 20, denies charges of wounding, attempted robbery and two counts of intimidation in connection to the incident. Mr Angelov said the incident started as he rode his motorbike home from work in Dockyard in the early hours of October 23. He and another co-worker had ridden next to each other until Burnt House Hill, when Mr Angelov turned on to Harbour Road. Mr Angelov said he noticed two motorcycles traveling in the opposite direction when he was near the Belmont ferry stop. One of the motorcycles had two people on board, but Mr Angelov said the passenger did not have a helmet and had a red scarf wrapped around his head which left only his eyes visible. Mr Angelov said he continued riding east when the motorcycle pulled alongside him and the passenger tried to snatch his necklace. He said: “The guy in the front of the bike, he tried to push me to fall down with my bike. I didn’t fall. They started screaming at me to stop. I just sped up.” Mr Angelov said the two bikes raced along Harbour Road at high speed until they neared Mr Angelov’s home. He told the jury that he planned to slow down, let the other motorcycle overtake him and pull into his yard. But he said the other motorcycle pulled in front of him, braked and the two bikes collided. Mr Angelov added: “That’s the moment I saw the licence plate number of the bike.” He said he pulled into his yard and got off his bike, but the men parked their bike on the street, followed him and attacked him. Mr Angelov said during the struggle the man with a helmet got on to Mr Angelov’s bike. He said: “My bike was still on. The key was in the engine, so I pushed him off my bike. The guy with the red scarf, he started to attack me in my back. He started to beat me, so I left the guy with the helmet and started to fight the guy with the scarf.” He said the fight moved to his patio and, as he scuffled with one of the men, the man with the helmet came from behind and stabbed him. Mr Angelov, who spent ten days in hospital as a result of the attack, showed the jury scars on his lower back and both sides. He said: “I need to thank the doctors who did pretty much the impossible to bring me back to life. I pretty much lost all my blood. Still until today I have no feeling in the back of my body. There was nerve damage.” The trial continues.

paragraphAn injured grey seal found near Tobacco Bay last month has been flown to the US for release back into the wild. The female seal, named “Lou-Seal” by the staff at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, was taken to the US on Wednesday on a chartered flight organized by Cargojet. Patrick Talbot, curator at the BAMZ, said: “The simple fact that this animal was able to cross the open ocean, through winter storms, with nothing to eat, and find the one minuscule piece of land in the Atlantic Ocean, where she could actually receive rehabilitative care, is miraculous. There was and continues to be a huge amount of local support for our first-time visitor. Bermudians are known for their friendliness and love for their environment and it was not long before people rallied to help her.” Lou-Seal made headlines when members of the public found the emaciated animal on the rocks in the East End on March 19. Veterinarians at BAMZ said the animal was dehydrated and had suffered several small wounds. Grey seals are common in the North Atlantic, but she was the first to be recorded in Bermuda. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife, Bermuda’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources the US Consulate and Customs and Border Protection in Bermuda worked together to fly the seal to the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. The international effort was aided by the BAMZ and the Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic. Ainsley Smith, the stranding co-ordinator for NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region, said: “We appreciate Mystic Aquarium’s willingness to assist BAMZ with the rehabilitation of this out-of-habitat seal. This is another great example of multiple organisations working together in the animal’s best interest.” After Lou-Seal cleared inspection with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Mystic Aquarium veterinary and Animal Rescue Programme staff drove her to Mystic’s Animal Rescue Clinic. Lou-Seal will get further care to help improve her health and regain body weight at the clinic. Janelle Schuh, Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue programme manager, said: “We have many years of experience caring for grey seals in our Animal Rescue Programme, so we are very familiar with the species — however, this will be the first time that we provide care to an adult grey seal in the clinic. Our team of veterinarians and dedicated clinic staff and volunteers will put this expertise to work to continue the great care she received in Bermuda to ensure that her long journey culminates with her return to the ocean. Any time that you can help an animal in need it is rewarding, but to be a part of such a huge collaborative effort to help this wayward seal is really something. It is truly inspiring how so many people worked together towards the success of this animal.”

paragraphThe son of the singer dubbed “the King of Soul” is to perform in Bermuda next week. Otis Redding III, son of Otis Redding, will share the stage with Bermuda’s Wall Street Band at a concert in Hamilton. Robert Atwood, director of the Wall Street Band, said: “You can expect his father’s classic hits and some songs that people might not know that his father wrote but didn’t sing.” Redding joined the Bermudian band when he came to the island last month for rehearsal sessions that vocalist Chandra Maybury said were relaxed and “down-to-earth”. She added: “He was fun, laughing and joking around — he has added his own twist, with musical arrangements different to his dad’s. He still has that same spirit.” Dino Richie, a guitarist with the band, said: “Playing with Otis has to be the most exciting musical event for a local band — we’re honored and excited to be part of the show.” Richie added: “Otis was great to work with, and has made some nice music that Robert has emphasised by creating some beautiful musical arrangements.” Redding will perform next Thursday at the Earl Cameron Theatre in Hamilton City Hall, backed by the Wall Street Band and with music from Bermudian entertainers Olivia Hamilton, Vance Goater and Sounds of Sweetness. Otis Redding shot to international fame with classics such as Respect and (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay. He was aged only 26 when he died in a plane crash in 1967. His son, now 55, has forged his own career as a singer and helped keep his father’s musical legacy alive. Danilee Trott, the chief operating officer of promoters Savvy Entertainment, said the night was expected to launch a series where classic performers were brought to the island. She added: “We really wanted to bring that old-school soul. We took a step back, looking at that generation as a target audience.” Savvy Entertainment has worked with Otis Redding III in the United States and Ms Trott said the singer “loved the idea” of being the debut artist for the series. She said Redding’s music captured a time when “words to a song really meant something”. Goater had grown up with five brothers singing music from the 1960s and 1970s, including the senior Redding, James Brown, the Jackson 5 and the Temptations. He said: “Otis Redding was one of my favourites. There are some songs that only he can sing. We’ll be doing songs of that time and some that will be a bit of a surprise. A lot of preparation has gone into the show. I want to give the best I can do.” Goater also wants to show that island artists have the talent to perform alongside international stars. He said: “When it comes to that music, I want to be like a stepping stone for the ones coming behind.”

• The doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start time. Tickets are $75 from ptix.bm.

paragraphFamilies started new traditions and seniors kept up time-honored habits as visitors of all ages flocked to the Ag Show today. The animals drew in many of the youngsters while some of the older attendees were attracted by the array of flowers. Erica Minors, 35, of Sandys, said it had been several years since she attended the event but hoped her one-year-old son Caiden would enjoy it. She said: “We’re out today because of him, he loves animals and it’s some Bermuda culture.” Her husband Darrin, 42, added: “We were all raised up on coming to the exhibition so this keeps the tradition alive, we bring the little one and get him introduced to it. It has been a great atmosphere and you run into friends you don’t tend to see regularly. They’re with their children and it becomes a big family outing.” Hugh and Sheelah Hassell, also of Sandys, also found themselves meeting people they had not seen for a while. Mrs Hassell, 76, said she looked forward to seeing the roses and vegetables on display. Her 80-year-old husband said: “The animals are looking good, so are the flowers and the fruit. It’s a lovely atmosphere, everybody seems to be talking friendly to each other.” Sharon Smith, 53, was there with her twin sister Karen and her 11-year-old son Dakari Zuill-Smith. The Warwick family watched this year’s special attraction, the Canine Stars stunt dog show from the US. Ms Smith said the performance added variety to the traditional event. She added: “It was terrific, I liked when they were competing in the racing and also the dancing. I love dogs, I’m a dog lover.” Visitors also enjoyed a range of food stalls, local entertainment, face-painting and fun castles.

paragraphA sports club is to be shut by police for the second time in three months after two men were injured in separate incidents last weekend. Southampton Rangers Sports Club was ordered to close for 24 hours from midnight tonight. Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police James Howard, who is in charge of the BPS’s tactical operations division, issued the temporary closure order yesterday under the Liquor Licence Act. Police acted after a 20-year-old man was stabbed inside the club on Sunday and a 22-year-old man suffered cuts to his hand when a broken bottle was “wielded during an altercation at the establishment” the previous Friday. Southampton Rangers was shut by police for 24 hours in February after an early hours brawl in which several men were injured. Seven people were arrested after the incident and the closure also meant two football matches were played elsewhere. A club spokesman said this week th at the management had done everything asked of it by the authorities to tackle antisocial behaviour. A spokesman added the club needed support and claimed armed police at the grounds on Sunday “did nothing” when the incident happened. However, the police said yesterday that officers acted as soon as they saw an injured man leave the club. A police spokesman explained: “The BPS implemented an island-wide policing plan last weekend, which included patrols around the Southampton Rangers Sports Club. In delivering the plan, police officers entered the sports club earlier in the evening to liaise with security personnel and conduct a liquor licence check. “They then exited the premises and remained in the area. A short while later an incident occurred inside the club. As soon as officers saw an injured man exit the club, they responded immediately by providing first aid and transporting the man to hospital. Additionally, police officers re-entered the establishment to speak with management, staff and security.” The spokesman added: “The BPS continues to work with the management of Southampton Rangers Sports Club in an effort to create a safe environment.” He declined to comment if the officers stationed at the club were armed. Police said earlier that the 20-year-old man left the venue at about 9.15pm on Sunday with a stomach wound “after apparently being stabbed during an altercation with another man inside the sports club”. The police said on Wednesday that the man was taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and in a stable condition. A spokesman for the sports club said later measures such as earlier closing, use of security staff and bans for known troublemakers had all been introduced. He added that a police presence was requested on Sunday because officials expected a busy night after the football team won the First Division title race in front of a large crowd. The club spokesman claimed: “Security broke the incident up within ten seconds of it occurring inside the club. We had four security guards separating the individuals and the police never entered.” Police said yesterday inquiries into the incident continued and appealed for witnesses.


April 12

paragraphThe Agricultural Show started yesterday — with good weather expected to replace the rain that hit the opening morning. Antwan Albuoy, one of the organisers of the three-day Botanical Gardens tradition, said the day started off slowly as a result of the rain, but that “people still came out”. He added the crowds increased around noon when the rain stopped. Mr Albuoy said the show was expected to continue with its usual large crowds today and tomorrow and that good weather was forecast for the next two days. Canine Stars, America’s top dog stunt show, will perform on every day of the event. Jeff Sousa, the spokesman for the Ag Show, promised the show offered something for everyone. Mr Sousa said last week that a wide range of poultry and pigs were among the animals on display, as well as flowers, art and a wide range of food. Children aged 16 and under and seniors 65 years or older will get free entry to the showground's after insurance firm Axis Capital and HSBC offered sponsorship. Other sponsors include Gibbons Company, the OIL Group of Companies, Harrington Hundreds supermarket, Care@Home Services, Stoltzfus Feed and Supply, Kirk Kitson, Neil and Carla Stempel, Gilbert Lopes and Alan Burland. Sousa’s Landscape Management and Sousa’s Gardens are the main sponsor for Canine Stars.

paragraphA lawyer in the Cayman Islands said a Privy Council ruling in favour of same-sex marriage in Bermuda would help the fight for marriage equality in the Caribbean territory. Leonardo Raznovich, a barrister, added that he would not be surprised if the Privy Council refused to hear Bermuda’s appeal in light of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s push towards equal rights to marriage in the Overseas Territories. He said: “I am struggling to see why the Privy Council would step in, other than for stating that it agrees with the local court in Bermuda, in which case, of course, it would have a positive impact in the Cayman Islands.” Dr Raznovich added: “In this particular case, the local judiciary unanimously held that equal marriage is required and paradoxically the local executive wants the imperial court to step in and reverse what the local court unanimously has done. I have not seen in my whole life a worst case of reverse colonialism.” Dr Raznovich added the legal arguments for same-sex marriage in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands were different due to differences in their constitutions. He said the Cayman Islands’ constitution was more modern and based on the European Convention of Human Rights, while Bermuda’s constitution is a “first generation” text. Dr Raznovich said: “It may be the case that the Privy Council takes this opportunity to modernize the case law that deals with constitutional constructions in situations such as the text in Bermuda.” The Bermuda Government asked the Privy Council to hear an appeal on an island Court of Appeal ruling that rejected clauses in the Domestic Partnership Act designed to block same-sex marriages in Bermuda. The Privy Council has not yet said if it will hear the Bermudian case. The Cayman Islands have had a similar dispute between the legislature and the judiciary on same-sex marriage. Cayman Chief Justice Anthony Smellie found in favour of same-sex marriage at the end of last month in the case of Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush, a same-sex couple who were rejected permission to wed last year. The ruling was celebrated by marriage equality campaigners, but the Cayman Islands Government has launched an appeal against the ruling. The effect of the ruling was formally stayed by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal on Wednesday. Alden McLaughlin, the Premier of the Caymans, said last week that Mr Justice Smellie may have exceeded his powers under the Caymans constitution. He added: “If left unchallenged, the implications for the Cayman Islands’ constitution are significant and potentially far-reaching and go well beyond the rights of same-sex couples.” A spokesman for the Foreign Office said after Mr Justice Smellie’s judgment that the UK government was disappointed by the decision to appeal the ruling. The spokesman added: “The court judgment permitting same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands puts the territory among the most progressive societies in the region in terms of LGBT equality. The UK Government is committed to equal rights, including LGBT rights, and welcomes the judgment. We are therefore disappointed by the decision of the Cayman Islands Government to appeal.” Jonathan Cooper, a barrister who advised the two women who brought the Caymans case, said the UK Government should have legalized same-sex marriage in the Caymans before the case came to court. Mr Cooper said: “Chantelle and Vickie should not have been forced to litigate in order to have their relationship recognized in law. It’s a scandal that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office made them do this.” Mr Cooper added: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office could and should have insisted that all British Overseas Territories recognize LGBT relationships in law. Instead, they dragged Chantelle and Vickie through the courts. It’s brilliant what Chantelle and Vickie have achieved, but it’s also demeaning to have to compel your government to recognize your love.”

paragraphThe Ministry of Education is reminding all students that the deadline for Government Scholarship and Award opportunities is quickly approaching - with applications closing on Monday, 15 April, 2019. Scholarship and Award opportunities are outlined below:

paragraphThe education minister stayed tight-lipped yesterday over the closure of a middle school because of mould. Diallo Rabain was sent several questions about TN Tatem Middle School, which was closed on Wednesday. Mr Rabain was asked when pupils and staff would return to the Warwick school and if the school would be safe to attend. He was also asked about what was being done to tackle mould at the school and what would be done to make sure that it did not return. The minister was also asked whether conditions at the school caused illness in pupils or staff members. But responses to the questions were not received. Mr Rabain said last night on ZBM that an announcement would be made today on what would be done with the school. Cole Simons, the shadow education minister, claimed on Wednesday that mould at the school had caused one teacher to leave due to illness. The One Bermuda Alliance MP added that a replacement who had taken over from the former teacher in January had also been affected by breathing problems. The claims were backed up by a source at the school. Michael Weeks, the former minister of social development and sport, blamed the former OBA government for the problem. He said: “The mould issue is a legacy issue from the OBA administration. Most alarming is that the recommendations from the OBA’s own 2016 report were never fully implemented by the OBA and that is the cause for the re-emergence of the issues we have now.” Mr Weeks accused the Opposition of an attempt to “exploit this extremely serious issue for political gain”. He said that the Progressive Labour Party since it won power in 2017, had started renovation work and carried out tests at the school in February and March “to ensure the building was being worked on in order to be fit for students and staff”. Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said on Tuesday that the school would be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. Public schools are closed today. She said the closure came after education officials got a letter from the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association that highlighted “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”.

paragraphE-cigarettes should not be in the hands of children, the head of an anti-drug abuse charity for young people said yesterday. Truell Landy, the interim executive director at Pride Bermuda, said: “These devices are not for children and should not be sold to or used by children. The research on the impact of the use of vapor pens is still being conducted and initial results show that the chemicals in the devices can be potentially harmful.” She was speaking after police said on Wednesday that vapor pens, often used as a cigarette substitute, had been sold at two public schools. Ms Landy explained that children were “very curious and risk-takers”. She said: “Educating our youth on the dangers of using substances before their brains have fully developed will help them make better choices. Pride Bermuda will continue to do the work of advocating and aiding in the prevention of substance abuse and health-risk behaviours in children.” A spokesman for the police said that staff at Dellwood Middle School in Pembroke and CedarBridge Academy in Prospect “reported confiscating a quantity of e-cigarette-type devices that were allegedly being sold by one student at each school to their respective peers”. It is understood that 50 pupils may have been involved at Dellwood. The pens are designed to heat a liquid until it is vaporized and can be inhaled. The liquid often contains nicotine, as well as flavors and other additives, although products without nicotine are also produced. The US Surgeon General has warned products can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead, ultra fine particles that can be inhaled into the lungs. E-cigarettes also contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to lung disease. The devices have also been linked to the consumption of illegal drugs, including marijuana. Police declined to comment on the number of devices seized or what the pens had been used for. A police spokesman said: “Due to ongoing inquiries, no further comment can be made at this time.” Wayne Caines, the national security minister, also declined to comment on the police inquiry. However, he said: “I can say the sale of any narcotics, or cigarette-related products, are prohibited in our schools, and anyone found selling them will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We will do everything in our power to ensure our students are in a healthy and safe school environment.” E-cigarettes are classified as a cigarette product under the Tobacco Control Act 2015 and their sale is forbidden to anyone aged under 18. Kenneth Caesar, the principal at CedarBridge, and Tina Duke, the principal at Dellwood, did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. A representative of the Dellwood Parent Teacher Student Association said that the matter had been dealt with by school staff. The spokesman added: “The PTA has nothing to add at this time.” The CedarBridge Parent Teacher Student Association did not respond to a request for comment. Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said on Wednesday that the incidents were “very serious” and that the Department of Education had requested “detailed reports” from both schools.

paragraphA woman sobbed in court yesterday as she told a jury she was a victim of repeated sex assaults that started when she was aged just 10. The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said she performed sex acts for fast food and “trinkets” on an almost weekly basis for two consecutive summers. She told the Supreme Court: “He manipulated me into doing some hideous sexual acts. It happened frequently. Maybe once a week, once every other week. He would convince me to do it by offering me different things, like different food. He would say different things, like if I let him do this, then he would take me to Mr Chicken to get whatever I wanted.” The man alleged to have abused her, now 52, denies two charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and one charge of unlawful carnal knowledge. All of the incidents are alleged to have happened between June 1997 and September 1998, when the woman was aged 10 and 11. The woman told the court that over the two summers she had been left home alone and the defendant would stop by on a regular basis. She told the court that she had complained several times about only having bologna sandwiches for lunch and the defendant offered her fast food if she let him perform sex acts on her. The woman said that he had sex with her on one occasion, but she had told him it hurt and asked him to stop. She added that at the time of the offences she did not realize they were doing anything wrong. She said: “Over the two years that it happened, eventually I realised that it was wrong and it shouldn’t be happening, so I told him that he was never to touch me again. That’s when it stopped.” The witness added she and her family had remained in contact with the defendant afterwards and she did not tell anyone about the sexual contact until 2010 or 2011. She said she spoke out after a friend noticed a small hole in her bedroom door and a second in a bathroom door. The woman added she told her mother about the holes and confronted the defendant the next day. The witness told the court the defendant at first tried to blame a young child for the holes. She said he later admitted: “It must have been me then.” She added she had visited the Women’s Resource Centre and got counselling, but did not make a complaint to the police until 2017. The witness said: “I felt a little ashamed. I also felt as if I had done something wrong. For a while, I just didn’t know what to do. I just lived with how I felt. I kept seeing him in public. It just ate me up every time. I finally knew that it was time to report it so I can continue to heal and move on with my life because I had held on to it for so many years.” Vaughn Caines, lawyer for the defendant, suggested that if anything had happened to her, she was mistaken about his client’s involvement. She told the court that she had been a victim of sex abuse before the incidents with the defendant and had reported it. The woman said: “Something did happen. I just told you what happened the hour I spent standing here testifying. When I was previously assaulted it had nothing to do with this case. That assault has nothing to do with why we are here today.” The woman also denied that she had not been left at home alone over the two summers, but had instead been looked after at another house. The trial continues.

paragraphBermuda’s blacklisting by the European Union will not have an impact on the re/insurance industry — provided the island comes off the list next month, as the Bermuda Government expects. That is the view of analysts from credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings, who visited the island this week. “Long term it could be significant, if it’s not resolved, but it sounds like it’s expected to be resolved next month,” Brian Schneider, senior director, insurance, for Fitch, said in an interview. “I don’t see any negative repercussions in the near term. The fact that Bermuda has Solvency II equivalency — and that doesn’t seem to be threatened — gives approval to the Bermuda model. So it was a bit unusual to see them take this step to blacklist Bermuda.” Bermuda’s insurance regulation earned “third-country equivalence” with the EU’s Solvency II insurance regulations in 2016. Equivalence allows international insurance groups based on the island to compete on a level playing field in the EU. The EU put Bermuda on its list of countries deemed to be non-cooperative on tax matters last month, because of a “drafting error” in Bermuda’s economic substance regulations. David Burt, the Premier, said Bermuda is compliant with the EU’s demands and expects the island to be removed from the list when EU finance ministers meet next month. US tax reform is another external threat that the island’s flagship industry has been dealing with. Changes that slashed US corporate tax rates and at the same time levied taxes on premiums ceded from the US to non-US affiliates of international re/insurance groups were introduced at the start of last year. Jim Auden, managing director, insurance at Fitch, said the impacts were largely structural. “We’ve seen international groups, not only from Bermuda, ceding less premium to affiliates,” Mr Auden said. “Folks have adapted to it. I’m not aware of anyone who lost business because of it. It’s largely been a matter of restructuring.” Mr Schneider said Bermudian companies had responded well to the changes. “They shifted some of their business to other jurisdictions but also retained more business in the US,” he said. “The ability to move the capital around is something that Bermuda companies value.” The Bermuda re/insurance landscape has changed dramatically in recent years with a series of mergers and takeovers, leaving fewer companies. At the same time, capital markets money has flowed into the industry in the form of insurance-linked securities such as catastrophe bonds, dampening price increases after catastrophic events. Market conditions will continue to drive consolidation, said Mr Schneider, who would not be surprised to see more big deals announced this year, as companies seek scale, larger client bases and diversification. Capital market activity is a major driver of M&A, Mr Schneider said. “There’s a lot of capital supply and although demand is rising, it’s not enough to really tap into all that capacity,” he said. “So there’s not a lot of pressure on pricing. We’ve seen capital being reloaded by some of these capital markets vehicles, but also companies have been better capitalized than we believe they were ten or 15 years ago.” While high stock valuations, relative to book value, were something of an inhibitor of deal making right now, Mr Schneider said there were still several re/insurers who could attract a premium multiple. “To that extent that companies find a good strategic match, I think they’d be willing to pay 1½ times to two times book value,” Mr Schneider said. Mr Auden suggested that some of the remaining stand-alone companies were not keen to sell up. Typically, it’s not an industry in which hostile bids have been successful,” Mr Auden said. “So you need willing sellers and right now there’s an imbalance of willing buyers and sellers.” While the ILS market, with Bermuda at its centre, continues to thrive, Mr Schneider said the catastrophe losses of the past two years, which triggered some cat bond losses, had curbed the enthusiasm of some investors. “It’s not clear yet whether the capital markets completely understand what they’re getting into,” Mr Schneider said. “Certainly they’ve been tested in the last couple of years and we’ve seen a bit of a pause in the ILS market from January. We’ll have to see how that plays out and the big one will be the June renewals, when we see the Florida book, which represents more than half of the property-cat premium in the world. Even if alternative capital does pause a bit this year, we believe it will still continue to grow its share of the reinsurance market.” Mr Schneider said most re/insurers had chosen to partner with third-party capital and exploit its advantages, such as a lower cost of capital and the ability to transfer risk off a reinsurer’s balance sheet, while creating the opportunity to earn fees. Mr Schneider said there are good reasons to believe that Bermuda will remain a global re/insurance hub, with its ace card being the regulatory environment. “Working with the Bermuda Monetary Authority is something that companies find is much easier than dealing with the large number of US regulators,” Mr Schneider said. “We’ve seen some new companies being formed in Bermuda, not the large companies we would have seen after large events in the past, but more specialty type companies which find Bermuda to be attractive from a regulatory perspective. Bermuda will always continue to have its place in the industry. There’s a lot of expertise. For example, look at a company like RenaissanceRe, which remains a Bermuda company and they make it very clear they want to remain one.” In the past, waves of new companies after a major loss were normal for Bermuda, as occurred after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. The expanding role of alternative capital makes it unlikely that this will ever happen again, Mr Schneider said. However, in the event of a major market dislocation, Bermuda would again be the place for new capital to congregate, Mr Schneider believes. He said: “If we did see a mega-catastrophe and a $200 billion type loss, then Bermuda would still have the structure in place to be able to recapitalize things.”

paragraphBF&M Ltd has announced an increase in the quarterly dividend, for declaration on June 28, 2019, from 22 cents per share to 24 cents per share, payable to shareholders on July 15, 2019. John Wight, the insurer’s chief executive officer, said: “In reflection of the company’s strong financial performance for the year ended 2018 and the strength of our capital position, the board has elected to increase the quarterly dividend by 9 per cent.” BF&M shares last traded at $15.05 on the Bermuda Stock Exchange. At that price, the newly raised dividend will represent a 6.37 per cent annualized yield.

paragraphBermuda’s bee population is on the increase, a bee expert said yesterday. Jonathan Hitchcock, a cofounder of Wild Island Apiaries, said work to protect the island’s bees, including the importation of disease-resistant queens, appeared to have paid off. Mr Hitchcock said: “We’ve been seeing an increased amount of feral and wild hive activity, something which only a few years ago became somewhat of a rare sight. Along with an increase in numbers, the steps that the Government took a few years ago, by importing a handful of more resistant queen bees, seem to be paying dividends as those genetics seem to have made their way into the existing colonies on the island. We’ve been collecting what appear to be reproductive swarms since the beginning of March. The season is just getting under way so it’s still early to draw comparisons to past years, but we are anticipating a busy season based on overall hive health on the island.” Mr Hitchcock explained that island bee colonies, like others around the world, had been damaged by the varroa mite, a parasite that can lead to the collapse of the colony. He said the use of pesticides and weed killers had also harmed bees, but that increased public awareness had helped to curb excessive use. Mr Hitchcock added that calm weather in recent years had also helped colonies get bigger and stronger. He said: “We’ve had very mild weather in both 2017 and 2018, so the foliage in Bermuda should be primed to provide excellent forage for the bee population locally this year.” Mr Hitchcock added a bigger bee population would mean more swarms, clouds of bees that form when a queen sets up a new colony. Mr Hitchcock said swarms could alarm people, but they were unlikely to be aggressive and compared them to “moving house. From around mid-March right through until June and July we will see an active season, with the fiddlewood, Bermuda palmetto, Chinese fan palm and a limited amount of Brazilian pepper all going into flower. The abundance of food triggers swarming, which is the natural method of reproduction for bee colonies, and is a magnificent sight to behold.” Mr Hitchcock explained bees form a ball or group when they land and hang from surfaces such as tree branches and windows while scout bees search for a new home. "Wild Island wants to remind the public that if a swarm lands nearby, call a local beekeeper in your area, not an exterminator. We are always eager to respond to swarm calls, and to give these calls a priority response. Wild Island will remove swarms and established colonies for free. We are of the opinion that preserving Bermuda’s bees is so important that it shouldn’t be an option for only those who can afford an unexpected expense.” He emphasised the important role that bees play in the natural world and food production beyond honey. “The statistic is that bees are responsible for one-in-three bites of food that we consume. For those of us who enjoy our fruit and vegetables, this is an important statistic to remember.”

paragraphA free seminar on Parkinson’s disease will be held today. Diana Apetauerova, director of the Movement Disorders Programme at Lahey Health and Medical Centre, will discuss deep brain stimulation, the main treatment for Parkinson’s. She will also talk about signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and provide new information and treatment options. People will also be able to put questions to Dr Apetauerova. The Bermuda Medical Specialties Group organized the event at its offices on Reid Street from 10am to noon. Arlene Basden, medical director at BMSG, said the long-term degenerative disorder affected almost a million adults in the US. Early symptoms of Parkinson’s include cramped handwriting or other writing changes, tremors, uncontrollable movements during sleep, limb stiffness or slow movement, voice changes, a rigid facial expression and stooped posture. Patients may have difficulty walking and talking and suffer mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties and fatigue as the disease progresses. There is no cure for Parkinson’s but treatments are available to help manage the symptoms and maintain quality of life.

paragraphPlans to build a gazebo and improve access for seniors and the disabled at Shelly Bay Beach were welcomed by residents last night. The proposed scheme would include “water wheelchairs” and removable non-slip mats that reach the water. About 60 people attended a public meeting at Francis Patton Primary School, where Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the plans were not “cast in stone” and that he welcomed the views of area residents. He said that seniors and beachgoers with physical problems were the priority “because Shelly Bay lends itself to catering for that constituency”. The new ideas came after a pressure group blocked a plan by the Bermuda Tourism Authority for concessions housed in shipping containers at the Hamilton Parish site. Blake Lambert, an architect and assistant project manager at the Bermuda Housing Corporation, who drew up the plans, said his goal was to “create some accessibility and community aspects” at the beach. He added the proposals included the erection of a gazebo and a building for bathrooms that would also encompass storage space for water-accessible wheelchairs and Mobi-mats, which are portable and can be rolled out to create a pathway over sand for people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities to reach the sea. Mr Lambert explained that by planting dense foliage, the bathroom building would be well-concealed once the plants matured. LaKiesha Wolffe, who lost her left leg after a near-fatal road accident nearly six years ago, said Shelly Bay was one of the few beaches that suited her for swimming because of its hard sand. She told the meeting she used crutches, a cane and a wheelchair and said she hoped consideration would be given to making sure that the bathrooms were built with the disabled in mind. Ms Wolffe later added she supported the proposals, but that she was worried about details like the level of sinks in the facilities, effectiveness of railings and availability of parking close to the beach. Mr Lambert said the bathroom designs would conform to standards laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act. He added the doors to the restrooms would be on the water side of the building, in response to a question from a member of the public who was also concerned about accessibility. Esme Williams and Cheryl-Ann Griffin, who were part of a group that pushed for the proposals as an alternative to the BTA plans last year, were delighted with Mr Lambert’s blueprint. Ms Williams said: “Whatever we said, he just envisaged. When we saw the plan, we thought, wow.”

paragraphMore than 30 students and volunteers learnt about one of the island’s national parks while they gave it a facelift. A group from the Mirrors Programme joined members of the Hamilton Lions Club for a clean-up at Southlands Estate in Warwick. Their goal was to clear natural debris, trash and abandoned furniture from the park, as well as to share knowledge about the history of the park and its endemic and invasive plants and trees. Kim Jackson, the Mirrors Programme manager, said: “Our service day is a wonderful opportunity for us to spend time with members of the community who are united with us to support Bermuda’s young people and preserve Bermuda’s architectural and ecological heritage. Only through the power of community can we preserve the finer elements of our heritage and pass them on to a younger generation empowered with the skills to protect them and bear them into the future.” Mirrors aims to help young people reach their potential and promotes healthy relationships as well as positive contributions to society. A total of 33 students, volunteer life coaches and community volunteers joined the Hamilton Lions Club members for the event last Saturday. Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs, congratulated the programme for continuing its 12-year tradition of demonstrating the benefits of giving back to the community. She said: “Since 2007, Mirrors students have engaged in completing a service project. I am pleased that this year Mirrors chose to partner with the Department of Parks to clean Southlands for the enjoyment of our fellow Bermudians and visitors. Our island home is world-renowned for its cleanliness and beauty. As Bermudians, we take great pride in that fact and, as we know, it requires all of us to do our part to keep that stellar reputation. Thank you for volunteering.” Craig Burt, the acting director for the parks department, said: “We are really passionate about maintaining the ecological heritage of this park and preserving it for the enjoyment of future Bermudians and tourists alike. We are grateful for the partnership of the Mirrors Programme for pushing this project forward.

paragraphA sports club affected by violence should attract more older people to help combat repeated disturbances, a community activist said yesterday. Gina Spence, of charity Gina Spence Productions, added that Southampton Rangers should also sign up other community organisations in an attempt to stem trouble. She said: “There are tons of community groups in that area — the club is in the heart of the parish where there are a lot of people, restaurants, churches, businesses. If the club tried to expand its outreach and there was a broader approach, it would help to change the situation.” She told the Rangers management: “Take a look at your base. Perhaps you need to call in your grandfathers and all the uncles. Rally and get people interested in helping and supporting you.” Ms Spence was speaking after a man was stabbed last Sunday night as the club celebrated its football team’s victory over Somerset Eagles to claim the First Division title and another man was slashed with a bottle two nights earlier. She said: “Many great men and women have come through the ranks of the Rangers club — what do you say to their legacy? Give it your best. Protect that legacy.” Ms Spence and Desmond Crockwell, an anti-violence activist, earlier said that the club had a good reputation for community work, but that the executive board could do more to combat violence that has plagued the club in recent years. She said: “We have to take a more proactive approach. Rangers had won the game so there was a bigger crowd by default, but I would encourage the club to take as many precautions as possible. People need to hear that they are doing something to protect patrons and bystanders. You don’t want to over-police it, but you need to make your patrons feel protected. It’s a fine balance. There truly has to be a different approach when so many things happen on the premises. You need to make a profound statement to the community and it will require PR.” Mr Crockwell, the chief editor of anti-violence magazine Visionz, added: “Sunday was a huge event which leads to celebration which leads to alcohol and that can lead to anger and frustration. Surveillance is necessary; this is a hotspot. Surveillance, cameras and physical surveillance, lessens the potential and it helps identify the culprit and makes people think twice. He added a national “anti-violence force” made up of police officers and Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers should be formed. Mr Crockwell said that if the club showed that it had made sufficient effort to end violence, it could attract investment from international businesses. “I want to add that these young men need to take responsibility for themselves and realize that their actions impact the whole country including our young children.” Zane DeSilva, the area MP, said: “It upsets me that the perpetrators have no regard for law and order. My message is to them if you want to carry on with this activity, you will get punished to the full extent of the law.”

paragraphA violence-hit football club claimed yesterday that police were on its grounds when a man was stabbed after a fight broke out at the weekend, but did not step in to help stop the trouble. A spokesman for Southampton Rangers Sports Club said six armed officers were at the venue as a precaution because officials expected a night of celebrations after the team won the First Division in front of a large crowd on Sunday. He added: “We’re frustrated because we’re doing what they asked us to do — they asked us to close earlier, they asked us to get security, they asked us to ban the antisocial individuals, they asked us to write the registered letters; and we’re doing those things. We have no faith in the police’s ability to do their job because we had six armed police officers there that did nothing on Sunday.” It is understood, however, that the officers were stationed on the grounds, but not in the clubhouse where the incident took place, and that the brawl was quickly broken up by civilian security staff. Police said later that a 20-year-old man left the premises with a stomach wound “after apparently being stabbed during an altercation” and warned that the BPS were considering their options under the Liquor Licence Act because of a series of incidents at the club. The club insisted it had done everything it could to curb violence and claimed officials lacked the needed support from the authorities. The spokesman told The Royal Gazette: “On Sunday, it was a celebration at the club because we had just won the league. We had security on the premises and we had six armed police inside the club grounds when this happened, so for us as the management, it’s disheartening because we had more than the number of security that’s required. We had liaised with the police to be there because we knew it would be a big crowd and the police were actually inside the grounds while the incident took place and did nothing. Security broke the incident up within ten seconds of it occurring inside the club. We had four security guards separating the individuals and the police never entered. None of the individuals that were involved had been involved in antisocial behavior because we’ve banned all the people who have.” A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said the incident happened at about 9.15pm, however the club said it took place earlier. A spokesman for the BPS said a 20-year-old man was taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in a police vehicle for treatment. The Southampton Rangers executive team is expected to ban another six people from the club as a result of the incident. Police said the Sunday incident came two days after a 22-year-old man suffered cuts to his hand from a broken bottle “wielded during an altercation at the establishment”. Sources disputed the police version of the Friday incident, but the club spokesman declined to comment. Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police James Howard said on Wednesday: “As a result of these recent incidents, in addition to previous ones at the Southampton Rangers Sports Club, the Bermuda Police Service is evaluating the range of options available under the Liquor Licence Act.” The club was closed for 24 hours in February after an early-morning fight ended with several people injured. The club spokesman said Rangers had worked hard to curb antisocial behavior and wanted to be clear on its efforts in the run-up to a liquor licensing hearing next week. He added a reputation for violence “hurts the executive”. The club spokesman said: “We’re disturbed at the fact that the police held a meeting with all the bars and establishments in town two months ago to outline what they should do with all of these individuals, but they’ve yet to meet with the sports clubs.” The BPS said today that an island-wide policing plan last weekend included patrols around Southampton Rangers. A police spokesman explained that officers entered the sports club earlier on Sunday evening “to liaise with security personnel and conduct a liquor licence check. They then exited the premises and remained in the area. A short while later an incident occurred inside the club. As soon as officers saw an injured man exit the club they responded immediately by providing first aid and transporting the man to hospital. Additionally, police officers re-entered the establishment to speak with management, staff and security. The BPS continues to work with the management of Southampton Rangers Sports Club in an effort to create a safe environment.” Inquiries continued and a further appeal was made for witnesses to call the Criminal Investigation Department on 247-1744 or the anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline 800-8477.

paragraphHundreds of people will explore the West End in the Bermuda National Trust Palm Sunday Walk this weekend. The five-mile walk will begin in Cross Island at 2pm, no later than 3pm, and should take 2½ hours to complete. Organisers say it will provide breathtaking views and visit spectacular sites of national significance, important cemeteries, secluded beauty spots and countless historic buildings and structures. There is no charge for participation, although donations of $5 would be appreciated. Parking will be at Cross Island but people are encouraged to take the ferry from Hamilton. Participants are advised to wear sensible shoes. The route is not suitable for strollers and dogs are not permitted. Road users in the West End are urged to use care. Sompo International, the sponsor for the event, described itself as a supporter of the Bermuda National Trust and its role in preserving the island’s open spaces and rich heritage A spokeswoman said: “Sompo International looks forward to the annual spring walk as a way to promote both environmental awareness and physical and mental health.” John Barritt & Son Ltd will provide refreshments but people should bring their own drinks containers as water will be provided. Sweet Saak hot cross buns will be available for a $2 donation.


April 11

paragraphUsers of Bermuda’s air freight terminal were advised by the customs department yesterday that it will close at lunchtime. A government spokesman said that from Monday, and until further notice, the terminal would shut every day between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. He added: “Requests for perishables or emergency goods will be facilitated and released as normal.”

paragraphPlans for a small concession area in Shelly Bay Park will be unveiled at a meeting this evening. The Ministry of Public Works will also present plans for access for seniors and the disabled at the beach at the event, to be held at Francis Patton Primary School. A ministry spokeswoman said: “The ministry is keen to ensure that any proposed additions or enhancements to the Shelly Bay Park area receive public input.” Tonight’s meeting will be held in the school’s gymnasium with a start time of 6.30pm. A Bermuda Tourism Authority plan to install concession stands at Shelly Bay Beach has sparked opposition from some residents near the popular Hamilton Parish attraction. A group of residents staged a protest at the BTA bid to use shipping containers to house temporary concessions by the North Shore beach as part of its plan to boost the beach economy. The residents proposed an alternative, which included improved beach access for the elderly and the disabled. The pressure group also requested improved restrooms for the park and said they would not oppose a lunch wagon.

paragraphAn investigation was launched after vape pens were reportedly sold at a middle school and high school, the Commissioner of Education confirmed last night. Kalmar Richards said a number of agencies were involved in the inquiries that focused on Dellwood Middle School and CedarBridge Academy. It is understood an adult had given the smokeless devices to a pupil, asking the child to sell them. Ms Richards said: “These are very serious incidents of which the Department of Education has requested detailed reports from each school. We can further confirm that the Bermuda Police Service were notified and an investigation has commenced. As this matter is under investigation by the BPS, the Department and Ministry of Education, and other relevant agencies, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.” Vape pens are a form of electronic cigarettes in which a flavored liquid is heated to give off a vapor. They have soared in popularity in recent years with people trying to give up smoking. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said last night that “preliminary investigation” had shown that an adult passed on vaping pens to a student to sell at Dellwood. He added: “We’ve subsequently learnt that the same adult had passed vaping pens to a student at CedarBridge Academy and asked for the same thing. We’re in the process of collecting the data to see exactly what has gone on.” A BPS spokesman said last night: “Police officers attended Dellwood Middle School and CedarBridge Academy today after Dellwood and CedarBridge school officials reported confiscating a quantity of e-cigarette-type devices that were allegedly being sold by one student at each school to their respective peers.” Anyone with information was asked to call 295-0011.

paragraphA spin doctor for the crisis-hit public schools system is to be appointed, it has been revealed. The post-holder will be expected to use social media and podcasts to tell people about the work of the Government’s education department. The education ministry said it wanted to hire a communication consultant to help promote achievements by teachers, pupils and other staff and highlight the achievements of Government’s Plan 2022 for schools. Education authorities have battled problems over the past few months, including staff sick-outs over a lack of teaching assistants, a work-to-rule by principals working over fears that the behaviours of some pupils was a safety risk, mouldy classrooms and a catalogue of delays in the introduction of standards-based grading. A request for quotations was posted to the Government’s online procurement page last week with a deadline of April 22 and a start date in July. The contract will run for a year with a possible six-month extension. The RFQ said: “The Department of Education is seeking a suitable organisation or individual who is able to provide reliable strategic communication services that are aligned with international best practices and who will ensure that all stakeholders and our community at large are informed and kept abreast of the progress with Plan 2022 and the work that is being carried out at the Department of Education and in our schools.” The RFQ explained that the work would include the design and delivery of a communications plan and data collection. Plan 2022 was announced in December 2017. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, told MPs in the House of Assembly last month that the plan included an increase in pupil engagement, making sure pupils were ready for college or careers and improvements to school buildings. The successful bidder will be expected to “use various social media to communicate key messages and information to key stakeholder groups” and “create public awareness videos and podcasts”. The individual or organisation will work with the Government’s Department of Communications and “liaise with their representatives to collaboratively prepare media content”. In addition, the consultant will “develop relationships with the local media and prepare positive stories about schools for the print, television and electronic media.” The RFQ added that the charm offensive was expected to include “enlisting persons to tell stories about public-school education and unearth new and interesting stories”. And it said teachers and staff could also be taught how to play a part in the promotion of the schools system. A list of requirements in the RFQ included: “In collaboration with the Department of Communications provide advice to schools, department managers, officers and staff regarding effective internal and external communication strategies.” It added that the contractor would be expected to “set up a protocol and procedure for sharing communication strategies with senior leaders that they can use with those they supervise.” The consultant will also have to develop marketing materials, create an electronic database that will include pictures and newsletters and set up a data collection system to monitor the “information interests and needs of the community”. A separate request for information was issued last month by the Cabinet Office and asked members of the media how they could help the Government highlight its work. The notice explained: “The Department of Communications is looking to work with local media outlets to create new avenues to share news and information with the public. The department wants to hear creative and diverse suggestions on how your organisation can help us to reach your audiences. The objective of this request for information is to get the right information to the right people at the right time.” The Government has a fee-for-service contract with Inter-Island Communications, which is owned by Glenn Blakeney, who was a Progressive Labour Party MP for more than a decade. A spokeswoman said last month about $24,000 had been spent with the broadcaster on radio adverts and interviews with “personalities”. She added that other media organisations, including The Royal Gazette, were also paid to promote campaigns since the agreement with Inter-Island Communications started in December last year. The Department of Communications, which has seven full-time employees and a $3.15 million budget for 2019-20, is under Walton Brown, the Cabinet Office minister. But Cabinet colleague Jamahl Simmons was given responsibility for keeping the public informed in a ministerial shake-up last November. David Burt, the Premier, said then: “To reflect the importance of communication, consultation and public engagement in governance in this modern era, I have invited minister Jamahl Simmons to focus on these matters as Minister without Portfolio.” The Government also has social-media sites and a television station, CITV, which features programmes about its work. In a statement today, Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said that during public consultation before Plan 2022 was released it was decided the department would “increase high-quality communication to parents and all education stakeholders”, which was spelled out in section 5.3.1 of the strategy. She explained: “The RFQ released by the Department of Education for a local communications consultant is a direct response to this consultation-driven recommendation. Having a dedicated expert to carry out Strategy 5.3.1 will enable the department to meet the overall goals of Plan 2022. It also reinforces the Ministry of Education’s aim to create job opportunities for Bermuda residents. The successful candidate will learn about the intricacies of the Department of Education and communicate information within the context of the work that we do, achievements as well as challenges, and with improved timelines. We are excited to have someone come on board to execute this particular Plan 2022 strategy. It is an indication of commitment to Plan 2022 and additional evidence of the progress that we are making on behalf of Bermuda, and for Bermuda.”

paragraphMould at a middle school has made teachers sick, the shadow education minister claimed yesterday. A source at TN Tatem Middle School backed up the claim and the One Bermuda Alliance’s Cole Simons questioned if pupils at the school had suffered similar problems. Mr Simons said that a teacher, who has since left the school because of her illness, was forced to wear a mask at work after she contracted bronchitis sparked by mould. He added that a replacement had taken over from former teacher in January, and had also been affected by breathing problems. Mr Simons said: “She was not aware of the challenges faced by the previous teacher in the same classroom, and she is now faced with similar bronchial attacks.” A source at the Warwick school confirmed that a teacher had left because of health problems and that her replacement had experienced “similar, but early symptoms”. Mr Simons and the source were speaking yesterday after the school was evacuated over health and safety fears. Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said on Tuesday that the school would be closed yesterday and today. She said the closure came after education officials got a letter from the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association that highlighted “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”. Requests for comment sent to the president and vice-president of the PTSA were not responded to by press time yesterday. Ms Richards said that the Cabinet safety and health official was expected to carry out inspections at the school yesterday morning. Mr Simons said: “We have tests after tests performed by the Government’s health and safety officers, water consultants and other local and international consultants. The scale of the problem has been identified and well defined, but Government’s remediation plans are not working. As a consequence, our students and teachers continue to be at risk.” Mr Simons said he understood that 12 teachers and three pupils had reported health and safety concerns to the education ministry. He said that the school was in a “chronic state and needs immediate attention and lasting remediation plans”. Mr Simons added: “Just lowering the levels of mould to acceptable levels and respective species counts is not good enough as this only addresses the symptoms of the problem and does not address the root cause.” He said that a proper remediation plan had to be created or the school must be “repurposed”. Mr Simons added: “This state of affairs just cannot be allowed to continue.” The TN Tatem closure was the latest in a string of mould incidents at the school. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education insisted in February that the school was “safe for teaching and learning”. She said then: “While there may be some ongoing minor challenges, the school’s administration, with the steadfast backing of the ministry and Department of Education and the full support of the Minister of Education, will continue to make the safety, health and wellbeing of teachers and students alike, a top priority.” The spokeswoman was speaking a day after education officials revealed that a room at the school had been closed “for an extended period of time” after “potential mould” was found. The ministry said that a mould assessment programme by Bermuda Water Consultants would start on February 18. The independent firm’s report said that the “root cause of the current and past problems of excessive mould and poor indoor air quality ... is directly related to inadequate routine and general maintenance at the facility”. It added: “The issues that we noted today are the same issues which we noted back in 2013 and are the same issues that closed the school in 2017.” The report highlighted six causes for the mould and air-quality problems, including water leaks and faulty windows, as well as “inadequate housekeeping”. TN Tatem staff and pupils in December 2016 were forced to relocate to Clearwater Middle School, St David’s, for several weeks amid health fears. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

paragraphKPMG Bermuda and one of its managing directors have been fined and censured by the USA's Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the firm’s regulator for the audits of American public companies. KPMG has been fined $250,000 while Damion J Henderson, who was in charge of the firm’s ethics and independence department, has been fined $10,000. The PCAOB requires KPMG to “undertake and certify the completion of certain improvements to the firm’s system of quality control”, while limiting Mr Henderson’s role in the firm’s system of quality control for a period of two years. The PCAOB issued its “Order Making Findings and Imposing Sanctions” on Tuesday. The order said disciplinary proceedings were instituted pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002, as amended, and the PCAOB rules, on March 21. A day later, the order said, KPMG and Mr Henderson made offers of settlement, which the PCAOB accepted. The order said: “The Board is imposing these sanctions on the basis of its findings that, from 2014 to 2015, KPMG Bermuda’s system of quality control failed to provide reasonable assurance that firm personnel would comply with applicable professional standards and the firm’s standards of quality, including with respect to performing all professional responsibilities with integrity. “Through his acts and omissions, Henderson directly and substantially contributed to the firm’s violations. Respondents’ violations related to current and former firm personnel re-executing and backdating certain independence affidavits to replace misplaced original documents that they had previously executed, in advance of, and because of, a Board inspection.” The order said the matter came to light during an inspection of KPMG Bermuda in the spring of 2015. According to the order, the PCAOB opened an informal inquiry after which KPMG conducted an internal investigation and ultimately located substantially all of the 27 misplaced original affidavits, which were substantially similar to the re-executed documents. None of the misplaced originals that were located, the order said, identified violations of independence policies. The affidavits were intended to provide assurance that auditors maintained independence in their work and the policy requiring them was part of KPMG Bermuda’s system of quality control, the order explained. KPMG Bermuda issued a statement yesterday in response to enquiries by The Royal Gazette. “KPMG in Bermuda today acknowledged the issuance of a Settlement Order (Order) by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, its regulator for audits of US public companies. The order relates to the loss of certain independence confirmations in 2014, and the re-execution of these confirmations in 2014 and 2015. Since then the firm has introduced an electronic tracking system to manage the timely receipt and retention of independence confirmations. These changes mitigate the risk that these confirmations could be misplaced in the future. The firm is satisfied that there was no breach of the auditor independence rules by the firm or any employee as a result of this matter. KPMG in Bermuda looks forward to a continued positive working relationship with the PCAOB.”

paragraphTwo teenagers remained in police custody yesterday in connection with an attack on lambs. Police said they are still searching for more people in connection with an incident at Westover Farm in Sandys, captured on a video that circulated on social media last week. A police spokesman said the two men arrested on Tuesday were aged 19 and 17. Officers earlier said the younger man was 16. He added: “The appeal continues for persons with relevant information to come forward as additional individuals are being sought regarding this matter.” Anyone with information should contact PC Melvin Best on 717-2385 or Somerset Police Station on 234-1010.


April 10

paragraphStaff and pupils staged a walkout at a mould-infested middle school yesterday. Classes were called off at TN Tatem Middle School after teachers and pupils left the Warwick premises over health and safety fears. School sources said staff returned from spring break and noticed a strong smell of mould — a problem in several classrooms since 2016. Staff brought pupils out of the building at about 8.30am. One source said mould had hit “the exact same three rooms” closed off two years ago, when pupils were transferred to Clearwater Middle School in St David’s as an emergency measure. Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said last night that she had seen a letter of concern sent to senior officials on Monday by parents and staff that highlighted “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”. The education ministry said M3 pupils should report to nearby Purvis Primary School today and tomorrow. Pupils from M2 should go to Heron Bay Primary School in Southampton and M1 pupils should attend at Paget Primary. The letter to the ministry, signed by the Parent Teacher Student Association president Albert Wilson with the school’s health and safety co-ordinator, asked for air quality and mould tests, as well as repairs. The source said the move was backed by TN Tatem parents. The source added the walkout underlined a persistent mould problem at TN Tatem, despite a clean bill of health from the Government in February. The school source said cleaning had been inadequate. The source added: “They changed the ceiling tiles, they changed the drywall, but they never got to the source of the damp.” Air checks two years ago found aspergillus and penicillium mould, as well as toxic strains chaetomium and stachybotrys. Staff and students walked to Purvis PS to finish their school day and Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, met staff from both schools. Ms Richards said that the Cabinet Safety and Health Officer would inspect the school this morning and hold a training session for staff after school. She emphasised that health complaints were taken “very seriously”, and thanked staff at Purvis Primary, Heron Bay and Paget Primary for their help. All public schools will be shut on Friday for the Agricultural Exhibition.

paragraphA woman sent overseas for residential care when she was aged just 12 said the move felt like a punishment and left her unprepared for adult life back home. She explained that her only childhood problems were emotional and that she was “tricked” on to a flight to the United States with a promise of a swimming pool. The woman said three of her own children were sent overseas years later after decisions made by the Department of Child and Family Services. The woman told The Royal Gazette all three were traumatized by the experience. She said: “They’re broken, they’re trying to put the pieces together. They know they don’t matter, they know they’ve been forgotten, they know they’re just a number. Myself and my family, we’re still not living, we are in a place of stagnation. The judicial system has failed us, the children and the parents. The judicial system put these people in control of your children’s care, in control of your children’s lives; you can’t say anything, you can’t do anything.” A difficult childhood meant that the woman, who asked not to be named, was in foster care and institutional care, including the former Sunshine League home and the government-run Brangman residential centre. The woman said she was not given independent legal representation and “the next thing I remember I was overseas”. She added: “I think they had made a decision that they didn’t have facilities to deal with my emotional issues, which stemmed from maternal deprivation, and they didn’t have things in place for that. They tricked me into eventually getting on the plane, I used to be into swimming a lot, they said there’s a pool over there, you can swim whenever you want. I was excited, it was going to be something new, then when I got there it wasn’t anything like I thought. It was like a prison. I thought, ‘what did I sign up for?’.” The child went to Wiley House in rural Pennsylvania, later renamed KidsPeace. The woman, now in her forties, said: “I tried to run away many times because I was in the middle of nowhere with no family, nobody was calling, nobody was checking on me. It was like they sent me somewhere and I disappeared. I wasn’t even remembered on birthdays or Christmases. Once we got over there we were forgotten.” She said that between two and four girls shared a room, but up to 20 used the same bathrooms. School classes were held at another site, but the woman said the standard was “way beneath normal level learning”. She added: “I didn’t feel I was being challenged or taught anything. When I came back to Bermuda, I couldn’t function in a normal school environment. I put myself through education after the fact.” The woman said: “I learnt a lot of stuff I probably shouldn’t have learnt about because I wasn’t meant to be in that type of place. I was exposed to a lot of issues.” The mother claimed that some restraint techniques used by staff “would get kind of out of hand”, such as three adults to one child. Punishments, the woman claimed, could include isolation and excessive or unpleasant tasks like cleaning the bathroom with a toothbrush. The woman said some of the staff members were “really nice” and a number of fellow residents helped support her. She admitted: “I challenged what they tried to enforce in the beginning. “At times they wouldn’t let us talk and when we were leaving our units to go to the main hall to eat, we were walking like robots. We were not allowed to communicate or be within a certain space of each other; it was extreme.” The woman said that the children would be taken for weekend outings. She added: “I ran away on a few of those activities. I didn’t know where I was going, I just wanted to be free. In order for me to get home, I had no choice but to conform. I had no choice but to push everything I was feeling, needing, wanting, to the pit of me and become their robot.” The woman returned to Bermuda just before her 16th birthday after three years at two KidsPeace institutions. She said no provision was made for her care and that, at just 15, the family court ruled she could have legal responsibility for herself. She said: “I spent a lot of years trying to find out who I was. Because I was exposed to so many different personalities and issues, I felt like I had to separate myself from people in order to do that.” The woman insisted she was ill-equipped to cope with life back home. She said: “They sent us somewhere, they brought us back and then they chucked us into the world. We had no preparation for that, except for when we were overseas we learnt basic things like how to make our bed, be extremely clean, to wash dishes; basic stuff, but no real life skills.” Robert Martin, the director of communications at KidsPeace, said privacy regulations prevented comment on individual clients. He added: “We are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and we are a healthcare organisation which follows the regulations and is under the oversight of that entity.” A government spokeswoman said that the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the DCFS had nothing to add after a statement last week that overseas schools were licensed by “their respective licensing body and are accredited through an accrediting body” and regular visits were made by Bermudian staff. She added: “It is the policy not to disclose any public information regarding individual cases.” The Gazette asked the Government if children from Bermuda were still sent to KidsPeace but no answer was received.

paragraphA woman’s three children were separated and sent overseas to a string of different institutions for up to seven years without any legal representation, she has revealed. The mother said the Department of Child and Family Services wanted to place the children at care homes in the United States, at first for short-term assessments, but that two of the youngsters remained abroad for several years. The trio were all preteens when they left the island and one was sent to an institution in a different state from the others. Their mother said she had been sent to the US for residential care when she was just 12 and told The Royal Gazette that the family still struggled to recover from their experiences. She said: “When they were overseas, all of them felt like they were being punished and when I was overseas, I felt like I was being punished because it felt like my mom couldn’t love me and my daddy didn’t want me.” The woman added: “When my children came back to me, they were broken.” Her children went into foster care as she struggled with a difficult divorce, but after a family trauma, they were sent abroad. The mother said the children, now adults, were sent abroad and spent time in a total of six institutions between about 2008 and 2015 for various periods. It is understood that the DCFS needed assessments that it said could not be carried out in Bermuda. The mother said her daughter’s experience was similar to her own. She explained: “She still, to this day, is struggling to figure out who she is; she’s still trying to take off the layers. When you’re in places like that, you have to harden up yourself or you will get hurt; it’s like being in jail for real. You need to protect yourself in all of the ways you can.” The youngest of the children was said to have returned to Bermuda after a few months, but the mother said the oldest was overseas for up to seven years. He was 17 when he returned and the mother said he still had problems with adjustment to a normal life. She added: “They ruined him more than he was already, then they dropped him at my door and left me to pick up the pieces.” The overseas care homes her children were sent to included the Family Foundation School in New York, which was renamed the Allynwood Academy and closed in 2014 after a “truth campaign” by former students. Alleged abuses including public humiliation, social isolation or menial labour, were reported in The New York Times last year. Other punishments included being forced to bury rocks in the ground one day and being told to dig them up the next. Oxbow Academy in Utah, and the Pines Residential Treatment Centre, in Virginia, which changed hands in 2010 and is now known as the Harbour Point Behavioral Health Centre, were other care homes where the woman’s children were sent. The other three institutions were in Massachusetts, including the Germaine Lawrence campus, which media in the state reported last August was to be closed, a Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health centre, and Stetson School. The woman said that the DCFS could have done more to support her own mother and herself as teen moms, rather than get involved after problems started. The woman was speaking after it was revealed that youngsters sent abroad at the request of the DCFS before 2014 were moved without any legal representation. The vast majority of cases, 48 out of 50 children, who went overseas as part of the department’s psycho-educational programme between April 2014 and November 2018 were dealt with without a legal representative. The woman said she spoke out because she wanted the authorities to make sure there was enough funding available for every child in need of an independent advocate, known as a litigation guardian, to get one. The woman said: “Children need someone to speak on their behalf. Not every situation is textbook, not every place that a child comes from is textbook. You can’t make the same decision for every child and expect it to work. It was incredibly difficult for me to speak out, but I did it in the hope that other children will have a voice and so that other parents can have support in place for their children.” Bill Stock, the vice-president for government and community relations at Seven Hills Foundation, which affiliated with Stetson School seven years ago, said six Bermudian youngsters had been admitted there between 2005 and 2012. He added that the children were referred to the school by the DCFS and the main contact was department director Alfred Maybury. Mr Stock added: “As with any referral from a government entity, it is and was Stetson School’s understanding that each youth’s legal rights had been upheld.” A spokeswoman for Devereux, which provides “medical care for children with behavioral healthcare needs”, said US privacy laws barred her from discussion about young people treated there. She added: “Generally speaking, Devereux doesn’t engage in the issue of legal representation as part of our process of admission because we operate medical programmes. Placements were entirely voluntary”. A spokeswoman at Harbour Point said the change of ownership meant she had no access to Pines’ records. Youth Villages, which merged with Germaine Lawrence in 2012, did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Oxbow Academy said he could not discuss anyone who had been in the institution “based on confidentiality and respect for the families we serve”. The former president of the Family Foundation School could not be contacted. The Ministry of Legal Affairs and the DCFS declined to comment. A government spokeswoman said: “It is the policy not to disclose any public information regarding individual cases.” A DCFS spokeswoman said last week that all overseas institutions used by the department were licensed by “their respective licensing body and are accredited through an accrediting body”, and children overseas were visited by DCFS staff on a regular basis. She was speaking after the Glen Mills Schools in Pennsylvania, also used in the past by the DCFS, had its licence revoked in the wake of an investigation into abuse allegations.

paragraphBermuda-based Velocity Ledger Holdings Ltd has been approved to conduct an initial coin offering, or ICO, by the Ministry of Finance. One of VLHL’s subsidiaries, VL Financial, wants to launch a digital asset exchange in Bermuda that would support asset-backed investment and real estate tokens. The company has applied to the Bermuda Monetary Authority for a digital asset business licence. The coin offering is intended to fund the operations of VL Financial and another subsidiary, VL Technology Ltd, a private blockchain enabled platform for the generation of tokenized assets, secondary trading and settlement of trades. A white paper on the offering on Velocity Ledger’s website states that the token exchange rate will be one token to one Bermuda dollar. Investors can buy tokens either with dollars or with the cryptocurrency ethereum. “The maximum amount that the offering can raise is $22 million, assuming that all the tokens offered for sale are sold without discount,” the white paper adds. A statement issued by the company said that VL tokens may be used for payment for licensing VL technology platform and services. Benefits include revenue sharing and monthly distribution of newly minted tokens to stakeholders. Over the five-year revenue-sharing period, from January 2020 to January 2025, the white paper states that 833,333 tokens will be distributed among users every month. The VL token sale was approved on March 22 this year and the ICO is expected to start this month and continue through July 2019. “Bermuda has adopted pragmatic, non-restrictive frameworks for digital assets that provide regulatory certainty to market participants,” Shawn Sloves, CEO of Velocity Ledger, said. “Bermuda will be a focal point for blockchain initiatives globally.” David Burt, the Premier, said: “Velocity Ledger represents the exact kind of company that Bermuda is pleased to attract. They have a traditional finance industry pedigree and are building solutions for the institutional finance market. Their platform will showcase the potential of what fintech and Bermuda have to offer. I am pleased that they have been granted a licence to issue an ICO and will be proceeding to apply for a digital asset business licence. I look forward to them developing their business and creating jobs in Bermuda.”

paragraphEd Noonan, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Bermuda-based reinsurer Validus Holdings, has taken a new role as chairman of global specialty insurer StarStone. StarStone is predominantly owned by Bermuda-based Enstar Group, which has a 59 per cent stake in the company, along with the Trident Funds, managed by Stone Point Capital, which own a 39.3 per cent stake. The company simultaneously announced that Dick Sandford, the former chairman of PartnerRe US, will take the role of president of StarStone. Chris Rash has also been promoted to CEO of StarStone International and deputy group CEO. One of StarStone’s underwriting platforms is StarStone Insurance Bermuda Ltd, a Class 4 insurer, based at offices in Windsor Place on Queen Street, Hamilton. The company also manages Syndicate 1301 in the Lloyd’s of London market and also has a presence in the US and Liechtenstein. Validus was acquired by American International Group last year in a deal worth more than $5.5 billion. Mr Noonan had been chairman and CEO of Validus since its founding in 2005. Mr Noonan has more than 30 years of industry experience. Before he joined Validus, he was CEO of American Re from 1997 to 2002, after joining the firm in 1983. Before that, he worked at Swiss Re from 1979 to 1983. Mr Sanford will oversee StarStone’s global underwriting and reinsurance strategy. He has 35 years of insurance-market experience and began his career as a casualty underwriter at AIG in 1984. He has since held a succession of senior roles including, executive vice-president, TIG Re/Odyssey America Reinsurance and vice-president, Cologne Reinsurance Company of America, before he joined PartnerRe in 2000. Mr Rash, who joined StarStone in August 2018, will lead StarStone’s international business, and operational strategy at group level. He has more than 20 years of industry experience, having held numerous financial and operational leadership positions, including 15 years at RSA, and as group CFO at MS Amlin. In a joint statement, Enstar and Stone Point, said: “The experience that Ed and Dick bring to StarStone is considerable. Their appointments demonstrate our collective investment and commitment in realizing StarStone’s ambitions, and we are very pleased to welcome them to the Group.” John Hendrickson, group CEO, StarStone, said: “This is a pivotal moment for StarStone. As we reposition StarStone to deliver profitable growth, Ed and Dick bring a wealth of knowledge. Their respective contribution, together with Chris’s financial and operational expertise, will prove invaluable as we continue to provide highly professional, bespoke specialty solutions to our clients, locally and globally.”

paragraphTriathlon star Flora Duffy wants to return home to race in Bermuda, her mother said yesterday. Maria Duffy said Duffy was “thrilled” to be coming home to compete in the MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda. She added: “She loves Bermuda — she’s an ambassador wherever she goes.” Ms Duffy was speaking yesterday at a pep rally held at Hamilton’s City Hall to promote the endurance event, scheduled to start on April 27. The race will include 100 athletes who will compete for Olympic qualifying points and more than 600 people are expected to take part in the weekend event. Ms Duffy said that her daughter, a two time world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medal-winner, would wear Bermuda colors for the race. She added: “The bike’s pink and blue, the bathing suit’s pink and blue.” Ms Duffy said that the City of Hamilton was a superb venue for a triathlon and last year’s event was a huge success. She added: “People still stop me in the street now and say what a great event it was a year on. It’s wonderful.” Ms Duffy said that the event also showcased the sport to Bermudians. She explained: “It’s not just a swim, bike, run. It’s a swim, bike, run done with frenetic pace, great camaraderie and the lead changes constantly.” Ms Duffy added that the it was not the first swimmer out of the water that would win the race. She said: “There’s lots of changes that can happen. So it’s anybody’s race. You just never give up.” Ms Duffy said she would take part this year as a competitor in the Olympic Distance race — the same distance as her daughter. She added: “I think she’s got to be excited, proud. Not everybody’s mom is out there at 66.” Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said the race was “the most highly anticipated and prestigious international sporting event that Bermuda has ever hosted”. He told the crowd: “Bermuda put on a great show last year and we’re ready to do it all over again.” Mr Gosling said people should to come out and cheer on the competitors and attend an event designed to highlight Hamilton businesses on April 28. He added: “Our restaurant and retail community are deserving of our support.” Mr Gosling said: “It is my hope that all of our city’s business, residents and workforce embrace this opportunity to share and showcase just how great our Bermuda home is. Each of us can be the best island ambassador. All you have to do is be proud of who and what we collectively are, and be willing to share it with our visitors.” The MS Amlin World Triathlon is one of several World Series Triathlon events scheduled for the island over the next two years. The ITU Grand Final and Age Group World Championships will be held in 2021.


April 9

paragraphAn emergency meeting of the Bermuda Police Association was held yesterday amid concerns over the state of employment negotiations. Leaders of the organisation sought feedback from its members on how best to proceed. Sergeant Andrew Harewood, the chairman of the association, said: “The executive of the BPA are not happy with the way negotiations are going so that’s why the emergency meeting was called — to get directions from the membership.” The Progressive Labour Party committed to finishing negotiations with public sector unions on terms and conditions in its 2017 General Election platform. David Burt, the Premier, said last July that the promise, which was to be fulfilled within the PLP’s first 100 days in government, was mostly completed but that negotiations with the police association continued.

paragraphAlternative classroom have been found for students at TN Tatem Middle School in Warwick after a walkout this morning over ongoing problems with toxic mould inside the building. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, M3 students will report to Purvis Primary school; M2 students will report to Heron Bay Primary School; and M1 students will to report to Paget Primary. This afternoon Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, issued a statement, saying a letter of concern had been sent on Monday evening by parents and staff to officials at the ministry and the Department of Education. The letter, which was signed by the Parent Teacher Student Association president and the school’s Health and Safety Coordinator, expressed “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”. A request was made for testing indoors for air quality and levels of mould, as well as repairs. Ms Richards said alternative learning venues were also requested. The letter included a request for response by noon tomorrow. Students and staff returned on Monday from their spring break to a smell of mould throughout the school, The Royal Gazette understands. A source at the school said mould had returned in “the exact same three rooms” that were closed off two years ago, when TN Tatem was temporarily relocated to Clearwater Middle School. Teachers arrived at school this morning, but later on brought students out at about 8.30am. An officer from the Department of Education went to hear concerns, while staff and remaining students were sent to Purvis Primary School, within walking distance, for the remainder of the day. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, met with staff at both schools, along with a host of education staff. According to the source, TN Tatem parents supported the move, which was done for health and safety reasons. “They changed the ceiling tiles, they changed the drywall, but they never got to the source of the damp,” the source added. The ministry advised that public schools will be closed on Friday for the Annual Exhibition. The statement continues: “Students should attend their respective sites with a packed recess and lunch. Parents must give their children clear instructions for the after school dismissal plan, specifically students who will be at Paget Primary as the bus route is different. All after school programmes, which normally take place at TN Tatem, have been cancelled for the remainder of the week. Tomorrow, the Cabinet Safety and Health Officer will carry out inspections at TN Tatem in the morning, and conduct a training session with staff after school. When it comes to health and safety, the Ministry and Department of Education are taking the concerns raised by teachers and parents very seriously. Any time the health of our students, teachers and staff is potentially at risk, and the learning of our children is disrupted, we have an obligation to listen, assess and take the appropriate action. We also thank the leaders and staff of Purvis Primary, Heron Bay and Paget Primary for opening their doors to the staff and students from TN Tatem.”

paragraphTeachers have accepted a pay rise and leave for new parents in line with other public sector workers, it emerged last night. Mike Charles, the general secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, said that negotiations with the Government had “paused” after an agreement was reached on three issues. He explained that talks are to resume this month because a number of concerns remained outstanding. Mr Charles said: “To say that we’ve reached an agreement is sort of a half-truth. After two years of negotiating, we reached agreement on three items and we had a myriad of items.” He said teachers were offered a pay rise at 2 per cent, which was accepted after other public service unions agreed to the same amount. Mr Charles added: “Unfortunately, teachers have already lost that 2 per cent because in January premiums on the Government Employee Health Insurance went up. We were able to agree on two other items and that’s maternity and paternity leave, which the government workers union the [Bermuda Public Services Union] agreed on before, so really it just brought us up to the standard of other government workers.” Mr Charles explained that there was “no fanfare” when the terms were reached towards the end of last month. He added: “Imagine accomplishing that after about two years of negotiating, so there wasn’t much to celebrate. We closed off on that so that at least our teachers can receive the 2 per cent — that’s the main reason why we paused negotiations. We didn’t say we reached an agreement because there are a number of other important items which we have to get back to the table to discuss.” Mr Charles explained that the priority was to secure better salaries for para-educators. He added: “They work with students who, in a lot of cases, other people can’t work with. They do a lot of work that other teachers can’t do or won’t do, so they need to be remunerated properly.” Mr Charles said a meeting with the Public Service Negotiating Team had been scheduled for today but was postponed to April 30. Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said in an interview with ZBM News that aired last night: “Negotiations with the BUT have concluded; they were concluded late in March.” He said the parties were waiting for terms to be signed off on paper. Mr Rabain explained: “Obviously that brought about the closure of the negotiations that have been going on since June of last year and I’m happy to report that the Bermuda Union of Teachers have agreed to a 2 per cent uplift, which was what we had put on the board last year in June, when we first started. And I do believe the other part of the negotiations is that the maternity leave will now be on par with their BPSU counterparts.”

paragraphA reform school where vulnerable boys from Bermuda were sent for more than 35 years will be closed by the authorities in Pennsylvania. Glen Mills Schools was told it had demonstrated mistreatment and abuse of children in care, gross incompetence, neglect and misconduct in operating a facility and had failed to comply with Department regulations. The Royal Gazette reported last week that the Department of Child and Family Services requested boys from the island be sent to Glen Mills as recently as 2017. Cathy Utz, deputy secretary for Children, Youth and Families at the Department of Human Services in Pennsylvania, said that an investigation into the school had concluded. She wrote to the school yesterday: “Please be advised that after investigation and as a result of the Department of Human Services’ investigations between December 2018 and March 19, 2019, the Department has made a decision to revoke all 14 Certificates of Compliance to operate Child Residential Facilities at the Glen Mills Schools.” Allegations about Glen Mills were reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper last August. A further report in February claimed “serious violence is both an everyday occurrence and an open secret at Glen Mills, and has been for decades”. The report sparked the emergency removal of the 383 boys at the school last month. The school denied the allegations in a detailed appeal against the emergency removal order filed with the Pennsylvania DHS Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. The Department of Child and Family Services said it only became aware of accusations of staff violence against the care home residents in February. A spokeswoman said last week: “DCFS has not received any information related to any children sent to Glen Mills being abused or mistreated.”

paragraphTwo teenage males were arrested yesterday in connection with an attack on lambs at a farm, police said last night. A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service said a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old had been detained in custody as the inquiry into the attack continued. He added: “The Bermuda Police Service would like to thank the public for their assistance so far and continue to appeal for persons with relevant information to come forward, as additional individuals are being sought regarding this matter.” The arrests came after a video of an attack on lambs at Westover Farm in Sandys appeared on social media last week. The police spokesman said: “The public should be aware that cruelty to animals is an offence under the Care and Protection of Animals Act 1975, which carries penalties of up to 12 months in prison and/or fines.” The video, which lasted about two minutes, showed a series of attacks on the Dorper lambs. The clip showed an unidentified man lift a lamb by the tail and throw it to the ground and a chase that ended with another animal being thrown into a cactus bush. Another sequence showed the unidentified man push two terrified lambs to the edge of a rooftop as another man encouraged him to “push it off”. The video continued with the first man seen to throw one of the lambs off the roof. Richard Bascome, the manager and part owner of West-over Farm, said yesterday that the punishment for those behind the video was a matter for the courts. He said: “I’m just trying to get back to normal and hope that it doesn’t happen again.” Mr Bascome said he had got a number of calls from members of the public worried about the condition of the lambs. He said that both animals were in good shape. Mr Bascome added: “I don’t want to sound dismissive, but I think it’s affected people more than them.” He said that the animals were moved on Thursday from where the video had been recorded as part of pasture rotation and that none of the animals showed evidence of injury. Police launched an investigation into the incident with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Anyone with information that could help should contact police on 717-2385 or 234-1010.

paragraphA sustained attack on defenseless lambs while onlookers laughed was condemned yesterday. But police said they had identified some of the people involved and expected to make an arrest yesterday. The move came after a viral video surfaced on social media last Friday that showed the attack on the lambs, which are owned by Westover Farm in Sandys. Richard Bascome, manager and part-owner of the farm, said: “I can’t understand why someone would do that to a defenseless animal. It is way beyond youthful mischievousness. We have never come across anything like this; I was outraged. It is our livelihood, they are raised for meat, but we bend over backwards to make sure that they are humanely treated until the end.” The video, which lasted a little more than two minutes, catalogued a series of attacks on the animal. The clip showed a man lifting a lamb by the tail and throwing it to the ground and a chase that ended with another lamb being thrown into a cactus bush. A man behind the camera laughed at the first attack and said: “That’s my boy.” Another sequence showed a man pushing the two terrified lambs to the edge of a rooftop as another man encouraged him to “push it off”. The video continues with the first man throwing one of the lambs some distance off the roof. Mr Bascome said all the lambs at the farm had since been checked and appear to be well. Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said on Twitter yesterday that investigations by police and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had been launched. He added: “This is a shocking and abhorrent video. We believe we know the identity of the person involved and are seeking his arrest today alongside the person filming.” Mr Corbishley said later: “This is a shocking video of continuous and intended cruelty with no consideration to anything other than hurting or indeed causing the death of defenseless animals. The BPS is taking the matter extremely seriously, including tracking down the person responsible for taking the video who is complicit in this offence.” Libby Cook-Toppan, an animal rights campaigner and former employee of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said there was an established link between animal torture and abuse of people. She added: “Acts of cruelty towards animals who cannot defend themselves are particularly disturbing. In addition to increased punishments for perpetrators, psychological help should be required and provided. As a community, we must join together in condemning this behavior as cruelty. Animals are sentient beings and they feel pain and suffering.” Ms Cook-Toppan added she was also shocked by the people heard to laugh as the abuse onslaught went on. She said: “I think the laughter is abhorrent while these poor, defenseless beings were being treated in the most disgusting manner.” Laura Henagulph, a psychologist at Hamilton’s Atlantis Psychiatry, backed Ms Cook-Toppan. She said that “cruelty to animals is a marker for other abusive, controlling behaviours towards people”. Ms Henagulph added: “People who have been abused or neglected often have difficulty in recognizing their own emotions. This also means that they struggle with recognizing emotions in other beings, whether they are people or animals. In therapy, we call this the ability to mentalist — to see that others have feelings and intentions that are different from your own. In extreme cases, an inability to mentalise and a severe lack of empathy means that others are treated like objects to be used. In treatment, we would use centralization-based therapy, based on attachment theory, to increase a person’s capacity to see others as separate beings and to empathize with them. This would also increase a person’s insight into themselves and their ability to tolerate uncomfortable feeling states, such as fear or helplessness, without acting out in such a horrifying way.” Ian Walker, curator at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, who emphasized he was speaking in a private capacity, said: “I do hope they catch the individuals — you wonder what may have happened in those people’s lives to be that callous.” Inspector Ian MacFarlaine, of the SPCA, declined to comment because he did not want to “prejudice the prospect of a successful trial for their actions since success may rest on the identification of the accused”. Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said he had found the video “deeply disturbing” and that he expected someone to “appear in the Magistrates’ Court in the not too distant future”. Police said today they were investigating in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. A spokesman said: “The Bermuda Police Service is taking the matter extremely seriously and efforts are ongoing to bring the individual being filmed committing the offence into custody — as well as to track down the individual behind the camera. The public should be aware that cruelty to animals is an offence under the Care and Protection of Animals Act 1975, which carries penalties of up to 12 months in prison and/or fines. Witnesses or anyone with information should call Constable Melvin Best on 717-2385 or via the Somerset Police Station on 234-1010.

paragraphA man who lashed out at police officers and booted a patrol car door after he was thrown out of a Front Street bar was fined a total of $5,000 and given a two-year conditional discharge yesterday. Magistrates’ Court heard that police got involved after they spotted Ross Smith, 39, involved in an early hours scuffle with security staff outside Hamilton’s Bermuda Bistro. Smith, of St George’s, was heard to shout and swear as a woman tried to pull him away from the scene. Officers warned him to leave the area, but Smith refused and tried to push his way back into the bar. He was arrested after a struggle where officers were forced to use a Taser to subdue him. But when Smith was put in the back of a patrol car he continued to lash out and kicked an officer in the face and the patrol car door. Smith pleaded guilty to charges of affray, violently resisting arrest and wilful damage in connection with incident, which happened on February 17 just after 3am. Alan Richards, for the Crown, suggested a total of $4,000 in fines for the offences, plus a restitution order for the damaged car door. Rick Woolridge, who appeared for Smith, said a conditional discharge would be appropriate. Mr Woolridge added: “He didn’t drink much, but at that point in time he hadn’t been drinking and he found himself completely hot.” Smith apologized to the court and to the officers involved. He said: “That night I drank more than my body could handle and I could handle. I was out of order and belligerent. I’m responsible for my actions.” Magistrate Maxanne Anderson gave Smith a two-year conditional discharge for the offences of affray and violently resisting arrest. But she recorded a conviction against him for causing wilful damage and ordered him to pay a $500 fine and $500 for the damage to the police car.

paragraphPlans for a small concession area in Shelly Bay park will be unveiled at a meeting on Thursday. The Ministry of Public Works will also present plans for access for seniors and the disabled at the beach at the event at Francis Patton Primary School. Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, will join local MPs in attendance. A Ministry spokeswoman said: “The Ministry is keen to ensure that any proposed additions or enhancements to the Shelly Bay Park area receive public input.” The meeting will be held in the school gymnasium at 6.30pm.

paragraphA Hamilton Parish beach could be more user-friendly for the elderly and disabled in time for the summer. LaVerne Furbert, a member of a pressure group that mounted a successful campaign against Bermuda Tourism Authority plans for concessions housed in shipping containers at Shelly Bay in favour of better disabled access, said she had still to hear if the alternative proposals would be adopted. Ms Furbert, a trade union official, added: “We haven’t stopped meeting. Our position has not changed. We don’t want those containers down there and we want to do something for the people who are physically challenged. We look forward to something happening in the summer. When we met with Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch last year, he seemed to be accepting of what we proposed. Hopefully, it will be in time for this summer, but we have not had a response.” The BTA Beach Economy Vision plan would have included concessions offering food, drinks and beach equipment. But the group opposed the scheme and suggested better access for the disabled instead. They also asked for new toilets, sensory rails for the blind and special mats designed to allow wheelchairs access to the water. A government spokeswoman said: “The Ministry of Public Works continues to review and assess any proposed enhancements regarding Shelly Bay.”

paragraphCharity leaders believe they have found a property that could house “invisible” homeless families, it was revealed yesterday. Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda and the Women’s Resource Centre said their project would also provide mothers with support and training to help move them on in their lives. The move came after a think-tank last April that involved several organisations found that there was an average of 66 appeals for housing every month. A spokeswoman for the two charities said: “The number included single men and women and families, but as a group we recognized that the most desperate and underserved homeless population are mothers and children. While single homeless individuals are more visible to the community, families without housing are often ‘invisible’ to public consciousness.” She added: “It was also determined that the demand far outweighs the current supply of housing for the homeless of Bermuda.” Sheelagh Cooper, the chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity, said: “We often are called upon to renovate derelict apartments only to discover that there are maybe three families sharing a small and totally inadequate space. Effectively two of those families are homeless. They are not on the street but they do not have an adequate place of their own." Ms Cooper, a veteran of nearly 40 years of advocating for families, added: “These arrangements understandably are not sustainable and these families are constantly on the move when crowded conditions result in strained relationships. The impact of constant moving and housing insecurity on mothers, and even more so on the children in these families, is devastating.” The plan to tackle the problem was developed after the two charities set up a steering committee that included three mothers who had been or are homeless. Elaine Butterfield, the executive director of the WRC, said a programme called Transformational Support Services will make sure that women and their families who have fallen on hard times “not only have a hand out, but a hand up”. She explained that the scheme will include assistance with life skills, academic training — such as job and employability coaching — as well as ongoing support and help to move on. The services will be based on the needs of each individual or family and will be provided by a range of agencies. Ms Butterfield said: “The overall objective of the programme is for participants to leave the programme possessing the tools needed to lead more sustainable lives. Ultimately, the programme will address not only housing, but support, healing and empowerment that would enable them to support and sustain their families with a renewed sense of self-assurance.” The pair added: “Our next step was to find a location that could house as many families as possible while still providing a nurturing environment with lots of space for children and accessible to schools and work opportunities.” Ms Butterfield and Ms Cooper said that they had found a suitable property in the central parishes and that they hoped to make a further announcement later this month “once all arrangements have been completed”. The WRC and Habitat backed concerns raised in The Royal Gazette last week by Martha Dismont, the chief executive of Family Centre, who feared that the island’s high cost of living meant hundreds of people were homeless or lacked the means to “survive normally”. Ms Dismont said that increased homelessness has led to more people squatting or living on a temporary basis with friends or family. She highlighted the case of a mother of three whose family faced eviction from their home for non-payment of rent but had not been able to find alternative accommodation. Gina Spence, a prominent community activist, agreed there had been a rise in homelessness and warned that former foster children were among those most at risk.

paragraphLeroy Simmons, a gospel artist, broadcaster and staunch advocate for local musicians, has died at 58. David Burt, the Premier, commended him as “an inspired, consummate star musician”. Mr Burt added: “He will be remembered also as a champion of rights of Bermudian entertainers, as the president of the Bermuda Entertainers Union.” Mr Simmons was also known across the island for his Sunday inspirational radio show Get Your Praise On, which aired on HOTT 107.5 since inception. Mr Burt extended condolences on behalf of the Bermuda Government and people of Bermuda to Mr Simmons’s wife Yvonne and his entire family. Mr Burt said: “His musical touch and heart for music education will always be remembered.” Glenn Blakeney of Inter Island Communications told The Royal Gazette: “Today marks a very sad day for many in the community on the passing of Leroy Simmons. Leroy has left an indelible mark on his legacy given the incredible contributions he selflessly made as a proficient music teacher, concert promoter, consummate broadcaster and more recently as president of the Bermuda Entertainment Union, where he became a fierce advocate for performing artists and local entertainers. Moreover, Leroy was an invaluable member of the Inter-Island Communications, Ltd family, and was the longest serving employee of the company until his passing.” The BEU also issued a statement: “It is with heavy hearts that the executive of the Bermuda Entertainment Union acknowledge the passing this morning, Tuesday April 9, 2019 of our president, Bro Leroy Simmons. We take this opportunity to express our condolences to his beloved and most supportive wife, Yvonne, his mother, brother and the rest of his family. Bro Leroy had unfinished business, but with the help of the Bermuda public we hope to bring his vision to fruition. Our Tribute of Song and Word will take place on Sunday April 14th 2019 as planned in Bro Leroy’s honour.” The Progressive Labour Party said: “He is remembered for his heroism as he fought for the rights of Bermudian entertainers as president of the Bermuda Entertainment Union. In addition to his activism, Brother Leroy travelled all over the world touching lives as a minister of music, recording artist and music educator including Florida, Georgia and New Jersey. For many years he was an active member of the Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy, Bermuda Education Council, St George’s Cricket Club, the Bermuda Government Labour Advisory Council and the Bermuda Trade Union Congress where he invested countless hours and was known for his passion and commitment. The public will fondly recall his Sunday inspirational radio show Get Your Praise On which aired on Hott 107.5 since inception. Brother Simmons has left an indelible imprint on the hearts of so many. Our community remembers him as a passionate musician and one who insisted on inspiring others to find their purpose in life and to meet everyday challenges through biblical principles and personal testimonies. The PLP I extends heartfelt condolences to his wife Yvonne Simmons and his entire family on the loss of their husband, father, and friend.”

paragraphBermudians gathered to boost spirits today ahead of an international sport event to be held in Hamilton this month. More than 100 people took part in the lunch hour pep rally at City Hall ahead of the MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda. The event takes place on April 27. Maria Duffy, the mother of Flora Duffy, the two-times world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medal-winner, was on hand for the event. Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, also took part. The event served as the official kickoff to this year’s race, which will see 100 athletes compete for Olympic qualifying points. More than 600 total participants are expected to take part in the weekend event. The MS Amlin World Triathlon will be the second of three annual World Series Triathlon events that Bermuda will host. The ITU Grand Final and Age Group World Championships will be held in 2021.


April 8

paragraphThe Minister of Finance said yesterday he expected Bermuda to be removed from the list of uncooperative tax jurisdictions after he completed a round of discussions in Europe. Curtis Dickinson said the visit included a meeting with the chairwoman of the EU Code of Conduct Group on business taxation, who said she anticipated a recommendation for removal to go to the European economic and financial committee this week. The Code of Conduct group raised concerns about Bermuda’s Economic Substance Regulations 2018 in January, after the rules became operational but before the EU agreed it was satisfied with them. Mr Dickinson had a meeting with Lyudmila Petkova, the group’s chairwoman, as well as with the finance ministries of Germany and France. The summits came after David Burt, the Premier, met Pierre Moscovici, the EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, in Brussels last month. A Government spokeswoman explained: “These meetings demonstrated the level of co-operation and the economic links between the European Union and Bermuda and reaffirmed that Bermuda should be removed from the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes at the earliest opportunity. The chair of the COCG indicated that she expected the April COCG meeting to make a positive recommendation to the next Economic and Financial Affairs Council.” A website for the European Council and Council of the European Union showed that the Code of Conduct group was expected to meet on Thursday. Mr Dickinson said: “This round of meetings strengthens Bermuda’s close and productive relationship with the European Union. I have every expectation that Bermuda will be removed from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes at the earliest opportunity and we look forward to continued engaging with the Code of Conduct group in relation to Bermuda’s framework for collective investment funds. I want to thank once more, all the stakeholders from industry for their unity and close co-operation during this EU process and encourage them to continue their valuable collaboration as we are approaching Bermuda’s removal from the EU list.” Mr Burt and Mr Dickinson explained last month that a “minor technical omission” in Bermuda’s economic substance regulations was not spotted and meant the island’s submission to the EU was incomplete. They said the matter was rectified and an amended version was sent in time for proper consideration by the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council, or Ecofin. But, around the same time, the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was revised and Bermuda, said to have not delivered its commitments on time, was among the ten countries to be added. Mr Burt said last month that Mr Moscovici had seemed “surprised” that the island was on the list. The commissioner also signaled that he expected a positive recommendation would be made to the Code of Conduct group. Ecofin could approve Bermuda’s de-listing next month.

paragraphChildren from Bermuda have been sent to schools and institutions overseas for decades when social workers here deem them to have exhausted all available local services. Health minister Kim Wilson told MPs last month that children who go abroad for “therapeutic placements” as part of the Department of Child and Family Service’s psycho-educational programme are “not able to be serviced in a traditional school environment”. She said all such youngsters were now assessed for psychiatric and medical conditions at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of Utah Health but gave no information on where they then go for treatment. The department told The Royal Gazette in November it wouldn’t disclose the list of current facilities as it “could be determined as a breach of confidentiality and directly impact the children and parents who currently have children in overseas facilities”. Few of the children sent overseas have had any legal representation. Sources have shared details with the newspaper of some schools where they are understood to have been sent. Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has facilities in 13 states in America, catering for “tens of thousands” of families, with the DCFS believed to have primarily sent youngsters to the Florida campus. On its website, Devereux states that it “changes lives — by unlocking and nurturing human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral or cognitive differences”. Allegations of the mistreatment of students at its Pennsylvania Kanner Centre have been reported by the media, with five staff members facing charges in November of assault or failure to report child abuse, according to CBS Philly. A Devereux spokeswoman described the accusations yesterday as “categorically unacceptable” and that the organisation had learnt from the experience. She added that no children from Bermuda had ever been served there. The spokeswoman also said that “very differently” from the Glen Mills Schools — which the Gazette reported last week was under investigation after accusations of staff violence against students — it “does not provide juvenile justice or reform” programmes. She added: “Every programme we offer is staffed by clinical and, or medical professionals and is offered in open, non-secure, therapeutic medical settings.” The spokeswoman said that because its programmes were medical, rather than corrections or reform-based, Devereux did not generally engage in the issue of legal representation before a child being admitted. Discovery Ranch in Utah caters for boys aged from 13 to 18 and on its website states its goal is to “help troubled teens and their families heal mentally, physically and emotionally”. The school tackles issues including depression, trauma, addiction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and difficulties in parent-child relationships. A spokesman said teenagers had attended from many different countries and “there may have been some students from Bermuda”. He explained most teenagers were placed there by their parents, adding that in his experience it was not common practice for children in care in the US to have legal representation, as the state was expected to act in their best interests. Natchez Trace Youth Academy in Tennessee calls itself a “highly structured residential treatment facility” offering a “cognitive behavioral programme” for boys aged 12 to 17. We demonstrate integrity, care, compassion, fairness and consistency in all we do and provide a highly structured programme,” says its website. “Accountability and responsibility are the cornerstones of our treatment process.” In February 2018, Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis was quoted in a news report as saying that problems with teens escaping from the school were ongoing. The sheriff was quoted as saying officials weren’t alerted for hours in some cases and thousands of dollars of taxpayer money was being used on search efforts. The school could not be reached for comment yesterday. In November, The Royal Gazette reported the story of a woman who claimed she was sexually abused as a teenager at a now-closed Eckerd Youth Alternatives centre in Atlanta, Georgia. The DCFS said Eckerd was no longer used by island social services. An Eckerd spokesman said: “Eckerd no longer accepts placements from the Bermuda Department of Child and Family Services and was not aware of allegations that children were sent outside of Bermuda without legal representation and procedural due process.

paragraphVulnerable children are likely to continue to be sent abroad without any legal representation, according to Shadow Attorney-General Scott Pearman. Mr Pearman said despite the Government allocating $242,000 in this year’s Budget for independent advocates, known as litigation guardians, for youngsters involved in court proceedings, it was no guarantee that those being sent overseas by the Department of Child and Family Services would be represented. Mr Pearman asked health minister Kim Wilson in the House of Assembly last month if it was the case that “going forward, no Bermudian child will be sent away for treatment unless that child has a litigation guardian”. Ms Wilson, speaking on behalf of senator Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, who is responsible for the DCFS, replied: “That is not correct.” Mr Pearman told The Royal Gazette: “My question was intended to establish whether the ministry would commit, from now on, that no Bermuda child would be sent to an institution overseas without first having had the benefit of a litigation guardian to advise that child in Bermuda. I was hopeful that such commitment would be given to at least provide a local safety net. The ministry, via minister Wilson, would not agree to commit to that in the House.” The One Bermuda Alliance MP added: “It therefore remains the case that Bermudian children may and likely will continue to be sent away without first having had the benefit of a litigation guardian to protect their interests as they proceed through the court system.” Mr Pearman said the Children Act 1998 required the Family Court to consider in every case involving a child whether they needed a litigation guardian and lawyer. He said the promised funding allocation of $242,000 was unlikely to meet the costs of an attorney, even working at Legal Aid rates. “There is some doubt that there will be any funding for an attorney to act for the litigation guardian,” he said. In the House on March 13, during debate on the Ministry of Legal Affairs budget, Mr Pearman said: “I am not sure we got an answer as to whether or not the budgeted figure that had been indicated of $242,000 was going to include attorneys or not and if it does not, where [are] those costs included? But just on this idea of children being sent away ... and we have seen a lot in the press about people themselves who have been sent away, it is right that going forward no Bermudian child will be sent away for treatment unless that child has a litigation guardian? Is that to be the position going forward?” Ms Wilson replied: “That is not correct in that the litigation guardian actually is the voice of the child in the court proceedings, as you said, and they are not involved in the day-to-day case management of the child. Counsel under the current legislation can be appointed for children who are able to give instructions if the court deems it necessary to do so.” Mr Pearman said: “So the answer to my question was no?” Ms Wilson replied: “You are absolutely correct.”

paragraphA children’s advocate said yesterday that a scheme for government staff to visit vulnerable youngsters placed in overseas schools was “woefully inadequate”. Tiffanne Thomas believed the level of contact could lead to feelings of abandonment and knew of young people who recalled never having seen anyone from the Department of Child and Family Services during their time in treatment abroad. She raised concerns after The Royal Gazette reported last week that boys from the island were for decades sent to Glen Mills Schools in Pennsylvania, which is now under investigation for alleged child abuse and cover-ups. On Friday, The Royal Gazette reported that the DCFS became aware of allegations of violence by the US reform school’s workers against students in February. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper last August included accusations from a 17-year-old boy that he was choked and punched by a counsellor while other employees held him down. Ms Thomas, an independent social worker, said yesterday it was “deeply disturbing” to think “abuses of power, position and authority” could take place despite licensing requirements. She added: “Further, it is unsettling to consider Bermudian young people may have been victimized, either directly or indirectly, during their time at this institution.” Ms Thomas said youngsters were reportedly threatened against informing others about what they saw and “forced to say that they wanted to remain at the school”. Glen Mills Schools denied the allegations in an appeal filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, which issued an emergency removal order in relation to the 383 boys at the facility last month. Alfred Maybury, the director of the DCFS, said last week no child from the island had been admitted there since 2017 and none were there now. A spokeswoman for the department explained that all overseas schools to which children from Bermuda were sent were licensed and accredited. She said that in each case weekly conference calls were held with the school and child, a DCFS worker visited the youngster every six months from the date they were admitted and in addition the director visited them at least once a year. Ms Thomas, who has acted as a litigation guardian in 35 cases involving minors since 2014, claimed: “Respectfully, this benchmark is woefully inadequate as an intervention for safeguarding and can be experienced as abandonment for children who have already been identified as vulnerable. To remove a child from Bermuda, their home country, and that child not have any contact with anyone from the organisation who sanctioned overseas treatment for at least half a year, is unacceptable. Notwithstanding this, this has not been the reality for the children whom I have been appointed to represent. Many of the young people I represent recall experiences of never seeing anyone from Bermuda throughout their stay in treatment, periods that extend beyond one year. I can appreciate that I have only been appointed to a small percentage of the cases of children who have been sent overseas. However, the notion that every child is visited does not ring true for those whom I have previously represented.” Ms Thomas explained that litigation guardians acted as an independent voice of a child and that they could access records held by the DCFS director, allowing them to monitor the frequency and extent of contact, as well as whether there was any cause for concern.  “It is my belief that when it comes to child protection, moreover the protection of children’s rights, we have quite a way to go, which is disheartening considering that we are a developed, sophisticated country that should be more than capable and competent to protect the legal rights of children.” Scott Pearman, the One Bermuda Alliance’s Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, said the OBA had repeatedly called on Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, to launch an independent investigation into allegations at the DCFS. Accusations emerged in 2018 that Mr Maybury failed to ensure the safety of children in the department’s care and did not follow financial instructions. He was suspended last August but returned to duties at the department in January, when a ministry spokeswoman said: “These claims leveled against the director were not substantiated.” A spokeswoman later explained that a two-pronged inquiry included investigations by the Department of Internal Audit and by the permanent secretary responsible for the DCFS. It emerged earlier this year that two staff members at the department were disciplined after allegations of abuse and neglect against them were “substantiated”. Mr Pearman said on Friday: “It is sickening to learn that Bermudian children have been sent overseas to a Pennsylvanian institution now embroiled in allegations of child abuse. Our island is already reeling from revelations that individuals at child and family services are accused of having abused and neglected vulnerable children in the department’s care. Now we have fresh revelations that Bermudian children sent away for treatment may also have been victims in this overseas scandal. Enough is enough. If Bermudians are to have any confidence that these allegations are being treated seriously, the Attorney-General must appoint a well-respected, senior lawyer or judge to conduct a proper, thorough and independent investigation.” Lawyer Saul Dismont, who wrote the letter of complaint that triggered the DCFS inquiry, said yesterday: “In 2016, one of my clients was due to be sent to Glen Mills. The difference is he had a lawyer and a litigation guardian, so he was never sent. How much more does it take? How many more children are going to have to suffer before there is some action? Our children deserve a commission of inquiry.” The Government was contacted for comment yesterday but no response was received by press time.

paragraphThe Regulatory Authority has proposed scrapping a price comparison website for phone and internet services in Bermuda. It is seeking public input on whether the website is needed in a consultation period that ends on April 12. In a consultation document posted on its website, the RA details its decision to decommission the website, pricecheck.bm, citing dwindling use by the public and less need for the site, because there are fewer service providers. Maintenance costs of $26,000 a year are “disproportionate to any ‘transparency’ benefits that are achieved for consumers” by the website, the RA argues. The purpose of the website, which was launched in 2015, was to improve transparency in the pricing of telecommunications services, and related terms and conditions, to enable the public to make more informed decisions and comparisons between services. At the time the website was launched there were ten companies offering electronic communications services, the RA states. The market consolidation that has taken place since means that “mobile, television and broadband market share is now primarily serviced by two sectoral providers (OneComm and Digicel Group) who maintain comparable rates and plans”, the report adds. “Furthermore, the Authority has observed that sectoral providers have gone to great lengths to ensure that their service and tariff information is easily accessible on their websites,” the RA states. The price-check website was little used in the nine months after its launch at the end of March 2015, with just 256 visits. Usage picked up in the calendar years 2016, when there were 4,437 visits and 2017, when visits totaled 5,017. In 2018, utilization dropped by more than half, as there were 2,018 visits. The consultation invites answers to questions on the accessibility of service tariff rates, recommendations on how service providers can be more transparent in their pricing and conditions for services such as roaming charges, and whether an independent price comparison tool is necessary. The consultation period opened on March 29, when the document was posted on the RA’s website, rab.bm. No press release on the request for public feedback was received by The Royal Gazette at that time or since. The deadline for responses is Friday this week. The RA has a separate consultation on opening up the telecommunications sector to new service providers by lifting the moratorium on the issuing of new licences. That consultation closes on April 26.

paragraphNew businesses could enter Bermuda’s electronic communications sector when a freeze on the market ends soon. Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, instructed the Regulatory Authority to lift a moratorium on the granting of both Communication Operating Licences and Integrated Communication Operating Licences. He said yesterday: “This move will ultimately result in the opportunity for new entrants into the Bermuda telecommunications market. This is in keeping with meeting this government’s objective of attracting inward investment, supporting economic diversification and growth, and creating jobs for Bermudians.” Mr Roban explained that when the RA started its work in 2013 the approval of new ICOLs was suspended. He said: “The rationale at that time was that there were already about 20 licensees at that point, and more would simply dilute the market even further. Over the years, with that moratorium in place, Bermuda has gone from a vibrant and competitive environment to one far less dynamic, and, arguably, less competitive — all through a series of mergers and acquisitions, where the electronic communications market has become an oligopoly, perhaps not serving the public as well as it might. Examining market conditions, I decided to direct the Regulatory Authority to lift the moratorium, ultimately reopening Bermuda’s electronic communications sector to accept new entrants into the market. ” A RA spokeswoman said: “The RA has begun the process of establishing the framework to apply for and issue new licences to deliver electronic communication services to the Bermuda marketplace. Prior to granting the licences, the RA will hold a consultation period from April 5 to April 26 to gain feedback from the public regarding the criteria, conditions, requirements and procedures necessary to receive a COL or ICOL. Following the consultation period, the authority will make decisions and recommendations back to the Minister about the required policy and regulations.” Denton Williams, chief executive at the RA, added: “One of the mandates of the RA is to promote and preserve competition in the interest of residents and consumers of Bermuda and to promote the development of the economy, Bermudian employment and Bermudian ownership. “Reopening the electronic communications sector to new entrants is directly in line with our mandate.”

paragraphA light bulb exchange initiative has been set up to promote energy efficiency. The Department of Energy teamed up with retailers so customers could exchange one incandescent light bulb for an LED alternative without charge. It is hoped that the swap will encourage regular use of LED lights in the future. Walter Roban, Minister of Home Affairs, said: “By working with local retailers we found that the LED equivalent to a standard 60 watt A19 bulb was used by most households. An LED equivalent uses about nine watts. Using a 60 watt incandescent bulb for five hours a day equates to spending $46 each year to run that light. Switching to an LED equivalent it is about $6.90 for a year. That adds up to 85 per cent less energy being used. A single LED would pay for itself in just a few months and after that, the savings will accumulate over time. We hope that the public will take advantage of this unique opportunity to see how energy efficiency can work for them.” Mr Roban said that the government had committed sufficient resources to allow about 30 per cent of all households to participate. Participating retailers include ATS LED Supplies, Baptiste Building Supplies, Encon, ESC Lighting, Gorham’s, Lindo’s in Devonshire and Warwick, MarketPlace in Heron Bay, Shelly Bay and Hamilton, Masters, Telford Electrics and the Greenhouse Bermuda. Mr Roban said that LEDs bulbs last about 30,000 to 50,000 hours while incandescent bulbs last about 12,000. He added: “We need to think about how we spend our hard earned money taking into account operating and life cycle costs. Some argue that LED do not look nice or that they are not the same size or the same style. I can assure you that is no longer the case. LED technology has improved very much over the recent years.”

paragraphA Bermuda delegation attending a high-profile conference for the global submarine cable industry this week will promote the island as a strategic Atlantic landing hub for fiber-optic corridors. SubOptic, a triennial event being held from today through Thursday in New Orleans, Louisiana, is the longest running and most comprehensive conference series in the world for the submarine cable industry. The four-day summit attracts 800-plus attendees and features presentations by the global industry’s leading experts, including tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon. “The delegation will be promoting Bermuda as an Atlantic hub for the interconnection of fiber-optic cables that are currently being built by some of the world’s largest tech companies,” said David Burt, the Premier. “This government promised to diversify Bermuda’s economy, and this initiative, which the Cabinet has endorsed and is progressing through legislation, has the potential to create economic growth and jobs in Bermuda, as well as advance the island’s technology needs for the future.” Fiona Beck, a BDA director and a two-term past president of SubOptic will deliver a presentation at the event on Bermuda’s advantages. “This event is like an Olympics for the submarine cable industry,” she said. “It could be a win-win for both Bermuda and this industry.” Also attending SubOptic 2019 will be Kevin Richards, BDA business development manager and Jeane Nikolai, director of telecommunications and energy for the Bermuda Government, which is working in partnership with the BDA to progress a national subsea corridor initiative. Legislation to create a dedicated fiber-optic corridor will be tabled in the House of Assembly in the next few months with the aim of attracting new cable business and boosting connectivity. The effort builds on research overseen by Ms Beck and carried out at the BDA last summer by Notre Dame University’s Thomas Tran and Berkeley Institute graduate Tyrese Coakley whose report indicated an undersea corridor in Bermuda waters could help the island become a hub for trans-Atlantic fiber-optic links. Mr Tran, a Kansas native, will attend SubOptic 2019 to present his follow-up white paper on the Bermuda project after it was accepted for peer review. More than 97 per cent of the world’s information passes through cables, making them indispensable for connected societies and business centres. Bermuda’s location creates a logical stopover for cables connecting the Americas to Western Europe. While the island already hosts three cables, a dedicated corridor would attract more and demonstrate best practice. Branching units from planned cable systems could also create significant infrastructure to satisfy Europe’s new economic substance requirements, supporting IP assets, Ms Beck said, and offer additional advantages to companies seeking network diversity and data privacy. “Importantly, infrastructure via submarine cables could encourage head-office incorporations, making Bermuda a domicile of choice,” she added, “along with spin-off opportunities such as cloud computing, data storage and near shore personal resourcing.” A few subsea telecoms companies, including Southern Cross Cable Network and Australia-Japan Cable, currently have head offices in Bermuda. “It’s a timely opportunity that could help position Bermuda as a point of major strategic benefit to these submarine projects,” Ms Beck said. “It could also prove advantageous in the drive to diversify the island’s economy and support international business and fintech.”

paragraphBoaters are being warned not to swim with whales. The Government said it has received increasing numbers of reports about people entering the water to swim with the large mammals. It warned whales can be unpredictable if disturbed, and that getting too close to them can also disrupt their activities or injure them. Senior marine conservation officer Sarah Manuel said: “Watching these majestic animals, spouting, breaching or swimming along slowly with a calf is a thrilling experience. While well-meaning boaters and swimmers may not intend to be intrusive, getting too close to the whales can actually disrupt feeding, nursing and migrating behaviours, and boats, in particular, can cause unintended injuries to the whale. Furthermore, while it might be very tempting to get up close and even get in the water with these amazing animals, they are wild animals and can be unpredictable, particularly if perturbed.” The season from mid March to the end of April is the peak time for humpback whales to be spotted around Bermuda. Ms Manuel said: “They swim through our waters on their journey from their breeding grounds in the Caribbean to their feeding grounds on the eastern seaboard of North America, and for some as far north as Greenland and Iceland.” It is an offence under the Protected Species Act 2003 to disturb or harass a humpback whale. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources advised that people should not chase a whale if tries to leave the area. Behavior that indicates the whale is agitated or no longer interested in staying near a vessel may include:

• Regular changes in traveling direction or speed of swimming.

• Hasty dives.

• Changes in respiration patterns.

• Increased time spent diving compared to time spent at the surface.

• Changes in acoustic behavior.

• Certain surface behaviours such as tail slapping or trumpet blows.

• Repetitive diving.

paragraphT.J Armand, executive director of the Bermuda Festival, will leave the organisation after a year in the role. Mr Armand will instead focus on recording projects and a musical, Sama, in New York and London. He said: “I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as the executive director of the festival’s 44th season and I strongly believe the festival will continue to bring the very best of the performing arts to the island and passionately support Bermudian youth with student outreach programmes. I’m truly gratified about what our team has achieved, and I will look back at season 44 with pride for years to come.” David Skinner, festival chairman, said: “Mr Armand has served in the position for the past year and has cited the need to tend to his recording projects, along with the development of his long-awaited musical, Sama, in New York and London as the reason for his departure. While I’m sad to have a valued leader in our organisation depart, TJ’s achievements with the Festival has been abundantly documented by the great reviews of the Festival productions.” The Bermuda Festival has begun the process to fill the vacancy.

paragraphEmergency services were called to meet a flight from London on Saturday after a passenger became unwell. Other travelers reported seeing a man escorted off the British Airways service by police after it landed at LF Wade International Airport. A BA spokeswoman said: “On flight 2233 from London on Saturday night, our crew looked after an unwell customer and had requested emergency services to meet the aircraft.” A police spokeswoman had no further information.

paragraphAnthony Mello, who has died at 72, will get a fitting sendoff today with a flotilla of family and friends taking him for a burial at sea. The popular racer, pleasure boat captain and father of two, who worked for Bermuda Charters, earned his “All Round” nickname from twice winning the Round the Island Power Boat Race, as well as a life spent on the water. Heidi Shelley-Mello told The Royal Gazette: “My dad played with boats all his life — he couldn’t buy them so he built them and hoped they floated.” An innovator who assembled the island’s first inshore racing boat, he “never made a normal engine”, she said: everything was modified to his tastes. Mr Mello trained in search and rescue with the US Coast Guard for Search and Rescue, and assisted local police with rescues throughout the 1970s. He was also a volunteer fireman. His racing prowess included winning the Marlboro 400, which was Bermuda’s first international powerboat race in the 1970s. Mr Mello thought nothing of racing in rough conditions and in 2000, as part of a seven-man Wildcat catamaran team from Philadelphia to Bermuda, braved 20ft waves, later telling The Royal Gazette: “The rougher, the better.” He also enjoyed sports fishing and relaxing on the water, and “absolutely loved” the Christmas boat parade. Shelley-Mello said he met her mother, Lynn, at the Sherwood Manor hotel in Fairylands, and together they created the Lee Bow Riding Centre in Devonshire. In the 1970s, Mr Mello became the official pilot for Lord Martonmere, the former Governor of Bermuda. Mr Mello served as captain for more than 20 years for H. Ross Perot, the billionaire Texan with a local property who ran twice for US president. A devoted ambassador for the island, Mr Mello cruised with an array of celebrity guests over his career, including the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; Silvio Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister of Italy. Mr Mello also cruised with the “king of pop” Michael Jackson with the actor McCauley Culkin, before settling with his own boat, AJ’s Wings, with Bermuda Charters. His daughter recalled him as “a happy-going guy” with a famous recipe for rum swizzle, whose one anxiety was lateness. “He loved telling tourists all about Bermuda,” she added. Mr Mello worked with the late diving legend Teddy Tucker, including on the 1977 film The Deep, shot in Bermuda. From making kites, carving cedar bottle openers and building furniture to rope splicing, Mr Mello “never stopped”, Ms Shelley-Mello said. At 12.30pm today, a horse-drawn hearse will bring him to PW’s Marina in Hamilton, with a memorial flotilla to take “Captain All Round” out through Two Rock Passage at 1pm for a sea burial. The family requested that no black be worn, but white shirts. Attendees are also asked to refrain from parking at Miles Market.


April 7, Sunday

paragraphPolice have launched an investigation after several Warwick residents reported hearing gunshots today. Officers were called to Khyber Heights at about 3.05pm and confirmed that a firearm had been discharged. Police said there were no reports of injuries. Detectives and forensic officers are investigating at the scene. Anyone with information or who saw anything suspicious is asked to call 295-0011 or the confidential Crime Stoppers line on 800-8477.

paragraphA unique Bermudian event, the annual Peppercorn Ceremony in St George’s, comes with a special twist this month. The Bermuda Tourism Authority announced that an enhanced VIP package would be included for the April 24 festivities, offering visitors “a cultural experience they can’t get anywhere else”. Tashae Thompson, the BTA’s produce development manager, said last year nearly sold out, and 2019 would come with “a few additional tweaks”. The ceremony features the Freemasons’ Lodge paying its annual rent of a single peppercorn to the Governor for use of the Old State House. Attendance is free, but the VIP package will include:

• Reserved seating to view the ceremony, Royal Bermuda Regiment Band the Freemasons led by Scottish bagpipers;

• Private access to the exclusive garden party featuring local live entertainment;

• Complimentary drinks and refreshments;

• The chance to mix and mingle with Freemasons and other local dignitaries;

• A private tour led by a local Freemason of the State House

To book the VIP package, visit ptix.bm/peppercorn. 

paragraphWinners of the Bermuda Triple Challenge weekend were honored on Friday after the fundraiser gained more than $37,000. The three-day obstacle course race last month raised a total of $37,647 on behalf of six different Bermudian charities. The top nine winners met charity representatives and event organisers for a prize-giving ceremony in Hamilton. Jason Correia, an organizer for the fundraiser, said: “We exceeded the amount of money raised over the last couple of years and that is a very welcomed improvement that we hope to grow upon. “I think the charitable aspect of the weekend sometimes gets lost.” The weekend fundraiser, held between March 15-17, saw a total of 393 volunteers complete a different obstacle course each day. Teams and individuals were given points based on the amount of money raised, as well as the time needed to complete the course. Top winners of the Corporate and Non-Corporate Division got a grand prize of $1,000 and the winners of the Corporate division donated their prize to a Bermudian charity. Mr Correia said that the money will be split between The Reading Clinic, the Centre Against Abuse, Windreach Bermuda, Tomorrow’s Voices, Raleigh Bermuda and the Bermuda Foundation For Insurance Studies. He added that 39 participants from overseas had already registered for next year’s event, which showed the effect of “international publicity”. Mr Correia said: “People are starting to rave about Bermuda as a destination obstacle course race and as a result we’re getting a significant interest from overseas. It’s honestly a great position for us to be in.” Mr Correia said that he hoped to raise $50,000 from next year’s Triple Challenge. The 2019 Bermuda Triple Challenge winners were:

Non-Corporate Division, in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places:

Corporate Division, 1st, 2nd, 3rd:

Junior Division, 1st, 2nd, 3rd:


April 6

paragraphFed-up bus users have blasted the new bus timetable — and predicted the service will get worse in the peak summer tourist season. Passengers added that the new schedule, which uses fewer buses, appeared to have hit the West End of the island hardest. The Royal Gazette spoke to Stacey Dunn, 54, from Southampton, at Hamilton bus terminal at lunchtime on Wednesday. She said: “It’s not working. Fortunately for me, I am not making early hours, but for the people making 9am, it’s tough.” Ms Dunn added: “I was in Somerset last summer and you had buses coming out of Dockyard full of tourists. What’s going to happen now if you lessen the number of buses? There’s the possibility for a lot of locals that once it comes out of Somerset, there won’t be any room.” A 61-year-old woman, also from Somerset, said she had used a bus a week earlier and that it was “horrible”. She explained: “This was a one-off because my husband was working late. I thought I would leave a little early from my job in town because I had heard how the new schedule was not working. I got there at 5pm and both the Number 7 and the 8 were full, no seats.” The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “They got rid of the express, which was very convenient for St George’s as well as Somerset. So now the lines get ridiculously long.” She added: “I have to give credit to the female bus driver, because she made the students get up to give people seats. She was complaining about the schedule, too. Who wants to stand on a bus all the way from Hamilton? So I’m sad to say that catching the bus is going to be my absolute last alternative.” A hospital worker from Warwick’s Marley Beach, about 5pm the same day said he was waiting on the No 7. He added morning and evening rush hour buses were often full. The man said: “A lot of people go into town early on this route. It’s wisest to get the first one in, because you’re not sure if the next one is going to be full.” The man added that many hospital staff came into Hamilton to catch a bus because the buses were often packed to capacity by the time they reached the hospital in Point Finger Road, Paget. He said: “Sometimes it’s even full by the time the bus gets from the terminal to Church Street.” A 26-year-old man who works near Crow Lane and lives in Sandys backed the hospital worker. The man said he had to catch a bus or walk into town at 5pm in a bid to get on board a No 7 or 8 bus because buses were full by the time they left the city. He added that it was “okay right now because schools are out — but it will be worse next week”. The Department of Public Transportation said yesterday that passenger views on the new schedule, introduced on March 18 by Zane DeSilva, the transport minister, were being reviewed. A spokesman for the DPT said that problems identified with the timetable, which cut the number and frequency of buses, would get “immediate adjustments” where possible and that “others are noted for future iterations of the schedule”. The spokesman insisted there were fewer delayed services this week and that sweeper buses had been “effective in relieving capacity issues during peak times”. The second of eight new buses will arrive on April 14, with another to follow every three weeks. The Riviera cruise ship, with a capacity of just 1,400 passengers, arrived in Dockyard yesterday. But the Carnival Pride, with about 2,500 passengers on board, is scheduled to moor at King’s Wharf for two days from next Wednesday. It will joined by the Norwegian Getaway with 3,900 passengers on Thursday. Leah Scott, the Shadow Minister of Transport, said the new schedule was “a disaster”. The Southampton East MP said: “The minister put out a message claiming that people were happy with the routes, but my constituents, particularly seniors, having been calling me upset because they’re not getting around. Kids aren’t getting to school on time and workers are having the same thing with their jobs.” Ms Scott said she suspected senior management at the DPT had contributed to the transport problems. She said: “Mr DeSilva is an astute businessman. He would not allow his own business to run this way.” Ms Scott added: “I’m glad they are only imposing this for 18 months. At the same time, I can’t understand why we don’t have a permanent schedule with the consultants we hired.” The Royal Gazette reported last week that Canadian firm Schedule Masters, which took in $1.6 million over 17 years to draw up the schedule, never had a contract with the Bermuda Government. Ms Scott said: “That went on under the One Bermuda Alliance as well as the Progressive Labour Party, That’s unacceptable under either government. You can’t continue to pay out money and, at the end of the day, still not have a satisfactory product.”

paragraphSpecialists from the US Lahey clinic who have partnered with the Bermuda Medical Specialities Group pledged yesterday to help tackle the island’s epidemic of diabetes and heart disease. Dinamarie Garcia-Banigan, an endocrinologist, said: “Having the opportunity to practise on the island has enabled me to learn about Bermuda’s healthcare system, Bermudian culture and the services available. A specialist in reproductive health, diabetes, osteoporosis and thyroid disorders, Ms Garcia-Banigan added: “However, wherever you practise, diabetes is a big issue. It’s reflected all over the world.” The BMSG signed an agreement with the Massachusetts-based hospital last month, but Dr Garcia-Banigan said she had been working with the local clinic for two years. She said the arrangement would enable local patients to have access to other Lahey specialists where needed. Dr Garcia-Banigan will visit the island on a regular basis but also use technology to communicate with patients. She added: “I am also planning to build upon my diabetes education programme with one-on-one education.” Michael Levy is a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist. Dr Levy said his expertise would help fill “a huge need for the island”. BMSG will also offer screening for heart patients — another area of expertise. Both doctors are scheduled to attend a BMSG forum at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club today. The free event will start at 9.30am, followed by talks at the BMSG clinic on Reid Street, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.

paragraphThe Bermuda Tourism Authority has revealed more than $12 million in external contracts as part of requirements of public access to information legislation. The contracts included a total of $5.4 million for marketing and promotions, $4.7 million in rent for officers in Bermuda and in New York and $390,000 in funding for local events. Of the 23 BTA contracts detailed in The Official Gazette last week, the largest was related to rent. The BTA paid $3.553 million to Royal Realty Corp for office rental in New York — a fee that covers the period from November last year until November 2029. The authority also paid $1.144 million to Washington Properties (Bermuda) Limited for its on-island office. The contract started in January 2014 will end next January. A multiyear co-operative marketing agreement with JetBlue cost the BTA $2.745 million. The agreement came into effect in January 2017 and will continue until the end of this year. The BTA also paid MMGY Global LLC, a company with offices in the US and Spain, $1.02 million for marketing and advertising services from last January until the end of this year. Saks & Company, the company that owns upmarket store Saks Fifth Avenue, travel planning business Virtuoso Ltd and hospitality software company Cvent Inc were also hired for marketing and promotional work, and got $250,000, $75,866 and $53,813 respectively. US-based travel marketing firm Miles Partnership signed a $575,340 contract with the BTA for website hosting and digital marketing. Expedia Travel, a US-based travel website, were awarded two contracts worth a total of $300,000, both started in January and will run until the end of the year. Reach Global Marketing got an $85,000 contract to promote the island in Canada between January last year and the end of this year. Britain’s Media Agency Group, which highlighted the island with a high-tech billboard campaign in the UK, got a $304,198 contract that ended in January. The BTA also hired the US-based Turner PR group for public relations with a two-year $504,000 contract which will finish at the end of next year. The authority also made cash contributions to several events on the island. The Bermuda Festival of Performing Arts got $75,000 for its 2019 festival and Pink Sand Entertainment was given $100,000 for its Made in Bermuda events last year. The Bermuda National Athletics Association were awarded $160,000 for the 2019/2020 Bermuda Marathon Weekend, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will receive $55,000 for the 2019 Argo Group Gold Cup and the BTA will pay $300,000 for the BDA 3’s World Team Championship tournament as part of a multiyear agreement. The BTA also agreed to sponsor Bermudian athlete Flora Duffy through a multiyear sponsorship agreement valued at $160,000. Other contracts listed included $78,000 to Associated Luxury Hotels International for a single-year membership in its global alliance, $159,300 to Total Research Associates for data entry of landing cards and $104,100 to Destination Analysts Inc for air and cruise exit surveys.

paragraphThe Agricultural Show will mark its 80th anniversary this year — by going to the dogs. Jeff Sousa, the spokesman for the Ag Show, said that Canine Stars, North America’s top dog stunt show, would headline the show at the Botanical Gardens in Paget. Mr Sousa said: “We have four dogs who are coming in and these are some of the best dogs in the world. We have a dog coming from South Korea, we have one coming from Belgium, we have one coming from Canada and one from the United States. If people have seen the videos online, then they know how impressive the show is.” Mr Sousa said he was convinced the Canine Stars would be a huge hit because of the island’s fondness for animals. He said: “Bermudians love dogs. We have every breed you can imagine here, because we all want to have something different. We are totally dog people if you think about it. Just go down to Noah’s Ark pet store on a weekend and you’ll see it.” Mr Sousa said the stunt show would be held in the event’s main ring twice a day but that spectators would also be able to meet the dogs after the show. He said: “Our host hotel for the four dogs and the trainers is the Fairmount Southampton, who have very generously taken care of their accommodations. Fairmont Southampton is a dog-friendly hotel now. With any international act like this being flown in there are, of course, lots of expenses and we would like to thank our sponsors for this special international attraction to help us celebrate the 80th Ag Show.” Mr Sousa said Sousa’s Landscape Management and Sousa’s Gardens were the main sponsor for the stunt show, but other sponsors stepped forward including the Gibbons Company, the OIL Group of Companies, Harrington Hundreds supermarket, Care@Home Services, Stoltzfus Feed and Supply, Kirk Kitson, Neil and Carla Stempel, Gilbert Lopes and Alan Burland. He added that the dog stunt show would be only one part of the three-day event. “We’re still going to have the pigs. The poultry barn will be packed with every type of bantam that you have ever seen and some that you never knew existed. There will be the orchids, which are always amazing to see. Some people skip over them, but there are the roses which people really shouldn’t miss. There are the cakes, the arrangements, the art and in the lower area we will have all sorts of entertainment for the full three days of the show.” Mr Sousa also promised a wide range of food, from fried fish to Portuguese doughnuts — malassadas — with a portion of the profits from all of the stalls going towards charity. He said: “Over the years, thousands and thousands of dollars have been donated to worthwhile charities.” The Ag Show will start next Thursday and run until Saturday. Mr Sousa said the show was usually held later in the month, but that organisers decided to bring it forward to avoid conflict with the MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda. Mr Sousa said the Ag Show had evolved over the years and was still an important event on the Bermuda calendar. He said: “There really is something for everybody. To me, it’s the largest community event in Bermuda. You really see the mosaic of Bermuda not only come out but participate.” Mr Sousa added that 80 years ago men would have been out on the field with their horses to demonstrate their ploughing skills. “Their grandchildren are now out there jumping with world-class show horses.”

paragraphAn Italian coffee maestro showed a group of trainee chefs how to brew the perfect cup in a class organized by the island’s Little Venice Group of restaurants. Juliano Batticari, a veteran barista and café owner from Venice, Italy, demonstrated his skills to the Bermuda College students at the upmarket Fourways Inn in Paget. He showed the trainees the way to make the perfect cappuccino and different brewing techniques. Mr Batticari, the owner of two cafés in Venice, said that he was invited to Bermuda to run coffee-making workshops at Café Four in Hamilton, also owned by the restaurant group. He added that Café Four customers could watch him make coffee on televisions inside the restaurant. Mr Batticari said: “I’ve taught classes like this many times before. But it’s not as much fun as teaching here in Bermuda.” Bermuda College student Elisha Smith, 26, said she enjoyed learning the skills behind the perfect coffee and had picked up new information, despite second-hand experience with the craft. She explained: “I’ve seen it done before because I’ve had a family member work as a barista for a good few years. Still, I didn’t realize there were various brewing styles for coffee, like Italian and French styles.” Ms Smith, from Southampton, said that she attended the class, held on Thursday, to expand her knowledge of culinary skills. She added that events like the coffee master class helped her better judge the quality of restaurants. Ms Smith said: “Some people try to sidestep something, so now that I know the proper method I can say ‘they’re not doing that right, I’m not going there any more’.” Tremayne Bailey, 27, said that he appreciated a good coffee and signed up for the class to learn the proper techniques. He added that the course was a good way to acquire knowledge that could be applied throughout his career. Mr Bailey said: “It’s always good to have those kinds of knowledge on the back-burner because when you’re in the kitchen you have to be creative, so it opens up a whole new creative aspect.” He added the course had made him want to experiment more with coffee. Mr Bailey said: “There’s a whole new world open to me now.” Andreas Detzer, the general manager at Fourways, said events like Mr Batticari’s classes were a vital learning experience for Bermuda students. He added: “Coffee has a big role in the culinary experience, so I thought that it might be very interesting for the culinary newcomers to get a little more exposure. It’s very, very important for the students to come in here, see a real kitchen and see how people actually work in the hospitality industry.”

paragraphA new playground designed to be useable by the disabled could be completed by the end of this month. The attraction, at the WindReach centre for the disabled in Warwick, will feature an area for music, a mini-theatre, diggers able to be operated by wheelchair users and a “wonky mirror” room. Chrissie Kempe, the executive director for WindReach, said: “We had a wonderful tree house before but it had definitely done its time and we needed to start afresh. This has the value of being an inclusive and accessible space that really does support our mission to improve the quality of life, the focus is to encourage outside play for everybody. It is a perfect fit for us here.” The project, in the works for two years, was spearheaded by the Meet a Mum Association’s Boundless Bermuda arm, which raised $350,000 and managed the construction. The playground, designed by UK firm Capco, was created to be open to the disabled and able-bodied. Extra-wide slides, huts, bridges and a tower are already in place and only the filling of sand pits, the installation of soft safety surfaces and the installation of the digger have still to be completed. Ms Kempe said: “What is great about this playground is that it is completely customized and there is no other one like it. Capco really worked with us to understand what our users and participants would enjoy and ensured that there was something meaningful and engaging in all aspects of it.” Becky Lucking of Mama’s Boundless Bermuda added: “None of this would have been possible without the incredible generosity of our donors. We were delighted that Mark Cloutier and Brit Insurance kicked off our fundraising and they have been widely supported by the business community including Validus, Sompo, Butterfield & Vallis, GreyCastle and MS Amlin. We have also been overwhelmed by the kindness of children donating their birthday money, local sports clubs and everyone who has volunteered countless hours at our fundraisers. Ms Lucking also singled out Nikki Murray Mason and the team of volunteers who created a mosaic mural designed to highlight Bermuda’s wildlife as well as animals at WindReach such as horses. The playground will also be hired out for private parties.


April 5

paragraphPremier David Burt discussed Bermuda’s efforts to build its relationship with the United States when he met members of Congress in Washington, yesterday. The Premier said the island’s co-operation with the US on tax transparency and its assistance in helping with disaster recovery came up in conversations. Mr Burt said the series of meetings was “mainly a part of our continued engagement with members of Congress to make sure that they understand the business of Bermuda”. Mr Burt added he was accompanied by John Huff, the president and chief executive of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, and Abir members. He said: “We spoke about the matters that are important for Bermuda’s financial services industry.” One of his meetings was with Democratic congressman Richard Neal, who waged a campaign against the “Bermuda loophole”, which he claimed helped American companies to dodge US taxes. Since January, he has been the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the chief tax-writing committee of the US House of Representatives. The representative for Massachusetts’ 1st congressional district and former mayor of Springfield, the congressman made headlines this week when he exercised his constitutional right, as committee chairman, to requisition President Donald Trump’s tax records from the Internal Revenue Service. Mr Burt, who had a joint meeting with Mr Neal and party colleague Congressman G.K. Butterfield, said yesterday the meeting went well. He said: “I’m not going to discuss the contents of individual meetings, but I would say overall the meeting went well. The opportunity to speak to the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is always a great thing. We had a good discussion over Bermuda and the contributions it makes to the US economy, especially in times of natural disaster.” Mr Neal said in a TV advert in 2012: “There are American companies that have chosen to move to countries like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands for the purpose of sophisticated tax avoidance. All you have to do is set up a post office box. I filed legislation to address the issue and we won.” Mr Burt said stricter rules on economic substance, the physical presence of companies doing business in Bermuda, was “not much of a talking point”. He added: “It was not raised by any member in any meeting. However, I did update chairman Neal on Bermuda’s Economic Substance regime in light of the forthcoming rules from the OECD.” Mr Burt also met Democratic Congressman Lacy Clay, the chairman of the Financial Services Sub-committee on Insurance, to “reinforce that Bermuda will continue to assist communities in the United States to rebuild after natural disasters and is happy to work with the new Congress to expand coverage”. The Premier also had talks with Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, a Democrat and the chairman of the Financial Services Sub-committee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy to “discuss the impact of de-risking on Bermuda”. He met Congressman George Holding a Republican from North Carolina, to “discuss ways that the Bermuda insurance market assists disaster recovery efforts in the United States”. Mr Burt said the changes in the political landscape since the 2018 mid-term elections, which saw the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives and the Republicans increase their majority in the Senate, had not affected Bermuda’s relationship with Washington. He said: “We meet with the Democrats and the Republicans. We don’t limit ourselves to any particular party or caucus because for Bermuda it is necessary to build relationships on both sides of the aisle.” Mr Burt added that he hoped Bermuda would be taken off a European Union blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. He said: “We have every expectation that we will be removed from the list at the earliest opportunity.”

paragraphVulnerable boys from Bermuda were for decades sent to an American reform school now under investigation for alleged child abuse and cover-ups. The children went to Glen Mills Schools in Pennsylvania at the request of the island’s Department of Child and Family Services, which said yesterday it became aware of accusations of staff violence against students only in February. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper in August last year included allegations from a 17-year-old boy that he was choked and punched by a counselor while other staff held him down in an incident said to be caught on a surveillance camera. The August 2018 article also revealed that Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services had stopped sending children to Glen Mills and was investigating the operations of the Delaware County residential institution. A special report in the Inquirer published on February 20 contained interviews with 21 past and present students and counselors, and detailed several cases of children alleging serious assaults by staff. Youngsters from Bermuda were sent to the school for more than 35 years and as recently as 2017. The Inquirer report claimed “serious violence is both an everyday occurrence and an open secret at Glen Mills, and has been for decades”. The report sparked some of the inquiries now under way, as well as the emergency removal of the 383 boys at the school last month. In the emergency removal order issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services on March 25, the department said it had verified attacks by staff on children involving choking and punching, as well as a child being forced to lie about the cause of his injuries. The order added a staff member had failed to intervene in a student-on-student assault which resulted in a broken jaw. The school, which is about 30 miles from Philadelphia, denied the allegations in a detailed appeal filed yesterday with the Pennsylvania DHS Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. Alfred Maybury, the director of the Department of Child and Family Services, told The Royal Gazette the last child from Bermuda was admitted to the school in 2017 and that none were there now. He said in an e-mail: “Glen Mills was at one time a very highly respected institution and that is why, prior to 2017, DCFS used their services. Over the past few years, DCFS has used local resources and services for children in need.” A department spokeswoman could not provide a figure on the number of children from the island sent to Glen Mills over the years by press time. However, the spokeswoman said all overseas schools where children from Bermuda were sent were licensed by “their respective licensing body and are accredited through an accrediting body. The policy of the department with all overseas schools is to have weekly conference calls with the school and child. The worker from DCFS visits the child every six months from admission date and the director has a face-to-face visit with all children at least once a year in addition to the staff visits. DCFS has not received any information related to any children sent to Glen Mills being abused or mistreated.” The news about Glen Mills came after The Royal Gazette revealed in November that 48 of the 50 youngsters sent abroad by DCFS as part of its psycho-educational programme since April 2014 had no legal representation. None of the children sent overseas before then had legal representation. The House of Assembly heard last month that 17 boys and 3 girls received treatment at various overseas centres in 2018 for a “complexity of issues” that involved mental disorders. The website for Glen Mills said it was the oldest school of its kind in the US and catered to “court-referred youth” from 120 different jurisdictions, including counties in the US, as well as Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Bermuda. The school, founded in 1826, added it had a “stunning campus” and “impressive athletic facilities”, and had used “peer pressure and group confrontation” techniques to tackle antisocial behavior since 1975. It said in its appeal against the emergency removal order that Glen Mills had been “one of the most visited, regulated, inspected and scrutinized programmes of its time” for the last 40 years. Contrary to recent media coverage, Glen Mills’ success has not been built on a foundation of abuse, intimidation or violence against students. To believe that foundation exists, would be to accept that all of the ... people who actually visited, toured and inspected the campus were completely and utterly duped into believing that it was a safe place.” Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General and the minister responsible for DCFS, did not respond to a request for comment. Were you sent to Glen Mills or another overseas institution by the Department of Child and Family Services or do you know someone who was? 

paragraphA prison officer convicted of an attempt to smuggle a mobile phone to an inmate has lost an appeal in the Supreme Court. Kadeem Abraham admitted that he had accepted an item to take to an inmate, but claimed he only took it so he could examine it. Marc Daniels, lawyer for Abraham, argued Magistrates’ Court did not take his client’s story — that he had taken the item as part of his duty as a prison officer — into account. But Assistant Justice Jeffrey Elkinson found that Abraham had broken the rules when he did not at once stop the inmate and inform the chief prison officer. Mr Justice Elkinson said in his April 1 judgment: “The court below heard evidence of the proper procedure that is to be followed and there appears to be no question that specified immediate action should have been taken by Abraham upon receiving into his possession the package from the remand prisoner. On its face, what he did is inexcusable, not only in the light of the training which he had received and what the rules are, but common sense.” Magistrates’ Court heard at Abraham’s trial that in July 2016, Abraham was working as a prison officer at Westgate jail. The chief officer received “certain information” on the day of the incident and brought Abraham to the boardroom in the prison’s administration area. Abraham denied having anything on him and emptied his pockets but, from the last pocket, he produced a blue-and-white mayonnaise packet wrapped in plastic wrap. After officers found a small mobile phone inside, Abraham named the inmate who gave him the package and said he had been asked to take it to another inmate in the maximum security area of the prison. He insisted he only accepted it so he could examine the package, but never got the chance. Abraham was found guilty after trial, but appealed the verdict. Mr Justice Elkinson added it was “not surprising” the magistrate had dismissed Abraham’s defence. He said: “The decision of the magistrate was correct and in light of the evidence given, not least by the appellant himself, little elaboration was needed.” He ordered Abraham back to Magistrates’ Court for sentence. The maximum penalty for smuggling contraband in prisons on a summary conviction is 12 months in jail.

paragraphA corrupt customs officer convicted of cocaine dealing has been ordered to hand over nearly $180,000 in assets as the proceeds of crime. Roberto Marques was ordered by Supreme Court to pay the total sum within six months, with the cash to be added to the Confiscated Assets Fund. Marques, who was sentenced to ten years in jail two years ago, will have to pay $45,000 immediately, with the rest, about $130,000, to be paid within six months. Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves ruled that if Marques failed to pay up, he would serve an extra seven years behind bars. The order came after the Bermuda Police Service asked for a Supreme Court confiscation hearing. Acting Superintendent Nicholas Pedro, of the Bermuda Police Service, said: “We welcome this decision and note that we are committed to using our resources to fairly and transparently remove the proceeds of criminal conduct from the financial system of Bermuda.” Marques was a serving customs officer when he was caught with the drug in 2016 and was jailed a year later. Mr Pedro said that the BPS Financial Crime Unit gave evidence that Marques had benefited from his criminal activity over a six-year period and his take from crime amounted to more than $255,000. Assets that were restrained included a Bermuda property, a property in the Azores, a vehicle valued at $18,000 and bank accounts holding balances of more than $15,000. Mr Justice Greaves declared Marques’s realizable assets at $179,240.46 and ruled that they should be forfeited to the Crown.

paragraphPrison officers could take industrial action over conditions at Westgate jail, the head of their representative body warned yesterday. Tim Seon, the chairman of the Prison Officers Association, said he could not rule out the potential for labour disruption if a string of problems were not dealt with. Mr Seon added: “We are going to exhaust all avenues. There is a growing frustration and if we don’t see any movement soon, that is where it could go. I have to call another meeting with my membership in about three weeks.” Mr Seon was speaking after he invited politicians to tour Westgate to see the conditions officers and prisoners had to put up with. Mr Seon predicted a tour of the prison would shock MPs and ministers. The veteran officer said he had been in talks with the Government’s Public Service Negotiating Team and the Bermuda Trade Union Congress over disputes that dated back 20 years. He said that a tour of Westgate would be a good way for those responsible for the prison service “to see exactly what it is that we do, and the conditions in which we work”. He added: “They see black and white. They crunch the numbers and they don’t see how it affects the people on the front line actually doing the task. I find that to be the biggest issue, right now.” Mr Seon said: “If they take us up on that offer, they are going to see the truth. They are going to see the problems that are facing the men and women who work behind those walls and, even worse still, the individuals who have to live there. There are very inhumane conditions behind those walls. They say Bermuda is another world, and behind those walls, it is very much true.” Mr Seon added that prison officers have not had a pay increase for a decade, had hit a wall in negotiations over health insurance and that health and safety at the prison was compromised by a range of problems, including mould. He said that the BTUC had also written a letter to the Government in support of the association’s plea for better pay and conditions. Mr Seon added: “The BTUC has agreed to put forth a formal letter in regards to the negotiation process with the outstanding associations. We have not had any salary increase in ten years; we are working roughly at about 22.5 per cent below the cost of living. It is encouraging to have the support of the BTUC, I’m a bit more optimistic. I don’t think the Public Service Negotiating Team fully understands our need for the Government Employee Health Insurance benefit. Prison officers are working in sick buildings with mould. We have seen other government services refuse, or even close down, because of mould. That includes schools, the police department, and the Chief Justice refused to work out of Supreme Court Three because of mould. We are stuck here because where are you going to put the inmates?” Mr Seon said that Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, had asked to meet him to discuss complaints. Mr Caines issued a statement on Sunday to say that his ministry recognized “the critical and important work that the members of our uniformed services undertake on a daily basis." He highlighted that the ministry had met with the Prison Officers Association five times last year to discuss the matters raised with some success including the hiring of 21 new prison officers over the year and the commencement of a recruitment drive for 25 more. Mr Caines added: “To ensure continuity and focus, this ministry championed the creation and implementation of a strategic plan. And to ensure transparency and collaboration we invited the POA to be a part of the strategic planning process.” Mr Caines highlighted progress in security at the facility including updated CCTV and fire alarm systems, and infrastructure upgrades including tank repairs, air quality tests and a “stringent” cleaning regime.

paragraphThe public is being encouraged to participate in a survey that could improve care for patients in Bermuda’s health system. The Adverse Childhood Experiences research looks at the link between adverse childhood experiences and the risk of disease later in life. It is hoped that it will lead to better care for chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, mental health disorders, cancer and asthma. It is being carried out by the Bermuda Health Council in partnership with Family Centre. Tara Hines, the programme manager of data analytics and outcomes research at the health council, said it is hoped 5,000 people will take part. She said, so far, more than 300 people have participated in the research, which started last month and continues until June. Ms Hines added: “We are continuing to increase efforts to have respondents submit their questionnaires, by reaching out to organisations and taking advantage of multiple media outlets, including radio and social media. The nature of this type of information is deeply personal and specific to its respondents and can only benefit from more people being involved. Because this is a countrywide questionnaire, we hope that Bermuda can see this as a community opportunity to be involved and improve our health together.” People of all ages are welcome to participate, particularly adults who lived in Bermuda during any portion of their childhood. Ace research assesses different types of adverse childhood experiences including physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, racism, bullying, poverty as well as family member-related substance abuse, domestic violence, imprisonment, mental illness, negative facets of divorce and death or abandonment. Stephanie Guthman of Family Centre said this research is important for the charity which has been at the forefront of advocating for the issues facing children and families. Dr Guthman said: “The concept of unresolved trauma, also known as Adverse Childhood Experiences, and its consequences has continued to evolve and become increasingly apparent in our communities for more than twenty years. The time is now ripe for Family Centre to continue this momentum and, along with the Bermuda Health Council, we aim to shed light on what Aceand the effects of Ace look like in our community. A major strength of the current study is the opportunity to explore the impact of Ace in a unique and insular population and to do so in a manner that is comprehensive and informative.” Dr Guthman said people have been responding to the survey and are willing to participate. She added: “The issue of Adverse Childhood Experiences has been a longstanding issue facing our Bermuda community. People in our community are eager to hear whether the data reveals similar results to what the US Ace study revealed.” Family Centre has approached the Inter-Agency Committee for Children and Families, non-profit organisations, and government agencies, asking individuals to send the survey link to members of their network. The Ace survey link is on Family Centre’s website, tfc.bm/acesssurvey.  It can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

paragraphThe Green family have completed the purchase of the former HSBC Building on Front Street in Hamilton, and said the property will be “comprehensively renovated and renamed Point House.” The Green Family — who also own the Hamilton Princess — said the plan is to make the building “more visually attractive,” with the ground floor to provide retail and leisure space, while the upper floors would be leased to office tenants. A spokesman said: “Botelho Wood Architects have been retained to re-design and renovate the 80,000 sq. ft building. The design brief being to once again make the building the central point of Front Street with a more aesthetically attractive external design while completely reworking and modernizing the interiors for both current and future discerning Bermuda office tenants,” a spokesperson said. It is intended that the ground floor should provide some retail and leisure space, with access directly from street level and offer magnificent views of the harbour. A separate and distinctive entrance will cater for the upper floors, which would be leased to office tenants. The outside of the building will be made more visually attractive with a substantial addition of glass. There are plans to incorporate distinctive design features, such as a sculpture underneath a new canopy on Front Street, which would provide shade and weather protection to pedestrians and patrons of the building. Balconies will be added throughout the building to add outside space and additional cachet to the offices. The offices are planned to have increased levels of natural light and boast unrivalled views up and down the harbour. Some underground parking is also planned.” Alexander Green, on behalf of the Green family, said: “We are pleased to be able to announce this exciting new office and retail development in Hamilton. We are confident that Point House will be an attractive, first-class addition to Front Street and to the city’s economy.” The building will be made fully accessible and will be equipped with low-energy and energy efficient lighting to ensure sustainability, the Greens noted. The renovations are expected to take 18 months to complete, once ground is broken on the project. All rental enquiries should be directed to Penny MacIntyre at Rego Sotheby’s International Realty at [441] 299-1508.

Point House, once Bank of Bermuda HQ

Point House, once HQ of long-past Bank of Bermuda Ltd now HSBC Bank of Bermuda

paragraphA plan to turn a former preschool into studio apartments and lofts has been submitted to planners. The Bermuda Housing Corporation said it wanted to convert the old St David’s preschool on Battery Road and a building next door into 14 homes. The corporation proposed seven single-bedroom lofts, six studio apartments, a two-bedroom villa and, additionally, a maintenance office. Keino Furbert-Jacobs of the BHC wrote a note in the application.: “This is one of a series of instalments which targets accommodations for active singles, ie professionals, seniors, active and semi-active adults.” The project would also include the construction of a new water tank, cess pits and landscaping of the area. The work would also include the removal of the pavement separating the two buildings.

paragraphAttention to pitbull owners who break the law could prevent future attacks by the dogs, a shadow minister said yesterday. Cole Simons, the One Bermuda Alliance spokesman on education, added that, although the Government had tightened up the Dogs Act, there were still attacks by pitbulls. He said: “In my mind, if dog owners continue to flout our dog laws, they must be punished. They must feel the pain, and the full weight of the law should be bestowed upon them.” Mr Simons said the Government had to make sure there were sufficient resources to enforce regulations. He added: “If we do not follow through on the enforcement, our canine management laws will be ineffective. Our Dogs Act will not change the behavior of irresponsible dog owners. As a result, our community will continue to be at risk.” Mr Simons said he sympathized with schoolboy Aston Jones-Williams, aged 9, who was attacked and bitten several times by two pitbulls last month. He added: “I can’t imagine how this young boy felt during the attack and the resulting trauma he experienced.” But Mr Simons said that people had expected attacks. “It was inevitable as a handful of irresponsible dog owners have allowed their dogs to wander and have not secured their properties to the level required.” Mr Simons, whose King Charles spaniel was savaged and killed by a pitbull last March, said several small dogs had been mauled by the breed over the past two to three years. An elderly man attacked by a pitbull last month backed Mr Simons’ call for owners of pitbulls to be more responsible. Sterlin Smith, 79, said the attack was a traumatic experience and that other people, especially young children, should not have to deal with a similar ordeal. Mr Smith, of Southampton, said: “It is an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. “When I think about it, it’s like I relive the whole thing.” Mr Smith said he loved dogs but added: “If they are going to have these dogs, they should be really carefully contained.” The real estate agent was attacked on March 14 as he visited a property for sale in Paget. He said the owner was not home, but that he had visited the property before and knocked on a tenant’s door instead. Mr Smith explained the dog that attacked was chained about 40 feet from the tenant’s home but because of the length of its chain it was able to get to him. He said: “I’ve had some close encounters with dogs but nothing like this.” Mr Smith was bitten on an arm and a leg as he tried to fight off the animal and the attack only ended when the tenant came to his rescue. He added: “If I had fallen then God knows what would have happened.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the department did not know if there had been an increase in the number of dog attack reports because statistics for 2018 and the start of this year were still being compiled. A survey in 2014 suggested that pitbulls were responsible for 141 of 259 of serious complaints made in 2012 and 2013. Department records show that there are 574 pitbulls or pitbull-type dogs on the island, 6.3 per cent of the dog population. The spokeswoman warned the figure might not be a “wholly truthful statistical representation” as that only represented dogs known to the department. She explained: “The figure will not include dogs which we have never encountered and which have never been licensed. If people think a particular animal is a threat to people or other animals, they can contact the Animal Warden, who will probe the complaint.” Owners of dogs which cause death or injury to other dogs or people, or damage to property, can face a maximum fine of $10,000 for a first offence and $20,000 for subsequent offences. Offenders may also be liable for civil penalties.

paragraphHamilton Princess and Beach Club’s 1609 Bar & Restaurant reopens tomorrow, following upgrades to the space, including additional covered areas. The restaurant and bar now offers guests protection from the elements throughout the entire space, without losing its open-air element. These upgrades mean that 1609 will be available as an event space all year round, the Princess stated. The upgrades were carried out by principal local contractors, D&J Construction under the supervision of Botelho Wood Architects and involved an average of 24 employees throughout the project and roughly 9,000 man hours. The “Impossible Seekh Kebab” is a new vegetarian addition to the menu, joining favourites such as golden fried shrimp and fish tacos. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11am until 10pm, serving lunch, dinner and drinks. 


April 4

paragraphSupreme Court cases will no longer be heard in historic Sessions House after the building is renovated, the Speaker of the House of Assembly confirmed yesterday. Dennis Lister said that the 200-year-old courtroom would be used by the legislature after work is completed later this year. The news came after the judiciary highlighted in its annual report that a lack of court space had contributed to a backlog of criminal cases. A source who was close to the planning of the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building in Hamilton more than a decade ago claimed an opportunity to move Supreme Court sittings to the new court complex was rejected by the Chief Justice. Mr Lister said Sessions House, built in about 1819, needed urgent work. He added: “The building is in need of major modernization renovations, like any building of that age that has never been fully renovated. The concern is to bring an old building up to today’s standards, to preserve the old building and save the old building. If we don’t preserve it, one day we will lose it.” Mr Lister said: “When the building is completed, the entire building will be for the purposes of housing the legislature and all the infrastructure that is required for supporting the legislature.” Mr Lister explained that would not only include the Speaker’s office, which “should be there anyway”, but also space for clerks and other staff. The original plan for the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building was that it would be shared by the Magistrates’ Courts and the police. But Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch suggested the addition of Supreme Court to the premises when he was the works and engineering and housing minister in 2006, which would have made Sessions House for the legislature only. That plan was later ruled out. A source close to the work at the time claimed this week that former chief justice Sir Richard Ground opted not to relocate to the new building. It was reported in 2010, more than a year before the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building opened, that Sir Richard ­— who has since died — had been “pushing for a new Supreme Court” since he took up the top judge post in 2004, although he admitted that the new Magistrates’ Court building was “the right priority”. The Bermuda Judiciary Annual Report 2018, published in February, highlighted concerns that the closure of the appeal court on Front Street had lead to backlogs for criminal matters after sittings were moved to Court 1 in Sessions House, which is the second criminal Supreme Court. Further disruption was expected to result from the relocation of Court 1 during the upcoming renovation works and beyond. Alexandra Wheatley, the courts registrar, said in the report that the judiciary had been told that Parliament did not want it to return to Sessions House “in any capacity”. Scott Pearman, the One Bermuda Alliance Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs, asked about the removal of court space from Sessions House in Parliament last month. He said yesterday: “The news that historic Court 1 in the House of Sessions will cease to be a courtroom is unfortunate news in its own right. But when you place this decision in the larger context, with two other courtrooms having already closed in the past two years, this reveals a lack of any co-ordinated approach to Bermuda’s court system. Our island will soon have three fewer courtrooms. Where and how does the current Government plan to take up the strain of lost space? And why has this decision to close Court 1 been so shrouded in secrecy?” The One Bermuda Alliance MP said his party asked “very specific” questions in the Budget debate on March 13, including: “Will the judicial department under this ministry have one fewer courtroom than it already does? Or will this disappearing courtroom be moved elsewhere?”Mr Pearman added: “Sadly, Bermudians did not get any answer to this important question. So we are left with a basic failure by the Government to identify how or where these significant gaps will be filled. This puts a strain on the whole court system. This, in turn, impacts upon the public, which the courts already struggle to serve. When a person goes to court, it is usually because trauma has touched their lives — perhaps a divorce, or a criminal charge, maybe the collapse of a business, or where someone suffers a personal injury. These are not easy life experiences. Bermuda needs a court system that ensures access to justice for those who are already facing difficult personal circumstances. Ultimately, it is the public who will suffer.” Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health who led the House of Assembly debate on behalf of the legal affairs ministry, said then that the Department of Public Works was working with the ministry to make sure that “the responsible renovations and the relocation of the courts” happened as quickly as possible. She added: “The technical staff are in consultation with the registrar to ensure that the needs of the judiciary are being addressed.” The Ministry of Public Works said last Sunday that the “preservation of the historical aspects of the building” would be prioritized while works are carried out at Sessions House, but declined to comment further yesterday.

paragraphSpecial parts are needed to repair the out-of-order landmark clock at Sessions House. The time showed about 12.30pm when a photographer from The Royal Gazette took a picture just after 1.30pm yesterday. It is understood the clock has been stopped since at least Monday. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Works said yesterday that the department was aware of the problem and was “awaiting specialized parts which are needed to repair a mechanism”. She added: “The ministry regrets any inconvenience caused to the public.” The clock suffered similar problems at the end of last year, when the clock was either stopped or running too slow. Sessions House was built about 1819 and the addition of a clock tower, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, was proposed in 1887. But work on the project, which also included the red Florentine-style façade, started late and construction was not completed until 1893.

Clock atop Sessions House

Clock atop Sessions House, see above article

paragraphA team from Canada could assist the Department of Immigration in providing Bermudians who require biometric data to work, visit or study in Canada. The announcement came today from Walton Brown, the Minister for the Cabinet Office. Canada unveiled the new requirements last year, meaning that local residents carrying any type of British passport, including British Dependent Territories Citizens, would be required to submit fingerprints and a photograph with their applications after December 31. The biometric information would have to be renewed once every ten years. The cost to provide the information was CAD$85 for individuals and a maximum of CAD$170 for family applications. However, Bermuda has no facilities to take biometric information, meaning locals would have to travel to the United States to provide the data. Mr Brown said that Bermudians applying for Canadian visas faced “hardship, economic and otherwise” by having to go to the US. He added: “With Bermudian families already sacrificing to meet the high costs of educating their children, an added burden or roadblock is not something that they should have to take on by themselves.” The requirement affects a variety of travelers, but is mandatory for all foreign students in Canada. The minister said: “The Bermuda Government has stepped in and is currently in discussions with the Canadian Consulate in Bermuda to address the issue of Bermudians having to travel to the US to collect the biometric data. Ultimately we are advocating for a Canadian team to come to Bermuda to collect the biometric data, or exploring the possibility of the Department of Immigration or another entity becoming an authorized Canadian Visa Application Centre or Application Support Centre. Our Canadian partners have been receptive and we are hopeful that we will find a good balance. I look forward to updating the public on further developments.”

paragraphA Bermudian convicted of possession of child pornography in the United States should have to register as a sex offender if he returns to the island, the head of a child sex abuse prevention charity said yesterday. Debi Ray-Rivers said it should be mandatory for Andrew Charlton and every other convicted child sex offender to register as a sex offender with the Bermuda Police Service, regardless of their sentence. Charlton pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of child pornography at a Rhode Island court last month. He was sentenced to two years’ probation and will also be placed on the state’s public sex offender register. The 32-year-old was arrested in late 2017 after detectives discovered he was using his laptop to share files of child pornography on a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. Evidence of more than 100 images of child pornography was found on his computer after it was seized, including some that involved very young children. The conditions of his probation mean Charlton, of Crane Terrace, Narragansett, Rhode Island, must not live with children, have any contact with children, including electronically, or loiter or live inside 300 feet of a school, daycare centre, playground or other place where children congregate. Ms Ray-Rivers, the founder and executive director of Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, told The Royal Gazette: “Given Andrew Charlton’s conviction of possessing child pornography, and the restrictions and conditions placed on him in Rhode Island, if he should return to Bermuda, those same restrictions and conditions, in our view, should apply here in Bermuda. “Also, it should be made mandatory that he register with the police as a registered sex offender. These are the types of restrictions and conditions we would like to see with every convicted child sex offender.” Antoine Daniels, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, said Bermuda law required only people who were sentenced to prison overseas for sex offences to be added to the island’s non-public register if they become a resident here. He added: “However, the Bermuda Police Service in collaboration with both its local and overseas partners continues to monitor these types of cases and gather as much information as possible, which allows for the assessment of potential risk, enabling a proportionate response in reducing future threat and harm to our local communities.” Mr Daniels said the BPS was aware of Charlton’s conviction and of his name being added to the RI sex offenders’ register. He added: “The BPS has a number of information-sharing agreements with law enforcement agencies in America, together with other foreign jurisdictions, and are currently in the process of seeking official notification in relation to this particular case.” Ms Ray-Rivers said Mr Daniels’s comments were “encouraging”. She added police did not have the resources to track the movements of all child sex offenders so all adults had to take precautions to protect children. Ms Ray-Rivers said: “Parents must educate themselves in prevention. They need to talk to their children about body safety early and often and also talk to them about where they go on their devices and monitor them closely. Youth-serving organisations should screen volunteers and employees, do reference checks, mandate prevention training and implement codes of conduct and have the employee or volunteer sign it. Sometimes those that suffer with addiction of any kind, suffer with control. We can only pray and hope that Mr Charlton does not move from viewing children — which is against the law and harmful enough — to direct involvement and scarring them.” Kelly Hunt, the executive director of the Coalition for the Protection of Children, said that although Bermuda had a sex offenders’ register, “putting it mildly” there were still major loopholes. She explained Bermuda was “still limited” in what could be done to stop convicted pedophiles from “working with or being around children”. Ms Hunt said that children’s camps, churches and other private institutions were “particularly susceptible because they are not bound to a vulnerable person’s policy, or background checks. We cannot rest until this safety net is secure and child protection is strengthened as a priority for Bermuda. Without these preventative measures in place, we remain concerned for the safety of our young people. It is our responsibility to protect children, but they are still the victims in these horrible crimes. Unfortunately, there is much more work to be done to keep our children safe.” Rhode Island State Police said because Charlton lived in Rhode Island there was no requirement to notify authorities in Bermuda of the court’s action or his placement on the state’s sex offenders’ register. Charlton is the son of Ray Charlton, a former One Bermuda Alliance election candidate and the former chairman of the West End Development Corporation.

paragraphHundreds of people could be squatters in abandoned buildings, the head of a family charity said yesterday. Martha Dismont, executive director for Family Centre, said increased homelessness has led more people squatting or living on a temporary basis with friends or family. Ms Dismont said that statistics on the problem were hard to come by, although it was clear there had been a jump in the number of homeless people over the last decade. She added: “We do know that there are many, many people who are homeless or who do not have what’s necessary to survive normally in this high-cost economy and consequently they are finding other ways to survive. We know that there are people that pop up every day that are in circumstances like this. I suppose we can estimate they’re in the hundreds, to be honest, but we don’t know for sure.” Ms Dismont said economic conditions and the high cost of living had hit some people hard. She explained: “Many of us are seeing that Bermuda hasn’t prepared itself for circumstances where the economy has drastically changed in the last ten years, in terms of the cost of living, in terms of the way in which you earn a wage and the job skills. It’s a lack of job skills, it’s a lack of, in some cases, education to even develop new skills. The question is, whether they’re seniors or the individuals without the job skills or the education, what are we going to do?” Ms Dismont was speaking after a homeless man was charged in connection with an alleged incident at the former prison service headquarters in Pembroke’s Happy Valley Road last week. She added she had been contacted last Friday by a mother of three whose family are facing eviction from their home for non-payment of rent but had been unable to find alternative accommodation. Ms Dismont said: “Therefore we suspect that there are lots of people in these circumstances that become desperate and many of them may squat on someone else’s land or building and so they will run into the police, unfortunately. The thing that I think is the worst scenario is for it to become just a police matter because then it’s about criminality, anger, disappointment, frustration and behaviours getting out of control. It needs to be more of a social matter that we work together with the police to resolve.” She added: “I think it’s part of the reason why no one agency has tackled the problem, because you have to have a solution.” Gina Spence, a prominent community activist, confirmed the rise in homelessness. She said that former foster children were most at risk. She explained: “There’s a lot of children who are in foster care and after 16 or 18 a foster parent does not have to keep them. So, a lot of young adults actually find themselves parentless and homeless after they age out of the system. A lot of young men in particular just go from house to house where they’re just staying with a friend or someone’s letting them sleep in their basement or the cellar.” Ms Spence said that homelessness could affect anyone who struggled to make ends meet. "It is not restricted to those who sleep on the street. Sometimes there may be a married household and someone gets sick. Then all of a sudden the cost of helping this person affects your ability to meet your other financial demands. There are a lot of reasons why people end up without a place to live. They are not all because they don’t work or they don’t care. Countries with less wealth than us have given a second chance at life to those that want to live in a safe, clean environment. In those housing shelters you do find self-worth. There are programmes, there are opportunities, there are ways to kind of regain your life.” A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Works said that the Bermuda Housing Corporation provided two housing complexes for those in need. She said that Langley House, at Southside, St David’s, provided multi-unit accommodation for men and Gulfstream, also in St David’s, provided homes for families.

paragraphMembers of the public will have limited access to the grandstand at the National Sports Centre as it undergoes remediation work. One million dollars has been allocated to the project which is being overseen by the National Sports Centre’s board of trustees, with the work expected to be completed in August. The work involves power-washing, sandblasting, painting, and replacing all parts relating to the integrity of the steel roof truss members and is being carried out by Bermudian firm, Sunrise Construction. “As a result of the work, some parts of the grandstand will be closed at various times,” said Craig Tyrrell, National Sports Centre operations manager. However, we will give the public as much notice as possible regarding the affected areas, which will be cordoned off during the project. This will be quite extensive work and will give the grandstand, which was originally built in 2002, a much needed facelift to ensure it continues to be a fantastic facility for the community.”

Nstional Stadium, Devonshire

paragraphHamilton Re, the re/insurance platform of Bermuda-based holding company Hamilton Insurance Group, has announced that it has secured $65 million of collateralized capacity through the issuance of the Series 2019-1 preference shares from its special purpose sidecar vehicle, Turing Re Ltd in a syndicated private placement. Turing Re will provide support for Hamilton Re’s global property treaty reinsurance portfolio, the company said in a statement. “We’re pleased to be able to take this next step in the evolution of Turing Re and our broader third-party capital strategy,” said Kathleen Reardon, chief executive officer of Hamilton Re. That we were able to secure this capacity amid more uncertain conditions in the insurance-linked securities market is a testament to the quality of our approach and of our platform.” TigerRisk Capital Markets & Advisory acted as sole structuring and placement agent on the transaction, while Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acted as legal counsel to Hamilton Re, the company said.

paragraphInsurance industry veteran David McManus knows a thing or two about risk. But when the Belfast-born president and chief executive officer of Bermuda-based insurance manager Artex considered who should succeed him in the top job, well, let’s just say he knows a sure thing when he sees it as well. Mr McManus, 65, has assumed the role of non-executive chairman of Artex to facilitate the return to the fold of Peter Mullen, who began his term as CEO on March 21. Now 58, Dublin-born Mr Mullen cofounded Artex as a wholly owned subsidiary of brokers Arthur J Gallagher and Co in 1997 with Mr McManus and Jennifer Gallagher, now the president of Artex North America. He left in 2011 when Aon Captive Insurance and Management offered him their CEO position. “The timing was right,” Mr Mullen recalled. “David was not going anywhere, and I had to decide, at my age, if I should go and test myself and see if I could run my own shop. I got the usual good offer, the challenge was there, so I bit the bullet and jumped.” In 2016, Mr Mullen topped magazine’s Power 50, a ranking of the most influential individuals in the captive insurance industry. “There couldn’t be a better successor for Artex than Peter,” said Mr McManus, who met Mr Mullen when they worked together at AIG in the 1980s. He has all the knowledge of Gallagher and Artex from the founding, and taking into account the expertise you get when you run a global insurance manager like Aon, it was a bit of a no-brainer for us. You don’t bring a guy like Peter in and ask him to be number two. Now that he is on board, the transition feels good to me. A bond exists between Jennifer, Peter and I. Peter is running things now. I am excited to see what leadership he brings on the way to the next $100 million. Coming back to work with friends was attractive to me. Gallagher’s and Artex have been terrific in terms of the welcome. It’s almost like the prodigal son coming back.” Our internal headline when we made the announcement was ‘Peter’s coming home’,” Mr McManus said. Mr McManus will be an adviser, providing what he calls the “three Cs. Compass, the strategic perspective, to be clear where we are going,” he said. “Context, there is background to this and I can fill it in. Combinations, that’s how we refer to mergers. I have expertise with acquisitions. The decisions will be Peter’s but I can help him out.” Mr Mullen returns to a company with an annual growth rate of 17 per cent over the last seven years, tripling in size over that term. Artex serves some 1,500 customers with captive management and alternative risk management solutions through more than 1,000 risk-bearing entities. Licensed in 32 jurisdictions, it has more than 400 staff in 15 offices worldwide. Globally, the company’s clients are approximately 60 per cent commercial insurers and 40 per cent captives. The split in Bermuda, Mr McManus said, is 50-50. “We are the fastest growing insurance manager in the world, so it’s very attractive to come back, get inside Artex, and keep growing,” Mr Mullen said. "The challenge is to make the transition, keep the momentum going, and not clog up the works. I am pretty busy already.” While the number of captives registered in Bermuda, and their cumulative gross written premium, has declined recently, Mr Mullen said Artex is a net grower of captives. A dedicated, full-time sales force of ten people in Chicago supports the Artex programme, they said, adding that they are seeing growth in the upper middle market. Still, there are challenges, Mr Mullen said. “Bermuda is a mature market, so it suffers at the end of the day. There have been a lot of combinations over the last ten years. When a new captive comes in these days, there’s more than likely a matching exit. There is a lot of competition from US domiciles — 40 states now have captive regulations. At Artex, we see more coming in than going out. And Bermuda remains in top spot globally with Vermont, Cayman and Guernsey following. If a company stayed exclusively in captives, apart from stealing someone else’s chips, you’re not growing more than 2 or 3 per cent annually,” Mr McManus said. “Captive management is stable and low growth. The way to see revenues increase is through the broadening of services so you bring greater value and grow revenue from existing sources.” As in other jurisdictions, the OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting, or BEPS, project has caused a stir in Bermuda. “Substance presents both a challenge and an opportunity to provide greater turnkey services for capital looking to operate in any jurisdiction,” Mr McManus said. “The good thing about the directives of the OECD and EU is that they are a level playing field. All jurisdictions have got to show substance, so there is an opportunity in every domicile to seamlessly provide it. That will be a challenge for some of the smaller managers because capital now needs more than just regulatory compliance and accounting services. There is an opportunity to provide underwriting expertise, recruitment, serviced offices, and IT. If you can be a manager turnkeying those services, it could be very attractive. Not everybody will survive,” Mr Mullen said. “There will be companies that decide that they don’t see the value proposition any more. “But at a firm like ours, we might also see clients double down if they see value in the structure we’re managing and decide that we need to turnkey more to establish substance in the jurisdiction.” Latin America, Asia and Canada have been mooted by some as the next captive industry frontiers. “Latin America has been the next frontier for the last ten years, hasn’t it?” Mr Mullen said. “Latin America is growing for us,” Mr McManus added. As for Asia: “We’ll probably talk about it for the next ten years as the next frontier,” Mr Mullen said. Adds Mr McManus: “In Asia, if capital enters ILS, they’ll be comfortable in Singapore. Canada ... I just don’t think it’s that big an economy,” Mr McManus said. Terrorism, cybersecurity, and the shared economy are often identified as emerging issues. “Those three, plus political risk, you’ve got to keep an eye on them,” Mr Mullen said, “but the business in the upper middle market is more traditional lines: mortgage compensation, general liability and auto liability. While you keep an eye on cyber, it’s written by only 2 or 3 per cent of captives globally.” The “shared economy” perplexes the market, Mr Mullen said. “The traditional insurance market can’t get their heads around Uber and Uber Eats. The owners must take significant skin to get the market to come along for the ride. It’s not easily written. It’s best understood by the companies themselves, so a captive is the ideal solution.” Some 22 years on from their cofounding of Artex, Mr McManus said the company “is the best of both worlds. We are owned by Gallagher, are supported by them, but have an independent brand,” he said, still marvelling that Artex got the go-ahead to set up. It was ground-breaking for Gallagher’s,” Mr McManus said. “Brokers don’t take risk. Uncle Bob’ Gallagher wore a T-shirt that read ‘death before risk’. I mentioned that once to his nephew, Pat, who said: ‘T-shirt? No, it was tattooed on his chest."

paragraphOpinion. By John Wight, president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. "Bermuda’s retail business needs a fix. Last month, the Government released retail statistics to the end of 2018. It showed ten successive months of decline, with sales values now reaching a low not seen since 2016. This is a serious concern: declining retail sales are a clear warning that our economy is declining, too. Retail sales are one of our most important economic indicators: consumer spending is a key driver of our economy. The retail industry is also a significant employer, with 3,000-plus people working in it. Because it is one of the Department of Immigration’s closed job categories, retail employees are almost all Bermudians. Retail provides numerous entry-level jobs to young workers. Opening a shop is a favored type of entrepreneurial venture. And retail is a significant contributor to government revenues — not just through payroll taxes, but the customs duty stores pay on the merchandise they import. Finally, retail is an important part of our tourism product. Shopping is a tourist activity; most Bermudians traveling abroad go shopping, and the same applies to tourists coming to Bermuda. A broad array of retailers is an important part of the island’s attractions. Visitors like to wander through local shops to browse and to purchase goods. Good shopping is also important for people living here, and for those considering moving to Bermuda. It is a myth that Bermuda’s falling retail figures are simply an indicator of a global retail trend, with the traditional bricks-and-mortar retail format shrinking in favour of online sales. In fact, online sales here and abroad make up a small amount of total retail sales. Online purchases represent approximately 10 per cent of total retail sales in the United States and 15 per cent in Britain. And newly released figures by the Department of Statistics show that both online purchases and goods purchased overseas and brought back to Bermuda by travelers make up approximately 18 per cent of retail sales. Worldwide figures also show the value of bricks-and-mortar sales grew by almost 22 per cent over the past four years, a trend that appears set to continue. However, this is taking place in a changing environment, with some of the largest retailers failing, while others gain market share. Those that have succeeded have invested money in personalizing the shopping experience and engaging in creative ways to meet the ever-increasing demands and expectations of customers who can literally shop anywhere at any time, thanks to the internet. Bermuda’s retailers are well aware of these features. They know that to compete, they must offer in-store experiences as compelling and personalized as the most successful retailers in other parts of the world. But declining sales and profits, the cost of doing business in Bermuda, and a sense of responsibility to keep people in jobs have left little room for investment and progression. Too many stores are now dated and lagging behind in what they can do to entice customers in to make purchases. So what steps do we take for change in Bermuda? How do we stop more retailers falling by the wayside, leading to vacant buildings, job losses and a bigger hole in government income? Recent payroll tax concessions in the 2019-20 national budget will help the larger retailers, but we still need to look deeper into the industry picture for solutions for the entire sector. A few steps by the Government can make a big difference to all of Bermuda’s retailers:

Physical shopping still remains a social activity. Nothing beats visiting the shops and getting a direct sense of the look and feel of the merchandise we are considering as a purchase — and being able to interact with people who can help. If we can combine this with some smart application of digital technology and enhanced customer experience, Bermuda can step into the new age model for retail, enjoying and reaping the rewards of the growth that is happening in other parts of the world. It is important to remember if we do not use and enhance our retail industry, the repercussions to both our community and economy will be severe.

paragraphWork on a new footbridge over Flatts Inlet has started, Friends of the Railway Trail said yesterday. But Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the charity, added: “There’s some scaffolding up there, but we are still in the initial stages. We have put in all of our applications and we have approval for the two phases of the plan. We don’t really have a time line. Our time line is one step at a time.” The bridge is one project promoted by the Friends of the Railway Trail. Earlier work included two bridges over Bailey’s Bay and Store Hill. The group has also created a series of smaller bridges along the north shore of Hamilton Parish. Mr Murphy said that the organisation was working on improvements in the West End of the island to keep the trail accessible. He added: “We are working, dealing with the hillsides at the side of the trails, the embankments. We have done a couple of sections already and we hope to continue. This is all about reconnecting the trail. We want to connect the trail for people to use. It helps people to improve their health, it’s something that benefits tourism. There are really a lot of benefits.” The bridge over the inlet is the second phase of the project, which began with two smaller bridges — one across North Shore Road and another over a nearby driveway. The first phase of the project was opened last November. The bridge over Flatts Inlet would use the same pillars as the original railway line, although additional piers will be needed. It will stretch 730ft and stand 22ft above the low-tide mark, similar clearance to Watford Bridge. The planning documents said the bridge would be high enough to allow tour boats to pass under it and all but one of the boats moored in the inlet to clear it. But the owner of the boat too large to use the bridge said she would move it to another mooring before work started. A planning assessment said: “The bridges will allow for further connecting of the historic Bermuda Railway Trail to be achieved, which will benefit members of the public and visitors alike. It will enhance the existing experience for users of the trail and encourage further use while also allowing visitors another glimpse into the historic railway and beautiful vistas which would have been afforded to users of the railway at the time.”

Proposed new Flatts Railway Trail Bridge

Artist's impression of proposed new Flatts Railway Trail Bridge. See above article.

Terrett “Terry” West, a businessman and volunteer who ran for political office in the 1990s, has died. Mr West was 66. Mr West and his first wife, Yvonne, also founded the Bermuda Montessori School in 1986, a preschool in Pembroke that remains in operation. Mr West was born in Bermuda and educated in Canada, where he pursued a career in football and qualified in physical education at the University of Ottawa. He became involved in the world of sport when he returned to the island in 1985 and served on several local boards. Mr West founded Windward Management, an investment management firm, with his second wife, Susan, in 1996 and became the firm’s president. Mr West’s son, Eric, said the father of three grew up around Harrington Sound before the family moved to Canada, where he excelled at football. He played at the University of Ottawa and later turned professional. But he also started work with market research company AC Nielsen before he returned to Bermuda and climbed the ranks at the Bank of Bermuda. Eric West said: “Like a lot of high-ranking people in business at that time, he didn’t have a business degree.” Mr West became corporate production manager at the Bank of Bermuda. He then headed its Bermuda funds division before he founded Windward. The Bermuda Montessori School was founded on the family’s property on Rosemont Avenue, with Eric West, who spoke only Canadian French, as its first student. Eric West said: “He was a hard-nosed business guy. He really liked to participate in the community. He pushed me and my brother Scott and sister Nathalie quite hard. The gift he gave us was his drive to contribute and give back.” Mr West presided over the Youth Sports Programme and helped found the World Rugby Classic. He was also a past president of the Bermuda Junior Golf Association and the Bermuda Golf Association. He headed the governance committee for the Council Partners Charitable Trust, chaired the addiction service Fair Havens Treatment Centre for Women, and served on the National Drug Commission. Mr West was also a former vice-chairman of the National Dance Foundation and a chairman of the Tourist Board marketing committee, the Air Transportation Policy Review Commission and the Cruise Ship Policy Review Commission. Ariane West, a niece, said Mr West was “an incredibly social, outgoing person who loved being around people — that was probably the essence of his personality”. She added: “He loved his kids. There was nothing he would not do as a father, and as an uncle as well.” Mr West was chairman of the former United Bermuda Party’s Pembroke West Central branch and contested a Paget West primary for the UBP in 1992, but lost out to Tim Smith. He said at the time: “I think it’s time to be involved. I think this country is going to go through a significant period of change. Capable people have to step forward. And the more there are, the better.”

paragraphA woman has died after she fell ill on a flight from Barbados to the United States. The flight was diverted to Bermuda yesterday. The 63-year-old was on a JetBlue flight to New York when she became unresponsive in the early hours. The plane made an emergency diversion at LF Wade International Airport at 12.55am. The woman, who has not been named, was rushed to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, but later was pronounced dead by medics. The JetBlue flight resumed its journey to New York later yesterday.


April 3

paragraphPremier David Burt will hold key meetings with members of Congress in Washington, DC, tomorrow. The Premier will discuss national security and financial services with the office of senator Tim Scott, the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection. He will also meet Congressmen George Holding of Ways and Means, and Lacy Clay of Housing, Community Development and Insurance. The Government said the Premier would also “renew Bermuda’s strong connection with the Congressional Black Caucus” when he meets with Congressmen GK Butterfield and Emmanuel Cleaver, chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy. Mr Burt said: “This day of meetings balances out our recent engagement in Europe and provides an opportunity to further promote Bermuda’s interests in Washington where the political landscape has changed since 2018’s midterm elections. We’ve seen the value of keeping these connections strong and it is important that we continue to build relationships on both sides of aisle.”

paragraphFood allowance payments for people on low incomes were delayed because of an end-of-financial-year glitch, it was revealed yesterday. But a spokeswoman for the Department of Financial Assistance said the money was transferred to food retailers on Monday and had now been received. Several people expressed concern on social media after Judith Chambers posted a copy of a notice that the funds had not arrived in stores on the Facebook page Dispossession in Bermuda — Our Story. Ms Chambers, the administrator of the group, said some people who benefited from the food allowance did not know about the delay. She said she was not aware of the circumstances and would not be critical, but asked that, if there was a repeat in the future, that adequate notice be given. She added: “I hate to think of someone who would have gone there on Monday morning and it was not there.” Ms Chambers said she sympathized with the people affected and that something as critical as food, they should have been warned in advance. Craig Cannonier, the One Bermuda Alliance leader, added that the Government should work to avoid a repeat. He said: “These are the most vulnerable people that we have; any day missed is impactful to them, so it is important that we give it as much attention as possible to avoid such instances. People in the positions of needing assistance, quite frankly, they don’t want to hear ‘administrative issues’, because this is routine, March 31 comes every single year. Any one day lost is seriously impactful on families who are living day to day.” A government spokeswoman said: “During the interim situation, food vouchers were available to financial assistance clients.” She added the credit or debit style cards normally used were back in use yesterday. The notice, posted in stores this week, said that “Food Allowance for the April 2019 period (First Run) will not be available until later this week.” People were asked to contact the financial assistance department for more information. A Ministry of Health spokesperson explained: “The Department of Financial Assistance operates on a cashless basis.” She explained that the funding to top up a person’s card is sent directly to stores, which ensure the correct amounts are provided to claimants. The food allowance cards work like a credit or debit card and will decline when there are insufficient funds available. Financial assistance recipients can also visit the online sites of stores to check their balances before they shop. People who do not have access to computers can use a computer at the Department of Financial Assistance or visit the National Library on Hamilton’s Queen Street or the Department of Workforce Development.

paragraphA Southampton man accused of drug smuggling was released on bail this afternoon after his Supreme Court trial ended with a hung jury. Edward Jaloni Albouy, 25, had denied charges of smuggling MDMA — also known as ecstasy — cannabis and cannabis resin into Bermuda on September 3, 2017. He was also accused of possessing the drugs — said to be worth more than $430,000 — with intent to supply. But the seven man, five woman jury told acting Puisne Judge Craig Attridge that they could not come to a majority verdict after several hours of deliberation. Mr Attridge released the Mr Albouy on bail until May 1, when he will appear before the Supreme Court again.

paragraphA fire inside the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s new visitor service centre on Front Street yesterday had to be tackled by firefighters. The minor blaze, caused by welding work, damaged a bathroom ceiling but no one was injured. The BTA said the three-storey centre near the ferry terminal was still on course to open later this week. The alarm was raised just before 1pm and work on the centre resumed later that afternoon. The centre, built from shipping containers used for the 2017 America’s Cup Artemis team headquarters, will serve visitors from the ground floor. The other two floors will be used for events and concessions.

paragraphAscendant Group Ltd is looking for a buyer among a select group of companies. Who those prospective new owners are and how many they number, Ascendant has declined to say. However, names of potential acquirers have surfaced from a source who spoke to The Royal Gazette and also via a report by broadcaster ZBM, who cited a source inside Ascendant. Among them are US-based Twenty First Century Utilities, Australian investment bank Macquarie Group and Canadian utilities group Fortis. The potential takeover comes at a pivotal time for the future of the Bermuda electricity sector. The Integrated Resource Plan, a blueprint designed to meet the island’s energy needs for the next 20 years, is close to completion. The IRP proposal submitted by Belco as the sole transmission, distribution and retail licensee, favored natural gas as the principal generation fuel with a growing proportion of renewables. A public consultation overseen by the Regulatory Authority produced eight alternative IRP proposals, with a common theme of renewable energy playing a greater role. Public support was greatest for BE Solar’s plan, whose centerpiece was an offshore wind farm. After the public consultation, the RA suggested changes to the IRP to Belco on January 25 and Belco is due to submit a revised IRP this month, which will in turn be analyzed by the RA before the final IRP’s publication on June 30. Against this backdrop, who ends up owning Belco is of great importance to the island. Of the three companies reported to be interested, Washington, DC-based TFC Utilities is probably the most familiar to readers, after its attempt to acquire Ascendant with a $15-per-share bid a year ago. Two months ago, Joe Garcia, a spokesman for TFC, confirmed to The Royal Gazette that the company was still interested. After TFC’s bid for Ascendant was turned down last year, Mr Garcia, a former US congressman who has served on America’s National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, said the firm’s approach was based on investing in energy efficiency and renewables, creating a decentralized grid that was shaped by the preferences of customers. On its website, TFC states: “We transform regulated utilities with a 21st-century model that drives mass adoption of clean, low cost energy producing and energy saving technologies, while optimizing the grid.” Another of those involved with TFC’s bid was Dennis Lister, a strong advocate for green energy and the Speaker of the House of Assembly. TFC also has financial backing from Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based investment house with more than $42 billion of assets under management, as of September 30 last year. Fortress is also manager and general partner of the Bermuda Infrastructure Fund, an entity set up in November 2017 with the target of raising $100 million from Bermudian-based insurance companies to fund island infrastructure projects. Macquarie Group, the Australian investment bank, has large energy and infrastructure interests in Australia and around the world. It is the second largest physical natural gas trader in the US and also has a growing interest in green energy. For example, in 2015, Macquarie Group acquired a stake in Baltic 2 offshore wind park from German electricity supplier EnBW for €720 million. Macquarie also bought Britain’s Green Investment Bank for £2.3 billion. On the group’s website, Anthony Felton, portfolio manager for Macquarie Investment Management’s global listed infrastructure team, says: “Renewables are two-thirds of the way towards solving the energy trilemma, being affordable and clean. The third objective, reliability, is still a work in progress.” Macquarie says it expects large-scale storage system solutions to become sophisticated enough to “manage the intermittency of renewables generation. This has sparked a new wave of innovation in the sector which will revolutionise the global power market and allow consumers to shift from being passive to active participants in their energy networks,” Macquarie adds. Fortis, another of those thought to be interested in acquiring Ascendant, has grown out of its roots in Newfoundland, Canada, to become one of the top 15 utility companies in North America with 3.3 million customers and $53 billion in assets. It owns several utilities in Canada and the US, as well as two in the Caribbean: FortisTCI in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Caribbean Utilities Company in the Cayman Islands. It also owns a one-third stake in Belize Electricity Ltd in Central America. Cayman utility CUC’s website said it relies on diesel-fuelled generators to supply the islands. Its shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange and it has a market capitalization of about $485 million. Fortis makes no secret of its acquisitive ambitions, saying on the homepage of its website that “we seek additional opportunities to diversify our asset base and grow our company both within our existing franchise territories and beyond”. FortisTCI has options for customers to benefit from producing solar energy for the grid. Its “customer-owned” programme gives residential and commercial customers a credit on their monthly bill equivalent to the avoided cost of generation. The “utility-owned” programme involves the customer leasing out roof space to FortisTCI. The utility owns the solar panels and the customer receives a credit on their monthly bill for use of the rooftop space. The political element will inevitably be a factor in the sale. Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, speaking in the House of Assembly last month, spoke about “policy directions” he is giving to the Regulatory Authority relating to the sale of Belco. These include ensuring the “adequacy, safety, sustainability and reliability of electricity supply in Bermuda”, encouraging energy conservation, promoting cleaner energy sources including renewables, protecting the interests of customers and allowing others with “non-discriminatory interconnection” to the grid. The new owners would be required to adhere to the IRP. Mr Roban added: “While the IRP is being developed by the Regulatory Authority and not this Government, we can state quite emphatically that we look forward to more renewable energy, for example, solar energy which is abundantly available in Bermuda.” A marginal improvement to the status quo “will not be acceptable to this Government, nor can it be acceptable to our people,” Mr Roban added. “We will look forward to in whatever form, a better electric utility that shares the government’s vision of increased adoption of renewables, a fairer electric utility, all for a better and fairer Bermuda.” Whether or not Ascendant’s board accepts one of the offers, Bermuda’s electricity sector is sure to see some fundamental changes in the coming years.

paragraphA British subsidiary of Bermuda-based re/insurer Arch Capital has completed the acquisition of UK managing general agency Axiom Underwriting. Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd had initially acquired a 60 per cent share of Axiom in 2015. The terms of the deal for the remaining 40 per cent were not disclosed. Axiom generated about £20 million ($26.2 million) of gross written premium in 2018. It will become part of the recently formed Arch UK Regional Division, focused on commercial property, casualty, motor, professional liability, personal accident and travel, Arch stated. The transaction will involve 20 Axiom employees moving to Arch. “We are pleased to announce the completion of the acquisition of the remaining shares in Axiom, which was the origin of Arch’s decision to become more visible in the UK regional markets,” Steve Bashford, chief executive officer of the Arch UK Regional Division, said. “The Axiom team has been led by Mike Bottle for 15 years and, having worked alongside Mike for the last five years, we are delighted to not only welcome his team into Arch but also to see him assume a senior role in the UK Regional Division as senior vice-president and head of strategy and distribution,” Mr Bashford added.

paragraphThis week, Robertson’s Drug Store in St George’s pulled the plug on a dirty habit — plastic bags. On Monday, the store announced it would no longer be offering plastic bags or plastic straws to its customers. If customers need something to carry their purchases, Robertson’s has paper bags on offer. Store manager Joy Rothwell said the move was made purely out of concern for the environment. “It has been a discussion between us and the staff for a long time,” Ms Rothwell said. “Obviously, we are very aware of what is going on in the environment and the amount of plastic bags you find on beaches and in the ocean.” She said they’d been putting it off for some time, but after watching various documentaries about the environment and trash in the ocean, decided it was time to go ahead with it. Sales floor supervisor, Amba Smith, was one of the employees spearheading the move. “We estimate we were looking at 8,500 plastic bags a year,” Ms Smith said. “Sometimes customers would use a plastic bag for a newspaper, or a pack of gum. I just think that quite a few people don’t get the concept that a lot of these things, do end up in the ocean. Especially for us being an island, we have to be considerate of the ocean.” Ms Smith spends a lot of time on the beach during the summer, and is always horrified by the amount of garbage she sees there. “The only people who can change that is us, as humans,” she said. “There has to be a better way.” Ms Smith said reusable bags are available all over Bermuda. “I keep mine in my bike, or in my bag or purse,” she said. “It only takes a few seconds to pull it out and pop a purchased item in.” Robertson’s is not the first store in Bermuda to change its plastic habit. Last year, several Hamilton businesses either ceased importation of plastic bags, or started charging a small fee for them, offering reusable bags instead. Ms Rothwell said Robertson’s started warning their customers about the change, last year just before Christmas. When the store posted the move this week on their Facebook and Instagram pages, it received mainly supportive messages, such as “awesome” and “good on you!” This week, Robertson’s is offering a free useable bag for purchases over $30. “It is a very hardy bag,” Ms Rothwell said. “It should last well. That promotion is for this week, or for the next ten days if stocks last.” After that, reusable bags will be available for $7.50 each. “It’s a good price,” Mr Rothwell said. “It is not just some thin bag that rips easily. It is made of thick, neoprene material that will be reusable.” They are working on one day offering reusable bags with their own design and logo. As part of their promotion they will be doing a beach clean-up day on Sunday, April 14. “It is a voluntarily thing for the staff,” Ms Rothwell said. “And whoever wants to join us can. It will be at one of the beaches in St George’s. We are not sure which one yet, but will post that information on our social media pages. We have already had a couple of customers to say they will come.” Robertson’s next move is to look at their sun block products to make sure they are reef friendly.

paragraphA son of former One Bermuda Alliance election candidate Ray Charlton has been convicted of possessing child pornography in the United States. Andrew Charlton, 32, pleaded no contest to the charge at a Rhode Island court and was sentenced last month to two years of probation. He must register as a sex offender in the state and take part in a sex-offender counselling programme, according to court documents obtained by The Royal Gazette. Authorities here have not been notified of his conviction. Rhode Island State Police spokeswoman Laura Meade Kirk said yesterday: “Given that Mr Charlton lived in Rhode Island at the time of his arrest, there would be no requirement to notify authorities in Bermuda of the court’s action, nor his placement on the RI sex offender registry.” Court documents show the unemployed Charlton was arrested in late 2017 after an undercover investigation by officers at the Rhode Island internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Detectives identified a device on a peer-to-peer network that was sharing files of suspected child pornography and traced the IP address to Charlton, of Crane Terrace, Narragansett, Rhode Island. They executed a search warrant at his home on November 21, 2017, according to a report filed with Washington County Superior Court by police detective Kevin Kojoian. “Detectives spoke with the defendant,” Mr Kojoian said. “The defendant admitted to downloading child pornography using the file-sharing software Shareaza. The defendant further admitted possessing child pornography on his laptop computer. Analysts located child pornography on the defendant’s laptop.” A report by investigating officer John Nappi said Charlton answered the door and allowed detectives in, before admitting that he had downloaded child pornography on his laptop. “The files were downloaded, then deleted right away,” Mr Nappi said. “Andrew told us he was molested as a child and downloaded child pornography out of curiosity. Andrew went to a counselor approximately ten years earlier and talked to the therapist about child pornography. He lost his job in April of 2017, had lots of free time and found himself searching for child pornography again. He searched for preteen, 11 years old and up.” The report said Charlton was taken into custody and later released on $5,000 bail on condition of limited internet use, no unsupervised contact with children and surrender of his passport. His laptop was seized and evidence of more than 100 images of child pornography was found. Some of the images involved toddlers. Ms Meade Kirk said Charlton was initially arrested on two charges that were both felonies, transfer of child pornography and possession of child pornography, with each count being punishable by a prison term of up to 15 years and/or a fine of $5,000. Court filings show he was arraigned on May 9 last year when he pleaded not guilty. He retracted the not guilty plea on March 13 this year and entered a plea of no contest to a charge of possessing child pornography. A charge of producing child pornography was dismissed. Charlton agreed to pay costs of $273. Ms Meade Kirk said she could neither comment on the sentencing, as that was at the discretion of the judge, nor on the severity of the case. Special conditions of his probation require Charlton not to live with any children aged 17 or under without the court’s permission or have any contact with children, including electronic contact. He cannot loiter or reside within 300 feet of any school, daycare centre, playground, swimming pool, arcade, theme park, skating rink, toy store or any other place where children might regularly congregate. He is restricted to owning one computer or tablet and one cell phone during his probation, and must report all his e-mail accounts and computer and cell phone passwords to his probation officer. Charlton’s probation will end in March 2021. His LinkedIn account shows his past employment as a commercial credit analyst at three Rhode Island banks, a bank teller and an assistant pavilion manager at Narragansett Parks Department. He went to school in Narragansett between 2000 and 2004. Ray Charlton, 60, was the OBA’s election candidate for Sandys North in 2012 and 2017. He lost by just eight votes to the Progressive Labour Party’s Michael Scott in 2012 and by 280 votes in 2017. He also served as chairman of the West End Development Corporation for more than four years. He stepped down in April 2017 because of “constant negativity” from parts of the community, despite what he described as “incredible progress” in Dockyard.

paragraphNew York Times best-selling author Deepak Chopra will be in Bermuda this week for a sold-out talk on health. The event on Saturday, organized to highlight Colonial Group International’s Zest Wellness programme, will see Dr Chopra discuss his latest book, The Healing Self. Dr Chopra said: “I am very much looking forward to coming to Bermuda. Together, we will explore how to create a more peaceful, just, sustainable, and happier world, and it begins with each of us choosing to heal and transform ourselves.” Dr Chopra is a New York Times best-selling author with more than 85 books translated into more than 43 languages, including 22 New York Times bestsellers. He is the founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Centre for Wellbeing. Dr Chopra is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and a Clinical Professor in Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Jacqueline Perreault, the corporate wellness director at Colonial, said the company took Dr Chopra to the Cayman Islands last year. She also added: “The event was so successful we decided straight away that we wanted to repeat it, but this time in Bermuda. CGI has invested significantly to provide cutting edge preventive medical services. Its wellness programme, Zest Wellness, is available to most Premier Health members and offers resources and tools to create long-lasting healthy habits in the community, which will benefit everyone in the long-run.”


April 2

paragraphParadise Games betting shop retained its licence yesterday but its lawyer, Eugene Johnston, was threatened with getting held in contempt of court. The decision by the three-member Betting Licence Authority to renew the licence was not unanimous, according to its chairman, Juan Wolffe, who chastised the shop’s management for a late application. The senior magistrate also told the hearing, on the day the shop’s licence expired, that the behavior of the applicants’ counsel had been “atrocious”. Mr Wolffe said the lawyer had “bordered on being contemptuous of this court”, adding that the authority “came very close to taking this matter further”. He warned: “Be mindful of your animated behavior — it sometimes comes across as being disrespectful to the court.” Five months ago, Mr Johnston went public about spending a year without work in the wake of censure from the Court of Appeal. In November 2017, he was accused by the court of “unreasonable and improper” conduct in an appeal on behalf of Ayo Kimathi, a firebrand American speaker banned from entering the country after a controversial public address in September 2015. Yesterday, Mr Johnston clashed with the betting authority over its powers to revoke a certificate or make demands of applicants, saying those “fall to the minister, not the authority”. Paradise Games on Court Street, which is owned by Marc Bean, the former leader of the Progressive Labour Party, was ordered at a hearing on Friday to bring approval from the Ministry of Finance, along with a detailed report on its business operations, and a second guarantor backing its business reputation. Mr Johnston had argued previously that the petition was a renewal rather than a first application, and thus did not require extra. Yesterday, he produced a certificate from the ministry that was the same as one issued in May 2013. Wayne Furbert was acting minister in the stead of Curtis Dickinson, and Mr Johnston told the authority that “the minister agreed with our position that once a certificate is granted with a renewal, they do not issue a further certificate”. Mr Wolffe queried how the same certificate could be used “ad infinitum” without the ministry doing its due diligence. He said the ministry had signed a document from 2013 without investigating, and could not have affirmed the reputation and stability of Paradise Games over a weekend. Mr Johnston produced a second guarantee attesting to the soundness of Paradise Games but said that, under the law, they did not have the right to “look behind it”. The chairman said: “I think you’re wrong and, with all respect, the minister is wrong. The narrative is that this authority was not regulating betting shops. The point being made is that is not our function. It’s the function of the ministry. We want to dispel the myth that money laundering is rife within betting shops, and what is the authority doing — again, it’s not our function to do that; it’s a function of the Ministry of Finance.” Mr Wolffe also pointed out that the shop’s business had changed over the years since 2013, including dropping the Florida Lottery Powerball. “You have this notion that we have done this before. Accept what we’re saying and let’s move on.” Elizabeth Christopher, who sits on the authority with Peter Barrett, said the authority wanted businesses to “apply their minds on an annual basis as to what activities are conducted in their shops. Otherwise they are not taking it seriously.” Mr Johnston maintained that concerns over money laundering rested with the ministry, adding: “You might feel it necessary for your powers to be exercised, but they are not.” In the meantime, Paradise Games had been forced to “go back and forth”, he said. Mr Wolffe said: “For your client to have the temerity to question going back and forth when it is they who submitted their application late, is quite rich.” Ms Christopher accused Mr Johnston of “playing to the gallery”, and the chairman said his conduct “could very much dictate whether your client operates as of today”. The authority ultimately approved the shop’s licence, but only by a majority decision, Mr Wolffe said. “Any person who comes before these courts must be mindful of their conduct,” he said, adding that Mr Johnston “came very close to bringing these proceedings into disrepute, and particularly his work as a lawyer”.

paragraphA new drink-driving court is being piloted to give offenders a chance to avoid a driving ban. The Driving Under the Influence Court will allow drink-drivers to stay on the road if they take part in a “robust programme”, senior magistrate Juan Wolffe wrote in the Bermuda Judiciary Annual Report 2018. But yesterday it remained unclear how offenders are assessed for eligibility for the programme. Mr Wolffe indicated in a recent Magistrates’ Court hearing that only those who admit having a drink problem can qualify. Drug-abuse prevention experts stressed the need for professional assessment of offenders to determine who should go on the programme, while road safety campaigners argued mandatory bans serve as a deterrent. Mr Wolffe wrote in the judiciary report, published in February: “By implementing a pilot DUI Court, offenders will be able to retain their licence if they participate in a robust, structured programme that addresses their drinking and driving impulses. By doing so, they are able to continue to be employed and to take care of their families, or to continue to transport their loved ones to school or to the hospital.” Mr Wolffe told one Magistrates’ Court hearing last Friday: “DUI Court is not for people who want to stay on the road. It’s for people who want to deal with their drinking problem. If you don’t have a problem, then it’s not for you.” Truell Landy, executive director for substance abuse prevention charity Pride, said she was not aware of the programme. Ms Landy said: “From a preventive perspective, there should be an evaluation on where the individual is and what is their relationship to alcohol. The assessment would have to be from someone working in substance abuse treatment. Then you are looking for a programme that is going to fit so they are able to benefit from the programme itself and it’s not just an automatic ‘send’. It’s time for us to accept that we have a problem with alcohol in Bermuda. We can’t just give it a brush under the carpet or slap on the wrist — it is time for us to look at it and use the evidence to drive our processes forward.” Anthony Santucci, executive director for anti-alcohol abuse charity Cada, said: “I agree and the assessment agency should be the Bermuda Assessment and Referral Centre. Barc should know if someone has been flagged as having a substance abuse issues. A decision should be made as to whether they should get their licence back based on the assessment results. If the assessment results say that someone has an alcohol or addiction problem, they should be automatically put into a treatment programme.” According to Cada research based on data from the Coroner’s Office, between 70 and 75 per cent of road fatalities involve alcohol or drugs. Legislation introduced in 2013 made sure that people who were convicted of driving while impaired would be banned from the roads for at least 18 months. A separate DUI education programme is available to drink-drivers that grants them three months off their ban on completion. A spokeswoman for The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change road safety campaign said: “Mandatory driving bans gave a strong message to the community that drink driving will not be tolerated. While the DUI programme is likely well-intentioned, if not properly implemented it could merely help drink-drivers skirt their driving bans so we would like to see more information on it. We do not believe that someone should necessarily be eligible for the programme based on their job. Professional drivers who spend more time on the roads including those who are responsible for safely transporting members of the public should face as much scrutiny as the rest of us while being given access to treatment.” Shari-Lynn Pringle, campaign manager of road safety campaign A Piece of the Rock, added: “Part of being personally responsible for your actions is understanding exactly what you stand to lose when you take the decision to drink and drive.” Mr Wolffe said in an interview with Drive for Change last year: “If a taxi driver comes into the courtroom, taking their licence is something that can reduce their income substantially. If they don’t have any income, how are they going to pay their bills? How are they going to care for their children? There is a balancing act we have to play.” The Ministry for Legal Affairs said that all questions about the programme should be directed to Mr Wolffe. Mr Wolffe declined to comment “at this time”.

paragraphA woman denied importing cannabis and other substances to Bermuda when she appeared in court yesterday. Ranae Furbert faced six charges during arraignments at the Supreme Court. She was accused of bringing cannabis into the island on January 11, 2018, and it was further alleged that she imported a substance containing tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabis resin on the same date. Ms Furbert, 27, of St George’s, denied the charges, as well as counts of possessing each of the substances with intent to supply. Puisne Judge Carlise Greaves set another hearing of the case for later this month and extended Ms Furbert’s bail. Meshach Crichton, of Warwick, also appeared during the session. He denied wounding Kevin Davis in the parish on February 26. The 20-year-old, who had no lawyer, was remanded in custody and his case will call again in May.

paragraphFour people were arrested after police seized “a substantial amount of drugs” from homes in two parishes, authorities reported yesterday. Police said 18.4lbs of plant material and 6oz of white powdery substance and pills were found in properties in Devonshire and Pembroke last Thursday. A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said officers were awaiting a report from analysts to confirm the types of drugs found.

paragraphAn elderly man who had a seven-hour stand-off with police at the former prison headquarters in Pembroke was denied bail when he appeared in Magistrates’ Court today. James Dallas, 69, was charged with trespassing on a government property, four counts of throwing a corrosive substance at police and one count of threatening police on Happy Valley Road last Thursday. Mr Dallas did not enter a plea as the matter will be heard in the Supreme Court on May 1. Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe denied him bail.

paragraphA new Aide-de-Camp to the Governor has started his tour of duty at Government House. Lieutenant Alex Gibbs of the Royal Bermuda Regiment took over the role from Captain Paolo Odoli, who stood down after more than three years in the job. Lieutenant Gibbs, who was conscripted in 2011, said: “It’s a massive honour because it’s a personal selection by the Governor. I feel very fortunate. It’s quite early in my Regiment career as an officer to have reached this point.” The 28-year-old said he might not have considered a career in the Regiment had he not been conscripted, but he decided to make the most of the opportunity. Lieutenant Gibbs added: “Eight years later, I’m in full-time employment with the Regiment and loving every minute of it.” As Aide-de-Camp, Lieutenant Gibbs will be the personal staff officer to the Governor, responsible for the security, transport and logistics along with the running of Government House. Captain Odoli, 34, said the job also involves helping new Governors get to know the island and its culture. He said: “The job is really important in terms of representing not only the Regiment, but also the country in a role that’s recognized in Bermuda and overseas. Captain Odoli, who will take the post of Adjutant at Warwick Camp, but he said he enjoyed his time at Government House. He said: “Some of the highlights for me were being able to serve in the Regiment in a very public facing capacity. The job involves facilitating the Governor’s participation in a lot of high profile events.” He added that a major memory was the visit of the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, to the America’s Cup in 2017.

paragraphThe City of Hamilton has reminded those City tax-payers that own or occupy commercial property in the City that they must register in order to cast their vote in the May 9th municipal election. Registration will close on Wednesday, April 3rd at 5pm. Registration for the business-rate-payers is not automatic. No registrations or changes to the register will be accepted after this date. If business rate-payers have not registered by this time, they will not be afforded the right to vote. Registration forms can be obtained from the Parliamentary Registrar’s office in the Craig Appin House on Wesley Street. Those businesses that were registered to vote in the 2015 municipal election are encouraged to confirm their registration with the Parliamentary Registrar’s office by visiting their website at www.elections.gov.bm under the Municipal Elections heading or by calling their offices at 293-VOTE (8683). Businesses must also amend their registration if they wish to or need to appoint a new nominee. Business rate-payers must ensure that their nominee appointed to vote on their behalf will be on island on May 9th (Polling Day) in order to vote. Nominees for companies must be listed on the Parliamentary Register. The City’s Resident rate-payers are automatically registered to vote if their name and address appear on the Parliamentary Register as resident in the City. Anyone who has recently moved to the City or residents that have turned eighteen since the last parliamentary election should be sure they are on the register with the correct information.

paragraphAscendant Group is officially seeking a buyer after the company’s board invited a group of prospective new owners to make takeover offers. The news came yesterday afternoon in a statement from Ascendant. In January, the parent company of power utility Belco started a review of its strategic options, including consideration of a potential sale. Trading of Ascendant’s shares was suspended yesterday morning by the Bermuda Stock Exchange at the company’s request ahead of the afternoon announcement. The BSX ended the voluntary suspension, with immediate effect, this morning. Ascendant stated: “The board, with the assistance of its financial adviser Guggenheim Securities LLC, following a robust assessment process, has decided to invite a select group of globally respected firms to each submit a definitive proposal to purchase the company. “The board is impressed with the number and quality of firms that have expressed an interest in Ascendant.” The company did not identify the interested parties, nor say how many firms wanted to enter the bidding. “Through these proposals, the board will seek access to the capital resources, operational knowledge and technological innovation necessary to advance the company’s efforts to reduce the cost of electricity and meet future challenges that will benefit the community as a whole,” Ascendant added. "Whatever strategic option is pursued, the board will fully consider the interests of the company’s customers, employees, shareholders, and the community. Whether the board ultimately recommends the sale of Ascendant will be dependent on the outcome of the process. We will continue to work cooperatively with all stakeholders, including our regulators, throughout this process to ensure the best outcome for Bermuda.” The company added that it had suspended its share repurchase programme. Last year, the company invested more than $10 million on buying back its own shares, as the share price doubled.

Appleby Global Listing Services (Bermuda) Ltd has joined the BSX as a listing sponsor, with immediate effect. Greg Wojciechowski, the BSX’s chief executive officer, said: “AGS joins a growing group of companies that have identified a commercial opportunity to provide their client base with an exciting listing venue alternative through the BSX. The BSX’s commercially sensible support of listed issuers underpinned by a fully electronic trading and settlement system, coupled with numerous international recognitions has resulted in a significant increase in the listing of a variety of asset classes including international debt and insurance-linked securities.” Tim Faries, chairman of Appleby Global Services Bermuda, said: “We are pleased to join the BSX as a listing sponsor and look forward to contributing to the growth of Bermuda as a jurisdiction for issuers in both the debt and equity capital markets.”


April 1

paragraphAccess to justice will be “crippled” if there is no swift solution to a lack of adequate court space, authorities warned. Concerns raised in The Bermuda Judiciary Annual Report 2018 centred on the loss of appeal court space from Front Street, which also affects the criminal division, and a threat to Sessions House occupancy. The Ministry of Public Works said people will be relocated while extensive refurbishments are carried out in the historic Sessions House, and pledged there would be “minimal disruption”. But one lawyer described changes forecast for next month as a “significant blow to the administration of justice”. Alexandra Wheatley, the registrar, explained in the report that the Court of Appeal was moved from Court 2 at Sessions House to 113 Front Street in March 2018. Two months later, it was forced to vacate that premises for health reasons, but without an alternative the judiciary “scrambled” to hold an appeal court sitting in Court 1 last June, temporarily closing the second criminal Supreme Court. Ms Wheatley added: “This created a further backlog of criminal matters hence curtailing the public’s access to justice.” Although the registrar was grateful for work that made the space “far more suitable” for the appeal court’s judges, she said: “Neither a short-term nor long-term viable solution has yet to be proposed to remedy this situation which is most reprehensible.” She also explained that Court 1 at Sessions House became the location for the criminal registry. Ms Wheatley said: “To my utmost dismay, I was advised at the end of 2018 that renovations to Sessions House were forthcoming in 2019 between May and December. During this time, the dual-purpose Supreme Criminal Court and Court of Appeal would have to vacate this space. We have further been informed that Parliament does not wish the judiciary to return to Sessions House in any capacity, despite it being used as a court for time immemorial and being purpose built for the courts. Whilst alternatives were proposed, this has yet to come to fruition.” Ms Wheatley added that her objectives for the year included the relocation of the appeal, supreme, civil and commercial courts to the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building “so that the entire judiciary is located in one space rather than being fragmented between three or four different locations”. The annual report, which was published in February, stated: “Every effort will continue to be made to advocate for the resolution of the current untenable position of not having a dedicated Court of Appeal as well as the potential loss of another criminal court. “Should this not be done in the very near future, the consequences will be devastating not only for the criminal courts and the Court of Appeal, but for the people of Bermuda whose access to justice will be crippled.” Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons wrote that the criminal division would be “severely affected” if it was moved out of Sessions House. She added: “The backlog that we so valiantly and successfully fought to eliminate under former chief justice Richard Ground’s guidance would not compare to the potential backlog that would result from having only one trial court. The judiciary likely would fail to provide defendants with the constitutional guarantee of a fair hearing within a reasonable time.” Mrs Justice Simmons explained that the Court of Appeal sits for about three weeks, three times a year. She said that the result of it taking over Court 1 in 2018 was that three criminal trials were rolled over into 2019. Richard Horseman, is a director and senior counsel at Wakefield Quin. He told The Royal Gazette: “Following the loss of the court premises located at Front Street, the indication that Court 1 at Sessions House will also be unavailable from May 2019, perhaps permanently, is a significant blow to the administration of justice in Bermuda. It is difficult to see how the criminal justice system will be able to function in an efficient manner. We seemed to have turned the corner in securing fairly quick turnarounds of criminal trials a few years ago. But it seems that we are about to take a huge step backwards.” He added: “It is really quite sad to hear that the Government does not want the courts to return to Sessions House. Court 1 is steeped in history and tradition and it would be a shame to lose it permanently. I just don’t see how the judicial system will be able to sustain the current caseload unless some drastic steps are taken to find new suitable premises urgently.” Mark Diel is a director at Marshall Diel & Myers. He said: “If you haven’t got the court rooms to have jury trials then you’re going to end up with a backlog.” He warned that failing to ensure justice was executed swiftly could mean an accused person was remanded in custody for unduly long before trial. Mr Diel explained that if the delay was successfully challenged on constitutional grounds, the indictment would be quashed. He added: “Then there’s no trial for someone who is potentially guilty. Certainly there’s no appearance of justice being done, not to mention people being locked up without trial.” Chief Justice Narinder Hargun also noted his concerns about court infrastructure at the start of the new legal year in February as he anticipated the Sessions House renovations. A Ministry of Public Works spokeswoman confirmed that “extensive refurbishments and upgrades” will be conducted to Sessions House “in the upcoming months. This is an ageing building which requires significant renovations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those who occupy the facility. The preservation of the historical aspects of the building will be an utmost priority during the renovation process. The upgrades will require the relocation of the existing staff and occupants of the building and the ministry will work to ensure the transition results in minimal disruption.”

paragraphBermudian precedents helped bring the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands, according to local lawyers. Rod Attride-Stirling, who was involved in several landmark marriage equality cases in Bermuda, said he assisted lawyers involved in the Cayman Islands case. He said: “The Cayman court relied very heavily on the Bermuda court judgments. It is unquestionably the case that Bermuda has led the way on the development of a freedom of conscience right to marriage, which includes same-sex marriage.” Mark Pettingill, another lawyer involved in the local cases, said he was thrilled to see Bermuda’s fight for same-sex marriage used to aid other jurisdictions. Mr Pettingill said: “I’m very pleased that they made use of what happened in Bermuda. We have three judgments now so it’s no wonder that they are being used. All of them are very strong.” Mr Pettingill said he was very happy to see the Cayman Islands “get on the human rights bandwagon” and he expects other jurisdictions to follow the same path. He added: “Hopefully, Cayman will just leave things where they are now and accept it.” Bermudian Roderick Ferguson, an applicant in the case which overruled the Domestic Partnership Act, said he was excited to hear that his case was used to help open the door to same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands. He said: “I feel a deep sense of gratitude knowing that our case played a role in the Cayman Islands ruling. As the fight for the rights of LGBTQ people continues to unfold, it is gratifying to know that we have helped pave the way for further victories, just as those before us helped pave the way for ours.” The Cayman case was launched by Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush, who applied to be married in the Cayman Islands last year only to be rejected on the grounds that they were a same-sex couple. The couple argued that Ms Bush, a British national, was denied a spousal visa because they were refused the right to marry. Meanwhile Ms Day, who jointly adopted a daughter with Ms Bush in the UK, could not be recognized as the child’s mother in Cayman. In a judgment released on Friday, Cayman Chief Justice Anthony Smellie — who also sits on Bermuda’s Court of Appeal — found that their rights had been violated. As such, Mr Justice Smellie ordered the Marriage Law be changed immediately to allow same-sex marriage. Leonardo Raznovich, a Cayman barrister and same-sex advocate, said yesterday: “The judge found that the Marriage Law’s definition of marriage was unconstitutional because it breached the right to private life and family and freedom of conscience and was discriminatory. It did mention the Bermuda case in the summary that he read in court.” Dr Raznovich said he did not know if the Cayman Government would appeal the decision, although he had faith that any appeal would be unsuccessful. He said: “Whether the Attorney-General and/or Registrar will appeal will become a decision of the Premier. His government had ample opportunity to address this issue but have consistently failed to act. The court has now done the job that the Government was unable, or unwilling, to do. As a matter of law and as a matter of politics, any prospect of appeal is set to fail and to constitute a hemorrhaging of money that the Government should instead use for health, education or other areas that will benefit all Caymanians.” Peter Laverack, a part of the legal team that represented the couple, said: “Chantelle and Vickie’s relationship finally has been recognized. For too long, they and their daughter were denied what loving couples and ordinary families take for granted. The Chief Justice’s judgment beautifully combines the common law and European Court case law, with a healthy dose of common sense. Equality means equality. Love is love.” The judgment echoes similar decisions in Bermuda courts, which legalized same-sex marriage and struck down the Domestic Partnership Act, intended to ban same-sex marriage and replace it with domestic partnership. In the latter case, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled that the DPA infringed on the constitutional freedom of conscience. The Bermuda Government has filed for permission to appeal to London’s Privy Council, but that court has yet to accept or refuse the application.

paragraphThe Department of National Drug Control is to target young people to prevent alcohol and drug abuse. Attorney-General Kathy-Lynn Simmons made the announcement at a press conference this morning highlighting Alcohol Awareness Month, which runs throughout April. Ms Simmons added that the department would conduct a National School Survey 2019 of middle and senior school students on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in the latter part of this year. She said that 52.6 per cent of M2 to S4 students reported that they had used alcohol at least once in their lifetime. About a third of those reported use in the last 12 months. Ms Simmons said: “These results are very concerning as alcohol use and abuse remains one of the greatest challenges facing Bermuda’s youth. Parents: set a positive example, get involved in your children’s lives. Get involved in their activities, know their friends, know where they are going and what they are doing. Create clear, consistence expectations and enforce them. Talk early and often about drugs and alcohol, discuss the consequences and show you care enormously about what choices your child make.” Ms Simmons said the Drug Prevention Unit of the DNDC will host community education activities at sporting events and at the senior school level to “create awareness and to encourage our community to get educated about the harms associated with alcohol and to seek assistance for alcohol related problems”. Anthony Santucci, executive director for anti-alcohol abuse charity CADA, said that the theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week was “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”. Mr Santucci said: “Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across Bermuda to increase awareness and understanding of alcohol addiction, its causes, effective treatment, and recovery. During this call to action, parents need to know that progress is being made in the struggle to address underage drinking in our community. Research shows that kids who learn about the dangers of underage drinking from their parents are up 50 per cent less likely to experiment than kids who don’t. So, help connect the dots for your kids about alcohol use. It’s worth it.” To learn more about underage drinking, visit cada.bm.

paragraphBBC London. Minimum wages rise in UK but bills go up too. Of interest to Bermuda as members of the government are considering the introduction soon of a living minimum age geared to Bermuda's socio-economic conditions.

paragraphGlenn Jones has been promoted to the Bermuda Tourism Office’s next chief experience development officer, replacing the outgoing Pat Phillip-Fairn. He will officially begin in the post on April 29. Mr Jones joined the BTA in January 2015 as the director of public and stakeholder relations and was promoted to the director of strategy and corporate communications last May. Kevin Dallas, the BTA CEO, said: “It was very clear to me and our board that Glenn was the right candidate to build on our existing destination management efforts and take us to the next level, guided by his knowledge of the National Tourism Plan. His passion for the island is boundless and underpins his commitment to ensure that Bermuda will offer diverse and memorable experiences, inspiring people to visit year-round. A thoughtful transition is under way and our stakeholders should be confident the forward momentum in visitor experience over the past five years will continue seamlessly.” Mr Jones said he had worked with the product and experience team closely since he joined the BTA, and was excited to lead the team. He added: “I’m a passionate advocate for the youthful entrepreneurship that is flowing back into tourism and I will look to that sector for building industry growth going forward. The overriding goal will be winning the hearts and minds of our visitors through strategies that put the customer first and position Bermudians at the forefront of economic opportunity.”

paragraphDemolition work has stopped at a landmark Hamilton building after asbestos was discovered. The Canadian Hotel, on Reid Street, which was built in the early 1920s, is being demolished after sitting derelict for more than a decade. Patrick Cooper, city engineer for the City of Hamilton, said: “There is a stop-work order placed on the site — evidenced by the notice affixed to the site.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Planning said: “There were public safety concerns at this site regarding the demolition work. We have a report confirming asbestos. The Department of Health issues licences, monitors and controls asbestos abatement.” All buildings on the site, owned by Thomas Powell of Stonehaven Development Company, are being levelled. Demolition work was expected to have been completed by March 31. Mr Powell, who is also the owner of The Spot Restaurant, has sought investment in the building for several years with no success. The Canadian Hotel served as a boarding house for many years until closing in 2006 after Mr Powell found himself facing a $1.5 million bill to renovate and insure the premises. A Special Development Order was obtained for the site in 2008. Mr Powell blamed the island’s “loss of confidence for foreign investment” on the lack of developers willing to purchase the site. It has since fallen into dereliction and was further damaged by a fire in 2012. Philanthropist James “Dick” Richards built the Canadian Hotel after purchasing property on Reid Street in 1918. The Canadian Hotel was built in stages, but the four-storey first section with a lion on top was completed in 1921. Mr Richards owned the Canadian Hotel until his death in 1965. The Royal Gazette asked the Department of Health about the levels of asbestos on the site, what threat it poses to the public and what work needs to be done in order for demolition to continue, but did not receive a response by press time. Mr Powell could not be reached.

paragraphILS Capital Management Ltd, the Bermuda-based manager of insurance-linked securities investments, delivered a double-digit return to a major investor last year. Bob Jacksha, chief investment officer of the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board, a $12.9 billion pension fund, said their investment with the Bermudian fund manager produced a return of 11.4 per cent in 2018. ILS Capital Management was founded by Don Kramer, the reinsurance veteran who is the company’s chairman. Speaking to the Chief Investment Officer website, Mr Jacksha explained why he had included reinsurance exposure to his fund’s portfolio. Last year, he implemented a new category called “Other Diversifying Strategies” of which reinsurance was part. “First of all, it’s not correlated with the stock market. It’s more correlated with natural disasters, hurricanes, what have you,” Mr Jacksha said. “In addition, it’s correlated with where you are geographically.” The returns were achieved in a year in which the reinsurance industry paid out claims on hurricanes and devastating California wildfires. On its website, ILS Capital Management states: “We combine traditional portfolio management techniques with disciplined security selection and risk management to create long-term value for investors.” The company has offices in the Swan Building on Victoria Street, Hamilton, and also in London and Greenwich, Connecticut.

paragraphThe battle between Bermuda-based Argo Group International Holdings Ltd and activist shareholder Voce Capital Management is heating up. The San Francisco-based hedge fund owns about 5.6 per cent of Argo, and earlier this month attacked what it called a “spendthrift culture” at the company by citing what it called “inappropriate corporate expenses”. Among the examples given were the use of corporate aircraft, housing allowances, and sponsorships, with Voce claiming that company resources were being used to support the lifestyle of Mark Watson, Argo’s chief executive officer, at the expense of shareholders. Now, in a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Voce has claimed that two director appointments made by Argo are invalid under company bye-laws and Bermuda law, called for the company to rescind the appointments of Samuel Liss and Tony Latham. Voce added that the assignment of invalidly appointed director Mr Latham to the company’s special nominating committee meant the committee’s recommendations should be annulled and the committee dissolved, and said the company has still to refute its claim that corporate assets are being misused. In the filing with the SEC, Voce said: “We will be publishing in due course our plan to unlock significant additional value at Argo through the dramatic improvement of its operations and capital allocation. In the meantime, we have nominated five highly qualified, independent director candidates that we believe will restore accountability, independence and integrity to Argo’s board: Bernard C. Bailey, Charles H. Dangelo, Admiral Kathleen M. Dussault, Carol A. McFate and Nicholas C Walsh. We look forward to the opportunity to make our case to Argo shareholders at this year’s annual meeting.” In reply, Argo filed the following statement with the SEC: “It is disappointing that Voce Capital continues to engage in a campaign of misinformation to support its activist campaign to remove members of Argo’s well-qualified and experienced board. “As publicly announced on February 20, 2019, the board properly appointed Messrs Latham and Liss to fill two vacancies, bringing the number of directors up to 13 as authorized by Argo Group’s bye-laws and Bermuda law. Voce’s assertions challenging these appointments are simply incorrect. It is telling that Voce waited five weeks to raise its latest attempt to distract Argo’s shareholders. Our board remains focused on continuing Argo’s strong performance and looks forward to continuing to engage with all shareholders in the coming weeks.


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